WWE – Royal Rumble: The Complete Anthology Volume 1 (1988-1992) – DVD Review

World Wrestling Entertainment / 1988-1992 / 806 Minutes / Unrated
Street Date: November 27, 2007
List Price: $59.95 [Buy it at Amazon.com]

The Anthology:

Of all the specialty matches dreamed up over the years the “Royal Rumble” may just be the very best. The match itself is pretty straightforward. Two men enter the ring and every two minutes another wrestler joins in on the action. The object is to throw your opponents over the top rope and have their feet touch the floor. Last man remaining wins. The concept, while it is simple, provides much more drama than traditional battle royales. It’s more unpredictable; not knowing who will come out from behind the curtain every two minutes adds to the allure of the Royal Rumble. Thanks to Pat Patterson, who is credited with coming up with the match concept, we also get to see old feuds rekindled and new feuds develop. Earlier in 2007, World Wrestling Entertainment released a 20-disc anthology to commemorate the twenty-year anniversary of the Royal Rumble event. Now the company has released four separate volumes as a means to help promote the 2008 pay-per-view. This five-disc anthology collects the first five events (1988-1992) and allows us to see our favorite stars from yesteryear.

One of WWE’s “Big Four” PPV attractions – the other three being WrestleMania, SummerSlam and the Survivor Series – the Royal Rumble was at first an event fit for television. The inaugural Rumble was held on January 24, 1988 in Hamilton, Ontario. With the layout of the event, you could tell that this was a test run to see how fans would react. Shown on the USA Network, the Rumble itself only had 20 participants. Next year it would be increased to 30, a number that is still the standard to this day. Also, the rumble was not the main event. That honor goes to a two-out-of-three-falls match involving The Islanders and The Young Stallions. (Just a random factoid to impress people.)

Royal Rumble 1988

· “Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Sadly, my wrestling watching days didn’t start until the early nineties. And here I thought Rude and Steamboat as rivals in WCW was an original idea.
· Dino Bravo Weightlifting Challenge – Can Dino set the bench press record of 715 lbs., or will he need some “Body” to help him?
· Women’s Tag Team Championship: The Glamour Girls vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels in a two-out-of-three-falls match. Yes, this was when females weren’t referred to as divas or augmented with the help of silicone; they were competitors. These four gals go 15 minutes and surprisingly had the most entertaining non-Rumble match on the card.
· Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan History Recap
· Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant WrestleMania IV Contract Signing
· Royal Rumble Match – Pat Patterson’s brainchild sees twenty men compete in this over-the-top-rope rumble. In an interesting scenario, the first two competitors would hold the Intercontinental Championship a title Patterson was first awarded in 1979. Bret the “Hitman” Hart and Tito Santana start things off, and the “Hitman” would go on to set the longevity record for the first Rumble.
· Craig DeGeorge interviews Hulk Hogan
· Two-out-of-Three-Falls Match: The Islanders vs. The Young Stallions
· Craig DeGeorge interviews “Million-Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase and Andre The Giant
· Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Royal Rumble 1989

The second annual Royal Rumble happened to take place in my own hometown of Houston, Texas on January 15, 1989. Emanating from The Summit, here we get great tag team commentary by Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon. Ventura as the color man and Gorilla doing the play-by-play, it was a match made in heaven. Whenever I think of “Feel the electricity, you could cut it with a knife,” I think of Monsoon. This year the Rumble expands from 20 to 30 participants. Making their first appearances in the rumble include stars like Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

· Two-out-of-three 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 – This could easily stop a person’s narcolepsy; just a waste of time.
· Women’s Championship Match: Rockin’ Robin vs. Judy Martin
· Sean Mooney interviews with Twin Towers with Slick – Who doesn’t love Slick, honestly?
· Gene Okerlund interviews “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
· Managers talk about the Royal Rumble
· King Haku vs. Harley Race
· A few words from the Royal Rumble participants
· Royal Rumble Match – Considering that for the first rumble everyone was a rookie participant, here we get 26 new competitors. The great thing about the Rumble is we get to see how much the roster has changed within the span of a year. Besides the above-mentioned superstars, we get tag team legends Demolition, the Brainbusters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard), as well as the “Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Henning, and some guy named Shawn Michaels. We also get to see a Herculean feat for eliminations, a record that would last until the mid-90s.
· Gene Okerlund interviews “Macho Man” Randy Savage
· Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura talk about the Rumble

Royal Rumble 1990

The third Rumble transpired on January 21, 1990 at the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida. Judging from the opening I could have sworn this was a WCW PPV from 1992/1993. Jesse Ventura and Tony Schiavone calling the action, “Wow! Now that’s gonna put some asses in the seats!”

