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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Royal Rumble 1989 Take Two

August 12, 2007 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Royal Rumble 1989 Take Two  

Royal Rumble 1989
by J.D. Dunn

  • January 15, 1989
  • Live from Houston, Texas.
  • Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura.

  • 2/3 Falls: Dino Bravo & The Rougeau Bros. (w/Jimmy Hart & Frenchie Martin) vs. Jim Duggan & The Hart Foundation.
    First Fall: Okay, a little xenophobia in wrestling is one thing, but when you’re picking fights with a French Canadian you have to reevaluate your tolerance just a bit. The Rougeaux are so good at the cocky-yet-cowardly heel bit I’m surprised the WWF didn’t use them as heels sooner. Bret does some really nice stuff with both Rougeaus, and you can tell Vince’s gut wanted to push him to the moon, but his conservatism just wouldn’t let it happen until he had no choice. The Rougeaux pull down the ropes, and Bret falls to the outside. That sets Le Bombe de Rougeuax at 5:25.

    Second Fall: Bret is forced to start because he was the loser of the fall, so he plays face-in-peril for most of the second fall. Raymond slams him onto Jacques’ knee. The Rougeaux work in the switcheroo, despite one having a moustache and being 3-4 inches shorter. Bret squirms toward the tag, fighting a Boston Crab all the way, but it’s a false tag as the referee is distracted by Raymond. Ah, the simplicity of tag-team formula. Finally, Jacques tries a monkeyflip, but Bret counters to an atomic drop. HOT TAG TO DUGGAN! Duggan takes on all three men and slingshots the Harts on top of Raymond. A Duggan elbowdrop finishes Raymond at 12:59.

    Third Fall: Raymond is reeling, but Duggan takes time out from solving complex mathematical equations to attack the guys on the apron. They all swarm him and take over on offense again. That goes well until Bravo proves himself to be an even bigger idiot by atomic dropping Duggan right back into his corner so Bret can get the tag. Bret dominates Bravo and gives Raymond an atomic drop. Raymond pushes Bret off the second rope, triggering a big six-man brawl. The ref gets so confused that he doesn’t see Duggan nailing Bravo with the 2×4. Bret scurries over and gets the pin at 16:55. This one was a lot of fun. Duggan and Bravo were kept out of it for the most part, leaving Bret and the Rougeaus to carry the match. ***1/4

  • Ted Dibiase doesn’t like his number, so he calls Slick over to make a deal.
  • Later, the other participants draw. The Bushwhackers swap numbers, which should be at least as illegal as what Dibiase is trying to do. Bad News Brown is happy with his number. The Rockers wish each other luck.
  • WWF Women’s Title: Rockin’ Robin vs. Judy Martin.
    Before the match, Sensational Sherri challenges the winner to a title match. This incarnation of the WWF Women’s Title was practically useless at this point and, outside of that Sherri match which went off on an episode of PrimeTime, it was never seen again until Vince shook the moths out of it and brought it back as part of the Jacqueline and Sable feud in 1998. This is about what you’d see on Raw today, only with women who are nowhere nearly as attractive. I know what you’re thinking, Feminist Frannie, but if their not much better than the former model who had a few wrestling lessons with Fit Finlay, then exactly what are they bringing to the table? Robin does hit a nice DDT and then floats over into the cover. Martin comes back with a backslide for two, but Robin fakes her out on a crossbody at the end and then delivers a real one at 6:25. They looked…competent. **

  • Sean Mooney confronts Slick about the backstage dealings with Dibiase. Slick denies he knows any Ted Dibiase before being confronted with the videotape, prompting him to work in a Homer Simpson-esque “Oh, THAT Ted Dibiase.”
  • Super Posedown: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan).
    Rude won the “Jesse the Body Award” for abdominal excellence or something, and so he felt confident enough to challenge another roided-up freak to see who had the better body. Jesse scores it for Rude (and I’d have to agree) but the fans vote for Warrior, and that’s what counts. Rude gets pissed and chokes out the Warrior with his workout bar. The best part of the whole contests was Heenan sucking up to the “humanoids,” which he never does.

