What the World Was Watching: SummerSlam 1990

Vince McMahon and Roddy Piper are doing commentary and they are live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show attracted a sellout crowd of 19,304, of which 18,703 paid to attend.  The buyrate for the show was 3.8 (507,000 estimated buys), down from the 4.8 buyrate (625,000 estimated buys) of the previous edition.

Opening Contest:  Power & Glory (w/Slick) (6-0) beat the Rockers (15-3-1) when Paul Roma pins Marty Jannetty after the Powerplex at 6:00:

Shawn Michaels is still recovering from a knee injury, as evidenced by the Rockers not running quickly to the ring during their entrance.  To cover up for Michaels’ limitations, Hercules this him in the knee with a chain and that forces Jannetty to wrestle the match two-on-one.  Jannetty gets a few hope spots, trapping each member of Power & Glory in small packages and hitting a flying fist drop on Roma, but the numbers overwhelm him in the end.  This was a great way to get heat on Power & Glory and continue this feud.  Rating:  **

After the bell, Power & Glory destroy Michaels’ knee some more until WWF officials flood into the ring.  Michaels does a stretcher job afterward.

Sean Mooney interviews Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan.  Perfect says he has never taken a match on such short notice but puts himself over as perfect in every way.  Heenan says that the Tornado has his name because his head is in the clouds, his feet are not on the ground, and he does very little damage like real tornadoes in Texas.

Gene Okerlund talks with the Tornado, who puts together a good promo about how tornadoes are powerful, unpredictable, and devastating, which is why he is going to win the title.

Intercontinental Championship Match:  The Texas Tornado (6-0) defeats Mr. Perfect (Champion w/Bobby Heenan) (26-2) with the discus punch to win the title at 5:14:

Perfect did not learn his lesson from WrestleMania VI as he talks trash to the Tornado after seizing command of the match after a feeling out period and slaps him in the corner.  That leads to the Tornado slingshotting Perfect into the ring post and using a claw hold to set up the discus punch.  There was not a lot of action here as Perfect got in three moves before the Tornado went into the finishing sequence.  Still, the crowd popped big for the title change and Perfect’s bumping made the Tornado look special.  The outcome ends Perfect’s fifteen match winning streak.  Rating:  *½

Perfect and Heenan come by Okerlund in the back to tell him that the referee was biased, and they vow to get the Intercontinental Championship back.

Sensational Sherri beats Sapphire via forfeit:

Sherri is keeping her cat-like makeup on for tonight’s show.  She is also wearing a dress, which is an odd choice of wrestling gear.  Sapphire does not show up after her theme music plays, so Sherri wins via forfeit.

Okerlund interviews Dusty Rhodes, who says Sapphire disappeared ten minutes after they arrived at the arena.  He says he is worried about her.  Hacksaw Jim Duggan makes a funny cameo, popping in to say he has not seen Sapphire, but everyone is looking for her.

The Warlord (w/Slick) (11-0) beats Tito Santana (13-6-1) after the running powerslam at 5:29:

This was originally supposed to be Santana facing his old tag team partner and longtime rival Rick Martel, but Martel was injured, and the Warlord got the pay-per-view payday instead.  Since the Warlord still lacks entrance music, he does not get an entrance, and this is his first match against a name opponent.  The big man does not impress, slowly working over Santana’s back until the former Intercontinental Champion hits the flying forearm after a Warlord blind charge.  The Warlord puts his foot on the ropes to break and puts Santana away with a running powerslam after blocking a monkey flip out of the corner.  Rating:  *

Mooney chats with WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition.  They refuse to disclose which two of their team will be wrestling in the tag team title match against the Hart Foundation.

Okerlund interviews the Hart Foundation, who are anxious to be tag team champions again.

Best-of-Three Falls Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship:  The Hart Foundation (16-0-1) beat Demolition – Smash & Crush (Champions) (6-0) to win the titles when Bret Hart pins Crush after a Neidhart slingshot shoulder block at 15:47:

Other Falls:  Crush pins Bret Hart after Demolition Decapitation to win the first fall at 6:20; The Hart Foundation wins the second fall via disqualification when Crush touches the referee at 10:07

