Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are in the booth and they are taped from the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This taping took place on December 13, 1989.
Opening Contest: Brutus Beefcake beats George South via submission to a sleeper hold at 2:04:
Beefcake was rocketing up the singles ranks by 1990, catapulted into his barber gimmick after running into the ring at WrestleMania III to help Roddy Piper cut Adrian Adonis’ hair. It also helped that he was friends backstage with Hulk Hogan, with the team teaming up to defeat Randy Savage and Zeus at SummerSlam ’89 and a special pay-per-view in December 1989 called No Hold’s Barred: The Movie-The Match. South was a noted jobber in the NWA who had a reputation for making his opponents look good. This high esteem led some acts, like NWA Champion Ric Flair, to give him more than a fair share of offense in squash matches. As Beefcake pounds away, Rick Martel cuts a split screen promo about how he is not impressed by Beefcake and wants to get a “better look.”
Following the match, Beefcake uses his big shears to cut off some of South’s hair. Martel, wearing a grey trench coat that makes him look like Inspector Gadget, gets on the interview platform and runs down Beefcake’s look. Eventually, Beefcake goes after Martel, who flees without his hat and coat. As WWF officials hold Martel back, Beefcake stomps the hat and cuts the coat before putting it on and strutting.
Koko B. Ware pins Alan Martin after the Ghostbuster at 2:25:
Ware began his career in Tennessee in the late 1970s, earning a push in Jerry Jarrett’s Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) and feuding with Jerry Lawler under the name Sweet Brown Sugar. After a run in Mid-South, Ware came to the WWF and got over with younger fans due to his brief colored ring outfits and a real macaw parrot named Frankie that sat on his shoulder during promos and interviews. This was Ware’s second tour of duty with the WWF as he was fired in October after getting into a fight with WWF executive Jim Troy, who reportedly caused the fight by using racial slurs against Ware. Troy would resign shortly thereafter, and Ware was hired back. Due to his smaller stature in a land of giants, he was often used to put over other talents, but squashes like this helped him retain some credibility with fans. Before the match starts, Ware cuts a split screen promo about how he is in the best shape of his life and is ready for the Royal Rumble. Arm drags daze Martin and a dropkick and Ghostbuster (a brainbuster) finish.
Mr. Perfect (w/the Genius) defeats Mark Reagan with the Perfectplex at 1:04:
A second generation wrestler, Perfect, also known as Curt Hennig, came up through the Minnesota wrestling scene and worked for the WWF in an undercard role from 1981-1983. Where he rose to prominence, though, was in the AWA, where he won the tag team titles with Scott Hall in 1986 and went on to defeat Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA World Championship at SuperClash II in May 1987. Coming to the WWF in 1988, Perfect created an undefeated streak – still intact going into 1990 – and that put him on a collision course with Hulk Hogan, who he began feuding with in the fall of 1989 after Perfect helped the Genius defeat Hogan via count out on an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event. Reagan did well in the Memphis territories, teaming with Dutch Mantel and Rufus R. Jones in several winning efforts in 1984, but when it came to larger promotions like the WWF or Mid-South, he was just a jobber. As the match begins, Perfect hypes his winning streak in the split screen and vows to win the Royal Rumble after tossing Hogan out last. Perfect does not like that Reagan catches him with a dropkick in the early going, flattening him with a forearm smash and pinning him with a Perfectplex.
The Big Bossman (w/Slick) pins Tony Montana after the Bossman Slam in 43 seconds:
The Bossman’s gimmick of an evil corrections officer was inspired by his real-life work in that profession in Cobb County, Georgia before jumping into the wrestling business in 1985 as part of Ron Fuller’s Continental Championship Wrestling (CCW). Initially used as a jobber in Jim Crockett Promotions, it is said that booker Dusty Rhodes was impressed by his size and abilities and decided to use him in a more prominent role. He was repackaged as Big Bubba Rogers, a bodyguard of Jim Cornette, and feuded with Rhodes and Ron Garvin and later won the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) Championship from the One Man Gang. Signed by the WWF in 1988, the Bossman was quickly pushed up the card and teamed with the Gang, who was repackaged as Akeem. The two were known as the Twin Towers and their match against the Mega Powers on The Main Event II in February 1989 provided the spark for the split between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. In the spring of 1989, the Bossman found himself in a singles role and feuding with Hogan over the WWF Championship, with the two having some good cage matches, one of which aired on Saturday Night’s Main Event in May of that year. Going into 1990, the Bossman was directionless and the Twin Towers tandem was running out of steam, having failed to defeat Demolition for the tag belts the previous year. Not much is known about Montana, who makes his lone jobber appearance for the WWF in this match. The Bossman must confuse him with the Montana in Scarface as he puts a ball and chain around his foot after the match and drops the ball on the jobber’s chest.
