WWF Royal Rumble – 1/24/88 (1st ever Royal Rumble match, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant contract signing)

WWF Royal Rumble results

WWF Royal Rumble
January 24, 1988
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (Copps Coliseum)
Commentary: Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Results by: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

We go live into the Copps Coliseum. Vince McMahon welcomes us to the show. Tonight, we’ll see the official signing of the rematch between WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant for February 5 on The Main Event. The Jumping Bomb Angels will challenge Jimmy Hart’s Glamour Girls for the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship. This will be a Two out of Three Falls Match. Dino Bravo will try to break a weightlifting world record. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan’s Islanders will battle The Young Stallions in a Two out of Three Falls Match. Finally, we will also see the first-ever Royal Rumble Match.

Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are excited about tonight’s event. The WWE Network presentation sounds like it is trying to overdub the original theme song, but they really applied it poorly. Two different tempos are going off, and it’s driving my musical ear crazy.

Howard Finkel is in the ring, and he starts the introductions for the evening.

“Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Referee Dave Hebner calls for the bell, and this match begins. They lock up, and Rude forearms Steamboat in the face a few times. Steamboat comes back with some chops to the forehead and a chest. Rude quickly rakes the eyes and sends him over the top rope, but Steamboat skins the cat and gets back in the ring. Rude sees this and charges, but Steamboat gives him a back body drop over the top rope. Rude is not happy and takes a few moments to recover. Rude gets in the ring and complains to the referee that Steamboat pulled his tights. Rude signals for a test of strength and flexes his biceps. Steamboat obliges, but Rude pulls away and yells at the fans at ringside. Rude lifts his hands for a test of strength, and Steamboat accepts. They lock hands and begin to battle. Rude bends the hands back and brings Steamboat to his knees. A “Steamboat” chant picks up. Steamboat uses the energy from the crowd to fight up and kicks Rude’s hand away. Steamboat then takes Rude down by the arm. Steamboat cinches in an armbar before wrenching the arm. Steamboat lifts Rude by the twisted arm and brings him to his knees. Steamboat yanks on the arm a few times and clubs the shoulder. The crowd is pleased with what they’re seeing. Steamboat grabs the arm and wrenches again. Rude punches him and sends him into the ropes. Steamboat avoids a clothesline and slides between the legs before hitting one of those deep arm drags he’s so well-known for. Steamboat twists the arm and continues to yank at it. A fan at ringside has a megaphone and is annoyingly shouting throughout this match. Steamboat pulls him to his feet by the arm, and Rude drives a few forearms into his jaw. Steamboat fights back with chops. Rude reverses a whip, but Steamboat grabs him and whips him into the ropes on the rebound. Steamboat chops him down and connects with another deep arm drag. Steamboat applies another armbar, and Rude’s shoulders are nearly counted down. Rude soon fights up, but Steamboat wrenches the arm. Rude quickly kicks him in the midsection and punches him off. Rude bounces Steamboat off the top turnbuckle and kicks him against the ropes. Rude sends him into the ropes and connects with a back elbow to take the momentum back.

Rude punches Steamboat to the corner and bounces him off the top turnbuckle. Steamboat stumbles to another corner, and Rude bounces him off that turnbuckle. Steamboat waddles to a third, and Rude again bounces him on the top turnbuckle. Rude sends Steamboat into the ropes, but Steamboat slides through the legs. Steamboat slides through the legs a second time and connects with another deep arm drag into an armbar. No clue how no one has taken that megaphone away from that fan. Steamboat drives his knee into Rude’s injured shoulder. Rude soon reverses a whip and connects with a back elbow to the jaw. Steamboat grabs his eye and Rude poses. Rude brings Steamboat to his knees with some punches to the jaw. Steamboat fights back and chops the head. Rude reverses a whip and drops down twice. Rude quickly knees Steamboat in the midsection, and Steamboat falls out of the ring. Rude follows Steamboat outside and shoves his lower back into the apron before hitting a scoop slam on the floor! Rude gets in the ring and gyrates before posing.

Steamboat gets to the apron before being counted out. Rude grabs him on the apron and suplexes him back into the ring for a two-count. Rude quickly mounts him and applies a modified camel clutch. Steamboat taps the mat in pain. At this time in the WWF, a submission did not come from tapping out. They had to verbally quit or pass out from the pain. Rude cinches in the hold, and Steamboat continues to pound on the mat. Rude quickly jumps onto the small of the back and poses. Rude puts the modified camel clutch back on. The referee checks the arm. 1… 2… 3… The referee doesn’t call for the bell. The referee checks a fourth time, and Steamboat keeps the arm up. Steamboat must have lost count. Steamboat fights up and has Rude on his shoulders before hitting an electric chair drop. Steamboat gets to his feet and goes for a big splash, but Rude gets the knees up.

