From the WWE Network: WWF World Tour 1990

We travel the globe watching some of the best (and worst) WWF action of 1989 and 90.

Sean Mooney introduces things with a million puns about city names and the wrestlers. It’s all at once endearing and groan inducing.

Jimmy Snuka cuts a promo claiming he’s clear of mind (*snort*) and “full of excite”. Ok Borat.   I love Snuka. Damn nostalgia.

Jimmy Snuka vs. Boris Zhukov

Our “world tour” starts in….Nassau. Tony Schiavone and Lord Alfred Hayes call the action.  The Commie jumps Snuka before the bell. Snuka shakes off this early assault. Jimmy Hart is managing Zhukov because the Honky Tonk Man did not make the show. Snuka and Honky had a feud in 1989 that no one remembers. I only recall one angle from it and that was a Mean Gene podium promo that went awry.

Boris goes to the headlocks to calm the wild man down. 3 years earlier and this would be headlining an AWA show. More headlocks. Boris is Hornswoggle’s father right? I need to see a DNA test.

Snuka makes a comeback after all that hot headlock action. Hart is drop kicked and then Snuka quickly hits the “Superfly Splash” for the win. Schiavone busts out a “______ in the history of our sport” to describe the splash. Livin’ the gimmick. HOW DID THIS MAKE A “BEST OF” TAPE?!?!?!?!!? “WWF World Tour of Rest holds” would sell poorly I suppose.

Jimmy Snuka vs. The Honky Tonk Man

Well…you can’t tease us with this classic and not deliver. Hillbilly Jim and Schiavone call this one. Honky tries to make a sneak attack, but Snuka wrecks him. Snuka dances in mockery of Honky’s swiveling hips. I dig that.

Honky does his exaggerated selling. It’s a shame Honky didn’t sign that WCW contract in 1994. Watching Honky use his chickenshit shtick against the menagerie of mid-carders WCW signed during that period would have made Worldwide must see TV each week. Can you imagine Honky  feuding with Alex Wright, Disco Inferno… La Parka?!?!!? I’ll start an indy up just to see that match in 2018.

Anyways….Honky chokes and punches his way into control. Honky nails a beauty of a piledriver, but stalls instead of going for the kill. The “Shake, rattle and roll” neck breaker is blocked and turned into a backdrop instead. Snuka roid rages then chops and headbutts Honky into a daze. Hart tries to run interference but he and Honky collide. Snuka slams Honky, then climbs in the wrong corner and has to go for a diving headbutt instead of the splash for the win. This was fine for what it was.

Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Dino Bravo

This was a “fan request”. Hart cuts a good promo before the match. He was direct and intense. The stadium/arena whatever they are in is very neat looking. The wrestlers come down from bleacher looking things that are steep enough that Hart has to pull up his sunglasses to avoid tripping. Hart is way over here in London.

Schiavone and Lord Al call this bout too. The early action establishes that Hart has the speed and technical advantage, but if Bravo catches him, Dino has the power to wreck Hart’s day. Bravo gets flustered and takes a walk.

Once the match returns to the ring, Hart again uses his technical wrestling to keep Bravo in check. That’s a nice way of saying he’s working the arm so Bravo can suck wind. Hart finally takes some damage from the beefy Bravo. Hart takes a bump off the apron and crashes into the railing. Hart would later state that he was legit hurt from that bump, suffering a broken sternum.

Bravo controls with headlocks, bear hugs and chin locks. I’d like to credit Bravo with working like this to avoid hurting Hart more, but he’d have the same match with El Gigante or Rey Mysterio Jr. What I’m trying to say is he sucks…. Schiavone even talks about Bravo’s poor conditioning in veiled terms on commentary.

Hart takes his patented face first corner bump, which is a nutty thing to do if your chest is aching as much as his must have been. Both men miss attacks off the turnbuckles. Hart knocks Bravo to the floor and lands a plancha (with a sternum injury!)

Hart cradles Bravo back in the ring, but Bravo rolls through thanks to a pull of the tights and snags the victory instead. This was watchable entirely thanks to Hart. I’ll admit I got lost in the moment and forgot this was still “tag team specialist” Bret Hart, and thus Bravo winning surprised me.

Lord Al gives us a tour of Paris and London. Hayes talks in front of an obvious green screen as we are shown some lovely architecture.

Jimmy Hart cuts a promo. He gives Greg Valentine the nickname of “the Pelvis”. I may never sleep again now that I have that image in my head. He talks about “Wrasslemania”. I can envision that made Vince McMahon cringe.

The Rockers vs. The “Fabulous” Rougeau Brothers

“Let’s escargot to the action” – Sean Mooney. *chuckle* Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Al call this battle. “All American Boys” playing the Rougeaus to the ring is the best thing on this tape so far. The Rockers charge the ring and quickly clear the heels out with some duel offense. The Rougeaus quickly take control once the match formally begins.

The heels stooge a bit as Jacques is outperformed by both Shawn and Marty as the Rockers use their fast pace to keep the heels off guard. Monsoon and Lord Al rip on the Paris promoter from their heyday of working in the 60’s and 70’s and Gorilla flat out applauds his death. WOW!

Shawn and Marty trade off several times without tagging, giving Jacques a reason to whine and giving the fans a thrill. Jacques finally grabs a handful of Shawn’s hair and yanks him to the mat. He kind of had that coming. Jacques playing dumb when the ref questions his tactics is awesome.

Shawn bumps all over the place for the Rougeaus, selling big to put over his peril. Jacques mugs for the fans, overjoyed with his heel dickery. His facials alone have made this match great fun. Shawn is abused for several minutes, with the Rougeaus entrapping him in their corner. Shawn fights for the tag several times, but can’t quite get to his corner. This is the standard tag team formula done well.

