The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – Madison Square Garden 06.03.91
Here’s a show I’ve been wanting to get done for a while, and today is as good a day as any, featuring Hulk Hogan against Sgt. Slaughter in the somewhat famous Desert Storm rematch from Wrestlemania.
Taped from MSG
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan & Jim Neidhart
Ricky Steamboat v. Demolition Smash
I’m 99% sure I reviewed this one on a Coliseum video, but whatevs. Smash works the arm to start, but that’s like tugging on Superman’s cape and Steamboat shows him how it’s done. Smash tries to put him over the top, but Dragon skins the cat and tosses him, then goes back to the arm. Smash is already getting flabby with the breakup of his team, which actually makes it impressive that he was able to slim down for his change to Repo Man as quickly as he did. Steamboat works the armdrags and the crowd is quieter than the Thunderdome. Bobby: “If this guy burps the wrong way, there goes your eyebrows.” That was a pretty funny line! Smash drops him on the top rope and takes him down the RUSSIAN HAMMER, perhaps signaling a return to WCW as Krusher Khruschev? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT! OK I’m bored already. Smash with the chinlock and he tosses the Dragon and runs him into the post, then slams him on the floor. “Right down on the concrete!” notes Gorilla. Yes, the padded blue concrete mats. Back in, Smash with a backbreaker for two, which Gorilla notes is not up to the level of Bret Hart’s. Well few are. Smash puts him down with an elbow and clotheslines to set up a sleeper. Bobby: “Ring the bell!” Gorilla: “He’s not even close to out yet! He’s still standing up on his feet!” Bobby: “Yeah, but that’s immaterial.” And then the idiot ref does the arm drop test, and Ricky’s arm drops three times! And the ref just ignores that and does it again, allowing Dragon to escape and make the comeback. Now that was a miscarriage of justice against poor Smash. And does Gorilla complain about the clearly incompetent refereeing job this time? NOPE. DEEP STATE CONSPIRACY. FAKE NEWS. MAIL IN VOTER FRAUD. Smash tosses him and suplexes him back in for two. Sadly, Comrade Smash misses a blind charge and Dragon finishes him with a crossbody at 10:15. This was somewhere between “not bad” and “OK”. **1/4 Not sure what’s up with Steamboat’s music, which sounds like a ripoff of Linkin Park’s “Numb”.
The Warlord v. Koko B. Ware
OK, this is 1991, Koko should firmly be using “Piledriver” at this point, but it’s “Do the Bird” so this has to be an edit. Warlord overpowers Koko while the other announcers make baseless accusations against Bobby about how he steals money from his men, but Koko runs away to the floor. Bobby, on a hot streak, scores points off Koko’s questionable Buckwheat hairstyle choice at this point. Warlord beats on him in the corner while the discussion suddenly turns to the WBF PPV and how great it’s gonna be. About as great as this match! Maybe more so! Warlord chokes away on the ropes and goes to the bearhug and holy shit that that last a long time. With no abdominal stretch to attack, Gorilla turns his attentions to the bearhug and how shitty Warlord is applying the hold. Finally after FOUR MINUTES in the hold, Koko claps the ears to escape, but Warlord tosses him to buy more time. Koko tries a sunset flip and Warlord won’t go down, but he does miss an elbow. Small package gets two for Koko, and he goes up with a missile dropkick for two. But then he charges and Warlord drops him on the top rope with a stungun to finish at 10:35. DUD
Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Col. Mustafa
Woo, now we’re talking! Hopefully they don’t go smoke dope together after the show and get fired again. Who could have watched Sheik’s 1990 run in WCW and thought “Hey, we should bring this guy back in and put him in the main event program!” Mustafa runs away to start, as much as Sheik could run at that point, more like a metaphorical running. He quickly takes over, as much as Sheik could do anything quickly at that point, more like a metaphorical quickly, and chokes away on the ropes. And the chinlock follows. Mustafa loads up the boot, but Duggan reverses a suplex and gets a slam. He sets up to finish, but Adnan trips him up, so Duggan runs around chasing him like a complete fucking moron and he gets counted out at 5:45. And then he chases Adnan to the backstage area, where Sgt. Slaughter attacks him with his own 2×4 and leaves him laying. -**
