Tuesday 15 January 2019

WWF Royal Rumble 1988 Review

Royal Rumble 88 logo.jpg

Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that brings you more fire than Becky Lynch on Twitter! It’s time for the inaugural Royal Rumble, twenty men competing in an over the top rope battle royal. We also have a contract signing of what might be the most important rematch in history, Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant do battle once more! We also get to see Rick Rude vs Ricky Steamboat, The Islanders vs The Young Stallions, this should be a fun card but it’s the first of its kind, could The Royal Rumble have the success that Wrestlemania had? Let’s find out!

Ravishing Rick Rude vs Ricky The Dragon Steamboat

Rude starts with forearms, right hands to the face of Steamboat, Steamboat answers with massive chops. Eye rake by Rude, Steamboat skins the cat off an Irish whip. Rude is sent tumbling to the floor as Steamboat poses for the fan. Rude asks for the test of strength, Rude quickly overpowers Steamboat, the crowd come alive for Steamboat. Up comes Steamboat, trip into an armbar from Steamboat. Steamboat wrenches the arm of The Ravishing One, Rude escapes but eats a deep armdrag. Rude uses big forearms to escape, the two trade Irish whips before a massive chop from Steamboat. Deep armdrag and armbar from Steamboat, Rude is almost pinned as we have a close two.

Rude boots Steamboat and escapes the hold, Steamboat is bounced off the turnbuckle. Rude rakes the eyes maintaining control. Steamboat is staggering, Rude Irish whips Steamboat. Steamboat slides through his legs twice, massive arm-drag into an armbar. Knees to the base of the shoulder from Steamboat, Steamboat has tortured the arm of Rude for the majority of this match. Rude uses an elbow to escape the hold, Rude poses for the fans. Right hands by Rude, Steamboat chops back. Rude knees Steamboat in the ribs which causes Steamboat to tumble to the floor, the referee begins to count against Steamboat.

Steamboat is sent back first into the apron, scoop slam on the floor. Rude nails his signature pose as the fans boo Rude. Steamboat eats a right hand as he is dragged up to the apron, apron suplex from Rude for two. Camel clutch from Rude, every time Steamboat tries to escape, Rude drops all his weight on Steamboat’s spine. Steamboat fades, two drops of the hand but Steamboat continues to battle. Steamboat picks Rude up onto his shoulders, electric chair drop from Steamboat. Steamboat tries a splash, Rude puts up his knees.

Atomic drop from Rude, Rude poses for the fans again. Two for Rude, camel clutch from Rude. Steamboat escapes and kicks off Rude, Rude eats the turnbuckle hard. Snapmare and falling chop from Steamboat for two, headlock takedown from Rude. The two trade pins, Steamboat bridges up and backslides Rude for two. Schoolboy from Steamboat for two, jacknife cover from Steamboat for two, both men attempt small packages for two. Eye rake by Rude, Irish whip by Rude. Lariat for two, Steamboat blocks the suplex. Suplex by Steamboat, Steamboat climbs high. Rude pulls the referee into the crossbody, Rude has Steamboat in an Argentine Backbreaker. Ricky The Dragon Steamboat is declared the winner by DQ, Rude is incensed!

This was a whole lot of fun, two legends tearing it up in the ring. Fantastic arm work from Steamboat throughout the earlier parts of the match. Steamboat was energetic and selling like death throughout the match while Rude was a fantastic in terms of his character, nobody could be possibly be as full as themselves as Ravishing Rick Rude, the man oozes charisma. Loved the finish too, Rude cheated and paid for it, perfect classic heel getting what he deserves for cheating.

Winner: Ricky The Dragon Steamboat over Rick Rude via DQ!

(WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match) The Glamour Girls © W/ Jimmy Hart vs The Jumping Bomb Angels

Double dropkick to start, Kai and Martin double team Yamazaki. Splash by Martin, Yamazaki escapes and school boys for two. Tateno gutwrench slams Martin for two. Tag to Yamazaki, Martin catches the crossbody and slams her, Martin misses the elbow. Yamazaki and Kai are in the ring, high knee from Yamazaki. Tag to Tateno, massive dropkicks. Cheap shot by Yamazaki, Kai is knocked around for two. Tateno applies an octopus stretch, the match breaks down, double figure four leg locks from the Jumping Bomb Angels. Tateno leg drops Martin hard, another wishbone split from Tateno. Yamazaki comes in for an Indian deathlock, Martin has her legs wrenched at repeatedly.

Tateno comes in, Martin grabs Tateno in the corner, Tateno is dragged to the mat. Kai smacks Tateno from the apron, Martin nails an alley oop bomb for the first fall, The Glamour Girls celebrate in the win as they are so close to retaining their tag team championships.

We restart with Martin dragging the hair out of Tateno. Massive chop and boot by Kai, Tateno bridges out of a pin. Scoop slam by Kai, Kai misses a splash. Dropkicks and slams by Yamazaki, crossbody for two. The Jumping Bomb Angels bamboozle The Glamour Girls, Kai knocks down Tateno. Powerbomb is reversed from Tateno, Tateno schoolgirls Kai and we have evened things up, the winner of the next fall wins the tag team championships.

Tateno Irish whips Kai, Tateno and Kai trade blows. Kai wins the battle, tag to Martin. Enzuigiri from Tateno, tag to Yamazaki. Fisherman suplex is blocked, Martin knees Yamazaki down to the mat. Irish whip to the corner, Yamazaki leapfrogs Martin and backslides Martin before Martin escapes. Catapult for Yamazaki, tag to Kai. Necksnap from Kai, stomps from Kai. Double underhook suplex for two, Kai bites the arm of Yamazaki. Boot across the choke, tag to Martin, Yamazaki tags Tateno who is tossed across the ring. Tateno rallies, back drops for Kai, two drops for two. Martin is dragged into the ring too, tag to Yamazaki. Scoop slam and knee drop combination for two, scoop slam and cover for two by Yamazaki. Double underhook suplex with a bridge for two.

Tateno is in, middle rope senton misses. Tateno regains control, tag to Yamazaki. Diving clothesline for two, Kai saves Martin. Both Jumping Bomb Angels climb to the top rope, Double Diving Dropkick for the win behind the referee’s back, this match is over and we have new champions.

Best women’s match in the WWF at this point, The Jumping Bomb Angels are super talented, they showed they were lightyears ahead at Survivor Series and that finish speaks volume, perfect double dropkick that wipes out Judy Martin, fantastic stuff from The Jumping Bomb Angels. Another highlight is Vince not having a clue of the names of The Jumping Bomb Angels, great stuff.

Winners: The Jumping Bomb Angels over The Glamour Girls via Double Diving Dropkick!

Hogan/Andre Contract Signing/Dino Bravo World Record

Dino Bravo sets a new record albeit with help from Jesse Ventura, classic segment to put over the raw power of the new debuting superstar. Good start for Bravo, we also have the contract signing for Hogan vs Andre at Saturday Night’s Main Event. Ted Dibiase is in Andre’s corner with Virgil, fantastic promo and presence from Dibiase, you can see why Dibiase was signed to the WWF. Jack Tunney presides over the contract signing, nice use of an authority figure who does not dominate the show. Andre leaves Hogan in a heap on the ground, can Hogan topple Andre again?

The Royal Rumble Match

Twenty men competing in a battle royal, entrants one and two are Bret Hart and Tito Santana respectively. How do you win? Throw your opponent over the top rope with both feet touching the floor. Santana gets the better of Bret to begin the match, right hands to the face of Bret. Bret uses gut punches to get back into the match, inverted atomic drop by Bret. Middle rope elbow drop by Bret, number three is Butch Reed. Flying Forearm to Bret but in comes Reed. Reed tries to eliminate Santana, Santana survives the attack of the two heels. Reed nails a middle rope axe handle double elbow with Santana being taken down again. Number four is Neidhart, Santana is surrounded by The Hart Foundation. Reed and The Hart Foundation decimate Santana, backbreaker and middle rope elbow combination.

