Every Man For Himself. That’s what the Royal Rumble match is all about and this year is no different. This is the first pay per view of the 90’s and it features every big star of the WWE. I love the Royal Rumble match, its probably the one I look forward to the most every year. It’s fast paced, you get guys going at it that you wouldn’t usually see and you can never call what is going to happen.
The last Pay Per View was Survivor Series 89 and the biggest news since then is that Demolition lost their tag team titles to The Colossal Connection, Haku & Andre The Giant. Both men holding their first titles since joining the WWE. Ultimate Warrior is still the Intercontinental champion and has had his problems with Dino Bravo as of late. Aside from those, Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri have had their differences with Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire. So lets’ get to it.
Vince McMahon gives us a run down of some of the participants in the Royal Rumble which include Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, Andre The Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Rick Martel, Rick Rude, Mr Perfect, Demolition, Jake The Snake Roberts, Dusty Rhodes, Earthquake, Ted Dibiase and Hulk Hogan. There are also four other matches tonight so plenty to look forward to. We’re then greeted by Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura who will be calling the action tonight. I am a Schiavone mark so good news for me!
The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond) vs. The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch)
The Rougeaus entrance music is awesome. “All American Boys” would piss everybody right off seeing as though they’re Canadian. Jacques is sporting a beard for this one, an interesting change in look. The Bushwhackers made their trademark entrance and this rematch from Wrestlemania V is on. Remember it was The Bushwhackers that won the last PPV confrontation. The feud continued through Survivor Series where both teams were on opposite sides. Neither team got the upper hand in that one though. It’s Raymond and Butch that start the match and straight away The Rougeaus try a double team but Luke foils that plan. Butch bites Raymond and the referee and all hell breaks loose! All four men in the ring and The Bushwhackers try for the Battering Ram but the Rougeaus scarper.
It’s Jacques and Luke in the ring now. I’m a big Jacques fan. He’s chats a lot of crap in the ring and now gets bitten by Luke! Butch and Luke both in now and the crowd go crazy for these guys. The Rougeaus are outside again regrouping, getting some advice from Jimmy Hart. Danny Davis is the referee for this one and since going back to being a referee has called everything down the middle. He doesn’t see some double teaming from Raymond and Jacques though and for the first time in the match The Rougeaus have the advantage. Classic double teaming behind the referees back. The first near fall of the match goes to Jacques Rougeaus. Raymond tagged in and hits his trademark side kick. Raymond is a better wrestler but doesn’t have the charisma of his brother. The Rougeaus continue their advantage but the crowd are right behind The Bushwhackers.
The Bushwhackers haven’t won on pay per view since their win over The Rougeaus at Wrestlemania. The Rougeaus picked up a big win at Summerslam in a six man tag so both teams could do with the win. Lots of double teaming from The Rougeaus now as both men drop Luke with a stomach breaker. Jacques locks in an abdominal stretch now on Luke. Generally as matches in the WWE have got longer we see more of these rest holds. A reverse chinlock from Raymond now keeps Luke grounded and unable to tag. Some quick tags between The Rougeaus brothers eventually backfires and Butch makes the tag! The hot tag gets a good reaction and Butch takes out everybody. Now all four men are in the ring and The Rougeaus are Irish whipped into one another. The Bushwhackers set up for The Battering Ram but Jimmy Hart grabs the leg. Hart gets dragged into the ring and the crowd explodes! The Rougeaus make the save though and send Luke to the outside. But as The Rougeaus turn their back on The Bushwhackers it gives them chance to hit The Battery Ram! Butch pins Jacques for the three count!
A fun match to start the show with between two lower card teams. I’m suprised to see The Bushwhackers beat The Rougeaus on PPV twice in a year. But it gets the crowd going for the rest of the night. Not a technical masterpiece but a nice way to start the night.
Backstage to Mene Gene who is with Ted Dibiase and Virgil. Dibiase doesn’t seem happy, apparently there’s a lot more security these evening so Ted can’t buy a number. Virgil drew Dibiase’s number and Ted isn’t happy. He pulled out number one! He’s angry but still confident that he’ll go the whole way!
