The 1989 WWE Royal Rumble was all about firsts because it was the first time the Rumble was on pay-per-view and the first time they did a 30-man Royal Rumble match that was televised.
The WWF Champion at the time was Randy Savage, who was one-half of the Megapowers team with Hulk Hogan. How would they use the Rumble to set up things for WrestleMania V?
This show took place following Survivor Series 1988 and leading up to WrestleMania 5 two months later. My listing of every WWE PPV review ever is here. My additional 2021 thoughts are in blue font as well because there’s always more to say.
(The VHS heavily promoting the Super Posedown is so strange, but I guess WWE considered it a big deal and wanted to feature Warrior.)
WWF Royal Rumble
January 15, 1989
From The Summit in Houston, Texas
The opening video package featured Vince McMahon narrating a video package about some of the men in the Royal Rumble match. The announce team was Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. I liked Gorilla more with Bobby Heenan and Jesse more with Vince McMahon, but Gorilla and Jesse were still good together.
The heel team of Dino Bravo and the Rougeau Brothers entered for the opening six-man tag team match. The face team of the Hart Foundation and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan entered to a big pop.
Two out of Three Falls Match: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) vs. Dino Bravo and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Ray and Jacques Rougeau) (w/Jimmy Hart and Frenchie Martin)
Pre-match notes: Duggan and The Hart Foundation were faces. Bravo and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers were heels.
Bravo and Neidhart took turns hitting shoulder tackles to show off their power and then Neidhart hit him with a clothesline. Ray worked with Duggan, who hit a very gentle body slam and a Duggan knee drop. Hart tagged in with a running cross body block on Ray, then Jacques tagged in and Bret decked him with a clothesline. The match turned into a brawl with all six guys in the ring and the fans loved it as the faces cleared house. Ray pulled the top rope down, so Jacques sent Bret over the top to the floor. Bravo with a sidewalk slam. Ray held up Bret and Jacques jumped off the top with a seated senton on Bret for the first pinfall of the match.
The team of Dino Bravo and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers lead 1-0.
Ray worked over Hart with a gutwrench suplex followed by Jacques tagging in with a jumping back elbow. Jacques whipped Bret into the turnbuckle leading to the sternum bump by Bret. Bravo tagged in with an atomic drop. Jacques got a nearfall on Bret, then Bravo tagged in and fans chanted “USA.” That led to Jesse wondering why they changed that when Bret is from Calgary, Canada and Gorilla said because Bret’s on Duggan’s team. That is some good logic. Hart came back with a sunset flip on Jacques, who took control again with a chinlock. After some brief offense from Ray and Bravo, Jacques slapped on the Boston Crab on Hart as the fans chanted “USA” again. Hart made the tag, but the referee didn’t see it because of Ray’s distraction and Ray hit Hart with a forearm to the back. Ray worked over Bret with an abdominal stretch, then Jacques tagged in with an abdominal stretch as well. Ray with a kick to the ribs of Bret for a two count. Hart countered a body slam by landing on top for a two count. Hart blocked Jacques attempt of a move out of the corner and hit an atomic drop. Duggan got the hot tag to a HUGE pop. Holy shit, that was loud. Duggan worked over the heels with punches, a double noggin knocker and a body slam on Ray. Duggan launched Neidhart over the top on Ray and Bret also got a splash. Duggan with an elbow drop on Ray to get the second fall of the match.
The match is tied 1-1.
Duggan was in control for a bit until he went into the heel corner and they triple-teamed him with punches. The heels were choking Duggan’s throat against the middle rope. Jacques with a dropkick on Duggan. Bravo with a body slam on Duggan followed by an elbow drop for two. Bravo with an atomic drop on Duggan, then Bret got the tag and hit an atomic drop on Jacques. Hart unloaded on Bravo with punches, elbows and a backbreaker. Hart to the turnbuckle and Ray shoved him down. Anvil went after the heels, the referee was distracted by that and Duggan hit Bravo in the back with the 2×4 piece of wood. Great bump by Bravo to the mat, Bret covered and got the pinfall win while the Rougeaus were too slow to break up the pin. The match went 15:42.
