The Ultimate Warrior was only in the WWE for a comparatively brief time, but during his run he established himself as one of the most popular wrestlers to ever hit the ring. While his matches weren’t the most technical, and he never seemed to get the hang of the whole “wrestling” part of his job, there’s no denying his matches were wonderfully fun to watch.
We’ve scoured our archives to pull out the best Ultimate Warrior matches of his career. We used an incredibly scientific rating system, namely the number of crazy Gary Busey thumbs up each match received.
#5. The Honky Tonk Man vs. Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental Belt – Summerslam 1988
Much like you would start any Hogan list with his legendary match against the Iron Sheik to capture the belt, we had to start with Ultimate’s match against the Honkey Tonk Man for the Intercontinental title.
This match perfectly captures what was so great about the Warrior. Prior to the start, they had teased that Honkey Tonk was going to fight a mystery opponent. The crowd wasn’t sure who they were going to get, until they heard the music.
DUHN. DUN DUN DUHN.
DUHN. DUN DUN DUHN.
Say what you will about the Warrior, his entrance was fantastic for getting the crowd going. This match is over in 30 seconds, the Warrior runs in like a complete lunatic, does a few simple moves and gets the pin. The most entertaining part of the match is the Ref trying to get out of his way
Overall: A great introduction to the Ultimate Warrior. We gave this one 3 Gary Buseys
#4. Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior for the Heavyweight Championship Belt at Summerslam 1990 – Cage Match
Rick Rude had a series of matches against the Ultimate Warrior between 1989 / 1990 that started with their meeting in Wrestlemania V and then again in SummerSlam ’89. Rick Rude was one of the few people that could make the Ultimate Warrior look like an actual wrestler. While all three of the matches are really entertaining, this one was the best.
Rude and Warrior get into it right away and spend the first 5 minutes throwing each other into the cage. Rude gets busted open almost immediately. I re-watched, but I couldn’t see the cut. The Warrior follows right after with a cut of his own.
I feel like Rick Rude was trying to prove something in this match, but I don’t know what. For example, here he is jumping off the top of the cage, which is a level of acrobatics somewhat out of character for him
Warrior unsurprisingly pulls out the win after beating up Heenan for awhile and then climbing out of the cage.
Overall: I remain very impressed by Rude’s ability to pull an actual wrestling match out of the Ultimate Warrior. We gave this one 3.5 Gary Buseys
#3. Macho Man vs. Ultimate Warrior for the Heavyweight Championship Belt at SummerSlam 1992
Heading into this match, Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man had some relationship problems they needed to work through. Although both guys were faces at the time, through a series of incredibly unlikely series of events, (all of which included unconscious referees) neither Macho Man or Ultimate Warrior trusted each other. They thought the other one hired Mr. Perfect to be in their corner.
WWE finally goes over the ocean to Wembly Stadium for the 1992 SummerSlam. This is an outdoor event, which I have always found slightly unnerving. Wrestling should be held in darkened stadiums, surrounded by drunken idiots. These are our people.
Attendance for this one was just over 80 thousand, making it (at least) the third largest event in WWE history.
1. Money Inc. (Ted Dibiase and IRS) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal)
This is a very standard LOD match. Tons of power moves, not a lot of technique. Money Inc. mostly go after Hawk (or Animal, I don’t know) with some dull, choke-hold based offense.
Pretty straightforward end to the match, the LOD throw Dibiase into IRS and then Animal (or Hawk, I don’t know) hits a powerslam and gets the pin
Overall: It’s a fine, standard start to the event
2. Virgil vs. Nailz
Nailz didn’t have much of a run in the WWE. He was in this PPV and then the ’92 Survivor Series, but shortly after was fired after attacking Vince McMahon over a financial dispute.
This match is a pretty solid work by Virgil, but Nailz demolishes him pretty quickly and wins with a sleeper hold.
3. Shawn Michaels with Sherri Martel vs. Rick Martel
This match has a “no punching in the face” rule because Sherri Martel liked both guys and both of them had a crush on her. They probably passed her notes in gym class?
This match is about 10x more entertaining than it has any right to be with such a stupid concept behind it. Both guys bring their A-game with a ton of fast moves and great playing to the audience. Great job guys!
The match ends with both guys about to hit each other in the face, when Sherri faints. Both guys go to check on her and Martel gives her CPR – a technique that has never ever been recommended for a simple case of the vapors. Both men are counted out and Sherri is left by herself.
Overall: A fun match that brought up the pace of the event
4. Tag Team Championship Match: Beverly Brothers (Bo and Blake) vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Tugboat)
Hoo boy. I do not care for the Natural Disasters and I don’t really remember the Beverly Brothers. I’m looking forward to this the same way Daniel Day Lewis looks forward to movies where he doesn’t get a chance to wear goddamn massive, ridiculous hats
The Beverly Brothers do an okay job keeping this match interesting, but they’re not working with much. They go on a monotonously long offensive run against Tugboat and when the ref is distracted, they hit him with a foreign object.
As they go for the pin, Earthquake interferes and comes in to demolish everyone. After some various fat-based attacks, they get the pin on Blake or Bo (can’t tell which is which) and they keep the belts
Overall: Given I didn’t at all expect to enjoy this and it wasn’t entirely awful, I’m pretty happy with it
5. Repo Man vs. Crush
This is sort of interesting because here’s Repo and Crush now:
Here’s Repo and Crush 5 years earlier
They were demolition, remember?
The match itself is fine. It’s a perfectly serviceable match. Crush wins by smooshing Repo Man’s head.
Overall: I’m going on record as saying Repo Man is one of the dumbest ideas WWE has had
6. Heavyweight Championship Match: Macho Man vs. Ultimate Warrior
Heading into this match, Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man had some relationship problems. Through a series of incredibly unlikely series of events, (all of which included unconscious referees) neither Macho Man or Ultimate Warrior trusted each other and thought the other one hired Mr. Perfect to be in their corner.
Gang, will this match be as good as Macho / Warrior from Wrestlemania VII? It’s essentially the same thing except the crowd is actively booing Macho Man.
