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Royal Rumble 1

517 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  LegendofBaseball
I rented RR1 from 1988 (you know, the Paleozoic era). I saw it when it originally aired FOR FREE on the USA Network but that was the only time I'd ever watched it. It was really interesting to go back and re-visit the very first Rumble event.

For those of you too lazy to Google it:

Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jesse "The Body" Ventura

  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat def. "Ravashing" Rick Rude by DQ when Rude pulled the ref in the way of "The Dragon" as he came off the top rope.
  • Dino Bravo attempted to break the world bench press record by trying to lift 715 pounds. He got it up but only with the help of his spotter, Jesse Ventura.
  • The Japanese Bomb Angels def. The Glamour Girls in 2-out-of-3 Falls match to win the WWF Women's Tag Team Championship.
  • Andre the Giant attacked WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan after signing a contract for a championship rematch.
  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan won the 20-Man Royal Rumble last eliminating One Man Gang.
  • The Islanders def. The Young Stallions in a 2-out-of-3 Falls match.

It was amazing to see an event start off with a match between two legends like Steamboat and Rude who were basically midcarders at the time. Rude would eventually get a push that would lead to the Intercontinental title and Steamboat was on his way out of the WWF, having recently lost it. The action was ok, nothing great but I was surprised that Rude lost since a win over "The Dragon" seemed like it would be a nice way to build some momentum for him. Ultimately, this match really ended up meaning nothing to either guy.

The rest of the show was pretty boring by today's standards. The gem, of course was the Rumble itself. It was noteworthy that there were only TWENTY men in this one, no one had entrance music and there was no mid-match drama like we usually see today. It was basically a battle royal with the exception of the staggered entry. But the one thing I noticed was how that the wrestlers actually ran to the ring. It seemed to me like they were excited to be a part of this new style of match. It really was a different concept and it's pretty amazing how it's kind of taken on a life of it's own and become, IMO, the second-biggest event in the WWE's calendar year next to WrestleMania.

It couldn't have started any better, with Bret Hart and Tito Santana drawing No.'s 1 & 2 and "The Hitman" lasting longer than anyone at over 25 minutes. The ending sucked because after the last man was in, they just started flying over the top rope practically on their own without anyone having to really eliminate them. Still, it was a fun piece of nostalgia to waste a couple of hours on.

Almost forgot to mention, it was really weird seeing the event end with a tag match between two teams that never really amounted to much, the Islanders and the Young Stallions. And that they wrestled a TWO-OUT-OF-THREE FALLS MATCH! Of course, back then Saturday Night's Main Event usually ended with a match between the lowest guys on the roster so who knows why they booked things the way they did back then. Kind of a fizzler of conclusion but hey, nobody was complaining then I guess.
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Great read.

I just myself watched the event a week ago.

Like you said, some booking decisions in terms of match positioning was weird compared to today's standards. Then again, it was clear that, besides trying out the Rumble concept, this whole show revolved around the contract signing for what would be the highest rated match on cable tv at that time.

I can't believe how small the table spot on Hogan was replayed like the biggest thing of all time!

An enjoyable show nonetheless

High points = Rude vs Steamboat - Ventura's commentary - Rumble Match - Frenchy Martin
Low points = Bad description of the women's tag match - Pointless Main Event
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