The WWF has kept this feud going since WrestleMania VI and this is its conclusion.  Bret takes a good beating early, running through his moves of doom on Smash before Crush breaks up a pinfall and Demolition hit Demolition Decapitation for the first fall.  Jim Neidhart gets a hot tag midway through the second fall and that turns the tide for the team as Smash succumbs to a Hart Attack.  Rather than allow the pinfall to happen, Crush dives and stops the referee’s count by touching the referee, which is dumb because he could have easily broken up the pin instead, and Demolition lose the second fall via disqualification.  Right before the third fall, Ax sneaks down to ringside and eventually swaps places with Smash, leading to a stupid sequence where referee Earl Hebner somehow cannot tell that Ax is wrestling.  Then Piper on commentary questions if there was a switch and Neidhart seems chill with the situation, never trying to call Hebner’s attention to the illegality of the whole thing.  Although the last bit might be okay because it has never been established if Demolition would lose the titles if they lost both falls via disqualification.  The only party that seems concerned about this miscarriage of justice is the Legion of Doom, who come down to ringside when Ax and Smash switch again, pull Ax from underneath the ring, and brawl with the original variation of Demolition.  That leaves Crush alone against the Foundation and he is pinned, giving the Foundation the tag team titles for a second time.  Good, non-stop action here but some head scratching booking and spots weigh it down.  Rating:  ***¼

Get your tickets for WrestleMania VII at the Los Angeles Coliseum!

Okerlund interviews Legion of Doom, who say that Demolition are “micro mini-men” compared to them.  The Hart Foundation comes in to celebrate and say that they will take on anyone that wants a title shot.  It seems like the Legion should have taken them up on that offer immediately.

Mooney is outside Demolition’s locker room, with all of the members screaming.  Mooney says that Demolition are angry with the Legion of Doom and want revenge.

Okerlund talks with Sensational Sherri, who gloats about being so intimidating that Sapphire would not show up.  Sherri floats a rumor that Sapphire might be the smartest person in the WWF, elated at what she is holding back.  When Okerlund says there is nothing funny about a missing person, Sherri tosses in a rather infamous response:  “I said she was missing, I didn’t say she was a person.”

Mooney interviews Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff.  They put over their love of America and how they are the next U.S. Express.

Earthquake, Dino Bravo, and Jimmy Hart talk with Okerlund, and the big man continues his string of awesome promos as part of this feud, telling the WWF to get the Red Cross ready to handle the bodies of Hulk Hogan and the Big Bossman.

Mooney talks with Jake Roberts, who has problems with Damien trying to wrap himself around his neck.  Roberts does some generic hype for the match with Bad News Brown.

Singles Match Featuring the Big Bossman as Special Guest Referee:  Jake Roberts (19-1) defeats Bad News Brown (20-0-1) via disqualification at 4:42:

The timekeeper goes into business for himself, ringing the bell before the Bossman gets into the ring to take over referee duties for the match.  Each man avoids the other’s finisher early, although Roberts’ counter is less intentional as he is too injured to stand up and take the Ghetto Blaster.  All the hype about the use of animals never comes into play for obvious reasons and the match just ends when the Bossman disqualifies Brown for using a chair against Roberts on the floor.  Rating:  ½*

After the bell, Brown tries to leg drop Damien but the Bossman moves the snake bag.  As Brown beats on the Bossman, Roberts digs out Damien and tosses it on Brown, who flees.

Okerlund interviews Demolition, who complain about losing the tag team titles and they vow revenge against the Legion of Doom.

Brother Love welcomes Sergeant Slaughter back to the WWF.  Slaughter gives Love the “Sergeant Slaughter Great American Award” and rants about America growing weak.  He declares war on Nikolai Volkoff.  After several minutes of a dead crowd, Slaughter gets heat by saying that American troops would get their butt kicked if they faced off with the forces of “General Saddam Hussan.”

Mooney chats with the Orient Express and Mr. Fuji.  Fuji does his usual anti-American shtick until the segment is interrupted to go to Okerlund, who has Sapphire’s locker room door slammed in his face.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff defeat the Orient Express (w/Mr. Fuji) (18-0) when Duggan pins Tanaka after the three-point stance clothesline at 3:22:

Before the match, Duggan and Volkoff do an awful rendition of “God Bless America” and the heels do not try an attack to stop it.  Despite their undefeated record, the Express are just existing as their feud with the Rockers abruptly ended.  This match shunts them to the bottom of the tag team division as Volkoff overcomes their token beating, gives Duggan a hot tag, and Duggan clotheslines everything that moves to drive his team to victory.  Rating:  *

Dusty Rhodes tries to get into Sapphire locker room before his next match but she will not answer so Rhodes has to go to the ring alone.

Mooney interviews Randy Savage, who is atop the throne that he will ride to the ring.  Savage says that rumors about Sapphire not wanting to be a commoner for life must be true.  He gives an entertaining promo about how the Founding Fathers would not have wanted to live as a commoner like Rhodes.

Before the next match, Ted DiBiase and Virgil appear on the interview stand near the entrance.  DiBiase reveals himself as Sapphire’s benefactor.  Sapphire comes out carrying a WWF duffel bag full of money and cannot stop looking at it.

Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan, who has kind words for all the fans and people that supported him when Earthquake put him on the shelf.  He dedicates tonight’s matches to Tugboat.

