After WrestleMania VI, the WWF didn’t approach their schedule quite the same as after previous WrestleMania’s. Instead, they took a few days off and went over to Japan, while throwing in a stop in Hawaii along the way. There were also TV tapings before they went. The boys had to be running on empty at that point, I can’t imagine them having much left to offer on that Japan show. I do have quite a few things to review from that show, as they performed in front of a giant crowd. Going to get right to it!
– April 13th, 1990, from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
Tiger Mask II vs. Bret Hart
Pre-Match Thoughts: It’s really weird to type that title out. As everyone knows, Tiger Mask II is the late great Mitsuharu Misawa. Bret has said before that he didn’t like working in Japan, but I bought a DVD with this match on it and I feel like getting my money’s worth by watching it. This was a major supercard, if you guys don’t know. It was stacked with talent and it was promoted to a major extent. Nearly 54,000 people were there. Bret said that he was trying to have an amazing match with this Tiger Mask as he did with the previous Tiger Mask. We shall see.
Match Review: These guys lock up, and there’s a Hitman chant early on. Clean break as well. Tiger Mask takes Bret down with some arm drags, and Bret comes back with a bodyslam during which Tiger’s wristlock is maintained. Tiger has a cradle attempt blocked, then dropkicks Bret over the top to the outside. He then teases a dive by front flipping onto the apron in excellent fashion, and Bret rushes in only to be given an arm drag and kick for 2. Tiger Mask keeps the armbar on, then back to the wristlock, until Bret punches his way out. Tiger Mask takes him down with a crucifix for 2, and goes back to an arm drag. Tiger Mask uses a springboard cross body from the second rope that gets 2, then Bret takes him down with a headlock. They get up and Bret misses a dropkick, which leads to TM catapulting him into the corner. TM uses a fireman’s carry as well, and keeps the wristlock on. Bret gets up, and uses a Samoan drop in order to block a crucifix attempt. He then bodyslams TM, and elbows him before going back to a chinlock. Seems like these two cannot communicate. They get up, and TM hits Bret with a spinning heel kick. A baseball slide knocks Bret out of the ring, and TM follows Bret to the outside with a plancha. They get back in and TM utilizes a cross-armbreaker, which looks a lot like the MMA armbar. They reach the ropes, and Bret sells his leg after a leapfrog. This looked like a legitimate injury, but it turns out Bret was faking and he clobbered TM with a clothesline. He followed that with a backbreaker which got a 2 count, and hit TM with some European uppercuts. TM grabs him during one and turns it into a backslide for 2, but Bret comes back with a hard back elbow. Bret tosses TM out of the ring, and celebrates his non-victory to a decent round of boos. Back in they go, and Bret drops TM with a Russian leg sweep for 2. He puts a chinlock on TM, then TM flips through a slam and gives Bret one of his own. Bret drops TM with an inverted atomic drop, which was taken incorrectly and looked like it hurt. Bret then suplexes TM, and it gets 2. Bret goes back to the chinlock to communicate, then winds up letting go after quite a while. He puts TM in an abdominal stretch, which gets reversed. Bret reverses that into a hip toss, then gets launched into the corner only to block a charge. Bret misses his elbow drop from the second rope, so TM slams him and heads up himself. He comes down with a cross body and covers Bret for 2, then sends him to the other side at full speed for another 2 count. The bell then rings out of nowhere for the time limit, right as TM gives Bret a cross body. 20 minutes, sure felt that long too.
My Thoughts: There were some obvious issues with the WWF’s format. Their ring announcer never gave any warnings as to the time limit. I don’t think this match worked at all. They didn’t communicate well with each other, and neither guy got their stuff in. That’s an obvious downside to the whole thing. I believe they could have done a lot better and had a classic match, but wrestling doesn’t always work that way. In the time and circumstance, this wasn’t anything special at all. **, I feel bad rating the match like that, but that’s what it was. The other matches I’m reviewing from this show are better.
Genichiro Tenryu vs. THE MACHO KING (w/Queen Sherri)
Pre-Match Thoughts: I’m actually surprised that Sherri is there with it being Japan and all, but the gimmick is a big deal. I’m very excited to see this match as Tenryu was really good. The commentary of my version of the match is in Japanese, which is no surprise as this match never made American TV or video. The crowd is going to love this match.
