WWF Royal Rumble 1989

January 15th, 1989

From the Summit in Houston, TX

Your hosts are Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon

 

Two out of Three Falls Match: Dino Bravo w/ Frenchy Martin & Fabulous Rougeau Brothers w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Hart Foundation & Hacksaw Jim Duggan

A loud “USA” chant breaks out before the match. Neidhart and Bravo start off as Gorilla brings up how at last year’s Royal Rumble, Jesse helped out Bravo in the bench press contest. Neidhart hits a clothesline then tags in Hacksaw as the crowd goes nuts. Bravo tags out as Raymond, who gets caught with a slam. Bret tags in and gets a few nearfalls then gets the best of Jacques. The match breaks down as the faces all ram the heels in the corner to the delight of the fans. Things settle down then Raymond pulls the ropes down on Bret, who crashes and burns on the outside. Bret is back inside as Dino tags and hits a side slam before tagging out as the Rougeaus hit the Rougeau Bomb to win the first fall (4:22). The second fall starts out with the heels continuing to beat on Bret. The crowd chants for USA as Jesse wants to why seeing that Bret is from Calgary. Dino cuts off a tag attempt then the Rougeaus use a reverse chinlock to neutralize Bret. Jacques now uses a Boston Crab then Bret gets out and tags but the ref did not see it and orders Neidhart back on the apron as Raymond sneaks in behind the ref’s back. The Rougeaus use an abdominal stretch now as Bret remains trapped in the opposite corner. Bret then blocks a monkey flip and hits Jacques with an inverted atomic drop then finally makes the tag as Hacksaw runs wild on everyone. He slingshots in Neidhart and Bret as they hit Raymond with splashes then drops the elbow for the pin (11:46). Duggan starts off the third fall by stomping Raymond in the corner. Bravo tags and decks Duggan as Jacques starts choking Duggan out by sitting on his neck and basically sticking his crotch in his face. The heels work over Duggan for a bit then he breaks free and tags Bret, who beats on Bravo in the corner. Bret hits a backbreaker then Raymond hits him from behind. The match breaks down again then Duggan hits Bravo in the back with his 2×4 behind the ref’s back as Bret covers and gets the win (15:42) **3/4.

Thoughts: Solid match. The fans were really hot for this one too. It was really good when Bret was in the match, especially the second fall (except for the finish which came off like a mess). He really held the match together. Luckily, they kept Duggan and Bravo on the apron for the most part and the finish continues their feud. A good match and a satisfying outcome to start off the show.

 

We get the Royal Rumble drawings. Ted DiBiase looks at the number Virgil drew then calls Slick over and asks if he was happy with the numbers his guys drew. Slick said absolutely as they both leave to further discuss. The Honky Tonk Man does not like his number, unlike the Bushwhackers who loved their numbers. Bad News Brown laughs and says its “good news for Bad News.” Jake Roberts says he just hopes Andre is still there when he gets into the ring. The Rockers draw numbers and just wish each other luck. The main thing here was the tease of DiBiase trying to buy a better number, a story that has been pushed on the TV shows leading up to this show.

 

WWF Women’s Championship Match: Rockin’ Robin (c) vs. Judy Martin

Before the match, Sensational Sherri tells both women she will challenge the winner because she is more woman than both of them put together. Martin misses a corner charge then Robin hits a dropkick as Sherri is now on commentary. I wish she wasnt on commentary here because it was horrendous. Robin eats boot on the charge but Robin fights back until Martin catches her with a slam. Martin blocks a sunset flip but Robin gets up then puts Martin in a Boston Crab and then work a pinfall reversal sequence. Martin gets two with an ugly small package then Robin takes her down with a knee lift. Martin knocks Robin down then shakes her off on a reverse rollup attempt. Martin gets two with a clothesline then ducks her head as Robin hits a DDT for two. Martin blocks a slam and hits one of her own for two then ducks her head for a backdrop and gets kicked in the face. Robin gets two with a small package then fakes Martin out before hitting a crossbody from the middle rope for the win (6:24) **1/4.