Rude punches Steamboat and rakes the eyes before hitting a vicious atomic drop. Rude covers for a two-count. Rude puts the modified camel clutch back on. Steamboat eventually grabs the ankles and trips Rude into the middle turnbuckle. Steamboat bounces Rude off the top turnbuckle ten times. Steamboat hits a snapmare and a chop to the forehead. Steamboat covers. 1… 2… Rude kicks out. Rude quickly kicks him and hits a headlock takeover. Steamboat gets out with a head-scissor, but Rude flips onto him. They bridge up, and Steamboat executes a backslide pin for a two-count. Rude quickly pops up, but Steamboat takes him down for another two-count. Steamboat trips him and hits a jackknife pin for a two-count. Rude catches him with a small package for a two-count. Steamboat turns him over and picks up a two-count. Rude quickly sends him into the ropes and connects with a clothesline for a near fall. Steamboat blocks a vertical suplex and hits Rude with the suplex. Steamboat goes to the top rope and dives off the top rope with a cross-body block, but Rude pulls the referee in the way!

Rude attacks Steamboat with right hands. Rude puts Steamboat in a Canadian backbreaker rack, and the referee calls for the bell. Rude’s music plays, and he walks up the ramp like he won. Howard Finkel announces that Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat has won the match by disqualification.

Winner by Disqualification: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

An irate Rick Rude makes his way back to the ring and gets in the referee’s face.

Mike’s Thoughts: That’s about what I’d expect from a late-1980s WWF match. Two guys that can really go instead plod through a match and then they give you the cheapest finish imaginable. This felt like 10 minutes of Ricky Steamboat applying armbars before getting to a pretty decent sequence late in the match. That portion was good, but it felt like it took forever to get there with the rest holds and then the finish left you feeling totally unsatisfied. Given the talent in the ring, this match falls disappointingly short of expectations, even for this era of WWF wrestling.

-Commercial Break-

Dino Bravo attempts to set a new world record

“Mean” Gene Okerlund is standing with Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Okerlund says Bravo will be attempting to set a new world record in the bench press. Ventura says it’s obvious why Dino Bravo didn’t ask Okerlund to be a spotter. The spotter is the person who lifts the weight off the bar and is there for safety. Mr. Bravo will try to reestablish the record, which is currently set at 705 pounds.

Okerlund introduces Dino Bravo, who comes out with his manager, Frenchy Martin. Bravo shakes hands with Ventura. Okerlund asks Bravo for his thoughts going into this event. Bravo says it’s a big challenge, but he thinks he can do it. Frenchy Martin speaks in French. Bravo puts powder on his hands and will warm up with a 415-pound weight. Bravo lays on the bench, but he gets up. Bravo says this requires total concentration and tells the crowd not to make a sound while he does this. The crowd boos him. Bravo lays down and easily presses 415 pounds a few times.

Ventura puts additional weights on the bar and brings it to 505 pounds. Bravo lays down, and Ventura helps with the initial lift. Bravo once again easily presses the 505 pounds and pumps it a few times. They put additional weights on to bring it to 555 pounds. Okerlund reminds the crowd that Bravo wants total silence, which just upsets them. Bravo lays down before getting to his feet and yelling at the crowd. Ventura tells the crowd to be quiet to give him a chance. Bravo once again easily presses it. Bravo says he feels good, but he needs less noise because it’s getting heavier. Now we’re at 595 pounds, 110 pounds off the record. Bravo lays down, but the booing from the crowd upsets him. Bravo eventually lays down, sets up, and presses 595 pounds three times.

Okerlund asks Frenchy Martin what he thinks about Bravo’s performance. Martin speaks in French, so Okerlund tells him to speak in English. We’re at 655 pounds now. Ventura yells at Vince McMahon for not doing anything about the crowd noise. Bravo presses 655 pounds once, and he is starting to struggle. Martin wipes him down with a towel. Ventura says he’s never bench-pressed this much weight before.

They have 715 pounds on the bar, but it’s unofficial until they weigh the bar later. This will be for the world record. Bravo goes to get set, but he gets up and angrily walks off because of the crowd noise. Frenchy Martin runs after him. Ventura shouts at the crowd and asks what the matter with them is. They need to give the man a chance even if they don’t like him. Martin convinces Bravo to return. Bravo lays himself down and sets up. Ventura helps with the lift. Bravo brings the 715 pounds down to his chest, but he’s struggling to push it up. Ventura, noticing he’s in trouble, helps him complete the lift and puts the weight back on the bench. That is not a complete rep and not a world record. Okerlund shouts that it is, but Vince McMahon states on commentary that it isn’t. Even Ventura’s face shows that it isn’t.

Mike’s Thoughts: A tediously long and uninspiring segment, reminiscent of the preferences of a young Vince McMahon. This no doubt got him thinking about starting his ill-fated World Bodybuilding Federation. The lackluster response to this segment should have served as a clue to McMahon, echoing the struggles encountered by the WBF in its colossal failure.

