May 8, 2006
WWF Summerslam 1989
The Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey, August 28th 1989
The second Summerslam PPV from 1989 has tended to receive a lot of undeserved criticism over the years. Much of this criticism stems from the actual main event of the show and not the under card. In the main event, WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan and his good buddy Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake are set to take on “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Zeus. It is the latter half of that equation that contributes to Summerslam ’89 leaving a sour taste in fans’ mouths. For those of you that don’t know Zeus isn’t a wrestler, he is an actor. A successful character actor by the name Tiny Lister Jr. to be exact whom later appeared in such films as “Friday” and “The Fifth Element.” Anyway, Tiny Lister played the villain Zeus in Hulk Hogan’s first feature film “No Holds Barred” the first of many awful Hulk Hogan films. For whatever stupid reason the WWF felt that in order to pique fan interest in the film they should bring the Zeus character into the WWF and run an angle with the Hulkster. At the time, Hogan was doing a program with Randy Savage that was drawing very well (especially since they were Wrestlemania V rematches), but the WWF felt it would be wiser to bring in a guy with no real wrestling experience and have him headline PPVs. Thus, on Saturday Night’s Main Event on May 29, 1989 (shortly before “No Holds Barred” premiered on June 2nd) Zeus came into the WWF and attacked Hulk Hogan. The story behind it all was Zeus was pissed that he lost in the movie and felt he should be the real star of “No Holds Barred.” As stupid and lame as this angle was the WWF put all their time and creative energies building it over the summer of 1989 and Summerslam would inevitably be the big match. In truth, the main event tends to overshadow what is otherwise a very good show. As we review each match, one will realize there is more to this show than meets the eye.
The show opens with a video package of fans filing into The Meadowlands Arena (Brendan Byrne Arena, Continental Airlines Arena…whatever the hell you want to call it) and buying merchandise from the stands.
Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are on commentary tonight. For whatever reason Gorilla Monsoon is absent so we have to make do with WCW/NWA-mainstay Schiavone, who granted doesn’t do a bad job and actually works very well with Ventura. It is kind of strange having Tony Schiavone, the competition’s main announcer for the last four years prior to this show, do play-by-play commentary for the WWF.
Now it’s time to feel the heat!
A Summerslam ’89 video package is shown to the music that would later become The Royal Rumble theme. The video is a montage of wrestlers who are on the card squashing jobbers and kids doing summertime activities.
*(Non- Title Tag Team Match) The Brain Busters vs. The Hart Foundation
The Brain Busters had recently dethroned Demolition as reigning Tag Team Champions on a Saturday Night’s Main Event Best 2 of 3 Falls match in July (with the help of Andre The Giant). However, this match is non-title because they won the titles after this match was already signed. Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura argue over whether or not The Brain Busters should’ve put the titles on the line and there seems to be a lot of heat on Bobby Heenan, Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard for not making this a title match. The Hart Foundation is pretty much only tagging part time at this point as the WWF was still testing the waters for a Bret Hart solo run. As far as I know this is one of the few matches (and perhaps the only televised match) between these two teams, which is a damn shame.
Bret Hart and Tully Blanchard start and Bret dominates with a series of fast paced arm drags before going to work on Tully’s arm. Arn Anderson tags in and tries to jump Hart but the Hitman is too quick for the Enforcer and ends up working over his arm as well. We’re seeing some great wrestling here! The Anvil tags in and continues to work over Arn’s arm. Anderson tries to break free with some knee lifts but he doesn’t make the tag successfully. The Harts continue to work over Arn in their corner until he finally gets the opportunity to tag out to Tully. Blanchard tries for a cheap shot but Hart doesn’t go for it. Anvil tags back in to bully Tully Blanchard. Blanchard goes for a hip toss but doesn’t have the strength to lift the Anvil. Consequently, his failure to execute the move results in his head being rammed face first into the canvas. Ouch! The Hart Foundation continues to work over Tully’s arm. Blanchard tries to break the hold by delivering a series of chops on Neidhart, but he no sells them and an Irish whip sends Tully nearly crashing into the cameraman. It’s all Hart Foundation thus far.
