SummerSlam Fever 1990

This was a special that replaced “Prime Time Wrestling” a week or so prior to SummerSlam 1990.

Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan host. They run down the less than stellar line up and I still mark out like crazy because this is the peak era of my fandom.

Jim Neidhart vs. Demolition Smash

They show clips of a recent Saturday Night’s Main Event where Demolition ran afoul of The Hart Foundation, The Rockers and The Legion of Doom. This was supposed to be Bret Hart in action on the face side, but the Harts switched it up to mess with the Demos head.

Smash and the Anvil establish that they are indeed strong. They trade shoulderblocks and clubbing blows that mostly succeed in the direction of Neidhart. Jim nails a big clothesline and when Smash tries double axehandles, the Advil’s girth hurts Smash’s hand. Anvil catches Smash in a bear hug but ends up briefly in peril from more clubbing blows.

Neidhart hits a dropkick and a Russian leg sweep and the fake crowd noise is pumped in like crazy. Smash is knocked to the floor and Anvil tries a sunset flip on Smash as they climb back in the ring – Smash grabs the ropes and gets the pin out of nowhere. Almost a squash.

Anvil attacks Smash with the title belt after the match and walks off. Ax and Crush apprehend him and a 3 on 1 beatdown ensues. Demolition takes over the interview podium and levy threats towards the Harts. They promise all 3 heels will be involved at Summerslam in some fashion. Match wasn’t great or anything.

“The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich vs. Black Bart

I’m a bit surprised to learn that Mr. Perfect vs. Von Erich was signed for Summerslam before the PPV, my memory was always that Von Erich was a last second signing and basically a surprise opponent.

Kerry leg trips Bart several times and works over his legs with some elbow drops. Bart chokes and slugs away until Von Erich unloads on him and sends him to the floor. A spinning discus punch ends it quickly thereafter. Just a squash. Vince annoys me by pretending Kerry’s some untested schmuck.

Heenan and Perfect do a promo bashing The Texas Tornado’s workrate. He’s not perfect you see.

Pez Whatley vs. The Warlord

Vince notes how well the roids are working for the Warlord. Warlord shakes off an armbar and drives forearms onto Pez. Pez actually no sells some turnbuckle shots (he’s a minority). Pez hits a headbutt and dances while unloading with some punches. Warlord catches Whatley and power slams him for the pin. Just another quick squash.

Rick Rude is training like Rocky for his World title match with the Warrior. Rude notes that he’s the only man to ever beat the Warrior for a title. Heenan is Rude’s training partner, and that sort of doesn’t really fit with Bobby’s gimmick as a wimp.

The Ultimate Warrior does a promo with Mean Gene. Warrior’s facepaint is reduced to a small bit on his cheek in an attempt to humanize him for the masses. Warrior cuts his usual cosmos and ecstasy promo while Gene helps him along by putting over the cage match in more gritty, realistic terms.

Nikolai Volkoff vs. Boris Zuhkoff

Please be short…Please be short…Please be short… We see clips of Hacksaw Duggan handing Volkoff an American flag and giving him his seal of approval. Another clip shows the Boy Scouts awarding Volkoff a medal for his contributions to WORLD PEACE. LOL. Nikolai didn’t know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance and Jesse Ventura calls him on it. I laugh again.

Volkoff is jumped from behind but quickly nails a big boot and whips the commie across the ring and to the floor. Boris is slammed on the concrete. They trade terrible looking punches until Zhukoff’s beard is used to deliver a facebuster. A Russian sickle ends it mercifully soon after. Quick and ugly.

“Macho King” Randy Savage and Sherri joins us for a promo. Macho is the greatest wrestler ever – past, present and future so Dusty is toast. Sherri screeches threats to Sapphire. Sherri starts to scratch at Gene like a cat and Gene questions what drugs she’s on.

We see clips of Dino Bravo and Earthquake injuring Tugboat to remove him from Hogan’s corner at Summerslam. Quake’s facials are great. Tugboat was supposedly removed because his ego was getting too big. Big Bossman saves Tugboat and that helpfully sets up him taking Tugboat’s place at the PPV. A fan is bawling at ringside over TUGBOAT being hurt.

