Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1989 WCW as told by Jim Cornette

This was released on May 19th, 2015

The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver

It runs for three hours and thirteen minutes long

Before they start discussing the topic at hand, Cornette shows us all the materials that he brought for the interview: booking sheets, TV formats, contracts, and books among other things.

JANUARY






The first question asked is about the “Bunkhouse Stampede” series, which started on Christmas in 1988 and ran through January of 1989. Cornette said that it was Dusty’s idea and it was great when it started (1986). When asked if the guys liked working the Bunkhouse Battle Royale matches, Cornette said it depended who it was as some guys did not like putting extra clothes in their bags to wear for the match. Cornette won the Manager’s Bunkhouse match on New Years Day 1989 after tossing out J.J. Dillon. He said that only Oliver Humperdink and himself were babyface managers at the time so they decided to give it to him.

On the Midnight Express vs. Midnight Express feud, Cornette starts by saying they were making a lot of money feuding with Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson but they left for the WWF. The Midnight’s and Cornette went back to working with the Fantastics then Cornette went to Dusty and asked him to bring back Dennis Condrey, who just got back into the business and was managed by Paul Heyman, and also bring in Randy Rose. This was back in November of 1988. They devised an angle to have the original MX managed by Heyman attack the current version on TV. Cornette said they were not supposed to “get color” on TBS but Dusty told him he could get a little bit. Cornette tells the story of how he took a wild bump, suprising himself that he was not hurt, then swiped his forehead with the blade but nothing came out. Cornette said afterwards he learned the studio was only 55 degrees so it took a while for the blood to come out but at the time he was clueless about that so he swiped the blade several more times then after that a “waterfall” of blood was pouring down his face. He then turned toward the camera and had the blood all over his white jacket and after that everyone backstage was talking about the blood as Cornette said it helped kickstart the angle. However, Dusty got axed as booker when TBS got mad when Dusty booked the Road Warriors to stab himself in the eye with a spike as he was bleeding all over the place, saying it was too violent, so when Dusty was replaced, the Midnight Express feud was relegated to the bottom of the card.

Still on the Midnight Express feud, Cornette said that the company no longer wanted to pay for the managers to be at the House Shows. Cornette said Heyman and himself were integral to the feud, especially Heyman as Condrey and Rose, who were not as over as the other team. Cornette then proceeds to tell us a great match is like a “hand job.” He said if you are already hard, you can just grab it and go but if not hard, you have to do all sorts of things to get it hard. Cornette then said that Heyman and himself also offered to pay their flights to make the shows but Turner denied their request. He then talks about how Jim Crockett was the interim booker from when Dusty was fired to when they brought in George Scott and how he hated Randy Rose and wanted him to eat the pin in a “Loser Leaves Town” match then have Condrey get a new partner, which Cornette thought was awful because they were the original team. When that happened, Condrey no-showed as he knew he would be in trouble with a new partner and that was the end of that. Cornette then said when George Scott came in he was going to have the current version of the Midnights. Cornette then tells a story about Scott, who said he never heard of them when hired as booker, walked right past Bobby Eaton as he held the door for him one day. He said that when they first met with Scott, he told them he did not know what to do with them as Cornette goes on about how they were one of the top drawing teams of the past few years in the NWA at that point. Cornette said they all thought he either had Alzheimer’s or was the biggest goofball ever due to the way he presented himself.

On the Western States Heritage Title, Cornette said that Dusty loved flying out to Texas and wanted to have a belt for when they toured there but they barely ran in that area as he talks about how no one gave a shit about the belt and it got phased out as a result.

Jim Herd was hired on January 3rd as the Executive Vice President. Before that, Herd was a regional manager for Pizza Hut and a station manager for KPLR-TV in St. Louis. Cornette said that it wasn’t until Turner bought the company when they got involved in backstage politics as before that, they were all making money and just did what they wanted after the show. He said TBS officials brought in top guys in for a meeting to ask about Dusty, under the pretense that it was confidential but it was not as Tully talked badly about Dusty, who found out by those conducting the meeting, so Dusty kicked Tully off of the Crockett’s plane and as a result, Tully & Arn Anderson left for the WWF. Cornette said that Herd was the station director when his station played “Wrestling at the Chase” but his wife was close to someone higher up and he got the job.

On January 17th, Dusty Rhodes resigned from WCW after being removed from the head booker role. Cornette said it would be awkward for him to go from the head booker to a regular guy in the locker room. Cornette said he loved  Dusty and still thinks that he is a great booker despite repeating finishes and puts him over for making him a shitload of money too.

Ricky Steamboat returned to the company on January 21st after he was revealed as Eddie Gilbert’s surprise partner. Cornette said that he believes this was when Scott became the booker as he had close ties to Steamboat from the Carolinas. Cornette then drops a whole lot of knowledge about the Carolina territory and how Scott took it from a primarily tag team territory to a top one as he brought in all sorts of guys like Ric Flair.

FEBRUARY






On when Hiro Matsuda bought the contracts of Barry Windham and Ric Flair from J.J. Dillon, Cornette said that J.J. was leaving for the WWF and saw the writing on the wall when Dusty was removed from the head booker position. He puts over Dillon’s book then puts over the accomplishments of Matsuda but how he was not a good promo and wrong for that role as Cornette then said that Scott was 10 years behind the times and starting to bring in guys he worked with over 20 years ago.

Cornette talks about Tony Schiavone leaving for the WWF. He said he wasn’t there for everything but heard that Schiavone was upset over being passed over by Jim Ross for the top commentator position as he had been there for several years. Cornette calls Schiavone a friend then tells a funny story of when he was with the Midnight Express and Arn Anderson as Schiavone as his family pulled up in their station wagon to drop him off so he could head on Crockett’s plane. When the doors opened, Cornette said you heard all of the kids screaming and Tony slammed the door as he got out. Arn then went over to Tony and told him that he had “enough cum in him to shampoo a buffalo.” Cornette then goes back to Tony, saying he was a good announcer but that Ross was just above everyone else and it wasnt a slight on Tony because everyone else saw that. He then said when Tony came back to WCW the following year he was miserable.

Ricky Steamboat defeated Ric Flair for the WCW World Title at the “Chi Town Rumble.” Cornette said they both were the gold standard in terms of ring work. He also said he would order the PPV’s so he could watch them at home as that way he could hear the commentary. Cornette then talks about how every Wednesday was promo day as he then pulls out a script that the camera shows us as he said that he would write down every opponent, city, and spot on the card for that particular match for the promo itself.

The Iron Sheik came back as Cornette said that Scott brought him back as they worked together in the 70’s but Sheik’s star power had faded greatly and could no longer go in the ring as he talks about how people say he is out of touch for instilling old school logic with today’s talent while Scott wanted the same exact people he had on top in 1978 in 1989. He also said that Sheik only wrestled about 10-12 matches and got sent home for the rest of his contract, which was $100,000 for a year. Sheik then came back after the year ended as they forgot to send the notice to cancel his contract so as a result it rolled over as the Sheik got paid for another year but is work was still so bad that they sent him home again until his contract finally ran out.

MARCH






The “Danger Zone” talk show segment with Paul Dangerously made its debut on March 4th. Cornette said that he was a great talker. Jack Victory was brought in as the bodyguard as Cornette talks about all of the different roles Victory had in wrestling. Cornette said he was a great guy.

On the debut of the Great Muta and if the company missed an opportunity with him, Cornette said yes and no as he was talented and caught on quickly but did not get a lot of heat as a heel because the fans reacted to his cool moves. They were going to turn him face but Cornette said that Gary Hart convinced him to stay heel.

He talks about Don Glass, who was hired from the WWF where he was the assistant under Ed Cohen, who booked the arenas. Cornette said Glass was an idiot and basically a go-fer for Cohen then talks about how he decided, for the first time in history, to book a show in Greensboro, NC on a Wednesday night and it only drew $19,000, the lowest ever for that city. Cornette asked Joe Pedecino why they booked that night and he was told they were saving the weekend shows for the bigger cities as Cornette went through his book and showed him they usually drew six-figures there has Pedecino had no idea. He then said that Glass booked a show in San Antonio on Easter Sunday, in a predominantly Catholic city, that took place in a 15,000 seat arena and ended up drawing 600 people.



APRIL

Cornette is asked about WCW putting on the Clash of the Champions opposite of WrestleMania 4. He said they drew 5,300 fans in a 70,000 seat arena and how that area was facing tough economic times so no fans came. Cornette said it looked like a “pisshole in a snow bank” on TV as there was no way to hide the amount of empty seats. He then said that Scott did not want to promote the show because it would kill the house show business if people saw them on TV as Cornette talks about how ridiculous that notion is as they had ran these specials for over a year. He said the ratings were shit as it was not promoted, which was insane as WCW was owned by a television company.

After the debacle that took place at Clash of the Champions, George Scott was fired and replaced by a booking committee. At that time, it featured Jim Herd, Jim Barnett (who Cornette credits for inventing “studio” wrestling), Jim Ross, Eddie Gilbert, and Jody Hamilton (Who Cornette said was in charge of the jobbers and the ring crews).

Cornette then talks about how they gave notice after Scott told them he had no plans for them and there contract was expiring in May but Scott got fired before that and Jim Ross asked them if they would reconsider. Cornette talked about how they had arrangements to work a few shows in Memphis for Bill Dundee but told Ross he would go on TV and cut a promo about how they were hurt and needed to heal up so they could perform, allowing them to go away for a few months as they could re-build their image as they were losing a lot of matches at that time. So, Cornette met with Herd for the first time and talked about wanting to be loyal and help the company as they moved forward so Herd offered him $100,000 a year while Stan & Bobby received $75,000, which were significant pay cuts across the board. Cornette told Herd that Stan & Bobby deserved more as Herd kept telling him that he would get more because he could also do color commentary. He left after declining the deal then Herd countered with $125,000 for him and $90,000 for Stan & Bobby. Cornette then told Herd he would take the $100,00 for himself, as that was a lot for a manager,but Stan & Bobby needed to get $150,000. They went back and forth as Cornette said he would offer Stan & Bobby a little more each time but he kept raising Cornette’s amount, when he said he would accept the initial offer as Herd then came back with $150,000 for Cornette, $50,000 more than what he asked for and offered Stan & Bobby $125,000. He asked his team if they wanted that as they said yes, as Bobby also had three kids to support.

MAY






The Dynamic Dudes made their debut at the May 6th TV tapings from Center Stage. Cornette said that Jim Ross wanted to re-create the Rock & Roll Express and saw that Skateboards were popular and thought it would work but the gimmick was awful. He also said that Johnny Ace had two left feet and could not even ride a skateboard then talks about how they were the only team Herd liked less than the Midnight Express and that was why they worked a program together.

Cornette talks about Terry Funk returning and how he wanted to show everyone that he could still go in the ring. He even worked with a broken tailbone and even had to fly by kneeling into the seat and hunching over the chair due to the pain but still wrestled. Funk also brought in Eddie Guerrero to a TV taping attempting to get him a job during this time.

He talks about losing the Tag Team Tournament Finals to the Freebirds but the air conditioning in the building was broken and it was over 100 degrees in the building. Cornette talks about this version of the Freebirds as at that time, Terry Gordy was willing to work here but wanted to keep his Japan dates. However, the company wanted a full-time Freebird so they got Garvin. Cornette said that Haynes wanted to re-create the Freebirds of old and that Garvin, who was 5’10 and 210lbs started to take “supplements” and wanted to work like a bad-ass so they both didnt want to sell. Cornette said that Garvin flipped out on him once because he didnt sell a punch enough as Cornette talked all but said he was on steroids and wanted him to be carried to the back after getting punched once as Cornette also brings up how Garvin was  chickenshit heel is whole life. He said Haynes refused to sell the tennis racket because he said they had to get over huge, despite teams like the Road Warriors selling the racket. Cornette goes into his book and how during a Bash Tour at the Boston Garden and how after working a six-man teaming with Dr. Death, the Freebirds beat them, barely selling during the match, then decided to all of a sudden attack them afterwards to get more heat so Dr. Death got fed up and grabbed a chair then whacked Garvin repeatedly for trying to fuck with him. After the match, they went to the locker room as Garvin was all busted up as Eaton yelled at the Freebirds for not just being there to get them over as things were tense and that seeing Eaton, who rarely ever yelled, got the Freebirds to think a bit and they started to sell more for them after that.

JUNE






Cornette confirms that the Ding Dongs were a Jim Herd idea. He said that the idea of this gimmick was that the WWF had all the kids as fans so they thought this would attract some. Cornette even said Herd once said if he had a 6’5 one-legged guy he would have his “Long John Silver” as Herd wanted to turn wrestlers into movie characters.

On Lex Luger turning heel at “Clash of the Champions VII,” Cornette said that Luger was a tremendous athlete and a nice guy but never a wrestling fan growing up and had no idea he was insulting people in wrestling when he was there as he always made money and was the focus so he did not know better. Cornette said that Luger was not a natural worker and had a hard time feeling out wrestling but was a solid heel.

JULY






He is asked about the “Great American Bash” PPV but first talks about the tour and how it was making no money as he lists off the meager house show draws. Cornette said that the PPV was heavily promoted and sold out Baltimore. He talks about his Tuxedo Match against Paul E. Dangerously and the night before he tore cartledge in his knee in a house show match. He iced the knee the rest of the night but it was stiff when he got up in the morning. They both wanted the match to be a grudge instead of comedy then talks about how he was the most experienced worker of the two and how that was a bad thing. He gathered up a Percocet, Vicodin, and an anti-inflammatory then decided to walk down the aisle and not limp, which was painful, then said he wanted Dangerously to hit his knee as hard as he can because his brace would absorb most of the it but Dangerously hit the wrong leg as Cornette says you can see him tell Dangerously to hit the other leg.

AUGUST






Cornette is asked about Ricky Steamboat leaving for foot surgery. He talks about Ricky’s wife Bonnie and how she was vocal behind the scenes and how she once did not allow him to attend a Smoky Mountain Show because she had something to do with him. Cornette then goes on about how no one wanted to see Steamboat the family man and that he looked lame in comparison to Flair, who was cool and fucking all of the women.

Ric Flair became the booker at his request as Cornette said that Flair had enough and went in after the disaster that was the “Great American Bash” tour. Cornette names off the ratings for the shows, which were bad, and said Flair was promised full control. Flair then called Cornette at that time that he wanted him on his committee but first he had to take care of something, which was getting rid of Eddie Gilbert. Flair did not like Gilbert’s Memphis-style of booking and that Gilbert once changed a finish to put himself over Ron Simmons in Memphis which pissed Flair off so Cornette was going to replace Gilbert’s spot. Cornette then pulls out some of his booking notes, shooting formats, and announcer’s notes, and even the list of job guys as Cornette said he always wanted to use Louie Spicolli as Bobby Eaton’s younger brother as they looked alike. Flair also wanted a lot of interviews but Herd did not want that as Sam Mushnick in St. Louis did not use them much and would change the shows as Cornette said that Flair would keep the original notes Cornette wrote. He said Herd was dividing the guys as he put word out that Jim Ross changed the scripts, which he did after being told to by Herd himself and that caused a lot of problems.

SEPTEMBER






When asked about the angle in which Funk put a plastic bag over Flair’s head, Cornette said that it got over as Funk was convincing in his role. Cornette said that it brought in complaints but TBS was not prepared for calls from wrestling fans actually calling and believing that Funk was trying to kill Flair and the corporate guys took the complaints seriously.

About Paul E. Dangerously got fired, Cornette said that back then you were told in your promos to get yourself over so Dangerously cut a promo appealing to the “sheet readers” as Flair was next to Cornette backstage and said “fuck this guy” and Flair told him he was done. Dangerously thought he meant done for the night but Flair told him he was fucking done for good. Cornette said that Dangerously’s rendition was incorrect as Flair slammed the door after yelling at Heyman then a little bit after that, Dangerously tossed the garbage can while Flair was behind a closed door.

OCTOBER






On October 6th, TBS Executive Vice President Bob Levi and Vice President of Programming Jeff Carr sent out a memo that said there would not be anymore violence on their shows, due to the plastic bag angle and mugging of Scott Steiner. Cornette reads some of the new guidelines at that time. He then talks about the awful tension at the booking meetings and how no one got along and nothing got accomplished as Herd suggested stuff that would hurt the product and wanted to change what Flair wanted to do.

Ole Anderson returned to the company. Cornette said that Ole could still cut a promo and contribute so he was brought back.

He said that the bit were he was in the hotel room with Woman was his mother’s favorite angle.

Cornette talks about the Thunderdome match. He said they thought the match would look cool but when they got there, the special effects were set up terribly as Muta was trying to blow out the fire with his mist as Tommy Young went over to put it out and it came off terrible. On Bruno Sammartino as the special referee, Cornette said that having him brought into Philly would draw a good house.

NOVEMBER






On the “I Quit” match between Flair and Funk, Cornette said Funk was not happy about quitting and said how he was told about the match before he agreed to it as Cornette said Herd wanted to make Funk a color commentator.

He talks about the angle when he tricked the Dynamic Dudes after they were feuding with the Midnight Express, culminating in a match at “Clash of the Champions IX.” Cornette said that it was his idea for the finish but then said he underestimated the sympathy the Midnight Express got from the fans for being booked like shit and how the fans loathed the Dynamic Dudes.

Flair wanted to defend the title against Bobby Eaton as Flair thought he was the best wrestler and did not want to even beat him as it ended in a DQ. Cornette said the rating for the match was the best in a year but Herd was pissed that Flair did not beat Eaton. So, Flair booked a rematch then Cornette booked a finish in which he and Stan tried to interfere but it backfired as Flair beat them all up with the racket and that rating topped the show that featured their initial match.

Cornette talks about Tully & Arn coming back to WCW for $250,000 a year but when Tully failed a drug test, Herd found out and rescinded the offer as he said it looked bad. Cornette suggested all sorts of things such as Tully going to rehab then come back as they could say TBS helped him out but Herd said no then cut Arn’s deal for $150,000 a year because he was less valuable by himself and Arn already gave notice to the WWF had to take the deal for $100,000 less than was promised to him.

DECEMBER






On the Round-Robin Tournament for “Starrcade,” Cornette said that it was problematic choosing who would be in there and who would job and they all struggled to come up with finishes.

Cactus Jack made his debut. Cornette said that Continental was closing and Jack came over to a show. Cornette and Sullivan liked him and brought him in and said the more he dropped the elbow from the apron the more crazy the fans got and it caught on so he got a chance to get in full-time. However, most guys at the time saw nothing in him.

Cornette talks about how he fought Shane Douglas but before that in a match the crowd was yelling “Johnny sucks dick” at Johnny Ace as fans draped a bedsheet over the balcony that read “Johnny sucks Shane’s dick.” He then said that he came up with the idea that he would accidentally sign a contract to wrestle Shane. Cornette said he likes Shane but at the time he was young and told him in the airport he was not going to sell any of the “Memphis stuff” as Cornette said that while he was a Jr. member of the booking committee, Shane was a Jr. member of the talent roster and did not realize he was doing him a favor as this was a chance to get him over. After the match, Herd said that a wrestler should not sell for a manager after Shane called and complained so Herd ordered them to re-tape the match in a different city with Stan Lane wrestling on his behalf as they baited-and-switched the fans.

Flair resigned from the booking committee as Cornette tells us Flair sent a memo to everyone about how he had Herd changing his ideas and was not promised full control as promised and would go back to being a wrestler full-time.

Final Thoughts: I thought this was good but nowhere near as wonderful as his 1997 WWE Timeline. Cornette enjoyed himself and was in good spirits here. And for those wondering, there were no mentions of Russo or politics as he stayed on the topic at hand.

There were some entertaining stories and you got a good picture of what it was like to work on the booking team. However, the major angles were not discussed all that much, and Cornette himself was away from the company for several weeks when he was between contracts. The Midnights also did not work near the top of the card at the time either so he does not have much to say about being directly involved in the key feuds either.

Cornette loves wrestling and that shows here. As far as the WCW Timeline installments are concerned, this is probably the best one. I do recommend this as it is entertaining but again, do not expect it to be as great as his 1997 WWE Timeline.

You can purchase this On Demand for $20.99 or the DVD, which is a Two DVD set for $25 by clicking on the link below.

http://kayfabecommentaries.com/DVD_TW_1989.html

NWA 1989

Scott,

Hope you're enjoying the network as much as me. 2 quick questions after watching Bash 89 today.

1. I noticed while watching the credits at the end of the ppv that Jim Herd was executive producer in 1989. I've only heard Jim Herd be universally trashed by any of the talent who worked for the company at that time. 1989 is universally regarded as the golden year for the NWA though. As an aside HH 89 might be the most underrated ppv of all time. Back to the point though, if Jim Herd doesn't deserve any credit for 1989 who does for the direction of the company that year?

2. In place of the awful round robin format, what would you have booked for the top 4-5 matches for Starrcade to top off that year properly?

I doubt any human being alive could possibly enjoy the network on the same level as I do.  But you're welcome to try.
1.  Ric Flair.  Jim Ross.  George Scott to a certain degree.  Pretty much anyone in the organization, besides Herd, up to and including the janitorial staff and the guy who cut up the little cubes of cheese for the catering trays.
2.  Hmm, OK.  I think I've tried this one before, but here's my thinking today:
World title:  Ric Flair v. Lex Luger.  Double turn finish, Luger passes out in the figure-four after the Andersons double-team his knee on the floor, Sting saves to set up that Flair program.  Had Barry Windham not been stupid enough to jump to the WWF, I would have put him in here as Flair's opponent and done Luger & Sting v. Andersons instead.  
Cage match:  Sting & The Andersons v. Buzz Sawyer/Terry Funk/(other J-Tex dude).  We assume Funk doesn't turn babyface or retire for this.  Andersons turn on Sting afterwards and brutalize him, leading to him making the save for Luger later when they try the same thing on him.  
TV title:  Great Muta v. Brian Pillman.  Because it never happened and this was as good a place as any.  Pillman gets the belt here.  
Tag titles:  The Steiners v. The Road Warriors.  You have to have this match at some point!
I'd probably throw some prelim stuff like Doom squashing the Dynamic Douchebags in there and maybe Dan Spivey and Steve Williams beating the shit out of each other, but that's the basics.  

Yearly Review: WWF December 1989

New champions are crowned. Hogan and Zeus settle things inside a steel cage.
WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Hulk Hogan)
During the December 12th taping of Wrestling Challenge, Hulk Hogan teamed up with Brutus Beefcake to take on Randy Savage and Zeus inside a steel cage. The match would be aired on December 27th, 1989. Hogan was able to overcome one of his biggest challengers to date when he pinned Zeus following three leg drops.

For the rest of the month, Hogan would defend the WWF World Championship on the house show market but would lose to Mr. Perfect by count-out. Despite losing the matches, Hogan retained the championship.


WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)
The Ultimate Warrior continued to have issues with Dino Bravo and the Canadian Earthquake. After Bravo had a match during the December 13th taping of WWF Superstars, the Ultimate Warrior made an appearance but was distracted by Earthquake which allowed Bravo to use a chair on Warrior.

While Warrior had to deal with Bravo, Jimmy Hart and Earthquake he also had his mind focused on winning the 1990 Royal Rumble so he could challenge the WWF World Champion at WrestleMania VI.

Back to his issues with Bravo, they would have matches on the house show market with Warrior managing to pick up pin fall wins over Bravo on a regular basis.



WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by: Demolition)

The Heenan Family was able to regain the WWF World Tag Team Championships during the December 13th taping of WWF Superstars. Andre the Giant and Haku won the titles after Andre dropped an elbow on Smash. Ax wasn’t able to get involved in the match due to constant double teaming and thus was unable to make the save.

On the house show market, Demolition would lose to Andre and Haku by count-out more often than not.

Other Happenings: 

– With the Royal Rumble next month, a lot of focus was put on the wrestlers giving their reasons as to why they will win the bout and main event WrestleMania VI. However, there were a few minor storylines taking place outside of the championship scenes.

– Brutus Beefcake got under Rick Martel’s skin as he was modeling clothes during the December 13th taping of WWF Superstars. Beefcake ended up getting on the podium after his match and shredding Martel’s clothing.

– During the December 13th taping of WWF Superstars, the Bolsheviks came out while the Bushwhackers competed and waved their Soviet Union flag. There wasn’t any confrontation but it could be hinted at as a future angle between the two teams.

– After a few months of feuding, Roddy Piper defeated Rick Rude on December 28th inside a steel cage at a Madison Square Garden show.

Bob’s Opinion:
It’s rather surprising to me that Andre the Giant was holding a championship this late in his career. I’d imagine it was more of a thank you for everything throughout his career. Demolition back in the chase is always a good thing too, I suppose.

I’ve never been a fan of Dino Bravo. He isn’t entertaining to me whatsoever. A feud between Warrior and Earthquake would have been better, but Earthquake was being saved for bigger and better things down the road. Warrior hasn’t been able to find a suitable opponent since winning the championship.

Finally the end to Hogan/Zeus. Personally, I didn’t find it all that interesting. Zeus was never any good in the ring and was simply used as a way to promote No Holds Barred.

The cage match between Rude and Piper is really good and worth a watch, by the way. A really good feud towards the end of the year.

What are your memories of the WWF at this time? Leave them below!

Also, check out my blog Wrestling Recaps and if you enjoy the series support the blog by liking it on Facebook

Thanks for reading and for your support! 

Yearly Review: WWF November 1989

Hulk Hogan has plenty of challengers to deal with. Will he survive with the gold?
WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Hulk Hogan)
Hogan was the captain of a Survivor Series team which would compete against Ted DiBiase’s team at the Survivor Series later in the month. Hogan led Jake Roberts, and the WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition. DiBiase led Zeus, and the Powers of Pain. At the Survivor Series event, Hogan’s team prevailed over DiBiase’s after Hogan was able to pin DiBiase following a leg drop.

Hogan still had issues with Mr. Perfect who destroyed the WWF World Championship during last month’s taping of SNME.

He was also defending the championship against Bad News Brown on the house show market on a regular basis. Perfect continued to assure everyone that he would win the WWF World Championship.

As you may also recall, Hogan was having problems with Zeus and Randy Savage centered on the No Holds Barred movie. During the November 20th taping of WWF Superstars, it was announced that Hogan and his longtime friend Brutus Beefcake would compete against Randy Savage and Zeus inside a steel cage match.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)
At the November 19th Maple Leaf Gardens house show, Warrior was able to successfully defend the championship by beating Andre the Giant. The previous month Bobby Heenan had tricked Warrior into accepting a cage match against Andre to set up the match.

Warrior was the captain for another Survivor Series team as he led Jim Neidhart and the Rockers into battle against the Heenan Family, which consisted of Andre the Giant, Haku, Arn Anderson and Bobby Heenan. Warrior gained the win for his team after pinning Heenan following a splash.

On the house show market, Warrior primarily continued to defend the championship against Andre but also defended the championship against Mr. Perfect and the Genius.

WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by Demolition)
There weren’t any major new developments for the champions this month as they were partners for Hulk Hogan for the Survivor Series match at the pay per view. They continued to defend the championships on the house show market primarily against the Powers of Pain and the team of Arn Anderson and Haku.

Other Happenings: 
– During the November 18th Superstars episode, Rick Martel began modeling clothing to continue his new model attitude.

– Tully Blanchard was fired from the WWF after the November 1st taping of Wrestling Challenge due to a failed drug test. Haku took his place teaming with Arn Anderson on the house show market as a result and Bobby Heenan took his spot at the Survivor Series event.

– Dusty Rhodes continued his feud with Big Bossman by costing Bossman a match against Tito Santana at the Survivor Series Showdown by using his nightstick. During the November 20th taping of Superstars, Bossman taunted Sapphire at ringside but Rhodes made the save again.

– Ron Garvin and Greg Valentine continued their feud that will seemingly not end. During the November 20th taping of Superstars, Garvin prevented Valentine from using his illegal shin guard on Jimmy Snuka.

– Rick Rude and Roddy Piper had their feud continued as Rude stuck up for Brother Love who was embarrassed by Piper.

– Mr. Fuji issued a challenge to the Rockers on behalf of the Powers of Pain to a match during the November 20th taping of Superstars. The Rockers responded by attacking Fuji which would essentially be a yes.

Survivor Series 1989 Results:
– Dusty Rhodes, Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana and Red Rooster defeated Big Bossman, Rick Martel, Bad News Brown and the Honky Tonk Man in an elimination match. After the match, Bossman attacked Rhodes and Beefcake but Beefcake recovered to scare Bossman away from the ring with his hair clippers.

– Randy Savage, Dino Bravo, Greg Valentine and the Canadian Earthquake defeated Jim Duggan, Bret Hart, Ron Garvin and Hercules in an elimination match.

– WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan, WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition and Jake Roberts defeated Ted DiBiase, the Powers of Pain and Zeus in an elimination match.

– Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, and the Rougeau Brothers defeated Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and the Bushwhackers in an elimination match.

– WWF Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart and the Rockers defeated Andre the Giant, Haku, Arn Anderson and Bobby Heenan in an elimination match.



Buy-rates: 

Survivor Series 1989: 3.3

Bob’s Opinion: 

It’s good to see Hulk Hogan involved in more than one feud. He had his issues with DiBiase, Perfect and the combo of Zeus and Savage still going on. Heck, Bad News Brown was in on the action as well. I recently had a co-worker talk about Brown believing that he should have won the WWF World Championship. I don’t see that being a good idea.

Anyway, Hogan has a lot going on and there is a lot of interest in the WWF World Championship scene.

I always enjoyed the Model gimmick. It was a shame that Martel wasn’t able to gain singles success with a Intercontinental Championship run.

Not much of an opinion of what was going on at the time. What were your thoughts on what was going on in the WWF at this time?

Also, check out my blog Wrestling Recaps and if you enjoy the series support the blog by liking it on Facebook

Thanks for reading and for your support! 

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1989 WWF as told by Brutus Beefcake

This interview runs for two hours and eleven minutes.

Your host is Sean Oliver

Before the interview begins, Sean runs down all of the non-wrestling things that were happening in 1989, with one of those things being the top song of the year, which was “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” by Poison. Brutus then mentions that he knows the lead singer (Brett Michaels) but could not remember his name. He said that they were both living life on the edge at the time and trying to clean themselves up. When asked about the life on the road, comparing it to Rock Stars, Brutus claims that the rock stars all wanted to be like them, not the other way around.

Before the interview begins, Sean brings up that Brutus mentioned to him when this idea was approached that he wasn’t sure how well his memory would hold up.




JANUARY

On January 7th, Beefcake defeated Ron Bass in a hair vs. hair match. Beefcake talks about how when he broke in the business in the Pensacola territory in the early 1970’s, he first matches were against Ron Bass and his partner, Pete Austin, who was also from Boston. Beefcake said that Bass was a good guy and a great worker. Beefcake said no one wants to get their head shaved in a match but Bass did what he had to do.
Next, is the Red Rooster. When Beefcake is asked about how the gimmick was created. Beefcake laughs and said he could never figure out how it came about. Beefcake brings up Pat Patterson and how he had a weird sense of humor. During this part, he brings up how Patterson and even Vince were big on being subtle. He then goes into how his “Barber” gimmick came about from his “sick sense of humor.” Brutus said that Pat’s boyfriend Louis, who was a hairdresser that actually ended up hanging himself. Beefcake then talks more about the Barber gimmick and how it was unheard of at that time, because a hair match was usually only done once a year. Sean goes with this and asks if that added to his popularity. Brutus said that he took it to another level and that it was never done before. He also said that he had no clue that it was going to happen. During the TV tapings in Rochester shortly after WrestleMania III, Brutus was handed a white coat with scissors and a comb then was told he was going to be “The Barber.” Brutus’s first response was “fuck you” when approached with the gimmick and he was freaked out because he believed that prior to that, he made himself  a “household name” and the crowd loved to hate him. Brutus then says that no one knows this but he went nuts backstage, kicking the lockers and breaking stuff, threatening to quit over the gimmick that he believed was going to kill his career. Brutus says that the gimmick was created by Patterson to fuck with him and since he was Hulk’s friend and he couldn’t fuck with the top guy, he was the target. Sean asks why and Brutus says that Patterson was jealous of them. Brutus then said in the midst of his tantrum, Hogan went over to him and said that when you go into the ring, you put them out with the sleeper then cut their hair. Brutus thought about it and said if he did that everytime he went out, it would help get the gimmick over.
Brutus is now asked about Steve Lombardi and his long tenure with the WWF. Brutus laughs a lot and said that he never physically witnessed anything but heard a lot of stuff and said that he was a good guy and always nice to him but did hear some stuff throughout the years that made him wonder what is really going on with him.
On January 21st, the Bushwhackers made their debut on “Superstars.” Brutus said that Butch’s ankles were messed up from rugby. Sean asks them about switching from the Sheepherders to the Bushwhackers. Brutus puts them over as the original hardcore wrestling team and said they were tougher than nails. He also said how the people loved them and it is all about finding your niche with the crowds
He is now asked about the Rougeau Brothers and if they were better as heels or faces. Brutus laughed and said that they were not good at anything. He did say that he liked them though. Sean asks Brutus about the French Canadian guys sticking together and Brutus confirms that but said that Rick Martel would branch off away from them at times. He talks about Dino Bravo and how he got up tied up in the mob. He then said that he was shot and killed in his home with his family present.
On January 26th, the Michigan sports commission barred him from wrestling. He was scheduled to wrestle against the Ultimate Warrior. Brutus laughed and said that the reason he was barred was due to the fact that he was supposed to win the match, strongly hinting that the reason for this happening was to prevent certain finishes from happening. Brutus then says he was supposed to get the belt off from Honky at SummerSlam but that didn’t happen and that was how he wound up feuding with Ron Bass. Brutus said that Warrior through a tantrum and said he was going to quit and because he was Vince’s boy, they had to switch all of their plans and give him the belt.
FEBRUARY
Brutus is asked if the jobbers got paid extra for getting their haircut. He confirms that and said those guys would usually get $50 but when they wrestled him and got their haircut, they would get about $300. He even said how some of them would face him every few months to get the extra money. When asked, Brutus said that the main roster guys did not get extra for their hair getting cut. Sean then asks him how you cut the hair of someone who you are feuding with for a month and cutting their hair nightly. Brutus takes a detour and said that this business is all about psychology and that a lot of guys now go to wrestling school, a notion that Brutus laughs at and says that you learn nightly by working with veterans and getting your ass-kicked, saying that moves are all bullshit. Back to the haircutting, Brutus is asked if he ever gave someone an extra cut. Brutus said that he would take care of guys that would work with him but some who didn’t would be crying in the barber chair backstage, as they all got their haircut by a professional after the match.
The Megapowers Explode angle begins on Saturday Night’s Main Event. Sean is asked if this was based off of Randy’s real-life jealousy. Brutus said that Randy was crazy and jealous and would legit lock her in the dressing room. He would even chase other wrestlers and agents around who looked at Elizabeth the wrong way. Brutus said that he worked with Randy a lot, replacing Hulk, at the time and he had Elizabeth in his corner. He then talks about he had to replace Hogan and was nervous about that but since his character was so hot, he was able to slide right into the role and the fans did not complain. Brutus tells a story of how one night in Indianapolis, a fan threw an egg and it hit Elizabeth in the head, splattering all over her hair. Sean brings up how George Steele said Randy was not jealous of him and Brutus said that it is bullshit because Randy was jealous every minute of every day.
Next, Brutus is asked about the athletic commission. He said that they would basically just take your blood pressure but at least they are monitoring you a little bit. He also puts over the brutality of the travel schedule and the fact that they did not have any health insurance of retirement fund.
MARCH
Brutus is asked about Jake Roberts snake, Damian. Brutus said that sometimes, Jake would let it loose in the shower and it would shit after it ate and it was the worst smell ever. He is asked who was the most afraid of the snake and he said it was Andre. He then says that Jake knew that and said if you told Jake he wasn’t supposed to do something, he had to do it and Jake would put the snake on Andre. After that, Andre would make it a point to rough up Jake in the ring. He said that Andre would step on his hair and legit rip the hair out of his head when he would lift him back up. Brutus questions as to why you would ever piss off Andre.
Tony Schiavone makes his WWF announcing debut at the March 18th show at Madison Square Garden. Brutus shits all over him, questioning what function he was supposed to have and said that he guessed everyone needs to have a job.
The next subject is Haku’s bar fights. Brutus said he was present for the one that happened in Baltimore. He was with Haku when a few marks started to mess with them. Haku grabbed one guy by his head and bit off his nose, spitting back into his face. From that, a brawl erupted and Brutus was able to sneak Haku out of a backdoor as the cops filled the scene. The cops approached them and Brutus said that he negotiated a surrender for him with the cops, who were about to shoot Haku. Brutus bailed out Haku and one of the bouncers at the bar testified that the other guys were the ones who instigated the brawl. Brutus says that Haku is a “killer” and his life long friend, joking that he is his protector.
APRIL
Brutus is now asked about WCW countering WrestleMania V by airing the “Clash of the Champions 6” on cable for free, specifically if the competition was talked about in the locker room. Brutus said it was not. Sean then asks Brutus about the venue being difficult, due to a non-wrestling crowd and bad acoustics. Brutus said that some of that happened but that he felt that it was electric for his match.  Brutus said that Donald Trump was a fan of wrestling.
Still on WrestleMania V, Brutus is asked about how celebrities fit in with the wrestlers. Brutus said that early on, the celebrities didn’t feel that wrestlers were on their level. He personally did not have any interaction with Morton Downey Jr. He talks about Bob Uecker and how he would walk around with a huge smile and kept on saying “fuck baseball, this is great” and would treat the wrestlers with respect.
They talk about Brutus’s match against Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania. Brutus said that Ted’s hair was protected from his scissors as he was a top guy. He puts over DiBiase for being good in the ring. When asked about him living the gimmick, he did say that they were a bit jealous of him getting to ride in first class. Sean asks if Virgil also got a first class ticket and Brutus said he did not.
When asked how Warrior agreed to lose to Rick Rude, Brutus doesn’t know how they got him to do that. Brutus talks about Rude being an arm wrestler and said that he was a dynamic individual. About Hogan winning back the title, Brutus said it was tough to follow the success of Hogan. He is asked if guys got along with Savage. He said to a degree but on several occasions, they almost came to blows and that was due to Randy’s jealousy.
On the April 8th episode of “Superstars,” Lanny Poffo debuts the Genius character. Brutus is asked about Lanny and he said that he is a decent guy then tells a story about WrestleMania VI, when he ended Mr. Perfect’s winning streak, the office never told Lanny that they were going to cut his hair and when he went to grab him during the match, Lanny was panicking and trying to scramble away so Brutus himself started to panic a bit and had to legitimately drag him into the ring and cut his hair. Backstage, Randy went to attack Brutus because Lanny was crying. Brutus said that this was all due to the sick mind of Pat Patterson and how he never told Lanny the finish.
Brutus refers to Sherri as “Scary Sherri” on the Brother Love show and gets slapped. Brutus said that he came up with that in the spur of the moment.  Brutus said that he and Hogan knew Sherri from the 70’s when she was in Memphis. He then starts laughing, implying that she was a worker, but not a wrestler.
Brutus talks about Bad News Brown. He said that he was a good guy but a lot of the others disliked him. Brutus said that he was a legit badass. He even recalls the story of Bad News calling out Andre on the bus in Japan, noting that was how crazy he was.
MAY
Brutus is asked about dealing with the crowds at this time. He recalls a story out in California when the Hell’s Angels surrounded the ring, with one of them being Hogan’s brother, Alan. He said that even the cops were scared and that they had to fight their way out of the ring and that Hogan was laughing the whole time as he was dragging him to the back.
Next, they talk about Piper and how he had his first match in two years subbing for Jake Roberts at a house show in Los Angeles. Brutus said that he was always a big party animal before going off to Hollywood. He didn’t notice a bigger ego but stated that he deserved to have one after leaving the WWF and going to make movies. When asked about his work as a babyface, Brutus said that he couldn’t recapture what he did as a heel.
Danny Davis returns to being a referee. Brutus said that he was trained but not a great wrestler, or even a good referee for that matter. He chalks it up to another Pat Patterson crazy idea. Sean then asks about how much credit Patterson deserves for the 1980’s. Brutus said that he also had some very good ideas too and was in position to make them happen.
Brutus is asked about Zeus and if the plan was always for him to come in and wrestle Hulk. Brutus said that Zeus was a great guy and that he looked like a monster and had a great presence. He did say that he wanted to be involved and had a good attitude. He also said that Zeus had a one-day rehearsal before SummerSlam to prepare for the match and that he and Hogan were the ones who basically trained him.
Sean asks Brutus about the spot in which Hogan superplexed the Big Boss Man off the top of the steel cage. Brutus said that it probably was not Hogan’s idea and thinks that it was Pat Patterson’s call. He then recalls that one time, Patterson asked Dynamite Kid to superplex him off of the top rope in a match in Toronto. Patterson told him the move was easy to take and Brutus then said that he should do the spot instead.
JUNE
Sean asks how Hogan dealt with the schedules of wrestling and filming “No Holds Barred.” Brutus said he did sub for Hogan at times. Sean asks if Vince was around the house shows at the time and Brutus said that he rarely ever attended house shows.
The first Dusty Rhodes vignette debuts on June 6th, with Dusty portraying a pizza delivery man. Sean asks if there is heat with Dusty from guys that he dealt with when he was booking. Brutus said that in wrestling, it comes down to being able to do business and separate your emotions and be a business man. Sean asks if Dusty was humble and Brutus laughs at that, saying he is never humble but was somewhat respectful. Sean then asks if the polka dots were the idea of Patterson and Brutus laughs at that, not really answering the question and talks about Pat Patterson flags.
Kevin Kelly (Nailz) defeated Tim Horner in a dark match at the June 6th TV tapings. Kelly testified at trial that he overheard Vince McMahon tell Rick Rude “I suggest you go on the gas.” Sean asks if this was something that Vince would say in public and Brutus said probably not. Sean then goes back to the subtleties and if Vince would do that in order to get you to get bigger and Brutus talks about how the FBI called him on the grand jury, thinking that Hogan was their star witness. He said that he was Hogan’s best friend and that he knew everything that Hulk knew. Hogan called his attorney, who met Brutus in New York at the FBI office. They pulled out the 3-D scan of his head with 32 screws, 100 feet of titanium wire, along with documented concussions, memory loss, and brain damage. The lawyer asked the prosecutor what they wanted to ask him and the prosecutor didn’t say a word and left. Since Hogan did not testify, they thought Brutus would work. Brutus said he protected the business, Hogan, Vince, and himself and if they don’t stick together, they all done. Brutus said that steroids were legal at a time and that he did take them as prescribed by a doctor, while being monitored, for medical reasons. When they were illegal, Brutus said that people took it upon themselves to do what they had to do and Vince did not publically encourage anyone.
JULY
The “Bobby Heenan Show” debuted. Brutus talks about Heenan and how sad it is today to see him in poor health but he still maintains a great attitude. He said there was no one better on the stick than him. Brutus said there was no reason not to like him.
The Brainbusters won the Tag Team Titles. Sean is asked if they had an attitude when they came into the WWF. He said that he never got along with Tully (then again, most people don’t) and remembers some stuff said about him by Arn when he was in WCW. He then said he never saw anything special in them, jokingly refer to the Horsemen as the “Horses Asses.” He tells a story about wrestling Tully Blanchard in the early 80’s in Louisiana and how Tully and his partner, Gino Hernandez, beat the living shit out of him. He gets off topic a bit and says that Ivan Koloff was nice to him and would by him dinner.
AUGUST
Brutus is asked about the matches between Andre and the Ultimate Warrior that lasted ten seconds. He said that Andre hated the Warrior and did not want to be in the ring with him at all and thinks it was his idea. Brutus said that he got along with him but he absolutely hated Jake and the Warrior. He also said that Andre liked Hogan too and that was why he passed the torch to him.
They now talk about the main event at SummerSlam, which featured Brutus & Hulk vs. Savage & Zeus. Sean asks him how they prepared for this match. Brutus said that on a live PPV, there are not multiple takes like they have in movies so they kept him calm. Brutus said that there key word to calm him down when he was in the ring was “free James Brown.” That was used because it got him to chuckle a bit. Brutus recalls using that as Zeus was choking him out during the match and he could barely breathe. Brutus said the match was as close as perfect as you could get, considering the situation.
In regards to the ‘Macho King” gimmick, Brutus said that it was another Pat Patterson creation. He also said that Savage did not want the gimmick but went along with it anyway.
SEPTEMBER
The eight-inch rubber LJN figures came to an end. Sean is asked how much he received from the merchandise, citing the Iron Sheik told him he got a check for $90,000 when the dolls came out. Brutus said that he hasn’t received a dime since he left the WWF. He tried to get a lawyer to get some of his money. He said that he didn’t receive anywhere close the amount of the money they should have back then for their merchandise. He also said that your check would also depend how the office felt about you, if you were in the dog house, you barely got anything. He said at his peak, he had around one hundred merchandise items but in comparison to Hogan, it was nothing as he probably had close to a thousand. Brutus then tells a story about Hogan having him hold his WrestleMania check backstage as he had to do something quickly. When he looked, he saw the check was for $1.2 million dollars. Brutus also said that Hogan had his own merchandise deal.
OCTOBER
Koko B. Ware was fired for fighting WWF executive Jim Troy then rehired shortly after that. Brutus was not there but from what he heard, Jim made a racial remark and Koko beat the shit out of him. Koko was hired back when an investigation was conducted and from that, Troy had to resign.
Brutus talks about the Rockers, who were fired on October 13th during the European tour but re-hired the next day. Brutus laughs about that a bit then recalls at that time, the Rockers would put Halcyons in girls drinks, bring them up to their room passed out, “take their laundry off” then finish it off by tossing them out of their room naked. Brutus said that the hotels got sick of this and that is why they got fired. He also said that sometimes they would shave off their eyebrows or write on them with markers before tossing them in the hallway.
Sean references how on October 29th in Toronto, Bret Hart broke some ribs and his sternum in a match with Dino Bravo and asks how you deal with an injury like that. Brutus said that never happened with him in a match but in the Georgia Dome, DDP hit him in the head with a chair that required twelve stitches and preventing him from bring involved in the angle with Karl Malone. He said that he told DDP not to hit him in the head and to hit on the back, you swing it from the side. In the locker room, Brutus said he had a problem because DDP was making excuses instead of taking responsibility and that Paul Orndorff had to hold him down on the table as he was about to go after him.
NOVEMBER
He is asked about Rick Martel as the Model. Predictably, Brutus “waves the Pat Patterson flag” as the reason for this idea. Brutus puts over Rick as a person and for being able to take things in stride.
Sapphire makes her debut on the November 19th episode of “Challenge.” Brutus said that she was a mark who was thrown into the business.
Sean asks Brutus about working on Thanksgiving and being away from your family. He says it is tough but for fans, holidays were big shows for most companies. He said every year, they used to go a big show at the Cap Centre in Washington, D.C. that was a major draw.
Brutus is asked if there is a lot of confusion during the Survivor Series matches due to all of the pinfalls. He said it wasn’t because you had to deal with stuff like battle royals all the time. He said that you have to know where everyone is at all times to prevent injuries. Sean then asks Brutus about the Survivor Series payoffs and if they are greatly reduced due to the multi-man matches. He said that he probably got $10,000 at SummerSlam and about $5,000 at Survivor Series.
Sean asks Brutus if Hogan was upset with Vince when he had the Ultimate Warrior wrestle in the main event at Survivor Series. He said that Hogan knew that Vince was trying to replace him and that at the end, it didn’t work. When asked if it caused friction between Hogan and Vince, he said it probably did a little bit and that Vince loves to hold power over people but Hogan broke out and was above Vince’s power. When asked about the Warrior, Brutus calls him a “piece of shit” and that he couldn’t tie their boots. He also said that he did not respect anyone and Vince pumped up his ego to the point that he thought he was invisible.
DECEMBER

