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WWF SummerSlam 1989


August 28, 1989

From the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ

Your hosts are Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Tony Schiavone

 

The Hart Foundation vs. The Brainbusters w/ Bobby Heenan

The Hart Foundation do not look very happy as they make their way to the ring. Jesse notes how the Hart Foundation are in a no-win situation as the title are not on the line. Bret takes Tully down with an armdrag and works the arm for a bit. Arn tags and Bret also works his arm then tags out as Neidhart grabs a wrist lock. Arn uses a knee smash but Neidhart yanks him back before he could make the tag as the Hart Foundation stay in control. Arn finally escapes and tags out but the Hart Foundation work over Tully. Neidhart no-sells several chops to the chest as he sends Tully into the corner. Bret tags in as Neidhart cuts off a tag attempt as Tully is grounded on the mat. The crowd starts a “weasel” chant as Tully fights out of a wrist lock and eventually grounds Bret, who bridges back up. Arn comes in as Bret takes both men over as the crowd goes nuts. Tully and Bret slug it out as Tully bails. Bret chases Tully back inside but Arn makes a blind tag and attacks Bret from behind. Bret gets his knees up on a splash then the match breaks down as the Brainbusters bail again. The match settles down as Bret stomps Tully in the midsection. Neidhart tags in and laughs before catching Tully’s crossbody attempt. Arn comes in to stop Neidhart as the match breaks down again as Arn yanks Tully away from the corner as Neidhart runs into the corner. Arn taunts Bret after stomping Neidhart as the Brainbusters cut off the ring. Arn gets shoved off after attempting a pin then goes back on the attack. Arn and Neidhart collide in an awkward spot as both men are down. Neidhart reverses a whip and Bret knees Arn in the back from the apron as Heenan is irate. Tully tags in but so does Bret as he runs wild. Bret drops an elbow from the middle rope then hits Tully with a suplex as he breaks the cover to prevent Arn from attacking. Bret and Tully collide as Arn and Neidhart fight outside. Arn hits the post as Bret slingshots Neidhart in with a shoulderblock on Tully. The crowd goes nuts then Heenan jumps up on the apron. Neidhart slams Bret onto Tully then Neidhart runs over to Heenan but that allows Arn to get up and hit Bret with a double axe handle from the top then he slides Tully away and makes the cover for the win (16:08) ***3/4.

Thoughts: Excellent opening match. Bret’s hot tag run at the end was awesome too. However, the way the match was built was that it was signed before the Brainbusters won the Tag Team Titles and they refused to give the Hart Foundation a shot at the belts with the Hart Foundation promising to beat them. This result pretty much wrote off the Hart Foundation as challengers and a win could have lead to a nice feud. I also thought the finish was a bit lame with a double axe handle putting Bret away. Anyway, one of the better opening matches in WWF PPV history and I recommend watching two of the best tag teams you’ll ever see go at it in the ring.

 

Gene Okerlund is backstage with Dusty Rhodes, who says he has not been this happy since his first date. He then taunts the Honky Tonk Man for not being able to sing or dance.

 

Honky Tonk Man w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Dusty Rhodes

Dusty struts around as the crowd is really behind him here. Honky bails after Dusty went for an elbow drop. He heads back inside where Dusty works the arm and messes around with his hair. Dusty beats on Honky in the corner after an atomic drop then works the leg. Or simply holds it up, you be the judge. Jimmy grabs Dusty’s leg so Dusty chases him around and into the ring. Honky then hits Dusty with the megaphone right in the gut as he is finally in control of the match. Jimmy rakes Dusty’s face behind the ref’s back then Honky grabs a chinlock. Dusty gets out but runs into a knee smash. Honky goes back to the chinlock after a few weak-looking strikes. Dusty gets out and hits a slam but misses an elbow drop as Honky covers for a one count before putting on another chinlock. Dusty backs Honky into the corner and hits a few thrusts. Honky fires away but Dusty starts hulking up before they trade strikes. Dusty dances around and punches but misses a charge in the corner. Honky then whips Dusty but he hits the referee as he is down. Honky asks for his guitar and holds up Dusty as Jimmy swings and accidentally hits his client and Dusty drops the elbow and gets the win (9:36) *. After the match, Sean Mooney catches up with Honky in the aisle and asks him for the name of that tune but he is speaking jibberish, selling the guitar shot.

