Summerslam Count-Up – 1989: Zeus And A Cauldron

Summerslam 1989
Date: August 28, 1989
Location: Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Attendance: 20,000
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Jesse Ventura

We’re back with another edition of the show with another tag team main event. This time it’s the now heel Savage teaming with an actor named Zeus to face Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. This isn’t even the blowoff match between the teams which makes the match even more of an odd choice. The other major match tonight is Rick Rude defending the Intercontinental Title against Ultimate Warrior, the man he stole the title from back at Wrestlemania. Let’s get to it.

Jesse blames Tony for having Heenan run off the air. I have no idea what he’s talking about as Heenan is on the show later tonight.

We get an intro video similar to the opening of a regular TV show with various highlights and people enjoying the warm weather.

Hart Foundation vs. Brain Busters

The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) won the tag titles a few weeks before this show, but since the match was already signed this is non-title. Why it wasn’t changed to a title match is beyond me but there’s no way this won’t be awesome. Heenan is with the Brain Busters here, making what Jesse said even more confusing. Bret and Tully get things going with Hart going straight for the arm. Arn comes in to take Bret to the mat with a headlock, only to have Bret crank on his arm as well.

A hammerlock slam puts Arn in a cute bit before it’s off to Neidhart for some powerful cranking on the arm. The Harts change two more times and both guys get to crank on the arm before Bret puts on an armbar. Arn slips out and brings in Tully who has his own arm pulled on by Anvil. Blanchard pulls on the beard to escape but can’t hiptoss the big man over. Back to Bret for more arm work before Anvil sneaks in without a tag. It’s only cheating if you get caught remember.

Anvil completely no sells some chops to the chest and sends Tully into the buckle before bringing Bret back in. The fans are all over Heenan with a Weasel chant while Bret works on a hammerlock. Tully grabs a top wristlock but Bret bridges off the mat to escape and the Busters are sent to the outside. Back in and Bret wins a slugout with Tully but gets suckered into a chase with Blanchard making a blind tag to Arn who blasts Bret from behind.

Everything breaks down again with the Brain Busters being knocked out to the floor once again. Back in and Bret sends Tully’s face into Anvil’s boot before bringing Neidhart again. Things break down again but Bret accidentally whips Jim into the buckle to give the Busters control. Arn drives a middle rope elbow into Neidhart’s back before it’s back to Tully for a reverse chinlock. Neidhart picks him up but Tully makes another blind tag off to Anderson to block a tag.

Arn punches him down but Anvil LAUNCHES Anderson off at two. Back up and both guys collide before Bret gets in a knee to Arn’s back to give Neidhart a breather. The hot tag brings in Hart vs. Blanchard with Bret dropping the middle rope elbow for no cover. Everything breaks down for the third or fourth time tonight with Bret being whipped into Tully to put both guys down.

Arn and Jim go to the floor but Bret slingshots Jim over the top into a shoulder block to Tully. Anvil powerslams Bret onto Blanchard but Anderson hits an ax handle to Bret’s head for the pin (while covering his head so the referee doesn’t see it’s Arn in the ring because Arn Anderson is more awesome than you).

Rating: B. I could watch Arn Anderson matches all day because of stuff like that at the end. I mean, who would think of such a little thing like that at the end of a match? This was a very solid opener but again I have no idea why the titles weren’t on the line here, especially if the Busters were going to go over by pin. The Harts wouldn’t even be a factor in the title scene for another year and even then they were big underdogs.

Dusty Rhodes talks about how the man in the blue suede shoes told him he can dance better than the Honky Tonk Man. This is a bit of a step down from Hard Times.

Honky Tonk Man vs. Dusty Rhodes

Dusty recently stole the Boss Man’s hat and nightstick after debuting early in the summer. We start with a dance off before Dusty takes him into the corner for a clean break. Honky bails to the floor to avoid the Bionic Elbow but comes back in for Dusty to grab his arm. Instead of driving an elbow into the shoulder though, Dusty messes with Honky’s hair to really get on his nerves. An atomic drop and the Bionic Elbow put Honky down with Dusty in full control.

