Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are in the studio to spar with each other before they toss the broadcast over to new matches. Tonight’s feature match comes from Chattanooga, Tennessee and was taped on January 3.
Heenan is upset that he cannot have the guests he wants on the program whereas Monsoon was able to bring Arnold Skaaland on last week’s show. Monsoon tells Heenan that he had better not abscond with the yellow Royal Rumble hats on the broadcast desk.
Opening Contest: Jim Neidhart pins Mike Davis with the Anvil Flattener at 4:24:
As noted previously, the WWF was experimenting with putting the Hart Foundation in singles roles and on the house show circuit this month Bret has been wrestling Bad News Brown while Neidhart has been booked against the Genius. Davis started his career in 1977 in Florida. He worked some tours for Japan in the 1980s before forming the Rock n’ Roll RPMs with Tommy Lane, with the duo winning the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship in Memphis. The team also appeared on the AWA’s SuperClash III pay-per-view in 1988, teaming with Cactus Jack in a losing six-man tag effort against Hector, Chavo, and Mando Guerrero. If the WWF was serious about pushing Neidhart he would have rolled in this match in less than two minutes, but Davis holds his own for about half the match. Neidhart finally plants his opponent with a few slams and then finishes with the Anvil Flattener (a powerslam).
Heenan would rather not talk about a Royal Rumble scenario of Andre the Giant and Haku being the last two men in the ring.
In the WWF Update segment, several promos for The Royal Rumble air. The Fabulous Rougeaus claim that the Bushwhackers will “fumble at the Rumble,” while the Bushwhackers promise to end the Rougeaus once and for all. The Genius says that he will end Brutus Beefcake’s dreams and Greg Valentine puts over his figure-four expertise as an advantage in his submission match with Ronnie Garvin.
Monsoon and Heenan rip Viewer’s Choice for not carrying The Royal Rumble before Heenan says Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, and Andre the Giant have the biggest targets on their back in the Rumble match. He theorizes that if Andre grabs the ropes with his arms and goes down to his knees that no one will be able to eliminate him.
Rick Martel’s squash match from WWF Superstars airs.
Monsoon and Heenan argue over whether Martel’s old trench coat belongs to Brutus Beefcake or not.
The Bushwhackers (1-0) defeat Mike Sharpe & Bob Burroughs when Butch pins Burroughs after a double stomachbreaker at 9:02:
It takes two minutes for the match to get going as the Bushwhackers choose to lick each other and pose for the crowd rather than lock up. The jobbers drag things out on their end by taking powders when the Bushwhackers flatten them in turn with double clotheslines. The match lasts a ridiculous amount of time and is disjointed because Burroughs gets beaten on for a while, Sharpe gets some token offense, and there is a hot tag segment. Burroughs throws terrible punches in his own right and fails to position himself correctly for the Battering Ram, so the move looks terrible. After nine minutes this finally ends.
Heenan says that Greg Valentine will make Ronne Garvin quit so loudly at The Royal Rumble that people at Epcot will be able to hear it.
Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) (1-0) pins Dale Wolfe with the Rude Awakening at 1:06:
Rude cuts a split screen promo announcing that Roddy Piper will be his target in the Royal Rumble. Rude flies off the top rope to chop Wolfe and finishes with the Rude Awakening to stay strong for the pay-per-view.
After the match, Rude kisses a local girl after Heenan asks the lady if she would kiss a man who wears a skirt. Heenan takes the mic away before she can answer.
More ranting about Viewer’s Choice takes place since it is announced that Rude is not happy that his friends cannot see The Royal Rumble because of their antics.
Sean Mooney hypes The Royal Rumble. Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri argue that Savage’s royal blood and conditioning make him the favorite for the Rumble. Brutus Beefcake recites “Humpty Dumpty” to the Genius in a promo for their singles match at the pay-per-view.
Heenan says that Snuka has no chance to win the Royal Rumble because he does not have a working brain.
