Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Slick. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Slick. Show all posts

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Top 10 WWF / WWE Wrestling Themes of the 1980s

top 10 WWF wrestling themes of the 1980s
Just recently, we got done reviewing the two major contributions to music  m made by pro wrestling in the 1980s  - first 1985's Wrestling Album and its 1987 follow-up, Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2

There was some dross on those albums sure (hello, Land of 1,000 Dances) but there was also a lot of good stuff too (Rock 'n' Roll Hoochie Coo anyone?), and that got me thinking...

Namely, it got me thinking about the fact that so many of my favourite WWF wrestling themes came from the 1980s.

Sure, the 90s had some gems, but let's be honest, the 80s really was the golden age of the pro wrestling theme, wasn't it?

With that in mind, let's turn back the clock and count down Retro Pro Wrestling's top then WWF themes of the 80s.

10: Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake 

No, I'm deadly serious.

Though I'm not sure it was entirely suited to a male-stripper-cum-hairdresser, Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake's theme tune was a terreffically fun piece of music that always had me bopping along whenever the Booty Man would make his way ringside.

I even mentioned in an earlier review what a good little track it was.

OK, so it wasn't exactly iconic like a lot of stuff on this list, but it was undeniably catchy, and a great fit for the popular crowd favourite.

9: The Rockers

Given how truly iconic 'Sexy Boy' would become, I think many of us overlook what a kick-ass track Shawn Michaels' first WWF entrance theme really was.

Tearing to the ring with partner, Marty Jannetty, Michaels' Rockers entrance was always a highlight of late-80s WWF programming for this writer, and a big part of that was because of this theme.

Sure,  it sounds a lot like a demo version of The Ultimate Warrior's track, but then who says that's a bad thing?

8: Macho Man Randy Savage - Pomp & Circumstance

The very first moment that first chord strikes up - you know you're in for something special. Despite what you might think about the late Warrior's personal views, there's no denying that when it comes to being a physical presence back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, nobody came close to The Ultimate Warrior.

What he lacked in wrestling ability, the Warrior made up for by being a force of pure cosmic insanity that was just fascinating to watch as a kid, and I dare say that the man who would become one of the most popular characters of all time just wouldn't have been half as entertaining without this smash-mouth theme tune.

 6: Mr. Perfect - Perfect

And no, we're not talking about that abomination of a remix/audio vomit that was the Mr. Perfect song from 1993's Wrestlemania: The Album.

We're talking about that magical, grandiose piece of music that would accompany the one and only Curt Hennig (and was later ripped off for Shawn Stasiak in WCW), the one that when you hear it you instantly know you're in for a great match, the one that is, in every sense of the word, the perfect theme.

Yeah, I went there.

5: Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase - It's All About The Money 

Few wrestling themes from any era are quite as instantly recognisable as the soundtrack of evilness that was The Million Dollar Man's theme - and not just because Ted Dibiase himself played the role to perfection.

From Ted's opening cackle to Jimmy Hart's Nintendo-esque guitar riff, everything about this theme is glorious, not to mention seriously addictive.

Trust me - listen to the video and then go about your day. I bet you find yourself singing "money, money, money, money, mu-kneeee" at least once today.

4: Slick - Jive Soul Bro 

As I believe I mentioned in my review of Piledriver, I'm never entirely sure if it's politically correct to like Jive Soul Bro, but damn do I find it entertaining.

You see, although it may very catchy and infectious and full of the kind of rhythms that force you to bop your head whenever you hear it, what really makes Jive Soul Bro such a great song is that -like all good wrestling themes- it perfectly embodies the character that was Slick.

For those only familiar with The Doctor of Style from that time he officiated Daniel Bryan & Aj Lee's wedding, he was a devious and conniving heel manager who espoused the idea that 'honesty is the best policy' despite being one of the most dishonest guys on the roster.

It was a character that Slick played wonderfully, and that he carries forward in this song as he talks about all his failed attempts to be a player  and date multiple women.

The man was hysterical, and easily one of my favourite characters of the decade.

Take one listen, and I'm sure you'll see why.

