#114 – Royal Rumble 1989

The 1989 Royal Rumble was the second year of this big event and the beginning of the annual pay-per-view tradition. It showcased many of the WWF’s classic characters and big men of the time, as well as a five-star classic woman’s title match, a classic pose down between the Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude, and much more. We also go over some feedback from the last episode and talk a bit about the new WWE Network. Please support the Old School Wrestling Podcast by visiting flairchop.com to purchase our book “The OSWP 500,” are collected volumes of the first 75 episodes, an OSWP t-shirt, or one of our beautiful posters.

This episode has been archived in the Season 4 digital box set available for $9.99 at the OSWP Merch Store!


  1. The Small Package says:

    Great show guys. The Royal Rumble has always been my favorite WWF event, even to this day. I only purchase one pay-per-view a year and the Rumble is it. I loved that you touched on the issue of Hogan’s poor sportsmanship after he was eliminated. He would do the same exact thing a couple years later to Sid Justice in the Rumble that helped Flair become the champ (OSWP #61, Season 2 box set on sale now). Also, the resluts tell you that the Rumble has come a long way from 1989. Big John Studd should never sniff the final two of a Rumble match. You can see that the WWF caught on the next year when the final two were Hogan and Mr. Perfect.

  2. John Stossel's Ear says:

    Hey guys, great show as always. One of the pre-taped promos before the Rumble was probably the greater subtle moments I’ve seen. If I remember it all correctly, it was Bobby Heenan standing with Andre, Tully and Arn. Heenan is going off about the Rumble, likely mentioning something about ham and eggs saying that the Heenan Family is in it together.

    Anyway, at some point something is said about Andre and Arn leans over to Tull, cups his hand over his mouth and whispers something to him. Tully nods and they stand there like nothing happened. Watching it, you get the idea that if the opportunity arose Tully and Arn weren’t going to pass up on tossing Andre’s big ass over. Keep up the great work.

  3. Setting a weightlifting record > Random Posedown

    Big John Studd always reminds me of the Ghost of Christmas Present. I want him to come down to the ring and say “Come in! And know me better man.” And then bodyslam the poor fool who comes in to know him better, man.

  4. Crapgame13 says:

    Oh holy crap, face Akeem would be awesome and full of ironic unintended racism by thousands of white kids.

    I was in high school when this happened, I still remember we all popped when #2 was announced and Demolition started up again and then they started fighted.

  5. Prometheus says:

    Fun show as usual – good job, guys! I can only echo the sentiments of The Small Package both in terms of Hulk being an absolutely terrible role-model both in trying to get to Liz and the way he handles losses (the Hogan/Sid display of sore-loserness was just on WWE Vintage, btw – yes, I watch WWE Vintage… sometimes) and in terms of the Royal Rumble having come a long way. As over as Hacksaw Jim Duggan was (and boy, was he ever), he probably shouldn’t have won a Royal Rumble (let alone the historically significant first one) and Big John Studd most definitely shouldn’t have. Anyway, thanks again for the show! Looking forward to the next one.

  6. Loved this episode, obviously. Don’t know if I mentioned it in the Royal Rumble series I’ve been writing, but in this Rumble three tag tames entered sequentially, as you mentioned in the show (Demolition, then the Brain Busters, then the Twin Towers). Oddly, that didn’t happen again until 1995, when it happened twice (Men on a Mission, then the Smoking Gunns). It happened again in 1996 with the Squat Team (I think their only WWF appearance) and the last time was in 1998, when Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie entered first and second, just like Demolition. But it hasn’t happened since!

    A few other notes: Warlord’s “record” of two seconds lasted 20 years until Santino Marella was dumped in one second. But it’s another five years before you guys can review the 2009 Rumble.

    Also, Hogan eliminated nine guys in 1989 (ten if you count the Boss Man), a single-match event that stood until 1997, when Steve Austin eliminated ten men — of course he shouldn’t have been allowed to return to the ring and win that match, which led to Four the Hard Way and WrestleMania 13.

    Further, I am SO GLAD you mentioned the awfulness of Brutus Beefcake’s promo. It is comically, historically bad.

    As for the super posedown, I seem to remember this might have stemmed from the Slammy Awards? I think Rude won the “Jesse the Body” award, which I think Ventura mentioned on commentary during the Rumble. How that turned into a feud with the Warrior escapes my memory, but maybe if someone has access to the 88 or 89 Slammys the truth could be revealed.

  7. SpecialGuestReferee says:

    I watched Royal Rumble 1996 on WWE Vintage up here in Canada. Most bizarre final 4 of all time Bulldog, Shawn Michaels (winner), Diesel and Kama. The 2 guys eliminated to make it a final 6 you ask? Isaac Yankem and Duke “The Dumpster” Droese. The Ringmaster even made it into the final 10. I feel like the Final 6 should be at least remote contenders for the belt, but the WWF at that time was a mess.

