Summerslam 1990
August 27, 1990
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Spectrum

Announcers: Vince McMahon & Rowdy Roddy Piper

In the summer of 1990, the WWF was finished with Wrestlemania VI and The Ultimate Warrior’s disappointing World Title Reign was in full force. With Hulk Hogan doing battle with Earthquake, old foe Rick Rude stepped up to the plate to challenge the Warrior for the Title. Mr. Perfect was scheduled to defend the Intercontinental Title against Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, but Beefcake was seriously injured in a boat accident just weeks before the show, allowing WWF newcomer Kerry Von Erich to challenge Perfect instead.

The Rockers vs. Power & Glory
Shawn Michaels’ knee had been injured weeks prior to the event, so Power & Glory goes right after it from the start, jumping him on the floor before the bell rings. Hercules repeatedly hits the knee with his chain, and as a result Michaels is left lying on the floor in agony. With his partner essentially out of the match, Marty Jannetty essentially has to wrestle a two on one handicapped match in the ring. Marty does okay for himself, but eventually the numbers catch up with him and Power & Glory takes him out with double teams. From time to time, Michaels struggles to make it onto the apron, but Power & Glory make sure to kick him off, keeping their two on one advantage in tact. Jannetty tries a comeback, but Power & Glory is able to ground him and then finish him with the Power-plex at 6:00. Afterwards, it’s another beating for Michaels, who then does a stretcher job. **1/4

Sean Mooney is with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Mr. Perfect. Mooney suspects that Perfect might be taking the Tornado lightly. Despite having only ten days notice for the Title match, Heenan and Perfect don’t seem too concerned about him. Watching all this just puts the different eras in perspective. Ten days is forever in today’s wrestling world. Ever watch RAW? An hour and a half is plenty of time to prepare for a wrestling match. Hell, most matches aren’t even announced for PPV’s until three or six days before the thing. Ten days is a nice chunk of time now, but this is 1990, and Perfect’s been preparing for Beefcake for months. He has no way to prepare for Von Erich on such short notice.

Mean Gene is with the "Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich.

Intercontinental Title: "Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich vs. Mr. Perfect (Champion)
Mike Chioda is the referree for this match; man does he look younger. Perfect has his way with Von Erich, and controls the first few minutes. Unfortunately for him, however, he makes the classic heel mistake of not going for the kill when he has the chance. He instead backs Von Erich into the corner and taunts him, slapping him in the face. Tornado responds by scooping his legs out from under him, and quickly slingshotting (damn if those slingshots don’t always kill Perfect) him into the corner. Von Erich applies the claw and hits the Tornado Punch in short order for the three and the Title. We've got a new Champee. See, Perfect took the new guy really lightly and it came back to bite him in the ass. There's a lesson in this. The match was pretty underwhelming, but it was a pretty big shocker and a cool little story. 5:16, *

Heenan and Perfect rant with Mean Gene.

Sapphire vs. "Sensational Queen" Sherri
Sapphire’s entrance music plays and the Fink announces her, but she doesn’t show up. They go through the introduction one more time. And again. And again. Repeat. WWF officials come to ringside and tell the Fink that if Sapphire doesn’t show up in 30 seconds, she will forefit the match. 30 seconds later, there’s no Sapphire to speak of, and Sherri is victorious via forefit.

Mean Gene is with Dusty Rhodes. Dust hasn’t seen Sapphire since they came to the building together. Ten minutes after they arrived, she had disappeared, and Dusty hasn't seen her since. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan stops by and says he hasn’t found her, but he’ll keep looking. Yeah, he’ll find her. That guy couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag. Gene decides to bring up all the expensive gifts Sapphire has been receiving on WWF TV in recent weeks. Dust then lists them all. Gee, think that will have something to do with where she is? And who in the WWF could afford all those luxuries? Hmmm...

