WWF House Show 5/1/1989
Written by: Jim
May 1, 1989
The Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart vs Jim Powers
A lot of stalling early on. It’s nearly five minutes before the action really begins. Powers works over the arm of HTM early on with some arm bars and arm ringers. Honky no sells and begins his long heat segment, mostly working over the back. Most of Honky’s moves revolves around hitting a double ax handle to the back of Powers’ shoulders. In the home stretch, things pick up with Powers speeding things up with dropkicks. Honky catches him in a front facelock and easily disposes of Powers with the Shake, Rattle and Roll neckbreaker. Such a long and dull match. I didn’t mind Powers’ short time on offense since he was concentrating on a body part, but it didn’t lead anywhere. With Honky using his left arm all during his time on offense, it made the early arm work pointless. At least for 1989, Honky and Powers were two of the worst workers the WWE had. However, this was bad even for them. 1/2 Star.
The Brooklyn Brawler vs The Blue Blazer
Brawler attacks Blazer as soon as Blazer turns around. Blazer shows off a lot of his high spots early on. Such moves include a hurricanrana, sunset flip, and being trapped in a wrist lock, but jumping up to the top rope from the mat, falling down into a sort of split legged moonsault and landing on his feet so he can turn Brawler around into a hip toss. Brawler takes over for a few minutes of Blazer selling the arm. Finish comes with Blazer hitting his top rope cross body (Starting in the moonsault position and twisting in midair). They probably could have trimmed off a few minutes of Brawler on offense, but it was a perfectly acceptable undercard match. Owen’s spots could make any mundane match fun. At least with Brawler, Hart has someone who won’t drag him down. 2 Stars.
Greg Valentine w/Jimmy Hart vs Hillbilly Jim
A lot of stalling early on as Valentine isn’t sure what to make of Hillbilly Jim’s cartwheel. The match keeps a slow pace with neither guy being on offense for long. With Jimmy Hart distracting Hillbilly Jim, Valentine gets a knee to the small of the back and rolls Hillbilly up for the three. Thanks to the cameraman missing the shot, we don’t initially see Valentine holding Hillbilly’s jeans during the pin. An instantly forgettable match. Despite typing this up immediately after watching the match, I’ve already forgot most of what happened in the match. That’s a great sign. I wouldn’t call Hillbilly Jim a poor worker, but he’s not the right kind of guy to get a good match out of Greg Valentine. On the plus side, they kept this fairly short. 1 1/2 Stars.
Demolition (c) vs The Twin Towers – WWE Tag Team Titles
Hearing “Jive Soul Bro” and Demolition’s theme song one after another is enough to instantly receive one star from me. Demolition dominates early with Ax hitting jackhammer like punches to the back of Boss Man. It isn’t pretty, but it’s effective. The Twin Towers take over once Akeem gets a thumb in Ax’s eye. The cheating continues with Akeem hitting Ax in the back after Boss Man whips him into the ropes and Akeem using the tag rope to choke Ax on the outside. Smash finally gets the hot tag which brings all four men into the action. Demolition hits a double closeline to knock over Akeem, but the referee goes down as well. Once Ax goes for the cover, Boss Man nails him with the nightstick. The fight continues once Smash throws the referee out of the way. The referee calls for the bell, disqualifying both teams. The Twin Tower get the last laugh by continuing the assault on Ax though. It may not be much for workrate, but it was a simply and fun match. Demolition just tried to overpower the Twin Towers, but the heels used their dastardly skills to cheat. No one wants to see a non-finish, but it’s a house show, so you have to expect some. All in all this was a pretty solid addition to the show. 2 3/4 Stars.
The Red Rooster vs Richard Charland
I can’t say I know a lot about Charland other than he’s a Montreal wrestler. He looks like the type of guy parents warn their children to stay away from. There’s a group of girls in the second row cheering for Rooster all during the match. After some mindless wrestling, Charland avoids a Rooster charge in the corner. With Rooster ramming his own shoulder into the ring post, he’s vulnerable ot Charland working over the injured body part. To Charland’s credit, he focuses all of his attention to the arm. Similarly to Rooster, Charland eventually misses a charge of his own and crotches himself on the middle rope. Rooster quickly lifts him up for the Rooster Wing (Imagine a lifting hammerlock back-to-back) to get the submission victory. I’ll admit it, I was impressed. Rooster and Charland produced a story based match that worked pretty well. Credit goes to Gorilla Monsoon for pointing out that the Rooster Wing uses the right arm more than the left. Charland wrestles like a Dino Bravo, only he’s actually entertaining. For someone who generally hates everything he does, The Red Rooster had a good match. Dare I say Rooster’s best WWF match? It’s a shame we didn’t see more of Charland. 3 Stars.
Rick Martel vs Bret Hart
Martel is just about a month into his heel run. Even though he has Slick for a manager and dons the ironic baby blue tights, he hasn’t transformed into The Model just yet. All during the match, Martel shows off his new arrogant ring style, often times taking Bret too lightly. Martel has a smart strategy of working over the back though, a perfect set-up for his Boston Crab. Bret manages to crawl his way to the ropes to break the hold though. Martel’s one surefire way to win is now out of the window. Bret begins making his comeback including a series of punches in the corner. A dazed Martel grabs Bret by the tights and headbutts him in the abdomen. Martel uses that brief moment to roll Hart up to win. Martel had his feet on the ropes, but the referee was too focused on Bret’s shoulders to notice. Not too bad of a match. Martel had a game plan and stuck with it until Bret thwarted the finish piece of the puzzle. The cheap finish plays up to the fact that Martel knew Bret was going to beat him. If he didn’t cheat, he wouldn’t have won. Bret was Bret, which is always a good thing. Sadly, Bret has another few months of this part-time singles wrestler purgatory he was in between 1988-1989. Typically, he’d work singles matches at house shows, but would be back with Jim Neidhart on TV and PPV. It went nowhere, but it did show the natural chemistry between Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect. To say the least, that would be of high importance down the road. 3 Stars.
