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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » WWE - Royal Rumble: the Complete Anthology Volume 1 1988-1992
WWE - Royal Rumble: the Complete Anthology Volume 1 1988-1992
World Wrestling Entertainment // Unrated // January 8, 2008
List Price: $59.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Crichton | posted January 1, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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Out of all of the events that the WWF/E has ever put on, the Royal Rumble is one of my favorites. Not the individual matches before the Rumble, but the Rumble itself. In case you don't know, it works like this: two men enter the ring and every two minutes thereafter, another wrestler enters the ring to join the melee. It's simple, I know, but I'm a mark for the unpredictability of not knowing which wrestler will be heading to the ring once the two minutes are up, combined with the possibility of setting up new feuds and storylines. That's not to say the writers always succeed in accomplishing these goals, but when they do, it's pretty damn cool. Anyways, this 5-disc set collects the first five Royal Rumble events, each on a separate disc, and watching them was an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

Royal Rumble 1988 - The inaugural Royal Rumble event was held on January 24, 1988 at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario. Unlike its predecessors, this wasn't broadcast as a PPV, but shown on the USA Network. Also, unlike the following Rumbles, this one involved a mere 20 wrestlers, instead of the now-standard 30.

  • "Ravishing" Rick Rude vs. Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat - I've always been a mark for Steamboat. It was great seeing him wrestle again.
  • Dino Bravo Weightlifting Challenge - Watch as Dino attempts to set a record by bench pressing 715lbs.
  • Women's Tag Team Championship - 2-Out-Of-3 Falls Match [the Glamour Girls vs. the Jumping Bomb Angels] - Once the shock of seeing women wrestlers without silicone enhancements subsided, I watched this highly enjoyable match. Though the Glamour Girls were anything but, both teams put on a damn good match and the Jumping Bomb Angels most definitely deserved to be WWF Women's Tag Team Champions.
  • Andre the Giant & Hulk Hogan History Recap
  • Hulk Hogan & Andre the Giant WrestleMania IV Contract Signing
  • Royal Rumble Match - The first-ever Royal Rumble match only featured twenty wrestlers, with the first being the "Hitman" Bret Hart (who also lasts the longest). I won't spoil the ending for you, suffice to say that 13 turns out to be a lucky number.
      • Bret Hart
      • Tito Santana
      • Butch Reed
      • Jim Neidhart
      • Jake Roberts
      • Harley Race
      • Jim Brunzell
      • Sam Houston
      • Danny Davis
      • Boris Zhukov
      • Don Muraco
      • Nikolai Volkoff
      • Jim Duggan
      • Ron Bass
      • B. Brian Blair
      • Hillbilly Jim
      • Dino Bravo
      • the Ultimate Warrior
      • One Man Gang
      • Junkyard Dog
  • Craig DeGeorge Interviews Hulk Hogan
  • 2-Out-Of-3 Falls Tag Team Match [the Islanders vs. the Young Stallions]
  • Craig DeGeorge Interviews "the Million-Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase And Andre the Giant
  • 2-Out-Of-3 Falls Tag Team Match: 2nd Fall [the Islanders vs. the Young Stallions]
  • Vince McMahon And Jesse "the Body" Ventura

Royal Rumble 1989 - The second-annual Royal Rumble took place at the Summit in Houston, Texas on January 15, 1989. It was also my most favorite of the five thanks to the commentating by Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon. Their banter was, at times, truly hilarious and entertaining. It's a shame that Gorilla is only commentating on this one. As for the rest, this is the first year that the Rumble increases from twenty to thirty wrestlers and features the debut of some of my favorites - Mr. Perfect and Andre, among them.