    When I was listening to this podcast, I thought there was no way Big John Studd would win when he got to the final two. DiBiase was robbed and the Million Dollar Man will always be #1 on my list of guys that should’ve been WWF Champion but never were.

    Once again great job Black Cat and Dre(w)!

  8. JBLCENAFAN says:

    I’m glad you guys don’t drink the Kool Aid , Hogan was always a sore loser. He also used to atomic drop Sherri Martel , of course shoving Elizabeth made him Savage a heel. He also threw ashes in Undertaker eyes at Tuesday in Texas to win the WWF title. He pulled Sid over the top at Rumble 92 from the floor. Sore loser , woman beater , ash thrower! CHEAT! CHEAT! CHEAT!

  9. the burningzone says:

    I think that jake Roberts was part of the deal because when he drew his number it seemed that he was concerned that andre would last until his number which seems to imply that he got the high number I think he got either 22 or 23 and one of the twin towers got number 30 and twin towers would only agree to sell there number of jack Roberts would give up his number allowing them the twin towers to enter together. Jake wanted to destroy andre the gaint more than he wanted to win the rumble agreed to the deal

  10. The Small Package says:

    I know we didn’t have a Quick 1-2-3 this week, so I decided to come up with one of my own. In honor of the 1989 Royal Rumble, my Quick 1-2-3 is my top three worst Old School Royal Rumble Final Four matchups. My only criteria was they must be from the 2004 Rumble backwards. And I skipped 1989, which would have made my list, because it was already discussed. Here’s my list, enjoy!

    #3 – 2000 – Rock, Kane, Big Show, X-Pac
    (Rock is the only true superstar in this group, Kane was a monster at the time but has mostly underachieved in his career, the next big match Big Show wins will be his first, and X-Pac, well you know)

    #2 – 1999 – Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, D’Lo Brown, Big Boss Man
    (I know this Rumble was all about Austin and McMahon but damn, a 10 years past his prime Boss Man and D’Lo Freak’n Brown, no offense to his chest protector, in the Final Four)

    #1 – 1988 – Jim Duggan, One Man Gang, Dino Bravo, Don Muraco
    (I know this was the first one and maybe Vince didn’t know what he had yet, and there are some great Old School names, but seriously, if this is the best WWF 1988 had to offer then no wonder I love the NWA so much from this time period)

  11. Darrin says:

    I just wanted to clarify something you commented on in this episode. You had said that Jesse called Virgil, Ted DiBiase’s slave. That’s not exactly accurate. He was calling Hercules his slave. A few months prior, DiBiase “bought” Hercules from Bobby Heenan to be his personal slave. This lead to Hercules face turn, and he and DiBiase were still feuding at the time of this event.

  12. Hi guys,
    long time listener first time commenter. Just went through a lot of overtime at work and in those dark winter days at the office you become my best pals to get my old school wrestling fix and fight to boredom if ya’ will!

    The triumvirate of Mean Gene in the promo booth, Gorilla and Jesse on the table is also my favorite commentators and interviewer combo. Not only they played good straight men for the outlandish character (particularly Mean Gene – like you said he partly made Hogan that’s for sure), but they managed to be great characters themselves and ad to the whole narrative.
    As a kid I remember the LJN action figure of Jesse “The Body” and never linking it to the actual presenter as by the time I started following wrestling, he was not wrestling anymore. That, and the fact that as a French-Canadian kid I missed many tidbits on the VHS I rented or the show I that I caught in english.

    Which lead to the French Canadian Dino Bravo and the Rougeau. Great to see appreciation for the Rougeau brothers, again, they played straight men role perfectly and let their outrageous opponent shine all the better and were true pro. Sure Brett is one of the all-time great technical wrestler, and was able the display all the better against guys like the Rougeau who were top-notch technical grappler on their own.
    As a kid the only french-language wrestling stuff I was able to get, apart bilingual backer cards on the back of action figure was the wrestling show on sunday morning. They showed WWF shows and were commented by the late great Edouard Carpentier, which to this day came up, just like Gorilla for the US, with a complete set of expression, mannerism and tone to be used for commenting a wrestling match. Later, when he resumed from active wrestling, it was Raymond Rougeau who took on (I think he co-hosted with Carpentier for a few years). Rougeau recently hosted a short string of local wrestling shows for good old time sake, which was a perfect throwback for me and kids my age 😉

    To conclude (as I could go on and on), I like all the Ted DeBiase story hook in this rumble; I remember that even as a kid I knew we were for a fun time when he was around as his schemes were always messing things up for the good guys and gave a good show. My friends hated him; I loved him cause I knew we had to have a good villain to match up with the faces! Not only he was a credible menace in the ring, but I always loved how much story he could get by with is plotting, bribing and other dirty millionaire tricks.

    In short, thanks guys, I’ll surely comment again for now on, you can count on a faithful listener from Montréal, Québec!