[PPV Recap] ‘WWF SummerSlam 1990’ – Warrior vs. Rude, Hogan vs. Earthquake

Date: August 27, 1990
Venue: The Spectrum (Philadelphia, PA)
Commentators: Vince McMahon & Roddy Piper

WWF returns to one of its most hallowed grounds, the Spectrum in Philly, to present its third annual SummerSlam event, which features the returning Hulk Hogan taking on the man who put him out of action Earthquake as well as The Ultimate Warrior‘s first PPV defense of the WWF Championship, taking on longtime rival Rick Rude in a steel cage.

Champion Roll Call

  • WWF Champion: The Ultimate Warrior
  • WWF Intercontinental Champion: Mr. Perfect
  • WWF World Tag Team Champions: Demolition (Ax, Smash, & Crush)

The Lineup

  • The Rockers vs. Power & Glory (**1/2)
  • Mr. Perfect [c] vs. Kerry Von Erich for the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/2)
  • Sapphire vs. Queen Sherri (NR)
  • Tito Santana vs. The Warlord (*3/4)
  • 2 out of 3 Falls: Demolition [c] vs. The Hart Foundation for the WWF WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (**)
  • Jake Roberts vs. Bad News Brown [w/ Big Boss Man as the Special Guest Referee] (1/2*)
  • Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Orient Express (*3/4)
  • Dusty Rhodes vs. Randy Savage (1/4*)
  • Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake (**3/4)
  • Steel Cage Match: The Ultimate Warrior [c] vs. Rick Rude for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (**)

*****

-Vince McMahon and Roddy Piper welcome the home audience. The Philly crowd is hyped up but not as much as Piper seems to be, goddamn.

The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. Power & Glory (Paul Roma & Hercules)

Power & Glory formed last month when Roma mistakenly thought The Rockers attacked him after a match and he turned heel, picking up Hercules as his partner. Why he didn’t just review the tape and find out who actually attacked him is beyond me but that’s pro wrestling for you. Maybe he forgot to tape the show or something.

Rockers make their entrance and are attacked from behind. Hercules uses the chain to injure Michaels’ knee, taking him out of the match and making this one ostensibly a handicap match. Cold-blooded. Michaels had a legit knee injury so this was a way to write him out. Despite the odds Jannetty holds his own at the start with hip tosses and a double dropkick. Jannetty manages a small package on Roma but Slick distracts the ref long enough for Hercules to break it up. Michaels tries to climb the apron but Hercules targets the knee once more and down he goes back to the floor. Jannetty tries a sunset flip but Roma tags out to Hercules on the way down so it’s null and void. Hercules goes for a slam, Jannetty awkwardly counters into a roll-up but Roma tags in to void the pinfall attempt. Michaels gets up, Michaels goes down. Jannetty hits a powerslam on Roma and superkicks Hercules to the floor. Jannetty connects with a flying fistdrop but Hercules quickly breaks the count. Jannetty goes for an O’Connor Roll, Hercules hits him with a clothesline to stop that from going down. Hercules turns him inside out with another clothesline and crotches him on the top turnbuckle. Hercules connects with a superplex, Roma immediately follows up with a flying splash and Roma gets the pinfall with just one foot.

Power & Glory defeated The Rockers when Paul Roma pinned Marty Jannetty following a splash (6:00)

  • Good opening match despite Michaels not being around for most of it. Jannetty made a good babyface in peril and his hope spots were believable. Power & Glory get their first big win as a tag team…and their only PPV win ever. According to reviewer extraordinaire Scott Keith they were supposed to get the Tag Team Titles later in the year but that never happens, which is unfortunate because they work well together as a duo. (**1/2)

Power & Glory drags Michaels in and continue attacking the knee until refs and officials come out to break it up. Jannetty tries to cover the knee like a good friend and helps him onto a stretcher to bring him to the back.

