Royal Rumble 1990
January 21, 1990
Announcers: Tony Shiavone & Jesse "The Body" Ventura
Royal Rumble '90 marked the second year of the Rumble on PPV, and again, the Rumble itself was relatively meaningless since the winner didn't receive anything special. Still, it was these early Rumbles that established the event as something special and unique, and the reason that it remains the favorite gimmick match of many today.
We're off to a good start already as during the opening shot, the camera pans staright across a sign reading "Scary Sherri's chest is hairy". Tony and Jesse go over what we're about to see, and Jesse pimps the location of the event by dressing entirely in Mickey Mouse gear. This is the first time the WWF has been to the new O-rena, and the announcers don't hesitate to make a big fuss over how nice it is.
The Bushwackers vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers
This is our yearly meaningless tag team match at the Rumble, and we're getting it out of the way right off the bat. This would turn out to be the Rougeau's final PPV, though Jacques, who looks weird with a beard in this match, would return the next year as the Mountie, and Ray Rougeau would go on to eventually become an interviewer and French commentator. Standard Bushwacker fare here, as they blatantly double team, and consequensly bite, everything in site, including the ref. Not surprisingly, the Rougeaus soon outsmart them and double team Luke, but Butch gets the hot tag and it's more Bushwacker double teams. Jimmy Hart ends up in the ring, but the Rougeaus save him. The Bushwackers hit the battering ram on Jacques, and he sadly jobs to it at 13:35. Not much of a match, but surprisingly enjoyable at times. 1/2* At least it served its purpose for getting the crowd into it.
Gene Okerlund is with Ted DiBiase and Virgil backstage. Apparently measures were taken this year to prevent chicanery like last year, when DiBiase bought #30 from Slick. This year, DiBiase has drawn #1. Sucks for him.
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. The Genius
On a Saturday Night's Main Event prior to this, the Genius actually beat Hulk Hogan via countout with Mr. Perfect's interference, which led to a Perfect/Hogan feud that never really went anywhere because Hogan didn't want to job the Title to him, and Hogan/Warrior was going to be set up for Wrestlemania VI anyway. The Genius and Beefcake stall a lot and fill up ten minutes before the ref is bumped. I didn't think it was possible to fill so much time with with so little substance, but here we are. Beefcake puts the Genius to sleep with the ref out, and starts cutting his hair. Perfect comes out for the save, and levels Beefcake with a chair. The ref comes to and disqualifies both men at 11:04. 1/2* This set up Perfect/Beefcake for Wrestlemania VI.
Sean Mooney is with the Heenan Family, which boasts several competitors in the Royal Rumble Match, where it's every man for himself. Mooney tries to stir up shit.
Wrestlemania VI promo.
Submission Match: "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
This was the blowoff to their epic feud. If epic means boring, that is. Both go for pins at various times, but those of course don't count since it's a submission match. Garvin has a brace that blocks the effects of the Figure Four, so when Valentine hooks it on, Garvin just laughs at him. Fortunately, Jimmy Hart is later able to rip it off, enabling Valentine to apply the hold for real. Garvin doesn't submit, and counters. Later he rips off Valentine's own brace and nails him in the head with it. Then he hooks the sharpshooter, then called a reverse Figure Four by the announcers, and picks up the submission win at 16:52. ** Not great, and kind of boring, but at least they did their best to tell a good story.
Gene interviews Perfect, who reveals that he drew #30, the Perfect number. He then cuts promo about his attack on Beefcake earlier, when he injured the Barber's ribs. A classic line follows, as Perfect says, "Ya know, hair grows back, Beefcake, but your ribs might not grow back... the right way." That's your quote of the night, folks.
The Brother Love show comes to PPV. I'm sure paying customers must be thrilled with that. Brother Love brings Sensational Sherri out, followed by Sapphire. Sherri and Love run down Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire. After eight minutes of verbal abuse, Sapphire slaps Sherri, so Savage, and subsequently Rhodes, run down and scuffle. Several refs, including a young Shane McMahon (in his traditional bi-PPV appearance), usher Savage away, and Dusty beats up poor Brother Love to the delight of the crowd. This, of course, led to the mixed tag between Savage & Sherri and Rhodes & Sapphire at Wrestlemania VI.
