1. Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Ricky The Dragon Steamboat
Alright, here we go with the first Royal Rumble! Starting off the action is Steamboat vs. Rude in what is billed as a grudge match. I’m not at all clear why they have a grudge – maybe something to do with the unsatisfied ghost of a murdered child at the hands of the Rude Awakening?
We start off with a test of strength. Yes! Why is this the first time we’re seeing this in any PPV? This should be a staple of every match, used as frequently as a headlock. Steamboat eventually powers out of it and does some crazy move that I can’t explain but it’s fantastic.
Steamboat keeps the match going with some arm stuff. At one point Jesse advocates for the ole “thumb in the eye”, to which Vince McMahon responds “Jesse come on, we have youngsters watching this program”.
The action continues back and forth and I’m losing interest in the match. I may not have the patience for the longer fights. At around the 18 minute mark, they kick it up a notch by going for 8 pins in a row. Eventually the match comes to kind of a strange end – Steamboat goes for the flying body press off the top ropes, but Rude pulls the ref in the way. As Steamboat is checking on the ref, Rude slaps on some submission hold and Steamboat… submits? Rude starts celebrating and leaves the ring. But surprise, it turns out Steamboat won by disqualification.
What an odd end.
Overall: Great kick off to the event, Steamboat. You’re the best! The match was too long
2. Dino Bravo vs. a 700-pound bench press
Wow, I totally forgot about this. Dino Bravo, in an effort to establish himself as the strongest man in wrestling, decides to bench 700 pounds with the help of Jesse Ventura.
As they are introducing the match, Bravo’s manager “Frenchie Martin” provides some mic work for Mean Gene – in french. Just an FYI, this match takes place in Hamilton, Ontario. For people unfamiliar with Canada, speaking French in Hamilton would be like speaking Hindi in Mississippi. It… doesn’t go over well
Anyway, Dino does a bunch of bench pressing. It’s actually pretty impressive. All I remembered about this was him barely doing 700. I completely forgot where he did 4 sets of 400 – 600 pounds, pretty effortlessly.
3. The Glamour Girls vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels
Didn’t I already watch this match during the Survivor Series? Why look at that, I sure did!
The most fantastic part of this match is Jesse and McMahon openly admitting they have no idea what the names of the individual bomb angels are. McMahon admits he “doesn’t speak Japanese” and kind of verbally shrugs “well what are you going to do” before starting to call them “pink” and “red” after the colors of their tights.
Their names are Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki.
Overall: I’m not watching this twice!
4. The Royal Rumble
The first 10 minutes: 1. Bret Hart / 2. Tito Santana / 3. Butch Reed / 4. Jim Neidhart / 5. Jake Roberts / 6. Harley Race / 7. Jumping Jim Brunzel / 8. Sam Houston
The WWE was finding their footing with this first Royal Rumble. It takes a while to get going as McMahon is explaining all the rules and stipulations of the match, it drags on so long that they camera guy actually zooms in on a kid who gives a “I can’t hear what the fuck is going on, what the hell is taking so long, let’s get this started” kind of look. When it does finally get going, we have Bret and Tito starting off in the ring together, as opposed to the more familiar method of coming in one at a time. Bret gets some decent cheers from the local Canadian crowd in Hamilton while him and Tito keep the action level high. Let me clarify though, there is very little wrestling moves going on at this time, mainly punches, leg stomps and moving around the ring to get a feel for each other – obviously. Hart manages to find the top rope and drop an Elbow on Tito to get things rolling when all of a sudden….
Butch Reed draws the #3 spot and comes in to a tepid reaction. The extent of this interaction between Hart, Tito and Butch consists of Reed working over Santana while Hart looks for his contact lens on the mat. Reed manages to get Santana over to the ropes and Bret Hart decides that he’ll just wrestle the match with one good eye and tries to help. Santana of course counters and smashes the skulls of Reed and Hart together. As the action continues, Jesse Ventura tries to do his standard shtick with McMahon that he used to do with Gorilla where he would chastise Gorilla for opening calling the match more favorably for the “face”. McMahon is having none of it and essentially ignores every time Jesse tries to get into that interplay. As an example:
Jesse: You know, I like this, because this allows for double teaming, and you can’t complain about it.
Vince: . Look at this… there’s a double team effort!
Jesse: And it’s legal!
Jesse: And you can’t complain!
Vince: Santana might be complaining now!
