What the World Was Watching: WWF Wrestling Challenge – January 7, 1990

Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon handle commentary duties and they are taped from the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.  This taping took place on December 12, 1989.  Schiavone has a guitar and tries to play a song and does terribly.

Opening Contest:  The Hart Foundation (1-0) defeat the Brooklyn Brawler & Conquistador #1 when Bret Hart pins #1 after the Hart Attack at 2:25:

Conquistador #1 might be Jose Estrada here as he stayed in the WWF when the Conquistador tag team, which was used to put babyface teams over, disbanded by 1989.  In the early going, the Harts do a split screen promo and tease what might happen if they have to face each other at the end of the Royal Rumble.  The Foundation plow through the jobbers with few problems.  Bret works in some of his “moves of doom” before the Harts plant #1 with the Hart Attack.

Lord Alfred Hayes runs down the Royal Rumble card.  The Genius says he will put Brutus Beefcake’s barber skills to rest, while Beefcake threatens to cut the Genius’ hair.  The Bushwhackers vow to take care of the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers once and for all.  And the Rougeaus rip off John Denver in singing that they will send the Bushwhackers home to New Zealand.

A recap of the ongoing issues between the Ultimate Warrior and Dino Bravo airs.

Dino Bravo (w/Jimmy Hart & the Canadian Earthquake) pins Dale Wolfe after a sidewalk slam at 2:00:

Bravo was a Montreal-based talent that became a big name in the country in the Lutte Internationale (International Wrestling) promotion.  The promotion was closed due to the WWF’s 1980s expansion, but Bravo found home in the new company.  He took on the gimmick of “The World’s Strongest Man” after completing a record-setting bench press of 715 pounds with the help of commentator Jesse Ventura.  By the end of 1989 he was involved in a feud with the Ultimate Warrior over the Intercontinental Championship.  Wolfe was a lot like George South, a noted territory jobber who had a good backstage reputation and he was used by the WWF until 1993 in an enhancement role.  The Ultimate Warrior cuts a crazed split screen promo, arguing that Bravo and the Earthquake will be another steppingstone in his life’s journey.  Bravo lands some token blows, refusing to pin Wolfe after an elbow drop.  A sidewalk slam finishes.

After the match, the Earthquake gets into the ring and flattens Wolfe with the Earthquake Splash (a sitdown splash).

Sean Mooney puts over the next Boston Garden card for January 13, which will feature Bret Hart vs. Bad News Brown, the Honky Tonk Man vs. Jimmy Snuka, WWF Tag Team Champions the Colossal Connection vs. Demolition, Randy Savage vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a match with two referees for the right to be called “King of the WWF,” and Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior vs. Dino Bravo.  The Earthquake says Bravo is prepping for the match by doing push-ups with him on his back.  Bravo says the Warrior wants no piece of him.  Snuka says that Honky made a big mistake not finishing him off with a guitar shot, so he looks forward to getting revenge.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeats Craig Green with a three-point stance clothesline at 2:11:

After his professional football career was scuttled by knee injuries, Duggan broke into the business in Texas with the help of Fritz von Erich.  He got a lot of attention in the 1980s as one of the major’s draws for Mid-South Wrestling, feuding with Ted DiBiase, the Junkyard Dog, Butch Reed, and Magnum T.A and winning the promotion’s North American Heavyweight Championship.  Duggan was primed to be a big act shortly after signing with the WWF in 1987, but he was arrested months after his debut with the Iron Sheik for a DUI.  It took Duggan until the end of the year to get his push back, aided by fans liking his pro-U.S.A. gimmick and bringing a 2×4 to the ring, something he started doing in Mid-South.  Duggan won the first televised Royal Rumble in 1988 and defeated King Haku for his crown in May 1989, a title he later lost to Randy Savage and the two were still feuding over it into 1990.  Green appeared on several WWF shows in 1989 and 1990 in a jobber capacity, putting over the likes of the Red Rooster, Jake Roberts, and Ron Garvin.  As Duggan pounds away, the Bossman warns Duggan that pain awaits him at The Royal Rumble.  Duggan bowls over Green with several clotheslines and when the jobber tries to quit, Duggan drags him back into the ring so he can finish with his three-point stance clothesline.

A recap of the Colossal Connection defeating Demolition at the end of 1989 for the WWF Tag Team Championship airs.

Sean Mooney hypes the Boston Garden show again.  Hacksaw Jim Duggan says having another referee will prevent Randy Savage from cheating and that means Duggan will be the King of the WWF again.  WWF Tag Team Champions the Colossal Connection brag that no one can stop them, especially Demolition.

The Hercules-John Justice match that aired on Prime Time Wrestling is shown.

Gene Okerlund interviews Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri.  Savage says no one can beat him and since he is royalty, the Royal Rumble match is made for him.  He says that Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, and even Andre the Giant will fall to him at The Royal Rumble.  Okerlund asks Sherri about her appearance on the Brother Love Show with Sapphire on the pay-per-view.  Sherri says if Sapphire gets in her business she will send her back where she came from.  Even though Savage is in a midcard role with this gimmick, he does such a convincing and serious job with it that fans can still view him as a top guy.  So instead of it stalling out his momentum, it kept his head above water until the time was right to push him back to the main event.