Winners by pinfall: Jim Duggan and The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart)
Analysis: *** This was pretty fun for an opening tag team match with a very hot crowd. The faces cheated to win because the heels were cheating during the whole match, so it was payback. Bret Hart was clearly the star of the match with his great selling as the face in peril and then he got the deciding fall for his team. The heel team worked well together. The pops that Duggan was getting were huge. Sometimes you forget how popular he was, but the fans love the guy.
(Best match of the show. Bret really carried this match by showing signs of being the singles star that he would become, but the other guys did a decent job too.)
There were pre-recorded comments from wrestlers drawing their spots in the Royal Rumble match. Ted Dibiase with Virgil didn’t like his number, then he asked Slick if he was happy about the numbers for his guys and Dibiase wanted to talk to him. Honky Tonk Man was next and he wasn’t happy with his numbers. The Bushwhackers groaned a lot while saying they got good numbers. Bad News Brown said it was good news for Bad News. Well played. Jake “The Snake” Roberts had his snake with him and said he hopes Andre is still there when they get there. The Rockers were next as they wished eachother good luck.
A Women’s Championship match was next. Sensational Sherri was in the ring telling both women that she will challenge the winner for the title.
Women’s Championship: Rockin’ Robin vs. Judy Martin
Pre-match notes: Rockin’ Robin was the face champion while Martin was a heel. Robin is the sister of wrestlers Jake Roberts and Sam Houston.
Martin missed a corner charge and Robin hit two dropkicks. Sensational Sherri joined the announce team talking trash about both women. Martin took control with a kick to the ribs. Robin did a sloppy clothesline on Martin. Robin charged, Martin caught her and gave her a body slam. Martin with a knee drop followed by a punch to the face to block a sunset flip attempt. Robin went for a Boston Crab submission, which she turned into a sunset flip pin attempt. Martin got an inside cradle for two. Robin missed a dropkick because Martin held onto the ropes. Robin blocked a suplex attempt, but Martin managed to knock her down again. Martin with a clothesline. The crowd was quiet for this match. They weren’t reacting to anything. Martin with a body slam. Robin bounced off the ropes and hit a DDT-like move for a two count. Martin missed an elbow drop, but then she came back with a body slam. Martin with a backslide pin for a two count. Robin with a kick to the chest with Sherri claiming the kick was cheating because it was to the throat. Robin got an inside cradle for a two count. Robin teased an attack off the middle ropes, Martin went down, then Martin got back up and Robin hit a cross body block off the middle ropes for the pinfall win at 6:24.
Winner by pinfall: Rockin’ Robin
Analysis: *1/2 This was a boring match in front of a dead crowd because the women’s division was not very good at this point. There was a lot of offense for the babyface Robin. I think if Martin controlled more of the match and Robin made the comeback, it would have been a better match.
Rockin’ Robin celebrated with the title while the fans didn’t seem to care at all.
Analysis: The women’s division was struggling and everybody knew it. In February 1990 (just over one year after this), the Women’s Title was deactivated. They brought it back in 1993 when they pushed Alundra Blayze as the face of the division. In 1995, the Women’s Title was deactivated again until they brought it back in late 1998 to push Sable.
(There really wasn’t much of a division. The fact that they even got a match at this point was a bit of a surprise as I look back on it.)
A graphic mentioned WrestleMania 5 on April 2, 1989. I remember watching that one live.
The Twin Towers duo of Big Boss Man and Akeem with Slick were interviewed by Sean Mooney. Slick denied accusations that he may have made a deal with Ted Dibiase, so they replayed the clip from earlier when Dibiase talked to Slick. After the video aired, Slick said it’s none of your business and he talked about how dominant the Twin Towers are.
Super Posedown Between Ultimate Warrior and “Ravishing” Rick Rude
Mean Gene Okerlund hosted the Super Posedown while saying that the fans have been waiting for it. The winner will be determined by who gets the loudest applause from the fans.
