It’s Audit time once again as the I.R.S. man continues the trip down memory lane this Rumble season. After all the positive feedback from the 1988 Rumble Review, and the 1989 Rumble review, we move ahead as I review the 1990 WWF Royal Rumble.
THE 1990 ROYAL RUMBLE!
It’s the third annual Royal Rumble (second annual on PPV) . We’re still a few years away from the Rumble match having the ‘Mania Main Event’ stip added so for all intents and purposes ANYONE could potentially win this one.
The full card is listed below.
* The 30 Man Royal Rumble Match
* Hacksaw Duggan vs. The Big Boss Man
* Ronnie Garvin vs. Greg Valentine – Submission Match
* Brutus Beefcake vs. The Genius
* The Bushwhackers vs. The Rougeaus
* The Brother Love Show with Sapphire & Sensational Sherri
And now ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the 1990 Royal Rumble, the LIVE edition!
– And it’s Sean Mooney hosting from the old “Event Center” with all the TV’s in the background. Right out of the gate Sean runs down the Rumble participants and the entire card. Oddly, Mooney only lists 25 of the participants in the Rumble match. Noticeably absent are Dusty Rhodes and the Powers of Pain, also missing are Tito Santana and the Window Maker (to be replaced by the Red Rooster) are missing.
– After running down the entire card we’re shown promos from pretty much everyone on the undercard. Boss Man, Duggan, the Genius, Beefcake, Garvin, Valentine, the Bushwhackers, Rougeaus, and Brother Love.
– Rumble promos follow with the Warrior, Macho King, Piper, Honky Tonk, the Colossal Connection, Bad News, Superfly, Koko, The Model, Bret Hart, the Rockers, Rick Rude, Hercules, Mr. Perfect, Demolition, Jake the Snake, The Anvil, the Powers of Pain, Dusty, Tito, Earthquake, Bravo, DiBiase, and Hulk Hogan. That’s 28 of the 30 man field. Pretty bad ass. Again, noticeably absent is Barry Windham who would be replaced by the Rooster. Also not in the promos is Akeem for whatever reason.
– Sean Mooney does the final hard sell to CALL YOUR LOCAL CABLE COMPANY AND ORDER NOW! And believe me if you waited until the last minute to order you were pretty much screwed on watching it live. The Rumble countdown ends 8 MINUTES EARLY. Since the majority of the undercard was just slapped together with no back story I can understand why there were just promos shown to build them. But why not at least use a few minutes to show the Valentine/Garvin story? I guess I wouldn’t have minded staring blankly at a Royal Rumble logo for 8 minutes if it had included the well known Rumble theme from 91-94 (also known as the SSlam theme from 88-89), but instead we’re treated to some generic shit music.
(Trivia note: Paul Roma would defeat the Brooklyn Brawler in a dark match prior to the event. They would repeat this dark match once again at WrestleMania VI a couple of months later.)
Just like 1989, the PPV opens with a video displaying the 30 men involved in the Royal Rumble match as Vince announces the participants. During this opening video Barry Windham has been replaced by the Red Rooster in the Rumble match. One of my favorite opening videos ever. It’s simple, but exciting. After the Rumble stars are announced Vince continues on and run downs the rest of the card. Pretty cool shit. Get ready to Rumble, get ready for the ROYAL Rumble.
It’s January 21st, 1990 and we’re live from Orlando, Florida and the Orlando Arena which had just opened a year earlier. Your announcers here are Tony Schiavone & Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Tony’s looking svelte here. Jesse is hard selling Disney World, even wearing a Mickey Mouse hat AND shirt. Jesse even brings Tony a ‘Goofy’ hat but Tony isn’t having any of it. I’m betting he did this as a way to get into Disney for free. Politicians, hmph.
This would be the second (and last) PPV Tony and Jesse would work together on, the first being SummerSlam ’89. After a little banter from the announcers the Rougeaus music hits and we’re off to the ring for the opening bout.
(Rougeaus vs. Whackers, notes going in: The Rougeaus opening a second Rumble in a row. Vince had faith that they could get it done. What a great underrated heel team they were. Their opponents here are the Bushwhackers. The less said about them the better. I loved the Sheepherders, but the Whackers? Not so much. They were over though, I’ll give them that. And in small doses on PPV they were okay. There’s no reason back story here, these guys have loosely been facing each other for the better part of a year. Starting with Mania V, this will now be the 3rd out of the last 4 PPV’s that these two teams have met. If nothing else, they should have their comedic timing down by now.)
The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch) vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (w/Jimmy Hart)
Jacques is sporting a full beard here. A new look for the future Mountie. Tony questions the Rougeaus move to the States. Jesse points out most of America is immigrants. Comedy ensues. Rougeaus try a cheap shot on Butch but Luke chases Jacques out of the ring. Butch breaks a sleeper from Raymond and bites both Ray AND referee Joey Marella on the ass. That’s a DQ right there. How the F**k do you bite a ref on the ass and not get disqualified? Is this midget wrestling? Ray powders out, Whackers go for the Battering Ram on Jacques but he bails too. Luke and Jacques tag in. Biting and dick shots by Luke. Jacques ducks a clothesline but Luke hits Ray on the apron. Then Butch runs in and hits Jacques. The crowd is hot for the comedy.
Jacques dares Luke to attack from behind and while Luke is confused (which isn’t hard to believe), Ray attacks Luke from behind. The Rougeaus take over in their corner. Lots of heel team work on Luke and Jacques knocks Butch off the apron to prevent a potential hot tag. Jacques nips up for no apparent reason other than to show he can. He sure wouldn’t be doing that as the Mountie. The Rougeaus drop Luke throat first across the top rope. Jacques applies an abdominal stretch while Ray lays in a karate kick to the rib cage of Luke. Jacques tries a splash but Luke gets his knees u and hot tags it to Butch.
