WWE Vintage Collection Report (01/11/09)
WWE Vintage Collection Report: 11th January 2009
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
Welcome aboard. Our lookback at the Royal Rumble continues today, with matches from 1989, 1990 and 1991. We begin with 1989. The date is January 15th and the location is the Summit in Houston, Texas. Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are on commentary.
Battle for the Crown
King Haku vs Harley Race
This match was strangely cut from the original video release. Okerlund goes over the history of this match. In 1988, Race was the King, but got injured in a match against Hulk Hogan, when he went through a table. Okerlund doesn’t mention that Race had part of his large intestine out. Anyway, Race’s manager, Bobby Heenan promised to find a new King and Haku was crowned during an in-ring ceremony. This didn’t sit well with Race, who upon his return, slapped Heenan, before asking the “Weasel” to bring Haku out. We go to the match and Haku is carried out on a throne by several jobbers. Race, announced as the former King, plays a tweener role, as he comes out with no music and tips Haku off the throne. The crowd cheer Race. Monsoon states he favours neither man. Heenan is ringside in a “neutral” corner, cheering and supporting whoever’s on offense. Ventura says Heenan wins either way. Race sends Haku into the ringpost. Inside, Race uses a kneelift, clothesline and suplex before clotheslining Haku out of the ring. Haku sends Race into the ringpost. Haku works Race over, but Race comes back with an inverted atomic drop and a series of elbows. Haku hits some chops and battering rams to the gut before whipping Race, who flips upside down and out of the ring. Haku suplexes Race back in, but misses an elbow drop. Race suplexes then tosses Haku outside. Haku counters a piledriver on the matted floor with a backbodydrop. Race is driven into the apron several times, but retaliates with a weak looking piledriver on the floor. Monsoon notes Race’s lack of energy and Haku’s hard head to cover the lack of impact of the move. Race delivers a swinging neckbreaker. Haku absorbs Race’s shots to hit more battering rams and a slam. Both men miss high risk dives from the top and second rope. Haku ducks a clothesline then catches Race with a crescent kick to the jaw. 1-2-3. Here is Your Winner: KING HAKU. This proved to be Race’s last hurrah in the WWF as an active wrestler.
We now move to January 21st 1990 and the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida. Tony Schiavone is calling the action with Jesse “The Body” Ventura.
I Quit Match
Rugged Ronnie Garvin vs Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/Jimmy Hart
This match was the culmination of a long feud. Garvin lost a retirement match to Valentine so Garvin became a referee. After Garvin DQed Valentine in a match against Jimmy Snuka, he was suspended by WWF officials. Valentine demanded his reinstatement for a Submission match and here we are. Valentine had been wearing a shinguard (called the Heartbreaker) for a while to give extra leverage on the Figure Four. Garvin countered this by wearing one of his own (called the Hammer Jammer). Before the bout we pick up some pre-recorded comments from both men. Valentine says Garvin has been a thorn in his and Jimmy Hart’s side for a long time. Valentine vows to put Garvin out as he’s got what he’s finally wanted: A submission match. Valentine says he’s the master of the Figure Four leglock, he’ll go for Garvin’s shinguard and Garvin will give up. Garvin notes that with the Hammer Jammer, Valentine doesn’t have a chance. We join the match in progress. Valentine traps Garvin in a backbreaker across his shoulder. Garvin kicks off a Figure Four attempt. As Valentine throttles, Garvin grabs his hair. Garvin uses a single leg takedown to cinch in an Indian deathlock. Valentine gets to the ropes and takes a breather outside. Valentine trips Garvin, before ramming his leg into the ring apron. Garvin slaps back, but Valentine counters a piledriver with a backbodydrop. Inside, with Garvin flat out, Jimmy Hart removes the Hammer Jammer then proudly waves it around to Valentine. Valentine takes advantage to deliver a backbreaker then slap on the Figure Four. Garvin turns it over, but Valentine quickly uses the ropes to regain the momentum of the hold. Seeing this, the referee forces Valentine to break. Valentine attacks the knee. Garvin has to use a small package for a respite. Garvin catches Valentine up on the top rope, and throws him to the mat. Garvin removes Valentine’s Heartbreaker. Valentine rolls Garvin up, but pinfalls are fruitless here. Garvin ties Valentine up in the ropes. Jimmy Hart gets on the apron so Garvin tosses him into the ring. Garvin stalks Hart with the Heartbreaker. Valentine gets free and sneaks up behind Garvin with the Hammer Jammer. Garvin turns and knocks Valentine out with the Heartbreaker. Garvin slaps on a Sharpshooter, which Schiavone calls a reverse Figure Four for the apparent submission. Ventura claims Valentine was shaking his head saying no. Nevertheless, Here is Your Winner: RUGGED RONNIE GARVIN.
