Welcome, cats and kittens, to the only thing NBC hasn’t ruined so far this year, the indomitable Cewsh Reviews! Tonight we have a special treat to kick off the official Road to Wrestlemania for us here at Cewsh Reviews. We’re looking back at a Royal Rumble from the past to get ready for the big kahuna itself, next week. We let some of our stalwart fans vote on which Royal Rumble they most wanted to see, and almost unanimously they selected this show on its 20th anniversary, to do the hype work. Will a show as old as most college students hold up today? Will even we know half of the people on the card? Will Cewsh freak out when the Ultimate Warrior shows up (yes)? Why my intrepid little Warriors, there’s only one way to find out.
So with no further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!
Cewsh: Before we go any further, I feel it’s necessary to point out that this is from 1990. Everything is cheesy, everything is ridiculous, and the production values are somewhat dimmed from their current splendor. So I’m not really going to poke a ton of fun at that stuff because, c’mon, it’s not their fault they were living in the late 80s/early 90s.
With that said, Vince introduces EVERY SINGLE FUCKING WRESTLER in the Royal Rumble one by one making for the longest and most arduous opening video I’ve ever seen. There are a ton of dudes in this thing (like at least 29, but not more than 31), and some huge stars, but we’ll find out more about that later. For now, let’s go to our announcers for the evening, Tony Schiavone (the later voice of WCW) and Jesse Ventura (the later governor of something or other) to see what kind of great undercard the WWF had in store for us here.
Well this isn’t exactly my idea of a fantastic opening match, but what the hell, let’s give it a try.
The Bushwackers, for those who don’t remember from embarrassing themselves as a child, were a couple of insane looking dudes from New Zealand who had no front teeth, and were to sexiness what the Hamburgler is to trustworthiness.
If you remember them, what you probably remember is their ridiculous walk where they’d throw their arms above their heads in a rhythmic and military like fashion, while making the wackiest faces you could possibly imagine. If you were a wrestling fan in 1990, there are probably pictures or video of you doing this somewhere. I assume you, like me, burn them on sight. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, on the other hand, were the pride of Quebec, Canada and were a respected tag team of the time. They’re joined by Jimmy Hart, who is basically the village bicycle when it comes to managers.
These two teams have what has to be considered a match because it can’t possibly be considered two men defending themselves against two escaped mental patients. This match involves a frankly remarkable amount of ass biting and ass slapping, and the finish is actually a double headbutt to the ass, which I’m assuming must be devastating, having never experienced it personally.
Did I mention that the Bushwackers are OVER? I should have, because the pops they get for licking people’s heads and biting people’s asses are bigger than anything anyone today has gotten in years. Maybe it was just a product of the era, or maybe people just really love weird looking dudes with personal space issues. But hey, everyone seemed happy. Which is good, because the action in the ring wasn’t going to provide that feeling on its own.
60 out of 100
Cewsh: Backstage with Mean Gene Okerlund is the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and his man servant Virgil. Gene is totally busting Ted’s balls about how last year he got the 30th spot in the Rumble through less than respectable means, and he wants to know what Dibiase’s number is this time. Dibiase flails around and yells for awhile before revealing that he got the number 1 spot in the Rumble. Gene laughs at him.
Throughout this entire segment, Virgil does not make one single facial expression. All he does is stroke a handful of hundred dollar bills like he can hear it purring.
He also glares into the camera like he can see into the future and knows that we’ll all be laughing at his career. Sorry Virgil. We’ve been harsh on you. You’re pretty cool. Ish. Sort of.
Vice: Virgil is the best.
Cewsh: YOUR FACE is the best.
Cewsh: Let me paint a picture in your willing, innocent minds for a moment.
Conjure an image of Randy Savage’s brother, a member of the famous wrestling Poffo family, and a fine wrestler in his own right, working as a dickish midcard heel. Got it fixed in there? Excellent.
Does he look like this?
Right. Now does he look like this?
This is only magnified by the fact that these two hype up the beginning of this match like it’s Rock/Austin as they staredown and beg off and go several minutes before they even touch one another. Then, when the match actually begins, Poffo spends the first half of this match being something between a prancing fancypants queen and an evil professor, a combination that both confused and confused me.
Beefcake, for his part, responds by mocking Poffo’s girlish movements, smacking himself on the ass of his assless chaps (yes really) and prancing about. It occurs to me that if you find yourself as a muscled, oiled up man in pink assless chaps prancing about and smacking your own ass. I think you may want to evaluate exactly who you’re making look like a queen. Just a suggestion.
