WWF SummerSlam 1989
Carrying on the trend of SummerSlam reviews for the month of August, this one will look at the 30th anniversary of a classic SummerSlam in 1989. WWF SummerSlam 1989 took place in the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey and commentary given by Jesse Ventura and Tony Schiavone the show is headlined by a huge tag collision in Hulk Hogan and Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake (okay, maybe not the biggest match), against Randy Savage and ‘No Holds Barred’ foe Zeus. Underneath the main event was another big tag collision between The Hart Foundation and The Brainbusters, as well as The Ultimate Warrior looking for revenge after being cheated out of the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania V against the champion Rick Rude.
Jesse Ventura warns Schiavone at the start of the show about getting him off the air before the SummerSlam video package plays of people doing summer activities (playing sports), in comparison to the activities of the WWF.
The Hart Foundation vs. The Brain Busters w/ Bobby Heenan
Despite the Brainbusters being WWF Tag Team Champions this match is non-title which is surprising. The Champions had won the Titles after dethroning Demolition due to Andre the Giant interference. Bret Hart and Tully Blanchard opened the match with the Canadian in control targeting the left arm before Arn Anderson suffered a similar attack. The Hart’s kept this pressure up with their unique style of technical and power game on both Blanchard and Anderson giving the Champions little time to recuperate which was not helped by the “Weasel” chants towards Heenan. A big moment early on in the match saw Bret deadlift himself before doing a double arm drag on the unprepared Champions. The match switched advantage to the Champions after Neidhart missed a splash into the corner leading Blanchard and Anderson to target the back of the powerhouse of the Hart Foundation making sure Bret is unable to be tagged. Bret nearly found the tag after a head collision before a Bret knee saw the technician enter the ring to dominate both Champions. The finish to the match saw a distracted referee miss a Hart pinfall victory giving Arn Anderson enough time to hit a second rope double Ax handle for the win.
‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund interviews Dusty Rhodes for his match next against Honky Tonk Man. Rhodes claimed that Summerslam is “Excitement galore” and that Honky Tonk Man “Will have his booty kicked”.
Honky Tonk Man w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Dusty Rhodes
Dusty started the match in control messing with the former Intercontinental Champion’s hair before connecting with ten elbows in the corner. Momentum swung in the match following a Jimmy Hart distraction giving Honky the opportunity for a megaphone strike followed by a sleeper hold and big knee. Honky kept this momentum up until Dusty garnered a second wind connecting with multiple jabs before a referee bump. The finish saw Jimmy Hart accidentally hit Honky with the guitar followed by a big elbow giving Dusty Rhodes the win. The former Intercontinental Champion would be interviewed by Sean Mooney post-match who seemed to have symptoms of a concussion believing he was about to be performing a live concert.
Backstage, Gene Okerlund interviews Demolition and King Duggan over their 6 man tag later tonight. Ax would cut most of the promo with Smash claiming he’ll kick “2000 pounds of ass” later tonight.
Mr Perfect vs. Red Rooster
This show being the second PPV for Mr Perfect after Wrestlemania V the outcome here seemed very predictable. After some shoving to begin with the quicker Mr Perfect took control with a massive hip toss and a rooster taunt. After a few minutes of back and forth action Perfect would keep his streak alive after connecting with the Perfect Plex for the win.
Gene Okerlund interviews Rick Rude over the Intercontinental Championship match against the Ultimate Warrior, Rude called the challenger a “Ultimate liar” followed by Heenan claiming Warrior will have a “Blue and black eye”. (No “F–k it” outtake by Gene included).
The Rockers & Tito Santana vs. The Rougeaus & Rick Martel w/ Slick & Jimmy Hart
Being the first PPV since the breakup of Strike Force the match started with Tito and Raymond Rougeau to the crowd’s annoyance who wanted Martel. The athleticism of Santana and the Rockers sent the opposition flying with two massive dropkicks and a big crossbody from Santana. The focus of the match was Martel making sure that he could not go one on one against Tito with Santana taking out both Rougeau members until outside interference. This did bring Martel into the ring but only when Santana was down, a personal favourite moment in between Martel dominance was Jacques Rougeau connecting with a dropkick on ‘Chico’ before screaming “WOOOOO” for no reason. The finish to the match saw Santana tag in Shawn Michaels against Martel with the Rocker dominating before the match erupted into a brawl, the finish saw Martel in this brawl after a right hand pin Janetty for the win.
A recap of the Ultimate Warrior/Rick Rude feud is shown with Rumble, Wrestlemania, Superstars and Wrestling Challenge shown. The threat of Andre the Giant interfering is shown multiple times. Gene Okerlund interviews Ultimate Warrior, Warrior delivers his standard promo and that Rick Rude “Will surrender to the Gods above”.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match
‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude (C) vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Pre-match, Rude delivered his standard promo unveiling himself showing his tights to be a crying Ultimate Warrior which Ventura promises will be the future. The match started in a cat and mouse scenario before Warrior took control clotheslining Rude over the top rope before gorilla pressing the Champion over the top rope again. The challenger followed this by attacking Rude with the Intercontinental Championship which Ventura cried for a DQ before claiming that “If that’s not a DQ then can you shoot someone as long as it’s outside the ring?”. Momentum swung the challenger’s way after a failed top rope manoeuvre by Warrior with the ‘Ravishing one’ coming close with a snap suplex before applying a clutch. Rude would set up Warrior for the ‘Rude awakening’ which was broken out of as was a sleeper. Warrior came close to victory following a piledriver before Rude reached the rope leading to countering a Ultimate splash and connecting with his own piledriver. The finish saw Warrior capitalise on a Roddy Piper interference after a second piledriver leading to a Gorilla press and splash for the win. NEW INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION!!! Ultimate Warrior.