One difference is the pace, it’s a very aggressive, fast paced match. Not a single arm bar or chin lock. Just non stop body slams and big impact moves. Within 10 minutes both guys seem exhausted.
As the match continues, Macho seems to have injured his back and Warrior seems to have hurt his neck. Both guys are at the end of their energy when Mr. Perfect finally comes out and everyone is wondering which guy hired him.
Macho goes to the ropes and Mr. Perfect trips him. So now everyone thinks Perfect is in Warriors corner. Macho man is understandably upset
During the action, the ref gets knocked out and when Warrior goes for the pin, the ref doesn’t see it. When the ref comes back to, he gets knocked out again by Savage.
As Savage is trying to revive the official, Mr. Perfect attacks the Warrior. So I guess Mr. Perfect is in nobody’s corner.
The match ends when Ric Flair hits Warrior with a chair. Savage ends up going after Flair and then Perfect and Flair beat him up for awhile and Macho Man is counted out of the ring. Warrior them chases off and then celebrates with Macho Man
Overall: That match was way better than the Wrestlemania one. Nice job everyone!
7. Kamala vs. The Undertaker
8. Intercontinental Championship Match: Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith
Man, Bret Hart sure is on a crazy run of “best of the decade” matches, isn’t he? In the past year (of 1991 – 1992) he’s had the crazy good match against Mr. Perfect at the last Summerslam, followed by the crazy good match against Rowdy Piper at Wrestlemania VIII and now this one.
The rumor is that Davey Boy was either high or on no sleep for this match. From Wikipedia:
“Bret Hart later revealed in an interview that he doubted the legitimacy of the injury and that he believed Davey Boy in fact had a drug problem and that in the two months prior to their match he could not contact him to sort out what they were going to do at Wembley, and when they finally got to the stadium Smith revealed that he had not slept in over 48 hours. However, Hart also stated that as bad as Smith’s personal issues were, he “sucked it up” and hit every spot in the match”
The first part is nothing but capital-W Wrestling. It’s Bret and Davey Boy showing off how fantastically better they are then everyone. Lots of quick headlock takedowns, arm bar escape, jockeying back and forth for position while going for quick pin falls. It’s super.
Bret is on offense for most of this match and the crowd pretty quickly turns on him. It’s an interesting storytelling choice to set up Davey Boy as the underdog and it works great. Bret is using really aggressive tactics to sell himself as the temporary heel for the match. They keep cutting to reaction shots of Diana Hart – Bret’s sister and Davey Boy’s wife
After an incredibly one-sided beating that lasts 20 minutes, Davey Boy finally shows some signs of life and goes on offense. He hits Bret with some big, big power moves and Bret keeps kicking out of the pin. They hit the sweet double clothesline and while they’re laying unconscious on the mat, Bret Hart manages to apply the Sharpshooter. He’s the best.
The match ends when Bret Hart misses a sunset flip and Davey Boy falls on him for the pin. Davey Boy gets the belt
Overall: Just a fantastic match and a great SummerSlam. What do you think Diana?
1. Ricky Steamboat, The British Bulldog and Texas Tornado vs. Power & Glory with The Warlord
After a hiatus from the WWE, Ricky Steamboat makes his return. Sadly, this marks the start of his unfortunate run as “The Dragon”
He never hit the same level of popularity with this gimmick that he did as just plain ole’ Ricky Steamboat. This would mark his only PPV as he quit the WWE a few months after this match.
He also appears to be a bit rusty against the Warlord
The only other thing interesting about this match is in one year, all of these guys are gone from the WWE. Davey Boy lasts the longest, appearing in next years SummerSlam
Overall: This is a good match to start the event.
2. Intercontinential Match: Mr. Perfect vs. Bret the Hitman Hart
This is widely considered one of Bret’s best matches and often appears in lists for best matches of all time. At this point, Mr. Perfect is wrestling with a broken tailbone and herniated disks, so it’s incredibly impressive he managed to pull off this kind of match.
There’s a ton of great back and forth with very few obvious rest holds. You can really tell how much Perfect’s back is bothering him through the whole match, but he barely misses a step
The match ends with Mr. Perfect hitting a leg drop, Bret catches his leg (lying down) and converts it into a sharp shooter. Mr. Perfect submits and Bret gets the belt.
Overall: A fantastic match
3. The Natural Disasters vs. The Fucking Bushwhackers
I’m only watching this match in the hopes that the Bushwhackers just get absolutely demolished.
And sure enough, they get destroyed by those fat assholes. The Bushwhackers get a couple seconds of offense at the start, but it’s short lived.
4. Million Dollar Man vs. Virgil
The feud between Virgil and Million Dollar Man continues. While the storyline behind this match was very well done, the actual wrestling itself is nothing spectacular. The match goes on a little too long and ends with Virgil getting the pin and winning the Million Dollar Belt
Overall: Two very average wrestlers having a very average match that is elevated slightly by the over-the-top fan response to the action
5. The Mountie vs. The Big Boss Man
This is dubbed as a “Jailhouse Match” where the loser needs to spend 24 hours in prison. Because they’re both officers of the law? Sort of? So somehow, this makes sense.
This is another mediocre match with mediocre wrestlers. The crowd is still super pumped for the match, but I can’t generate any interest.
Boss Man wins with a power slam and the Mountie is taken to prison.
Overall: This SummerSlam is taking a real shitty turn for the worse
5. Tag Team Match: The Road Warriors vs. The Nasty Boyz
WWE had an incredibly shallow Tag Team pool in 1991. Demolition was on the way out, Hart Foundation split… the only other team of note was the Rockers.
Legion of Doom pretty effectively takes apart the Nasty Boyz, and wins the title, making them the only Tag Team to win the belt in all three major promotions (WWE, WCW and NWA).
Overall: I’m going to start skipping through this garbage PPV. This is as bad as Wrestlemania II
5. IRS vs. Greg Valentine
Aw, come on. I don’t need to watch this match again, I already watched Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham wrestle the Dream Team of Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake in 1985.