Tito Santana vs. The Warlord
I don’t recall Strike Force and the Powers of Pain having an issue; oh wait, this is after both teams have been broken up for a year. But if that’s the case, then why does Tito still have the Strike Force trunks on? For some reason he ended up wearing them right up until the time he transformed into El Matador and traded the Strike Force tights for those funky guacomole colored El Matador ones. This match is a standard technical wrestler vs. powerhouse affair. Santana uses his tenacity and speed early, but Warlord catches him on the outside and rams his back into the post to take over. Piper makes racist jokes about Slick, Warlord’s manager. Very classy, Hot Rod. Tito makes the comeback and hits the Flying Jalepeno, but Warlord puts his foot on the ropes at two. Looks like Slick was supposed to move his foot onto the ropes, but missed the spot. A Santana monkeyflip is thwarted, and Warlord finishes him off with a running powerslam for the win at 5:30. 3/4*. Wham-bam Summerslam.

Survivor Series promo: The Thanksgiving Night Tradition. Ah, those were the days. It used to be that Survivor Series would always be held the night before, or night of Thanksgiving, but that’s travel time for most of the country, and Sunday shows certainly garner better buyrates, hence the eventual Survivor Series move in the mid 90's.

Sean Mooney is with Demolition, Ax, Smash... and Crush. See, in 1990, Ax was going through some health problems and couldn’t wrestle on a permanent basis anymore. So Crush was brought in as the teams’ third member. Often times, opposing teams would be left guessing which two Demolition they’d be wrestling, but it always ended up being Smash and Crush, so I don’t know why that was supposed to be suspenseful. Demolition, in this interview, refer to the Legion Of Doom as second rate imposters. Ha!

Tag Team Titles, Two out of Three Falls: The Hart Foundation vs. Demolition (Champions)
Vince tries to sell that the members of Demolition look alike... the only problem is they DON’T. The Harts are pretty damn over here, judging by the massive pop their entrance gets. It’s been almost three years since they’ve held the Titles. Can they get the job done and regain the gold? Well, not in the first fall anyway. Crush takes out Niedhart on the floor, and Demolition hits the Decapitation in the ring on Bret for the pinfall to go up 1-0. The second fall starts soon after and Bret is still dead, so why not go for another pin? They decide to take him apart methodically instead, a decision which results in an eventual hot tag to Niedhart, who cleans house. Crush is knocked out of the ring, and the Harts hit the Hart Attack on Smash and cover. Crush makes his way back in and jumps on the ref at two, thus earning a DQ. Now it’s tied up at one fall apiece. As the third fall starts, Demolition jumps Bret, and Niedhart checks on him. Meanwhile, Smash and Crush gang up on the ref, and while no one is looking, Ax makes his way down the aisle and hides under the ring in Demolition’s corner. The rules of course state that only two members of Demolition are allowed at ringside, prompting Vince to go crazy and talk about the injustice. Piper argues that there are only two Demos at ringside; Ax is not at ringside, "he’s under the ring". Back in the ring, the Harts hit their cool reverse slam on Smash for two. A beaten and battered Smasher rolls to the floor. He and Ax make the switcheroo and trade places, and a fresh Ax enters the ring and destorys Bret Hart. Ax uses Bret’s own Russian Leg Sweep, then tags in Crush, who gets two with a backbreaker. Niedhart tries to come into the ring and the ref has to restrain him. Meanwhile, Smash comes back out from under the ring, and he and Ax double team Bret on the floor. All of a sudden, the crowd pops huge because the Legion of Doom is on their way to the ring. They expose Ax at ringside, distracting Smash in the process. That leaves Crush all alone on the other side of the ring. The Anvil slingshots in with a shoulder tackle on Crush, and Bret is right behind him to schoolboy him for the three count and the Titles. The Harts get a huge pop as Niedhart gathers a beaten Bret and the Champs are awarded their belts. This match has always been a favorite of mine. 15:47, ***3/4

A Wrestlemania VII Coliseum promo is shown. Too bad that whole thing didn’t pan out. Call 1-800 877-1414 for tickets.

Mean Gene is with the LOD when the Harts come in to celebrate. The Harts say they’ll defend the Titles against all comers, a mentality Bret would later adopt as a singles Champion.

An intimitaded Sean Mooney is outside the locker room of Demolition. Mooney reveals that they’re mad not at the Hart Foundation, but rather LOD for costing them the Titles.

