From the WWE Network: WrestleFest 1990

The Hulkster faces a Perfect challenger, plus the Hart Foundation tangle with the Rockers!

Sean Mooney runs down the tape, and it sounds loaded!

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage

Savage was not carried to the ring on his throne. Lord Alfred Hayes joins Mooney on the call. The men do a lengthy psych out session. Savage offers to hold the ropes for Piper as he enters, so Piper walks a different way. Savage slowly undresses as Piper stares him down. Sherri moseys over and checks under Piper’s kilt, so Piper spanks her bottom. Sherri attempts to attack Piper, but it only serves as a distraction so Savage can get the jump on Hot Rod.

Piper fights back, forcing Sherri to run interference again. Macho leaps down upon a distracted Piper.   Piper takes some abuse for several minutes before fighting his way back into the encounter. Savage sells big for Piper’s flurry, putting Roddy over. Piper busts out an airplane spin, so Savage retaliates with one of his own. Savage gets dizzy from spinning himself around and falls off the ropes while he tries to climb up for the big elbow. Piper follows him out to the floor and the men brawl. Sherri gets involved as the ref calls for the bell.

Piper locks Savage in a sleeper. Sherri makes the save, so Piper puts her in the sleeper. Savage attacks Piper, but Roddy knocks the heels together and stands defiantly in the middle of the ring.

This was taped during one of the infamous 4-5 hour long TV tapings full of squashes and it seemed to hurt the heat for this match between two of the era’s biggest stars.

The Ultimate Warrior vs. Dino Bravo

Earthquake joins Bravo and Jimmy Hart at ringside. Warrior charges the ring for his traditional fast start, delivering several top rope attacks. Warrior tears through Bravo until Earthquake trips him. Warrior goes after Quake on the floor, then crawls under the ring. Warrior attacks Hart, pulling him under the ring and taking off his pants. Warrior then tosses Hart onto Quake.

Bravo garners control with a test of strength and a bear hug once things return to the ring. Warrior endures the bear hug for a bit, before Bravo knocks him to the floor and allows Quake to get some licks in.

Warrior fires himself up with the ropes. Warrior quickly hits a flying tackle and splash, but Quake attacks him before he can score a 3-count. Quake sets Warrior up for a second rope butt splash, but Hulk Hogan runs in for the save.

I wasn’t sure until the ending, but this was a TV match that was given fresh commentary for this release. The match started hot and turned into “meh”, as you’d imagine given the participants.

Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs. Rick “The Model” Martel

Gorilla Monsoon and Hillbilly Jim call this match from MSG. Beefcake scares off Martel with the scissors. Brutus then mocks Martel’s strutting and preening, enraging Martel into an ill advised charge that ends poorly for him.

Martel attempts to offer his hand in friendship. Beefcake shakes it and then kicks the Model. Martel tries to flip Beefcake, but the Barber just stomps on his head. Martel finally catches Beefcake with a reverse atomic drop to swing things into his control. Martel wears on Beefcake for several minutes. Beefcake gets some hope spots before finally catching Martel on the top rope and crotching him to alter things back in his favor.

Beefcake gives Martel a receipt from the earlier reverse atomic drop and dumps Martel to the floor. Beefcake pokes Martel’s eyes, continuing being more a a heel than the Model in this match.

Beefcake attempts a sunset flip back in the ring, but Martel grabs two handfuls of ropes and use them for leverage as he steals the win. Beefcake puts him to sleep afterward and tries to give him a haircut but Bobby Heenan runs down and pours water on Martel, saving him from the indignity of a cut. Martel’s heat was largely a long headlock, but Beefcake basically working heel was fun.

Profile: The Hart Foundation

The Hart Foundation vs. The Powers of Pain

Tony Schiavone and Lord Al call the action. The ring announcer here is unfamiliar to me. He sounds like he is trying to be a Howard Finkel knock off with his deep voice pronouncements.

Jim Neidhart starts with the Barbarian. Neidhart is the bull of his team, so he gets the first chance to try the monsters on. The big boys fight without a clear advantage being had by either man. The heels end up colliding, allowing the Harts to make a number of quick tags, keeping the Barbarian under their control.

Warlord tags in, but doesn’t find much success for himself either. Schiavone mentions the idea of Andre and Haku defending the WWF tag titles against the Powers of Pain, and I omit a small scream over the horror that match could potentially be. Warlord finally catches Hart working his arm over and is able to drive him to the mat. Both heels then take turns wearing Hart out in their corner.

Neidhart makes the hot tag and starts to toss his whole body into both heels as he knocks them down one after another. All four men end up brawling on the floor. The Warlord is accidentally hit by Fuji’s cane in a lousy looking shot, and Neidhart slips in the ring and the Foundation earns themselves a count-out victory. This was not exactly the “showcase” match you’d think they put on for the Harts. Granted “work rate” didn’t matter nearly as much in 1989, but at least find something where the Harts win clean!

The Hart Foundation vs. Dino Bravo and the Honky Tonk Man

Oh good, another Dino Bravo match! Bravo controls Hart early, as Bret can’t overcome the vacuous sucking force coming from Bravo. Honky tags in and quickly falls victim to Hart’s fist . The Foundation use his crotch like a wishbone.