-Sean Mooney is backstage with Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect and his manager Bobby Heenan. Perfect goes on about how perfect he is, understandably. Mooney asks if it was wise to accept the challenge of The Texas Tornado despite knowing very little about him, Heenan takes over and is dismissive as all get out. FORESHADOWINGGGG. During Perfect’s entrance we go to ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund who’s standing by with the challenger, Kerry Von Erich. Lotsa tornado references, for he is a Texas Tornado. The ring introductions take long enough to hear Perfect’s entire entrance theme, which I don’t think I’ve ever heard before.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Mr. Perfect [c] [w/ Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan] vs. ‘The Texas Tornado’ Kerry Von Erich

Brutus Beefcake was originally slated to be Perfect’s opponent, continuing their feud from WrestleMania VI where he ended Perfect’s (televised) undefeated streak. Unfortunately Beefcake suffered what was then a career-ending injury when a parasailer slammed into his face knees-first, destroying it in the process, and had to back out, giving the new to WWF Von Erich the shot. Beefcake was also taken out of an Intercontinental Title match at the first SummerSlam back in 1988 but that was for storyline purposes to continue his feud at the time with Ron Bass. Beefcake had terrible luck when he was positioned to become Intercontinental Champion but don’t worry he gets to headline WCW’s version of WrestleMania a few years from now so…I guess that’s a consolation prize? I don’t know where I was going with that.

They lock up and Von Erich launches Perfect into the corner, causing the champ to quickly bail to the floor for a second to regroup with Heenan. Helluva sell of a collar and elbow tie-up, he really is perfect. Perfect hits a couple of hip tosses and Heenan arrogantly dabs away the sweat. Von Erich responds with an offensive flurry of his own, sending Perfect back to the floor with a clothesline. Von Erich works over Perfect’s left arm with a wristlock, twisting (LIKE A TORNADO, HA) for extra torque. Perfect escapes with a clothesline and goes on the offensive, locking on a sleeperhold in the center of the ring. Perfect brings him to the corner for some right hands and a dismissive slap to the face. Von Erich sends Perfect into the ring post with a slingshot, then applies a brief Clawhold before decking Perfect with the discus punch, almost like he forgot which move was his finisher, for the 1…2…3! New champ!

Kerry Von Erich defeated Mr. Perfect [c] via pinfall with the Discus Punch to win the WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (5:14)

  • Beefcake was slated to win the Intercontinental Championship on this show and I guess they decided to keep with the babyface winning the belt even after Von Erich stepped in as his replacement. Quicker match than I would have liked given the title change but it was good for what it was, Perfect doing his thing by making every piece of offense he took look destructive. Von Erich not only gets his first PPV win in the WWF but also wins the second biggest prize in the company, not too shabby of a debut. His title reign doesn’t last long however, and neither does his relevancy in the WWF, but at least it lasts longer than his reign as NWA World Champion so that’s something. (**1/2)

-Cut to the interview area where ‘Mean’ Gene hypes up Von Erich’s Intercontinental Champion. He says he was planning to interview Sapphire but she is nowhere to be found so Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan crash the segment to complain about the loss. Perfect vows to reclaim what belongs to him and the Family.

‘Sweet’ Sapphire vs. ‘Sensational’ Queen Sherri

Sherri is introduced first, and not only does she have facepaint she is wearing a crazy mask over it. She’s ready to rumble. Sapphire’s music plays but once again she’s nowhere to be found. They kick up her theme and introduction again but once more Sapphire is nowhere to be found, annoying Sherri who wants revenge for being pinned at WrestleMania VI earlier in the year. Official Rene Goulet comes out and informs Howard Finkel that if she does not make her way out in thirty seconds she forfeits the match. Sherri takes over the mic and counts the final ten seconds down. Sherri wins!

Queen Sherri defeated Sapphire by countout (0:10)

  • Match of the century! (NR)

-‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is in the locker room with Sapphire’s charge Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes has no idea where Sapphire is as she disappeared ten minutes after they arrived to the Spectrum. Rhodes asks Jim Duggan if they’ve seen her yet, he says they’re still looking. Rhodes is concerned about the mysterious gifts she’s been receiving but that’s her business. Rhodes leaves to continue the search, Okerlund mentions that she said she’d be getting the biggest gift at all tonight.

Tito Santana vs. The Warlord [w/ ‘The Doctor of Style’ Slick]

Santana faced Warlord’s former Powers of Pain partner The Barbarian at WrestleMania VI. Warlord is sporting his look, with his phantom of the opera steel mask. He’s also got Slick as his new manager.