Sean Mooney is with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Moron. You guess which one I'm referring to. It won't matter anyway. Actually, I take that back; everyone bashes Sean Mooney, but I actually liked the guy. Now guess which one I'm referring to.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Big Boss Man
Boring. Though he's bigger, Boss Man is actually quicker than Duggan here, and is in the midst of his big weight loss period. Boss Man runs through his usual, but when he gets in trouble he resorts to using his nightstick and gets DQ'ed at 10:23. Not exciting at all. *
Wrestlemania VI promo.
Pre-recorded comments from Royal Rumble participants are shown. Amongst those included are Dino Bravo & Earthquake, Demolition, Bad News Brown, The Rockers, Hercules, Rick Martel, Tito Santana, Jimmy Snuka, Akeem (with the Slickster!), and the Ultimate Warrior.
More pre-recorded fun, as Sean Mooney talked to fans outside the O-rena earlier in the day to see who they were pulling for to win the Rumble. Most picks are the usual (Hogan, Warrior, Piper), but one smart little girl went with tag team midcarder named Bret Hart. Wow! That was pretty cool. Oh, and some guy picked Ax for some reason...
More comments from the participants, this time from Randy Savage (how does he see through those sunglasses? They look solid, not transparent at all), the Powers Of Pain (how come they only grunted after the heel turn?), Jake Roberts, The Hart Foundation, The Honky Tonk Man, and Hulk Hogan. Honky acts like he doesn't know what number he's drawn yet, but everyone else who's spoken makes it clear that they've already drawn.
Royal Rumble Match
#1 is Ted DiBiase, and #2 is Koko B. Ware. DiBiase dominates, then dumps Koko on a charge attempt before it's even time for the next participant to enter. #3 is Marty Jannetty. He and Teddy do a nice sequence which ends when DiBiase ducks a Marty high crossbody, and Jannetty spills to the floor. Ted waits for #4, and it turns out to be his archrival Jake the Snake. They go through the second rope and brawl on the floor, then take it inside. #5 is Randy Savage to make it three good wrestlers in there. Savage stops Jake's attack on DiBiase, and starts to work him over. Question: In 1990, the fans were behind Jake and wanted to see him destroy DiBiase, but now Savage is stopping him from doing so. So, during the "evil" Jake/"hero" Savage feud in 1991, didn't Jake have provocation for attacking Savage, and shouldn't the fans have still supported him? Just a thought. This year in the Rumble, they're playing the music for each entrant as they come down, something they'd stop doing the next few years, then pick up again in the mid 90's. They played Jannetty's music and Jake's music, but don't, however, play Savage's. I guess they decided against it because it built too slowly and since he ran to the ring it would barely start before they stopped it. Anyway, back to the action, Rowdy Roddy Piper comes in at #6 and the place goes nuts. This is his kind of match. #7 is the Warlord. For the first time ever at a Rumble, managers are allowed at ringside, so Virgil, Sherri, and Mr. Fuji are all there. #8 is Bret Hart, limping. Get the Warlord out, and you'd have all big names in there. Bret and Piper double team the Warlord until #9, Bad News Brown, comes down and goes after Bret just for old times sake. #10 is Dusty Rhodes, who goes straight after Savage.
#11 is Andre The Giant, who immediately dumps fellow heel the Warlord. Fuji protests, so Heenan shoves him. Way to stick up for your men, Brain. I guess that's why Heenan got the Barbarian, and not the Warlord when the Powers of Pain split up a few weeks after this. #12 is the Red Rooster, as I realize they've stopped playing entrance music for everyone altogether. What the hell? I guess they weren't supposed to play those first few, but screwed up. If you ask me, it's better with the music, but whatever. Insta-feud rears its ugly head, as Piper eliminates Brown, but Bad News gets pissed, climbs back in and eliminates Piper despite the protests of several refs including, you guessed it, Shane McMahon. Piper and Brown brawl to the back as the announcers make a big deal about it. This would lead to a Wrestlemania VI match between the two. Piper and Bad News, not Jeese and Tony. Piper and Bad News; big deal. I mean the ref watching them over there (Shane) would end up winning more WWF Championships than both of them combined, so who cares? Jesse refers to the brawl as a "street fight", though this is very tame compared to the real Street Fight we'd see ten years later at the Rumble. Anyway, #13 is Ax of Demolition, as Andre dumps the Rooster. I've actually made it seem like Rooster was in there a long time since I've gone off on a tangent since he entered, but don't worry, he was only #12 which means he lasted an astounding two minutes. Ax smashes Andre down to the mat. #14 is Haku, Andre's partner (and co-holder of the Tag Team Titles), so he helps the big guy. But then #15 is Smash (what a coincidence), so we get the big Demolition/Collosal Connection showdown.
