Royal Rumble 1990

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The greatest attraction in wrestling is two unstoppable forces colliding. We had it at Wrestlemania III when Hulk Hogan met Andre the Giant. Neither man had ever lost. Now they were going to fight. Who would win? As we headed toward Wrestlemania VI, we had a similar battle brewing between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. Hogan was the WWF Champion, never defeated for the title. Warrior was the Intercontinental Champion, never legitimately defeated. Their paths would cross, and the first battle would be at the 1990 Royal Rumble as both men would enter as favorites.

The Rest of the Card

-The Bushwhackers defeated The Fabulous Rougeaus

-Brutus Beefcake and The Genius fought to a Double Disqualification

-Ronnie Garvin defeated Greg Valentine

-Jim Duggan defeated Big Bossman

The Match

Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura are our commentators. Schiavone in the WWF is really, really weird. Didn’t last long.

Pre-match promos from: Jimmy Hart, Earthquake, and Dino Bravo. Bad News Brown. Dusty Rhodes with Sapphire. The Rockers. Hercules. Rick Martel. Tito Santana. Akeem and Slick. Ultimate Warrior. That was a long one. Dusty was naturally the best. Warrior was on his game too.

We come back to Tony and Jesse, where they reveal that Ted DiBiase has drawn #1 and Mr. Perfect has drawn #30. Then we go to “Macho King” Randy Savage, who is confident of victory. And then to Mr. Fuji and The Powers of Pain. And then to Jake Roberts, The Hart Foundation, Honky Tonk Man, and finally Hulk Hogan.

As previously stated, Ted DiBiase is #1. #2 is fan-favorite Koko B. Ware. Remarkable that DiBiase could go from #30 last year to #1 this year. DiBiase tries to slam Koko’s head in the corner and it doesn’t work because his head is so hard. Koko charges DiBiase and gets Back Dropped out to the floor. Just in time for #3, Marty Jannetty. Oddly, they play Jannetty’s entrance music but didn’t play Koko or DiBiase’s. A great wrestling sequence ends with Jannetty missing a Crossbody and tumbling over the top.

#4 is Jake “The Snake” Roberts, archrival of DiBiase, as the crowd goes wild. They fight out on the floor and then back into the ring. DiBiase manages to escape the DDT. This has been probably the best sequence ever in the Rumble so far. #5 is Randy Savage, who for some reason doesn’t have his entrance music. Savage and DiBiase team up to work over Roberts. #6 is “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and we’re absolutely rocking now. No music for Piper either, they seem to have changed their mind on that being a good idea. Piper and Jake go back to back and deal on DiBiase and Savage. This would be a hell of a tag match.

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#7 is the Warlord. Stretch of awesome wrestlers couldn’t continue forever. #8 is Bret Hart, walking with a limp. Ring is filling up as the crowd settles down. Bad News Brown is #9. Savage manages to sneak up on Jake and eliminate him. #10 is Dusty Rhodes and he makes a beeline for Randy Savage, with whom he was feuding at the time. Dusty Back Drops Savage out of the ring!

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#11 is Andre the Giant. He’s looking stylish in a navy blue singlet tonight. Andre immediately tosses Warlord, leading to a scuffle between Fuji and Heenan at ringside. #12 is The Red Rooster. I refuse to believe that gimmick wasn’t some kind of rib. Piper manages to toss Bad News Brown, who climbs back in and eliminates Piper. They brawl to the back, setting up their Wrestlemania match. #13 is Ax. Andre throws out The Rooster. Ax proceeds to hammer Andre. #14 is Haku, Andre’s partner in the Colossal Connection. He bails out Andre, but #15 is Smash. Really incredible coincidence there as the two teams that are feuding enter at the same time.

#16 is Akeem the African Dream. Demolition combine to eliminate Andre. Bret got eliminated too but the camera didn’t catch it. Note that DiBiase, the first entrant, is still in the ring. He’s been in there for 30 minutes now. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka is #17. Snuka quickly eliminates Akeem to a big pop. He hit him with a headbutt, which naturally sent a 400 pound man flying over the top rope. #18 is Dino Bravo, billed as “The World’s Strongest Man.” #19 is Earthquake. Is he still Canadian Earthquake? Jesse just called him that but I think they might have dropped it by now. Earthquake quickly tosses Dusty and Ax.

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#20 is Jim Neidhart. Everybody teams up to eliminate Earthquake. #21 is The Ultimate Warrior, the reigning Intercontinental Champion. Crowd goes crazy for Warrior. Warrior immediately tosses Bravo. #22 is “The Model” Rick Martel. Haku eliminates Smash with a Thrust Kick. Tito Santana is #23. He goes after Martel, his former tag partner. #24 is the Honky Tonk Man. Warrior eliminates Neidhart, then Clotheslines DiBiase out. 45 minute run for DiBiase, a new record. Crowd went wild for his elimination.

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#25 is Hulk Hogan! He immediately eliminates Snuka. Haku is next. Warrior eliminates Tito. #26 is Shawn Michaels. Hogan throws Honky out. Warrior tosses Shawn and Martel. Now it’s just Hogan and Warrior and we get our famous face off. The crowd is electric for this. Shoulder Blocks don’t do anything. They run the ropes and Double Clothesline. Both men down. And that’s all it took to sell Wrestlemania VI.

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The Barbarian is #27. He takes liberties with both Warrior and Hogan. Rick Rude enters #28 in what felt like a really short interval. Rude and Barbarian double team Warrior, allowing Hogan to sneak up behind and dump Warrior. To be continued.

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#29 is Hercules. As we know, #30 is Mr. Perfect. Perfect goes for Hogan. Hercules eliminates Barbarian and we’re down to four: Hogan, Perfect, Hercules, and Rude. Rude Clotheslines Hercules out and then teams with Perfect to tune up Hogan. Rude is eliminated when Perfect accidentally pulls the rope down on him. So now it’s just Hogan and Perfect. Perfect hits a Perfectplex, which has no impact in a match like this. Hogan pops back up and Catapults Perfect into the corner. Hogan tosses Perfect and wins the match.

Rating: ****. Strongest Rumble yet. The first half was awesome with DiBiase, Jake, Savage, Piper. The Warrior/Hogan face-off was epic and classic. The only quibble I have is that I think Warrior should have won to set him up as the challenger to Hogan at Wrestlemania. But overall a strong Rumble.

The Aftermath: Hogan and Warrior would face-off at Wrestlemania in Toronto, Warrior would win to unify the WWF and Intercontinental Championships. That would signal the beginning of the end of Hulkamania, but it would be a long ending.

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