· The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. The Bushwhackers
· Gene Okerlund interviews “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 vs. 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 – Rude Rude and the “Rowdy” one are but a few of the new faces of the Rumble. Ted DiBiase’s performance is what starts the trend of “true” iron men of the Rumble as he obliterates Mr. Perfect’s longevity record from the previous year. We also get a preview of the “Battle of the Immortals” as Hogan and the Warrior square off.

Royal Rumble 1991

Sayonara Schiavone, it’s time to bring back the Gorilla. Monsoon is back at the fourth Rumble, which emanates from the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. Joining Gorilla is Roddy Piper. In what has to be considered a surprise upset, Sgt. Slaughter defeats the Ultimate Warrior for heavyweight gold – a title Warrior had held since WrestleMania VI. Sgt. Slaughter’s character was that of an American turncoat who becomes an Iraqi sympathizer when he aligns himself with General Adnan and Col Mustafa (the Iron Sheik). In the midst of the first Gulf War, a character like Slaughter pushed the envelope, and in many ways he can be seen as a precursor to WWE stretching the limits when it comes to storylines.

· The Rockers vs. The Orient Express – this match is definitely in the top 10 as far as PPV openers go. Back when tag team wrestling was firing on all cylinders, The Rockers had great feuds with The Hart Foundation and The Brainbusters. This match against The Orient Express was probably the best they ever had against one another.
· 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 “Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
· Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs. “Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase & Virgil
· Gene Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan
· Royal Rumble Match – except for the Survivor Series and its traditional five-on-five or four-on-four elimination tag matches, no other PPV does a better job at showing how a roster can change from one year to the next. Here we get new Rumble contestants like the Road Warriors, the British Bulldog, Kerry Von Erich as the “Texas Tornado,” and a pre-“Dean Douglas” Shane Douglas.

Royal Rumble 1992

The last Rumble included in this anthology is also the measuring stick to which all other Rumbles aspire to be. The thousands in attendance at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, New York witnessed history. This match would crown a new heavyweight champion. Because a title match between Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker at the special “Tuesday in Texas” PPV in San Antonio ended in controversy, the title was declared vacant. Instead of a tournament, the Royal Rumble would be the match to crown a new champion.

· The Orient Express vs. The New Foundation
· Alfred Hayes recaps Bret “Hit Man” Hart losing the Intercontinental Championship
· Sean Mooney interviews The Mountie
· Intercontinental Championship: 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 – A pre-“Psycho Sid” Sid Justice is this year’s elimination monster tossing six. But it would be Ric Flair who proved he could go all-night long as he is this year’s iron man.
· Royal Rumble highlights

A/V Quality Control:

Reliving these Rumbles again, the picture quality varies from year to year. With technological advances when it came to live PPVs – multiple cameras, instant replay, the Titantron – WWE really shows its age in the early part of this anthology. Still, all Rumbles look good and don’t have any hiccups in the picture department. All events are presented in their standard full frame ratio.

The DVD packaging indicates that the Dolby Digital soundtracks contain up to 5.1 channels of audio. Taking the discs for a spin, sounds more like 2.0. Royal Rumble 1988 is a little tinny, maybe because the audio was broadcast quality. Considering the age, I didn’t expect much improvement in the audio department. Sounds as good then as it does now.

Special Features:

No new special features have been included.

The Inside Pulse:

As a fan of the Royal Rumble match, watching the first five again is a reminder of how much the roster can change from one year to the next. The same goes for tag team wrestling. For the 1992 event there were three tag team matches on the card. Now you’d be hard pressed to find a single tag team match on TV or PPV. This is still a great nostalgia trip, though. Those who are old enough to remember Vince McMahon’s promotion as a “federation” are sure to enjoy this first volume of a four-volume anthology celebrating one of the greatest concept matches of all time! Big recommendation.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for WWE Royal Rumble The Complete Anthology Volume I: 1988 – 1992
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE EVENT

7.5
THE VIDEO

7.5
THE AUDIO

7.5
THE EXTRAS

0
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)