As often would be the case back then, miraculously, Luke also immediately recovers following the hot tag. The Whackers go on the offense, whipping the Rougeaus into one another. They set up for the Battering Ram on Raymond but Jimmy Hart grabs Luke’s leg from the floor to prevent the move from happening. Butch clocks Ray anyway, while Luke drags Jimmy Hart into the ring. The Whackers go after Jimmy Hart but the Rougeau dropkick the Whackers into each other for a 2 count. Raymond applies a Boston Crab (or is that ‘Memphis’ Crab?) on Butch, Jacques starts to come off the ropes but he tripped up by Luke. Raymond goes to check on Jacques, the Brothers hug when BAM, the Whackers nails Jacques in the spine with the Battering Ram, sending Raymond out to the floor, and Jacques down for the count. 1-2-3 in 13:35.
Winners: The Bushwhackers
(Post Match Thoughts: Well, it was better than Mania V. This would be the Rougeaus swan song with the WWF as a tag team, though both would eventually return. Jacques would be back in one years time, debuting his Mountie gimmick at the 1991 Rumble PPV, and Raymond would return as an interviewer/announcer soon thereafter. This match was stretched out longer than it needed to be but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. They made a wise choice positioning it first on the card while the crowd was guaranteed to be hot. They tried to work in as much “comedy” as they could, which is pretty much all the Whackers were good for during their WWF run. Jacques was also always a guy who liked to work comedy into the act though at times here it seemed like he was making a mockery of it since he was on the way out. I can’t call this match great, or even good, but it was okay. The kids love them some Whackers. The timing was good, the comedy was hit or miss, the Rougeaus heel work was solid as usual. Whenever you can get a Bushwhackers match above a dud rating you’ve done something right. This wasn’t offensive so I’ll go **1/4)
– We go to the back and Mean Gene is standing by with ‘Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase and bodyguard Virgil. No shenanigans this year as precautions were taken to make sure no funny business went on when Teddy drew his number. Okerlund gets shitty with DiBiase and forces Ted’s hand. DiBiase hands his number to Gene and Okerlund announces that Ted has drawn the ‘worst number of the lot’. Ironically, the man who was #30 last year has drawn #1 this year. WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THAT HAPPENING??? It’s almost as if this is scripted. What karma. DiBiase says Virgil drew it. Ted is pissed but says it doesn’t matter if he’s #1 or #30. He’ll be the first man in and the last man in because he’s the greatest wrestler in the world.
(The Barber vs. Genius, notes going in: Beefcake is coming off of a a short lived ‘feud’ with the Model that really went nowhere fast. Bruti had cut up one of Martel’s modeling outfits for basically no reason. What an ass. You know what, the more I write about Beefcake the more I realize he really was like the brother of Hogan. They were both heelish assholes that somehow managed to be baby faces. On the other end of things, The Genius is riding high after a recent high profile victory over Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event. Granted, a count out victory, but ANY type of win over Hogan in those days was almost unheard of. Why is the manager of Mr. Perfect wrestling Hulk Hogan on NBC you might ask? Because Vince wanted to prove Hogan could sell out a show versus anyone. At least that’s the story Bruce Prichard gives. The Genius vs. Hogan match still goes down as one of the more entertaining matches of this era. No story going into this match, but that will change by the end of the bout. Stay tuned.)
And now, the Genius has a poem for us all…
I used to wear this tape out in my younger years. This is literally the only Lanny Poem I know by heart. So you’re subjected to reading it…
“Behold the Barber what’s his name, with scissors in his hands,
Intellectually inferior and totally outmans.
He wants to give me Genius hairdo unaesthetic augmentation,
So I can be the joke of this World Wrestling Federation.
All his cuttin’ and a struttin’ may be quick enough for some,
but I’m the World’s Smartest Man, and BEEFCAKE’S DOUBLE DUMB!”
Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake vs. The Genius
Early on it’s all stalling and gay spots by the Genius. Poffo scoots his butt across the top turnbuckle to slide out of the ring, only to perform a cartwheel on the floor. The Genius picks up his gay mannerisms and shows off in the ring with a front handspring flip. Beefcake just mocks Poffo’s femininity. Beefcake FINALLY gets a hold of Poffo and lands an inverted atomic drop. I expected an awesome sell but got nothing. Instead the Genius tries to scoot his ass over the top buckle again but this time Beefcake crotches him. I expected Lanny to like it, but no dice. Bummer. Funny sell though.
The Genius finally goes on the offense…. very generic offense. Beefcake catches Genius coming off the ropes with a big punch to the gut. The Barber applies the sleeper but the Genius escapes quickly. Poffo grabs a headlock but Beefcake shoves him off and right into referee Earl Hebner who takes a bump through the ropes and all the way to the floor. Beefcake takes back over and locks on the SLEEPER. The Genius is out cold, but so is the ref. Brutus decides to go for his scissors.
Bruti grabs his cutters and begins clipping the hair off of Poffo. Usually he does it from the back, but here he just digs right in to the front of the Genius’ hair. What a dick.
Poffo’s friend Mr. Perfect has seen enough. Hennig comes rushing down to ringside and nails Beefcake with a Perfect Plex. Bam bitch. I don’t know what a Perfect Plex is supposed to do, but it’s Mr. Perfect so I’m okay with it.
With Brutus down Hennig grabs a padded chair out from under Tony Garea at ringside. Yes, a PADDED chair. Perfect wisely uses the edge of the chair rather than the broad side. The Genius holds Beefer while Perfect works over the ribs of the Barber with the chair. Oh the humanity of it all. The bell finally sounds to end this crap after 11:07.
