Throwback Thursday: SummerSlam (1989)
It’s about that time again, your weekly dose of wrestling’s past: Throwback Thursday. As it turns out, the 28th of August is a bit of a dry spell in regards to televised wrestling; the only big televised show was the 1989 edition of SummerSlam. So for at least one more week, we will keep our focus on WWE’s annual summer spectacular.
Being 1989, it should come as no shock to anyone that this particular edition of SummerSlam was, to put it moderately, unbelievably cheesy. After being introduced by Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Tony “The Suit” Schiavone, the SummerSlam introductory signature treated us to a montage of great wrestling moments mixed in with exhilarating summer activities, like jumping into a pool and playing volleyball. At first, I thought this was a warning sign; I was pleased to discover that this was just the beginning.
The quick results are as follows: WWE Tag Team Champions The Brain Busters defeated The Hart Foundation in a non-title match; “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes defeated “Elvis 2.0” The Honky Tonk Man; Mr Perfect defeated The Red Rooster; Rick Martel and The Fabulous Rougeaus defeated Tito Santana and The Rockers; The Ultimate Warrior defeated Rick Rude (c) for the Intercontinental Championship; Jim Duggan and Demolition defeated Andre the Giant and The Twin Towers; “Not Dwayne” Hercules defeated Greg “The Hammer” Valentine; “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase defeated “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka; and the main event saw Hulk “Don’t-Call-Me-Hollywood” Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake defeat the team of “Macho Man” Randy Savage and “Not Hercules’ Father” Zeus.
As I’d said previously, I initially had my reservations about the style of product I was about to witness. However, looking at the talent in those results above, it should be no surprise that this was actually a fantastic event. From the very beginning when it was wrestling that was the focus between two of the greatest teams of all time (seriously WWE, release a Brain Busters DVD!), through to The Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude putting on a surprisingly excellent match, to finally seeing the 80s ultimate hero Hulk Hogan overcoming supposedly insurmountable odds once again.
But, also as I said, the cheesiness was oozing. Every tag team match had, at one point, the heels begging the faces for a time out. Every manager was literally sparkling in a slew of crazy outfits. (A quick side note, most managers had more than one client allowing the crowd’s energy from one match to transfer to another.) The backstage interviews with “Mean” Gene Okerlund were completely overly-energetic – although you should expect nothing less from the likes of Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes, and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. And of course, you had the immortality of Hogan and Warrior, both champions unable to lose which would lead to that epic encounter at WrestleMania the following year.
Truthfully, its events like this that get you excited. It’s shows like this that draw in. It’s experiences like this that create the wrestling fan in all of us. While cheesiness and over-the-top characters may have lost their interest after the 90s, it will always be a joy to go back in time and re-live The Golden Age of WWE.