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A Royal Rumble (PPV) match a day


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Following a Mania match a day, a Summerslam match a day, and a Survivor Series match a day, I'd be remiss if I didn't do the last of the Big Four.


So, in the four weeks leading up to this year's Royal Rumble on the 24th, I'll watch a match per day from each of the previous shows. Except some days I'll watch two and others I'll watch none, but that's a less catchy title.


What I'm after first of all, though, are recommendations!


Which matches from Royal Rumble's history should I watch? I'm trying to avoid the Rumbles themselves, because


(i) my three-matches-per-wrestler rule is going to be hard enough to keep to anyway without factoring in 30-man Rumbles


(ii) they're really really long most of the time and I don't think I've got that much time to spare every day


(iii) it's been done already, in the excellent Royal Rumble Reviews thread that I'm still sad isn't in Gold


but if the Rumble itself is the only thing worth watching on a show, or if it's really, really great (1992) then I probably still will.


So, Rumble undercard goodness - or memorable badness? Which matches should I go for?



Reviews when done will be below:


Royal Rumble 1988 - Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat

Royal Rumble 1989 - Hart Foundation & Jim Duggan vs. Fabulous Rougeau Brothers & Dino Bravo

Royal Rumble 1990 - Greg Valentine vs. Ronnie Garvin

Royal Rumble 1991 - Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter

Royal Rumble 1992 - The Royal Rumble

Royal Rumble 1993 - Bret Hart vs. Razor Ramon

Royal Rumble 1994 - The Undertaker vs. Yokozuna

Royal Rumble 1995 - 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & Tatanka

Royal Rumble 1996 - Goldust vs. Razor Ramon

Royal Rumble 1997 - The Royal Rumble

Royal Rumble 1998 - The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock

Royal Rumble 1999 - X-Pac vs. Gangrel

Royal Rumble 2000 - Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz

Royal Rumble 2001 - The Royal Rumble

Royal Rumble 2002 - Ric Flair vs. Mr. McMahon

Royal Rumble 2003 - Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie Wilson

Royal Rumble 2004 - Brock Lesnar vs. Hardcore Holly

Royal Rumble 2005 - Edge vs. Shawn Michaels

Royal Rumble 2006 - The Royal Rumble

Royal Rumble 2007 - John Cena vs. Umaga

Royal Rumble 2008 - Ric Flair vs. MVP

Royal Rumble 2009 - Edge vs. Jeff Hardy

Royal Rumble 2010 - The Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio

Royal Rumble 2011 - Michelle McCool vs. Layla vs. Natalya vs. Eve Torres

Royal Rumble 2012 - Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry

Royal Rumble 2013 - Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars

Royal Rumble 2014 - The Royal Rumble

Royal Rumble 2015 - Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins

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Royal Rumble 2000 - I'd go for the Hardy Boyz v the Dudley Boyz in a Table Match. It was my first exposure to both teams and I loved Jeff's Swanton.


Obviously there is also the Cactus Jack/HHH street fight, but the table match is just fun. 

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The Rockers vs. The Orient Express, 1991 - gets a lot of love on here, but that's because it's a tag-team classic.


John Cena vs. Umaga, 2007. One of the matches that turned me around on Cena's ability in the ring. Despite hating the character, I've maintained he's one of the very best in the ring, and this match is a damn good demonstration why. Not that Umaga was any slouch either, though.

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Royal Rumble 2001 - Jericho vs Benoit
Royal Rumble 2002 - Flair vs Vince
Royal Rumble 2003 - Torrie vs Dawn Marie
Royal Rumble 2004 - Eddie vs Chavo
Royal Rumble 2005 - Michaels vs Edge
Royal Rumble 2006 - Boogeyman vs JBL
Royal Rumble 2007 - Cena vs Umaga
Royal Rumble 2008 - Hardy vs Orton
Royal Rumble 2009 - Hardy vs Edge
Royal Rumble 2010 - Undertaker vs Mysterio
Royal Rumble 2011 - Edge vs Ziggler
Royal Rumble 2012 - Bryan vs Big Show vs Henry
Royal Rumble 2013 - Hello No vs Rhodes Scholars
Royal Rumble 2014 - Bryan vs Wyatt
Royal Rumble 2015 - Cena vs Lesnar vs Rollins



I have a terrible fatigue on me that is stopping me from giving reasons, but that's a list if you're struggling. Some of them were just really good matches, some of them were short and less famous than other matches on those cards, and one part is just charting the evolution of Daniel Bryan over a few years.

