Through the Years: WWF Matches & Angles from Survivor Series 1990 to Royal Rumble 1991


It’s time to finally close out 1990 and head into 1991, which I’m really looking forward to. It has taken too long to get to one of my favorite years in WWF history. A lot of the feuds get ramped up as the year closes, and I believe there’s a distinct change in the feel of the product at some point of 1991 compared to the years previous, in which the WWF product always felt the same. Change is a good thing, and so is the awesome stuff I have in store!


– Taped to air November 24th, 1990, on Superstars, from Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana


Sgt. Slaughter (w/General Adnan) vs. Tito Santana

Pre-Match Thoughts: Despite just having watched a match between these two, this one is clearly important or I wouldn’t be watching it. As I’ve said before, I do have links to all these things, so if anyone wants to watch whatever I’ve watched, just let me know. The America hating is quite strong now.

Match Review: Slaughter works Santana over with some heavy punches, and lands a back elbow on the corner as well. Santana comes back with a backdrop, and bodyslams Slaughter as well. He takes Slaughter down with arm drags, then throws him hard into the corner, causing him to land on his arm. A cover by Santana gets 2, and he goes back to work on that arm. Santana nails Slaughter with the FLYING FOREARM, and Adnan gets on the apron, hitting Santana with the Iraqi flag in a way that the referee couldn’t see it. Slaughter then gives Santana a back suplex thanks to the distraction, and MAKES HIM HUMBLE IN THE CAMEL CLUTCH for the victory at 3:34.

Slaughter and Adnan then tie Santana up in the ropes, beat up the referee, and want a microphone. Slaughter said that Santana must have swam across a river to get here, and didn’t belong in America. DAMN THIS RACISM. NOW HE’S TALKING ABOUT IRISH AND ITALIAN SCUM. OH SHIT. He tells Santana to salute the Iraqi flag, but he won’t do it, and spits on it instead. Slaughter then hits Santana with that flag a lot, and HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN RUNS OUT TO THE RING. HE BREAKS THAT FLAGPOLE WITH HIS 2X4, AND STOMPS ON THE IRAQI FLAG. LOOKS LIKE WE HAVE A FEUD.

My Thoughts: The post-match was a good way to start a feud, as tasteless as it all was. I liked the promo Hacksaw cut about being American, he really got the crowd involved with it. Match was no more than *1/4, but this was a good way to start my watching for the day.


– November 24th, 1990, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York


Earthquake (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Hulk Hogan

Pre-Match Thoughts: I believe this was the last singles match they had before the events of the Royal Rumble and before they moved this feud into tag matches and the like. I’m definitely not complaining, but because it is that last match, I need to watch it.

Match Review: Hogan slides into the ring and Quake stomps away at him, so the match has begun. Quake throws Hogan into the corner and hits him with clubbing shots, then misses an elbow drop. Hogan then does the SHIRT TEAR and beats Quake up, hitting him with a big boot in the process. He clotheslines Quake in the corner, and bites him. Very mature. Hogan then knocks Hart off the apron, and goes for a bodyslam on Quake, only for it to be blocked. Quake puts a Boston crab on Hogan, but Hogan makes the ropes. Hogan then lands more punches, and Quake falls on top of him during a bodyslam attempt, getting a 2 count in the process. Quake drops a big elbow on Hogan for 2, and puts a bear hug on him after that. I don’t think this match needed less action, but okay. Of course, Hogan won’t quit, so he breaks out of the hold with some punches. Quake takes him down with a shoulderblock, then gives Hogan a powerslam. Quake then does some funny poses, and signals for the BUTT SPLASH. He delivers it, and Hogan kicks out at 2. Well, okay. Dino Bravo runs down to ringside, right in the middle of Hogan doing his routine. Three punches for Quake, a big boot, and Bravo and Hart get on the apron. Hogan knocks them down, and Quake leaves the ring, only to pull Hogan out to the floor. They brawl with each other, and Hogan throws Quake back into the ring. The referee gets distracted a bit, so Bravo hits Hogan from behind. The referee counts, and hilariously he counts Hogan out at 8:33. Haha.

Hogan then goes for a solo comeback on three guys, and it works. He finally slams Quake, but the numbers game works out, and Bravo stomps on him for a while. He and Quake give Hogan a double clothesline, and Bravo drops some elbows on him. Hogan breaks out the seizure selling, and out from the back comes TUGBOAT TO CLEAR THE RING.

My Thoughts: This feud is so terrible, especially after SummerSlam. I’m shocked it drew money. The match was just as bad as the feud, it would seem like they could have matches approaching that of Summerslam, but I guess not. It was poor the whole way around, but we’re not done with the feud yet! 1/4* for the hilariousness of Hogan losing, even via count-out.


