What the World Was Watching: WWF Prime Time Wrestling – December 31, 1990 (End of the Series)!

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan run the studio portion of the show, the last of 1990.  This broadcast was given an extra thirty minutes on USA Network, so it ran for two and a half hours.  Monsoon promises Heenan that he will give him a new Rolex if he is nice to tonight’s guests, the Rosati Sisters.

The opening contest shows Randy Savage beating Jimmy Snuka in a match that took place at Maple Leaf Gardens on October 8, 1989, and originally aired on Prime Time on December 25, 1989.  The WWF tries to sell this as a new match but it dates itself because of each man’s look and entrance attire.

Gene Okerlund’s Update segment recaps the Rhodes Family-Ted DiBiase & Virgil feud.

The Nasty Boys debut on Superstars is shown.

Heenan welcomes the Rosati Sisters to the set, acting nicer than usual.

A Barbarian squash of Jim Powers from Prime Time on May 28 airs.

Promo time with Sean Mooney provides hype for The Royal Rumble.  Smash and Mr. Fuji warn Crush that they may work together but if it comes down to them at the end, he is going to throw it out.  The British Bulldog hypes his physical conditioning, while Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan hype Perfect as the odds-on-favorite.  Bret Hart says he is cool and will retain that even if he has to fight Jim Neidhart.  And the recently departed Honky Tonk Man promises to perform his best.

The good Shawn Michaels-Ted DiBiase match from Prime Time of May 14 is shown.

Sergeant Slaughter and General Adnan’s interview on Superstars airs.

Tugboat’s squash of Haku from Prime Time on July 30 is shown.

The Rosatis are back in the studio and are not happy that Heenan is making their travel arrangements for The Royal Rumble.  Monsoon talks with the Rosatis about New York Eve party plans while Heenan tries to feel included.

The Bushwhackers (27-2) defeat Rhythm & Blues (26-3-1) via disqualification when the Honky Tonk Man gets caught trying to use a guitar at 10:52 shown:

This bout took place at Maple Leaf Gardens when these two teams were feuding on May 27.  It is the last television appearance of the Rhythm & Blues tag team and it is a messy contest.  The Bushwhackers comedy spots fill the first half of the match until the Blues finally put Luke in peril.  There is little drama on the hot tag to Butch and when all hell breaks loose, referee Joey Marella is bumped.  On the floor, the Honky Tonk Man tries to hit Butch with a guitar but misses.  However, Marella recovers in time to see the spot and he ends the match.  Rating:  ½*

The Rosati Sisters bring pizza to the studio and talk about the crowd filing in for the New Year’s Eve party nearby.

Koko B. Ware (13-6-1) pins Bob Bradley after a bulldog at 7:24:

The WWF never used this match from a Wrestling Challenge taping in Huntington, West Virginia on June 26, so it is used as the last match to air for the year.  Usual jobber rules do not apply to Prime Time, so Bradley hangs with Ware and dominates the match, incorporating his awful backflip elbow, choking, and biting.  Ware finally decides to stop selling and he finishes Bradley with a missile dropkick and bulldog.

More promos with Mooney!  The Barbarian and Bobby Heenan tell the Big Bossman that the Barbarian is the real bossman of the WWF.  We go to Rumble promos where Butch screams about his willingness to toss anyone out of the Rumble, while the Warlord recaps the rules of the match and says he is going to win.  The Texas Tornado does the same.

Rick Martel’s victory over Marty Jannetty on Survivor Series Showdown airs.

At the end of the show, the Rosati Sisters appear again and Monsoon tells Heenan that he has not been nice enough to deserve the Rolex.  He gives the watch to the Rosatis and tells him that if they believe he has been nice enough after the New Year’s party then they can give it to him.  As Heenan leaves with the Rosatis, Monsoon wishes the fans good health and prosperity in 1991.

The Last Word:  This was a filler episode where the WWF tried to sell old bouts as new by having new commentary over them.  The Rosatis appear to be nice people, but they made for awkward segments in between the matches and the follow up to the Rolex joke from last week fell flat.

When looking over the year, one can argue that the WWF is in a weaker position than when it began.  The Ultimate Warrior did not draw well as champion, a consequence of poor booking and presentation as the promotion’s top guy.  Mr. Perfect’s first Intercontinental title run was cut short to give it to the Texas Tornado, but the Tornado’s run was a disaster.  And the Hart Foundation have been lame duck tag team champions, failing to have anything exciting take place since winning the belts at SummerSlam.  The year saw Hulk Hogan participate more as a part-time act, which hurt house show business; and other major acts like Brutus Beefcake, Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, and Bad News Brown exited the company either through injury, health reasons, or booking disputes.  Demolition and the Orient Express went through changes in their composition, with the Express getting better and Demolition getting worse.  The WWF is bringing in new acts like the Undertaker, the British Bulldog, and the Nasty Boys, but it will take time to establish them and there were just as many booking misfires such as Battle Kat, Saba Simba, and Tugboat as there were successes.  And the company is getting desperate by making Sergeant Slaughter its top heel on the back of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s real-life takeover of Kuwait, a cheap heat angle that many were finding distasteful by the end of the year and many more would agree after the U.S. military became engaged in Desert Storm.

