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.