  • 2-Out-Of-3 Falls Match [Dino Bravo & Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan & the Hart Foundation]
  • Superstars Draw Numbers For the Rumble
  • Super Posedown "Ravishing" Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior - Wow, was this painful. In fact, this timekiller would be the equivalent of a modern-day Divas match.
  • WWE Women's Championship Match [Rockin' Robin vs. Judy Martin] - Unlike last year's women's match, I didn't enjoy this one that much. However, it's still leaps and bounds over anything the WWE offers today. The late, great "Sensational" Sherri Martel makes an in-ring appearance and then joins Gorilla and Ventura in the announce booth for some funny conversation.
  • Sean Mooney Interviews the Twin Towers With Slick
  • Gene Okerlund Interviews "Ravishing" Rick Rude And Bobby Heenan
  • Managers Talk About the Royal Rumble
  • King Haku vs. Harley Race
  • A Few Words From the Royal Rumble Participants
  • Royal Rumble Match - There were quite a few surprises during this Rumble - Hogan actually getting eliminated, Mr. Perfect breaking Bret's longevity record from last year, and the Warlord setting his own. There's also a ton of rookies taking part in this match - from the aforementioned Hulk Hogan, to Andre the Giant, Big Boss Man, the Bushwhackers and a bunch more.
      • Ax
      • Smash
      • Andre the Giant
      • Mr. Perfect
      • Ronnie Garvin
      • Greg Valentine
      • Jake Roberts
      • Ron Bass
      • Shawn Michaels
      • Butch Miller
      • the Honkey Tonk Man
      • Tito Santana
      • Bad News Brown
      • Marty Jannetty
      • Randy Savage
      • Arn Anderson
      • Tully Blanchard
      • Hulk Hogan
      • Luke Williams
      • Koko B. Ware
      • the Warlord
      • the Big Boss Man
      • Akeem
      • Brutus Beefcake
      • the Red Rooster
      • the Barbarian
      • Big John Studd
      • Hercules
      • Rick Martel
      • Ted DiBiase
  • Gene Okerlund Interviews "Macho Man" Randy Savage
  • Gorilla Monsoon And Jesse Ventura Talk About the Rumble - Watching this and listening to the PPV made me realize how much I miss Gorilla Monsoon.

Royal Rumble 1990 - The third annual Royal Rumble took place at the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida on January 21, 1990. Besides the godawful display of Ventura in mouse ears, we're also subjected to Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

  • the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. the Bushwhackers
  • Gene Okerlund Interviews "the Million-Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase And Virgil
  • the Genius vs. Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake
  • Sean Mooney Interviews the Heenan Family
  • Submission Match ["Rugged" Ronnie Garvin & Greg "the Hammer" Valentine]
  • Gene Okerlund Interviews Mr. Perfect
  • Brother Love Interviews "Sensational" Queen Sherri And Sapphire
  • Sean Mooney Interviews "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
  • Big Boss Man vs. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
  • A Few Words From the Royal Rumble Participants
  • Royal Rumble Match - "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Dusty Rhodes and a few others make their first Rumble appearance, with Ted DiBiase breaking Hennig's longevity record by lasting 45 minutes in the match.
      • Ted DiBiase
      • Koko B. Ware
      • Marty Jannetty
      • Jake Roberts
      • Randy Savage
      • Roddy Piper
      • the Warlord
      • Bret Hart
      • Bad News Brown
      • Dusty Rhodes
      • Andre the Giant
      • the Red Rooster
      • Ax
      • Haku
      • Smash
      • Akeem
      • Jimmy Snuka
      • Dino Bravo
      • Canadian Earthquake
      • Jim Neidhart
      • the Ultimate Warrior
      • Rick Martel
      • Tito Santana
      • the Honky Tonk Man
      • Hulk Hogan
      • Shawn Michaels
      • the Barbarian
      • Rick Rude
      • Hercules
      • Mr. Perfect

Royal Rumble 1991 - This fourth annual Royal Rumble took place on January 19, 1991 at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. Gorilla is back calling the play-by-play (thank God!), but Piper is no Jesse Ventura. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed their commentary. Also, Sgt. Slaughter returns to the WWE and, in the midst of the first Gulf War, becomes an Iraqi sympathizer by aligning himself with General Adnan and Col. Mustafa (aka the Iron Sheik)

