WWE @ Los Angeles, CA - January 29, 1989
by Scrooge McSuck
Los Angeles Sports Arena
- Originally broadcasted on January 29th, 1989, with Rod Tronguard and Superstar Billy Graham at ringside, calling all the action. We're almost at the time to start building towards WrestleMania V, but this being 1989, there was no guarantee what programs would make it to the PPV. For example, Brutus Beefcake and Rick Rude worked house shows together for a few months, but Rude was scheduled for a big angle with the Ultimate Warrior, so Beefcake was just randomly thrown into a midcard match with fellow nothing-doer, Ted Dibiase. I'm rambling, though, so let's go to the ring for the opening match...
[Note: For whatever reason, WWE On Demand felt it necessary to exclude Demolition vs. Powers of Pain from the Two Part selection of this card.]
Sam Houston vs. Barry Horowitz:
Typical house show opener. As usual, Graham criticizes Houston for his lack of body weight. There's absolutely no way Houston is 220+ pounds. How would Graham suggest he had body mass, quickly? Anything legal? Lockup to start, and Horowitz takes him over with an arm drag. Horowitz with another arm drag, then the worst Fargo strut I've ever seen. Houston with a pair of arm drags of his own, before locking on an armbar. This goes on for a while, so I'll just head over to DailyMotion.com for other rasslin' purposes. Back, and Houston is still working the left arm. Horowitz finally turns the table and works the arm as well. The match is so boring, WWE Old School flashback informs us of major happenings around the world in January 1989. Houston blows being whipped to the ropes, and we repeat the spot. Horowitz pulls a Bret Hart, faking a knee injury, and suckering Houston in for a cheap shot. Horowitz with a gutwrench suplex for a two count. He rakes the eyes across the top rope, and rolls Houston up for another two count. Abdominal stretch, and yes, he does use the ropes for leverage. Houston escapes, but is quickly laid out with a diving elbow, and Horowitz is back in control. Houston with another flub in the ropes, then blows a leap frog. Ugh... Horowitz with a leg drop for two. Double underhook suplex and a knee drop for another two count. Houston counters a suplex with one of his own, but Horowitz covers for two. Horowitz with a Boston crab, using the turnbuckle for leverage. Houston mounts ANOTHER comeback, hammering away with roundhouse punches. Whip to the ropes and a clothesline gets two. Horowitz with a leap frog and knee to the back, then back to the Boston Crab. Horowitz argues with the referee, Houston hits a fluke Bulldog, and that gets the three count at 16:15. Who green-lit that much time for this pile of crap? I've said this before I'm sure, but Horowitz wasn't too bad of a worker, when allowed to do stuff. Sam Houston, on the other hand, blew several easy spots and was just not interesting to watch, at all.
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude:
This must be a stacked card, if this is going on second from the bottom. I have to wonder where Bobby Heenan is. Not one, but all of his men were on this card, except for the newly pushed "Brooklyn" Brawler. Please tell me he wasn't stuck with him to put over those terrible Brawler/Rooster matches. Beefcake and Rude had some oddly good chemistry together, but then again, so did Rude and Warrior, and this was before I considered Rude a high-caliber performer. Rude takes exception to Beefcake's popular disrobing. Lockup, and Rude shoves him into the ropes. Lockup, and Beefcake returns the favor. He pulls a small pair of scissors from somewhere, and chases Rude to the floor. Rude wants a test-of-strength, and gives it the old college try before resorting to cheating. Beefcake with knees to the midsection to turn the tide, followed by stomps to the hands. Talk about your fair play. Beefcake grabs a side headlock, and a criss-cross leads to Beefcake stomping the face. He mounts Rude in the corner for a series of punches (10 of them in all). To the opposite corner, and this time Rude interrupts the count with an inverted atomic drop. Rude pounds away with forearms, then drives a knee into the midsection. Whip to the ropes, and Beefcake comes back with a clothesline. He goes for a splash(?), but meets the knees on the way down. Rude to the top rope, and he comes down with a sledge across the back of the neck for a two count. Rude with boots to the midsection, followed by a second inverted atomic drop. Beefcake offers a comeback, and connects with his own atomic drop. Rude tastes the turnbuckle ten times, then escapes to the apron. Beefcake pulls him back in and slaps on the sleeper hold, but Rude hooks the ropes, and lands on the floor. Beefcake rolls him back in and goes for a sunset flip, but Rude hooks the ropes and hangs on for the three count at 11:26. A little too much showmanship than wrestling, but the crowd was into it the entire time, and we didn't get the typical 4-minute Rick Rude chinlock, so chalk this one up as mediocre, but these two have put on better matches together around the same time.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Ultimate Warrior © vs. King Haku:
