Trump Plaza Convention Center – Atlantic City, NJ – Sunday, April 2, 1989
Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura are on commentary.
Hercules defeats King Haku (w/ Bobby Heenan) at 6:57. Haku attacks before the bell but Hercules weathers that storm and goes to work. Hercules allows himself to be distracted by Heenan, and that gives Haku the advantage. In the end, Hercules makes the big comeback and delivers a back suplex, and makes sure to get his own shoulder off the mat to get the pin. Not exactly a hot opener, but the crowd seemed reasonably entertained.
The Twin Towers (Akeem & Big Boss Man, w/ Slick) defeat The Rockers (Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels) at 8:02. This is a perfect clash of styles tag match. Michaels and Jannetty are moving around the ring like greased lightning in the early going, running circles around the big men. The crowd is heavily invested in the Rockers here, and they stick with them when the Towers use their size and strength to dominate. Michaels tries a headscissors off the top rope but Boss Man catches him with a powerbomb. Akeem follows with Air Africa to get the pin. This was tons of fun and a definite bright spot on the card. The Towers perfectly played off the Rockers here, who were wrestling with motivation. Great little match.
Brutus Beefcake and Ted DiBiase (w/ Virgil) wrestled to a double-countout at 10:01. It’s all Beefcake from the start, and the crowd is hot for him. Of course, DiBiase cheats to take control. The Million Dollar Man keeps Beefcake grounded, wearing him down. He gets the Million Dollar Dream on, but Beefcake is able to reach the ropes. Momentum swings back and forth, and Beefcake gets his chance to put on his Sleeper hold but DiBiase gets to the ropes too. Virgil interferes and Beefcake goes out after him. DiBiase goes to the floor too and both men get counted out as they’re trading blows. This was a pretty typical Beefcake match, and the finish really didn’t do anyone any favors.
The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch) defeat The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques Rougeau & Raymond Rougeau) at 9:10. It doesn’t take long for it to feel like this match has been going on forever. Luke and Butch hit the Battering Ram and the Double gutbuster to get the pin on Raymond. These two teams had the same boring match about 1,924 times and they all sucked.
Mr. Perfect defeats The Blue Blazer at 5:38. This is much faster paced and more athletic than anything else on the card up to this point, obviously. Perfect is bumping all over the place, so it looks like he really wants Blazer to look good. Blazer controls quite a bit of the match, as Monsoon and Ventura talk about how Perfect looks lethargic tonight, and maybe that he underestimated the Blazer. Perfect takes the one opening he gets to hit Blazer with a solid forearm shot. One Perfect-Plex later and Perfect is the winner. This was too short to really get good, but what they presented is pretty boss. Blazer looked like a million bucks here even in the loss.
World Tag Team Champions Demolition (Ax & Smash) defeat The Powers of Pain (The Barbarian & Warlord) & Mr. Fuji in a handicap match to retain the titles. Ax and Smash have been the Champions since 3.27.88, and this is their nineteenth defense. This is all slugging and brawling, maybe even some clubberin’. Fuji gets in the ring when Ax is in rough shape, and he looks pretty good for someone who rarely wrestles. Unfortunately, the Fuji advantage turns into a disadvantage when he goes to throw salt but accidentally hits Warlord! That leaves Fuji prey to the Demolition Decapitation and the champs retain. This was all punches, kicks, and rest holds, but at least Fuji bring out there made it moderately more interesting.
Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin) defeats Ronnie Garvin at 3:06. Oddly, after both men are introduced, The Fink introduces Jimmy Snuka, with entrance music and all. Then nothing happens and the regularly scheduled match begins. Blah, they do some stuff and Bravo hits the Side suplex to get the pin. Short, and pointless.
