The second SummerSlam took place at a time when Hulkamania was still running wild, brother. It took place four months after WrestleMania 5 when Hogan won back the WWE Title from Randy Savage, who had a one-year reign as champion that included a heel turn in the build up to their match. That set up this year’s show featuring a tag match main event similar to 1988 except Hogan and Savage were on opposite sides in 1989 as opposed to teaming up a year earlier. Savage was my guy and I didn’t care if he was a face or a heel. I was nearly nine years old at the time of this show, so I can remember rooting for Savage’s team even though we all knew Hogan always won.
In another big match on this card, Rick Rude defended the Intercontinental Title against the Ultimate Warrior in a rematch from WrestleMania 5. Rude won the IC Title at WM5, so Warrior was on a quest to win it back. You could tell going into this that Warrior was on the cusp of becoming the next big breakout star in WWE and this was a huge match for him.
WWE SummerSlam 1989
Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey
August 28, 1989
There was a live shot of the Meadowlands Arena as Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura welcomed us to the show. The crowd was hot as Schiavone pushed the “Feel The Heat” line and Ventura was fired up.
Analysis: Schiavone only worked for WWE for one year and is more known as the main voice for NWA/WCW. I listen to his “What Happened When” podcast all the time and he often speaks about how he regrets leaving WWE after just one year.
Videos aired of various WWE superstars in action, but it was not done to promote any of the matches.
Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard) w/Bobby Heenan vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart)
(Pre-match notes: Brain Busters were heels that were the Tag Team Champions, but this is not a title match. The Hart Foundation were faces. The story is that the Brain Busters were not the champs when the match was signed while the Brain Busters won the titles on July 19, 1989 from Demolition during Saturday Night’s Main Event.)
Hart started with Blanchard, outwrestled him and then Anderson tagged in with Hart slamming him on the arm. Neidhart got in there to use his power as the faces worked over Anderson for a few minutes. Blanchard tagged in and he was overpowered by Neidhart. When Blanchard did chops to Neidhart they had no effect and Neidhart whipped him into the turnbuckle. Hart was back in for his team leading to this sweet spot where he did a double arm drag by both heels, which drew a big ovation. The heels took control briefly after Anderson made a blind tag, hit Hart in the back with a punch and a body slam. The faces cleared the ring again. Blanchard was isolated as Neidhart worked him over with a bearhug and forearms. Anderson went into the ring, Hart went after him and Anderson pulled Blanchard out of the way as Neidhart went crashing into the turnbuckle. Big sternum first bump by Neidhart. The heels made quick tags to work on Neidhart. Anderson was in the ring with Neidhart, who ran the ropes and Neidhart collided with Anderson to knock them both down. Anderson prevented the tag to Bret and that was followed by a spot where Bret hit a knee to the back of Arn when he was running the ropes because the ref didn’t see it.
Hart got the hot tag against Blanchard with punches, body slams and clotheslines for both heels. Hart with a dropkick on Anderson followed by another slam on Blanchard and a forearm smash off the middle rope. Suplex by Hart on Blanchard. Clothesline by Hart on Blanchard while Neidhart knocked Anderson outside the ring. With Neidhart on the apron, they did the slingshot spot with Neidhart doing the shoulder tackle to Blanchard. Neidhart slammed Blanchard down. Neidhart picked up Hart and slammed him onto Blanchard. The ref was distracted by Heenan, so the ref was focused on that. That allowed Anderson to hit a double axhandle to the back of Hart and Anderson covered for the pin while holding Hart’s hand to cover his hand and hide the fact that Anderson wasn’t the legal man. It went 16:23.
Winners by pinfall: The Brain Busters
Analysis: *** Good tag match between two of the best teams from this era. A lot of Hart Foundation matches with them as faces featured Hart as the face in peril, so this match was a bit different with the heels working on Neidhart. Cheap finish to the match that wasn’t that great by today’s standards, but it was fine for a finish from nearly 30 years ago. It fit the Brain Busters as crafty heels that had no problem bending the rules to try to get the victory.
