Tuesday, 31 January 2012
1990 ROYAL RUMBLE
just watched raw on youtube; it was probably perfect.
IT'S TIME TO RUMBLE! IT'S TIME FOR THE ROOOOYAL RUMBLE where it's EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF! These are the words of Vince McMahon and here are the GUYS HE LISTS:
THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR
THE HONKY TONK MAN
THE MACHO KING RANDY SAVAGE
ROWDY RODDY PIPER
ANDRE THE GIANT
SUPERFLY JIMMY SNUKA
BAD NEWS BROWN
THE MODEL RICK MARTEL
KOKO B WARE
THE HITMAN BRET HART
THE MIGHTY HERCULES
RAVISHING RICK RUDE
JAKE THE SNAKE ROBERTS
JIM THE ANVIL NEIDHART
DUSTY RHODES THE AMERICAN DREAM
THE RED ROOSTER
THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN TED DIBIASE
AND HULK HOOOOOGAN!
PLUS A REALLY SHITTY SOUNDING UNDERCARD YEAAAAAAAAH WE ARE READY TO RUMBLE WE ARE READY FOR THE ROOOOOYAL RUMBLE IN ORLANDO FLORIDA!
Hey it's Tony Schiavone! He's much thinner than I remember. Jesse Ventura is decked out in Micky Mouse ears, and he looks kind of awesome, actually.
Oh man it is FROM MONTREAL TO MEMPHIS PARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS? aka "All-American Boys," perhaps the greatest of all wrestler-sung theme songs. As the Rougeaus make their way down that aisle one cannot help but note that Jacques is wearing an absolutely exquisite beard as he readies himself to take on the Bushwhackers, who I may have previously referred to as the Bushwackers, a mistake that I have realized and that has humbled me and for which I apologize. Raymond Rougeau with the sleeper hold only moments into the match! Butch escapes the hold however and bites Raymond [i]on his seat[/i] before offering apparently reformed referee Danny Davis the same treatment. The Bushwhackers are basically midget wrestlers for a non-midget wrestling era and while I liked the midgets just fine when they would come to my town I have never really been one for the Bushwhackers perhaps because I had an old wrestling magazine the depicted them somewhat frighteningly in their Sheepherder days and also I don't like camo. But I am finding these Rougeau brothers thoroughly fabulous, and Jacques' beard is *such* a fucking beard you have no idea. In the end, we are denied the Rougeaus' killer Boston crab/knee drop finisher and instead have to settle for a Bushwhackers battering ram and a bunch of post-match licking.
In the backstage era, "Mean" Gene Okerland stands by with Ted DiBiase, and the topic of conversation quickly turns to last year's Rumble, and DiBiase's outright purchase of the the thirtieth entry. We can rest assured that this year, increased security, which DiBiase denounces as "outright Gestapoism," will prevent such shenanigans.
Uh oh it is The Genius against Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and this does not auger well as far as enjoyment is concerned. The Genius minces about expertly, of course, but fucking Beefcake, man. With the ref down, Beefcake puts the Genius out with a sleeper and [i]takes a little off the top[/i] before Mr. Perfect makes it to the ring and hits Beefcake with both a perfectplex and also a chair a bunch of times. Double DQ, shitty match.
ARE YOU READY FOR WRESTLEMANIA VI SUNDAY APRIL 1ST IN TORONTO ONTARIO CANADA'S BEAUTIFUL SKYDOME? this Royal Rumble is so old that the Blue Jays were still known as chokers rather than World Series champions and then incurable mediocrities forever. Next up we have a submission match between Greg Valentine and Ronnie Garvin, and if I can relate another anecdote from the Bad News shoot, the interviewer asked Bad News about Ronnie Garvin's slaps or chops or whatever and Bad News said on one of the rare occasssions where he had to work with Garvin he told him before the match in no uncertain terms that there would be none of that slapping nonsense or else there would be trouble and Garvin was like "but hey that is like a major part of what I do" and Bad News was like "none of that nonsense" and then there was apparently none of that nonsense. Good story, right? Greg Valentine at this time sported a shin guard, you will recall, and so Garvin wore a similar "Hammer Jammer" and nobody cared. But it works! Valentine secures the figure four and Garvin makes light of it with childish mocking gestures! This match is stupid. They are "working stiff" with each other and are even using special camera shots to show that but I don't really care. Slow matches where guys hit each other hard are a kind of wrestling that I am supposed to like because of being on the internet but I've never been all that into them. Jimmy Hart has removed the "Hammer Jammer"; there have been leglocks; Ronnie Garvin clocks Valentine in the head with one of the shin guards and puts Valentine in what they call a "reverse figure four" for the finish and holy cow it is a sharpshooter or scorpion death lock! I had absolutely no memory of Garvin doing anything like that ever. Well I'll be.