This is the introduction of Mike Rotundo as Irwin R. Schyster aka IRS – a wrestler-slash-accountant obsessed with paying taxes.
After 9 minutes of boring wrestling, IRS beats Valentine clean with a small package
Given the absolute horrible garbage most of this card is, I’d like to point out who the WWE chose to leave in the dressing room in favor of these matches – Undertaker, The Rockers, Tito Santana and Jake Roberts.
Overall: Please, just end this stupid PPV
6. Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa and General Adnan with Sid Justice as guest referee
This match is mostly remembered for the controversy that followed. As the story goes, Warrior had told McMahon if he didn’t get a raise, he was going to no-show this event. Having no choice, McMahon reluctantly agreed to his demands and Warrior wrestled the match. As soon as it was over, he was fired on the spot.
The Warrior has disputed this version of events saying he quit, but at the post-match celebration in the ring, Warrior is nowhere to be seen.
Anyway, obviously Hogan won this, and to celebrate he posed down with the officiator, which is standard at most sporting events.
Overall: This entire Summerslam was just a miserable, exhausting experience.
7. Bonus event: Macho Man vs. Miss Elizabeth
Summerslam 1991 was also remembered for the marriage of Macho Man to Elizabeth, even though they had already been married since 1984. But as my wife reminds me, a marriage isn’t official until Vince McMahon says so
Overall: A very strange end to a very uneven Summerslam
As Wrestlemania VII starts, I’m relieved that it’s Gorilla Monsoon and Heenan doing the commentating. I couldn’t handle another PPV with Piper on the mic. He just wasn’t that great in the commentator booth
1. The Rockers vs. Haku and The Barbarian
Man, they loved starting off PPV’s with the Rockers back in the 90’s didn’t they? I guess why not, you’re always guaranteed a good match.
By this point the WWE is running out of ways to use Haku, so they keep sticking him with random tag partners and hoping it will stick. But nope! He’s a reliable worker, but just not dynamic enough to do anything with.
Of course this match is great, because it’s the Rockers and the Rockers are great. Marty Jannetty continues to show how talented he is which is a reminder of how disappointing it is he flamed out after splitting with Shawn Michaels.
After the Barbarian and Haku go on a lopsided beating of Jannetty, the Rockers rally and get the pin with a series of high-flying moves
Overall: Who doesn’t love the Rockers?
2. Dino Bravo vs. Texas Tornado
Ugh. Ugh. What a garbage pairing. Neither of these guys are exciting enough to watch in an entire match. I also find this match a little weirdly gruesome in retrospect given that these two guys ended up dying within one month of each other. Life is all about timing.
You know why I didn’t like the Texas Tornado? It’s his finishing moves – either the Claw or the Spinning Tornado. Both are terrible and dull.
While I was typing, he beat Dino Bravo.
Overall: Just a terrible, boring match
3. Davey Boy Smith vs. The Warlord
This entire match is just an extended advertisement for steroids. It will be interesting to see how long the Warlord can last. Guys his size don’t normally have a ton of stamina.
I’ll give some credit to these big bastards, they try keep the excitement high with some decent back and forth, but anytime the action gets to intense, the Warlord slows it down with rest moves.
Then, very unexpectedly, the Bulldog power slams the Warlord and gets the pin.
Overall: Given the match was so quick, it was fine
4. Tag Team Championship Match: The Nasty Boys vs. The Hart Foundation
It’s 1991 and Bret Hart is still wrestling in tag matches. I completely mis-remembered how long he had a solo career for. I thought he went solo way before this
Going back to watch these early matches, it’s striking how much the crowd just loved the Hart Foundation. As much as the crowd was on their feet for the Rockers, they are losing their minds for Bret and the Anvil.
Not a whole ton to recap in this match. The Nasty Boys go on a 10 minute offensive run against Bret Hart
Eventually Neidhart gets the tag and he cleans house. Unfortunately, while the refs back is turned, Neidhart gets clocked with the helmet Jimmy Hart was wearing and the Nasty Boys get the pin and the title
Overall: It was a so-so match with a couple minutes of excitement
5. Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel in a blindfold match
This match was universally regarded as one of the stupidest ideas in the history of Wrestlemania. As the story goes, Martel sprayed perfume into Jake’s eyes and Jake was blinded. To make the match fair, they covered both their heads in black bags.
Meh. The match is about as eventful as you’d suspect, which is to say not at all. Mostly because they can’t see each other. They just flop around until the end, when Jake slaps on the DDT
Before the match, they show a clip of Jake on the Brother Love show.
A mullet, a hand-knit sweater, black sweat pants and leather cowboy boots. Welcome to wrestling fashion everyone.
Overall: Terrible match
6. The Undertaker vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka
Here’s where it all started. The Undertaker’s legendary undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. This match is a really quick affair that only exists to put over the Undertaker, so I’m not going to bother much with it, except to point out a few things:
– The Undertaker gets a huge pop from the Audience even though he was a heel. He was immensely popular from day one
– I miss the Urn. What a great, fun gimmick that was
– Ah Paul Bearer. We miss you and your monstrously grotesque sea-monster face
Overall: I love any match with the Undertaker. 10/10
7. The Ultimate Warrior vs. Macho Man – Career Match
The gist of this match is that both guys put their careers on the line and the loser needed to retire. I think the story is that Macho legitimately wanted to quit (or at least take some extended time off) and this was supposed to be his swan song.
Both wrestlers go all out through the whole thing and it’s easily one of the Warrior’s top 3 matches.
Closer to the end, Macho hits Warrior with five flying elbows and it’s fantastic.
When Warrior kicks out you basically can’t hear anything, the crowd is screaming so loud. It’s easily equivalent to Hogan slamming Andre in terms of crowd reaction.
The ending is a bit odd – Warrior looks like he’s going to quit because he can’t seem to pin Macho, but then he changes his mind (for no apparent reason) and hits him with three shoulder blocks and pins him with one foot.
