One of the interesting things that I took away from the Royal Rumble 1988 episode was how much of an after thought the actual Rumble itself was. The primary motivations of this show were first, to harm the Bunkhouse Stampede PPV, and second, to hype Hogan/Andre II on The Main Event two weeks later. They thought so little of the actual Rumble match itself that they didn't even bother to cancel the other house show that night (a B-show in Nova Scotia, no less) so they could load the match with more names. Pat Patterson came up with the idea, and Dick Ebersol saw the potential in it, but it didn't seem like Vince really got it. Then the show did a huge rating even with the Crockett PPV at the same time and only then did Vince seem to understand that he had a pretty cool concept that could make them some money.
I did the watch-along episode for Royal Rumble 1988 last night. I was reluctant at first because the Survivor Series 87 episode was pretty awful. I am not all that big on the watch-along shows in general, since I like to listen to shows when I am doing other things and don't like to be stuck sitting watching a monitor while I listen. I understand why Conrad pretty much has to go that route with Tony on What Happened When, but I wasn't thrilled when they did it on Something To Wrestle. Hell, even Conrad said during the watch-along for Survivor Series that it was the worst show they had done since "Austin Walks Out."
I found this episode a lot more entertaining. Firstly because the entire show wasn't a watch-along, just the Rumble itself was. Secondly, they seemed to be a lot more funny and relaxed the second time around.
There was a couple of things I found surprising about this episode. Firstly, the fact that Bruce openly and freely admitted that the main reason they even had the Royal Rumble 1988 was to counter-program JCP and the Bunkhouse Stampede. Everybody knows it is true, but that is the kind of thing that in the past Bruce has tried to deny or downplay. The way he made it sound, USA wanted them to do a show, they wanted to have a televised contract signing between Hogan and Andre, and this seemed to be a great way to do that, and screw with JCP at the same time. I agree with Cox when he says the actual Rumble almost seems like an afterthought.
The second thing I found amusing upon seeing the Rumble again, was how little was made of The Ultimate Warrior. He had just barely joined the company I guess? He appears in the match, exchanges some pretty lame looking chops with some guys, and gets eliminated. He's pretty much a non-factor. You could tell that they didn't know what they had at that point.
Funny sidenote, by the way. I live in the Toronto area. This show was filmed in Hamilton, which is pretty close to Toronto (within easy driving distance.) It was shown live in the United States on the USA Network, but even though it was shot in Canada...we couldn't watch it. The USA Network wasn't available in Canada at that time. The WWF was red hot in the Toronto area (remember, 74,000 fans had gone to see "The Big Event" when Hogan fought Orndorff just a couple of years prior) so it was a bit of a slap in the face that the WWF would film a major show like that in the area but not make it available for viewing until it came out in VHS.