More backstagery: Mr. Perfect is like "well The Genius is a friend of mine!" to explain his earlier behaviour and claims to have drawn "the perfect number" for tonight's Royal Rumble match.
And now it is time for Brother Love because preacher characters are never not amazing. Sherri, who is a Sensational Queen, is his guest; they deride Saphire. Yet another Bad News Allen shoot anecdote: Bad News told Vince that calling a black woman "Sapphire" was offensive to him and all black people and Vince was like "what are you talking about" and Allen was like "dude, Amos and Andy" to which Vince replied "I have no idea what you are talking about" to which Allen countered "we are totally the same age; you know exactly what I'm talking about" and so Vince goes "ok ok I get it I'll change the name" and then next thing you know she is *Sweet* Sapphire lol. Anyway, Sapphire and Sherri get into, which leads to Dusty and the Macho King for like fifteen seconds, and then lots of dancing. I have never liked Dusty Rhodes. Forgive me.
Next up we've got what turns out to be a pretty decent match between "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and the Big Boss Man that is prefaced by a backstage Duggan interview conducted by Sean Mooney that has like the exact same feel to it as Coach's Corner with Don Cherry and actually if pressed to explain Don Cherry to someone unfamiliar with him (like an American for instance) I guess I would have to say that it is like if "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan was from Ontario and liked hockey but was otherwise unchanged. Tony Schiavone's much derided tendancy towards hyperbole gets in the way of this one, in which the Boss Man DISHES OUT AS MUCH PUNISHMENT AS WE'VE EVER SEEN which can hardly be true can it and also when the Boss Man busts out a pretty choice enziguiri YOU'LL NEVER SEE A BETTER MOVE ANYWHERE BY ANYONE which actually works against how awesome a move it was because instead of just celebrating how awesome it was for a huge dude to do that instead you are thinking "well gee I can think of all kinds of moves by all kinds of guys better than that one" and the impact is lost or if not lost at least mitigated. The match ends in a DQ as the Boss Man thinks Slick has sufficiently distracted non-heel referee Danny Davis to use his nightstick but he is mistaken; in the post-match shenanigans portion of the match the Boss Man comes awesomely close to hitting Duggan in the face with the second chair he throws into the ring.
AND NOW IT IS TIME FOR PRERECORDED COMMENTS IN ANTICIPATION OF IT BEING TIME FOR THE ROOOOOOYYYYYYYAAAAALLL RUMMMMMMBLE:
Dino Bravo hopes the Ultimate Warrior's number is close to his; nobody is safe from the Earthquake; Demolition won't be numbers one and two again this year; Bad News hopes we beer-bellied sharecroppers have a big box of tissues because there's going to be a lot of wet eyes out here when we see the twenty-nine spineless cockroaches that we call our heroes go down in defeat against him because it is every man for himself and Bad News is always a winner; Dusty Rhodes believes himself to be a jive-talking black southern homosexual of some kind; the Rockers are "so excited they gotta take it easy"; the mighty Hercules has got both the strength and the power; "The Model" Rick Martel invites us to take a look at this profile [i]or maybe this one[/i] and he is going to prove that he not only looks good but is also "the best wrestler"; Tito Santana has a lot of friends (I bet that is true) but there are no friends today; Jimmy Snuka is going to basically murder a girl and get away with it; Akeem is the biggest and baddest man in the Rumble in Slick's opinion; IF THEY REFUSE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE POWER OF THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR HAS SPREAD LIKE A VIRUS AMONGST THE WWF THEN LET THEM CONTINUE TO WALK AS NORMAL AS THEY SEEM BUT IF THOSE TWENTY-EIGHT NORMAL MEN WANT TO HAVE SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS SUCH AS ROYAL RUMBLE THEN YOU AND I AS THE