wrestling / Video Reviews

The SmarK Retro Repost – Royal Rumble 1989

July 28, 2002 | Posted by Scott Keith

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1989.

– Live from Houston, Texas.

– Your hosts are Jesse and Gorilla.

– Zen wants it noted that this is his first PPV. This is more notable,
however, because it’s the first Royal Rumble on PPV.

– Opening match, 2/3 falls: Hacksaw Duggan & The Hart Foundation v. The
Rougeau Brothers & Dino Bravo. Neidhart and Bravo do the feeling out
process until a pier-six erupts and Bret gets decked by the heels to
become face-in-peril. I think Dino Bravo does the most dramatic tag in
the history of wrestling. Rougeaus get a quick fall on Hart with La
Bombe Des Rougeaus. Hart gets the holy hell beat out of him as the
Rougeaus and Bravo run through their entire offense on the poor guy.
Jesse points out the inherant idiocy of chanting “USA” for the Canadian
Hart. No wonder he got so bitter in 1997. Harts do the false tag bit.
Bret takes more of a beating. This entire second fall is just non-stop
Bret beatdown. Hot tag to Duggan and you’d think Steve Austin just came
out from the pop. Anvil gets slingshotted (slingshotten? slungshot?)
in onto Jacques for two, and Duggan drops an elbow for three to take the
second fall. Now Duggan is Ricky Morton. Is it me, or does Jacques do
an awful lot of moves that involve rubbing his crotch into someone’s
face? I take a Dorito break. It should be noted that Cool Ranch
Doritos and Rolo candy are the only food products (outside of various
brands of iced tea) that I would ever agree to shill were I to become a
celebrity. Hart gets the hot tag, and Duggan bops Bravo with the 2×4 to
give Bret the pin. It had it’s moments. **1/2

– Ted Dibiase draws his number for the Rumble, and ends up seeking a
trade with Slick. HTM, the Bushwhackers, Bad News Brown, Jake the
Snake and the Rockers all draw as well, with varying degrees of
happiness. Today, Shawn gets 20 minute interview blocks. Back then, he
turns to Marty and says “Good luck”.

– WWF Women’s title match: Rockin’ Robin v. Judy Martin. For those who
weren’t around back then, Rockin’ Robin (Robin Smith, sister of Jake
Roberts) beat Sherri Martel to win the Women’s title and basically tank
the division. Picture Sam Houston, except even skinnier. The push was
a disaster, given the utterly dead crowd reaction to her. This match is
pretty decent by the generally crappy standards of the time, with
non-stop two counts, although myself and the crowd couldn’t give shit
one about it. Robin hits a bodypress off the second rope after a
head-fake for the pin. **3/4

– Slick responds to the accusations of tampering with the draw. These
kinds of little, non-drawn-out, character building segments are lacking
today, especially in WCW.

– Super Posedown. Today, this is the very definition of something that
goes on Nitro or RAW rather than a PPV. In this case, it’s out there to
build to the Rude-Warrior match at Wrestlemania V. Rude poses. The
crowd boos. Warrior poses. The crowd cheers. Rude poses again. The
crowd boos. Warrior poses (with Jesse actually analyzing the posing).
The crowd cheers. Rude poses. The crowd boos. Warrior poses. The
crowd cheers. Geez, why didn’t Rude just attack him during the first
pose? Rude goes through a pose medley. The crowd boos. Warrior goes
through a pose medley and (duh) Rude attacks him. Bit of a waste of 15
minutes when it could have been done on Superstars. I mean, really, who
DIDN’T see that coming? I know I bitch about the WCW Sledgehammer of
Plot a lot, but this is really a shining example of what I mean by it.
Even if it was the WWF.