Match Review: Tenryu finally gets in the ring, and as Hacksaw Duggan would say, the broad needs to get out of there. Savage seems to have all his energy. He and Tenryu push each other, and Savage starts landing elbows and jabs. He ducks out of the ring to avoid an elbow, and harasses some fans in the front row as well. Savage climbs up the turnbuckles and spits at Tenryu, then Sherri gives the fans some lip too. Savage goes for a suplex, but Tenryu reverses. Savage leaps over him, and eats a load of chops from Tenryu to clear him out of the ring. The crowd went nuts for that. Tenryu takes a charge at Sherri and Savage attacks him from behind, choking away for a little bit. Tenryu wrecks Savage with a clothesline that gets 2, then has a backdrop blocked. Tenyru then backdrops Savage over the top rope, and leaps off the apron with a cross body onto him. Sherri attacks Tenryu from behind, which leads to another attack from Savage. Savage tosses Tenryu onto a table, which he tumbles over. Sherri then gets into it with some of the fans, leading Savage to head back out of the ring and bring Tenryu back into it. Savage misses a charge to the corner, and Tenryu hits him with his enzuigiri. Savage climbs back to his feet for a clothesline, it got a 2 count. Savage shoves the referee down, then helps him back up to count a fall of 2. Savage clotheslines Tenryu again for another 2 count, then he throws Tenryu to the ropes for yet another clothesline. Sherri gets in a slap of Tenryu, and Tenryu winds up on the floor for BOMBS AWAY! Savage drops an elbow on Tenryu too, and Sherri hits Tenryu with her shoe. Savage keeps hitting Tenryu until it’s time for them to get back in the ring, and when they do, Savage hits him with a double axehandle for 2. Savage then slams Tenryu, drops a knee on him, and covers again for 2. Savage heads up top for the FLYING ELBOW, and lands it! He covers, but that also gets 2. Savage heads up top once more, and Tenryu hits him on the way down. He goes for the POWERBOMB, but Savage reverses it into a backdrop. He heads up top once more, and flies down with a cross body during which he hurts his knee. He gets up, Tenryu kicks him with the enzuigiri, and POWERBOMBS him for the victory at 10:49.
My Thoughts: What I look to get out of watching wrestling is just to sit down and watch something that’s fun. This was fun, in large part because Savage was so far out of his element and people were still into his act. The same applies to Sherri. That’s why it was fun, I’m glad I watched it. Could have spent my time doing much worse things, that’s for sure. ***1/2. Their styles clicked too, otherwise this could have been a disaster.
Stan Hansen vs. Hulk Hogan
Pre-Match Thoughts: I was reading the WON’s pertaining to this event and came across a few things that seemed important. One was that Hogan losing the WWF Championship may have hurt the ticket sales of this card. Another was that Stan Hansen was not planned to be in the main event of this show. The WWF wanted an American, but Terry Gordy decided not to do it. Stan Hansen was in No Holds Barred for Vince. So, of course he’d do it and do the job. Hansen’s entrance was hilarious, he took out Mel Phillips like he was a jabroni. Hogan’s age was kayfabed, too. He was not 34 at the time of this match.
