Our road to the 2019 Royal Rumble begins with a look back at the inaugural event!
This was originally not a PPV, but actually a special which aired on the USA Network. It would however, create the 3rd in WWF’s ‘Big 4’ PPV’s and become the annual January tradition that a lot of fans look forward to even more so than WrestleMania. A little known fact is that in late 1987, WWF experimented with the Royal Rumble idea, holding one in St. Louis, Missouri that saw One Man Gang victorious. This is never referred to though, as WWF considers this the first for historical purposes. It’s every man for himself and luck of the draw, let’s get to the action!
Open: Photos featuring all the matchups for tonights event are shown, as Vince McMahon runs down the card that includes the contract signing for the biggest rematch in WWF history between Hulk Hogan & Andre The Giant. In the arena are Vince & Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, there’s no time to waste and we go right to the ring and Howard Finkel.
Match #1: ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
They tie-up and Rude doesn’t hesitate to throw hands, Steamboat fires back with chops and Rude goes to the eyes. He tries to throw Ricky over the top, Steamboat hangs on, skinning the cat back inside and tossing Rude out to the floor. The Ravishing One collects himself, telling the ref Steamboat grabbed the tights back inside. Rude wants a test of strength, stops to have a conversation with the fans at ringside and then they lock hands. Rude gets wrist control, driving The Dragon to his knees. Steamboat to his feet, gets out, taking Rude down with a top wristlock and going into an armbar. The Dragon works over the arm, wrenching at the joint and putting Rude to the canvas.
Rude breaks it with a right hand, into the ropes, Steamboat slides through the legs and gets an armdrag, going back into the armbar. Steamboat relentless on the shoulder joint, Rude with forearms and Ricky fires back with chops. Into the ropes, back and forth and Steamboat with another chop, gaining control over Rude’s arm once more. Rude gets to a vertical base, breaking the hold with boots and right hands. Whips The Dragon in and lands a back elbow, finally getting something going. The Ravishing One smashing Steamboat’s head into the turnbuckles, Rude continuing to hammer away.
In the ropes again, Ricky slides through Rude’s legs and hits another armdrag, grabbing an armbar and driving his knee into the shoulder. Rude gets to his feet, sending Steamboat into the ropes and driving an elbow into the chin. More heavy shots from Rude, Steamboat fires back, into the ropes, Rude reverses and drives a knee to the midsection. Steamboat falls out to the floor, Rude giving chase and driving his back into the apron, then slamming Ricky on the floor. Rude drags The Dragon to the apron, bringing him in the hard way with a vertical suplex for a count of 2, then locks in a variation of a Camel Clutch.
The Dragon attempts getting up, but Rude jumps down on the back numberous times. Steamboat gets up again, this time lifting Rude on his shoulders and then dropping him to the mat. Ricky to his feet first, goes for a splash, but Rude gets the knees up, following with an atomic drop for a 2 count. Rude goes back to the Camel Clutch, Steamboat propels him into the corner and then drives his head into the top turnbuckle. The Dragon with a snapmare and a falling chop for 2, Rude goes to the midsection and gets a side headlock takedown, they float over into a bridge and Ricky gains a backslide for a near fall.
He ducks a right, grabs a roll-up for another. Both guys go back and forth with small packages for 2 counts, Rude flooring Ricky with a clothesline for another. Rude attempts a vertical suplex, Steamboat blocks and hits one of his own, then climbs up top. The Dragon jumps off with a crossbody, Rude pulling the referee in front of him and Steamboat takes him out. Rude gets Steamboat up in a Rack, the ref gets to his feet and calls for the bell.
Winner: ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude (Rack)
- After The Bell: Finkel announces that the winner is by disqualification and it’s Ricky Steamboat. Rude hits the ring again after a premature celebration and berates the ref.
Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (Disqualification)
- EA’s Take: Two great workers here, but definitely not as quality of a match as you’d expect. Lots of rest holds and the pace didn’t pick up until the last 15-20 seconds of the match. Rick Rude is easily one of the most underrated WWF Superstars of all-time, after arriving from the NWA in the summer of 1987. No real feud between these two here, as they had limited interactions. Steamboat was one of the company’s hottest babyfaces after his WrestleMania III bout with Randy Savage, but a few weeks after Steamboat asked for time off to be with his wife, who was expecting the birth of their first child. It didn’t sit well with management, as a lot of time had been put into grooming Ricky to be a top babyface. When he would return in late 1987, he was not pushed or really put into any meaningful storylines.
In The Arena: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is with Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura. Tonight, Canadian strongman Dino Bravo will attempt to break the world benchpress record of 705 lbs. They introduce Dino Bravo along with his manager Frenchy Martin. Dino calls it a big challenge, but he feels up to the task. Frenchy says something in French, of course. Ventura goes over some of the technicalities, as Dino goes for a warmup rep at 415 lbs. Dino stops and says it requires total concentration, asking the crowd to be silent. Using Ventura as his spotter, Bravo lifts it and reps it with no problems. They rip through 505, 555, 595 and 655. The crowd keeps making noise and Bravo feigns leaving with 715 lbs. Dino comes back and attempts it, Ventura helps Bravo get it up and they proclaim it legit.