The Genius vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
The Genius treats us to a poem which basically tells us that Beefcake is double dumb. That he might be, but Brutus is on a great roll at the moment. Since last years Royal Rumble he’s drawn with Ted Dibiase at Wrestlemania, won in the main event of Summerslam and was a survivor in his match at Survivor Series. Tonight he faces The Genius, a man who talked smack about Beefcake before his match at Summerslam. Genius offers his hand to Brutus but The Barber declines. The Genius scarpers to the outside and cartwheels before sliding back into the ring and the match finally gets underway. Both men try to out-camp each other now much to the crowds delight. This is The Genius in-ring PPV debut. He hits a big right hand on Beefcake that looks and sounds painful. Beefcake with an atomic drop and once again The Genius goes to the outside. Very reminiscent of his brother Randy Savage.
Another collar and elbow tie up and Genius goes to the eyes. He has the advantage for a short while until he misses a dropkick. Brutus always has cool wrestling gear. And he has the upper hand until The Genius goes to the outside again. Back in the ring again now and he hits a couple of headbutts and kicks and a big dropkick. Another eye gouge and a near fall keeps Genius on top. He follows that up with a bodyslam but gets caught coming off the second roe. Damien Sandow is very much in the mold of The Genius. Beefcake with a body slam now and he motions for The Sleeper and then locks it on! But The Genius got out of it! He tries for a headlock but Beefcake pushes him off and into the referee! The ref goes down and Beefcake locks in The Sleeper again! The Genius is out but there is no referee to call it! Beefcake grabs his scissors and starts taking chunks out of The Genius’ hair! But in comes Mr Perfect who takes down Beefcake. He nails a Perfect-plex and wakes up The Genius but the bell rings and it’s a disqualification!
Perfect grabs a chair and Genius holds Brutus as Perfect brutally attacks him with the chair. Wrestlemania build? Perfect looks happy with his work and leaves as The Fink announces that this match is a double disqualification! Not a lot of chemistry in this match and it was very stop/start but I guess it served the purpose of developing the Perfect/Beefcake feud.
Backstage to Sean Mooney who is stood by with the Heenan family. Bobby Heenan is with new tag team champions Andre The Giant and Haku as well as “Ravishing” Rick Rude. Heenan says everyone is happy with their numbers. Mooney tries to stir it up asking what happens if it comes down to any of these guys. They all leave arguing.
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin – Submission Match
Well this feud has been going for a long time now. Garvin was the referee for Valentines match at Summerslam and the two men were on opposing sides at Wrestlemania. Valentine looks like he’s just got out of bed. Ronnie has the advantage in the early going, hitting right, lefts and headbutts on The Hammer. He then goes for a pin but the referee reminds him that they don’t count in this one. Two of the more boring superstars in the WWE at this point. Valentine hits some chops in the corner and Garvin replies with some of his own. Valentine retreats to the outside, continuing the theme for this pay per view. Back in the ring and both men try some jabs, almost like a boxing match. Garvin is still looking for his first pay per view win. Valentine looking for his first since Summerslam. The Hammer with some more jabs now and Garvin with some of his own which results in both men hitting the canvas.
Rugged Ronnie setting up for a piledriver but Greg reverses it. Both men keeps going for pinfalls but it’s a submission match! Valentine sets up for the figure four but Garvin sends him into the turnbuckle and tries to roll him up. It’s like nobody has told these guys it’s a submissions match. Greg locks on the figure four now and Garvin smiles and no sells it! Blowing raspberry at him! Which apparently is because of his Hammer Jammer, a shinguard that keeps The Hammer from locking on the figure four. Garvin with the comeback now, hitting some big chops, rights, lefts and headbutts. Garvin with a leg lock that Ventura describes as an Indian Deathlock but Greg grabs the ropes. He rolls to the outside and drags Ronnie out with him. The two men go at it on the outside and Garvin once again tries for a piledrives but Valentine back body drops him.