“Ravishing” Rick Rude entered with his manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Rude did a promo saying he’s the best-built man in the WWF and he’ll show us why he is the sexiest man alive. Rude was one of the best heels in the company.
The Ultimate Warrior got a huge ovation from the crowd. This was less than a year before his main event run. Warrior’s probably was growing every week at this point. It was hard not to like a guy full of energy like him that did the crazy rope-shaking routine every time he was out there. Warrior was the Intercontinental Champion, but he didn’t have the title with him.
Heenan complained about how he wanted somebody to control Warrior. Heenan said that Houston is a very intelligent crowd and there will only be one choice. Rude talked about doing the double bicep pose.
Rude did his bicep pose first, the fans barely reacted to him and when Warrior did his posing, the fans popped big for him. Heenan told the fans to vote for the best body.
The second pose was showing off the abs. Rude did his hip swivel routine. Warrior did his abdominal posing while Ventura claimed that Warrior’s posing wasn’t as good.
Rude did the third pose while Ventura talked about how great Rude looked. The Ultimate Warrior did his posing, the fans cheered and when Gene asked for their thoughts, they cheered some more.
There was a lot of stalling from Rude before the fourth and final pose in order to get heat from the crowd. Rude did a medley of poses for his final routine. The fans booed Rude again. Warrior did his last posing routine while Monsoon put over Warrior as the obvious winner.
After Warrior was done his posing, Rude hit him in the back with the steel exercise flexor bar that he had. Rude hit Warrior in the back repeatedly and then he choked him with the flexor bar. Rude and Heenan left while the crowd booed. Warrior was down in the ring selling the attack. When Warrior was helped back up, he attacked some referees and some producers in suits. Warrior ran out of the ring like a madman and the fans cheered him.
Analysis: I thought this was boring 30 years ago and it still is today. I can’t believe I got through all that again. I can remember fast-forwarding through this many times on the VHS. I’m sure Vince McMahon thought it was great, but it wasn’t entertaining to me. This is the kind of thing they should have done on TV and not on a PPV like the Royal Rumble. These two had several matches with eachother over the next year with Rude winning the title from Warrior at WrestleMania 5 and Warrior winning the title back at SummerSlam 1990. Rude and Warrior were two of the best examples of what a steroid wrestler in the late 1980s looked like. They were both ridiculously ripped. Anyway, this took nearly 20 minutes just to set up the obvious cheap attack.
(I was too nice to this in my original review. This was so f’n terrible.)
There were promos from managers with wrestlers in the Royal Rumble:
– Mr. Fuji talked about the Powers of Pain.
– Elizabeth spoke about rooting for both Macho Man and Hulk Hogan of the Mega Powers duo.
– Jimmy Hart spoke about how he thought Honky Tonk Man and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine were going to win.
King Haku made his entrance with manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan with four wrestlers carrying him down to the ring on a sedan that had a throne on it. Heenan said that everybody should bow to the king.
The former king Harley Race walked down to the ring and dumped the chair over, so Haku bumped off the chair to the floor. The fans popped for that.
King Haku (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Harley Race
Pre-match notes: Haku was a heel and Race was a heel too, but the pre-match attack led to cheers. Race was 45 years old, so he was near the end of his career. Bobby Heenan was the manager of both guys, so the story was he wins either way.
Race was aggressive early on with a suplex. They went to the floor with Haku hitting a chop to the chest. Heenan was cheering for Haku and then he cheered for Race as he hit an elbow drop. Haku sent Race into the corner with Race taking a bump over the top to the floor. It was an awkward-looking bump. Haku with back fists to the face. Race with a headbutt that had no effect, Haku with a headbutt that had more impact and Race with punches. Race with a lefty clothesline as Heenan rooted for Race and Race hit a piledriver for a two count. They did this awkward spot where they each bounced off the ropes, did a collision and Race bumped to the floor. Haku with a suplex that brought Race in from the apron for a two count. Haku missed an elbow drop because Race moved. Race hit a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Race dumped Haku out of the ring, he teased a piledriver, but Haku countered with a back body drop on the floor. Haku shoved Race back first into the ring apron two times. Race hit a falling piledriver on the floor. It didn’t look very good. Race with a neckbreaker. The fans were not into the match since both guys were heels as Heenan rooted for Race again. Race with a short clothesline followed by a knee drop. Haku with a body slam. Haku went up top, he jumped off for a splash and Race moved, which led to cheers as Haku hit the mat. Race went to the middle ropes for his patented headbutt, but Haku moved out of the way. Race sent Haku into the ropes, Haku ducked a clothesline and hit a superkick for the pinfall win at 9:01.