Santana continues to be worked on by The Hart Foundation, number five is Jake Roberts. Butch Reed is dumped out of the ring.

Butch Reed Has Been Eliminated By Roberts!

Roberts hammers The Hart Foundation, The Hart Foundation bang heads. Roberts calls for the DDT, Bret is staggering. Neidhart saves Bret from the DDT, Bret piledrivers Santana. Number six is Harley Race, elbows to Roberts. Roberts is almost thrown out but Roberts survives, Roberts eats a headbutt from Race. Number seven is Brunzell of The Killer Bees. We have a pile up, every man desperately trying to dump the other’s out of the ring. Number eight is Sam Houston. The Hart Foundation hurl Santana out to the floor!

Tito Santana Has Been Eliminated By The Hart Foundation!

Number nine is Danny Davis, Houston tees off on Davis. Right hands in the corner, eye rake by Davis. Davis eats a back suplex from Roberts, Davis holds onto the ropes to survive the DDT. Number ten is Boris Zhukov, nothing much happens. Number eleven is Magnificent Muraco, Zhukov is thrown out by Roberts and Brunzell!

Boris Zhukov Has Been Eliminated By Roberts & Brunzell!

Number twelve is Volkoff, Davis and Volkoff double team Houston. Harley Race is dumped out by Muraco.

Harley Race Has Been Eliminated By Muraco!

Bret and Roberts struggle in the corner, Muraco chops Volkoff. Number thirteen is Hacksaw Jim Duggan, huge cheers for Duggan. Race smashes Duggan in the face, Duggan gets distracted before entering the ring. Duggan begins attacking everything in sight, we have number fourteen and it is Outlaw Ron Bass. Bass clubs Muraco, Bret and Brunzell do battle. Roberts decimates Davis, Volkoff saves Davis from elimination. Volkoff tosses out Brunzell!

Jumpin Jim Brunzell Has Been Eliminated By Volkoff!

Number fifteen is B Brian Blair, Blair goes after The Hart Foundation. Duggan and Bass square off, eye rake by Bass to survive being eliminated. Number sixteen is Hillbilly Jim. Jim throws Neidhart over the top rope with ease with a backdrop.

Jim Neidhart Has Been Eliminated By Hillbilly Jim!

Number seventeen is Dino Bravo, Sam Houston is thrown to the floor, we did not catch who throw out Houston but Vince and Jesse believe it was Ron Bass.

Sam Houston Has Been Eliminated By Ron Bass!

Number eighteen is The Ultimate Warrior, Muraco tosses out Bret Hart.

Bret Hart Has Been Eliminated By Muraco!

Number nineteen is One Man Gang, Gang and Roberts do battle. Gang tosses out Blair with one hand, Gang tosses out Roberts too!

Jake Roberts & Brian Blair Have Been Eliminated By One Man Gang!

Number twenty is JYD, Volkoff hammers away on Duggan before Duggan tosses out Volkoff. One Man Gang throws out Hillbilly Jim for his third elimination.

Nikolai Volkoff Has Been Eliminated By Jim Duggan!
Hillbilly Jim Has Been Eliminated By One Man Gang!
Danny Davis Has Been Eliminated By Jim Duggan!
Ultimate Warrior Has Been Eliminated By One Man Gang!
JYD Has Been Eliminated By Outlaw Ron Bass!
Ron Bass Has Been Eliminated By Muraco!

All these eliminations happened back to back, Muraco and Duggan are beaten down by One Man Gang and Dino Bravo. Duggan is squished in the corner, Bravo holds One Man Gang and One Man Gang clotheslines Muraco over the top rope.

Muraco Has Been Eliminated By One Man Gang!

Gang clubs down Duggan, Duggan eats a double clothesline. Bravo holds Duggan against the ropes, One Man Gang knocks over Bravo by mistake, we are down to two!

Dino Bravo Has Been Eliminated BY One Man Gang!

One Man Gang chokes Duggan on the top rope, clubbing blows by Gang. Duggan is weak, One Man Gang charges at the ropes, Duggan lowbridges One Man Gang by pulling down the ropes, Hacksaw Jim Duggn is your inaugural Royal Rumble Winner and a worthy winner at that!