3: Derringer - Demolition 

'Here comes the Ax, and here comes the Smash-ugh'

The second you heard those words, delivered in a guttural snarl over a menacing, heavy metal guitar riff, you know you were about to see one of the most unique acts in the WWF at that time.

From their BDSM-style ring attire to their face paint and no-BS ring style, Demolition were like nothing else.

I mean, yes, they were a direct rip-off of The Road Warriors, but when you're a little kid, you neither know, nor care about that.

All you care about is these two bad-ass dudes coming down the ring to destroy somebody. It was exciting as hell, and that excitement started the very moment you heard this hard-hitting Derringer track, taken from the Piledriver album.

2: The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers - All American Boys  

Glorious, hilarious, and ridiculously catchy, Jimmy Hart penned this theme for his Canadian team The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, and it's been one of my favourites since.

OK, so it lacks the bad-ass riffage of Rick Derringer's Demolition theme, and it isn't quite as iconic as the song that's in our number one spot, but then very few actually are.

Instead, what we've got here is a track that was so perfectly suited to Jacques and Raymond, two brothers who managed that rare feat of pulling off the 'we're nice guys really' heel gimmick to perfection.

Honestly, just give it a listen - isn't it fantastic?

1: Hulk Hogan - Real American 

I love All American Boys so much that I was tempted to give it the number one spot, but let's be honest:

How could I?

How could I justify handing the title of the 1980s Wrestling theme to two Canadians pretending to be Americans when we've got the actual, genuine, Real American right here?

Besides, it's Hulk F'N Hogan - the embodiment of 80s wrestling and the reason why we're even talking about the WWF and it's superstars here today.

Yes, I know the track was originally intended for I.R.S and The Stalker, but aren't you glad this scorching rock song became synonymous with the biggest thing in wrestling instead?

I mean Real American sounds HUGE in every possible sense of the word.

I still get shivers down my spine when I hear it even today, and you better believe  that it doesn't take long for me to start rocking out when I hear that sharp-yet-strangely-uplifting guitar riff.

Here's to Real American.

Here's to Hulk Hogan.

Here's to all the stars -and the rocking tunes- that made the 1980s such a fun time to be a wrestling fan.

Disagree with any of my picks?

Let me now in the comments below, or by commenting on the Retro Pro Wrestling Facebook page

Alternatively, let's connect on Twitter @RetroPwrestling

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Album Review: WWF - Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2 (1987) - A Track-by-Track Review

Album REVIEW: WWF: Piledriver - The Wrestling Album II

Not to be confused with the Status Quo album of the same name, WWF Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II was the 1987 follow-up to the World Wrestling Federation's first foray into the popular music market, The Wrestling Album.

Unlike its predecessor, Piledriver lacked the 'tween-song banter between commentators Vince McMahon, Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, and Mean Gene Okerlund, but made up for it in spades with a collection of some of the 1980s most popular WWF theme tunes, two of which just happen to be among this writer's all-time favourites.

But hey, I'm getting ahead of myself, but first, it's time to go track-by-track through the good, the bad, and the ugly of Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II.

When I say track-by-track, I mean through the actual music album, not the accompanying video album that was so well covered by Wrestlecrap.

I'm obviously not going to try and compete with the mastery of Wrestlecrap, but what I am going to do, is give you my own take on all ten songs that make up this little gem of an album.

And it is a gem, too. Here's why.

1: Robbie Dupree & Strike Force - Girls in Cars 

To this day, I still haven't worked out if Tito Santana and Rick Martel had some kind of sexual fetish for females in automobiles, or if they just liked the reassurance that they could always get a lift home.

Whatever the case may be, here they 'teamed up' with one-time Grammy Award-nominated performer Robbie Dupree to profess their love of girls in cars.

I say 'teamed up' like that because this song was 100% Dupree, who had a top ten Billboard hit in 1980 called Steal Away.

That song is pretty much the most awful thing I've ever heard, but Girls in Cars...

Well...Girls in Cars is probably one of the catchiest songs ever committed to record.

And I hate saying that, because the first time I heard this song I hated it...

It was so..80s! So outdated and cheesy and blah, yet the more I listen to it, the more I find myself going about my day merrily singing its irresistible chorus.

