What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – July 21, 1990

Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are doing commentary and they are taped from Dayton, Ohio.

Opening Contest:  Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) (14-1-1) defeats Jim Powers via submission to the Million Dollar Dream at 2:29:

As DiBiase arm drags Powers, the Big Bossman pops up in the split screen and says he is going to go after DiBiase for defaming his character.  Powers gets a small bit of shine, but DiBiase cuts off any momentum with a knee to the gut and goes on to defeat the former Young Stallions member for the second time this year.  After the bout, DiBiase shoves a $100 bill down Powers’ throat.

Gene Okerlund’s Update segment hypes the release of Supertape Vol. 2 from Coliseum Video.  There is also hype for SummerSlam.  Okerlund announces that there will be an Intercontinental title match at the pay-per-view even though Brutus Beefcake has been sidelined.  Other matches announced include Demolition defending the WWF Tag Team Championship against the Hart Foundation in a two-out-of-three falls match and a third Demolition member will not be allowed at ringside.  Demolition say the stipulations at SummerSlam will be no problem for them.  The Foundation rebut that they are not going to back down.

Nikolai Volkoff (4-0) defeats Pez Whatley after a clothesline to the back of the head at 1:07:

As Volkoff works over Whatley, WWF fans appear in the split screen and say that they are happy Volkoff has switched loyalties to the United States.  Volkoff makes quick work of Whatley, waving the American flag after the bell.

Shown on a firing range, Sergeant Slaughter says he is disgusted that WWF fans have embraced Volkoff.  He yells about America going soft and the Cold War is not yet over.  This ends the questions from The Wrestling Observer about whether Slaughter will be coming in as a babyface or a heel.  Slaughter was always a good promo, so he is going to move up the card quickly.

Okerlund does the first SummerSlam Report.  It is announced that WWF Champion the Ultimate Warrior will defend his title against Rick Rude in a steel cage match as part of a double main event.  The other main event is Hulk Hogan against Earthquake.  Earthquake, Dino Bravo, and Jimmy Hart welcome Hogan back to the WWF.  Earthquake says he will make Hogan regret his decision to return.  Hogan and Tugboat respond, with Hogan putting over Tugboat’s capabilities to watch his back.  The former WWF champion adds that he will slam Earthquake through a big hole in the Earth on the pay-per-view.  WWF Champion the Ultimate Warrior escapes his witness protection program, appearing behind a steel cage and vowing to summon his powers to beat Rude.

The Legion of Doom (1-0) defeat Black Bart & Tom Stone when Hawk pins Stone after the Doomsday Device at 1:28:

Bart gets knocked over the top rope in the early moments and never enters the ring, leaving Stone to take all of the Legion’s offense.  The crowd loves seeing Animal and Hawk do power moves, popping big for the Doomsday Device.

Sapphire shows off a gold bracelet she recently received from a mysterious person.  She says she loves the gifts she has been getting and does not care where they are coming from.

Rick Rude, who has not been seen in several weeks, comes out with Bobby Heenan for the Brother Love Show.  Rude talks about how a steel cage match works and says that the Warrior will be forced to try to escape the cage not to win, but to escape the punishment that will be inflicted upon him.  Heenan promises that lightning will strike twice when Rude beats the Warrior for a title.  Rude was trying his best here, but no one is buying him as a threat, especially in big markets that have already seen him job cleanly to the Warrior since WrestleMania.

Dino Bravo (w/Jimmy Hart) (18-3-2) beats Paul Roma (1-4) after a sidewalk slam at 1:57:

This is a good, abbreviated match as both men quickly trade offense.  Roma almost wins with a flying sunset flip, but he gets caught off the ropes with a sidewalk slam and suffers another loss.  After the bell, Bravo hits Roma with Hart’s megaphone.

Ronnie Garvin does another round of WWF ice cream bar hype duty.

The Rockers are scheduled to be in the next match but when they get to the ring, Roma is still being tended to by WWF officials.  The Rockers go to check on him, which Roma does not appreciate, pushing them.  Hercules comes out to stick up for his friend and after a tense exchange, the teams fight and the Rockers dropkicking Roma and Hercules to the floor.  WWF officials pour out to separate the two sides.

The Rockers (12-2-1) defeat Al Burke & Bob Bradley when Shawn Michaels pins Burke after a double flying fist drop at 3:18:

In the split screen, Roma and Hercules say that they are superior athletes to the Rockers, are tired of the fans cheering the Rockers more, and they vow to become a permanent team from here on.  This appears to kill off the Rockers feud with the Orient Express.  The Rockers stay grounded for most of the match and wrestle at a slower speed, winning their seventh straight bout with the double flying fist drop.

Tune in next week to see Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Bad News Brown, Dusty Rhodes, Earthquake, and the Big Bossman in action!

The Last Word:  The WWF packed a lot into this hour of television as we got Sergeant Slaughter’s debut vignette, promos for big matches at SummerSlam, and a good tag team angle between the Rockers and Hercules and Paul Roma.  That angle was unexpected because Hercules and Roma were positioned as a babyface team on prior episodes of Prime Time Wrestling this year, but slotting them as heels is best to balance out the tag team division.  With regards to SummerSlam it is unclear why the Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude are fighting in a cage.  Long-time fans could infer that could be to lessen the impact of Bobby Heenan’s interference, as he cost the Warrior the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania V, or even interference from the Warrior’s allies, as Roddy Piper provided a timely distraction when the Warrior beat Rude at SummerSlam ’89, but inference should not be required for a top-level feud.  It seems like the WWF recognized that Warrior-Rude was not drawing interest so they thought slapping a gimmick on the match would spice it up.

Up Next:  Wrestling Challenge for July 22!