What makes this match especially memorable are the events after it’s over. Queen Sherri (who was in Macho’s corner) starts attacking him and who should come to his defense? Elizabeth!!! The crowd collectively looses their minds as Macho and Elizabeth are reunited, the culmination of one of the greatest storylines in WWE history.
Overall: Easily one of the top 3 Wrestlemania matches of all time
8. Tenryu & Kitao vs. Demolition
This match has a couple things working against it. It’s following one of the best matches in Wrestlemania history and it’s against 2 wrestlers that literally no one had ever heard of prior to this exact moment.
What even more odd is that unknown guy 1 and unknown guy 2 actually won the match clean. What the hell? Demolition lost to this?
Overall: What the hell?
9. Intercontinential Championship Match: Big Boss Man vs. Mr. Perfect
The lead up to this match had Boss Man feuding against the entire Heenan family and this was the culmination of that feud.
Boss Man and Perfect do a pretty good job in this match with Perfect doing his measured, non-exaggerated falls that he’s known for
After about 15 minutes of back and forth, things are looking pretty grim for the Big Boss Man. Shockingly, Andre the Giant saunters down to ringside so help him out.
This Wrestlemania is just full of surprises!
The Heenan stable comes down to help out, all hell breaks loose and Big Boss Man wins when Mr. Perfect is disqualified
Overall: This was a slightly better than average match, elevated by the surprise appearance of Andre
10. Earthquake vs. Greg Valentine
I guess they wanted to give people a chance to get a beer? Valentine was on the sunset of his career at this point
Overall: I’m not sure, I mostly skipped through. It was fast
11. Legion of Doom vs. Power and Glory
This match is over before it even starts. Animal hits Roma with a powerslam and as he’s recovering he runs into this:
Overall: There’s nothing to like or dislike. Blink and the match is over
12. Ted Dibiase vs. Virgil
I have no interest in this match whatsoever. As I’ve said many times before, Dibiase is only as good as the guy he’s wrestling and Virgil is not a very good wrestler.
However, I will give credit to the storyline. Virgil’s turn on Dibiase built for like a year, so by the time this match happened, the crowd was just insane to see Virgil beat Dibiase. This match was made even more intense because Piper was in Virgil’s corner.
This match is a great example of what a really compelling storyline can do. Watching this match just on its own technical merits, it’s… not great. I mean, it’s not some nice back and forth I guess, but it’s nothing spectacular. However, you have the crowd screaming with delight every time Virgil punches Dibiase
Eventually, with some help from Roddy, Dibiase gets counted out and Virgil wins the match
Overall: Just an average match, elevated to something fairly exciting by a great story.
13. The Mountie vs. Tito Santana
This match gets off to a great start when Tito pulls the flying forearm out of nowhere
He doesn’t get the pin, and then when the refs back is turned the Mountie hits him with a cattle prod.
Overall: What did I just watch?
14. World Championship Belt Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter
Before I can get to this match, I apparently have some DVD housekeeping to take care of:
The special guest celebrities for this match are Alex Trebek (ring announcer), Marla Maples (timekeeper) and Regis Philman (guest commentator). It’s always entertaining to see what kind of C-list talent the WWE can get for their events.
Some context about this entire event that I haven’t mentioned before, but this is an overwhelmingly jingoistic PPV. In the early 90’s, the US, under Bush Sr, had just launched “Desert Storm” – the US-led attack of Iraq. The war was massively popular with the public and pro-US sentiment was at an all time high.
Against this background, you had Sgt. Slaughter who was a “defector” to the Iraq army. Hogan was the sole protector of US patriotism. It’s a variation of the match the WWE has been running for decades and the crowd was really into this match – more than they would have been otherwise, I suspect.
The match itself is nothing spectacular. There is one small point of note – Slaughter hits Hogan with a chair and busts him wide open. It took me about 3 watches to see when Hogan cuts himself, he kind of roles over and drags the blade across his forehead. There’s a decent recap here:
The Royal Rumble is easily my favorite of all big PPVs. I’m immediately excited to watch this and then immediately disappointing when I hear it’s Piper and Gorilla doing the commentating. They were… not an electric duo
1. The Rockers vs. The Orient Express
One of the Orient Express is in a mask and I have no idea why. What does Wikipedia say? Oh, it’s actually Paul Diamond who is very much not Asian. Hence the mask
The crowd immediately gets into the head of the Orient Express with a rousing chant of “USA! USA!”
Generally this decent match, that includes about 7 perfectly choreographed double team moves by the Rockers. Just when you think the Rockers have this in the bag, the Orient Express gets the assist from Fuji’s cane when the ref isn’t looking.
The momentum turns, but the Rockers manage to get the win with an out-of-nowhere sunset flip
Overall: Gotta love any PPV that starts off with the Rockers
2. Big Boss Man vs. The Barbarian
Well I don’t care about this match at all. Let’s just skim through this one.
Most of the match is just punching and kicking, with the Barbarian on offense for most of it. My sense is that Boss Man does not enjoy being beaten for a solid 14 minutes.
The match ends with a bunch of power moves with both wrestlers barely on their feet. Barbarian hits with a clothesline off the top rope, but Boss Man kicks out. Boss man hits his side suplex, but Barbarian kicks out.
Eventually Barbarian goes for a flying press off the top ropes, but Boss Man roles it over and gets the pin
Overall: That was surprisingly a very, very good match. I think if I liked either wrestler, I would have enjoyed it more.
3. World Championship Title Match – Sgt. Slaughter vs. Ultimate Warrior
When the Warrior was first introduced he had a series of matches against Rick Rude that were actually pretty spectacular (See Wrestlemania V, and Summer Slam ’89 for examples).
I bring this up because Warrior is one of those wrestlers (see Ted Dibiase) who rises or sinks to the level of the person he’s fighting – meaning a great wrestler can get a good match out of him, but a shitty wrestler will get a horrible match out of him.
I suspect this is going to be horrible.
The match is mostly standard Warrior stuff, just him shoulder blocking and punching, until Scary Sherri interferes and Warrior chases her down the runway. Then Macho pops out!