Winner by pinfall: King Haku
Analysis: **1/2 The match was just okay. I thought the finish could have been set up better, but the way Race sold the superkick made Haku look tough and doing the clean finish was the right way to do it. This was a classic example of the older guy Race putting over the younger guy in Haku. While Haku didn’t take off as a big deal in singles in his career, he had more success in tag teams.
(I wish WWE had Harley Race in his prime, but that didn’t happen because he was in the NWA in those days. He was too old at this point, so this was a case of putting over the younger guy since most fans probably knew Race was a former NWA Heavyweight Champion in his career.)
There were pre-taped promos from wrestlers talking about how they are going to win the Royal Rumble. The promos were from Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Greg Valentine, another Mr. Fuji promo with his Powers of Pain boys by his side, Big John Studd, Mr. Perfect and WWF Champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage saying that even though he’s the WWF Champion now, he’ll be the champion of the Royal Rumble as well.
Ted Dibiase with Virgil were interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund. Dibiase said when you have his kind of money, you can be as lucky as you want.
Bobby Heenan and his Heenan Family team of Andre the Giant, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard did promos about winning the Rumble match.
Hulk Hogan was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund leading to one of Hogan’s hyper promos talking about winning the Rumble match. Hogan said if he happens to be in the ring with his friend the Macho Man, the Hulkster feels sorry for him because when it comes down to who rules in the WWF, he’s going to find out real quick that the Hulkster has never been beaten.
This is the first 30 man Royal Rumble to be broadcast live on pay-per-view. Howard Finkel explained the rules. Two guys start the match, then every two minutes somebody else comes in and in order to be eliminated both feet have to touch the floor.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Number 1 is Ax. Number 2 is Smash. They are the tag champs known as Demolition. I love this theme song. And they are both from Parts Unknown. It’s like a tropical paradise there, I hear. They brawl for two minutes with a lot of punching, basically. Needless to say, they aren’t known for their awesome ring work. Ax almost eliminated Smash at one point. The clock counts down and the crowd doesn’t chant with it. Here’s #3…Andre the Giant, who is a heel at this point. No theme music for the entrants. They do a double clothesline to knock Andre down. The whole two minutes was Demolition working on him with punches and tag team moves. #4 is a favorite of mine, Mr. Perfect. This was at a point when he was new to the WWF and an undefeated heel at this point in his career. He’s not wearing his normal ring gear yet. Andre throws Smash out of the ring as the first elimination. Perfect and Ax work on Andre by stepping on his face. Perfect does the Bret Hart chest bump in the turnbuckle because he’s awesome. And then he nearly does a flip off a headbutt from Andre. The #5 entrant is “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin, who was just an average talent. They triple team Andre, but they can’t do it because his arms are hooked into the ropes. I like how Gorilla pointed out that Andre likely has the best record in the history of battle royals. That’s true and there’s nobody in the history of wrestling that is more of a battle royal threat than Andre. Speaking of Andre, he sat on Ax for a bit just because he’s Andre and you can’t stop him.
