September 17, 2009
Steve Riddle

Summerslam 1989
August 28th, 1989
The Meadowlands
East Rutherford, New Jersey

Dark Match:

1. Dino Bravo defeated Koko B. Ware

Actual Show:

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

We see the opening video for Summerslam.

1. The Brainbusters (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) defeat the Hart Foundation when Tully Blanchard pins Bret Hart after an Arn Anderson double axehandle at 16:23.

Title Change: The Brainbusters defeated Demolition on the July 29th edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event in a 2 out of 3 falls match to win the WWF Tag Team Championships, ending Demolition’s reign at 478 days, a record that still stands today. The Brainbusters also became the first team to hold the NWA and WWF Tag Team Titles.

Analysis: A fantastic tag match to kick off the event. The Busters won the titles by nefarious means, and good psychology by Heenan to not put the titles on the line having won them so soon. The Foundation and Busters put on a tag team wrestling clinic for 17 minutes. The Busters have that mentallity from their Horsemen days, while the Harts have never looked any better. Great back and forth action before the Busters win again by nefarious means after a double team behind the referee’s back. It’s weird hearing Schiavone instead of Gorilla, but he held his own, mostly because he was friends with the Busters from the NWA. Great match as the Busters have unfinished business with Demolition, and the Harts have to wait a year to get another shot. Grade: 4

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Dusty Rhodes.

2. “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes pins the Honkytonk Man (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) with an elbow drop at 9:36.

Debut: Dusty Rhodes began his career in the AWA in a tag team with Dick Murdock. They split in Florida and Dusty became “The American Dream”. He would hold numerous titles, including the NWA World Heavyweight Championship 3 times. He would feud with all the big names in the NWA, and also competed in the WWWF in 1977, feuding with “Superstar” Billy Graham. He was also a booker for Crockett Promotions before being fired for blading in 1988. He came to the WWF in 1989. Many thought the polka dots was to humilate him, but he has revealed that the polka dots were his idea.

Analysis: A pretty entertaining match between two charismatic performers. Honky had settled nice into this role, while Dusty got a big pop from the crowd. These two trade momentum until the end when Hart accidentally wallops Honky with the guitar. One elbow later, and Dusty wins his PPV debut. A funny moment was Honky’s post-match interview, where he mumbles nonsense. Dusty moves on to continue his feud with the Big Bossman, as he came out for this match with Bossman’s hat and nightstick. Grade: 2.5

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Demolition and “King” Jim Duggan.

3. Mr. Perfect pins the Red Rooster with the Perfect-Plex at 3:21.

Analysis: What could have been a good match is cut short when Rooster looks like he blows his knee out on an attempted bodyslam. Perfect hits a quick plex and wins. He continues his rise up the ladder, while the Rooster continues to slide towards jobber status. Grade: 1.5

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan.

4. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers and Rick Martel (w/ “The Doctor of Style” Slick and “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) defeat the Rockers and Tito Santana when Martel pins Marty Jannetty after a clothesline at 14:58.

Analysis: A real solid 6-man tag match between 6 great workers. The Rockers and Rougeaus had a little feud going and Martel and Santana had their big feud going as well. Put them all together and we get a real doozy of a match. All six men put it all out there and the crowd stays hot throughout the whole match. Santana gets pounded, but the faces make a comeback until the heels cheat to win. The Rougeaus get a much needed win, the Rockers keep on trucking, and Martel and Santana have unfinished business. Grade: 3.5

We see the history between the Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude.

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews the Ultimate Warrior.

5. The Ultimate Warrior pins “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) with a splash at 16:02 to win the WWF Intercontinental Champioship.

The buildup: These two continued their feud throughout the summer. This is the rematch from Wrestlemania.

Analysis: An exciting match to end the first part of this feud. Rude had built up his rep as champ throughout the summer and Warrior played the face chasing the belt perfectly. Warrior dominated most of the match, with Rude cheating his way to the advantage. Jesse and Tony’s commentary is spot on, as Ventura’s disdain for the Warrior is out for all to see. Tony tries to defend Warrior, but Jesse is all over him. In the end, Roddy Piper, who was feuding with Rude on the house circuit, comes out and distracts Rude, leading to Warrior getting the win and his second IC Title reign. Jesse goes ballistic, tearing at Piper and Warrior. Nonetheless, Warrior is now beginning his major push towards the main events, and Rude and Piper have unfinished business. Grade: 4.5

Sean Mooney is in the crowd with the fans.