Tully Blanchard manages to reverse a hammerlock into a top wristlock and begin to wear Bret Hart down to the mat. The Hitman won’t put his shoulders down though and maintains a bridge. He eventually powers his way out of the hold, prompting Arn Anderson to come in for a double team. However, the Brain Busters’ double team goes awry and Bret tosses them both out of the ring. The crowd is going nuts! Back in, Tully tries to start shit and ends up on the losing end of a slugfest. Blanchard bails to the outside and Bret goes right after him, but he suckered into missing a tag and gets blindsided by Arn Anderson. Anderson hammers away on Hart but a splash attempt sends him crashing down on the Hitman’s knees. All four get into the ring and start brawling and The Harts clear the ring. Bret pulls Tully Blanchard back into the ring and continues to work him over. Anvil tags in and Irish whips Tully. Blanchard counters with a high cross body but ends up getting caught in a bear hug and dumped into the corner. Arn Anderson tries to intervene but Bret stops that in a hurry. The Harts go for a double team as Bret whips Neidhart into Tully, but Arn Anderson moves his partner out of the way just in time causing the Anvil to crash into the turnbuckle.
The tide turns as Arn Anderson begins to stomp a mud hole in Neidhart. The Brain Busters begin to dominate over him. Tully slaps on a camel clutch and The Anvil tries to power out of it but Arn Anderson measures him which keeps him from making any tag. Arn goes for a pin but Neidhart kicks out sending the Enforcer about three feet into the air! The Busters are still in control as Tully works over Neidhart with a series of jabs in the corner. The Anvil tries to make his way back to his corner but Anderson ties him up. They end up colliding with one another during a criss-cross sequence and a hot tag is teased. Anderson goes off the ropes and Bret gives him a knee from the apron. Bobby Heenan is irate about that one! Neidhart makes the hot tag to Bret who DESTROYS Tully Blanchard. Arn Anderson comes in to interfere but ends up taking a slam. Bret slams Tully as well before running through a series of clotheslines. The Hitman dropkicks Arn Anderson out of the ring. He then goes to the second rope and drops an elbow on Tully Blanchard. A vertical suplex only gets two as Hart breaks the pin and goes after Anderson who was once again trying to interfere. All four men are in the ring again. The Hart Foundation gets the upper hand and The Anvil is slingshot in onto Blanchard. Neidhart power slams Bret onto Blanchard and it looks like victory is near for the Harts. However, the referee is tied up with Bobby Heenan and doesn’t make the count. Neidhart goes after the Brain while Arn Anderson drops a double axe handle on the back of Bret’s head from the second rope. He then goes for the pin and covers up his head so the referee doesn’t realize he is not the legal man in the ring. Sure enough the Busters win it. Excellent match! *****
Match Analysis: Yes I gave it five stars! Why? Well apart from being a personal favourite match of mine, it was an excellent tag team bout that did not conform to the conventional rules of a tag team encounter. The Hart Foundation used the heel tactics that The Brain Busters were associated with and ended up dominating the majority of the match. The wrestling was excellent and fast paced. This was an awesome non-formulaic tag team match. All logic pointed to The Hart Foundation going over since it was a non-title match, but having The Busters win it was smart booking since after all they were the Champions.
Mean Gene is with “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, who is making his WWF PPV debut here. Rhodes had debuted on WWF TV in early June in a series of vignettes where he delivered pizza, shoveled horse crap, and performed other “common man” jobs he considered “American.” The whole story behind Dusty’s WWF tenure was that, after pissing off upper management as NWA booker, he was fired. In need of employment, Rhodes looked north to the competition, which he had been at odds with for the last four years. Vince gladly hired him, but stuck him in this embarrassing gimmick, which was essentially a self-parody of the character that had turned Rhodes into a wrestling superstar.