The #6 entrant is Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. Oops, Jesse said “Axe Hennig” instead of Mr. Perfect. That was his dad, Larry Hennig. Andre eliminates Garvin with a hip toss as the second elimination. Andre goes around choking everybody with a lovely smile on his face. You can tell he’s enjoying this. The #7 man is Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who was a babyface here. He went right after Andre. Valentine hits Andre twice, but Andre doesn’t care and does some more choking on Jake. Then Andre steps on him. I love Andre’s offense. Seriously. The guy was larger than life more than anybody in the history of wrestling, so it worked for him. Huge draw. I’ll never forget meeting him when I was about 8 years old. I was scared shitless, but he was so damn friendly with us. The #8 man is “The Outlaw” Ron Bass. I barely remember him. Andre eliminates Jake, who only lasted about 2 minutes thanks to Andre beating him down. We’ve got five men in the ring now. The action is pretty slow. The announcers can barely believe that Ax has lasted this long. It hasn’t been that long. #9 is the best wrestler in WWE history Shawn Michaels. He was a part of The Rockers babyface tag team here. Perfect dumps out Ax. Then Perfect goes after Shawn, but HBK skins the cat back in, which was not something we were used to seeing in 1989. Dropkick by HBK, Perfect goes over the top, but he hangs on. Two great athletes showing their stuff right there. And there’s Andre choking Bass. #10 is Bushwhacker Butch. Hey there’s Jake Roberts coming back in. He’s got his snake Damien in the bag. He throws it in the ring. Andre freaks out and takes off, eliminating himself from the match. The crowd was going nuts for all of this. Jake left the ring happy. We are back to five with Perfect, Michaels, Valentine, Butch and Bass.
The #11 man is Honky Tonk Man, who is a heel of course. The announcers do a good job of pointing out how rare it is to see guys like Perfect and HTM fighting (due to being heels), but in a Rumble match, anything goes. Valentine and HTM are close to eliminating Michaels. Shawn holds on. #12 is Tito Santana or “Chico” as Jesse calls him and he immediately goes after Perfect with a back body drop plus clothesline combo. Michaels is bumping all over the place now. #13 is Bad News Brown. What do you think: babyface or heel? The name gives it away doesn’t it? Tito & Butch eliminate HTM leaving us with seven guys. Michaels goes up top with a double punch to the head just because he can. Valentine gives Michaels an atomic drop and Michaels almost gets eliminated. Right on cue #14 is Marty Jannetty, Michaels’ partner in the Rockers. Double elbow on Bass followed by a double dropkick and the Rockers eliminate Bass. Can somebody tell me why was Bass on the poster of the event? Marginal talent, at best. Tito hits the flying forearm on Valentine, but the Hammer hangs in there. We are at the halfway point now with #15 being the WWF Champion Randy Savage who comes out to a HUGE pop. He goes right after Bad News Brown. Valentine works over Savage, who comes back at him with a double axehandle.
The #16 man is Arn Anderson. Savage eliminates Valentine. Hey, there’s a superkick by Michaels on Anderson. Savage & Anderson double team Michaels and eliminate him with a back elbow. That was pretty random. Anderson goes up top even though he never goes up, Jannetty punches him and Arn gets crotched. The #17 guy is Tully Blanchard, who is Arn’s partner in the Brainbusters team. I’m counting 8 guys in there now although there’s very little action until Anderson hits a VINTAGE spinebuster on Jannetty. Marty is eliminated. #18 is Hulk Hogan to the biggest pop of the night thus far. He saves Macho from Mr. Perfect and he throws out Perfect. There goes Tito Santana. As the years went by the eliminations were booked much better. You can see how raw it is at this point in only the second Rumble ever. Hogan’s getting triple-teamed, so Gorilla wonders why Savage isn’t helping his friend. It’s Bushwhacker Luke at #19. Brown eliminates Butch. Hogan with a press slam on Blanchard and he drops him across the top rope. That looked scary actually. The big story is Hogan getting double teamed as well as Savage getting double-teamed. Big boot to Arn “right in the kisser” as Gorilla says. In at #20 is future Koko B. Ware. He was an average lower card babyface at best, yet they put him in the WWE Hall of Fame. Arn goes up again, Hogan catches him there and Arn takes the Flair bump after getting tossed down. That was a tribute to his friend, I think. Hogan eliminates Koko & Luke with consecutive backdrops leaving us with Hogan, Savage, Brown, Blanchard & Anderson.