Dusty Rhodes was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund backstage. Rhodes talked about his match with the Honky Tonk Man saying he will kick his booty.
Honky Tonk Man (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Dusty Rhodes
(Pre-match notes: Honky Tonk Man was the heel like usual while Rhodes was the face like usual. This was shortly after Dusty’s debut in WWE after he was a big name in the NWA.)
The pop for Rhodes was pretty huge. Rhodes with a back body drop and Honky bailed to the floor like the heel that he is. Dusty hit an atomic drop followed by the ten punches while against the turnbuckle. Hart grabbed Dusty’s leg to interfere and Honky capitalized by hitting Dusty in the ribs with the megaphone while the referee was dealing with Hart. Honky slapped on a chinlock as the camera zoomed in on “Heartbreak Hotel” on the back of his tights. When Dusty broke free, Honky hit a knee to the gut and slapped on another chinlock. Rhodes picked up Honky and slammed him down, but Rhodes missed the elbow drop to follow. Another chinlock by Honky. Dusty got back to his feet, they slugged it out, Rhodes got the advantage with punches and the double fist punch to the head. Dusty went for corner attack, Honky moved and Honky shoved Dusty in the ref to knock the ref down. Jimmy had the guitar in his hands, he was on the apron, Rhodes moved and Jimmy hit Honky with the guitar. Rhodes hit an elbow drop on Honky, the ref recovered and Rhodes covered for the win at 9:36.
Winner by pinfall: Dusty Rhodes
Analysis: *3/4 Decent match to put over Rhodes in a big way after his arrival to WWE. Having Rhodes go over Honky gave Rhodes credibility because Honky was an upper midcard heel that had a long run as IC Champion a year earlier than this.
Post match, Honky did an interview talking as if he was Elvis Presley while thinking Jimmy Hart was Priscilla Presley. Meanwhile, Dusty celebrated in the ring.
The trio of “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Demolition were interviewed by Okerlund. Hacksaw was doing the King gimmick while wearing a Demolition mask for the promo.
Mr. Perfect vs. The Red Rooster
(Pre-match notes: Perfect was a heel while Roster was a face with a terrible gimmick and look. It was Terry Taylor.)
Perfect was undefeated going into this match. Perfect had the advantage early with hip tosses and Rooster came back with a slap to the face. Perfect ran the ropes, Rooster caught him for a slam and Perfect fell on top for a two count. Perfect with a standing dropkick to knock Taylor out of the ring. Back in the ring, Rooster dumped Perfect to the floor. Perfect beat on him with chops and punches. Perfect went back in the ring, hit the Perfect Plex and that was good enough for the win at 3:21.
Winner by pinfall: Mr. Perfect
Analysis: * Easy win for Perfect as it should have been. The end was sudden because it looked like Rooster might take control, he never did and Perfect won shortly after. The reason for the quick finish was Rooster suffered a knee injury, so the match ended earlier than intended. Rooster is one of the worst gimmicks ever, but at least Taylor tried his best with it.
A graphic was shown for Survivor Series 1989. Read my review of that event here if you want.
The Intercontinental Champion “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan were interviewed by Okerlund. The heels were confident that Rude would retain his title.
Analysis: That was the edited version of that promo with no mistake because of course there was the memorable moment where the SummerSlam logo fell down behind Gene and he swore. If you’re wondering, that interview was a pre-tape and for some reason, the part where Gene swore made it on the air. Here’s Gene explaining what happened that day.
Tito Santana and The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. Rick Martel and The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond) w/Slick & Jimmy Hart
(Pre-match notes: Santana and Rockers are the faces while Martel and the Rougeaus are all heels. Santana used to be part of the Strike Force team with Martel, so that was an issue going into this.)