Warlord is all power but Santana has the speed and he forces Warlord to bail to the floor following a couple of dropkicks. Santana goes for a lateral press, Warlord shoves him off and through the ropes to the floor to show off his power. Slick distracts the ref for no reason as Warlord rams Santana back-first into the ring post. That’s perfectly legal, no need for manager distractions. Slick teases hitting Santana with his shoe while Piper makes some awkwardly racist jive sounds. This is the same guy who painted himself half-black a few months prior at WrestleMania VI so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Santana makes a babyface comeback, hitting him with the Flying Forearm but Warlord gets his foot on the rope. Barbarian escaped a pin the same way at WrestleMania VI but Heenan had to help him so I guess Warlord is tougher. Santana tries a monkey flip out of the corner but Warlord blocks it and finishes him off with a running powerslam. (5:27)

The Warlord defeated Tito Santana via pinfall following a running powerslam (5:27)

  • Dominating win for Warlord as Santana continues to do the honors for whoever WWF is trying to get over. Match was fine I guess. (*3/4)

-A promo airs for their next PPV, Survivor Series. After an awkward pause Sean Mooney brings in Demolition for an interview. Any two members can defend the WWF Tag Team Championship, Freebird Rule and whatnot, and won’t reveal which two will take on The Hart Foundation tonight. They also throw shade at the recently debuted Legion of Doom before they make their entrance. Mean Gene gets some comments from the challengers, Bret Hart telling his partner Jim Neidhart to calm his ass down. Neither man care about which two members of Demolition they face.

2 out of 3 Falls
WWF Tag Team Championship
Demolition (Smash & Crush) [c] vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart & Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart)

Any two members of Demolition can defend the Tag Team Championship but the third can’t be at ringside. Looks like Ax, the original member predating even Smash, drew the short straw. Ax and Smash won the Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania VI but quickly turned heel to set this rivalry up as well as their feud with the Legion of Doom, the tag team they were long accused of being a rip-off of. While that may be true I always respected Demolition’s stronger commitment to wrestling in bondage attire so I have a soft spot for them. Even with Crush, who was never a great wrestler but in 1990 was even greener. His mullet game was pretty strong though so that’s a positive.

Hart and Smash start the first fall off, trying to drag one another into their respective corners. Crush and Neidhart come in, Neidhart clears Crush and The Foundation hit Smash with a double back elbow. Hart is already sweating profusely, which I can’t blame him for since he commented about how hot it was in the Spectrum in his autobiography. Why did I mention this? Not sure, let’s keep going. Hart and Smash trade wristlocks, Hart wins the war and transitions into an overhead hammerlock. Smash escapes with a scoop slam and tags in Crush, who misses a kneedrop. Crush reverses an Irish whip and counters Hart’s crossbody attempt with a slam of his own. Crush charges at Hart in the corner, Hart gets his boots up. Smash and Neidhart tag in, the crowd all about that Anvil. Crush catches Neidhart in the back of the head while the ref is concerned with Hart for some reason, giving Demolition a shot at offense. Crush tags in but eats a lariat from Neidhart as the crowd pops huge. Neidhart was far more popular than I remember him being but I started watching post-Hart Foundation so that’s on me. Hart tags in and takes it to both Smash and Crush while Neidhart is nowhere to be found oh wait there he is, just chilling on the floor. Hart throws Smash into Crush, then hits a Side Russian Legsweep for a close two. Crush wins the outside brawl with Neidhart then breaks a pinfall attempt with a legdrop. Crush tags in and they hit the Demolition Decapitation for the 1…2…3! DEMOLITION WINS THE FIRST FALL, LEAD 1-0

They ring the bell but I’m going to keep the stopwatch going. Neidhart goes to check on Hart as the bell rings to signal the second fall, then gets forced back to the corner giving Demolition a chance to double-team. They continue working over Hart, cutting off the ring so the Anvil can’t intervene. Hart ducks a clothesline and takes Smash down with a clothesline of his own. Smash holds Hart’s leg to try and prevent the tag, but it can’t be prevented and in comes the Anvil to wreck some fools. Neidhart gets a couple of near-falls but can’t put Smash away as the crowd can’t believe it. Finally Smash goes down to the Hart Attack for the 1…2…Crush jumps on the ref and gets his team disqualified! That’s…that’s a weird way to end the second fall. HART FOUNDATION WIN THE SECOND FALL, TIED 1-1