*“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes vs. The Honky Tonk Man
Dusty Rhodes enters wearing a police hat and carrying a nightstick. He kind of looks like one of the village people! Obviously the WWF is pushing for a Rhodes/Bossman feud in the coming weeks. However, tonight The Dream has to worry about The Honky Tonk Man. I don’t know if there was much of an angle behind this match or not. For some reason, I’ve heard this feud stemmed around who was the better dancer! Stupid huh? Anyway, we start with a dance off. Scary! Honky looks pissed and ends up charging right into a backdrop. Dusty goes for the elbow but Honky bails. Back in, Dusty puts Honky in an arm ringer and teases an elbow. Instead though he messes up Honky’s hair just to get under his skin. Honky misses with a roundhouse right and gets an atomic drop. Dusty is in total control and Honky’s down and out. Rhodes begins to work on Honky’s hamstring but an eye gouge gets him out of trouble. Jimmy Hart begins to distract Dusty, who chases after him. The distraction however allows Honky to waffle Rhodes in the mid-section with the megaphone. The tide turns as Honky begins to stomp Rhodes. The pace slows down tremendously as Honky slaps on a reverse chin lock. Dusty rallies the crowd for support. Rhodes breaks the hold but Honky takes him down with a knee. Honky goes back to the reverse chin lock but Dusty tries to power out. Rhodes goes for a comeback but it goes nowhere and Honky goes back to the reverse chin lock. Honky is working good ring psychology here. Dusty makes another comeback with a series of jabs but he misses a corner charge and Honky whips him into the referee. With the ref down Honky asks for his guitar and ties up Rhodes so Jimmy can smash him with it. Dusty manages to get out of the way though and Jimmy ends up smashing it over Honky’s head. The Dream drops the elbow and gets the pin fall win! ** Dusty celebrates by ugh…dancing.
Match Analysis: This was a solid mid-card match, which was surprising. Both men told a good story and the finish was certainly entertaining. A successful PPV debut for Dusty Rhodes, who had no trouble getting the crowd really into the match.
Sean Mooney catches up with Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart in the aisle. Honky seems to be on another planet though after that guitar shot and he thinks he’s Elvis Presley. Funny stuff!
Mean Gene is with King “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and former WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition. Duggan is wearing a hockey mask like Demolition. Interesting…
*Mr. Perfect vs. The Red Rooster
It’s pretty obvious who is going over here, but this match has the potential to be good anyway. There was a rumour floating around that Terry Taylor was originally supposed to be Mr. Perfect and Curt Hennig was supposed to be The Rooster. Could you imagine Hennig with The Red Rooster gimmick? Eek! Anyway, Perfect is still on his hot winning streak here while The Red Rooster is beginning to get lost in the mid-card shuffle. The two have a stare down before a shoving match ensues. They lock up and Perfect takes him down with an arm drag. Another lock up and Perfect catches the Rooster with a hip toss. The crowd pops big for Perfect when he begins to mock the Red Rooster’s mannerisms. A third lock up and Perfect takes down the Rooster with a firemen’s carry. Rooster is frustrated and slaps Perfect in the face. The action picks up here as Rooster and Perfect go through a fast paced criss-cross sequence. However, Roosters lands funny on a leap frog and when he goes to reverse a slam his knee gives out. It looks like Taylor blew out his knee on that last leap frog attempt. From here the match goes downhill. After an outstanding standing drop kick Perfect realizes Terry Taylor is hurt and is unable to continue wrestling with his injury, so he puts him away swiftly with the Perfect-plex. *1/2
Match Analysis: Up until Terry Taylor’s injury, this match was going very well. I assume it was supposed to go on for a few more minutes but the knee injury cut this match short. It’s a shame because this match could’ve been great. Poor Terry Taylor! This guy just couldn’t get a break in the WWF.
A Survivor Series 1989 Promo! November 23rd only on PPV!
