September 9, 2009
Steve Riddle

Royal Rumble 1989
January 15th, 1989
The Summit
Houston, Texas

Dark Matches:

1. Jim Powers defeats Barry Horowitx
2. Sam Houston defeats Steve Lombardi

Actual Show:

We see an opening montage of the participants of the Royal Rumble match.

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

1. The Hart Foundation and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan defeat The Fabulous Rougeaus and Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin and “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) in a 2 out of 3 falls match.

Decisions:
Fall #1: Raymond pins Bret Hart after a Bombs Away at 4:22.
Fall #2: Duggan pins Raymond with an elbow drop at 11:46.
Fall #3: Bret pins Bravo after a 2x4 shot at 15:42.

Analysis: A solid 6-man tag to start the event. The Harts and Rougeaus could always bring it in the ring. Bravo was still riding the wave of his peformance from one year ago. Duggan is well, Duggan. The Harts have started to slide a little down the face ladder with Demolition on top and the arrival of the Rockers. The Rougeaus also have slid down behind the Powers of Pain and Twin Towers. However, both teams bust their butts to make this match good. The heels take the first fall quick then work over Bret. He recovers and the faces take the second. Then in the exciting last fall, Duggan uses the 2x4 to get the decisive win. Nice match to get the crowd going. Grade: 2.5

We see several participants draw their numbers for the Royal Rumble. We see the posedown between “Ravishing” Rick Rude and the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior wins the vote of the fans, but Rude assults him during the final pose.

Before the next match, “Sensational” Sherri challenges the winner to a title match and then joins the commentary booth.

2. “Rockin” Robin pins Judy Martin with a crossbody off the middle rope at 16:24 to retain the WWF Women’s Championship.

Farewells: This is both Judy Martin’s and Rockin Robin’s last PPV. Robin appears at Wrestlemania V to sing the National Anthem. Martin would wrestle in different promotions before retiring in the 90s. Robin would hold the belt until 1990 when it was discontinued. She would wrestle in the independents as well before retiring.

Fun Fact: Robin defeated Sherri on October 7th, 1988 to win the Women’s Championship.

Analysis: What a terrible match. After tearing the house down with Leliani Kai and the Jumping Bomb Angels a year ago, Martin has to carry Robin to a poor match. Robin was the star of the division, but she was not a capable wrestler and the division was pretty much dead at this point. Sherri is pretty annoying on commentary and brought nothing to this match. The title would be discontinued after this and would not be active again until 1993. Sherri would be repackaged as a manager later in the year and both these ladies are not seen again. Grade: 0

Sean Mooney interviews Slick and the Twin Towers. Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan. We see interviews with the managers regarding the Royal Rumble.

Jesse Ventura sits on the King’s Throne to discuss the next match.

3. “King” Haku pins Harley Race with a superkick at 9:03.

Farewell: This is Harley Race’s last PPV match. He would retire in 1990, but jump to WCW and manage Lex Luger and Vader to the WCW Championship. Harley Race was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 by Ric Flair.

The buildup: Race suffered a hernia after taking a table bump during a match with Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event. While taking time off, Bobby Heenan would crown Haku the new King. Race returns here and fights to reclaim the crown he never lost. Heenan said he would root for both men and manage whoever wins.

Fun Fact: This match is not included in the Colesium Video release, but is on the Royal Rumble Anthology DVD box set.

Analysis: Considering where Harley was at this point in his career, this was a surprisingly good match. It was much better than that women’s title mess we just saw. Since the Islanders split, Haku has slowly risen up the ladder, and I think having the “King” gimmick was helping him. Harley, having come back from his serious injury, is not terrible, even getting a few face pops during this match. It was funny seeing Bobby Heenan cheer for both men. In the end, Race does the right thing putting Haku over clean. Race’s career is almost over while Haku’s is just getting started. Grade: 3

We see interviews with several of the participants in the Royal Rumble. Gorilla and Jesse hype the Royal Rumble. We see interviews with Ted Dibiase, the Heenan Family, and Hulk Hogan.

