Reviewing The Rumbles: 1990
It’s the 90’s! The Royal Rumble is entering the decade of flannel everything, baggy pants, and everything from soda pop to professional wrestling trying to be extreme. With two Rumbles down, WWF was really finding their footing with their annual elimination match. But after the first two, something was missing. What could it have been…
1990: The Hogan
1. Ted Dibiase (given #1 as a punishment for his buying #30 the year before)
2. Koko B. Ware
3. Marty Janetty
4. Jake Roberts
5. Macho King Randy Savage
6. Roddy Piper
7. The Warlord
8. Bret Hart
9. Bad News Brown (AGAIN heralded as the guy who is MADE for Royal Rumble matches)
10. Dusty Rhodes
11. Andre The Giant
12. Red Rooster
15. Smash (Lazy booking means that two entire tag teams who are feuding draw their numbers within 5 spots, from Andre to Smash)
17. Jimmy Snuka
18. Dino Bravo
19. Earthquake (CANADIAN Earthquake. Different from that other wrestler, UNITED STATES Earthquake)
20. Jim Neidhart
21. The Ultimate Warrior
22. Rick Martel
23. Tito Santana (STILL not… oh, forget it)
24. The Honky Tonk Man
25. Hulk Hogan
26. Shawn Michaels
27. The Barbarian
28. Rick Rude
30 Mr. Perfect (with the PERFECT draw, of course)
4. Hercules (elim by Rick Rude)
3. Rick Rude (elim by Hogan with Perfect accidentally holding the top rope down)
2. Mr. Perfect
WINNER: Hulk Hogan (THAT’S what they were missing! They’ve had TWO of these things and Hulk hasn’t won yet? Better fix that!)
-First off… god damn! Tony Schiavone doing commentary on a WWE match? Yeah, that’ll put butts in the seats. I had actually forgotten he was ever in WWE.
-Jesse Ventura has some astute commentary on why #1 is a slightly advantageous draw over #2. Because DiBiase got the #1 spot, he was in the ring first so he got to assault Koko as he entered through the ropes. It was a good point, and one I’d never really considered. (Oh yeah… this is commentary team #3 in three years: Schiavone/Ventura)
-Dibiase starts out like a house of fire, and eliminates Koko before Janetty hits the ring, and then he takes out Janetty before Jake’s number is up. After embarrassingly losing in 1989 after buying the last spot, Ted goes on a tear from the #1 spot here with the match’s big Iron Man run. I didn’t note whereabouts in the match Ted was eliminated, but when he was tossed, the guy in the ring with the second-longest tenure at that point was Haku (#14).
-In a reversal of how most Rumbles work, there is a lot of star power early. For a while, the only fours guys in the ring are Ted, Jake, Savage, and Piper. Those are some heavy hitters for the first 12 minutes of a Rumble. Especially without any filler crowding around them.
-Savage and Dibiase are basically partners here, but in more than a “heels stick together” kind of mentality. The entire time they’re both in the ring, they are constantly working together and directing each other. Dibiase and Savage. Two guys that feuded over the title less than two years before this match. And we thought continuity was bad in the modern era!
-Oddly enough, when Andre comes out, the guys already in the match basically IGNORE HIM. There is no big “come to Jesus, converge on Andre” moment. In a sobering thought, I’m reminded that this is 1990. Andre looked pretty bad out there, but he’d also be dead within three years. When you think of it like that, I guess it’s good to just see him out there and still giving whatever he has left for the fans.
-Piper eliminates Bad News Brown in short order, and then BNB revenge-elims him. They brawl angrily back to the curtain and OH GOD is this the start that awful “Half-blackface” thing Piper did? Oy.
-So DUSTY RHODES of all people does a little “Hulk Up” when getting attacked by Haku? Who in the fucking universe decided that DUSTY RHODES should have a superface “Hulk Up” gimmick? Did he always do that? I remember very little of Rhodes’ matches from my childhood.
-I don’t know why I got such a kick out of it, but at one point, Bret Hart tries to Goozle Andre. It looks like a kitten trying to choke out a grown man. Not exactly excellent execution is what I’m getting at.
-I’m really missing Danny Davis’ pants at this point, actually.
-One of the biggest pops of the match is definitely for Demolition when they’re both in the ring and pitch Andre.
-Earthquake hits the ring at #19, and BY GOD… was he always that tall? I knew he was a big guy, but he is dwarfing most of the guys in the ring. I honestly never recalled him being so large. Hey, remember that WWF arcade game? WrestleFest or whatever? Earthquake was tits in that game, and it’s one of the reasons he was one of my first ever favorite wrestlers. That’s all it takes, really; just help 9 year old me win at video games, and I’ll love you forever. Good memories. Anyway, Earthquake becomes the first guy in Rumble history that really requires an armada to get out, as 5 or 6 guys finally swarm him and power him over the top.
-Around #19 or #20–and I don’t know if this is just me or what–but it seems like the delay between new superstars starts shrinking drastically. I swear that barely a minute passes between entrances at around this point. I should keep a stop watch handy for future Rumbles…
-This year in The Adventures of Jerk Hogan: Not very long at all after Warrior SAVES Hogan from elimination when two heels (Barbarian and Rick Rude) have the Hulkster half-over, Hogan sees Warrior in the same situation, and uses the opportunity to toss Warrior (the funny things is that he DOESN’T EVEN GET RUDE OR BARBARIAN IN THE PROCESS. He JUST tosses Warrior). I’m starting to think Hogan was ALWAYS supposed to be a heel, because he was clearly booked as such.
-The final two are Mr. Perfect and Hulk Hogan, and Perfect decides to use a Perfect-Plex in a Royal Rumble because… you know. Not perfect decision-making, that. It doesn’t even have time to be a bad decision because Hulk no-sells it, Hulks Up, and effortlessly tosses him for his first Royal Rumble win.
1. 1989 (5/10 because I’m never letting go of Hulk Hogan vs Bushwhacker Luke)
2. 1990 (4/10)
3. 1988 (2/10)