Thoughts: Not everything was smooth but it was all action here as they tried hard. Unfortunately, the crowd did not care as the WWF did not even give the women TV time to build the match outside of one “Event Center” promo by Robin. I do not once recall Martin ever speaking on WWF TV either. And the commentary for this awful, with all three people speaking over each other and barely paying attention to the match. This now leads to a Robin vs. Martel feud.

 

An ad for WrestleMania flashes on the screen. It will take place on April 2nd.

 

Sean Mooney is with Slick and the Twin Towers. He asks them about what took place with DiBiase as we get a replay of what happened earlier at the number drawing. Slick then tells Mooney to stay out of his business and that the Twin Towers are the greatest commodity in professional wrestling. Once again, they are strongly hinting that DiBiase bought a better number and did it from Slick.

 

Now, its time for the “Super Pose Down” between Rick Rude and the Ultimate Warrior. Gene Okerlund is the host. Heenan yells at Warrior and says he wants someone to be able to control him then proclaims the intelligent Houston crowd will vote for his man. The first pose is the “double bicep pose” as the crowd approves of the Warrior as he acts like a lunatic. Next, we get the best abs as Heenan squirts oil on Rude but the crowd still approves of Warrior. The third pose is the “most muscular” as the crowd still favors Warrior and his psychotic posing. The crowd is getting quieter with each pose as this segment is dragging. The final pose is a “muscular montage” as Rude does all sorts of poses. Warrior follows but Rude attacks him with a steel bar he was using to warmup between poses then chokes him out as he taunts the fans. Several officials check on Warrior, who gets up and starts cleaning house as the fans go nuts. Warrior then runs backstage as Jesse sarcastically comments how impressive it was that Warrior beat up a few referees. It set up a feud between the two but there was no reason on earth for this segment to run 15 minutes long. At least it had some heat, unlike the bench press segment with Dino Bravo from last year’s Rumble.

 

Another ad to hype WrestleMania V airs.

 

We get some prerecorded comments about the Royal Rumble match. Mr Fuji tells Demolition he feels sorry for them as they are going to be the Powers of Pain #1 victim. Gene Okerlund asks Elizabeth who she will be cheering for during the Royal Rumble match as she says it will be both of them then does not answer when Gene asks her about who she will cheer for if it comes down to the Mega Powers. Jimmy Hart puts over Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man for having great chances to win the match.

 

Jesse is now sitting on the king’s throne as he talks about there will be just one king after tonight and Bobby Heenan will be the winner since he manages both Harley Race and King Haku.

 

King Haku w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Harley Race

Haku is carried out by several jobbers then gets tipped over by Race as he beats on the King. They head inside as Race beats on Haku then hits a suplex for two. He dumps Haku but gets rammed into the post as Haku beats him down as Heenan is cheering for whoever is in control. Back inside, Harley hits a belly-to-belly suplex and drops a knee but Haku fights back with chops. Race goes up and over in the corner as he falls to the floor. Haku gets booed as he taunts the crowd then clotheslines Race back into the ring. Haku beats on Race, who fights back, then they have a headbutt battle as neither man sells pain. Race catches Haku with a clohtesline as that gets a few cheers. He follows with a piledriver as that gets two. They fight some more then Haku suplexes Race back into the ring for a two count. Race avoids an elbow drop then hits a suplex as that gets two. They head outside where Race tries a piledriver but Haku counters that with a backdrop. They battle some more until Race finally hits the piledriver but not the full effect. They head inside where Race hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Race hits a clothesline that gets two then they trade strikes as Haku wins that battle. Haku hits a slam then heads up top but misses a splash as both men are down. Race gets up first and tries a diving headbutt but that also misses. Race hits a knee lift but Haku ducks a clothesline then hits Race with a thrust kick for the win (9:03) **3/4.