The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard, w/ Bobby Heenan) defeat Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel) at 9:17. This is a big return for Strike Force, who haven’t tamed together in nearly a year. The pace is fast and furious here, and Santana and Martel look pretty good. That is, until Santana accidentally catches Martel with the Flying forearm smash, which is enough to give Anderson and Blanchard control. The Brain Busters can cut off the ring and isolate an opponent as well or better than anybody. When Santana tries to tag out, Martel ignores him, still feeling the effects of the forearm. Martel then literally walks out on Santana! That shocked me to my core as a six-year-old. Santana fights valiantly but becomes a victim of a Spike piledriver. Great angle here and a good match too.
Jake Roberts defeats Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan) by disqualification at 9:44. Big John Studd is the Special Referee. Somehow when we weren’t looking, Andre or Heenan removed one of the top turnbuckle pads, and Andre starts the match by ramming Roberts right into it. Andre dominates the early going until he gets tied up in the top rope, his favorite thing. It doesn’t last long and Andre resumes control. Roberts gets frustrated and goes after the Snake, and Andre gets fed up with Studd and attacks him. With Studd distracted, Ted DiBiase and Virgil come out and try to kidnap Damien, and all hell has broken loose. Roberts is declared the winner by disqualification. Andre gave Roberts quite a bit of offense and made him look great. Also, this set the stage for Roberts v DiBiase and Andre v Studd (which didn’t end up really happening), so the match accomplished quite a bit.
The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) defeat Greg Valentine & Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) at 7:40. This is pre-Rhythm and Blues, so the Hart Foundation are the more well-oiled machine here. This pretty much follows the tag team formula, with Bret playing face-in-peril. When the Hart Foundation takes back control, Jimmy Hart tries to leave the megaphone for Honky, but Neidhart intercepts it and gives it to his partner. Bret blasts Honky with the weapon to get the pin. Standard tag action here, not too bad.
Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan) defeats Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior to win the title at 9:36. Warrior has been the Champion since 8.29.88, and this is his eleventh defense. Warrior is firmly in control for the opening minutes. When he goes for a splash, Rude gets his knees up and that swings the momentum over to the challenger. Rude wears Warrior down and tries the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it. Warrior clotheslines Rude to the floor, and then tries to suplex Rude back in. Heenan sees an opening and pulls Warrior’s leg out and holds it down as Rude falls on top to get the pin. These two worked pretty well together, but this one was several steps below their SummerSlam rematch a few months later.
Jim Duggan and Bad News Brown wrestled to a double disqualification at 3:49. Obviously, there’s not much wrestling to be found here, just all brawling. Bad News tries the Ghetto Blaster and misses, so he gets mad and grabs a chair. Duggan grabs his 2×4 and they swing at each other, causing a double-disqualification. Moving along.
Red Rooster defeats Bobby Heenan (w/ Brooklyn Brawler) at 0:32. Heenan was attacked by Ultimate Warrior after the Intercontinental Title match, so he’s fighting at an even bigger disadvantage than he already was. Rooster abuses Heenan and avoids a charge in the corner. Heenan hits the ring post and Rooster gets the pin. Well, that’s a WrestleMania match of all-time.
Hulk Hogan defeats WWF World Heavyweight Champion Randy Savage at 17:54 to win the title. Savage has been the Champion since 3.27.88, and this is his nineteenth defense. Hogan uses his size and power early on, and Savage tries to avoid him. Savage even uses Miss Elizabeth as a human shield, proving he’s the scummiest person alive. Momentum shifts multiple times, as these two long time partners know each other so very well. Hogan gets a slight cut above his left eye, nothing crazy. Savage involves Elizabeth on a couple of occasions, always to his advantage. The referee gets tired of Elizabeth being there, so he sends her to the back. Savage is reenergized by this, and gets Hogan in position to hit the Savage Elbow. Hogan kicks out and Hulks Up! One big boot and Atomic Leg Drop later and Hogan is a two-time World Champion. This was a huge main event, a great angle, and an exciting match. I know some have argued for Savage somehow retaining here, but people freaked out about that in 2000 so imagine it happening in 1989?!
This show is just way too long with tons of filler, much like WrestleMania IV. However, this show at least has a great main event, and several very good matches tucked away in the undercard. It takes a long time to get through, but there’s some stuff worth seeing here.