-Commercial Break-

WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship
Two out of Three Falls Match

The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin and Leilani Kai) (c’s) w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki)

The bell rings, and the Jumping Bomb Angels hit the Glamour Girls with stereo dropkicks. Tateno starts the match against Lelani Kai and goes for another dropkick, but Kai avoids it. Kai grabs her by the hair and throws her across the ring. Judy Martin tags in and knees Tateno. Martin connects with a scoop slam and covers, but Tateno bends out of it. Tateno rolls her up for a two-count. Itsuki Yamazaki tags in and head-butts Martin down. Yamazaki lifts Martin for a piledriver, but she falls back and slams her instead for a one-count. Tateno tags in and applies a body scissor to Martin. Martin punches out and sends Tateno into the ropes. Martin catches her and slams her down. Tateno avoids an elbow drop. Kai is quickly tagged in. Tateno, whom Vince McMahon is calling “The Pink Angel” because “I don’t speak Japanese very well,” sends Kai into the ropes and knees her down. Yamazaki tags in and takes Kai down before hitting a dropkick. The Jumping Bomb Angels strike Kai down for a two-count. Yamazaki applies an octopus stretch, but Martin breaks it up. Tateno dropkicks Kai down. The Jumping Bomb Angels then apply stereo Figure Four Leglocks to the Glamour Girls. Yamazaki cinches in the Figure Four Leglock on Kai before releasing. Yamazaki then attacks both legs. Yamazaki grabs the legs and hits a double-leg drop on them. Tateno tags back in and applies a deathlock before transitioning into a bow and arrow stretch. She doesn’t quite get Kai over and tags Yamazaki in. Martin runs in to grab Kai, but Tateno pulls Kai back. Martin tags Kai, but it’s not a legal tag since her feet aren’t on the mat. Kai quickly kicks Yamazaki and slams her off the turnbuckles. Martin tags in and sends Yamazaki into the ropes. Yamazaki leapfrogs her, but Kai kicks her. Martin connects with an alley-oop bomb to pick up the first fall.

The Glamour Girls lead the series 1-0.

Jimmy Hart runs into the ring and celebrates this first fall with Judy Martin and Lelani Kai.

-Commercial Break-

The bell rings to start the second fall as we return from a commercial break. Martin throws Yamazaki across the ring by the hair. Martin sends her into the ropes and clotheslines her before kneeing her in the face. Martin covers, but Yamazaki bridges out. Martin connects with a scoop slam and goes for a big splash, but Yamazaki moves. Tateno tags in and dropkicks Martin. Tateno sends her into the ropes for a clothesline. Tateno comes off the second rope with a diving clothesline for a two-count. Tateno connects with a running cross-body block for a two-count. Yamazaki tags in, and they hit a double-team suplex. The Glamour Girls quickly grab the Jumping Bomb Angels and try to whip them into each other. They are successful, but the Jumping Bomb Angels duck a sandwich attempt, causing Martin and Kai to run into each other. Yamazaki hits the ropes, but Martin avalanches her down. Martin goes for a torture rack, but Yamazaki counters into a sunset flip to even the series.

The series is even at 1-1.

The Jumping Bomb Angels celebrate, and the crowd is going wild. Replays are shown of the second fall.

-Commercial Break-

Back from the break, the Jumping Bomb Angels double-teams Kai with a dropkick. Kai quickly kicks Yamazaki back, and tags Martin in. Martin sends Yamazaki into the ropes and blocks a kick. Yamazaki counters with an enzuigiri before tagging in Tateno. Martin quickly knees her down and clubs the back. Martin sends her to the corner, but Tateno slingshots over her and hits a backslide. Martin rolls out before a pin is counted. Martin connects with a catapult and tags in Kai. Kai pulls the hair and hits a double-arm suplex for a near fall. Kai bites the wrist and stomps her. Martin tags in, as does Yamazaki. Martin throws her down and chops the chest. Kai chokes her as the referee is distracted by Martin. Martin punches Yamazaki and tags Kai in. The Glamour Girls whip Yamazaki hard into the corner. Kai hits a snapmare for a one-count. Kai covers again for a two-count. Yamazaki fights back with some punches and a tailbone spike. Yamazaki grabs her again and slams her onto her tailbone for a two-count. Martin tags in, and Yamazaki brings her in the hard way. Tateno tags in and comes off the top rope with a flying knee for a near fall. Tateno connects with a scoop slam for a two-count. Tateno hits a double-arm suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Yamazaki tags in and hits a running cross-body block for a two-count. Yamazaki connects with a scoop slam and goes to the second rope for a diving senton bomb, but Martin moves. Martin covers for a two-count. Yamazaki takes her down and tags Tateno back in. Tateno comes off the second rope with a diving clothesline, but Kai breaks up the pin before the referee counts. The Jumping Bomb Angels climb to the top rope at opposite ends and hit Martin with a double-team missile dropkick. Joey Marella was dealing with Lelani Kai and getting her back to the corner as this was happening. Tateno covers for the win!

Winners by Pinfall by 2-1 Falls and new WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions: The Jumping Bomb Angels

The Jumping Bomb Angels celebrate their huge title victory. The crowd is going wild for them. Jesse Ventura is trying to make the case that Tateno pulled Martin’s shoulder off the mat during the pin.

Mike’s Thoughts: Tons of action in this one. This is one of those interesting little trivia pieces that WWF did indeed have Women’s Tag Team Titles in the 1980s. If Vince McMahon not bothering to learn the names of the Jumping Bomb Angels because he doesn’t speak Japanese was any clue, these titles really weren’t a main priority for the WWF in the 1980s, nor was women’s wrestling in general. The titles would soon disappear, as well as nearly all semblance of women’s wrestling in general until the mid-1990s. Anyway, this was actually a pretty decent match and definitely a step up from the lumbering and meandering big-man matches that plagued/dominated WWF at this time.

