Royal Rumble (1988)

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Royal Rumble (1988)
Royal Rumble 88 logo.jpg
The 1988 Royal Rumble logo
Promotion World Wrestling Federation
Date January 24, 1988
Attendance 18,000[1]
Venue Copps Coliseum
City Hamilton, Ontario
Royal Rumble chronology

First Royal Rumble (1988) Royal Rumble (1989)

Royal Rumble (1988) was the inaugural Royal Rumble professional wrestling event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It took place on January 24, 1988, at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario.[2] Unlike the subsequent Royal Rumble events, this event was not shown on pay-per-view and was instead a television special shown on the USA Network. However, in 2014, WWE Network listed this event alongside the rest of the Royal Rumbles in the pay-per-view section.[2]

The main event was a two out of three falls match in which The Islanders (Haku and Tama) defeated The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers).[3] The undercard included the first-ever Royal Rumble match, which was won by Jim Duggan,[4] Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki) defeated The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin and Leilani Kai) in a two out of three falls match for the WWF Women's Tag Team Championship[5] and Ricky Steamboat defeated Rick Rude by disqualification.[2]


Pat Patterson constructed the idea of the Royal Rumble match.[6] The rules were that each Superstar had to draw a number between 1 and 20. The #1 and #2 entrants would begin the match while the other participants would join the match every two minutes thereafter.[7] Participants had to eliminate their opponents by tossing them over the top rope with both feet then touching the floor. The winner would be the last wrestler remaining after all others had been eliminated.[7] It was similar to a battle royal.[7] It was originally a television special shown on USA Network.[2]

Less known is that the first experimental Royal Rumble match happened on October 4, 1987 in St. Louis, Missouri. One Man Gang won the match, last eliminating Junkyard Dog. Possibly because the event was not televised and a financial failure (drawing only 1,976), this event is not acknowledged.[citation needed]


The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki) feuded with The Glamour Girls (Leilani Kai and Judy Martin) over the WWF Women's Tag Team Championship. Kai and Martin were awarded the titles in August 1985 in Egypt.[8] Kai and Martin feuded with many tag teams and held onto the titles for over two and a half years. In November 1987, they began calling themselves "The Glamour Girls".[9] At Survivor Series 1987, The Glamour Girls were part of WWF Women's Champion Sensational Sherri's team in a Survivor Series Match against Fabulous Moolah's team. The Jumping Bomb Angels, part of Moolah's team pinned the champions to become the survivors for the match.[10] After pinning the champions, The Jumping Bomb Angels signed a contract for the Royal Rumble challenging The Glamour Girls for the titles.[11]


Other on-screen talent
Role: Name:
Commentator Vince McMahon
Jesse Ventura
Interviewer Gene Okerlund
Craig DeGeorge
Ring announcer Howard Finkel
President Jack Tunney
Referees Dave Hebner
Earl Hebner
Jim Korderas
Joey Marella

The first match was between Rick Rude and Ricky Steamboat. At the conclusion of the match, Steamboat attempted a diving crossbody but Rude pulled referee Dave Hebner in front of him to avoid any contact unto himself. Rude placed Steamboat in a Canadian backbreaker rack but Hebner signaled for the bell. Rude reacted as if Hebner was awarding him the match via a submission, but in fact, Hebner instead awarded the bout to Steamboat via a disqualification.

Dino Bravo attempted to set a world record to bench press 715 pounds. He was successful, but with help from spotter Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

The second match was a women's tag team two out of three falls match for the WWF Women's Tag Team Championship, as the champions The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin and Leilani Kai) defended the titles against The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki). The challengers secured victory in the third and decisive fall after executing a double dropkick on Martin.

Bret Hart, the #1 entrant of the Royal Rumble match and the first wrestler ever to enter a Royal Rumble match

André the Giant and Hulk Hogan signed a contract for a WrestleMania III rematch that took place on the February 5, 1988 edition of The Main Event. Tied into this was that Ted DiBiase had previously purchased André's contract from Bobby Heenan and promised André, should he defeat Hogan for the WWF Championship and then "deliver it" to him, that he would reward André with a large sum of money. During the in-ring promo, after he signed the contract, at DiBiase's prompting to "give your stamp of approval", André grabbed Hogan, slammed his head into the table and then tipped the table on top of him before the heels left the ring.

