Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Summerslam ’89
By Rock Star Gary on 24th January 2017
Live from East Rutherford, NJ
Airdate: August 28, 1989
Attendance: 20,000 (sold out)
Hosted by Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Can the power of Zeus ruin the good show streak of 1989? Let’s find out!
Match 1 (non-title): WWF tag team champions the Brain Busters (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) versus the Hart Foundation
- Ventura pointed out that the reasoning behind this non-title match was because this match was signed BEFORE they won the titles. Solid kayfabe theory to me.
- In an ironic twist, Bret gave Arn an Anderson slam. Did a pole reversal occur during the summer of ’89?
- Shortly after, Arn tagged Blanchard’s foot, but referee Joey Marella disallowed it. Meanwhile, the Hart Foundation made an illegal switch. SNEAKY!
- Blanchard then chopped Neidhart repeatedly to zero effect.
- Neidhart then gave Blanchard a cross-corner whip resulting in a shoulder-first bump.
- Shortly after, Bret bridged out of a top wristlock, flipped out of a double wristlock by the Busters, and used momentum to send them reeling to the mat.
- Frustrated, the Busters sought refuge outside the ring.
- Blanchard then played cat-and-mouse with Bret and tagged in Arn upon re-entering the ring.
- Since Bret was unaware of the tag, he went after Blanchard. That enabled Arn to nail him from behind. Clever!
- After a slam, Arn attempted a Vader bomb but ate knees on the way down.
- Neidhart tagged in and gave Blanchard a cross-corner whip. As Blanchard leaped to the second turnbuckle, he attempted a cross body block, but Neidhart caught and bear-hugged him.
- After a double reversal of a cross-corner whip, Arn pulled Blanchard to safety when the Hart Foundation attempted their shoulder block in the corner spot.
- Shortly after, Blanchard tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Neidhart.
- Arn tagged in and delivered a shot to Neidhart’s midsection for 2. Neidhart kicked with AUTHORITY!
- Afterward, a mid-ring collision put both Arn and Neidhart down on the mat.
- Neidhart then reversed an Irish whip as Bret put a knee into Arn’s back.
- Hot tag Bret.
- After giving Blanchard a cross-corner whip, Bret delivered a back elbow.
- Upon slamming Blanchard, Bret mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a forearm smash.
- He then gave Blanchard a vertical suplex but only got a 2-count due to Arn’s distraction.
- All four men were in the ring.
- In a double cross-corner whip sequence, Neidhart whipped Blanchard into a Bret clothesline.
- With Neidhart and Arn brawling outside the ring, Bret gave Blanchard an inverted atomic drop.
- When Arn leaned Neidhart against the ring post, he HIT THE POLE instead of Neidhart. OUCH!
- The Hart Foundation then delivered a slingshot shoulder block to Blanchard as the North Jersey faithful applauded.
- While Heenan distracted Marella, Neidhart powerslammed Bret atop Blanchard. Crafty!
- Behind Marella’s back, Arn mounted the second turnbuckle and gave Bret a double axe handle.
- He then covered Bret for the pin.
Summary: Excellent tag match showcasing all four wrestlers’ abilities. The finish also made sense since the Busters had just won the titles. Losing would have tarnished their accomplishment.
Backstage, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews a polka-dot-wearing Dusty Rhodes. He’s ready to kick some Honkytonk Man “booty.”
Match 2: The Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes
- Wait a minute! Rhodes was wrestling in the second match of a PPV? You mean he’s not in the main event? I guess it pays to be the bookerman.
- As Honkytonk Man charged, Rhodes gave him a back drop.
- Smartly, Honkytonk Man avoided a bionic elbow by seeking refuge outside the ring.
- When Honkytonk Man returned to the ring, Rhodes messed up his hair. I’m surprised Honkytonk Man didn’t submit right then and there.
- After Honkytonk Man missed a haymaker, Rhodes gave him an atomic drop followed by a bionic elbow.
- Next, he gave Honkytonk Man the ten-punch count-along.
- While Rhodes held a leg bar, Ventura chimed in with “Dusty Rhodes entered a Mr. America contest and won most abs.” HA!
- When Hart distracted Rhodes, he left his megaphone in the ring. Honkytonk Man retrieved it and nailed Rhodes’ ample midsection. How dastardly!
- That earned Honkytonk Man a 2-count.
- While Honkytonk Man distracted the anonymous referee, Hart choked Rhodes on the apron.
- After a slam, Rhodes missed an elbow drop.