-Commercial Break-

Back from the break, Vince McMahon wants to take us back to WrestleMania III. Replays are shown of the beginning of the epic match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Hogan went for a slam early, but he couldn’t get Andre up and fell backward. The referee counted, and Hogan barely kicked out, but there is controversy because it looks like the referee counted him for three.

Footage is shown of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase saying he’s going to buy the WWF Championship. WWF Champion Hulk Hogan says he has an announcement to make. Hogan said he would tell the Million Dollar Man, “Hell no!” DiBiase would later say that Hogan has a price. He wants the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Title.

On Saturday Night’s Main Event, Andre the Giant grabbed Hulk Hogan and head-butted him before choking him out. Later, DiBiase asked Andre if he would deliver the WWF Title to him. Andre agreed to do it and said he would enjoy it. This match will happen on February 5.

Andre the Giant makes his way to the ring alongside “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Virgil.

-Commercial Break-

WWF Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant Contract Signing

The ring has a table set up in the center. “Mean” Gene Okerlund says everyone has been waiting for this rematch on Friday Night, February 5 from Indianapolis, Indiana, for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Andre the Giant, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, Virgil, and WWF President Jack Tunney are also in the ring.

WWF Champion Hulk Hogan is introduced to the ring. Hogan comes out to a huge ovation. DiBiase motions that he’ll have Hogan’s belt soon. Hogan gets the crowd fired up. Okerlund next introduces Andre the Giant to the crowd, who garners loud boos from the crowd. Okerlund also introduces “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and his bodyguard Virgil. Okerlund finally introduces WWF President Jack Tunney, who gets a mixed reaction.

Tunney says their representatives have reviewed the contract and asks them to sit down. Andre refuses to sit down despite Tunney’s requests. Andre consults DiBiase and takes his time before approaching the table. Andre squeezes his hands together to remind Hogan that he choked him out. After a few drawn-out moments, Andre takes a seat. Hogan looks nervous. DiBiase asks Hogan what he’s waiting for and demands he sign the contract. Maybe Hogan is having second thoughts and thinking he should have accepted that offer he made. Hogan wants to prove to the Hulkamaniacs that he’s more than money, so what is he waiting for? DiBiase says this is a career-ending contract. Andre had Hogan beat in three minutes last year. If Hogan signs this, he’ll sign his career away. Andre will have the money in his bank, DiBiase will have the title, and Hogan will be history.

Hogan signs and the contract is passed to Andre. Andre wastes a ton of time reading the contract page-by-page. After literal minutes of nothingness, Andre signs the contract. DiBiase tells Andre to put his official stamp of approval on it. Andre gets up, and Hogan pops up. Hogan goes after DiBiase, but Andre grabs Hogan and smashes his face on the table before flipping it onto him. Andre, DiBiase, and Virgil walk off. Hogan looks dazed and confused and struggles to pull himself up.

Mike’s Thoughts: Similar to the Dino Bravo segment, there were long stretches of complete nothingness happening. Still, in the context of 1988 WWF television, this is pretty par for the course. Andre was really looking pretty stiff and immobile in this segment. He could only do so much, so it is what it is. This contract signing would lead to The Main Event with one of the more famous angles from the 1980s. The evil referee switch happened with Dave Hebner being tied up and his twin Earl Hebner costing Hogan the WWF Title to Andre the Giant. Andre then gave the title to DiBiase before it was declared vacant. A tournament would take place at WrestleMania IV with “Macho Man” Randy Savage emerging as champion over DiBiase in the finals. That Main Event angle was seen by 33 million viewers. Unreal numbers.

-Commercial Break-

Vince McMahon talks about the 20-men that will be in the Royal Rumble Match. Jesse Ventura explains the rules and strategy. McMahon states we’ll start with two wrestlers in the ring. At two-minute intervals, a new wrestler will come out. You’re eliminated by being thrown over the top rope.

Howard Finkel is in the ring, as is Bret “Hitman” Hart, accompanied by “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, and Tito Santana. They both drew numbers one and two.

20-Man Royal Rumble Match

No. 1: Bret “Hitman” Hart

No. 2: WWF Tag Team Champion Tito Santana

The bell rings, and the first-ever televised Royal Rumble match begins. They lock up, and Hart backs him into the ropes. Hart punches and head-butts Santana. Hart kicks Santana down in the corner and lays in some punches. Hart elbows him in the head. Santana fights back by bouncing Hart off the top turnbuckle. Santana punches away at Hart. Hart reverses a whip and leapfrogs him, but Santana punches him down. Santana pulls Hart up to his feet, but Hart punches away at him and hits an inverted atomic drop. Hart comes off the second rope for a diving elbow to the neck. Hart grabs the legs and stomps the midsection. 10 seconds before the next wrestler joins the match. Hart tries to eliminate Santana in the interim.