I’m reviewing the Coliseum video version, but I figured I would mention this anyway because I found it so damn funny when I heard about it. Okay here it goes…
We cut backstage and Mean Gene is with WWF Intercontinental Champion Ravishing Rick Rude and manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Before Gene can say anything, the big Summerslam logo behind him collapses. Clearly Gene is not having a good day because he snaps and yells, “Fuck it!” live over the PPV broadcast. We quickly cut back to a crowd shot, then Tony Schiavone who tries to cover it up while Jesse Ventura is probably beside himself with laughter. After about a minute of stalling they send back over to Gene who is composed and carries out the interview as planned. As you can imagine, this was of course not planned and was very HILARIOUS. I can’t imagine what Vince said to Gene when he asked him into his office later. This is not on the Coliseum home video obviously, which is too bad.
*The Rockers & Tito Santana vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Bros. & Rick Martel
Just one look at the talent in this six-man tag match will tell you that it’s going to be great. The Rockers had been feuding with The Fabulous Rougeaus all summer and they had great house show matches all over the country leading up to this. Of course Rick Martel and Tito Santana have been going at it bitterly since what transpired at Wrestlemania V and have been added to this match to make things more interesting. Rick Martel hasn’t started his model gimmick yet but he is managed by Slick. I guess that was one of those “blink and you miss it” associations. Martel teases starting with Tito Santana but tags in Jacques Rougeau to start. Jacques Rougeau extends a handshake to Tito, but Santana doesn’t buy it. They lock up and Jacques gains control with an Irish whip but The Rockers come in and unleash some double team moves and a pier-six brawl erupts with The Rockers and Chico clearing the ring. Jesse Ventura begins to rage about illegal double-teaming, which is priceless. The heels regroup and Jacques Rougeau starts to work over Marty Jannetty. Jacques fakes a high cross body but telegraphs a double axe handle from the second rope. Raymond tags in and goes to work on Jannetty with a sabat kick to the jaw. Rick Martel tags in and begins his own heel tactics. Martel ends up showboating too much though and Jannetty dropkicks him then quickly tags Tito. Martel plays the cowardly heel and bails to the outside.
Tito and Raymond do a nice sequence with Santana’s quickness prevailing. Jacques Rougeau tries to trip up Chico coming off the ropes and it provides enough distraction for brother Raymond to drive a knee into the small of Tito’s back. The Rougeaus begin to work over Tito, who plays face in peril. Martel tags in when Tito’s down and out and begins to vicious stomp away on him and showboat in heel like fashion. Jacques Rougeau floors Chico with a tremendous dropkick. A hot tag is teased but the heels keep Tito in their corner. Martel tags back in and Santana tries to go toe-to-toe with him but Jacques stops a comeback in a hurry. Martel misses a corner charge and Tito counters with an under hook pin but only gets two. Martel is irate and proceeds to choke out his former partner. Raymond Rougeau tags in and applies a Boston crab on Tito. A distraction follows allowing Jacques Rougeau to come in and drive a knee into Chico’s back while he’s still in the Boston crab. Ouch! The heels continue to relentlessly work over Santana’s back with illegal double team moves behind the referee’s back. Jacques slaps on an abdominal stretch and Martel assists prompting the Rockers to protest. Santana breaks the hold but Martel keeps him from making the tag. Tito tries to start a slugfest but Martel stops him with a shot to the throat. Jacques Rougeau gets back in and Tito hits him with a high cross body only for a two. Jacques tries to piss off the Rockers and all hell breaks loose. In the midst of it all the Rougeaus continue the double-teaming on Santana. Tito gets a sunset flip on Raymond but can only hold him down for a two count. The heels are still in control as Raymond slaps on a sleeper. Rougeaus go for another double team but Jacques ends up nailing Raymond accidentally with a high knee.
The crowd goes wild as a hot tag is teased. Finally Tito makes the hot tag to Shawn Michaels who unloads on Rick Martel. Michaels backdrops Martel and lands a tremendous dropkick on him as well. Martel tries to counter but ends up getting suplexed. Michaels heads to the top rope and lands a fist drop. Jannetty tags in and Michaels’ press slams him onto Martel for a two count. Jacques tries to break the pin but ends up dropping an elbow on his partner. Pier-six brawl erupts and Santana hits the forearm on Martel. The crowd is going nuts! Jannetty goes after Jimmy Hart on the apron but Jacques nails him from behind. Both men go hard for the pin fall with a series of roll ups but Martel gets back in an clocks Jannetty before illegally pinning him for the win. ***1/2
Match Analysis: This was a fun six-man tag match and the wrestling was really good. The crowd was certainly into it as they rallied behind the faces while the heels generated massive heat. An overall entertaining bout even though these big feuds weren’t really ever resolved.