– Taped to air December 8th, 1990, on Superstars, from War Memorial Arena in Rochester, New York


The Brother Love Show with Dustin Rhodes


Now that Dusty’s gone this whole program makes me so sad. Brother Love gets in Dustin’s face and relentlessly berates him, and here comes the Million Dollar Man! He’s here to make Dustin an offer and buries Virgil in the process, which is a good nod to what’s about to happen within the next few months. He makes Virgil shine his shoes and break out the money, and Dustin is offered that money in order to join up with DiBiase. Dustin knocks it out of his hands, so DiBiase and Virgil go to work on the poor kid until THE TEXAS TORNADO runs out to save him. You know, at first, this doesn’t make sense, because it would make much more sense for Dustin’s dad to save him. Later in the taping, it definitely makes sense. As for the Virgil aspect of this, I should clarify that DiBiase made it sound like Virgil was beneath Dustin, and the racial thing was really strong here. It was ridiculous.




Sorry, I had to throw these in. Now, onto the events of the rest of that taping.


– Taped to air December 15th, 1990, on Superstars, from War Memorial Arena in Rochester, New York


Mr. Perfect (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Texas Tornado for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: In a nod to the earlier events at this taping, Ted DiBiase has paid Howard Finkel off, and he’s now the guest ring announcer. Why would he be there? This is a welcome change from the matches I’ve watched so far in that Perfect should be able to put in a strong performance here. Usually it’s a giveaway that when one of these matches is on the syndicated TV, a title change is coming.

Match Review: Tornado pushes Perfect around for a bit, but Perfect comes back with an arm drag. Weird that Honky Tonk Man is on commentary here. Tornado drops Perfect with a powerslam, then clotheslines him over the top rope. Nice bump by Perfect too. Tornado gives Heenan and Perfect a noggin-knocker, then goes to work on Perfect’s arm when he gets back in there. Perfect breaks it up with a knee to the gut, but Tornado hits him in the same spot. Tornado then misses a charge to the corner, and Perfect dodges a second charge which causes Tornado to go into the post. DiBiase runs over and punches Tornado, and Perfect hits Tornado with a dropkick to send him to the outside for more punishment from DiBiase, who posts him. The referee gets trapped in the corner, and of course, Perfect gets thrown into him to take him out. There was also an exposed turnbuckle, and Tornado rammed Perfect into it. He lands the TORNADO PUNCH, and DiBiase runs in to hit Tornado with the IC title. Well, of course…the referee is basically asleep. DiBiase wakes Perfect up, Perfect picks Tornado up, and there’s the PERFECT-PLEX. Of course, the referee wakes up in time to count the fall at 6:37, and we have a NEW INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION!

Looks like DiBiase got his revenge for “last week.”

My Thoughts: In doing this they moved Tornado on to another house show program, and Perfect onto one with Piper as well. It was seamless and a good transition. The match was about as good a match as you’d get from Kerry at this point. That’s not to say it was good, but I’m cool with the way this all went down. **.



Hell of a way to introduce a character, and this has always been one of my favorites. This is perfect.


– December 28th, 1990, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York


Sgt. Slaughter & General Adnan vs. Dusty Rhodes & Jim Duggan

Pre-Match Thoughts: This isn’t a spectacular matchup or anythimg, but it’s following up on the angle done on Superstars in November, and the angle they did at the last MSG show. On that show, Slaughter pinned Duggan after saying it was Veteran’s Day in Iraq. That’s messed up. At one point, three quarters of this match would have been a big draw. I think you can guess which three.

Match Review: Slaughter and Dusty start this off, and there’s a lot of stalling here. Sarge tries to grab the 2×4, but Hacksaw stops him with a punch. Hacksaw tags in there, and hits Sarge with another. He follows with a clothesline, then throws him over the top, with Sarge taking his signature turnbuckle bump. That’s a massive bump for somebody that big to take, that’s for sure. He comes back in, and Dusty tags in for some elbows. Back out Dusty goes, and Hacksaw drops Sarge with a shoulderblock. Adnan tries to trip Hacksaw, and the distraction leads to Sarge clotheslining Hacksaw over the top. Adnan posts Hacksaw, but Hacksaw makes it back in before the count of 10, after Sarge throws him into the steps. Adnan puts Hacksaw in a chinlock, before ramming him into the buckle a few times. Sarge runs down the apron for a clothesline, and tags in shortly after. He gives Hacksaw a backbreaker for a 2 count, then drops knees on him for another 2 count. Sarge heads up top for a bigger knee drop, and it misses. Dusty makes the hot tag in, and postures around, which leads to some big elbows. Sarge is doing pretty much all the work for four guys here. He gets pinballed back and forth between the two opponents, but Dusty misses a charge to the corner. Sarge drops an elbow on him and signals for the CAMEL CLUTCH, but Hacksaw breaks it up. Adnan appears to have the Iraqi flag, and he spears Hacksaw with it. Hacksaw grabs the 2×4 and chases Adnan around the ring and to the back, leaving Dusty with no help. Sarge puts the CAMEL CLUTCH on Dusty, and that’s it at 9:10.

