The Smark Rant for WWF Summerslam 1989

The Netcop Retro Rant for Summerslam 89

– By special (nagging) request.

– Live from East Rutherford, New Jersey, the geographical equivalent of crotch rot.

– Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura.

– Opening match: WWF tag champions The Brainbusters v. The Hart Foundation (non-title). Tully and Arn were fresh off beating the Demos for the belts on Saturday Night’s Main Event. But this match was signed previously, see, so it’s non-title. Middling point: The little CC symbol is the top corner of the opening montage, but the closed captioning doesn’t seem to be on. Jesse notes that if the Harts lose, they might not see another title shot until next year. One year after this show, the Harts won the tag team titles from Demolition. Hitman and the ‘busters put on a mat wrestling exhibition to start. Harts work on the arm of Arn and play mindgames with him. The key to Neidhart’s success is for the opponent to sell every move like they’ve been shot. Hitman works in his wristlock bridge spot, and it gets a huge pop. Ah, simpler times. But of course the champs sucker Bret into their corner and lay the beatdown on him. The fans are popping like nuts for everything the Harts do. Neidhart plays Ricky Morton once the Harts botch a move and the champs take over. The face in peril period doesn’t last long as Hart gets the hot tag and cleans house. Bret didn’t have the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM yet but he works in a couple anyway. Cool slingshot shoulderblock spot by the Harts. Then they do the “Neidhart slams Bret on the opponent spot” (if you’ve watched the Harts lots, you know the one) but Neidhart is escorted out by Joey “Dead” Marella and Arn nails Bret with a double axehandle off the top for the pin. This was a near flawless tag match, even if it wasn’t spectacular in the modern sense. ****1/4

– Dusty Rhodes gets funky like a monkey, if you will. – Dusty Rhodes v. The Honky Tonk Man. It’s like watching that DustyDust sketch…except it’s real! Standard Dusty fare here. Stall, play to the crowd, jiggle, etc. A close up of Dusty’s ass provides a disturbing moment. Hart’s distraction provides opportunity for HTM to wallop Dusty in the stomach. Oh, like that’ll do anything. That’s like trying to use a Bic lighter to melt an iceburg. Honky controls with a variety of punches and chinlocks. WCW needs to give Jimmy Hart the megaphone back to get his heat back. More chinlocks from HTM. Why are they giving these two this much time? Dusty comes back with the flip flop n fly, but a ref bump comes a bit later. Hart takes a swing with the guitar but hits HTM, big fat elbow, pin. DUD

– Honky is a bit incoherant after the loss.

– Demolition and Jim Duggan are ready for Team Slick.

– Mr. Perfect v. Terry Taylor. I refuse to call him that other name. The man deserves some dignity. Hennig rules the friggin earth at this point. Short match as Taylor blows out his knee on a leapfrog and collapses on a bodyslam attempt. Taylor rolls out of the ring to assess the damage and obviously it was pretty bad because Hennig finishes it as soon as he could without it looking suspicious. *

– Rick Rude gives his last interview as the champ.

– The Rockers & Tito Santana v. The Rougeaus & Rick Martel. Now I’ll have that “All American Boys” song stuck in my head all day. 6 guys in a WWF ring in 1989 and none of them suck. What are the odds. Controlled chaos to start, but Marty becomes Face in Peril pretty quick. The “Battle of Strike Force” confrontation is teased, but since Martel is a cowardly heel he runs. Now it’s Tito’s turn to get beat up. Jacques is doing the Eddy Guerrero rudo bit. Too much kicking and punching between the cool spots. Rougeau blunder allows hot tag to Michaels. Chaotic ending as the heels collide midring and Tito knocks Ray and Rick out with the Flying Jalapeno. Jacques rolls up Marty, who reverses, but Martel knocks him on his ass and Jacques re-reverses for the winning pin. Didn’t rule the friggin earth or anything, but good effort for the time period. ***

– Intercontinental title match: Rick Rude v. The Ultimate Warrior.