Bret Hart v. The Barbarian
Mr. Fuji is managing Barbarian in place of Bobby Heenan, but I’m pretty sure he’ll just lose to a sunset flip anyway. Bobby still has to backseat-manage, which only serves to annoy Gorilla even more. Barbarian puts Bret on the floor with a shoulderblock to start, and blocks a bodypress with a slam. Elbow misses and Bret slugs him out of the ring, where he gets some advice from Mr. Fuji. That advice? “If you’re cooking someone’s dog for a rib, make sure to turn it over at 12 minutes so you don’t overcook the one side.” Evil and yet useful words. Back in the ring, Barbarian puts him down with a boot and sends him to the floor as Gorilla is determined to get an update on the condition of Hacksaw Duggan. Bobby: “Who cares?” Right to the point as always. Barbarian runs Bret into the post and then brings him back in and chokes him out before whipping him into the corner for the patented Bret Bump. And then it’s time for the BEARHUG. But Bret quickly escapes that one, so Barbarian works the back and goes right back to it. Bobby feels like you might as well just send someone over to ring the bell. Come on, how likely is it that someone is just gonna go over and ring the bell while Bret Hart is in a submission hold? Bret breaks free again, so Barbarian hits him with a sideslam and then goes up and misses an elbow. Bret pops up and makes the comeback with an atomic drop and clothesline for two. He slugs away in the corner and follows with a backbreaker and middle rope elbow for two. Legsweep gets two. Barbarian dumps him again, but Bret comes in and tries a rollup. Barbarian blocks that, but Fuji trips up Bret, and then accidentally hits Barbarian with his cane and Bret gets the pin at 12:15. Hey, it wasn’t a reversed sunset flip attempt! Bobby FREAKS OUT about that one and runs in to put the badmouth on Fuji, but no fight breaks out. Another dull but OK match. **
Bob Bradley v. Jimmy Snuka
Hey, it’s WBF bodybuilding legend JIM QUINN at ringside! Holy shit! Bobby continues ranting against “that eggroll” Mr. Fuji and his fault managing of Barbarian, threatening to shove the cane down his throat. Meanwhile, Gorilla is still incredibly impressed by this Jim Quinn guy, who is apparently an ODDS-ON favorite to walk away with the WBF title at the PPV. How far do you have to have fallen down a degenerate gambling black hole to be betting on a fixed bodybuilding PPV show? Especially if you’re putting money on anyone but Gary Strydom! Hang on, I gotta go order the show right now. Dammit, I’m calling my local cable company but they’ve never heard of the WBF or PPV. Well SHIT.
Earthquake v. Jake Roberts
Oh yeah, the Superfly splash finishes at 4:00.
Anyway, these two slug it out right away and Quake backs off, because apparently Jake is somewhat upset at having his snake squashed by Quake. If I guess if you wanted to fan-wank this feud, you could say that Jake lost his longtime snake companion and spiraled into depression, causing him to betray Warrior because he didn’t have the connection to humanity that his snake provided. Jake works on Quake’s ribs with short punches while Bobby continues making empty threats to Fuji. Gorilla eggs him on and tells him he should go try Fuji and see what happens. Jake pounds the ribs and Quake doubles over, but he goes for the DDT and Quake grabs the ropes to block it and sends him to the floor. So now Quake wants to go take out the OTHER snake, but Jake comes to the rescue and they fight on the floor, as Quake misses a charge and hits the post. Back in, Jake hits a kneelift and the short clothesline, but another try at the DDT is blocked. Quake steps on him repeatedly to take over and whips Jake into the corner, but Jake crawls over and pulls himself up on Quake’s leg. Jake makes a comeback and hits Quake right on the EXTERNAL OCCIPITAL PROTUBERANCE, but Quake takes out his knee and both guys are down. Quake goes for the butt splash, but Jake leaves the ring to escape it, so Quake goes after the snake again and that’s a DQ for someone at 11:03 for some reason. Apparently a DQ on Jake for opening the bag. OK. *
Meanwhile, Sean Mooney questions Fuji about the deal he had with Bobby Heenan, and Fuj challenges Bobby to a TAG TEAM MATCH against his guys. Well now I gotta go check if anything came of that.
