January 24th, 1988
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
“Ravishing” Rick Rude vs Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
This was a perfectly fine way to start a show. These two would have way better matches in the future but this one fell solidly into the “OK” definition. There was a lot of punching and kicking by Rude as he wouldn’t hit his stride until a couple of years after this. Both guys looked great and the match was watchable so we are off to an OK start. Ricky got the victory by DQ when Rude pulled the referee in front of him when Steamboat was coming off the top. 1 for 1.
- Mean Gene is with Jesse as they discuss the upcoming Dino Bravo attempt at a world bench press record. If you like to watch a clearly roided up guy try and fake his way through lifting weights for 20 minutes do I have a show for you! The keep adding more weight onto the bar until finally Jesse helps Dino lift the last attempt. This was boring and a complete waste of time. Bravo looked huge here though. I had more notes on this but really it was me insulting the entire deal.
Women’s Tag Team Championship (They said Ladies and Women’s, the graphic said Ladies…old WWF was not a place for a Women’s Revolution apparently.) 2 out of 3 falls: (C) Glamour Girls (Judy Martin and Leilani Kai) with Jimmy Hart (in a bomb ass gold jacket) vs the Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo and Itsuki or as Vince called them “Pink and Red”)
Other than Vince not knowing the names of some of the ladies this was a fun match. All four women busted their asses out there. The Angels were great as always but the Girls did a great job in keeping up with them and both teams looked better for it. I’m not even going out on a limb to call this the match of the night in a walk. Hell of an effort by everyone involved and it’s a shame all four aren’t in the Hall of Fame already for their contributions to Women’s wrestling. Angels 2 falls to 1. 2 for 2.
- Next we get a recap of the WrestleMania III “controversy”. It wasn’t even close to a 3 count and if that was the story they were going for with that pin they screwed it up badly.
- Now we get the official signing for the WWE Championship match at the Main Event. Andre is seconded by both Dibiase and Virgil, Gene hosts and Jack Tunney does his level best to bore the crowd. Andre does some grandstanding before finally signing the contract. If you can’t guess what happens next then you have never seen a contract signing in wrestling before. This was another waste of time, but I’m sure having Hogan and Andre boosted the ratings.
Royal Rumble (Only 20 men in this inaugural version)
They really hadn’t worked out the kinks to this match yet. The ring was too full for most of this and felt more like a regular battle royal due to the lack of stakes and flow. Other than Vince and Jesse throwing verbal bombs on commentary it really didn’t kick in until about number 20 entered. Gang did a good job in the monster spot. The biggest surprise was the Warrior being treated like a complete afterthought just a few months before the beginning of his huge push. To be honest, the most over guy in the match was Jake because the crowd was constantly chanting for the DDT, although Duggan did get a good pop. Slow beginning and middle but a hot ending made this an alright first outing. Glad they got better at these. Hacksaw got the win by pulling the ropes down and letting Gang fly out. 2 for 3.
- Vince and Jesse recap the Andre/ Hogan stuff from an hour ago.
- Craig DeGeorge interviews Hogan. He gives a standard Hogan interview, although a little angrier than normal.
Tag Team 2 out of 3 falls: The Islanders (Haku and Tama) vs the Young Stallions (Jim Powers and Paul Roma)
- Before we get to Fall 2 we have to have ANOTHER recap of the the signing debacle and an interview with Dibiase and Andre. Because I’m a nice guy I will recap Andre’s promo.
“HILK HOGAN ABSGEDBGEBDGEBDG! GIANTMANIA! WOWD TIWE! UNDEFEATED!”
Your welcome. Anyway.
This was still in the era of putting the bigger matches on first sometimes, due to wanting more eyeballs on the important stuff. The fact that the first Royal Rumble ended this badly is kind of funny really. This match wasn’t that good before Roma’s knee injury and definitely didn’t improve afterwards. I love the Islanders but the Stallions sucked and never improved during their entire tenure. What a crappy way to end an already mediocre show. The Islanders win 2-0. 2 for 4.
- Vince and Jesse recap the night and make sure to include the contract signing angle AGAIN.
Overall Thoughts: It’s a different time now but in the 1980’s if the best match on your card was a women’s match you had problems. This show is unmemorable in almost every way. You can tell that they just put it together to hurt the NWA and didn’t put a whole lot of effort into the content. Obviously the idea for the Rumble match was gold but it definitely wasn’t perfected yet. The ladies match is worth a look and the first Rumble needs to be seen just for the history but other than that avoid this show like the plague.
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