Classic Wrestling Review: SummerSlam ’90

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

SummerSlam

August 27, 1990

The Spectrum

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A lot has happened and changed since WrestleMania. I’m going to try and cover all the important news in this intro. The first major news is that Jack Tunney declared that The Ultimate Warrior couldn’t defend both belts after Mania, so he asked Warrior to relinquish the Intercontinental Title. A tournament was held to crown a new champion and Mr. Perfect won it. During the finals against Tito Santana, Perfect revealed that he had a new manager, Bobby Heenan. After the tournament, Perfect resumed his feud with Brutus Beefcake and a match was set for SummerSlam. However, fate had other plans. During the 4th of July weekend, Beefcake was assisting a female parasailor when the boat driver mistakenly thought Brutus gave the signal to drive. The woman’s knees collided with Beefcake’s face at high speed, which severely injured him. He would have reconstructive surgery and would not wrestle again for nearly three years. The WWF had to scramble to find a replacement in the Intercontinental Title Match, so they went with a newcomer to the WWF, The Texas Tornado, Kerry Von Erich.

Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan needed some time off to film his new movie, Suburban Commando. They explained his absence by having Earthquake attack Hogan on The Brother Love Show and give him an Earthquake Splash. Hogan was taken out on a stretcher and Hogan’s new buddy, another newcomer named Tugboat would rally fans to send letters to encourage Hogan to return. Tugboat is, of course, the future Typhoon and Shockmaster. However, he too would fall victim to Earthquake. I don’t know if this was always the plan or if the WWF decided Tugboat wasn’t a big enough name for this main event. He was replaced by Big Boss Man, who agreed to be in Hogan’s corner for a match with Earthquake at SummerSlam.

The other major storyline for this event is the continued WWF Title reign of the Ultimate Warrior. His first opponent would be none other than his old rival, Ravishing Rick Rude. This title defense would take place in a steel cage, so Rude got serious for this match. He cut his hair short and filmed a few Rocky-like vignettes of him training on the beach and in the gym.

There is one more bit of news before I begin. Jesse Ventura left the WWF shortly before this show. He got into a dispute with Vince McMahon over a video game. Ventura was approached about doing a wrestling game with his name attached, but he couldn’t come to an agreement with Vince about it. Rather than give up the deal, Ventura quit the company. This would be the first PPV without Ventura involved in some capacity.

The show opens with a shot of a sunny beach. Vince McMahon gives a throat-ripping introduction of the two main event matches and then welcomes everyone to Philadelphia by saying, “It’s SssssssssummerSlam!!!” The first surprise of the show is that the commentators are Vince and Rowdy Roddy Piper. I realize that Heenan is still a manager, but I would have loved to have Gorilla and Bobby call this PPV instead of these two. I like Piper, but he’s not great on commentary and Vince is—well, Vince. Piper then says, “It’s wham bam SummerSlam. Where bagpipes are hot and Baghdad is not!” Are they starting that already? Great! Then, Vince talks about the double main event before introducing the first match, which he calls a humdinger.

Power & Glory (w/ Slick) vs. The Rockers

Power & Glory is the new tag team of Hercules & Paul Roma. You may remember Roma as one half of The Young Stallions and the future forgettable member of the Four Horsemen. Roma had been hanging around as mostly a jobber for a while. He lost a match to Dino Bravo and was attacked, so The Rockers came to help. Roma took offense to this and started shoving them. They got into an argument, so Hercules showed up to seemingly diffuse the situation. However, he attacked The Rockers and formed a team with Roma. They would soon debut their new team name, as well as a manager, Slick. It’s kind of a weak reason to form a team, but it’s an acceptable use of both of these men. They would make a surprisingly good team.

Power & Glory are already in the ring and they’re wearing some decidedly 90s belly exposing t-shirts and white gloves. The Rockers come out next and Shawn is visibly limping. That is because he had a legitimate knee injury, which will factor into this match.

Roma and Herc immediately attack the Rockers when they arrive and focus their assault on Shawn. Marty fights back and laughs off Roma’s punches. Come on, Marty! Be a professional! Marty fights back and hip tosses both men multiple times. Roma attempts a cross body, but Marty ducks and Paul lands on Hercules. Marty does his best to thwart the double team attempts and hits a double noggin’ knocker, but the double teaming becomes too much. Herc ends up taking himself over the top rope, so he decides to cheap shot Michaels on the floor. Marty ends up hitting a sunset flip, but Roma makes a blind tag and then kicks Shawn’s leg for good measure. Herc press slams Marty and then loses his grip on a slam attempt. Marty tries to save the spot with a reversal, but he flubs that too. Roma thankfully makes a blind tag and hits Marty with a pair of backbreakers. Marty answers back with a powerslam to Roma and a superkick to Herc before hitting a flying fist drop, but Herc breaks up the pin. Marty then fights back again by reversing a slam, but he runs into a clothesline by Herc. Power & Glory press Marty high into the air and let him drop before hitting a double clothesline. Herc then sets him up for a superplex and tags Roma. They hit a superplex/flying splash combo called the Power Plex for the win. Roma pins Marty with a foot on his chest.

It was a short match, but it told a good story. They did a masterful job of working Shawn’s injury into the match without putting him in danger. It was a great way to make Power & Glory look like killers while also building sympathy for The Rockers.

Winners: Power & Glory (6:00)

After the match, Power & Glory roll Shawn into the ring and start attacking his knee. Officials rush in to stop them and Marty tries to cover Shawn to protect him. The officials finally stop them and send Roma & Herc to the back while they load Shawn onto a stretcher. Piper nearly kills the moment by making silly jokes that compare the Rockers to David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Piper is terrible about not selling the drama on commentary.