Winner: A Double DQ
(Post Match Thoughts: Poffo’s mannerisms are just gold. After having watched the Hogan/Genius SNME match I expected more from this. I didn’t expect much by the way of wrestling with Brutus Beefcake involved, or a heel Lanny Poffo for that matter. But I was hoping for a dose of good old homosexual overtone entertainment. There were hints of it in there but it never really got off the ground as well as it did in the Hogan match. The Genius character was underrated and I wish they would have spotlighted it more. Hi-f’n-larious. This was nothing more than an angle to set up the Hennig vs. Beefcake match for WrestleMania VI and their planned feud for the summer. Typically, I’d call this a TV match, or an SNME type match, but they get away with putting it on the Rumble because the Rumble match sells the whole PPV. The undercard is just the appetizer. With the post match angle it gets *)
– Sean Mooney is standing by with Bobby Heenan and his Family of Rick Rude, Andre the Giant, and Haku. Mooney immediately starts to cause dissension when he reminds them it’s every man for himself. Heenan corrects Sean that it’s every FAMILY for themself. Sean begins to raise issues between the members when he asks them what happens if it comes down to just the Family members. Man, Sean and Gene are being dicks tonight. The entire Heenan Family argues as they walk off camera.
– WrestleMania VI is coming to Toronto. Hellz yeah.
(Garvin vs. Valentine, notes going in: This is pretty much the only undercard match with a back story. Garvin and Valentine had started a rivalry that seemingly ended when Valentine defeated Garvin in a ‘Retirement’ Match in April of ’89. This would lead to Garvin becoming a WWF referee. After several physical encounters with many of the heels during their matches, Garvin was warned by WWF President Jack Tunney that he would be fired as referee if he attacked another wrestler. This led to both Dino Bravo and Valentine trying to coax Garvin into hitting them during matches to get him fired. Ultimately, at the July ’89 edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event Garvin would be pushed too far and he knocked out ‘The Hammer’ during a bout featuring Valentine vs. Superfly Snuka. This led to Jack Tunney suspending Garvin as a referee. However, Valentine would then protest to have Garvin reinstated as a wrestler so that he could exact revenge. His wish was granted. Garvin would return to active competition, but not before acting as Guest Ring Announcer at SummerSlam ’89 in a match pitting Valentine against Hercules. Garvin would announce Hercules as the winner via DQ even though Valentine had stolen a tainted victory. As much as this feud had been built up and featured on TV over the course of late spring and all of summer, it sort of laid dormant for the remainder of the year. Valentine had already been using a shin guard, which he referred to as the Hart Breaker, as a weapon for some time. Greg used this under the guise that it was protection for his shin, but in reality it was used as a weapon, additional leverage when applying his patented Figure Four leglock to cause intense pain and severe damage to his opponents. In December of ’89 things would pick back up when Garvin would debut his own shin guard which he dubbed ‘the Hammer Jammer’. With Valentine using the Figure Four, and Garvin relying on the Scorpion Death Lock, a blow off match was signed for the Rumble where the winner would only get a victory by forcing their opponent into submission. That brings us to here.)
Submission Match: ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin vs. Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine (w/Jimmy Hart)
The Fink goes over the rules. It’s pretty basic, there are no pinfalls, you have to make your opponent submit in order to win. Greg is stalling so Garvin attacks Valentine outside. Chops. Lots of stiff chops outside and inside the ring. OUCH. They trade chops but Garvin wins. Garvin lays in some NASTY STIFF shots and Valentine falls and bails outside. Back inside, the Hammer drops an elbow, Greg manages to take control and tries to cover but THERE ARE NO PINFALLS.
Valentine throws some jabs which just looks odd coming from him. They trade punches until Garvin sneaks in a head butt and both men go down. Valentine counters a piledriver and drops down on top but.. THERE ARE NO PINFALLS. Garvin turns it into a sunset flip but… THERE ARE NO PINFALLS!
Hammer lays in some hard chops and tries the Figure Four, but Garvin kicks Greg off into the corner and rolls him up BUT…. say it with me…. THERE ARE NO PINFALLS.
Valentine with a LOUD chop literally knocks Garvin off his feet, and the FIGURE FOUR is applied. As Valentine locks on his leglock he realizes Garvin is smiling. Rugged Ron even sticks his tongue out and mocks Valentine as he no sells the Figure Four. IT’S THE HAMMER JAMMER! Garvin’s ‘Hammer Jammer’ shinguard is protecting him from the hold. F-U VALENTINE!
Valentine releases the hold and Garvin cradles him but…… THERE ARE NO PINFALLS. The Hammer uncharacteristically applies the over the shoulder backbreaker looking for a submission, but he doesn’t lock his hands and eventually releases the hold. Garvin comes back with some sick f’n chops. F-ing EXPLOSION like chops to the chest of Valentine. Shit damn. Garvin now works the leg of the Hammer but Greg gets to the ropes and rolls outside once more. The fight goes outside and the two men trade some wicked nasty chops. Valentine counters a piledriver and backdrops Garvin on the floor and takes control. Back inside Garvin misses a very delayed and very fake dropkick into the corner and gets caught up in the tree of woe momentarily.
As the fight continues the two men end up cracking heads, and while they’re on the mat Jimmy Hart ends up removing the ‘Hammer Jammer’ protector from Garvin’s leg. Valentine nails a backbreaker and reapplies the Figure Four and this time Garvin is feeling the pain. Ronnie hangs on however and reverses the hold. Valentine has to grab the ropes to force a break. Hammer continues to work the leg, he cradles Garvin but…… man this is getting redundant…. THERE ARE NO PINFALLS. Greg throws some stiff forearm shots and climbs the ropes. Oh, this can’t end good. Greg Valentine on the top rope. Read that again – GREG VALENTINE ON THE TOP ROPE. Garvin slams Valentine off and now it’s Ronnie’s turn. Garvin removes the ‘Heart Breaker’ shin guard from Valentine’s leg. Now we’re back to even!
Valentine sneaks in a school boy but……. Ohhh, Gregory…….. THERE ARE NO PINFALLS. Stiff shots are traded back and forth, Garvin ducks a clothesline and BLASTS Valentine with the HAND OF STONE. Valentine staggers back into the ropes and gets tied up. Garvin picks up the Hammer’s shin guard to nail him with it but Jimmy Hart gets involved as a distraction. Boy did Jimmy Hart earn his money, this fucker is everywhere.