Jimmy Snuka pins the Brooklyn Brawler with a flying body press at 2:15:
An amateur bodybuilder, Snuka entered wrestling because he thought it was a more stable line of income. He wrestled his first match in Hawaii in 1970 and then wrestled in Portland, feuding for several years with Jesse Ventura and adopting the Snuka name. After Portland, Snuka made stops in Texas, Mid-Atlantic, and Georgia, allowing Snuka the chance to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship twice, once with Paul Orndorff and once with Terry Gordy, as well as winning the United States Championship from Ricky Steamboat. Snuka came to the WWF as a heel in 1982, where he quickly mesmerized fans by jumping off the top of a steel cage onto Bob Backlund when the two wrestled for the WWF Championship in Madison Square Garden. Snuka was turned face by the end of the year and was one of the WWF’s biggest stars until he left the company in July 1985, seconding Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in the main event of the first WrestleMania. After spending time in the AWA, Portland, Memphis, and Japan, Snuka returned to the WWF at WrestleMania V in 1989. However, backstage issues, including drug use and Snuka’s alleged killing of his mistress Nancy Argentino in 1983, prevented him from getting a major push beyond the midcard. In the split screen, Snuka screams about being ready for the Rumble. A headbutt off the ropes dazes the Brawler and a flying body press ends the match.
Heenan says that he has heard rumors that three wrestlers have made overtures to other wrestlers to pay for their numbers. Monsoon is insistent that such a thing will not happen because of added security to this year’s Rumble drawing.
Brother Love’s interview with the Ultimate Warrior on WWF Superstars is shown.
The Powers of Pain (w/Mr. Fuji) defeat Reno Riggins & Mike Howell when the Barbarian pins Howell after a flying clothesline-spinebuster combination at 1:54:
The Powers of Pain, made up of the Barbarian and the Warlord, were a power-based tag team that started teaming in the Kansas City-based Central States Wrestling in 1987 and they quickly migrated to Jim Crockett Promotions where they feuded with the Road Warriors. After refusing to do scaffold matches with the Warriors, the team bolted to the WWF where they were originally babyfaces managed by Tito Santana and then the Baron. They were placed into a feud with WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition and the teams did a double turn at Survivor Series ’88, with Demolition manager Mr. Fuji switching over to the Powers. However, the duo failed to win the tag team titles throughout 1989 and moved onto feuds with the Hart Foundation, the Bushwhackers, and the Rockers. In the split screen, the Pain put over how they want to get their hands on the Rockers during the Royal Rumble and look forward to being the last two men in the ring. Howell is made dead to rights after a double flying shoulderblock, so the Pain’s flying clothesline-spinebuster combination makes things academic in less than two minutes.
Mooney does additional Royal Rumble hype, with Rumble participants hyping their presence in the match. The Rockers say that they will work together if they can against bigger men in the match, Koko B. Ware gives generic comments about being ready, and Demolition look forward to tossing out the Colossal Connection.
Monsoon chides Heenan about how Dusty Rhodes is going to make sure Sapphire follows him around throughout the Royal Rumble match. Heenan is disgusted by this because it will make his clothes smell bad.
Dusty Rhodes (w/Sapphire) pins John Justice after the Polka Dot Drop at 2:20:
Rhodes was one of the biggest names in wrestling when he signed with the WWF in 1989, having wrestled for twenty-two years in various NWA territories and winning a bevy of championships, including the NWA World Championship three times. His role as a booker for Jim Crockett Promotions earned him accolades for creating matches like the WarGames but also earned him the ire of other talents in the industry who thought that Rhodes placed himself in too prominent of a role when he had creative control. The whole reason that an NWA lifer like Rhodes came to the WWF was due to backstage issues as he was fired after Starrcade ’88 because of an angle where the Road Warriors tried to take his eye out with a spike. This outraged media executives who worked for Ted Turner, who had recently acquired the company from Jim Crockett. Intending to humiliate Rhodes, Vince McMahon had him wear black trunks with yellow polka dots, but Rhodes amazing abilities on the microphone, as well as one of the catchiest theme songs in the industry at the time, got him over with fans and put him in main events on C-show loops against the Big Bossman. As the match begins, Sapphire appears in the split screen and screams about how she is excited to be on the Brother Love Show at The Royal Rumble. Dusty seems disinterested as he tosses Justice around before finishing with the Polka Dot Drop (an elbow drop), allowing he and Sapphire to dance in the ring after the match.