The 21st entrant is the Warlord. While he’s coming out, Hogan eliminates Arn & Tully with a double clothesline. The Warlord poses on the apron, he walks into the ring, Hogan charges, clothesline and Warlord is eliminated in 2 seconds. He would hold that record for 20 years. Congrats Warlord. On the other side of the ring, Brown & Savage are struggling. Hogan sees it, he lifts Brown up & he’s gone. While he did that he also tossed Savage “accidentally.” Savage is pissed, yelling at Hogan for it. Ventura takes Savage’s side while Gorilla defends Hogan. Elizabeth comes running out and she gets between Hulk and Randy. This was your big WrestleMania setup right here. She gets Macho to shake his hand. They hug too. The fans loved that. That was such a big angle. The heel turn by Savage took place about three weeks after this.
(The crowd was going crazy for this. It was pretty obvious at this point that Hogan and Savage would main event WrestleMania although as an 8-year-old kid at the time, I didn’t know that. I was just mad that my guy Randy Savage lost even though he was the WWE Champion at the time.)
In at #22 is Big Boss Man. It’s just two people now since Hogan cleared everybody else out. Bodyslam by Hogan. Splash by Boss Man followed by a piledriver. That move is banned in WWE these days. The #23 entrant is Akeem, who is Boss Man’s partner in the Twin Towers team. A year earlier he was known as One Man Gang. Hogan slams the very large Akeem, but they are able to overwhelm him. Hogan comes back with a double noggin knocker (classic phrase!) plus a backdrop on Boss Man. The numbers game catch up to him as they double-team Hogan with a splash in the corner. Then they throw Hogan out rather easily. Post elimination, Hogan fights with both guys on the floor. The #24 person is Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. Boss Man goes into the ropes, Hogan pulls it down and that eliminates Boss Man. That’s your babyface Hogan. They go fighting up the aisle. Back in the ring, Akeem and Beefcake struggle in the ring. “It’s the Red Rooster” at #25. It’s one of the worst gimmicks in wrestling history. That’s what it is. Beefcake and Rooster double team Akeem, but he fights them off as the announcers wonder how he can be eliminated.
We’ve got another heel in at #26 in The Barbarian while Gorilla says he’s stupid for not helping them eliminate Akeem. These are not very good wrestlers, I have to say. Big splash by Akeem on Red Rooster. How could be it a little splash when he’s over 400 pounds? A big favorite comes in at #27 – Big John Studd. Sometimes the ladies call me that. Not often enough, though. It’s okay. It’s a slugfest with Studd & Akeem. Vince is marking out over that. In at #28 is Hercules. They need more guys with big muscles in there. Crazy how there was a steroid trial in WWE a few years after this, huh? The announcers discuss where Dibiase is, suggesting that he bought the #30 spot. We’re not there yet, though, as #29 comes in and it’s Rick Martel, who was a babyface here. The Studd-Akeem interaction has literally been Studd holding him for about four minutes. It’s as bad as it sounds, trust me. The last entrant at #30 is the “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, who comes out with Virgil. We’ve got 8 people left: Studd, Akeem, Hercules, Barbarian, Red Rooster, Martel, Beefcake and Dibiase.
The Rooster gets some offense in on Dibiase, which is pretty rare for The Rooster. See what I mean? Dibiase throws him in the turnbuckle and he takes the Flair turnbuckle bump to be eliminated from the match. He had the Flair hair, boots & tights to match. Beefcake puts the sleeper on Hercules, so Dibiase & Barbarian eliminate them both leaving us with five. Powerslam by Barbarian on Martel and then he hits a headbutt off the top. Barbarian charges in, Martel ducks, hits a dropkick and Barbarian is eliminated.
The final four: Ted Dibiase, Big Jon Studd, Akeem and Rick Martel. Martel charges at Akeem, he catches Martel and throws him out to eliminate him. Studd fights off both heels as best he can. Akeem splashes him in the corner. He does it again except this time Dibiase accidentally goes in front of him. Studd comes out of the corner and clubs Akeem in the back, sending him over the top. We’re down to two. Dibiase pleads with him, telling him he’ll give him some money. Studd overpowers him in the corner. His offense isn’t very impressive and he has very limited mobility. He did bust out a butterfly suplex that surprised me. There was even a Gutwrench suplex that looked stiff as hell. Clothesline by Studd and Studd tosses out Dibiase to win. That was an anticlimactic ending. Post match, Studd beat Virgil up too.