Randy Savage (w/Sensational Sherri) (5-2) pins Dusty Rhodes (15-0-1) after hitting him in the back of the head with Sherri’s purse at 2:14:

For a feud ending bout, this is surprisingly short as the WWF kills it off so they can focus on a new Rhodes-DiBiase feud.  Savage takes advantage of a distracted Rhodes early, Rhodes gets in a few blows, and then Sherri provides a distraction that allows Savage to hit Rhodes with a loaded purse and get the win.  From a fan’s perspective, this is easily the most disappointing piece of booking on the show.

Mooney catches up with Ted DiBiase, Virgil, and Sapphire, who are getting into a limousine.  They speed off as an upset Rhodes tries to get into the vehicle.

Hulk Hogan (w/the Big Bossman) (3-1) beats Earthquake (w/Dino Bravo & Jimmy Hart) (20-1) via count out at 13:11:

The Bossman wants to drive his merch sales as he has been wearing a gawdy hat with his name on it all night long.  Referee Earl Hebner is having a bad night as he failed to tell the difference between Ax and Smash earlier and then allows an early part of the match to become a tornado tag match, with the Bossman and Hogan giving Earthquake a double big boot.  Things just get worse for him as Earthquake works Hogan’s back and out of desperation Hogan rips some of Hebner’s shirt off as he tries to escape a bearhug.  Earthquake hits two Earthquake Splashes, but Hogan kicks out and hulks up, successfully slamming the big man.  Bravo distracts the referee to prevent a three count after the leg drop, and the fight goes to the floor as all four men pair off.  Hogan slams Earthquake on top of a table, which does not break, and Earthquake cannot beat the count inside.  Earthquake’s talent came through in this match because a sizable chunk of the crowd thought Hogan was not getting up after the Earthquake Splashes.  The table breaking would have been a nice spot but that was unheard of in 1990.  And this ran through the usual Hogan formula, always guaranteed to produce a decent match.  Rating:  **½

After the bell, Earthquake gets back into the ring and traps Hogan in a raised choke.  The Bossman takes a step ladder and wails away on Earthquake, giving him some nasty welts and cuts on his back.  That finally gets Earthquake to break the hold and walk away, giving Hogan time to pose for the crowd.

Mooney talks with Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan.  Rude reiterates that a cage match is his type of match, which means he is leaving Philadelphia with the WWF Championship.

Okerlund interviews a distraught Dusty Rhodes, who says he offered Sapphire his innocence and she betrayed him.  He promises to get bad, mad, and even with Ted DiBiase.  Rhodes might be on his way down the card, but he is still giving top rate promos.

As the steel cage construction goes on, Okerlund talks with Hulk Hogan, who promises to beat Earthquake in every arena of the country until WWF President Jack Tunney gives him another crack at the WWF Championship.  He goes into wild and crazy territory by vowing to go to California, get on a big surfboard, and ride the biggest “title wave” he can find to send him back to the top of the WWF.

Mooney interviews Earthquake, Dino Bravo, and Jimmy Hart.  Earthquake shows off the damage to his back from the Big Bossman and he vows to get even with Hogan and the Bossman.

WWF Champion the Ultimate Warrior talks to Okerlund.  He says Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan are like the Liberty Bell “because one is cracked and the other is a ding dong.  The Warrior has gone back to painting most of his face as he screams about entering a new frontier tonight and keeping the title.

Steel Cage Match for the WWF Championship:  The Ultimate Warrior (7-0) defeats Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) (15-2-1) after escaping the cage at 10:03:

After the Hogan-Earthquake match, this bout comes off as an afterthought and the crowd has a tough time getting into it.  Unlike most WWF cage matches, this match can also end via pinfall or submission inside of the cage, so there is a referee inside and a referee on the floor.  The usual cage bumps occur, causing Rude to get busted open.  Rude hits the Rude Awakening halfway through but makes the mistake of doing a flying chop from the top of the cage instead of going through the door.  A second one of those gets is countered with a fist to the gut by the Warrior, but Heenan slams the cage door in the Warrior’s face when he tries to crawl out and Rude scores a near-fall from that.  Heenan gets dragged into the cage, waking up some of the crowd, and the Warrior triggers his comeback out of nowhere.  Rude eats a few clotheslines and a gorilla press drop and the Warrior easily climbs out to retain.  By the end of the match a chunk of the crowd was coming around to it, but the match layout did not provide enough drama.  Rating:  **¼

The Last Word:  This show is very hit and miss.  The most hyped matches – Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake and Demolition vs. Hart Foundation – delivered but the last match had little heat because no one gave Rick Rude a chance in hell of walking out of Philadelphia with the WWF Championship.  Other matches were wrecked by injuries or angles, so much of this telecast came off as a glorified episode of WWF Superstars than an elite pay-per-view.

Up Next:  WWF Superstars for September 2!