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From the early ones, the Harts/Rougeaus six-man in 1989 is the closest thing to fun that you'll find on the undercard. PERSONALLY I'd take Garvin/Valentine from 1990 although it might not be to everyone's taste as it's a slow burner but I really liked it. The crowd start dead and are into it by the end. It's a pretty weak undercard overall. In 1991 you take Rockers/Orients if you're not struggling to keep your Shawn quota down or Boss Man/Barbar if you do. I'd say take New Foundation/Orients from 1992. You don't really want to review the actual Rumble, not because it's not the best 60 minutes of wrestling ever, but because I'm worried you'll do a better job than I did.


1993 is slim pickings as Shawn/Marty doesn't sparkle like later matches between them would (blame Marty's hangover) so you might want to do Steiners/Beverlys as Steiners killing bitches dead is always fun, althought Bret/Razor is decent. If you're not overdosing on tag matches, Tatanka/Bam Bam from 94 is as fun as a Tatanka match gets. Bret/Diesel is the obvious choice for 95 although I do derive some fun from the "Cinderella story" with Bobcore/Kid vs Tatanka/Bam Bam. 1996 I'd go Razor/Goldust because Marlena. 1997.....  wow, you're probably stuck with Sid vs Shawn because the rest is rubbish. For 1998, go get yourself some early Rock, his match with Shamrock is pretty good. Although you might want Rock in 1999 as well since the Mankind match is compelling in its brutality and worth a re-watch and nothing else on the undercard probably is. If two chaotic Foley matches on the bounce is too much, go with Nexus' recommendation of Hardys/Dudleys for 2000.


Pitcos' list is fairly good from the later ones. Is it too obvious to say to watch Angle VS Benoit from Rumble 2003 since it's bummed pretty hard on here? It might be my favourite match, so I'm going to say it anyway. If you're struggling to keep Hardy matches down if you take the tables match from 2000, Orton/Jeff from 2008 is a very good match but from memory Edge/Rey from the same show is enjoyable too. Also, unless you take Edge/Ziggler from 2011 and two in a row is just too much Dolph, I actually thought Punk/Ziggler from 2012 was fun in a chaotic "stories and shortcuts" way.


Never even knew Undertaker vs Rey Mysterio ever happened, much less on a PPV. I'm intrigued by that matchup. I'm assuming it worked out good if it's being recommended?


As far as "spunky little guy trying to chop down a monster" it's pretty good, if ruined slightly by the fact you never, never, not once, not ever, think Rey's actually going to win.

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1997.....  wow, you're probably stuck with Sid vs Shawn because the rest is rubbish.

I don't know. I think I might go with Undertaker vs Vader if HG isn't wanting to save Taker matches by the time he gets to 1997. Not because Taker vs Vader is good, I don't remember ever really liking their matches. I'm recommending Taker vs Vader solely for Paul Bearer going all high flying with his diving urn smash off the apron. That was right in the days of the WCW cruiserweights launching themselves around every Monday night but Bearer's aerial assault dropped my jaw more than anything the likes of Juventud and his mates were doing at the time. Heel Paul Bearer was a G.


As far as "spunky little guy trying to chop down a monster" it's pretty good, if ruined slightly by the fact you never, never, not once, not ever, think Rey's actually going to win.

Yeah, I'd be looking at that purely as a competitive squash match. I might seek it out anyway.


I'd definitely go Steiners vs Beverlys for 1993. I'm a Steiners bummer though so maybe I enjoyed it more than most. But it's great fun I think. Doesn't outstay its welcome and it has possibly the most vicious looking Frankensteiner ever. It looked like it actually could've given Beverly (whichever one it was) a Frankenstein head.

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1990 has to have Garvin Vs Valentine, they lump shit out of each other, Garvin sells like he's been run over, Jimmy Hart plays a classic manager role, and the whole shin guard gimmick to the, rare at the time for WWF, submission match is hokey yet wonderful.


Plus it shits all over anything the Bushwhackers and Duggan are involved in, not even Bossman looks good in there with Duggan. However the Duggan match does feature him with a monstrous bogey throughout most the match.


But Garvin/Valentine is a gem, and still to this day although nostalgia driven is one of my all time personal favourite matches ever.