This one would be recyled on the first Ultimate Warrior Coliseum Video, so here we go with some rehashing: Haku cheap shots Warrior from behind, and works him over in the corner. Whip to the corner, and Haku charges into a boot from Warrior. Warrior with a body press(!) for a two count. Haku rakes the eyes, but a shoulder block does nothing. Criss-cross, and Warrior with a hip toss. He misses an elbow drop, and Haku responds by missing a leg drop. Warrior with an atomic drop, followed by some wild chops. Whip to the corner, and Warrior misses a charge. He did that spot way too much, and we're only half way through this tape. Haku stomps away, takes him over with a snapmare, and slaps on the EVIL Tongan Death Grip! Warrior fights back to his feet and rams him back into the buckle. Warrior with mounted punches, but Haku counters with an inverted atomic drop. Haku with a shoulder breaker, but while that may be enough to defeat a common mortal in the realm of the universe, the Warrior's cosmos and destrucity is too strong of a will, thus only recieving a count of two. Haku works over the neck some more, and it's back to the Tongan grip. Warrior escapes again, this time with elbows to the midsection. Warrior puts Haku down with a shoulder block, then follows up with a slam. Warrior goes for the splash, but he meets the knees. Ugh... Haku back to the neck. Scoop slam, and this time his splash meets the Warrior's knees. Warrior starts shaking the ropes, which means it's time for the big finish: Clothesline, shoulder tackle, suplex, and the big splash finishes things off at 7:16. Felt long, even though it was kept reasonably short. Warrior did a better job carrying this one than Haku. Put that in your journals. Tronguard suggests Warrior won Haku's crown... sorry, his "title" wasn't on the line, buddy.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. Andre The Giant:
Tronguard declares this the Main Event, and honestly, I could write up a 10 page long diatribe on how people don't understand that the main event isn't what goes on last, it's the top billed match of the card. These days in the modern era, yes, that's usually true, but back in the day, the main event on house shows was typically the match that went on before the intermission, and the last match of the night was a "send the fans home happy" babyface victory. Anyway, onto the match... the whole angle summed up in one sentence: Andre is afraid of snakes, so Roberts uses that to his advantage. Andre, apparently, refuses to wrestle until the snake is put away (even if it's still in the bag). Not to be a dick, but making Andre walk back and forth to the locker room is probably more work for the big guy than actually working a typical match. Roberts ambushes Andre with a knee lift, trapping him in the ropes. Roberts with choking while Andre is trapped, then unloads with rights. Jake goes for the snake, but referee Joey Marella actually stops him. Andre frees himself and grabs a choke hold of his own. Andre stomps on Jake like a bunch of grapes, then goes back to choking. Roberts fights back with rights, but Andre lays him out with a single headbutt. Andre with more choking, then drops ass on Roberts. Andre takes it to the corner, crushing Jake with his massive size advantage. Roberts throws a desperate knee lift, dropping Andre to one knee. He goes fo the DDT, but Andre throws him down and goes back to choking. Roberts with a knee off the second rope, knocking Andre on his back. Roberts brings Damian back from under the ring and wraps it around Andre. The snake actually wrapped itself at around Andre's wrist during the big scuffle. Andre takes a walk, but he's still declared victorious by Disqualification at 7:34. I can say the same old thing about Andre's poor condition and how the match wasn't very good, but the bizarre "damien effect" of the matches between the two makes it hard to rate on the regular scale. The fans wanted Roberts to scare Andre shitless with the snake more than beating him, and that's what they were delivering.
