WWF Royal Rumble 1990 Review (The Perfect… Poser)

Welcome everyone to my very first review of the decade of the 1990s. We’re starting off hot, with the WWF’s Royal Rumble, the third annual in the event’s history. Along with the traditional thirty-man Royal Rumble match in the main-event, we have a number of other matches, including a submission match.

Even though this show has no championship influence, here is the list of the then-champions in the WWF at the time anyway:

  • WWF World Champion: Hulk Hogan
  • Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior
  • World Tag Team Champions: The Colossal Connection (André the Giant & Haku)

Enjoy the review!

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IMG credit: WWE

The hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jesse Ventura (in a Mickey Mouse shirt because why not!)

Live from Orlando, FL

The Bushwhackers (Butch & Luke) vs. The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond)(w/ Jimmy Hart)
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This is the Rougeaus’ first match back after a few months off, with Jacques rocking on a rare long beard. It will also be their last, as Raymond will step away from the ring while Jacques will go on to be the Mountie. I personally loved the Rougeaus’ run as heels in 88-90, and it’s a shame they were never the champs or even worked a long program with Demolition. Would’ve been twenty times better than the Powers of Pain. Anyway, I’ll miss watching the Rougeaus.

Raymond and Butch start. Raymond goes after Butch but biting ensues. Butch even bites the referee’s ass while the crowd goes insane for all this Bushwhacker nonsense. Off to Luke for some biting of his own as the Bushwhackers clean house for a second time and stop to do their trademarked pose with the crowd going wild for it. Meanwhile, Jesse and Tony YELL four about the third or fourth time that they couldn’t put another person in the arena if they tried… while I can see more than a handful of empty seats right in front of the hard camera. I assume everyone went to the toilet then.


The Rougeaus finally turn things around with some classic All-American cheating, even choking the Bushwhackers with the tag rope in a very nice touch. Raymond comes in with the savate kick on Luke for two. Jacques comes in and he wants a time-out so he can show off his athletic ability for a while. This was always hilarious and the crowd hated it everytime! Luke lets him finish but then immediately bites his legs as the crowd goes bananas. The Rougeaus go back to cheating though, and that allows them to kill the Bushwhackers’ comeback. Luke tries to bite away once again, but thankfully for Jacques he’s close to his corner, so he tags Raymond in for a chinlock. Back to Jacques for a splash that misses and only finds knees, and we finally get the hot tag while the roof is nearly about to explode. Butch comes in and he runs wild all over both Rougeaus. It’s Battering Ram time, but Jimmy Hart sneaks in and grabs Luke’s foot to prevent the finish. That earns him a beating with the crowd (somehow) going even crazier, but the Rougeaus come in to save him with stereo dropkicks followed by a Jacques roll-up for a close nearfall. Raymond sets up Butch for the Boston Crab/knee combo, but Luke trips him up and the Battering Ram sends Jacques right into Raymond, who gets knocked off the apron. Butch pins Jacques at that’s all at 13:35.

  • Rating: You know what, this was actually waaaaay better than I expected coming in. This crowd was literally in love with the Bushwhackers, and they helped elevate this match a lot. The Rougeaus’ heel shenanigans were on point as usual, but the crowd going insane for each and every nearfall and false finish they did gave us a very energetic opener here. And again, I’ll miss the Rougeaus! **1/4

Meanwhile, Mean Gene is with Ted DiBiase & Virgil in the back. DiBiase reveals he got the number one in the Rumble match before going on a rant about how he’s the greatest talent in the world of wrestling. This was incredible promo work. Surprised? It’s Ted DiBiase.

Brutus Beefcake vs. The Genius
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In case you’re a younger reader wondering what in the blue hell is this doing on PPV, or in case you simply don’t remember, allow me to recap: The Genius is Mr. Perfect’s manager. Perfect is slowly starting a feud with Hulk Hogan. Brutus Beefcake is Hogan’s favorite friend from the midcard. There you go. In other words, Hogan’s minion vs. Perfect’s minion!

