The Main Event is here, and the Mike Tyson involvement was supposed to be a really big deal. There was speculation about whether or not he would be there to build towards a match, how much they were paying him, and how they’d get from the first step to the second. In the end, Buster Douglas knocked Tyson out, and none of it ever happened. Vince wanted to use Tyson anyway, but that was extremely unlikely. Imagine the rating they’d have pulled if they did. In the end, Buster Douglas signed up for $100,000. There was also a story in Variety magazine that Hulk Hogan could retire and work for Disney. I’m just massively confused by that. With all that headed into the show, there’s only one thing left to do, and that’s watch it.
– February 23rd, 1990, from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan
THE MACHO KING IS READY FOR HOGAN AND BUSTER DOUGLAS! Right hand or the left, it doesn’t matter! Jack Tunney says that Buster Douglas will be the referee on the outside. Hulk Hogan is ready for Macho’s title challenge, he was awfully fired up, even for him. Looks like we only have two matches, that Hogan vs. Savage match and Dino Bravo against the Ultimate Warrior.
Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are our hosts for this live event, and the building is PACKED. They’re hyping up Earthquake being in Dino Bravo’s corner a bit more than I expected. Vince mentioned Mike Tyson, and said that Mike Tyson was pulled out by his management. Jesse then points out that Buster Douglas beat Tyson. So, there you go!
The Macho King (w/Queen Sherri) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship with BUSTER DOUGLAS as the SPECIAL ENFORCER
Pre-Match Thoughts: This was the last match these guys would have for a very long time, so it does carry importance. Does the WrestleMania angle happen here, or in the next match? I don’t even know. Hogan and Savage could put on a really good match with the overbooking required to make this work, so I’m interested to see it. We have some promos before the match, of course. Macho King says Mike Tyson’s great grandmother was a HULKAMANIAC, so Tyson couldn’t have called the match down the middle. Savage doesn’t really know much about Buster Douglas, and just says he better call the match down the middle. Savage got the podium entrance, I love it. Hogan starts talking about Buster Douglas, and for some reason claims that they have a lot in common. He also says that Buster better call it down the middle, OR ELSE. Douglas has his own promo, and he says that he won the championship for his mom. He also teased punching somebody if they got out of line.
Match Review: Hogan and Savage lock up, and we’re underway. Hogan pushes Savage out of the ring, and Savage gets back in there only to run into a shoulderblock. Douglas tells Hogan he can’t follow, and tells Savage he needs to get back in the ring too. Savage uses his rope assisted clothesline, and knees Hogan out to the floor. Douglas prevents BOMBS AWAY, and Hogan grabs hold of Sherri shortly after. Savage hits Sherri with an accidental knee to knock her back to the floor, and Hogan clotheslines him too. He follows with a back elbow, and takes Savage to the corner for some right hands. Hogan hits Savage with a running elbow, and drops him with a bodyslam. After some elbow drops, Hogan gives Savage an atomic drop. Sherri then trips Hogan as he runs the ropes, and Savage hits Hogan with a leapfrog body guillotine as Hogan was holding onto Sherri. Savage nails Hogan with a clothesline, and it gets 2. He and Sherri take turns choking Hogan, and Douglas makes her break it. He should kick her out, and he does! That leads to a commercial!
Douglas comes back out, and the match keeps going. Savage has Hogan in a chinlock, but I think it’s time for Hogan to make his comeback. Or not, as Savage hits Hogan with a clothesline for 2. He throws Hogan out of the ring again, and this time he lands BOMBS AWAY! He throws Hogan back into the ring, and hits him with a double axehandle for 2. Savage drops a knee for 2 as well, and he throws Hogan out again. This time, Douglas blocks him from doing anything. So, 2 of 3 times. Savage then slams Hogan back in the ring, and hits him with the FLYING ELBOW! Hogan kicks out at 3, and now I can’t take Savage’s finisher seriously ever again. One time is bad, two or more times is worse. He hits Savage with a big boot, and that knocks Savage out of the ring, where they fight. Hogan gets back in, and the ref goes down when Hogan knocks the referee and Savage down. Then, Buster Douglas gets in the ring, Hogan drops the leg, and that gets the victory for Hogan at 11:14 as Douglas counts. Maybe this was supposed to be a fast count, but it wasn’t, and Ventura saying it was looked really bad.
Savage then threatens Douglas, and they talk to each other a bit. Savage teases boxing with him, and says he’ll break Douglas in half. Oh man, this is good. Savage slaps Douglas, and Douglas should have knocked him out immediately. Instead, Savage waits for him, and Douglas knocks him out about a minute later. Of course, Hogan and Douglas then celebrate together.
My Thoughts: This match was above average, and I thought Savage did a particularly excellent job. Hogan on the other hand, it feels like he was burned out and didn’t have a lot of energy left. Savage’s finisher being kicked out of always bothers me, but it doesn’t really matter in the end. Sherri’s involvement was also pretty good. **3/4, with a really good post-match. Also, Savage taking a job on national TV is notable if nothing else. Ventura’s commentary was great, except for his claim of a fast count. Nobody else in the company could have done that bit with Buster Douglas as well as it turned out.