I wonder if Santana & Martel had the same problem when they used the track as their theme music during their run together?

If they didn't, I bet Jimmy Hart certainly did.

In an oft-forgotten classic, Jimmy performed the song live at the 1987 Slammy Awards and the results were..well..take a look:

It's up to you:

Shall we talk about the wildly out-of-time dancing first? or the fact that a performance of a song called Girls in cars featured girls on bicycles and roller skates?

What's that?

You'd rather just move on to the next song?

You and me both.

2: Koko B. Ware - Piledriver

Still on the subject of Jimmy Hart for a moment - it was only this week that I actually learned that he didn't sing this song, but that WWE Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware did.

I mean sure, it's obvious *now* that there's no way those could be The Mouth of the South's distinctive vocals, but for the longest time I listened to this without paying any attention to the track listing, so there you go.

As most long-time fans (or at least most fans who read that Wrestlecrap piece) know, the song sees Koko crooning over some upbeat jazz-pop in an effort to inform us that love, that most complex and overwhelming of emotions, isn't always a good thing.

Sometimes, Koko tell us, it feels fake, like a great big mistake, and sometimes, apparently, love even feels like getting dropped on your head by a pro wrestler like a piledriver.

We can mock the lyrical content of this one all we want, but let's be honest, much like Girls in Cars, Piledriver is a pretty catchy jam in its own right.

I don't know about you, but I can't help but bust a little move or two whenever Koko starts telling me that love 'sounds like an ah-goo-ment.'

3: The Honky Tonk Man  - Honky Tonk Man 

He's cool, he's cocky, he's b-b-b-bad, and here he sings the iconic theme tune that would follow him to arenas across the country for the remainder of his WWF run.

I can't say I was ever a huge fan of the Honky Tonk Man, but I do have to admit that his entrance was always one of the best parts of his performance, and this swaggering rock 'n' roll number is a huge part of the reason why.

I'm only disappointed that, in the video for the song, Peggy Sue was played by an actual cute blonde, and not Sensational Sherri in a blonde wig as was the case when HTM defended the WWF Intercontinental Championship against Brutus Beefcake at Wrestlemania IV.

That aside, this is a fun song, though -like most wrestling themes from this era- not the sort of thing you're going to pop on your iPod and take everywhere with you.  What you absolutely should do, however, is watch this video of Honky performing his theme tune at the 1987 Slammy Awards, with Jesse Ventura on piano and a hilarious cameo from The Hart Foundation.

I swear, that might be one of the greatest things I've ever seen.

4: Derringer - Demolition 

Having played such a vital role in the success of The Wrestling Album, Derringer returned to his rightful place as King of the 80s Wrestling Themes with one of the most memorable riffs in sports entertainment.

Not content to give us the iconic Real American, Derringer turned up his guitar to go full-on metal to make sure that two of his themes from that time period would still be regarded as among wrestling's best-ever themes even several decades later.

And this is -no doubt about it- one of the best wrestling themes ever recorded.

Of course, as a metalhead at heart, I'm likely to say that, but even if you're not, there's no denying that the crushing riff, menacing beat and threatening vocals were just perfect for Ax & Smash (and later Crush, too, I suppose).

By the way, did you know that -prior to Piledriver's release- Ax & Smash had used a different, vocal-less version of their famous theme, apparently recorded by Jimmy Hart?

No? Me neither.

5: Slick - Jive Soul Bro 

Remember earlier? When I said that Piledriver had produced two of my all-time favourite WWF wrestling themes?

Demolition's theme was one, the other was this - Jive Soul Bro. 

For the unfamiliar, Jive Soul Bro is the story of The Doctor of Style trying to convince us that he really is a good guy despite being a liar and a bit of a sex pest.

Though I doubt there's any way that they could get away with putting out a song like this today, it isn't the lyrical content that makes this one so fun - it's Slick's delivery, perfectly encapsulating everything that made his character so wonderfully entertaining back in the 1980s.

Honestly, The Slickster is as hilarious here on this song as he was that time at the 1989 Royal Rumble when he got Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase confused with 'homebody Ted what does my shoeshine.'

