What the World Was Watching: WWF Prime Time Wrestling – February 19, 1990

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are hosting tonight’s broadcast.  Heenan announces that Mike Tyson will not referee the WWF title match between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage on The Main Event.  Monsoon follows up by saying that Buster Douglas will take Tyson’s place.  Heenan is discouraged by this news because he hoped to referee the bout.

Opening Contest:  Koko B. Ware (4-0) defeats Omar Atlas with the Ghostbuster at 4:53:

Atlas was an accomplished amateur wrestler, representing Venezuela at the Pan-American Games in 1958 and winning a silver medal.  He began his wrestling career shortly thereafter in Spain and found success in the Midwest, defeating Harley Race for the Central States Heavyweight Championship in 1972.  Atlas would also be a top attraction on the West Coast for Roy Shire and Don Owens during the 1970s.

Ware struggles in this squash against the veteran, but the bout is a styles clash because Atlas wrestles the 1970s style of strikes and chokes.  A dropkick turns the tide and a missile dropkick and Ghostbuster keep Ware undefeated for the year.

Gene Okerlund provides the Update segment, replaying the recent promos on Superstars between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior for WrestleMania VI.  Afterward, Monsoon speculates over what title will be at stake in the match.

Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) (2-1) beats Jerry Monti via submission to the Million Dollar Dream at 2:48:

DiBiase beats up Monti on the floor, forcing Virgil to roll his opponent into the ring so DiBiase can finish with a piledriver and the Million Dollar Dream.

Monsoon and Heenan hype The Main Event and debate whether Douglas can count falls.

A replay of the Brutus Beefcake-Rick Rude match from Superstars airs.  Afterward Heenan says that Perfect apologized to him for getting Rude disqualified.

Bad News Brown (4-0) pins Lee Peak after the Ghetto Blaster at 2:13:

Brown is impatient, tearing into Peak before his name is announced and as the crowd chants for Roddy Piper.  Peak never gets out of his ring jacket as Brown beats him down and hits the Ghetto Blaster.  Afterward, Brown punches a defenseless Peak several times in the face and tosses him over the top rope.

Heenan speculates on what might happen to Sensational Sherri if she interferes in the WWF Championship match on The Main Event.  Monsoon says Douglas might just punch her in the face, which would be what she deserves.

Sean Mooney introduces some Event Center promos.  Ronnie Garvin screams about how he loves overcoming challenges and fighting all kinds of men because he is a winner.  The Powers of Pain and Mr. Fuji hype their gimmick, saying they fear no one in the WWF.

Tito Santana (3-2) pins Black Bart after the flying forearm at 7:18:

Bart broke into the business in 1975 and got his name from Dusty Rhodes after competing for Bill Watts.  He received a push in Florida, winning the NWA United States Tag Team Championship there with Ron Bass and the two took their act to Jim Crockett Promotions.  In 1986, Bart was billed as a challenger for the World Class Heavyweight Championship, wrestling Chris Adams and Kevin Von Erich.  After that, he wrestled Antonio Inoki in New Japan and feuded with Jerry Lawler and Jeff Jarrett in Memphis before signing with the WWF.  This was his first televised match for the company.

Most fans of this era were probably wondering why Santana was struggling against unfamiliar wrestlers on Prime Time Wrestling as Bart dominates much of the action.  Santana runs the template that Randy Savage would run later where he takes a big beating and then hits two moves to set up a finisher.  Bart looks terrible as he only throws punches, chokes, and eye rakes and he and Santana do not appear on the same page when transitioning between who controls the action.  Schiavone calls Santana’s finisher “the Mexican Hammer,” a cool name that the WWF should have gone with.  Rating:  ¼*

Heenan digs Schiavone’s winning call, claiming that Santana’s finisher is “The Flying Jalapeno.”  He cracks Monsoon up by making jokes about Mrs. Santana’s cooking.

A replay of the Dusty Rhodes-Rick Martel bout on Wrestling Challenge is shown.  When the show shifts back to the studio, Monsoon argues that Martel is putting wrestlers at risk because he might have pesticide in his atomizer.  Heenan rebuts that Rhodes and Sapphire have their own colognes and they smell bad already.

Okerlund’s interview with Mr. Perfect and the Genius on Wrestling Challenge airs.

Okerlund provides the WrestleMania VI Report.

The Dino Bravo squash from Superstars a few weeks ago airs.

Tugboat (2-0) pins Dale Wolfe after a splash at 1:08:

The WWF cannot figure out what they want to call Tugboat as he was referenced as “Tugboat” in his last match and now he is announced as “Tugboat Thomas” again.  Tugboat makes short work of Wolfe, avalanching him in the corner, slamming him, and dropping a big splash.

Monsoon floats the idea of how he would like to see a match between Tugboat and Earthquake.  Heenan reminds him that if that happened, the WWF would have to reinforce the ring.

A second batch of Event & Center promos sees Jimmy Hart put over Rhythm & Blues as the greatest tag team he has ever assembled.  Jake Roberts, holding the Million Dollar Belt, repeats that he took one of DiBiase’s prized possessions because that is all DiBiase values.

Heenan puts over the Roddy Piper-Bad News Brown match booked for WrestleMania VI, saying that he is temped to give Brown some cash to make sure Piper never sets foot in the WWF again.

Akeem (w/Slick) defeats Bret Hart (0-0-1) with a sit down splash at 8:31:

Akeem was known to fans as the One Man Gang, a brawler character that began his run in the business in 1977 at the age of seventeen.  Prior to signing with the WWF, the Gang feuded with Kerry von Erich and Bruiser Brody in World Class and went on to win the Universal Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship via forfeit while working for Bill Watts, triggering feuds with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Steve Williams, and Ted DiBiase.  After coming to the WWF, the Gang was paired with Slick and made the semi-finals of the WWF Championship Tournament at WrestleMania IV before losing to Randy Savage.  In September 1988 his manager Slick said that the Gang was really African, and he adopted a gimmick where he spoke jive and took the name “Akeem, the African Dream.”  Akeem was paired with the Big Bossman in a tag team called the Twin Towers and the duo enjoyed a great deal of success in 1988 and 1989, although they never won the tag team titles from Demolition.  The duo was crucial in kickstarting the Mega Power breakup angle, though, on an episode of The Main Event in February 1989.

This match took place at Madison Square Garden on January 15 and is laid out perfectly, with Bret seizing the advantage when Akeem accidentally punches the ring post and working over the hand.  When Akeem regains the advantage with his power, Bret sells well by going limp after an elbow drop and leaning against his opponent after taking several overhand chops.  Bret gives the crowd hope by punching back in the late stages and Akeem goes off his feet only once – when Bret floors him with a clothesline – but that is only good for a near-fall.  An old referee is out of position for a trip spot that gives Bret another near-fall, angering the crowd in the process, but Bret bites off too much when he tries a sunset flip and Akeem counters with a sit down splash to prevail.  Rating:  **½

Tune in next week to see Rick Rude against Ronnie Garvin!

The Last Word:  The main event is a classic example of Bret Hart getting over through losing.  Despite eating the pin, the match told a story of Bret beating himself and putting up the best fight possible against a bigger opponent.  Those efforts would not go unnoticed by crowds and would contribute to Bret’s stronger singles push the next year.  The show was running on fumes before the main event, though, as unknown workers got to beat on Koko B. Ware and Tito Santana for long periods of time, solidifying their status as bottom tier competitors on the babyface side of the roster.

Up Next:  The Main Event for February 23!