For a first time event, they are going to be growing pains but this was a lot of fun for the time given, you had plenty of top WWF superstars in the match with the crowd coming alive for the likes of Duggan, Roberts, and JYD. The drama was there and the fans were loving. A great first showing and no wonder this is a concept that has stood the test of time.

Winner: Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

The Islanders W/ Bobby The Brain Heenan vs The Young Stallions

Tama and Powers begin the match, Tama cowers from Powers, laughing at the young stallion. Eye rake by Tama, elbows to the head. Powers leapfrogs Tama, rights and lefts. Scoop slam, Tama rolls out to the floor. Tama asks for a handshake, Power catches Tama. Atomic drop, right hand from Roma, arm-wrench from Powers. Tama grabs the hair of Powers, Powers misses a corner splash. In comes Haku but in comes Roma. Both men trade arm-wrenches, Haku Irish whips Roma and nails a shoulder block. Arm-drag by Haku, stomps from Haku.

Crossbody from Roma, tag to Powers. Double reverse elbow on Haku for two, armbar from Powers. Eye rake by Haku, tag to Tama. Snapmare and elbow to the head, scoop slam. Tama misses an elbow drop, Powers is dragged to The Islander corner though. Haku and Powers clothesline another one down, tag to Roma. Roma pummels and backdrops Tama, shot to Haku. Dropkick to Tama for two, Haku saves Tama. Roma attacks Tama but goes off the ropes, Haku lowbridges Roma who tweaks his knee on the outside. Roma writhes around in pain and cannot make it back into the ring, The Islanders win the first fall.

Roma has to start the fall despite his injured leg, these are the rules. Tama zeroes in on the leg immediately, Roma screams out in pain as Tama works the leg. Scoop slam, Roma blocks the splash with his knees. Tag to Haku, Powers comes in and hammers Haku. Back drop, two for Powers. Powers whips Haku to the corner, elbow for two. Irish whip centre of the ring, dropkick by Powers for two. Suplex by Powers for two, right hands. Irish whip and reverse elbow for two, Haku goes low on Powers, tag to Tama.

Stomp to the groin, tag to Haku. Double headbutt, Roma rallies Powers. Irish whip, small package on Tama for two. Haku chops down Powers, backbreaker for two. Tama gets tag in, spinning reverse elbow. Chops by Tama, hiptoss for two. Tag to Haku, shots to the mid-section. Standing dropkick for two, gutwrench suplex for two. Abdominal stretch, Powers escapes the hold but Haku maintains control with a stomp. Diving splash misses for Haku, Haku Irish whips Powers. Kick by Powers, Haku maintains more control. Haku misses a dropkick though, Powers tags Roma.

Haku attacks the injured leg, elbows to the injured leg. Roma writhes around in pain, Tama dives down on the legs of Roma. Single leg Boston Crab from Haku, The Islanders have walked away as the winners of this match.

The crowd seemed worn out for this match, could also be a case of the audience not caring about the match, it well could be a mix of both. I did enjoy Roma selling his leg, the story was established early in the first fall and played into the finish in the second fall, love my wrestling being simple and easy to follow.

Winners: The Islanders over The Young Stallions Via Boston Crab!

That was the first-ever Royal Rumble, this was a strong debut for the Royal Rumble. The concept was born on this night and received a positive enough response to be continued annually. What you have to remember is this was on the USA Network not pay per view but a lot of this card was very strong. Hogan and Andre was a tremendous angle, Dibiase being a hype man to the biggest rematch of all time, great things are coming down the line. Rude and Steamboat was fantastic, the women’s tag team championship match was fun too and the rumble itself had so many big names, established Jim Duggan as a force to be reckoned with and would go onto to be one of the cornerstones of the WWF/WWE Calendar on The Road To Wrestlemania. Thanks for reading and supporting and remember: There’s always another night!

1 comment:

  1. The bench press record was what kept Dino Bravo his job with the WWF for four more years. That, and being Earthquake's sidekick.