The Genius bails for a long time like he always does. Back in, Genius stretches and dances around with Brutus mocking him. They finally lockup, with Genius immediately going to the eyes to take over. Beefcake responds with an atomic drop that sends Genius all the way to the floor. Back in, Genius whips Beefcake into the buckle and tries to follow with a corner dropkick, but Beefcake moves and Genius lands in the Tree of Woe position. This match sucks balls but, I will admit, that was cool. Lanny Poffo was a tremendous athlete at the time. Brutus drops both knees on Genius’ head for two. Hey how dare you to go after the HEAD of a genius!?

Genius goes after the eyes yet again to take over once more, which allows him to follow up with a roll-up for two. Genius with a bodyslam. He goes up for that vertical leap that has no chance to hit the opponent and I HATE WITH A PASSION and guess what happens… go ahead I will give you a second. I’ll even give you a paragraph break for that matter.


All jokes aside it really is stupid and bad-looking. Anyway Beefcake hits a bodyslam of his own and sets up for the sleeper. He shoots Genius off the ropes and goes for it, but the Genius shoves him to break and bumps the ref. Seriously, in this nothing match? Beefcake finally catches Genius in the sleeper and puts him away, but there’s no bell because there’s no referee and this match must go on forever, apparently. Brutus actually stops to cut Genius’ hair before Mr. Perfect FINALLY runs in and takes out Beefcake with a chair and the Perfectplex as the match is thrown out as a draw at an eternity that Wikipedia describes as 11:07. I’ll go with that.

  • Rating: Don’t get me wrong, there were a few nice things in this match here and there, particularly some athletic moves by the Genius. However, the fact that is was so pointless and so long really hurt this match. Also the finish was ridiculous and is the set up for a very dumb conclusion to Mr. Perfect’s undefeated ‘perfect record’ gimmick – in my humble opinion, one of the dumbest in company history. Those who know what it is, you feel me! Bad match. 1/2*

Meanwhile, Mean Gene interviews the Heenan Family and turns the members against each other for a while by simply bringing up the possibility of them being the final ones in the Rumble. Fun little segment.

Submission Match: Greg Valentine vs. ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin
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Both get jobber entrances – aka none. These two had been feuding all the way since after WrestleMania. Valentine defeated Garvin in a loser leaves town match in a match that aired on Prime Time (which I assume must’ve been taped for either Superstars or the Wrestling Challenge), after which Garvin became a referee and a ring announcer. He was constantly distracting Valentine though, and was signed as a wrestler yet again shortly after SummerSlam. This is (finally) the blowoff to their feud.

They trade nasty chops (the extra mustard kind) to start. Garvin wins that battle by taking down Valentine and… goes for a cover. The referee reminds him this is a submission match so they go back to exchanging really hard chops and fists. Garvin wins that yet again, with Valentine going down almost Flair flop-style. Valentine starts working the midsection with some knees and elbows and he too goes for a pinfall. And the referee again has to remind them there’s no such thing here. And then – guess what happened – back to the slugfest they went! Once again won by Garvin with a headbutt. Garvin got up first and went for a piledriver, but Valentine blocked as they went into a….. PINFALL reversal sequence. You idiots! They got up and went for another chopfest that ended in a double KO spot. Garvin got up first though, sent Valentine head first into the buckle and… went for a roll-up. A pin. Again. That allowed Valentine to take down Garvin with a chop and set up the figure four. Valentine locked it in but Garvin no-sold and did funny faces to annoy Valentine. No, believe me, I am honestly reporting what happened. Don’t believe me?