Back in the ring and it’s back and forth with no man able to get the advantage for too long. It ends with both men falling to the canvas and Jimmy Hart takes off the Hammer Jammer from Garvins ankle! The beginning of the end for the Rugged one? Backbreaker from Valentine and then he locks in the figure four! Ronnie sells it this time but he manages to reverse it! The hold is broken and I’m starting to wonder when this will ever end. Valentine tries another figure four and this time Garvin rolls him up into a small package. Smart. I dislike both of these guys. Greg up top now and Ronnie throws him across the ring. Garvin takes off Valentines shin guard and Valentine rolls him up. Jesus Christ. This hasn’t been the worst match in the world but totally spoilt by all these dumb pinfall attempts. Ronnie smashes Valentine in the face with his shinguard which isn’t a disqualification and then he locks in a sharpshooter! Valentine taps out and Ronnie Garvin wins the match!
Well that should be the end of that feud. I don’t like either of those guys but to be fair they had quite an entertaining match, a match spoilt by so many pinfall attempts.
Backstage to Mene Gene Okerland who is stood by with Mr Perfect. Gene asks him about why he attacked Beefcake. Perfect is sick and tired of Brutus Beefcake putting people to sleep and taking advantage of them. Sounds like a rohypnol joke. Perfect says he drew the perfect number, #30.
The Brother Love Show
Brother Love in the ring now and he’s talking about the definition of the word “Lady”. Which is a woman of class, finesse and beauty. Brother Love says that these words all describe sister Queen Sensational Sherri who promptly comes out to Randy Savage’s music. Sherri comes out and thanks Brother Love who then describes the word “Peasant”. Throwing words out like “Ugly” and “Overweight” before introducing Dusty Rhodes manager Sapphire. Sapphire who was in the crowd at Survivor Series comes out dancing to Dusty Rhodes music in polka dots. Love and Sherri start by slating Sapphires clothes. They don’t let her get a word and Sherri continues the abuse. It’s almost a little awkward. Again, Brother Love asks Sapphire a question but doesn’t let her answer. There are more fat jokes aimed at both Dusty and Sapphire. Eventually Sapphire slaps Sherri much to the crowds delight and then out comes Savage and Rhodes. Savage attacks Rhodes, hitting the double axe handle to the outside, then Sapphire jumps on Randys back. Love pulls Sapphire off and referees break it all up. Rhodes then chases Brother Love and slams him in the ring before holding him for Sapphire who slaps him! Rhodes disposes of the preacher man and “Common Man” echos around the arena.
Backstage to Sean Mooney and Jim Duggan now. Duggan goes up against The Big Boss Man next and he says this is the land of the free and he’ll be giving The Boss Man a hard time.
The Big Boss Man vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
The Boss Man comes out to new entrance music with his manager Slick. Duggan follows with no entrance music. These two men were on opposite teams at Summerslam and it was Duggans team that came out on top in that one. The two brawlers go right at it in this one and it looks like The Boss Man has lost a lot of weight. It’s an explosive start to the match as both men take it to the outside. It’s back and forth as both men fly into the ringposts. Back in the ring and Duggan hits a few punches and throws Boss Man into the corner. Back and forth and Boss Man hits an enzeguri much to the suprise of everyone. He keeps the advantage for a while but Duggans shouts of “Hoooooo” help get the crowd behind him. With the referees back turned Slick chokes Duggan with a chain. Duggan looks crazed as he gets back up to his feet. The crowd cheer for Duggan to get up and he does but soon gets put back down courtesy of a knee from The Boss Man.