Ten right hands in the corner drop Honky to the mat and it’s off to Dusty’s totally lame leg lock (meaning he stands there and turns Honky’s foot) fills in some time. Honky fires off some right hands but drops down to avoid a running Dusty. Jimmy Hart trips Dusty up and Honky just lays on the mat instead of going after Rhodes as Jimmy is stalked. Honky gets Jimmy’s megaphone for a shot to Dusty’s ribs and finally takes over with a chinlock.

It’s the long form version as we’re still in the hold about two minutes later. Dusty fights up and misses an elbow so it’s back to the chinlock. Rhodes fights up again and pounds away with right hands but Honky sends him into the referee to make this match go even further. Jimmy accidentally knocks Honky silly with the guitar and Dusty drops a big elbow for the pin.

Rating: D-. Who in the world thought this deserved ten minutes should be carried into the street and shot. Between the leg lock and the WAY too long chinlock, this could have been cut in half and nothing would have been lost. Honky was fine as a jobber to the stars at this point and he would maintain that position for months to come. This was way overbooked for what it was worth, but the fans loved Dusty which is the point of the match.

Honky asks someone to help him find the stage and wants to know where Priscilla is.

Demolition and King Hacksaw Jim Duggan are ready for their six man tag against the Twin Towers (Boss Man/Akeem) and Andre the Giant.

Mr. Perfect vs. Red Rooster

Perfect is still perfect at this point. They shove each other around to start until Hperfect shoves him down and hits a hiptoss. Things speed up a bit with both guys running the ropes and Perfect trying a slam. Rooster slips down the back and tries a slam of his own but can’t get Perfect up in a weird spot. Perfect sends him to the floor for a second and pounds away back inside, only to be shoved to the floor by Rooster. Perfect wins a quick slugout on the floor before going inside for the PerfectPlex and a very fast pin.

Rating: D. This was very odd with the match finishing out of nowhere after no build at all. The match had to be cut for time or maybe an injury because there’s no way this was the match they were planning. Or maybe they didn’t have time because we needed Dusty to have an even longer chinlock. These two are capable of having a far better match though and did many times.

Survivor Series is coming.

We go to Gene with Rude and Heenan in the back but the set falls down and the interview never stars. They try it again and the heels say they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the title.

The Rockers/Tito Santana vs. Fabulous Rougeau Brothers/Rick Martel

This should be awesome. Martel teases getting in there against Tito to start but sends Jacques in instead. As is his custom, Jacques requests a handshake but sneaks in some choking on Tito instead. The Rockers come in without tags and the good guys hit stereo dropkicks to send the French Canadians to the floor. Things settle down to Marty vs. Jacques with the latter going to the middle rope and head faking Marty, but Jannetty is faking the head fake and punches Jacques on the way down.

The advantage is short lived though as Ray Rougeau gets in a knee to the back from the apron and a kind of superkick to put Marty down. Off to Martel for right hands and some dancing followed by a cartwheel out of the corner. Marty is tired of the dancing and dropkicks Martel down but Rick runs away from the charging Tito. Instead it’s Santana putting a headlock on Ray before getting two off a clothesline.

Much like his brother did earlier, Jacques interferes for Ray and the Rougeaus take over on Santana with a double back elbow. Martel comes in to pound on the weakened Tito like a true weasel. Rick stomps away against the ropes as the fans are getting angrier and angrier at the Model. Jacques comes in again and hooks a front facelock to block the hot tag. Back to Martel but Tito fires off right hands to send the crowd into a frenzy. Jacques quickly pulls Tito’s hair to break it up but Tito gets a sunset flip for two.

Rick puts Tito down with a backbreaker and Ray hooks a Boston crab to stay on the weakened back. Back to Jacques for an abdominal stretch with a helping hand from Martel on the apron. Rick comes in again to break up another hot tag attempt and Ray stops Tito’s comeback just like Jacques did earlier. Tito hits a quick cross body for two and the Rockers finally come in to break up the interference. Ray comes in to keep Tito down but Jacques’ flying knee hits his brother, FINALLY allowing Tito to make the hot tag to Shawn.