Sean Mooney is backstage with Intercontinental Champion, Mr. Perfect, and Bobby Heenan. He says that it’s only been 10 days since Perfect accepted the challenge of the Texas Tornado. He asks if Perfect has ever prepared for a defense on such short notice. Perfect replies that he hasn’t and being perfect has its problems. He says that when you’re the perfect champion, challengers are few and far between. He also says that he has the perfect body, mind, and record. Mooney then asks if it’s wise to accept a challenge from someone he knows little about, but Heenan decides to answer the question. He claims he knows a lot about him. He says if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Is Bobby talking about tornadoes or Von Erichs? Then, he says they call him the Texas Tornado because he has his head in the clouds, which means his feet aren’t on the ground. Heenan claims that Texas Tornadoes don’t do any damage because you see them coming from a mile away. He says they might pick up some dust and turn over a few hick trailer parks. Perfect then concludes by yelling, “Nobody beats Mr. Perfect. Nobody!!” If you played a drinking game for every time the word perfect was used in this promo, you’d never survive.

Mr. Perfect makes his way to the ring and Piper questions how he has such a good tan when he’s from Minnesota. He also makes some jokes about Minnesotan women and calls Bobby Heenan, “Boobsy.”

Next, Mean Gene is with The Texas Tornado, Kerry Von Erich. Gene makes a pun about him taking the WWF by storm. Kerry replies that there are tornado warnings at SummerSlam. He says that when the tornado touches down in the ring, it’s going to destroy everything in its path. He also says that Texas Tornadoes are powerful, unpredictable, and devastating. He then claims that when he heads back up into the clouds, he’s taking the Intercontinental Title with him. Does Kerry think he’s actually a tornado?

Intercontinental Title Match: The Texas Tornado vs. Mr. Perfect (c) (w/ Bobby Heenan)

Kerry Von Erich was brought into the WWF from World Class Championship Wrestling in Dallas. He’s a member of the famous Von Erich family and a former NWA champion. It shows the depth of the WWF roster at this time that they have a former world champion in their mid-card. Interestingly enough, Von Erich was wrestling on a prosthetic foot at this point in his career. He had injured the foot in a motorcycle accident and then damaged it more by walking on it too soon. It had to be amputated, but he returned with a prosthetic. He reportedly did all he could to hide this fact from other wrestlers by hiding it under his wrestling boots. He moves pretty well for a man with one foot.

Perfect is already in the ring and his music has been playing for so long that we get to hear a part that normally isn’t heard. I wasn’t aware there was more to the song. Tornado enters next to a pretty good reaction. He’s wearing a sparkly robe and he gives the fans the shaka-brah sign with his hands. I notice that he changed his tights since he recorded his promo. I guess someone alerted him that he was wearing the same colors as Perfect. While he makes his entrance, Piper says that Tornado is Texas born and Texas bred and someday he will be Texas dead. He claims that might happen if Heenan gets his way. Is Piper implying that Bobby wants to kill Kerry?

Tornado gives Heenan a warning as he circles Perfect. I guess he’s aware of Heenan’s murderous plot. Kerry starts shoving Perfect around, so Perfect bails for a moment. He then returns and hits an arm drag and hip toss, but Tornado reverses a whip. Kerry hip tosses Perfect and clotheslines him out of the ring where Heenan assures him that Tornado simply got lucky. Perfect returns again and gets locked in an arm wringer, but he manages to clothesline his way out of the hold. He fights Tornado into a corner and hits a snap mare and neck whip before going to a sleeper hold. Tornado makes it to the corner, so Perfect starts punching and slapping him. He yells at him and taunts him, but he makes the mistake of turning his back. Tornado shakes off the attack and catches Perfect by surprise. He catapults him into the post and then locks in an Iron Claw. Perfect flails around for a moment before Kerry lets go of the hold and nails him with a discus punch that Perfect sells by spinning the wrong direction. Tornado then pins him for the surprise three count!

It was a short match, but it was fun and the surprise ending got a huge reaction from the crowd. I would love to see a longer match between these two.

Winner: Texas Tornado (New Champion) (5:15)

Mr. Perfect stumbles and falls out of the ring while Von Erich celebrates with the belt. Heenan complains to the ref about something and Piper jokes that Mr. Perfect isn’t living up to his name. Perfect then sulks down the aisle and kicks a piece of trash in frustration.

Mean Gene is backstage and he talks about how Von Erich came in like a tornado and won the title. He then says he was waiting on Sapphire. He claims she arrived earlier but isn’t available for her interview time. Gene tries to continue, but an irate Heenan and Mr. Perfect arrive. Heenan rants and raves about a lack of justice and terrible officiating. He claims that Tornado broke all the rules. Gene tells him not to cry, so Heenan threatens him. Perfect then yells that no one beats him. He says the lump on his head is from the ring post and he will be back to reclaim what belongs to the family. Heenan then tries to argue that Perfect’s shoulder was off the mat and Perfect makes another threat before leaving.

Queen Sherri vs. Sweet Sapphire

Sherri is already in the ring. She’s supposed to have a one-on-one match with Sapphire and she’s dressed in one of the most ridiculous outfits I’ve seen. She looks like something out of an anime version of Cats. Even Vince says, “What in the world is that!?”

Dusty Rhodes’ theme plays, but no one arrives. The Fink introduces Sapphire a couple of times, but she still doesn’t appear. Piper jokes that they should get Sapphire a hearing aid or give her a pat on the bum. The music stops playing and Sherri complains. The music begins again, but they get the same result. Sherri complains some more, so Rene Goulet (Worzel to OSW fans) comes to the ring and says something to Fink. Howard then announces that Sapphire has 30 seconds to arrive or she will forfeit the match. Fink starts counting down the time and Sherri grabs the mic for the last ten seconds. She counts them herself in a banshee-like scream and then lets Fink announce her as the winner.

I know they’re setting up a storyline that will run throughout the show, but I don’t really care. This storyline gets way too much time on this PPV and makes it feel more like an episode of RAW.

Winner: Sherri (by Forfeit) (N/A)

Mean Gene is with a confused Dusty Rhodes. He asks Dusty if he can shed some light on Sapphire’s whereabouts. Dusty says he doesn’t know. He searched high and low and in every nook and cranny. He says he asked everyone if they had seen her and he’s concerned. Dusty then sees Jim Duggan off-screen and asks him if he’s seen Sapphire. Duggan wanders onto the screen and says no, but he’s looking for her. He then wanders off-screen again. Dusty starts talking about how Sapphire has been happy lately because she’s received expensive gifts like jewelry and a car, but he still doesn’t know what is happening. Gee, I wonder what that means. It’s comical that Dusty can’t figure out this mystery.

