The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Madison Square Garden show: February 20 1989
– Taped from MSG
– Your hosts are Rod Trongard and Lord Alfred Hayes. Good god, that’s like the commentary team I’m going to get tormented with for all eternity when I’m burning in hell.
Iron Mike Sharpe v. Jim Powers
Truly a main event in any bingo hall in Canada. Sharpe was actually quite over on Canadian house shows, believe it or not. Sharpe ducks into the ropes to avoid the awesome offensive onslaught that is Jim Powers, and offers a handshake to keep from getting on his bad side. Powers of course actually has to think about whether to accept it, which is why he never got a serious push. Sharpe ducks out again to avoid contact. Finally Sharpe grabs a headlock and declares “I got him!” which is usually a bad idea for a heel. There’s self-confidence and then there’s being unrealistic. Criss-cross and Sharpe runs away again, but pounds Powers in the corner. He misses a dropkick that, had it hit, would have SHATTERED the Erik Watts scale, and bails again to avoid the humiliation of watching a replay. Powers brings him back in and follows with a suplex for two. He starts working on the arm,but Sharpe chokes him out on the top rope until Powers goes back to the arm again. However, Sharpe uses the GAUNTLET OF DOOM to turn the tide, and keeps going with it until Powers figures out this rather one-dimensional attack and uses an atomic drop to tie him in the ropes. Powers charges like a moron and hits boot, and Sharpe goes back to work again, snapping the neck on the top rope and elbowing him down. An elbowdrop misses and Powers makes his comeback, but Sharpe blasts him with the gauntlet when Powers puts his head down. Powers reverses out of a piledriver attempt, but Sharpe just keeps coming with the forearm shots. More choking from Sharpe and Powers can’t get it going, but finally comes back and rams him into the turnbuckles 20 times. Dropkick gets two. Small package finishes.
(Jim Powers d. Mike Sharpe, small package — pin, 12:14, **) Sharpe was always a solid, if unspectacular, heel and knew how to carry a longer match like this.
The Brooklyn Brawler v. The Red Rooster
Brawler sucker punches Rooster thanks to the Brain, which is why he’s the Brain. Brawler misses an elbow and Rooster slugs him down, but gets cocky and Brawler clotheslines him from behind, then chokes him out with his shirt. Brawler chokes and pounds him down, which allows Heenan to get a cheapshot from the floor, and Brawler slams him for two. We hit the chinlock, but Rooster gets his feathers up to escape before Brawler takes him down again. Rooster gets clotheslined out, but comes back in with a sunny-side-up flip for two, and an over-easy backslide for two. This is how boring the match is — I’m reduced to CHICKEN PUNS to amuse myself. However, it’s back to the chinlock again. Rooster comes back with a slam attempt, but Brawler falls on top for two. Clothesline gets two. And we’re right back to the chinlock again. Some guys just don’t need this much time. Finally, it’s time for the comb-back, with an atomic drop and clothesline, which sets up a kneedrop for two. Blind charge misses, but a small package gets two for Rooster. Slugfest is won by the Rooster and Brawler bails to the apron, so Rooster attempts a suplex back in, and Heenan hooks the leg in a foreshadowing of his involvement at Wrestlemania V.
(Brooklyn Brawler d. Red Rooster, interference — pin, 14:14, *1/2) Very, very, long. But it had at least enough heat to fry an egg. OK, I’m done with the yolks now.
Akeem v. Big John Studd
Well this is kind of a rarity. Studd was making his big return after winning the Royal Rumble in 1989, just before disappearing again for good after Wrestlemania. They do a test of strength and get nowhere, but Studd powers him down off the lockup. Akeem tries overpowering him, but gets clotheslined and pounded as a result. Studd shoves him into the corner to keep him off-guard and takes him down with an armdrag (!?), but Akeem works him over and tries to slam him. That doesn’t work out well for him. Another slam attempt and Studd falls on top for two, and comes back to ram Akeem into the turnbuckle a bunch of times. Clothesline puts Akeem on the floor, and Studd follows for the brawl, and you can guess the rest.
(Big John Studd draws Akeem, double countout, 8:00, 1/2*) But [wrestler] didn’t come all the way to [arena] just to [disputed finish]! He wants [number] more [time increments]! Akeem doesn’t agree with this assessment, so Studd slams him anyway.
– Brooklyn Brawler joins us again to rub his victory into the Rooster’s face, issuing an open challenge for any time or place. OK then.