So while Hart is distracting Garvin, Valentine grabs the ‘Hammer Jammer’ shin guard that’s sitting on the apron. Valentine goes to level Garvin with the Hammer Jammer, but Garvin spins around and KO’s Valentine with the ‘Heart Breaker’ shin guard instead. Valentine takes the slow motion ‘timber’ fall backwards and Garvin applies the Scorpion Death Lock for the submission victory in 16:55.
Winner: Rugged Ronnie Garvin
Garvin hobbles off after being announced the winner, never to be used properly again.
(Post Match Thoughts: Garvin was thrust into this feud just a few months after arriving to the company. Valentine was on the decline in his career, as was Garvin for that matter, but these two together in the ring just worked. They beat the shit out of each other and enjoyed doing it. Where fans could have easily slept through a match like this, or went to the concession stands, their stiff work kept it lively and sure made the fans think twice about calling wrestling fake. They made this feel like a “Grudge Match”, which was the whole point. Garvin no selling the Figure Four by sticking out his tongue will always be embedded in my mind as a fond memory of my youth. They showed they could still go and you’d think that would boost their value. Instead, Garvin would become a glorified jobber and Valentine would immediately be teamed with Honky and his hair dyed black.
This was definitely not your typical “WWF style” match. Stiff, straight forward, and best yet (and most surprising) there really wasn’t any rest holds worked in to this lengthy match. Underrated match by my estimation. The only thing that kept this thing from being rated even higher was that the pinfall attempts just kept going on wayyy too late into the match and it hurt it a little. Once or twice makes sense, but it wore out it’s welcome long before they stopped doing the spots. ***1/4)
– Mean Gene is standing by with Mr. Perfect. Gene wants to know what the Beefcake attack was all about. They replay Perfect’s chair attack on the Barber and Gene sells it huge. Perfect is sick of seeing Beefcake take advantage of people and cutting their hair. The Genius is his friend and he wasn’t letting Beefcake do that to his friend. You know what, that makes LEGIT total sense. That is a reasonable answer. Perfect was just defending his friend from a bully. F-U Beefcake. Back to the interview, Hennig announces that he has drawn ‘THE PERFECT NUMBER’, #30.
(Brother Love Notes Going In: There was no story here going in so you pretty much get an idea of where this is heading before it even begins.)
The Brother Love Show with Sensational Sherri & Sapphire
IIIIIII LOOOOOVE YOUUUUU. YEEESSSS. Brother Love looked up the definition of the word lady in the ‘Book of Love’. A woman with class, finesse, and exquisite beauty. Right next to the definition of lady was a picture of his guest… “Sister Queen Sensational Sherri”. So she was a Sister before Harlem Heat. Sherri is rocking out her tatas in a gold and black outfit for the event. Nice cleavage.
When scrolling through the Book of Love, Brother also came across the word peasant. Definition: A woman with no class, no finesse, a woman with no beauty SEMI-COLON UUUGLY. Sherri calls her overweight. Wanna guess the picture next to the definition? It’s Sapphire! Jesse calls her ‘tons of fun’ as she makes her way out.
Sherri rips on Sapphire’s clothes. If Dusty is a common man, that makes Sapphire a common woman, a peasant. Brother Love and Sherri rip on Dusty for being fat. Sherri says Dusty and Sapphire are the same size. Love won’t let Sapphire answer any of his questions, he keeps asking her questions and pulling the microphone away as she tries to respond. Sherri gets some heel heat to keep the crowd riled up throughout. Sherri says that Dusty drives a semi, and says he uses a forklift to put Sapphire in the back. Sapphire says she’s had enough and she slaps the shit out of Sherri!
“The Macho King” Randy Savage comes darting out to the ring and he corners Sapphire. Dusty Rhodes is immediately out to make the save but Savage attacks and knocks Dusty off the apron. Savage off the top with a double axe handle on Dusty to the floor. Sapphire jumps on the back of Savage!!! Brother Love rips Sapphire off Savage by her hair! Savage takes a couple shots and runs off with Sherri. Crowd is going nuts.
Brother Love grabs the microphone and starts to shit on Dusty. Big mistake! Dusty grabs Brother Love for a slam and then lets Sapphire slap the shit out of him. Rhodes then flings Brother Love through the ropes to the floor. Dusty and Sapphire celebrate by dancing, babay, if you weeell. Crowd eats this shit up, as do I.
(Post Segment Thoughts: This could have easily been done on TV as was the case for all other Brother Love Shows that ended with an angle. However, I was all for Brother Love getting a little PPV time. This was as good of a way as any to get the Savage/Dusty storyline going. This was actually probably the best way to get it going since the ladies were to be involved in the actual feud, so having them initiate it makes sense. Brother Love made a great third party foil here and on the house shows he worked with them. This would lead us into their mixed tag at Mania VI and their feud throughout the summer before Sapphire sold her soul to Ted DiBiase. The promo went on a little longer than it needed to but it was okay.)
– Sean Mooney is with ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. Hooooooo. Hacksaw has a hard time pronouncing the word ‘approach’ before finally getting it right. Duggan says he can stand ‘eye to eye’ with his opponent the Boss Man. I find it funny Duggan said eye (singular) given his vision issues. Tough guy.
(Hacksaw vs. Boss Man Notes Going in: This was another thrown together match, nothing of substance going in, just two big burly guys looking for a fight.)
‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan vs. The Big Boss Man (w/ Slick)
This match starts off as a punch fest. Boss Man lands a corner splash. Duggan catches a boot but BOSS MAN BUSTS OUT AN ENZUIGIRI! Shit yeah. Boss Man does the leg drop to the back of the head of Duggan over the middle rope. Tony Schiavone wants to know why Boss Man needs to bring the nightstick. Ventura OWNS TONY and responds asking Tony why Duggan brings a 2×4. Schiavone gives some lame response. Slick chokes Duggan behind the ref’s back while Boss Man calls him CROOKED EYES. LMAO. Duggan starts to fight back but runs into a knee. After a short bearhug spot Duggan punches his way into control and clotheslines Boss Man over the top to the floor. Back in the ring Duggan mounts Boss Man in the corner and lands more punches. I think the only offense Duggan has done thus far is punch.