- Upon delivering a Flip Flop & Fly, Rhodes gave Honkytonk Man a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
- Honkytonk Man then sent Rhodes into the referee knocking him OUT COLD.
- Hart then grabbed Honkytonk Man’s guitar but mistakenly hit Honkytonk Man instead of Rhodes.
- Rhodes then hit the elbow drop for the pin.
Summary: Did Rhodes steal Duggan’s thunder by being the crowd-fluffer? Or was he just fluffy?
After the match, Sean Mooney interviews a dazed Honkytonk Man who has no clue where he is right now. Get out the smelling salts!
Backstage, Okerlund interviews Demolition and Duggan. They’re ready for a metric ton of wrestling—the Twin Towers and André the Giant.
Match 3: Mr. Perfect versus the Red Rooster
- What disrespect! Hennig received the “in the ring to my left” treatment rather than his PERFECT entrance.
- When Perfect mocked him, Rooster slapped the taste out of his mouth.
- After a pair of leap frogs, Rooster attempted a slam, but Perfect fell on top for 2.
- Perfect then delivered a standing dropkick.
- Upon tossing Perfect outside the ring, Rooster joined him but got rammed face-first into the apron.
- Back in the ring, Perfect hooked the Perfectplex for the victory.
- Perfect remained “undefeated.”
Summary: Showcase match for Mr. Perfect.
Promo for Survivor Series airs. It’s coming to PPV on 11/23. Mark your calendars!
Backstage, Okerlund interviews Rude with Heenan. Unfortunately, the WWE Network shows the home video version instead of the live version. Please be careful. Link is NSFW due to a curse word in the URL.
Match 4 (six-man): The Rougeaus & the “Model” Rick Martel (w/ Jimmy Hart & Slick) versus the Rockers & Tito Santana
- For all the Rougeau fans out there, here’s their theme song for this show.
- As Santana reversed an Irish whip from Jacques, the Rockers double-leap-frogged him and gave him a double hip toss. They then followed with a double elbow drop.
- Next, they whipped Santana who hit a cross body block on Martel to rile up the North Jersey faithful.
- Dropkicks all around sent the heels scurrying outside the ring to regroup.
- When order was restored, Jannetty reversed a cross-corner whip from Jacques, but the latter jumped to the second turnbuckle, faked out Jannetty on a cross body block, leaped, but ate a shot to the midsection.
- Raymond tagged in and gave Jannetty a savate kick to the mush.
- While Martel distracted referee Earl Hebner, the Rougeaus double-teamed Jannetty in their corner.
- Jannetty then reversed a cross-corner whip from Martel, but the latter floated over and performed a cartwheel for the North Jersey faithful. That didn’t go over as well as he’d hoped.
- As Raymond tagged in, Santana leap-frogged him. When Raymond missed a clothesline, Santana responded with one of his own for 2.
- While the Rockers distracted Hebner, Jacques tripped Santana coming off the ropes. When Santana directed his attention at him, Raymond put a knee into Santana’s back.
- Jacques tagged in, and the Rougeaus gave Santana a double chop.
- Martel tagged in, and he and Jacques used the top rope to guillotine Santana.
- When Jacques tagged in, he gave Santana a SWEET dropkick. What elevation!
- Shortly after, Martel delivered shoulder blocks to Santana in the corner, charged, but came up empty on his follow-through.
- Santana then hooked a sunset flip but only got 2.
- After Martel gave Santana a backbreaker, Raymond tagged in and applied a Boston crab.
- When the Rockers distracted Hebner again, Jacques gave Santana a knee drop to the back. OUCH!
- Jacques tagged in and applied a Martel-assisted abdominal stretch.
- As the North Jersey faithful chanted “Tito,” Santana hit a cross body block on Jacques for 2.
- When Raymond tagged in, Jacques whipped Santana into a Raymond mule kick for 2.
- Santana then attempted a sunset flip for 2.
- Jacques tagged in and gave Santana a flying back elbow for 2.
- As Raymond tagged in, Jacques tried to give Santana a high knee but hit Raymond instead.
- Hot tag Michaels.
- He then gave Martel a cross-corner whip followed by a back drop.
- Following a dropkick, Michaels gave Martel a vertical suplex.
- Next, he mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a fist drop.
- As Jannetty tagged in, Michaels assisted him with a splash of Martel for 2. Jacques made the save and added some heel miscommunication as well.
- All six men were in the ring.
- After the Rockers then whipped the Rougeaus into Martel, Santana hit the flying forearm on Martel.
- As Jannetty pulled Hart up onto the apron, Jacques dropkicked him in the back.
- Jannetty then reversed a rollup, but Martel nailed him while Santana distracted Hebner.