A recap of The Ultimate Warrior/Rick Rude feud, which includes Andre The Giant attacking the Ultimate Warrior this past weekend on Superstars.
Mean Gene is with the Ultimate Warrior who looks like he’s suffering from a severe case of malaria.
*Intercontinental Championship Match: (Champion) “Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. (Challenger) The Ultimate Warrior
Rude gets on the mic and runs through the usual while Jesse Ventura tells Tony Schiavone to shut up. The Ultimate Warrior races down the aisle and begins to shake the ropes while Ventura points out what a nut the guy is. Warrior and Rude have a stare down and the Ultimate maniac begins to stalk him. Rude tries to keep his distance and delivers some blows which Warrior no sells. Warrior responds by clotheslining Rude onto the apron. Rude tries to counter with a sunset flip back in but can’t get Warrior down. The crowd goes wild as Warrior press slams Rude overhead and drops him on the concrete floor on the outside. Jesse bitches about the move being uncalled for as Warrior heads to the outside and rams Rude face first into the apron. Warrior follows up by grabbing the Intercontinental belt and nailing him with it. Jesse is rages, “where the hell is the referee?” Tony Schiavone points out that it’s outside of the ring and Jesse gives him static saying, “then Warrior could pull out a gun, shoot Rude and it would be okay with you, because it is outside the ring.” This is some hilarious and entertaining commentary as Jesse accuses Tony of being dumber than Monsoon. The action stays on the outside with Warrior slamming Rude on the concrete. Back in, Warrior heads to the top rope and drops a double axe handle but only gets two. Irish whip on Rude into the corner and Warrior continues to run through some slow offence. Warrior executes a vertical suplex but only gets two. He follows up with n inverted atomic drop and then mocks Rude’s hip swivel.
Warrior to the top again but Rude catches him with a punch that causes Warrior to crotch himself on the ropes. Good! Now we don’t have to worry about offspring! The tide turns as Rude drives some forearm into Warrior’s lower back. Rude executes a vertical suplex of his own but only gets two. Rude continues to work over the back and Warrior’s in trouble. He goes for the Rude Awakening but Warrior breaks the hold before he can execute it. Rude resorts to a sleeper hold and Warrior begins to weaken but counters with a jawbreaker. Both men go down on a collision course and the referee is knocked down too. Bobby Heenan revives Rude but The Warrior makes a comeback of his own and begins to destroy Rude with a series of clotheslines. A power slam by Warrior gets no count because the referee is down. Warrior piledrives Rude, and the referee comes around to make the count finally. However, Rude gets his foot on the rope. Warrior delivers running power slam and tries to follow up with a splash, but he ends up crashing down on Rude’s knees.
Warrior is down and out and Rude drops him head first on the mat. Ouch! However, Warrior still manages to kick out. Rude heads for the top rope and does a fist drop but he still only gets a two count. All of a sudden Rowdy Roddy Piper makes an appearance at ringside while Rude delivers another piledriver on a hurt Warrior. Rude sees Piper and they begin to exchange words. Rude taunts Piper by swiveling his hips and Piper responds by mooning him. Rude is irate as his attention is drawn away from the ring. Warrior comes up from behind while Rude is on the second rope and German suplexes him off. Warrior makes a comeback with a flying tackle. He finishes Rude off with a gorilla press slam and a splash for the win! Tony Schiavone is screaming to the point of tears as Ultimate Warrior is the new Intercontinental Champion. ****1/4
Match Analysis: I’m not one of The Ultimate Warrior’s biggest fans, but this was the match that brought this guy to the next level. Both guys were in top form for this match, which had the drama, the heat, and the hot crowd to make it great. This was the highlight feud of Warrior’s WWF career and much of the credit needs to go to Rick Rude who had improved substantially as a worker within the last year. While the match wasn’t flawless it came off better than expected and far surpassed their Wrestlemania V bout. This was the blow off to the red hot Warrior/Rude feud. Warrior would go on to squash Andre The Giant in the fall while Rude would get into a heated feud with Roddy Piper.