Marty finally gets the tag, but the heels keep the ref off his game and he misses several pin attempts. Hart then trips up Marty. Jacques hits a piledriver, but the ref is tied up again, so Shawn sneaks in and piledrives Jacqued. A dazed Marty is placed on top of Jaques as Raymond poses with his back turned to the action. He turns around just in time to see his brother has been counted down for the 3-count. Good fun. I’d campaign for Jacques Rougeau to be the permanent intercontinental champion.

WWF World champion The Ultimate Warrior vs. Ted Dibiase

This is from Tokyo. Dibiase had to be thinking about how much this match was going to cost him after the Japanese fans see him have a stinker and his reputation on the islands is ruined.

The Million Dollar Man jumps the Warrior, but the Warrior blows through him as Dibiase bumps around for the oversized monster. Warrior tosses Dibiase around some more, clearly establishing that he is indeed stronger than his challenger.

Dibiase tries to punch and hack away at the Warrior, but Warrior doesn’t sell much, The fans seem to react to Dibiase as the babyface as he tries to chop the Warrior down. He then gets a huge reaction for downing the champ with a clothesline. Dibiase gives the Warrior a bunch of chops, which goes over big in Japan. The Warrior is clearly legit annoyed with being stung though and cuts Dibiase off.

The fans are chanting something every time Dibiase strikes a blow. They are going “oooooooooooooooohh” as Dibiase set up a piledriver and suplex, then screaming when he connects. The psychology here is fascinating, as Dibiase is clearly adjusting to the fanbase who know him from years as a top guy in their country. Meanwhile, the Warrior is just having his usual match – minus the crowd reacting at all for his high spots like the American fans would.

Warrior fires up, hits a series of clotheslines and splashes Dibiase for the win in short order. This one is worth watching just for the crowd.

“King” Jim “Hacksaw” Duggan vs. The Honky Tonk Man

Sean Mooney compares this to the Nazis fighting the Royal Air Force. Schiavone and Lord Alfred are back on commentary for this barnburner. Duggan gets the crowd to chant “USA!”…in London. Schiavone drops another “______ in our history”. Duggan gets the fans all stirred up. Honky stalls and plays to the crowd. Hart gets on the mic and promises Honky won’t sing if the fans don’t simmer down. Duggan is having the time of his life egging the crowd on. This is all silly fun and is getting a big reaction.

Duggan knocks Honky and Hart’s heads together, then messes up Honky’s hair. Hart grabs Duggan’s leg to let Honky get the jump on him. Honky then takes the ref for a walk and lets Hart choke Hacksaw. The crowd is going right along with all these cheap heat spots, which makes this really fun to watch.

Honky locks on the worst executed neck twister in history. They trade some sloppy punches and then Honky goes back to the laziest neck twister in history. His hands are resting on Duggan’s chin and head, with zero grip, effort or bending shown. This is only matched by Honky’s zero effort headlock which follows. Duggan gets bored and hits the 3-point stance clothesline for the win. The crowd loses their mind for Duggan winning this eleven star classic. Eat your heart out Kenny Omega. These two did nothing and I loved every minute of it. Unintentional comedy is still comedy, right?

World champion Hulk Hogan vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

From Paris. Monsoon and Lord Al are on the call. Miss Elizabeth corners the Hulk. Pat Patterson protects Elizabeth while imagining what Savage will do to him if a fan gets out of hand with her. Monsoon rips on Jack Tunney for being cheap, Lord Al being old and Patterson for being fat. Liz has her hair crimped and looks more far less elegant because of it.

Savage and Hogan play cat and mouse, with Savage avoiding contact early on. Terry Garvin makes an appearance, so the announcers make the prerequisite veiled butt sex jokes. Savage stalls for several more minutes, talking to Sherri, chucking a chair in the ring and pacing ringside. Hogan hits a shoulder block and that makes Savage take another walk. Savage gets on the mic and cuts a little promo for some extra heat.

Sherri climbs in the ring. Hogan gets in her face, allowing Savage to drop the bomb on him. Sherri and Savage lay the boots to Hogan as the ref watches. Monsoon rightfully asks for a DQ. Hogan dispatches Savage, then threatens to punch Sherri. He whips her into the ropes and cocks his fist, but Savage saves her. Hogan chases them to the floor, then jams both their faces into the mat. Sherri gets up, so Hogan chucks her face into the mat again. Lord Al and Monsoon are both at a loss to justify the top babyface beating on a woman.

Sherri gets in Hogan’s grill again, and Savage finally is able to get the champ down via sneak attack. Macho uses a sleeper, allowing Sherri to scream, bitch, holler and screech at ringside to give the crowd something to boo as the men rest. Hogan fights out, but Sherri gets his attention. Hulk yanks on her hair, allowing Savage to jump him again. Sherri then hands Savage an object of questionable origin, which Savage uses to crack the Hulk. 1…2…kick out. Hulk up…big boot…Hogan holds Savage and asks Liz to slap him. Sherri grabs Liz, so she kicks the Queen to the cement. The camera misses the slap, but Savage is then downed for the leg drop. Sherri tries to crawl in, but Liz grabs her as the Macho Man is pinned. Hogan knocks Savage and Sherri together one last time and now it’s time to pose.

Sherri took more bumps than either of the men in the match! Uncomfortable at points due to the woman abuse, but a hell of a lot of fun.

Final thoughts: There is a fine blend of amusement blended within some actual good action, so this tape is a keeper.

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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