The Warlord (w/ Slick) vs. Tito Santana

This was supposed to be the blow-off to the Santana/Martel feud. The match was announced, but then Martel got injured. The storyline reason for Martel’s absence was that he flaked on the match to attend a fashion show in Paris. That is the perfect way to explain the change. It puts heat on Martel and builds his character. However, we would never get that match on PPV. The WWF decided to move on to other things.

The Warlord is already in the ring with Slick and he’s dressed like a Mortal Kombat character. It’s an over the top look, but I like it. Santana enters next to a decent reaction and he backs Slick out of the ring. Piper then comments that he’s not going to call Tito a taco vendor or a bean eater. I’m pretty sure he just did exactly that! This is one of many questionable things Piper says on this show.

Warlord begins by powering Tito off his feet and tossing him across the ring. This causes a female fan to burst into a fit of giggles. Warlord then shoves Tito into a corner, but Santana ducks and moves before grabbing an arm wringer. Tito follows up with an elbow and some dropkicks, so Warlord takes a breather. Tito attempts the arm wringer again when he returns, but Warlord scoop slams him. However, he misses an elbow and Tito goes for a hurricanrana that Warlord blocks. Tito punches him down and covers him, but Warlord powers him to the floor and rams him into the post. He then distracts the ref so Slick can attempt to attack Tito with his shoe, but the ref catches him. The Warlord then focuses his attack on Santana’s back with clubbing forearms, but Tito gets his feet up on a corner charge. Tito then manages to hit the flying forearm, but Warlord gets a foot on the ropes during the pin. Santana tries to follow it up with a monkey flip, but The Warlord blocks it and hits a running powerslam for the win.

This was an uninteresting filler match. I wish we could have gotten the Tito/Martel bout, but it’s not meant to be. Poor Tito has now jobbed to both Powers of Pain on the last two PPVs.

Winner: The Warlord (5:28)

Vince then plugs Survivor Series. I have a feeling that show will be quite an egg-cellent undertaking. I’m so sorry about that one. Wait, no I’m not.

Sean Mooney is with the Tag Team Champions, Demolition, and they’ve added a third member named Crush. They’ve also turned heel. I will explain more in a bit. Sean talks about the addition of Crush and brings up the fact that only two of them can defend the titles at once. Demolition then confuses him by not coming clean about which combination will wrestle. Mooney admits to his confusion and Ax says that’s the idea. Mooney is catching on, but it’s too late for the Hart Foundation to do the same. They talk about demolishing the Hart Foundation and everyone else, but Mooney brings up the Legion of Doom. Crush takes offense to that and calls them second-rate impostors that need their butts kicked. Smash adds that they need their teeth kicked down their throat. Ax agrees before leading his team off-screen. Throughout this entire promo, Smash kept making faces like he was entertaining a baby. It was quite amusing.

Two members of Demolition make their way to the ring, but they’re wearing masks. Vince isn’t sure which two they are, but he works out that the tall one must be Crush. Smash then removes his mask to solve the mystery.

Next, Gene is with the Hart Foundation. He says it must have been disconcerting not to know who they were facing, but the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place. Bret replies that it was confusing because he thought it would be the original members. Gene then asks Anvil what he thinks, but Jim replies that they don’t pay him to think. They pay him to be tough like an anvil. He then says it doesn’t matter because when he gets in the ring, he doesn’t care. Bret has to tell him to settle down and then says he’s anxious to win the tag titles again. He claims they will make flat-liners out of Ax & Crush. I think he meant Smash & Crush. Anvil then says that Demolition will be buying pacemakers by the truckload after they finish and Bret concludes by quoting Phil Collins. He says they’re like two hearts beating as one. I’m pretty sure that’s meant to be a romantic song. Vince must not recognize it because he seems grossed out by the thought of two hearts beating as one. He doesn’t realize it’s a metaphor.

2 out of 3 Falls for the Tag Team Titles: The Hart Foundation vs. Demolition (c)

Demolition are now heels and the reason for that change is because The Road Warriors have arrived in the WWF. They’re going by the name, Legion of Doom, which was a nickname they had used for years. It was only natural to pair them against Demolition, since they were based off the Road Warriors. However, that means that one team would have to turn heel. The heel turn came with the addition of a new member, Crush. He was added because Ax became sick and the WWF worried that he might not be able to wrestle for much longer. That is funny in retrospect since Demolition still occasionally wrestles on the indies.

Demolition already came to the ring. They are still using the Rick Derringer theme, but it would soon be replaced with a darker heel theme to avoid the fans reacting to the music. The Hart Foundation come out next and they’re wearing snazzy new jackets. Bret apparently got the idea from seeing a chimpanzee in a funny jacket. They enter the ring and Anvil removes Bret’s sunglasses. He tosses them into the crowd, which isn’t as efficient as Bret’s usual method.