On December 1st, Linda McMahon issued an interoffice memo to Pat Patterson asking that Dr. George Zahorian no longer attend WWF events. Sean reads from the memo (that is also displayed on the screen), which Linda writes about the state of Pennsylvania was most likely going to launch an investigation into the use of illegal steroids. An officer from the state department mentioned this to WWF attorney Jack Krill at a fundraiser, knowing that Krill’s firm represented the WWF, and also said that he knew about the relationship that Zahorian had with the WWF. The memo also mentioned that Vince thought it was a good idea to keep Zahorian away and tell him about the possible action that the Justice Department would be taking. It also ended with Linda telling Patterson that the talent would be having a meet and greet with State Athletic Commission on December 26th and they definitely would not want Zahorian to be there. Brutus is asked if he remembers Zahorian and he said yes, while laughing. Brutus said that he took care of them and that the wrestlers would line up to get stuff from him. Brutus then talks about how a man has to know his limits and mentions that Rick McGraw probably died due to all of the access to pills he had from Dr. Zahorian. He also points out how Dr. Zahorian didn’t force the drugs upon anyone and also says that Vince wasn’t responsible for what the doctor was prescribing.

On December 26th, the WWF promoted 6 shows, three matinees and three evening shows, in six different cities.  Sean asks about how much talent they had on the roster and how much money they were making. Brutus said that Vince was a genius because he could make superstars out of just about everyone on the roster, through vignettes and interviews, along with other features. Brutus also adds that Vince probably wishes he could do that now. Brutus said that there were probably 25 people in the office that coordinated all of the travel and plane tickets.

On December 30th, Beefcake won a nine-man battle royal at a house show in Wisconsin. Sean calls it the worst battle royal ever then lists of the other eight competitors: Jake Milliman, Tom “Rocky” Stone, Brooklyn Brawler, The Genius, Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, Ted DiBiase, and Rick Martel. Brutus said that it was probably the only battle royal he had ever won in his life but does not recall the match.

Final Thoughts: A highly entertaining timeline. Brutus kept it fun, no matter what you think of him. He also coined the term “waving the Pat Patterson flag.” Sure, it might not be the most insightful timeline and he went off topic at times, but when he did, it was entertaining. Sean also asked some follow up questions that led him to go off-topic as well. For all I know Brutus was on drugs during this, after all he has quite the history of using, but the guy also survived an accident that caused a traumatic head injury and admitted that he has some memory problems (like not remembering Brett Michaels name after saying that they were friends). Brutus certainly had a problem with the Ultimate Warrior and the Four Horsemen and it showed here but did not have an agenda with this timeline. Sure, he might have thought of himself a bit too highly but most people do in these interviews anyway. He certainly came off as likable in this and he ended up being more insightful than I would have imagined. Brutus was a good choice for 1989 because he was huge that year, which was probably the best of his entire career when I look back. I give this a very high recommendation. 

Yearly Review: WWF October 1989

Mr. Perfect makes his way up to the main event scene. Do we get a perfect champion?
WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Hulk Hogan)
While Hogan had to deal with Ted DiBiase and his Survivor Series team, he also had new challengers for the WWF World Championship, the Genius and Mr. Perfect. At SNME #24, which was taped on October 31st and aired on November 25th, Hogan lost to the Genius by count-out. The bigger story was Mr. Perfect coming out and putting gum on the championship claiming that Hogan wasn’t a perfect champion. Perfect caused Hogan to lose after hitting him with the championship and escaped to the backstage area with the championship. This market the occurrence of Mr. Perfect destroying the championship with a hammer and demanding a title shot against Hulk Hogan!


WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)
During the October 2nd taping of WWF Superstars, the Ultimate Warrior competed against Dino Bravo in a test of strength competition. Bravo did a few push-ups with Jimmy Hart sitting on his back. Bravo proceeded to do more push-ups with a larger man that was randomly picked out from the crowd named John. Bravo managed to do several push-ups with John on his back. When the Ultimate Warrior attempted to do the same thing, John hit Warrior with a sit down splash and along with Bravo attacked Warrior. At the October 31st taping of WWF Superstars, John would be revealed as being the Canadian Earthquake.

At SNME #24, Warrior defeated Andre the Giant by disqualification to retain the championship. Heenan tried to get involved by Warrior took care of him by tossing him into Andre.

On the house show market, Warrior continued to beat Andre the Giant in just a matter of seconds to retain the title at least that was the case at MSG. In Toronto, Andre and Warrior would have a steel cage match next month for the championship after Bobby Heenan tricked Warrior into accepting a rematch.


WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard)
Demolition managed to regain the WWF World Tag Team Championships at the October 2nd taping of WWF Superstars where they defeated Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. Ax pinned Blanchard, who was illegal, to win the titles. Andre the Giant and Haku stated during the taping that they would beat Demolition and bring the titles back to the Heenan Family.


Other Happenings: 

– During the October 22nd edition of Wrestling Challenge, vignettes of Mr. Perfect and the Genius playing golf, darts and bowling and proclaims that Hulk Hogan couldn’t do it better than Perfect. They would continue to air vignettes taunting Hogan believing that Hogan wouldn’t be able to compete at a high skill level like Perfect can compete at.

– Dusty Rhodes continued to prevent Big Bossman from beating down opponents with his nightstick. Rhodes saved Tito Santana from a beating during the October 3rd taping of Wrestling Challenge after Santana wrestled Honky Tonk Man.

– Greg Valentine and Ron Garvin continued to feud as well. Garvin prevented Valentine from using his shin guard numerous times. They would wrestle on October 8th in Toronto, Ontario where Valentine picked up the win.

– Dusty Rhodes danced with a mystery woman during the October 31st taping of WWF Superstars, who ended up being Sapphire. Rhodes successfully defeated Big Bossman at SNME #24 after Bossman was distracted by Slick arguing with a fan at ringside. Rhodes would dance with Sapphire afterwards.

– The Rockers defeated Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard at SNME #24 in a best two out of three falls match. After the match, Bobby Heenan insulted Anderson and Blanchard saying that they were the worst team he had ever managed and promptly fired them.

Ratings:
WWF SNME #24:
8.7

Bob’s Opinion:
It’s quite refreshing to have a young heel in the main event scene working with Hogan. It’s especially different with Perfect not being bigger than Hogan. So, Hogan working with not only a good worker but a smaller one at that, was interesting. Plus, the scene when Perfect destroys the championship was really memorable and a great way to insert Perfect into the championship scene.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Earthquake, and his debut by attacking Warrior was pretty cool as well. Maybe it’s odd, but a feud between Warrior and Earthquake is rather interesting. I’ve been liking the fresh heels being brought in.

A quick reign by the Brainbusters, and quick tenure with the Heenan Family. Their run lasted just about a year and they could’ve done so much more had they stuck around. Anderson would head back to WCW while Tully tried as well but failed a drug test and didn’t get a contract.

The undercard feuds aren’t exactly interesting to me. Bossman/Dusty seems like a waste of Bossman to me, but Dusty had always been popular so I suppose a few wins over Dusty would help Bossman moving forward.

What are your memories or thoughts on the WWF at this time? Share them below!

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Yearly Review: WWF September 1989

The Million Dollar Man and the mighty Zeus are still coming after Hulkamania.

WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Hulk Hogan)
At SNME #23, which was taped on September 21st but aired on October 14th, WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan defeated long time rival Ted DiBiase with a small package. DiBiase accidentally hit Zeus with a clothesline during the bout leading to the finish. Jake Roberts came out to ringside during the bout and chased Virgil to the backstage area after Virgil stole his snake bag. Zeus ended up attacking Hogan after the match by twisting Hogan’s neck before DiBiase put the Million Dollar Dream on Hogan. Roberts returned to the ring and scared Zeus and DiBiase away with his snake.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)

Warrior continued to feud with Andre the Giant over the championship. On most of the house shows Warrior was able to beat Andre in under a minute. They competed in competitive bout at a MSG show on September 30th where Warrior retained the championship by disqualification. After the match, Warrior beat Andre down with championship until Andre was knocked off his feet.
WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard) 
The Brain Busters continued to defend the tag team championships against former champions Demolition on the house show market. They would retain the championships each time despite losing to Demolition by disqualification. There weren’t any other developments in this feud.

Other Happenings: 

– During the September 21st taping of WWF Superstars the Genius revealed that Mr. Perfect was his new protégé. This taping also featured Perfect’s first appearance with theme music.
– The new king of the WWF Randy Savage pinned Jimmy Snuka at SNME #23 after hitting Snuka with Sherri’s loaded purse. Snuka got some level of revenge by scaring Sherri Martel from the ring after knocking Savage to the floor.
– Rick Martel and Tito Santana wrestled to a double disqualification at SNME #23 when their partners for Survivor Series got involved in the match.
– Roddy Piper continued to get under the Heenan Family’s skin when he pinned Haku at SNME #23. Piper and Rick Rude would have several matches on the house show market including a double count-out match at MSG which was Piper’s first MSG match in nearly three years.
– The Bushwhackers embarrassed the Rougeau Brothers and Jimmy Hart at SNME #23 when they defeated the Rougeaus and stripped Jimmy Hart to his boxers.
– Jimmy Snuka and Honky Tonk Man continued their feud from a couple months ago with a match at the September 30th MSG show which saw Snuka beat Honk Tonk Man after a four and half year absence from MSG.
Ratings:
SNME #23:
 9.5

Bob’s Opinion: 
The feud between Hogan and DiBiase continued though it’s pretty clear that DiBiase is never going to get the championship. At least DiBiase is given a few strong moments even if it included the help of Zeus. Also am a fan of Jake Roberts helping Hogan and getting a spotlight in a main event caliber feud.

I know that Andre was on his last legs in terms of health and in-ring ability, but to have him lose to Warrior in under a minute had to have pissed off some people. I would’ve loved to have seen Andre live even if he could hardly move. Getting a minute or less of a match with Andre jobbing couldn’t have been all that satisfying.

Savage continuing to be involved in lower level feuds is rather depressing. I guess the main event guys can’t always have top level feuds even when they are out of the main event scene. Though, that doesn’t exactly apply to Hogan, ever.

The feud between Piper/Rude is a great feud to have on the undercard. I’ve watched a few of their matches on the house show circuit at the time and they put on some good matches. Their cage match a few months later is an enjoyable one as well. I never really considered to be all that great in the ring, but considering I have mostly watched his stuff from ’94 onward I’m clearly missing his more memorable stuff.

It’s a shame to see the Rougeau Brothers, a promising heel tag team, lose to the Bushwhackers and made out to be fools.

I had for some reason lost all the sign in stuff for the blog here, but it’s good to back!

What are your memories of the WWF at the time? Please share them! Thanks!

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Yearly Review: WWF August 1989

The WWF gets ready for the fall and winter months with several new feuds developing.

WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Hulk Hogan)
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake defeated Randy Savage and Zeus at SummerSlam when Hogan pinned Zeus following a leg drop. Prior to the match, Miss Elizabeth came out to be in Hogan’s corner. After the bout, Beefcake cut some of Sherri’s hair.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: Rick Rude)

The Ultimate Warrior regained the WWF Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam after Roddy Piper distracted Rick Rude by mooning him at ringside. This marks Warrior’s second title reign and the second consecutive SummerSlam where he won the championship. Rude and Heenan tried to get the match restarted after seeing the video replay of the finish but were unsuccessful.
During the August 29th taping of Wrestling Challenge, Andre the Giant made it clear that he would bring the championship back to the Heenan Family.
WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard) 
Anderson and Blanchard defended the championships against the Bushwhackers and Demolition throughout the month. They would usually lose by disqualification but as a result retained their championships.
They competed at SummerSlam but in a non-title contest against the Hart Foundation. They prevailed after Anderson, who was illegal, pinned Bret Hart following a top rope axe handle shot. Hart had Blanchard pinned prior to the axe handle shot by Anderson.

Other Happenings: 

– The Rockers and the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers competed in a series of sixty minute iron man matches on the house show market. The Rockers were victorious in each instance that the stipulation was used. At SummersSlam, the Rockers teamed with Tito Santana to take on the Rougeau Brothers and Rick Martel in a six man tag match. Martel pinned Jannetty following a clothesline while Jannetty had one of the Rougeau’s rolled up.
– Barry Windham had returned to the WWF recently and was given the nickname the Widowmaker. Windham’s first feud began during the August 8th taping of WWF Superstars after he delivered a neck breaker to the Red Rooster on the ring apron.
– Rick Rude and Roddy Piper’s issues really became to escalate during the August 8th taping of WWF Superstars. Piper bullied Brother Love during a talk show segment shoving toothpaste among other things down his throat. Bobby Heenan ended up distracting Piper long enough for Rick Rude to come out and spit mouth wash into Piper’s eyes and delivered a Rude Awakening.
– Dusty Rhodes continued to aggravate the Big Bossman when he prevented Bossman from attacking a jobber after a match. Rhodes stole yet another nightstick during the August 8th taping. Rhodes competed at SummerSlam where he pinned Honky Tonk Man after Jimmy Hart accidentally hit Honky with a guitar.
– Mr. Perfect continued his winning ways and at SummerSlam defeated the Red Rooster.
– Demolition and Jim Duggan defeated Andre the Giant, Akeem and Big Bossman when Smash pinned Akeem after Duggan hit Akeem with his 2×4.
– Ted DiBiase overcame Jimmy Snuka at SummerSlam after he bragged about ending Jake Roberts’s career. At the August 30th taping of WWF Superstars, Jake Roberts revealed that if he had one more chance to DDT someone he would DDT Ted DiBiase.
– Greg Valentine defeated Hercules and after the match was got in an altercation with Ronnie Garvin who served as the special ring announcer for the bout.
– During the August 30th taping of WWF Superstars, Randy Savage defeated Jim Duggan to win the kings crown after hitting Duggan with Sherri Martel’s loaded purse. Afterwards, Savage hit Duggan with three top rope elbow drops. At the same taping, a coronation for Savage and Sherri took place. During the ceremony, Ted DiBiase gave Savage a golden scepter.
– During the August 30th taping of WWF Superstars, Rick Martel revealed that because of his good looks he would become a model.

Buy-rate:
SummerSlam 1989: 
4.8

Bob’s Opinion: 
Quite a bit of new developments taking place as the WWF prepares for the fall and winter months. I’m actually interested in most of the feuds. Rude and Piper are two great characters and from what I’ve watched from ’89, their feud was quite heated. They are two big names and should help the undercard for the WWF.

I’m not interested in a Andre/Warrior feud over the Intercontinental Championship.

Barry Windham’s return to the WWF isn’t all that exciting for me personally. He had a good run in the NWA with a few entertaining matches against Flair. I;d have to look into how his performance was. I will be able to do that since I recently got Superstars ’89 DVD set.

Considering Rick Martel is an underrated wrestler, in my opinion, it’s good to see Martel develop a heel persona with the Model gimmick. It’s a gimmick I enjoyed and thought more could have been done with it.

I kind of want to find the Rockers/Rougeau sixty minute iron man matches. I wonder if any of them were recorded. Did anyone ever attend a show with that match happening?

Yearly Review should be back and running on here. Please feel free to share your thoughts on what was going on in the WWF during this time.

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Thanks for reading and for your support! 

Yearly Review: WWF July 1989

A title change occurs before SummerSlam.

WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Hulk Hogan)
Hogan successfully defended the WWF World Championship against former WWF Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man at SNME #22. Hogan prevailed after hitting Honky with a guitar and followed up with a leg drop. Hogan’s night wasn’t over with as he would make an appearance later on in the show. Hogan’s friend Brutus Beefcake competed against Randy Savage on the show. Beefcake won by disqualification when Zeus came out and attacked Beefcake while he had a sleeper hold on Savage. Hogan returned to the ring and hit Zeus with a chair but didn’t have any effect. Hogan and Beefcake were able to clean out the ring after getting two steel chairs.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: Rick Rude) 

There wasn’t any new developments between Rick Rude and Ultimate Warrior. They will be wrestling each other at SummerSlam next month.
However, a new feud for Rude was hinted at. During the July 19th taping of Wrestling Challenge, Rick Rude warned Roddy Piper to watch what he says about his manager Bobby Heenan.
On the house show market, Rude would compete against Jim Duggan while the Ultimate Warrior had quick main event matches against Andre the Giant. Rude would typically lose by disqualification while Warrior would win his matches by pin fall.

WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by: Demolition) 

At SNME #22 Demolition’s title reign came to an end. The Brain Busters, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, captured the championships in a best two out of three falls match. Andre the Giant got involved by tossing a chair into the match to help Anderson and Blanchard win the championships.

Other Happenings: 

– During the July 19th taping of WWF Superstars Ronnie Garvin was suspended for getting involved at SNME costing Greg Valentine a match against Jimmy Snuka. However, the suspension didn’t last long after Jack Tunney granted Valentine’s request to reinstate Garvin as a wrestler.
– Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect competed against each other on the house show market with the outcome being a draw each time.
– The blue collar Dusty Rhodes wrestled against the rich Ted DiBiase on the house show market. Rhodes would walk out victorious each time they wrestled.
– Rick Martel continued to get the better of Tito Santana on the house show market as well.
The month didn’t feature a lot of angle advancement with SummerSlam just around the corner.

Bob’s Opinion: 
It was nice to see the Brainbusters win the tag titles, though I thought it was also surprising. A match between the Brainbusters and Demolition at SummerSlam would have been nice to see. Regardless, Anderson and Blanchard will make for great champions and have some good matches with the tag teams in WWF.

A feud between Dusty Rhodes and Ted DiBiase was a no brainer. It’s just too bad that DiBiase wasn’t able to remain in the main event scene.

Not a lot going on here as we heads towards SummerSlam 1989. What are your memories of the WWF during this time?

Also, check out my blog Wrestling Recaps and if you enjoy the series support the blog by liking it on Facebook!  Today marks the three year anniversary of the blog. Your support is greatly appreciated! 

Yearly Review: WWF June 1989

A few former NWA top names arrive in the WWF.

WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Hulk Hogan) 
At the June 6th taping of WWF Superstars, Randy Savage issued a challenge to Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake to compete in a tag match against himself and Zeus. During the June 7th taping of Wrestling Challenge, Savage made it clear to Zeus that he would stand behind him should he decide to get in the ring because they hate Hulk Hogan equally.
Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake accepted Savage and Zeus’s challenge to a tag match at SummerSlam during the June 28th taping of WWF Superstars.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: Rick Rude) 

The Ultimate Warrior continued to chase after Rick Rude to reclaim the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Following Rick Rude’s win at the June 6th taping of WWF Superstars against a jobber, Warrior ran down to the ring while Rude was going to kiss a female fan and attacked Rude.
During the June 27th taping of Wrestling Challenge, Warrior beat Haku but was attacked by Rick Rude. Rude planted Warrior with a pile driver but couldn’t keep him down for long. Warrior ended up fighting back and press slamming Rude over the top rope onto Andre the Giant who had came down to ringside.

WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by: Demolition) 

Demolition was able to overcome Akeem and Big Bossman in several tag team championship matches on the house show market as they didn’t compete against each other on television. However, they would have new challengers to deal with by the end of the month.
Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard better known as the Brainbusters were managed by Bobby Heenan. They earned themselves a tag team title match at the next Saturday Night’s Main Event taking place in July.

Other Happenings: 

– During the June 3rd edition of WWF Superstars, the first video promoting Dusty Rhodes being part of the company was aired. Rhodes was given a common man gimmick which was displayed as he delivered a pizza during the video. As you may recall, Rhodes was a booker for NWA before jumping ship to WWF. Rhodes got involved in his first feud with the WWF during the June 28th taping of WWF Superstars. Rhodes ended up stealing Big Bossman’s nightstick after his match to prevent Bossman from attacking a jobber. Rhodes would attack Bossman with the nightstick as well as Slick.
– Ted DiBiase revealed during the June 6th taping of WWF Superstars that he was responsible for putting Jake Roberts in the hospital with the Million Dollar Dream. Roberts had suffered a herniated disc due to the move. At the June 27th taping of Wrestling Challenge, Ted DiBiase revealed a gold neck brace for Jake Roberts since he believes his career is over.
– Tito Santana got some level of revenge against Rick Martel and Slick during the June 6th taping of WWF Superstars by attacking both men during a Brother Love segment until security pulled him away.

