February 19, 1990
From Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Hillbilly Jim, and Bobby Heenan
“Playboy” Buddy Rose vs. Tito Santana
Rose taunts the crowd by taking off his shirt as he is morbidly obese at this point. He then shows us how he’s in shape by doing pushups with one arm behind his back. Rose takes offense to Tito messing with his hair then does the same to the referee. Tito works the arm and continues to do so even after Rose used a drop toehold. Rose grabs Tito by the trunks and yanks him outside then has him tied in the ropes facing the outside where he targets the back. Tito tries to fight back but Rose knocks him off of the apron. Back inside, Rose slingshots Tito against the ropes then stretches him out over his knees on the rebound. Rose continues to work over the back then repeats the spot after messing up a move where Rose was supposed to block a dropkick but ended up getting kicked in the face. He now puts Tito in an abdominal stretch but Tito escapes and fights back. Rose is now tied up in the ropes as Tito stomps away. Rose ends up falling outside then returns to the ring where Tito stays in control. Rose rakes the eyes then they fight over a backslide as Tito wins that battle and ends up with a nearfall. Rose attacks Tito then hits a slam before heading up top but Tito gets up and slams him off then fires away in the corner. Tito rings his bell then tries for a figure four but Rose shoves him down. Rose rakes the eyes then both men collide. They get up as Tito hits a backdrop then puts Rose away with a flying forearm (16:55) **.
Thoughts: Buddy tried but the longer this went the worse he became as his conditioning became an issue. These two did not have the best chemistry, either, despite being established veterans. Tito was doing nothing at this point and Buddy was brought back as enhancement talent as he returns for the first time since 1985, when these two faced off at WrestleMania I when Buddy was under a mask as the Executioner.
“Rugged” Ronnie Garvin vs. Earthquake
Earthquake is sporting a brown singlet here and has entrance music too. He blocks an Irish whip attempt before knocking Garvin down. Garvin decides to brawl with Earthquake and lands some shots in the corner. Earthquake knocks Garvin down but misses an elbow drop as Garvin covers for a two count. Garvin backs Earthquake in the corner by pushing him by the face but ends up getting attacked. Garvin throws some punches after dodging a thump but Earthquake tosses him after a lifting chokehold. Garvin fights back then heads up top with a double axe handle after an eye rake. Garvin punches Earthquake down as he was on one knee but failed trying to lock on a scorpion death lock. Earthquake punches Garvin down then hits a knee lift then catches a crossbody attempt and hits a powerslam before stomping around and hitting the sitdown splash for the win (7:35) **. After the match, Earthquake hits two more sitdown splashes as Garvin is later taken out on a stretcher.
Thoughts: This match was fine for what it was. Garvin tried to brawl with Earthquake, who was too big and powerful for him. Garvin also sold the splash well and gave Earthquake a credible win.
Rick “The Model” Martel vs. Red Rooster
Before the match, Martel tells us he does not like the smell here and will create a barrier by spraying his Arrogance around the ring. Martel mocks Rooster’s strut after a fireman’s carry but Rooster fights back. Martel cheap shots Rooster then gets chased around until he runs over Rooster with a shoulder block. Martel works a headlock on the mat but Rooster escapes and hits a pair of shoulder blocks as Martel bails. Martel returns and uses the ref as a shield so he can cheap shot Rooster then goes to work on the neck. Rooster comes back with a pair of arm drags before working an armbar then maintains the hold when Martel ducks out on the apron and drags him back inside. Martel even tries to go out on the floor but is dragged back in where Rooster stays in control. Rooster wins a battle over a backslide and gets two. Martel misses a running knee in the corner as Rooster softens that up a bit. Martel is able to hammer away from the mat then comes up limping after a leapfrog. Rooster tries to put on a figure four but ends up getting kicked through the ropes. Martel heads out and rams Rooster into the ring apron as he is targeting the back. Martel suplexes Rooster into the ring from the apron but that only gets two as the announcers talk about how slow the referee was counting. Martel drops a few elbows on the back then slams Rooster down but still only gets a two count. He grabs the ropes for leverage during an abdominal stretch then catches a charging Rooster with a knee smash and puts his feet on the ropes for leverage during the pin but is caught by the ref. Martel thinks he won and celebrate and that allows Rooster to roll him up for a two count. Martel hits a backbreaker then tries for a Boston Crab but Rooster ducks out on the apron. Martel falls on top during a slam attempt then Rooster surprises him with a sunset flip then a small package for nearfalls. Martel fires away but is caught with a spinebuster as both men are down. Rooster punches Martel down then gets two with a backbreaker. He misses a charge but comes back with a clothesline then misses a dropkick as Martel puts him in the Boston Crab and gets the win (21:00) ***.