Gene Okerlund provides The Royal Rumble Report.
Heenan posits that if the Big Bossman drops his ball and chain in the right place at The Royal Rumble that it could clear up Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s vision.
Ronnie Garvin defeats Pablo Crenshaw with a reverse figure-four leg lock at 1:43:
Like Dusty Rhodes, Garvin was a long-time veteran of the business, starting his career in 1962 and gradually making a name for himself in Southern territories in Georgia and Tennessee where he feuded with Randy Savage and Jake Roberts. For long-time fans, Garvin was most famous for his run in Jim Crockett Promotions between 1984-1988 where he won the NWA World Championship from Ric Flair, made the finals of the inaugural Crockett Cup Tournament with Magnum T.A., and wrestled in drag as “Miss Atlanta Lively.” After a short runs in the AWA and Carlos Colon’s Puerto Rican World Wrestling Council (WWC), Garvin signed with the WWF and wrestled as a babyface. Unlike Rhodes, he was not given a ridiculous gimmick, but he was also not booked out of the midcard. Garvin spent the summer and fall of 1989 embroiled in a feud with Greg Valentine, with Valentine retiring Garvin in a singles match and Garvin harassing Valentine as a referee, ring announcer, and other roles until Valentine begged WWF President Jack Tunney to reinstate Garvin. Crenshaw did jobs for Jim Crockett as well as the WWF, working WWF, WCW, and NWA tapings from 1986 to 1991. In the split screen, Garvin promises to win by making Valentine submit to his reverse figure-four (a Sharpshooter). Garvin does some basic amateur wrestling and then uses the Garvin stomp before locking in the reverse figure-four to obtain a submission win.
Demolition defeats the Bolsheviks (0-1) when Ax pins Nikolai Volkoff with a body press off the ropes at 9:31 shown:
The first incarnation of Demolition was not the one most fans know as Bill Eadie (Ax) initially formed it with Randy Colley, who fans had seen before as Moondog Rex. Inspired by the Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior film, the duo wore black leather outfits with leather masks to the ring. After a few token television appearances, Colley was replaced on the team because fans recognized him as Rex and it was hurting the team’s appeal. The new role of Smash was given to Barry Darsow, who wrestled as Krusher Khrushchev in Jim Crockett Promotions. This variation of the team debuted in March 1987 and slowly worked its way up the tag ranks as heels, switching managers from Johnny Valiant to Mr. Fuji and winning the WWF Tag Team Championship from Strike Force at WrestleMania IV. Fuji would later turn on the team at Survivor Series ’88, turning Demolition babyface as a result, and the team spent 1989 feuding with the Powers of Pain, the Twin Towers, and the Brain Busters, the latter of which Demolition would trade the tag team titles with. Demolition dominate, with the Bolsheviks only managing a double clothesline on Smash when they have the advantage. Eventually Ax gets the hot tag, Demolition knock Boris Zhukov out of the ring with a double elbow, and Ax hits a body press off the ropes to end the bout. The outcome of this one was never in doubt and neither team put a lot of offense into the encounter. In fact, the only fun part was when the match was heading to commercial and Heenan steals the Royal Rumble hats from the desk when Monsoon is not in the studio. Rating: *
Monsoon realizes that the Royal Rumble hats are missing and demands to know where they are before he is interrupted by a special news bulletin from Okerlund about how Viewer’s Choice has decided to carry The Royal Rumble because of demands from fans nationwide.
The Last Word: The feature match was bad, but with the Bolsheviks one cannot expect anything great. The worst part of the broadcast was the Bushwhacker squash as it kept going and never seemed to end.
Up Next: WWF Superstars for January 20!