Thoughts: The actual work in this match was garbage but man was Dusty over with the crowd. Honky took this match to chinlock city but the fans went nuts when he got nailed with the guitar. It still amazes me how Dusty got this gimmick over and its a testament to just how charismatic he was as a performer.

 

Okerlund is backstage with Demolition and King Duggan, who is sporting a Demolition mask. Duggan calls himself “King Demolition” as they rant and rave about beating their opponents, Andre the Giant & Twin Towers.

 

Mr. Perfect vs. Red Rooster

They start off with a shoving match before locking up. Perfect hits an arm drag and a hip toss. Rooster fights back with a right hand then tries for a slam but Perfect falls on top for two after a fast Irish whip sequence. Perfect connects with a standing dropkick that sends Rooster to the floor then hammers away once Rooster returns. Rooster rakes the eyes before tossing Perfect outside and he follows but loses a slugfest. Perfect then drags Rooster back in and hits the Perfect Plex for the win (3:21) *. Perfect actually got some cheers here after picking up the win.

Thoughts: This was a completely one-sided match. Perfect dominated this as Rooster was about as effective as a TV enhancement talent on the level of someone like Jim Evans as this match pretty much destroyed and shred of credibility he had left.  This match kicked off Perfect’s push so at least the match served a purpose.

 

An ad for Survivor Series airs. It will take place on November 23rd.

 

Okerlund is backstage with Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan. However, the SummerSlam sign falls down as Okerlund famously belts out “fuck it” as we cut back to the announcers to kill time as Jesse jokes about how all Okerlund does is cause trouble. Jesse was fantastic here in reacting to Okerlund’s mistake. We go back to them after about 45 seconds as Rude vows to prove the Ultimate Warrior to be the ultimate liar while proving himself as the ultimate Intercontinental Champion.

 

The Rockers & Tito Santana vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers w/ Jimmy Hart & Rick Martel w/ Slick

The fans want Tito and Martel to start this off but Jacques is in first for his team. He offers a handshake as Tito declines. The Rockers come in and take Jacques over with a double hip toss then they clear the ring as Jesse is irate over the illegal double-teaming from the Rockers. This  settles down as Jannetty beats on Jacques. Raymond provides a distraction as Jacques attacks Jannetty from behind. Raymond is in and hits a savate kick as Jannetty is in trouble. Martel floats over in the corner then shows off but Jannetty hits a dropkick then tags Tito as Martel bails. Raymond tags in as Tito works him over. Jacques grabs Tito’s foot, allowing Raymond to attack from behind as the Rougeaus double-team Tito as Slick and Jimmy Hart are enjoying themselves. Martel tags as Tito is hurting and stomps away before getting out. Jacques is in now and hits a dropkick then cuts off a tag attempt. Martel is in now but Tito fights back. Jacques yanks Tito’s hair to stop the comeback but Tito is able to catch Martel with a sunset flip for a nearfall as the fans went nuts for that nearfall. Raymond tags in and puts Tito in a Boston Crab as Jacques drops his knees behind the ref’s back. Raymond covers for a two count then Jacques locks on an abdominal stretch and gets an assist from Martel. The crowd is behind Tito, who escapes, but Martel makes a blind tag and cuts off Tito’s own tag attempt. Tito fights back then blocks a reverse rollup. Tito fights back again but Raymond pulls his hair and Jacques makes the tag. Tito gets a nearfall with a crossbody as Jesse says Tito almost pulled a win out from his “Mexican hat” with that move. The Rockers run in after having enough illegal double-teaming as the ref orders then on the apron. Raymond works a chinlock but Tito escapes. Jacques tags as Raymond holds up Tito but he accidentally hits his partner with a high knee. Tito crawls over to his corner and makes the tag to Shawn as he runs wild on Martel as the crowd goes nuts. He heads up top and connects with a fist drop then Jacques accidentally drops an elbow on his partner to break up a pin as the match breaks down. Tito takes Martel outside with a flying forearm. Jannetty grabs Hart, who was on the apron trying to distract the ref, but Jacques attacks from behind. Marty reverses a rollup but Martel comes in and decks Jannetty in the face and covers for the win (14:58) ***1/2.