- Rod Tronguard pulling double duty, handling backstage intermission interviews with Greg Valentine, the Rockers, the Brain Busters, and... the Red Rooster? Huh. Alright, then.
The Red Rooster vs. "Dangerous" Danny Davis:
So now I'm confused as to why Heenan isn't here. Did he not feel like traveling to Los Angeles? Rooster has yet to start spiking the part of his hair red. Davis threatens Rooster, saying Heenan wants him to take the Rooster out. We get a chase around the ring until Rooster lays Davis out with a right hand. Plenty of stalling follows. Davis with a sucker punch, and my God, Terry Taylor has to be thinking "this is the best they have for me? Working with Danny Davis?" Rooster with a snapmare, followed by a knee drop. He takes Davis down with an armbar, and continues to work over the arm. It seems like there's no effort in anything right now. Davis puts Rooster down with a clothesline and rams him to the buckle. Davis with a snapmare, followed by a second rope forearm to the chest for a two count. Davis with a front-facelock to bring the Rooster down to the canvas. Rooster escapes and takes Davis down with a sunset flip for a two count. Rooster with a small package for another two count, then takes Davis down with a back suplex. Rooster with a scoop slam, followed by an elbow drop. Whip to the corner is revesered, but Rooster boots Davis coming in and covers for two. Whip to the corner, and Davis misses a charge. Rooster applies that hammerlock chicken-wing move, and the submission is made at around the 14-minute mark. There was about a 6 minute straight headlock spot from Davis in there I completely ignored. As awesome as it sounds.
- Jake Roberts comes back out to call out Andre, and he obliges, only to have Rick Rude come out and attack Roberts from behind. IT'S A TRAP! This was all done to set up a tag team match at the next card, with Roberts having Warrior join his side. Too bad that card wasn't televised.
Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine:
I guess the Hart Foundation had minor issues with Honky and Hammer, through their relationship with Jimmy Hart, probably. Honestly, I can't recall any build up, other than blowing it off at WrestleMania V. Graham has words with Valentine as the bell sounds, a throwback to Valentine injuring Graham last summer. Don't mess with a man in pink sweats. Neidhart eventually tosses Valentine into the ring, ready to unload with rights. Valentine turns the tide with a series of elbows to the top of the head. He misses a charge, allowing Neidhart to take him over with a snapmare, and continue to clubbing away. Neidhart goes for the shinguard, but Valentine rolls to the floor. Anvil traps Hammer in the Andre Special, but can't capitalize. They take it to the floor, and it's more slugfest'ing. Valentine with elbows, then a chinlock applied. This match is so dull, Brodus Clay pops us to pimp another section of the WWE Classics On Demand, an odd form of apology. Neidhart fights free, but quickly runs face-first into a knee. Valentine drops an elbow and covers for two, then goes back to the chinlock. Valentine finally starts going to work on the leg... I wish Gorilla was there, telling us Hammer takes 15-20 minutes just to get warmed up. Valentine with elbows to the knee, but Neidhart fights off a submission attempt. Neidhart goes for a slam, but the knee gives out and Valentine lands on top, for two. Valentine turns the shinguard around and signals for the Figure-Four, but gets a thumb to the eyes. He goes back to the leg, but gets kicked off, meeting the ring post on the journey. Neidhart with shoulder tackles (called a CLOTHESLINE?!) for a two count. Neidhart introduces Valentine to the buckles and lays him out with a clothesline for two. He removes the EVIL shinguard, but Joey Marella stops him from using it, allowing Valentine to roll him up for three at 10:11. Neidhart, so loser, beats on Valentine with it afterwards. Dull as watching paint dry. Valentine, a former Intercontinental Champion, was barely able to beat a full-time tag wrestler? I say bullcrap.