Santana has a fabulous perm and mullet. I don’t comment on wrestler’s hair enough, so props to Tito for that. The match started at a fast pace with the three faces clearing the ring after dropkicks to fire up the crowd. When the match slowed down, the heels took control by working on Jannetty for a few minutes. Jannetty was able to come back with a kick to clear the heels from the ring. Santana got a two count on Ray with a clothesline. Jacques grabbed Tito’s foot (the ref didn’t see it) and Ray hit a knee to the back of Tito to give the heels control of the match. Jacques hit a nice dropkick on Santana. Martel got in some punches on Santana and when Santana hit him with a couple of punches, the crowd went crazy for it and Santana got a sunset flip for two. Martel regained control after a chokehold. Backbreaker by Martel and Ray tagged in with a Boston Crab submission on Santana that didn’t last long. Jacques slapped on an abdominal stretch on Santana with fans chanting “Tito” as Jesse said it was “Chico” because that’s what he called him. Santana got a cross body block on Jacques for a two count that the fans cheered a lot for. Another “Tito” chant as Ray slapped on a chinlock. Jacques hit a nice leaping elbow, but he missed a knee attack after Ray was holding Tito and that knocked down Ray. Santana got the hot tag to Michaels against Martel.
Michaels unloaded on Martel with a back body drop as the crowd went wild with Michaels hitting a dropkick and a suplex. These basic wrestling holds are drawing a huge reaction. Michaels up top and he hit a fist drop. Jannetty tagged in and Michaels slammed him onto Jannetty for two. All six guys were in the ring with Santana hitting the flying forearm on Martel. Jannetty went after Hart on the apron, Jacques with a dropkick to Jannetty and Jannetty rolled up Jacques even though he wasn’t the legal man. Martel got back in the ring, punched Jannetty in the face and Martel pinned Jannetty for the win after 14:58. Schiavone thought Michaels was the legal man, but it was Jannetty.
Winners by pinfall: Rick Martel and The Fabulous Rougeaus
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a fast-paced, exciting match (especially for 1989) that I had completely forgotten about. It holds up well nearly 30 years later. The pace really picked up after Santana made the hot tag and it looked like they might win, but it ended up being the savvy heels that got the win. Putting Martel over made a lot of sense because he got a decent midcard push.
They aired videos to set up Rude vs. Warrior going back to Royal Rumble with the posedown that ended with Rude attacking Warrior from behind. At WrestleMania 5, Rude won the Intercontinental Title from Warrior after interference from Bobby Heenan. In the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, they had multiple altercations including when Warrior interrupted a Rude promo with a lady and Warrior attacked him. On the last edition of Superstars before SummerSlam, Andre the Giant attacked Warrior from behind with a two-handed choke.
Analysis: Rude was the #2 heel in the company behind Savage, so putting the IC Title on him was a good decision. Warrior was a face star on the rise. It was a rivalry that elevated both guys.
The Ultimate Warrior did a promo with Mean Gene Okerlund on the SummerSlam interview set. Loud promo from Warrior with a lot of ranting from him. In other words, it was the usual Warrior promo.
Rick Rude made his entrance. Speaking of perm haircuts, Rude’s is even more impressive than Santana. Rude did a promo about the “fat, out of shape SummerSlam sweathogs” to keep the noise down so he could show the ladies what a real sexy man looks like. Rude had the Warrior logo on his tights.
Analysis: The pre-match promos from Rude were repetitive, but they were a good idea. It got him a lot of heat every time.
The Ultimate Warrior made his entrance to a huge ovation. It loudest pop of the night up to this point.
Intercontinental Championship: “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Ultimate Warrior
(Pre-match notes: Rude was the heel champion and Warrior was the face challenger.)
Warrior hit a press slam early on as he slammed Rude over the top to the floor. Warrior continued the attack on the floor with a suplex. Warrior threw Rude over the top to the floor. Warrior sent Rude back in the ring, up to the top rope and Warrior connected with a double axehandle for two. The crowd thought that was it. On a double ax? That’s how over Warrior was. Suplex from Warrior. Atomic drop from Warrior and he did the Rude hip swivel as well. Warrior picked up Rude and slammed him down on his ass. Warrior went up top, so Rude punched him and Warrior was crotched on the top rope. Suplex by Rude as Warrior was holding his back to sell the pain. Heenan was at ringside telling Rude that he (Warrior) has to beat you and you don’t have to beat him. Rude went for the Rude Awakening neckbreaker, but Warrior pulled his hands off and that led to Rude slapping on a sleeper to wear him down. Warrior broke free with a jawbreaker. Warrior ran the ropes, they did a collision spot and both guys bumped into the referee Joey Marella for the ref bump. All three guys were down in the ring.