Thoughts: Really fun match here. I was a bit shocked to see Tito sell for the majority of the match as you figured that was a role made for one of the Rockers. Shawn was awesome whenever he was in the ring and Rougeaus heel act was superb. I also liked how they teased only a few spots between Tito and Martel to keep their feud strong and not give away too much before a televised singles match. They can also keep the Rockers vs. Rougeaus feud going as well. This match was over with the crowd and pushed strong on TV for a midcard match so I’m glad it got a lot of time.

 

History of the Warrior/Rude feud. After that, Warrior is backstage screaming like a lunatic where he promises to regain the Intercontinental Championship then take care of Andre the Giant.

 

WWF Intercontinental Title Match: “Ravishing” Rick Rude (c) w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Ultimate Warrior

Warrior debuts the neon colors here. Warrior slowly backs Rude into the corner but Rude escapes. Rude continues to dodge Warrior, who no sells a kick to the mid-section. Warrior clotheslines Rude onto the apron after a brief reversal sequence then blocks a sunset flip and press slams Rude to the floor as the fans go mental. Warrior heads out and whacks Rude in the back with the timekeeper’s bell as Jesse is out of his mind saying this should be a disqualification. Warrior tosses Rude back outside and slams him on the mat as Jesse suggests Rude just stay there and get counted out so he can keep the title. Warrior gets a nearfall with a double axe handle then continues to target the back as Rude’s selling has been top notch. Warrior mocks Rude’s gyration after hitting an inverted atomic drop then heads up top but takes too long as Rude cuts him off. Warrior falls on the mat then Rude starts driving his forearm into Warrior’s back. He works a chinlock but Warrior starts to get up. Rude eventually knocks him back down and gets a nearfall. He tries for the Rude Awakening but Warrior pulls his hands off. Rude ducks a clothesline and jumps on Warrior’s back for a sleeper hold. Warrior eventually breaks the hold then they collide and fall into the ref as everyone is out on the mat. Heenan tries to wake up Rude, who gets up, then Heenan tells his client that he ref is out too. Warrior starts to shake as he gets up and no-sells Rude’s strikes. Warrior fires away and starts to run wild. He hits a powerslam and covers but the ref is still down. Warrior tries to wake up the ref but to no avail then hits Rude with a piledriver. The ref crawls over and covers but Rude was able to get his foot on the ropes as Heenan covers his face in a sign of relief. Warrior hits a running powerslam but Rude gets his knees up on a splash as both men are down and in pain. Rude then hits a piledriver that almost looked like a powerbomb the way Warrior was dangling in the air but that only gets two. Rude then heads up top for a flying fist drop but Warrior kicks out as the fans are going nuts due to Roddy Piper heading out to the ring. Rude hits another piledriver but Warrior is just able to kick out as Jesse is screaming at the ref for not counting fast enough. Rude starts taunting Piper, who moons him, as Rude is now irate. Warrior takes Rude off of the top with a German suplex then hits a flying shoulder before the press slam/splash combo gets the win (16:02) ***1/2. Warrior celebrates as Jesse blames Piper for Rude’s loss and goes off on Schiavone too.

Thoughts: I thought this whole segment was great. The story heading in was that Rude cheated Warrior out of the IC Title at WrestleMania V and before that attacked him during their posedown at the Royal Rumble as Rude kept taunting the Warrior about never being able to beat him with Warrior promising his fans he would win the belt back here and the finish capped off the storyline as well as you possibly can with Rude getting his comeuppance. Plus, they already had two big feuds lined up for each men so they could remain on TV in hot programs. Rude worked his ass off here and got a damn good match out of Warrior. Another match worth going out of your way to see. The commentary for this match was superb.

 

Okerlund is with Mr. Perfect, who talks about remaining perfect as we see a clip of the finish to his match. After that, Piper comes in and takes a drink while talking about driving “Voyager Three.” He then mocks Heenan and Rude over no longer having the Intercontinental Title and says he was not going to let them get away with what happened on “Prime Time Wrestling.” Ronnie Garvin comes out but Heenan is screaming and flipping out over Piper being at ringside and yells at Okerlund, who told him to settle down. Rude comes out and says he had Warrior beat but Piper ruined it as we get a clip of Piper coming out and distracting him. Heenan demands they go back in the ring and restart the match. A fun stretch of interviews here.