  • In the back, Elizabeth diplomatically avoids the question of who she would root for if it came down to Hogan and the Macho Man. You know, I gotta think that the Macho Man would be pissed on that alone.
  • King of the Ring: Haku vs. Harley Race.
    Harley had a hand in training Haku, so this is just part of an effort to put him over as a singles star. Both guys were heels at this point, but when Race was injured Heenan decided to give Haku the meaningless “King’s” crown. Race is coming back to reclaim it. The match is okay, but really not fit for the time and place. These are two legitimate tough guys with solid wrestling skills in an era when pretty boys and gym rats were the in thing. They take it to the outside where Race gives him a piledriver on the floor! Back in, Haku goes for a diving headbutt, but Race rolls out of the way. Now, Race misses a diving headbutt. Race misses a clothesline and turns right into the thrust kick from Haku at 9:00. Race’s career was already over, and he probably shouldn’t have been in there, but he wanted to put Haku over. Haku, on the other hand, was a vastly underappreciated worker during his early singles run. It wasn’t until after he lost the crown to Jim Duggan that he started a significant downturn. Not for WWF tastes, but I really liked it. **1/2

  • Royal Rumble Match.
    Demolition’s Ax draws #1, and Demolition’s Smash is #2, leading to one of the most famous moments in Rumble history. This was the first real sign of what they could do with this type of match. Ax and Smash duke it out, and Smash nearly gets tossed. Andre the Giant is #3, presumably because he’s the only person in the world that could realistically stand up against Demolition and live to tell about it. Curt Hennig is #4. He goes after everyone. Andre tosses Smash, forcing Hennig and Ax to work together. Ax turns on Mr. Perfect and corner whips him into the best corner bump you’ll ever see this side of Bret Hart. The bumping doesn’t end there as Andre knocks Hennig for a loop off a headbutt. He’s like Wile E. Coyote on crack. Ronnie Garvin is #5. He goes right after Curt Hennig.

    Greg Valentine is #6 and joins everyone in ganging up on Andre. Andre fights them off and chases them all away. That’s a smart idea that they don’t do anymore. Instead, everyone gangs up on Viscera or the Big Show and just tosses them over. A few failed attempts would really put over how difficult it is. Jake Roberts is #7, and he goes right after Andre because they were feuding. Jake can’t even get a move in, though, because Andre catches him on the way in and chokes him down. Outlaw Ron Bass is #8. He attacks Hennig. Andre tosses Jake and goes after Valentine. Hennig tries to help Valentine out but gets sandwiched in the corner by Andre. Shawn Michaels is #9, getting the teenybopper pop. Hennig sends Ax out via backdrop. Shawn and Curt take turns teasing eliminations, which is commonplace now but had people on the edges of their seats then. Bushwhacker Butch is #10. Jake follows right behind and throws Damien in the ring. Andre is so freaked out by the snake that he jumps over the top and eliminates himself. That’s a rule that would come and go, depending on how they wanted to book the match. The ref eventually get Jake to the back as the match resumes with Hennig and Bass screwing up a doubleteam.

    Honky Tonk Man is #11 but runs right into Mr. Perfect. Hennig and Michaels get whipped into one another. Tito Santana is #12 and goes after Mr. P. Michaels takes a huge, floating backdrop. No wonder he developed back problems. Valentine and Santana renew acquaintances. Valentine and Bass hang Michaels in the tree-of-woe as Bad News Brown comes in at #13. Butch and Tito team up to eliminate Honky, drawing a big pop. Bad News picks a fight with everyone from Butch to Shawn to Ron Bass. Marty Janetty is #14, giving the Rockers an advantage. They double-dropkick Bass out. Tito hits the flying forearm on Valentine. Randy Savage is #15, and he goes ballistic on Bad News to a huge pop from the crowd. See, Bad News was saying bad things about Elizabeth and calling Savage a “jive turkey.” It’s odd because Savage was already involved in a proxy feud with Akeem and the Bossman, and things like that were rarely done in the WWF in the days of four PPVs per year.