The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Sheepf*ckers
Maybe I should have taken some cold medication before reviewing this show. I don’t have a cold or anything, but I think it might have helped. The Rougeaus have a meeting of the minds to start and the Whackers clear the ring. The Rougeaus recover, but get poked in the eyes and head out again. So the match finally starts for real with Butch against Raymond, and Ray gets a quick abdominal stretch, which is quickly broken up by Luke. Biting abounds and the Rougeaus back off again. Jacques shows his bitten ass to the ref, so Luke shows the ref his missing teeth in his own defense. Better call CSI. Luke pounds Jacques down and starts biting him again, but Jacques thankfully dropkicks him off a leapfrog to end the comedy portion. Raymond clobbers Butch, but Jacques misses a dropkick. However, the ref escorts Butch out, and the Rougeaus double-team Luke in the corner to take over. Much choking results. Jacques with a jumping elbow for two. Double suplex gets two for Ray. Luke takes a nice bump off a corner whip, and Jacques gets the abdominal atretch and cheats like crazy, setting up the crescent kick from Raymond. The Rougeaus take the time to showboat, rather excessively, but Luke fights back, and it’s the false tag. More double-teaming follows, but heel miscommunication leads to the hot tag to Butch. The old double noggin knocker scatters the Rougeaus, but Ray trips up Butch. Jacques goes for the pin, but Luke nails him behind the ref’s back and puts Butch on top.
(The Bushwhackers d. The Rougeaus, Butch axehandle — pin Jacques, 12:12, *1/2) Total comedy match.
Rick Rude v. Brutus Beefcake
OK, this I can at least deal with. I wonder if Rude got Brutus to cut his hair when he went to a crewcut in 1990? Rude of course wants to match up strength to start, and after a series of lockups gets him nowhere they do the test of strength, which gives Rude opportunity to swivel his hips. Brutus responds by stomping on his fingers, and Bobby’s for good measure. Rude shies away from another test of strength, but then goes with the obvious tactic and just cheapshots him instead. Rude tries a monkey-flip off a criss-cross, so Beefcake steps on his head and pounds away in the corner. However, he gets too reliant on that, and Rude flattens him with an atomic drop and puts him on the floor. Back in, Rude throws a knee to the gut and gives him a hard slam into an elbowdrop for two. And we hit the chinlock. Brutus quickly slugs out, but hits knee on a splash. Rude pounds away in the corner and it’s right back to the chinlock, and he chokes Brutus down for two. Gutbuster gets two. Back to the chinlock, but Beefcake powers him into the corner, only to run into a knee. Rude drops the fist, but Beefcake kicks him low, only to see his piledriver attempt quickly reversed. Rude keeps dropping elbows on the neck, but his splash hits knee. I think they never really came up with the obvious spot for Rude, where he tries a splash and misses, but no-sells because he has Abs of Steel. Beefcake comes back with an inverted atomic drop, like in every Rude match, and a clothesline puts Rude down. Brutus slugs away and it’s sleeper time, but Brutus leaves him too close to the ropes and he gets his foot on them, despite the hand going down three times. Now really, regardless of his position in the ropes, his health should take precedence and if he’s out, they should stop the match. Rude catches him with a cheapshot and goes up with the flying fist for two, but Brutus rolls him up for the pin.
(Brutus Beefcake d. Rick Rude, rollup — pin, 18:28, ***1/2) They had a really good match on SNME around this time, too, so obviously there was some chemistry here. This was a really good power match with a finish that I didn’t expect — I had thought Rude wouldn’t be doing jobs leading up to his title victory at Wrestlemania.
Intermission. Feel free to get nachos and merchandise now.
OK, are we ready?