- Martel and the Rougeaus won.
Summary: Exciting tag match as the heels stole the victory. Great work by all involved.
We then revisit the Royal Rumble when Rude nailed Warrior with a power twister. Next, we revisit WrestleMania V when Rude stole the IC title from Warrior thanks to Heenan. Following that, we revisit Prime Time Wrestling when Warrior beat Haku (aired 8/13, taped 6/27). After Warrior won, Rude hammered him from behind and delivered a piledriver. When Andre the Giant came to the ring, Warrior tossed Rude atop him.
On Superstars, Rude brought a young lady into the ring to kiss him when Warrior ran in to attack him (aired 6/24, taped 6/6). Also, on Superstars, Heenan distracted Warrior so that André could choke him (aired 8/26, taped 8/8).
When we return to the arena, Okerlund interviews a maniacal Warrior backstage.
Match 5 for the WWF Intercontinental title: “Ravishing” Rick Rude (champion w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) versus the Ultimate Warrior
- Wait a minute! The champion entered first? That’s NOT tradition!
- Warrior reversed an Irish whip and then clotheslined Rude over the top rope to the floor.
- From the apron, Rude attempted a sunset flip but ate a knuckle sandwich instead. Was that on white or wheat bread?
- Warrior then military-press-dropped Rude over the top rope to the floor on the opposite side of the ring.
- He then joined and rammed Rude face-first into the apron followed by the timekeeper’s table.
- Afterward, Warrior nailed Rude with the IC belt and suplexed him on the floor.
- Back in the ring, Warrior tossed Rude over the rope to the floor. Does he think he’s in a battle royal? If so, he has won three times already.
- On the floor, Warrior slammed Rude.
- Upon tossing Rude back into the ring, Warrior mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a double axe handle for 2.
- He then gave Rude two HARD cross-corner whips injuring Rude’s back.
- After a slam, Warrior got another 2.
- Next, he gave Rude a vertical suplex and almost got 3.
- Upon giving Rude an inverted atomic drop, Warrior mocked and planted Rude on the mat.
- Again, he mounted the top turnbuckle but Rude caught him.
- After a couple of forearms to the back, Rude gave Warrior a vertical suplex for 2.
- Upon delivering a series of blows to Warrior’s back, Rude got another 2.
- Rude then attempted the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powered out.
- Desperately, Rude hooked a sleeper, but Warrior countered with a jawbreaker.
- Afterward, a mid-ring collision knocked down both the wrestlers and referee Joey Marella.
- Speaking of Marella, he was OUT COLD.
- When Rude nailed him, Warrior no-sold everything.
- He then gave Rude a back drop followed by a series of clotheslines.
- After he hit a powerslam, he earned a false pin as Marella was still unconscious.
- As Warrior delivered a piledriver, Marella slowly crawled over, but Warrior only got 2 as Rude put his foot on the bottom rope.
- Upon hitting another powerslam, Warrior attempted a splash but hit knees.
- Rude then gave Warrior a piledriver that Warrior botched. Yikes!
- That only got 2.
- Rude then mounted the top turnbuckle, hit a fist drop, and got another 2.
- Suddenly, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper came to the ring.
- Rude then hit a non-botched piledriver but couldn’t get a 3-count.
- Hold the phone, RSG! That’s not for another decade!
- Nonetheless, Piper distracted Rude by mooning him.
- As an outraged Rude climbed to the second turnbuckle, Warrior caught and gave him a German superplex. Not intentionally mind you.
- He then hit a shoulder block, military-press-dropped him, and splashed him.
- WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: Piper’s distraction took away from the finish, but this was MUCH better than I had anticipated. This was certainly Warrior’s best match thus far in his career.
In the crowd, Mooney deems the crowd experience as “outrageous.”
Not THAT guy!
Backstage, Okerlund interviews Mr. Perfect as the replay of the Perfectplex is shown. He then interviews Piper who calls Heenan “the eunuch of the WWF.” Bartender, I’ll have what he’s having. Afterward, Okerlund interviews Garvin who’s wearing a tuxedo. Abruptly, Heenan interrupts and complains about Piper’s involvement in the last match. Rude then bitches about Piper as the replay of Piper’s involvement is shown. That was CRAZY!
After a five-minute intermission, a review of the Hogan-Zeus feud is shown beginning with No Holds Barred. We then revisit SNME XXI when Zeus prevented Hogan from entering the cage against the Big Bossman. Next, on Superstars, Savage introduced Zeus on the Brother Love show (aired 7/8, taped 6/6). On the following week’s episode, Hogan and Beefcake accepted Savage and Zeus’ challenge (aired 7/15, taped 6/28). Afterward, we revisit SNME XXII when Zeus interfered in the Beefcake/Savage match.
