The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1990
by Scott Keith on January 5, 2012

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1990.

- Live from Orlando, Florida.

- Your hosts are Tony Skee-A-Vone and the Governor of Minnesota.

- Opening match: The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. The Bushwhackers.

Jacques is sporting a beard here. The Rougeaus were basically retired at this point and this is a one-shot comeback to put over the Sheepwhackers. We get the SEVEN MINUTE STALL OF DOOM to start, then a comedy segment as the Rougeau’s tactics backfire and the ‘Whackers start biting people in the ass. That beard really doesn’t work on Jacques. And the Rougeaus are being made to look like idiots, with all the heel tactics going wrong. More stalling. But alas, Luke gets caught in the corner and choked out. More stalling. Sadly, I can tell that the Rougeaus are dogging it, but I can’t tell if the Sheepwhackers are trying or if they just suck that bad. (2012 Scott sez:  They suck that bad.)  Luke takes a couple of decent bumps to bring it out of negative stars. You know the heels have it in neutral when Raymond forgoes the savate kick-abdominal stretch double-team in favor of simply punching the guy. Luke makes the hot tag to Butch, and Jacques bumps like a madman (hoping to win a singles push, I’d guess). Jimmy Hart gets involved and allows the Rougeaus a comeback. But while Raymond comforts Jacques after a bump, the Bushwhackers hit the battering ram and get the pin. Ugly comedy match. DUD

- Mean Gene accuses Dibiase of rigging the draw in 1989, and then the hand of irony interjects itself as Dibiase reveals that he drew #1 this year. Wow, continuity and stuff. (2012 Scott sez:  These days I can barely remember who WON the Rumble the year before.) 

- The Genius v. Brutus Beefcake.

Someone should really publish a book of Poffo’s poetry. This is a couple of weeks after Poffo’s glorious victory over Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event. Stalling a go-go. The sad thing is that Poffo is one of the most talented guys in the business and he doesn’t need to resort to that sort of thing. This match, of course, was meant to transfer the heat on Mr. Perfect from Hogan to Beefcake. Poffo does the most melodramatic atomic drop sell I’ve ever seen, working in three rolls. I kid you not. Poffo has to play it gay to stay in character, which means lots of eye-scratching, back-scratching, and cartwheels. More stalling from Poffo. I wonder if Lanny Poffo was the inspiration for Johnny B Badd? Genius gets about an 8 on the Fag-O-Meter at any given time, so it’s not out of the question. Poffo gets a long stretch of token jobber offense in (kick, punch, slam) but Beefcake catches him coming off the top rope and quickly hooks a the sleeper…but Poffo escapes and causes a ref bump. A ref bump in a LANNY POFFO MATCH? I’d be flattered if I was Poffo. And now of course Beefcake gets the sleeper, but the ref is out. Beefcake gets his scissors and starts cutting, but Mr. Perfect saves his manager from a haircut. Referee wakes up and calls a no-contest, I guess. Genius and Perfect brutalize Beefcake with a chair. Yeesh, talk about needless overbooking. DUD  (2012 Scott sez:  This of course would never make it past Smackdown today.  Like, a midcarder against a manager on PPV?  Different times, indeed.) 

- Sean Mooney has words with the Heenan Family, and stirs up shit.

- Submission match: Rugged Ronnie Garvin v. Greg Valentine.

Both guys have LOADED SHIN-GUARDS OF DEATH! Stiff shots from both guys in the opening slugfest. We get the inevitable “Pinfall attempt but it’s a submission match” bits to establish the stips for the REALLY dumb people in the audience. (2012 Scott sez:  And I bet some of those people went on to book TNA.)  More slugging and a Garvin headbutt leads to a double-KO. They go through a pinning combo sequence that means nothing because IT’S A SUBMISSION MATCH. The Sledgehammer of Plot is in full effect tonight. Another double knockout. Hammer goes for the figure-four but Garvin pushes him off and cradles him. Duh. Did they forget the stips or something? Hammer takes him down again and slaps on the figure-four (with help from the evil shin-brace) but see, Garvin has his own shin-brace, which counter-acts the evil mojo of Valentine’s, and as a result the figure-four has no effect. Garvin makes faces at Valentine to reinforce the point. Somebody hook me up the guy who delivered the drugs for the bookers for this show, because I’ve GOT to try them. Garvin makes a comeback and applies an Indian deathlock. Jesse makes SKINNY jokes about Tony. About TONY! (2012 Scott sez:  Tony was pretty fat at the point when I was writing this review.)  They fight outside the ring and Valentine backdrops out of a piledriver. Have I mentioned how stupid and AWA-ish it is for Garvin to try to get a submission with a fucking INDIAN DEATHLOCK? Why not try for a pin with a bodyslam, like in the 50s, while we’re at it. Another double KO, and Jimmy Hart slips something into Valentine’s shin-guard, and this time the dreaded SHIN-GUARD OF DOOM is able to overcome Garvin’s Hammer Jammer shin-guard. (2012 Scott sez:  Yeah, the shin-guard had a name, and it was MOTHERFUCKING HAMMER JAMMER, bitch.)  But Ronnie is Rugged, so he reverses the figure-four. Garvin’s shin-guard seems to have disappeared along the way. Garvin keeps trying for the pin. Oh, I see, Hart stole it. Garvin is selling the knee injury well, I’ll give him that. Jimmy Hart gets involved (and beat up) and Garvin is able to whack Valentine with his own shin-guard and apply a sharpshooter for the submission. Silliness of the angle behind it aside, it wasn’t bad for a Garvin match. **1/4