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Rey vs Undertaker very, very briefly made me care about Rey again. Surprising they didn't squeeze a bit more juice from that pairing over the years. Rey would have been class as foil for early-02 heel Taker actually, shame they just missed each other.


EDIT: I'm all about Genius/Beefcake for 1990 by the way. I'm a sucker for Lanny's stalling and actually just Brutus in general a year or so before he got his face kicked off.

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Suggestions all duly taken on board. Keep 'em coming!


I've decided I might just ignore the three-match-limit rule for this one. It's Kane's fault.


(Actually it's because I am going to watch a small selection of Rumbles, one from each era, being the 'classic' era, the New Generation-ish time, Attitude, the brand extension, and the modern day. This means that I go over the limit for several people, but most obviously with Kane. If only fake Diesel was played by someone else!)


Anyway, I made that rule up myself anyway and it was pointless so I'll watch what I want. And what I want to watch for 1988 is Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat. By rights, this should be good. Let's find out.



The match:


The start of this show is advertising a contract signing for a Hogan/Andre rematch, and Dino Bravo trying to break a bench-press record. No ta.


Rick Rude doesn't get an entrance! He gets to have a bit of a pose, and the people boo him. They're pretty happy to see Steamboat, though.


I'm kind of disappointed with Rude's tights effort here. It's a red and black combo that wouldn't look out of place on a medieval tabard. Steamboat's in plain white.


Steamboat hits some loooovely strikes in the early going, gets a nice cheer for each of them, Rude rakes him in the eyes in blatant view of the referee who does fuck all about it, then throws Steamboat over the top rope. Ricky skins the cat (or should that be dragon?




and Rude tumbles over the top to the floor! If that were a Rumble, he'd have been eliminated.


Ooh! New thing!


'If that were a Rumble, he'd have been eliminated' count: 1


Steamboat shows off his totally natural biceps as Rude has a slow amble back into the ring. The referee's telling Steamboat off?! Rude fucking raked him in the fucking eyes right in front of you, you twat!


Rude wants to go for a test of strength. It's all about the muscles here, and it's even going… no, it's Rude in control… he's got a not-very-nice mullet at this point in time … and Steamboat takes him down. Ventura makes a great call, pointing out that Rude has now showed he's the stronger man, so because Steamboat can't overpower him, he's got to use his speed and technique. Wonderful piece of commentary.


Steamboat's working on the ravishing left arm of Rude, gets whipped into the ropes, slides under Rude's legs, GODDAMN THAT'S A BEAUTIFUL ARM DRAG, back into the arm work. A front row fan has got a megaphone. How long's he going to last with that thing? Fuck, can you imagine if wan of dem managed to get a megaphone into a PPV today? SECURITY!


Things are speeding up briefly, with some whipping and counter-whipping, another lovely arm drag, and right back to the arm, will somebody please take that bastard's megaphone off him?


Rude's really being worked over here, Steamboat even splashing the arm, but it doesn't last long because Rude comes back with a kick and some punches and some heads-in-the-turnbuckles, but that doesn't last long because Steamboat uses his speed and pulls the same under-the-legs-arm-drag-back-to-the-arm-technique he already did once. More fool Rick Rude for falling for that twice.


Or does he?! Because he got out of it, elbowed Ricky in the face, and posed to the crowd. But he couldn't use his left arm for the pose because Steamboat has damaged it! Great way to show his cockiness but still sell the effects of the match.


Things are picking up a bit now in terms of pace - it's been fairly slow up to now - and Rude knees Ricky in the gut, sending him through the second rope to the outside, where he promptly body slams the Dragon and gets back in to await the ten count, which the ref has only just started because he doesn't even know his own job.


Oof! Suplex from the apron into the ring for a two count, Rude most definitely in control as he pops on a chinlock which Vince calls a Camel Clutch but I'm not sure is a Camel Clutch. He puts the hold on for a bit, stops to pose, then puts it back on. That's definitely a chinlock, but it's a strong one because they're doing the 'arm down three times' bit. Steamboat's trying to fight out of it but it's proving difficult because Rude's sitting on him, no wait, WHATAMANOUEVRE, Steamboat managed to stand up into an Electric Chair drop, he goes for a splash but Rude gets the knees up, Atomic Drop to the Dragon and it's back to the chinlock.


Ha, Steamboat's pounding the mat trying to get the crowd to clap with him and Ventura says he has horrible rhythm. Ha!