- EA’s Take: I know they were trying to gain heat for the newly repackaged Dino Bravo, but this was just brutally long. The fans were clapping in support of him breaking the record, until he walked off. Dino would return to singles competition when his alliance with Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine as The Dream Team was phased out, joining up with his new manager Frenchy Martin as the French-Canadian Strongman.
Match #2 for the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championships 2/3 Falls: WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin & Leilani Kai) w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Toteno & Itsuki Yamazaki)
The bell rings and The Angels hit the The Glamour Girls with dropkicks. Noriyo & Leilani are left in the ring, Noriyo missing another dropkick as Leilani hangs onto the ropes. Leilani tosses her across the ring by the hair and then drives her into Martin’s knee before she tags in. Martin with a slam, covering and Noriyo bridges out, grabbing a roll-up for 2. Itsuki tags, sends Martin into the ropes and hits a rolling headbutt, followed by a piledriver. Noriyo back in, she gets taken to the ground, but grabs a body scissors.
Martin fights out of it, Noriyo attempts a crossbody and gets caught, then dropped to the canvas. Martin misses an elbow drop, then quickly crawls over and tags Leilani. She enters and takes a knee out of the ropes, Itsuki back in with a flying forearm and a dropkick. The Angels strike back and forth in the corner, Itsuki covering a count of 2, then lock in an octopus stretch. Martin comes in the ring to try and break it, but kicks her own partner. Noriyo back in to deliver a dropkick to Martin, then we get synchronized figure four’s from The Angels. The legal participants are left in the ring, Itsuki breaks the hold and wishbones Leilani’s legs, then tags Noriyo. She comes in and cross the legs, grabbing a modified surfboard.
Itsuki back in, she continues to work the leg, Martin comes in to help her partner and they pull on Leilani by her hands and legs. Martin is dropped to the mat and rolls outside going back to the apron, Leilani crawls to try and tag, finally making it. Martin fires a kick to the midsection, whips Noriyo into the corner and she hops on the turnbuckle, putting the boots up to a charging Martin. Judy catches the feet, pulling Noriyo off the turnbuckle and slamming her to the mat. She delivers a shot to Itsuki on the apron, whips Noriyo into the ropes and Leilani with a cheap shot from the apron. Martin plants Itsuki with a reverse powerbomb, covers and gets the first fall.
First Fall: The Glamour Girls
Martin tosses Itsuki by the hair, putting her in the wrong part of town, then whips her into the ropes for a flying forearm and a count of 1. She slams Itsuki, attempts a splash and misses, allowing Noriyo to tag in and hit a dropkick. Into the ropes, Noriyo with a jumping clothesling, heads to the 2nd rope and connects with another for a near fall. She hits the ropes, landinga crossbody for another 2, then tags Itsuki for a double team suplex. Martin enters the ring to break it up, but gets caught and The Angels attempt to whips The Glamour Girls into one another. The Angels stop short, Glamour Girls charging with clotheslines and end up hitting one another. Order is restored and Leilani flattens Itsuki, lifts her to her shoulder, Itsuki rolls through into a pin and picks up a 3 count.
Second Fall: The Jumping Bomb Angels
The Angels rush Leilani and deliver double knees, then a double clothesline before the ring clears to a one on one situation. Itsuki with a running knee, but Leilani uses her size to force Itsuki into her corner and Martin makes a tag. Into the ropes, Martin catches a kick attempt, Itsuki countering with an enzuigiri and Noriyo enters. Noriyo attempts a fisherman suplex, Martin counters and drives a knee to the midsection, then whips Noriyo hard into the corner. Martin charges, Noriyo hops up and over, grabbing a backslide, but Martin rolls through. Judy grabs the legs, catapulting Noriyo into her corner and tagging out.
Leilani wrenches the neck, then stomps away at Noriyo and hangs her across the top rope by the hair. Double underhook suplex plants Noriyo and Leilani gets a count of 2. Leilani maintains the advantage, Martin in off the tag with a big boot that sends Noriyo into a tag. Itsuki comes in and is immediately tossed across the ring by the hair, then distracts the ref for Leilani to get in an illegal choke. Leilani makes a cover for multiple 1 counts, sends Itsuki in for a double axe handle and it’s blocked. She drops Leilani keyster first on the canvas a couple times and gets a 2 count. She tosses Leilani into her own corner, then brings Martin in the hard way and tags Noriyo.
She climbs upstairs, Itsuki with a slam and Noriyo follows off the top with a knee drop for 2. Noriyo hits a double underhook suplex into a bridge, gaining another 2 count, then brings Itsuki back in for a crossbody and another 2. Martin is slammed to the mat, Itsuki comes off the 2nd rope with a senton and misses, Martin covering and only getting 2. Itsuki with a leg takedown, Noriyo with the tag and a 2nd rope clothesline, but Leilani breaks up the pinfall. The ref’s tied up with Leilani, The Angels climb opposing turnbuckles and hit a tandem dropkick for the 1-2-3.