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IMG credit: WWE Network

I told you to believe in me! This happens because Garvin has a knee brace that blocks the pain cause by Valentine’s evil knee brace of doom, which was called the Hammer Jammer. Valentine releases the hold and Garvin rolls him up once again as this is starting to get ridiculous. Doing it once out of desperation and/or instinct okay and actually a very good touch if done and sold well, but this has happened close to ten times now. Valentine works a torture rack but can’t lock it in, so he simply dumps Garvin to the mat and drops an elbow on him. Garvin responds with more nasty chops as they get in another massive NWA-style slugfest won by Garvin. Off to an Indian deathlock but Valentine’s close to the ropes and bails. Garvin follows him and goes for a piledriver on the outside, but Valentine backdrops his way out of it. Back in where Garvin misses a blind charge and eats turnbuckle before they both collide for a double KO spot. Garvin falls near the apron, so Jimmy Hart sneaks in and undoes the Hammer Jammer. NOW we’re going somewhere!

Valentine immediately goes for the figure four, and this time it’s locked in good. Garvin crawls and sells the hell out of it, eventually turning over to put the pressure on the back of Valentine’s legs, who immediately makes the ropes to break it. Valentine goes back to the figure four, with Garvin using an inside cradle to block. See, had they saved the pinfall spot for here and HERE ALONE, it would have been perfect. Garvin is in pain, he was in the figure four for about a minute just a moment ago, and tried the first reversal that came to his mind in order to prevent it again. Instead we’ve seen it 592 times already and it doesn’t mean as much. Valentine goes up instead but gets slammed off à la Ric Flair. And now it’s Garvin who takes off Valentine’s trusty knee brace for a great reaction. Garvin is limping, doing a great selljob of the injured legs, and even Jimmy Hart gets a beating to make the crowd happy. Valentine eats a shot with the knee brace to the head and a Sharpshooter puts him away at 16:55.

  • Rating: Look, the second half of this match was actually incredible. I absolutely loved the action and the story once the ‘Hammer Jammer’ angle kicked in, but up until that point the constant pinfalls get quite annoying. And it ultimately ruins the match overall, in my opinion. Like I said, had they done this once or twice with the proper story, it would have been quite the perfect touch. Unfortunately, they did it over TEN times and it lost all its meaning. Apart from that, the physical sequences between both men were very good too. Like I said, the first half was annoying and boring at times, but then the second half was a true classic. Overall, it was a good physical submission bout that could’ve been a little bit better, as the awesome second half showed. ***1/4

Meanwhile, Mean Gene is in the back with Mr. Perfect. He talks trash to Brutus Beefcake before announcing he got the ‘perfect number’ for the Royal Rumble match. You know what that means!

The Brother Love Show W/ Dusty Rhodes, Sapphire, ‘Macho King’ Randy Savage & Sensational ‘Queen’ Sherri

Yes, a 10+ minute TV segment at a PPV with a one-hour match as the main-event. Welcome to the World Wrestling Federation! Basically Sherri and Brother Love ignore Sapphire and make fat jokes. Sapphire finally snaps and slaps Sherri, drawing Savage in. Savage teases beating up Sapphire, but Dusty arrives for the save and cleans house. Brother Love gets abused too and the babyfaces dance to end the segment and set up the mixed tag match for WrestleMania.

‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan vs. The Big Bossman(w/ Slick)
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IMG credit: WWE Network

Duggan runs wild to start, forcing Bossman to bail after a number of clotheslines and shoulder tackles. Duggan follows but eats the post. Bossman charges and misses, as now he gets to eat the post. Back in for a nice Bossman enziguiri that Ventura puts over like crazy on commentary. It did look awesome for a guy as big as Bossman. Bossman chokes away to get some heat, and even Slick adds his shots behind the referee’s back. Bossman goes for a bearhug, but Duggan headbutts him to break and then dumps Bossman with a clothesline over the top. Back in for a Duggan missed charge right into a Bossman clothesline for two. Bossman goes up for a splash that misses, and they collide for a double KO spot. Slick sneaks in the nightstick for a few shots, but the referee catches him and calls for the DQ at 6:13.