WWF on MSG Network – TV-Show @ Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, USA
Guess so. You’d think Fuji would have picked a better backup than the Orient Express, if I’m being honest.
Apparently they also had a SINGLES MATCH on August 1 on Long Island at a house show, which Bobby won to further get his heat back.
Big Bossman v. The Mountie
Bossman attacks in the corner and rams Mountie into the turnbuckles a million times and Mountie’s selling of that is of course hilarious, and Bossman chokes away on the ropes and adds a powerslam for two. Mountie bails to the floor, but Bossman follows him out and continues beating on him. Back in, more police brutality, but Bossman goes up and misses a splash, guillotining himself on the top rope in the process. Bobby cheers him on and Gorilla once again questions why he’s not objective. “Oh, that’s not the kind of journalism I do. I’m opinionated.” Me too! Mountie sends him out and rams his throat into the railing. Back in, they slug it out and Bossman puts him down with an elbow and a splash and chases him to the floor again. But then he shoves the ref away, and Mountie uses the FOUR THOUSAND WATT shock stick for the pin at 5:50. Really, they can overdub all the music and redo the ring announcements for these shows, but can’t even overdub the BZZZZZZZZT sound for the shock stick? This cheap and lazy company. Nothing match. *
Paul Roma v. Animal
No idea what was up with Hawk here. Probably in a gutter somewhere sleeping it off. Roma dodges him with a pair of leapfrogs, but Animal puts him down with a clothesline for two. Roma dumps him and Hercules adds a clothesline out there. Back in, Roma with the dropkick and a backbreaker, but Animal comes back with a back suplex. Roma cuts him off with a piledriver, but Animal no-sells it and makes the comeback. And we get a REF BUMP. In a PAUL ROMA match! Hercules runs in and drops an elbow and they double-team Animal, but Roma dropkicks his own partner by mistake and Animal powerslams him for the pin at 5:00. Pretty terrible. ¼*
WWF title, DESERT STORM MATCH: Hulk Hogan v. Sgt. Slaughter
There are no rules, and you have to unconditionally surrender in order to lose. So role model to children everywhere Hulk Hogan comes in throwing powder to put Slaughter down, and then hit him with his own helmet. Hulk’s wearing some kind of metal mask and of course he uses that too, and then throws Sarge out and chokes him out with the TV cable. Hulk chokes him out with a banner of some kind, as Slaughter is busted open, so Hulk sends him outside and smashes a microphone into his head to open the cut further. Back in, beats on the bloody face of Slaughter and BITES HIM. What a maniac. He slingshots Slaughter into the post and continues beating on the cut, but Slaughter goes into his Bat-Utility belt and hits Hulk with his canteen. That puts Hulk onto the floor again and Slaughter runs him into the railing to take over. Hulk runs away and crawls back into the ring like a coward, so Slaughter finds a belt and whips him, giving him a taste of his own cheating medicine. Slaughter finds a chair while Hogan tries to make a comeback, but SURPRISE, Hulk steals it from him and he’s the first one to use it. Thankfully Slaughter gets it back and beats on Hulk to set up the camel clutch, but he powers out. So Slaughter beats on the back and goes up, but he’s so beat up that he falls backwards when he gets there. To the top again, but this time Hulk catches him and slams him off, and both guys are down. Slaughter pulls off his boot, but Hulk throws FIRE at him and makes the comeback, then uses Slaughter’s own boot on him! Finally he puts Sarge into his own camel clutch, and Sarge surrenders at 15:29 thanks to Adnan throwing in the towel. And then he’s trying to save his man, but Hulk throws powder in HIS face, too, and throws both guys out of the ring so he can celebrate his dirty win with some kid he pulled out of the audience and probably had to bribe to stay there. You could tell the kid was like “I wanted to meet Macho Man!” and then Hulk slapped him around a bit and slipped him a twenty to shut his mouth. ***1/2
Definitely not my favorite show, but the main event was pretty good outside of Hulk’s cheating and disgusting tactics.