Meanwhile, in the ring, various sleepholds are being applied and the crowd is going completely ballistic for it. Finally, though, as Poffo is on the brink of submitting, Mr. Perfect runs out and beats the ever loving shitfuck out of Beefcake, nailing him a bunch of times with a chair, and then just sort of wandering off. I have no idea why this happened, but I’m not going to say no to Mr. Perfect showing up in Brutus Beefcake matches.
This is not a compelling contest between two ring giants. Hell, it’s not even a decent match. But I can’t deny how entertaining it was, especially in the beginning, and I can tell you that this crowd damn sure thought they were getting their money’s worth. So hell, good work to these guys.
68 out of 100
Cewsh: I mean FUCK. Look at them!
That shit isn’t human. It makes Tanahashi look like a lump of mashed potatoes.
Cewsh: This is a match between, arguably, the two ugliest dudes in the history of professional wrestling.
Valentine needs no introduction. He is the second generation, melty faced, guy who populated WWF’s midcard around this time in a variety of gimmicks that entirely failed to make him memorable. Many wrestlers from that era have said that he was the best worker of the day, but you wouldn’t know, because he’s far from the most fun to watch.
Ronnie Garvin is some dude who beat Ric Flair for the NWA World Championship one time, and nobody seems to know why. He has a flat top so sharp you could cut paper on it.
The story behind this match is that it is a submission match, and Valentine has been terrorizing WWF jobbers with the Figure Four Leg Lock, so Garvin came up with a way to prevent him from using it. This device, cleverly called the Hammer Jammer, is just a shin guard randomly placed on his leg to keep the Figure Four from affecting him. Somehow. Anyway, they tussle around for a bit, including no less than 10 pinfall attempts EVEN THOUGH THE FUCKING ANNOUNCER TOLD THEM IT WAS A FUCKING SUBMISSION MATCH. Finally, Valentine goes to lock in the Figure Four, but Garvin is unfazed! In an act I have never seen before in a wrestling ring, he actually sits up out of the Figure Four and starts making faces at Valentine.
After the triumph of this, Garvin somehow fucks everything up, and gets his Hammer Jammer taken away. That’s okay though, because conveniently Greg Valentine is wearing the same goddamn thing too. So they steal each other's shin guards, and Garvin manages to hit Valentine in the face with his, before locking in the Sharpshooter (?!) for the victory.
As far as boring matches go between ugly dudes are aren’t entertaining, this was one of those. But it was worth it for the faces alone.
63 out of 100
Vice: HAMMER JAMMER! HAMMER JAMMER! HAMMER JAMMER!
What an embarrassing match this was. Did they just not know it was a submission match? I mean seriously, one would go for a pinfall, get yelled at by the ref, then the other would roll them up only for the ref to get in their face about how pinfalls are no good. OOF.
Cewsh: We’re in the ring now with Brother Love, who is hosting what I assume is supposed to be some kind of talk show. It’s just him in the ring with a red light on, but he has guests so I guess we’ll count it. Better than Montell Williams at any rate.
Love’s guest is the lovely Sherri Martel, who starts ripping into Dusty Rhodes and his manager Sapphire on behalf of her charge, the Macho King. Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with this storyline, what happened was that Dusty Rhodes pulled his biggest fan out of the crowd and made her his valet even though she was an incredibly ordinary looking woman. The idea being that he’s just a common man, so he should have a common valet. Martel and Macho take offense at them, for some reason, and Sherri spends some time yelling about what a peasant Sapphire is while I admire her sexy, sexy ass. (Rest In Peace, Madam.)
Sapphire comes out next and just sort of takes it for awhile before slapping Sherri. Macho is out in a flash threatening to beat up Sapphire, but then our jiggly hero, Dusty Rhodes comes to her rescue and they beat up Brother Love and spend about 5 minutes in the ring just dancing for no reason.
I used to think that segments like this only happened these days. I’m relieved to see that they are a part of wrestling’s history and entirely inescapable. Jesus.
Cewsh: Jim Duggan conducts an entire interview without ever once looking at the correct camera, or having both of his eyes looking in even remotely the same direction. On the plus side, of all the people on this show, he’s the only one who looks EXACTLY now like he did back then.
I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult, but hey, it’s something.
Cewsh: Listen friend. If I were there with you right now, I’d ask politely if I could have the remote for a second. Then I’d fake a sneeze and while I did so I would skip past this match and lie directly to your face, telling you that it actually didn’t happen because Boss Man got sick, and that, instead, Duggan just ran around yelling “HOOOOOOO!” for 15 minutes.