WARRIORS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE WWF WILL CONTINUE TO SEE IT ONLY AS ANOTHER CHALLENGE ONLY AS ANOTHER DAY OF COMBAT TWENTY-EIGHT OF THOSE NORMAL MEN STACKED ONE ON TOP ANOTHER CANNOT COME CLOSE TO THE BILLIONS AND THE DESTINATIONS FROM PARTS UNKNOWN YOU REALIZE LIKE I DO THAT THE TWENTY-NINTH MAN YOU HULK HOGAN WALK WITH A DIFFERENT FORCE FIELD AROUND YOU YOU WALK ON HORIZONS THAT ARE CLOSE TO WHERE I'VE BEEN BUT NO ONE IN THE ROYAL RUMBLE SHALL FORM A TEAM EVERY MAN SHALL FIGHT FOR WHAT HE FEELS IS IN HIMSELF AND I THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR WILL FULFILL ANOTHER DESTINY; the Macho King realizes that the American Dream Dusty Rhodes would like to get even "but it can't be POSSIBLE" and also he is royalty and literally the best; the Powers of Pain will do well in Mr. Fuji's view; Jake "The Snake" Roberts thinks the man who will win won't necessarily be the best wrestler or the best athlete but the man who is willing to go just a little bit farther and you know something that sounds a whole lot like Jake "The Snake" Roberts (this was awesome); Jim Neidhart gets too worked up and Bret Hart is like MELLOW OUT and one's thoughts turn to John Cusack in Say Anything; the Honky Tonk man vows to lay down some mean tunes; Hulk Hogan is extra oily even by his standards and is ready for anything and we can't compensate for the power of the pythons and the Hulkamaniacs behind him and he would like to ask his fellow competitors what they are going to do.
AND IT IS NOW TIME! Howard Finkel is now "The Fink," also.
Starting things off we've got "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase who last year "drew" number thirty but who this year has drawn number one and whooooo will he face it is none other than the bird man Koko B. Ware. As Jesse Ventura points out, number one is not in fact the worst number to draw; it's number two! Ted DiBiase is quick out the gate but he has failed to understand that Koko B Ware cannot be damaged by turnbuckles to the head because of his ancestry HOWEVER Koko in his enthusiasm takes a run at DiBiase and effectively eliminates himself when DiBiase cannily ducks. Marty Jannetty runs down the aisle to the strains of the awesome Rockers theme and as I should have noted when Koko B Ware came out to what sounded like a pop song of his own performance, we've got entrance music for the first time here in a Royal Rumble. Janetty is going pretty hard here which suggests he might not be properly pacing himself for a long night of lol OK there he goes soaring out over the top as DiBiase ducks again.
God damn but Jake Roberts had cool music. One thing that probably shouldn't surprise me but nevertheless has is just how "over" Jake the Snake is in these first three Rumbles. DiBiase tries to get out ahead of things and attack Jake on the outside and even gets so far as to sink in the Million Dollar Dream for a moment but he ends up planted into a ring post and this is pretty good. Short-whip clothesline! The crowd so wants to see a DDT that they don't even know! I declined to click on the earlier spoiler re: DDTs so I don't know what is going to happen! Oh back body drop counter, ok. Next in is the Macho King wearing these iridescent turquoise tights and matching arm bands and peach and white speckled boots and orange hand wraps and a headband that combines all of these colours also did I mention all kinds of tropical flowers on the iridescent turquoise tights? We all love him forever. Now we've got Roddy Piper in there, and this is a pretty awesome collection of dudes here: Roberts, Piper, DiBiase, Savage. We are truly realizing the promise of the Royal Rumble right now, and it is tremendous. Piper and Roberts are standing back to back fending off DiBiase and Savage and I love not just this match but all professional wrestling probably.
Here is the Warlord, who is arguably not as awesome as the guys he is joining right now, but he's in kind of an impossible position here. DiBiase and Savage are working hard on Roberts while Piper is going toe-to-two-can-you-believe-it-Tony-Schiavone with the Warlord.