– Crown match: King Haku v. Harley Race. The story: Race was King,
but got put through a table by the Orange Goblin and basically had his
career ended. This was a one-shot comeback match to “legitimize” Haku’s
claim to the crown. Haku controls with “martial arts” (which roughly
translated means “chops while screaming”) but Race wins a headbutt
battle (he’s got a loaded head, you know) and hits a piledriver for two.
Race with more 70s offense and goes for a piledriver on the floor, but
Haku backdrops out of it. They fight for a bit and then Race hits the
piledriver for real. Pretty weak one, though. Crowd is gone, not
really caring about either guy. More kneedrops and neckbreakers from
Race, but Haku fights back with “martial arts” and a headbutt off the
top, which misses. Race tries the same, and misses. Double knockout,
and Race is up first. He comes off the ropes and eats Haku’s SWEET
thrust kick finisher for the pin to retain the crown. Pretty good job
of carrying the un-carryable Haku by Race, actually. ***

– More pre-Rumble soundbites from the participants. Big John Studd
gives a horrible interview. Savage sounds pretty whacked out. The
Powers of Pain breathe heavily a lot.

– Five minute intermission.

– We’re back with last-minute words from Dibiase, who is now MUCH
happier. But there’s no shenanigans, no sir.

– The Heenan Family adds their thoughts. Andre the Giant notes that
he’ll toss the Brainbusters out if he has to. Then, in a spectacular
moment, Arn Anderson whispers something in Tully Blanchard’s ear, behind
Heenan’s back. Now who else would actually have the forethought to add
overtones of scheming against his own stable-mates without actually
having to say so?

– The Orangle Goblin spouts hot air.