No. 3: “The Natural” Butch Reed

Santana takes Hart out with a diving forearm. Reed quickly kicks Santana and bashes his face off the mat. Reed punches away at Santana and tries to eliminate him. Santana holds onto the ropes and punches Reed in the knee to get him back. Hart attacks Santana, but Santana grabs Hart and Reed and smashes their heads together. Santana takes Reed down and kicks him in the face. Hart quickly punches Santana down. Reed comes off the second rope with a double ax handle as Hart holds Santana up. Hart and Reed send Santana into the ropes for a double-team back elbow.

No. 4: Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart

Santana nearly eliminates Hart. The Hart Foundation is in the ring and double-teams Santana. Reed joins in for a triple-team. Reed and Neidhart hold Santana up, and Hart hits a diving forearm off the second rope. Reed celebrates with the Hart Foundation. The triple-team of Santana continues. Reed and Neidhart send Santana into the ropes and punch his midsection. Hart punches Santana down. They all try to eliminate Santana, but he holds on. The clock expires.

No. 5: Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Roberts comes out to a huge ovation. Roberts gets in the ring and grabs Reed’s ankle to dump him over the top rope, the first-ever elimination in the Royal Rumble.

“The Natural” Butch Reed has been eliminated.

Roberts punches away at Hart with some left jabs and a right hand. Neidhart meets the same fate. Roberts whips Neidhart into Hart. Roberts his Hart with a scoop slam. Santana punches Neidhart in the corner. A loud “DDT” chant picks up. Santana and Roberts whip Hart and Neidhart into each other. The crowd is going wild for Roberts. Roberts goes for a DDT on Hart, but Neidhart clotheslines him down. Hart hits Santana with a piledrive. The clock counts down.

No. 6: “King” Harley Race

Race gets in the ring and drops a trio of elbows on Roberts. Race and Neidhart choke Roberts on the top rope and try to eliminate him. On the other side of the ring, Santana tries to eliminate Santana. Neidhart rescues Hart. Roberts punches Hart down and punches away at Race. Race takes Roberts down and hits a falling head-butt. Hart holds Santana up, and Race and Neidhart club away at Santana’s chest.

No. 7: “Jumping” Jim Brunzell

Brunzell gets in the ring and viciously attacks Hart and Neidhart. Brunzell clunks their heads together and tries to eliminate Hart. Santana joins in, but Neidhart makes the save. Roberts attacks Neidhart. Brunzell goes after Race and tries to eliminate him, but Race holds on. Santana punches away at Hart in the corner. The clock begins to count down to our eight entrant.

No. 8: Sam Houston

Houston gets in the ring and goes after Neidhart. Hart grabs Houston, but Houston gets away. Santana kicks away at Hart. Roberts sizes Neidhart up, and another “DDT” chant picks up. Roberts shoulders Neidhart in the corner. Neidhart quickly rakes the eyes. Brunzell and Houston try to eliminate Race at one corner. The Hart Foundation finally gets ahold of Santana and sends him over the top rope for the second elimination in the Royal Rumble.

Tito Santana has been eliminated.

The Hart Foundation embraces in the ring. Hart punches away at Roberts.

No. 9: “Dangerous” Danny Davis

Davis gets in the ring and attacks Houston. Houston fights back at Davis and punches him to the corner. Davis kicks him back. Roberts has Race on a seesaw punching away at him. Race holds the ropes for dear life. Roberts grabs Davis and hits a back suplex. The crowd wants the DDT. Davis avoids it. Race and Hart try to eliminate Brunzell.

No. 10: Boris Zhukov

Zhukov gets in the ring and chokes Houston. Zhukov tries to eliminate him, but Houston hangs on. Race goes after Zhukov. Every man for himself is starting to emerge. Davis kicks away at Houston. Zhukov goes after Roberts. Hart hits Brunzell with a double axe handle. Hart kicks Brunzell in the midsection and goes after Houston. Hart holds Houston up for Davis to dropkick. The clock begins to count down. Hart hits Houston with a backbreaker.

No. 11: Don Muraco

Don Muraco runs down, and Nikolai Volkoff chases after him. Volkoff thinks it is his turn, but Muraco enters the match. Roberts and Brunzell eliminate Zhukov.

Boris Zhukov has been eliminated.

Houston is going after Race and trying to throw him over the top rope. Race fights out. Roberts tries to eliminate Davis on the other side of the ring. Neidhart attacks Roberts and chokes him in the corner. The clock is counting down.

No. 12: Nikolai Volkoff

Volkoff grabs Houston, and Davis punches him. Brunzell is thrown over the top rope, but he hangs on. Muraco then clotheslines Harley Race over the top rope.

“King” Harley Race has been eliminated.

Race is not happy and tries to get back in the ring, but the referees stop him. Hart has Roberts over the top rope, but Houston makes the save. Muraco knocks Volkoff back. Race is refusing to leave the ringside area.

No. 13: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Duggan shoves Race aside, so Race pushes him. Duggan chases Race up the aisleway. Duggan then gets in the ring to a huge ovation. Duggan punches away at Neidhart and tries to eliminate him. Duggan gets Neidhart in the corner and does the 10 punches. In the center of the ring, Muraco and Volkoff lock up. They trade punches, and the clock is counting down again. Roberts goes for a DDT on Davis, but Davis escapes.