- Curt Hennig gloats about beating up Beefcake, and then gloats because he drew #30 in the Rumble.

- Brother Love gets 20 minutes of PPV time to waste. Special guests: Sapphire and Sherri. Love and Sherri verbally abuse Sapphire until she hauls off and smacks Sherri, and a big brawl with the women, Dusty Rhodes and Randy Savage erupts. Rhodes beats up Brother Love and tosses him. Nice bump from Pritchard.

- Big Bossman v. Hacksaw Duggan.

Slick, nearing the end of his WWF run, doesn’t even get funky. Everything else after this was lame stuff like the Warlord and Power and Glory. (2012 Scott sez:  Power & Glory was pretty awesome, though.)  Bossman shows his improvement by selling like a champ for Duggan’s offense and bumping like a madman. Good for him. I forget the angle behind this, but it probably involves something stolen and a nightstick beating. Bossman pulls out an enzuigiri. Whoa! Bossman lays a beating on Duggan with his usual weak offense. Duggan keeps getting up and Bossman keeps putting him down. Duggan comes back again, clotheslining Bossman over the top rope in another nice bump for Bossman. Duggan comeback stalls again as he misses a blind charge and gets clotheslined. Bossman’s top rope splash misses, however, and we get a double knockout spot. Miscommunication spot between Slick and Bossman, but Bossman still ends up with the nightstick and beats on Duggan for the DQ. Weak ending to a Duggan match that DIDN’T SUCK! Go fig. Duggan cleans house with the 2×4. **1/2 (2012 Scott sez:  Face turn ahoy for Big Bossman!) 

- Pre-Rumble interview medley. Earthquake! Bravo! Ax! Smash! Bad News! Dusty! Shawn! Marty! Hercules! Martel! Santana! Snuka! Akeem! Warrior!

- 5 minute intermission! Oops, got caught up in the excitement there. And why did they take those intermissions, anyway?  (2012 Scott sez:  I think people weren’t really used to a 3 hour show at that point, and the intermission served the same basic purpose as the Divas match today:  Cooling down the crowd before the main event.  Can’t imagine what they’d made of ROH iPPVs today.  4 hours is way too long for a show that’s not Wrestlemania.) 

- Pre-Rumble interview medley: The Sequel. Savage! Warlord! Barbarian! Roberts! Bret! Anvil! Honky Tonk! Hogan! Lessee, with Dibiase, Hennig, Rude, Haku and Andre, that’s still only 27 guys accounted for. Oh, and Piper didn’t get an interview, so that’s 28.

- Royal Rumble:

Dibiase gets #1 of course. Ah, there we go, Koko B Ware got #2. That’s 29 accounted for. Managers are allowed at ringside this year for some reason. Koko has ugly painted on sideburns. Koko does a blind charge and gets backdropped out in short order. Well that was a quick night. Marty Jannetty is #3. He works in the triple somersault clothesline sell 30 seconds in. Dibiase works in his own somersault sell coming off the second rope soon after. Jannetty goes for a cross-body…and goes over the top rope. Two down, 27 to go for Dibiase. Jake Roberts is #4, and I’m pretty sure he’ll last longer. They have an issue, so they fight on the floor and Dibiase gets taken to the post. Dibiase and Roberts get a pretty good little match going as Randy Savage is #5. A three-way between Savage, Dibiase and Roberts? Works for me. Savage and Dibiase pair off against Roberts. Roddy Piper (#6) makes the save and blows the roof off. Piper and Snake clean house. Warlord is #7. Not much of note happens. Bret Hart is #8 and he turns the tide for the faces…and why are they working together, anyway? The “good guys and bad guys” spirit was still very much in effect, even in the every-man-for-himself event. Everyone pairs off. Bret gets Warlord. Bad News Brown is #9 and he goes right after Bret Hart. Roberts goes for a DDT on Dibiase and Savage clotheslines him over the top. Roberts isn’t very good at these things.

