January 17, 2009
Royal Rumble 1990, January 21, 1990, Orlando Arena, Orlando, FL
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Jesse “The Body” Ventura
With The Royal Rumble coming up it’s time to take a brief break from the March to Wrestlemania for some classic Rumble reviews. First up, a trip back to 1990.
Opening Match: The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Bushwhackers
This was pretty much it for the Rougeaus as a team in the WWF. Raymond basically retired from the ring soon after, although he did stay with the company for many years as a French colour commentator, while Jacques would go on to be retooled into The Mountie, and later, one half of The Quebecers. Raymond and Butch start out, with Raymond taking control, but the Rougeaus attempted double team is cut off by Luke. Raymond goes to a sleeper, but Butch escapes and starts biting everyone including the ref. Well, I wasn’t expecting a classic here. The Whackers clear the ring, and then after some stalling we get going again with Jacques and Luke. They trade shots, and then Luke gets sent off the ropes. Jacques ducks, but Luke nails Raymond on the apron instead. Butch is in and they send Jacques to the floor as well. The Rougeaus use mind games to take control and trap Luke in their corner. Raymond chokes him from the apron, off of which Jacques covers for 2. Tag to Raymond who nails a kick off an Irish whip for 2. He tosses Luke to the floor where Jacques runs him to the apron. Back in, Raymond covers for 1. Luke bites him, but Jacques breaks that up to keep control. They draw Butch in the ring which allows more double teaming and a cover for 2. Several quick tags by the Rougeaus now as they keep working Luke over in the corner. Just basic stuff, but it’s effective in drawing the heat. Luke fires back a couple times but can’t make the tag. Jacques goes to an abdominal stretch, grabbing Raymond for leverage of course. After a couple more tags, Raymond slams Luke, but Jacques’ splash hits knees and Luke finally makes the hot tag to Butch. He beats up both Rougeaus for a bit, and even Luke is quickly back to help out. The Rougeaus get whipped into each other to set up the Battering Ram, but Jimmy Hart grabs the leg to stop it. They drag him in the ring and threaten him, but the Rougeaus save their manager with a double dropkick and get a 2 count. Raymond puts Butch in a Boston crab while Jacques comes off the ropes, but Luke trips him up. Raymond breaks it to help Jacques up, but they get him with the Battering Ram and Jacques gets covered for 3 at 13:36. Points for the Rougeaus pulling off an effective heat segment, but there’s really nothing else here. ½*
We have an interview with Ted Dibiase where he reveals that the cruel hand of irony has struck him down. After getting #30 last year, possibly through underhanded means, this year he will be entering at #1, and he’s none too happy about that.
The Genius vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
Genius offers a handshake, but then backs off and stretches instead. More stalling by Genius, including a cartwheel before we finally get a lockup. They break on the ropes and then go a second time, but this time Genius goes to the eyes. He works Beefcake over and mounts him for punches in the corner, but Beefcake comes out with an inverted atomic drop. Genius regroups and comes back with another rake of the eyes. Dropkick misses and allows Beefcake to get some shots in and then when Genius tries to bail, Beefcake stops that and crotches him. Now he’s allowed to head out to the floor again. Back in, Genius controls with headbutts and puts the boots to him. Irish whip, but he puts the head down and gets kicked. Genius still comes back though and hits a dropkick for 2. Cradle also gets 2, and now Genius goes to the 2nd rope, but Beefcake nails him coming down. Bodyslam by Beefacke, and then he sends Genius off the ropes and hooks the sleeper. Genius manages to escape, but gets shoved off into the ref, knocking him out. Genius briefly works over Beefcake, but soon gets hooked in the sleeper again and this time there’s no escape. But, there’s also no ref, so the match isn’t over. Beefcake could care less, so with Genius out of it, he grabs the scissors and goes to work. Mr. Perfect, who was managed by the Genius at this point, runs in to make the save and the bell rings at 11:05. Perfect works over Beefcake with a chair in order to segue in to a feud between them which set up a match at Wrestlemania VI. The refs finally break them up and it’s announced as a double disqualification. DUD
Next up for an interview is the Heenan Family. They argue over who’s going to win the Rumble while Heenan claims that all is well amongst them.