Remember when Rude had hair? Muscle definition? Credibility as a wrestler? Warrior destroys him for a few minutes to start, including a *vicious* bump as Warrior press-slams him right to the floor. Hilarious, classic rant by Jesse against Tony out of nowhere that has to be heard to be appreciated (it’s the one about guns and DQs outside the ring). Poor Tony sounds like he’s going to cry at the end. Total dominance by the Warrior, including some…gasp…WRESTLING MOVES?!? Warrior? Carry a match? Nah. He misses whatever off the top, turning the tide. Chinlock wastes time, then a sleeper leads to a ref bump sequence. Oh my god, I think Joey Marella is dead! Oh, wait, not yet. Everyone is out. Warrior hulks up and hits the THREE CLOTHESLINE OF DOOM! Then a powerslam for fun. No ref. Piledriver, still no ref. Finally a two-count. Running powerslam (TWO VARIATIONS OF THE SAME MOVE! WHOA!) but the splash misses. Ugly, ugly piledriver for two. Fistdrop for two. Piledriver again for two, and here comes Roddy Piper! Rude has some choice words and hip motions for Piper, who responds by flipping up his kilt and mooning Rude! Rude is upset, but…uh…Rick, look out behind you…too late. Shoulderblock! Press slam! Splash! “And the crowd goes wild” almost seems too understated given the reaction. Warrior regains the title to everyone’s delight. ***, his best match to that point, ever.

– Hennig! Piper! Garvin! Heenan! Rude! Intermission must be coming up if we’re getting all these interview sound bites.

– Review of Zeus-Hogan. Triviata: Useless git Tony Lister (Zeus) played the president of the US in “The Fifth Element” last year. True story.

– Akeem, Big Bossman and Andre the Giant v. Demolition and King Duggan. The sound techs don’t allow Slick the proper time to get funky. Kick and punch fest. Bossman and Smash are watchable, the rest are dead weight. Chaos ensues, Smash slams both Twin Towers, then Duggan smacks Akeem with the 2×4 and Smash pins him. DUD

– Hercules v. Greg Valentine. Ronnie Garvin is special guest ring announcer, so he makes fun of Valentine with some of the un-funniest lines I’ve ever heard. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Ronnie Garvin? Nothing match as Valentine wins with his feet on the ropes. 1/4* Garvin proceeds to announce a Hercules DQ win.

– Ted Dibiase v. Jimmy Snuka. And the crowd goes apathetic. Snuka f*cks up a leapfrog, drawing boos. Total Dibiase match, dead silent crowd. Snuka comeback, and he goes for the big splash, but Virgil chases him down and suckers him into a countout. 1/2* Virgil ends up taking the splash as Dibiase bails. Don’t ask me why they even booked this one.

– Hulk Hogan & Brutus “The Barber Butcher Disciple Zodiac Clipmaster
Booty Man With No Name” Beefcake v. Zeus & Randy Savage. But first, the Genius reads a poem. Sherri looks like the prostitute daughter of a circus sideshow freak. Hogan and Beefer get separate entrances. The heels are color coordinated in black and silver. Elizabeth shows up for the faces. Zeus is indestructible, don’t ya know? I feel like shouting BLACK MAN ON PCP! BLACK MAN ON PCP! until the LAPD comes with baseball bats to beat him, but my politically correct side wins out. But seriously, what substances was Zeus taking to make him so zonked? Hogan gets the beats put on, hot tag to Beefcake, who takes out Savage but falls prey to the HIDEOUS LOADED PURSE OF DOOM! Zeus may be the only guy who calls Jorge Gonzalez for technical wrestling advice. Hot tag #2 to Hulk, who creams Savage. Savage comeback, big elbow, but of course Hogan can’t even be bothered to take a two-count. Hogan and Zeus do the big showdown, and since Hulk can’t take him down by legal means, he waits until Hebner is distracted and then uses the HIDEOUS LOADED PURSE OF DOOM!, followed by a bodyslam and legdrop, and good night Irene. 1/2* Liz decks Sherri for fun.

The Bottom Line:
Well, what you see was what you get, basically. What was supposed to be good (Harts-Busters, Six-Man, Warrior-Rude) was good, and the rest was crap. But three ***+ matches was not bad at all for the time frame, make no mistake.

I still don’t specifically recommend going out of your way to watch this show, but if you do happen to watch it some day, it’s a good watch. I personally liked the 1990 version better, however.

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