Bret and Smash start and get into a pulling test of strength. Crush tries to break it up, but the Hart Foundation quickly take control through some arm work. Bret and Anvil use frequent tags and Anvil even gnaws on Smash’s arm, at one point. Crush comes in and they work his arm too. He tries to fight back with a slam and a corner whip, but he can’t maintain control. Smash returns and Anvil gets sent to the floor, but Bret keeps control of the match. He sends Crush to the floor with Anvil and they fight while Bret hits a Russian leg sweep, backbreaker, and diving elbow for a pair of 2 counts. However, Crush breaks up the second attempt with a leg drop and Demolition hit the Decapitation for the first fall. (First Fall: Demolition) They start the second fall by double-teaming Bret, who ends up in trouble. Crush hits him with a choke takedown and Smash hits a back suplex. Crush then locks Bret in a head vice. Bret fights back, but Smash grabs his foot and Crush grabs Smash. Referee Earl Hebner is having none of that, so he kicks Crush’s hand away and Bret makes a tag. Anvil comes in with a back elbow and a powerslam for some 2 counts. The Hart Foundation then follow up with a double team whip into a shoulder block and the Hart Attack, but Crush dives onto the ref to stop the count. Hebner then calls for the bell and awards the second fall to the Hart Foundation. (Second Fall: Hart Foundation) Crush quickly knocks Bret out of the ring and Anvil checks on him, so Ax uses the distraction to run to the ring and hide underneath. Bret catches Smash at the ropes with a sunset flip and follows it up with an inverted atomic drop. He then tries another assisted running shoulder block, but Smash moves. However, Bret lands on the turnbuckles and Anvil powerslams him onto Smash for a 2. The ref tries to get Anvil out of the ring, so Ax and Smash swap places. Hebner somehow doesn’t realize it’s a different guy, even when he gets in Earl’s face! Ax hits his own Russian leg sweep and whips Bret in for his signature chest-first bump before swapping with Crush. The Hart Foundation eventually do their own swapping, but Bret is thrown to the floor. Ax and Smash swap again, but this draws out the Legion of Doom. They pull Ax out from under the ring, which distracts Smash. He leaves the ring, so The Hart Foundation hit a slingshot shoulder block/trip-up combo on Crush for the final fall. (Final Fall: Hart Foundation)

This was a great match. They told a good story and did a good job of hiding Crush’s weaknesses. The crowd was absolutely hot for this match and the Hart Foundation winning got a great reaction.

Winners: The Hart Foundation (New Champions) (14:24)

Then, they show a commercial for WrestleMania VII. They show different WWF superstars traveling in various vehicles. Vince still believes the show will be in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. I have some bad news for him. Now, get ready because there is a long string of interviews coming.

Mean Gene is backstage. He talks about how it’s a political year and he’d hate to be an incumbent with all the title changes happening in the WWF. The Legion of Doom then join him and Gene asks what they were doing out there. Animal says they’ve been asking for Demolition for weeks and they ignored them, so he hopes Demolition is mad now. Hawk then talks about Demolition running roughshod, but he says they’re the definition of that word. He calls Demolition, “Micro mini-men in a big man’s world.” He follows that up with their trademark line, “OHHHHH, WHAT A RUSH!!” The Hart Foundation then join them with their titles and Anvil says they’re back. Bret says they will take on anyone, anywhere. Then, Anvil yells about taking on any odds. Gene asks where is the champagne, but Hawk says they don’t have any sorrows. Demolition can drink. Gene then asks how the LOD fit into all of this and Hawk says, “However we want.” Gene finishes the segment by congratulating the Hart Foundation on their win and Hawk reaches around to stroke Anvil’s beard in celebration.

Sean Mooney is outside Demolition’s locker room and there is yelling coming from the partially open door. Sean says that they are angry with the Legion of Doom for costing them the titles. Mooney claims he wouldn’t want to be Hawk or Animal. He then tries to open the door, but it’s shut in his face.

Next, Gene is with Queen Sherri, who is still in paint. He introduces her, but she corrects him to say, “The victorious Queen Sensational Sherri!” Gene questions why she would gloat about such a victory. She answers that when you intimidate someone into not showing up, you can gloat all you want. Gene says fair enough, but he claims something peculiar is happening. He says that Sapphire vanished into thin air because there were earlier sightings. Sherri replies, “Earlier sightings? What is she? A UFO!?” She then claims she heard some rumors about Sapphire. Gene asks what they are, but Sherri simply squeals that they’re too good to be true. Gene then calls Sapphire a missing person, but Sherri replies that she said Sapphire was missing, not a person.

The show then goes to intermission and comes back to Gene running down the remaining card. He talks about Jake Roberts vs. Bad News Brown and says he got an opportunity to look at Brown’s Harlem sewer rat. Gene tells everyone to, “Look at this!”

Um, that’s a possum. I can practically hear it hurling insults at the cameraman and yelling, “Attica!!” It might also be dead. It’s hard to tell with them. Gene says that the sewer rat was contemplating its dinner, Damien. Gene claims that Damien was relaxing in the shower and then shows footage of the snake doing just that.

Next, Gene is with Big Boss Man, who doesn’t look too comfortable with that snake footage. Gene says that Boss Man’s first mission, should he accept it, is to be the special ref in the Roberts/Brown match. Boss Man says he will uphold the law and he’s not afraid of snakes. Sure, whatever you say Boss Man. I saw that look on your face. He then says he’s been dealing with snakes all his life. He also says he’s not afraid of anything from the sewer. He calls his job a slimy one, but someone’s got to do it and he will make sure justice prevails.

Sean Mooney is now with Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff, who is holding an American flag. Sean says that there are tensions in the Persian Gulf, but there is harmony between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and this team is an example of that. Duggan says that when he presented Volkoff with the flag, he was proud to call him a brother, neighbor, and friend. Volkoff then says he loves this country and Duggan. He calls Jim his idol and says they will grungushkillgagh the Orient Express. Sorry, that’s the best I can translate. I have no idea what he said. Mooney brings up the nefarious Mr. Fuji and says the Orient Express might have an advantage. Volkoff replies that his team is the American Express, so don’t leave home without it!

Then, Gene is with Earthquake, Dino Bravo, and Jimmy Hart. Good grief! How many interviews are there!? Gene calls Quake the only natural disaster in the WWF. You’d think they were already foreshadowing his eventual tag team. Quake says that’s right and there will be a disaster at SummerSlam. He brings up the last time Hogan came face-to-face with him. He squashed him and they carried Hogan out on a stretcher. They show a clip of the attack. He then talks about doing the same to Tugboat and calls Hogan’s decision to return foolish. They also show a clip of Quake attacking Tugboat. Now, I’m sure they’re foreshadowing his tag team! Quake says there will be two stretchers for both Hogan and Boss Man. Bravo then says he will take care of Boss Man and anyone stupid enough to show up in Hogan’s corner. Jimmy Hart speaks next and says everyone will get more than their money’s worth. Quake then tells Gene to call the Red Cross because this is an earthquake you can predict.