Gene is with Sherri. Wow, he got from the locker room to the interview set quickly. Sherri says that maybe Sapphire isn’t as dumb as she thought after all. Sherri says she’s heard some "rumors" about Sapphire’s whereabouts, but won't tell Mean Gene any specifics. The plot thickens...

Mooney is with Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff. It’s good to see that he's managed to calm down quickly. He’s not even sweating anymore. The story goes that with Duggan and Volkoff, there may be turmoil in the Middle East, but there’s harmony in the USA.

Gene is with Earthquake, Dino Bravo, and Jimmy Hart. We see clips of the Hogan/Earthquake feud, including Hogan and Tugboat both on the receiving end of the Earthquake.

Mooney is now with Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Snakes vs. Sewer rats! Next!

Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. Bad News Brown
The Big Boss Man is the Special Guest Referree for this match. Jake misses the DDT twice right off the bat. Brown resorts to using a chair outside the ring, and Boss Man forces him back in. Jake makes an obscene gesture to Brown, but Bad News continues to work him over anyway, without even being offended. A second rope fist misses, and Jake hits a knee lift and the short clothesline, but the DDT again fails. They brawl. Bad News shows how much of a bad ass he is by adjusting his tights during the fight because they were starting to get uncomfortable. Brown delivers another chairshot and Boss Man DQ’s him at 4:44. 1/2* Boss Man checks on the health of Jake while Bad News goes after Damien, who's still in the green bag. He tries to leg drop him, but Boss Man makes the save, prompting Brown to attack "The Bosom Man", as Piper has been calling him all match. Jake finally returns the favor by unleashing Damien and sending Brown running from the ring. We never did get to see the sewer rats; there was just a black box sitting on a table at ringside. They didn’t come in to play at all.

We see the same Wrestlemania VII promo. Geez, that’s getting pushed hard. Gotta sell tickets. Somebody’s eyes were bigger than their, uh, well... than reality... if that makes sense. Which it doesn’t. Ah, screw it.

Gene is with Demolition. I guess they wanted the good interviewer. They wouldn’t talk to Mooney, but they’ll do it for Okerlund. Demolition vows to get their Titles back and finish off LOD. They would do neither. They do however call LOD imposters again.

In the ring, we're treated to a special edition of the Brother Love show, with guest Sargeant Slaughter. Sarge presents Love with an award of some sort. He uses the words commie, maggot, scum, and puke at random intervals in reference to the crowd, thus establishing him as a bad, bad, bad, bad man. The whole heel persona sets his tone for his run with the WWF Title six months later. Sarge says the USA has become weak and soft. Kind of like his stomach. He declares war on Nikolai Volkoff. Wow, he'd go from Volkoff all the way up to Hogan in a matter of months. Duggan and Warrior were in between.

Sean Mooney is backstage with the Orient Express and Mr. Fuji, in what was possibly their only interview ever. Fuji starts to do the talking, but Mooney interrupts him with word that there is late breaking news. Oh I see, the purpose of giving them the interview was to interrupt them.

Mean Gene says he caught a glimpse of Sapphire, but she ducked into a room and locked the door before he could catch up with her. You know you’re in sorry shape when you can’t even catch up to Sapphire.

"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Orient Express
Duggan and Volkoff enter to Luger’s 1994 USA theme music just to drive home the patriotism. Piper says he doesn’t trust Volkoff. Duggan and Volkoff sing God Bless America before the match starts. Duggan doesn’t even need the mic. Hey, not too bad. Through parts of it, Volkoff lets Duggan sing the lines first just to make sure he’ll get the words right. Veteran move, I guess. Duggan gives his support to the troops in the Middle East, and then the Orient Express attacks, though Duggan and Volkoff soon get the better of them with a poorly timed double atomic drop. Finally all four men stop brawling, and order is restored with Volkoff in the ring against Tanaka. Saito stands on the apron in his corner... and Duggan stands in the ADJACENT corner before realizing he’s an idiot. Fuji nails Volkoff with the cane, but he soon makes the hot tag to Hacksaw. The crowd is into this one for some reason. Duggan hits the three point clothesline on Tanaka for the pin, and now his music, not the US theme plays. Okay. 1/2*, but at 3:24 it was quick and dare I say mildly fun.