6: Jimmy Hart - Crank it Up 

Demolition and Jive Soul Bro may be my personal favourite themes from this album, but there's no disputing the fact that -in terms of pure musical quality- Crank it Up is one of the best things on the album.

Fusing the spirit of The Beastie Boys' Fight For Your Right (To Party) with an insatiable refrain and unbridled enthusiasm, Crank it Up could have been a hit single in its own right, even in a mainstream pop/rock market that rarely wanted much to do with fake wrestling.

So it's strange then, that of all the songs on the album, this is only one of two that didn't get its own video.

Still, at least The Mouth of The South did get some mileage out of one of the best songs he'd ever written: He led The Hart Foundation into a feud with The Young Stallions (Jim Powers & Paul Roma) over who got to use the track as their theme music.

Fortunately, The  Young Stallions won.

I mean seriously, can you imagine how different Bret Hart's career might have been if he'd started his career with an upbeat party track rather than his own famous theme tune?

7: Hillbilly Jim & Gertrude - Waking Up Alone 

Serious question now: 

Does anybody know anything about who Gertrude was? I've spent far too much time trying to find out who Hillbilly Jim debuted with on his second wrestling album appearance, and can't find even a scrap of information. 

You know what though?

It actually doesn't surprise me. If I'd played any part in this horrible, horrible song, I'd make sure nobody could ever find me, either. 

The song sees Jim and his mystery singing partner crooning over an acoustic-led soft-rock ballad about the loneliness that can haunt a working pro wrestler on the road.

"By God, I'm tough. Lord knows I'm big and strong," he croons with 100% sincerity, "but nothing hurts as much as waking up alone." 

Much as I did with The Wrestling Album, I'm trying to approach this one as more of a novelty thing than a serious artistic endeavour, but even keeping that in mind, Waking Up Alone is one novelty this writer can well do without.

8: Vince McMahon - Stand Back

Back in the late 90s, the original D-Generation-X made fun of Vince McMahon for performing this song at the 1987 Slammy Awards.

Truth is, McMahon had nothing to be embarrassed out - he delivered a solid performance on a song which, if it wasn't written specifically for him, was absolutely perfect for him.

Growling in a way that made you think he was going to yell "YOU'RE FIRRRRRRRRRRRRRED!" at any moment, the most powerful man in pro wrestling got on down with his bad self whilst warning all of us (especially his competition) that he had big plans to reach the top, and could not be stopped.

OK, so the song may be a little outdated 30 years later, but it's still an awful lot of fun to listen to, and so perfect for McMahon.

9: Mean Gene Okerlund & Derringer - Rock and Roll, Hoochie

As we've already established, Rick Derringer was an integral part of the original Wrestling Album, whilst Mean Gene's take on Little Richard proved to be a highlight of that very same album.

So it simply made sense here to team the two up for what was once again an album standout.

Keeping up the harder-edged rock/metal sound that had permeated the album so far, Rock 'n' Roll, Hoochie Coo saw the WWF announcer taking lead vocals on one of Derringer's most popular tracks whilst the man himself blasted out a fearsome riff and sang backing.

It's a joy to listen to, and like Crank it Up, the kind of thing you wouldn't be embarrassed to listen to in a non-wrestling environment.


10: WWF Superstars - If You Only Knew

Last but by no means least, we end with a big sing-along featuring most of the World Wrestling Federation roster from that time.

A thousand times better than Land of 1,000 Dances, this rap-lite R&B jam saw the likes of Hulk Hogan, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, Ted Dibiase and others making vague threats to beat up other people.

Some of the lyrics are questionable sure ("I've got some real bad news," / "And it may involve your body"), but for a novelty pop song performed by a bunch of pro wrestlers, If You Only Knew is a fine way to end the album.

100% a product of its era, Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II has the 1980s written all over it, but the likes of Crank it Up and Rock 'n' Roll, Hoochie Koo still stand out as great tracks in their own right, even as I write this at the end of 2017.

Even if you're not a fan of those tracks, there's no denying that the album was an important landmark in the evolution of Vince McMahon's sports entertainment vision, giving us a number of memorable theme tunes which remain iconic to this day.  

