What the World Was Watching: WWF Superstars – January 12, 1991

Vince McMahon, Roddy Piper, and the Honky Tonk Man are on commentary and they still in Tampa, Florida.

The Big Bossman’s squash from Prime Time Wrestling kicks off the show.

Gene Okerlund’s Update segment sees Sergeant Slaughter and General Adnan warn the Ultimate Warrior that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein will not comply with the international deadline on Tuesday to leave Kuwait.  He likens the situation to how the Warrior’s deadline will end at The Royal Rumble as Slaughter will defeat him for the title.

Rick Martel defeats Jim Evans via submission to the Boston Crab at 2:12:

Martel had an accomplished pedigree before coming to the WWF in 1986.  He began wrestling in 1973, working for Stampede, NWA All Star Wrestling, Pacific Northwest Wrestling (PNW), the WWWF, and the AWA.  In the WWWF, he teamed with Tony Garea to win the tag team titles twice and in the AWA, Martel was world champion, winning the title from Jumbo Tsuruta in 1984.  Upon arriving in the WWF, Martel teamed with Tom Zenk as the Can-Am Connection and then teamed with Tito Santana as Strike Force when Zenk quit the company.  Martel and Santana won the tag team titles from the Hart Foundation in late 1987 and lost them to Demolition at WrestleMania IV.  A year later, Martel turned on Santana and began work as a heel, with Martel winning most television matches against Santana but Santana beating Martel on house shows.  In 1990, Martel worked a short program against Brutus Beefcake to start the year, defeated Koko B. Ware in the opener of WrestleMania VI, and spent the summer sidelined with an injury.  He returned in style, though, by starting a hot program with Jake Roberts, blinding his adversary with the Arrogance fragrance a few weeks after SummerSlam.  Martel won the early stages of the feud, as his Visionaries team annihilated Roberts’ Vipers at Survivor Series in a clean sweep, but in 1991 the question remained of whether Martel could beat a recovering Roberts one-on-one.

Evans was trained by fellow enhancement Tom Stone and started working in 1982.  He started doing jobs for the WWF in 1987, but also worked as an enhancement talent for the AWA in 1989 and 1990.

In the split screen, Martel says that Roberts will need help picking his number for the Royal Rumble but it will not matter what number Roberts draws because he will toss him over the top rope anyway.  In a nice touch, Martel rakes Evans’ eyes and when the jobber has trouble seeing, Martel turns to the camera and mocks Roberts’ condition.

The British Bulldog’s squash from Prime Time Wrestling airs.

Sean Mooney’s Event Center hypes The Royal Rumble.  Earthquake argues that his number does not matter because he will win anyway, Bushwhacker Luke promises to beat everyone, Greg Valentine claims to only be able to count on himself and that means he will win, Shane Douglas stumbles through a promo saying he will shock the world in the Rumble, and Smash and Mr. Fuji put over his odds of winning.

The Undertaker (w/Brother Love) (1-0) pins Ray Hammer after the Tombstone at 2:12:

The Undertaker and Love hype his chances for the Royal Rumble in the split screen, with Love saying that the Undertaker has twenty-nine plots prepared for his competitors.  The ropewalk sets up the Tombstone as all of the announcers have no idea what to make of the Undertaker.  After the bell, the Undertaker takes a rose from Love and sprinkles it on top of Hammer.

A replay of Okerlund’s interview with WWF Champion the Ultimate Warrior on Wrestling Challenge is shown.

Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) defeats Danny Brazil via submission to the Million Dollar Dream at 1:18:

Trained by Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk, DiBiase started working for Mid-South in the 1970s.  He enjoyed success in the WWWF in 1979 when he won the North American Championship, eventually losing it to Pat Patterson in what is often considered the unofficial beginning of the Intercontinental Championship.  In the 1980s DiBiase had a great run in GCW, feuding with Tommy Rich, and then feuded in Mid-South with Hacksaw Jim Duggan.  Signed by the WWF in 1987, DiBiase was given the gimmick of the Million Dollar Man, reportedly a gimmick that WWF owner Vince McMahon wished he could play himself.  DiBiase was quickly booked into a prominent feud with Hulk Hogan, gunning for Hogan’s WWF Championship but he fell short in a tournament final for the title in 1988, setting the stage for other shortcomings like becoming the runner-up at the 1989 Royal Rumble to Big John Studd.  In 1990, DiBiase was the on-screen winner of a feud with Jake Roberts but lost a house show feud to the Big Bossman.  He began a program with Dusty Rhodes at SummerSlam, luring Rhodes’ manager, Sapphire, away with luxurious gifts, but simultaneously found himself in a feud with the Texas Tornado after costing the Tornado the Intercontinental Championship against Mr. Perfect.  The feud with Rhodes was featured on television, while the Tornado feud was a house show program because Rhodes’ contract with the WWF was expiring.  And while all of this was going on, there was growing tension between DiBiase and his bodyguard, Virgil, who DiBiase was criticizing more on the microphone and assigning more menial and humiliating tasks.

Before the match, Piper teases the idea of going to the ring to talk to Virgil about how Virgil does not need DiBiase’s money.  As the commentators talk about what DiBiase’s money can buy, he powerslams Brazil and locks in the Million Dollar Dream to win his first match of 1991.

After the match, DiBiase gets on the house microphone.  To prove that money is thicker than blood, DiBiase throws money on the canvas, slaps Virgil, and orders him to pick it up.  Virgil teases a turn by refusing to pick the money up, but DiBiase reminds him about his family and whispers something in his ear that makes Virgil comply.

Another Event Center segment adds to The Royal Rumble hype.  The Orient Express and Mr. Fuji talk about tearing the Rockers apart, with the Rockers rebutting that that they will start the new year with a bang.  For the Rumble, Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri promises to become famous and infamous in the same night.

Okerlund does The Royal Rumble Report.  Dusty & Dustin Rhodes promise fans that they cannot be bought.  In Rumble promos, Tugboat says he will take out Hulk Hogan if he has to.  Hogan laments that he wanted to work with his friends in the Rumble but Tugboat would prefer to fight alone.  WWF Tag Team Champions the Hart Foundation claim to be ready for the Rumble and they will not have any hard feelings coming out of the match.

Power & Glory (w/Slick) defeat Sonny Blaze & Scotty Williams when Paul Roma pins Williams after the Powerplex at 2:13:

Power & Glory were made up of Roma and Hercules.  Both men began 1990 as babyfaces, with Roma working as a lower midcarder and Hercules positioned as an upper micarder, turning in a fourth place finish at the Royal Rumble.  Hercules’ fortunes waned as 1990 went on, though, and after doing a few tag team matches together on Prime Time Wrestling, Hercules and Roma joined forces as Power & Glory after Roma had a dispute with the Rockers in July on Superstars.  The two teams feuded, with Power & Glory winning decisively at SummerSlam and as part of an elimination bout at Survivor Series.  As a result of their success, they were gifted tag team title shots against the Hart Foundation to end the year but had thus far proven unsuccessful in their quest for the titles.

At the beginning of the match, each member of Power & Glory hypes their Royal Rumble chances.  They work more quickly than usual, using nothing flashy until Roma pins Williams after the Powerplex.

A final Event Center segment provides Royal Rumble hype.  The Texas Tornado says everyone is going into the Rumble looking to the best, the Warlord promises to draw thirty and throw out the remaining competitors, Hacksaw Jim Duggan reveals his strategy to attack anything that moves, Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect asks Bobby Heenan what happens if all of the Heenan Family members remain at the end and Heenan says he is washing his hands of it all, and Jake Roberts warns Rick Martel that he is coming to get him.

Tune in next week to see Earthquake, Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect, WWF Tag Team Champions the Hart Foundation, and Jake Roberts in action!  Also, Sergeant Slaughter will be on the Brother Love Show!

The Last Word:  The interaction with Ted DiBiase and Virgil was the highlight of the show and the dissension between the two is bound to cause them problems at The Royal Rumble.  The WWF has been careful not to position a clear winner for the Royal Rumble, even if it is clear that no one is on Hulk Hogan’s level.  There have also been some good sub-plots regarding dissension between tag teams and stables, as well as how existing feuds could affect the match.

Up Next:  Wrestling Challenge for January 13!