  • Rating: This was nothing. Pointless and boring with an awful and lame (non) finish. There should be a picture of this match close to the word ‘filler’ in the dictionary. Slightly over DUD because Bossman’s enziguiri was nice. Apart from that, totally skippable. Moving on. 1/4*

After the match, Duggan hits both Bossman and Slick with the 2×4. After that, we get a very nice video package with comments from most of the Rumble match participants. Bring these back, please!

1990 Royal Rumble Match
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Ted DiBiase is number one as we already knew. Number two is Koko B. Ware. DiBiase attacks him before the bell to take over. Koko no-sells a number of shots in the turnbuckle and gets to run wild with his jobber offense for a while, only to miss a charge and fly all the way to the floor for our first elimination. DiBiase is waiting alone for the third entrant, who is The Rockers’ Marty Jannetty. Another short mini-match begins, with Jannetty getting in a number of dropkicks. DiBiase catches him with a clothesline but misses a charge, allowing Jannetty to make another quick comeback. DiBiase quickly stops that though, and Jannetty is gone soon afterwards, leaving DiBiase waiting for the next man all alone yet again. That man (at number four) is Jake Roberts, who DiBiase is in a personal feud with, which draws a big reaction. The fresh Roberts beats him up for a while, but then DiBiase goes for the Million Dollar Dream. Jake escapes that by sending Roberts into the post and hits the short-arm clothesline. He signals for the DDT and goes for it, but now it’s DiBiase who blocks, so Roberts catches him with a kneelift instead as Randy Savage comes in at #5. The two heels work together against Roberts until Roddy Piper comes in at number six to make the save. DiBiase is nearly eliminated but he hangs on. And Warlord is number seven as we get body after body joining and this is becoming harder and harder for me to recap. It’s mostly punching and kicking in the corner like every other Royal Rumble match in history. Bret Hart joins the party as number eight, drawing another big pop. Bad News Brown is #9 and Roberts finally catches DiBiase in the front facelock position to nail the DDT, but he’s close to the ropes and Savage clotheslines him over the top and out to eliminate Roberts. That was a nice move that got both Savage (for being a dick) and DiBiase (for being lucky) heat from the crowd. So with Savage having major heat, it’s only fitting that Dusty Rhodes is number ten to go after him and have the crowd go even more nuts. The genius of Pat Patterson, may he rest in peace. Anyway, with one third of the match gone, I’ll take a much needed paragraph break.

And I’m back! Savage and Bad News double team Dusty when he gets in, but then Savage charges and Dusty backdrops him out to eliminate him. That was a beautiful bump by Savage on his way out, as he went completely vertical on that backdrop. What an athlete. Andre the Giant is number eleven and Warlord is immediately the first victim, with Heenan and Fuji nearly going at it on the floor. Andre smashes Dusty into Piper for a double noggin knocker – god bless Gorilla Monsoon – as The Red Rooster is twelve. Good luck lasting twelve seconds, Taylor. Meanwhile Piper eliminates Brown, who proceeds to retaliate and eliminate Piper himself. They fight all the way to the back in order to set up their WrestleMania program. Oh god, we’ll get there… Rooster is gone at the hands of Andre while Demolition Ax replaces him at number thirteen. Ax pounds away on Andre (I loved Ax’s fire in his series of punches) and Andre eventually gets caught in the ropes like he does in every match. Cue Haku at fourteen to save his fellow tag team champion. Demolition Smash is in at number fifteen, and we get a Demolition double noggin knocker at the hands of Andre. Akeem is #16 as this is starting to get hard to follow yet again. Bret goes flying courtesy of DiBiase and he’s eliminated, and so is Andre at the hands of both Demolition to set up their tag title rematch at WrestleMania. Notice how business is being done for multiple people and programs throughout this Rumble match. Jimmy Snuka is in at #17 and he immediately dumps Akeem. Dino Bravo is #18. Canadian Earthquake is #19 which means it’s time to clean this house. Dusty and Ax are immediately gone and Jim Neidhart is number twenty.