Thoughts: Good match but the crowd was dead as this feud was a dud since day one. The angle with Heenan cheering for whoever was in control was okay but it would have worked better had Race won and turned on him, which was not going to be an option here. Nor should it have been. This was Race’s last match in the WWF as he left due to health issues and the end of this short-lived and heatless feud.

 

We are once again reminded that WrestleMania V will take place on April 2nd.

 

Now, we get more prerecorded comments from Royal Rumble participants. Brutus Beefcake talks about having the tools to survive. Greg Valentine talks about being around for a long time and cannot trust anyone, including Jimmy Hart and the Honky Tonk Man, as he is by himself and will win the match without any gimmicks. Fuji is with the Powers of Pain, who grunt loudly, as Fuji promises to be the big winner. Big John Studd tells us the two years of training since he has been away will pay off. He also says Heenan will not be in his corner and at the end, he will be the winner. Mr. Perfect declares 1989 the year of perfection and there is no better way to kick it off than by winning the Royal Rumble. Randy Savage tells us that millions of people around the world will be watching and that he is on top of the mountain and used to be #1.

 

Gene Okerlund is with Ted DiBiase, who sports a huge smile. DiBiase tells us he is the top star in wrestling as Okerlund wants to know what took place between Slick and himself. DiBiase says when you have his money, you can be as lucky as you want.

 

Sean Mooney is with Bobby Heenan, Brainbusters, and Andre the Giant. They played up Andre being the favorite to win.

 

Okerlund is now with Hulk Hogan, who says the Rumble will be the resurrection of Hulkamania and promises to give the Big Bossman a life-long sentence of Hulkamania. He is asked about Savage and says he loves him like a brother but if comes down to them at the end, he will show Savage who has the largest arms in the world and that to his fans, he is still the champion of the world. That’s not a great thing to say about your partner, that your own fans do not even recognize your partner as the champion.

 

30 Man Royal Rumble Match

The first to men out are Ax and Smash of Demolition, as the announcers are in shock. They both start trading punches as right off the bat they are pushing the “every man for himself” theme they’ve been beating over our heads on TV for the past month. Smash almost gets eliminated as they still duke it out. #3 is Andre the Giant as Demolition stop beating each other up to focus on Andre. They take him down with a double clothesline as the crowd goes nuts. They beat him down until Andre finally gets to his feet and shakes them off. #4 is Mr. Perfect as he takes his time getting into the ring. Perfect starts going after everyone then Smash becomes the first elimination courtesy of Andre. Ax & Mr. Perfect team up to beat on Andre, who fights them off. #5 is “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin and he joins the others as they try to take out Andre. They are fighting in the corner as Mr. Perfect and Garvin hammer away on Andre, who is sitting on Smash. Perfect then sells a punch by Andre with a twisting bump. #6 is Greg Valentine as he helps the others in trying to get rid of Andre, who manages to shove everyone away. Andre then eliminates Garvin with a hip toss in a telegraphed spot. He then chokes out Ax in the corner until Perfect grabs him by the hair. #7 is Jake Roberts as he runs right after Andre as the fans go ape s---. Andre ends up choking Jake out against the rope as Valentine’s shots have no effect. #8 is “The Outlaw” Ron Bass as he mixes it up with Mr. Perfect in his last match of importance with the company. Andre then eliminates Jake and chokes out Valentine. Bass and Ax are going at it as Andre works over both Valentine and Perfect in the corner. #9 is Shawn Michaels and he goes after Bass as the girls in attendance are screaming. Perfect then eliminates Ax and thinks he eliminated Michaels, who skinned-the-cat as they brawl. Andre beats on Bass and puts on a bearhug as #10 Bushwhacker Butch heads into the ring. However, right behind him is Jake Roberts with Damien as Andre ends up eliminating himself and flees up the aisle in fear while the crowd goes nuts.

