What the World Was Watching: WWF The Main Event – February 23, 1990

Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura do commentary and they are live from Detroit, Michigan.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a crowd of 21,000 fans.  The broadcast drew a rating of 12.8 (roughly 20.9 million viewers), an increase from the previous year’s telecast that pulled a 11.6 rating (19.9 million viewers) when the show was headlined by the Mega Powers facing the Twin Towers.

Gene Okerlund interviews Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri.  Savage says that he is happy that Mike Tyson pulled out as the referee because he found out that Tyson’s great grandmother is a Hulkamaniac so that made him biased.  Savage warns Buster Douglas to call it down the middle or royal authority will rain down on him.  Sherri closes by vowing that Hulk Hogan is not going to go into WrestleMania VI as world champion.

Okerlund talks with Hogan, who says that he and Douglas share values in believing in god, themselves, and their country.  Despite that, Hogan does not know if he can trust Douglas and he warns him to stay out of his way, lest Hogan run wild on him and leave Detroit with the WWF title and Douglas’ world heavyweight boxing championship.

Okerlund interviews Douglas and puts him over as a hard worker who lived out his dream.  Douglas says he beat Mike Tyson for his country and his mother.  He takes a shot at Mike Tyson for not showing up, saying he felt it was his job to step into the role because that is what fans were promised.  Douglas’ delivery was low energy and one has to think the Tyson jabs were scripted by the WWF.

Opening Contest for the WWF Championship with Buster Douglas as guest referee:  Hulk Hogan (Champion) pins Randy Savage (w/Sensational Sherri) (1-0) after a leg drop at 9:45 shown:

Douglas is serving as outside enforcer as full-time referee Earl Hebner handles the in-ring action.  He is also accompanied by his trainer John Johnson.  Douglas gets involved quickly, blocking a Savage effort to give Hogan a flying double axe handle on the floor and that opens the door for a Ventura rant about favoritism toward the champion.  Douglas flexes his authority minutes later, tossing Sherri after she chokes Hogan behind Hebner’s back.  The match features the greatest hits between these two, with Savage scoring near-falls from a flying double axe handle and knee drop, and the spots with Douglas keep the crowd engaged.  However, Hogan quickly kicks out of the flying elbow drop.  Savage rolls out of the ring after the big boot to cut off Hogan’s finishing sequence and Hebner is bumped when the action gets into the ring.  Hogan drops the leg and Douglas counts the fall, with Savage barely selling the move so he can argue with Douglas over the count.  That gets him knocked out by the heavyweight champion to a loud reaction from the crowd.  Rating:  **1/2

Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior screams about Jupiter and chemicals.

Ventura interviews Dino Bravo, Jimmy Hart, and Earthquake.  Ventura puts over Bravo’s weightlifting record from the 1988 Royal Rumble.  Bravo promises that the Warrior is not going to WrestleMania VI as champion, while Hart says that Earthquake will be a great insurance policy to make sure that happens.

Okerlund talks with the Warrior, who says he does not need insurance of any type because he is not a normal man.

Intercontinental Championship Match:  The Ultimate Warrior (1-0) beats Dino Bravo (w/Jimmy Hart & Earthquake) (7-0) after a splash at 4:12:

With as much play as these two have had in promos over the last month it is surprising that this match did not get any hype before this show.  The Warrior’s early blitz of Bravo is stopped by Earthquake’s interference, leading to a weird sequence where the Warrior goes under the ring, drags Hart under it too, and rips his pants off.  Bravo hits the sidewalk slam out of nowhere, but the Warrior kicks out, does the shake comeback, and finishes with a splash.  Rating:  ½*

After the bell, Earthquake lays out the Warrior with a couple of elbow drops.  However, when Earthquake goes to the second rope to deliver the coup de grace, Hulk Hogan runs out and puts a stop to it.  When the Warrior recovers, he is not grateful for Hogan’s help and the two go nose-to-nose as WWF referees pour into the ring to separate them.

McMahon recaps the Hogan-Warrior feud before interviewing Hogan.  Hogan says that the Warrior is the strongest force that has ever attacked Hulkamania.  He promises to watch the Warrior’s back every week leading up to WrestleMania VI because he does not want there to be any excuses when he beats him.

Okerlund talks again with the Warrior, whose locker room is hilariously decked out in graffiti, tassels, and his merchandise.  The Warrior continues giving off heel vibes by claiming that Hogan fears him and he does not need his help.  He points to some of the illustrations on the locker room wall to claim that Hogan’s fans are questioning their loyalty to him and that he is the chosen one.

The program ends with Buster Douglas, who tells Okerlund he had a blast.  He puts over how he and Hogan are going to go out and drink milk.

The Last Word:  The only intrigue revolving around this show was whether Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior would be able to retain their respective championships.  It is obvious that the WWF Championship is going to be defended at WrestleMania VI but it is surprising that the company is keeping the Intercontinental title on the Warrior rather than find a creative way for him to lose it in the lead-up to the show.  Both men are doing a great job selling their match on the mic and the Warrior’s promo at the end was probably the more cogent he has given on the bout so far, even if it was laden with a lot of heelish rhetoric.  A danger that the show exposed, though, was that the Warrior’s in-ring abilities were very dependent on his opponent and he had to be carried to serviceable matches.  Rick Rude was able to do that for much of 1989, but Dino Bravo could not do it here.

Up Next:  WWF Superstars for February 24!