Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: WWF at Madison Square Garden 12/28/89

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) in a Steel Cage match

As we head into the final show at Madison Square Garden for the year of 1989 and the decade of the 1980s, there was no doubt that this decade was a very successful one for the WWF and we saw a lot of fun matches at MSG though we had our fair share of junk as well. Heading into the new decade of the 1990s, it was going to be interesting to see where certain guys would be heading as we were going to soon begin the push to Wrestlemania VI. Two guys that were in an interesting position as the year was coming to an end were Roddy Piper and Rick Rude who spent the rest of the year feuding with each other. Since coming back in March, Piper was slowly back into the groove as an in-ring competitor though aside from this feud, he seemingly had no direction especially with the two singles titles being dominated by Hogan and Warrior. On the other side of the coin, Rude seemed even more like a man without direction ever since losing the IC Title back to Warrior at Summerslam, and since this feud was set to end soon it was curious to see what he would be doing since he was clearly lapped by a few other heels. These two have had a pretty solid feud over the last few months and the fact that they were going to end it in a cage match at MSG along with it being the main event of the show was a good show of faith to both guys to end the year at MSG on top.

Since Summerslam when Piper got involved in the match and cost Rude the IC Title to Warrior, the two would mainly feud on the house shows while also cutting promos on each other on TV and they would lead teams against each other at Survivor Series with Rude’s team winning the match. They would continue to feud on the house shows and it was announced that they would face off here in MSG inside a steel cage, and that it would be the main event of the show which also featured another hot feud in Roberts/Dibiase and the tag title match.

Rude was still pretty hot as a heel as he struts out with great confidence and Piper gets a big pop from the crowd. Rude wastes no time and attacks Piper as he gets in the cage to start the match and he rams Piper into the buckle, and he continues to pound on Piper only for Piper to block a ram into the cage twice though Rude rakes the eyes. He pounds on Piper who reverses a whip and sends Rude back first into the cage before taking off his shirt and kilt, and Rude tries to climb up the cage as Piper whips him with his belt repeatedly and he taunts Rude with a grind. Piper nails Rude in the face with the belt and then he bites him in the face as he takes him to the mat, and Rude again tries to climb up the cage only for Piper to grab at his tights and pull him back to the mat. Piper rams Rude into the cage and taunts Bobby as he climbs up the cage only for Rude to grab at him and crotch him on the top rope, and he drops a knee on Piper’s groin and goes for the door only for Piper to grab at his foot and Rude stomps on him. He drops a series of elbows on Piper for a two count and Piper continues to grab at Rude’s foot as Rude crawls for the door again, and Bobby tries to help pull Rude out only for Piper to pull him back into the cage and he pounds on him. Rude gets a knee in and hits the Rude Awakening on Piper as he crawls for the door and Bobby leads him towards it, but Piper again grabs at Rude and tries to crawl over him only for Rude to pull him back in and he pounds on Piper. Piper hooks a headlock and Rude whips him off as they clock heads and knock each other down, and both men try to climb up the cage and they both get to the top as they trade blows before climbing down and they ram each other into the cage before dropping down and hitting the floor at the same time. The ref makes a decision that the match would continue until there is a definite winner as Rude rams Piper into the cage before grabbing a chair and nailing Piper with it, and he rams Piper into the steps as he puts him back into the cage and he hits a snapmare before dropping a knee on him. Rude climbs up to the top of the cage and he drops a fist on Piper for a two count before hitting a piledriver on Piper, and he climbs up to the top of the cage again  only for Piper to shake the ropes as Rude crotches himself on the top of the cage. Piper goes up himself and pounds on Rude who gets hung upside down on the top of the cage as Piper goes to get out the door, but Bobby grabs the door and slams it on Piper’s head as Rude drops back down into the cage and gets a two count. Rude ducks a shot and hits a back suplex on Piper as Bobby pulls out a pair of brass knuckles and he hands them to Rude, but Piper gets a shot in as Rude drops the knuckles and Piper puts them on as he knocks Rude out with them before leaving the cage through the door and winning the match.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard and put on a solid cage match though it did feel like something was a bit lacking in the match. This has been a solid feud and while it hasn’t seen much TV time aside from Survivor Series, it was still fairly hot and it deserved to have a good blowoff especially being in the main event at MSG. Piper was getting back into a groove in the ring since returning back in March and Rude was really hitting his stride as well, and they had good chemistry as they used the cage somewhat efficiently. The match seemed to go by fairly quickly for 13 minutes and it was a bit weird that they had the Dusty finish in the middle with both men hitting the floor, and again it felt like something was lacking and they didn’t reach the next level to make this a really good cage match. The crowd was pretty hot for the whole match and popped for Piper when he won. Piper gets the win over Rude in the cage and both men move on as they await to see what 1990 has in store for them.

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.