No. 14: “The Outlaw” Ron Bass

Bass goes after Muraco. Roberts grabs Davis, but Volkoff saves him. Brunzell punches away at Volkoff and has him against the ropes. Volkoff quickly lifts Brunzell and dumps him over the top rope.

“Jumping” Jim Brunzell has been eliminated.

Muraco is nearly eliminated, but he hangs on. Hart drops an elbow on Houston in the center of the ring. The clock counts down again. It’s definitely not two-minute intervals.

No. 15: B. Brian Blair

Blair punches away at Hart, who is still in the match after entering at No. 1. Duggan gets the crowd fired up. Roberts comes off the second rope with a double ax handle on Davis. The crowd chants for a DDT, but Davis once again avoids it. Roberts tries to eliminate Davis, but he holds on. Bass rakes Duggan’s eyes to avoid being eliminated.

No. 16: Hillbilly Jim

Neidhart mauls Jim as he gets in the ring. Hillbilly Jim fights back and gives Neidhart a back body drop over the top rope. Neidhart cannot believe it.

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart has been eliminated.

Hillbilly Jim grabs Davis and tries to get him over the top rope. Bass tries to throw Blair over the top rope, but Blair holds on. Duggan tackles Volkoff to the corner.

No. 17: Dino Bravo

Jesse Ventura calls Bravo “The Strongest Man in the World.” Bass has Houston on his shoulders. Bass then dumps him over the top rope, and Houston takes a nasty spill.

Sam Houston has been eliminated.

Blair tries to eliminate Volkoff, but Davis makes the save. Volkoff bounces Blair off the top turnbuckle.

No. 18: The Ultimate Warrior

A very young Warrior goes after Ron Bass with chops to the chest. Muraco attacks Hart and throws him over the top rope, unceremoniously dumping out the first Rumble entrant.

Bret “Hitman” Hart has been eliminated.

Hart is irate and wants to get back in the ring.

No. 19: One Man Gang

Gang gets in the ring and attacks Roberts. Gang punches away at Roberts before moving on to Brunzell. Warrior jumps on Gang’s back, but Gang simply rakes his eyes. Gang then sends Blair over the top rope.

B. Brian Blair has been eliminated.

Gang quickly moves his attention to Roberts and pushes him over the top rope.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts has been eliminated.

No. 20: The Junkyard Dog

Dog gets in the ring and attacks Bravo. Warrior attacks Bass. Volkoff is taking it to Duggan, but Duggan eliminates him with a back body drop. On the other side of the ring, Gang eliminates Hillbilly Jim.

Nikolai Volkoff has been eliminated.
Hillbilly Jim has been eliminated.

Warrior and Muraco concentrate on Gang in the corner. Duggan backs up and wildly clotheslines Davis over the top rope.

“Dangerous” Danny Davis has been eliminated.

The crowd goes wild for Duggan eliminating Davis. Bravo grabs Warrior and dumps him over the top rope.

The Ultimate Warrior has been eliminated.

Dog punches Gang to the corner and punches away at him. Bass sneaks up behind Dog and eliminates him.

The Junkyard Dog has been eliminated.

Muraco attacks Bass from behind and clubs him over the top rope.

“The Outlaw” Ron Bass has been eliminated.

The first-ever Final Four participants of the Royal Rumble Match are Don Muraco, One Man Gang, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, and Dino Bravo. Bravo whips Duggan to the corner, and Gang avalanches Duggan. Muraco punches both Gang and Bravo. Muraco stumbles Gang with a dropkick, but he doesn’t go over the top rope. Frenchy Martin gets on the apron, but Muraco easily punches him down. Bravo attacks Muraco and stomps away at him. Gang clotheslines Duggan in the corner. Bravo holds Muraco up, and Gang clotheslines him out of the ring.

Don Muraco has been eliminated.

The odds are not in Duggan’s favor. Duggan goes after them both with punches. Gang clubs Duggan in the spine. Gang and Bravo hit Duggan with a double-team clothesline. Bravo holds Duggan up. Gang hits the ropes. Duggan ducks, and Gang accidentally clotheslines Bravo over the top rope!

Dino Bravo has been eliminated.

It’s down to Jim Duggan and the One Man Gang! Duggan punches away at Gang with some left hands. Duggan sends him into the ropes, but he lowers his head. Gang clubs him down. Gang chokes Duggan on the top rope. Gang pulls Duggan around the ring and continues to choke him. Gang clubs him and backs up. Gang charges, but Duggan pulls the top rope down to eliminate him!

Winner: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Duggan celebrates this monumental win. The crowd gives him a great ovation.

Mike’s Thoughts: This is where it all began. You can see why the concept was so successful. There was a ton of action in this. Even with no real stakes on the line, it’s not hard to see that they were sitting on a gold mine. Just listen to the crowd. This concept that Vince McMahon wasn’t sold on would become one of the crown jewels of the WWF PPV schedule right up to this very day. In 1989, it was made into a PPV, and the match expanded to 30 men. In 1993, a WrestleMania title shot was the stipulation, and the rest is history. It’s awesome to go back and watch this match in its infancy coming together. It’s very recognizable to today’s Rumbles. A little more chaotic and less planned, but it’s definitely a Royal Rumble. I really enjoyed watching it.