Winners and NEW WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions: The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo/Tandem Top Rope Dropkick)
- EA’s Take: The crowd was quite into this contest and a lot of the style of The Angels is ahead of it’s time, however the pacing of the contest was a bit too hectic at times. Women’s wrestling isn’t quite as clean and smooth as the men at this point, it would take a number of years for it to get to that point. The WWF Women’s Tag Team Titles are a forgotten relic in the annals of WWE history and this is the last major appearance they’d ever see. The Glamour Girls would go on to regain the championships in June before the titles were dropped completely in early 1989.
Video: Footage from WrestleMania III is shown, when Andre The Giant took on Hulk Hogan for the WWF Heavyweight Championship. At one point, Hogan attempted to slam Andre, but The Giant’s weight came crashing down onto the champion for what some claim was a 3 count. ‘The Million Dollar Man’ has plans to buy the championship, but Hulk Hogan refused to sell it. DiBiase promises to get what he wants, no matter the cost. Andre would accept DiBiase’s offer, attacking the champion on Saturday Night’s Main Event. The Giant has agreed to hand the title over.
In The Ring: It’s time for the contract signing for the biggest rematch in history, as Andre The Giant along with ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase & Virgil make their way to the ring. ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund will oversee the proceedings and he introduces WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan, then WWF President Jack Tunney.Tunney & Hogan sit down at the table, but Andre refuses as Gene urges him to sign the contract. DiBiase gives Andre a few words and he slowly makes his way to the table, staring down the champion. The Giant finally takes a seat, then DiBiase takes the mic and begs Hogan to sign. Hulk appears to be having doubts, but then signs after some more prodding by The Million Dollar Man. Andre reviews the contract and Hulk grows impatient. The Giant finally puts his name on the dotted line and DiBiase tells him to put his ‘stamp of approval on it’. Hogan lunges at DiBiase and Andre grabs the champion, slamming his head into the table.
- EA’s Take: This segment is a stark contrast to the one earlier tonight. Yes, it was also long, but that was supposed to be the effect and it worked perfectly. Even almost 30 years later, you could feel the tension as Hogan’s blood boiled at Andre toying around with him. DiBiase was the perfect foil to add a new layer to the Hulk/Andre rivalry, giving it new life with the ‘purchasing of the title’ story. This contract was signed for a match to come on Saturday Night’s Main Event and would lead to the biggest moment in the shows history.
Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Slamboree 1995 – A Legends’ Reunion
Our weekly Chairshot Classics WCW PPV series continues with Slamboree ’95!
Following a brutally cheesy inaugural Uncensored event in March, what would WCW do to follow-up? Let’s not waste any time and get to the action!
Match #1 for the WCW World Tag Team Championships: The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags) vs. WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) w/Sister Sherri
Jerry Sags makes his way down to the ring by himself at the open. Brian Knobs was previously injured and they’re not sure what his status is. The “Nasty” chants break out for Sags who is by himself. Booker T will start it off for Harlem Heat. He lectures the chanting crowd and rounds the ring. They exchange slaps and strikes, Sags takes the advantage and hits an inside out clothesline. Booker eats turnbuckle, Irish whip and Sags comes in with another big lariat. Stevie rushes the ring, but Sags takes it to both champions with a double DDT.
Sherri is on the apron and she eats a right from the Nasty Boy. Sags sets up a pumphandle slam on Booker and lands it. He makes a cover and Booker kicks out at two. Sags pursues in the corner, but Booker lands a right. The champs double team Sags and Stevie is tagged in. He tries an elbow, but Sags moves. Double leg takedown by Sags and he hits a low blow head butt. Sags sets up again and he drops a leg across the mid section. He makes a cover and Booker T comes in for the save. Scoop slam by Sags and he heads up the turnbuckles. Double ax from the top rope and Booker is forced to make the save once again. Sags tries a cover but Sherri pulls his leg.
Jerry pursues the valet who baits him into a beat down from Stevie Ray. The ref pulls him off and Sags rolls to the floor, where he’s double teamed by Booker and Sherri. Stevie heads out, drives him into the steel and rolls him back into the ring. Double team in the ring by the champs and Booker grabs a reverse chin lock. Back to vertical, Sags tries to go to the eyes but Booker stays in control. He misses an elbow, but with a spin-a-roonie comes back to his feet and hits a heel kick. Tag is made to Stevie, Sags is sent for the ride and he eats a drop kick. Side slam by Stevie and Sags is set up for a senton by Booker. He’s slow to make a cover and Sags gets his shoulder up.
