WWF House Show 4/23/1989
Written by: Brian Bayless
April 23, 1989
From the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Blue Blazer
Valentine grounds Blazer to start but Blazer comes back with a pair of armdrags. Blazer works the arm then for a while as the crowd rags on Hart. Valentine rolls outside and kneels on the ramp for a breather. Valentine heads back in and lands a few shots but misses a charge in the corner as Blazer goes back to work on the arm. Valentine sends Blazer to the floor then heads on and knocks him down. Blazer is on the apron as Valentine ties him up in the ropes and knocks him back to the floor. Back inside, Valentine hits a slam then drops an elbow for two. Valentine starts laying into Blazer in the corner but Blazer fights back. He hits a dropkick off of the middle rope then hits Valentine with European uppercuts but whiffs on a dropkick as Valentine covers for two. Valentine sends Blazer down with a clothesline then goes to work on the leg to set up for the figure four. Valentine shoves the referee after he was stopped from choking out Blazer then turns around his shinguard but Blazer fights him off. Blazer gets two with a small package then Valentine knocks him and tries again for the figure four but Blazer shoves him as Valentine goes outside. Valentine heads up top but Blazer punches him in the gut. Blazer gets two with a backbreaker then hits a backdrop. Blazer uses ten turnbuckle smashes in the corner as the crowd counts along then drops an elbow from the middle rope as that gets two. He heads back up top and hits a missile dropkick for two. Blazer goes up top again and gets distracted briefly by Hart as Valentine catches his crossbody attempt and hits a powerslam for the win (12:28) **1/4.
Thoughts: Decent house show opener. Valentine was starting to deteriorate and needed a certain type of opponent to have a good match and I do not know if Blazer was the guy for him. Anyway, Valentine gets the win as he is being pushed on TV in a feud with Ronnie Garvin while Blazer isnt doing much of anything.
Dino Bravo w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Hercules
Hart is managing Bravo here despite the fact this had not been announced on TV at this point. Bravo shoves off Hercules a few times then taunts the crowd as the announcers put over how he is near the top of the list of challengers for the WWF World Heavyweight Title. Hercules then shoves Bravo away as Bravo rolls outside for a breather. They battle over a test-of-strength then slug it out until Bravo reaches the ropes after Hercules went for the full nelson. Bravo huddles outside with Hart then heads back in and works a side headlock. Hercules ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own. He follows with a pair of slams and tries again for the full nelson but Bravo scurries over to the ropes then heads outside and walks up the ramp until Hart stops him. Bravo taunts the crowd before heading back into the ring as the two lockup. Bravo hits Hercules in the eye and follows with an inverted atomic drop for two before grabbing a chinlock. Hercules escapes but walks into a clothesline as Bravo now applies a reverse chinlock. Bravo drops an elbow for two then works yet another chinlock. Bravo beats on Hercules in the corner but Hercules fights back. Bravo ends up catching Hercules in a bearhug and ends up trapping his arms. Hercules tries to escape as Bravo headbutts him and reapplies the hold. Bravo hits a powerslam but misses an elbow drop as Hercules fights back. Hercules hits a pair of clothesline then gets Bravo up for the backbreaker submission then drops him and goes for the cover as Bravo is able to get his foot on the ropes. Bravo ends up dumping Hercules onto the ramp then Hercules comes back in with a sunset flip but Bravo blocks it and grabs the ropes for leverage to get the win (15:43) -*. After the match, Hercules puts Bravo in the full nelson. Hart keeps hitting Hercules from behind as Hercules breaks the hold and Hart bails.
Thoughts: Holy shit this was awful. There was no need for these two to go 16 minutes. Both guys looked terrible and Bravo was gassed early despite doing nothing but stalling and restholds. In fact, this whole match was just that. Why they were still pushing Bravo at this point is beyond me and lord help us that these two are feuding on TV, which means even more house show matches.
Honky Tonk Man w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Hillbilly Jim
Hillbilly is distracted by Hart as that allows Honky to hit him from behind with the megaphone. Honky & Hart keep stomping on Hillbilly then the referee rings the bell for the DQ (0:27). After the match, Hillbilly is irate and grabs the mic as he demands Honky come back out.