Rude got up first with punches, but Warrior no sold everything. Back body drop by Warrior. Warrior hit three clotheslines followed by a powerslam for a cover, but no ref there to count. Warrior hit a piledriver. That’s not a move he did very often. It looked good here, though. Warrior covered, the ref was groggy, slow count and Rude got his foot on the bottom rope. Great nearfall that the crowd bought into. Warrior hit a running powerslam and a splash, but Rude got his knees up to hit Warrior in the gut to slow him down. Rude goes for a piledriver of his own, lands on his own knees and Warrior took that bump right on the head/shoulders. Not sure what he was going for there as Rude got a two count. Rude up top and he hit a fist drop on Warrior for a two count. Roddy Piper walked down to ringside to a huge ovation. Rude hit a piledriver on Warrior for a two count. Rude saw Piper and was angry about it because they had a rivalry. Rude flexed at him, so Piper “flashed” him with his ass under his kilt. With Rude looking at Piper by standing on the middle turnbuckle, Warrior pulled Rude off the ropes almost like a German Suplex that sent Rude to the mat. Warrior hit the flying shoulder tackle with Ventura ranting about Piper causing this whole thing. Gorilla press slam by Warrior and a running splash to the back. Warrior covered for the pinfall win at 16:02.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior
Warrior celebrated with the IC Title to a huge ovation. Ventura ranted about how Piper was the one that caused Rude to lose. Sean Mooney was in the crowd saying that they had just experienced the ultimate exhilaration.
Analysis: ***1/2 That was great with a hot finish and the crowd went wild for it. I liked the format of the match with Warrior aggressive early on, Rude took control after stopping Warrior on the top and then Warrior came back to win. It was an easy story to follow because it was about Warrior getting revenge after getting screwed out of the IC Title several months earlier at WrestleMania. When you watch the crowd react to a guy like this it’s easy to see why WWE gave Warrior a huge push that ended with Warrior winning the WWE Title at WrestleMania 6. Warrior vs. Rude was such a good feud that they had a rematch at the next year’s SummerSlam except they got to be in the main event spot.
Mr. Perfect was interviewed by Mean Gene. Perfect said that the Red Rooster was a stepping stone and Perfect does what he says he’s going to do. Perfect ended it saying nobody beats him. Perfect left.
Analysis: Perfect was a heel star on the rise. I was a huge fan of his. It would have been great if he won the WWE Title at some point, but sadly it didn’t happen.
Roddy Piper was interviewed by Mean Gene. Piper was thrilled about how he cost Rude the IC Championship and Piper admitted that it was his fault. Piper was proud of it.
Ronnie Garvin was next up in the interview area. He was in a suit, didn’t say much to Mean Gene and left.
Bobby Heenan showed up on the interview set to rant to Mean Gene about what Piper did to them. Rick Rude said he had Warrior beat and then look who comes from behind, Roddy Piper. Rude yelled about Piper showing him his ass. Rude said he’s going to get that title back. Heenan wanted them to start the match over.
Schiavone and Ventura appeared to say they are taking a five-minute intermission.
Analysis: All of the interviews being done like that was to provide an intermission for the crowd. It was standard in this era, but they stopped doing it.
Mean Gene was back on the SummerSlam set to talk about Hulk Hogan’s rivalry with Zeus while noting their rivalry on the set of the movie No Holds Barred. There was a clip from when Zeus attacked Hogan with punches on Saturday Night’s Main Event. In July, Randy Savage introduced Zeus as his partner. A week later, Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake accepted the challenge for SummerSlam. On Saturday Night’s Main Event, Zeus no sold chair shots so Vince McMahon said that Zeus was “impervious to pain.” That was the phrase they used a lot to describe Zeus.