#11 is the Honky Tonk Man as he helps Perfect & Bass beat on Butch. Bass saves Honky from being eliminated by Perfect then they have Perfect collide with Michaels. We get some more near eliminations then #12 Tito Santana heads in and goes right after Perfect. Butch almost eliminates Honky but Bass makes the save. Michaels is taking a beating but staying alive as #13 Bad News Brown heads into the ring and starts beating on Bass. Tito & Butch team up to eliminate the Honky Tonk Man as Tito then mixes it up with Valentine. Michaels takes both Bass & Bad News down with a flying fist drop but almost gets eliminated by Valentine. #14 is Marty Janentty and he goes after Bass. Michaels heads over as the Rockers eliminate Bass with a double dropkick. Santana hits Valentine with a flying forearm then tries to dump him over with assistance from Butch but that fails. #15 is Randy Savage as the building erupts. He immediately attacks Bad News while still wearing his bandana and sunglasses. Valentine attacks Savage from behind as we have eight guys in the ring. Michaels clotheslines Butch then Savage eliminates Valentine as #16 Arn Anderson heads into the ring. Michaels attacks Arn until Savage stops that then teams up with Arn to eliminate Michaels. Arn and Jannetty fight in the corner as Savage is back to attacking Bad News. Arn gets crotched on the top rope but Bad News makes the save as #17 Tully Blanchard comes in and attacks Jannetty then goes after Butch. The Brainbusters try to eliminate Jannetty, who is literally hanging on by his feet, then finally get him over as he is eliminated. #18 is Hulk Hogan and he saves Savage by going after Bad News. Hogan then eliminates Perfect before going back to beating on Bad News. Arn & Savage team up again as they eliminate Tito. Bad News tries to eliminate Hogan and gets help from Tully but Savage decides to go after Butch. Hogan is able to stave off elimination as #19 is Bushwhacker Luke. Bad News dumps Butch then the Mega Powers try to get of Bad News but Arn makes the save. Arn beats on Hogan in the corner as Bad News takes down Savage with a knee smash. Hogan launches Tully on the ropes throat-first then takes Arn down with a boot. #20 is Koko B. Ware and he dropkicks Luke. Arn heads up top but Hogan tosses him off. Luke & Koko work over Hogan in the corner but Hogan breaks free and ends up eliminating both men. The Brainbusters then beat on Hogan as Bad News beats Savage down.

#21 is the Warlord. Hogan eliminates the Brainbusters with a double clothesline then as soon as the Warlord enters after posing on the apron, Hogan eliminates him with a clothesline. Bad News tries to get of Savage but Hogan comes up from behind and tosses him out and Savage goes with him. Savage runs in and shoves Hogan from behind as things get heated. Elizabeth runs down to the ring to calm things down and they eventually hug it out. #22 comes in and its the Big Bossman. Hogan hammers away then hits a slam as the crowd goes insane. Bossman reverses an Irish whip then hits a corner splash as he takes control. Bossman piledrives Hogan then taunts the crowd to Jesse’s delight. My favorite moment on commentary is when Jesse gloats about Bossman beating Hogan 1 vs. 1, Gorilla claims that Hogan’s been out there for a half-hour as Jesse fires right back about him being in the match for about five minutes. Hogan rolls away from a splash as #23 turns out to be Akeem as Jesse talks about how a deal between Slick and DiBiase went down to make this happen. Hogan slams Akeem but Bossman attacks him as the Twin Towers are in control. Hogan escapes from elimination then hits Bossman with a back suplex but gets attacked by Akeem as the Towers then team up to eliminate Hogan. Hogan then pulls Bossman outside and hammers away as #24 Brutus Beefcake runs down and saves Hogan from Akeem. Hogan tries to go back in but the referees stop him as the Towers beat on Beefcake. Hogan then pulls the ropes down to eliminate Bossman as Jesse screams how that was illegal. Hogan and Bossman brawl as they head up the aisle with Hogan even bouncing an equipment suitcase off of the Bossman’s head. #25 is the Red Rooster as he helps Beefcake out. Akeem beats Rooster down but Beefcake makes a comeback. Rooster & Beefcake double-team Akeem for a bit until #26 The Barbarian comes down and makes the save. Barbarian then goes after Akeem but gets beat down as the announcers point out how that was a dumb move. The action slows down as the crowd is seems to be getting tired. #27 is Big John Studd as he walks down to the ring. The crowd does not react much at all. Studd goes after Akeem as Beefcake tries to eliminate Barbarian. #28 is Hercules and he beats on the Barbarian. The crowd has really died down at this point. #29 is Rick Martel and he goes after the Red Rooster but the crowd remains quiet. #30 is Ted DiBiase as he strolls down the aisle. We get a lot of slow and uninspired brawling as Gorilla is pissed over Virgil remaining at ringside as Jesse says he is not a manager but a bodyguard. DiBiase sends Rooster up-and-over the turnbuckle for an elimination then works over Hercules in the corner. Hercules comes back with a few clotheslines as DiBiase begs for mercy. Beefcake jumps on Hercules’ back for a sleeper but DiBiase ends up eliminating them both. Barbarian beats on Martel for a bit then whiffs on a clothesline as Martel eliminates him after hitting a dropkick in an ugly spot.

