Royal Rumble: The Complete History

Royal Rumble 1989

The main feud heading into the Royal Rumble was between the 30 superstars from the entire World Wrestling Federation (WWF) who had selected to participate in the first-ever 30 man Royal Rumble match.

Date: 15th January, 1989
Venue: The Summit
City: Houston, TX
Attendance: 19,000
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon &
Jesse “The Body” Ventura

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Background

Royal Rumble 1989 promotional poster

Royal Rumble 1989 promotional poster

The main feud heading into the Royal Rumble was between the 30 superstars from the entire World Wrestling Federation (WWF) who had selected to participate in the first-ever 30 man Royal Rumble match. Big John Studd returned to WWF in late 1988 and turned babyface after not siding with former manager Bobby Heenan and began a feud with Heenan’s client André the Giant. Both men signed to participate in the Royal Rumble match. Mr. Perfect, who joined WWF in the summer of 1988 was pushed as an undefeated heel wrestler, entering his name into the match. Bad News Brown was pushed as an arrogant powerful heel who was enemy of face and heel wrestlers. As a result, he also entered his name into the match. Many tag team wrestlers also selected to participate in the match and selected their entry numbers. The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and WWF Champion Randy Savage) were involved in a feud with The Twin Towers (Akeem and The Big Boss Man) since November 1988.  At Survivor Series, The Mega Powers became the survivors for their team in Survivor Series match against Twin Towers. Since then, Mega Powers and Twin Towers had been at odds and both teams signed to participate in the Royal Rumble.

The second feud heading into the event featured Jim Duggan against Dino Bravo and The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques and Raymond). Since joining the WWF in early 1987, Duggan used an American patriot gimmick, coming to the ring with an American flag and feuding with non-American wrestlers in the WWF roster (such as Nikolai Volkoff). In early 1989, Duggan began feuding with the French-Canadians Bravo and the Rougeau brothers battling them with different partners. At a live event on January 6 in Montreal, Duggan teamed with Hulk Hogan and Ron Garvin to defeat Bravo and the Rougeaus. He was scheduled to battle Bravo and Rougeaus in a two out of three falls match at Royal Rumble, so he found partners in The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart). Hart Foundation and Rougeau Brothers had been feuding with each other since 1987. Rougeaus unsuccessfully challenged Harts several times for the WWF Tag Team Championship in summer of 1987 but did not become champions. They were in opposite teams against each other at Survivor Series 1988, where Bret eliminated Rougeau in the first place.

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Match Results

Dark Match: 
Jim Powers defeated Barry Horowitz

Dark Match:
Sam Houston defeated Steve Lombardi

Two out of Three Falls Tag Team Match:
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan & The Hart Foundation defeated Dino Bravo & The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers by pinfall (15:42)

Super Posedown between Ultimate Warrior and “Ravishing” Rick Rude

WWF Women’s Championship:
Rockin’ Robin (c) defeated Judy Martin by pinfall (16:24)

King of Wrestling Match:
King Haku (with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) defeated Harley Race (with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) by pinfall (9:01)

Royal Rumble Match:
Big John Studd won by last eliminating “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (1:04:53)

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Aftermath

Royal Rumble became an important part in the breakup of The Mega Powers. Hulk Hogan accidentally eliminated Randy Savage from the match. On the February 3 edition of The Main Event, Hogan and Savage faced The Twin Towers (Akeem and The Big Boss Man) in a tag team match, filled with controversy. During the climax of the match, Akeem threw Savage onto Elizabeth and Hogan did not help Savage. Savage questioned what was happening but Hogan did not reply. Hogan picked and took her to the backstage. He left Savage alone in the ring to handle the Twin Towers. When Hogan came back Savage slapped him in the face, took the belt in his hand, and left. Hogan still managed to pick up the win, however, but afterward got into a heated argument with Savage backstage. Savage declared that Hogan was jealous of him, that he lusted after Elizabeth, and that he would defeat Hogan if it came to it for the belt. Hogan tried to talk sense into Savage but was unsuccessful as the Macho Man turned heel on his now former partner by attacking both him and Brutus Beefcake, who tried to intervene on Hogan’s behalf.

Hogan and Savage then began feuding with each other, which culminated in a match at WrestleMania V dubbed “The Mega Powers Explode” where Savage, who had won the WWF Championship over a year earlier at WrestleMania IV with Hogan in his corner, would defend against his former friend. Hogan defeated Savage to win the title ending Savage’s reign of 371 days.

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Royal Rumble Stats

Draw Entrant Order Eliminated by Time
1 Ax 4 Perfect 14:37
2 Smash 1 André 04:55
3 André the Giant 5 Himself 14:55
4 Mr. Perfect 11 Hogan 27:58
5 Ronnie Garvin 2 André 02:39
6 Greg Valentine 8 Savage 19:52
7 Jake Roberts 3 André 02:08
8 Ron Bass 7 Michaels and Jannetty 12:36
9 Shawn Michaels 9 Anderson and Savage 14:30
10 Bushwhacker Butch 13 Hogan and Brown 18:13
11 The Honky Tonk Man 6 Butch and Santana 04:12
12 Tito Santana 12 Savage, Anderson, and Blanchard 12:47
13 Bad News Brown 20 Hogan 16:24
14 Marty Jannetty 10 Blanchard 07:52
15 Randy Savage 19 Hogan 12:26
16 Arn Anderson 16 Hogan 10:00
17 Tully Blanchard 17 Hogan 08:02
18 Hulk Hogan 21 Akeem and Boss Man 11:31
19 Bushwhacker Luke 15 Hogan 03:08
20 Koko B. Ware 14 Hogan 01:08
21 The Warlord 18 Hogan 00:02
22 The Big Boss Man 22 Hogan 04:18
23 Akeem 28 Studd 18:36
24 Brutus Beefcake 24 Barbarian and DiBiase 13:56
25 The Red Rooster 23 DiBiase 11:17
26 The Barbarian 26 Martel 12:15
27 Big John Studd WINNER 12:21
28 Hercules 25 Barbarian and DiBiase 06:11
29 Rick Martel 27 Akeem 05:29
30 Ted DiBiase 29 Studd 06:27

 

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