Duggan misses a charge into the corner. Boss Man comes off the top with a splash but also misses. The two men end up colliding in sloppy fashion and take shitty bumps. Slick gets up onto the apron to distract Duggan, but Hacksaw moves and Boss Man slams into his own manager. Slick drops the night stick and the Boss Man picks it right up. Slick attempts to distract the ref as Boss Man nails Duggan with the night stick, but referee Joey Marella sees a second shot with the foreign object and calls for the bell at 6:13.
Winner by DQ: ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan
Hacksaw winds up grabbing his trusty 2×4 and blasts Boss Man with it after the match. Boss Man starts throwing chairs into the ring and Duggan takes a seat in one. Hoooooo
(Post Match Thoughts: Not much of anything to report here. As usual, Boss Man shows flashes of greatness here and continues to cut weight. Duggan did little more than throw punches any time he was given any offense. BBM would turn face at the TV Tapings two days later so this was the end of his heel run. Surprised they didn’t use this to maybe tease the coming face turn. Wise call to keep this one a fight rather than turn it into a typical wrestling match. It had it’s fun moments, there wasn’t many, but they were there. The crowd remained hot throughout, Duggan was still big time over. Match was **1/4)
– We’ve already heard from DiBiase, Perfect, and the Heenan Family. Now we hear pre-recorded comments from more of the WWF Superstars involved in the Royal Rumble match.
– Earthquake and Dino Bravo are ready to Rumble. Bravo wants a piece of Warrior, the Quaker wants a piece of everyone.
– The Demolition know each others numbers this year and they know they won’t have to fight just each other. They say it’s going to come down to the both of them. They threaten each other, Smash may have to kick Ax’s stinkin’ teeth in.
– Bad News Brown calls the fans ‘beer-bellied sharecroppers’ and the other Superstars ‘spineless cockroaches’. Brown is always a winner.
– Dusty Rhodes wants the Macho King something bad. He doesn’t care if Savage is in there when he gets there. He doesn’t care if he has to wait alllll day long. He brings Sapphire into the promo for no reason. If you weeeell.
– The COKED OUT Rockers are up next. Shawn says they KNOW they don’t have to fight each other. How the fuck would you know that? Even if one was #1 and one was #30 how can you say that? That’s not very optimistic. Marty Jannetty is equally unintentionally funny when he throws out a warning to Hogan and the Warrior. Negro Please.
– The Dyslexic Mighty Hercules will win the ‘RUMBLE ROYAL’.
– The Model shows off his profile. His face looks drenched in oil. Eww
– Tito Santana, comin’ out a winner. ARRIBA!
– The Superfly (RIP) proceeds to have one of the most ridiculous promos of all time. “Back in the islands, when we go fishin’ with them sharrrks. Royal Rumble. Woo Woo.”. Man that dude went on an acid trip in the 70’s and just NEVER came back… bruddah.
– Akeem gets a promo here but Slick does the talking. Akeem will win because of his size. Well, he has the best track record so far.
– Warriorrrrrrr. UW says there are 28 normal men. You must realize the 29th man is Hulk Hogan. Hogan has a different ‘force field’ than the others. Even still, that won’t stop Warrior from fulfilling his destinyyyyy. Snarl. Hiss.
– Intermission Time –
More Rumble interviews follow…
– Oooh Yeah! MACHO KING, F-U Dusty. Randy Savage is Royal Rumble ROYALTY. And he will win. DIG IT!
– Mr. Fuji drew his Powers of Pain’s numbers. Anything goes boy-san. Ah-so.
– Jake Roberts with a great promo. “It never ceases to amaze me, what the human mind can come up with”. He proceeds to explain the rules of the Rumble. Jake says drawing the last number doesn’t mean anything because there will still be a lot of hungry men still in the ring at that time. Jake says the winner won’t be the best RASSLER, the best athlete. It will be the man who will do anything, take that extra step, do a little bit more than everyone else, sacrifice more. “Now me? That sounds a lot like me!”. Jake promos rule.
– The Hart Foundation are next. Anvil goes ape shit crazy and Bret tells him to MELLLOWWWW OUT!!! The Pink and Black Attack is back. Nyah-hah baby.
– The Honky Tonk Man will play 29 hits tonight. Every 2 minutes a new tune. Hah, classic. Honky will win and serenade the hundreds of thousands of fans.
– Hulk Hogan toldya, brother. He saw the wrestlers in the back, they’re all confident. But Hulkamania runs wild, dude. He name drops Bravo, Herc, Warrior, Hennig as being guys in the Rumble. Interestingly, three of those guys are in there with him. He eliminates 2 of them (spoiler). And further, he eliminates one of them last (another spoiler). Whatcha gonna do when Hulk Hogan R-r-r-r-rumbles all over you? No thanks, brother.
So after all of these promos, only 3 wrestlers weren’t given interview time before the match. The Red Rooster gets shunned once more, no big loss there. Koko B. Ware gets skipped, no explanation needed there. And oddly Roddy Piper has no promo on the show, which seems weird.
IT IS NOW TIME FOR THE ROYAL RUMBLE!!!
(Notes Going In: It’s the Royal Rumble, and it’s loaded with stars. The World Champion Hogan, IC Champion Warrior, Tag Team Champions Andre & Haku, DiBiase, Perfect, Demolition, Rude, Piper, Dusty, Macho King, The Hart Foundation, The Snake, and that’s only half the field. How can you look at that list and not get excited? For some reason only two men were asked what their numbers were, and those two men just happened to draw #1 and #30. What are the odds? If I didn’t know better I’d swear this stuff was pre-planned. One other thing we know, with no Duggan or Studd involved we’re guaranteed a new winner.)
THE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
After the Fink finishes explaining the rules we’re introduced to the man who drew #1.
No surprise it’s “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase! He’s accompanied by Virgil. And now, let us all find out who drew #2…..
It’s “The Birdman” Koko B. Ware!