Another Survivor Series promo. BUY IT!

Dusty pounds on Sapphire’s door. Gene’s been waiting for her during the last match. So he sacraficed a Duggan match to stare at a door for five minutes? Sounds about right. Big Dust wisely assesses that "something’s going on here". Good call, Dream.

Dusty Rhodes vs. "Macho King" Randy Savage
Savage seems to be over as a face here, despite portraying a hated heel. Before the match can get underway, Ted DiBiase strolls to the interview stage and announces that he has bought the gifts for Sapphire, and now he’s gone one step further and bought Sapphire herself. Rhodes goes after him, but Savage attacks. Savage saving DiBiase? Nah, couldn’t be. Savage hits the axehandle off the top. Sherri gets in shots behind the ref’s back. Macho uses quick elbows and jabs while Rhodes retaliates with the same. Just slower. Whoa, Rhodes dropkicks Savage to the floor. Where’d he pull that one out of? On the floor, Sherri hands Savage the loaded purse, and Macho nails Dust with it from behind while Sherri distracts the ref. Savage scores the pin just like that at 2:15. * Pretty bad blowoff match for a six month feud, as Rhodes was transitioned into a feud with DiBiase, and Savage started his deserved climb back toward the top of the card. Oh, and as for Sapphire, who it seems an hour of this show was devoted to, she was out of the WWF a mere two months later.

Sean Mooney is backstage. DiBiase, Virgil, and Sapphire leave in Teddy’s limo, while Rhodes recovers and heads back. The limo drives away while Dusty gives chase. In many ways, this whole thing was actually years ahead of its time.

Wrestlemania VII: The biggest sports entertainment event of our time. Wow, a little overboard with the hype, don’t you think? Buy it. NOW!

Sean Mooney reviews what we’ve seen so far, in a blatantly post-produced Coliseum Video edit.

Mean Gene is with the Hulkster and the Big Boss Man. Hogan dedicates this match to the TUGster. Tugboat, that is.

Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake
This is one half of the double main event. Today it would be no surprise to see two ends of a double main event placed back to back at the close of a card, but it seems a bit strange in 1990. The Cage Match, obviously, had to be the last match on the card because of the added time it would take to take the cage down after the match. Even Hogan, despite being Hogan, couldn’t argue that logic. So it would seem that this match should be stuck in the middle of the card, but no. The Hulkster will have none of that. It HAS to be as close to the end as possible because it’s Hulk Hogan we're talking about here. And so we begin.

Hulk can’t knock Quake off his feet at the start, and soon Earthquake takes over. An avalanche misses, and Hogan capitalizes with two clotheslines, and three punches, but then nails Jimmy Hart and Dino Bravo off the apron instead of concentrating on Quake. Oh wait, nevermind- he nails Quake with a big right hand, and this time he goes down. The heels regroup on the floor. Back in, and Boss Man sticks his nose in and nails Quake. Hogan hits Bravo, and he and Boss Man hit Dino with a double big boot. Now here’s one for Quake. Where’s the ref? Oh, there he is. He forces Boss Man out, and Bravo and Quake take Hogan with a double slam. Back to one on one. Quake hits a big elbow, then goes to the top (!) and connects with a forearm. Earthquake locks Hogan into a Boston Crab, and Hogan taps, but these are the logical days of submission, not "tapping out". Hogan reaches the ropes, and Bravo does a number on him behind the ref’s back. Quake misses an elbow, but Hogan sells the back injury, and a slam attempt goes nowhere, as Quake falls on Hogan, crushing him in the process. Then he goes to the bearhug to kill some time. Hulk tears away most of Earl Hebner’s shirt for some reason, then breaks the hold. Two shoulderblocks do nothing and a cross body attempt is stopped by Earthquake, as he cataches him with a powerslam. Quake time! The Earthquake splash connects. Another one follows. This time he goes for the cover. 1-2... and Hogan KICKS OUT. Hulk up time. Three punches and the boot, then the bodyslam, which works this time. Leg drop, but Bravo and Hart get on the apron again. A brawl somehow spills to the floor, and Jimmy Hart accidentally waffles Earthquake, not Hogan, with the megaphone. Hulk slams Quake through a ringside table (where the sewer rats were earlier), and beats the count in the ring, for a count out victory at 13:10. Juh? Apparently, Hogan didn't get the clean pinfall victory because he wanted to build to another PPV match with Quake. To me that makes NO sense because obviously Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble aren’t the times to do that, and it would be ridiculous to carry that feud all the way to Wrestlemania VII. Also, they weren’t exactly building up Quake to be anything bigger than he already was, and Hogan could’ve used a pinfall win after his Wrestlemania VI loss to the Warrior. Stupid logic aside, the match was decent for those involved, and all the extra-curricular activities helped to move it along nicely. **1/4