Ha! Man, I forgot all about this. I could watch that gif all day.
With Warrior all beaten up, he barely makes it back to the ring. Slaughter mostly dominates for the rest of the match with the Warrior only offering up a very tepid offense
Eventually Warrior starts on his “John Cena 5 moves of doom” (shoulder block, shoulder block, shoulder block, press slam, body press) when Sherri comes in to interfere. While Warrior is busy entertaining himself by assaulting a woman, Slaughter uses the opportunity to blindside him and Macho Man then runs out and hits him with a giant stick. Slaughter gets the pin and the belt
Overall: This whole thing is a setup for Wrestlemania VII, so they can put the strap back on Hogan. Either way, I’m glad the Warrior’s run is over. He just didn’t work out
4. The Mountie vs. Koko B Ware
Why is this match even?
Overall: Beats me, I skipped it
5. Ted Dibiase and Virgil vs. Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes
Before this match starts, they cut to the announcers booth where Gorilla and Piper are recounting the events of the night:
I just want to point out that Piper always, always looks like he’s just finished having sex.
Anyhoo, onto this match. It’s really only notable for 3 things.
Right after this match, both Dustin and Dusty Rhodes left the WWE
This match set up the feud between Virgil and Dibiase
It’s barely, marginally interesting to watch Dustin Rhodes wrestle without the Golddust facepaint
The match ends when Dibiase gets the pin on Dusty Rhodes. After the match, Virgil attacks him and the feud is full force.
Overall: This match is nothing spectacular.
6. The Royal Rumble
The first 10 minutes: 1. Bret Hart / 2. Dino Bravo / 3. Greg Valentine / 4. Paul Roma / 5. The Texas Tornado / 6. Rick Martel / 7. Saba Simba
On to the Royal Rumble!
Bret Hart and Dino Bravo start the match off in what ends up being a very, very mediocre opening 10 minutes. There’s honestly not a ton to recap when your most electric wrestler in the group (next to Bret Hart) is the Texas Tornado.
Historians take note – Saba Simba, AKA Tony Atlas makes his first and only PPV appearance
Minutes 10 – 20: 8. One of the Fucking Bushwhackers / 9. Jake the Snake Roberts / 10. Hercules / 11. Tito Santana / 12. The Undertaker
Saba Simba gets eliminated by the Model, making him the second elimination in like 12 minutes. This is a sloooowwwww Royal Rumble. Jake comes out to a huge pop and goes right after the Model. It’s a moment of brief excitement
I yawn my way through next series of entrants and eliminations (Roma gets thrown out by the Snake) until the Undertaker (!!) comes out. He immediately eliminates Bret Hart which made me think he was going to go on a run, but nope. He gets caught up in a bullshit choking match against the Texas Tornado.
Minutes 20 – 30: 13. Jimm Snuka / 14. The British Bulldog / 15. Smash / 16. Hawk / 17. Shane Douglas (who?)
Undertaker eliminates One Of The Fucking Bushwhakers and then goes right back to his yawn-inducing attack on the Texas Tornado. Davey Boy runs in next (nothing happens), followed by Smash (nothing happens), Hawk (nothing happens) and Shane Douglas (nothing happens).
Without much fanfare, Model manages to eliminate Jake and Hawk throws out Snuka. There’s still a ton of guys in the ring, we’re 30 minutes in and this is shaping up to be an incredibly dull Royal Rumble
Minutes 31 – 40: 18. Macho Man (did not come out) / 19. Animal / 20. Crush / 21. Hacksaw Jim Duggan / 22. Earthquake
Entrant 18 was Macho Man but they decided to no-show him to make it seem like he was worried about the Ultimate Warrior. Now that’s excitement! An empty runway!
After Animal comes out, the combined Road Warriors team up to eliminate the Undertaker.
Huh. So that was it. That was Undertaker’s Royal Rumble debut. One elimination and then just… standing around. Yet Shane Douglas remains.
Minutes 41 – 50: 23. Mr. Perfect / 24. Hulk Hogan / 25. Haku / 26. Jim the Anvil Neidhart / 27. The Other Fucking Bushwhacker
Animal is quickly eliminated by Earthquake followed by Mr. Perfect eliminating Hacksuck. Hogan comes out and the crowd wakes up, finally having something to cheer about. Hogan quickly eliminates Smash before getting mired in Earthquake’s crotch
As Haku comes out, Valentine is eliminated by Hogan and Tito is eliminated by Earthquake. I had forgotten Tito was even in this match, he was so non-impactful.
In the highlight of the night, One Of The Fucking Bushwhackers gets immediately eliminated and walks right back out. It’s hilarious.
Minutes 51 – finish: 28. The Nasty Boys / 29. The Warlord / 30. Tugboat
Well, there’s only about 15 minutes left in this match, I don’t think the boys are going to be able to turn this one around. This was just a fundamentally boring and shitty Royal Rumble. Very quickly, here’s the remaining beats in no particular order to get to the final three
– Nasty Boy eliminates Hercules, Shane Douglas and Davey Boy
– Hogan eliminates Crush, Warlord, Tugboat
– Davey Boy eliminates Mr. Perfect, Haku and the Model
– The Model eliminates Neidhart
Earthquake and the Nasty Boy are left with Hogan and beat him up for awhile. Unsurprisingly, Hogan hulks the fuck out and wins.
Overall: This was a slow, boring Royal Rumble with tons of missed opportunities. Total, dull garbage
1. The Perfect Team – (Demolition [Ax, Smash, Crush] and Mr. Perfect) vs. The Ultimate Team – (Legion of Doom, Ultimate Warrior and Texas Tornado)
So. The World Wrestling Champion is in a kickoff match in a PPV. I literally cannot think of one other time when this has happened. This really is a signal of how fundamentally the Warrior’s Championship run did not work out the way WWE / Vince McMahon intended.
On the other hand, skipping ahead to the final match tells me that the Warrior is in that one as well. So… yeah. That kind of steps all over my original point. This is awkward.