Sean Mooney is on the floor with 20,000 screaming fans.
Mean Gene is backstage with a series of interviews. First is Mr. Perfect, who cuts a great promo. Then “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who cracks on Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan. Then Rugged Ronnie Garvin in a tuxedo but he sucks so an irate Bobby Heenan and Rick Rude interrupt and whine about being screwed over for losing the Intercontinental title. Rude threatens Piper and Warrior and promises to get the IC title back but alas he never would.
The intermission has been edited out.
We’re back with Mean Gene who begins to hype the main event. We get a recap of the whole feud including their “No Holds Barred” movie garbage, Hogan’s confrontation with Zeus on SNME May 29, 1989. Then Savage and Zeus’ challenge to Hogan and Beefcake for a tag match at Summerslam issued on July 8. Plus, Hogan and Beefcake accepting their challenge the following week. Then we see highlights of the Savage/Beefcake match from SNME July 29, 1989 where Hogan and Zeus make a run-in.
*Demolition & “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. The Twin Towers & Andre The Giant
The Twin Towers & Andre The Giant’s team has a total combined weight of 1334 lbs! Whoa! The crowd pops big for King Duggan & Demolition. Jesse Ventura cracks on the mask Duggan is wearing, claiming he looks like Jason from Friday The 13th. Demolition had been defending their tag team titles against the Twin Towers all summer until they lost them to the Brain Busters on SNME. King Duggan was basically being ping-ponged back and forth between Haku (who he won the crown from) and Andre The Giant (who was without a feud when Big John Studd left). However, Demolition has a score to settle with Andre as well because he cost them the titles. Anyway, when Duggan unmasks himself he has the US flag painted across his face, which is kind of cool. However, Jesse Ventura shoots it down saying it’s disrespectful to have old glory on that ugly mug. Hacksaw Jim Duggan starts with Akeem and they have a slugfest, which Duggan gets the upper hand. Demolition and Duggan fast tag as they work over Akeem’s left arm.
Akeem gains control with a rake to Ax’ eyes and then tags in the Big Bossman. Ax is too quick for Bossman though as he begins to hammer away on him. Bossman and Smash have a slugfest with Smash gaining the advantage. Ax comes back in but ends up getting caught in the wrong corner. Andre The Giant tags in and begins to squash Ax and choke him out. Ax plays face in peril as the Twin Towers and Andre The Giant measure him. Akeem misses a corner charge though and Ax makes the hot tag to Smash. Smash is a house of fire as he takes on both Twin Towers. Cool spot here where Smash slams both Big Bossman and Akeem one after another. Wow! That was amazing! Andre The Giant drops Smash with a chop though which takes all the fire out of him. A pier-six brawl erupts and Duggan waffles Akeem with his 2x4 while the ref is tied up with Andre The Giant, which gives Smash the pin on Akeem. **1/2
Match Analysis: Well it’s what you expect from these guys: an all out brawl. This match did accomplish some things though. Particularly, it blew off the Demolition/Twin Towers feud, which at this point was nearing its end as Demolition was going over Bossman and Akeem cleanly at every house show. It also managed to get Duggan on the card without having another half-baked rematch with Haku. Andre The Giant really looks immobile here and you could tell his in-ring career was on borrowed time. Demolition is super over still despite losing their tag team titles. Smash slamming both Towers was really cool as well. Overall, this match is okay. While the wrestling wasn’t really there, the crowd was into it and the action was pretty good.
The 3rd Annual Survivor Series on November 23, 1989! It’s the Thanksgiving Night Tradition folks!
Mean Gene is with “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase and Virgil.