Sean Mooney is with Jake Roberts for yet another interview. Jake has Damien wrapped around him and the snake is being quite uncooperative. Sean brings up the fact that Bad News is afraid of snakes and asks if Jake is afraid of sewer rats. Jake says they don’t call him a snake for nothing because he and Damien have a lot in common. Jake says that Bad News hangs out with rats, so what does that say about him? Jake claims he’s not afraid of rats. He has to fight Damien as he talks because the snake is doing it’s best to wrap around his neck and head. He talks about Damien being hungry and brings up Bad News not feeding his rats in weeks. He asks Brown how hungry he is because it will come down to hunger. Jake says hunger is what separates a man like him from a mouse like Bad News.

Jake the Snake Roberts vs. Bad News Brown

Finally, it’s time for another match and it’s a weird one. Jake started feuding with Bad News, who happened to have the same fear of snakes that all Jake’s opponents have. Jake started taunting Brown with this fear, so Bad News got his own pet. He claimed he had Harlem sewer rats and cut promos with a black box that someone off-screen shook ominously. These supposed rats were opossums, which only made this entire thing even more absurd.

Bad News is already in the ring because he never gets music. The box of rats is sitting at ringside. Jake makes his entrance next and Piper jokes that Roberts looked like something out of Star Trek with that snake wrapped around him. I’m not sure what he means by that. Boss Man then gets his own entrance and Piper calls him, “The Big Bosom Man.” That’s mean, especially since Boss Man has lost a lot of weight.

Jake and Bad News start brawling before Boss Man reaches the ring. Bad News misses a corner charge, so Jake attempts a DDT. Brown escapes and then returns while Boss Man warns Roberts. Brown hip tosses Jake and then hits a knee drop before pinning him with his foot. It unsurprisingly doesn’t work. Brown and Boss Man argue so Jake goes for the DDT again, but Brown rolls out of the ring. He goes after Damien, which causes Jake to give chase, so Bad News grabs a chair and hits him. Boss Man doesn’t call for the bell, which surprises both Vince and Piper. Brown and Roberts re-enter the ring and Bad News whips him from corner to corner. Jake gives him a rude gesture, so Brown clubs him. He then goes for a flying fist drop, but he misses. Then, he walks into a knee-lift by Roberts followed by a short-arm clothesline. Jake signals for the DDT, but Brown back drops him and knocks Jake out of the ring. He grabs the chair again and uses it. This time, Boss Man calls for the bell.

That was a waste. It’s Bad News, so you know there won’t be a decisive finish. It almost felt like he wanted to end it early with the first chair attack, but they wouldn’t let him. I will not be sad to see Bad News go. Jake deserves a better feud than this.

Winner: Jake Roberts (by DQ) (4:44)

Boss Man checks on Jake, so Bad News grabs Damien’s bag and attempts to leg drop it. Boss Man sees him and pulls the bag away, but he mistakenly turns his back on Brown. Bad News attacks him, so Jake grabs Damien and drapes him on Bad News, who runs for the hills. Jake celebrates his win while Boss Man idly nudges the snake with his foot. He then leaves rather quickly for someone who claims not to be afraid of snakes.

They show another commercial for WrestleMania VII. The 800 number is surprisingly not covered and there’s no mention of it not being active. Is that number still in use? Is Vince still trying to sell tickets for the L.A. Coliseum?

Demolition is finally ready to speak, so Gene is backstage with them. He calls them the former champs, which angers them. Ax says the only reason the Hart Foundation are champs is because they cheated. Smash says they didn’t play fair because there were four of them! Crush then says the Hart Foundation weren’t man enough to go man-on-man with them. Crush says they’ll come after them, but Ax says they’ll take care of the Legion of Doom first. He says they stuck their ugly painted faces where they didn’t belong. Smash says those impostors will regret walking in the shadow of Demolition. He then says it will get a lot darker, just like their future. Ax claims they will never forget the name Demolition. Then, Smash says Hawk will be hawking hot dogs and Crush says Animal will be neutered.

Next, there is another edition of The Brother Love Show. Piper calls him, “Blubber Love.” Love brings up the fact that he’s in Philadelphia, the city of love. He asks the crowd if they remember being snot-nosed kids who looked to their parents for guidance. He says their parents told them what to do because they didn’t know better, but they still need someone to tell them what to do. He calls the fans soft and weak and introduces his guest, who will tell them what to do. That guest is Sgt. Slaughter, who comes to the ring to a long drum roll. Vince claims that Slaughter was kicked out of the service for being too brutal. Brother Love greets him and tells him its an honor and privilege to have him. Sarge says he’s there for only two reasons. The first is to present the most prestigious award. He says he looked around and found America had become weak and soft, but he found the only man worthy of the Sgt. Slaughter Great American Award. That person is Brother Love. He hangs a giant medal around Love’s neck, so Love salutes him. Brother Love then brings up the much smaller medal that Nikolai Volkoff received and Sarge says that’s his other reason for being there. Love asks Sarge how America could give a medal to a commie. Sarge replies that he’s declaring war on Volkoff, unlike America, which he calls too chicken to declare war. He calls Volkoff a pinko commie puke and insults America for inviting Volkoff into their arms. He then says that if war broke out in the middle east tomorrow, Saddam Hussein would kick America’s butt. He claims he will kick Volkoff’s butt and says, “That’s an order!” No, that’s a statement. Ugh, this storyline. Where do I even begin? This is a shameless attempt by the WWF to get some cheap heat off a real-life conflict. It gets even worse and it ends up pushing away viewers. This is the primary reason that WrestleMania VII gets moved to a smaller venue. It is the first real misstep in the Hogan Era boom period and it’s a big one.

Sean Mooney is with The Orient Express and Mr. Fuji, who calls Duggan and Volkoff the Super Powers. Isn’t that what Dusty called his team with Nikita Koloff? They’re not even trying to hide the fact that they ripped off the NWA. Fuji says that Duggan and Volkoff are facing honorable Japanese know-how. He says that Duggan has one cross-eye, but they will hit him so hard he will have two. Then, he says that they will kick Volkoff so hard he will have a red mark on his head like Gorbachev. Sean then cuts off Fuji because there is breaking news from Mean Gene.