With any luck you’d buy it, and I’d save you 15 minutes of your life that you would never get back.
55 out of 100
Cewsh: The biggest names in the Rumble all deliver individual promos to hype the event they’re about to participate in. I could tell you about it, but I think that pictures tell the story better.
If that has your interest piqued, and you know that is does, here's the complete video of all of the promos. Believe me, you're not going to want to miss this, if only for the Warrior's promo near the end.
Cewsh: Alright, here’s how this is going to work boys and girls. I’m going to document each entrance and elimination. Our comments are going to work chronologically, because none of us were masochistic enough to play by play document the Royal Rumble match, but neither did we want to just summarize and leave things out. So basically the comments are going to go chronologically. The entrances and eliminations will bookmark the comments, so you’ll know what happened in what order. Everyone clear on that? No? Well then figure it out. It’s not goddamn rocket science. Also, and I think this should be basic knowledge, there isn’t actually any way to “spoiler” the Royal Rumble. Anything I talk about at any point will be a spoiler for something else.
So just consider this your overall SPOILER ALERT. Alright? Do not read any further if you don’t want the Rumble spoiled for you. Assuming you haven’t seen it sometime in the past 20 years.
Cewsh: Poor Dibiase. Apparently his money couldn’t buy his way out of having to start first. But hey! He could make it all the way and win from the number 1 spot! It could happen!
Ah, I’m being told that it didn’t happen. Bummer. Sorry Teddy!
Cewsh: You know, I don’t think I’ve ever really seen Koko in action before. And a minute later he gets eliminated and I can see that I wasn’t really missing anything.
It’s amazing to consider that Marty never really did anything in his career, because he looks fantastic here flying all around and being a real risk to Dibiase, before he gets a little too rambunctious and leaps his ass right over the top rope, eliminating himself.
He really could have been something special. That’s the first depressing thought of the match, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Cewsh: Roberts is out next and he is immediately a house of fire, just tearing into Dibiase. I actually had no idea that Jake had a big face run in the WWE, but he is incredibly over here, and really showed just why he was so, so good at this time. All of his selling is believable, all of his offense seems desperate and out of nowhere, and he has the crowd absolutely in the palm of his hand.
Depressing thought number 2. You can probably see him drunkenly wrestle a bear in your hometown for beer money sometime this month.
Wait. Snake vs. Bear? I’d pay to see that.
Cewsh: Savage enters and he immediately helps Dibiase beat up on Roberts. The crowd at this point are going NUTS with so many main eventers starting this off, and are wildly in support of Roberts, who is selling like these two are killing his dog.
If only someone could come to even the score!
Cewsh: Oh shit! Business is about to exceed its current levels!
Piper and Roberts go back to back to fight off Macho and Dibiase. Then, when they bump into each other they whirl around ready to punch, but hesitate when they see each other, leading to the terrible duo to swoop in to assault them.
These two heroes need help! What stalwart hero in the locker room will come to their aid? Hogan? Warrior? Hard Gay?
Cewsh: So when I said “hero”, I suppose I meant “villain”. And when I said “come to their aid”, I apparently meant “beat them into oblivion and then cackle mincingly about it.” Anybody could make that mistake.
Cewsh: Oh shit, it’s the Hitman! Now these are obviously the days before he was the star we remember him as today. And he is noticeably leaner and prettier than I remember him being.
He enters and pretty much immediately becomes an after thought as everybody just starts beating on each other.
Cewsh: I guess I always figured that Bad News looked like the badass that everyone always says that he is, but when he came out he was just sort of a dumpy, mean looking dude. Then he gets in the ring and, well, he’s not very good in there either. What was his appeal, exactly?
Cewsh: After struggling mightily for awhile, Savage finally unceremoniously dumps Jake out of the match, and the fans are PISSED.
Cewsh: Oh goody, the walking stretch mark is here. And he dances. That’s just super.
Cewsh: To my surprise Savage, who Dusty has been feuding with as you may recall from like 2 segments ago, charges Dusty and is immediately eliminated. So they dedicated like 20 minutes to this feud earlier, and exactly 1.7 seconds to it in the ring here.
Cewsh: Ooooooooh fuck. Sorry everybody. You’re all fucked.
Cewsh: Well duh, shithead. He’s Andre the Giant. Don’t fuck with him in a battle royal. Do they not have VCR’s in Parts Unknown?