– Throughout the month, Ronnie Garvin continued to cost Greg Valentine matches now that he is a referee and can no longer compete as a wrestler. Garvin would be threatened by WWF President Jack Tunney that if he were to hit a wrestler he would be suspended.
Bob’s Opinion:
I think it’s awesome that Anderson and Blanchard have made their way to the WWF. At the time, the WWF had a really strong tag division and adding those two added more bulk to the division. Now, there in the top feud for the tag titles with the top babyface team. That seems to be a good match up to me.

Dusty Rhodes was brought into the company looking like a joke but managed to some how make it work. I guess that would prove that Dusty is a talented worker. We will see more of him over the next couple of years with a few memorable feuds.

The main event feud isn’t interesting me all that much. While Zeus is a monster of a man, he doesn’t look like a good opponent for Hogan, which would explain the tag match they are going to have in the future.

What are your thoughts on what is going on in the WWF at this time? Feel free to share below!

Also, check out my blog Wrestling Recaps and if you enjoy the series support the blog by liking it on Facebook!  

Yearly Review: WWF May 1989

Hogan has a monster he has to deal with.

WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Hulk Hogan)
Zeus stepped up his attempts to get under Hogan’s skin while at a Meadowlands house show on May 8th. Zeus called Hogan a woman and believed that he was the star of the movie, No Holds Barred. Zeus also believed he was bigger and badder than Hogan. He also said that he would beat Hogan should he ever wrestle Hogan in the WWF.

Hogan competed against Randy Savage on the house show market. Hogan lost several matches by count-out but at bigger events such as a Philadelphia Spectrum house show, Hogan defeated Savage by pin fall to retain the title.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: Rick Rude) 

There weren’t any new developments for Rick Rude. He continued to wrestle the Ultimate Warrior on the house show market, losing by count-out each time but retaining the championship as a result.

WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by: Demolition)

Big Bossman and Akeem are the primary challengers for the WWF World Tag Team Championships. They would lose to Demolition by disqualification or a few times lose cleanly to the champions on the house show market.

Other Happenings: 

– Rick Martel dominated his feud with former tag team partner Tito Santana as he won every match they had against each other on the house show market.
– Roddy Piper competed in his first WWF match in two years on May 12th in Los Angeles, CA where he pinned Ted DiBiase in the main event.
– During the May 16th taping for WWF Wrestling Challenge, the Honky Tonk Man began a feud with Jimmy Snuka. Honky was trying to sing a song following his match, but was cut off in favor for a Jimmy Snuka interview. After insulting Snuka, Honky was attacked by Snuka with a cross body block off the podium onto the floor. At the May 17th taping of WWF Superstars, the Honky Tonk Man got some payback by hitting Snuka with a guitar.
– During the May 17th taping of WWF Superstars, Slick refused to answer the question of whether or not he was looking to sign Zeus to a contract.

Bob’s Opinion: 
A slow month for the World Wrestling Federation as most of the feuds are just carrying over from WrestleMania. The return of Roddy Piper is nice addition to the babyface side of the roster. The whole feud with Hogan and Zeus is uninteresting and I wonder if people bought into Zeus at the time as being a threat to Hogan. I could see it, but looking back at it today, there is no way.

I don’t have a lot to comment on here, so I apologize for the lack of information.

What are you memories of the WWF at the time? Feel free to share them!
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Yearly Review: WWF April 1989

The fallout from WrestleMania sees a lot of new developments.
WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Randy Savage)
At WrestleMania V, Hulk Hogan was able to defeat WWF World Champion
Randy Savage to win the championship following a leg drop. Hogan kicked
out of the elbow drop in the closing seconds before dropping the leg and
winning the championship. On the house show market, Hogan would
actually lose to Savage by count-out due to Sherri Martel getting
involved in the matches.

Hogan’s first defense, aside from against Savage on the house show
market, would take place at the April 25th taping of Saturday Nights
Main Event #21 which would not be aired until May 27th. The match would
take place inside a steel cage as Hogan squared off against the dominate
Big Bossman. After ten minutes of action, Hogan was able to escape the
cage after handcuffing Bossman to the top rope.

The house market would see Hogan lose to Randy Savage by count-out,
or see him defeat Big Bossman inside a cage. Hogan wrestled Savage at
Madison Square Garden on April 24th, losing by count-out after Sherri
Martel prevented Hogan from returning to the ring.

Another challenger to Hogan’s WWF World Championship made their debut
as Zeus, co-star of No Holds Barred, entered the company confident he
would beat Hogan for the championship.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)
At WrestleMania V, the Ultimate Warrior would lose the WWF
Intercontinental Championship to “Ravishing” Rick Rude. Rude was able to
win the championship after Heenan tripped Warrior on a vertical suplex
attempt and held his foot down allowing Rude to get a three count. After
the bout, Warrior press slammed Heenan and chased after Rude.

While Rude would compete against Warrior on the house show market, he
would lose the matches by either disqualification or count-out. He
wrestled against Jim Duggan at SNME#21 which he lost by count-out as
well.

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (currently held by: Demolition)

At WrestleMania V, Demolition retained the WWF World Tag Team
Championships over Powers of Pain when Ax pinned their former manager
Mr. Fuji who had previously thrown salt into the Warlord’s eyes
accidentally.

For the rest of the month, Demolition would defeat Powers of Pain,
Akeem & Big Bossman , and Rhythm & Blues by disqualification to
retain the titles. However, they did lose to the Brainbusters by
disqualification when Ax shoved the referee out of frustration.

Other Happenings:
– Rick Martel turned on Tito Santana after Santana accidentally hit
Martel with a flying forearm smash during their tag match against the
Brainbusters. Martel revealed in an interview at WrestleMania V that he
was sick and tired of Santana riding his coat tails. This effectively
ended the tag team known as Strike Force. Martel would end up having
Slick as his manager.

– At the April 5th taping of Wrestling Challenge, Sherri Martel and
Randy Savage beat down Brutus Beefcake on the Brother Love Show for
calling Sherri “Scary Sherri”. The beat down allowed Savage to cut off
some of Beefcake’s hair. With Savage having a new manager, Miss
Elizabeth announced during the April 26th taping of Superstars that she
would manage WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan for as long as he wanted her.

– At the April 4th taping of Superstars, Ron Garvin and Greg
Valentine agreed to have a career vs. career match the next time they
competed against each other. During the same taping, Valentine defeated
Garvin in under four minutes to force Garvin into retirement, though he
would make appearances as a referee.

– Jake Roberts was attacked by Ted DiBiase after beating Virgil
during the April 4th tapings of Superstars. DiBiase injured Roberts neck
with the Million $ Dream forcing him out of action for several weeks.

– Jim Duggan made it clear that he was going to take the crown away from King Haku.

– The Rougeau Brothers brutally attacked Shawn Michaels with Jimmy
Hart’s megaphone during the April 25th taping of Wrestling Challenge,
causing Michaels to bleed from his mouth. The Rougeau called the Rockers
copycats for singing their theme music and believed they were superior
to the Rockers, anyway.

WWF WrestleMania V Results:

– Hercules defeated King Haku
– The Big Bossman & Akeem defeated the Rockers
– The Bushwhackers defeated the Rougeau Brothers
– Mr. Perfect defeated the Blue Blazer
– WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition defeated Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji to retain titles
– Dino Bravo defeated Ron Garvin
– The Brainbusters defeated Strike Force
– Jake Roberts defeated Andre the Giant by disqualification. Big John
Studd was the referee for the match and was attacked by Andre.
– The Hart Foundation defeated the Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine
– Rick Rude defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior to win the title
– Jim Duggan fought Bad News Brown to a double disqualification
– The Red Rooster defeated Bobby Heenan
– Hulk Hogan defeated WWF World Champion Randy Savage to win the title

WWF SNME #21 Results:

– Jim Duggan defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion Rick Rude by count-out
– Randy Savage defeated Jim Neidhart
– WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Big Bossman in a steel cage match to retain the title
– The Brainbusters defeated WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition by disqualification
– Jimmy Snuka defeated Boris Zhukov

Buy-rates:

WrestleMania V: 5.9
SNME #21: N/A

Bob’s Opinion: 
Before I share my opinions on the month, I wanted to note that I skipped posting March 1989 on here for the simple fact that nothing new occurred during the month. I didn’t think there was a point to waste anyone’s time with me saying “no new developments” happened several times in the post.

Hogan’s championship win wasn’t all that surprising and provided a good main event with Savage at Mania. The cage match with Bossman is also a hidden gem, in my opinion. They had a few good cage matches on the house market, too. The involvement of Zeus is just humorous and is something I can’t take seriously. I mean, it’s the guy from Friday (the movie).

I’m very happy that Rick Rude has won the WWF Intercontinental Championship. In my opinion, he is probably the best heel going in the company alongside Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase. It’s shocking to me that Rude never had a long lasting program with Hogan.

The split of Strike Force is rather interesting. Martel quickly showed that he was capable of being an entertaining heel and would be just that over the next three or so years in the WWF. Sadly, Tito wouldn’t get much steam during this singles run.

Heading into the spring we’ve got the following feuds heating up…
Hogan vs. Savage for the WWF World Championship
Rude vs. Warrior for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Demolition vs. Powers of Pain or Brainbusters for the WWF World Tag Team Championships
Ted DiBiase vs. Jake Roberts
Rick Martel vs. Tito Santana
The Rockers vs. The Rougeau Brothers
Jim Duggan vs. King Haku

Personally, if that was a regular house show card during this time, I’d have no problem forking over some serious money to watch it.

What are you memories of the WWF at the time? Feel free to share them!

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The Only Review of Halloween Havoc 1989 That You’ll Ever Need

Due to request, Caliber’s 2013 Tour of the Classics is making a stop at Halloween Havoc 1989.


Mike Rotunda vs. The Z-Man
Rotunda obviously spent his GAB money on a perm,
which I assume had something to do with him being Gabe Kaplan’s stunt double.
Doesn’t matter what a person does, there’s no way someone is getting over with
a name like Z-Man. I’m soon proven this as this match is absolute death. It’s
insanely slow, with constant stalling, and once the action gets going it’s
leap-frogs and wrist-locks. Thankfully, they do figure out what this match
needs to pick it up, SEVERAL submission spots. Leg-scissors, abdominal stretch,
sleepers, it’s all there, and it all sucks. Thankfully The Z-Man, a nickname
the ladies gave him, turns a flying cross body into a pin. 
The Z-Man pins the future boat captain at 13:23 | *

We get an interview with Bruno who was the
definition of a barrel chest.

This is Sir Oliver Humperdink. He was out on behalf of the SST & Samoan Savage. I’m including this picture because I started reviewing this PPV late at night, and fell asleep. For some reason, I have no idea why, my VLC player froze the file on this image. So, I literally woke up to this on the computer monitor about 2 feet from my face.

The Midnight Express & Steve Williams vs. The
Samoan Swat Team & Samoan Savage

I often wonder if wrestling organizations in other
countries are as xenophobic. Does a promotion in England do the Samoan savage
crap? Are there any American characters who are either Million Dollar Man-esque,
or Zeb Colter? I wonder if any promoters fucked with Samoan type wrestlers now
and again. Like, you have Fatu come into the office for his first meeting;

Promoter: We wanna go with something new! You’re
gonna be a Harvard educated-type Samoan. A man of culture and class, who’s here
to change stereotypes and ways of thinking
Fatu: Really?!
Promoter: Nah, just kidding. Here’s a raw fish,
get to eating. 

Enough with the fun, let’s get back to the match.
MX and Dr. Death are pretty great, that goes without saying. The Samoans are
death as far as any entertainment goes. Speaking of death, once the good Doctor
comes in, the place explodes. He really gets going, getting you whipped up for
the match, but then you realize it’s The Samoans on the other side, not The
Southern Boys or the 4 Horsemen. Eventually, because I say this with no
exaggeration or stretching of the truth, this match goes on for at least 4
hours, and finally Stan is pinned by The Samoan That Is Not Fatu, not to be
confused with The Harris Brother That Sid Did Not Pin. 
Stan runs into Corny and is pinned at 18:16 | **
[all of these stars are for Dr. D and MX]

We get an interview with Terry Funk in which he
states that tonight a new dance will sweep Philly, the 10,000 Watt Electric
Boogie featuring Ric Flair and Sting. I for one am looking forward to this
match, simply to see how Funk acts when he gets electrocuted. 

Tommy Rich vs. The Cuban Assassin

It’s great how Ross keeps talking up Rich, and how
he’s “the comeback man of 1989” as the crowd screams “TOMMY RICH
SUCKS!” There is nothing to note of this match, other than the crowd
shitting all over it. Man, this PPV better get going, because so far it’s
God-awful. Honestly, this picked up a little near the end, and that’s all I
have to say about it. I can’t believe Rich won with a Lou Thez Press in 1989. 
Cuban Assassin eats a pin after getting hit with a
finisher that wouldn’t get over in 1089 A.D. let alone 1989 at 8:26 | *1/2


 
FREEBIRDS! Man, they were DYING to make those
Terminator shades happen. Let us also not forget the waist high leather
jackets. 

The Freebirds [C] vs. Dynamic Dudes – WCW Tag-Team
Championship

The Freebirds do have a great move where Hayes
will run over to Garvin after getting roughed up and have him adjust his hair.
I’ll give it to the Dudes, they’ve got some decent double-team moves. The
crowd, because it’s the birthplace of smark, is chanting like crazy for the
Freebirds. So much so that Garvin and Hayes get into it. The crowd is so sick
of the Dudes’ pathetic babyface pandering that they blow the roof off with a
cheer when Hayes cheapshots Johnny. Near the end, The Dudes look to be
finishing off the Birds, drawing absolute heel heat. They go for the Wipeout [a
double sling-shot back-drop] on Garvin, Hayes holds Ace’s foot, allowing Garvin
to turn into a pin and retain the titles, much to the delight of the crowd.
Now, I’ll admit, I was dreading this, but this match absolutely won me over.
The crowd laid a great foundation for the match, proving it’s always awesome
when people will not just eat the white bread like they’re told. I also have to
give due to the Dynamic ones, as their double team moves and energy helped them
pull their own weight. Same goes for The Freebirds, as they were ridiculous,
and absolutely soaking up the adulation. Good stuff. 
Garvin pins Douglas after a botched Wipeout at
11:28 | ***1/2

Interview with The Steiners. It’s so weird seeing
the voice, and sheer idiocy of Big Poppa Pump coming out of this dumb looking
dude with a mullet. 

Doom w/ Woman vs. The Steiners

You know, I often hear about how broken down Scott
was once he hit the BPP stage of his career, however it wasn’t until I started
watching old NWA stuff that I saw it for myself. Literally everything he does
is faster, from simple things like walking and punching, to leaps off the top
rope and Frankensteiners. Definitely one of the hardest hitting matches I’ve
seen, as the Steiners are typical to their rep, but Simmons and Reed are giving
as good as they get. Rick and Scott are controlling at first until Doom starts
gloriously pulling out every cheap heel tactic they can. They get Scott in
their corner and beat the hell out of him with numerous double-team moves, my
favorite of which being what appeared to be a double-suplex but they end up
just throwing Scott to the ground once he’s up in the air. Eventually Scott
nabs the hot tag, but Woman places an international object in the mask of Reed,
allowing him to deliver a super-head butt on Rick and earn the victory. Of
course, the announcers don’t call in to question the absolutely inane action of
putting something like a roll of quarters in your mask as opposed to just your
hand, but whatever gets the job done, I suppose. It’s a pretty good match
that’s made on the simple fact of how hard-hitting it is. 
Reed head-butts Rick for the pin at 15:26 | ***1/4


Brian Pillman vs. Lex Luger – US Heavyweight
Championship

The match started off with Brian doing whatever he
could to get the edge on Luger, but Lex just kept cutting him off at the knees.
Eventually, Pillman is able to work Luger’s left arm in hopes of disabling the
Torture Rack. All this does is piss Lex off, as he eventually beats the hell
out of Pillman with clotheslines to the back of the head and powerslams. This
is the role that Luger should play always, whoever wanted to see him as a face
is out of their mind. Or digs crap. Philly seems to really love themselves some
Lex, and we even see him jawing with Hat Guy from ECW. Luger catches Pillman
with a Stun Gun, and that’s enough to put him down. I too am stunned at Luger
being able to have another good match that wasn’t with Flair. I don’t think
it’s anything worth seeking out, but it definitely helps elevate the PPV, and
at the time made Pillman look like a star. 
Pillman eats a Stun Gun and a pin at 16:48 | ***1/4


Skyscrapers vs. Road Warriors

Well, here’s the match that’ll give you your
money’s worth, workrate wise. The fact that Sid is still in a tag-team after
what I saw at the GAB 89 is amazing. The match is just about what you’d expect,
a lot of no selling, a lot of kicking and punching that help carry a giant
reminder that the LOD are not the greatest tag-team of all time. Teddy Long is
mobbing around with a giant gold key, leaving me to wonder if he melted down
the crown the Skyscrappers won at GAB. He probably opted for the key because
carrying around the crown looked stupid. Teddy tosses the key in and we get
ourselves a DQ. 
The Skyscrapers are DQ’ed at 11:39 | *1/2

Interview with Sting and Ric Flair. Sting tells us
it’s Halloween, and it’s full of havoc. Oh…oh, I see what he did there. 

Ric Flair & Sting vs. Terry Funk & The
Great Muta – w/ special guest ref Bruno Sammartino – Thunderdome Match

The match can only end when either Gary Hart
representing Muta & Funk or Ole representing Sting & Flair throw in the
towel for one of their guys. The Thunderdome cage is decorated with Halloween
garb that of course catches fire before the match starts. Once it does start,
it’s great, with everyone giving their all, and enjoying the hell out of
themselves. It’s almost as tough a brawl as the Flair/Funk match from the Bash,
but I feel like the cage is actually hindering the match. Instead of keeping it
in the ring, the guys have to occasionally work the cage, and it really
disrupts the flow. However, Flair does swing from a rope like Tarzan, so that
helps. However, if they’d just kept this as a basic tag match, they could have
had a great main event. Unfortunately, all this crap with the stupid
electrified cage, and throwing in the towel just ruined it. Completely killing
the flow, and turning the match into a disjointed mess of people randomly going
here and there and doing whatever, like touching the top of the cage despite
the fact we’re told it’s got 10,000 watts running through it. The second half
wouldn’t have been so bad had it not been built on the promise of the great
first half. Ole throws in Gary’s towel, and we have our winners. 
Towel is thrown in for Funk & Muta at 21:55 |
***1/4


Showcase Showdown: 

On the heels of GAB, as well as the other great
stuff I’ve been hearing about 1989 NWA, I really expected this one to be solid
as well. Although I’ve certainly seen a hell of a lot worse, there wasn’t
anything mind blowing here. Had more than one match been at least ***1/2, I
could probably give this a recko, but that isn’t the case. Dusty’s need to have
a gimmicked main event soured the final match on a card that was built on a
foundation that could be described as “OK” at best. I’d say look for
the Freebirds vs. Dynamic Dudes match on YouTube, and sure, check out the main
event while you’re at it, because the first half is some great stuff. This show
is the Second Showchase that’s not so bad, but still isn’t the first one that
had jet-skis and the Royal Rumble pinball machine.

As always much respect to my editor, Steven Ferrari. I met him when I needed to buy a new caravan for a boxer I was managing, and at the time he was living with a group of Gypsies. Dags? Oh yeah, I like “dags”.

Str8 Gangster, No Chaser
– I’ve started a new article series known as Man Etiquette, so you’ll
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Archives, Comic Book Films You Didn’t Know Were Comic Book Films, movie reviews, wrestling articles, and plenty
of other goods.
WCW In 2000
– Recently updated with the infamous Bash at the Beach 2000. You know
what’s shocking? The PPV is GOOD. No joke, it’s seriously good, and
features the best match of WCW’s 2000 year so far.
Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol.1
– NOW ONLY 99CENTS! THAT’S LESS THAN A DOLLAR! My book about action films. Endorsed by Scott Keith & Maddox, as
well as well as fellow BoD’ers The Fuj & Kenny Chill. 5 star average on amazon.
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The Only Review of The Great American Bash 1989 That You’ll Ever Need

I’ve decided to take a trip through the classics. First stop, The Great American Bash 1989.

The video I got actually
has the pre-show on here, where they use to have the countdown and everything.
Awesome stuff. I’m actually into the pre-show, because it’s explaining the
feuds. I only know the deal with Ric and Funk. There’s an awesome, AWESOME moment
when Missy is talking shit to Gary Hart, Eddie Gilbert and Great Muta, and at
one point she says Hart is no man, so Muta sprays the green mist into her face,
and as she’s howling in pain, he just causally saunters around like “deal
with it, bitch.” Fantastic. Moving on to Luger and Steamboat, we see a
classic example of what I was talking about in my most recent Happy Hour article.
Luger turns on Steamboat and goes to get a steel chair. When the crowd
understands what’s abut to happen, you can literally hear people shrieking,
like Luger is about to use a monster truck as a catheter on Steamboat. The
Glory Days indeed. 

Battle Royal

So, everyone comes out with crowns. Get it, battle
royal? Man, you KNOW that bullshit was all Herd. I find this to be really
stupid because a good chunk of the undercard is involved, leaving one to ask: why
wouldn’t the people paired in matches just attack each other? Nothing
interesting happens, and it’s boring the hell out of me. 
The Skyscrapers win at around 9 minutes | *

Teddy Long gives an interview on behalf of his
tag-team, the Skyscrapers. How fitting, Teddy managing a tag-team. Good God, he
use to look like he had 75 teeth in his mouth, and each one was around 3 inches
long. He looks like the Goblin King or something. 

Brian Pillman vs. Will Bill Irwin

Bob Caudle, the announcer working with Ross,
states that “Brian Pillman has a real future, barring any serious injury.”
Sounds about right. The match starts off in Pillman’s favor, as he pulls off
about 5 drop-kicks. Irwin soon turns it to his favor, and he constantly taunts
Brian by screaming “C’mon, FLYIN’ Brian! Why don’t cha’ FLY! FLYIN’
Brian!” He’s actually rather entertaining. The two work together pretty
well, as Irwin is an old school type of guy. He’s not trying to do anything
flashy, he just wants to hurt you. Beating Pillman down, he keeps him there
with punches, kicks, suplexes and bodyslams. At one point, he actually grabs
Brian and throws him into the other ring. However, once he turns to jaw-jack
with the ref, Pillman flies from one ring to the other, splashing Irwin and
getting the three. A meat and potatoes opener that was hinged on the flashes of
Brian’s cruiserweight offense, and the entertaining Wild Bill, who wants to
know why the ref is bothering him when he’s simply trying to choke a man. 
Pillman hits the crossbody on Irwin for the pin at
10:18 | **3/4

They introduce Jason Hervey as a ring announcer.
What the hell? Wasn’t he also a guest judge for one of Flair’s matches? Too bad
he’s not in character, as I’d love to see him call someone a butthead. Wayne
was always the man. 