Andre The Giant and The Twin Towers (Big Boss Man & Akeem) w/Bobby Heenan & Slick vs. Demolition (Ax & Smash) and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
(Pre-match notes: The heel team of Andre and the Twin Towers were introduced at 1,334 pounds, so they were some big dudes. Hacksaw and Demolition were the faces. It was originally going to be Big John Studd on the face team, but he was replaced by Duggan.)
Duggan has the USA flag painted on his face (since Demolition has face paint as well) with Ventura saying it’s disrespectful to have the USA flag on that ugly face. The faces worked together against Akeem early on. Back elbow by Ax knocked Akeem down. Smash worked over Boss Man with punches. Duggan fired up the crowd with the “USA” chants as he worked on Boss Man with an armbar. Boss Man got control against Ax, tagged in Andre and Andre sat on Ax. Punch by Andre to Ax. Andre couldn’t move well at all here, so he just choked Ax against the ropes. Akeem in, he missed a splash on Ax, so Smash tagged in. Smash slammed Boss Man and slammed Akeem. Both of those moves earned a big pop. Andre in with a chop to Smash to stop the momentum. Things broke down with all six guys brawling. Andre hit a headbutt on Duggan. The ref tried to get Andre out of the ring, so Ax tossed the USA 2×4 piece of wood to Duggan. Akeem hit a splash off the middle rope onto Smash. Duggan hit Akeem in the back with the wood (the ref never saw it) and Smash covered to win for his team at 7:23.
Winners by pinfall: Demolition and Jim Duggan
Post match, Andre and Heenan complained to the ref about the faces cheating while Ventura said it wasn’t fair.
Analysis: **1/4 Fun match with the faces cheating to win. The best thing was they kept it short. Bigger guys don’t want to have long matches, so keep it simple and it comes off better that way. It was tough to see Andre move around so slowly because he was in so much pain, but he did the best he could.
Ted Dibiase, the Million Dollar Man, was with Virgil getting interviewed by Mean Gene. Dibiase said he’ll prove to the world that he’s the greatest athlete anywhere. Dibiase called Jimmy Snuka another victim at the hands of the Million Dollar Man.
Howard Finkel, the ring announcer, welcomed “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin as the surprise ring announcer. Garvin did the introduction for the next match while ripping on Greg Valentine saying he looked overweight by 30 pounds.
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Hercules
(Pre-match notes: Valentine was the heel and Hercules was the face.)
Hercules with a body slam for two leading to Valentine leaving the ring to stare at Garvin. Hercules followed Valentine to the floor with an attack from behind. Back in the ring, Valentine took control and wanted the Figure Four Leglock, but Hercules kicked him away. Valentine up top, he missed as Hercules punched him to the gut and Valentine hit him with a punch to the back. Hercules with a suplex. Valentine backed away in the corner. Valentine tripped up Hercules, pinned him with his feet on the ropes and that was enough to win at 3:08.
Winner by pinfall: Greg Valentine
Analysis: 1/2* Awful match with a cheap finish. Very basic in-ring work with nothing that was interesting. The best thing about it was that it was short.
Garvin said that as far he was concerned, Hercules was the winner. Garvin again said that Hercules was the winner by disqualification. Valentine punched Garvin out of the ring. Garvin went back in the ring, punched Valentine and Valentine left to end it.
Analysis: The Valentine/Garvin story continued into 1990 with a big match between them at the Royal Rumble.
Randy Savage, Zeus and Sensational Sherri were interviewed by Mean Gene. Sherry had some cauldron where she acted as if she could see into the future. Savage said that Brutus Beefcake was the weak link while noting that Zeus was “impervious to pain.” I told you they liked that phrase. Zeus didn’t do anything except make angry faces.
Ted Dibiase was in the ring bragging about ending the career of Jake Roberts before his match.
“Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase (w/Virgil) vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka
Snuka with a headbutt that sent Dibiase to the floor. Dibiase back in, he accidentally knocked Virgil off the apron and Snuka with an atomic drop sent Dibiase over the top to the floor. They missed a spot where Snuka went for a leapfrog, didn’t time it right and landed on top of Dibiase. That was poorly done. The crowd was dead for this. Snuka with a back body drop. Dibiase picked up Snuka and hit the stun gun where he dropped the throat of Snuka across the top rope. Steve Austin used that as a finisher in WCW. Dibiase hit a suplex and backbreaker with each move getting a two. Dibiase with a body slam. To the middle rope, Dibiase missed a back elbow that wasn’t even close. Snuka started a comeback with a headbutt to a mild reaction. Snuka with a body slam followed by a headbutt off the middle rope. Snuka to the top rope, Virgil went on the apron to distract and Snuka went after. Dibiase attacked Snuka from behind with a double axe and sent Snuka into the ring post. The ref counted Snuka out to give Dibiase the countout win at 6:27.
Winner by countout: Ted Dibiase
Analysis: * Poor match with an even worse finish. They tried to bring back Snuka as a veteran on a final run, but he looked bad in this match. His mobility wasn’t what it was in the past. This should have been a pinfall win by Dibiase.
Post match, Snuka attacked Dibiase and Virgil from behind by just shoving them down. Snuka with a flying forearm to Dibiase. Snuka with a backbreaker to Virgil. Snuka went up top and hit the Superfly Splash. It led to a lot of cheers. Snuka’s music hit to end it.
Analysis: Easy way to have Snuka get his heat back after a loss. The crowd cared about the Superfly Splash at least. They didn’t care about anything else.
Hulk Hogan, the WWE Champion, and Brutus Beefcake were interviewed by Mean Gene. Hogan talked about riding motorcycles with Beefcake while Brutus talked about the blades on his hair clippers. Hogan kept on talking with a weird promo that made no sense.
The Genius was in the ring reading a poem. I’m not recapping that.
Savage entered with Zeus and Sherri. They were booed as heels. This was before he became the Macho King as a heel.
Brutus Beefcake entered first for his team. He got a nice ovation.
Hulk Hogan walked out last with the WWE Championship around his waist. Huge reaction for Hogan.
Analysis: Beefcake was Hogan’s best friend, so that’s how he went from midcarder to main event. Zeus did the movie No Holds Barred with Hogan, which is why he’s in the main event. In terms of wrestling talent, Zeus had no business near the main event. It was just WWE wanting to promote the movie, which was released a few months earlier in June 1989.
The match was about to begin, so Hogan talked to ring announcer Howard Finkel and he introduced Miss Elizabeth to be in Hulk’s corner. Savage was furious about it.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage and Zeus (w/Sensational Sherri) vs. Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake (w/Miss Elizabeth)
Hogan tried some offense on Zeus, but he couldn’t do anything to him as Zeus choked Hogan on the mat. Beefcake jumped at Zeus, but Zeus caught him in a bearhug. Zeus put Hogan in a bearhug leading to a double ax attack from Savage. Knee to the back by Savage followed by a clothesline for two. Savage slapped on a chinlock as the crowd chanted “Hogan” for the Hulkster. Hogan back to his feet and Zeus hit him in the back when Hogan ran the ropes. Zeus slapped on the bearhug with Ventura trying very hard to put over the strength of Zeus. The bearhug was applied for a couple of months with Hogan going onto his back, so it got a two count for Zeus. Savage had to talk to Zeus in the ear to tell him what to do. Savage was back in the match with a back body drop for two. Savage missed an attack by the ropes and Hogan tagged in Beefcake. Running knee to the face by Beefcake earned a two count. Sleeper hold by Beefcake, which was his finisher. Savage got out of it by grabbing the hair and sending Beefcake into the turnbuckle. Zeus went back in, Beefcake did an eye gouge and a sleeper, Savage lured Hogan in to distract the ref and Savage hit Beefcake in the back of the head with Sherri’s purse to knock Beefcake down for a two count. Hogan chased Savage out of the ring with Savage running over to Elizabeth on the floor. Zeus went back in with his shitty choking offense, so the ref pulled him off by grabbing him by the head. Zeus picked up Beefcake and sent him throat first into the top rope. Savage back in leading to the double clothesline spot with Beefcake.