  • the Rockers vs. the Orient Express
  • Sean Mooney Interviews "Macho King" Randy Savage
  • Big Boss Man vs. Barbarian
  • Sean Mooney Interviews Sgt. Slaughter
  • Gene Okerlund Interviews Ultimate Warrior
  • WWE Championship Match [Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter]
  • Koko B. Ware vs. the Mountie
  • Sean Mooney Interviews "Macho King" Randy Savage
  • Gene Okerlund Interviews Sgt. Slaughter
  • Fan Well Wishes To the Troops
  • A Few Words From the Royal Rumble Participants
  • Sean Mooney Interviews "the Million-Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase
  • Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs. "the Million-Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase & Virgil
  • Gene Okerlund Interviews Hulk Hogan
  • Royal Rumble Match - British Bulldog, the Road Warriors and the Undertaker are among the wrestlers debuting in the Rumble. Rick Martel lasts the longest, and Hogan continues his dominance by eliminating 7 wrestlers.
      • Bret Hart
      • Dino Bravo
      • Greg Valentine
      • Paul Roma
      • the Texas Tornado
      • Rick Martel
      • Saba Simba
      • Butch Miller
      • Jake Roberts
      • Hercules
      • Tito Santana
      • the Undertaker
      • Jimmy Snuka
      • Davey Boy Smith
      • Smash
      • Hawk
      • Shane Douglas
      • Randy Savage
      • Animal
      • Crush
      • Jim Duggan
      • Earthquake
      • Mr. Perfect
      • Hulk Hogan
      • Haku
      • Jim Neidhart
      • Luke Williams
      • Brian Knobbs
      • the Warlord
      • Tugboat

Royal Rumble 1992 - The final Rumble included in this anthology, the fifth annual, took place at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, New York on January 19, 1992. It was also the first one to feature Ric Flair, Sid Justice.

  • the Orient Express vs. the New Foundation
  • Alfred Hayes Recaps Bret Hart Losing the Intercontinental Championship
  • Sean Mooney Interviews the Mountie
  • Intercontinental Championship Match [the Mountie vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper]
  • Alfred Hayes Interviews Hulk Hogan
  • the Beverly Brothers vs. the Bushwackers
  • World Tag Team Championship Match [Legion Of Doom vs. the Natural Disasters]
  • Sean Mooney Interviews the Natural Disasters
  • Gene Okerlund Interviews "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
  • Sean Mooney Interviews Shawn Michaels
  • Alfred Hayes Interviews Ric Flair
  • A Few Words From the Royal Rumble Participants
  • Royal Rumble Match - Sgt. Slaughter, Virgil, Sid Justice and Ric Flair make their debut this year, while Sid comes close to Hogan's elmination feat from the previous year by eliminating six wrestlers. Also, Ric Flair sets a record by lasting an hour in the match.:
      • the British Bulldog
      • Ted DiBiase
      • Ric Flair
      • Jerry Sags
      • Haku
      • Shawn Michaels
      • Tito Santana
      • the Barbarian
      • the Texas Tornado
      • Repo Man
      • Greg Valentine
      • Nikolai Volkoff
      • the Big Boss Man
      • Hercules
      • Roddy Piper
      • Jake Roberts
      • Jim Duggan
      • Irwin R. Schyster
      • Jimmy Snuka
      • the Undertaker
      • Randy Savage
      • the Berzerker
      • Virgil
      • Col. Mustafa
      • Rick Martel
      • Hulk Hogan
      • Skinner
      • Sgt. Slaughter
      • Sid Justice
      • the Warlord
  • --- ----- Is Awarded the WWE Championship
  • Royal Rumble Highlights

Video: The picture quality for WWE Royal Rumble: the Complete Anthology Volume 1 1988-1992 varied slightly from year to year, but there were no issues present that would make this set unwatchable. However, if I had one gripe, it would be the lack of instant replay, the prehistoric chyron, etc, but those were technical issues of the time, rather than an oversight on the WWE's part. Each Royal Rumble is presented in the WWE's standard full frame 1.33:1 ratio.

Audio:
Each Rumble states that the sound is Dolby Digital 5.1, but it may as well have been 2.0. Not that a wide aural spectrum of sound was required, but there wasn't much separation. Also, for some reason, Jesse and Gorilla's commentary during Royal Rumble 1988 sounded as if it were coming solely out of my front left and center channels.



Conclusion:
As a fan of both, the Royal Rumble "concept" and the early WWF days, I enjoyed this blast from the past. While WWE Royal Rumble: the Complete Anthology Volume 1 1988-1992 might not feature all of my favorite wrestlers that I used to watch during the WWF's hayday, I was still familiar with almost ¾ of the rosters. And those I may not have been that familiar with, such as the Jumping Bomb Angels, were pretty darn impressive. Long-time fans are sure to get a kick out of this five-disc set which documents one of the best PPVs the WWE offers. Nostalgia aside, WWE Royal Rumble: the Complete Anthology Volume 1 1988-1992 will definitely accent any WWE fan's collection - making it a Highly Recommended set.

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