The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Skyscrapers

I grew up as a WWE guy, and only recently have I
been dipping into the NWA library, so this is the first time I’ve ever seen The
Dynamic Dudes, and wow. I once said the recent DX was the lamest tag team of
all time, yes, even lamer than the American Males. But The Dynamic Dudes? Holy
shit. They get some kid from the audience to throw a Frisbee with because it’s
dynamic. Spivey controls the first portion of the match, and it takes the
dynamic double moves of Shane & Johnny to get him off his feet. Once Sid
tags in you can hear from the crowd immediately that he isn’t long for tag teams.
Seriously, he tags out and within a minute the ENTIRE arena is chanting
“WE WANT SID!” Hopefully Spivey doesn’t feel too bad. The Cape Fear
remake is a few years away, just be patient. Sid back in for a moment, crowd is
happy. Sid tags out, and the crowd boos the hell out of that, starting another
“WE WANT SID!” chant. It’s pretty incredible that he wasn’t made
champion pronto. Finally, after having their asses kicked the whole match, John
starts getting some dynamic offense in, but Spivey cuts that short. He delivers
a power bomb, but with both of them being sweaty, John is damn near dropped on
his head, Pillman style. Very dynamic. The match was an extended squash, but
it’s worth seeing simply for the crowd’s reaction to Sid, it’s incredible. 
Spivey power bombs John for the pin at 9:14 | *3/4

We get an interview with Cornette about his tux
match. 

Paul E Dangerously vs. Jim Cornette – Tux Match

Heyman’s entrance music is the theme from
Halloween. That’s a great piece of music and I’m surprised other wrestlers
haven’t used it. Heyman quickly goes for the cheap heat by throwing
powder in Cornette’s eyes, followed immediately by beating up Corny’s knee with
his phone. Cornette said that before the match, he told Paul which knee it was
that was injured, so that way they could work Corny’s real injury into the
match. Well, Paul immediately forgot and kept beating the wrong knee, even
though Jim kept saying “Other knee! Idiot!” So, Paul just started
beating up both. Honestly, I usually hate these kinds of matches, but Paul and
Jim are both so good at what they do, with such passion and love for the
business that they make this really entertaining. The crowd is all sorts of
into it too. Easily the best tux match of all time, which I’m sure both Paul and
Jim are very proud of. 
Cornette strips off Paul’s tux for the win at 6:22
| **1/4

Gary Hart is interviewed, believing Muta will
continue his undefeated streak and take home the TV title.

Kevin Sullivan & Mike Rotunda vs. The Steiners
– Texas Tornado Match

The Steiners come out to Welcome To The Jungle,
which blows away their eventual “Steiner Line!” theme, second only to
Sting as the lamest music in WCW history. The match doesn’t last long, but what
we get is one of the harder-hitting matches I’ve ever seen. No surprise when
you’ve got The Steiners in there, but Sullivan and Rotunda are giving as good
as they get. A lot of mayhem in a short period, all chalking up to a decent
brawl. 
Scott hits a flying crossbody on Sullivan, pinning
him at 4:22 | **

We get an interview with The Stinger. He respects
Muta, and delivers one of the blandest promos of all time. 

The Great Muta vs. Sting [C] – WCW TV Championship

The crowd goes insane for Sting. This match has
without a doubt the most exciting first few minutes I’ve ever seen. From Sting
jumping from one ring to another and off the top-rope clotheslines, to Muta’s
flips, kicks and moonsaults. It really needs to be seen to be given justice,
it’s great. This match was all about speed, cramming a 20-minute match into
almost 9 minutes. However, it wasn’t quick just for the sake of it. Muta was
bringing it to Sting as hard and as fast as he could, with Sting having little
to no problem keeping up, and throwing it right back in the Great One’s face.
Superb stuff that definitely was not seen during this time. The end sees Sting
hitting Muta with a belly to back suplex and going for the pin, only for the
ref to count three despite Muta having his shoulder up. He and Gary Hart run
off with the belt while the crowd chants bullshit. 
Sting & Muta are both counted down at 8:40 |
***3/4

Luger does an interview where he says the DQ rule
must be waived, or no match at all. 

Ricky Steamboat vs. Lex Luger [C] – WCW US
Heavyweight Championship

The crowd seems to be chanting “Steroid
freak!” at Luger. I find that funny, considering backstage he was probably
comparing brands of Winstrol with Steamboat. Ricky tries to put away Luger
quick, and when that doesn’t happen, he goes for some quick offense, only for
Luger to simply cut that BS off with a knee lift to the face. From this point
on, neither one holds momentum for very long, as they beat the hell out of one
another at every given opportunity. The end sees Luger bring a chair in, which
Steamboat turns on him in one of the worst examples of business exposing.
Regardless, Steamboat gets a hold of that chair and goes ape shit. He throws
the ref Tommy Young to the outside and pummels Luger. Pretty cool to see
Steamboat actually lose control. I didn’t love this as much as others, because
I felt it really would have benefited from an extended finishing sequence.
Still some good stuff. 
Steamboat is DQ’ed at 10:26 | ***3/4


The Freebirds are interviewed, and they look
absolutely RIDICULOUS. This whole promo is like the zenith of why pro-wrestling
is made fun of. 

Wargames – Freebirds & Samoan Swat Team vs. Road
Warriors, Midnight Express & Dr. Death

Seriously, what the fuck is up with the Freebirds?
Who the HELL is gonna be afraid of two guys in fingerless, white satin forearm
length gloves, golden sequin tank-tops and white spandex pants? I’d be afraid
that they’d think I was really cool, and keep pestering me to join their
Cinderella tribute band. It’s Jimmy and Bobby starting. Bam Bam comes in next,
followed by Dr. Death. The Doctor is wearing yellow trunks and boots with red
knee pads. Are you kidding me? That’d be like me heading to the ring with a
giant sequin cape that said Acho Man. I will give Doc his due, as he military
presses Bam Bam 8 times. Samu is next to enter. Well, technically Jimmy
Garvin’s perm is next, as it’s triple the size it was. Animal is now in for the
good guys. Fatu soon follows. Sweet Stan is after that, PS and Animal are the
last for their teams. I gotta say, I’m disappointed there’s no blood. That’s
the whole point of the War Games. From here on out, it’s what you expect,
without any blood. I found it to be a pretty enjoyable brawl, but you can tell
the difference between The 4 Horsemen and The Freebirds and Samoan Swat Team.
There was never any doubt that The Road Warriors team were coming out on top. 
Road Warrior Hawk causes Garvin to submit with a
Hangman at 22:18 | ***1/2

Ric Flair interview. It’s incredible what they
did. Funk destroyed Flair and what did they do? They kept Ric off of TV, and
kept him from wrestling for two months. There’s absolutely no way that would
happen today. They would have had Ric back the next day, while Funk went on a
losing streak. 

Terry Funk vs. Ric Flair [C] – WCW World
Heavyweight Championship

Right off the bat, Flair gets the best of Funk
with chops and rights and lefts. Funk, being awesome, just loses his mind over
this, and people BELIEVE IT. I mean, you see a fan talking shit to Funk, but
then backs off when he sees Funk may try him. Oddly enough, at one point Funk
attempts to suplex Ric, and Ross calls it a piledriver. Later, Funk goes to
piledrive Ric, and Ross calls it a suplex. Flair starts working on Funk’s
receipt by working on his neck, at one point piledriving him, and causing Funk
to run in a circle like Homer with something written on the back of his head.
Flair soon slaps the Figure 4 on Terry, giving you reason to believe it’s almost
over, but then Funk turns the tide when he smashes Ric with the branding iron,
busting Flair open. He soon has Ric in the center of the ring, dropping him
with neckbreakers, and screaming at Flair to say I quit, while Gary Hart
screams “Get the pin! Get the pin!” He doesn’t want the pin, he wants
Ric to quit. He doesn’t just want the title, he wants Flair’s dignity, it’s
awesome stuff. That’s a heel. He eventually gets busted open with his own
branding iron at the hands of Flair. Ironically, despite the old school
brutality of the match, it ends with a roll up on Flair’s part. It’s a hell of
a match, one that I prefer to their I Quit from Clash. They went out there and
showed you that you don’t need weapons, and light-bulbs, and all sorts of other
shit to create a brutal atmosphere. You need a purpose and passion. 
Ric Flair defeats Terry Funk with the roll up
at 17:23 | ****1/4

Afterward, Muta shows up to help Funk pummel the
hell out of Flair. Sting eventually shows up, giving us our main event for
Havoc. It’s great because they keep brawling all over the arena. Even when Ross
and Bob are doing their wrap-up, the 4 of them just come raging by with Flair
swinging Funk’s branding iron. Awesome. 

Showcase Showdown: For all the people who claim
that this PPV is the greatest of all time, I can’t fault them. It’s a damn good
show. From top to bottom, I was entertained with everything. It delivered
beyond my expectations. Now, I didn’t love it as much as some, but the
difference is negligible, really. The main event really delivered, and was
easily the highlight for me. Flair and Funk went out there and kicked the hell
out of each other, really selling the fact that they both wanted each other
dead. Fantastic stuff. For the few out there who were like me and hadn’t seen
the show, it’s definitely worth it. For those feeling lazy, then I recommend
just watching Flair vs. Funk, it’s fantastic and unfortunately gets lost in the
shadow of their I Quit match. The PPV’s subtitle is The Glory Days, how
appropriate.

As always, much respect and adulation to my editor, Steven Ferrari. I met Steven when I was young.. H couldn’t have been more than 28 or 29 at the time, but he was already a legend. He’d walk in the door and everybody
who worked the room just went wild. He’d give the doorman $100 for opening the door.
He’d shove hundreds in the pockets of the dealers and guys who ran the
games. I mean, the bartender got $100 for keeping the ice cubes cold.Str8 Gangster, No Chaser
– I’ve started a new article series known as Man Etiquette, so you’ll
know how to act in certain situations, I pay tribute to the burliest of
the burly from the 8-bit era, talk
about people who shouldn’t use the internet [all of them], Saved By The
Bell
Archives, Comic Book Films You Didn’t Know Were Comic Book Films, plenty
of other goods.
WCW In 2000
– Recently updated with the infamous Bash at the Beach 2000. You know
what’s shocking? The PPV is GOOD. No joke, it’s seriously good, and
features the best match of WCW’s 2000 year so far.
Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol.1
– NOW ONLY 99CENTS! THAT’S LESS THAN A DOLLAR! My book about action films. Endorsed by Scott Keith & Maddox, as
well as well as fellow BoD’ers The Fuj & Kenny Chill. 5 star average on amazon.
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Any requests, questions, comments, send’em to [email protected]

– Caliber Winfield

Yearly Review: WWF February 1989

 Bros before… The saga between Savage and Hogan continue.
WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Randy Savage)
After defeating the Big Bossman and Akeem with his tag team partner Hulk
Hogan at the Main Event II on February 3rd, however the issues between
Savage and Hogan would heat up quickly. Backstage, Hogan would find
Savage with his valet Miss Elizabeth and began to cut a promo until
Savage decided to hit Hogan with the WWF World Championship. Savage
continued the beat down even as Elizabeth tried to check on Hogan.
Brutus Beefcake tried to make the save but failed at doing so. Savage
was convinced that Hogan was jealous that Savage was the champion and
had Elizabeth by his side. Hogan would later search for Savage but was
unable to find him.

It is safe to say that Savage “lost it” when Hogan carried Elizabeth
to the backstage area after being knocked off the apron to the floor.
Hogan returned to the ring to pick up the win over Akeem with the leg
drop. As you could tell, this whole situation saw Savage turn heel.

At the taping of SNME #20 on February 16th, both Savage and Hogan
were stating that they were going to have Elizabeth in their corner for
the WWF World Championship match at WrestleMania V. However, Elizabeth
stated she wouldn’t be in either man’s corner!

Throughout the month, Savage would compete in street fights against
Bad News Brown despite being a heel and would win each bout. He also
fought WWF Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior in title vs.
title matches but there was never a clean finish.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)

Throughout the month Warrior mainly worked with Savage, but was also
able to advance his feud with Rick Rude. During the matches with Savage,
Warrior would fight off Rude and as a result would be counted out.
Aside from that, Warrior would defeat guys like Ted DiBiase in a matter
of thirty seconds in some cases to retain the title on the house show
market.

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (currently held by: Demolition)

There weren’t any new developments regarding the feud with the Powers of
Pain. Demolition continued to wrestle them on the house show market and
would come out victorious by disqualification each time.

Other Happenings:

– Ted DiBiase defeated Hercules at the Main Event II, the only other
match aired on the program. As a result, DiBiase won his feud with
Hercules by using Hercules tights for extra leverage. During the
February 15th taping of WWF Superstars, DiBiase revealed his Million
Dollar Championship for the first time.

– Bad News Brown continued to suggest that Miss Elizabeth was doing
favors for Jack Tunney and would wrestle Hulk Hogan at SNME #20. Hogan
would win the bout.

WWF SNME #20: (airing on March 11th)

– Brutus Beefcake defeated Rick Rude by disqualification after Andre the
Giant had came out to attack Beefcake. This lead to Jake Roberts coming
out to even out eh odds. Big John Studd also appearsed to have a stare
down with Andre.
– Hulk Hogan defeated Bad News Brown
– Ted DiBiase defeated the Blue Blazer
– The Rockers fought the Brainbusters to a double count-out.
– The Red Rooster defeated the Brooklyn Brawler, but was attacked by
Brawler and Heenan afterwards. Rooster was able to fight them off.

WWF WrestleMania V Card:
– For the WWF World Championship: ©Randy Savage defends against Hulk Hogan
– For the WWF Intercontinental Championship: ©the Ultimate Warrior defends against Rick Rude
– For the WWF World Tag Team Championships: ©Demolition defends against Powers of Pain and Mr. Fuji
– Jake Roberts vs. Andre the Giant
– Brutus Beefcake vs. Ted DiBiase
– The Brianbusters vs. Strike Force
– Bad News Brown vs. Jim Duggan
– Ronnie Garvin vs. Dino Bravo
– Mr. Perfect vs. the Blue Blazer (Owen Hart)
– Twin Towers vs. the Rockers
– The Red Rooster vs. Bobby Heenan
– The Hart Foundation vs. Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine
– King Haku vs. Hercules
– The Bushwhackers vs. the Rougeau Brothers

Ratings:
The Main Event II: 11.0
SNME #20: 10.0 

Bob’s Reaction: 
Most of the month was dedicated between promoting the feud between Savage and Hogan. They have done a great job with making Savage the overprotective type of character and his crazy mindset is just pure entertainment. The match build has been terrific. I actually don’t mind that it has gotten most of the attention for the month. It’s obviously the top program for the WWF. 


Love the Million Dollar Championship being introduced. DiBiase being so obsessed with winning a championship that he had to create his own.


What are your opinions on the matches for WrestleMania V? The build for Savage/Hogan? Or anything going on in the WWF in February 1989? Share them below!

 Also, check out my blog Wrestling Recaps and if you enjoy the series support the blog by liking it on Facebook


Yearly Review: WWF January 1989

WWF kicks off the new year with a few debuts and the Royal Rumble takes place.
WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Randy Savage)
At the Royal Rumble on January 14th, Savage was eliminated from the
Rumble match by Hulk Hogan. Hogan had also tossed out Bad News Brown to
go along with Savage. However, being eliminated by Hogan didn’t sit well
with Savage at all. He had a brief argument with Hogan but was led to
the backstage are by Miss Elizabeth. However, before the end of the
show, Savage claimed that cooler heads had prevailed and that he and
Hogan were on the same page.

Throughout the month, Savage continued to have matches with Bad News
Brown on the house show market. Savage would be victorious each time
they fought. Savage easily won his feud with Brown.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)

At the Royal Rumble on January 14th, Warrior won a pose down competition
against Rick Rude. Rude didn’t take the lost well and ended up
attacking Warrior and choking him with a steel bar. Once he recovered
from the beating, Warrior attacked several officials before running to
the backstage area looking for Rude.

On the house show market, Warrior primarily competed against King Haku and came out victorious each time.

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (currently held by: Demolition)

During the January 24th taping of WWF Superstars, it was announced that
Demolition would defend the tag team titles against the Powers of Pain
at WrestleMania V. They would continue to have several matches on the
house show market with Demolition retaining the titles each time.

Other Happenings:

– At the January 3rd taping of WWF Superstars, Brother Love brought out
snakes to show the world that Andre the Giant wasn’t actually afraid of
them. However, Bobby Heenan and Andre wouldn’t allow Love to open the
bag thus showing the world that Andre is indeed afraid of snakes. It
would be announced during the January 24th Superstars taping that Andre
would square off against Roberts at WrestleMania V. Roberts began to play
mind games with Andre during the same taping by saying over the PA
during Andre’s match that he and his snake Damien were watching Andre.

– Ted DiBiase began to mention that he was having a Million Dollar
Championship created. Several vignettes aired that saw DiBiase telling a
jeweler what he wanted the championship to look like. He also continued
his feud with Hercules on the house show market.

– During the January 3rd taping of WWF Superstars, Dino Bravo came
down to ringside during Jim Duggan’s match waving the Quebec flag. This
would lead to several flag matches on the house show market with Duggan
being victorious.

– The Bushwhackers made their WWF debut on WWF Superstars.

– Rick Martel made his return from an injury suffered back in June of 1988.

– Brooklyn Brawler made his debut.

– Continuing with the trend of debuts, the Rougeau Brothers debuted their new theme song “All American Boys”.

– During the January 4th taping of WWF Wrestling Challenge, WWF
Women’s Champion Rockin’ Robin brawled with Sherri Martel. Martel would
make it clear that she wanted a title shot against Robin.

– Ron Bass began a short feud with Brutus Beefcake which started at
the January 23rd MSG house show where Bass attempted to steal Beefcake’s
scissors. This caused Beefcake to lose to Mr. Perfect by count-out.
During the same show, Beefcake got some revenge by screwing Bass out of a
match against Tito Santana.

– The Brainbusters and the Rockers continued to have matches on the
house show market with each team picking up victorious over the course
of the month.

Royal Rumble 1989:

– Jim Duggan and the Hart Foundation defeated Dino Bravo and the Rougeau Brothers in a best two out of three falls bout.
– WWF Women’s Champion Rockin’ Robin defeated Judy Martin to retain the title.
– King Haku defeated Harley Race
– Big John Studd won a 30 man Royal Rumble.

Buy-rate:

Royal Rumble 1989: 1.5 

Bob’s Reaction: 
An enjoyable month worth of angle advancements from the WWF. Though, I hate the Bushwhackers. They were so much better as the Sheepherders in the NWA. Their comedy gimmick in the WWF got old really quick for me.


Ted DiBiase introducing his own personal championship is a great idea. It goes along well with the fact he has enough money to create it for himself.

The card for WrestleMania V, title match wise looks to be pretty good. Savage/Hogan, Warrior/Rude and Demolition/Powers of Pain.

I thought it was interesting that Big John Studd won the Royal Rumble. If the stipulation of winning a championship match at Mania had been introduced we would have gotten Savage/Studd instead. Personally, I didn’t think it was a great choice, but oh well.

What are your thoughts on the WWF in January of 1989?