Hogan got the hot tag against Savage with Hogan hitting the big boot that sent Savage out of the ring. Hogan brought Savage back in with a suplex while Sherri grabbed Hogan’s leg so Savage landed on top. Savage hit a clothesline. Savage tagged Zeus. Savage up top and he hit the Flying Elbow drop. No pin as Hogan sat right up. Hogan with an atomic drop sent Savage out of the ring. Zeus was the legal man for the showdown with Hogan. Punches by Hogan followed by a clothesline that staggered Zeus down to one knee. Sherri tried to interfere, but Elizabeth tripped up Sherri. The loaded purse was in the ring. Hogan grabbed the purse, the ref was distracted by other things on the floor and Hogan hit Zeus in the face with the purse. It was clearly empty. Hogan hit a body slam and leg drop on Zeus for the pinfall win at 15:04.
Winners by pinfall: Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake
Analysis: ** Poor match with an ending that the fans loved after Hogan did his usual routine. The ending could have been better, though. It felt too sudden. Savage tried to carry it and he definitely had the working boots on, but he couldn’t make up for the limitations of others. The story worked because the crowd got into the story of Zeus being a monster type heel, so when the faces finally went knocked down Zeus the fans bought into it as a big deal.
Post match, Sherri was in the ring and Hogan teased punching her. Hogan gave Sherri an atomic drop leading to Elizabeth slapping Sherri. Ventura ranted about how terrible it was that Hogan was beating up a woman. Beefcake cut some of Sherri’s ponytail with the help of Elizabeth.
Hogan’s music played to end the show with the faces celebrating in the ring. There were replays of the key spots in the match because there were a few more minutes to go. The show signed off with the announcers plugging Survivor Series and that was it.
This event has a run time of 2 hours 39 minutes on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– SummerSlam 1989 was a big financial success because it did about 625,000 buys on pay-per-view. The year prior did 400,000 buys. Part of the reason for more buys was that more people had PPV as the years went by, but that 625K number held up as the highest for any SummerSlam until 1998 headlined by Austin vs. Undertaker. As much as I hated watching a Zeus match, it’s easy to see why WWE did it because it ended up making them a nice chunk of money.
– The main event bored me and Savage couldn’t save it. The match followed a familiar pattern for WWE during this period and that’s making Hulk Hogan look strong. Putting Zeus in a match for that long was a terrible idea because he was such a bad performer.
– Rick Rude really impressed me. His presence as a heel, his ability to work a crowd and the work in the ring. I don’t want to say I had forgotten how good it was, but it was a while since I had seen him in a featured match like that. I’m glad he got to be in the main event a year later.
– There were a lot of cheap heel wins on the card, so some of them felt a bit repetitive. That’s something that existed in the late 1980s and early 1990s where they would repeat a lot of the same endings. As the years went on, WWE was better at coming up with good finishes. Then again, I complain about 2017 finishes often too, so maybe some things never change.
– That IC Title match and six-man tag matches were the highlights of the card. That’s the cool thing about doing these reviews of shows I haven’t watched in a long time because there are some great matches out there that I’ve forgotten about. The ending could have been better, but it put over Martel in a big way to have him get the win in that match. As for the IC Title match, it was well done and is one of Warrior’s better matches.
Best Match: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude
Worst Match: Greg Valentine vs. Hercules
Most Memorable Moment: Hulk Hogan pinning Zeus. I didn’t like the match at all, but that was a big moment that the crowd reacted to as a major moment.
1. Rick Rude
2. The Ultimate Warrior
3. Rick Martel
4. Shawn Michaels
5. Randy Savage
Show rating (out of 10): 5.5
Thanks to two matches at 3.5* and another match at three stars, it was a decent show. Like in 1988, there were too many tag matches that made it feel repetitive, but I was only bored during a few matches. It was mostly an entertaining card.
Matches With Ratings ****+ (out of 5*) and higher:
None so far.
Ranking SummerSlam Reviews (on 1-10 scale)
SummerSlam 1989 (Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1988 (Mega Powers vs. Mega Bucks) – 5
Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.