*Hercules vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Howard Finkle introduces a “special guest ring announcer”…Ron Garvin. That’s the special guest? Bah! Anyway the general idea here is that ring announcer Ron Garvin tears into Greg “The Hammer” Valentine during his ring introduction. You see Garvin was suspended from wrestling for losing a career vs. career match with Valentine back in late April. He turned to refereeing but was eventually suspended after being biased towards baby faces in a series of matches. A few weeks prior to Summerslam, Valentine asked for Garvin to be reinstated and Garvin (who is really pulling out some lame insults and butchering the English language here) is now telling Valentine he made the biggest mistake of his life. This feud dragged on for a while and no one really cared, that being said it as the only notable feud Ron Garvin ever had during his WWF run.
Anyway, Garvin’s insults distract Valentine long enough for Hercules to blindside him with a series of fists. Hercules slams him but only gets two. Valentine rolls to the outside and has a stare down Garvin. Back in, The Hammer is still distracted by Garvin and almost gets rolled up by Herc. Action goes to the outside, but Valentine gains control but can lock on the figure four. Hammer to the top but he telegraphs a double axe handle. Hercules reverses a vertical suplex. The Hammer suckers him into the corner though and pins him with his feet on ropes. Bleh! 1/2* After the match, Garvin announces Hercules as the winner. What? He then corrects himself saying Hercules wins by DQ. Right…whatever Valentine won the match anyway. Valentine responds by punching Garvin out of the ring, Hercules makes the save and Garvin comes back into to get revenge.
Match Analysis: This is where the card starts to go downhill. This was a lame match with a lame ending. Hercules, who like The Red Rooster was another mid-card casualty getting lost in the shuffle, was nothing more than a pawn helping further the Valentine/Garvin feud. Thankfully this match was short but I probably could’ve done without it all together.
Mean Gene is with Macho Man Randy Savage, Sensational Sherri, and Zeus. Sherri is mixing some bizarre potion in a cauldron. This is where the WWF was starting to get a little too cartoonish. These vignettes are just too weird and I have to feel sorry for Macho Man who went from headlining house shows with Hulk Hogan, to playing second fiddle when Zeus came in and looking like a total moron. I mean the guy couldn’t even get a win over Brutus Beefcake during this time!
*“Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka
Dibiase gets on the microphone and proclaims himself the man who ended Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ wrestling career. For those of you that don’t know Jake was in legal troubles at this time (specifically assault charges from an incident in December 1988) and he was taken off WWF TV in May 1989 when Dibiase put him out of action with the Million Dollar Dream. This would explain why he’s noticeably MIA on this card. Superfly Jimmy Snuka is making his PPV return here. Dibiase tries to jump Snuka before the bell but Superfly clears the ring. An atomic drop sends Dibiase toppling over the top rope. Dibiase is outside to regroup. Back in, Dibiase slaps on a side headlock but is thrown into the ropes. Snuka miss times a leap frog and lands square on top of Dibiase. That was ugly. Superfly follows up ramming Dibiase head first into the turnbuckle. Dibiase gains control again with a boot and he begins to lower the boom on Snuka. Snuka reverses an Irish whip into a backdrop. Snuka’s advantage doesn’t last long though and he ends up falling into a stun gun rope clothesline maneuver. A vertical suplex gets two. Dibiase drives his knee into Superfly’s back. Ted goes for his patented fallback elbow from the second rope (which he always misses) and sure enough nobody is home. Snuka is back in control with some chops and a head butt. Superfly connects with a diving head butt but then heads to the top again to execute the Superfly splash. Virgil distracts him though and Snuka goes after him stupidly. Sure enough being tied up with Virgil gives Dibiase the opportunity to jump him from behind and Superfly Jimmy Snuka is counted out. After the bout, Snuka clears the ring and finally executes the Superfly splash on Virgil. Just look at the amount of camera flashes when Snuka leaps off the top! So cool! As for the rest of the match meh…*1/2
Match Analysis: The match wasn’t bad but there wasn’t much of a story behind it. The finish was crappy too and I don’t see why Dibiase couldn’t have picked up a pin fall win. I guess the WWF wanted to protect Snuka’s credibility a little since he just returned to the ring. Still, the match was nothing offensive but it wasn’t anything to get excited about.