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SummerFest Countdown: 1989

(2012 Scott sez:  Another recent redo, so the added comments will likely be minimal.)  The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WWF Summerslam 89 – Live from Jersey. – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jesse Ventura. The Brainbusters v. The Hart Foundation. Tully & Arn were fresh off winning the tag titles. This is non-title for reasons that have always eluded me, and eluded Bret Hart as well according to his book. (In kayfabe terms it was nont-title because the match was signed before the Busters won the belts, but then why not just make it a title match?  Especially since the champs were going over anyway.)  Bret gets a pair of armdrags on Tully to start and goes to work on the arm, then does the same with Arn when he switches in. The Harts stay on Arn’s arm and work him over in the corner, as Arn is unable to tag Tully due to double-teaming and legal reasons. Finally Tully comes in and immediately runs into trouble with Anvil, who rams him into the mat and goes back to the arm. Tully tries to beat on Neidhart in the corner to break, but Anvil no-sells and brings Bret back in for another hammerlock to keep Blanchard grounded. Tully reverses to a top wristlock, but Bret bridges to block it and powers into a reversal that sends the champs to the floor. Tully and Bret slug it out, but the champs smartly position Bret so that he doesn’t notice Arn sneaking up from behind to clobber him. AA misses a pump splash and the Harts clean house again. Bret hauls Tully back in and the Harts keep working on him in the corner, and Anvil drives him into the turnbuckles off a bearhug. It’s a pier-six brawl, but Arn pulls Tully out of the way of a charging Anvil and the tide is thus turned. The Busters go to work on the neck with double-teaming, and Tully goes to a rear chinlock. Over to Arn, who hits Neidhart in the gut for two, but gets tossed across the ring on the kick out. Nice touch. Anvil collides with Anderson, but Arn recovers first, so Bret gives him the cheapshot from the apron to mess him up. I loved that the Harts always cheated, even as babyfaces. It really gave them that edge that other teams like the Rockers were lacking. Bret gets the hot tag and slams everyone, then dropkicks Arn and hits Tully with the second rope elbow. Snap suplex gets two. Everyone is in and Bret collides with Tully while AA brawls with Anvil on the floor, and everyone seems a bit lost. Bret slingshots Anvil onto Tully once they get organized, and then Anvil slams Bret onto Tully, but Arn hits Bret behind the ref’s back and Tully is on top for the pin at 15:55. This was one of those 80s dream matches that more than lived up to the pedigree, although there was nothing particularly distinguishing about the action or the finish. ***1/2 Dusty Rhodes v. The Honky Tonk Man. We get the ass-shaking contest to start and Honky runs away from the Bionic Elbow. Back in, Dusty MESSES UP THE HAIR. What a cad. And now Dusty gets the elbow, and pounds away in the corner. Sadly, Jimmy Hart gets involved and breaks up the technical clinic, allowing Honky to nail Dusty with the megaphone and take over. We hit the chinlock and Dusty fights out quickly, but runs into a knee. Back to the chinlock and Honky slugs away in the corner, but falls victim to the Flip Flop and Fly. Ref is bumped (in THIS match?!) and Honky gets the guitar from Jimmy, but ends up taking it himself. Big fat elbow finishes at 9:38. Boring as hell, but Dusty is over like crazy here so it was watchable. *1/2 Mr. Perfect v. The Red Rooster. Shoving match to start and Perfect hiptosses Rooster and mocks him in between takedowns. Rooster gets all riled up and they criss-cross, but his knee gives way on a slam attempt and Perfect gets two. Standing dropkick puts Rooster on the floor, and back in Perfect pounds away as Taylor’s ankle is obviously wonky. They fight onto the floor and Perfect finishes quick with the Perfectplex at 3:20 with no offense evident from the Rooster. Pretty clear case of an early “go home” signal. Never had a chance to go anywhere thanks to the injury. *1/4 The Rockers & Tito Santana v. The Rougeaus & Rick Martel. Jacques starts with Tito and offers a handshake, but Tito wisely declines. The Rockers quickly come in and help Tito triple-team him and the faces clean house off that. Jacques tries again with Marty and catches a cheapshot, then Ray comes in for the crescent kick to take over. Martel slugs away in the corner, but Marty manages to tag Tito in and Martel runs away. Tito grabs a headlock on Raymond and slugs him down for two. The heels double-team him, however, and Martel finally comes in and stomps his former partner down. Jacques gets the dropkick and they cut off the ring, holding Tito in the heel corner. Tito fights out with a sunset flip on Martel for two, but Rick chokes him down again. The Rougeaus switch in for some more double-teaming, into the abdominal stretch from Jacques (with an assist from Martel) as the crowd gets hotter and hotter. Tito fights out, but Martel drops an elbow on him to stop the tag. Martel slugs away and tries a rollup, but Tito blocks it and fights back. Jacques comes in and Tito gets a cross body for two on him, but Jacques suckers the Rockers in and the heels do more damage behind the ref’s back. Raymond gets two, but Tito gets another sunset flip for two. Ray stomps him down again and goes to the chinlock as they’re just putting heat on Tito like crazy. Finally, hot tag Shawn and the place EXPLODES. He slugs on Martel in the corner and backdrops him, and a vertical suplex allows him to go up with the fistdrop. He presses Marty onto Martel and it’s BONZO GONZO as the place is just going nuts. Tito gets the forearm on Martel and knocks him out of the ring while the Rockers brawl with the Rougeaus. Marty reverses a rollup on Jacques, but Martel clobbers him and gets the pin at 15:14. Tremendous unsung classic six-man! Literally non-stop action here and hard work all around, back before Martel became a lazy bore in the ring. **** – Sadly, even this version omits the pre-match promo with Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan where the sign fell down and Gene swears on camera. C’mon, it’s nearly 20 years later, get over it production guys. Intercontinental title: Ravishing Rick Rude v. Ultimate Warrior. So of course Rude screwed Warrior out of the belt at Wrestlemania V, in what was Warrior’s first good match, well, ever, so they had a lot to live up to here. Warrior was already starting to feud with Andre and Rude was programmed with Roddy Piper, so it was obvious that this feud was over one way or another after tonight. This matchup was kind of like the Batista-Undertaker of its time, as they just had freakish chemistry against each other for whatever reason. Rude tries slugging away to start, and gets nowhere. Warrior clotheslines him to the floor, but Rude comes back in with a sunset flip, which Warrior blocks by punching him. Gorilla press follows, and Warrior opts to dump Rude on the floor for a nice bump. They brawl outside and Warrior hits him with the belt, triggering a classic rant by Jesse Ventura about whether it’s legal to shoot someone outside the ring and how Tony is even stupider than Gorilla Monsoon. But tell us what how you really feel, Jesse. Warrior brings him in, then changes his mind and tosses him again. Back in, Warrior goes up with a double axehandle for two. He whips Rude into opposite turnbuckles and slams him for two. Suplex gets two. Warrior gets an inverted atomic drop, giving Rude a chance to do his tailbone sell, and Warrior drops him on his ass for good measure. Back to the top for LUCHA WARRIOR~!, but Rude brings him down the hard way to take over. Rude starts working on the back and a suplex gets two, then he goes to the rear chinlock. He stomps the back and goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it, so Rude goes with a rare sleeper instead. Criss-cross and the ref is bumped, but Heenan manages to shake Rude out of it first. Warrior hulks up and powerslams Rude after the three clotheslines, and of course there’s no ref. Piledriver, and that gets two. Running powerslam sets up the big splash, but Rude gets the knees up to block. Rude gets his own piledriver, almost a powerbomb, for two. To the top for the fistdrop, and that gets two, but now Roddy Piper joins us. Another piledriver gets two and Rude gets all distracted by Piper, who moons him in response. And that was six years before Braveheart! Warrior suplexes the distracted Rude, and it’s shoulderblock, gorilla press, big splash and we have a new champion at 16:03. The reaction for this was GIGANTIC and anyone who wouldn’t have taken a shot with Warrior as World champion after seeing this is nuts. Even more than Warrior! And this one of the few times, I might add, where Rude got what was coming to him and did a clean job. Definitely one of the best matches of Warrior’s career. ***1/2 Demolition & King Duggan v. Big Bossman, Akeem & Andre the Giant. Again I ask: How can Duggan purport to be a true American and yet support a monarchy? Akeem gets worked over in the Demo corner to start and they work on the arm, and Ax elbows him out of the corner. Bossman comes in to try and gets pounded by Ax, then gets into a slugfest with Smash and loses. Ax comes in and gets caught in the heel corner, and that brings Andre in for a buttdrop to take over. Andre is looking positively svelte here, actually. He must have been on a two-bottle-a-day diet or something. Andre chokes Ax down and Bossman adds a headbutt, but Akeem misses a charge and hits the turnbuckles. Smash gets a hot tag and slams both Towers, which is pretty cool, but runs into Andre and goes down fast. Bossman drops an elbow for two. Everyone brawls and Andre headbutts Duggan down, but he recovers and hits Akeem with the board to give Smash the pin at 7:26. Short and inoffensive with no resting, so that’s all you can ask. ** Hercules v. Greg Valentine. Ronnie Garvin is your biased ring announcer. You know, given how much I’m digging his NWA run from 1985 on 24/7 right now, it’s a real letdown watching him sleepwalk through his WWF stuff. Herc clotheslines Valentine for two and gets a slam for two. Valentine hits the floor to escape that awesome offensive onslaught, but Hercules gets a rollup for two. Valentine goes for the leg and heads up, but Herc catches him with a punch coming down and slugs away. Suplex and Hercules pounds away in the corner, but he gets taken down and pinned at 3:02. This went nowhere. 1/2* Ron Garvin decides to award the match to Hercules anyway. That’s an abuse of his authority as ring announcer, and I hope he was stripped of his license. Ted Dibiase v. Jimmy Snuka. Yay, more time-filler. Dibiase tries attacking but gets chased off. Snuka goes after Virgil and then chops Dibiase and atomic drops him to the floor, and Dibiase regroups out there. Back in, they mistime a criss-cross and Snuka pounds him in the corner, but Dibiase slugs him down in turn. Snuka comes back with a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into a stungun as Dibiase takes over. Suplex gets two. Dibiase slams him and goes up for the elbow, which misses as usual. Snuka fights back with a flying headbutt from the middle rope, and he goes up to finish. Superfly splash is interrupted by Virgil, and Dibiase hits him from behind and sends him into the post for the countout win at 6:24. Ugh, two shitty finishes in a row. *1/2 Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake v. Randy Savage & Zeus. Y’all know what a trainwreck the Zeus thing was, like if say WCW made a movie with David Arquette as the star and then brought him in as a wrestler and even put the World title on him. Hogan slugs on Zeus to no effect, and immediately gets choked down. Beefcake breaks it up but gets caught in the bearhug, and then Hogan gets more of the same. Macho Man, in badass white tights, comes in with the double axehandle and knees Hogan into the corner to set up the hooking clothesline for two. We hit the chinlock already, wasting no time in sucking, but Hogan fights free, only to walk into a cheapshot from Zeus on the apron. Zeus comes back in with his one move, the bearhug, and it’s looking bleak for Hulkamania. That lasts FOREVER before Savage interrupts the monotony and comes in with a backdrop suplex for two. Savage misses a charge and Hogan brings Beefcake in, and a high knee gets two on Savage. Sleeper follows and Savage is fading fast, but he manages to ram Beefcake into the top turnbuckle to break. And yay, it’s back to Zeus, but Beefcake goes to his one weak spot: The crazy eye. Savage, however, uses Sherri’s loaded purse to knock Beefcake out, and gets two. Beefcake is face-in-peril and Zeus adds another move to his repertoire by choking Brutus out in several different ways, looking about as menacing as Wayne Brady in the process. Savage comes in and collides with Beefcake for the double knockout. So it’s hot tag to Hogan again and he suplexes Savage in from the apron, but Sherri hooks the leg and Macho gets two. Savage clotheslines him down again and goes up for the big elbow, but who’s kidding who at this point? Hulk doesn’t even take a count, hulking up right away to set up the big showdown with Zeus. Hulk finally knocks him down, and then gets the HANDBAG OF DEATH and slams Z to set up the legdrop and pin at 15:08. Crowd was hot for all of it, but it was all chinlocks and choking and bearhugs. ** The Pulse: This show doesn’t get much love, but although the main event sucked ass there was some really good stuff here, including the six-man match and the opening non-title tag match. A hot crowd helps a lot as well. Recommended.

July PPV Countdown: The Great American Bash 1989

The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WCW Great American Bash 89 – This is yet another one of those rants from 1996 that I was never entirely happy with, so here’s a redone version, now with proper play-by-play and match times. Most of my comments and feelings on the show still stand, though, so don’t expect much in the way of new insight here. This is being done from the Turner video, not the live PPV version, so it’s been hacked down to 125 minutes, albeit in expert form by the Turner video guys.  (The thing that really pissed me off the most about losing WWE 24/7 was that they showed the full PPV version of this show something like the WEEK after it was dropped by Sasktel.)    – Live from Baltimore, Maryland. – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Bob Caudle. – Opening match: “King of the Hill” double ring battle royale finals. Kinda like the Bunkhouse Stampede of years past, the NWA held a series of battle royales, with 20 of the winners competing here in the finals for a bunch of money. Whee. When you’re eliminated from the first ring, you go to the second ring and another battle royale ensues for the losers. Winner of A v. Winner of B for the money. Our contestants this evening: Mike Rotundo, Kevin Sullivan, Ranger Ross, Eddie Gilbert, Steve Williams, Terry Gordy, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, Sid Vicious and Dan Spivey. Meandering brawl to start. Ranger goes first, and thus moves to the other ring. (No truth to the rumor that he tried to burn down the first ring to conceal the evidence of his elimination.)  Ron Simmons (with a huge Foley-ish ass going on there) gets tossed, and moves to the other side to pummel Ross. However, he misses a charge and goes out. Man, eliminated by Ranger Ross AND forced to wear a gladiator outfit in 1996. Could Ron’s career suck any more? Scott Hall (with well-conditioned blond hair and a porn star moustache) and Terry Gordy move to the other ring, taking Bill Irwin with them. We’re clipped closer to the end, as Sid runs the table in Ring A until it’s down to him and Brian Pillman. Insert obvious squeegee joke here. (I SAID, did you go find your SCISSORS?) In Ring B, it’s down to Dan Spivey, Steve Williams and Mike Rotundo. Williams & Rotundo slug it out until a botched spot sees Captain Mike going over the top, and Spivey disposes of Doc shortly thereafter, at 8:28 shown. So of course, to completely negate the point of the thing, Sid Vicious wins ring A and Dan Spivey wins ring B and they agree to split the money rather than fight. Damn that SD Jones for setting that precedent in the 80s. An interesting opener with a cheap ending. I don’t rate battle royales. – Wild Bill Irwin v. Brian Pillman. JIP as Brian gets tossed. This is pretty much right after Brian’s debut in the NWA. Back in, Irwin chokes away, but crotches himself on a charge. Pillman comes back with a pair of dropkicks and a lariat. Splash gets two. He goes up, but misses a dropkick. Irwin pounds on him and hits a gutwrench for two. He dumps Pillman right into the other ring, but Brian outsmarts him by hitting a bodypress from that ring back into the original ring for the pin at 2:42 shown. Good enough. *1/2 – The Skyscrapers v. The Dynamic Dudes. Here’s a kicker for ya: The Skyscrapers had the love and respect of the smark fans in the audience here, and those fans hated later smark darlings Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace. (Ho ho, I wouldn’t call Johnny Ace a “smark darling” any longer, 2002 Scott.)  When Sid is in they cheer, and when Sid isn’t in they chant “We want Sid!”. That, my friends, is why Sid got pushed as much as he did despite sucking: Because the NWA *listened* to what the fans wanted to see. Not just company line like the WWF spews, but they actually paid attention and got rid of what didn’t work instead of pushing it down people’s throats. We’ll pretend that the Dynamic Dudes didn’t exist for the sake of argument here. The same argument applies somewhat to Hogan today, but in this case the argument generally isn’t “Hogan shouldn’t be on TV”, it’s “Hogan shouldn’t be booked in serious angles as World champion and put into a position to carry the company”. JIP as Sid works Shane’s back over as only he can by applying a clawhold to the back. What’s he trying to do, massage him to death? Sid tags out and the crowd boos. Spivey slams Shane as the “We Want Sid” chants start. Spivey misses a flying headbutt as the world over asks “What the fuck was he trying that for?” Hot tag Johnny, but even the awesome power of the rampaging babyface isn’t enough to do any damage. Man, that’s just cold. A flying clothesline gets two, but Sid calmly dismantles both guys to the delight of the jaded crowd. The Skyscrapers clothesline each other in a very contrived spot, but Sid doesn’t sell, then stops to nail Johnny again before Spivey puts the poor guy out of his misery with a powerbomb at 3:11 shown. See, now THAT was a squash. ½*  (I’m sure Johnny got his revenge by wishing Sid well in his future endeavours at some point in the future after this.)  – Everything from this point on is complete on this tape. – Tuxedo Match: Jim Cornette v. Paul E. Dangerously. Of course, today everyone is VERY familiar with the Cornette/Heyman two-sided snipefest that seems to result every time one of them mentions the other, but back then they were just a pair of managers feuding with each other in storyline terms. The relationship only went downhill from there.  (I’d say Heyman won that feud overall, since he’s still employed by WWE and Cornette has basically burned all his remaining bridges.)  In storyline terms, it’s the final match in the Midnight Express feud, as both of Dangerously’s Express pretenders had been bounced from the NWA by Cornette’s team until this was all that remained. Cornette pops Dangerously in the mouth, but Paul uses powder to take over. Dangerously slugs away and Cornette bails, so Paul injects a little psychology into things by pounding on Cornette’s infamous injured knee. Cornette gets posted, but crawls in. Both guys are selling like nuts. Paul gives him some shocking stiff shots for a comedy match, but misses an elbow. JR’s comment about how Paul was “watching the mat the whole time, but still missed” is one of the funniest lines he gets here. Cornette hulks up, however, and lays in his own stiff shots. Bob Caudle seems exceptionally excited to see male nudity. Paul’s shirt gets torn off, but they collide for a double KO. Sneaky Paul E goes for more powder, but irony rears her ugly head as Cornette kicks it back in his face and yanks his pants off for the win at 3:54. Among manager v. manager comedy gimmick matches, this was certainly near the top of the heap. I don’t rate tuxedo matches, though. – Texas Tornado match: Rick & Scott Steiner v. The Varsity Club. Notable for three reasons: 1) It’s the final blowoff for the whole Varsity Club feud, end of the line, fini, everyone lives happily ever after; 2) It’s the PPV debut of Scott Steiner and the debut of the Steiner Brothers, period; 3) It’s the first appearance on PPV of the Kevin Sullivan style ECW-ish brawl that he would book into the ground over the next 9 years. (This was set up, for those curious, by Rick winning the TV title from Rotundo at Starrcade 88, and then dropping it back to him at Chi-Town Rumble due to his own crushing stupidity, namely letting himself get pinned while applying a sleeper hold.  He brought in his brother for the final showdown.)  Big brawl to start, and it never lets up. Rick & Kevin head outside for some mindless violence and pound each other with chairs, but Rick gets crotched on the railing. It’s like Kevin Sullivan’s signature or something to have one of the guys crotching themselves on the railing. In the ring, Rotundo and Scott do some wrestling, while Rick hits Kevin with a nearby table. I mean, he literally picks the whole thing up and uses it like a weapon as if this were an N64 WWF game or something. So Kevin uses the stairs while Scott hammers Rotundo and gets a hiptoss. The Varsity Club double-teams Rick with lariats, but Rick suplexes Sullivan. Scott puts Rotundo in the Tree of Woe while Rick powerslams Sullivan. Rotundo escapes and suplexes Scott, and Sullivan & Rick take the opportunity to brawl out again. Rick loses that battle, allowing the Varsity Club to double-team Scott and try stereo pinfalls. Rick then blocks a sunset flip by headbutting Kevin Sullivan in the groin about 18 times. No wonder Nancy left him for Benoit. (Now we all wish she hadn’t, of course.)  Scott cradles Rotundo for two. Another double-team on Scott, and Sullivan grabs a STRETCHER for use as a weapon. Scott tosses Rotundo and when Sullivan tries to slam Rick, the Steiners dog-pile him for the pin at 4:44. Literally all action, bell-to-bell. ***1/4 – World TV title match: Sting v. The Great Muta. Sting is mighty mighty over here, and Muta is no slouch himself. How they managed to develop two overnight sensations like these guys, build them to main event level, and then destroy both of them by the end of 1990 boggles my mind to this day. Sting dives over the ring to attack a stalling Muta to start, and they head back to the intended ring, where Muta hits a precise chop off the top and pounds him. Handspring elbow and backbreaker set up the moonsault, which misses. He lands on his feet, however, and readjusts with an enzuigiri that puts Sting on the floor. Muta follows with a pescado. Back in, Sting clotheslines him and heads up for another one. It gets two. Dropkick and Muta bails, and they brawl. Back in, Sting gains control and gets a plain old slam for two. Muta reverses a suplex into the sleeper. Jim Ross is truly in his glory here playing up the “All American Boy v. Evil Japanese Monster” angle. If he had better material to work with these days, he might not be such a parody of himself. Sting makes the ropes and gets a press-slam. Elbow misses, so Muta hits the Power Elbow (still the best elbowdrop I’ve ever seen) and hits the chinlock. He takes it to an abdominal stretch, and into that cradle that Hogan is so fond of these days. I am proud to note that he both remembers to hook the left leg (as Gorilla Monsoon would have pointed out) AND use the ropes for leverage (as Jesse Venura would have pointed out). He tosses Sting, but Sting has had enough of Muta’s shenanigans and pops right back in. Muta casually pokes him in the eyes to end that bit of jingoism. He starts throwing the low kicks in the corner, but the Handspring misses. Sting comes back with a bulldog and JR is about 3 seconds removed from waving the American flag and signing the Star Spangled Banner in Sting’s honor. That’s not a knock on him —  Evil Foreigner angles will always have a place in wrestling when done properly. Standing dropkick sends Muta out, but they mistime the tope spot. Back in, the dreaded RED MIST OF DEATH is unleashed, but the ref gets it and he’s blind! So how do you tell the difference? Stinger splash misses, and Muta gets this awesome cocky look on his face as a result, before hitting a beautiful moonsault as Tommy Young runs in to count two. JR, the entire audience and (originally) myself all thought that was the finish.  (Should have been.)  Muta gets frustrated and throws a high kick that misses by a mile, allowing Sting to get a backdrop suplex for the pin at 8:06. However, video replay would reveal one or more shoulders being lifted at two, leaving the title vacant for months, until Muta won the rematch. This was total state-of-the-art high-impact speed/power wrestling at the time, and remains really peachy keen today. **** – US title match: Lex Luger v. Ricky Steamboat. The storyline here is that everyone in the NWA and the audience wants this to be a no-DQ match, except of course for Lex Luger. He protests on general principles, and finally Steamboat caves and drops the stipulation. Even a monster heel turn couldn’t dent Luger’s popularity, as he gets one of the biggest superhero pops of the night. Lex overpowers him to start, but gets cradled for one. Small package gets two. Cradle gets two. Two dropkicks and Ricky starts chopping like a motherfucker. Man, I remember the days before Luger’s scrotum fell off. He wisely bails before his chest starts swelling up. They brawl and Steamboat is like “You think those were bad? Take THIS and THIS and THAT!” and just unloads monster chops that are like 1.2 Benoit. He gets an atomic drop, too, but being that he’s a total idiot he lets Luger get into the ring first and walks right into a kneelift coming back in. They head out and Luger beats him to a pulp, but Steamboat pulls out the chops again. Back in, Steamboat goes up, but gets caught. Backbreaker follows and Luger goes for that general area. Press slam pops the crowd. Elbow to the back gets two. Then a really cool spot, as Luger protests the speed of the count, and specifically instructs Tommy Young to count “123” instead of “1..2..3” next time. So of course Steamboat cradles him and Tommy gets off an ultra-fast two count. Little details like that are missing nowadays. JR & Caudle don’t even pound the joke into the ground like Michael Cole would today it’s just a subtle little thing that’s put there for people who are paying attention. Steamboat is about to make a comeback, so Luger just MURDERS him with three clotheslines, allowing Steamboat to do his most dramatic punch-drunk oversell. (In retrospect, Luger as Super-heel and Steamboat the overselling babyface is a brilliant combo and I don’t know why they didn’t run it into the ground, because it was pretty awesome.)  Luger hotshots him, but Steamboat goes back to the chops again. A cheapshot ends that, and Luger gets a powerslam for two. Steamboat tries again with a bodyblock for two, but Lex atomic drops him. However, he puts his head down and falls prey to a neckbreaker. Luger, now frustrated, charges and goes over the top, and Steamboat won’t let him back in, smartly fighting from a distance and forcing Luger to expend energy while trying to make it into the ring again. See, it’s the DETAILS. Steamboat tries a slam back in, but Luger reverses for two. Steamboat charges and misses and Luger goes up, but gets slammed off. Steamboat goes for the kill with more chops, and gets the flying karate chop to set up the finish. However, Luger backdrops him into the other ring and we move there. Luger fetches a chair, obviously trying for the DQ, but Steamboat catapults him into it, which Tommy Young appears ready to ignore. However, Steamboat snaps and starts pounding him with the chair, and Tommy can’t ignore THAT and gives Luger his DQ at 10:26. Steamboat makes sure to get his money’s worth, though. See what happens when a match is smartly laid out and both guys are unselfish enough to sell the shit out of each others’ offense? You only help yourself by taking the chops like a MAN and not trying to hog every bit of offense for yourself. This was probably Luger’s best singles match outside of Flair, bar none. ****1/2 – WarGames: Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, Terry Gordy, Samu & Fatu v. Stan Lane, Bobby Eaton, Steve Williams, Hawk & Animal. This was, for all intents and purposes, only the second year for WarGames, as the 1988 version was never shown anywhere that I’m aware of. (It ended up on a WWE DVD!) Garvin starts with Eaton as the first two victims. They slug it out, which Eaton of course wins. He gets a neckbreaker, but Garvin slugs back. Eaton gets an atomic drop, but runs into a foot. Eaton tastes the cold steel of cage (which, as JR would note some 12 years later, does not taste like chocolate), and gets choked. He slugs back, but gets forearmed by Garvin. Hayes lays on the badmouth for good measure, as a running gag develops on the outside with Dangerously promising to the camera every chance he gets that Hayes will be the next one in the match. Eaton comes back with a pair of backbreakers that set up a Boston crab, but Gordy (and not Hayes, as promised) is the next in. Dangerously assures the camera that Hayes is coming right up. Things go badly for Bobby in the 2:00 2-on-1 segment, as they send him to the cage repeatedly. Dr. Death is next in for the babyfaces to make the save, and it’s MIRACLE VIOLENCE time. He goes for Gordy and presses him into the ceiling of the cage an insane EIGHT times. Garvin chokes Eaton as the heels regain the momentum. Williams sends Gordy to the cage, and Samu is in next. But don’t worry, Hayes is coming right away. Yup. They target the good Doctor and Gordy gives him a backdrop suplex while Garvin handles Eaton. Doc keeps coming back, but Gordy & Samu double-team him. Animal comes in to even the odds again, and he whomps righteous ass on everyone. Big boot for Samu, and when he retreats to the other ring to escape, Animal follows with a shoulderblock over the ropes. The faces clothesline anything that moves until Fatu makes it 4-on-3 again. The SST work Animal over with lots of headbutts. Gordy chokes out Doc to keep him occupied. Stan Lane is next, and various heels taste the unforgiving steel. Doc & Animal just clothesline the shit out of the SST while the Express handle Garvin. Hayes is finally in last for the heels (“I gotta go in?” he asks Dangerously. “There’s no one left!” Paul replies. “Damn.” ) , and he starts DDTing everyone. He celebrates with some strutting. Things look bleak for our heroes as the heels pound away, but Hawk enters to begin the Match Beyond. Bodies are flying everywhere and now Eaton returns the DDT receipt to all the heels, and everyone moves to one side and slugs it out. The LOD try a Doomsday Device on Gordy, but Garvin breaks it up. However, he’s actually walked into a trap, as Hawk kills him with a lariat, gives him a bunch of neckbreakers, and then puts him in the Hangman for the submission at 22:22. That was, to coin a phrase, a true slobberknocker. **** Just for fun, the heels wait until everyone but Animal has left, and then jump him for the huge post-match massacre. Hey, they’re the bad guys, you expect sportsmanship? – NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Terry Funk. The storyline is simple: Flair regained the title at WrestleWar, and jealous ringside judge Funk decided to come out of retirement and make a grandstand challenge on the spot. Flair rightly turned him down, so Funk threw a tantrum and piledrove Flair through the ringside table, breaking his neck. And now Flair’s back and he wants sweet, sweet revenge. Flair wastes no time, attacking on the floor, and Funk wants none of that action. Flair chases and pounds away, so Funk runs for cover again. Into the ring, Funk chops away, but Flair returns fire with cherries on top. Funk takes a powder again, so they brawl outside. Flair gets posted, and Funk pounds him. Back in, a suplex gets two. He starts targeting the neck, so Flair takes a breather of his own. When he gets to the apron, they fight over a suplex, and both guys tumble to the floor. Chops are exchanged, and then eyepokes. Back in, Funk goes for his first try at a piledriver, but Flair reverses. More brawling and now Flair works the neck. Back in, he drops the knee on it, twice, for two. A pair of piledrivers and Funk is dead. Finished. Kaput. Done. DOA. However, he has enough left to bail and make a run for it. Flair heads him off and they slug it out, which Flair wins back in the ring and gets two. Backdrop suplex sets up the figure-four, but Funk is smart enough to grab the branding iron and tattoo Flair with it to break the hold. Flair starts bleeding as a result, and now Funk chooses that moment to hit the long-awaited piledriver. It only gets two, so Funk rips up the mats on the floor. Flair reverses that piledriver attempt, but Funk gets three neckbreakers back in the ring. Flair gets that branding iron for himself, however, and soon both guys are bleeding. They brawl out and in, and Flair hammers away on the cut. He misses a charge and hurts his knee, so Terry goes for the spinning toehold. Ric grabs his free leg and trips him up to set up the figure-four, but Terry reverses to an inside cradle for two, which Flair reverses again for the pin at 16:20. The psychology was a little goofy, but the brawl was super-intense and had tons of blood. ****1/4 Muta & Funk then do the classic beatdown of Flair that leads to Flair & Sting v. Funk & Muta at the first Halloween Havoc. The Bottom Line: Untouched by the ravages of time and sports entertainment bullshit, this show remains the pinnacle of the early NWA PPV era and the single greatest wrestling PPV ever produced. The matches, while slightly shorter than usual, have absolutely no wasted space in them and almost zero resting, as everyone turned it up about 150 notches for this show and put on a blowaway effort in every sense of the word. But is Wrestlemania X-7 a better show? Well, comparing the top matches. – Rock/Austin v. Flair/Funk Better storyline for Bash, better match for WM. Give the edge to the WWF here. – TLC3 v. WarGames – Better gimmick for the Bash, more eye-popping spotfest for WM. Since the styles are so drastically different, call it a push. – HHH/Undertaker v. Steamboat/Luger No contest here, I think, comparing power v. technique matches. Luger could MOVE back in the day, whereas UT has been in slow motion since he returned in 2000. Definite edge to the Bash here. – Sting/Muta v. Benoit/Angle. Too close to call. Both featuring state-of-the-art stuff and hot new workers. However, Sting/Muta had an actual backstory and buildup, whereas Benoit/Angle was just thrown together the week before the show, so I’m gonna give the edge to the Bash again. So the final tally: 2-1-1 for the Great American Bash, winner and STILL PPV champion for the foreseeable future. And in case you haven’t figured it out, HIGHEST recommendation. Ever. (I can see why this one might not be as beloved by those who didn’t live through the time period, but much like comic books, the golden age of wrestling is defined by the person, not the era.) 