As you can see by the image, this is during Koko’s short-lived bleach blond hair and painted head phase. I always thought that looked cool and he’d revive it in Memphis years later. Anyway, Koko hits the ring but Teddy is already waiting and begins to stomp Koko down as he tries to slide in. The offense is all DiBiase until he makes the mistake and tries to ram Ware’s head into the turnbuckle. BIG MISTAKE TED! Don’t you know a black man’s head is extra hard? At least in the world of rasslin. Ware gets pissed and hits a standing dropkick. Koko stuns Ted with a headbutt and a series of jabs, knocking DiBiase up against the ropes. Koko comes running at Ted, but Dibiase ducks his head and backdrops Ware out of the ring, thus eliminating the Birdman.
With Koko gone DiBiase taunts the fans by holding up a finger, signaling one down. And it looks like the managers will be allowed to remain at ringside for this year’s Rumble match. The crowd soon begins the countdown to #3. And it’s….
With Koko gone the crowd soon begins the countdown to #3. And it’s….
#3 is Marty Jannetty of the Rockers
DiBiase tries to get the jump on Marty as he enters, but Jannetty slides through his legs and nails a pair of dropkicks. Ted takes over on offense right after, pounding on Marty. Jannetty fires back up and hits a nice spinning elbow. DiBiase again stumbles back into the ropes. Jannetty comes flying with a body block, but Ted ducks and Marty goes flying out of the ring. Nice bump out by Jannetty and again DiBiase is left alone in the ring awaiting the next opponent. DiBiase against taunts the crowd, telling them now that’s 2 down, 27 to go.
And now, here comes….
Jake “The Snake” Roberts!!!!!
It almost looks like Jannetty high fives Jake on the way to the back. LOL. And now DiBiase is scared shitless because these two just happen to be feuding. You couldn’t write a better story.
DiBiase attacks Jake on the floor before he can even get in the ring. Ted winds up applying the Million Dollar Dream on the floor but Jake uses leverage to run DiBiase into the ring post to break the hold. They take the match inside with Jake in full control. DiBiase counters the DDT twice, first with a backdrop, then by driving the Snake back into the corner. Ted charges at Roberts in the corner but runs into a kneelift. DiBiase takes his patented head stand backflip bump as we count down to #5.
With DiBiase now in trouble the clock winds down for #5, “Macho King” Randy Savage. Madness hits the ring and attacks Jake from behind. It’s time for the heels to double team the Snake man, and that they do. Savage is a real ball of fire as he hits the ring, he works with DiBiase to work over the Snake man for the 2 minute period. Jake’s in real trouble and tied in the ropes as we await the next entrant in 3….2….1…. It’s…….?????
#6 is “Rowdy” Roddy Piper! And Jake will get some help. Piper immediately goes after both heels, laying them out before untying Jake from the ropes. Now it’s Piper standing back to back and fighting off the heels in sort of a tag team feel. The crowd is hot as hell for this shit. Comedy spot as Piper and Jake turn to each other and tease nailing one another, but then they turn back around and nail the heels instead. Crowd is just nuts, I love it.
After all that excitement, things slow down just a beat. It’s necessary to let the crowd catch their breaths after all. #7 is The Warlord, accompanied by Mr. Fuji. Warlord immediately shatters his record of 2 seconds from last year. Bret “Hitman” Hart joins the fray at #8. Hitman like his namesake begins to go to go to work on his opponents upon entering the ring. #9 is Bad News Brown and the ring is starting to build up. Not trying to be racist or anything but you can’t even see Brown until he’s about a third of the way down to the ring as he blends in with the dark shadows at the entrance. Even Schiavone has to wait and see before he can announce him.
Jake Roberts attempts the DDT yet again on DiBiase, but Randy Savage clotheslines Jake out to save DiBiase and eliminate the Snake man from the match. And it looks like bid-ness is about to pick up because…. “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes is #10!
It’s flip, flop, and fly time as Dusty hammers Savage with bionic elbows and Macho sells them like a million bucks. The crowd is just going nuts at this point. Savage finally gets Dusty back up against the ropes and charges at him. Dusty backdrops Randy Savage out of the ring and Savage takes an insane full front flip bump to the floor. Just awesome.
#11 is Andre the Giant, accompanied by the Brain. The Giant wastes little time hip tossing the Warlord out of the ring. Mr. Fuji jumps up onto the apron to confront Andre, but Heenan pulls Fuji down. Heenan shoves Fuji, and Fuji threatens to hit Bobby with his cane. Bobby runs and hides behind a ring post. So cool to see the heel managers go at it. The announcers point out it’s not just every man for himself, but every manager for himself too.
#12 is the Red Rooster, complete with dick sucking head motions as he sprints to the ring. Rooster is filling in for the Widow Maker (Barry Windham) who misses his second straight PPV. Roddy Piper dumps Bad News Brown from the match. That doesn’t sit well with Brown who gets back on the apron and Bad News pulls Roddy out of the ring backwards. And now we’ve got a fight! Piper and Bad News exchange blows all the way up the aisle and back through the curtains to set up their WrestleMania VI bout.
#13 is Demolition Ax. Meanwhile, Andre disposes of the Rooster like a turd. What a “cock” sucker. Get it? Cock, because he’s a rooster? Never mind.
Mark out moment as Ax and Dusty have Andre against the ropes and deliver dual bionic elbows to the Giant. The Giant gets some help as his tag team partner Haku is #14. The Connection work over Ax, and Andre has some fun by standing on the chest of Ax. Oof. Dusty gets funky like a monkey and works over Haku. #15 is Demolition Smash. And now we have both members of Demolition AND the Colossal Connection in the ring. For those who don’t know, the Connection won the titles from Demolition several weeks earlier.
#16 is “The African Dream” Akeem. At this point Bret Hart is unceremoniously eliminated by Dusty Rhodes to absolutely no fanfare. The elimination was so off in the corner and abrupt that even the announcers missed it. Demolition begin to go to work on the Connection. They knock Andre up against the ropes and drop Haku with a double clothesline! Demolition Double Clothesline sends Andre out of the match!!! That was huge. Crowd is great.
