The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #26 – 04.28.90
OK! Now we’re caught up again after yesterday’s pair of reposts, so let’s head to the first SNME after the beginning of the Warrior Era at Wrestlemania 6!
Taped from Austin TX on 04.23.90, drawing 8500 and an unknown rating.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura, who do the introduction on horseback from the aisle with Vince looking about as uncomfortable as humanly possible. Still, that’s kind of a funny change of pace.
This is “The Tussle in Texas” for those keeping track.
Meanwhile, Sean Mooney interviews Mr. Perfect and the Genius in the locker room with no curtains or Mean Gene, as the format is already changing drastically now.
Meanwhile, Hogan is also in the locker room for his promo, although with Mean Gene this time. I know the show couldn’t just stay the same forever, but whatever they did at the beginning of 1990 just destroyed whatever steam the concept had left.
Hulk Hogan v. Mr. Perfect
Absolutely no mention of the belt-smashing angle here, which you’d think would be a quick and easy way to create some backstory for this. Jesse snarks that he’s never heard anyone brag more on interviews than Hogan, although I can think of one person who is also a YUGE braggart, the most tremendously big braggart. I forget his name though. Hulk and Perfect trade hiptosses, but Hulk gets some slams to chase Perfect to the floor. Back in, Perfect slugs away and whips Hulk into the corner to take over, but Hulk tries the big boot and Perfect wisely ducks it and slides to the floor again. I wonder why more people didn’t do that? I always loved Jerry Seinfeld’s discussion of the irish whip in general, as he imagined the wrestlers lamenting that they’re helpless in the hands of the forces of momentum as they’re compelled to run the ropes. Hogan chases Perfect on the floor and runs him into the post, and then back in for more punches and kicks in the rings and an elbow to send Perfect flying over the top rope again. Hogan follows him out and continues beating on him, but the Genius runs interference and allows Perfect to knock Hogan out with the scroll as we take a break. Back with no edit in the match, as we pick it up exactly where we left off with Perfect throwing Hogan back into the ring and stomping away on him. Perfect necksnap and he chokes away on the ropes, but he misses an elbow and Hulk makes the comeback. Perfect puts him down with an AX ATTACK clothesline as Vince declares it a SEE SAW MATCHUP BACK AND FORTH and NOW YOU’RE GONNA SEE A PERFECTPLEX, but of course Hulk makes the comeback and this time Perfect is unable to escape the big boot and legdrop a second time and Hogan gets the pin at 7:55 to send Perfect to the midcard for good. Just the usual house show match between these two. **1/4 Afterwards, Hogan beats up the Genius to write him out as a character for a long while.
Also, because I know other people are bring this up as well, later in this very same taping, Mr. Perfect beat Tito Santana to win the Intercontinental title in the finals of a tournament that was only a tournament in a very loose sense of the word, with the finals happening before one of the quarterfinal matches was even taped at a later date.
Meanwhile, Rick Martel is selling Arrogance while on horseback.
Meanwhile, Jesse interviews Earthquake, who promises to make Hillbilly Jim “squeal like a pig”. Ew.
Earthquake v. Hillbilly Jim
Apparently Jim was still around in 1990. Huh. Jim decides to attack Quake right away and rams him into the turnbuckles for the 10 count, but he stops to do a cartwheel and Quake proceeds to beating on him. Jim makes a brief comeback, but Jimmy Hart steals his beloved good luck horseshoe and he gets all flummoxed, allowing Quake to finish squashing him with an elbow and butt splash at 1:53. Did anyone even care about Jim enough in 1990 to make a stretcher job worth the TV time? DUD
Meanwhile, Rick Martel is shilling Arrogance again, this time making women magically appear by spraying it.
Meanwhile, the Hart Foundation are interviewed by Jesse, who is still supporting them despite their babyface turn, calling the Rockers “a pair of somersaulting sissies”.