Thoughts: Just an angle to presumably set up something for the next house show.
“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
The crowd chants “DDT” before the bell rings. Jake blocks a cheap shot in the corner as DiBiase ducks out on the apron. He heads back in an ends up getting knocked down and bails after falling down next to Damien in the corner. They now fight over a test-of-strength in the middle of the ring then DiBiase bails again after Jake almost hit him with the DDT. Jake grabs an armbar now as DiBiase yanks him down by the hair a few times but Jake returns the favor as DiBiase is upset then bails again after almost getting hit with a DDT. Jake heads outside and rams DiBiase & Virgil together but ends up being unable to fight off both men as DiBiase takes control. He clotheslines Jake then works a chinlock but Jake escapes. DiBiase knocks Jake down then drops an elbow for two. Double axe handle gets two as DiBiase goes back to the chinlock. Jake escapes but DiBiase knees him down then applies the Million Dollar Dream. Jake tries to reach the ropes as DiBiase takes him down but he is able to break the hold after getting his foot on the ropes. Jake then breaks up a chinlock with a stunner as they end up brawling in the corner with Jake winning that battle. Jake hits a short-arm clothesline and signals for the DDT but DiBiase sends him into the ropes. Virgil grabs Jake’s leg as DiBiase attacks from behind. DiBiase starts taunting the fans but Jake sneaks up from behind and rolls him up for the win (15:04) **. After the match, DiBiase & Virgil attack Jake.
Thoughts: I was disappointed in this match. Both guys are capable of doing better and they even lost the crowd near the end. These two will continue to feud on TV and around the house show circuit.
Boris Zhukov vs. Paul Roma
Roma comes out to “Girls in Cars” here. Zhukov overpowers Roma to start. Roma catches Zhukov with a slam after an Irish whip sequence then dropkicks Zhukov to the floor. Zhukov starts favoring his knee as Roma begins to target it as the announcers put over the people of Toronto. The crowd starts a “boring” chant as Zhukov regains control. He roughs up Roma in the corner for a bit but Roma ends up taking him down and goes back to work on the knee. Zhukov breaks that up with a thumb to the eye then ducks a crossbody and covers for two. Zhukov works a bearhug then gets a nearfall with a backbreaker. Zhukov starts selling his knee again then Roma gets his knees up on a splash as both men are down. Roma is up first and fires away before putting him away with a missile dropkick (11:33) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Another terrible match. Zhukov was just awful and his selling of the knee was poor too. Roma’s flurry of offense at the end was the only highlight. Roma himself stated that he hated working with Zhukov because he was lazy.
Billy Red Lyons is in the ring and brings out Hillbilly Jim. He asks him about his victory by disqualification as Hillbilly said he did not come here to win by DQ and was cheated out of his opportunity to teach the Honky Tonk Man a lesson. Hillbilly then asks the crowd if they want to see them go at it again tonight as Lyons tells him he will see if they can arrange for them to face off next month.
WWF World Heavyweight Title Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage w/ Sensational Sherri vs. Hulk Hogan (c)
Savage stalls to start off the match then puts his robe over Hogan’s head and fires away. Savage hits a double axe handle then covers Hogan with the robe before heading up top. Hogan gets up as Savage hits another double axe handle. Savage taunts the crowd as Hogan takes off the robe and comes up behind Savage and hits an elbow drop. Hogan fires away then Savage bails as Hogan chases him around the ring. Hogan yanks Savage outside and smashes his head off of the timekeeper’s table. Back inside, Hogan hits a running elbow smash but gets distracted by Sherri, who is up on the apron. Hogan mocks Sherri but gets slapped as that allows Savage to sends Hogan to the floor with a high knee. Sherri starts attacking Hogan, who grabs her arm but Savage flies outside with another double axe handle to break that up. Back inside, Savage clotheslines Hogan then chokes him out on the mat. Sherri chokes out Hogan behind the referee’s back too as Savage is in control. He applies a sleeper as Hogan eventually fights out but Sherri trips him up as Savage is back in control. Savage snaps Hogan’s neck off of the top rope then Sherri hands him a foreign object he uses to hit Hogan but that only gets a two count as Hogan starts hulking up. Savage is able to drag Hogan outside but gets shoved into the post. Sherri jump son Hogan’s back and distracted him enough for Savage to slide back in and beat the ten count for the win (10:15) **1/2. After the match, Sherri puts the belt around Savage’s waist but Hogan clears the ring and gets his belt back as he remains the champion despite losing via countout.