Thoughts: Good match and easily the best on the show. It was a long, competitive match. On TV, Martel was more focused on establishing the model gimmick and being more of a chickenshit heel but here he did what he does best, which is actual wrestling. This was Rooster’s best WWF match too as he was someone else here doing nothing of note at the time.
An ad to order tickets for WrestleMania VI airs.
Mr. Perfect & The Genius vs. Hulk Hogan & Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
This was originally supposed to be Hogan vs. Perfect & The Genius in a handicapped match but adding Beefcake makes sense, especially since his feud with Perfect has been pushed strong on TV. Beefcake is also wearing a Hogan shirt that Hogan himself tears off. The camera shows Hogan’s WWF World Title Belt then Perfect beats on Hogan in the corner. Hogan gets punched through the ropes but comes back in and boots Perfect out. Beefcake tags and heads out to use a double noggin-knocker. Hogan & Beefcake neutralize Perfect with Beefcake getting a nearfall with a high knee. Perfect is knocked over the top rope with an elbow by Hogan but grabs The Genius’ scroll and whacks Hogan. Perfect beats on Hogan outside of the ring then heads inside and fires away. The Genius tags in and prances around while raking the back. The crowd chants for Hogan as the heels are cutting off the ring. Hogan gets his knees up as The Genius tries a moonsault then tags out as Beefcake hammers away on Perfect. Beefcake knocks The Genius off of the apron then puts Perfect in the sleeper. The Genius tries to run in but Hogan knocks him down. The Genius slips in the scroll as Perfect attacks Beefcake. Hogan is just able to break up the pin attempt as Beefcake is now in trouble as Hogan yells at the ref. Perfect beats on Beefcake until he ducks his head and gets kicked in the face. Hogan rallies the crowd behind Beefcake, who makes the tag, but Perfect distracted the ref to prevent it from happening. Perfect pulls Beefcake away then they continue to cut off the ring. Perfect hits the Perfect Plex but Hogan breaks up the pin then soon after that Beefcake tags out as Hogan runs wild and soon after that puts Genius away with a leg drop (15:47) **1/2. After the match, Beefcake puts Genius in a sleeper then Hogan tosses the ref outside. Hogan mocks Genius by prancing around then Beefcake cuts his hair, which Hogan hands to a fan. This ends with Hogan and Beefcake posing.
Thoughts: Solid action here. Perfect was really good here and this match entertained from start to finish.
We hear from the competitors in the Dusty Rhodes vs. Akeem and Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji vs. Rockers & Hacksaw Jim Duggan matches.
Bad News Brown vs. “Jumping” Jim Brunzell
According to Thehistoryofwwe.com, Brunzell was a replacement for Jimmy Snuka. Brunzell gets two with a sunset flip then decks Bad News, who ducks outside. Back inside, Brunzell hits an atomic drop and a clothesline as Bad News bails once again. Bad News finally takes control after Brunzell ducked his head on a backdrop attempt as he hammers away. Brunzell comes back with a crossbody for a nearfall but Bad News goes back on the attack. Brunzell takes Bad News over with a monkey flip then hits a leg drop for a two count. Bad News once again takes over but Brunzell boots him on a charge then works the arm. They head outside where Brunzell gets shoved into the post. Bad News tosses Brunzell outside and chokes him out with the camera cord. They go back in the ring where Bad News once again dumps Brunzell outside after sidestepping a crossbody. He removes the turnbuckle pad then tries to ram Brunzell but it gets reversed as Brunzell fights back. Brunzell hits a dropkick but Bad News got his foot on the ropes. He now catches Bad News with a sleeper then runs him in the corner and gets a rollup. Brunzell then misses a charge and Bad News puts him away with the Ghetto Blaster (14:39) 1/4*.
Thoughts: Terrible match. Brunzell tried but Bad News was pathetic here as he either ducked outside or tried to toss Brunzell outside for a majority of the match. He seemed very lazy here and the match might have even been worse with Snuka instead. I see Bret Hart’s point about babyfaces not wanting to work with Bad News because all he did was “eat you up” in the ring and you would be in a terrible position on the card after feuding with him as a result.
