Retro Review Ratings For Fightful Select!: WWF Royal Rumble 1988

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Triple H Says Ted DiBiase Exemplifies The True Spirit Of NXT

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat defeated "Ravishing" Rick Rude via DQ in 16:40
6.25/10

  • The production values compared to WrestleMania 3 are sad.
  • Steamboat skins the cat and sends Rick Rude over the top rope. 
  • This is pretty hard hitting on Roode's part, but Steamboat repeatedly goes back to the arm drag. 
  • Steamboat was really ahead of his time. 
  • They're cracking each other and working a hundred miles an hour, a kitchen sink is kind of botched, but still looks really violent. 
  • Rude puts Steamboat in a Camel Clutch after suplexing him outside in, and much is made about how much of the mouth and nose is covered and the legalities of it. 
  • Steamboat finally gets out, and you really see one of the all-time best gas tanks on this guy. A bridge up, then into six pin attempts, deep into a really physical match.
  • Steamboat hits a suplex, but Rude pulls Hebner in front of him on a body press. Hebner takes a shitty bump.
  • Rude applies a Canadian backbreaker and the ref calls for the bell.
  • Rude walks away, but the crowd goes insane when Steamboat is given the DQ win. Amazing that could work then.

 

LIFTING

  • Dino Bravo is hoping to set a bench press record, as Ventura explains the important of safety.
  • Bravo heels the crowd.
  • This is an incredible fucking waste of 13 minutes. 
  • He teases walking out before setting the new world record. Who. Gives. A. Shit?
  • Ventura trolling McMahon bout not knowing about weightlifting is great.

WWF Women's Tag Team Championships
Jumping Bomb Angels Defeated The Glamour Girls (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart) to become champions in 16:10
6/10

  • I hope whenever WWE brings back women's tag titles that Judy Martin and Leilani Kai walk out to Cult Of Personality with THE REAL TITLES.
  • Dubbed music and intros.
  • Kai really throws one of the JBA around.
  • They call the Bomb Angels "PINK" and "RED." JESUS. 
  • This isn't what you would call smooth, technically proficient or anything like that, but some of this offense looks awesome. 
  • Judy Martin accidentally kicks Leilani Kai and the Glamour Girls are both put in Figure Four leg locks. 
  • Jimmy Hart yelling for Judy to get the circulation going in her legs again.
  • Judy Martin gets a pin with an AWESOME Alley Oop.
  • Red Angel gets the next pin with a sloppy sunset flip (her name is Itsuki).
  • There are an awful lot of rib and stomach kicks in older women's wrestling. 
  • Martin stops a PerfectPlex, but after a while Kai gets her ass busted with a modified Bubba Bomb.
  • A SICK flying knee drop from Itsuki lands on Martin, and then a double underhook suplex lands and obviously this ref has never seen one because he doesn't count. She also gets a great running body press. 
  • Double missile dropkick wins it for the Jumping Bomb Angels and the crowd EXPLODES.
  • Ventura is pissed about that being a pin, and he's right.

Contract signing!

  • This is one of the aspects of a WWF show from this era we don't get to cover much, considering that these segments don't happen on PPV much. This actually aired on the USA network.
  • Andre The Giant teases that he's not going to sign and Mean Gene WON'T HAVE ANY OF HIS SHIT.
  • Andre is out there with Virgil and Ted Dibiase. Jack Tunney is at the table.
  • Dibiase is really goading Hogan. Dibiase says Hogan got beat in three minutes at WrestleMania 3 and then Hogan is like "NAH MAN F THAT. I'M SIGNING."
  • Throughout January, Hogan was working all kinds of people. Hart Foundation, Honky Tonk, Rick Rude, One Man Gang, Dibiase, Virgil, teaming with Bam Bam (they'd go 16-0).
  • Andre smashes Hogan's face into the table and tosses it over on him. 
  • After the Rumble match, Hogan says he won't sell out like Andre did. This is a really, really good promo.

Royal Rumble Match
Jim Duggan wins, last eliminating One Man Gang in 33:00

4.5/10

  • Bret Hart and Tito Santana start off and have some really good work.  Butch Reed follows and Santana beats both of their asses. 
  • Neidhart is number four and the three heels attack Santana, including using a modified Decapitator.
  • Jake Roberts is out and helps turn the tides to a big pop, as he tosses out Reed. There wasn't a moment in Jake's career pre-1995 that he didn't look perpetually 35 years old. 
  • Harley Race is next. I'm too excited to have all Jimmy Hart managed wrestlers out. He's too much of a distraction. Why is Ventura saying "the advantage is 3-2 in favor of the Harts?" It's every man for himself. Shouldn't they establish that? 
  • Jim Brunzell and Sam Houston are in. More like Sam WHOston!? Danny Davis is next. WWE had a great number of people who did nothing and got a great reaction. 
  • Houston and Danny Davis gets a pop for going at it. Roberts does the punch teeter totter spot with Race.
  • Boris Zhukov is next, and when Race goes after him, Ventura says "THE SIDES ARE CRUMBLING." Sometimes he could be really counterproductive on commentary. 
  • Davis and Hart double team Sam Houston.
  • Don Muraco is juiced OUT OF HIS ASS and attacks Volkoff before he can get in. Roberts and Brunzell eliminate Zhukov. Volkoff comes in next, so I dunno what the point of that was.
  • Muraco dumps Harley Race out, and the field gets more mediocre. This is back when everyone argued to try to get back in the Rumble like it would work.
  • Here comes ol' Jimmyboy Duggan. Race attacks him with a punch, likely improvised on the way back. Duggan briefly gives chase and remembers he has a Royal Rumble to win.
  • Blair is in as Brunzell is eliminated. Hillbilly Jim hits the ring and tosses out Jim Neidhart, but for some reason yanks Davis off the top rope. 
  • Dino Bravo is out to compete AFTER setting a "world record."
  • The Ultimate Goddamn Warrior is next. 
  • Muraco eliminated Bret Hart, who made it from #1 to 18.
  • One Man Gang is in. This is way before WWE worked on the art of telling stories in Rumbles, and it was on the wrestlers and commentary to tell stories, which often sucked.
  • Blair and Jake Roberts are eliminated, and JYD is the final entrant. 
  • Duggan has the best elimination of the match by clotheslining Danny Davis over. 
  • Bravo tosses Warrior, Gang throws JYD and some big jobber gets eliminated by Muraco.
  • We're down to Bravo, Muraco, Gang and Duggan. This is truly a WWF Superstars card. Muraco is surprisingly agile as he dropkicks Frenchy Martin off the apron.
  • Muraco gets clotheslined to the apron and just walks off. What a lame elimination.
  • One Man Gang tosses out Bravo, then Duggan pulls down the top rope and Gang goes flying.
  • This was a real, real bad Royal Rumble match.

The Islanders defeated the Stallions in 14:00
4.5/10

  • This was the freaking main event. Haku and The Tonga Kid against Jim Powers and Paul Roma.
  • The Islanders beat the brakes off of Powers, and throw Roma out of the ring for a countout in the first fall. This match didn't need two matches that were 2/3 falls. 
  • Young Stallions LEFT THE RING and went to the locker room between the falls.
  • THIS GOES ON FOR FIVE MINUTES. Powers walks Roma out gingerly as we go to a commercial break. They literally got a ten minute break. 
  • They taped up Roma's leg, and Tama goes right after it. 
  • Powers does a good back body drop on Haku. He gets worked over for several minutes, though.
  • Roma gets the lukewarm tag to no pop, and falls down. He taps out to a half crab after a splash on his knee.
  • This match was boring as hell. 

Rating guide

10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor

Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5.The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
 

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