WWE – Royal Rumble: The Complete Anthology Volume 1 (1988-1992) – DVD Review

World Wrestling Entertainment / 1988-1992 / 806 Minutes / Unrated
Street Date: November 27, 2007
List Price: $59.95 [Buy it at Amazon.com]

The Anthology:

Of all the specialty matches dreamed up over the years the “Royal Rumble” may just be the very best. The match itself is pretty straightforward. Two men enter the ring and every two minutes another wrestler joins in on the action. The object is to throw your opponents over the top rope and have their feet touch the floor. Last man remaining wins. The concept, while it is simple, provides much more drama than traditional battle royales. It’s more unpredictable; not knowing who will come out from behind the curtain every two minutes adds to the allure of the Royal Rumble. Thanks to Pat Patterson, who is credited with coming up with the match concept, we also get to see old feuds rekindled and new feuds develop. Earlier in 2007, World Wrestling Entertainment released a 20-disc anthology to commemorate the twenty-year anniversary of the Royal Rumble event. Now the company has released four separate volumes as a means to help promote the 2008 pay-per-view. This five-disc anthology collects the first five events (1988-1992) and allows us to see our favorite stars from yesteryear.

One of WWE’s “Big Four” PPV attractions – the other three being WrestleMania, SummerSlam and the Survivor Series – the Royal Rumble was at first an event fit for television. The inaugural Rumble was held on January 24, 1988 in Hamilton, Ontario. With the layout of the event, you could tell that this was a test run to see how fans would react. Shown on the USA Network, the Rumble itself only had 20 participants. Next year it would be increased to 30, a number that is still the standard to this day. Also, the rumble was not the main event. That honor goes to a two-out-of-three-falls match involving The Islanders and The Young Stallions. (Just a random factoid to impress people.)

Royal Rumble 1988

· “Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Sadly, my wrestling watching days didn’t start until the early nineties. And here I thought Rude and Steamboat as rivals in WCW was an original idea.
· Dino Bravo Weightlifting Challenge – Can Dino set the bench press record of 715 lbs., or will he need some “Body” to help him?
· Women’s Tag Team Championship: The Glamour Girls vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels in a two-out-of-three-falls match. Yes, this was when females weren’t referred to as divas or augmented with the help of silicone; they were competitors. These four gals go 15 minutes and surprisingly had the most entertaining non-Rumble match on the card.
· Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan History Recap
· Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant WrestleMania IV Contract Signing
· Royal Rumble Match – Pat Patterson’s brainchild sees twenty men compete in this over-the-top-rope rumble. In an interesting scenario, the first two competitors would hold the Intercontinental Championship a title Patterson was first awarded in 1979. Bret the “Hitman” Hart and Tito Santana start things off, and the “Hitman” would go on to set the longevity record for the first Rumble.
· Craig DeGeorge interviews Hulk Hogan
· Two-out-of-Three-Falls Match: The Islanders vs. The Young Stallions
· Craig DeGeorge interviews “Million-Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase and Andre The Giant
· Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Royal Rumble 1989

The second annual Royal Rumble happened to take place in my own hometown of Houston, Texas on January 15, 1989. Emanating from The Summit, here we get great tag team commentary by Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon. Ventura as the color man and Gorilla doing the play-by-play, it was a match made in heaven. Whenever I think of “Feel the electricity, you could cut it with a knife,” I think of Monsoon. This year the Rumble expands from 20 to 30 participants. Making their first appearances in the rumble include stars like Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

· Two-out-of-three 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 – This could easily stop a person’s narcolepsy; just a waste of time.
· Women’s Championship Match: Rockin’ Robin vs. Judy Martin
· Sean Mooney interviews with Twin Towers with Slick – Who doesn’t love Slick, honestly?
· Gene Okerlund interviews “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
· Managers talk about the Royal Rumble
· King Haku vs. Harley Race
· A few words from the Royal Rumble participants
· Royal Rumble Match – Considering that for the first rumble everyone was a rookie participant, here we get 26 new competitors. The great thing about the Rumble is we get to see how much the roster has changed within the span of a year. Besides the above-mentioned superstars, we get tag team legends Demolition, the Brainbusters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard), as well as the “Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Henning, and some guy named Shawn Michaels. We also get to see a Herculean feat for eliminations, a record that would last until the mid-90s.
· Gene Okerlund interviews “Macho Man” Randy Savage
· Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura talk about the Rumble

Royal Rumble 1990

The third Rumble transpired on January 21, 1990 at the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida. Judging from the opening I could have sworn this was a WCW PPV from 1992/1993. Jesse Ventura and Tony Schiavone calling the action, “Wow! Now that’s gonna put some asses in the seats!”