King Haku v. Rick Martel
Pre-heel turn for Martel, of course. Haku clobbers him to start, but Martel hiptosses him and gets a series of armdrags to send Haku to the floor. Back in, they trade wristlocks and Martel takes him down with an armbar, and follows with a dropkick before going back to the arm again. Haku overpowers him, but Martel uses his speed and rolls him up for two before going back to the arm again. Rod is actually pretty good at filling dead air with Wrestlemania plugs. Haku finally slams out of the armbar, but Martel springs out of the corner with a crossbody and goes back to the arm again. That slam was a blown spot, as Martel was supposed to hang on to the armbar, but someone lost their grip and they had to improvise. They covered it up fine. Martel knocks him down, but Haku directs him to the floor. Martel is stunned, so Haku baseball slides him. Martel tries the arm again, so Haku drops him with a backdrop suplex and takes over. Martel tries a crossbody, but Haku pounds him down and goes to a facelock to retain control. Martel rams him into the corner while selling a head injury, and doing a really convincing job of it, and Haku takes advantage of a lowered head and nails him. Shoulderbreaker gets two. We go to the VULCAN NERVE HOLD OF DEATH, but Martel gets a small package for two. Haku goes to a facelock instead, holding on through a northern lights suplex from Martel, but Martel is finally able to shake him loose with an atomic drop. Slugfest is won by Martel, and he dodges a dropkick from Haku and begins pounding the back. Backdrop gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Slam and abdominal stretch follow, as Martel softens him up for the Boston Crab, and drops axehandles on the back to follow up. Haku comes back with a slam, but misses a senton and Martel moves in with the crab…as the time expires.
(Rick Martel draw Haku, time limit expires, 20:00, ***1/4) Martel was actually a very interesting worker as a singles babyface, as he did the head injury angle all match with interesting results. This is very much worth checking out.
Jim Neidhart v. Greg Valentine
Neidhart chases him out of the ring to start and then clobbers him with a forearm, which sends Greg running again. Back in, Valentine throws chops, but so does Anvil, and he takes him down with a snapmare and tries to get the leg guard off. Valentine bails to avoid that fate and plays keepaway, but catches Anvil with a knee coming into the ring and takes over. Elbow off the middle rope gets two. He drops elbows on the mat and grabs a chinlock, but Anvil runs him over like a bull before running into Hammer’s boot. Elbowdrop gets two. Hammer works on the leg, wraps it around the post, and then pokes him in the eyes for the added touch. Back in, they slug it out, but Neidhart tries a slam and falls back, and Hammer is right back on the leg again. Figure-four, but Neidhart blocks, and then another try results in Valentine meeting the post. Neidhart fires away to come back, and throws a dropkick out of nowhere. Clothesline and he returns the favor by posting Valentine’s leg, but again tries to remove the shin guard, which only allows Valentine to retrieve it and hit Anvil with it to finish.
(Greg Valentine d. Jim Neidhart, foreign object — pin, 8:05, **) Typical SNME match. Neidhart was lost for much of this year.
Randy Savage v. Ultimate Warrior
This is non-title, sadly, although both guys guys had titles at this point. Savage was fresh off his career-reviving heel turn, which immediately made him a babyface again with 80% of the jaded New York audience. Seriously, the reaction to his entrance here was HUGE. This has a real big match feel to it, although they didn’t really develop their chemistry until years after this. Savage wisely goes on the offensive, but gets overpowered and tackled out of the ring. Savage backs off, but Warrior pounds him and presses him back into the ring again as the crowd gets hotter and hotter. Back in, Warrior has to chase Savage again, and walks into an ambush. Savage goes up for a bodypress, but Warrior catches him and hangs in the Tree of Woe, and a beating results. Savage escapes, but Warrior throws down and punches away in the corner (making contact on zero of them — thanks, camera guys!) until Savage comes back with a high knee to put Warrior on the floor. He follows with the double axehandle and gives him a quick beating on the floor, and back in they go. Savage necksnaps him and chokes him down, which gets two. Kneedrop gets two. He goes to the chinlock and then switches to a choke, and an elbowdrop gets two. Warrior fights up, but Savage clotheslines him for two. Savage goes up with the double axehandle, and that gets nothing. Suplex is blocked and reversed by Warrior for two, but Rick Rude is posing at ringside. Atomic drop gets two for Warrior. Savage rolls him up for two, but Warrior facejams the champ, only to hit knees on a splash attempt. Savage gets two off that. He drops axehandles on him, but Warrior uses the power of DESTRUCITY to hulk up. Warrior is all about the clotheslines and powerslams him, but finally bites on Rude’s bait and chases him on the floor, getting counted out in the process.
(Randy Savage d. Ultimate Warrior, countout, 9:32, ***) This was turning into one hell of a match before the weak finish, and would foreshadow much greater things to come from them.
The Pulse: A very worthwhile and interesting show, although skip the first few matches for your own sanity. Watching this, SNME from 3/89, and then Wrestlemania V in sequence on 24/7 officially makes you a wrestling god if you can pull it off in one day.