Hart gets sent to the floor and Neidhart goes to check on him as Demolition Ax secretly makes his way to ringside, hiding under the ring itself. Hart rolls Smash up with a sunset flip but only gets two. Neidhart hits Smash with a shoulderblock then slams Hart on top on him for a two-count. Smash’s paint is very much gone, having been sweated away. Ax enters the ring in substitute for Smash and THE REF ALLOWS IT FOR SOME REASON DESPITE THE FACT HE LOOKS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WHAT THE HELL. Ax pummels Hart and covers for a two. Piper tries to make a ‘you can’t tell them apart!’ story stick but come on, we’re not that stupid. Crush tags in and goes for the pin, Neidhart breaks it up and the ref gets distracted with that brawl as Ax and Smash double team Hart on the floor. Ax goes back under the ring and Smash re-enters the match. The Legion of Doom show up to the loudest pop of the night so far to interfere and cause confusion, allowing Hart to roll up Crush for the 1…2…3! HART FOUNDATION WIN THE THIRD AND FINAL FALL, WIN 2-1 

The Hart Foundation defeated Demolition [c] 2 Falls to 1 to win the WWF WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (15:46 total)

  • I enjoyed the match for the most part but when Ax and Smash were trying to pull twin magic nonsense despite looking completely different in every way and GOT AWAY WITH IT they lost me. Super dumb and honestly a little bit insulting. The last two falls also ended due to a severe amount of schmozz, with the Foundation only winning due to DQ and interference. Not exactly a strong way to win the Tag Team Championship. You know what, maybe I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I thought I did. I take it back. (**)

-A promo airs hyping next year’s WrestleMania VII PPV which at the current time is slated to be held at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. That’s not going to happen but I appreciate the moxie.

-‘Mean’ Gene is standing by in the locker room with The Legion of DoomAnimal says Demolition can’t ignore them anymore and they want them in the worst way. Hawk says they’re the definition of running roughshod. New champs The Hart Foundation jump in as well and vow to be fighting champions.

-Cut to Sean Mooney outside the heel locker room. Demolition are freaking out behind those doors, their anger more towards the Legion of Doom than the team who beat them for the belts. Mooney tries to get in but they shut the door immediately.

-Cut back to ‘Mean’ Gene who’s with Sensational Queen Sherri, who’s gloating about the fact she beat Sapphire earlier. Sherri hints that Sapphire isn’t as dumb as she thought after all, according to some rumors she won’t elaborate on.

-After a five minute intermission ‘Mean’ Gene runs down the remaining card. He segues into footage from earlier in the day where we saw Bad News Brown‘s 200 pound sewer rat that he’s brought to combat Jake Roberts‘ pet snake Damien. We get a shot of Damien in the shower then we go back live where Gene is with Big Boss Man, the guest referee for the Roberts/Brown match. Boss Man isn’t afraid of snakes or rats because he’s been dealing with stuff like that his whole life.

-Cut to Sean Mooney who’s with Jim Duggan and newly U.S.-loving Nikolai Volkoff. They symbolize the new unity between the U.S. and Russia in real life. Mooney says the edge may go to their opponents The Orient Express since they’ve been a team longer. Volkoff says they’re the American Express and not to leave home without it. I know they won’t win but I wish The Orient Express would kick these idiots in the teeth.

-Cut back to ‘Mean’ Gene who’s with Earthquake, Dino Bravo, and Jimmy Hart. Man there’s a lot of talking going on right now. Earthquake throws shade at Hulk Hogan and Tugboat, both of whom he has injured in the past few months. Earthquake vows to have Hogan and Big Boss Man (I guess he’ll be in Hogan’s corner now that Tugboat has been taken out) taken out of the arena on a stretcher.

-AND OH MY GOD THESE PROMOS ARE CONTINUING as Mooney is in the locker room with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. This is really killing my buzz. Damien tries to strangle Roberts as he throws shade at Bad News Brown and it’s pretty funny. Mercifully this ends the parade of promos. Pacing, guys. Pacing.

Special Guest Referee: Big Boss Man
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts [w/ Damien] vs. Bad News Brown [w/ his sewer rat]

The bell rings before Boss Man even makes it to the ring, which shouldn’t be a thing since he didn’t call for the bell but whatever. Brown connects with a hip toss, Roberts favors his lower back at the outset. Brown hits a legdrop and tries to cover Roberts with one foot but only gets two. Brown argues with Boss Man, Roberts tries to take advantage with a DDT but Brown slides out and heads to the floor. Brown grabs a chair at ringside and rams it into Roberts’ ribs. Boss Man doesn’t call for a DQ though. Brown continues on the offensive, clubbing Roberts with rights and a clothesline. Brown goes for a flying fist drop, Roberts rolls out of the way and he hits nothing but canvas. Roberts counters a backdrop attempt with a kneelift and goes into a series of jabs followed by a short-arm clothesline. The crowd knows what that’s a setup for and begin chanting for the DDT. Roberts signals for it, crowd goes ape. Unfortunately for everyone Brown counters the second DDT attempt with a back bodydrop. Action goes back to the floor, Brown rams a chair into Roberts’ ribs a second time and this time Boss Man calls for the DQ. Roberts wins.