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1989. – Live from Houston, Texas. – Your hosts are Jesse and Gorilla.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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I would like to update that list to include Rockstar energy drinks and Big Turk chocolate bars.  Really gets you through the workday.)  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”.  (2012 Scott sez:  But the WAY he said it made you think he’d be a star.  OK, I’m just saying that.  But I do really miss the drawing segments where people react to their luck of the draw.)  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.  (2012 Scott sez:  Weird that I gave this more play-by-play treatment than most of the matches on this show.)  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. ***  (2012 Scott sez:  I wouldn’t actually call Haku “un-carryable”.  I’ve seen people get a good match out of him given the right circumstances.)  – 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?  (2012 Scott sez:  Arn Anderson was the master of “shades of grey” years before Russo ever came to power.)  – 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 never 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. (2012 Scott sez:  The Rumble is actually the kind of match where Garvin would excel, because he can come in, do his high-impact stuff, and then leave.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Fuck off, it always 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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I think the “Bad News Brown fears snakes” angle was much more tasteless for the racist aspect.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung back the other way, with guys feuding one month and then teaming up the next, with only CM Punk even remembering to acknowledge it.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  More dream matches we never got:  Brainbusters v. Megapowers.)  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? (2012 Scott sez:  Because he’s a rich white guy who would be unhappy with anything less than #30, of course.  That’s the great part about the character.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, this was written in 1999, wanna fight about it?)  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. Recommended.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1989. – Live from Houston, Texas. – Your hosts are Jesse and Gorilla.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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I would like to update that list to include Rockstar energy drinks and Big Turk chocolate bars.  Really gets you through the workday.)  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”.  (2012 Scott sez:  But the WAY he said it made you think he’d be a star.  OK, I’m just saying that.  But I do really miss the drawing segments where people react to their luck of the draw.)  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.  (2012 Scott sez:  Weird that I gave this more play-by-play treatment than most of the matches on this show.)  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. ***  (2012 Scott sez:  I wouldn’t actually call Haku “un-carryable”.  I’ve seen people get a good match out of him given the right circumstances.)  – 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?  (2012 Scott sez:  Arn Anderson was the master of “shades of grey” years before Russo ever came to power.)  – 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 never 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. (2012 Scott sez:  The Rumble is actually the kind of match where Garvin would excel, because he can come in, do his high-impact stuff, and then leave.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Fuck off, it always 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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I think the “Bad News Brown fears snakes” angle was much more tasteless for the racist aspect.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung back the other way, with guys feuding one month and then teaming up the next, with only CM Punk even remembering to acknowledge it.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  More dream matches we never got:  Brainbusters v. Megapowers.)  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? (2012 Scott sez:  Because he’s a rich white guy who would be unhappy with anything less than #30, of course.  That’s the great part about the character.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, this was written in 1999, wanna fight about it?)  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. Recommended.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1989. – Live from Houston, Texas. – Your hosts are Jesse and Gorilla.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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I would like to update that list to include Rockstar energy drinks and Big Turk chocolate bars.  Really gets you through the workday.)  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”.  (2012 Scott sez:  But the WAY he said it made you think he’d be a star.  OK, I’m just saying that.  But I do really miss the drawing segments where people react to their luck of the draw.)  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.  (2012 Scott sez:  Weird that I gave this more play-by-play treatment than most of the matches on this show.)  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. ***  (2012 Scott sez:  I wouldn’t actually call Haku “un-carryable”.  I’ve seen people get a good match out of him given the right circumstances.)  – 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?  (2012 Scott sez:  Arn Anderson was the master of “shades of grey” years before Russo ever came to power.)  – 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 never 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. (2012 Scott sez:  The Rumble is actually the kind of match where Garvin would excel, because he can come in, do his high-impact stuff, and then leave.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Fuck off, it always 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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I think the “Bad News Brown fears snakes” angle was much more tasteless for the racist aspect.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung back the other way, with guys feuding one month and then teaming up the next, with only CM Punk even remembering to acknowledge it.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  More dream matches we never got:  Brainbusters v. Megapowers.)  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? (2012 Scott sez:  Because he’s a rich white guy who would be unhappy with anything less than #30, of course.  That’s the great part about the character.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, this was written in 1999, wanna fight about it?)  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. Recommended.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1989. – Live from Houston, Texas. – Your hosts are Jesse and Gorilla.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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I would like to update that list to include Rockstar energy drinks and Big Turk chocolate bars.  Really gets you through the workday.)  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”.  (2012 Scott sez:  But the WAY he said it made you think he’d be a star.  OK, I’m just saying that.  But I do really miss the drawing segments where people react to their luck of the draw.)  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.  (2012 Scott sez:  Weird that I gave this more play-by-play treatment than most of the matches on this show.)  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. ***  (2012 Scott sez:  I wouldn’t actually call Haku “un-carryable”.  I’ve seen people get a good match out of him given the right circumstances.)  – 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?  (2012 Scott sez:  Arn Anderson was the master of “shades of grey” years before Russo ever came to power.)  – 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 never 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. (2012 Scott sez:  The Rumble is actually the kind of match where Garvin would excel, because he can come in, do his high-impact stuff, and then leave.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Fuck off, it always 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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I think the “Bad News Brown fears snakes” angle was much more tasteless for the racist aspect.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung back the other way, with guys feuding one month and then teaming up the next, with only CM Punk even remembering to acknowledge it.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  More dream matches we never got:  Brainbusters v. Megapowers.)  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? (2012 Scott sez:  Because he’s a rich white guy who would be unhappy with anything less than #30, of course.  That’s the great part about the character.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, this was written in 1999, wanna fight about it?)  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. Recommended.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1989. – Live from Houston, Texas. – Your hosts are Jesse and Gorilla.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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I would like to update that list to include Rockstar energy drinks and Big Turk chocolate bars.  Really gets you through the workday.)  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”.  (2012 Scott sez:  But the WAY he said it made you think he’d be a star.  OK, I’m just saying that.  But I do really miss the drawing segments where people react to their luck of the draw.)  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.  (2012 Scott sez:  Weird that I gave this more play-by-play treatment than most of the matches on this show.)  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. ***  (2012 Scott sez:  I wouldn’t actually call Haku “un-carryable”.  I’ve seen people get a good match out of him given the right circumstances.)  – 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?  (2012 Scott sez:  Arn Anderson was the master of “shades of grey” years before Russo ever came to power.)  – 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 never 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. (2012 Scott sez:  The Rumble is actually the kind of match where Garvin would excel, because he can come in, do his high-impact stuff, and then leave.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Fuck off, it always 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 inherent 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. (2012 Scott sez:  I think the “Bad News Brown fears snakes” angle was much more tasteless for the racist aspect.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung back the other way, with guys feuding one month and then teaming up the next, with only CM Punk even remembering to acknowledge it.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  More dream matches we never got:  Brainbusters v. Megapowers.)  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? (2012 Scott sez:  Because he’s a rich white guy who would be unhappy with anything less than #30, of course.  That’s the great part about the character.)  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. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, this was written in 1999, wanna fight about it?)  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. Recommended.

Starrcade Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 89 – I just want to start off by addressing the whole “How can Russo/Ferrera steal from themselves” debate that my Thunder report seems to have triggered. Two words: John Fogerty. He was the sole creative force behind Creedence Clearwater Revival, so much so that when he recorded a solo album in the 80s, CCR’s money-grubbing former record label actually sued him because that album sounded like a CCR album and was thus “self-plagiarism”. And they almost WON that lawsuit, too. Fogerty stuck it out and fought it, costing both sides millions, and eventually won the case. Was it silly and trivial to sue over it? Of course. But in the entertainment world, stupid stuff like that happens EVERY DAY, and Russo & Ferrera would be well-advised to remember that the WWF was more than happy to sue WCW over “intellectual property” on weaker grounds than what they’d have if they pressed a lawsuit tomorrow over, say, Buzzkill. What is right and fair and logical seldom applies in the wrestling world, legal world, or any other place these days. I’m just saying that if the WWF sues because Russo has writer’s block to go along with his million-dollar contract, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  (2011 Scott sez:  As it turns out, the whole thing was a moot point because Russo got fired anyway.  And John Fogerty did eventually reconcile with Fantasy Records and released a solo/CCR greatest hits CD that’s pretty awesome.  So happy endings for everyone!)  – Onto the show…what do you get when you’ve had a banner year quality-wise, but blew off your biggest feud (Flair v. Funk) months earlier and can’t decide who your next main event feud should involve? Why, hold an Iron Man tournament, of course, and that’s exactly what the NWA tried in the last days of the Flair/Ross booking era. It was a monumentally stupid idea because of time constraints and the fact that the only fresh, high-level match on the card was Road Warriors v. Steiners. Everything else had either been done (Flair/Luger, Flair/Sting) or held no interest for the fans. The relatively complicated scoring system meant that too much thinking was involved for the fans. As a result, this show drew flies and was a total bomb, one that pretty much signalled the end of Flair’s run with the book. – The Rules: Competitors get 20 points for a pinfall or submission, 15 for a countout win, 10 for a DQ win, and 5 for a time-limit draw. Whoever has the most points after wrestling the other three people in the tournament wins. All matches are 15 minute time limits.  (2011 Scott sez:  Sounds like something TNA would think up, actually…) – The Competitors: For the Iron Man tourney, it’s Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting and the Great Muta. For the Iron Team portion, it’s The Steiners, The Road Warriors, Doom and the Wild Samoans (who are subbing for the Skyscrapers). – Live from Atlanta, GA – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Terry Funk for the Iron Man matches, and Jim Ross & Jim Cornette for the Iron Team matches. – Opening match: Doom v. Rick & Scott Steiner. The arena is so empty to start that the announcers have to make excuses to cover it up. Doom still has the masks, and Woman, and that doofus bodyguard Nitron. (2011 Scott sez:  That doofus bodyguard went on to play Sabretooth in the X-Men movies, as well as Michael Myers in the Halloween reboots, so he’s doing OK for himself now.)  Simmons and Scott start, and that goes badly for Ron. Slow start as Scott works on Reed with some basic stuff. Nitron (who later became Big Sky, an early partner for Kevin Nash during his Vinnie Vegas run) (2011 Scott sez:  Jesus, didn’t you hear me?  He’s SABRETOOTH, no one gives a shit about Big Sky.  Oh wait, I’m yelling at 1999 me again, sorry) attacks Scott on the outside to gain the advantage. Fashion note: Bad-asses don’t wear spandex tights and leather jackets. Scott bumps around a bit to make Doom seem like they might have a hope in hell. Scott gets the hot tag to Rick as the 15-minute time limit is approaching. Rick stampedes over Doom with clotheslines, and everyone fights on the floor, with Rick rolling in to beat the count to steal a win and 15 points. I’ve always hated that finish. Bad choice to rev up an already indifferent crowd. *1/2 – Steiners – 15, Doom – 0, Warriors – 0, Samoans – 0. – Sting v. Lex Luger. THIS should have been the opener. Big stall-job from Lex to start. He was technically a heel at this point, but as is usually the case, became so massively popular that he started morphing into a babyface by sheer willpower of the fans. Sting gets him in the ring and hits a slingshot splash for two. They fight on the outside, not much happens. Sting controls back in the ring with move #428 (arm-BAR). (2011 Scott sez:  You can instantly pinpoint my 1998-99 rant timeline by how many Chris Jericho references I make.)  I find it astonishing that two people who have been linked as long as these two have can’t put together a decent match with each other if their lives depended on it. I mean, hell, even Hogan and Savage could half-ass a **1/2 match during their heyday thanks to sheer familiarity with each other. Sting tries a flying bodypress and gets atomic-dropped. Luger dominates for a while. The crowd yawns. So do I. Stings flips out of the Torture rack and hulks up. Luger bails with a minute left. Sting chases, but Luger falls on top back in the ring, grabs the second rope, puts his feet on the second rope, and probably would have grabbed Sting’s tights with his other free hand had he thought of it. Anyway, that’s enough for the cheap pin and 20 points, the SECOND bad finish for the show. * On the other hand, the lack of a true heel today – one who will gladly stoop to pinning a guy with his feet on the ropes and a handful of tights – is something I notice all the time.  (2011 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung all the way to the other extreme, where all the heels are weasels like Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes, and when someone actually kicks ass like Mark Henry he turns into a monster who gets over.)  – Luger – 20, Sting – 0, Flair – 0, Muta – 0. – The Road Warriors v. Doom. To use an Oklahoman metaphor, this should be uglier than a pitbull at a poodle convention. Turner editors must agree, because the match is clipped to the 10-minute mark with the LOD cleaning house. Reed tries a piledriver on Animal, allowing Hawk to come off the top with a clothesline and Animal gets the pin and 20 points. Seemed about ½* – Warriors – 20, Steiners – 15, Doom – 0, Samoans – 0. – The Great Muta v. Ric Flair. Muta was the undefeated TV champion at this point, but don’t blink or you’ll miss this match. Flair gets a kneebreaker and figure-four about a minute in, then the Andersons and the J-Tex group brawl, allowing Muta to escape, miss the moonsault, and get rolled up for the pin. Flair gets 20 points for 2 minutes’ work. DUD – Lex Luger – 20, Ric Flair – 20, Sting – 0, Muta – 0. – The Road Warriors v. The Steiners. Jim Cornette describes this as the “insensible force meeting the illiterate object” which is probably closer to the truth than you’d expect. Lots of mutual respect and stuff. This is the one, and only, meeting of these teams. (2011 Scott sez:  That still blows my mind.  The phrase “Leaving money on the table” has never seemed so apt.  Both teams were basically still in their primes, and WCW could have turned the Warriors heel again and jobbed them to the Steiners up and down the US on their way to the WWF and probably drawn some BIG money.) They were both in WCW in 1996 during the Jurassic Revival Period that pre-dated the n.W.o, but their paths never crossed for whatever reason. They exchange some brain-rattling clotheslines to start. Rick gets a belly-to-belly on Animal for two. The LOD takes over on Rick, however, getting a few two-counts. Scott comes in and gets clotheslined out of his boots on a blind charge. He manages an awkward belly-to-belly superplex, however, and Animal goes to the bearhug to slow things down. Hawk gets a SWEET powerslam and a brawl erupts. LOD tries a odd-looking version of the Doomsday Device, with Animal doing a belly-to-back suplex on Scott, but of course Scott lifts his shoulder at two and the Steiners get the pin. Good god, ANOTHER finish that I never want to see again. Match was good enough. **3/4  (2011 Scott sez:  This show is the greatest hits of horrible finishes.  Luckily Titantrons hadn’t been invented yet, because they probably would have had someone appearing on one so that another guy could get rolled up while he was yelling at the screen with his back turned.)  – Steiners – 35, Warriors – 20, Doom – 0, Samoans – 0. – The Great Muta v. Sting. They exchange full-nelsons to start, then Muta takes over with kicks. Sting quickly comes back and tries the Scorpion Deathlock, causing Muta to bail. So we start again, and Muta gets his awesome inverted bridged double-chickenwing. Sting comes back with JR’s patented “American Right Hands ™” and a press-slam for two. The horizonal elbow gets two. Muta batters him in the corner, but misses the moonsault. Man, was the writing on the wall for Muta, or what? The poor guy’s finisher was just killed by this show. Sting crotches him on a second try, hits a simple superplex, and gets the pin and 20 points. Too short to be of any worth. *1/2  (2011 Scott sez:  No matter how badly they tried, they just couldn’t destroy Muta’s mystique.  DAMN HIM FOR GETTING OVER!  Don’t the Japanese know they’re only supposed to be popular in Japania?) – Flair – 20, Luger – 20, Sting – 20, Muta – 0. – We stop to analyze things. I stop to prepare for three matches involving the Wild Samoans in the second half of the show. Where’s the liquor when you need it? Oh well, could be worse, if it wasn’t for Scott Steiner’s humanitarian efforts in the field of lung-puncturing a few weeks before this, it could have been ALL-SID, ALL-THE-TIME, BABEE! I still think Scott should have gotten the Nobel Prize for ridding the world of Sid for that short time.  (2011 Scott sez:  Just think, had someone asked him to come off the top rope in 1989, we would have been spared World Champion Sid all those times…) – The Wild Samoans v. Doom. Samoa is represented by Fatu and The Samoan Savage (Tama) tonight. I wonder how Samoa feels about always being portrayed as “wild”? I’ve known some very down-to-earth Samoans in my life, and none of them ate raw meat or wore grass skirts. I mean, why not try “The Introspective Samoans” or “The Calm Samoans” sometime, just for a change. Of course, I find the developing Samoan-as-sumo-wrestler trend from the past few years to be almost as disturbing, but maybe that’s just me. Anyhow, the match is mercifully clipped down to about 30 seconds, just long enough for me to make a joke I’ve been dying to work in somewhere since Fatu’s repackaging: The Savage plays Rikishi Morton. Ahem. Well, it SOUNDED funny when I was doing the rough draft in my notebook. (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, a lot of things sounded funny in my notebook, especially after a few drinks.  And Rikishi, what a dumb gimmick idea.  How is a guy named Rikishi gonna get over?  Dancing with a couple of white guys?  I’d like to see that!)  Anyway, Fatu gets a hot tag and collides head-to-head with Reed, and falls on top for the cheap pin. Hey, ANOTHER finish I hate. God forbid anyone get a decisive win (over someone who isn’t Japanese) on this show. Was Vince Russo booking this or something? Samoans get 20 points, Doom finishes with zilch. Not enough there for me to rate, but I’d bet my eyeteeth that it was a DUD – Steiners – 35, Warriors – 20, Samoans – 20, Doom – 0. – Ric Flair v. Lex Luger. I’m a little disturbed that someone like Jim Ross would knowingly blow the Luger/Flair money match on this tossed-off show. Match is clipped to about 10 minutes in for time reasons. Luger is hammering on Flair. Another “Cure for Insomnia” special, as is the case when Luger is on offense as a heel. Luger gets a couple of two-counts as time winds down. Flair goes to the top for no reason I can fathom other than to be on the top rope so Luger can slam him off. It’s like one of those lucha spots where guys will just move to another part of the ring so they can be in position to get hit with a highspot. (2011 Scott sez:  Or as we call it now, “WWE Style”) Flair gets a fluke suplex and slaps on the figure-four with no buildup, but Luger holds on for the draw. Both get 5 points. Match seemed okay. ** – Luger – 25, Flair – 25, Sting – 20, Muta – 0. – The Wild Samoans v. The Steiners. Once again, clippage rears its ugly head to meet the two-hour time limit. I never got that one – if Coliseum video could spring for a T-180 tape to record three hour WWF PPVs in SP, you’d think Turner Home Entertainment could do likewise. (2011 Scott sez:  Dig that 90s tape trader jargon!) Scott is in some trouble when we pick this up, getting all bearhugged and stuff. Once again, artificial drama is created as time winds down…AGAIN…and Scott hits a fluke Frankensteiner on Fatu that allows the hot tag to Rick. The ref doesn’t see it, however, and disqualifies Rick after he tosses a Samoan over the top. Samoans get 10 points, and I get a tension headache from such a spectacularly bad finish. I mean, seriously, there’s no titles on the line, there’s like 300 people in the Omni, and the buyrate for this was negligible, so just put say “screw it” and put guys over clean.  (2011 Scott sez:  Two mini-tournaments would have been much smarter.  Tournaments are AWESOME.  I even made a tag saying so.) – Steiners – 35, Samoans – 30, Warriors – 20, Doom – 0. – Lex Luger v. The Great Muta. The point totals at this point necessitate another crap finish, because any result other than a DQ messes up the drama for the finals and basically hands the tournament to Luger. That’s the problem with this show – the format handcuffs the bookers with stupid finishes that tease the fans with a good match and then cop out. (2011 Scott sez:  See also:  That stupid PPV before Bound For Glory where they didn’t even figure out the math needed to win the tournament until the PPV itself)  Luger is still selling the knee injury from the Flair match. We join it in progress, as Muta goes to town on the knee. Muta actually gets a FACE POP for doing the bridged indian deathlock, which is admittedly a cool-looking spot. A spinkick to the face and a Holly-esque dropkick keeps things going for Muta. (2011 Scott sez:  By that I must have meant that Muta intentionally took liberties with Luger and then got a World title match at the Royal Rumble as a reward.)  Luger mounts a comeback, turning back into a babyface. One minute left, Luger goes for the Rack, and Muta blows mist in his face to draw the DQ. Luger finishes at 35 points, Muta finishes with nothing but his pride and his TV title. (2011 Scott sez:  I’m sure he felt better while rolling around in the pile of money that All Japan paid him in later years.)  The latter would go to Arn Anderson about a week after this, and the former got lost on a flight to Japan in 1993, last I checked. This match was actually shaping up to be something interesting given another few minutes, too. ** – Luger – 35, Flair – 25, Sting – 20, Muta – 0. – Iron Team Final: The Road Warriors v. The Wild Samoans. Winner takes all, pretty much. The match is short and ugly, as both teams are done for the night and running on fumes. Hawk gets a quick pin about 5 minutes in after a flying clothesline. And that’s that. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  They showed this match on Vintage Collection recently.  It wasn’t a DUD, more like ** or so.)  – Final standings: Warriors – 40, Steiners – 35, Samoans – 30, Doom – 0. Winners: The Road Warriors. – Iron Man Final: Sting v. Ric Flair. This actually did have a bit of backstory, as Sting had joined the Horsemen a little ways previous to this, and everyone was just WAITING for him to get punked out. Nice to see Sting taking the time to reapply his makeup before the match. Nice wrestling sequence to start, with Flair playing subtle heel. The fans are sharply divided on the subject. Criss-cross sequence leads to a press-slam, and Flair bails. Back in, and it’s Flair Classic out of the blue, as he nearly chops the skin off Sting’s chest. Sting comes on with a clothesline for two, then Flair cheats and tosses Sting out of the ring. He takes over with a suplex back in, followed by the usual Flair stuff. Abdominal stretch rollup gets two. Small package gets two. Suplex gets two. Double-arm suplex gets two. Sting comes back and Flair bails again. The heel-face roles are well-defined now, as Sting no-sells the chops. Clothesline gets two, and he goes into the Stinger splash/Scorpion Deathlock sequence. Flair makes the ropes, then quickly counters with the figure-four. Sting makes the ropes. Flair continues working the knee with less than a minute left. A pinfall reversal sequence gives Sting a two-count, but Flair hits another knee-breaker. 30 seconds left, and Flair goes for the figure-four again, but Sting of course reverses to the inside cradle for the pin and 20 points. The Andersons POUNCE into the ring and the crowd senses a beatdown, but Flair calls them off and the Horsemen celebrate together. Of course, weeks later they’d turn on Sting and leave him for dead, but Sting gets so few chances to be happy, so who am I to ruin this moment for him? Match was pretty good, too, given the limitations. ***1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I upgraded this one to **** when I did the Essential Starrcade reviews.  Hell of a match, shitty PPV.)  – Final Standings: Sting – 40, Luger – 35, Flair – 25, Muta – 0. Winner: Sting. The Bottom Line: The first of three years in a row to feature an experimental format for Starrcade, and the first Starrcade to decisively suck as a result. Just a bad idea all around here that wastes the biggest show of the year for the NWA on a dead crowd and two meaningless tournaments. Not recommended.