Okerlund does The Royal Rumble Report.  Roddy Piper says he grew up rumbling in the streets, so the Rumble match works for him and he hopes to draw the first number.  Dusty Rhodes says the match will be special because Sapphire will be with him.  Mr. Perfect says he also hopes to get the first number so he can toss out the other twenty-nine participants.  In keeping with today’s theme, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan also hopes to get the first number so he can wrestle for an hour and lay waste to the roster.  And Brother Love hypes his segment between Sensational Sherri and Sapphire.

The Rockers-Pat Rose & Avril Hutto match that aired of Prime Time Wrestling is shown.

Sean Mooney hypes the Boston Garden card for the third time.  Bad News Brown is still bitter about Bret Hart destroying his battle royal trophy at WrestleMania IV, warning him that he will pay.  Demolition vow to get their tag team titles back because they will not be caught off-guard by the Colossal Connection again.

Tune in next week to see the Big Bossman, Mr. Perfect, Brutus Beefcake, Rick Rude, and Jake Roberts in action!  Also, Gene Okerlund interviews Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

The Last Word:  This was just more Royal Rumble hype, with the last few matches recycled from Prime Time Wrestling earlier in the week.  WWF Champion Hulk Hogan, Mr. Perfect, and Randy Savage are getting a lot of promo time to hype that match over the course of the week, so it seems they are the top three candidates to win the match at the moment.

After doing a television tapings in Birmingham, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee, the WWF ran several house shows in the Mid-West, Maryland, and New York.  At this time in its history, the WWF was running three loops of shows (A, B, and C).  Here were the results of those shows, courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com:

Des Moines, Iowa – Veterans Auditorium – January 5, 1990 (4,900):  The Canadian Earthquake pinned Paul Roma after the Earthquake Splash…The Powers of Pain beat the Rockers when the Barbarian pinned Shawn Michaels after Mr. Fuji interfered…Hercules beat Mike Sharpe via submission…Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior pinned Dino Bravo after several clotheslines.  After the match, the Earthquake interfered with a chair before the Warrior fought off Bravo and Earthquake…Rick Martel pinned Brutus Beefcake…Tito Santana beat French Martin (substituting for Barry Windham)…Jake Roberts pinned Ted DiBiase after a DDT.  Virgil was barred from ringside for the match.

Utica, New York – Memorial Auditorium – January 6, 1990 (2,700):  Bad News Brown pinned Bill Woods (substituting for Bret Hart who missed the show due to transportation issues)…Ax beat Haku (replacement match for Demolition vs. Colossal Connection because Smash and Andre the Giant had transportation issues)…Tugboat beat Bob Bradley (substituting for Barry Horowitz)…Hacksaw Jim Duggan beat Randy Savage after Tugboat interfered and gave Sensational Sherri’s loaded purse to Duggan, who hit Savage with it…The Honky Tonk Man pinned Sam Houston (substituting for the Red Rooster)…Mr. Perfect beat Jimmy Snuka…Dusty Rhodes pinned the Big Bossman in three minutes in a ball and chain match.

Emmitsburg, Maryland – St. Mary’s College – January 6, 1990:  Koko B. Ware pinned Al Perez…The Brooklyn Brawler pinned Jim Powers after using the tights for leverage…The Genius beat Jim Neidhart via disqualification after Neidhart inadvertently pulled the referee in front of a Genius punch…The Bushwhackers defeat the Bolsheviks when Butch pinned Boris Zhukov…Ronnie Garvin wrestled Greg Valentine to a twenty-minute draw…Roddy Piper pinned Rick Rude.

Backstage News*:        The reason for the ongoing spat between the WWF and pay-per-view providers with The Royal Rumble is that Vince McMahon thinks that the ten percent rake that the providers are taking is too much.  McMahon believes that he has leverage because WWF pay-per-views have made lots of money over the last few years and is unwilling to give in.  The company’s No Holds Barred pay-per-view, which showed the film and a cage match between Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake against Randy Savage and Zeus, drew a 1.6 buyrate and $2.3 million, which the WWF considers a success.

*In terms of WrestleMania, there are rumors that the plan could go one of two ways.  Roddy Piper could be positioned as a challenger to Hogan now that he last left Prime Time Wrestling or the slot could go to the Ultimate Warrior.  If it is either man, it is an open question whether the WWF will choose for the match to be babyface vs. babyface or try to turn Piper or the Warrior heel.

*A Washington, D.C. newspaper is claiming that Hogan will retire after The Main Event on February 23, but that is unlikely since Hogan is under WWF contract until 1994.

*St. Louis fans were not happy about a Christmas weekend house show where Hogan’s plane got diverted to Memphis due to bad weather and he chose to wait for another plane instead of driving, missing the show as a result.  Instead of being up front with fans, the WWF decided to stall for two hours before telling people that Hogan was not coming.

*In talent relations news, Barry Windham is no-showing house show appearances but the company is still advertising him.  The WWF will be bringing in Pat Tanaka from the AWA.  He will team with Akio Sato as a Japanese tag team.  Tanaka was originally supposed to work for the NWA as part of its J-Tex team, but McMahon signed him to mess with those plans.

*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for January 8.

Up Next:  Prime Time Wrestling for January 8!