Martel tries to hide in the corner but gets caught in a huge backdrop to send him running even further. A dropkick and a suplex put Martel down and the top rope right hand gets two as everything breaks down. Tito hits the flying forearm to send Martel to the floor and Marty rolls up Jacques, only to have Martel slide back in and blast Jannetty with a right hand, giving Jacques the pin.

Rating: B. Take six guys and two feuds, give them fifteen minutes in front of a hot crowd and witness the awesome. That’s exactly what happened here and the crowd got WAY into it, especially the Martel vs. Santana stuff. Those two just started feuding a few months before this and people were drooling to see Tito get his revenge. Really solid old school six man tag here which worked exceptionally well.

We recap Rude vs. Warrior. Rude attacked Warrior during a posedown at the Rumble before stealing the IC Title at Wrestlemania with help from Heenan. Tonight is the rematch with rude defending against a ticked off Warrior after Warrior spent months fighting through the Heenan Family. This was also used to set up Warrior vs. Andre the Giant over the winter.

Warrior rants about Andre before saying he’ll get his title back from Rude.

Intercontinental Title: Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude

Rude isn’t sure what to do with Warrior to start so he tries punching him in the face to no avail. A clothesline puts Rude on the apron and a sunset flip is easily blocked with a right hand to the champion’s face. Warrior easily picks him up and gorilla presses him to the floor as this is one sided so far. Rude is sent into the barricade as Jesse is losing his mind over the referee not disqualifying Warrior.

Warrior gets two off a top rope ax handle before throwing him into the corner and pounding away. A shoulder block gets two on Rude and there’s an atomic drop to crush Rude’s spine a bit more. Warrior swivels his hips but gets crotched on the top rope to Jesse’s glee. Rude pounds on the back as he did in the Wrestlemania match and gets two off a suplex. Off to a reverse chinlock with Rude dropping down onto Warrior’s back for good measure. Back up and Warrior breaks up the Rude Awakening but gets caught in a sleeper.

Warrior finally fights out with a jawbreaker but after they run the ropes a bit, Rude sends Warrior into the referee to put everyone down. It’s Rude on his feet first but Warrior starts to Hulk Up to a HUGE reaction. A big backdrop and a clothesline put Rude down followed by a powerslam but there’s no referee. Warrior hits a piledriver but the referee crawls over for two. A powerslam sets up the splash but Rude gets his knees up to slow Warrior down again.

Rude hits a kind of powerbomb (basically driving Warrior’s head into the mat) for a close two as things slow down again. Rude hits a top rope right hand to the jaw as Roddy Piper strolls down. A piledriver puts Warrior down but Piper flashes Rude, allowing Warrior to suplex him out of the corner. Warrior hits a quick shoulder block followed by the gorilla press and splash for the title and an ERUPTION from the crowd.

Rating: B. If there has ever been better chemistry between a talented guy and a guy who could barely survive against anyone else, I’m not sure where it is. Warrior looked great out there and got the win back to conclude a very well done feud. Good stuff here as this show is cooking after a somewhat weak start. That pop for Warrior pretty much gave him the world title right then and there.

Mr. Perfect says he’s perfect.

 

Roddy Piper laughs about costing Rude the title, setting up his first feud after returning to the ring.

 

Ronnie Garvin is in a tuxedo and gets to be a guest announcer tonight. Heenan comes in to interrupt him and rants about Piper coming to the ring and costing Rude the title. Rude isn’t pleased either and yells as you would expect him to.

 

We go to an intermission, which is just a graphic with a countdown clock until the show continues.

 

We recap the main event tag match. Hogan was in a movie with Tiny Lister portraying the villain. The idea of the story is that Lister’s character Zeus felt that he could beat Hogan in Hogan’s real life job so he beat up Hogan before a cage match. This would be like Harrison Ford picking a fight with Mark Hamill because of what Hamill did on the Millennium Falcon. I don’t know if we were supposed to take it seriously or not, but the main problem here is obvious: Zeus is an actor instead of a wrestler, meaning there isn’t much he can do in the ring.

 

Savage and Beefcake got involved to make it a tag match so Zeus didn’t fight alone. Hogan couldn’t hurt Zeus with a chair to the back but raking the eyes had an effect, giving Hogan an opening tonight. Savage was still a big deal at this point so this really was a big heel team to face Hogan and Beefcake. We get full clips of these moments as the intermission continues.