Moving right along, #17 is “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka. Akeem and Snuka go right after each other for whatever reason. Akeem thinks he has Snuka’s number and does a little dance, but Snuka comes back with a leaping heabutt and Akeem goes tumbling out of the match. #18 is “Canadian Strongman” Dino Bravo. The less said, the better. #19 is the Canadian Earthquake! Back to back Bravo and Quake? Come on…
Quake hits the ring and you know business is picking up again. In fact, bid-ness picks up for the Dweam babay. Quake wastes little time tossing Dusty from the match. He isn’t done there. Quake then scoops Ax up and slams him out over the top rope. And here comes #20 Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. The remaining wrestlers in the ring quickly realize what a threat Earthquake has become. The wrestlers all team up to hoist Quake up in the corner. Dino Bravo tries to save his friend, but the other superstars (Snuka, Smash, Haku, DiBiase, Neidhart) all eliminate the Earthquake. Quake didn’t last very long but he did some damage.
Now 2/3 through the field #21 is The Ullllltimate Warrior! Bravo and Warrior are in some lame feud so they go at it. I can’t tell if Warrior is having a seizure or selling Bravo’s offense. It doesn’t last long before Warrior dumps Bravo. Out comes #22 “The Model” Rick Martel. Haku sends Smash over the top to the apron, but Smash hangs on. In a sweet spot, Haku with an awesome ass Thrust Kick sends Smash off the apron and out of the match!
Out next at #23 is Tito Santana, ARRIBA! And the former members of Strike Force go right at it. #24 is the Honky Tonk Man, Jimmy Hart’s last chance at winning this thing. In an odd tandem, the Warrior and Martel team up to eliminate the Anvil. #1 Ted Dibiase is still in this thing and he goes after Warrior. Bad move, Warrior clotheslines DiBiase to the floor and the crowd goes ape shit. Ted is out, but he’s set the new iron man record lasting nearly 45 minutes.
#25 IS HULK HOGAN, and you just know what’s coming now… Time to clean house. Hogan’s bruddah, da Supah-fly, goes right after Hogan to show there are no friends in this thing. Somebody should have told Snuka that you doin’t F**k with Hulkamania. Hogan quickly eliminates his friend Snuka. Haku is next to pounce the Hulkster. Not wise. Hogan plants Haku with a big boot sending him out. Hogan disposes of both Polynesians in a matter of seconds. He really is a racist.
Tito Santana dumps Rick Martel to the apron, Martel hangs on and pulls Tito over with him. The Warrior comes up from behind and assists Martel in eliminating Tito Santana. Martel pulls himself back inside. #26 is Shawn Michaels of the Rockers. Now shit is on. Guys start flying out left and right. Hogan flings out Honky Tonk. The Warrior grabs Shawn Michaels by his hair and sends him flying in short fashion. Warrior sends The Model out next. And we’re momentarily down to two men in the ring, and IT’S THE HULK AND THE WARRIOR!!
We get the Ultimate staredown. The crowd is shaking the arena again. Not just two faces, but THE TWO top faces of the company are left alone in the ring. The crowd is eating this shit up, as did I. The two men try for tackles but nobody is budging. They do a crisscross spot and HOGAN DOES A DROP DOWN. Holy Shit! We end up with both men hitting a double clothesline and both wind up on the mat as #27 the Barbarian makes his way down. Quick trivia, even though the Warlord was eliminated 5th, Mr. Fuji has remained at ringside for the entire match just waiting for Barbarian to come down. Crazy. Even crazier, Bobby Heenan would “own” the Barbarian a few weeks later.
The Barbarian takes advantage of the two super heroes laying prone on the mat and works on both of them to keep them that way. #28 is “Ravishing” Rick Rude who actually hits the ring before the 10 second countdown clock appears. Rude jumped the gun in order to assist the Barbarian in keeping the IC and WWF Champion on the mat. Rude pairs off with Warrior, while Barbarian tries to eliminate the Hulkster.
The heels wind up double teaming Warrior and they have him hanging over the ropes. Hulk Hogan appears to come up from behind to assist the Warrior and dump the other two men, but Hogan winds up accidentally eliminating the Warrior instead. Well that seems awful familiar (Rumble 89 anyone?).
The Warrior doesn’t seemed pleased and he heads right back into the ring despite the referees admonishing him. Instead of attacking Hogan, the Warrior shockingly lays out Rick Rude and the Barbarian with clotheslines before bouncing off the ropes and just running away at 1,000 miles per hour. Ventura quote “What an idiot”. Just a little.
Out next at #29 is the mighty Hercules. He helps even the odds and assists Hulk against Rude and Barbarian. Things calm a little with the plodding Herc and Barb in there. Hogan too. When out walks #30 Mr. Perfect! How weird is this, only Rude is managed by Heenan here, but within the next couple of months Heenan would own all three of these heels, Rude, Hennig, and Barbarian.
The heels now outnumber the faces but Hercules gets a token elimination and takes out the Barbarian to bring the odds back to even and we’re now down to the FINAL FOUR.
It’s Hogan, Rude, Hennig, and Hercules. The faces go on the attack, Hogan pairs off with Perfect but Rick Rude clotheslines Hercules out of the ring.
Now it’s a two on one. Hennig and Rude work over Hogan. Rude goes for a big shot while Perfect holds the Hulkster but Hulk ducks and Rude blasts Hennig, sending Perfect over the top rope to the apron. Perfect almost eliminated!
Hogan goes after Rude and whips him into the ropes at the same time Perfect is grabbing the top rope to assist himself in standing up. As Hennig pulls the top rope down to aid in balancing himself, Rude goes flying into said ropes and tumbles out to the floor. Perfect eliminates Rude, all be it inadvertently.
Down to two! And rather than knocking Perfect off the apron, Hogan jerks Hennig back into the ring. This ultimately allows Perfect to land a cheap shot and take control of the match. Hennig connects with the PERFECT PLEX.