A quick tag is made back to Stevie who lands a leg drop and a big forearm. Another fast tag back to Booker who lifts Sags and sends him to the ropes. Sags reverses a back drop into a piledriver, and finally from the back, here comes a taped up Brian Knobs. Sags makes the hot tag and Knobs cleans house. Scoop slams and back elbows for both. He hits a bulldog on Booker and back drops Stevie over the top. Sherri climbs to the top rope and leaps but Knobs catches her out of the air and drops her hard on the canvass before dumping her to the floor. Knobs tags in Sags, hits a powerslam, Jerry hits a top rope elbow and we have new champs!
Winners and NEW WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Nasty Boys (Sags/Top Rope Elbow Drop)
- After The Bell: The Blue Bloods are standing at the top of the ramp in suits, looking disgusted with the new champions. They seem to want a piece of them, but they shake their heads and head to the back. The Nasty Boys join Eric Bischoff after, and if The Blue Bloods want an opportunity, they’re going to get one.
- EA’s Take: Very good opening match between two teams who are no strangers. The story of Knobs escaping from the back after being kayfabe injured was a nice touch and it popped the crowd when he came rushing down. I continue to respect Sherri’s bumping as a valet. The introduction of The Blue Bloods (Regal and Eaton) will help a pretty thin tag team division.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is joined by Kevin Sullivan. He’ll be facing the man formerly known as The Butcher. He told him not to show up, and he hasn’t slept in the last 5 days. The problem is that ‘The Man With No Name’ still believes in Hulkamania, and he heads for the ring after some deranged musings.
Match #2: Kevin Sullivan vs. The Man With No Name
A brawl breaks out immediately, and a big knee lift sends Sullivan to the floor. TMWNN follows him immediately and continues his assault. Back in the ring, a countoff series of rights is delivered to Sullivan and he gets his eyes rakes. Uppercut by TMWNN and Sullivan eats turnbuckle. A whip to the ropes and TMWNN locks in a sleeper, Sullivan drops to the mat to reverse it and dumps him to the floor. TMWNN hits the steel and they exchange chops. Sullivan is rolled back into the ring, TMWNN takes position in the corner with a splash. Sullivan has a knee driven his neck and gets an eye rake, but he fights back with chops.
It only wakes up TMWNN and he fires back with rights. A big chop between the eyes knocks Sullivan down and he gets a two count. TMWNN sets up for and hits a piledriver. TMWNN is slow to cover and Sullivan barely escapes. He pursues but Sullivan goes to the eyes. TMWNN is smashed into the turnbuckle and dumped outside for a shot on the ring post. Sullivan rakes his back and rolls him back in. TMWNN blocks a chop and fires back. To the ropes they go, TMWNN hits a big lariat. He tries a running splash, but Sullivan moves out of the way. Sullivan sets him up for the tree of woe and he hits a running knee. Double stomp by Sullivan and we have a winner.
Winner: Kevin Sullivan (Devil Stomp)
- After The Bell: A strange voice starts yelling and an image of a creepy man appears on the big screen. He summons Sullivan, but Kevin bails out through the crowd.
- EA’s Take: How many monikers has the man best known as Brutus Beefcake had? Clearly the post-match is planting the seeds for the proper Dungeon of Doom and things are about to get even MORE weird. Hard to imagine after Uncensored, eh?
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined by WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage & Jimmy Hart. They were late showing up tonight because Macho Man was dog paddling from the beach, his dad Angelo was doing the backstroke, and he wishes that he ran into Vader and Flair in the parking lot. With all the power on their side, there is no way they’re making it out alive. Savage says the monster maniacs will not be denied, nothing is raining on their parade. Whatcha gonna do? Ooohhh Yea!
Match #3: Dick Murdoch vs. Wahoo McDaniel
Gordon Solie has joined commentary for this legends match. Both men measure and lock up, McDaniel takes position in the corner and it’s a messy break. Another collar and elbow, McDaniel with an arm drag. A third tie up and McDaniel scores another arm drag. Murdoch blocks a strike and drops an elbow on the head. Murdoch charges into the midsection on McDaniel and grabs a wristlock. McDaniel fires back with a slap across the face and Murdoch falls on the canvass. Collar and elbow tie up, Murdoch hits some knee lifts and a big elbow. McDaniels fights back and chops Murdoch between the eyes. McDaniels gets the top wristlock, he takes position in the corner and the ref calls for a break.
Murdoch doesn’t oblige, he hits some short range rights but McDaniels strikes back and Murdoch falls to the mat. Murdoch’s head hits the turnbuckle multiple times and he eats another chop. Murdoch almost buckles but he hits some knees and stomps. Murdoch bails to the floor and lays an elbow across McDaniel’s throat on the apron. Irish whip by Murdoch, he climbs to the top rope and he hits a modified bulldog. McDaniels is sent for the ride, he eats a back elbow and an elbow drop for a two count. Big elbows across McDaniel’s forehead. Wahoo reverses a whip to the ropes, hits a backhand chop across Murdoch’s throat and that’s good for 3.