Anyway, Rude's just had his head slammed into the turnbuckle a few times and got chopped in the face for a pin attempt. Rude goes for a bridging pin, Steamboat powers out into a backslide, Rude kicks out, rollup, Rude kicks out, bridging pin by Steamboat, Rude kicks out, small package by Rude, Steamboat counters, Rude kicks out, there lies (perhaps) the origin of that awesome-the-first-time-you-saw-it-glaringly-obviously-choreographed-each-subsequent-time near fall exchange that all the indy guys used to do several years ago, but here it looks natural and, well, not glaringly obviously choreographed. Nice.


Rude back in control after a clothesline, but a suplex attempt is reversed, and both men are down. The crowd cheers as Steamboat gets up first, I think the idiot with the megaphone has been silenced, Steamboat goes for the cross body and Rude THREW THE REFEREE IN THE WAY! THE BASTARD! Rude's got Steamboat up on his shoulder, it's a submission, the referee calls for the bell, apparently Steamboat submitted?


Sorry, but how the fuck is Rude not disqualified.


Oh! Hang on! That's more like it, Steamboat's just been announced as the DQ winner. Rude had been celebrating and was halfway to the back when he heard. He's pissed off and … we won't find out what's going to happen because we've got to fucking watch Dino Bravo lift weights. Shit.



My thoughts:


Quite a slow-paced match up, but it told a good story, and it was great in the parts where that pace picked up. I didn't mind the DQ finish at all, it fitted nicely into the story - Steamboat was clearly going to win, Rude couldn't have that, so he threw the referee to the Dragon hoping he'd get a sneaky win, but got his comeuppance by not winning. Good match.


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I might go for that Flair vs. MVP match, Sinner. I know Orton vs. Jeff was good, but the idea of choosing to rewatch a Randy Orton match, no matter how good it might have been (and loads of them are good), just fills me with such a thorough sense of apathy I'd consider any alternative.



For 1989, I'm going with the forum's suggestion and watching The Hart Foundation & Jim Duggan vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers & Dino Bravo despite Dino fucking Bravo.


Matches you'd never want to see: Randy Orton vs. Dino Bravo?



The match:


Straight off, here's something the 1989 Rumble does that I'd really, really like them to bring back. Go and watch the first minute and a half of the show on the Network. 1989 Vince runs through the competitors in the Rumble one by one while mini clips of each of them play. So easy to do, it takes a couple of minutes (literally) but gives you a great idea of who to expect in the Rumble, who might win, etc etc. BRING IT BACK.


Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura will be our commentators. Jesse is 2-for-2 for excellent hats at Royal Rumbles so far.


This is Intercontinental Rules, which means 2 out of 3 falls. Ooh.


Well, they don't like the Quebecers and Bravo in Texas. I missed who the bloke with the monocle and the Quebec flag was. Who's he?


Texas like the Hart Foundation, though! Does Duggan being (presumably) the lone American in this match mean all five others are just going to attack him and then carry on without him? That'd be good.


Mind, saying that, I've already spotted an inflatable 2x4 being held by someone in the crowd, not too far away from a skinny bloke dressed as the Boss Man. Even as early as 1989, before the UKFF was even a twinkle in Moo's eye, folks had faith that it would be Boss Man's year.





How unimpressive is Duggan's 2x4, incidentally? It really is just a plank of wood. Do you think the WWE Warehouse has got a huge pile of them stashed away somewhere? If the WWE Museum I dream about ever happens, and I get a job there, I'm suggesting they build a log cabin out of all of them and call it the House of Hacksaw, and visitors can go in and have Duggan sitting in a rocking chair (the one from Undertaker's cabin in 2011, perhaps) just going HOOOOOOOOO over and over again until they go mad. 


Duggan's already irritating me, but Bret looks like a star as Anvil takes his sunglasses off for him. It's Neidhart and Bravo to start off with, and Dino's slows down the fast paced Neidhart with a headlock. They try and out power each other, Neidhart clotheslines Bravo down, go on Jim lad, NO! Not that Jim! He's just tagged in Duggan, oh SHUT UP Duggan, I know crowds loved him but he's bloody annoying. He hit a nice knee on a Rougeau and happily tags in Bret.