Bravo and Honky double up on Neidhart to gain control of things. Neidhart spends the next few minutes taking punishment, with nothing particularly interesting happening. Honky finally misses a fist drop and Hart tags in. The Hitman rocks Honky with punches before all four men end up in the ring. Hart and Honky are thrown together. Jimmy Hart tosses in his megaphone, but Bret keeps Bravo from using it. Neidhart grabs it and earns a DQ by using it himself. Ugh.

Quite a blah match to be part of a Hart Foundation highlight profile. Not to mention the fact that they LOST on a tape segment designed to put them over. And why were they booked to lose to a make shift team? Was this shown on Prime Time or something and led to a return match? If so, why not show us the match they win?! Here instead is a mish mash team getting the best of the team the WWF is about to put the WWF tag straps on as this video came out. I may need a bourbon soon.

Back in the studio, Neidhart says the Rockers aren’t fast, high flying party animals – they are kittens lost in the jungle looking for some milk to lap up. Ok.

The Hart Foundation vs. The Rockers

Bret spends the first few minutes giving Shawn and Marty most of the offense. He finally catches Shawn with a reverse atomic drop, allowing he and the Anvil to start wearing at the fiery youngster. The bullish Neidhart squeezes Michaels and drains his fighting spirit with a headlock.

The Foundation remain the subtle heels as Michaels remains the victim of their offensive for several minutes. The Anvil misses a splash, but it is but a tease for Shawn to fail to make a tag.  Bret misses a diving elbow  soon after, and that allows Michaels to tag out. Marty’s entrance is greeted with squeals from the girls in the audience. Jannetty earns several near falls before tagging Michaels back in.

Hart catches Michaels with a short range clothesline and the fans give a hearty cheer for the Hitman. The Anvil tags in, but he knocks Hart off the apron and into the barricade by accident. Neidhart tends to Hart as the Rockers look on concerned. Suddenly the Rougeau Brothers charge the ring and attack the Rockers from behind. The Foundation run in and save their opponents before chasing them to the locker room.

This was a solid encounter, with unique babyface vs. babyface dynamics.

Final tally of this “profile”: One win by count-out, and two DQ losses. Impressive!

WWF World champion Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. Perfect

Monsoon and Hillbilly Jim call the bout. Perfect bumps big early on to put over Hogan’s power. Perfect bails out a few times to regroup. Hogan gets sick of that and attacks the Genius and Perfect. He shoves both men in the ring, which leads to the heels stomping on him. The ref watches this on fold and doesn’t call for a DQ. Hogan makes his own save. Perfect is wrapped in the ropes, giving Hogan a chance to beat up the Genius further.

Perfect is freed, so Hogan pounds him over, then heads to the floor and assaults the Genius once again. Perfect catches Hogan with a kick, which sends Hogan wobbling. Hogan gets trapped in a sleeper before coming back with some incredible babyface fire as he escapes. Perfect shoves Hogan into the turnbuckle, but then tries a top rope attack and ends up crotched. Hogan dumps Perfect up and down 3 more times on his man bits. Perfect continues to pin ball for the Hulk until Hogan misses an elbow.

Perfect goes for the Perfectplex, which Hogan kicks out of. The big boot sees Perfect fly over the top rope. Perfect tries to whack him with a chair, but misses. Hogan teases bringing the chair in the ring. Perfect cracks Hogan with a foreign object. Hogan lays on the cement all loopy, yet Perfect won’t let the ref count him out. Perfect attempts a second blow with the object but Hogan snags it and cracks Perfect with it, earning a DQ. Hogan is aghast that he has lost via this manner.

Perfect was basically destroyed, and if they wanted him to maintain any real heat for a rematch, he should have probably just earned the tainted count-out win. This was a Hogan squash, with a finish that didn’t help Hennig at all. And then the WWF wondered why the Ultimate Warrior couldn’t draw with Mr. Perfect challenging him for the World title a little under a year later.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts and the Ultimate Warrior vs. Akeem and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase

Sean Mooney and Lord Al are on the call. The special referee for this match is the freshly turned babyface Big Bossman.  Well…that doesn’t bode well for the heels, having just suffered a split with the Bossman after a business deal went sour when Bossman wouldn’t take cash from Dibiase for ill deeds. Everybody in this match was a star for Bill Watts, with most of them now in dramatically different gimmicks.

Dibiase and Jake the Snake kick things off, with their feud still raging on at this point. Dibiase avoids several early DDT attempts. Warrior and Akeem tag in, and the Warrior blitzes through him with several clotheslines before tagging Roberts in for another DDT attempt. That ends poorly and Roberts finds himself at the mercy of the heels.

After a few minutes of being beat down, the Warrior tags in. Warrior explodes on Akeem, blasts Dibiase with a STIFF looking flying shoulder tackle and quickly splashes and pins the Million Dollar Man. The crowd went absolutely apeshit for Warrior’s fast finish. They kept the Warrior out of the match other than a few brief high spots, which protected him perfectly.

Final thoughts: This tape looked awesome on paper, but really didn’t deliver on it’s potential.

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.