Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: Summerslam 1989

“Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. the Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

As we move through the summer and come to the biggest show of the summer in Summerslam, the company was riding high coming off a pretty interesting Wrestlemania. The roster was about as loaded as it would be in terms of talent in most areas of the card, and the midcard in particular was growing as well with the two guys at the top being the Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude. Coming off of their match at Wrestlemania where Rude stunned the world by beating Warrior for the IC Title, you knew that this was going to be a hot feud carried throughout the summer. Even though Rude has had a solid run as champion these last few months, there was no denying that Warrior was quickly gaining steam as one of the top faces of the company and that he was probably going to be elevated to the main event sooner rather than later. Having said that, it was going to be interesting to see if he would end up regaining the title or if Rude would somehow sneak away with it and Warrior just continue his ascent up the card without the title.

Following their match at Wrestlemania, the two would continue their feud on the house show circuit with Warrior usually winning by DQ or countout and Rude would constantly escape with the title, and they would cut promos on each other on TV as Warrior promised to regain the title. On the 6/24 Superstars, Rude brought a woman into the ring so he can her his Rude Awakening kiss only for Warrior to come out and attack him, and on the 7/29 Superstars Warrior had a confrontation with Andre the Giant on the Brother Love Show. On the 8/13 Prime Time Wrestling, Warrior defeated Haku only for Rude to attack him afterwards with Andre coming down to ringside as well, but Warrior fought back and tossed Rude onto Andre on the outside. On the 8/26 Superstars, Bobby confronted Warrior after a squash match and distracted him which allowed Andre to come from behind and choke Warrior out. This was interesting that they were already beginning to transition Warrior from Rude to Andre even before Summerslam which again made you wonder if there was a slight chance Rude might retain the title.

Rude and Bobby give a solid promo before the match and this of course has the classic botch of the Summerslam sign falling in the background and Gene dropping the “F” bomb, and then Warrior gives his usual crazed promo as he vows to regain the title. Rude was red hot as a heel as he comes out with great confidence and Warrior gets a big pop from the crowd. The two men square off to start with Rude avoiding Warrior twice and he gets a kick in which Warrior no-sells, and Rude avoids Warrior again and pounds on him though Warrior no-sells his shots. Warrior reverses a whip and both men duck a shot before Warrior clotheslines Rude over the top to the apron, and Rude gets a shoulder in and attempts a slingshot sunset flip though Warrior blocks it by sitting down on Rude. Warrior presses Rude up and tosses him over the top to the floor before going outside himself, and he rams Rude into the apron and then he rams him into the timekeeper’s table before grabbing the title and hitting Rude with it. Warrior hits a suplex on Rude on the floor and drops a fist on him before throwing him back into the ring, and Warrior again throws Rude over the top to the floor and goes outside himself before hitting a slam on the floor. He throws Rude back into the ring and goes up top before hitting an axehandle on Rude for a two count, and he whips Rude hard into the corner and pounds on him before whipping him hard into the other corner. Warrior hits a slam on Rude for a two count and then he hits a suplex on Rude for a two count, and he hits an atomic drop on Rude and mocks him by swiveling his hips before hoisting Rude up and slamming him onto the mat. Warrior goes up top again only to get distracted briefly by Bobby which allows Rude to get a shot in and Warrior crotches himself on the top rope before falling to the mat, and Rude pounds on Warrior’s back and hits a snap suplex for a two count. Rude continues to pound on Warrior’s back and hooks a submission on before slamming down on his back three times, and he drops an elbow on Warrior for a two count and gets a kick in before attempting the Rude Awakening. Warrior powers out of the hold only for Rude to duck a shot and he leaps onto Warrior’s back as he hooks a sleeper on, and Warrior drops to a knee briefly before getting to his feet and he escapes the hold with a jawbreaker. Warrior hooks a headlock and Rude whips him off only for both men to clock heads with the ref getting wiped out as well, and Rude gets to his feet first and he pounds on Warrior who no-sells his shots and starts to fire up. Warrior pounds on Rude and hits a backdrop before hitting a trio of clotheslines and a powerslam, but the ref is still out and Warrior tries to revive him before hitting a stiff piledriver on Rude. Warrior goes for the pin as the ref finally comes to only for Rude to get his foot on the rope just before the three, and Warrior hoists Rude up and hits a running powerslam only for Rude to get his knees up on the big splash attempt. Rude hits a stiff piledriver of his own on Warrior for a two count and drops an elbow on him, and he goes up top and drops a fist on Warrior for a two count as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper comes down to ringside. Rude hits another piledriver on Warrior for a two count and turns his attention to Piper as he poses to taunt him, and Piper turns around and moons Rude which causes him to flip out and go up to the middle rope which allows Warrior to grab him and hit a German suplex. Warrior hits a flying tackle on Rude and then he hits the Gorilla Press Slam before hitting the big splash which gets the three and we have a new champion.

The match itself was tremendous as both men worked hard and put on a great title match that was far superior to their Wrestlemania match. You could tell that these two were destined to have a match like this after spending all year feuding on the house shows, and they had great chemistry by this point and everything worked out for these two on this night. Warrior has grown a lot in the ring since his big moment last year at Summerslam and Rude was really hitting his groove by this point, and they pulled out all the stops with Rude really bringing the best out of Warrior and Warrior also brought the best out of Rude. The commentary was spot on as well as Jesse was in complete support of Rude and against Warrior, and he had some great one-liners including the comment about being able to shoot someone outside the ring and that Schiavone was dumber than Gorilla Monsoon. There were times during the match that you thought that Rude would somehow manage to escape with the title, but after Piper got involved you figured that Warrior was going to win the title back. The crowd was red hot for the whole match and popped big time for Warrior when he won. Warrior is once again the IC Champion as both men move on.

Final Grade: ****1/2

Author: Steve Riddle

I have been a wrestling fan since 1993 and that is probably my biggest love, with movies being a close second due in part to being employed at a movie theater for over 9 years.