-Commercial Break-

We come back from the break, and Vince McMahon is mentioning how what Andre the Giant did earlier tonight is one of the most despicable acts he has ever seen from a challenge. Jesse Ventura says Hulk Hogan has made the mistake of his life.

Replays are shown of Andre smashing Hogan’s face off the table in the ring and knocking it over onto him.

Craig DeGeorge is with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. DeGeorge says one week from Friday, February 5, he’ll defend the WWF Championship against Andre the Giant for the first time since WrestleMania III. Hogan says Andre was sending him a message, but they’ve got their wires crossed. Every time they pull a cheap shot or stunt, it’s like sticking a dagger in his ribs. It’s adding fuel to the fire. Hogan rips his shirt off. When he thinks about beating Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III, he’s been waiting for this rematch just as long as Andre. None of the Hulkamaniacs will sell out, and he won’t either. Andre did sell out. The Hulkamaniacs believe in Hogan. To beat him, you’ve got to beat every one of the Hulkamaniacs in here. Andre may have choked him out, but it just added fuel to the fire. Andre cannot beat Hulkamania. Hogan poses as his music plays.

Mike’s Thoughts: Fun, fiery promo from Hulk Hogan. Your classic Hogan promo here, complete with buggy eyes, shirt ripping, platitudes, and posing.

-Commercial Break-

Tag Team Match
Two out of Three Falls Match

The Islanders (Haku and Tama) vs. The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers)

Tama will start against Jim Powers. Tama quickly puts himself through the ropes to keep Powers back. They circle the ring, and Tama puts himself through the ropes again. Tama shouts about Matilda, the bulldog mascot of The British Bulldogs. Tama punches away at Powers. Powers leapfrogs him and connects with some jabs before hitting a scoop slam. Tama rolls out of the ring to recover. Tama gets back in the ring and looks for a handshake. Tama drops to his knees to show he is safe. Powers is skeptical. Powers blocks a kick and hits an atomic drop. Paul Roma knocks Tama back and claps the ears. Vince McMahon is talking about how Dino Bravo’s segment was boring. Tama soon grabs Powers by the hair, but Powers manages to send him to the corner. Tama quickly takes Powers down and tags in Haku. Powers avoids a strike from Haku and tags in Paul Roma.

Roma punches Haku and wrenches the arm a few times. Roma really cinches in the arm wrench. Haku reverses a whip and shoulder tackles him down. Haku soon connects with a big hip toss. Roma ducks a clothesline and hits a wild running cross-body block for a two-count. Powers tags back in. The Young Stallions send Haku into the ropes for a double-team back elbow. Powers covers for a two-count. Powers wrenches the arm, but Haku rakes the eyes. Tama tags back in and hits a snapmare. Tama connects with a scoop slam and goes for an elbow drop, but Powers moves. Haku tags back in and clubs Powers in the lower back. Haku sends Powers into the ropes and hits a back elbow for a two-count. Tama tags back in and comes off the top rope with a club to the top of the skull. Tama head-butts Powers and tags Haku back in. The Islanders hit stereo head-butts on Powers. Haku forearms Powers in the face and bounces him off the top turnbuckle. Haku sends Powers to the corner and charges, but Powers knees him in the face. They then take each other out with a double clothesline.

Tama and Roma tag in. Roma bounces Tama off the top turnbuckle and sends him into the ropes for a clothesline. Roma punches away at Tama and sends him into the ropes for a dropkick. Roma sends him into the ropes and hits a back body drop before punching Haku off the apron. Roma sends Tama into the ropes and hits a weak dropkick. Haku breaks up the pin. Tama quickly rakes the eyes. Haku pulls the top rope down to get Roma out of the ring. Roma looks injured at ringside. Powers checks on his partner. Roma is having trouble standing. The referee eventually counts him out.

The Islanders lead the series 1-0.

Replays are shown of Paul Roma getting injured after going over the top rope.

-Commercial Break-

The Young Stallions have gone to the back to get medical attention for Paul Roma.

Replays are shown of Andre the Giant smashing Hulk Hogan’s face off a table earlier tonight.

Craig DeGeorge is standing with Andre the Giant, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, and Virgil. DeGeorge puts over the WWF Title match on February 5. DiBiase says they did more than make a statement. They showed everyone a look into the future. They showed Hulk Hogan as you’ll see him on February 5 in Indiana… flat on his back. It won’t be an oak table covering him. It will be Andre the Giant covering him. DiBiase says everyone has a price. Hogan says they’ve got to beat all the Hulkamaniacs, so that’s what they’ll do when Andre beats him in the ring. DiBiase always gets what he wants. He’ll put that belt around his waist. It will happen through Andre the Giant. Andre says he was undefeated and still is. On February 5, they will make history. The way Andre will make history is by destroying Hulkamania. DeGeorge goes to speak, so Andre punches him in the ribs and tells him to never stop him. Andre says he will deliver the World Championship to Mr. DiBiase.

