What the World Was Watching: WWF Wrestling Challenge – July 8, 1990

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are in the booth, concluding the tapings in Rochester, New York.

Opening Contest:  Dusty Rhodes (w/Sapphire) (12-0-1) pins Bob Bradley after the Polka Dot Drop at 2:03:

This is Rhodes’ best squash of the year due to Bradley bumping like crazy for him.  Bradley takes a nasty bump from a backdrop, nearly landing on his head, and he does the Ric Flair spot of flipping over a corner turnbuckle and climbing to the top rope of another corner, only to get tossed off.  Although his feud with Randy Savage has not developed much in recent weeks, Rhodes remains one of the most over babyfaces in the company.

Lord Alfred Hayes’ Special Report segment shows a few fans who are divided in their opinions about whether Hulk Hogan should return or not.  Earthquake and Jimmy Hart argue that Hogan should not return.

Rick Martel’s match with Brady Boone from Prime Time Wrestling airs.

Tugboat (13-0) pins Will Douglas after a splash off the second rope at 1:44:

As Tugboat works over Douglas, Dino Bravo and Jimmy Hart come to ringside and walk around the ring.  Tugboat pays them little mind, slamming Douglas and winning with a splash off the second rope.

The Orient Express (w/Mr. Fuji) (12-0) defeat Hercules & Jim McPherson when Sato pins McPherson after a sitout powerbomb at 1:44:

Hercules gets the dreaded pairing with a jobber to reinforce his status as a lower midcard act in the eyes of the fans.  The predictable match follows where Hercules does well against Sato and tags McPherson, who loses the advantage and never recovers.

After the bell, the Express and Fuji beat up Hercules until Paul Roma makes the save.

Dino Bravo (w/Jimmy Hart) (17-3) beats Jim Powers after a sidewalk slam at 1:48:

In the split screen, Bravo urges Hulk Hogan to retire next week to save himself further punishment from Earthquake.  Tugboat returns the favor by walking around ringside during the match and handing out Hogan friendship bracelets, allowing Powers to score some near-falls from the distraction.  Bravo barely sells any of Powers offense and prevails after catching Powers with a sidewalk slam off the ropes.

Gene Okerlund interviews all three members of Demolition.  Ax warns the Hart Foundation that Demolition is stronger than ever.  Smash adds that Crush does not care what anyone thinks, including the fans, so that makes him a valued team member.

A replay of Koko B. Ware’s squash of Dale Wolfe from Prime Time Wrestling two weeks ago is shown.

A replay of Ted DiBiase and Virgil visiting with the Big Bossman’s old football coach in Cobb County, Georgia airs.

Non-Title Match:  Mr. Perfect (Intercontinental Champion w/Bobby Heenan) (19-2) pins Mark Thomas after the Perfectplex at 3:38:

Perfect talks trash throughout the squash, reminding his opponent that he is not at his level.  Thomas surprise Perfect at the end with a slam and dropkick, but a blind charge prompts Perfect to end the match with the Perfectplex.

The Last Word:  This was just a middling episode of Wrestling Challenge, filled with squashes and little in the way of angle development.  The Paul Roma save of Hercules in the middle of the show makes one wonder why Hercules is not already teaming with his friend, especially when Roma is far better than any jobber he could find in the locker room.

Here is how the WWF booked its house show circuit for the first full week of July.  Results come from thehistoryofwwe.com:

Hershey, Pennsylvania – Hersheypark Arena – July 2, 1990:  Black Bart pinned Jim Powers…Haku pinned Shane Douglas with a thrust kick…Ronnie Garvin defeated Mike Sharpe (substituting for Rick Martel)…The Bushwhackers defeated Rhythm & Blues via disqualification…Tugboat pinned Dino Bravo with a clothesline and splash…Tugboat pinned Bad News Brown in less than a minute in an impromptu match.  Brown was supposed to face Jake Roberts, but Roberts no-showed and Brown issued an open challenge to anyone in the locker room, which was answered by Tugboat…Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated Randy Savage & Sensational Sherri (w/Brother Love) when Sapphire pinned Sherri after Elizabeth hit Sherri with her own purse.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada – July 7, 1990 (4,500):  Shane Douglas pinned Paul Diamond…The Barbarian beat Jimmy Snuka…Dino Bravo pinned Tugboat after Jimmy Hart interfered and held Tugboat’s foot down…The Bushwhackers defeated Rhythm & Blues via disqualification…Jake Roberts beat Dino Bravo (substituting for Bad News Brown)…Buddy Rose defeated Jim Powers…WWF Champion the Ultimate Warrior pinned Rick Rude.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Maple Leaf Gardens – July 8, 1990 (2,500):  Haku pinned Jim Brunzell…Nikolai Volkoff beat Boris Zhukov…Hillbilly Jim pinned Black Bart (This would be Jim’s last match for the WWF)…The Warlord pinned Pez Whatley (substituting for Tito Santana) with a powerslam…Earthquake pinned Hacksaw Jim Duggan…WWF Tag Team Champions Smash & Crush beat the Hart Foundation when Crush pinned Bret Hart after Ax interfered and clotheslined Bret…Tito Santana (substituting for Brutus Beefcake) beat Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect via disqualification when Perfect pulled the referee in front of Santana.

Backstage News*:        Brutus Beefcake was injured in a parasailing accident on July 4, having his face smashed by someone’s knees.  Beefcake required ten hours of surgery to repair his face and pieces of his hip were used to reconstruct his skull.  The injuries were life threatening as paramedics had to prevent the roof of Beefcake’s mouth from collapsing so he did not suffocate on his own skull fragments.  Doctors estimate that Beefcake will be out for at least eighteen months, but some in the industry think Beefcake will never wrestle again.  The WWF was planning on having Beefcake challenge Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam so those plans will have to be changed.  Dave Meltzer speculates that Kerry Von Erich will be plugged into Beefcake’s spot.

*In talent relations news, Ric Flair will not be going to the WWF this year because WCW Executive Vice President Jim Herd is refusing to release him from his contract.  Sergeant Slaughter is returning in the fall and will be a heel.

*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for July 16.

Up Next:  Prime Time Wrestling for July 9!