The final four are now Akeem, Studd, Martel, and DiBiase. Martel hits Akeem with a pair of dropkicks but gets caught trying a crossbody and gets dumped outside as we are down to three men. Studd fights off both guys for a bit until he ends up getting double-teamed. DiBiase is having Akeem do the dirty work as he stands around and watches. Akeem hits a corner splash and DiBiase wants him to try it again but this time Studd uses DiBiase as a shield then dumps Akeem as the crowd goes wild. DiBiase tries to bribe off Studd but that fails. DiBiase then lands a cheap shot and heads up top but Studd grabs him by the throat. Studd beats on DiBiase for a bit and even hits a few suplexes as DiBiase is bumping like a maniac. Studd then casually tosses DiBiase over the top rope to win the match (63:16) ***1/4. Virgil heads in and lands a few shots that Studd no-sells as he gets beaten down and eventually tossed to the floor.

Thoughts: Overall, a good match but man did this thing die down after the Hogan/Bossman brawl. Speaking of Hogan, the tension between the Mega Powers continued here as Hogan eliminated Savage when he dumped out Bad News Brown. They’ve done a fantastic job at building up the tension since Survivor Series as well as building up to a Mega Powers vs. Twin Towers match. We also saw the “every man for himself” theme play out as we saw faces and heels fighting each other and teaming up (Arn & Savage teamed up for two eliminations) and in that regard, this match was better than last year’s Rumble. The other story here was DiBiase trying and ultimately failing to buy himself a victory here. The fans dug seeing him getting his comeuppance but did not really appear to care all that much about Studd getting the win. DiBiase bumped like a maniac too as he was completely dominated by Studd as you can tell his run as a top heel is ending. Two other performances here that stood out were from Curt Hennig and Shawn Michaels. These two worked their asses off in this match and looked great. Other things to keep an eye on going forward were Beefcake saving Hogan from the Twin Towers as they aligned for the first time on screen and

 

Final Thoughts: Overall, a solid effort tonight. There were no bad matches and their top storyline is really strong. They continued other feuds such as the Jake Roberts/Andre, Rockers/Brainbusters, and Hercules/DiBiase. I’d recommend this show due to the Mega Powers/Twin Towers stuff being really hot and the action in general was good.

 

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 3/25/82

Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wresting 1/21/89

Monday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/22/89

Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Superstars of Wrestling 1/28/89

Wednesday: PWG Thirteen 7/29/16

Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD

Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/29/89