Winner: Wahoo McDaniel (Backhand Chop)
- EA’s Take: I get the whole legends thing, but broadcasting the match in black and white was a little cheesy, in my opinion. I love Solie’s voice, though. Due to both men’s age and old style, this match was obviously slow. I fear the modern crowd with their boring chants and ability to get more fired up by beachballs wouldn’t give legends like this the respect they should get if WWE did something like this now.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined at this time by Big Bubba Rogers. He recognizes that Sting is one of the best wrestlers in the world today, but he is one of the few who has a pinfall victory over him. What people don’t know is that when the referee counted 1-2-3, he knows the faith in him disappeared. He plans to do it again because he’s big enough, bad enough, and because he can.
Match #4 for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff vs. IWGP Heavyweight Champion The Great Muta
The “Paula” chants inevitably come out and Mr. Wonderful takes it out by yelling at Nick Patrick. The official blows right back up to him and let’s him know who is in charge. Muta backs him up swinging with some kicks, Orndorff wants space. Collar and elbow tie up, they reverse wristlocks and Muta takes advantage. Drop toe hold by Orndorff but he can’t grab a headlock, Muta reversing with a hammerlock by Orndorff is on the ropes. Muta motions that he’s going to kill him and Orndorff tells him where to stick it. Collar and elbow, chain wrestling with Orndorff into a hammerlock. Muta flips out with a single leg and a stomp and both men back up and feel each other out.
Collar and elbow, side headlock by Muta, they hit the ropes and Muta hits a shoulder tackle. He ducks a clothesline and hits a spin kick, Orndorff rolls out. Muta teases a leap from the top rope but Mr. Wonderful sees him and walks away. Collar and elbow hookup, Muta with the side headlock and a takeover. Orndorff counters with a roll up, Muta kicks out and gets back in control. Orndorff escapes and wrestles his way into a hammerlock. He drives the knees into Muta’s shoulder and really cranks the arm. Back to vertical, it’s knee lifts and rights from Orndorff. Muta is on the receiving end of a short clothesline but Muta moves away from an elbow drop, scores with a dropkick, a snapmare, and a theatrical elbow drop.
Another snapmare and Muta goes into a reverse chin lock. Orndorff works back to vertical, tries a reversal but it’s quickly countered by Muta with a head scissor. Orndorff rolls to his knees, Muta tries cranking back and he strikes Wonderful in the eyes. Desperation belly to back suplex by Orndorff and he’s slow to get up. Stomps to the back of the head by Orndorff and he dumps Muta to the floor. He follows and chokes the IWGP champ with a camera chord. He returns to the ring and poses as the crowd boos. He pulls Muta back to the apron and hits a vertical suplex. He comes in with an elbow drop and cranks on Muta’s chin.
He keeps the knee at the top of the back for leverage. The crowd gets behind Muta as he works his way to his feet. He hits some body shots, breaks the hold and knocks Orndorff down with rights. To the ropes, Muta tries a dropkick but Orndorff puts on the brakes. Wonderful drops an elbow across the back and tries a front facelock. They’re on their feet, Orndorff hanging on. Muta counters by lifting with an inverted atompic drop. Short clothesline by Muta, he heads for the 2nd rope and drops an elbow but Orndorff moves. Wonderful hits some forearms and drives Muta’s head into the mat.
Vicious kicks by Orndorff and he hits a snapmare before driving a fist between the eyes, Muta kicks out at two. Orndorff wants a piledriver but it’s reversed with a backdrop. They exchange rights before Muta hits a spin kick. Big back elbow in the corner by Muta and he follows with a bulldog. Muta with a lateral press and Orndorff kicks out. Shoulder block by Muta and he follows with a side breaker. Muta scores with a moonsault from the top rope and he retains the title.
Winner and STILL IWGP Heavyweight Champion: The Great Muta (Moonsault)
- EA’s Take: Great to see Muta again. He’s a guy who deserves to go in the Hall of Fame, but I’m not sure if or when that will happen due to his lack of WWE ties. Just a solid, smart match by two pros here. You had to know the New Japan champion was retaining, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. You also will get a new appreciation for Orndorff through all of these Chairshot Classics as well, as unfortunately he’s almost remembered more for his injury and weak arm than anything else.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene gets a word with WCW World Television Champion Arn Anderson, ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Vader. What The Enforcer is going to do tonight is going to show Alex Wright why people his age call him Mr. Anderson. Flair is already planning to celebrate his and Vader’s victory, Hogan and Savage have run roughshod long enough. When Hogan looks at Vader, he’s looking at the most powerful wrestler in the world today. He can run, but he can’t hide because it’s Vader time.
Match #5 for the WCW World Television Championship: ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright vs. WCW World Television Champion ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson
Collar and elbow tie up, they jockey for position and Wright hits an arm drag. They lock up, Wright grabs the headlock, Anderson throws him to the ropes but he puts on the brakes and drops down to re-grab the headlock on the mat. Back to vertical, they hit the ropes again, Wright confuses Anderson by flipping around, hits a drop kick and goes back to the headlock. Anderson tries countering with a roll up but Das Wunderkind stays in control. Back to their feet, Anderson powers into position on the ropes and drives his shoulder again.