Dusty Rhodes is #10 and of course he immediately goes after Savage, and tosses him a few seconds later. If you look fast, you can see referee Shane McMahon telling Savage to go back to the dressing room. Andre the Giant is #11. He knocks Warlord out with one hand. Heenan and Fuji get into a yelling match about it. Andre beats on Piper and Dusty. Terry Taylor (not that other name) is #12. Piper backdrops Bad News out, and Brown pulls Piper out in retaliation. You get a better view of young Shane as they fight back to the dressing room. Andre is whomping Taylor. Demolition Ax is #13. Andre dumps Taylor. Ax and Dusty double-team him. Haku is #14, which puts the tag champs in there together. Dibiase and Bret Hart are having a dandy little match-let over in the corner. And of course, Smash is #15 to give us the Demolition v. Colossal Connection matchup. Nothing noteworthy going on. Akeem is #16. The Demos actually manage to put Andre out! (2012 Scott sez:  That’s pretty awesome, actually, given Andre’s propensity for battle royales.  Of course, his short stay had more to do with not being able to move, but still, way to go Demolition.)  Bret gets knocked out off-camera. Jimmy Snuka is #17. He knocks out the dancing Akeem in short order. Dino Bravo is #18. Man, we need Warrior to clear out some of this deadwood.

The Demos work over Dibiase, who’s been in for more than half an hour. Earthquake is #19 and he gets on my good list by tossing Big Dust. Then Ax. Jim Neidhart is #20 and goes right after Earthquake. Everyone helps out and they alley-oop him over the top. (2012 Scott sez:  There’s some smart booking tonight, with everyone going after the big threats.)  More people beat on Dibiase. Warrior is #21 and watch the bodies fly now. Bravo is gone. Warrior beats on everyone, showing no favorites. Rick Martel is #22. Haku backdrops Smash to the apron, then thrust kicks him to the floor to knock him out. Tito Santana is #23 and goes after Martel, of course. Honky Tonk Man is #24. We’re just lining up the targets for Hogan at this point. Neidhart is knocked out by a double-team effort. Warrior finally knocks Dibiase out after 48 minutes+. And here I thought the Orange Goblin would get the honors. Hogan is #25 and Snuka is right on him. Buh bye, Superfly. Buh bye, Haku. Have a seat, Santana. Shawn Michaels is #26 as Honky is sacrificed to Hogan. Michaels goes bye-bye. Martel is gone via the Warrior, and we’re left with Hogan v. Warrior and 4 guys to go. Shoving match and they do the CRISS-CROSS OF DOOM and damned if the entire arena isn’t standing on their seats. (2012 Scott sez:  I was almost literally pooping my pants in 1990.  POOPING MY PANTS.)  Double KO, which is rudely interrupted by Barbarian at #27.

Rude enters prematurely at #28. Barbarian takes Hulk and Rude takes Warrior. Barbarian and Rude work over Warrior, and Hulk crashes into them, knocking Warrior out. Hercules is #29. Hulk and Herc work over the heels until Hennig’s entrance at #30 to complete the entrants. Herc backdrops Barbarian out. Final four: Hennig, Hogan, Herc and Rude. Rude clotheslines Herc out, leaving Rude and Hennig against Hogan. Hennig ends up on the apron, and as he climbs to his feet, he pulls down the top rope, sending Rude over and out by accident. Hennig beats on Hogan and applies the Perfectplex, which does no good in the context of a battle royale, but Hulk hulks up. Hennig takes his contractually obligated slingshot to the post and Hogan clotheslines the shit out of him and dumps him over the top to win the match. Good Rumble. ****

The Bottom Line: Interesting story: Curt Hennig was booked to win the Rumble for months prior to this, but Hogan vetoed it as usual, because god forbid he should put a worker over. So instead he had to take “last man out” as consolation. And the Intercontinental title later on. At any rate, fast forward through the undercard and catch a great performance from Dibiase, even if the ending does suck.

Mildly recommended.



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