Bret Hart enters the match at number eight and teams with Piper to clothesline the Warlord which seems pretty basic but Piper and Hart manage to communicate their plan to the audience as it takes shape and then they do it and then they celebrate and it's better than I am making it sound. We are in this weird era where some guys have entrance music and others don't and one who does not is Bad News, who enters the match just as the Macho King clotheslines Roberts over the top just as Roberts looked set to deliver the DDT to DiBiase. And here comes Dusty Rhodes who it would seem they love in Florida which makes sense I believe! HOLY COW the Macho King is out! He took a huge ride over the top from Dusty! Bad News and Bret Hart go at it in the corner, renewing their Wrestlemania IV battle royale rivalry perhaps?
Andre the Giant is here, ladies and gentlemen, and one wonders just how rapidly he is declining. Yikes, OK, not good, he is totally in one-hand-on-the-ropes mode here, yeah, however he tosses the Warlord and then works over both Dusty and Piper in the corner. Bad News and DiBiase are all over Bret Hart as . . . the Red Rooster! The Red Rooster! The Red Rooster! There is an initial high-pitched squeal as Taylor comes out which suggests that ladies liked him despite the goofy gimmick. I suppose that he is handsome. Piper eliminates Bad News, and Bad News, much like Hogan did last year, grabs the dude who eliminated him and pulls him out over the top, which is against the spirit but not the letter of the law here and so Piper too is eliminated. They fight all the way to the back, setting up their match at Wrestlemania VI in which Roddy Piper is racist (Bad News reveals in his shoot that Roddy Piper was in actual fact totally racist yeah).
The powerful Ax of Demolition enters next and goes right after Andre and we have totally reached the Andre tipping point here where you are not happy to see him but instead sad that he is going to die pretty soon. He is tied up in the ropes in that spot that never gets old imo. Help arrives in the shape of his tag team championship partner, Haku. Remember? The Colossal Connection! Dusty is doing his flashy hands routine on Haku and I don't like it. Bret Hart attempts a head butt on Haku and then sells it like death itself. Another tag team is reunited as Smash is in next; whither the Anvil? Andre is still in the corner making me sad. Andre lightly grazes Bret Hart and, again, death sell. Here comes Akeem, who is basically Dusty Rhodes parody, right? The African Dream, the jive hands, etc? Dusty lightly taps Bret with a shitty elbow and it bounces him from the match and the announcers don't even mention it. Demolition has eliminated Andre the Giant! That's huge, folks! So who do we have here, we've got Demolition, Haku, Akeem, Dusty, and Ted DiBiase, who as you recall was number one.
And Jimmy Snuka! I really liked his upbeat synthy theme song but they do not play it here. He quickly dispatches Akeem. Guys this is a pretty good Royal Rumble: it has already been really exciting in parts and there are still some big names yet to come! Dino Bravo is not exactly one of them but here he is anyway at number eighteen. DiBiase is going a good job of getting beat up a ton and then almost eliminated only to thumb a dude in the eyes and then get beat up a ton again. Earthquake is in next, and remember how nice a guy he turned out to be when he started posting on wrestlecrap or whatever? He was like, "hey guys, how are you, thank you for your interest, yeah I had some wacky gimmicks, that's for sure!" Earthquake knocks both Dusty and Ax out pretty much right away and I don't like Haku's chances now that Earthquake has turned his attention in that direction. The Anvil has drawn number twenty and heads straight for the Earthquake, as Haku, Smash, Snuka, the Anvil, and Bravo all team up to put Earthquake up in the corner and out! That was excellent!
Of all the dudes not to play music for, why the Ultimate Warrior? His music was awesome and exciting. Here he is at number twenty-one, and he puts Bravo out immediately, then gets a hold of Snuka and kind of freezes in this weird way for like six seconds as though he totally forgot the plot or something. He remembers that the name of the game is pretending to fight and so everything is good. Neidhart and the Warrior go from wailing on DiBiase to squaring off with each other in a clear reminder that this is indeed every man for himself. "The Model" Rick Martel whose picture ran in the Halifax Daily News alongside a story about the McMahon steroids trial one time is in next and goes after Neidhart, no doubt renewing a rivalry that began in the tag-team division who knows how long ago. Haku eliminates Smash off the apron with a reverse thrust kick which is the best. Martel almost goes out at the hands of he Anvil but ducks back in under the bottom rope *at the last instant*.