#16 is Akeem. Demolition charges into Andre and ram him out over the top. Bret is eliminated on the far side of the ring at the same time. #17 is Jimmy Snuka, who headbutts Akeem, which of course sends him flying over the top rope to the floor. Yeah right. #18 is Dino Bravo. Demolition double teams everyone. #19 is the massive Earthquake, who quickly dumps Dusty and Ax. #20 is Jim Niedhart. Five guys (everyone in there but Bravo) team up to lift Earthquake over the top rope and dump him. #21 is Intercontinental Champion, Ultimate Warrior, and the O-rena erupts. He does a sloppy sequence with Bravo before eliminating him. #22 is "The Model" Rick Martel. Haku tosses Smash. Tito Santana is #23 and goes right for Martel. #24 is the Honky Tonk Man, who gets some shots in on the Warrior. Yeah, that makes up for Summerslam '88, Honky. When Honky dropped the IC Title to him it killed all his heat and any success he was ever going to have, but that's okay because Honky was never that good anyway. Honky scores a big right hand on the Warrior. You show him, Tonk. Niedhart gets tossed. Warrior clotheslines DiBiase out and the crowd goes crazy. DiBiase lasted forty-five minutes. Great performance.
#25 is WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan, whose entrance outpops Warrior's. Snuka, of all people, goes for him and gets clotheslined out. Haku is next to go, courtesy of a big boot. Martel dumps Tito. #26 is Shawn Michaels. Hulk tosses Honky, and the Warrior dumps Shawn and Martel to clear the ring. It's down to Hogan and the Warrior, and the crowd explodes. A criss-cross leads to a double clothesline. Barbarian comes in at #27 to ruin everything. The crowd is dead, so Rick Rude, allegedly #28, comes in a full minute early to help out. Huh? Rude and Barbarian try to dump the Warrior, so Hogan clotheslines them, and Rude and Warrior end up spilling out together, with only Warrior being eliminated. Warrior isn't happy about it, but does come back into cheap shot the heels before running down the aisle and leaving for good. What a lunatic, or as Jesse would simply say, "Idiot". Hercules is #29, and Mr. Perfect rounds it out at #30. Perfect stomps the hell out of a beaten Hogan. Make 'em count, Curt. Herc backdrops Barbarian out. Rude clotheslines Herc out, in turn, and the Minnesotians double team Hogan. Rude accidentally nails Perfect to the apron, and when Hogan whips Rude into the ropes, a dazed Perfect pulls the ropes down on Rude to send him tumbling to the floor. Only Perfect and Hogan remain. Perfect sells everything and Hogan sells nothing, so it's made to look very one-sided. Perfect uses a Perfect-Plex, and Hogan no-sells, which is stupid for so many reasons I won't even get into it. Hogan slingshots him, then launches him over the top in the corner, for the meaningless victory. 58:38. I say it's meaningless because he's already the Champion, so the win did him no good, and an elimination wouldn't have even constituted laying down for anyone, but no. Hogan prevails again. The crowd loves it though, so I guess it's all good. Poor Perfect never got his true due and never quite did get his hands on the Championship. As for the Rumble, I'll go ****.
That wraps it up. This isn't a memorable show at all, but it was entertaining enough and did serve its purpose of setting up Wrestlemania VI. On this night alone, the foundation for six Wrestlemania matches were either started or enforced: Beefcake vs. Perfect, Jake vs. DiBiase, Rhodes & Sapphire vs. Savage & Sherri, Demolition vs. Collosal Connection, Piper vs. Bad News, and of course, Hogan vs. Warrior. Needless to say, that show ended up delivering a lot more than this one did.
Royal Rumble 1990 Key Stats Matches: 5
Total Wrestling: 110:32
Average Match: 22:06
Average Match Rating: *1/2
Top Moments: Perfect destroying Beefcake, DiBiase's performance, Jake getting his hands on DiBiase, Hogan coming face to face with the Warrior, and Perfect coming damn close to victory