It’s all been Boss Man since the match begun really. He gets his first near fall of the match and Hacksaw once again tries to mount a comeback but to no avail. He gets locked in a bearhug and the crowd chants “Hooooooo”. Jim gets to the ropes which breaks the hold. Both men slug it out as they get to their feet and Duggan clotheslines Boss Man to the outside. Back in the ring and it’s back and forth. Duggan shoves the referee as he breaks it up in the corner. Boss Man clotheslines Duggan down to the canvan and then goes up top. He attempts a splash and Hacksaw slides out of the way! As they get up to their feet Slick holds Duggan! Boss Man tries for a clothesline but misses Duggan and hits his own manager! With that Boss Man grabs the nightstick and hits Hacksaw with it but the referee sees it and disqualifies the law enforcer!
After the match Duggan cleans house with his 2×4 much to the crowds delight! Boss Man almost hits Duggan with a flying chair and then heads to the back. USA chants break out as Duggan grabs his American flag and waves it around.
Backstage to some of the participants in the Royal Rumble now. Jimmy Hart is happy with the numbers for Dino Bravo and Earthquake. Bravo wants to eliminate Warrior and nobody is safe from The Earthquake! Demolition are happier with their numbers this year and Bad News Brown is confident too. Dusty Rhodes has some words for Randy Savage and says that he’ll be throwing him out. The Rockers are excited and especially want to take out The Powers of Pain. Hercules is ready to rumble and says he’s going to win this “rumble royal”. Rick Martel says nobody is going to touch his beautiful face and Tito Santana says he has a lot of friends but tonight it doesn’t matter. Jimmy Snuka compares the Royal Rumble to fishing with sharks whilst Slick says Akeem is the biggest and baddest man in the rumble. Ultimate Warrior is confident, I think, it’s always hard to understand what he means. Warrior says Hulk Hogan walks around with a different force field around him.
Randy Savage now and he says he can’t just concentrate on Dusty Rhodes, he wants to beat everyone. The Powers of Pain are happy with their numbers and don’t say much. Jake Roberts cuts a very cool promo saying he’ll be a hungry man. The man who wins this will be the man who will do anything and that sounds like himself. Jim Neidhart gets worked up and Bret Hart says they’re ready to go the distance. Honky Tonk Man is looking forward to playing all his hits, all 29 of them. Hulk Hogan is ready for the Royal Rumble and says that you should expect the unexpected. He says Hulkamania is at its peak and it doesn’t matter if it’s Dino Bravo, Hercules, Ultimate Warrior or Mr Perfect, he’s going to show the whole world that there’s nobody more powerful than Hulk Hogan.
The 1990 Royal Rumble Match
It’s now time for the Royal Rumble match! Potentially my favourite match of the year. As we know, Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase is the #1 entrant, going form #30 last year to #1. #2 is then Koko B Ware who appears on pay per view for the first time since last years Royal Rumble match. Dibiase attacks Koko before the bell and the match is underway. Ted throws Koko from one side of the ring to the other but Koko comes back into it, hitting a dropkick and a few jabs, taking the Million Dollar Man down. The Birdman then tries a clothesline but Ted ducks it and backdrops Koko out of the match! Dibiase waits for the next guy who turns out to be Marty Jannetty of The Rockers who gets a big reaction, lots of screaming fans. Jannetty hits some big dropkicks but Dibiase slows the match back down with a big boot then a clothesline. Back and forth for thirty second and Jannetty tries a cross body but Dibiase ducks and Jannetty goes flying over the top rope, eliminating himself!
#4 now and the crowd go nuts as Jake Roberts music hits. Roberts is the first man to have appeared in all three Royal Rumble matches. These guys have been feuding for nearly a year now. Dibiase meets him outside the ring and bodyslams Roberts onto the mat. Roberts rams him into the steel post and throws him back into the ring. It’s advantage Roberts now as he motions for the DDT. but can’t hit it. #5 comes out and it’s The Macho King Randy Savage. We’ve got three men in for the first time this match. Dibiase and Savage double team Roberts which is amazing when you consider the history between the two. #6 and it’s “Rowdy” Roddy Piper! Piper come sin and saves Roberts like a mad man. The crowd go nuts as these four men go at it. Four great workers in the ring at one time. All on the cusp of the main event. #7 out now and it’s The Warlord. He comes in and goes after Jake the Snake then Piper. Savage and Dibiase try to eliminate Roberts with Virgil and Sensational Sherri watching from the outside.