Submission Match: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Rugged Ronnie Garvin
This feud lasted an awful long time considering that no one cared about it in the least. Valentine is wearing his Hammer Jammer shin guard, so to counter it, Garvin wears one of his own, dubbed the Hartbreaker. Valentine bails right off the bat, but Garvin chases and gets him back in. He takes Valentine down with a headbutt and covers, but pins don’t count here. They trade some good shots, with Valentine taking him down and dropping an elbow, but a second one misses. He still controls though and drops the headbutt to the gut, so now it’s his turn to try a pin and be reminded of the stips. Garvin fights back and tries a piledriver, but Valentine backdrops out. They go to a pinfall reversal spot, showing that neither guy has learned what they’re here to do yet. Valentine ends up going for the figure four, but Garvin shoves him off. Valentine takes him back down, drops some forearms, and now hooks the figure four. But wait! Garvin’s Hartbreaker counters the effects of the Hammer Jammer, thus rendering the hold useless. Garvin makes stupid faces at Valentine until he lets the hold go. Now Valentine goes to a backbreaker submission, which gets Jesse excited since that’s his old finisher. Garvin won’t give up though, so Valentine ends up letting it go. He tries the figure four again (why?) but Garvin kicks him off anyways. Garvin comes back with chops and headbutts, and the hooks an Indian deathlock, but Valentine makes the ropes. Valentine goes to the floor and drags Garvin out with him. They trade shots out there, with Valentine then trying a piledriver, but Garvin backdrops out. In the ring, he sends Valentine to the buckle, but Valentine avoids the charge and Garvin ends up hooked in the Tree of Woe. He does get out, but Valentine keeps working him over. They collide coming off the ropes and both go down, which gives Jimmy Hart the chance to steal the Hartbreaker. Valentine hits a backbreaker and hooks the figure four again. This time Garvin sells it, but won’t submit. He fights for awhile and finally gets it turned over, but Valentine makes the ropes and we get a break. Valentine keeps on Garvin’s leg and tries the hold again, but Garvin counters to an inside cradle. Valentine goes up, but Garvin gets there and slams him off. Now Garvin manages to steal the Hammer Jammer. Valentine tries a rollup, to no effect, and that leads into a slugfest. Valentine gets tied in the ropes, and when Jimmy tries to free him, Garvin drags him in the ring. He threatens Hart with the shin pad while Valentine, who has gotten loose, comes from behind, but Garvin sees him coming and nails Valentine with it. Scorpion Deathlock is hooked and Valentine submits at 16:53. All in all, this wasn’t that bad of a match. **
Next we have Mr. Perfect’s interview time. He brags about the beatdown he laid on Brutus Beefcake, as well as the fact that he’s drawn the “Perfect Number”, which would be #30.
Time for the Brother Love Show. He sings the praises of his first guest, Sensational Queen Sherri, before bringing her out. They then run down the next guest, Sapphire, with Love doing the old Roddy Piper “pull the mic away before she can answer” bit. Finally Sapphire has had enough and smacks Sherri. This draws out Randy Savage, followed quickly by Dusty Rhodes, with all four going at it to set up the mixed match at Wrestlemania. After the melee, Brother Love gets back on the mic and talks trash to Rhodes, so Rhodes beats him up, even letting Sapphire get a shot in.
