Inside Pulse RR Countdown: WWF Royal Rumble 1989

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The Summit – Houston, Texas – January 15, 1989

MATCH #1: Two out of Three Falls Match – Dino Bravo & Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan & The Hart Foundation

Bravo and the Rougeaus have Frenchy Martin and Jimmy Hart in their corner. Sadly Duggan does not get a chance to reprise his Royal Rumble match win from last year. Bravo and Neidhart start the match. They do some easy back and forth that the crowd appreciates. These are the two powerhouses of the teams I guess, although Duggan fits that bill as well. Speaking of Hacksaw, he gets the tag and the crowd goes nuts. Bravo tags Raymond, and that doesn’t go well at all. Hart tags in and the babyfaces continue to control the action. Duggan and the Foundation stack all three opponents in the corner and execute a triple battering ram. Raymond is able to pull down the top rope and Hart crashes to the floor. Back in the ring Bravo hits the Side Suplex and the Rougeaus hit La Bombe de Rougeau to win the first fall at 5:25. Raymond and Hart have to start the second fall and the “Hit Man” is in rough shape. Hart sneaks in a few hope spots that he is so good at, but the Rougeaus and Bravo keep him on the mat. Finally, after a really, really long time Hart is able to hit an inverted atomic drop and makes the tag to Duggan. The crowd loses it. The referee completely loses control of the match and Duggan drops an elbow on Raymond to win the second fall at 13:56. Duggan and Raymond of course start the third and deciding fall. The heels take over on Duggan in their corner for a while. They foolishly let him make a tag to Hart, who goes to work on Bravo. The referee gets distracted with Neidhart and the Rougeaus, allowing Duggan to hit Bravo with the 2×4 and Hart gets the pin at 18:41. If anyone pays attention to my writing, they know that I think the world of the brothers Rougeau, and I also love Duggan and the Hart Foundation. This was a good choice for an opener.
Rating: ***

MATCH #2: Women’s Championship Match – Rockin’ Robin vs. Judy Martin

Sensational Sherri challenges the winner of the match before they can start. That’s curious, because Robin just beat Sherri in a title match six days prior on Prime Time Wrestling. Robin has been the champion since 11.8.88 and this is her second televised defense. Sherri also joins the commentary team and she seems biased towards the challenger, who controls the early going until Robin comes back and puts on a Boston Crab. Martin powers out of that but Robin goes right back on offense. Robin goes for a dropkick but Martin hangs on to the ropes. Now the challenger goes to work as Sherri and Ventura try to team up on Monsoon but he’s not having any of it. Meanwhile Robin comes back with a DDT (Ha!). Martin pretty much shrugs it off and tries an elbow drop but misses. Robin tries a bodyslam but Martin reverses to one of her own for two. Martin executes a backslide for two. She goes for a back body drop but drops her head too soon and Robin kicks her in the chest. Robin gets a small package for two. Martin whips Robin into the corner and Robin hops up onto the second rope, head-fakes Martin, and then hits a cross body block to get the pin at 6:25. That was not so very good.
Rating: *½

MATCH #3: King Haku vs. Harley Race

Race, the former king, dumps Haku off the chariot that the Kings used to get carried to the ring on, which is an awesome spot. It looks like Fred Ottman was one of the guys who carried Haku. The bell rings while both men are still outside the ring, which is just a terrible officiating decision. You have to wait until both men are in the ring! Race is all over Haku in the early going, knocking Haku to the floor. I guess Heenan still manages both men, so he wins either way. Back in the ring Race continues working the new King over. Haku reverses a whip that sends Race to the floor. Back in the ring Race comes back and hits a piledriver for two. The Kings collide and Race takes a ridiculous looking bump to the floor. Haku suplexes Race back in the ring for a two-count. Race comes back again with his own suplex and throws Haku to the floor. He goes for a piledriver but Haku backdrops him instead. Haku shoves Race’s back into the ring apron. Race comes right back with a headbutt to the midsection and then hits the piledriver. Back in the ring Race hits a neckbreaker for two. Haku fights back and goes for a diving headbutt off the second rope but misses. Race then also misses a diving headbutt off the second rope. Back up on their feet Race misses a clothesline and Haku blasts him with Sweet Chin Music for the win at 9:02. That was Race’s last match for the WWE and he gave it a game effort but he certainly looked his age (45) at times. The match was pretty solid though.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #4: Royal Rumble Match