 

We get a video package on the Hulk Hogan vs. Zeus feud.

 

Twin Towers w/ Slick & Andre the Giant w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Demolition & King Duggan

Duggan takes off his Demolition mask to reveal the American flag painted on his face, as Jesse says its a disgrace and they should put something in the constitution to prevent that from happening again. Demolition beats on Akeem to start. Akeem chops Ax in the throat then tags out as Bossman now gets beat down by Demolition. Akeem decks Ax from the apron then Andre tags in and starts sitting down on Ax. Andre chokes out Ax, who falls outside. Bossman tags back in and headbutts Ax down. Smash tags in and runs wild as he slams both members of the Twin Towers but runs into a chop from Andre as Bossman goes back on the attack. Bossman knocks Ax off the apron but gets pulled outside as the match breaks down. Akeem heads up top and hits Smash with a splash but Duggan whacks Akeem with the 2×4 as the ref orders Andre to the apron and puts Smash on top for the win (7:26) 3/4*.

Thoughts: Not a good match. Smash slamming the Twin Towers got a good reaction at least. Andre was really broken down here and could barely do anything. Akeem sold a lot here and ate the pin too. The other six-man tag was a more impressive spectacle. This also signaled the end of the feuds involving these men.

 

Okerlund is with Ted DiBiase & Virgil. DiBiase says he will once again prove to be the greatest athlete to step into the ring and that Jimmy Snuka will be another sorry statistic who just eats coconuts while he wines and dines in luxury.

 

Howard Finkel announces Ronnie Garvin, dressed in a tuxedo, as the special ring announcer for the Hercules vs. Greg Valentine match. He runs down Valentine & Hart in the process as we get a split screen of a pissed off Valentine at Garvin’s long-winded introduction.

 

Hercules vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/ Jimmy Hart

Hercules attacks a distracted Valentine and hammers away. He hits a slam for two then Valentine bails. Hercules heads out and beats on Valentine, who catches Hercules with a knee when he tried to re-enter the ring. Hercules pushes Valentine away during a figure four attempt then hits him with a punch after Valentine jumped off of the top rope. Valentine comes back with a forearm smash after Hercules ducked his head but Hercules comes back with a suplex for two. Valentine begs for mercy but takes Hercules down and puts his feet on the ropes during a rollup and gets the win (3:06) 1/4*. However, Garvin announces Hercules as the winner then talks to the referee and rules that Hercules won by DQ. Valentine then knocks Garvin out of the ring and goes after Hercules but Garvin runs in to chase Valentine away.

Thoughts: The action in this match sucked in what was the least pushed match on the show. The crowd was dead for this and the Garvin/Valentine feud was not over at all with this crowd. Garvin’s ring introduction was quite lame and his mic skills were not exactly the best, either. This was just angle advancement for Valentine/Garvin as Hercules’ awful feud with Dino Bravo flamed out.

 

Okerlund is with Randy Savage, Sensational Sherri, and Zeus. Sherri shows us the “Cauldron of Madness” where Sherri sees Hogan flat on his back. This was campy but Zeus’ facial reactions made me laugh.

 

“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka

DiBiase tries to attack Snuka from behind but fails as Snuka fires away. DiBiase bails and regroups as Virgil distracts Snuka but he accidentally knocks Virgil off of the apron as Snuka then dumps DiBiase. Snuka rams DiBiase in the corner but gets kicked in the gut shortly after that as DiBiase takes control. Snuka catches DiBiase with a backdrop but after that gets hit with a hotshot as DiBiase is hammering away in the corner. He hits a suplex for a two count. Backbreaker gets two. He heads to the middle rope after a scoop slam but misses a falling back elbow smash then Snuka fights back. Snuka hits a flying headbutt then heads back up top for the Superfly Splash but Virgil runs up on the apron and gets chased around the ring. Snuka hammers away on Virgil but DiBiase attacks him from behind and rams him into the post before heading back inside and getting the win via countout (6:26) *1/2. After the match, Snuka attacks both men from behind. He knocks DiBiase outside then hits Virgil with the Superfly Splash.