The Young Stallions make their way back to the ring. Jim Powers is helping Paul Roma walk down. Roma is limping badly.

-Commercial Break-

Jim Powers has to tag Paul Roma in to start the match. The loser and winner of the last fall have to start. Tama quickly kicks Roma in his injured knee and viciously goes after it. Tama connects with a big scoop slam. Tama goes for a big splash, but Roma gets the knees up. This counter hurts Roma further.

Powers and Haku tag back in. Powers hits Haku with a back body drop for a two-count. Powers bounces Haku off the top turnbuckle a few times and clotheslines him down. Powers covers for a two-count. Powers sends Haku into the ropes and connects with a dropkick for another two-count. Powers hits a vertical suplex for yet another two-count. Powers punches Haku in the head and sends him into the ropes for a back elbow. Powers covers for another two-count. Haku quickly fights back with a nasty punch to the ribs. Tama tags in and chops Powers down. Tama stomps the midsection and tags Haku back in. The Islanders hit stereo head-butts on Powers. Haku sends Powers into the ropes and lowers his head, so Powers catches him with an inside cradle for a two-count. Haku quickly punches Powers down and hits a backbreaker for a two-count. Tama tags in and hits a big back elbow on Powers. Tama punches away at Powers and talks a little trash. Tama hits a hip toss for a two-count. Haku tags back in and punches Powers in the midsection. Haku hits a big dropkick on Powers for a two-count. Haku hits a nice gutwrench suplex for, you guessed it, another two-count. Haku applies an abdominal stretch. Powers powers out with a hip toss. Haku quickly stomps him to stop the tag. Haku connects with a scoop slam and goes for a somersault senton, but Powers avoids it. Haku soon recovers and clubs Powers. Haku sends him into the ropes, but Powers cuts him off. Powers clutches his back in pain. Haku clubs the back and pulls him to his feet before chopping him down. Haku sends Powers into the ropes and completely whiffs on a dropkick, but Powers sells it.

Roma is tagged in. Roma’s knee is totally shot. Haku quickly attacks the knee to take him down. Haku drops an elbow on the knee and tags Tama in. Tama hits a splash off the top rope to the knee. Haku applies a single-leg crab to the injured knee. Roma screams in pain and submits.

Winners by Submission by 2-0 Falls: The Islanders

Mike’s Thoughts: The rare two straight fall victory in a Two out of Three Falls Match. This was a little odd because they basically paused the match (used a worked injury to do this) to do the Andre the Giant promo (man, did Andre truly crush Craig DeGeorge when he tried to bring the segment home). The Islanders were just booked to look merciless as they prepared for the British Bulldogs. Not a ton of creativity or anything really great in this.

-Commercial Break-

The Copps Coliseum is nearly emptied out. Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura talk about the result of the Royal Rumble Match. McMahon then goes in-depth about what he saw in Dino Bravo’s world record attempt. Ventura denies helping Bravo at all. Finally, they talk about Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. Ventura thinks Hogan is scared. Replays are shown of Andre’s attack on Hogan again. They plug The Main Event and sign off.

Mike’s Thoughts: Well, that was the first Royal Rumble event. I have to admit that this is the very first time I’ve ever seen the event in its entirety. This was the only Royal Rumble to be broadcast on cable television. It was done to counter Jim Crockett’s Bunkhouse Stampede show, which was airing on PPV at the same time. The show was an overwhelming success. In a weird way, especially considering how important the Royal Rumble is to the WWE schedule these days, it was basically just a show to build up The Main Event, which would be taking place the next week. It did a great job of building up that show, and the proof is in the pudding: 33 million viewers would watch Andre the Giant take the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan before giving it to Ted DiBiase.

It’s almost like the Royal Rumble match was kind of an afterthought here because so much emphasis was put on Hogan and Andre. There were no stipulations. It was just a new match, but it was pretty decent. The crowd was into it the whole way. It’s pretty cool to watch something that is so well-known and loved in its infancy.

The rest of the show, aside from the Rumble and the Hogan/Andre stuff, was pretty poor, even for WWF 1980s standards. The only standout match was the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship match, and even that had some major cringe moments with Vince McMahon’s commentary. That didn’t age well at all. The Dino Bravo segment was an all-time snoozer. The other matches were just there. Still, it did what it was supposed to do: it took eyes off Jim Crockett’s promotion and promoted it to one of the biggest shows WWF would do up to that point. This set the record at an 8.2 rating for wrestling. The Main Event would top it with a 15 rating. A 15. Never can be touched ever again. Amazing.

Quick Match Results

— Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat def. “Ravishing” Rick Rude via DQ
— The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki) def. The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin and Leilani Kai) to win the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship 2-1 in a Two out of Three Falls Match
— “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan won the 20-Man Royal Rumble Match
— The Islanders (Haku and Tama) def. The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers) 2-0 in a Tag Team Two out of Three Falls Match

Email – mike@wrestleview.com
X – @MikeTedescoWV

Thanks for reading!