My Thoughts: As stated, Sarge did the work of everyone, and did a pretty good job in terms of keeping me moderately entertained. Dusty was awfully out of shape here and was obviously preparing to stop wrestling regularly, and Hacksaw was holding back. All in all, this was watched more for nostalgia than anything else. 3/4*.


Roddy Piper vs. Mr. Perfect for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: Now this is the kind of match I want to see. Rare enough to be interesting, before Piper and Hennig stopped being good performers, it’s perfect. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this for a while, and it looks like the best match of the bunch this time. Before this starts, Piper and Perfect throw Perfect’s towel at each other a few times, which gives the impression these guys don’t like each other.

Match Review: To further get over that they don’t like each other, they go head-to-head in the middle of the ring, and Piper spits at Perfect. He knocks him down with some punches, but Perfect comes back with chops. Now they exchange chops, with Piper getting the better of it, and sending Perfect out onto the announce table. He drags Perfect back in by his hair, and pulls him around the ring in a really good spot, so it looks like Perfect will be bumping very hard in this match! Piper throws him over the top, and hits him with a shot from the apron. He grabs a chair and hits Perfect with it, which should be a disqualification, but obviously it’s not. When they get back in the ring, Piper just throws Perfect around like a rag doll, and he’s ripped the straps off his singlet. Some of these bumps look dangerous in how badly Perfect’s being thrown around. No wonder he only had a few months of work left. Piper finally covers him for a 2 count, then they each land a clothesline on each other. After the long counting bit, Perfect pulls off one of the turnbuckle pads, and rams Piper into it. Can we get some blood here? Looks like we won’t. Perfect covers for a 2 count, then gets up and punts Piper in the stomach. Perfect dropkicks Piper to the outside, and Perfect follows, throwing Piper into the rail. He also returns the favor from earlier with a chair shot to Piper, and teases a dive back to the outside which the official doesn’t allow. Perfect puts a sleeper on Piper now, and Piper has to get out of it with a jawbreaker that is sold hilariously. Piper gets up to his feet, and Perfect goes for a suplex only for Piper to fall on top for 2. Perfect uses a small package and gets 2, then both guys miss knee lifts and fall down. This is hilarious. Piper gathers himself and covers for 2, then Perfect clotheslines him. Perfect sets up for the PERFECT-PLEX, and Piper kicks out at 2! That’s hardly even a finisher at this point. Perfect complains and Piper rolls him up for 2 again, then Perfect backdrops Piper over the top after a failed charge. Perfect sends Piper back inside and heads up top, but Piper makes the ropes and shakes them, crotching Perfect and knocking him to the floor. The referee counts, and raises Piper’s hand due to a count-out victory at 12:38!

Perfect tries to attack Piper after the match, but Piper backdrops him, and they struggled over the title belt. Piper swings and misses with it, and they tumble to the outside where Perfect does his amazing post bump. They get back in and dive for the title again, and this time Piper knocks Perfect out with it. That was awesome.

My Thoughts: With everything these two did here, I wonder what a WrestleMania match between them would have looked like. There were so many great spots in this match, an interesting finish, and the post-match was super entertaining. I was actually surprised by this. I think it was one of the best WWF matches in 1990, which is quite a problem overall, but in the context of watching this, that’s how I feel. If not for Piper having surgery and all that, they really should have had this at WrestleMania. His hip was just fucked up, and it’s surprising this match was so good with that being the case. ***3/4, hell of a match and sadly they didn’t get the chance to have one on a bigger stage. I have no idea why. They worked really well together and had great chemistry. Nice way to close out 1990 as well, and we’re on to 1991!


Hate to start that portion of this article off with this, but on January 1st, Bobby Heenan was arrested for possession of marijuana. It’s funny in that he’s one of the last guy’s you’d expect for that. According to the WON, on December 31st, Heenan collapsed while flying on an airplane, and when his luggage was being checked, that’s when they found the drugs. The WWF was also running a thing where if Bobby Heenan didn’t show up for any of his matches with the Big Boss Man, he’d be banned for life. Obviously, Heenan couldn’t miss any dates, and he was sure not to. What a guy!