Thanks for reading. Next time I review anything music-related, it will be a track-by-track review of the terrible pop-atrocity that was 1993's Wrestlemania: The Album

Don't miss that, or any other Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following @Retropwrestling on Twitter or liking the Facebook page

Thursday, 11 October 2012

PPV Review: WWF Royal Rumble 1989

WWF / WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 1989 DVD cover poster

The Summit in Houston, Texas

January 15th, 1989

Following a rocky start as a television special the previous year, the World Wrestling Federation’s biggest event of the winter months made it’s Pay Per View debut in 1989 and with almost all of the kinks from the previous year’s show worked out, it proved to be a PPV that delivered on almost every level.

Here’s what went down:

Welcome to the Royal Rumble! 

Following a fun opening in which Vince McMahon delivered his trademark growl while introducing the participants in tonight’s 30-man main event, Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon welcomed viewers to the show before settling in to deliver the kind of commentary teamwork that would ensure long-time fans revere the duo in much the same way that those in the modern era do Lawler & Ross.

With that out of the way, it was on to the action.

2-out-of-three falls six-man tag team match:
Hacksaw Jim Duggan & The Hart Foundation vs. Dino Bravo & The  The Fabulous Rougeaus (w/ Frenchy Martin and Jimmy Hart)

And so it was that the winner of the inaugural Rumble match found himself tagging with The Hart Foundation in this entertaining opening contest against the dastardly Canadians.

WWF / WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 1989 DVD Live in Houston, Texas

As opening matches go, the WWF could have hardly delivered anything better, the six combatants putting on a textbook bout which worked the crowd perfectly.

Following a very entertaining see-saw battle, it was Bret 'The Hitman' Hart who ate Le Bombe de Rougeau to award the first fall to the bad guys.

“I like to call him The Excellence of Execution,” declared Monsoon when Bret was in charge of the match, coining a term the future World Champion would use himself for the remainder of his career.

Hart’s exchanges with both Rougeaus were undoubtedly the highlight of the match, Jacques and Raymond assisting Bravo in isolating their adversary and Bret playing the babyface-in-peril well, teasing the odd comeback before making the hot, and I do mean HOT tag to Hacksaw.

Though Duggan has always been popular with crowds, it was absolutely insane to see just how over he was in this match. The capacity crowd responded with a deafening ‘Hoooooo!’ and chants of USA! USA! whenever he stepped between the ropes.

Battering the bad guys with clobbering lefts and rights, Duggan shot both members of the Hart Foundation over the ropes onto his opponent before finally landing a vicious elbow drop to Raymond Rougeau to even the scores for his team.

From there, the match only got better

Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart hardly did anything throughout the entire thing (seriously, I just watched this thing not an hour ago and the only contribution from The Anvil that I recall is him being pulled over the ropes onto Rougeau.) and Dino Bravo -who stunk up the place at last year’s show- didn't add much either, but the other four competitors each played their roles perfectly.

Together, they built to a crowd-popping crescendo which saw Hacksaw finally counter the bad guys’ cheating ways with a sneaky 2x4 shot to the spine of Dino Bravo, allowing The Hitman to pick p the third and final fall for the good guys.
Your Winners: Hacksaw Jim Duggan & The Hart Foundation

WWF / WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 1989 review Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase

Cutting to pre-taped footage, various WWF stars were shown drawing their numbers for tonight’s Rumble match. Displeased with his luck, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase called Slick into the picture, leaving with the Doctor of Style to apparently cut a deal.

Elsewhere, Demolition hinted that they both had "a long night" ahead of them, Bad News Brown appeared to have picked a good spot, and The Bushwackers swapped numbers for absolutely no reason whatsoever. 

Jake Roberts, The Honky Tonk Man, and The Rockers were also among those pulling out their numbers for the match.

Back at ringside, the WWF returned to something they'd delivered plenty of during the '88 Rumble:

A boring segment featuring no wrestling whatsoever.

Super Posedown: Ravishing Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. The Ultimate Warrior

In a move which suggested that the WWF Brain Trust learned absolutely nothing from the previous year’s Bench Press Bore Fest with Dino Bravo & Friends, Ravishing Rick Rude took on The Ultimate Warrior in a Super Pose Down.