Ax draws #1, and his partner Smash drew #2! The World Tag Team Champions immediately tear into each other, since it’s every man for himself. This is a great way to kick off the Rumble. They don’t take it easy on each other at all. Andre the Giant is out at #3, and Demolition wisely decides to team up on him. The champs knock him down right away with a double clothesline and unload on him. Mr. Perfect is #4, and he goes after everybody. Andre tosses Smash for the first elimination. Ronnie Garvin comes out at #5 and all three guys try to eliminate the Giant. That of course doesn’t work. Next up is Greg “The Hammer” Valentine at #6. Everyone continues to gang up on Andre, which is good strategy. It doesn’t work though, as Andre tosses Garvin out. Jake “The Snake” Roberts is #7, and he goes right after Andre. Ron Bass is entrant #8, and he’s sporting a new haircut thanks to Brutus Beefcake. Andre tosses Roberts to the floor. Shawn Michaels is #9. Perfect eliminates Ax. Bushwhacker Butch is #10. Roberts comes back out with his python Damien, and Andre, who is afraid of snakes, eliminates himself by going over the top rope! I really miss 1980s WWE. Honky Tonk Man is #11. Not much happens and Tito Santana comes out at #12. Bad News Brown is lucky #13, and for some reason I think that’s just perfect. Santana and Butch team up to toss Honky to the floor. Next is Marty Jannetty at #14, and perhaps he and Michaels will work as a team? That turns out to be true as the eliminate Bass. We’re halfway home as WWF Champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage is #15. The crowd goes banana. Savage goes right after Brown. Arn Anderson is #16 as Savage tosses Valentine out. Michaels goes after Anderson, hitting Sweet Chin Music long before it was called that. Amazingly, Savage and Anderson team up to eliminate Michaels. Tully Blanchard is #17. The Brainbusters team up to eliminate Jannetty as #18 is Hulk Hogan! The crowd once again loses its collective mind.

Hogan saves Savage and immediately tosses Perfect before turning his attention to Brown. Savage tosses Santana out. Bushwhacker Luke is #19, and Butch gets eliminated rather quickly by Brown. Koko B. Ware is #20. I had Chinese food with Koko one time. That was a pretty good day. Just as I type that he gets eliminated by Hogan. Luke is the next one gone, also courtesy of Hogan, who then eliminates both Brainbusters. Next up is Warlord at #21, and the second he steps in the ring Hogan clotheslines him out. Brown almost has Savage eliminated, and Hogan sneaks up from behind and eliminates both of them! Savage is hot, and rightfully so. Miss Elizabeth comes out and makes peace. Now Hogan is all alone with #22, the Big Boss Man. This is great booking. Boss Man dominates, hitting a piledriver. Monsoon tries to say that Hogan has been out there for half an hour, but really it’s been less than ten minutes. Akeem is #23, so now it’s both Twin Towers against Hogan. The Towers team up and eliminate Hogan. Ever the poor sport, Hogan pulls Boss Man to the floor and hits him with a chair. Brutus Beefcake is #24 and he comes running out to Hogan’s rescue. Hogan tries to get back in the ring but settles for illegally eliminating the Boss Man. Jeez this guy sets a bad example for children. He doesn’t play by the rules at all. Next up is Red Rooster at #25. Beefcake and Rooster try to eliminate Akeem but can’t get it done, and Barbarian is #26. Big John Studd is #27, making his return after a several year absence. More brawling happens and Hercules comes out at #28. Next up at #29 is Rick Martel. Finally #30 comes out and to no surprise it’s the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Monsoon says he’s surprised the Rooster is still in there, and that must be because he didn’t put the red streak in his hair. DiBiase tosses the Rooster. Beefcake puts Hercules in the Sleeper, so DiBiase, Barbarian, and Martel team up to dump both of them to the floor. Martel then dropkicks Barbarian to the floor. We’re down to the final four of Akeem, Studd, Martel, and DiBiase. Akeem dumps Martel to the floor. DiBiase then starts directing traffic, double-teaming Studd. It backfires though, and Studd is able to eliminate Akeem with a weak-ass forearm shot. Studd uses his power to dominate DiBiase. He hits a double underhook suplex and a sloppy gutwrench suplex. After a clothesline Studd heaves DiBiase over the ropes and to the floor to get the win at 65:04. That started off amazing but it seriously died once Hogan and Savage were gone. I’m not sure what the idea was behind Studd winning the whole thing.
Rating: ***¼


Longest Lasting Superstar in the Ring: Mr. Perfect, 28 minutes
Superstar With Most Eliminations: Hulk Hogan, 9
Royal Rumble Rookies: Arn Anderson, Andre the Giant, Ax, Barbarian, Brutus Beefcake, Big Boss Man, Tully Blanchard, Bad News Brown, Bushwhacker Butch, Bushwhacker Luke, Ted DiBiase, Ronnie Garvin, Hercules, Hulk Hogan, Honky Tonk Man, Marty Jannetty, Rick Martel, Shawn Michaels, Mr. Perfect, Red Rooster, Randy Savage, Smash, Big John Studd, Greg Valentine, Koko B. Ware, and Warlord

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