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Mr. Perfect, Roddy Piper, Ronnie Garvin, and Bobby Heenan and Rick Rude.

6. Demolition and “King” Jim Duggan defeat the Twin Towers and Andre the Giant (w/ “The Doctor of Style” Slick and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) when Smash pins Akeem after a 2x4 shot at 7:23.

“King” Change: Jim Duggan defeated Haku to become the new King and the only face King.

Analysis: After a hot start with the first half of the show, we start to slow down a little bit with this 6-man tag. While the last one had 6 great workers, this one had 6 brawlers. Andre is clearly on his last legs, as he lost here and would job to Warrior in 30-second matches afterwards. Duggan was now “King” and still very over, as was Demolition. The Towers had a nice run, but their days are starting to close too. A decent power match which sees Duggan use the 2x4 again to get the win. All 6 men move on to different feuds. Grade: 2

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Ted Dibiase.

Howard Finkel introduces the special ring announcer, Ronnie Garvin.

The buildup: Garvin was defeated by Greg Valentine in a “Career ending” match. He would be a referee, favoring the faces before being suspended as a referee. He was an announcer for this event then be reinstated as a wrestler shortly after this event.

7. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) pins Hercules with a rollup and feet on the ropes at 3:08.

Analysis: A pretty bad match. Poor Herc has fallen so far down the ladder since turning face. Here he is just fodder of the Garvin/Valentine feud. Valentine wins, but Garvin announces Herc as the winner by DQ. It’s a shame the quality of this show as fallen so far as this could have been a top 5 show of all time. Either way, Garvin and Valentine have unfinished business and Herc continues to fall down the ladder. Grade: 1

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Randy Savage, “Sensantional” Sherri, and Zeus.

8. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil) defeats “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka by countout at 6:27.

Analysis: Sadly, the underwhelming quality continues. Dibiase was in the midst of a feud with Jake Roberts, but takes a quick detour from that to take on the Superfly. Snuka is still as popular as ever, but is no longer a main eventer as he stays in the midcard. He loses by a cheap countout, but gets to hit the Superfly splash on Virgil. Dibiase wins and goes back to business with the Snake. Grade: 1

Sean Mooney is in the crowd with the fans

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Brutus Beefcake and Hulk Hogan.

We see the history of the main event.

Before the main event, the Genius reads a poem.

Debut/Repackaged: The Genius is longtime jobber “Leaping” Lanny Poffo. He made the turn to heel earlier in the year, using his poems to heckle the faces and favor the heels.

9. Hulk Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake (w/ Miss Elizabeth) defeat “Macho Man” Randy Savage and “The Human Wrecking Machine” Zeus (w/ “Sensational” Sherri) when Hogan pins Zeus with a legdrop at 15:04.

Debut: Zeus is actor Tom Lister Jr. He appeared in several movies before playing Zeus in the movie “No Holds Barred” which also starred Hulk Hogan. Zeus first appeared before a match involving Hogan and Big Bossman on Saturday Night’s Main Event.

The buildup: Savage and Beefcake began feuding, with Savage cutting Brutus’s hair, and Beefcake attempting to cut Sherri’s. They took Zeus under their care and challenged Hogan and Beefcake to a match, which Hogan and Beefcake accepted.

Analysis: A big main event. Wanting to capitalize of the success of “No Holds Barred”, Vince brought in Zeus to have a feud with Hogan. Add Savage and Beefcake and you got what could have been a great match. I say could have if Zeus knew how to wrestle, which he didn’t. His offense was mostly no-selling and the bearhug. Thankfully, Hogan, Savage, and Beefcake picked up the slack for the match. In the end, Zeus gets hit with Sherri’s purse, believed to be “loaded”, and one legdrop later, Hulk and Beefcake get the win. Sherri then gets knocked out by Elizabeth and gets her hair cut by Brutus. A solid, if not real great main event to end the show and Zeus and Hogan are not through with each other yet. Grade: 2.5

Final Analysis: A good show that is clearly a tale of two. The first five matches set the tone for a great show, but sadly the last four matches keep this event from being a legendary show. A few of the matches could have been flip flopped to spread the workrate around the show, but alas hindsight is 20/20. Many feuds roll on and the Warrior begins his rise to the WWF Championship. Overall, if the show was a little better balanced, it could have been a classic, but as is, it is great, but not legendary. Final Grade: A-

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