#8 is Bret Hart, another great worker. He goes after Dibiase who accidentally hits Savage. All six men go at it for a while without any eliminations. #9 then comes out and it’s Bad News Brown who comes out to boos. He goes after old rival Bret Hart as Roberts and Dibiase still go at it. Roberts goes for the DDT but Savage saves him, clotheslining Roberts over the top rope and out of the match! A shake of hands between the two old enemies. Bad News Brown goes after Dibiase now. #10 and the crowd erupt as Dusty Rhodes comes out and unsuprisingly goes straight after The Macho King, eliminating the former World Heavyweight Champion! Next out in #11 and it’s Andre The Giant! Last year he eliminated himself, who can get the big man out this year? It’s The Warlord that goes after him and then gets thrown out by The Giant! Heenan and Fuji go at it on the outside now!
As Dibiase and Bad News Brown try to eliminate Bret Hart on one side of the ring, Piper and Rhodes go after Andre on the other. #12 and out comes The Red Rooster. Piper then eliminates Bad News Brown and Brown jumps up and eliminates Piper back! Both men are out and brawl all the way back to the dressing rooms! So in the ring we have Bret Hart, Dusty Rhodes, Andre The Giant, The Red Rooster and The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase is still in there form the number one spot. Unlucky #13 next and it’s Ax of Demolition. He goes straight after Andre The Giant who just eliminated The Red Rooster. Dusty and Ax tie Andre up in the ropes whilst Bret Hart has Ted Dibiase teetering. #14 now and it’s Andre’s partner and co-tag team champion, Haku. He goes after the former champion Ax and then Dusty Rhodes. It’s actually Haku’s debut in a Royal Rumble match having worked on the undercard at the last two Royal Rumble PPVs. Dusty takes him down with some jabs.
Both Jim Duggan and John Studd aren’t in this match so we know that we’ll have a new winner. Could it be #15? It’s Smash of Demolition who comes in and helps out Ax with Andre The Giant. Demolition and The Colossal Connection go at it on one side of the ring. #16 now and it’s Akeem who was in the final 3 last year. Under the Akeem and One Man Gang monikers, he has appeared in all three Royal Rumbles. We have 8 men in the ring which is the most so far this Rumble but not for long as Demolition eliminate Andre The Giant! And Dusty Rhodes has eliminated Bret Hart! #17 is “Superfuly” Jimmy Snuka making his Royal Rumble debut and he gets a good reaction. Akeem goes after him but Snuka eliminates him! That’s Akeems worst showing in a Royal Rumble. I would have liked to see The African Dream and American Dream go at it. Snuka and Haku hit a double headbutt on Smash. That’s going to hurt.
#18 out and it’s Dino Bravo. Bravo and Haku go at it as Demolition take it to Ted Dibiase who has been in there for a long time. Bravo was in the last 3 of the Royal Rumble in 1988. #19 is his buddy Earthquake who goes straight after Dusty Rhodes and eliminates The American Dream! He then eliminates Ax! Haku and Earthquake now go toe to toe. Haku is a tough guy. So we’ve got Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Jimmy Snuka, Ted Dibiase, Smash and Haku in there. And they are joined by the #20 entrant Jim Neidhart. Neidhart, Smash, Haku, Snuka and Dibiase all team up to eliminate Earthquake! Realistically, Dibiase is the only man you could see winning this at the moment. #21 is The Ultimate Warrior and the whole place explodes! He goes after Dino Bravo and eliminates him quickly! Warrior and Smash now go at it before the Intercontinental champion turns his attention to Ted Dibiase.