Big Boss Man (w/Slick) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Interestingly enough, Boss Man’s face turn and breakup with Slick already took place at a Superstars taping earlier in the month, but that won’t air until a couple of weeks after this show, so here they are together with no hint of an issue between them. They slug away right off the bat. Boss Man hits a knee, but his Irish whip is reversed. Duggan hits a clothesline that doesn’t take Boss Man down, but a second one sends him to the floor. Boss Man drags him out and they slug away out there, and then Duggan gets sent to the post. Boss Man then charges, but Duggan moves and Boss Man hits the post as well. Back in, Duggan’s corner whip is reversed and Boss Man splashes him in the corner. Duggan catches a boot, so Boss Man nails him with an ensiguiri and keeps working him over. Rope straddle hits, but now Duggan fights back. He sends Boss Man off the ropes, but puts his head down and gets kicked for 2. Slick gets in some choking from the floor while the ref warns the Boss Man. He hits Duggan with a buttdrop and then goes to a neck vice. Duggan elbows out, but runs into a knee. Boss Man works him over some more, eventually going to a bearhug. The arm drops twice, so Duggan starts a comeback, but quickly gets cut off with Boss Man taking him down. Boss Man stay on him, but now Duggan comes back again and clotheslines him to the floor. Duggan works him over now, and gets the mounted punches in the corner. Corner whip, but Duggan misses a charge and gets hit with a clothesline. Boss Man goes up, but misses a splash. They get up and Duggan charges, but they hit each other and both go down. When they get up again, Slick tries to hold Duggan from the apron, but Duggan avoids the charge and Boss Man runs into Slick instead. Slick appears no worse for wear though as he immediately hands Boss Man the night stick and distracts the ref. Boss Man nails Duggan, but the ref comes back around, sees it, and calls for the DQ at 10:24. Duggan fights them off and clears the ring with the 2X4 afterwards. Crappy finish for a crappy match. ½*
An extended montage of interviews, featuring nearly every participant, sets us up for the Royal Rumble match. Warrior actually does a bit of foreshadowing in his interview, bringing up the possibility of facing off with Hulk Hogan.
Main Event: 1990 Royal Rumble Match
As we learned earlier, Ted Dibiase is #1, and he’s followed by Koko B. Ware at #2 and the match is on. Dibiase attacks as Koko enters and works him over. He makes the mistake of ramming Koko to the buckle, which sets up a comeback, but Koko charges and gets backdropped out. Dibiase waits for #3, which turns out to be Marty Jannetty. Jannetty actually gets his entrance music, which is kind of odd since they didn’t start doing that for anyone other than #1 and #2 until 1996. I guess they felt that since no one else was in the ring it would work. Anyways, Dibiase jumps him on the way in as well. Jannetty comes back with a dropkick, but misses a bodypress and goes flying out. Now Dibiase waits again, until #4 is Jake “The Snake” Roberts, also with entrance music, and they have a feud going at this point so he gets a big reaction coming out. Like the others, Dibiase jumps him on the way in. He knocks Jake to the floor and slams him on the mats. He hooks the Dream, but Jake runs him to the post to break it. Back in, Jake uses a backdrop and the short clothesline before signaling for the DDT. Dibiase backdrops out and takes control, but gets hit with a kneelift as Randy Savage comes out to no music at #5. He and Dibiase double team Jake for the entire segment and even get him tied in the ropes. Roddy Piper is #6, and he makes the save, and gets Jake loose in the process. The fans are crazy hot here and I think this would have been one hell of a tag team match at this point. Warlord is #7 to turn the tide back in the heels’ favour. Bret Hart is #8 as the ring starts to fill up a bit and guys just pair off and dance. #9 is Bad News Brown, who renews an old rivalry by attacking Bret. Jake has Dibiase hooked for the DDT, but he’s right on the ropes, so Savage clotheslines him out. Dusty Rhodes is #10, and he goes right for Savage to continue their issue from earlier on. Savage rakes the eyes and charges at him, but gets backdropped out. #11 is Andre The Giant. Warlord tries to attack him, so Andre just casually tosses him out, which leads to a confrontation between Heenan and Fuji on the floor. Piper and Rhodes try with Andre, but Andre brushes them off. The Red Rooster is #12, and it’s highly unlikely that he’ll make any sort of difference. News gets backdropped out by Piper and then he pulls Piper out in retaliation. They brawl to the back and in the process setup another Wrestlemania match. #13 is Ax, and just after