Even with Rude’s cockiness, Bobby Heenan’s usual mic work and the Warrior being his usual insane self, this was almost entirely tedious.

The highlight of the whole thing was Warrior’s usual intense entrance, a tsunami of muscle and facepaint tearing to the ring to a brutal, adrenalin charged guitar riff which remains one of the most memorable entrances in pro wrestling to this day.

From that point on, this quickly disintegrated into a mind-numbing mess.

WWF / WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 1989 Ultimate Warrior pose

Rude would pump his workout bar for a bit before striking a pose which Ultimate Warrior would then copy and repeat..over..and..over..again.

Anyone with half a brain cell could have telegraphed the ending to this one; Rude struck Warrior from behind with his workout bar and choked him out.

After officials raced to revive a fallen Warrior, the Ultimate One eventually came round and threw said officials around the ring for no apparent reason.

This whole thing dragged on far too long, achieved very little, and was a dampener on a so-far entertaining show.

Things only got slightly better with the return of in-ring action.

WWF Women’s Championship Match
WWF Women's Champion Rockin Robin vs. Judy Martin
The camera cut away from the aforementioned Warrior/Rude showdown to find both Judy Martin and Sensational Sherri in the ring awaiting the arrival of the champion.

Prior to the opening bell, Sherri took to the mic to announce that she would challenge the winner of this match for the women's championship.

WWF / WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 1989 Rockin Robin

Arguably the only interesting thing in this thing, Sherri then joined Monsoon and Ventura on commentary. Her voice, which made her sound either drunk or delirious, distracted from an otherwise passable outing from the women which culminated in the champion retaining via flying cross-body.
Your Winner and still WWF Women’s Champion: Rockin Robin 

Oh..*that* Ted Dibiase

In a humorous moment, cameras cut backstage to Sean Mooney standing by with Slick and the Twin Towers.
Questioned about his liaison with Ted Dibiase earlier in the show, Slick first claimed not to have seen the Million Dollar Man in over a month.

When The Slickster was shown footage of his earlier encounter with The Million Dollar Man, he replied with a line that had this writer in stitches.

“Ohhh, you mean *that* Ted Dibiase, I thought you meant homeboy Ted what did my shoeshine.” 

Still in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund tried to elicit some sort of explanation from Rude and Heenan for Rude’s earlier attack on the Ultimate Warrior. Rude claimed to have Warrior beaten from the start before The Brain quickly hurried him from the building.

The Managers speak

Up next, we went to more pre-recorded footage of the managers of various WWF superstars including Mr. Fuji, Jimmy Hart and Miss. Elizabeth. 

I'll be honest, it made me pine for the days when managers were such an integral part of the show, even if neither Hart nor Fuji said anything of note here in this particular instance.

The only interesting thing to come from this segment was Liz, who, despite being wooden and completely ill-at-ease in her interview with Okerlund, did fret over what would happen should her boys Hogan and Savage come head-to-head in the Rumble.


King Haku vs. Harley Race

In the final undercard bout, the big man King Haku defended his royal crown against former king Harley Race.

Haku was carried to the ring on his thrown by a collective of jobbers, one of who this writer swore was none other than Tugboat/Typhoon/Shockmaster himself, Fred Ottman, but on closer inspection probably wasn't.

That aside, this was a good, solid brawl between two hard-hitting workers that differed from anything else on the card and delivered in spades. Though not quite as entertaining as the opening six-man contest, it was nonetheless a welcome return to form for the Royal Rumble’s PPV d├ębut following all the previous guff that went between these two matches.

In the end, Haku thwarted Race with a swift kick to the chops to win the match and retain his crown.
Your Winner: King Haku

In a brief respite from the action prior to the main event, a whole bunch of Royal Rumble entrants cut essentially the same promo. Greg Valentine, Brutus Beefcake, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Mr. Perfect, and a select few others all reminded the audience that this would be every man for himself and declared that they would be the one to outlast the 29 other wrestlers to be declared the winner.

And here’s another thing this reviewer misses from the good ol’ days; 

The custom backdrops for each wrestler’ promo.