The Rockers v. The Hart Foundation
They would of course have a much more notable match later in the year. Bret and Marty trade rollup attempts to start and Bret gets trapped in the babyface corner, but Shawn does a bodypress and Bret rolls through for two. The Rockers double-team him with a legsweep, so Anvil comes in and clotheslines them both to save. Anvil overpowers Marty, who bumps to the apron off a shoulderblock, but Shawn comes in with a dropkick for two. Bret comes in with an atomic drop and clothesline on Shawn to take over, and he adds the knee from the apron as the Harts are always happy to go heel in these situations. Anvil backdrops Shawn and the Harts go to work on the back as Bret whips Shawn into the corner. He then whips Anvil into the corner for a shoulderblock on Shawn, and that gets two. Shawn comes back with a sunset flip on Bret for two, but Demolition comes down to the ring to scout as they begin their heel turn after regaining the titles at WM. And we take a break as Jesse declares that Joey Marella should take control and get rid of them. Yeah, he won’t, because he’s THE WORST. Back with Vince clarifying that they’re allowed to stay as long as they don’t interfere. THAT’S HOW COMMUNISM INFILTRATES THE GOVERNMENT! Goddamn it Marella. Marty gets a hot tag and powerslams Bret as Vince declares the match to be a HUMDINGER, and a superkick gets two. It’s also a SEE SAW MATCHUP BACK AND FORTH, so Vince is breaking his own star rating scale and we’re at seven stars now. Marty with a sunset flip for two, but he puts his head down and Bret gets a neckbreaker and then slingshots Anvil in, but that misses. Marty gets a hot tag to Shawn, but Anvil DESTROYS him with a shoulderblock and Shawn does a 360 sell off that for a two count. AWESOME. Shawn gets a back elbow for two. Bodypress gets two, but Anvil throws him to the floor on the kickout and Demolition decides to throw Shawn back in, which triggers a three-way brawl for the double DQ at 11:31. There was actually some interesting shades of grey stuff going on here, but they quickly went in another direction with “Demolition adds a third member because they’re bad dur dur” instead and killed off the team’s awesome aura. This was a GREAT TV match. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Earthquake and Hulk Hogan cut promos on each other, as Hulk declares that Hulkamania is like “a Texas Tornado”. I thought that was the other guy?
Meanwhile, Ultimate Warrior wins the WWF Title at Wrestlemania.
Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan thinks that Texas will finally have something to be proud of once Haku wins the title tonight.
Meanwhile, Warrior does another one of his bullshit promos about nothing, which was one of the main reasons why he didn’t connect with anyone as World champion. At a certain point, you need some kind of relatable personality or issue for people to connect with at that level, and his rambling nonsense about filling his soul with powers and courage just weren’t it.
WWF title: Ultimate Warrior v. Haku
Like, immediately the crowd is completely dead for Warrior compared to what Hogan was getting earlier in the show and they have to go nuts with the crowd sweetening. Also the crowd has visibly emptied out and the arena is blacked out! Warrior works the arm to start and sends Haku to the floor. Back in, Haku tries to attack, but Warrior rams him into the turnbuckle, but Haku gets a cheapshot and gets some chops. Backbreaker gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Haku slams him and gets a splash for two, but Warrior makes the comeback and splashes him for the pin at 4:45. This was a brutal lesson in what not to do with your new champion, burying him late in the show with a dead crowd and a bad match. ½*
Meanwhile, Martel is now selling Arrogance from a tennis court, doing a promo reminiscent of what Val Venis would be doing a few years later. “You’ll be the #1 seed, and one shot will put you in the royal box”. Yeah, you could literally switch Val in there and it would be the same thing.
Big Bossman v. Akeem
And it’s the rematch from Wrestlemania in the death slot to close things out this week. Vince and Jesse have a whole weird run about Mean Gene possibly being the illegitimate father of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for your dated pop culture reference of the week. Bossman quickly gets the beatdown on Akeem and slugs away in the corner, but he misses a charge and Akeem gets a corner clothesline to take over. This sets up a STINKFACE from Akeem, as he takes Bossman to deepest darkest somewhere if you smell what the Rock is cooking. Big splash gets two off that, but Bossman backdrops him to the floor and slingshots him back in. He does something that looks like it was supposed to be a headbutt, but Akeem didn’t really understand and didn’t sell, and then the Bossman slam looks to finish before Ted Dibiase runs in for the DQ at 3:00. Just a shit match with a shit finish to wrap things up this time. DUD And Dibiase handcuffs the Bossman to the ropes and proceeds with the beatdown, but Bossman of course has the key to his own cuffs and frees himself, chasing them off and making his own save. Honestly I’m surprised they didn’t turn Akeem babyface as well and have him do a goofy midcard run as a dancing Dusty type, as he basically faded off TV after this and was gone by September.
Meanwhile, Ultimate Warrior is suddenly really pissed off at Rick Rude again.
The Rockers-Harts match is really good, but man the rest of the show and in particular the Warrior match is really a sign of how this concept was falling off a cliff and fast.