the horn, Andre tosses the Rooster, so they at least let him last one full segment. Of course Ax wants a piece of Andre since Demolition recently lost the Tag Team Titles to the Colossal Connection. Dusty helps him get Andre tied up, but one they let him go for an elimination attempt, he nails both of them. #14 is Haku to put the Tag Champs in there together and naturally they double team Ax. But, fortunately for him, Smash is #15 leading to the Demos and Colossals going at it on even terms. #16 is Akeem as Ax and Smash continue working Andre over. They take him down with a double clothesline and then send him out with a double shoulderblock. Superfly Snuka is #17 and he actually gets to eliminate Akeem. Dino Bravo is #18, followed by his buddy Canadian Earthquake at #19. Quake clearly gets the monster push as he quickly eliminates Dusty. Demolition (the guys who put Andre out) go for him together, but he fights them off and throws Ax out. Jim Neidhart is #20 and he goes after Quake. Anvil, Haku, Smash, Snuka, and Dibiase, as in everyone in the ring except Bravo now gangs up on Quake, and they’re able to lift him over the top and dump him. He wasn’t there long, but they were clearly grooming him to be a player. Ultimate Warrior, who is the Intercontinental Champion, is #21 to a huge pop, and just like that Bravo is gone. He gets triple teamed, but still manages to fight everyone off. Rick Martel is #22. Haku backdrops Smash to the apron and then crescent kicks him to the floor to eliminate him. Tito Santana is #23 and goes right after Martel. #24 is Honky Tonk Man and soon after Anvil is eliminated by the trio of Warrior, Dibiase, and Martel. Warrior then turns around and clotheslines Dibiase out just shy of forty five minutes in the ring. Dibiase takes tonight’s Ironman award by far. WWF Champion Hulk Hogan is out at #25. First victim: Snuka. Second victim: Haku. Martel is almost gone via Santana, but Warrior sneaks up and dumps Tito. #26 is Shawn Michaels as Hogan tosses Honky. Warrior then tosses both Michaels and Martel setting up the epic confrontation. The crowd rises to its feet in unison in anticipation what’s going on. Shoving match leads to a shoulderblock showdown. Second showdown sets up a criss cross. Hogan drops, Warrior goes over, Hogan ducks, Warrior comes back off, and they clothesline each other. Barbarian comes out at #27 with both Hogan and Warrior still down. He drops elbows on both and then nails a big boot on Hogan. Rick Rude runs in at #28 before the timer even appears and joins in the attack. He and Barbarian almost get Hogan out, but Warrior makes the save. Now when Rude and Barbarian get Warrior up, Hogan comes over and runs in to them from behind, causing Warrior’s elimination. Warrior jumps back in, nailing Rude and Barbarian, but leaves Hogan be. Hercules is #29, so he and Hogan work over the heels. And of course, Mr. Perfect is #30 giving us a finalist list of: Hogan (#25), Barbarian (#27), Rude (#28), Hercules (#29), and Perfect (#30). Hercules gets a token elimination when he backdrops Barbarian out on a charge, but he then gets put out himself by Rude. This leaves Hogan one on two against Rude and Perfect. They double team Hogan for a bit, but make the mistake of trying the “you hold him and I’ll run at him” technique. Perfect is the one that gets nailed, but he only goes to the apron. Hogan sends Rude to the ropes, but as Perfect pulls himself up by pulling the ropes down, Rude goes out to the floor. Perfect makes it back in and takes control, but makes a second fatal mistake and hits the Perfect Plex. Hogan Hulks Up, catapults him to the post and tosses him to win it at 58:46. This was actually a really good Rumble. They started it off right with big stars and good workers early on to get things going. From there we had eliminations coming at just the right intervals. Not too often to the point where there’s no one left in the ring, but not so far apart that it starts to drag or get bogged down with too many guys. My biggest complaint would be not enough guys in at the end, but that was necessitated by the Hogan/Warrior confrontation. A lot of people argue against the idea of Hogan winning since he was already the WWF Champion and all. The feeling is that perhaps Warrior should have won to establish himself at Hogan’s level, or that they could have used the win to build up a heel for a future main event program, but really I don’t think it was that important. I can live with Hogan winning here. ****
Well, the undercard sucks, but the Rumble itself is pretty good and since it represents both the main event and half the show on its own, I think that salvages a thumbs in the middle. No reason to even watch the regular matches, but if you’ve got an hour to kill, there’s far worse ways to do it than to rewatch this Rumble match.