Thoughts: This was really heated and the reason they drew a 19,000 seat sellout. The match itself was not memorable but adding Sherri to Savage’s act worked here.
Mr. Perfect vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart
Bret gives his sunglasses to a woman in the front row. Bret takes Mr. Perfect over with a hip toss as Perfect is shocked. Bret then avoids a leg trip as he stays a step ahead of a now frustrated Perfect. Bret gets two with a crossbody then another nearfall with a sunset flip as he now works a side headlock on the mat. Perfect bails after Bret takes him over with a crucifix then heads back in for a lockup. Bret catches Perfect’s foot and takes him down. They trade slams then Bret clotheslines Perfect onto the ramp as the crowd is really getting behind Bret here. Perfect takes his time before heading back inside then manages to cheap shot Bret as the referee tried to break them up in the corner. Perefect roughs up Bret outside of the ring after kicking him to the floor then knocks him off of the apron. He then knocks Bret off of the apron and into the barricade before taunting the crowd, who is chanting for Bret. Perfect keeps tossing Bret outside then puts on a spinning toe hold in the middle of the ring until Bret shoves him off and into the post. Perfect sells his wrist as Bret rams him into the corner. Bret hits a hammerlock slam as he goes to work on the wrist. Bret tries another crucifix but Perfect counters with a Samoan Drop. Perfect gets two with a reverse rollup but Bret sends him outside on the kickout then flies out with a tope. Bret gets two with a suplex then hits an elbow drop off of the middle rope but the bell rings signaling the time-limit has expired (20:00) ***1/4. After the match, Bret asks Perfect for five more minutes but Perfect tells Bret since he could not beat him in twenty then five more minutes will not help. Perfect then sneaks up behind Bret and attacks him as he smacks Bret across the face. Perfect heads up top but Bret cuts him off then starts hammering away until Perfect flees.
Thoughts: Good match, although done more to set up a future match than anything else. Bret looked phenomenal and had the best performance on the show by a mile and the crowd was super into him as well. This match can be found on the “Bret Hart: The Dungeon Collection” DVD.
The Brainbusters vs. The Bushwhackers
Arn and Butch go back-and-forth and even do some comedy spots before the match breaks down with the Bushwhackers using their brawling techniques. Arn bails to avoid a battering ram as the Bushwhackers play up to the crowd. Tully knees Butch from the apron as the Brainbusters are in control. Luke runs in and they start biting the Brainbusters in the ass and end up clearing them from the ring. The fans cheer the Bushwhackers who are now beating on Tully. Arn makes a blind tag and attacks Luke from behind as the Brainbusters work him over. Tully applies a Boston Crab as the announcers put over the Tag Team Division. Luke almost crawls over for the tag then escapes and hits a clothesline before making the tag. Butch cleans house then the match breaks down. The Brainbusters set up for the spike piledriver as Luke tries to make the save but Tully comes off and ends up accidentally hitting Arn with a crossbody as Butch covers for the win (11:22) *1/2.
Thoughts: I’m fine with the Bushwhackers gimmick but they are not meant to have serious matches, especially something that is over several minutes long. This felt like a bad styles clash to me but the crowd dug the Bushwhackers so it was a success in that regard.
Final Thoughts: Given the card, I thought this was a disappointing show. It did have marquee matches and a big-show feel at times but there was far too much crap on this show. I’d watch Bret/Perfect and Hogan/Savage and skip the rest.