Our final stop is the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida for Royal Rumble 1991. The date is January 19th and joining Gorilla Monsoon in the announcing booth is Rowdy Roddy Piper.
The Orient Express w/Mr Fuji vs The Rockers
Main Event time. The masked Kato (Paul Diamond) had just replaced Sato in the Orient Express. Once more we pick up pre-recorded comments before the match. Fuji introduces the Orient Express, noting that the Rockers know them well. Fuji says Kato will tear their noses off and Tanaka will hit them with a karate chop so fast, they won’t know what hit them. Fuji laughs his maniacal laugh to end the promo. Shawn Michaels says that no-one brings in the New Year like the Rockers. At the Royal Rumble, the Orient Express will be doing battle with the Tag Team of the 90s, and the Rockers are starting the New Year off with a bang. Marty Jannetty adds that once again they have to deal with Mr Fuji’s guys. Every time they turn around he’s got a new member of the team. It doesn’t matter who it is, the Rockers will go through him and keep on Rockin’. The Orients (already in the ring) jump the Rockers upon entering and give Michaels a backbodydrop. Jannetty dropkicks Kato out of the ring and superkicks Tanaka. The Rockers give Tanaka a high double team slam. Kato pulls his partner outside, so the Rockers hit them with suicide dives through the ropes. Somewhere in Cameron, North Carolina, the young Hardy Boys were getting ideas. The crowd start a loud USA chant. Jannetty grounds Kato with a side headlock. Both counter rollup attempts. Kato lands a hiptoss. Jannetty immediately counters an armbar with a headscissors. Kato flips over into a jackknife pin, but Jannetty bridges up and into a backslide for a nearfall. Tanaka shoves Jannetty. Jannetty leapfrogs Kato who goes crashing into his partner. The Rockers isolate Tanaka and work over his arm. Michaels delivers a shoulder tackle before running into a flying forearm. Michaels escapes a Tanaka chinlock. Michaels goes to throw Tanaka into his partner but the Orients put the brakes on. Michaels bangs their heads together instead. Michaels hits Tanaka with a high knee then works him over with a chinlock. Kato breaks it up with a shot to Michaels’ back from the second rope. Tanaka delivers a legsweep. Michaels wins a punch exchange with Tanaka, then backflips from a mounted position onto Kato. The Orients turn a double Irish whip around, as do the Rockers, who roll back on atomic drop attempts and hit the Orients with double dropkicks in stereo. The Orients telegraph suicide dives, so the Rockers put the brakes on and hit top rope dives instead. Back inside, following a suplex, Michaels goes to monkey flip Kato out of the corner, but Tanaka drops Michaels throat first across the top rope. Kato stomps before Tanaka pulls Michaels out to the ring apron for a Fuji cane shot. Tanaka leapfrogs Kato and crashes hard onto Michaels’ back. Tanaka applies a lengthy nerve hold. Kato whips a groggy Michaels out onto the apron where Tanaka immediately superkicks him back over the top rope into the ring. Michaels does a 360 in mid-air off a double clothesline. Michaels counters a backbodydrop by driving Tanaka’s face into the mat. Kato runs in to hammer Jannetty which prevents a tag. The Orients try to use a trouser belt as a weapon, but Michaels ducks underneath then jumps onto it, sending the Orients crashing into one another. Jannetty gets the hot tag and runs wild with punches, slams and dropkicks. Kato gets a powerslam and flying backelbow. Michaels briefly disposes of Tanaka to the outside. Jannetty tries a backslide on Kato, but Tanaka kicks Jannetty. Kato flips him over and nearly gets the pin. Michaels trips Kato then the Rockers nail him with a double superkick. As Jannetty readies Michaels for a top rope splash, Tanaka runs in to kick Jannetty, who drops Michaels to the floor. Kato slams Jannetty then slingshots him into a Tanaka chop. Kato goes to repeat the move, but Michaels hits Tanaka with a gut punch. With Tanaka now crouching down, Michaels punches Kato who inadvertently slingshots Jannetty. Jannetty sunset flips Tanaka and gets the 1-2-3 as Michaels holds Kato down. What a fabulous back-and-forth matchup shown pretty much in its entirety. These two went on to have a lot of great Tag matches during 1991. Here Are Your Winners: THE ROCKERS.
Okerlund notes both teams despised each other and wanted to prove their dominance. I want to see more Tag matches like that today.
Okerlund wraps things up to end the show.
Pretty good show this week. With it being impossible to recap a 30 Man Rumble match in an hour’s show with breaks, WWE have done the next best thing. The Main Event was the best part of the show, with some great action. It was nice to see the Race/Haku match, which I’ve never seen before today. In truth, the best matches were chosen from each of the three years covered today. Thumbs up from me.
I’ve extended the deadline of the Vintage Collection awards for another week as some of the results are currently tied. I’ve reposted it in the columns section.
See you next week for presumably some more Royal Rumblings. Shaun.
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