Dino Bravo (w/Jimmy Hart & Earthquake) vs. The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: I really hope this is short, because this sounds like garbage. Bravo against almost anyone is garbage, but against somebody who’s below average is even worse. Warrior’s first promo was awesome! If I did freeze frame picture captures, there would have been a lot to take here. After that was Bravo’s promo, which was no better than average. Imagine if they had actually put the IC title on this clown. Warrior has a second promo, and he talks complete garbage. I think they were trying to change his gimmick up a bit, trying to teach him how to sell matches. I can’t explain the difference in promos. This one was great too, and it actually made sense.
Match Review: Warrior hits the ring quick, and the match starts with him powerslamming Bravo. He heads up top, and comes down with a double axehandle. Warrior goes up again, and Earthquake grabs him. Bravo attacks Warrior from behind to no effect, and they get back in for a Warrior hip toss. Earthquake grabs Warrior again and Bravo knocks him over the top, then Warrior crawls under the ring. WHAT? He pulls Jimmy Hart under the ring, and Hart seems to have lost his pants. Warrior picks him up, and throws him onto Earthquake. What a strange spot, I don’t even know what to make of that. Earthquake then attacks Warrior from behind, and slams him as Bravo distracts the official. Warrior gets back in and Bravo puts him in a bear hug, but Warrior fights out and puts Bravo in his own bear hug. Bravo breaks it with fingers to the eyes, and plants Warrior with his SIDE SUPLEX. It only gets 2, though. Warrior reaches the ropes and starts shaking them, then headbutts Bravo. He clotheslines Bravo twice, and hits him with the FLYING SHOULDERBLOCK. Off the ropes, BIG SPLASH, and the Warrior wins with a cover at 4:11.
Now Earthquake runs in and clotheslines Warrior, leading to a 2 on 1. Warrior fights them off, and clotheslines Earthquake. He throws Bravo out of the ring, but Earthquake throws Warrior to the canvas and nails him with a few elbow drops. TIME FOR THE BUTT SPLASH. Or not. Instead Earthquake goes to the second rope, and here comes THE HULKSTER. He stands in Earthquake’s way, and knocks him down to the floor. Warrior doesn’t seem so pleased about that. He didn’t want Hogan’s help, and said so. They shove referees to the canvas, and go head to head once again. Not such a big WrestleMania angle.
My Thoughts: This match was actually fine! They mixed in a lot of interesting things to allow the guys to get their wind and work quickly, plus Bravo got treated as an illegitimate challenger. That’s exactly the way it should have been. Before WM you can’t have anyone beating the top challenger, I think. Earthquake got close, but they were trying to establish him as being legitimate enough to take out Hogan. They certainly did exactly that. *3/4 seems like a fair rating to me. Warrior wasn’t perfect, but he was capable of carrying the load. Although to what degree, only time would tell.
Now that the matches are over, it’s time to recap everything Hogan and Warrior have done with each other leading up to this match. Of course, they showed the Royal Rumble encounter. Then, it was the SNME events where Hogan got upset with Warrior for no reason. After those are shown, Vince McMahon interviews Hulk Hogan. He says that Warrior was the strongest force to attack him. Hm. Now it’s time to talk about tonight, as Hogan gets accused of trying to steal the spotlight. He said he didn’t want Warrior to get messed up, and that he wanted to beat Warrior at his best. Wasn’t about anything else. Looking forward to WrestleMania VI at this point, I haven’t watched it in a while.
Now, Mean Gene is with the Ultimate Warrior for his third interview. Nice how they have all his merchandise hanging in the background. Not remotely transparent at all. In hindsight it’s a bit more obvious that they were trying to push him as something more than where he was at. This promo was utterly hilarious, and he suggested that Hulkamaniacs were questioning their hero. This was too much.
Lastly, Buster Douglas talked about how much fun he had, and that closed the show!
That was interesting. So, Vince appeared to be hell bent on pushing Warrior when he was clearly not more over than Hogan based on anything I’ve seen over the last few months when watching the lead towards this. It was time for something different anyway, but I find it interesting. His assumption was probably that people would jump over to Warrior after he pinned Hogan. That wasn’t really what happened. All in all the show was productive, although unspectacular. Buster Douglas being involved with the show was something that was a massive deal then, not so much now. It’s easy to toss his accomplishments aside because he lost his title shortly afterward to Evander Holyfield, but this is the guy who stopped Mike Tyson when everybody thought Tyson couldn’t be beaten. Very big deal that he was on the show and the TV rating shows that. They did a 12.8 and got 21,000 in the building. Nothing special match wise, but it didn’t need to be. Next up for me is WrestleWar ’90, which absolutely has to deliver. At that stage of Turner’s company, everything had to.
Wrestling Time: 15:25. That’s about one-third of the show, which had a lot of promos on it. It was basically a WrestleMania commercial.
Best: Hogan vs. Savage. When it’s on a show, it usually is.
Worst: That last Warrior promo was terrible.
Card Rating: 5.5/10. I don’t want to rate it any higher or lower. You can either skip it or not, I don’t think it’s essential to the WrestleMania build at all.