Match Review: The crowd was so heated for this. The big men lock up, and start shoving each other after a little bit. Hogan takes Hansen down with a drop toe-hold, and puts him in a front face-lock. Hansen drives him back to the corner, and screams at him. Hansen goes to work on the left arm, but Hogan reaches the ropes. Hogan uses another drop toe-hold, and puts Hansen in a half-nelson. THIS IS WRESTLING HULKSTER TONIGHT, BROTHERS. They trade bombs impressively, and Hogan gets tossed out of the ring. Hansen follows, and tries to post Hogan only for Hogan to return the favor. Hogan rams Hansen into a table, then opens him up with some punches! Hogan gives Hansen a back suplex for 2, then opens him up even more. Hogan knocks Hansen out of the ring again, then kicks him to knock him down. Back in he goes, and Hogan puts him an an abdominal stretch. Hansen reverses with a hip toss, and they fall to the outside. Hogan knocks Hansen over a table, and picks him up to bodyslam him through a different table! Hogan runs Hansen into the post, then sends him back in for a count of 2. Hogan clotheslines Hansen in the corner, but misses a charge into the different one and Hansen takes him down with a shoulderblock. Hansen now throws Hogan over a table, and clocks him over the head with a plastic chair. I think Hogan will juice after that. He does! Hansen hits him with knees, and splashes him with a leap from the barricade onto Hogan at ringside. This is really good. They get back in the ring again, and Hansen elbows Hogan for 2. I’m almost getting caught in the match and being unable to type. A Hansen elbow drop gets 2, then he knocks Hogan down with a series of punches for another near fall. They tumble out of the ring and Hansen gets his rope, which he whips Hogan with before throwing him back in for more punches. Hansen drops some knees on Hogan, then goes for the LARIAT only for Hogan to nail him with a running elbow. Hogan misses his LEG DROP, and Hansen covers for 2! Hansen goes for the LARIAT again, but Hogan gives him a cross body for 2. Hogan blocks a cradle, then hits Hansen with a big boot. He hits Hansen with the AXE BOMBER, and wins the match at 12:32!
My Thoughts: This match was so much different from Hogan’s usual. If there had been stakes on the line I bet it could have been even better too. I’ve actually seen more matches from this card than what I’ve reviewed. It’s not even a comparison between this guy and the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior’s match on this show was complete garbage. To the fans in the arena, Hogan was the real star. This match is really all the proof you need that Hogan was a capable wrestler. Not an entertainer, but a wrestler. Hansen would have been a great fit in the WWF for a heel run against Hogan, by the way. Clearly. I also thought it was the best of the matches I watched, and would give it ***3/4 with a recommendation. This show probably would never have taken place without Hulk Hogan, the WWF wasn’t big enough if he hadn’t ever been pushed to begin with. You can say that about pretty much everything they’ve done in the last 30 years.
– Taped to air April 14th, 1990, on Superstars, from the Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York
The Macho King and Sherri attack Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire!
In case you thought that the program between those two, Dusty Rhodes, and Sapphire was over…you thought wrong. Not that you’d even think that, it’s 25 years later. Dusty was dancing before a squash match, and Macho came out to hit him with the LOADED PURSE. Sherri hit Sapphire with it too, then Savage dropped a bunch of elbows on Rhodes. Eventually Sherri started making Sapphire kissing Savage’s boot, and Dusty had to rush in to tackle Sherri and clear the ring. Good segment but couldn’t link it here. What’s crazy is that Dusty Rhodes got injured after this, and the WWF put on events where they didn’t take him off advertising. Instead, they had Roddy Piper wrestle Savage, unadvertised. The wisdom of that is questionable.
– Taped to air April 22nd, 1990, on Wrestling Challenge, from the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York
Bad News Brown Interview
It’s a bit strange for them to run an angle with a guy like Jake Roberts on Wrestling Challenge, but here we are. Bad News was being interviewed by Gene Okerlund, and said something to the degree of not needing a manager because all they do is steal your money. This makes him look so much smarter than the other heels. Gene Okerlund has a present for Bad News that he gives to Bad News on behalf of Jake Roberts, and there was a toy snake in the box that Bad News was scared of. Haha.
– April 24th, 1990, from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas
Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) vs. Shawn Michaels (w/Marty Jannetty)
Pre-Match Thoughts: I’ve seen this match before, but not in quite a long time. I also love this era where they had Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart wrestling random singles matches for Coliseum Video. That’s some shit that really needed to be done.