Next was the match the event was based on - the Royal Rumble match. The first two wrestlers ever to enter a Royal Rumble match were Bret Hart of The Hart Foundation and one half of WWF Tag Team Champions Strike Force, Tito Santana. Hart hit Santana in the corner. Santana fired back but Hart hit him an inverted atomic drop, followed by a middle rope axe handle elbow drop. Butch Reed entered at #3 while Santana hit a flying forearm smash on Hart. Reed began nailing Santana until Santana dropkicked both Hart and Reed. However, the two men got the better of Santana. Reed tried to hit Santana who sidestepped, and Hart was accidentally nailed until Hart's tag team partner Jim Neidhart entered at #4. He helped Reed and his tag team partner Hart in eliminating Santana. Santana held on to ropes until Jake Roberts entered at #5, making the save for Santana. He tossed Reed out of the ring and eliminated him in the first elimination in the Royal Rumble history. He began pounding on Hart Foundation. Santana and Roberts tried to hit a Double DDT on Hart, but Neidhart attacked both men, saving his partner. Hart hit a jumping piledriver on Santana while Harley Race entered at #6. Neidhart and Race tried to eliminate Roberts while Santana nearly tossed Hart. Jim Brunzell entered at #7 and almost eliminated Hart before Neidhart attacked Brunzell, saving Hart again. Sam Houston entered at #8 and went after Hart Foundation. They tossed Santana out of the ring to even the score 3-3.

Jim Duggan, who won the Royal Rumble match

Danny Davis entered at #9 and began attacking Houston. Race attacked Roberts through the ropes. Roberts tried to hit a DDT on Davis but Davis blocked it. Boris Zhukov entered at #10. Zhukov's The Bolsheviks tag team partner Nikolai Volkoff and Don Muraco were quarrelling over who was #11. The referees informed them that Muraco was #11 and Volkoff was #12. Zhukov was eliminated by Roberts and Brunzell. Brunzell dropkicked Hart but it had no great effect on Hart. Volkoff entered at #12 as Muraco clotheslined Race. Jim Duggan entered at #13 and received a nice reaction by the Canadian fans. All the wrestlers continued to beat each other until Ron Bass entered at #14. Volkoff prevented from Brunzell eliminating Davis. Brunzell pounded on Volkoff but was thrown out by Volkoff. B. Brian Blair entered at #15. Hillbilly Jim entered at #16 and eliminated Neidhart. Dino Bravo entered at #17. Bass had Houston on his shoulders and he threw Houston over the top rope, thus eliminating Houston in the process. The Ultimate Warrior entered at #18 as Muraco eliminated Bret Hart. Though, Hart did not win the match, he set the first Royal Rumble longevity record for being eliminated at 25:42. The One Man Gang entered at #19 and he eliminated Blair and then Roberts. The final participant entering at #20 was the Junkyard Dog. Duggan tossed Volkoff out of the ring while on the other side of the ring, the One Man Gang eliminated Hillbilly Jim and later The Ultimate Warrior. Bass surprisingly attacked the Junkyard Dog and eliminated him from behind while Muraco surprisingly clotheslined Bass over the top rope as the final four left - Muraco, Duggan, Bravo and OMG. the One Man Gang nailed Duggan with a big splash in the corner and then the One Man Gang and Bravo began double-teaming on Muraco. Muraco managed to control both men until Frenchy Martin came out and distracted Muraco. Bravo and the One Man Gang was able to eliminate him. They went to do the same on Duggan. The One Man Gang attacked him but Duggan ducked and the One Man Gang accidentally eliminated Bravo. After a brawl with One Man Gang, Duggan eliminated him to become the first-ever Royal Rumble winner.[2][3][4][5]

A two out of three falls match between The Islanders (Haku and Tama) and The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers) closed the broadcast. The first fall concluded when Roma was tossed over the top rope by Tama - the ropes were low bridged by Haku - resulting in Roma injuring his knee. Roma was unable to return to the ring and got counted-out, giving the first fall to The Islanders. Powers worked much of the second fall, with Roma ailing on the ring apron, but eventually gave way to Roma after a taking a lengthy beating. Roma reluctantly tagged himself in but became an immediate victim to a Tama splash onto his injured knee. Haku then forced Roma to submit with a half crab to win the match in two straight falls.[2][3][5]