 

Twin Towers/Andre the Giant vs. Demolition/Jim Duggan

 

Duggan is King of the WWF and has his face painted like Demolition but is rocking an American flag pattern of course. Akeem starts with the King with Duggan absorbing the trash talk and pounding away on the big man before it’s off to Ax for some pounding on the arm. Smash comes in and Demolition pounds Akeem down before bringing Duggan back in to crank on the arm as well.

 

Akeem finally gets in a shot to Ax’s ribs and it’s off to Boss Man who is immediately pounded down by the fresh Smash. Boss Man rakes the eyes to slow Smash down but Smash rakes the eyes right back in a good bit. Ax comes in again and cranks on the arm but gets sent into the wrong corner so Andre can come in and pound away with big right hands.

 

Akeem comes back in but misses a slow motion splash, allowing for the hot tag back to Smash who slams Akeem down in an impressive power display. Everything breaks down and Akeem hits a bottom rope splash on Smash, but Duggan hits Akeem in the back with the 2×4 to give Smash the pin.

 

Rating: C. It wasn’t much of a match but for above seven and a half minutes with these six guys, this was as good as you were going to get. Duggan was about as big as he was going to get in the WWF at this point as the fans were WAY into his Hogan-Lite character. Demolition was fresh off losing the tag titles but but they were still the most popular tag team in the company. Good, fun little match here which was much better than I was expecting.

 

Ted DiBiase says he’ll beat Jimmy Snuka because he’s cultured and Snuka is a savage.

 

Greg Valentine vs. Hercules

 

Ronnie Garvin is guest ring announcer after being fired from being a referee. He takes a ton of shots at Valentine (“Weighing in at 249lbs…..but he looks about 30lbs heavier and wears a robe with cheap rhinestones.”) since Valentine got him suspended in the first place. Hercules jumps Valentine to start and powerslams him down for two. A quick rollup gets two for Greg before they head to the floor for nothing of note. Back in and Valentine pounds him down with some elbows but the Figure Four is broken up. Hecules suplexes him down but gets rolled up with Valentine’s feet on the ropes for the fast pin.

 

Rating: D. This was all about furthering Garvin vs. Valentine with the stuff before the match and a bit we’ll get to in a second. I’m no Garvin fan at all but this was an amusing angle given where you could turn your brain off and laugh at some stupid jokes for a few minutes every show. There’s nothing wrong with comic relief and having a talented guy like Valentine out there made it a bit easier to sit through.

 

Post match Garvin announces Hercules as the winner, which apparently is good enough to get Valentine disqualified. Like I said, this is the time to turn your brain off.

 

Randy Savage, Zeus and Sister Sherri gather round a cauldron and predict bad futures for Hogan, Beefcake and Liz. The late 80s were weird in case you were wondering.

 

Ted DiBiase vs. Jimmy Snuka

 

No story here as they’re just out there to fill in a few minutes before the main event. Snuka headbutts DiBiase to the floor before the bell and avoids a charging Ted to send him into Virgil for a big crash. An atomic drop sends DiBiase to the floor and the match slows down a bit. Back in and Snuka can’t get high enough for his reverse leapfrog so he sends DiBiase into the corner to keep control. Ted goes to the eyes to get a moment’s breather but gets caught by a shoulder to put him back down.

 

A quick stun gun sends Snuka into the top rope and Ted can stomp away like a good 80s heel. DiBiase works on the back with knees to the spine and a backbreaker for no cover but a middle rope elbow misses. Jimmy slams Ted down and hits a middle rope headbutt but Virgil breaks up the Superfly Splash. Snuka chases him around on the floor but gets sent into the post by DiBiase for the countout.

 

Rating: D. Another lame match here and I’m not sure why DiBiase couldn’t get a pin. Either way, the match was there to give the fans a breather from that EPIC Hercules vs. Valentine heat before the main event. Snuka was still a fan favorite so having him out there wasn’t the worst idea in the world.

 

Post match Snuka hits the Superfly on Virgil.