Match Review: These guys lock up, and DiBiase utilizes an arm drag, trying to establish superiority. After another arm drag, DiBiase hip tosses Michaels. He celebrates his superiority once more, and Michaels comes back with a few dropkicks. He follows with his own hip tosses and arm drags, which clear DiBiase out of the ring! DiBiase gets back in and grabs the arm, but Michaels hip tosses him again and takes him down with a headlock. DiBiase gets up, and gets taken down with yet another hip toss and headlock. This time he gets up and hits Michaels with chops, then Michaels flips through a bodyslam and DiBiase blocks a cradle. Michaels then goes back to the headlock after a dropkick. DiBiase drives Michaels back to the corner for more chops, then blocks a charge when Michaels shoots him across the ring. DiBiase drops some fists, and follows them with a clothesline that turns Michaels inside out, getting a 2 count. Dibiase gives Michaels a backbreaker for 2, and follows with a back elbow. He then drops a knee and covers for 2, then puts Michaels in a chinlock. Michaels gets out and rolls DiBiase up for 2, then it’s back to DiBiase in control. He drops a bunch of knees on the kid, and tosses him out of the ring. Marty and Virgil finally get involved and tease a fight, as DiBiase drops Michaels throat-first on the railing. DiBiase suplexes Michaels back into the ring for 2, and goes back to the chinlock. DiBiase picks Michaels up for a piledriver, but it gets reversed into a backdrop. They then nail each other with a clothesline, leading to a small rest and counting until they get up thing. DiBiase slams Michaels, then heads up to the second turnbuckle for an elbow drop that misses. Michaels follows with an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline, then has a backdrop for DiBiase. Michaels lands another dropkick, and it gets 2 this time. Michaels follows with a swinging neckbreaker, and heads up top for a cross body that gets 2. Crowd bought that as being the finish. Virgil trips Michaels, and now Jannetty chases Virgil around the ring until DiBiase clotheslines Jannetty. He tosses Jannetty over the top, and rams Michaels into the buckle until taking him down with a clothesline. Jannetty finally gets back up to the apron to complain, and DiBiase signals for Virgil to get in there. All four guys start fighting, and Jannetty knocks DiBiase and Virgil down with a double clothesline, leading to a double DQ at 14:42. The Rockers then team up on both guys until heading up top only for DiBiase to crotch Jannetty on the top rope.
My Thoughts: You know, maybe this would have been something better for the Rockers to do than what they wound up doing until SummerSlam. It may not have been better for DiBiase, though. This match was good fun and a nice chance to see Michaels work before he started developing his own singles spots. DiBiase also did well, although not spectacular. *** seems right. Glad I watched this again after all these years.
– Taped to air April 28th, 1990, on Superstars, from the Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York
WWF Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round: Akeem (w/Slick) vs. Tito Santana
Pre-Match Thoughts: I’m going to do my best to review this whole thing. This was the first match aired, and although it doesn’t appear to be spectacular, it is important regardless of whatever the result turns out to be. This tournament was necessary because the Ultimate Warrior had to drop the Intercontinental Championship after taking the WWF Championship from Hogan.
Match Review: Santana evades Akeem for a little bit, which leads to Santana landing some right hands. He knocks Akeem out of the ring, and when Akeem gets in, takes him down with an armbar. Akeem gets out with right hands, then tries a splash in the corner that misses. Santana hits Akeem with two dropkicks, the last of which knocks him down. Akeem then blocks a figure-four attempt, and Santana comes back with a flying forearm to knock Akeem out of the ring. Sadly for Akeem, he gets counted out at 4:05, and eliminated from the tournament.
My Thoughts: This match was no good at all, and I would have only watched it for completion’s sake anyway. DUD.
– April 30th, 1990, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York
Earthquake (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Hulk Hogan
Pre-Match Thoughts: I feel obligated to mention that this match drew jack crap. It may have been because Warrior wasn’t on the card, or it may have been because Hogan’s time was up. Maybe people were burned out. Maybe Earthquake couldn’t draw. There’s really no way to know. This was one of Hogan’s last dates before leaving.