Royal Rumble Match
30 man battle royal featuring Demolition, Andre the Giant, Mr. Perfect, Bad News Brown, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, The Rockers, The Brain Busters, The Twin Towers,  The Powers of Pain, Big John Studd and more.

Reinforcing the idea that anything really could happen in the Royal Rumble match and that, yes, it really was every man for himself, participants one and two in the bout’s PPV debut were none other than Ax and Smash, Demolition.

In one of the more memorable moments in Rumble history, the two partners wasted no time in laying waste to one another with thick, hammering blows, trading the advantage as they battered each other around the ring. 

And this despite being the reigning tag team champions.

All the while, Monsoon and Ventura wondered aloud whether entrant number three would stand a chance against Demolition. In a smart piece of booking, said third entrant turned out to be none other than Andre the Giant.

After all, was there really anybody else who could’ve withstood a double-team from the tag champs?

Mr. Perfect came in at number four, going on to become the MVP of the match by lasting the better part of half an hour, beating Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart’s previous record by around two minutes.

It was Perfect who stood out as one of the highlights of this match. A joy to watch, the future Intercontinental Champion delivered a solid performance from the time he stepped through the ropes to the moment Hulk Hogan tossed him back out again.

Yet the real underrated star of this event was Shawn Michaels

Though he was in the match for just 15 minutes, Michaels made sure that every single second of those 15 minutes counted. Flipping, jumping, and bumping like a trooper, Shawn gave a thrilling performance and outshone just about everybody he shared a ring with long before he ever became ‘The Showstopper.’

Of course, the real talking point of the match, and a spot which would eventually lead us on to Wrestlemania 5, was the rising tensions between The Mega Powers of Hulk Hogan and World Wrestling Federation Champion, Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage.


Unleashing the power of the Red and Yellow, Hogan stormed around the ring, eliminating anybody and everybody in sight including, though not entirely on purpose, his partner Savage.

With the ring cleared and only Hogan remaining, the champion returned to the ring to confront the Hulkster, only for Elizabeth to come between her men. The diminutive valet seemed to defuse the situation, leading Savage to extend a hand to his friend and the two to share an embrace.

The second part of the match continued, lacking much of the excitement which had played such a large part in the pre-Savage/Hogan section. 

That’s not to say it was boring per se, and there was still enough to keep your attention, yet without the likes of Perfect and Michaels, the pace certainly decreased.

To the surprise of absolutely nobody given the story which had played throughout the evening, Ted Dibiase arrived on the scene as participant number thirty, yet the combined efforts of the Million Dollar Man and Akeem were no match for Big John Studd, who eliminated both men to claim the contest as his own.
Your Winner: Big John Studd

As a special treat for the fans, Studd then proceeded to beat up Dibiase’s bodyguard, Virgil to close the in-ring portion of the show.

Macho Madness

In the final moments of the show, Randy Savage, flanked by a distressed-looking Elizabeth reminded Mean Gene Okerlund (repeatedly) that he was the champion and claimed that he was only eliminated from the Royal Rumble as a ‘victim of circumstance’ and not because he wasn't the better man. 

The whole thing was to tease the eventual heel turn against Hogan which would lead to their big Wrestlemania showdown and in this regard was highly effective.

With Savage’s promo out of the way, it was down to Gorillla Monsoon and Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura to close out the first Pay Per View version of the WWF Royal Rumble. 

A step up from last year’s show, the actual Rumble match itself, thanks in no small part to Perfect, Michaels, Savage and Hogan was a vast improvement on the inaugural bout, even if John Studd as the eventual victor was somewhat underwhelming.

It’s certainly rare that you’ll ever hear any match involving Hacksaw Jim Duggan described as ‘match of the night’ material, yet his six-man outing with the Harts, Rougeaus, and Bravo was certainly that; an enjoyable, entertaining affair from bell to bell.
Though it’s easy to watch this show on its own merit, it’s important to look at Royal Rumble 1989 from a historical standpoint. 

This was the show which set both tone and standard for all over Rumbles to come, provided that memorable moment between Demolition and of course, started Hogan and Savage on the road to dissent. More of that at another time.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.