I'm going to deviate a little bit from my usual match by match format for more of an essay format because, quite frankly, to give all but one match on this card (The Royal Rumble itself obviously) its own special section would be a waste of time. Also, this show is interview heavy, and the rip on the Network (which I'm assuming is the home video rip) has a lot of weird editing choices, where one announcer will throw to the commentary team who will then throw to another announcer, which makes giving each interview its own subsection rather difficult and makes it wordier than I like to make my Network-available reviews. If it sounds like I'm ragging on the interviews, I'm not. In fact, barring the Rumble itself and another match I'll go into later , it's one of three saving graces of the entire show.
Our first undercard match is The New Foundation (Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart avec MC hammer pants and checker flag stripes) vs The Orient Express (Tanaka and Kitao) with Mr Fuji. On paper, especially when accounting for the fact that Kitao is Paul Diamond under a mask, and Owen Hart is there, you might think this is a good thing. I sure did! Owen Hart and The Bad Company in one ring. Sounds awesome right? Well at first it is. Owen wows the crowd with what seem like basic flippy moves in 2018. Jim gets in and shows off that he is in fact Superman in this match, throwing around the Orient Express. That is until The Orient Express get the heat on Owen, not once, but twice. Owen makes his own comeback more than is acceptible, and Neidhart distracts the ref inadvertently to allow acts of heelness more times than acceptable. By my approximate estimation Owen was in the ring for about 14 of the 17 minutes of the match, whereas Neidhart was in the ring for the remaining three. And to Neidhart's credit, the power/speed dynamic works, and wows the crowd. but this match was basically two handicap matches squished together. Owen's involvement saves this match from a dud.
Speaking of duds, we have two in rapid succession. The first of these is "Rowdy" Roddy Piper vs The Mountie with Jimmy Hart. Firstly, this feud's already a mess because Bret Hart dropped the title to Mountie at a house show. Bret kayfabe had a fever and tried to tough it out, which I guess he still does, because he's just not here. Which must've been upsetting if you paid to see Bret. A video package shows that proves The Mountie is an idiot which is a horrific omen for the match The match itself is also a train wreck. Mountie is made to look like the biggest doof on Earth, falling for simple tricks and just being stupid. This goes on for entirely too long, and ends in some mind boggling events. First Jimmy gets knocked off the apron by Mountie. A series of events leads to the sleeper being locked in on Mountie. Meanwhile, Jimmy is up and clearly has Mountie's taser, which, instead of interfering with it and retaining the title by DQ just lets his man take the loss. It's only here that Jimmy decides to run in with it, and takes a botched out of the ring bump and drops the taser, what a fool! Piper zaps Mountie with the taser, and the sound effect used is an incorrect answer buzzer sound, ruining any suspension of disbelief this dangerous weapon had.
We continue on the dud train, subsequently powered by my will to live, which is decreasing, with The Bushwackers with Jamison (the nerdy sidekick of Bobby Heenan on "The Bobby Heenan show") vs The Beverley's with The Genius. The story going in is that The Genius has wronged The Bushwackers in some way, and so their backup is Jamison. Jamison literally looks like ' ' if he had a body. You are an enforcer for no one sir. Anyway, the idea is that Jamison gets a minute with The Genius if his team wins. Feelings about Jamison aside, this is a perfectly understandable, simple angle. What transpires is ten minutes of comedy, the heel team winning with a top rope double axe handle, and Jamison still getting a minute with Jamison. It's made worse by the fact that all the weenie does is slap Genius on the ass, which Genius has to bump out of the ring for. This is a dud
The one saving grace on the undercard is The Natural Disasters challenging the Legion of Doom for the tag titles. The storyline is that The Legion of Doom,, normally a power team, has difficulty knocking down the Disasters, and when they do they get up right away. Even so, The LOD are unafraid, and don't back down. This and The Rumble are the only two matches with competent stories told beginning to end. It's only when LOD really lays into the Disasters do the heels force a count out, celebrate with the belts, and get run off by the LOD with chairs. This is the definition of a "meh" match, but looks like a shining diamond compared to the rest of the undercard.
I'm a positive guy, so let's start with what's good. Flair's winning promo is one of his most famous. The Royal Rumble interview montage is AMAZING (barring Bulldog, who in the grand scheme of things lands at a meh). This is a perfect example of the crazy madness of the Hulkamania era. Similarly, The LOD's promo is the best single promo of the night, typical Road Warrior madness with a great line by Hawk "You want to throw your weight around? That's okay, we'll throw our weight around too". Piper's interview post winning the IC title is also great, and does its job of hyping the Rumble. Special mention also to the home video exclusive Ric Flair promo in which he says he got a crappy number but has to win now, in order to truly be "The Real World's Champion"
Then we have what I'd call "meh". And that's basically anything involving Jimmy Hart. In his and the Mountie's promo, nothing they said meant anything because we already know The Mountie is a doofus, so why would we expect an outcome other than Piper winning. The Disasters' post mach promo, them ranting about not winning the title on a count-out, is acceptable because they are heels and meant to be idiots, plus we've already established Jimmy is one. I'd also rank The Bushwackers' interview as "meh" because even though the material was bad, their delivery of it with wide vacant eyes and erratic movements saved it from being "bad"
Speaking of the bad stuff, literally every other promo. Whether that's Piper calling Mountie and Jimmy homosexual, or the home video exclusive Hulk Hogan promo where he spouts some shit about tea sounding completely out of character in the process, or Jamison saying literally anything, there's a lot of crap to grasp on to in this category.
From the very beginning, the story of this Rumble is played brilliantly. On commentary, Bobby has been casting illusions all night to the fact that he's been too busy with commentary to see what number Flair drew. And they don't play the disadvantaged card right away, as the first two entrants are Bulldog and Dibiase. Flair is number three, and as Dibiase was eliminated quickly, this leaves him and Bulldog. This begins one of the highlights of the whole show, Bobby freaking the (censored) out for the remainder of the match and Gorilla playing the antagonist. Entries 2-14 are inconsequential because while they pose a threat to Flair, they aren't enormous names the people truly buy as someone who will take Flair out, so the center piece is just the action itself, not Flair. Flair is alone for entry 15, who is Roddy Piper. From there, huge names are just piling onto Flair, with Flair outsmarting each one and eliminating them. The only time we really break from this is Savage/Roberts, the number two feud at the time, and Hogan vs Justice, during which Hogan eliminating Sid after he has been eliminated allows Flair to win. This is one of the best Rumbles of all time, but the PPV itself could probably be started when the interview montage plays and nothing of value could be lost.
So, what do you think readers? Love my new format? Hate it? I'd love feedback!