The Bushwhackers defeat Tom Ziegler & Mike Sharpe with a double stomachbreaker when Butch pins Ziegler at 1:47:
The Bushwhackers had claim to being one of the oldest acts on the WWF’s roster by 1990, breaking into wrestling as the Kiwis for NWA New Zealand in 1966. By 1974 they migrated to Canada to work for Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling and then moved on to Don Owen’s Pacific Northwest Wrestling. While working for Owens they had rechristened the team as the Sheepherders and after some time away from each other, they reformed in 1986 and appeared in Bill Watts’ UWF promotion, winning the Tag Team Championship in March. They would also work in Puerto Rico, New Japan, and for Jim Crockett before debuting in the WWF as the Bushwhackers in December 1988. The team were booked as rowdy Australians that licked fans on the way to the ring. Although more serious elements of the fanbase hated the gimmick, it proved popular with general audiences and WWF creative team member Bruce Prichard recently said they were one of the promotion’s top merchandise sellers. The Bushwhackers spent 1989 having a long feud with the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, which continued into 1990. Sharpe was a veteran WWF enhancement act, a second generation wrestler who got his start in Canada. He joined the WWF in 1983 and got a main event push against Bob Backlund, but fell quickly down the card after that. After the Bushwhackers clear the ring moments into the match, the Bolsheviks march out and go around the squared circle before heading backstage. Since there is no interaction between the teams that is an odd booking choice. When the match resumes, the Bushwhackers knock Ziegler over with the Battering Ram and since he is not going to around as long as Sharpe, he eats the pin after the Bushwhackers deliver a double stomachbreaker.
Brother Love hosts a segment with all of the company’s heel managers: Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Sensational Sherri, Slick, and Mr. Fuji. Everyone on this stage except for Slick is in the WWE Hall of Fame today. The segment allows each of the manager’s to hype their acts for the Royal Rumble and that leads to them arguing amongst themselves.
Gene Okerlund provides The Royal Rumble Report. Dino Bravo, the Canadian Earthquake, and Jimmy Hart warn Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior to stay out of their business. The Warrior yells a lot of incoherent remarks about how Bravo will not be able to hide behind anyone in the Rumble. The Genius recites a poem about how Brutus Beefcake will meet his doom at the pay-per-view. And Hacksaw Jim Duggan hypes his match against the Big Bossman, saying that his 2×4 can counteract whatever the Bossman wants to do.
Rhythm & Blues (w/Jimmy Hart) defeat Paul Roma & Jim Gorman when Greg Valentine makes Gorman submit to the figure-four leg lock at 2:11:
Rhythm and Blues was a tag team formed in 1989 from two former Intercontinental champions – Greg Valentine and the Honky Tonk Man – since both were under the managerial tutelage of Jimmy Hart. The duo lost to the Hart Foundation at WrestleMania V and then teamed intermittently as Valentine was plugged into a singles feud with Ronnie Garvin and Honky was paired with Dusty Rhodes. Gorman did several rounds with the WWF in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a television enhancement talent. Roma was a different story, coming to the WWF in his debut year in 1984 and then enjoying some success with Jim Powers as the Young Stallions in 1987 and 1988. By 1989, though, the team had fallen to the bottom of the tag team ranks and split up off-screen. This left Roma in a preliminary role, often wrestling dark matches before pay-per-view views to warm up crowds. Garvin appears in the split screen, warning Honky that he needs a new partner because Valentine will not be around after The Royal Rumble. Roma get no shine despite being higher on the pecking order than Gorman as both are dominated by Rhythm and Blues. Valentine finishes with a suplex on Gorman and the figure-four.
Tune in next week to see Ted DiBiase, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Rick Martel, the Rockers, and the Canadian Earthquake in action! Also, the Brother Love Show will feature the Ultimate Warrior!
The Last Word: Without a feature match, this show centered around hyping The Royal Rumble and did that adequately by putting over all of the stars that were going to be wrestling. The heel managers arguing over which of their wrestlers was the best was a nice touch.
Up Next: Wrestling Challenge for January 7!