Gene says he is finally going to get a word with Sapphire, but she walks past him and enters a locker room. She closes the door in Gene’s face, so he knocks. Gene says they know she’s safe behind that door and can breathe a sigh of relief, but he doesn’t know about the rumors Sherri alluded to earlier. He tries knocking again, but Sapphire ignores him, so he sends it back to the arena.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Orient Express (w/ Mr. Fuji)

The Orient Express are already in the ring and their theme is still playing for a moment. Duggan & Volkoff are out next and they come to the ring to “Stars & Stripes Forever”. Piper asks Vince what their combined IQ is, but Vince ignores the question. Piper then says he doesn’t understand this. Neither do I. He says he can’t trust a man who changes his heart as often as he changes his underwear—every six months. Way to kill your own joke, Roddy. Fink then asks everyone to stand as Duggan & Volkoff honor Philadelphia’s own, the late Kate Smith, by singing “God Bless America”. They sing an awful rendition that initially gets boos until the fans realize they aren’t being rude. They simply can’t sing.

The Express jump them after the song, but Duggan & Volkoff hit stereo atomic drops and send them outside. Volkoff and Tanaka then start the match and Tanaka can’t take him off his feet. Nikolai catches him on a cross body, but he has to awkwardly stand around and wait for Sato to hit a flying axehandle. The Express then double team Volkoff, which draws Duggan into the ring. The Express uses the distraction to allow Fuji to use his cane. Tanaka ends up missing a splash, so Volkoff tags Duggan. Jim punches down both men and ducks a double clothesline. He hits his own and a double noggin’ knocker before giving The Express rapid-fire punches. All four men brawl and Duggan & Volkoff whip the Express into each other. Jim then hits the running clothesline for the win.

This was just a pointless ploy to get a patriotic pop from the crowd. It’s a shame that the Orient Express had to be the sacrificial lambs for this. I thought they were planning big things for them after Mania.

Winners: Duggan & Volkoff (3:22)

Vince then plugs Survivor Series again before going to Gene, who is with Dusty outside Sapphire’s locker room. Dusty is knocking on the door and calling her name, but she won’t answer. Gene says he was standing guard during the last match. I’m sure he’s so upset he had to miss that classic. Dusty says he needs Sapphire in his corner and he’s worried sick. He then says something is going down here and he will have to go to his match alone, but he will come back and figure out what is happening. He then leaves for his match.

Dusty enters the arena, but they go back to Sean Mooney with Randy Savage. Sean has to stand on a ladder to reach Randy on his platform. Savage says, “What do you think this is? A stairway to Heaven?” Mooney makes a pun about reaching new heights, so Savage accuses him of having a sarcastic disrespect of the Macho King. Sean then says that Dusty will be unaccompanied to the ring, so Savage says the rumors are true. He says that Sapphire doesn’t want to be associated with a common man for the rest of her life. Randy then claims that Ben Franklin is doing somersaults in his grave thinking that Dusty represents the American Dream. Savage says he will lay Dusty to rest in the squared circle and tells Sherri to lead the way because peasants are waiting. Savage leaves and Mooney nearly falls off his ladder.

Macho King Randy Savage (w/ Queen Sherri) vs. Dusty Rhodes

Dusty waits in the ring while his music continues playing and then Savage makes his entrance. Sherri leads him to the ring while indie wrestlers carry his platform. Sherri is still in her paint, so Piper jokes that it looks like stretch marks on her neck. Savage then enters the ring, but they are interrupted by the laughter of Ted DiBiase. He’s standing on the interview podium and says that everybody has a price for the Million Dollar Man. He says his money can buy anybody and anything and he wants Dusty to feast his eyes upon his newest purchase, Sweet Sapphire.

Sapphire comes out in a fur coat and diamonds and she’s carrying a bag full of money. Dusty yells, “NO!!!” DiBiase shows him the money and tells Dusty that it was him who bought all of her expensive gifts. He then tells Dusty not to be upset because Sapphire didn’t do anything that any of them wouldn’t have done. He asks Dusty what he’s going to do about it, so Dusty tries to approach him.

Savage chases him down and attacks before rolling Dusty back into the ring. He hits a flying axehandle and chokes him before distracting the ref. Sherri then chokes him before Randy punches Dusty into a corner. He rakes the eyes, so the ref backs him away from Dusty, which opens the door for Rhodes to hit some elbows. He elbows Savage all the way out of the ring and follows, but Randy uses Sherri as a shield. The ref tries to convince them to re-enter the ring, but Sherri distracts Dusty. Savage uses the opening to grab Sherri’s purse and load it with something while Dusty chases Sherri into the ring. Savage then nails Rhodes from behind with the purse and covers him for the quick victory.

The story was told well, but it wasn’t much of a match. I would have rather seen a longer match between these two. I know they’re capable of putting on a good show.

Winner: Randy Savage (2:15)

Mooney is backstage to get a word with DiBiase and Sapphire, but he says they retreated into Ted’s private suite. While Sean is talking, DiBiase, Sapphire, and Virgil emerge and Mooney tries to get a word. DiBiase calls him a peon and says there’s nothing his money can’t buy. They get into the limo, but Dusty arrives. The limo takes off up the ramp and Dusty chases it, but he’s too late. He yells Sapphire’s name, but he can only watch the car drive off into the night. You can tell that Vince was trying to go for some soap opera drama here and it actually did the job pretty well. I just wish there weren’t so many of these segments on this show.

Earthquake then makes his way to the ring for the first of two main events. Piper compares him to a warthog and a mutant rat. Vince claims that Quake is the only man to put Hogan out of competition. Somewhere, King Kong Bundy sheds a tear.