Small package! 2 count. Sunset flip! 2 count. Bret's going for the first fall straight away here. Cross body! 2 count. The other Rougeau (sorry, I can never remember which one's which) is in now - JACQUES, that's it - and Bret clotheslines him down. This should be good as everyone starts to get involved, they're doing a massive battering ram spot where Neidhart barges his shoulder into all three opponents in the corner. They should bring that back as well, more fun that the overused Tower of Doom that they'd have probably done if this match happened today.


Bravo and Bret now, then the Rougeaus hit the Doomsday Bronco Buster (which is what I'm calling that) to get the first fall! 


RAYMOND! The first one's Raymond. I'm sure I had this same problem at Summerslam.


Bret's hurt, he hasn't been able to tag anyone else in yet, as Raymond hits a gut wrench suplex for 2. Flying elbow by Jacques, 2 again. Frenchy Martin, is that the monocle guy? I've heard the name before. Showing my ignorance of the '89 era WWF undercard here. Bret is in real trouble, meanwhile, this could be two straight falls for the Rougeau team. Ventura made a reference to the Dungeon, but made it sound even more sinister than it was by claiming Bret grew up in his father's basement. Fritzl Hart.


HA! Ventura just pointed out the irrelevance of Duggan in this match by asking why the crowd are chanting USA when Bret's from Calgary. YOU TELL 'EM, BODY.


Hart manages to fight back a bit and gets a near-fall on Jacques, before we get a BLATANT hair-pull behind the referee's back that Anvil has to break up, which turns into a convenient chinlock when the ref's looking. Those dastardly Rougeaus. 


I don't know what happened there. Dino went for a clothesline that it looked like Bret was meant to duck, but Bravo had his arm out too low so it clipped Bret on the top of the head. Jacques quickly tags in because he knows how to do moves properly (I'm blaming Dino for that rather than Bret) and locks in a Boston Crab, Bret manages to get a tag but of course the ref doesn't see it! Gorilla complains that six man matches should have two referees. Alternating Rougeau Abdominal Stretches to Hart now, he's been beaten on for ages at this point, his team mates must be getting bored on the apron.


Hart makes a comeback! Can he get to the corner before Raymond! YES! He tags in Duggan, who takes several seconds to play to the crowd before actually doing anything because HE'S AN IDIOT. He takes on all three opponents, and catapults the Foundation in one at a time to splash Raymond, then takes the pin himself to make it 1-1. 


This match is less interesting when Jim Duggan's in it. He's caught in the Rougeau corner and I don't care. Ventura agrees with me. He's in with Bravo now and I'm going to fetch that cup of tea I made before this started.




Fuck's sake, they're still in there. The Harts try to stop the tedium but the ref won't let them. Dino hits his elbow drop (possibly the only time I've actually seen him hit it) but Bravo tags in Bret. WHY BRET, DUGGAN? NEIDHART'S NOT FUCKING DONE ANYTHING, HE'S FRESH! Oh well, it's Bret Hart now so I can't complain, as he takes Bravo down with a backbreaker but is shoved off the second rope by Raymond. Neidhart takes out the Rougeaus, Duggan clubs Bravo with his 2x4 BECAUSE HE'S A FUCKING CHEAT and Bret gets the pin. I can only assume he didn't see what Duggan did there, because I can't imagine Bret's ethics would stand for that. Outrageous. Hart had that won, Duggan you twat.



My thoughts:


I wish that had been The Hart Foundation vs. The Rougeaus. That would have been an excellent match. It's a bit stereotypical-internet of me to say, but Hacksaw and Bravo really did drag this down (although it's mainly Duggan here, Dino wasn't that bad). 


Bret? Great. Jacques? Great, I love the way he sells. Raymond? Good. Anvil? Barely did anything, but had a bit of intensity to him at least. I just could have done without the other two!

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Straight off, here's something the 1989 Rumble does that I'd really, really like them to bring back. Go and watch the first minute and a half of the show on the Network. 1989 Vince runs through the competitors in the Rumble one by one while mini clips of each of them play. So easy to do, it takes a couple of minutes (literally) but gives you a great idea of who to expect in the Rumble, who might win, etc etc. BRING IT BACK.


I think that's one of those things that seems like you'd enjoy it but in reality wouldn't, like the punditry on the pre-shows. Nostalgia makes it all lovely, but if they did the rundown of competitors now with Fandango and Ziggler and Matador B and all the other shitehawks, it wouldn't be interesting. And It'd spoil the surprise entry of Papa Shango or Max Moon or whoever they've roped in.

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