Back live, Brother Love introduces Hulk Hogan as his guest. The crowd goes BONKERS and I get goosebumps. Jimmy Hart joins the segment on behalf of Earthquake. Hart says Quake won’t be coming because he wants to end Hulkamania at the PPV and not a moment sooner. Hogan beats on Hart to relieve some pent up aggression.

The music video that aired in July on Saturday’s Night’s Main Event (see above) that covered Hulkamania and the tragic events of Hogan’s attack was MONEY. I would have to state that I personally find it to be the best video package ever done for a feud. Even 24 years later it still sends chills down my spine and creates a stirring in my tear ducts.

Power and Glory vs. Mark Young and Mike Williams

Roma hits a beautiful dropkick as Vince tries to get “Herc and Jerk” over as a chant for the fans. Hercules press slams one of the jobbers over the top rope and to the floor. The jobber catches his foot on the edge of the ring and SPLATS awkwardly because of it. That was sick (and awesome). Herc and Roma nail the powerplex on the other jobber for the win. Just a squash.

Sapphire joins Mean Gene. They dance a jig and then cover all the gifts that have been mysteriously sent to her. She warns Sherri that the Queen will be covered in polka dots at the PPV. Then she and Gene dance some more and I can’t help but smile,

Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “Iron” Mike Sharpe

Jake and Sharpe go through the basics as Vince and Bobby argue over Bad News Brown’s Harlem sewer rats. Jake is choked but he quickly hits his signature punches, a short clothesline and a DDT for the win. I wonder how long OCD sufferer Sharpe spent on the showers after having a snake tossed on him?

Bad News Brown is in “Harlem” (a green screen) and he’s messing with some possums that are posing as “sewer rats”.

“Rugged” Ronnie Garvin vs. Mr. Perfect

Garvin had been one of the earliest victims of Earthquake’s terror and now months later his push is totally gone. Perfect and Garvin get chippy with one another and they trade chops. Garvin picks apart Perfect with boxing and Hennig takes a breather. They trade chops that get stiffer and stiffer with each blow. Garvin punches Curt to the floor. Garvin hits his “Hands of Stone” punch but makes a major strategic error by attempting a suplex and Perfect reverses it into a Perfect-plex for the pin. Good little match.

Mean Gene interviews Dino Bravo and Jimmy Hart. They make boating puns about Tugboat’s injury.

Shane Douglas and Sonny Blaze vs. The Orient Express

Is being a jobber to the stars in the WWF an upgrade from being a Dynamic Dude? Shane out wrestles both heels and catches them with a dual head scissors takedown. The Express take apart Blaze with martial arts and Sato finishes with a Tiger bomb.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Earthquake

Bravo is kicked out by the ref before the match can even begin. Quake proves to be too corpulent to move around. Quake tosses Duggan into the corner and does Hogan’s poses. Hacksaw unloads with haymakers but Quake manages to chuck him to the floor. Quake sends Duggan into the ring post.

Duggan is sat on in the corner but manages to avoid another butt splash and scoots away. Duggan tries a slam like a dummy and hurts his back. Quake adds to the pain with a bear hug. Quake misses a corner splash and Duggan hits a series of clotheslines and shoulderblocks that rock Quake but do not take him off his feet. That was a well done bit as both men sold the impact of each blow wonderfully.

Dino runs to ringside and attacks Duggan. The heels set him up for the kill but Hulk Hogan charges in with a 2×4 and clears the ring.

Brother Love compares Sgt. Slaughter with Saddam Hussein as the infamous push begins… Mean Gene and Love run down the PPV event. Gene picks all the faces and Love takes the heels. Love rambles on as we fade to black.

Final thoughts:

Well certainly not a must see show, everything was quick and mostly inoffensive. By the end we knew all the PPV matches that mattered and the key selling point of Hulk Hogan’s return, so mission accomplished. Overall, it was a fun 90 minute nostalgic kick. We also got lots of Mean Gene and he proved to be the MVP of the show by being the carnival barker, comedian and producer all rolled into one package.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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