Match Review: Hart and Quake attack Hogan once he gets in the ring, but Hogan finally makes it up to his feet and gets clotheslined. Quake misses an elbow drop, so Hogan starts landing punches until a clothesline in the corner. Hogan chops away at the big guy, and hits him with a running elbow as well. A clothesline knocks Quake down to one knee, and Hogan signals for a bodyslam. He then knocks Hart off the apron, and heads to the outside for Quake to follow him and post him. They get back in and Hogan tries a cross body, which winds up with Quake catching him and powerslamming him. Quake drops some elbows, and drives Hogan into the corner a few times. Quake misses a charge to the corner, and Hogan goes for a slam only to be unable to pull it off. He rakes the eyes anyway and starts with some punches, then signals for the bodyslam again. He tries it, and Quake falls on top for 2. Quake puts Hogan in a bear hug, and Hogan fights out only to run into a big shoulderblock. Quake signals for the BUTT SPLASH, and plants Hogan with one only for Hogan to kick out at 2. This is bad booking to a large degree. Hogan drops Quake with the big boot, DROPS THE LEG, and Hart rushes in to break up the cover at 8:39. So, that’s a DQ. Hogan picks up Hart, throws him onto Quake, and Quake catches him. Quake has Hogan trapped in a corner, but Hogan fights out and bodyslams him.
My Thoughts: This was absolutely terrible booking if they wanted to get people believing Earthquake could be a top heel. They just cut him off before their big angle even aired. I don’t see the point in that, nor do I see the point in Quake having his finish killed already. This seemed really pointless. * is the rating I’d go with, there was no reason to even watch this and I’m not too happy that I wasted my time doing so.
– Taped to air May 5th, 1990, on Superstars, from the Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York
WWF Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round: Mr. Perfect vs. Jimmy Snuka
Pre-Match Thoughts: This should be fun if nothing else. I believe it was anticipated that Perfect would become champion due to the format of the tournament. With a first round match like this, I can see why such a thing was anticipated. Piper may have also been anticipated to win seeing as he was in the tournament. I think it also would have been of benefit to Rick Martel for him to win.
Match Review: Perfect attacks, so we’re underway. That attack missed, so Snuka chops away to send Perfect over the top. He brings Perfect back in and bodyslams him, then Perfect kicks him away and slams Snuka himself. Snuka comes back with chops to knock Perfect out of the ring, but Perfect gets back in for a cradle that gets 2. Close call. Snuka rolls Perfect up for 2, and goes back to his chops. Snuka tries a springboard cross body, but Perfect reverses and grabs the tights leading to a 2 count. Snuka then hits Perfect in the gut, and rolls him up for 2 again. Perfect tries some turnbuckle shots, but Snuka doesn’t sell them and chases him around, so Perfect tries to beg off. Perfect gets chopped more, then trips Snuka up, puts his feet on the ropes, and covers Snuka for the victory at 3:44! Snuka was mad, so he knocked Perfect over the top to send him to the back.
My Thoughts: This match actually told a small story, which surprised me. Perfect and Snuka were both hellbent on winning. Rather than actually try to finish each other, they were looking for the quick roll up finish. Eventually Perfect got in the right spot, cheated, and that was it. I like that. It wasn’t a great match, but it worked. *1/2.
– Taped to air May 13th, 1990, on Wrestling Challenge, from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas
WWF Intercontinental Championship Tournament First Round: Rick Martel vs. Roddy Piper
Pre-Match Thoughts: There was one first round match that I missed as I couldn’t find it, which was Dino Bravo against Brutus Beefcake. Big loss there, right? What happened was that both guys got counted out and Mr. Perfect subsequently attacked Beefcake. No great loss there. This was obviously the best first round matchup, though. A match I’d watch even if it wasn’t part of this tournament.
Match Review: Martel sprayed the ring with ARROGANCE, gotta keep the ring clean. He then attacks Piper from behind, and Piper starts going crazy in response. They trade punches, and Piper pokes Martel’s eye out. Piper sends Martel into the buckle, then gives him an atomic drop to knock him into it again for a 2 count. Martel slams Piper, and elbows him a few times before going to a choke. Martel knocks Piper out of the ring, but Piper comes back in with punches and sends Martel to the outside as well. Piper follows, rams him into the rail, and posts him too. Martel goes for the ARROGANCE, but gets attacked by Piper and that’s stopped. Martel slams Piper and misses an elbow drop, then goes for a cross body that misses. Piper drops him throat-first on the top rope, then Martel rakes the eyes and goes back for the spray. Martel misses one attempt, then they both fight over it. Martel got it, and Piper left the ring to grab a chair. Martel sprays it at the chair, Piper hits Martel with the chair, and that’s going to be a double DQ at 5:25.