Wright reverses a whip, Anderson catches the boot but Wright hits an enzigure. Back to the mat with the headlock and he cranks away. Left hand body shots by The Enforcer, he grabs the leg but Wright hits a backflip and a dropkick. European uppercut and a side headlock takeover by the kid and he hangs on. Back to vertical, Anderson lifts the knee and lays in a punch. He sends Wright for the ride, Wunderkind grabs a boot, Anderson tries an enzigure but misses and Wright moves into complex crossface submission. Anderson pulls himself to the ropes to break the hold and he bails out for some regroup. He takes too long and Wright hits him with a baseball slide before flying over the top rope with a crossbody.
He fires in some rights, Enforcer fights back but Wright makes him eat the ring post. Back in the ring, Wright tries hyperextending the arm and he works down to the mat for some submission work. With leverage, Wright drives his knees into Anderson’s arm. Up to their feet, Anderson is trapped in a hammerlock but breaks it with an elbow to the side of the head. Some kicks and a headbutt by Arn before dragging Wright’s eyes across the top rope. Wunderkind fights back with European uppercuts. Anderson misses with an atomic drop, but the vintage spinebuster is on point. Double ax handle by Anderson and he stomps away before slingshotting Wright into the bottom rope.
Blatant choke by The Enforcer and the ref has to call for a break. He uses the ropes for leverage to drop the boot across Wright’s throat. Anderson cranks with a wrist lock and works over the shoulder. Single leg sweep by Anderson, he appears to try a Figure Four but Wright boots him away. From the 2nd rope, Wright counters with a right to the midsection. Snap suplex by Wright and he heads for the top. He leaps with missile dropkick and Double A is forced to kick out. They hit the ropes, Anderson grabs a front facelock and they exchange inside cradles. On their feet, Anderson pokes the eyes, Irish whip but Anderson runs into elbows. Wright ducks a punch, but Anderson takes advantage of the positioning and scores a DDT out of nowhere to retain his belt.
Winner and STILL WCW World Television Champion: ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson (DDT)
- EA’s Take: I was looking forward to this one as soon as I did the template. It’s also the first time I remember hearing the Arn music, later adapted in general 4 Horsemen matches. I love how many clean finishes there are in this show so far. As Scott Hall has explained, that’s ‘Curt Hennig Booking — if you’re going to make someone, make them and take their finish”.
Chairshot Classics: WWF Royal Rumble ’90 – Every Man For Himself
Our road to the 2019 Royal Rumble continues with a look back at one from the past!
It’s the third annual Royal Rumble, for the first time ever the January WWF tradition would play a major part in the buildup to WrestleMania. The concept of giving the Royal Rumble winner a title shot at WrestleMania hadn’t been introduced yet. However, this would mark the first time the Rumble match would be used to advance and begin feuds heading into the big event, thus you could call this show the inaugural Road To WrestleMania! It’s every man for himself in the Royal Rumble, so let’s head back to the Orlando Arena in 1990….
Open: Vince McMahon voices over a video running down tonight’s Royal Rumble participants, in addition to the great singles matches we have tonight.
Match #1: The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond) w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch)
Butch & Raymond will kick off the action, Raymond offers a handshake, then goes to the midsection with a boot and delivers right hands. Jimmy Hart jumps on the apron to distract the ref, Jacques hops in the ring for a double team, but Luke comes in to thwart the attempt. Butch shoots Raymond into the ropes, Raymond grabs a sleeper, Butch driving him into the turnbuckle to break it and biting him on the backside. Butch bites the ref now, Jacques comes in after him and Luke follows suit, delivering a double clothesline to Raymond. The Bushwhackers go for the Battering Ram on Jacques, he rolls outside to avoid it and The Rougeaus have a pow-wow with Jimmy on the outside.
Order is restored, Jacques takes the ring as Luke tags in, Jacques with right hands and some words for the crowd. Luke fires back with lefts and rights, biting Jacques on the bridge of the nose. Jacques reverses a whip into the ropes, leapfrogs over, Luke hangs on, Jacques taunting him and Luke charges, missing Jacques with a clothesline, but hitting Raymond on the apron. Butch comes in from behind Jacques, drops him with a clothesline and The Rougeaus convene with Jimmy on the floor again. Jacques taunts Butch on the apron, drawing the referee’s attention, Raymond clobbers Luke from behind and Jacques takes the advantage.
He drives Luke into the corner, goads Butch into the ring again, allowing Raymond to choke Luke with the tag rope. Jacques covers for a count of 2, tags in Raymond and he connects with a savat kick for another 2 count. Raymond unloads right hands to the breadbasket, sends Luke into the corner with a hard irish whip, then dumps him on the outside and distracts the ref. Jacques hops off the apron, sends Luke spine-first into the ring apron, prompting Butch to march after Jimmy on the outside. Luke rolls back inside, Raymond gets a 2 count, Luke with more biting of the leg and Jacques steps in to stop it. Raymond with a shot to Butch on the apron, preventing the tag, more double teaming from The Rougeaus and Raymond gets another count of 2.