With Neidhart in, pretty much everyone joins forces and put Earthquake out together. And before you get sad that Earthquake didn’t get to put more people out, Ultimate Warrior is in at #21! He instantly dumps Bravo, who was in a brief feud over the IC title with Warrior, before all the remaining participants get all together yet again to go against Warrior. Rick Martel is #22 and Haku superkicks Samash out. Tito Santana is #23 to go after his former Strike Force mate. Honky Tonk Man is #24. Neidhart is gone at the hands of both Warrior and Martel, and so is the first entrant DiBiase with a Warrior clothesline. Hulk Hogan is #25 and shit’s about to go down! Snuka and Haku are immediately gone (what do you have against Samoans, Hogan?). Warrior eliminates Tito. Honky briefly chokes Hogan with his shirt but Hogan fights back and puts him out. Shawn Michaels is #26 only to be immediately thrown out by Warrior, followed by Martel. Suddenly Warrior slowly turns around and…….. guess who are the only two people left alone in the ring!! You can literally see the people stop and look at Warrior and Hogan with their mouths wide open, these two unstoppable larger-than-life characters who just did not lose. They go face-to-face and no-sell a number of shoulderblocks before colliding for a double KO spot. And Barbarian is #27. Lucky us. Rick Rude is #28 after completely ignoring the ten second clock in a funny bit. I can imagine Vince McMahon fuming backstage. Rude and Barbarian go after the mega stars, and Warrior saves Hogan from elimination. They then go after Warrior and try to put him out, so now Hogan returns the favour and… puts him out. Hulk Hogan, hero to millions! Hercules is #29 and goes after the heels. And finally, Mr. Perfect is number thirty.

Final five: Perfect, Hercules, Hogan, Rude & Barbarian


Perfect goes after Hogan immediately and Hercules backdrops Barbarian out. Rude and Perfect work together to put Hercules out, leaving them and Hogan as the final three. Heel miscommunication ensues, which allows Hogan to fight back and whip Rude out – with a bit of an assistance from Perfect who’s on the apron and pushes the top rope down. And we have Hogan vs. Perfect in the end. Hogan goes after Perfect, but Perfect turns things around and hits the Perfectplex. Hogan obviously no-sells the most effective move in wrestling in 1989, as he proceeds to take Perfect down and catapult him into the corner. Hogan then picks him up and whips him into the buckle again, this time with Perfect taking a crazy bump over the corner and into the outside, giving Hogan the win at 58:46.

  • Rating: Well this was quite awesome. Even though this had its inevitable dead spots with loads of people out there at the same time, all Rumble matches have those. However, just look at the programs this match helped set up for WrestleMania. The tag title match between Colossal Connection/Demolition, Piper/Brown, Savage/Rhodes, and obviously the massive Hogan/Warrior main-event for the ages. That is incredible. Another highlights included Ted DiBiase’s great run from the number one entry and Earthquake’s brief moment of domination. I would argue Hogan didn’t REALLY need to win this, specially considering Perfect’s ‘perfect record’ undefeated run and entering with the ‘perfect number’, but that’s not a major issue as a bump over the top rope can easily be covered and Perfect can stay over. Plus Hogan has a big match coming up. I still would have given Perfect the win in order to give him massive momentum and to set him up for a big World title program with Warrior post WrestleMania, but again it’s not like a bump over the top rope will kill anyone’s career. Overall, awesome Rumble. ****


Final thoughts: I had a great time watching this PPV. Sure, it had two boring and pointless matches (Duggan/Bossman and Beefcake/Genius), but everything else was awesome in their own different way. The opener was really fun thanks to Bushwhackers being over as hell and the Rougeaus being a tremendous heel team. The submission match, despite having its flaws, is also a very good physical and intense bout – once they stop with the silly pinfall spots – and then the Rumble match was great. Easily the best out of the three up until that point. Already a better PPV than all the four PPVs the WWF put out the prior year. Nice start of the decade for the World Wrestling Federation! Overall, I give this a solid 7/10.