Starrcade Countdown: 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 89 – I just want to start off by addressing the whole “How can Russo/Ferrera steal from themselves” debate that my Thunder report seems to have triggered. Two words: John Fogerty. He was the sole creative force behind Creedence Clearwater Revival, so much so that when he recorded a solo album in the 80s, CCR’s money-grubbing former record label actually sued him because that album sounded like a CCR album and was thus “self-plagiarism”. And they almost WON that lawsuit, too. Fogerty stuck it out and fought it, costing both sides millions, and eventually won the case. Was it silly and trivial to sue over it? Of course. But in the entertainment world, stupid stuff like that happens EVERY DAY, and Russo & Ferrera would be well-advised to remember that the WWF was more than happy to sue WCW over “intellectual property” on weaker grounds than what they’d have if they pressed a lawsuit tomorrow over, say, Buzzkill. What is right and fair and logical seldom applies in the wrestling world, legal world, or any other place these days. I’m just saying that if the WWF sues because Russo has writer’s block to go along with his million-dollar contract, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  (2011 Scott sez:  As it turns out, the whole thing was a moot point because Russo got fired anyway.  And John Fogerty did eventually reconcile with Fantasy Records and released a solo/CCR greatest hits CD that’s pretty awesome.  So happy endings for everyone!)  – Onto the show…what do you get when you’ve had a banner year quality-wise, but blew off your biggest feud (Flair v. Funk) months earlier and can’t decide who your next main event feud should involve? Why, hold an Iron Man tournament, of course, and that’s exactly what the NWA tried in the last days of the Flair/Ross booking era. It was a monumentally stupid idea because of time constraints and the fact that the only fresh, high-level match on the card was Road Warriors v. Steiners. Everything else had either been done (Flair/Luger, Flair/Sting) or held no interest for the fans. The relatively complicated scoring system meant that too much thinking was involved for the fans. As a result, this show drew flies and was a total bomb, one that pretty much signalled the end of Flair’s run with the book. – The Rules: Competitors get 20 points for a pinfall or submission, 15 for a countout win, 10 for a DQ win, and 5 for a time-limit draw. Whoever has the most points after wrestling the other three people in the tournament wins. All matches are 15 minute time limits.  (2011 Scott sez:  Sounds like something TNA would think up, actually…) – The Competitors: For the Iron Man tourney, it’s Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting and the Great Muta. For the Iron Team portion, it’s The Steiners, The Road Warriors, Doom and the Wild Samoans (who are subbing for the Skyscrapers). – Live from Atlanta, GA – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Terry Funk for the Iron Man matches, and Jim Ross & Jim Cornette for the Iron Team matches. – Opening match: Doom v. Rick & Scott Steiner. The arena is so empty to start that the announcers have to make excuses to cover it up. Doom still has the masks, and Woman, and that doofus bodyguard Nitron. (2011 Scott sez:  That doofus bodyguard went on to play Sabretooth in the X-Men movies, as well as Michael Myers in the Halloween reboots, so he’s doing OK for himself now.)  Simmons and Scott start, and that goes badly for Ron. Slow start as Scott works on Reed with some basic stuff. Nitron (who later became Big Sky, an early partner for Kevin Nash during his Vinnie Vegas run) (2011 Scott sez:  Jesus, didn’t you hear me?  He’s SABRETOOTH, no one gives a shit about Big Sky.  Oh wait, I’m yelling at 1999 me again, sorry) attacks Scott on the outside to gain the advantage. Fashion note: Bad-asses don’t wear spandex tights and leather jackets. Scott bumps around a bit to make Doom seem like they might have a hope in hell. Scott gets the hot tag to Rick as the 15-minute time limit is approaching. Rick stampedes over Doom with clotheslines, and everyone fights on the floor, with Rick rolling in to beat the count to steal a win and 15 points. I’ve always hated that finish. Bad choice to rev up an already indifferent crowd. *1/2 – Steiners – 15, Doom – 0, Warriors – 0, Samoans – 0. – Sting v. Lex Luger. THIS should have been the opener. Big stall-job from Lex to start. He was technically a heel at this point, but as is usually the case, became so massively popular that he started morphing into a babyface by sheer willpower of the fans. Sting gets him in the ring and hits a slingshot splash for two. They fight on the outside, not much happens. Sting controls back in the ring with move #428 (arm-BAR). (2011 Scott sez:  You can instantly pinpoint my 1998-99 rant timeline by how many Chris Jericho references I make.)  I find it astonishing that two people who have been linked as long as these two have can’t put together a decent match with each other if their lives depended on it. I mean, hell, even Hogan and Savage could half-ass a **1/2 match during their heyday thanks to sheer familiarity with each other. Sting tries a flying bodypress and gets atomic-dropped. Luger dominates for a while. The crowd yawns. So do I. Stings flips out of the Torture rack and hulks up. Luger bails with a minute left. Sting chases, but Luger falls on top back in the ring, grabs the second rope, puts his feet on the second rope, and probably would have grabbed Sting’s tights with his other free hand had he thought of it. Anyway, that’s enough for the cheap pin and 20 points, the SECOND bad finish for the show. * On the other hand, the lack of a true heel today – one who will gladly stoop to pinning a guy with his feet on the ropes and a handful of tights – is something I notice all the time.  (2011 Scott sez:  Now we’ve swung all the way to the other extreme, where all the heels are weasels like Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes, and when someone actually kicks ass like Mark Henry he turns into a monster who gets over.)  – Luger – 20, Sting – 0, Flair – 0, Muta – 0. – The Road Warriors v. Doom. To use an Oklahoman metaphor, this should be uglier than a pitbull at a poodle convention. Turner editors must agree, because the match is clipped to the 10-minute mark with the LOD cleaning house. Reed tries a piledriver on Animal, allowing Hawk to come off the top with a clothesline and Animal gets the pin and 20 points. Seemed about ½* – Warriors – 20, Steiners – 15, Doom – 0, Samoans – 0. – The Great Muta v. Ric Flair. Muta was the undefeated TV champion at this point, but don’t blink or you’ll miss this match. Flair gets a kneebreaker and figure-four about a minute in, then the Andersons and the J-Tex group brawl, allowing Muta to escape, miss the moonsault, and get rolled up for the pin. Flair gets 20 points for 2 minutes’ work. DUD – Lex Luger – 20, Ric Flair – 20, Sting – 0, Muta – 0. – The Road Warriors v. The Steiners. Jim Cornette describes this as the “insensible force meeting the illiterate object” which is probably closer to the truth than you’d expect. Lots of mutual respect and stuff. This is the one, and only, meeting of these teams. (2011 Scott sez:  That still blows my mind.  The phrase “Leaving money on the table” has never seemed so apt.  Both teams were basically still in their primes, and WCW could have turned the Warriors heel again and jobbed them to the Steiners up and down the US on their way to the WWF and probably drawn some BIG money.) They were both in WCW in 1996 during the Jurassic Revival Period that pre-dated the n.W.o, but their paths never crossed for whatever reason. They exchange some brain-rattling clotheslines to start. Rick gets a belly-to-belly on Animal for two. The LOD takes over on Rick, however, getting a few two-counts. Scott comes in and gets clotheslined out of his boots on a blind charge. He manages an awkward belly-to-belly superplex, however, and Animal goes to the bearhug to slow things down. Hawk gets a SWEET powerslam and a brawl erupts. LOD tries a odd-looking version of the Doomsday Device, with Animal doing a belly-to-back suplex on Scott, but of course Scott lifts his shoulder at two and the Steiners get the pin. Good god, ANOTHER finish that I never want to see again. Match was good enough. **3/4  (2011 Scott sez:  This show is the greatest hits of horrible finishes.  Luckily Titantrons hadn’t been invented yet, because they probably would have had someone appearing on one so that another guy could get rolled up while he was yelling at the screen with his back turned.)  – Steiners – 35, Warriors – 20, Doom – 0, Samoans – 0. – The Great Muta v. Sting. They exchange full-nelsons to start, then Muta takes over with kicks. Sting quickly comes back and tries the Scorpion Deathlock, causing Muta to bail. So we start again, and Muta gets his awesome inverted bridged double-chickenwing. Sting comes back with JR’s patented “American Right Hands ™” and a press-slam for two. The horizonal elbow gets two. Muta batters him in the corner, but misses the moonsault. Man, was the writing on the wall for Muta, or what? The poor guy’s finisher was just killed by this show. Sting crotches him on a second try, hits a simple superplex, and gets the pin and 20 points. Too short to be of any worth. *1/2  (2011 Scott sez:  No matter how badly they tried, they just couldn’t destroy Muta’s mystique.  DAMN HIM FOR GETTING OVER!  Don’t the Japanese know they’re only supposed to be popular in Japania?) – Flair – 20, Luger – 20, Sting – 20, Muta – 0. – We stop to analyze things. I stop to prepare for three matches involving the Wild Samoans in the second half of the show. Where’s the liquor when you need it? Oh well, could be worse, if it wasn’t for Scott Steiner’s humanitarian efforts in the field of lung-puncturing a few weeks before this, it could have been ALL-SID, ALL-THE-TIME, BABEE! I still think Scott should have gotten the Nobel Prize for ridding the world of Sid for that short time.  (2011 Scott sez:  Just think, had someone asked him to come off the top rope in 1989, we would have been spared World Champion Sid all those times…) – The Wild Samoans v. Doom. Samoa is represented by Fatu and The Samoan Savage (Tama) tonight. I wonder how Samoa feels about always being portrayed as “wild”? I’ve known some very down-to-earth Samoans in my life, and none of them ate raw meat or wore grass skirts. I mean, why not try “The Introspective Samoans” or “The Calm Samoans” sometime, just for a change. Of course, I find the developing Samoan-as-sumo-wrestler trend from the past few years to be almost as disturbing, but maybe that’s just me. Anyhow, the match is mercifully clipped down to about 30 seconds, just long enough for me to make a joke I’ve been dying to work in somewhere since Fatu’s repackaging: The Savage plays Rikishi Morton. Ahem. Well, it SOUNDED funny when I was doing the rough draft in my notebook. (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, a lot of things sounded funny in my notebook, especially after a few drinks.  And Rikishi, what a dumb gimmick idea.  How is a guy named Rikishi gonna get over?  Dancing with a couple of white guys?  I’d like to see that!)  Anyway, Fatu gets a hot tag and collides head-to-head with Reed, and falls on top for the cheap pin. Hey, ANOTHER finish I hate. God forbid anyone get a decisive win (over someone who isn’t Japanese) on this show. Was Vince Russo booking this or something? Samoans get 20 points, Doom finishes with zilch. Not enough there for me to rate, but I’d bet my eyeteeth that it was a DUD – Steiners – 35, Warriors – 20, Samoans – 20, Doom – 0. – Ric Flair v. Lex Luger. I’m a little disturbed that someone like Jim Ross would knowingly blow the Luger/Flair money match on this tossed-off show. Match is clipped to about 10 minutes in for time reasons. Luger is hammering on Flair. Another “Cure for Insomnia” special, as is the case when Luger is on offense as a heel. Luger gets a couple of two-counts as time winds down. Flair goes to the top for no reason I can fathom other than to be on the top rope so Luger can slam him off. It’s like one of those lucha spots where guys will just move to another part of the ring so they can be in position to get hit with a highspot. (2011 Scott sez:  Or as we call it now, “WWE Style”) Flair gets a fluke suplex and slaps on the figure-four with no buildup, but Luger holds on for the draw. Both get 5 points. Match seemed okay. ** – Luger – 25, Flair – 25, Sting – 20, Muta – 0. – The Wild Samoans v. The Steiners. Once again, clippage rears its ugly head to meet the two-hour time limit. I never got that one – if Coliseum video could spring for a T-180 tape to record three hour WWF PPVs in SP, you’d think Turner Home Entertainment could do likewise. (2011 Scott sez:  Dig that 90s tape trader jargon!) Scott is in some trouble when we pick this up, getting all bearhugged and stuff. Once again, artificial drama is created as time winds down…AGAIN…and Scott hits a fluke Frankensteiner on Fatu that allows the hot tag to Rick. The ref doesn’t see it, however, and disqualifies Rick after he tosses a Samoan over the top. Samoans get 10 points, and I get a tension headache from such a spectacularly bad finish. I mean, seriously, there’s no titles on the line, there’s like 300 people in the Omni, and the buyrate for this was negligible, so just put say “screw it” and put guys over clean.  (2011 Scott sez:  Two mini-tournaments would have been much smarter.  Tournaments are AWESOME.  I even made a tag saying so.) – Steiners – 35, Samoans – 30, Warriors – 20, Doom – 0. – Lex Luger v. The Great Muta. The point totals at this point necessitate another crap finish, because any result other than a DQ messes up the drama for the finals and basically hands the tournament to Luger. That’s the problem with this show – the format handcuffs the bookers with stupid finishes that tease the fans with a good match and then cop out. (2011 Scott sez:  See also:  That stupid PPV before Bound For Glory where they didn’t even figure out the math needed to win the tournament until the PPV itself)  Luger is still selling the knee injury from the Flair match. We join it in progress, as Muta goes to town on the knee. Muta actually gets a FACE POP for doing the bridged indian deathlock, which is admittedly a cool-looking spot. A spinkick to the face and a Holly-esque dropkick keeps things going for Muta. (2011 Scott sez:  By that I must have meant that Muta intentionally took liberties with Luger and then got a World title match at the Royal Rumble as a reward.)  Luger mounts a comeback, turning back into a babyface. One minute left, Luger goes for the Rack, and Muta blows mist in his face to draw the DQ. Luger finishes at 35 points, Muta finishes with nothing but his pride and his TV title. (2011 Scott sez:  I’m sure he felt better while rolling around in the pile of money that All Japan paid him in later years.)  The latter would go to Arn Anderson about a week after this, and the former got lost on a flight to Japan in 1993, last I checked. This match was actually shaping up to be something interesting given another few minutes, too. ** – Luger – 35, Flair – 25, Sting – 20, Muta – 0. – Iron Team Final: The Road Warriors v. The Wild Samoans. Winner takes all, pretty much. The match is short and ugly, as both teams are done for the night and running on fumes. Hawk gets a quick pin about 5 minutes in after a flying clothesline. And that’s that. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  They showed this match on Vintage Collection recently.  It wasn’t a DUD, more like ** or so.)  – Final standings: Warriors – 40, Steiners – 35, Samoans – 30, Doom – 0. Winners: The Road Warriors. – Iron Man Final: Sting v. Ric Flair. This actually did have a bit of backstory, as Sting had joined the Horsemen a little ways previous to this, and everyone was just WAITING for him to get punked out. Nice to see Sting taking the time to reapply his makeup before the match. Nice wrestling sequence to start, with Flair playing subtle heel. The fans are sharply divided on the subject. Criss-cross sequence leads to a press-slam, and Flair bails. Back in, and it’s Flair Classic out of the blue, as he nearly chops the skin off Sting’s chest. Sting comes on with a clothesline for two, then Flair cheats and tosses Sting out of the ring. He takes over with a suplex back in, followed by the usual Flair stuff. Abdominal stretch rollup gets two. Small package gets two. Suplex gets two. Double-arm suplex gets two. Sting comes back and Flair bails again. The heel-face roles are well-defined now, as Sting no-sells the chops. Clothesline gets two, and he goes into the Stinger splash/Scorpion Deathlock sequence. Flair makes the ropes, then quickly counters with the figure-four. Sting makes the ropes. Flair continues working the knee with less than a minute left. A pinfall reversal sequence gives Sting a two-count, but Flair hits another knee-breaker. 30 seconds left, and Flair goes for the figure-four again, but Sting of course reverses to the inside cradle for the pin and 20 points. The Andersons POUNCE into the ring and the crowd senses a beatdown, but Flair calls them off and the Horsemen celebrate together. Of course, weeks later they’d turn on Sting and leave him for dead, but Sting gets so few chances to be happy, so who am I to ruin this moment for him? Match was pretty good, too, given the limitations. ***1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I upgraded this one to **** when I did the Essential Starrcade reviews.  Hell of a match, shitty PPV.)  – Final Standings: Sting – 40, Luger – 35, Flair – 25, Muta – 0. Winner: Sting. The Bottom Line: The first of three years in a row to feature an experimental format for Starrcade, and the first Starrcade to decisively suck as a result. Just a bad idea all around here that wastes the biggest show of the year for the NWA on a dead crowd and two meaningless tournaments. Not recommended.