 

Hogan and Beefcake talk about riding motorcycles across a river (just go with it) with Liz riding on the back of Hogan’s bike. Savage and Zeus weren’t mentioned at all.

 

Genius recites a poem about Summerslam, saying he thinks Zeus and Savage (his real brother) will win.

 

Zeus/Randy Savage vs. Brutus Beefcake/Hulk Hogan

 

Before we get going, Liz gets her own full entrance as the secret weapon. It’s a brawl to start but Hogan can’t hurt Zeus. He goes to the eyes but can’t slam Zeus down so the monster chokes Hulk down. Beefcake tries to dive on Zeus but gets caught in midair. Now it’s a bearhug on Hogan but here’s Savage off a tag. Why in the world would you change when you had Hogan in trouble like that? A top rope ax handle gets two for Randy and it’s off to the sleeper.

 

Hogan elbows out of it and hits some shoulder blocks but Zeus knees him in the back to slow him down. Back to Zeus for another bearhug which takes Hogan down to the mat for some two counts. It’s back to Savage to snap Hogan’s throat over the top rope and a suplex gets two. Savage misses some elbow drops and there’s the hot tag to Beefcake. A high knee gets two on Savage and Beefcake hooks his sleeper. Savage rams him into the middle buckle and it’s off to Zeus, but Brutus puts him in a sleeper as well.

 

Randy breaks up the hold with Sherri’s loaded purse but he suckers Hogan into the ring instead of covering. Hogan stops Savage from attacking Liz but Beefcake is still in big trouble. Back to Zeus for some choking on Beefcake until the referee makes the save. Savage comes back in but walks into a double clothesline to put both guys down. The hot tag brings in Hogan to clean house but Sherri trips Hulk up to give Savage control again.

 

The big elbow hits but Hogan is up before there’s any cover. Savage runs away and it’s time for the showdown with Zeus. Hogan pounds away and finally puts Zeus down to one knee. Liz takes out Sherri and Beefcake intercepts Savage, causing him to drop the loaded purse. Hogan blasts Zeus in the face with the purse, slams him down and drops the leg for the pin.

 

Rating: D+. Amazingly enough, a non-wrestler like Zeus wasn’t capable of having a good match on any size of a stage. Beefcake and Savage were just window dressing here, but in this case the window dressing carried the match for his team. Zeus was just horrible here and was basically the original promotional stunt for a wrestling movie, which never works.

 

Post match Liz cuts Sherri’s hair. Much posing ends the show.

 

Overall Rating: C+. There’s a lot of bad stuff here but the good matches are more than good enough to make up for the lame short ones. The crowd is VERY hot all night to lift the show even higher up which helped a lot. The main event was horrible and while the cage match that blew it off a few months later was better, this is the match that should have been the big deal. Still though, the show is worth checking out but you should fast forward a few of the matches.

Ratings Comparison

Hart Foundation vs. Brain Busters

Original: B+

Redo: B

Honky Tonk Man vs. Dusty Rhodes

Original: F

Redo: D-

Mr. Perfect vs. Red Rooster

Original: C+

Redo: D

Rick Martel/Fabulous Rougeaus vs. Tito Santana/Rockers

Original: B+

Redo: B

Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude

Original: A-

Redo: B

Jim Duggan/Demolition vs. Andre the Giant/Twin Towers

Original: C+

Redo: C

Hercules vs. Greg Valentine

Original: F-

Redo: D

Ted DiBiase vs. Jimmy Snuka

Original: D

Redo: D

Hulk Hogan/Brutus Beefcake vs. Randy Savage/Zeus

Original: B-

Redo: D+

Overall Rating

Original: B-

Redo: C+

About the same this time.

Here’s the original review if you’re interested:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2011/07/23/history-of-summerslam-count-up-1989-gather-round-the-cauldron/

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my book on the History of Starrcade from Amazon for just $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D2UKOG0

2 comments

  1. ARFatuch says:

    A good measure of the crowd, watch when Garvin takes his jacket off to fight with Valentine. The crowd goes mental! For Ronnie Garvin! It’s insane, and one of the biggest pops of the night.

  2. RJAY63 says:

    Another great review. BTW you accidentally put Randy Savage on both teams in the main event.