Considering this is a PPV with a very unique match, there will obviously be some changes to the point system. As far as all the regular preliminary matches go, I will use the regular point system, which you can see here. As far as the Rumble match itself goes, every elimination made will be worth 0.5 points. Getting eliminated will cost the wrestler 0.5 points as well. Also, for every full minute alive in the match, the wrestler earns 0.1 points. As for winning the whole thing, it will earn the victorious wrestler 5 points.

Here are the points for every wrestler who worked this event:

WrestlerStar ratingResultMain-eventingExtrasEliminations (Rumble match only)Time (Rumble match only)Total
Ted DiBiase4-0.511.5 (3)11 (44 mins.)17
Hulk Hogan4513 (6)3 (12 mins.)16
The Ultimate Warrior4-0.513 (6)3.5 (14 mins.)11
Haku4-0.511 (2)5.5 (22 mins.)11
Dusty Rhodes4-0.511 (2)4.5 (18 mins.)10
Jimmy Snuka4-0.511 (2)4.25 (17 mins.)9.75
Smash4-0.511 (2)3.75 (15 mins.)9.25
Bret Hart4-0.514 (16 mins.)8.5
Andre the Giant4-0.511 (2)2.5 (10 mins.)8
Roddy Piper4-0.510.5 (1)3 (12 mins.)8
Ax4-0.510.5 (1)3 (12 mins.)8
Randy Savage4-0.510.5 (1)2.5 (10 mins.)7.5
Rick Martel4-0.511(2)2 (8 mins.)7.5
Jake Roberts4-0.512.5 (10 mins.)7
Rick Rude4-0.511 (2)1.5 (6 mins.)7
Bad News Brown4-0.511 (2)1.5 (6 mins.)6.5
The Warlord4-0.512 (8 mins.)6.5
Dino Bravo4-0.510.5 (1)1.5 (6 mins.)6.5
The Barbarian4-0.510.5 (1)1.25 (5 mins.)6.25
Canadian Earthquake4-0.511 (2)0.5 (2 mins.)6
Mr. Perfect4-0.510.5 (1)0.75 (3 mins.)5.75
Hercules4-0.510.5 (1)0.75 (3 mins.)5.75
Tito Santana4-0.511.25 (5 mins.)5.75
The Honky Tonk Man4-0.511 (4 mins.)5.5
Akeem4-0.510.5 (2 mins.)5
Koko B. Ware4-0.510.25 (1 min.)4.75
Marty Jannetty4-0.510.25 (1 min.)4.75
The Red Rooster4-0.510.25 (1 min.)4.75
Ronnie Garvin3.2510.5 for submission fall4.75
Shawn Michaels4-0.514.5
Bushwhacker Butch2.2510.5 for winning the fall3.75
Bushwhacker Luke2.2513.25
Greg Valentine3.25-1-0.5 for losing via submission1.75
Raymond Rougeau2.25-11.25
Jacques Rougeau2.25-1-0.5 for losing the fall0.75
Jim Duggan0.250.50.75
Brutus Beefcake0.50.5
The Genius0.50.5
Big Bossman0.25-0.5-0.25

As always, thank you so much for your time reading the review. Make sure you don’t miss the next article, where I’ll review the January 1990 edition of WWF’s Saturday Night’s Main Event, featuring Hogan & Warrior teaming up. As far as PPVs go, the next one will be from the NWA-WCW side, with WrestleWar featuring Ric Flair and Lex Luger going at it over the NWA World Championship. Once again thank you for your support and make sure you stay notified as we get closer and closer to the WWF’s WrestleMania VI!