– The Royal Rumble: We start with a classic moment: Ax draws #1, Smash
draws #2. Then, to reinforce the idea of the Rumble, they give a quick
look and then go to town on each other. The Demos demonstrate why they
ever fought each other, because their segment is pretty lousy. Andre
the Giant gets #3. The Demos immediately drop their hostilities and go
after Andre. Andre can handle himself, because he’s the world’s largest
athlete and all. Perfect is #4. Andre casually tosses Smash. Ax turns
on Perfect, who ends up doing a Bret-esque turnbuckle charge bump.
Ronnie Garvin is #5. Joy. Ax, Hennig and Garvin all go after Andre.
He fights them off. Hennig does the OVERSELL~! of an Andre punch, which
is a situation where it works. Valentine is #6. Guess who he goes
right after. Poor Andre. Buh-bye, Garvin. Jake is #7, and since he
was feuding with Andre, that’s who he goes after. Things settle down a
bit as everyone finds a partner and dances. Valentine works in a Flair
flop off an Andre headbutt. Ron Bass is #8. Andre tosses Jake. It
should be noted that despite the inherant tastelessness of the Ric Flair
heart attack angle, the WWF did the same thing (albeit in a more
cartoonish way) with the “Andre fears snakes” angle in 1989. Shawn
Michaels is #9, years before that meant anything. Ax gets dumped
Perfectly. Michaels and Hennig start fighting and go into a series of
overblown somersault sells and intricate ways to go over the top rope
without getting eliminated. Show-offs. Bushwhacker Butch is #10, and
Jake follows quickly with Damien, chasing Andre over the top and out of
the match prematurely in cheap fashion. Honky Tonk Man is #11. We’re
in kind of a lull here. We now have three of the most melodramatic
sellers in history in the ring at the same time. The crowd is really
getting into the elimination attempts, which just underlines the
brilliance of the Rumble concept: It’s a battle royale for people with
limited attention span, so you can concentrate on one or two battles at
a time, with fresh guys in every few minutes. You know what’s weird?
Today we remember feuds from years ago and they’re incorporated into
angles all the time, but Santana (#12) was fighting Valentine here and no
mention is made of their long-running feud in 1985. Honky gets tossed
via a double-team. Bad News Brown is #13 (how fitting) and does nothing
of note. Marty Jannetty gets #14 and the Rockers reunite to
double-dropkick Bass out. Savage is #15 to a big pop. Arn Anderson is
#16 as Valentine gets tossed by Macho. Arn and Shawn pair off. Savage
joins in…on Arn’s side. They toss Michaels. Tully Blanchard is #17.
There’s some pretty damn good workers in there right now…Bad News,
Savage, Jannetty, Anderson, Blanchard, Santana, Hennig…I guess Butch
is the exception that proves the rule. The Brainbusters double-team
Jannetty mercilessly. Hogan is #18. Open mouth, insert dick. Hennig
is the first victim of Goblin-mania. Santana gets tossed off-camera.
Luke is #19. Butch gets tossed by Bad News. Wow, look, Hulk’s selling
for Arn. Koko B.Ware is #20. Yeah, that’ll turn the tide. You’d think
Arn would learn NOT TO GO TO THE TOP ROPE after 15 years of getting
slammed off it. Especially in a battle royale. Hulk dumps Luke.
Warlord is #21 as Hogan dumps the Brainbusters at the same time.
Bastard. Warlord in, Warlord out. Savage and Bad News are fighting on
the ropes and Hogan dumps both of them. Savage freaks out. Hey, Hogan,
keep that in mind in three years when the same shit would happen to you
and YOU threw a temper tantrum. Hogan and Savage make up, only to have
a violent breakup a month later. Bossman (#22) breaks up the Megapower
love-in. Hogan and Bossman are all alone and Bossman takes over on
Hulk. Gorilla: “He’s been out there for half an hour!” Jesse: “You
idiot, he’s only been there for five minutes or so…”. Akeem is #23,
so the Twin Towers assualt poor Hogan. Hogan’s got his working boots on
tonight. The Towers continue the beatdown and unceremoniously eliminate
Hogan, to the shock of the crowd. Hogan throws a tantrum and beats up
Bossman. Brutus Beefcake is #24. The Towers beat on him, too, but
Hogan cheats and pulls Bossman out over the top rope to eliminate him.
What a role model. One thing does bother me: If Dibiase was unhappy
enough with his number to trade, that would indicate he got a low number
to start with. But Bossman ended up with 22 and Akeem got 23, so why
would Dibiase have been unhappy with either of those? Oh well, minor
point. Terry Taylor (aka The Red You-Know-What) is #25. He’s not very
effective. Barbarian is #26 as Taylor and Beefcake work over Akeem.
We’re getting into the dregs of the draw. Akeem splashes Taylor and
dances. All the girlies say he’s pretty fly for a white guy, you know.
John Studd is #27 and man is Taylor taking a shitkicking. Hercules is
#28. Geez, the crowd sure died off once Hogan and Savage left. This is
like the lost puppy section of the SPCA in terms of star power. Rick
Martel is #29, a few months before his heel turn. He goes after Akeem,
but Studd pushes him away, like everyone else who tries to go after
Akeem. Studd wants him for himself, you see. And of course, Ted
Dibiase is #30 thanks to his investment. Okay, so the final tally:
Dibiase, Akeem, Studd, Taylor, Beefcake, Hercules, Barbarian and Martel.
Oops, there goes Taylor via Dibiase. What a sad group of finalists.
Beefcake puts Hercules in a sleeper and Dibiase pushes both of them over
at once. Barbie misses a BIG BOOT OF DOOM and Martel dropkicks him out.
Final four: Martel, Dibiase, Akeem, Studd. Well, 50% don’t suck.
Akeem casually dumps Martel off a bodypress attempt. Akeem and Dibiase
double-team Studd. Well, actually, Akeem beats on Studd and Dibiase
supervises. Oops, he got caught in between. Studd knocks out the
stunned Akeem, leaving Studd and Dibiase. Studd dominates and tosses
Dibiase to win the “first” Royal Rumble. First 2/3 was super-hot, but
it died off once Hogan left. ***

The Bottom Line: Hey, wow, nothing sucked here. Seriously, this was a
surprisingly solid card (albeit completely forgettable) from top to
bottom. Okay, discount the Super Posedown. Everyone seemed to be
making an effort tonight for once. This was pretty much nearing the end
of the Golden Age, too, so it’s something of an abomination.



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Scott Keith

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