#22 is Rick “The Model” Martel. One of my favourites here, he was in the final four last year. He goes after Smash who has been in there for a while now. Haku then eliminates Smash! #23 is Tito Santana who obviously goes right for Martel. Santana is one of three men who has been in all three Royal Rumble matches. Warrior with a high paced clothesline on Haku. Neidhart still in there keeping fairly quiet as he gets into it with Haku. Dibiase and Snuka rekindle their rivalry from Summerslam as they trade blows in the corner. Honky Tonk Man draws #24 and comes out to boos. Him and Warrior get into it before Snuka drags Honky away. Warrior and Martel eliminate Jim Neidhart. And then The Ultimate Warrior eliminates The Million Dollar Man! Dibiase is out of here having been in since the very beginning. He lasted 45 minutes, a new record. #25 is Hulk Hogan! The crowd go mad for Hogan who comes in and eliminates Jimmy Snuka! It’s Haku that has been in there the longest now and Hulk boots him out of the ring too. The Warrior then eliminates Tito Santana. Warrior and Martel go at it on one side whilst Hogan and Honky Tonk Man go at it on the other.
Honky chokes Hogan with his own t shirt whilst Warrior slams Martels head off the turnbuckle. #26 is Shawn Michaels of The Rockers and Hogan eliminates The Honky Tonk Man. Warrior then eliminates Michaels and Martel! We’ve just got Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior! The crowd go nuts as the two heavyweights stare each other down. They go toe to toe but neither man will budge. We have a criss cross, which I hate and eventually both men clothesline each other. With both men down, #27 comes out and it’s The Barbarian. He eliminated Brutus Beefcake and Hercules last year. Rick Rude suddenly comes darting into the ring. There was no count! He goes after The Ultimate Warrior, presumably as #28. Rude and The Warrior have had such a good feud and an awesome match at Summerslam last year. This is Rick Rudes first Royal Rumble match, he and Warrior actually had a posedown at last years Royal Rumble event.
The Barbarian and Rick Rude have The Ultimate Warrior teetering now and Hogan double clothesline both men which sends Warrior over the top rope and out of the match! #29 now and it’s Hercules! Hercules helps out Hulk Hogan and all four men in the ring are still quite fresh. Hogan and The Barbarian go at it, continuing their rivalry from Survivor Series. Rick Rude and Hercules go at it in the other corner. And finally we have #30 and it’s Mr Perfect! We have the final five who are Hulk Hogan, Mr Perfect, Rick Rude, Hercules and The Barbarian. The Barbarian accidentally boots Rick Rude and then Hercules eliminates him!
Hogan, Perfect, Rude and Hercules remain. Perfect hits a dropkick on Hercules then Rude eliminates him with a clothesline! Perfect and Rude double team Hogan and Rude accidentally hits Perfect sending him to the apron. Hogan then throws Rude into the ropes as Perfect is holding on and Rude goes flying over the top! We’re down to Perfect and Hogan! Two men who made their name in AWA. Perfect with a Perfect-plex to Hogan and Hogan Hulks up! Big comeback from The Hulkster who grabs Perfect and throws him over the top rope for the victory! World Wrestling Federation champion Hulk Hogan wins the Royal Rumble and celebrates as Real American rings out. A really good Rumble, enjoyable from start to finish and one that integrated the rivalries better than the previous two.
A great way to start the 1990’s with this pay per view. It felt like it had a lot of stars on it between Hogan, Warrior, Dibiase, Piper, Savage, Andre, Rhodes, Roberts and so on. As well as upcoming stars like Michaels and Bret Hart. The Royal Rumble match itself was very well booked and I really marked when it was Savage, Piper, Roberts and Dibiase. The undercard wasn’t too inspiring but the matches weren’t awful. Valentine and Garvin put on a much better match than I thought they would. The Bushwhackers and Rougeaus was comedy relief and The Boss Man/Duggan match was fairly solid. Genius and Beefcake served their purpose developing the Brutus/Perfect feud. There are a lot of good rivalries in the WWE at this point and you can start to see the Wrestlemania card take shape.
Overall 56/100 (Ranked #2 out of 15)