Backstage interview with Mr Perfect who claimed that the Red Rooster was a “Stepping stone” and that “Nobody beats Mr Perfect”. This led to Roddy Piper appearing asking “Who runs the Heenan camp??” and that “Everyone pays the Piper”. Ronnie Garvin followed who was interrupted by Bobby Heenan fuming over Roddy Piper and “Not settling down”. Rude claims he had the match won before Piper and that the Intercontinental Championship is “Mine”.
Video package shown in buildup to the Main Event with the “Human wrecking machine” Zeus being highlighted destroying Hogan on Saturday Night Main Event and his promo of destruction on the Brother Love show. The main focus of this is that Hogan “Can’t knock Zeus down” even with a steel chair.
Andre the Giant & Twin Towers w/ Bobby Heenan & Slick vs. King Duggan & Demolition
This is a gigantic match, (Literally), of mass between these two teams. Duggan and Akeem started the match with Duggan getting control of the match before Demolition would double team the former One Man Gang. The momentum of this match switched whenever the ‘8th Wonder of the World’ Andre got involved which led to pressure on Smash. The finish saw a distracted referee not notice Duggan use a 2×4 on Akeem letting Smash get the pin and win for his team.
Ted Dibiase is interviewed over his match against Jimmy Snuka claiming he’s “The greatest athlete in the UK” before calling Snuka “Another sorry statistic in wrestling to the Million Dollar Man”.
Ronnie Garvin is announced as ring announcer for the next match.
Hercules vs. Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine
Garvin targets Valentine prior to the match as well as Jimmy Hart claiming Valentine has “2 left feet” and “That he made the biggest mistake of his life reinstating Ronnie Garvin”. Hercules attacked Hammer from the start before the former Dream Team member looked to get out the ring. Hercules hit a nice delayed vertical suplex but lose the match due to Valentine using the ropes with a schoolboy pin. Garvin as ring announcer claimed Hercules won twice before the two brawled and Valentine backed off.
‘Sensational Sherri’ with Randy Savage and Zeus would be interviewed by Gene Okerlund around the “Cauldron of menace” which will help them destroy HulkaMania and Beefcake. The trio see Hogan and Beefcake defeated and left in pieces and that “Tonight is the end of the road”.
Ted Dibiase w/ Virgil vs. Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka
This is Snuka’s first match in the WWF since 1984 and he started off strong surviving a surprise attack from Dibiase followed by an atomic drop suplex sending the ‘Million Dollar Man’ over the top rope. ‘Superfly’ kept the momentum going until a knee from Dibiase would ground Snuka leading to a big backbreaker. The finish saw Dibiase miss a second rope dive giving Snuka control to hit a second rope headbutt. This was followed by an attempted splash which Virgil saved. Dibiase outsmarted Snuka throwing his opponent into the ring post for the count out win. Post-match, Snuka attended Dibiase and Virgil connecting with the Snuka splash on the latter.
Hulk Hogan and Beefcake are interviewed backstage with the WWF Champion focused on a random motorbike ride and Beefcake claiming that “his titanium scissors will cut through madness”. A mention is also given to the ‘Great Surprise’ Hulk Hogan has to stop Sherri.
The Genius recited a Summerslam poem claiming Hogan and Beefcake will be “Running for their lives” and that Elizabeth is “Absolutely useless”.
‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage & ‘The Human Wrecking machine’ Zeus w/ Sensational Sherri vs. ‘The Immortal’ Hulk Hogan & Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake w/ ‘The First Lady Of Professional Wrestling’ Miss Elizabeth
The crowd is absolutely raucous for Hogan and Elizabeth just at the entrances with Ventura calling Elizabeth a “Gold digger”. Hogan and Zeus started the match with Zeus dealing with a double team from Hogan and Beefcake not even going off his feet before Savage took advantage of the WWF Champion. The crowd started to go wild for the Hulkster when applied in a bear hug by Zeus who took down the WWF Champion down into a pinning combination. Beefcake after being tagged in came in with a huge amount of momentum connecting with a high knee and sleeper hold nearly garnering victory until Zeus was tagged. The ‘Human Wrecking Machine’ was able to get out of a sleeper hold before a purse shot by Savage KO’d Brutus needing Hogan for the rescue. Zeus continued to dominate Beefcake connexion with a flapjack before a double clothesline with Savage and Brutus brought Hogan in. The WWF Champion dominated over Savage even after a Savage elbow drop which was “Hulked up” on. The finish saw Hogan use Sherri’s purse to take down Zeus followed by a body slam and leg drop for the win. Post-match, Elizabeth would get a form of revenge on Sherri using the purse before a Brutus haircut. The closing image saw Hogan, Beefcake and Elizabeth celebrating in the middle of the ring.
Overall, WWF SummerSlam 1989 was a fun show to watch. Is it similar to the wrestling of today? No but it doesn’t need to be. The Main Event and Intercontinental Championship are very good parts of this show with the opener being the best “Wrestling match” on the show. I’d recommend the show to anyone who has the time to watch the show as it’s very easy viewing and enjoyable.