Mean Gene is with Hulk Hogan and Big Boss Man. He says it was only announced a few days ago that Boss Man would replace Tugboat in Hogan’s corner. Hogan says he remembers what it felt like to be underneath Quake’s massive frame and he remembers their laughter when they took him out on a stretcher. He also remembers the tears in the eyes of the Hulkamaniacs and their outpouring of cards, letters, and prayers. Then, he says he remembers what they did to Tugboat and that’s why he’s dedicated his match to the, “Tugster.” That sounds dirty! Hogan says he has Boss Man on his side to make sure justice is served. Boss Man then talks about how many rights were first formulated in Philadelphia. However, he says the only rights Quake and company have are the right to be beaten into silence, with the fans watching, and a swift trial with Hogan presiding as judge. Hogan then calls Boss Man, “Thomas Jefferson Boss Man,” and himself, “George Washington Hogan.” He claims he chopped down a cherry tree with the 24-inch pythons and asks Quake what he’s going to do when they pass their constitutional rights onto him.

Hulk Hogan (w/ Big Boss Man) vs. Earthquake (w/ Dino Bravo & Jimmy Hart)

The Fink introduces Quake and his entourage while Quake jumps around the ring and poses for the crowd. Boss Man then enters to his own music and the crowd pops for his entrance. Hogan comes out next and the crowd pops even louder. The cameraman gets a great running shot down the aisle towards him. Hogan gets into the ring and Quake bails, so Hulk spits at him. Piper then tries to compare Bravo hanging with Quake to so-so girls hanging with larger girls to make themselves look better. Stay classy, Roddy!

Quake gets an early advantage by shoving Hogan and hitting a shoulder block. Hogan has to regroup on the outside, which is usually a heel move. Hogan returns and answers with an eye-rake and kicks, but Quake blocks a slam attempt and targets Hogan’s back. Quake whips Hogan around until Hulk gets a boot up on a corner charge. Hogan then clotheslines and punches Quake until he falls to the mat and bails outside. Hogan and Boss Man then brawl with everyone at ringside and Boss Man hits Quake! How is that not a DQ? They even roll Quake inside and hit a double big boot. Even Piper can’t understand why it’s not a DQ. The ref becomes distracted, so Bravo and Quake slam Hogan and Quake hits an elbow for 2. He then shockingly goes to the top rope and hits a flying axehandle! Quake stomps Hogan’s hand and locks him in a Boston Crab, but Hogan reaches the ropes. Hogan tries to bail, but Bravo slams him. Quake then does the same, but he misses an elbow and Hogan attempts a slam. Quake lands on top of Hogan and then follows it up with a bear hug. Hogan desperately tries to free himself by grabbing hold of Hebner. He tears Earl’s shirt. Finally, he punches his way out of the hold and tries a surprising cross body. Everyone is pulling out unusual moves in this match! Quake catches him on the attempt and hits a powerslam. He then stomps around and hits the Earthquake Splash, but he doesn’t cover. He hits a second one and this time he covers, but Hogan kicks out at 2 and hulks-up. Hogan no-sells his punches and hits the big boot. Quake is dazed, so Hogan slams him to a big pop. Hogan hits the leg drop and covers, but Bravo distracts the ref and Jimmy Hart jumps onto Hogan. Hulk no-sells it and throws Jimmy onto Quake. They fall out of the ring, but Quake pulls Hogan out to the floor. They brawl and Quake holds Hogan for Jimmy to hit him with the megaphone. Hulk moves and Quake gets nailed, so Hogan slams Quake onto a conveniently placed table. He then rolls inside before the 10 count for the count out win.

This was a pretty good match. I’m okay with the ending because Quake didn’t get pinned, so he can still look strong. The crowd was hot for the entire thing.

Winner: Hulk Hogan (by Count Out) (13:16)

Quake gets up and re-enters the ring. He grabs Hogan in a lifting choke, so Boss Man grabs a step ladder. He hits Bravo and then whacks Quake in the back hard enough to leave nasty welts. Quake lets go of Hogan and retreats down the aisle while yelling at Boss Man. Hogan and Boss Man then pose in the ring and Hogan does a funky chicken dance to call Quake scared for running. He then continues posing for an eternity. Piper jokes that Hogan is trying to wish Vince a belated 56th birthday, but Vince pretends he can’t hear Piper over the crowd.

Sean Mooney is backstage with Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan. Heenan reassures Sean that Perfect will regain his title before Sean introduces Rick Rude. Rick makes sure that Mooney adds, “The next WWF Champion,” to his introduction. Rude then compares his match to Rocky Balboa facing Apollo Creed, but he says that’s Hollywood and this is reality. He says that art imitates life and says Warrior knows nothing about cage matches. He calls them his kind of match and claims the advantage. He also says that Warrior won’t be able to run or hide and when he slams the cage door, it will symbolically seal his fate. He then claims he will take his rightful place next to the Rocky statue outside. Then, Heenan brings up Rude beating Warrior before and says he will do it again. He talks about how there are two ways to win this cage match. You can escape or pin your opponent. Heenan says there will be no sequels and Rude adds that there will be no rematch. I realize he’s quoting Rocky, but that’s pretty much what Heenan had said.

Gene is with Dusty again. I would complain about yet another segment, but this is a pretty good promo. Gene says that SummerSlam is everything it’s cracked up to be, but he calls Dusty’s walk down the tunnel the saddest thing he’s seen. Dusty says it’s emotion and this sport is built on emotion. He says that Sapphire took the money and that’s fine, but he offered up his innocence to her and she paid him back in scorn. He adds that only America can give him shelter from the storm. He claims that fans have been screaming when is he gonna get bad, mad, and even. He says that DiBiase can buy anything but Dusty Rhodes and the American Dream, so he’s getting bad, baby! He says he’s coming for DiBiase.

Then, they go to Lord Alfred Hayes, who is standing in front of the ring crew as they construct the cage. He talks about how these experienced erectors (OH MY) are trying to beat their record for setting up the cage. He then talks about the weight of the cage and its purpose, before sending it back to Mean Gene.