Match 6 (six-man): The Twin Towers & André the Giant (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan & Slick) versus Demolition & King Jim Duggan
- Combining for 1334 pounds, the heel team made their entrance. That’s a whole lotta beef!
- In addition to his robe and crown, Duggan wore a black hockey goalie mask. Ventura outed him as Jason from the Friday the 13th HA!
- When Duggan removed his mask, his face paint resembled the American flag.
- After giving Akeem a cross-corner whip, Duggan nailed him.
- Smash tagged in, and Demoliton put the beatdown on Akeem.
- Duggan then rammed Akeem shoulder-first into the top turnbuckle.
- Akeem came back, gave Ax a cross-corner whip, but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
- Shortly after, André tagged in and SQUISHED Ax.
- GET OUT THE SPATULA!
- Akeem then gave Ax a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through. In fact, he was extremely tardy.
- Hot tag Smash who whipped Akeem into Bossman and slammed both Twin Towers.
- Afterward, Smash got LEVELED by André.
- Bossman then gave Smash an elbow drop for 2 thanks to a save by Ax.
- Akeem then covered Smash but only got 2 thanks to a save by Duggan.
- As Ax made Bossman HIT THE POLE, Akeem slammed Smash.
- He then mounted the second turnbuckle and hit Air Africa (747).
- While the anonymous referee was distracted, Duggan nailed Akeem with the 2×4.
- He then placed Smash atop Akeem.
- Demolition and Duggan won.
Summary: Duggan had two jobs in this match—excite the North Jersey faithful and WALLOP Akeem with the 2×4.
Promo #2 for Survivor Series aired.
Backstage, Okerlund interviews DiBiase with Virgil. DiBiase runs down Snuka and compares him to the injured Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
Match 7: Hercules versus Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart)
- The guest ring announcer for this match was “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin.
- After Garvin introduced Hercules, he disparaged both Hart and Valentine.
- When Valentine attempted to nail Garvin, Hercules attacked him.
- He then gave Valentine a back elbow for 2.
- After a slam, Hercules got another 2.
- Valentine then sought refuge outside the ring but got distracted by Garvin.
- Upon his return, Hercules rolled him up for 2.
- Again, Valentine exited the ring to confront Garvin, but Hercules leaped from the apron and gave Valentine a forearm smash.
- He then rammed Valentine face-first into the timekeeper’s table.
- Back in the ring, Valentine delivered a couple of elbow drops and attempted the figure-four leg lock. However, Hercules blocked it.
- Valentine then mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate a shot to the midsection.
- Hercules then blocked a vertical suplex and delivered one of his own.
- After Hercules nailed him in the corner, Valentine executed a double leg takedown, put his feet on the ropes, and got the pin. SNEAKY!
Summary: This was more angle than match as the Valentine-Garvin saga continued.
After the match, Garvin announces Hercules as the winner. When referee Tim White clarifies the decision, Garvin still announces Hercules as the winner via disqualification. Rightfully, Valentine takes exception and nails Garvin. He and Hercules continue to brawl until Garvin returns to hit Valentine.
Backstage, Okerlund interviews Savage and Zeus while Sherri stirs a cauldron. How many eyes of newts was she cooking?
Match 8: The “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (w/ Virgil) versus Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka
- While Schiavone demonstratively lied about the response for Snuka by the North Jersey faithful, you could hear a pin drop in the Brendan Byrne Arena.
- Methinks Snuka was substituting for the injured Roberts in this match.
- After a head butt by Snuka sent DiBiase between the ropes to the floor, Virgil thought better than to stick around and jumped down to the floor.
- As Virgil got up on the apron to distract Snuka, DiBiase attempted to put a knee into Snuka’s back but mistakenly nailed Virgil.
- After DiBiase missed a haymaker, Snuka gave him an atomic drop sending DiBiase over the top rope to the floor.
- Upon leap-frogging DiBiase, Snuka tried to leap frog him again, but landed on top of him instead. Oops.
- He then gave DiBiase a cross-corner whip followed by a back drop.
- DiBiase then countered with a stungun and delivered a vertical suplex for 2.
- After a backbreaker, DiBiase got another 2.
- He then slammed Snuka, mounted the second turnbuckle, but missed an elbow drop.
- Snuka came back with a head butt and a slam.
- He then mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a flying head butt.