Thoughts: The match was fine for what it was but the crowd was silent as they were waiting for the main event. DiBiase was awesome during this time period but he was just killing time until Jake Roberts came back from injury and Snuka’s return was not exactly setting the world on fire but they did protect him with this finish. The crowd did pop for the Superfly Splash though.

 

Okerlund is now with Hogan & Beefcake for one last insane promo before the actual match.

 

The Genius is in the ring to recite a poem about how Savage & Zeus would be victorious.

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage & Zeus w/ Sensational Sherri vs. Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake

Separate entrances for Beefcake & Hogan. Before the match, Hogan goes over to Finkel as Jesse implies that he is scared but it was for Finkel to introduce Elizabeth as she comes out while Savage & Sherri are going mental. Jesse calls Elizabeth a gold digger. Beefcake tosses Savage but Hogan punches Zeus to no effect. Hogan looks worried then rakes his eyes but fails to slam Zeus and gets choked out. Zeus puts Beefcake in a bearhug then does the same to Hogan. Savage comes off the top with a double axe handle as they double-team Hogan. Savage hits another double axe handle and grabs a sleeper while the crowd rallies behind Hogan, who breaks out and hammers away until getting decked by Zeus from the apron. Zeus tags and puts on another bearhug and gets Hogan down on the mat for two counts as Hogan keeps getting his shoulder up. Zeus rams Hogan into the corner and tags out as Savage spits at Beefcake to piss him off then hits a suplex for two. Savage misses a jumping attack and is caught in the ropes as Hogan finally tags out. Beefcake runs wild then catches Savage in the sleeper. Savage backs Beefcake in the corner but Beefcake still maintains the hold and drags Savage to the middle of the ring. Savage then runs Beefcake into the corner as both men are down. Zeus tags in but gets thumbed in the eye as Beefcake jumps on top of him for a sleeper. Savage then whacks Beefcake from behind with Sherri’s purse. Savage tags in and coves but Hogan breaks up the pin. Hogan breaks up another pin attempt as Jesse rants about the interference while arguing with Schiavone over what might have been in that purse. Beefcake is in and Savage tags Zeus, who chokes him on the mat. Zeus breaks and smiles at Hogan before beating on Beefcake. Savage is in now then both men end up clotheslining each other. Beefcake is up then breaks free from Savage and makes the tag as Hogan runs wild. Hogan swings at Zeus then hits Savage with a big boot. Hogan suplexes Savage back in from the apron but Sherri hooked his leg and Savage falls on top for two. Savage tags Zeus then hits a flying elbow drop but Hogan pops right up as Savage is in disbelief. Hogan knocks Savage outside and stares down Zeus as they square off with the fans going nuts. Hogan finally knocks Zeus to one knee. Hogan then gets the loaded purse and whacks Zeus, knocking him down, and hits the leg drop for the win before Sherri could break up the pin. (15:04) **3/4.

Thoughts: I thought they had a great formula for this match. Hogan selling a lot at the beginning was a bit shocking to some I suppose but even he had to show some vulnerability to sell the story heading in of Zeus not being able to feel pain. Zeus was not great in the ring by any stretch but also did not embarrass himself and was able to carry himself like a star and a monster. According to Beefcake, he said that Zeus was really choking him hard when he was on the mat. Jesse was his usual brilliant self on commentary too as he showed his disgust in Hogan winning by cheating, with Schiavone rightfully pointing out how Jesse did not believe it to be loaded when it was used earlier in the match. Also a bit odd they had Zeus take the fall, even if it was due to a loaded purse, as Hogan has now beat him and it adds less intrigue if they have a singles match.

 

Final Thoughts: This was a really good show. Sure, there was some crap but the stuff that was pushed all delivered. The blowoff to the Rude/Warrior feud was fantastic and they really amped up Rude’s new feud with Piper. It was also the start of Mr. Perfect’s push and some other really good matches here as well. I liked the Ventura/Schiavone broadcast team a lot too. I’d check this one out as its a solid show in a vacuum and even a bit better in context.

 

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Sunday: Mid-South Wrestling 6/24/82

Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/2/89

Monday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/3/89

Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/9/89

Wednesday: TBD (If PWG Mystery Vortex IV comes in the mail on time that will be it. If not, likely EVOLVE 78)

Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with George Steele

Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/10/89