Mr. Perfect vs Tito Santana
It’s almost as if Perfect heard his name being mentioned. For the record, Santana’s theme music was pretty underrated. Early on, they both try to out wrestle each other, but once Perfect realizes Santana is too much for him, he cheats to gain the advantage. Showing his aggressive side, Perfect pummels Santana with a series of knees. Perfect whips out most of his trademark moves including his rolling neck snap that really deserved it’s own name. Just as Santana begins his comeback, Rick Martel makes his way to ringside. Santana does his best not to let his former partner distract him and nails the flying forearm. As Tito goes for the cover, Martel pulls Santana off of perfect. The referee wasn’t in position to see Martel though. Tito makes the mistake of yelling at Martel while turning his back on Perfect. Perfect rolls Tito up to get the distraction pinfall. Didn’t we just see this finish with Valentine/Hillbilly Jim? I don’t mind it too much though. They at least had Martel distract Santana to play to their feud instead of having Hillbilly Jim with Jimmy Hart, where there wasn’t any feud going on. I feel like I’ve seen this match recently, which only makes the finish less of an issue. You can’t go wrong with Perfect vs Tito though. While it’s not as good as their 1990 matches, it’s still an enjoyable match with Perfect keeping his overselling to a minimum. 3 1/4 Stars.
Rick Rude (c) w/Bobby Heenan vs The Ultimate Warrior – IC Title
Possibly the biggest WWE feud never to work MSG. Warrior dominates the first half of the match with ease. Rude is bumping his ass off without overselling as bad as Mr. Perfect tended to. All of Warrior’s attacks are focused on Rude’s back to which he sells fantastically. It’s one Warrior gets daring and climbs to the top rope that Rude shakes the rope to crotch him. Rude takes over, but still sells his back. This includes a great spot where Rude hits a sit down splash repeatedly on Warrior’s back, but when he goes for his trademark hips swivel, he grimaces in pain to hold his back. Warrior makes his comeback by attacking the back of Rude again. Shockingly, Warrior can’t put Rude away with a running power slam nor a piledriver. Finally, the two battles on the outside, but while Rude flees, Warrior chases Heenan back in the ring to barely make the count. Warrior wins by count-out, but fails to wrestle the IC title away from Rude. First off, the camera work was HORRIBLE. There were a lot of spots the viewer either missed or just saw the tail end of. Commentators Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes questions where Bobby Heenan was for half of the match because the camera never got him in frame. Technical problems aside, this was a well booked match. Rude was an amazing seller who could tell a great story with someone with such limited skill as Warrior. I love seeing Rude/Warrior wrestle each other so much that I’d gladly buy a DVD with all of their 1989 matches together. It may be the same exact match (I saw a similarly booked Boston Garden match in April), but it’s smartly booked and it’s fun. Believe it or not, this is the match of the night. 3 1/4 Stars.
16 Man Battle Royal
The match includes everyone who wrestled tonight except for Rick Rude and the Ultimate Warrior. Within seconds, Demolition throws out Akeem. The feud continues to be on display in the match as Boss Man eliminates Ax later on and Smash eliminates Boss Man. Boss Man has the last laugh as he pulls Smash by the leg off of the apron to be eliminated. It’s a small highlight, but Bret Hart and The Blue Blazer are seen working together against Greg Valentine. As everyone else begins to be eliminated, the final four comes down to Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Rick Martel and Tito Santana. The heels and faces separate in a sort of tag match. As Tito Santana FINALLY gets his hands on Martel, Perfect sneaks up behind him and tosses him out. That leaves Bret alone with the two heels. Santana ignores the refs and stays at ringside to cheer on Bret. After a couple of minutes of the heels working on Bret, Santana spots his chance to pull down the top rope as Martel bounces off them. Martel falls out of the ring as payback for costing Santana his match against Mr. Perfect. Bret quickly catches Perfect off guard and throws him out to win the battle royal. Santana and Bret celebrates in the ring after the match. It seems as the longer I watch wrestling, the less I enjoy battle royals. However, this one had a lot going for it. We got to see more Demolition/Twin Towers action. The final four showcased four different feuds as both faces had issues with Martel and Perfect. After seeing both faces screwed out of winning their singles matches, the fans got to see the babyface winning in the end. The battle royal also made me want to see a Bret Hart and Tito Santana vs Mr. Perfect and Rick Martel tag match. Overall, it was a pretty successful battle royal. 3 Stars.
After the first few matches, I was beginning to expect a real dud of a show. It’s not exactly a good sign when The Brooklyn Brawler was shaping up to be in the match of the night. However, once Demolition and the Twin Towers came to the ring, it was all quality for the rest of the show. The Red Rooster finally produces a good match and Warrior has yet another quality bout with Rick Rude. There may not be any one match that you should go out of your way to watch, but it’s not a bad way to kill two hours. The only real issue was all of the dirty finishes. In total, five out of the eight matches had one. However, I’d still rather watch this than what the A-Show had produced the same night in Phoenix, Arizona. Despite a strong looking match like Ted DiBiase vs Jake Roberts, it has such “Classics” as Boris Zhukov vs Paul Roma, Dino Bravo vs Hercules, Warlord vs Koko B. Ware, Rockin’ Robin vs Judy Martin and wasting the Brainbusters on the Bushwackers. *Shudders*