In addition to that, the Honky Tonk Man left the WWF. End of an era.


– January 7th, 1991, from Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama


Sgt. Slaughter (w/General Adnan) vs. The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: I suppose this is a test run for the Royal Rumble, although it also was taped for VHS. So, perhaps that isn’t the actual point. I do find it interesting that they’d tape a match with Warrior as champion for a VHS released after Slaughter was going to win the title. Bizarre. The WWF was now using an Iraqi flag that had Saddam’s face on it, which is really disgusting.

Match Review: These two lock up, and Slaughter goes straight to the eyes. WHAT A SCUM. He works Warrior over for a bit, but Warrior stops the momentum with some kicks and a right hand that sends Sarge over the top. Warrior brings him back in the hard way, and hip tosses him. That’s followed by a bodyslam and another hip toss, then Sarge takes his big turnbuckle bump to the outside. Warrior knocks Adnan and Sarge’s heads together, and back in Sarge goes. Warrior hits Sarge with some hard chops, but misses a charge to the corner and flies over the top himself. Sarge rams Warrior into the table at ringside twice, and back in they go again. Sarge beats him up for a while, until breaking the pattern with a back elbow in the corner. A very weak back elbow. Warrior comes back with a flapjack that nearly breaks Sarge’s neck, then Slaughter takes another turnbuckle bump, this time landing inside the ring. Warrior clotheslines him into the buckle, and follows that with a catapult for another turnbuckle shot. Warrior and Sarge take each other down with a clothesline, and Sarge gets up first. He tries a bodyslam but Warrior falls on top for 2, and Sarge follows that with a neckbreaker. Sarge gives Warrior a backbreaker for 2, and drops some elbows on his back for another near fall. Sarge now tries to MAKE WARRIOR HUMBLE, but Warrior’s feet were under the ropes and Sarge had to break it. Warrior starts shaking the ropes now, and I think we’re headed for the end. Warrior surges to his feet, hits Sage with clotheslines, and there’s the FLYING SHOULDERBLOCK. BIG SPLASH follows that, and that’s the end at 8:57.

My Thoughts: The crowd popped huge for Sarge losing, like that reaction had been bottled up for some time. This match was nothing special, but it showed that their Rumble match wasn’t a fluke in that they could work a capable match together without the rampant interference that happened there. **.


– January 8th, 1991, from UTC Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee


Bobby Heenan vs. Big Boss Man in a BALL AND CHAIN MATCH

Pre-Match Thoughts: I don’t know what this stipulation actually is until I turn this on. Heenan took the microphone once he entered the ring, and apologized for his previous insults about Boss Man’s mom. Don’t think that’s going to work. Boss Man brings the ball and chain down to the ring, and that gets dragged over to the corner. I am confused now.

Match Review: Heenan continues his rambling for some time, and says that Boss Man’s mom is on the phone in the back. Sure. The entire match since the bell has rung has consisted of Heenan apologizing and trying to get Boss Man to leave. Boss Man teased leaving ringside, but that wasn’t going to happen. Heenan hits him with the microphone, but Boss Man hits him a few times and covers him for 3 at 2:40.

Boss Man goes to put the ball and chain on Heenan, but he drops the ball on him first. Mr. Perfect runs out from the back, and starts choking Boss Man! Good time for a run-in! Boss Man drops him with a big boot, and throws Perfect out to the floor. That made Perfect look bad.

My Thoughts: I don’t know what to think of this. The fans didn’t seem overly excited about the event, and neither was I. DUD.


That’s it for the matches here, but the controversy about Sgt. Slaughter was really hot and the WWF was getting into some shit they shouldn’t have gotten into. It’s funny now, but it was still a horrendous promotional tactic, and it definitely wasn’t funny to anyone at the time. Vince McMahon was hell bent on taking it as far as it could go, though. That’s too bad. Also unmentioned here was that Greg Valentine turned on Jimmy Hart. He got some heat from Vince McMahon for participating in indy bookings even though he wasn’t under contract, but he was nearly done with the WWF anyway. In any event, I’m going to hope over to WCW, and watch their matches between Starrcade and Clash 14. I don’t believe they adopted similar promotional tactics, so it should be far more easy to stomach what they have going on.

Best: Roddy Piper vs. Mr. Perfect. By far, I thought it was awesome.

Worst: The whole Sgt. Slaughter thing. It’s just shit.


Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.

Leave a Reply