Gene is now with Hulk Hogan, who has donned another bandanna. He talks about how he’s going to get on his motorcycle and ride to Jack Tunney’s office. He says he’s going to let Tunney know that Hulkamania is still the strongest force. Then, he starts rambling about how they’re building earthquake-proof buildings around the world. Hogan claims he’s going to drag that fat dude, Earthquake, around the country until Tunney makes him the #1 Contender again. Gene claims that Hogan is there already. Geez, way to make Warrior seem like an afterthought before his match. Hogan then says that the love his Hulkamaniacs proves that it will last forever. He also says there are now four demandments. They are training, saying your prayers, eating your vitamins, and believing in yourself. Did Hogan not believe in himself before? Hulk then says he’s going to get a new surfboard and will chase sharks and ride tidal waves to the top. He finishes with his usual, “Whatcha gonna do,” before pretending to ride a motorcycle off-screen.

Vince and Piper then recap the night and talk about the main event. Piper says that a cage match is fun for the spectators but a nightmare for the fans. Aren’t those the same?

Mooney is now with Earthquake, Bravo, and Hart. Jimmy points at the welts on Quake’s back while Sean asks him if he heard Hogan’s comments. Quake replies that he’s not finished with Hogan and the war has just begun. He also says he’s coming for Boss Man and he will get his revenge. He claims he’s not running and says, “Any time, anywhere!” Then, he says that next time he will inflict more damage on Hogan before giving him the earthquake and Hogan won’t walk out this time. Jimmy Hart then tells Hogan to get earthquake insurance and Dino Bravo says that Boss Man couldn’t stop Quake with a stick or a chair. Everyone then yells some more, so Sean ends the interview.

Next, Gene is with The Warrior, who is snarling. Gene says he’s proud to stand in his presence and Warrior replies with a joke. He asks Gene what Rude and Heenan have in common with the Liberty Bell. Gene asks him for the answer, so Warrior says, “One is cracked and the other is a ding-dong!” Both men awkwardly laugh until Warrior snarls again. Gene then says that Warrior will step into the unknown in a 15-foot high steel cage. He also brings up Rude beating Warrior in the past. Warrior starts quoting the Declaration of Independence and talks about his right to be champion. He claims he will do what the forefathers did because he’s not afraid and he’s willing to make sacrifices. He then claims that Rude won’t be able to prevent him from making a perfect union with his warriors. That sounds kind of wrong. He says that he doesn’t fear the unknown of a new frontier. He revels in it. He calls it the lifeblood of the Ultimate Nation. Is that anything like the One Warrior Nation?

Cage Match for the WWF Title: The Ultimate Warrior (c) vs. Ravishing Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan)

The Fink announces the match and explains that they can win by either escape, pinfall, or submission. Rude’s dubbed theme then starts playing and you can barely hear Vince talking underneath it. Why does WWE have so much trouble with the sound levels on the dubbed themes? Rude and Heenan climb into the cage and Rick grabs a mic. He tells all the fat, out of shape, Pennsylvania piss-ants to keep the noise down while he takes off his robe and shows them the next WWF Champion. He then reveals airbrushed tights with his picture on the front and an image of him punching The Warrior on the back. The Warrior then enters and climbs onto the side of the cage. He nearly brings the thing down by shaking it before running around the ring a few times. Rude climbs onto the top of the cage and yells at Warrior, who shows him his title and climbs to meet him.

They punch each other at the top of the cage and Warrior rams Rude’s head into the bar. Rude falls into the ring, so Warrior hits a flying axehandle off the top rope. He then rams Rude into the cage until he’s bleeding from the forehead. However, Warrior attempts a cross body and Rude ducks, so Warrior hits the cage. Rude tries to escape, but Warrior grabs his leg. Rick knocks him down and hits his own flying axehandle before sending Warrior into the cage wall. The two of them trade chops, punches, and forearms, but Rude gains the advantage. He rakes Warrior’s face across the bars and goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior breaks his grip. He clotheslines Rick, but Rude gets his knees up on a splash attempt and hits the Rude Awakening. He doesn’t go for a cover. He doesn’t try to escape. He climbs to the top of the cage and hits a massive flying axehandle. Heenan opens the door for him, but Rude climbs again and Bobby asks what he’s doing. Rude tries another axehandle, but Warrior punches him in the gut and crawls for the door. He reaches the opening, but Heenan slams the door on Warrior’s head and Rude gets a close 2 count. The two men then end up colliding and Rude crawls for the door. Heenan tries to pull him to victory, but Warrior grabs Rude by the legs and even the tights. He exposes Rude’s butt and ends up pulling Heenan into the cage. He hits Bobby with an atomic drop that sends him stumbling out the door, but Rude clotheslines Warrior when he poses. Warrior begins hulking-up and shaking the ropes. He no-sells Rude’s punches and answers with multiple clotheslines. He then hits a press slam and climbs over the cage. Rude stands just in time to watch Warrior swivel his hips and drop down for the win.

This was decent enough, but it didn’t feel like a main event. It didn’t have nearly the amount of heat that Hogan/Quake had. It’s starting to become obvious that Warrior’s run at the top is lackluster. On a side note, this would be Rick Rude’s last PPV. He would get into a dispute with McMahon over money and leave the company. It’s at least fitting that Rude went out as a main-eventer.

Winner: The Ultimate Warrior (10:05)

The Warrior then climbs the cage and poses with his title. He swings it around like a lasso and then climbs into the ring. He swivels his hips at Rude one last time and poses while Vince plugs Survivor Series and says goodnight.

Final thoughts:

This show was a bloated mess. There was some good stuff on here, like the Tag Title Match, but they tried to pack too much into it. It felt like an episode of RAW from the Attitude Era. There were a lot of backstage segments and short matches. I liked some of the storyline work, but they tried to overdo it. This event was an hour shorter than Mania, yet I still had more screencaps than I did for Mania. That should tell you how many segments this show had.

Thank you for reading. You can follow the Facebook page for this blog by clicking here. You can also follow the Twitter page by clicking here. I look forward to your feedback.

My next review will be WCW’s Halloween Havoc ‘90.

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I chronologically review NWA/WCW and WWF/WWE PPVs on the WWE Network. I put out a new review every Saturday. Like and Follow the Facebook page for this blog here: https://www.facebook.com/ClassicWrestlingReview. Also, follow me on twitter @PaulDMatthews78

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