Mean Gene is again with Dusty Rhodes, who makes it known that he’s coming for Ted DiBiase.

Lord Alfred Hayes is at "the ringside" to watch the alleged 3,000 pound steel cage being assembled. The crew’s personal record is 8:42.

Gene is with Hulk Hogan, who wants to be the number one contender again. Ten years later and he hasn’t shut up since.

Vince and Roddy discuss the events we’ve just seen, as well as the upcoming World Title Match. Piper picks Rude to win the Title.

Mooney is with Quake and company. Quake says he’s not finished with Hogan yet. Uh, yeah you are.

Gene is with the Ultimate Warrior. Warrior paces, grunts, yells, laughs, and snarls. In that order.

WWF Title, Steel Cage: The Ultimate Warrior (Champion) vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude
Rude is just about the only guy to pin the Ultimate Warrior, as he did so at Wrestlemania V to win the Intercontinental Title. In this Cage Match, you can win either by pinning your opponent or exiting the Cage. They fight as Warrior gets in to the cage, though the bell rings to start the match while Warrior is still on the outside, climbing in. So why not drop back down and win the match right there? Ah. He never was the sharpest tool in the shed. Warrior beats on Rude until he misses a charge into the cage. Rude comes off the top rope with a forearm, then takes Warrior’s face to the bars. He goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out, and they do the short clothesline spot they missed at Wrestlemania V. Warrior tries the splash, but Rude brings up the knees, and then hits the Awakening for real. Rude climbs to the top of the Cage and levels Warrior from all the way off the top. Heenan is very vocal about questioning why he didn’t go through the door. Rude tries the same move off the top of the cage, but this time Warrior catches him with a shot to the gut on the way down. Warrior crawls for the door, but Heenan slams it shut on his head, and we have a double knockout spot, though those shouldn’t really matter in a Cage match. Rude does manage to cover Warrior for two, but that’s it. Heenan tries to pull Rude out the door, but Warrior pulls Rude back in... with Heenan still hanging on to him. A right hand for the Brain, followed by an atomic drop sends him back out the door. Rude takes the distraction as an opportunity to clothesline the Warrior, but Warrior hulks up and hits three clotheslines and the Gorilla Press Slam before climbing out to retain his Title at 10:05. Not so great Cage Match. *3/4 A lot of average stuff.

All in all, Summerslam '90 is a fun show, much like all Summerslams would be the next few years. Nothing stands out as a classic, but the Harts/Demolition match is cool, and enough to earn match of the night honors. Maybe it’s not the most technically sound match in the world, but it was the culmination of a lot of things as the Harts regained the Tag Titles after three years, Demolition’s reign of terror came to an end, and the LOD made an impact in the WWF. The two out of three falls idea, and the use of all three Demolition members was booked beautifully, and this match easily beats anything else on the card. If you’ve never seen Summerslam ’90, the Tag Title Match is definitely worth a look, especially if you’re a Hart mark like me. The rest of the show is entertaining, if not unspectacular, as Perfect's loss of the IC Title was a major upset, and the main events, though not terrific, weren't as lackluster as they certainly could have been. Overall, Summerslam '90 earns a solid thumbs up.

Summerslam 1990 Key Stats
Matches: 9
Total Wrestling: 66:11
Average Match: 7:21
Average Match Rating: *1/2
Top Moments: Jannetty's good handicapped performance, Tornado's big upset, the Harts and LOD thwarting Demolition, DiBiase's purchase, Hogan and the Warrior's main event victories

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