That’s the second time tonight he’s hit his move and it made no sense. But he fucks himself even more here because he hit his finisher on Hulk Hogan and that leads to…………..
Yeah, you fucked up now Mr. P.
It’s Hulk up time. Hogan has his way with Perfect sending him from corner to corner before flinging Hennig over the corner turnbuckles and out of the ring. Hogan eliminates Perfect and is declared the winner of the 1990 Royal Rumble after 58:46.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
(Post Match Thoughts: This Rumble had so many smaller stories being told inside the larger story, which was the match itself. This may be the most active Rumble match of all time for storyline purposes. Five of the top WrestleMania matches were either created or continued during the Rumble, including Demolition vs. Colossal Connection, Savage vs. Dusty, Piper vs. Bad News, Jake vs. DiBiase, and of course the Hulkster and Ultimate Warrior. That’s pretty huge right there. They made sure to give Earthquake a good showing before making him look like even more of a monster when it took a good 5 guys to eliminate him.
The Rumble match itself was pretty fun. The opening segment between the first 6 guys was a match in and of itself. The evil money man gets his comeuppance going from #30 to #1. The emotions written in early were a great story. From DiBiase laying rest to a couple of “expendable” talent to get his heat going, to the man he was feuding with (Jake) coming out next for a little one on one. The Savage and Piper entrances that followed only added to that story. The crowd was absolutely friggin’ hot for the entire thing.
We got our usual Strike Force blow up as Tito and Martel went at each other, Bravo and Warrior did a little bit as they were somewhat feuding at the time, and to prove it was every man for himself they played up Hogan eliminating Snuka as a huge deal like they were best friends or something. It was just one fun story after another throughout. While Bret got a little time in the match it was odd to see the future champ tossed out without a produced spot. Almost seemed like they missed a cue and had to rush the elimination. Shawn Michaels is another funny one, knowing his future, to see him thrown out in a few seconds by his hair like a piece of shit is a WTF moment. Again, hindsight being 20/20.
Hogan and Barbarian had a little go at it near the end, and when the Powers of Pain were split shortly after the plan was for Hogan to eventually work with Barb so I assume this was a little test the waters type moment. Hogan eliminating Warrior was a little redundant in the matter it was done, it was extremely similar to the Savage elimination from ’89. Makes you wonder if Hogan really DID mean to eliminate them. I wouldn’t put it past the glory hound. The showdown between the two mega stars, all be it brief, received a giant ovation and was the “what if?” precursor to their match at Mania VI. The tease and seeing only those two in the ring together made time stand still, if only for a moment.
I liked the Rude and Perfect tease where Rude hits Perfect, then Perfect eliminates Rude (accidentally). They never played off this but it was cool seeing two of my favorite heels costing each other. I believe they had a miscue like this at Series ’89 as well.
Speaking of Perfect, there’s been a long standing rumor that Hennig was originally penciled in to win the Rumble here. Story goes, Hogan played his power card and decided to veto the decision last minute and put himself over instead. The story is pretty much everywhere you look and everyone seems to just take it as face value, myself included. Probably because I wanted to believe it. Is it true? Who really knows. Bruce Prichard (who was a producer, writer, and Rumble booking assistant at the time) has stated on his Podcast that the plan was for Hogan to go over all along, which obviously contradicts the Hennig story. It does seem a little odd to put Hennig over here when he’s beginning to job on the house shows, and would ultimately job to Beefcake at Mania VI. However, Hennig had never been bigger, in his recent and upcoming matches against Hogan and the Warrior so either way it makes sense.
If I had to pick an alternate winner besides these two it would have been the Warrior. Giving Warrior the win here would have shot him up with even higher momentum for the Mania match. Instead of building Warrior for the future they gave Hogan the nod to make sure people knew he wasn’t going anywhere. With the “winner going to WrestleMania” storyline not yet introduced, Perfect could have easily profited from a win here as well. This did nothing for Hogan’s career but you know Vince’s motto, #HoganMustPose
This is the first Rumble where I think they finally nailed the booking. Exciting throughout with so much going on it drained me trying to keep up with it all. The crowd didn’t hurt matters here either. They lost their minds and popped like nuts for many of the eliminations and angles throughout. It got a little slow near the end but was still solid. The Match didn’t change the future of the business or anything but it’s an easy ****)
THE FINAL AUDIT
Holy shit, I’m worn out. That was by far the most work and time I’ve ever put into a single review. The images took a lot of work, more so this time because there was so much stuff going on throughout the entire Rumble match that I had to keep adding the caps to showcase all the highlights. As you can see there were a lot of highlights on this particular Rumble event. I am legit mentally spent but it was well worth it. I hope everyone enjoyed this Audit review.
Now, as for the show. The Rumble match was damn good and accomplished more separate stories in one match than probably any other match in history, but I think it’s safe to say this was one of the most underwhelming Rumble undercards in the history of the event. Garvin vs. Valentine is underrated, you have to have an acquired taste but these got beat the shit out of each other for real to give the fans a good show and I can appreciate that. Genius vs. Beefcake was only used to build an angle. The Rougeaus and Whackers were the typical opener to get the crowd going, and the finish made sense with the Rougeaus on their way out. The Brother Love Show went on a little long but there was really no way to speed it up. Duggan vs. Boss Man felt like a place holder for both men. Neither were doing anything at the time and Boss Man was a day or two away from turning face. The non-finish didn’t help things. I would have liked to seen Boss Man in the Rumble personally, but I guess they wanted to give him his own segment. I’ve already shared my feelings on the Rumble match so you know where I stand there.
It’s a give and take, with a strong main event and weaker than usual PPV undercard. Rumble had been a one match show up to this point and the Garvin/Valentine match was a good addition. When you do the math, between the Rumble and Submission match there was only another hour of stuff in all total so the good stuff did outweigh the bad both in quality and time. Plus, nothing was gouge my eyeballs out bad. A solid show I have no problem recommending, a strong B- . Rumble ’90 passes the Audit.