Sean Mooney is up in the nosebleeds with some fans.
Mean Gene is with Hulk Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. Hogan alludes to being Moses and brags about getting busy with Elizabeth. Wow! What a role model!
The Genius is in the ring to recite a poem that cracks on Hogan and Beefcake.
*Hulk Hogan & Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Zeus
Elizabeth gets her own entrance to be in the baby faces corner. Jesse Ventura’s ranting on Elizabeth is classic. He calls her a tramp and a gold digger for siding with Hogan because he’s the champion. Funny stuff! A brawl erupts to begin the match, with Beefcake clearing the ring of Savage while Hogan unloads on Zeus. Zeus no sells everything and ends up choking Hogan out. Bruti heads back in the ring and tries to nail Zeus from the second rope, but he ends up getting caught in a bear hug. The heels begin to destroy Hogan but you can see Savage is whispering into Zeus’ ear what to do. Clearly Zeus needs a lot of direction in this match. Zeus slaps on a bear hug for a long time and Hulk places face in peril. He keeps Hogan in the heel corner and Macho clotheslines him on the top rope. Macho Man misses a splash on the ropes though and Hogan manages to make the hot tag to Brutus.
Beefcake cleans house on Savage and slaps on the sleeper. Macho ends up ramming The Barber’s head into the turnbuckle and making the tag to Zeus. Zeus tries to go for Beefcake but Bruti slaps the sleeper on him. The referee gets distracted though and Macho ends up clocking Brutus with Sherri’s loaded purse. Beefcake is down and out. Macho goes after Liz and Hogan intervenes. Zeus chokes out Beefcake who is now playing face in peril. Savage and Bruti end up double clotheslining each other and The Barber makes the hot tag to the Hulkster. Hogan destroys Savage but Zeus interferes and Savage drops his elbow smash. However, Hogan no sells it thus destroying all credibility of the move. Jerk! He nails Zeus with Sherri’s loaded purse, slams him, and then drops the leg for the three count. Pretty underwhelming match especially for a main event. *1/2 After the match, Hogan and Elizabeth beat up on Sherri. Wow what role models! They even cut her hair with Brutus Beefcake’s shears. Jesse is pissed about the whole thing and claims a foreign object not Hulkamania is what beat Zeus.
Match Analysis: Very similar to last year’s Summerslam main event, only this one is half baked in comparison to its predecessor. Hogan, Savage, and Beefcake were all at their peak here in terms of ring performance and could’ve been capable of having a good match. However, Zeus was totally useless and as someone else said guys like Hogan and Beefcake were the last ones who should’ve been trying to carry him. Elizabeth and Sherri added to the drama of the match but it still wasn’t enough to make a good match. While it’s clear with the tainted victory that nothing has been blown off here it was obvious that unfortunately we would be seeing more of Zeus in the future.
Jinsell’s Bottom Line: The WWF in 1989 has always received a lot of undeserved criticism. The product at the time was arguably at its peak in terms of popularity and production quality (the latter can be debated). Summerslam ’89 is a fine example of how the WWF built up a PPV with great wrestling and storylines. It also didn’t suffer from being overbooked with too many matches like the Wrestlemanias tended to be at the time. That being said, the card started out extremely strong but the match quality did tend to wane after the second six-man tag match. Still, with two matches that are arguably match of the year candidates (the awesome Hart Foundation/Brain Busters opener and the Intercontinental title match) and a strong under card with two great six-man tag matches, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t an awesome show. The line-up of good matches outweighed the bad and what was crappy was thankfully kept short. What causes the quality of this show to drop is the main event, which had a great story and build up but just did not produce once put in the ring. Apart from a disastrous main event though, nothing should keep you from picking this show up which on the whole is indeed awesome. The wrestling is solid, the build-up and storylines are strong and the crowd is really hot. This is my personal favourite Summerslam and after all these years it’s still one of the best. Highly recommended!