Early on in the match, the Ultimate Warrior ducks under a clothesline that Ax did not throw. I will always provide a gif of the Warrior fucking up in the ring, because he’s a terrible, terrible wrestler.
Let’s be clear about why I pick on the Warrior so much, and what I mean about him being a terrible wrestler. It’s not that he has a limited arsenal of moves (although he does), it’s not that his matches are the same matches every time (they are) and it’s not that he doesn’t know how to sell a move (he doesn’t). I mean that technically, he is a terrible wrestler. He does not understand how to do pull off the moves, his timing is horrible and he is always out of synch with the other guy in the ring. More than any other wrestler in history, he makes wrestling look fake.
Anyway, he pins Ax.
Hawk comes in for a long run after that. As he’s about to pin Smash, the rest of Demolition jumps in and Animal comes in as well. They mix it up for too long and the ref disqualifies them both. It’s now just Mr. Perfect vs. Ultimate Warrior and Texas Tornado
Perfect goes against the Tornado and after some good back and forth ends up pinning him clean with the Perfect Plex. Now it’s just Warrior and Perfect.
Perfect takes early control, but limits himself to punches and kicks, keeping the match at the Warriors skill level. Eventually, for no reason, the Warrior comes to life, throws two shoulder blocks and pins Perfect, just like he always does
Overall: A really shitty match and a pretty crummy kickoff to the Survivor Series
2. The Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Koko B Ware, Hart Foundation) vs. Million Dollar Team (Honky Tonk Man, Greg Valentine, Ted Dibiase and THE FUCKING UNDERTAKER)
Holy shit, the Undertaker!! The first PPV with the Undertaker!!
The goddamn Undertaker. The Undertaker! The match starts and UNDERTAKER!
Koko B Ware and so long because the Undertaker.
Then some non-Undertaker stuff happens and Honky Tonk is eliminated and then Neidhart.
Eventually, more Undertaker!! Dusty Rhodes! So long loser!
Sadly, more non-Undertaker wrestling. He chases Dusty Rhodes to the dressing room and gets counted out. So there is now no more Undertaker in this match, so… why am I even here? I mean, Hart manages to eliminate Greg Valentine and it’s awesome. And sure, he has a great finishing match against Dibiase. And I guess it’s kind of cool how Dibiase manages to squeeze out a legitimate win.
But still. None of this is Undertaker-related.
Overall: Too little Undertaker
3. The Vipers (Jake “The Snake” Roberts, The Rockers, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka”) vs. The Visionaries (“The Model” Rick Martel, Hercules and Paul Roma [Power and Glory] and the Warlord)
I’m immediately biased against this match because it stars the Warlord. The very same Warlord that beat my favorite wrestler, Tito Santana at the last PPV. On the other hand, it also has the Rockers, with my very favorite wrestler Marty Jannetty
As I write this, it’s about 3 months after Snuka was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend.
As he enters the ring, Gorilla calls him the Phenom. I wonder how many wrestlers he tried that title on before it stuck with the undertaker.
Jannetty starts this match against the Warlord and is awesome. He’s just so quick and high energy that’s it’s hard not to be entertained. Really, there’s just a ton of talent in this match.
This era is notable for the WWE’s attempt to turn Rowdy Roddy Piper into a commentator. It feels like it should work, he was one of the more gifted guys on the mic. Sadly, he couldn’t convert the talent. He is simply horrible, horrible commentator. Most of it is:
“YEESSS! GO SHAWN MICHAELS! WOO! THIS GUY IS AWESOME! YES! GET HIM!”
As I’m typing, Jannetty goes for a flying cross body against the Warlord who catches him and coverts it to a power slam. Jannetty is eliminated. Some more action and then Warlord throws Shawn Michaels 32 feet into the air
There’s some less exciting back and forth after that, and the Model gets a cheap pin on Snuka. It’s now 4 to 2 for the heels.
The lopsided beating continues, eventually culminating in Power and Glory hitting their finisher, the “Power Plex”. It’s actually pretty cool, Hercules suplexes Michaels off the top rope and just as they hit the mat, Roma nails the splash off the top rope.
Now it’s just Jake left and I have to tell you, I don’t like his chances. He manages to hit Warlord with the DDT, but the refs back was turned. He chases Martel out of the ring with his snake and gets counted out. The Visionaries win the match
Overall: Not a bad little match
4. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Dino Bravo, The Barbarian and Haku) vs. The Hulkamaniacs (Tugboat, Hacksuck Fuck Shithead, Big Boss Man and Hulk Hogan)
Big Boss man has made so many heel / face turns you’d think he was a runway model. A fat, racist runway model.
The match starts off with Hacksuck and I refuse to recap anything else while he is in the ring. God, I hate him so much.
Hacksuck finally tags out and the match starts with Big Boss Man vs. Haku. Haku is eliminated in no time flat as Big Boss man hits the side suplex. Then the Barbarian comes in.
At this point in the WWE, they had the Warlord, the Barbarian, Hawk, Animal, Smash, Crush and Ax. They really wanted to explore every possible facet of the “crazy, brawling, face painted, lunatic” didn’t they?
Hacksuck comes in and he’s awful. Jimmy Hart interferes so Hacksuck goes for the 2×4 and is disqualified. Jesus fucking Christ. How many matches end with that stupid, stupid asshole getting disqualified? Hold on, I’m going to go check the records:
Survivor Series 87 – Eliminated by count out
Wrestlemania IV – Beaten by Dibiase
Survivor Series 88 – Disqualified due to 2×4
Royal Rumble 89 – Win due to 2×4
Wrestlemania V – Double disqualification (no 2×4)
SummerSlam 89 – Win due to 2×4
Survivor Series 89 – Win due to 2×4
Royal Rumble 90 – Win due to getting hit with a nightstick from Big Boss Man
Wrestlemania VI – Clean loss to Earthquake
Well isn’t that interesting. As it turns out, going for the 2×4 is literally Hacksucks best chance to win a match. He has literally no clean wins under his belt. Like not one legitimate pin in 10 PPV’s. He. Is. The. Worst.