Jacques back in, hits a jumping back elbow out of the ropes, then kips up to a chorus of boos. Quick tags from The Rougeaus, driving Luke back-first into the turnbuckles multiple times, again Butch steps in and distracts the ref, allowing The Rougeaus to press Luke and drop him throat-first across the top rope. Raymond snapmares Luke over, grabs a rear chinlock, Luke fights to his feet, biting the nose to break the hold. Jacques gets the tag and drops Butch off the apron again, puts Luke in the wrong part of town and locks in an abdominal stretch. Raymond offers a hand for leverage from the apron, tags in and fires a right hand to the breadbasket before going back to a chinlock.
Tag back to Jacques, Raymond slams Luke and Jacques looks to follow with a splash, but Luke gets the knees up. Butch gets the tag, unloads with lefts and rights, shoots Jacques into the ropes and buries a right hand to the midsection. Raymond steps in and immediately gets dropped, Butch with a knee lift for Jacques, covers, then bails out to go back after Raymond. Butch with a flurry of lefts and rights, all 4 men in the ring now, they pair off in opposite corners and The Bushwhackers whip The Rougeaus into one another. They set for the Battering Ram, Jimmy Hart grabs Luke’s leg, Butch lays Raymond out with a clothesline and Luke gets ahold of Jimmy.
They go for a wishbone split on the Mouth Of The South, The Rougeaus slide in with double dropkicks, Jacques with a schoolboy on Butch and he gets a 2 count. Raymond puts Butch in a Boston crab, Jacques hits the ropes and Luke trips him from the outside. Raymond breaks the hold, checks on Jacques and The Bushwhackers hit them from behind with the Battering Ram, Butch covering Jacques and getting the count of 3.
Winners: The Bushwhackers (Butch/Battering Ram)
- EA’s Take: Lots of sloppy shenanigans as is generally the case with The Bushwhackers, but a fairly entertaining match only because of the characters involved. The crowd was hot for The Bushwhackers, which I remember them being over when I was a kid, but not THAT over. This would mark the finale of their almost year-long feud with The Rougeaus, after defeating them now 4 consecutive times on PPV/TV. Raymond’s time was winding down quickly and would ultimately come to an end a little later in the year.
Backstage: Joining Gene Okerlund is ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase with his bodyguard, Virgil. DiBiase doesn’t look very happy, as there was added security this year when it came to drawing entry numbers in the Royal Rumble. Last year, DiBiase paid somebody off for a better number and that wasn’t going to be allowed this year. MDM shows Okerlund his number, which is #1. DiBiase just says that means he’ll be the first man in the ring and the last to leave.
Match #2: The Genius vs. Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake
Brutus stalks The Genius, backing him into the corner and Genius hops to the outside to get away. Back inside they lock-up, Beefcake backs Genius into the corner and we get a clean break. The Barber mocks The Genius, Genius with a front handspring and they taunt each other. They tie-up again, Brutus backs Genius into the corner and gets his eyes raked. The Genius takes control with heavy right hands, goes back to the eyes and chokes The Barber in the corner. Beefcake powers out and hits The Genius with an inverted atomic drop, Genius taking a time-out on the floor.
He regroups and flips back into the ring, they tie-up once again and Genius goes back to the eyes, delivering right hands and driving Beefcake into the top turnbuckle. He shoots Brutus into the corner, charges in for a dropkick and The Barber avoids it. They lock knuckles in a test of strength, Beefcake with the clear power edge brings The Genius to his knees and drops an elbow on his head. Genius tries to bail out over the top, Brutus stops him and he gets crotched on the top rope, jumping to the outside again to take a walk. He climbs back inside, they lock-up and Genius backs Beefcake into the corner, driving shoulders to the midsection and delivering a flurry of boots. He sends Brutus into the ropes, ducks his head and The Barber with a kick.
Genius fires out of the corner with a kick, shoots Beefcake back into the ropes and scores with a dropkick for a count of 2. Genius with more right hands and a rake of the eyes, gets a schoolboy for a 2 count, then slams Brutus and climbs to the 2nd rope. Beefcake buries a right hand to the breadbasket, catching The Genius coming down, sends him into the ropes for another right hand to the midsection. The Barber slams Genius, whip into the ropes and he locks in the Sleeper Hold. The Genius reverses, grabs a side headlock, Beefcake pushes him off and the referee gets knocked to the floor.
More stiff right hands from Genius, Brutus reverses an irish whip and gets him in the Sleeper Hold again, The Genius fades out. Brutus motions for his scissors, grabbing them at the timekeeper’s table and then cutting Genius’s hair. Mr. Perfect hits the ring and unloads on Beefcake, plants him with a PerfectPlex and the bell rings.