With 1990 in the books, my columns will now shift to 1991 where we will see how the WWF responds to these challenges.  The new series will begin on Friday.  As always, I appreciate everyone for reading and commenting on these columns and going on this journey of the WWF’s history with me.

In terms of statistics, here were some breakdowns from 1990 that people may find interesting:

Top Twenty-Five Win/Loss Records (Overall)

1-Tugboat (31-0)

T2-Animal (18-0)

T2-Hawk (18-0)

4-The Ultimate Warrior (13-0)

5-The British Bulldog (8-0)

6-Dustin Rhodes (5-0)

7-The Undertaker (4-0)

8-Kato (2-0)

9-Brian Knobbs (1-0)

10-Jerry Sags (1-0)

11-Hacksaw Jim Duggan (37-1-1)

12-The Texas Tornado (18-1)

13-Brutus Beefcake (15-0-2)

14-Bad News Brown (22-1-1)

T15-Butch (29-2)

T15-Luke (29-2)

17-Sergeant Slaughter (12-1)

18-The Big Bossman (33-3)

19-Al Perez (5-0-1)

20-Jim Neidhart (26-2-1)

21-Ax (21-2)

22-Rick Martel (24-2-1)

23-Earthquake (29-3)

24-Roddy Piper (8-0-2)

25-Jake Roberts (26-3)

Top Twenty-Five Win/Loss Records (Singles)

1-Tugboat (29-0)

2-The Barbarian (28-0)

3-Sergeant Slaughter (12-0)

4-The Ultimate Warrior (9-0)

5-The British Bulldog (8-0)

6-Dustin Rhodes (5-0)

7-The Undertaker (3-0)

8-Tanaka (1-0)

9-The Warlord (25-1)

10-Hacksaw Jim Duggan (35-1-1)

11-The Texas Tornado (17-1)

12-Brutus Beefcake (15-0-2)

13-Rick Martel (23-1-1)

14-Bad News Brown (22-1-1)

15-Earthquake (29-2)

16-Jake Roberts (26-2)

17-Mr. Perfect (37-3)

18-Al Perez (5-0-1)

19-The Big Bossman (32-3)

20-Roddy Piper (8-0-2)

21-Jimmy Snuka (21-2-1)

22-Shane Douglas (11-1-1)

23-Ted DiBiase (24-3-1)

24-Dusty Rhodes (17-2-1)

25-Saba Simba (7-1)

Tag Team Rankings

1-Power & Glory (20-0)

2-The Legion of Doom (16-0)

3-Demolition (Ax & Smash) (13-0)

4-The Orient Express (Kato & Tanaka) (2-0)

T5-Demolition (Ax & Crush) (1-0)

T5-The Nasty Boys (1-0)

7-The Hart Foundation (25-0-1)

8-The Bushwhackers (28-2)

9-The Orient Express (Sato & Tanaka) (24-3)

10-Demolition (Smash & Crush) (8-1)

11-Rhyhtm & Blues (26-4-1)

12-The Colossal Connection (4-1)

13-The Rockers (17-4-1)

14-The Powers of Pain (3-4)

15-The Bolsheviks (3-6)

16-The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (0-1)

Top 25 Overall Appearances

1-Mr. Perfect (43)

2-Hacksaw Jim Duggan (39)

T3-Hercules (37)

T3-The Barbarian (37)

5-The Big Bossman (36)

T6-Dino Bravo (35)

T6-Smash (35)

T6-The Honky Tonk Man (35)

T6-The Warlord (35)

10-Greg Valentine (34)

T11-Earthquake (33)

T11-Tito Santana (33)

13-Bret Hart (32)

T14-Buddy Rose (31)

T14-Butch (31)

T14-Luke (31)

T14-Tanaka (31)

T14-Tugboat (31)

T19-Jake Roberts (30)

T19-Jim Neidhart (30)

T19-Paul Roma (30)

T19-Ted DiBiase (30)

23-Marty Jannetty (29)

T24-Jimmy Snuka (28)

T24-Sato (28)

T24-The Brooklyn Brawler (28)

Best Matches of the Year

1-The Royal Rumble (Royal Rumble 1990, January 21) – ****¼

2-Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior (WWF Championship vs. Intercontinental Championship Match, WrestleMania VI, April 1) – ****

3-Mr. Perfect vs. Tito Santana (Intercontinental Championship Match, Saturday Night’s Main Event XXVII, July 28) – ****

4-Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Randy Savage (King of the WWF Match, Saturday Night’s Main Event XXV, January 27) – ***½

5-Ronnie Garvin vs. Greg Valentine (Submission Match, Royal Rumble 1990, January 21) – ***½