Hogan comes out to wrestle Earthquake. We just saw this exact same match at SummerSlam, so there’s not a ton of excitement to this. Bravo tags in and Hogan hits him with the small package for the pin.
Next, Big Boss Man take on Earthquake. Boss Man goes to the top rope and hits Earthquake with a flying body press that… Earthquake catches. That’s actually really goddamn impressive. He caught like 280 pounds in the air. After that he just takes Big Boss Man apart and gets the pin. We’re down to Hogan / Tugboat against Earthquake / Barbarian.
Tugboat has literally not stepped foot in the ring at this point.
Hogan comes back out to take on Earthquake and keeps going for the body slam. It’s a mistake and he collapses under the weight of all that ham.
He makes a dramatic tag to tugboat who finally squares off against Earthquake…. for all of like 11 seconds. They get dragged outside the ring and everyone gets counted out.
So now it’s just Hogan and Barbarian and I’m going to finish the recap here. You know what happens, Hulk will hulk the fuck out and get the pin.
Overall: Really dull, predictable match
5. The Alliance (Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, and The Bushwhackers) vs The Mercenaries (Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov, and The Orient Express )
The only reason I am going to bother watching or recapping this match at all is on the off chance Tito Santana hits someone with the sweet sweet flying forearm
Wow, right off the bat, Tito eliminates Boris Zhukov. And in like the next 30 seconds, one of the Bushwhackers eliminates one of the Orient Express. Man, the only thing that would make this match better is Tito hitting another sweet, sweet flying forearm
Now it’s just Slaughter vs. everyone. I’m going to guess this match ends pretty quickly. I wonder if the previous matches ran long and they told the gang to speed this one up?
As Slaughter gets the upper hand, the crowd starts chanting “USA! USA!”. Good job crowd! That chant will really get the Mexican, the 2 Australians and the Russian fired up!
Some really uneventful wrestling follows, none of which involves Tito Santana, so I don’t care. In a very surprising turn of events, Slaughter ends up eliminating both Volkoff and the Bushwhackers, making a match of this. What the hell is this, why isn’t this match over?
Wait, when did Slaughter face Hogan in Wrestlemania?
Oh, there you go, it was Wrestlemania VII, the next one coming up. So this entire match is to show how dominant and unstoppable Slaughter is so the match against Hogan isn’t a total joke.
Tito Santana nails a third flying forearm and is about to win, but some interference gives Tito the win by DQ.
Overall: This match had three Tito Flying Forearms. It is unquestionably the greatest match in all of WWE history.
6. The Face Team (Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Tito Santana) vs The Heel Team (Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel, The Warlord, and Power and Glory)
I guess the way this worked is that the previous survivors fight in this final match. But it only applies to the previous 3 matches, not the previous 5. I’m… really confused, but whatever.
Before the match starts, they cut to Mean Gene standing in front of a giant egg. The egg hatches and this pops out
The turkey-monster grabs Mean Gene to the middle of the ring to dance while “Turkey in the straw” plays over the loudspeaker.
What the hell is even happening?
The antics go on for like 10 minutes. Okay, they obviously needed to give everyone some more time to prep in the dressing room.
The match starts and before you can blink, Tito hits the Warlord with the sweet, sweet Flying Forearm and gets the pin.
The audience barely has time to react, it happened so fast. Dibiase comes in and gets another quick elimination on Tito. This match is unrolling at a clip.
Hogan gets the sand pounded out of him for awhile, until Power and Glory hit the Power Plex. Hogan kicks out and pins Roma. Hogan and Warrior take turns beating on the Model, who eventually leaves the match and runs back to the dressing room. It’s now Hogan / Warrior against Dibiase and Hercules.
Hogan faces off against Dibiase and just demolishes him. He pins him clean and then it’s time for Warrior to jump in and take out Hercules. Just like that, the match is over.
Overall: A very abrupt end to a very uneven Survivor Series
Before we start reviewing SummerSlam, let’s all take a moment to mourn the passing of Rowdy Roddy Piper. He is commentating on this one with Vince Mcmahon, and as they kick things off, Piper spends the entire segment eye-fucking the camera harder than anything. He’s the best.
Anyhoo, on to the matches
1. The Rockers vs. Power (Hercules) and Glory (Paul Roma)
So. Power and Glory, huh? At Wrestlemania, Hercules was a face, so I guess he turned. Or Roma for that matter. Well, whatever.
Before the bell, Hercules attacks Shawn Michaels with his chain and leaves him beaten outside the ring. Marty Jannetty is left to fight by himself.
This is the match that made me really start to respect Marty Jannetty and think he was dramatically under-rated in the WWE. Michaels never gets up from the Hercules attack, so Jannetty needs to wrestle in essentially a handicap match. He carries this whole match by himself and gives an unbelievable performance. This is one of my favorite, favorite matches. If Roma and Hercules were more dynamic or technical wrestlers, I really believe this would have gone down as a classic.
They beat Jannetty pretty quickly, unsurprisingly, but still. Good stuff. This starts to setup the inevitable Rockers breakup.
Overall: Great start to the event
2. Intercontinental Championship Match – Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado
Wikipedia tells me that after Wrestlemania VI, the Ultimate Warrior vacated the belt and Perfect won it during some tournament.
Kerry Von Erich makes his WWE PPV debut here. I’m looking forward to a pretty good match. It starts off entertaining, with Perfect going on offense pretty quickly and playing with Von Erich.
If you can’t tell from the picture, that’s the Texas Tornado grabbing Mr. Perfect’s head. I don’t know what that move is called. I call it “Stupid, Dumb Head Grab”. After that garbage, he spin-punches Perfect and gets the pin. Texas Tornado is the new champion.