Winner: Double Disqualification
- After The Bell: Perfect grabs a chair, The Genius holds Brutus up and Perfect drives the edge of the chair to the breadbasket, then delivers another shot before a bevy of refs get involved.
- EA’s Take: I had completely forgotten just how flamboyant The Genius was, that character was very light in the feet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The Genius is the younger brother of Randy Savage, but was more known for his promos that were poems than his in-ring work. He wrestled sparingly and would gain his most notoriety after being paired with Mr. Perfect as his ‘executive consultant’ and occasional tag partner. Beefcake and Perfect’s rivalry would lead them into WrestleMania.
Backstage: Sean Mooney is standing by with Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, Haku, ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude & Andre The Giant as they get ready for the Royal Rumble. Heenan tells Mooney it’s not every man for himself, but every family for themselves. Mooney wonders what happens if Rude & Haku are the last two left, Rude saying he’ll do what he has to do to win. The Brain tries to argue with them that they need to stick together, but they can’t seem to get on the same page.
Match #3 is a Submission Match: Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin
Valentine leaves the ring at the bell, complaining to the ref about Garvin’s shin guard, then having words with Jimmy Hart. Rugged Ronnie jumps him from behind, firing away with right hands and rolling The Hammer back inside. Valentine tries to beg off, but Garvin’s not having any of it, dropping The Hammer with chops. He drives Valentine’s head into the top turnbuckle, The Hammer turns the tables and serves a plate of chops of his own. They exchange shots, Garvin connects with a big right hand and Valentine slides to the outside to grab a breather.
Back in the ring now, Rugged Ronnie with more punches, tries to pick the leg and The Hammer prevents it, drops elbows until Garvin rolls away from one. Valentine drops a headbutt to the breadbasket, scores with left hand jabs, Rugged Ronnie fights his way out of the corner, hits a headbutt and both men drop to the canvas. Garvin recovers first, sets for a piledriver, Valentine flips him out of it, Rugged Ronnie hanging on for a sunset flip, but this is a submission match. Collar & elbow tie-up, The Hammer backs Garvin into the corner, unleashes a flurry of chops, Rugged Ronnie pushes Valentine into the ropes and collide heads. Valentine looks for the Figure Four, Garvin kicks him off into the turnbuckle and gets a schoolboy, but again there are no pinfalls.
The Hammer comes right back with a back elbow that drops Rugged Ronnie, locks in the Figure Four and it has no affect due to Garvin’s shinguard. Valentine immediately goes back to the chops, elevates Garvin in a modified torture rack, releases and attempts the Figure Four again, getting kicked off and going into a choke. Garvin gains his footing, connects with lefts and rights in the corner, takes Valentine down with a drop toehold and goes into an indian deathlock. The Hammer gets to the bottom rope to force the break, rolls out to the floor and regroups with Jimmy Hart. Valentine drags Rugged Ronnie to the outside, they exchange chops, Garvin sets for a piledriver and again The Hammer flips Garvin over.
Back inside, Valentine drives his shoulder into the midsection in the corner, Garvin reverses a whip across, follows in and gets caught up in the tree of woe. The Hammer delivers punishment as the ref untangles Rugged Ronnie, grabs a headlock, gets pushed into the ropes and they collide heads again. Jimmy Hart removes Garvin’s shinguard, Valentine with a backbreaker and goes back to the Figure Four. Rugged Ronnie battles through the pain, rolls over to counter and Valentine flips back over, grabbing the ropes for leverage. The ref forces him to break, The Hammer going right to work on the damaged knee. Valentine goes for the Figure Four again, Rugged Ronnie counters into a small package to avoid it, but immediately gets dropped by a Valentine right hand.
The Hammer heads to the top, Garvin sees it coming, hopping on one leg and slamming Valentine to the mat. Rugged Ronnie removes The Hammer’s shinguard now, Valentine with a schoolboy, but they didn’t get the memo that this is a submission match. The Hammer shoots Garvin into the ropes, Rugged Ronnie ducks a clothesline, lays in a right hand and ties Valentine up in the ropes. He gets The Hammer’s shinguard, Jimmy Hart to the apron to break Valentine loose, Rugged Ronnie grabs him and brings him into the ring the hard way. Garvin stalks Jimmy with the shinguard, The Hammer comes up from behind with Garvin’s shinguard, Rugged Ronnie turns around and decks Valentine with it, locking in a sharpshooter and Valentine submits.
Winner: ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin (Sharpshooter)
- EA’s Take: The big blow-off to this long-running rivalry fell flat, in my opinion. This seemed like more of a boxing match with countless amounts of punches being thrown. The idea of guys going for numerous pin attempts in a submission match is a bit absurd in and of itself also. This would mark the end for Garvin’s WWF run and essentially his career, after setting up a feud with Rick Martel to follow, nothing ever came of it and Rugged Ronnie would only work indies on a semi-retired basis. The Hammer’s days of being a singles star were numbered as well, forming an alliance with another of Jimmy Hart’s clients The Honky Tonk Man.