4. Big John Studd wins the Royal Rumble match.

Order of entry and time lasted:
Ax (14:37)
Smash (4:55)
Andre the Giant (14:55)
Mr. Perfrect (27:58) (Ironman) (New Record)
“Rugged” Ronnie Garvin (2:39)
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (19:52)
Jake “The Snake” Roberts (2:08)
“Outlaw” Ron Bass (12:36)
Shawn Michaels (14:30)
Bushwhacker Butch (18:13)
The Honkytonk Man (4:12)
Tito Santana (12:47)
Bad News Brown (16:24)
Marty Jannetty (7:52)
“Macho Man” Randy Savage (12:26)
Arn Anderson (10:00)
Tully Blanchard (8:02)
Hulk Hogan (11:31)
Bushwhacker Luke (3:09)
“The Birdman” Koko B. Ware (1:08)
The Warlord (0:02)
The Big Bossman (4:18)
“The African Dream” Akeem (18:36)
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake (13:56)
The Red Rooster (11:17)
The Barbarian (11:15)
Big John Studd (12:21) (WINNER)
Hercules (6:11)
Rick Martel (5:29)
“The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase (6:27)

Order of elimination:
Smash by Andre (1)
Garvin by Andre (2)
Roberts by Andre (3)
Ax by Perfect (1)
Andre eliminates himself
Honkytonk Man by Santana and Butch (1,1)
Bass by the Rockers (1,1)
Valentine by Savage (1)
Michaels by Anderson and Savage (1,2)
Jannetty by Brainbusters (2,1)
Perfect by Hogan (1)
Santana by Savage and Anderson (3.3)
Butch by Brown (1)
Koko by Hogan (2)
Luke by Hogan (3)
Anderson by Hogan (4)
Blanchard by Hogan (5)
Warlord by Hogan (6)
Brown by Hogan (7)
Savage by Hogan (8)
Hogan by Twin Towers (1,1)
Bossman by Hogan (9) (New Record)
Rooster by Dibiase (1)
Beefcake by Barbarian and Dibiase (1,2)
Hercules by Barbarian and Dibiase (2,3)
Barbarian by Martel (1)
Martel by Akeem (2)
Akeem by Studd (1)
Dibiase by Studd (2)

Debut #1: Ron Garvin started around the different territories, gaining early fame in NWA: Georgia as TV Champion and feuding with Jake Roberts. He would move to Crockett Promotions and feud with Ric Flair, becoming a World Champion. He jumped to the WWF in 1988.

Debuts #2 and 3: The Bushwhackers began their careers has the Sheepherders. They were vicious heels in the territories they traveled to. They jumped to the WWF at the beginning of the year and given the Bushwhacker gimmick, becoming more of a comedy act and becoming faces.

Returns #1 and 2: Rick Martel makes his first PPV appearance after being injured by Demolition in 1988. Also returning to PPV is Big John Studd. He returned after a 3-year hiatus in 1988, becoming a face and turning on his former manager Bobby Heenan.

Farewell: This is Ron Bass’s last PPV. His biggest feud came with Brutus Beefcake, when he assulted Beefcake with his spurs. The two had their blowoff prior to the Rumble at Saturday Night’s Main Event, with Beefcake winning and Bass getting his head shaved. Bass would leave shortly after this event, toiling in the independents before retiring in 1991.

Analysis: A pretty good Rumble. The roster in the match was pretty stacked with the top talent and mid-carders. It is also the first Rumble to feature 30 superstars. To start, to get the “every man for himself” aspect going, Demolition have to start against each other and they give each other a good beating. Andre then comes in 3rd and dominates the first third, eliminating three guys, including his rival Jake Roberts. Roberts would return with Damien, causing Andre to eliminate himself. Things cool off until Randy Savage hits the ring. After the Brainbusters enter back to back, Hogan then enters and cleans house, eliminating nine people, including his partner. The Mega Powers almost go at it, but Elizabeth comes out and cools it down. Hogan is then tossed by the Twin Towers, but manages to also illegally eliminate Bossman. The Rumble then fizzles out until Dibiase comes in. In the end, Studd tosses Dibiase and actually gets a nice reception from the crowd. Studd winning was probably unneccessary, but I’m sure Vince had big plans for him, but hindsight is 20/20 so who knows. Obivously, the big story is Hogan and Savage. Things are starting to boil over, and by our next show, things would all come tumbling down. Grade: N/A

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Randy Savage. Gorilla and Jesse recap the Rumble and thank us for joining.

Final Analysis: An average PPV to get 1989 rolling. There is nothing real memorable except the Rumble and the posedown. Nice to see the Haku/Race match made the DVD box set as that was a good match. The women’s match is a disaster and the 6-man was good, but nothing spectacular. The main story of the year is the Mega Powers. It is like a volcano that’s ready to blow and it will blow at the next event. All in all, this is a decent buildup to Wrestlemania. Final Grade: C

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