Cewsh: I bet Andre is shaking in his boots now.
Cewsh: Piper eliminates Bad News, and Bad News immediately grabs him and eliminates him out of them ring. They then brawl to the back.
Doesn’t this result in Piper wearing black face?
Cewsh: Man, I always heard that Demolition were supposed to be WWE’s Road Warriors, but this dude doesn’t look like he’s seen a gym in the past decade, and he’s wearing some off S&M type bondage gear.
Road Warrior Animal he aint.
Cewsh: There goes my dream of a Wrestlemania main evented by the Red Rooster.
Cewsh: Here comes Andre’s angry Samoan tag team partner. This is going to be a slaughter. Nobody can fuck with those two.
Cewsh: Oh hey, it’s Bondage Boy #2.
Cewsh: “The African Dream” Akeem, perhaps better known as One Man Gang, comes out with a big cheesy grin on his face, looking like the friendliest 6’9 450 pound man you’d ever hope to meet. Despite his size, he seems about as intimidating as one of those giant teddy bears you win at state fairs.
Andre the Giant is eliminated by Demolition
The crowd is totally stunned and I am too as the master of the battle royal gets eliminated after only a few minutes by Demolition.
Man, whether they look like dominatrix couch potatoes or not, these guys are getting the mega push right here, clearly. Damn.
Cewsh: Apparently nobody was paying attention.
Sorry Bret. Don’t worry, the 90s will be kind to you.
Cewsh: Snuka comes out looking about as roided up as it is possible to be without actually popping, and shooting all around the arena like a balloon.
Cewsh: The big teddy bear is eliminated in short order by the Don of Drugs, the General of Growth Hormone and the Sultan of Steroids himself.
A think his career would have gone better if his name had been A Cream.
Cewsh: John Tenta (Rest In Peace), comes out looking like a fucking weather balloon floating towards the ring. Don’t let him and Snuka rub together! The static electricity will kill us all!
Cewsh: Earthquake wastes no time becoming my hero by throwing the donut sneaking, pie eating, bacon hiding, cake riding son of a gun out of the ring.
He makes a splat.
Cewsh: Go Quake! Eliminate everyone I don’t like!
Cewsh: This is unrelated, but have any of you seen Jim Neidhart lately? His gut actually extends out 2 or 3 feet in front of his body, without any other part of it actually being fat. It’s astounding. Google that shit.
Not while you’re eating, though.
Cewsh: Now Cewsh is sad.
Cewsh: Now Cewsh is happy!
Cewsh: Next out is Rick Martel, who is amazingly cockish doing his Model gimmick. The best part of it is that I actually can never decide whether he’s good looking or not. So either he’s deluded, and a cockass, or right and a douchebag. Either way, he’s a fantastic heel.
Cewsh: That’s for eliminating Andre you soon to be irrelevant fuck!
Cewsh: Ventura refers to him as Chico Santana, which may very well be what he was going by at this time.
Was Tito seriously not stereotypical enough?
Cewsh: The Honky Tonk Man comes out. Unfortunately, the next time anybody will care about him will be the Royal Rumble eleven years from now.
Cewsh: Warrior just starts going nuts here, and starts throwing out everybody in sight, starting with the pink and black madman…
Cewsh: I haven’t really been mentioning Dibiase, but he’s been in the match raising hell all this time, in what was a really great performance for him. This was the precursor to guys like Michaels and Mysterio lasting the whole goddamn match, and it’s pretty cool. Adios, Million Dollar Man. You did a good night’s work.
Cewsh: WHEN IT COMES CRASHING DOWN AND IT HURTS INSIDE.
Cewsh: I want to make it clear right now that all of those eliminations that just happened, happened in the same, like, 30 seconds span, including Michaels making a Royal Rumble appearance that lasted all of 10 seconds.
Is it clear who was getting pushed here? Now only Hogan, Warrior and Martel are left in the ring at the moment.
Cewsh: Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. Hogan and Warrior are the only two left!
This is so well done. All those guys were eliminated so fast, that you didn’t have time to process what was happening until Warrior and Hogan looked over at each other. Incredible.
Vice: This staredown/showdown between Hulk and Warrior is epic. Epic is a word that gets thrown around far too often these days, but in a traditional sense, this was the very definition of the word. In fact, I think the word “epic” was first said in 1990 after someone saw this encounter. Other words just did not cut it so one had to be created.