Overall: Not a perfect match
3. Sensational Queen Sherri vs. Sapphire
Well, I’m not actually going to dignify this match with a review. This is 100% a comment on the farce of putting an actual wrestler like Sherri against a nothing like Sapphire. Apparently Sapphire agrees as she refuses to come to the ring. After announcing her twice, she never shows up. Sherri wins by forfeit
Overall: That farce of an ending still beats an actual match
4. Tito Santana vs. The Warlord
I have a sinking feeling that Tito is again going to be used to put over another wrestler on his way to the top. Roddy begins the match by reassuring us that he’s not going to call Tito a bean eater. That’s… great to know Roddy.
Warlord takes control of this match really quickly. I expect Tito is very distracted by how much he looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin
Tito eventually manages to mount some offense and shit, we know what’s coming!
It’s not enough though. Warlord kicks out of the pin and gives him the ole power slam for the pin.
Overall: Ah Tito. Will you ever win?
5. Tag Team Title Match – Demolition vs. Hart Foundation
We now enter the phase when Crush joins demolition. Wikipedia lets me know that the reason they added Crush was because Bill Eadie had developed an allergy to shellfish (which he attributed to his frequent trips to Japan) which hospitalized him, and McMahon wanted to add a third member to the team just in case the illness put Eadie out of action for an extended period of time.
This is a 2 out of 3 falls match, always great to see them switch it up a little.
The match starts with a ton of great action. Neidhart ends up getting hurt outside the ring. Bret Hart does a great job of fending off Smash and Crush but eventually gets pinned after a double team, so Demolition takes the first fall.
Bret continues to get beaten up in the ring and nearly gets pinned a few times, but eventually makes the tag to Neidhart who comes in a house of fire. After some beatings, the Bret goes for the pin, Demolition throws the ref out of the way, and Hart Foundation get the pin by DQ. It’s tied at a fall apiece. During the melee, Ax runs out to the ring and hides under the apron.
Hart Foundation start the last sequence in control with Bret Hart dominating Smash. Pulling an old Killer Bees trick, Smash runs out outside the ring, Ax crawls out from under the apron and starts wrestling. The Ref can’t tell them apart. Ax is totally fresh, so manages to turn the tide on Bret Hart pretty quickly.
Then the Road Warriors…. oh wait, that’s the Legion of Doom. Sorry. The LoD come out to interfere and throw the right guy (Smash) in the ring. Or Crush. Or whoever. I can’t tell any of them apart. In the confusion, the Hart Foundation get the pin, the win and the belt!
Overall: Really good match with a great crowd pop when the Hart Foundation got the pin
6. Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Bad News Brown with Big Boss Man as Guest Referee
I despise “guest referee” matches. You’re almost always guaranteed a fairly crummy match with a ref-based disqualification finish, where one guy ends up fighting the ref. Bleh.
I’d love to see this applied in any other sport. Because the implication of these matches is that the refs are so terrible at their jobs, you need an actual wrestler in the ring to keep control. They should have football players officiate NFL games and have Serena Williams ref every tennis match from now on.
Why even stop there? Why not have Bon Jovi as the first base coach at the world series and then you could have President Obama ref the Stanley Cup.
Oh look, while I was typing, Bad News Brown was disqualified by Big Boss Man and they ended up fighting. Surprise
Overall: This is a very up and down SummerSlam
7. Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Orient Express
Yeah, like I said in Wrestlemania VI, I refuse to cover Hacksuck Jim Fuckhead matches anymore. I don’t even give a shit why Nikolai is a good guy now
Overall: Don’t care
8. Dusty Rhodes vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a good match. Both these guys are great performers in the ring.
As a side spectacle, before the match starts Ted Dibiase comes out and grabs the mic. This whole thing is has a backstory where Sapphire was bought by Ted Dibiase, betraying Dusty Rhodes. For those keeping score at home on their racist-ometer, Ted Dibiase, a rich, white man, has a character where he buys black people and he now owns two.
Ah, WWE. You do make it hard to defend you.
Anyway, as all this stupid, stupid bullshit goes on, Macho Man attacks Dusty from behind to start the match. They go back and forth a bit and Sherri interferes, prompting Dusty to seize the moral high ground from Dibiase by threatening to assault a woman.
Well this match is certainly filled with just a metric fucking ton of moral ambiguity. Macho man hits Dusty with an iron-filled purse and gets the quick pin
Overall: Lots of feelings here
9. Earthquake (with Dino Bravo) vs. Hulk Hogan (with Big Boss Man)
This is literally the first PPV since 1984, that Hogan hasn’t headlined.
For anyone counting, that’s like 16 main event PPVs in a row. I wonder if that’s a record even John Cena beats? I think that’s pretty impressive.
Rather than recap this match, I’m just going to go back and watch Wrestlemania II and watch Hogan / Bundy. Because seriously, this is basically the same match. Lots of Hogan-can’t-get-Earthquake-down-oh-my-god-he-got-him-down followed by oh-my-god-Hogan-won’t-get-up-from-that followed by Hogan hulking the fuck out after two splashes. Honestly, really standard stuff.
The only part of the match that is a deviation is that Jimmy Hart interferes and the action spills outside and Earthquake gets counted out.
Overall: Of course he slammed Earthquake
10. World Heavyweight Championship Cage Match: Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior
I guess Vince McMahon agrees with what I said in my recap of Wrestlemania V and SummerSlam ’89. Rick Rude is one of the few people that can make Ultimate Warrior look like an actual wrestler.
So a cage match, huh? This is the 2nd cage match we’ve seen at a PPV, the first one being Hogan / Bundy in Wrestlemania 2.
Rude and Warrior get right into it and spend the first 5 minutes throwing each other into the cage. Rude gets busted open right away. I rewatched, but I couldn’t see the cut. The Warrior follows right after him with a cut of his own.
I feel like Rick Rude was trying to prove something in this match, but I don’t know what. For example, here he is jumping off the top of the cage, which is a level of acrobatics somewhat out of character for him
Warrior unsurprisingly pulls out the win after beating up Heenan for awhile and then climbing out of the cage
Overall:Third time’s the charm. I remain very impressed by Rude’s ability to pull an actual wrestling match out of the Ultimate Warrior