Jake Roberts defeated Bad News Brown via DQ (4:45)

  • This is Brown’s final PPV appearance for the WWF and what a way to go out, as this match suuuucked. And it wasn’t Jake Roberts’ fault, either. I always liked the Bad News Brown character, the precursor to the edgy face that Steve Austin would ride to the top of the wrestling world, but his matches were a different story. (1/2*)

Boss Man checks on Roberts, as Brown goes after Damien. Boss Man pulls the snake bag out of the way of a legdrop attempt and gets in the face of Brown. This is a feud I don’t want to see. Brown attacks Boss Man from behind, Piper chides the latter for turning his back and leaving him open to attack. Roberts brings Damien out and puts it on Brown, scaring him out of the ring and sending him running to the back. I don’t think he actually brought his sewer rat out to the ring, the wuss.

-‘Mean’ Gene is standing by with Demolition. They blame the Legion of Doom for losing the WWF Tag Team Titles. They vow to get their titles back but before that they’re going to throw down with Hawk and Animal.

In-Ring Segment: The Brother Love Show

People have very intense opinions on Bruce Pritchard but they can’t take away from how awesome Brother Love was. Brother Love rules. He opens the segment by calling everybody weak and in need of someone to tell them what to do, leading into the introduction of his guest the returning Sgt. Slaughter. He’s a lot bigger than he was when he left the WWF in the early-80s. Love and Slaughter hug, cementing the latter’s new heel gimmick. Slaughter calls America weak and soft, but has found one man to give his ‘Sgt. Slaughter Great American Award’ to and it’s Brother Love! Love and Slaughter salute one another, and Love calls it the most beautiful medal he’s ever seen. Slaughter declares war on ‘the pinko Commie scum’ Nikolai Volkoff, calling America too chicken to declare war but he’s not. Slaughter chides America for allowing Volkoff into their hearts but that’s not going to help him one bit. Slaughter says if war broke out now between America and Iraq, Saddam Hussein would kick our butts. What a gross way to capitalize on real-life war tensions for the WWF, yikes. But you know what’s even worse than that? Threatening fans with having to watch a Volkoff/Slaughter match in 1990. Tantamount to torture.

-Mooney is standing by in the heel locker room with The Orient Express and Mr. Fuji. Fuji vows to give Jim Duggan two cross-eyes after they finish with him. Mooney takes it to ‘Mean’ Gene with breaking news. Sapphire walks by and goes right to the locker room, locking the door behind her. So she has been spotted at least but still no word from her on where she’s been.

‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Orient Express (Sato & Tanaka) [w/ Mr. Fuji]

Volkoff, a longtime foreign heel, turned face following the real-life end of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, with super patriot Duggan embracing his defection. Now instead of getting beaten up by patriotic faces, he gets to be the patriotic face beaten up the evil foreign menace. Weird. The face turn made sense given the reality going on in the world at the time but it’s still so awkward to see and accept after being the bad guy for so long. I don’t like change. Piper doesn’t trust it either, respect. Duggan and Volkoff even sing ‘God Bless America’. Volkoff has a good singing voice, Duggan just yell talks. Duggan is super over though so no one seems to be mad about it. I am though, my ears are bleeding. Duggan makes sure to throw some love at our troops in the Middle East too.

Sato and Tanaka have enough of their crap and attack from behind but are quickly overpowered and they get cleared from the ring following a double atomic drop. Volkoff and Tanaka lock up, Volkoff easily throws him to the mat and brushes off a shoulderblock attempt. Tanaka tries a crossbody, Volkoff catches him but Sato hits him from behind with a flying chop. Duggan tries to intervene and the ref gets distracted with him, allowing Fuji to hit him with his dastardly cane. That’s not a good descriptor but I’m keeping it. Tanaka misses a running splash, Duggan gets the hot tag and drops both members of the Express with lefts. Duggan ducks a double clothesline and hits one of his own. Jabs for everyone and a double noggin knocker. Philly loves them some Hacksaw. Duggan and Volkoff whip the Express into each other, Duggan finishes Tanaka off with the Three-Point Stance for the victory.

Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff defeated The Orient Express when Duggan pinned Tanaka following the Three-Point Stance (3:21)

  • I expected a whole lot worse so consider me pleasantly surprised. Just the right amount of time to get in and out without getting truly bad. Sad to see The Orient Express get punked out that badly though, they deserved way better. But it’s the WWF and they don’t look American so they were boned from the start. Sato would leave the Express at the end of the year, replaced with a masked man named Kato (Tanaka’s old partner Paul Diamond) and their relevancy went with him. (*3/4)

-‘Mean’ Gene is with Dusty Rhodes, who’s trying to get Sapphire to open the locker room door she’s hiding behind. Rhodes has no idea what’s wrong with her and needs her in his corner. He reluctantly heads to the ring for his match by himself. Mooney is standing by with Randy Savage. Mooney says Rhodes is by himself, Savage says the rumors no one will outright say are true. Despite being a Macho King he doesn’t have his crown or scepter. DISAPPOINTED. At least he’s carried out to the ring on a throne still.

‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes vs. ‘The Macho King’ Randy Savage [w/ ‘Sensational’ Queen Sherri]

These two met in a mixed tag team match at WrestleMania VI, with Rhodes and Sapphire getting the win. ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase are Virgil interrupt on the interview stage. DiBiase says that everybody has a price and his money can buy anyone or anything, including Rhodes’ humiliation. DiBiase tells everyone to see his latest purchase: Sapphire! OH SIR DON’T SAY YOU PURCHASED HER, PHRASING MAN PHRASING. Sapphire comes out in a mink coat, with a duffel bag full of money. Turns out he’s the one that’s been secretly sending her gifts, shock and awe who knew the rich guy was the one doing that.

Rhodes is understandably upset and heads towards the interview stage but Savage attacks him from behind and the match begins instead. Sherri gets her licks in as well. Rhodes mounts a comeback with jabs and bionic elbows, sending Savage to the floor with a dropkick. Savage puts Sherri in between them, crowd wants him to hit her. Yikes. She hands Savage something and Rhodes chases her into the ring. Savage hits Rhodes with the foreign object behind the ref’s back and covers for the 1…2…3. That’s it?

Randy Savage defeated Dusty Rhodes via pinfall with a foreign object (2:15)

  • Well that went shorter than expected, damn. Not that Dusty was putting on a clinic in 1990 but these two have been feuding for most of the year, you’d figure their big blowoff would last longer than barely two minutes. Instead it’s just used as a way to transition Rhodes into a feud with DiBiase which ends up being his final program as an active wrestler in the WWF. (1/4*)

-Mooney tries to get some words from DiBiase and Sapphire as they head to their limo. DiBiase says there’s nothing his money can’t buy. Dusty Rhodes tries to stop the limo talk to Sapphire but it drives off before he can get an explanation.

-After Earthquake makes his entrance we go backstage where ‘Mean’ Gene is standing by with Hulk Hogan and Big Boss Man. Hogan remembers when Earthquake put him out of action and the outpouring of support from the Hulkamaniacs during his recovery. Hogan dedicates this match to Tugboat, who led the letter-writing campaign for Hogan, who’s sitting out this one with an injury. Boss Man is here instead, and vows to keep things just.

Hulk Hogan [w/ Big Boss Man] vs. Earthquake [w/ Dino Bravo & ‘The Mouth from the South’ Jimmy Hart]