Winner: Big John Studd
The match ended at 64:53. The intervals were a legitimate two minutes this time.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS on the Royal Rumble match
– I forgot how immobile Big John Studd was. I don’t think he took very many bumps here. It’s like he was standing up straight the whole time. The last ten minutes really sucked in terms of quality, largely because of him.
– Hogan was great here. And I don’t love Hogan, but I have to give him props. He had a lot of energy and the match was way better when he was in it. When he left it got worse.
– Savage was the WWF Champion, yet he only eliminated two guys. They didn’t book him strong enough. I understand that most of the eliminations were done by the big guys, but this is your champion. You need to make him look better. The accidental elimination by Hogan was good. You could see both sides of it and I liked hearing the announcers bicker about it.
– I never really noticed it until here, but they really made Terry Taylor aka The Red Rooster into a Ric Flair knockoff. The hair, the tights, having “RR” on his boots (Flair always had “RF” on his) and he even did the Flair flop to get eliminated. Of course, calling a guy “The Red Rooster” was ridiculously stupid.
– I always have been and always will be a huge Andre The Giant fan. I can’t explain it except to say that he entertained me so much when I was little. You just marveled at how big he was. Sometimes workrate doesn’t matter. You just have to look at the entertainment value. To me, Andre’s one of the best entertainers ever in wrestling history.
FACTS & OPINIONS about the Royal Rumble match
Person that lasted the longest: Mr. Perfect at 27:58
Most Eliminations: Hulk Hogan with 10.
Best Performers (3): Hulk Hogan – He really performed well in terms of eliminating guys as well as furthering the angle with Savage.
Mr. Perfect – He didn’t do anything special, but he was in there the longest and took some great bumps to make others look good. I mean, come on, he did a flip after taking an Andre headbutt. That’s talent.
Andre The Giant – Because seeing him try to move fast when the snake was in there was hilarious!
Best Elimination: The Warlord going out in two seconds is a classic. I have to give it to that.
Match Rating: **1/2 The last ten minutes were not that interesting, so that hurt the match, but it was fine for the most part. When Hogan and Savage were in there the heat was through the roof.
Big John Studd celebrated the win. There was also a video that showed photos of the event. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: They didn’t do much with Studd after this. Instead of featuring in a WrestleMania 5 match, he was the referee for the Andre/Jake match at WrestleMania 5. Winning the Rumble did not get a title shot for a wrestler until a few years after this.
(I wonder if they regret putting over Studd in this match? Most likely. It really didn’t lead to anything. Studd won a lot of battle royals in this era, so I guess that’s why he was the chosen one here. If they weren’t going to go with Hogan or Savage then pick somebody else with a brighter future instead of a bigger guy that wasn’t going to be used that much in the future. The choice for Studd was likely because they wanted a babyface winner, so that’s why it wasn’t a guy like Perfect or Dibiase even though they were bigger stars than Studd was.)
This event had a runtime of 2:34:36 on WWE Network.
Show rating (out of 10): 4.5
This was a bad show, but it’s the first time they did the Rumble as a PPV, so it’s historical for that reason. The Royal Rumble match was interesting during some parts like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were in there. You can just tell how much the crowd was into the angle. I thought the opening six-man tag team match was pretty good with Bret Hart really busting his ass to carry it. The other matches were just okay. The Super Posedown angle was very boring.
Best Match: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) vs. Dino Bravo and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Ray and Jacques Rougeau) (*** out of 5)
Worst Match: Rockin’ Robin vs. Judy Martin (*1/2)
Five Stars Of The Show
- Hulk Hogan
- Bret Hart
- Mr. Perfect
- Jim Duggan
- King Haku
Check out the WWE Royal Rumble review archive right here.
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