Tito! And he goes right after Martel! Who is apparently pretty fond of going out over the top and then tucking back in under the bottom rope, and why not, that's a great thing to do. So it's Tito, Martel, Haku, Warrior, Neidhart, Snuka, and DiBiase still in there. Honky Tonk is next to enter; the Anvil the next to leave. OH NO Ted DiBiase has been eliminated! The Ultimate Warrior hit him with one of his improbably weak looking clotheslines and that's it!
Here comes Hogan at number twenty-five, and Snuka, of all people, goes right after him and is clotheslined over the top straightaway. The Hulkster knocks Haku over the top, too, before he even rips his shirt off. Martel, standing on the apron, pulls Tito out (big assist from the Warrior there) while Honky Tonk chokes Hogan down with the tattered remains of a HULK RULES t-shirt. Shawn Michaels enters and is tossed almost immediately by the Warrior, who then gets rid of Martel; Hogan takes care of the Honky Tonk Man; and here we go: Hulk Hogan and the ULLLLLtimate Warrior, and the people in Orlando are pretty into this right here, let me tell you. All kinds of staring and gesticulating and then some shoulder blocking and some criss-crossing and a double clothesline puts both men down and one assumes this is how they will stay until the next dude comes in and yeah that is totally what happens and lol it is the Barbarian. Well anyway, that was pretty exciting there for like seventy seconds or whatever it was!
Ravishing Rick Rude hits the ring running super fast and without a countdown so one wonders if they were short of time or something. Rude and the Barbarian come close to eliminating Hogan in the corner but the Warrior comes to his rescue no doubt wanting to deal with him later himself aided and abetted of course at all times by the billions and the warriors. Not it is the Warrior who is double-teamed along the ropes by Rude and the Barbarian, and Hogan runs over and sort of attacks the pile, and the Warrior is out! The Warrior leaps back into the ring and attacks Rude and the Barbarian and then sprints to the back! lol he is pretty terrible
Hercules is the twenty-ninth entrant but I don't like his chances. We all know that Mr. Perfect has drawn "the perfect number" so there is no mystery as to who remains to be seen. Aaaaand here is, so OK, it is down to Hogan, Hercules, *not* the Barbarian because Hercules just got him, Mr. Perfect, and Rick Rude. There is your final four. A Mr. Perfect dropkick followed by a Rick Rude clothesline proves to much for the man of many labours, leaving Hogan to fend off the heelish attacks of Rude and Perfect on his own. My DL of this is kind of fucking up right now so while I am aware that Rick Rude has been eliminated I don't know how and so we are down to a one-on-one over-the-top-rope contest between Hulk Hogan and Mr. Perfect, whose boots say "Mr. P." and own. Perfect hits the perfectplex, and then Hogan hulks up which is not a routine that has aged all that well imo but I'm sure we have all been caught up in it at one time or another so let's not be particular here. Perfect bounces around the ring like champ and is thrown out over the corner and I think kind of hits the ring steps on the way down a little. Hogan grabs a "HULKAMANIA WILL LIVE FOREVER" banner from a guy in the crowd and poses for a while and does the ear thing. It is pretty good.
Not a bad Royal Rumble at all! Definitely better than last year's Big John Studdbacle, with a really great collection of dudes in the ring near the beginning, some good rivalry type stuff in the middle, the totally solid Hogan vs. Warrior seventy second frenzy of looking at each other and running, and some great Mr. Perfect flopping during Hogan's climatic comeback. This 1990 Royal Rumble was vastly better than 1989, I will say, and there was clearly all kinds of really good *longtermbookfective* stuff, but I'm not entirely sure this one was better than the inaugural 1988 match just on its own merits. Or maybe it is, I don't know; I'm not going to sweat it too much trying to figure out which of the early Rumbles was the best because then 1992 comes along and as has been mentioned previously it is pretty much the best wrestling match ever so all earlier Rumbles are revealed to have been inferior things, mere trifling entertainments when considered alongside the rare masterpiece of a gem of a jewel of a dandy of 1992, so whatever. I liked this one plenty, though!