    Arn Anderson is #16. Valentine is eliminated by Savage. Shawn and Arn go at it to continue the AWESOME Rockers/Brainbusters feud. Macho actually attacks Shawn from behind and helps Arn toss him, drawing the ire of the teenage set. Say, Savage looks mighty comfortable with those heels. Tully Blanchard is #17, and isn’t it suspicious that the Brainbusters drew consecutive numbers? The Brainbusters doubleteam Marty, including an Arn SPINEBUSTER into a Tully elbowdrop. There goes Marty. Hulk Hogan is #18. He’ll tell us what to do! He eliminates Perfect before getting jumped by the Brainbusters and Bad News. Savage suspiciously doesn’t come to his aid right away. Bushwhacker Luke is #19 just as Butch gets eliminated by Bad News. Hogan cleans house on the Brainbusters as Savage brawls with Bad News. Koko B. Ware is #20. He immediately gets tossed by Hogan. Hogan also tosses Luke.

    Warlord is #21 and takes so long getting down there that Hogan is able to eliminate both Brainbusters and get a running start before clotheslining Warlord out. Warlord gets the honor of having the shortest in-ring time ever. Savage and Bad News are fighting in the ropes, so Hogan tosses them both over. Savage blames Hogan for tossing him over and gets in his face about it. Elizabeth runs down and smoothes things over, calming Savage down long enough for the Mega-Powers to make up. The Big Bossman is #22. Savage offers to stay and throw down with Hulk, but Hogan’s all, “Nah, man. It’s just the Bossman, and I’m sure whoever comes in after him will help me out if I need it.” Akeem is #23. Bossman had actually been holding his own, even giving Hogan a piledriver. Akeem & the Bossman team up to toss Hogan out, pissing off the crowd. Hey, you know what, fuck him. If he had helped Savage instead of throwing him out, he would have had help in there. Brutus Beefcake is #24, and Hogan gives him a big lift by yanking down the ropes and eliminating the Bossman. Brutus holds his own until Red Rooster comes in at #25. Rooster and Beefcake team up against Akeem, but eliminating him is the Step 23 of the situation.

    Barbarian is #26, and while he may not have been the greatest wrestler, he certainly understands how to play his character. I hate it when normally psychotic guys suddenly develop intricate plans and alliances once they get in a match like this. Barbie just tosses Beefer and Rooster aside and goes after Akeem himself. Big John Studd gets the money position at #27, having just severed ties with Bobby Heenan. Like Barbarian, he shoves everyone else aside and goes after Akeem himself, but at least he has the size to back up his sack. Hercules is #28. Rooster tries to lend a helping hand to Studd, but Studd pushes him away like some massive, shaved grizzly bear. Rick Martel is #29, making his return from injury. He goes after Akeem, but Studd shoves him aside because the two big guys want to go at each other – much like massive Autobot Omega Supreme and his Decepticon counterpart Devastator. What? Ted Dibiase is #30, having traded up…or down. Rooster hits Dibiase with the Fivearm in a nod to their UWF days. Dibiase sends him over the top anyway. Dibiase goes after “his slave” Hercules. No, wrestling is not gay at all. Why do you ask? Herc dominates him, so Dibiase begs off. Brutus slaps a sleeper on Hercules. Guy in fishnets and a Greek god engaging in asphyxiation? I swear to you — NOT GAY! Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Dibiase sneaks up and dumps them out. Martel dropkicks Barbarian out.

    That leaves Martel, Studd, Dibiase and Akeem as your final four. Martel tries a crossbody on Akeem. I think he probably conferred with Duggan about that one. Akeem catches him and dumps him. That leaves Studd in there against Akeem and Dibiase. At first, Dibiase is content to coach Akeem on what to do, but he gets too close, and Studd is able to reach out and pull him in the way of an avalanche. Studd knocks Akeem out, leaving Studd against Dibiase. Dibiase tries to buy him off, but Studd destroys him and eliminates Virgil too, just in case there is any doubt. My personal favorite Rumble match, probably because the winner wasn’t any of the usual suspects and the alliances and turns made sense without being predictable. After this, the Rumble would be used as a political tool or to elevate someone for WrestleMania, but it lost its spontaneity. ***1/2

  • Macho Man assures us everything is okay between he and Hogan. Jesse is, rightly, skeptical.
  • The 411:  One of my favorite Rumble PPVs, probably because it was my first one and because Hogan hadn't taken over again yet. After he took the title back, the WWF descended into the more cartoonish version that people usually think of when they think of WWF wrestling. Thumbs up for Royal Rumble 1989
     
    Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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