Hulk Hogan and André the Giant battled in their WrestleMania III rematch for the WWF Championship on February 5, 1988 edition of The Main Event, where André controversially defeated Hogan for the WWF title.[12][13] André sold the title to Ted DiBiase in exchange for a large sum of money but figurehead WWF President Jack Tunney vacated the title, making André the shortest reigning WWF Champion (at the time) with a reign of 45 seconds.[14] An undisputed champion was crowned in a 14-man tournament at WrestleMania IV, where Randy Savage defeated DiBiase in the final match to become the new titleholder.[15][16][17]

This Royal Rumble set a record for the highest viewed wrestling program on cable TV at the time with an 8.2 rating.[18][19]


No. Results[2][3][5] Stipulations Times[1]
1 Ricky Steamboat defeated Rick Rude by disqualification Singles match 16:40
2 The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki) defeated The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin and Leilani Kai) (c) (with Jimmy Hart) Two-out-of-three falls match for the WWF Women's Tag Team Championship 15:21
3 Jim Duggan won by last eliminating One Man Gang 20-man Royal Rumble match [4] 33:00
4 The Islanders (Haku and Tama) defeated The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers) Two-out-of-three falls match 14:00
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match

Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations[edit]

A new entrant came out approximately every two minutes.

Draw Entrant Order Eliminated by Time[20] Eliminations
1 Bret Hart 8 Don Muraco 25:42 1
2 Tito Santana 2 Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart 10:41 0
3 Butch Reed 1 Jake Roberts 03:18 0
4 Jim Neidhart 6 Hillbilly Jim 19:06 1
5 Jake Roberts 10 One Man Gang 21:52 2
6 Harley Race 4 Don Muraco 10:03 0
7 Jim Brunzell 5 Nikolai Volkoff 12:06 1
8 Sam Houston 7 Ron Bass 14:39 0
9 Danny Davis 13 Jim Duggan 17:51 0
10 Boris Zhukov 3 Jake Roberts and Jim Brunzell 02:33 0
11 Don Muraco 17 Dino Bravo and One Man Gang 16:16 3
12 Nikolai Volkoff 11 Jim Duggan 11:40 1
13 Jim Duggan - Winner 14:44 3
14 Ron Bass 16 Don Muraco 10:14 2
15 B. Brian Blair 9 One Man Gang 05:50 0
16 Hillbilly Jim 12 05:55 1
17 Dino Bravo 18 08:12 2
18 The Ultimate Warrior 14 Dino Bravo and One Man Gang 03:51 0
19 One Man Gang 19 Jim Duggan 06:50 6
20 Junkyard Dog 15 Ron Bass 02:30 0
  • This was the first ever Royal Rumble, involving 20 wrestlers.
  • One Man Gang held the record for most eliminations in a single rumble, and most eliminations overall with six.
  • Bret Hart was the first ever entrant in a Royal Rumble match, and he held a record for longevity time lasting 25:42.


  1. ^ a b "Royal Rumble 1988". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Royal Rumble 1988 review". Complete WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Royal Rumble 1988 official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  4. ^ a b c ""Hacksaw" Jim Duggan (spot No. 13) wins the 20-Man Royal Rumble Match". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Royal Rumble 1988". The Powerdriver Review. 2008-02-12. Archived from the original on 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  6. ^ "Pat Patterson's Bio". WWE. Archived from the original on 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  7. ^ a b c "Royal Rumble Match". WWE. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  8. ^ "WWF Women's Tag Team Title History". Solie's Title Histories. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  9. ^ "Glamour Girls Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  10. ^ "Survivor Series 1987 official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  11. ^ "WWF Show Results 1988". Angelfire. Archived from the original on 2008-03-02. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  12. ^ "André the Giant's first WWE Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  13. ^ "The Main Event results - February 5, 1988". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  14. ^ "WWE World Heavyweight Championship". Complete WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  15. ^ "Randy Savage's first WWE Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  16. ^ "WrestleMania IV official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  17. ^ "Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase WWF Championship Tournament Finals". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC results". WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC results. Retrieved 2017-11-28. 
  20. ^ "Royal Rumble 1988". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 

External links[edit]