· The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. The Bushwhackers
· Gene Okerlund interviews “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 vs. 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 – Rude Rude and the “Rowdy” one are but a few of the new faces of the Rumble. Ted DiBiase’s performance is what starts the trend of “true” iron men of the Rumble as he obliterates Mr. Perfect’s longevity record from the previous year. We also get a preview of the “Battle of the Immortals” as Hogan and the Warrior square off.

Royal Rumble 1991

Sayonara Schiavone, it’s time to bring back the Gorilla. Monsoon is back at the fourth Rumble, which emanates from the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. Joining Gorilla is Roddy Piper. In what has to be considered a surprise upset, Sgt. Slaughter defeats the Ultimate Warrior for heavyweight gold – a title Warrior had held since WrestleMania VI. Sgt. Slaughter’s character was that of an American turncoat who becomes an Iraqi sympathizer when he aligns himself with General Adnan and Col Mustafa (the Iron Sheik). In the midst of the first Gulf War, a character like Slaughter pushed the envelope, and in many ways he can be seen as a precursor to WWE stretching the limits when it comes to storylines.

· The Rockers vs. The Orient Express – this match is definitely in the top 10 as far as PPV openers go. Back when tag team wrestling was firing on all cylinders, The Rockers had great feuds with The Hart Foundation and The Brainbusters. This match against The Orient Express was probably the best they ever had against one another.
· 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 “Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
· Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs. “Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase & Virgil
· Gene Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan
· Royal Rumble Match – except for the Survivor Series and its traditional five-on-five or four-on-four elimination tag matches, no other PPV does a better job at showing how a roster can change from one year to the next. Here we get new Rumble contestants like the Road Warriors, the British Bulldog, Kerry Von Erich as the “Texas Tornado,” and a pre-“Dean Douglas” Shane Douglas.

Royal Rumble 1992

The last Rumble included in this anthology is also the measuring stick to which all other Rumbles aspire to be. The thousands in attendance at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, New York witnessed history. This match would crown a new heavyweight champion. Because a title match between Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker at the special “Tuesday in Texas” PPV in San Antonio ended in controversy, the title was declared vacant. Instead of a tournament, the Royal Rumble would be the match to crown a new champion.

· The Orient Express vs. The New Foundation
· Alfred Hayes recaps Bret “Hit Man” Hart losing the Intercontinental Championship
· Sean Mooney interviews The Mountie
· Intercontinental Championship: 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 – A pre-“Psycho Sid” Sid Justice is this year’s elimination monster tossing six. But it would be Ric Flair who proved he could go all-night long as he is this year’s iron man.
· Royal Rumble highlights

A/V Quality Control:

Reliving these Rumbles again, the picture quality varies from year to year. With technological advances when it came to live PPVs – multiple cameras, instant replay, the Titantron – WWE really shows its age in the early part of this anthology. Still, all Rumbles look good and don’t have any hiccups in the picture department. All events are presented in their standard full frame ratio.

The DVD packaging indicates that the Dolby Digital soundtracks contain up to 5.1 channels of audio. Taking the discs for a spin, sounds more like 2.0. Royal Rumble 1988 is a little tinny, maybe because the audio was broadcast quality. Considering the age, I didn’t expect much improvement in the audio department. Sounds as good then as it does now.

Special Features:

No new special features have been included.

The Inside Pulse:

As a fan of the Royal Rumble match, watching the first five again is a reminder of how much the roster can change from one year to the next. The same goes for tag team wrestling. For the 1992 event there were three tag team matches on the card. Now you’d be hard pressed to find a single tag team match on TV or PPV. This is still a great nostalgia trip, though. Those who are old enough to remember Vince McMahon’s promotion as a “federation” are sure to enjoy this first volume of a four-volume anthology celebrating one of the greatest concept matches of all time! Big recommendation.







The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for WWE Royal Rumble The Complete Anthology Volume I: 1988 – 1992
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE EVENT
7.5
THE VIDEO
7.5
THE AUDIO
7.5
THE EXTRAS
0
REPLAY VALUE
8
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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