The Rockers vs. The Brain Busters:
(Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels vs. Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson)
Final match of the card (and NOT The Main Event!), and this has a damn good chance to be outstanding... so naturally, I'll be disappointed. Michaels and Anderson start. Lockup, and Michaels quickly grabs a headlock. Anderson tries pushing off, but Michaels has it hooked tight. Anderson escapes with a nice hair pull. If you don't want it pulled, don't grow it out. Michaels grabs another headlock, and again Arn escapes with a hair pull. Whip to the ropes, Anderson rolls to the floor, only to be greeted by Jannetty. Blanchard comes in to get into the mix, but the Busters are quickly chased from the ring. Back in the ring, Anderson bitch slaps Michaels, and Michaels responds with rights. Lockup to the corner, Michaels with a slap and drop toe hold. Blanchard tags in, but Michaels rolls to the floor to escape a double team attempt. Blanchard with blows to the midsection. Whip to the corner, and Michaels charges into a knee. Blanchard with a snapmare takeover, followed by a pair of elbow drops. Michaels fights free of a chinlock, taking Blanchard over with a snapmare. He goes for the arm, and in an odd twist of fate, the referee refuses the tag he didn't see, allowing the Rockers to double team Blanchard. Jannetty comes in without a tag, and goes to work on the arm. Whip to the ropes, arm drag, and armbar applied. Anderson tries tagging the foot, but that's not legal. Meanwhile, Michaels "tags" in and continues working the left arm. We're just building up to a Rocker, probably Michaels, taking a piss-kicking for about 10-minutes. Blanchard manages to counter with a hammerlock, but Jannetty fights of a double team with a double hip toss and dropkick. Michaels saves Jannetty from a double suplex, and a simultanious crescent kick clears the ring once again. Blanchard offers a handshake, but I'm sure Jannetty would prefer money for that ankle surgery. Michaels misses a dropkick, and Blanchard misses an elbow.
Anderson FINALLY gets a tag in, and it's trash talking time. Lockup, Anderson with a headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Anderson pounds away on the midsection and rakes the eyes with his boot laces. Hard whip to the corner, but Michaels is still alive, and takes Anderson over with a hurricanrana. Whip to the ropes, and a double dropkick sends Anderson to the floor. Blanchard continues taking a beating from both Rockers. He goes for his signature slingshot suplex, but Michaels counters with a roll up for two. Blanchard suckers Michaels to the floor, right into a double axehandle across the chest. About time! We get Instant Replay, it was that awesome. Anderson with a snapmare and boots to the face. Blanchard with a knee to the face, followed by a sledge from the top rope. He tosses Michaels over the top, to the floor, a spot in the NWA that makes sense, but in the WWF, it's just something that was allowed without consequence. Anderson with a snapmare, but an elbow misses. Sunset flip into the ring gets two, but Blanchard tags in and continues to work him over. Blanchard with a handful of tights to throw Michaels out of the ring. Anderson slaps on an abdominal stretch, and yes, Blanchard offers a hand for extra leverage... then he just comes in and kicks him in the ribs, because that's what heels do, and it's awesome. Whip to the ropes, and a collision puts Anderson and Michaels down. Michaels with a cradle on Blanchard, but the referee's out of position. Michaels bridges out of a pin and backslides Blanchard for two. Blanchard catches Michaels in the air with an inverted atomic drop, cutting off a tag. Whip to the ropes, Anderson kills him with a spinebuster, and a beauty at that. Michaels fights off pin attempts and catches Anderson coming down with his weight across the knees. Jannetty with the hot tag, and he unloads on everyone. Double noggin-knocker, and Michaels off the top with a fist drop. Jannetty goes for a suplex, but Anderson sweeps the leg from outside the ring, and holds him down for the three count at 18:22. That finish seemed rushed, as the match could've gone a few more minutes. Still, classic Anderson and Blanchard formula tag, taking a beating for a while, then beating the tar out of one of the opponents before the hot tag. Not their best match, but all of them are worth a look.
Final Thoughts: It's always hard to make a recommendation for arena cards like this. The most important reason being it all comes down to someone's taste and the era the show comes from. Personally, I love anything WWF from 1988 through 1996, and even after that, I'll watch anything, if the card is right. As for this show, it falls in an era where we were seeing less of the weekend syndicated show jobbers, and more superstar vs. superstar matches. Houston/Horowitz and Rooster/Davis are 30-minutes of suck, but the rest is at least watchable, with an outstanding main event between the Rockers and Brain Busters. If you're a fan of the era, give it a look, it's (mostly) a fun waste of two hours.
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