My Thoughts: This was fun, although nothing spectacular. Par for the course for the WWF’s TV matches. I think they booked this well enough, and Piper was on his way out. This was the easiest way to get to the final they wanted, but it seems like a joke to have a tournament with no semi-final round at all. Oh well. *3/4.
– Taped to air May 19th, 1990, on Superstars, from Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas
WWF Intercontinental Championship Tournament Final: Mr. Perfect vs. Tito Santana
Pre-Match Thoughts: This match has to get time, I don’t care that it’s on Superstars. It deserves the time and needs it. On top of that, these guys could work. The final is such that any fan slightly smartened up would understand that Mr. Perfect is going to win. Santana hadn’t done anything in the WWF for years.
Match Review: The former champion and the future champion lock up, with Santana using an elbow to break a waistlock. Perfect takes Santana down with a drop toe-hold, but they go into a major hammerlock reversal sequences with multiple reversals, leading to another Santana elbow. Santana follows with a hip toss, arm drag, and a dropkick sends Perfect over the top. Santana follows him out for some chops, then back in they go. Santana flew in with a slingshot tackle for 2, then went to work on the left arm. Perfect pulled some hair while getting out of it, and wound up tripping Santana to knock him out of the ring. Perfect heads to the outside for some of his own chops, and when they get back in, Perfect kicks Santana repeatedly. Santana uses a sunset flip for 2, but Perfect maintains control. He knocks Santana out of the ring with a clothesline, but Santana trips him and rams his knee into the post. Santana gets back in there, and wrenches the knee for a bit, which I think is leading to the FIGURE-FOUR. We’ll see! He signals for it, but here’s Bobby Heenan! Santana puts it on, but clearly he’s distracted, so Perfect cradles him up for 2. Santana comes back with a bodyslam, and now Heenan’s on the apron. Santana lunges at Heenan, and gets cradled up for the victory at 7:30! WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION! Perfect then grabbed the microphone and said he was not only a perfect champion, but he had a PERFECT MANAGER, BOBBY HEENAN!
My Thoughts: This was an interesting TV match in that it was moderately long and the heel won CLEAN. That didn’t happen often in those days, in that company. I mean, it wasn’t 100% clean, but there was fighting after Heenan got on the apron, before the pin happened. Not only that, but they put Perfect over in an effective fashion. The action was good, Perfect didn’t get in a lot of offense, but the right guy went over. **1/2. A funny note is that Perfect was presented a tag team title as the belt he was supposed to get was forgotten at somebody’s house. Also on this show, they had the Bolsheviks break up. I just do not give a fuck, so I’m moving on to something else.
– Taped to air May 26th, 1990, on Superstars, from Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas
The Brother Love Show with Hulk Hogan
Obviously this is necessary to watch, or I wouldn’t. Earthquake was also going to be a guest, it turns out. Instead, Jimmy Hart walked out there. Hogan put hands on Hart while he was ranting, and told him Earthquake better get out there. So, Earthquake did come out there, and hit Hogan from behind with a chair. He gave Hogan a BUTT SPLASH, then a second one. Quake followed with a THIRD, then Hogan got carried to the back on a stretcher. This was a big deal, and they got everyone to send in cards wishing for Hogan to get better. Slightly amusing.
With that, that’s everything for this time. Slightly boring, and that was reflected in their attendances. Things did pick up some when new guys came in. I’m looking forward to their joining as it will freshen things up quite a bit. It’s hard to believe that they had so many guys stay in the company for so long before finally overhauling the roster. The Japan show was cool even if nothing else was really fun. It should also be pointed out that Roddy Piper and Jesse Ventura had their ABC pilot series cancelled, so that’s why Piper wound up coming back. Next up for me, I’m going to write about stuff from Capital Combat to the Great American Bash. There is a Clash of the Champions in there, but I don’t have much between that Clash and the Bash. Won’t be a big deal to write through it!
Best: Stan Hansen vs. Hulk Hogan. I thought so anyway.
Worst: The way they presented Warrior on TV after winning the title. They didn’t do a hell of a lot with him.