Hogan and Earthquake lock up, Earthquake sends Hogan to the mat. Hogan charges back up, gets sent back down to his surprise. Philly chants for the Hulkster as he slaps on a side headlock. Earthquake whips him into the ropes and connects with a shoulderblock, forcing Hogan to bail to the floor to seek counsel from Boss Man. Hogan tries to slam Earthquake, Earthquake blocks it and hits a series of double axhandles to the back. Earthquake charges Hogan in the corner, Hogan gets his boot up. Hogan connects with a series of shots but can’t bring the big man down. Hart and Bravo climb the apron, Hogan clears them away and knocks Earthquake on his ass. Earthquake bails to the floor, Hogan and Boss Man roll both him and Bravo into the ring. Hogan and Boss Man hit Bravo and Earthquake with double big boots. The ref doesn’t call for the bell though for some reason. Bravo and Earthquake double-team Hogan behind the ref’s back but it’s not like he’d call for a DQ for that either, right? Earthquake hits Hogan with an elbowdrop but only gets two, and Earthquake argues the result. Earthquake HEADS TO THE TOP TURNBUCKLE and connects with a flying forearm to the back. If he had hit a missile dropkick I would have lost my mind. Earthquake slaps on a Boston Crab to weaken the back but Hogan reaches the ropes to force a break. Hogan bails to the floor and Earthquake distracts the ref, allowing Bravo to hit a scoop slam. Bravo rolls Hogan back in, Earthquake connects with a scoop slam but misses a second elbowdrop. Hogan tries for a bodyslam again but Earthquake collapses on top of him into a lateral press for a close two-count. To the standing bearhug we go, meh.

Hogan rips the ref’s shirt for some reason during his escape and tries a crossbody but Earthquake catches him and hits a powerslam. Death to the Hulkster’s ribs. Earthquake arrogantly covers him with one foot for a two-count. Earthquake signals for the Splash and connects. He sits on him for more than three seconds but the ref doesn’t count for whatever reason. Earthquake hits a second sitout splash and this time the ref counts 1…2…HOGAN KICKS OUT AND STARTS HULKING UP. Hogan with the rights and the Big Boot but Earthquake doesn’t go down. Hogan tries a slam for the third time and connects this time around, then follows up with the Big Legdrop but Bravo prevents the count by distracting the ref. Hart attacks Hogan, Hogan throws him into Earthquake while Boss Man clears Bravo from the ring. Chaos and anarchy on the floor as Hogan and Earthquake continue brawling. Hart tries to hit Hogan with a megaphone but hits Earthquake instead. Hogan slams Earthquake on a table (that doesn’t break) and rolls back in to win the match via countout.

Hulk Hogan defeated Earthquake via countout (13:10)

  • Earthquake losing via countout is a little odd but makes sense considering losing clean that quickly would have killed the momentum his character had at the time. Match was pretty good actually, a lot better than expected although a little too reliant on outside interference that apparently wasn’t enough for a disqualification. I know wrestling is fake as are the rules but at least try to follow them and not chuck them out when it’s inconvenient. Either way this was fun overall, something you won’t see me say a lot when Dino Bravo is involved. (**3/4)

Earthquake traps Hogan with a standing choke but Boss Man eventually breaks it after a series of chair shots to the back. Boss Man pulls out the nightstick and the heels bail from the ring to avoid getting clobbered. You know, I kinda feel bad for Tugboat. He went out of his way to lead a whole campaign during Hogan’s recovery and ostensibly became Hogan’s best friend but he didn’t get the glory of being in his corner for the big return. All that work and TV time for nothing. ANYWAY Hogan does his whole posedown thing for the crowd to celebrate, Piper chides Hogan for not finishing the job on commentary. What he said.

-Mooney is standing by with Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan. Rude’s rocking the short hair I remember him having when I became a fan. His perm always looked award to me. Rude says he’s got the advantage in the steel cage and vows to become the next WWF Champion. Heenan says that Rude beat him before (WrestleMania V) and will beat him again.

-Cut to ‘Mean’ Gene who’s in the locker room with Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes offered up his innocence to Sapphire and she paid him back in scorn (he uses that line better in 1994 for WCW, trust me). Rhodes says he’s getting bad and he’s coming for Ted DiBiase.

-‘Lord’ Alfred Hayes is at ringside, where they are putting up the big blue cage for the main event. Hayes says the crew are trying to beat their set-up record of 8 minutes. He goes through the makeup of the cage, it weighs 3000 pounds altogether. That’s a lot of steel.

-‘Mean’ Gene is standing by with Hulk Hogan, who got himself a fresh bandana. Hogan talks about all sorts of new buildings being built that are earthquake-proof and vows to beat Earthquake all around the world until he’s once again the #1 contender to the WWF Championship. Hogan gloats about a new surf board he’s going to use to ride a tidal wave. Not a lot of it makes sense.

-McMahon and Piper continue killing time as the steel cage gets set up. We then cut to Mooney who’s with Earthquake, Dino Bravo, and Jimmy Hart. Earthquake says the war has just begun and vows revenge on Hogan and The Big Boss Man.