Cewsh: Epic is right. These two guys stare each other down and they whole arena collectively holds its breath. These guys start a build here that will build so much momentum that it will explode in one of the biggest moments in wrestling history two months later.
Of course what actually HAPPENS is that they run into the ropes in opposite directions and dodge each other for awhile, and then double clothesline each other, leading to another entrant, and the fun coming to an end.
Cewsh: WAY TO RUIN EVERYTHING BARBARIAN!
Cewsh: Rick Rude and his dazzling abs of magic are out next and it made me stop to think how crazy the world would be if Rick Rude had ever actually gotten a push like this for real.
Cewsh: Oh shit, here’s the moment that launched a million PPV buys, as Rude and Barbarian have Warrior hanging over the top rope. Warrior and Hogan had been helping each other whenever the other was looking like he was about to be eliminated, so Hogan comes over to help again. But this time when he hits Rude and barbarian, the momentum causes Warrior to fall to the floor and be eliminated, starting an immediate rift in trust between the two.
Warrior is so angry at this turn of events, that he immediately sprints down the aisle to the back, in the most hilarious way possible. Don’t bottle up your emotions, Jim! It’s not healthy!
Cewsh: Some ugly dude comes out with a chain around his neck and starts acting like he’s Hogan’s best friend. The crowd, who have popped for anyone else who even acted like a face, give him complete silence.
That pretty much says it all for Hercules.
Cewsh: And out last, with the perfect number, is the intrepid Mr. Perfect. He’s a real threat to Hogan and Rude here, even if Barbarian isn’t and…
Cewsh: …Barbarian doesn’t even let me finish that sentence before he gets thrown out. Well done, sir.
Cewsh: Hogan doesn’t waste anybody’s time, and he eliminates Hercules with hardly a care.
Cewsh: Then Rude and Perfect start to double team Hogan, until Rude accidentally hits Perfect, knocking him to the apron, as Hogan pounds away on him. Hogan throws him into the ropes and Rude goes to bounce off the ropes Perfect is at, but Perfect, like a pimp, pulls the ropes down, and Rude goes flying over the top, leaving us with the perfect combination of Hogan and Perfect. One of these men will be the World Heavyweight Champion!
Hogan then stupidly brings Perfect back into the ring for no good reason, and Perfect responds by whooping his bald ass all over the ring, even nailing a beautiful Perfect Plex. Of course, this being Hulk Hogan, he stands right up from the Perfect Plex, does the finger wag, beat him up, and then sends him sailing into the night, to eliminate his last opponent and officially retain his title.
Cewsh: Now I’ve heard from a lot of people that the ending of this Royal Rumble was a huge disappointment, and they aren’t wrong. They way that Hogan just makes Perfect look like a total bitch, elicited a spirited “Fuck you, Hogan” from Mr. Vice, which I agreed with in spades. As a whole, though, this was a really fun little Rumble match, that planted the seeds for a ton of rivalries, and most prominently, started us on the road to Warrior vs. Hogan. Can’t argue with that.
Cewsh: Ah, memory lane. It’s so refreshing to go back and watch things from your childhood and see what they were really all about. When I was a kid, I got a VHS of this show and watched it a million times, but I never really realized anything about what was going on past the fact that the Ultimate Warrior was totally awesome, and Hulk Hogan looked kind of like my dad (he sort of does).
Watching it now, there’s a lot more to appreciate about the entire show, and a considerable amount more to dislike. But one thing remains.
Vice: It’s always very interesting going back and watching really old shows. This one was just about two decades ago, so it’s fascinating to see what the WWF was like at that time. Everything was so.. simple. The production was just that—production. Not overproduction. It wasn’t amazingly tacky. It didn’t take itself far too seriously. It was all just great fun. Even the awful matches had a lovely charm to them.
I was actually going to leave it at that, but I realized that I have yet to swear and, well, not being offensive just isn’t my thing. I thought about just adding some naughty words, but they seemed very out of place. Maybe it’s because I was listening to Barry Manilow while typing this up. Barry will do that to you, ya know. So, to end my review, I will just say this:
Man WWE was a fucking different place back then.
Alright, well that does it for us this week boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed this blast from the past as a little bit of hype to get us all ready for next week's Royal Rumble 2010. Will Shawn Michaels realize his dream of facing the Undertaker one last time? Will a shocking up and comer steal the prize? Will the Ultimate Warrior come back in the number 30 spot and win (yes please)? We'll have to wait until next week to find out. In the meantime, keep reading, and be good to one another.