Akeem w/ Slick vs. Dusty Rhodes w/ Sapphire
Dusty dances after hitting some elbow smashes then Akeem goes out to huddle with Slick. We get both guys dancing around like boxers until Akeem gets tied up in the ropes. Akeem gets out and rakes Dusty’s eyes then punches him down. He gets two with an elbow drop then works a nerve hold. They end up outside now where Akeem hammers away. Back inside, Akeem gets another nerve hold. Dusty escapes and hits mounted punches in the corner. Akeem rolls away from an elbow drop then works a bear hug. Akeem misses a corner charge then Dusty punches him down. Slick gets up on the apron but Sapphire knocks him down. Akeem goes out and puts his hands on Sapphire so Dusty makes the save. Akeem beats on Dusty then holds him up for Slick but Dusty moves out of the way as Slick hits Akeem with a knee smash as Dusty rolls inside to beat the ten count and get the win (9:04) -**. After the match, we get dancing from Dusty and Sapphire.
Thoughts: This was was an embarrassment. Both guys moved much slower than usual and nothing they did looked like it would hurt your opponent. The crowd did not seem to care about this either. I suppose dancing and nerve hold aficionados could enjoy this but for everyone else it was awful. The only highlight was at the beginning when Heenan on commentary ragging on Sapphire
Howard Finkel is in the ring to run down the March 19th show. Matches include: Orient Express vs. Demolition, Dino Bravo vs. Brutus Beefcake, Earthquake vs. Jim Duggan, Rick Martel vs. Roddy Piper, and Mr. Perfect vs. Ultimate Warrior. Also, Hercules (who faced Black Bart) and Koko B. Ware (who faced Frenchy Martin for reasons I cannot fathom) will be in action.
Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji vs. The Rockers & Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Warlord beats on Shawn to start. They mess up a bit then Shawn ends up on Warlord’s shoulder and uses a victory roll. The Rockers hit the Powers of Pain with stereo sunset flips as Duggan runs in to take the PoP’s over with a double clothesline. Fuji huddles with his team on the outside then we get Duggan beating on the Barbarian. Marty tags and works a front facelock then Warlord puts him on the top rope but Marty gets off and hits a dropkick. Marty distracts Warlord after a blind tag as Duggan launches Shawn off of the top rope with a crossbody but Warlord kicks out as Shawn goes flying outside. Shawn gets roughed up on the outside before getting tossed back into the ring. Shawn fights back against Fuji but runs into a knee smash. Fuji works a nerve hold then Shawn comes back with a slam but Fuji gets his knees up on a splash attempt and tags out. The Powers of Pain take turns beating on Shawn until Barbarian misses a diving headbutt. Shawn makes the tag as Duggan runs wild on everyone. Duggan is trapped in the wrong corner then Barbarian works a nerve hold. Warlord tags and uses a bear hug but Duggan gets out and tags as Marty dropkicks Warlord for a two count. Barbarian makes the save on a pin attempt then soon after that the match breaks down. Fuji breaks out the salt behind the ref’s back but Duggan whacks him with the 2×4 then Marty covers for the win (16:38) **.
Thoughts: After a very good match last month against The Rockers, the Powers of Pain had a rough showing here, particularly the Warlord. Some of this was okay but there wasn’t much of a flow to the match. One of the final appearances of the Powers of Pain, who would be split up and sold off to other managers and get singles runs.
We get pretaped comments from Piper about his match next month against Martel, who is with Sean Mooney as he promises to beat Piper….with style. Piper was apparently replaced on the house shows leading up to WrestleMania VI as Bret Hart took his spot for this match. We also got comments from both involved in the Mr. Perfect vs. Ultimate Warrior match.
Final Thoughts: This show was okay until Hogan’s tag match ended as after that it fell apart. There was nothing really worth seeking out either and while only seven matches were on the card, most of them went on for way too long and the crowd became disinterested as a result. Certainly not the strongest MSG televised house show card.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Monday: WWF The Main Event 2/23/90
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 2/24/90
Wednesday: EVOLVE 86 6/24/17
Thursday: Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1990 WWE as told by Bruce Prichard
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 2/25/90
Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 11/3/82
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 3/3/90