-‘Mean’ Gene is standing by with the WWF Champion himself, The Ultimate Warrior. Warrior tells a joke (!!!) about Rude and Heenan having something in common with the liberty bell (one is cracked, the other is a ding dong). Warrior forces Mean Gene to laugh then goes into his typical Warrior rant. I’m not recapping that.

Steel Cage Match
WWF Championship
The Ultimate Warrior [c] vs. ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude [w/ Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan]

Rude’s original (and excellent) WWF theme has been dubbed over by the WWE Network and it’s heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking. Warrior won the WWF Championship in spectacular fashion at WrestleMania VI and Rude is his first big feud coming out of that. These two have history as they feuded over the Intercontinental Championship the year before, with Rude actually getting a pinfall victory (with Heenan’s help) over the champ at WrestleMania V. As it stands he’s the only one to have ever pinned Warrior, shenanigans or not, so it makes sense that he wants to do it again for a much bigger prize. This is held under typical cage match rules: you can win either by pinfall/submission or escaping the cage through the door or over the top. I’m not the biggest fan of the latter rule but I understand why it’s there: to have a cop-out if they don’t want someone to get pin or to submit.

Warrior climbs the cage and trades rights with Rude as the bell rings. Does that mean he can just drop down and win the match, then? He should have done that. Warrior drops Rude down to the mat and hits a flying fist from the top turnbuckle. Warrior tosses Rude into the cage, Rude starts climbing but Warrior quickly stops that. Warrior throws Rude into the cage some more but misses a crossbody and eats the steel himself. Rude climbs the cage, one leg over. Rude kicks Warrior away but instead of continuing the climb he attacks the champ instead. MISTAAAAKE. The now busted open Rude throws Warrior into the cage, which almost knocks the damn wall off. Warrior tries to fight back, Rude tries to rub his face in the cage but realizes it’s steel bars but not steel mesh so it’s a pointless thing to do. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening but Warrior blocks it and connects with a clothesline. He goes for the Warrior Splash but Rude counters with a pair of knees and this time connects with the Rude Awakening. Instead of going for the pin he climbs to the top of the cage and hits a flying fist. Dayum. Heenan wants Rude to leave the cage but Rude instead goes for another flying fist off the cage but this time Warrior catches him on the way down with a fist to the gut. Warrior crawls for the door, his facepaint already gone, but Heenan grabs it and slams it into the champ’s skull. Rude covers for the 1…2…Warrior surprisingly kicks out. Rude tries to crawl out the door, Heenan trying to pull him through. Warrior grabs Rude’s ankles and a tug-of-war ensues. Warrior pulls Rude’s tights down and manages to pull Heenan into the ring. He connects with a right and sends Heenan flying, then hits an atomic drop that sends the Brain out through the door. Warrior summons the power of his WARRIYAHS and hits a series of clotheslines, followed by the Gorilla Press Slam. Warrior climbs up and over the cage then mocks Rude with a hip gyration before dropping to the floor and retaining the WWF Championship.

The Ultimate Warrior [c] defeated Rick Rude by escaping the cage to retain the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (10:03)

  • A ten minute main event, eh? Welcome to the era of the Ultimate Warrior. Very basic cage match but props to Rude for trying to add some flavor by launching himself from the top a couple of times. I kind of feel bad for Warrior though; he finally won the WWF Championship and found himself without any real big heels to challenge him as the one with the most heat (Earthquake) was too busy feuding with Hulk Hogan. Guy was doomed from the start. ANYWAY I know he was the champ but Hogan/Earthquake should have probably main evented. (**)

Warrior celebrates in the ring as McMahon tries hard to sell him as the top guy, almost sounding like he’s trying to convince himself that this was a good idea. McMahon hypes their next PPV, Survivor Series, and that concludes the show.

*****

Overall Thoughts: SummerSlam 1990 isn’t necessarily a bad show but it’s a very bland show, with none of the matches standing out and way too many goddamn interviews and promos. This is a staple of WWF PPVs at the time though so I’m sure I’ll complain about the interview segments a lot when I review other 1990-era WWF shows. Also seriously, screw that Demolition/Hart Foundation match; other matches were way worse quality-wise but the shenanigans and nonsense that surrounded that one drove me absolutely insane. Yuck. I can’t recommend this show per se but it’ll work as background noise if you can’t sleep, so that’s…something?

  • Match of the Night: Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake
  • Moment of the Night: Power & Glory get their one and only PPV win
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