Neidhart comes to the ring next and now it’s a triple-team against Tito. It looks like it’s all over when Jake the Snake comes out, quickly eliminates Butch Reed (who sucks) and beats up the Hart Foundation. The elimination itself was poor, just a flip over the top rope, almost like Reed made his $50 and decided to go hit the local bar. The crows loses their collective mind and immediately start asking for the DDT because it’s the greatest finisher in time. They really need to find a better wrestler to get behind, this is worse than the love the current fans give to Bryant, imagine if Hogan learned how to do the DDT – He would have never dropped his belt – ever!
The King Harley Race is next and action slows down because now there is a senior citizen in the ring. They all take it easy, but Roberts takes the brunt of it as apparently Harley Race hates Jake the Snake Roberts more than Damian (his snake). The next two in are Jumping Jim Brunzel of the Killer Bees, followed by… Sam Houston?
The Highlight of this matchup so far has to be when Roberts does the devastating “beard pull” on Neihart, which is far better than the DDT he was actually going to do.
Minutes 10 – 20: 9. Danny Davis / 10. Boris Zhukov / 11. Don Moraco / 12. Nikolai Volkhoff / 13. Hacksaw Jim Duggan / 14. Ron Bass
Sam Houston runs in to the collective apathy of 17,000 fans wondering why bass player for Dexy’s Midnight Runners is now a wrestler. As Tito is distracted trying to remember any other song of theirs outside of “Come On Eileen”, the Hart Foundation capitalizes and tosses him over the top.
Danny Davis is announced next and for some reason a woman in the front row mistakes cheering with having a seizure. So far, this Royal Rumble is chalk full of surprises
Boris Zhukov is in next. Don Moraco and Nikolai Volkhoff come out at the same time and Nikolai just… waits outside the ring for his turn to enter. There seems to be no point to this – due perhaps to genuine language and cultural barriers, Nikolai honestly misunderstood the entrance pattern and fucked up.
Somewhere along the way Boris Zhukov and the King Harley Race are both eliminated by the Rock to help thin the crowd in the ring and make room for some more decent stars.
Let’s super quick check in our favorite ringside fan and how she is reacting to the action. She’s yelling obscenities at Harley Race and WWE security is telling her to settle the fuck down. At this point, I’m more entranced by the action outside
Next up is…. ah, Jesus Christ. It’s goddamn Hacksaw. Fine. Let’s just get through this. Maybe the next participant will bring it around and…. nope. Outlaw Ron Bass. Still better than Harley Race and Zukov.
Minutes 21 – 30: / 15. B. Brian Blair / 16. Hillbilly Jim / 17. Dino Bravo / 18. Ultimate Warrior / 19. One Man Gang / 20. Junkyard Dog
Volkvoff eliminates one Killer Bee, only to have another take it’s place as that is the nature of killer bees. Neidhart is then eliminated by Hillbilly Jim as that is the nature of Hillbillies. Sam Houston demonstrates his in-ring savvy by getting up on Ron Bass’s shoulders for a quick ride. The safest place to be in a Royal Rumble is precariously perched atop another man. He is tossed out, absurd bandanna and all, by Hacksaw.
Dino Bravo runs in, followed by… the Ultimate Warrior? I’m surprised, I thought he didn’t pop up until later. During the mayhem, Bret Hart is unceremoniously eliminated by Don Moraco. He lasted 25 minutes, a record that would stand until the next Royal Rumble in 1989. Great work Bret!
The last two in the ring are One Man Gang and Junkyard Dog. All the participants are in and we’re down to the end of the match. One has to wonder how Danny Davis is still in this matchup and why they didn’t push Bret to go down to one of the last 4 or 5. I guess they gave him enough of a push to get him away from just a tag run but not enough of a push to have him be “the man” yet.
The next quick round of eliminations are B Brian Blair, Jake the Snake, Nikolai Volkvaff, Hillbilly Jim, Danny Davis, Ultimate Warrior, Junkyard Dog and Ron Bass. Nothing notable about any of these eliminations except for the fact that Warrior was tossed so quickly.
The last four in the ring are Moraco, One Man Gang, Dino Bravo and Hacksuck Shit Fuckhead – HOOOOOO. Moraco gets eliminated by One Man Gang, it what was a poor show. He was tossed over and sat on the apron holding the ropes, could have climbed back in but decided that he didn’t want to spend another minute with the One Man Gang and just let go. So now it’s 2 on 1 against Hacksuck. They beat him up for awhile and I am solidly erect through the whole thing. I watch the beating and drink it in like water.
Sadly, the match ends with Hacksuck as the victor and I fear I shall never be aroused again.
Overall: What a fun match and a great PPV. I hate Hacksuck though.