- Next, he mounted the top turnbuckle, but Virgil again jumped up on the apron to stop him from delivering the flying splash.
- On the floor, Snuka brawled with Virgil until DiBiase leaped from the apron and nailed him with a double axe handle.
- He then made Snuka HIT THE POLE!
- When DiBiase re-entered the ring, he won by countout.
Summary: Pure definition of a popcorn match. Butter and salt, please!
After the match, Snuka nails both DiBiase and Virgil with a flying double clothesline. He then gives DiBiase a flying head butt sending him between the ropes to the floor. Upon chopping Virgil, Snuka delivers a backbreaker, mounts the top turnbuckle, and hits the flying splash.
In the cheap seats, an anxious Mooney can’t wait for the main event. He’d better wonder what happened to his wallet.
Backstage, Okerlund interviews Hogan and Beefcake.
Prior to the main event, ring announcer Howard Finkel introduces the Genius. Unlike his previous days as a babyface, Lanny Poffo uses his poetic license to portray a heel.
Match 9: WWF champion Hulk Hogan & Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake (w/ Elizabeth) versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Zeus (w/ Sensational Sherri)
- While Beefcake tossed Savage over the top rope to the floor, Hogan’s offense didn’t faze Zeus.
- When Zeus choked Hogan on the mat, Beefcake mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but Zeus caught and bear-hugged him.
- Hogan broke the hold with a double axe handle, but Zeus was otherwise impervious to Hogan’s offense.
- As Zeus held a bear hug on Hogan, Savage mounted the top turnbuckle and gave Hogan a double axe handle to the back.
- After a slam, he remounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a second double axe handle to Hogan’s back.
- He then put a knee into Hogan’s back and followed with a clothesline for 2.
- While the North Jersey faithful chanted “Hogan,” the Hulkster hit Savage with a pair of shoulder blocks until Zeus put a knee into his back.
- Zeus tagged in, gave Hogan a cross-corner whip, and applied another bear hug.
- When Zeus put Hogan down on the mat, he got 2.
- Savage tagged in and used the top rope to guillotine Hogan.
- He then gave Hogan a belly-to-back suplex for 2.
- On the other hand, when he attempted a running guillotine, he came up empty.
- Hot tag Beefcake.
- After a clothesline, Beefcake gave Savage the high knee but only got 2.
- He then hooked the sleeper on Savage, but Savage rammed Beefcake head-first into the top turnbuckle to counter.
- Zeus tagged in, but Beefcake applied a sleeper to him.
- While Hogan distracted referee Earl Hebner, Savage nailed Beefcake with Sherri’s purse.
- Beefcake was OUT COLD.
- Savage tagged in, made the cover, but only got 2 thanks to a save by Hogan.
- Zeus tagged in and used every trick in the book to choke Beefcake.
- While Hogan distracted Hebner, Zeus guillotined Beefcake using the top rope.
- Savage tagged in, but a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
- Hot tag Hogan.
- He then gave Savage a cross-corner whip followed by a back elbow.
- As Zeus distracted Hebner, Hogan gave Savage the big boot.
- When Savage fell out of the ring, Hogan tried to suplex him back in, but Sherri tripped Hogan.
- After a clothesline, Savage mounted the top turnbuckle and hit the big elbow.
- But Hogan no-sold it!
- He then gave Savage an atomic drop that sent him between the ropes to the floor.
- Zeus came in but got rocked by a few rights by Hogan.
- The Hulkster then tried a clothesline but couldn’t take Zeus off his feet.
- Sherri then got up on the apron, but Elizabeth upset her balance flipping Sherri into the ring.
- Again Savage then mounted the top turnbuckle this time with Sherri’s purse, but Beefcake pushed him down to the mat.
- While Savage and Beefcake distracted Hebner from the floor, Hogan WALLOPED Zeus with the purse.
- Hogan then slammed him, hit the leg drop, and got the pin before Sherri could nail him with the purse.
Summary: While entertaining, all the no-selling made parts of the match unappealing.
After the match, Hogan grabs Sherri, gives her an atomic drop, and Elizabeth HAMMERS her with the purse. While Elizabeth holds the unconscious Sherri’s ponytail, Beefcake cuts it off.
As Savage and Zeus carry a barely conscious Sherri back to the locker room, Hogan baits them with the WWF belt. He then poses for the North Jersey faithful to close out the show.
Conclusion: With the great opener, six-man, and IC matches, this show is a must-see for wrestling fans. Contrarily, your mileage may vary on the main event depending upon your preferences with the Hulkster.
Stay tuned for NWA Clash VIII!