By Mark Worrall @hoohoowozza
As part of Kayfabe Today’s Summerslam season, I take a look at the very first Summerslam show I ever saw. With Sky TV bringing the WWF to the British screen, people of the UK were able to see WWF pay-per-views. Summerslam 1990 would be the second show I would be able to see with Wrestlemania six being the first. However, this Summerslam still resonates in my mind twenty seven years later. A class card that saw a double main event, the rebirth of Hulkamania so to speak, a cage match as the main event featuring Rick Rude and the Ultimate Warrior for the WWF title along with a best two out of three falls for the tag titles. This is WWF at their best, these are my thoughts.
POWER AND GLORY defs. THE ROCKERS
For me, the team of Hercules and Paul Roma who made up the team Power & Glory were very much underrated. Put together after being lower card singles competitors and managed by Slick, Power & Glory seem to have everything that a successful tag team needed. Paul Roma had the look, the body and the mouth that made him the Glory, whilst veteran Hercules was the strength, the Power, Roma’s hitman so to speak, and it worked, they tagged well, fitted each other’s strengths and were a promising tag team, although I guess Mr McMahon may not have thought so. Newly formed they prayed on the Rockers, a team showing signs of a slow decline, most evident in this opening Summerslam match as Shawn Michaels would make his way to the ring carrying a leg injury which Hercules soon took to attacking with his steel chain ruling the boy toy out of the match leaving Janetty desperately taking on both members of Power & Glory in what became a handicap match, and although Janetty held his own for periods of the match, two against one will almost always be victorious with Power & Glory using smart tags, having each other’s backs and for a new team, knowing each other well. The Power plex would eventually put Janetty away as Power & Glory took the win in style before beating down Michaels post match, proving they were not a team to take lightly.
WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
TEXAS TORNADO KERRY VON ERICH defs. MR PERFECT(c)
To most watching the match, the name Kerry von Erich is synonymous with the Von Erich family and the WCCW Texas territory, and even a former NWA champion. However in WWF land he was a newcomer, heading into the WWF like a whirlwind and issuing a challenge against the current Intercontinental champion Mr Perfect with only ten days notice. Clever how Perfect and Hennig played into this in the pre-match interview. Kerry Startling Perfect as the match begins making out Von Erich as a new up and coming wrestler before Perfect got cocky with methodical hip tosses as Heenan wiped the sweat from the champions head. Story of the match being Perfect literally taking his opponent lightly until Von Erich catapulting Hennig into the turnbuckle, holding him in a claw hold then unleashing a spinning right hand that put Perfect to the mat and we had ourselves a new champion! Short match with the emphasis putting Von Erich over as a debutant, this feud would continue into the latter part of 1990 with Mr Perfect reclaiming the title later on as Kerry Von Erich slipped down the card.
SENSATIONAL SHERRI defs. SWEET SAPPHIRE
Sherri stood in the ring looking, well you would have to watch to believe, maybe one reason Sapphire did a no show! Three times the ‘Common man’ intro played, but no Sapphire. So Sherri wins by the result of a forfeit, something she did not look best pleased about. Of course we would later find out, however following this match a backstage scene with Gene Okerlund asking Dusty Rhodes what had become of Sapphire with Rhodes stating that ten minutes after arriving his Sweet Sapphire disappeared, he was still looking as a farcical clip of Hacksaw Jim Duggan being asked by Rhodes if he had saw Sapphire to which Duggan replied no, but he was still looking! Mentions of Sapphire’s recent expensive gifts were brought into question with Rhodes still not having any idea! Errmmmm!
WARLORD defs. TITO SANTANA
A good day for the Slickster, firstly his tag team Power & Glory are victorious in the opener, now his muscle, the Warlord taking on veteran Tito Santana. To be fair, the Warlord was a big muscle-bound guy with little wrestling skills and not much personality. However we all know Mr McMahon likes big men, and Warlord fitted the picture of Vince’s vision for wrestling to a tee. Tito frustrated the big man at times with his pace and obvious wrestling skills that needed slick to distract the referee enabling the Warlord to send Santana into the ringpost. Here the Warlord continued to dominate the smaller man until the Warlord found himself on the receiving end of Tito’s patterned flying forearm that needed the ring awareness of the Warlord to find his foot on the rope during the three count. Warlord finished off Santana with his finishing Powerslam to pick up the win. This was fine, Tito doing the job to make The Warlord stand out even though Santana did most of the work, but that is what made Tito one of the best.
WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
THE HART FOUNDATION defs. DEMOLITION(c)
Two out of three falls would determine the winners of this match, pre match Demolition, now a three man outfit with new man Crush (aka Bryan Adams) being almost a replacement for Axe who’s health had started to decline set out to confuse interviewer Sean Mooney by stating that with only two men allowed at ringside, it was his guess which two? After declaring several scenarios it would be Smash and Crush starting as the Harts dominated early beating down on Smash until Crush intervened sending Neidhart ringside allowing Demolition to hit Decapitation to take the opening fall. Demolition continued to work Bret looking for the winning fall until the referee’s interference allowed Bret to tag in the Anvil who unleashed setting up the Hart attack which saw Crush grabbing referee Earl Hebner who immediately disqualified Demolition squaring up the match one apiece. The final fall saw the Demolition third man enter proceedings as Axe would take to hiding under the ring, swapping places with Smash as the fresher man was able to take advantage fooling the referee, but not Legion of Doom however who made their presence felt, exposing Demolition’s blatant cheating and in the commotion, a dive from the apron from Neidhart sending Crush into a roll up from Bret and we had new Champions! Match of the night for me, two tag teams full of class who knew how to work a tag match and deliver an outstanding contest. LOD’s inclusion set up a feud with Demolition that never really fulfilled its potential as the Harts captured their second and last tag titles!
The show runs into an interval as we are shown several clips and backstage interviews, no doubt setting up the second half of the show.
JAKE ‘THE SNAKE’ ROBERTS defs. BAD NEWS BROWN BY DQ
This would be Brown’s final PPV appearance in a WWF ring, and with the Big Boss man making his first of two special appearances tonight, Brown would find himself being disqualified by the local enforcer in a match that saw both men going for the finisher’s early on but Brown taking to using a chair to finish off Roberts that saw the match end and Brown attempt a leg drop on Damian that nearly connected with Boss Man moving the bag away in time as Jake unleashed the snake on Brown who ran from the building! Nothing special here and the promise of Brown’s sewer rats never prevailed.
A Brother Love segment follows with his special guest Sergeant Slaughter firstly awarding the ‘Great American’ award to Brother Love himself who looked completely overwhelmed by the award! Then Slaughter declaring war on Nikaolai Volkov as the anti-American Slaughter would begin on his quest that would take him to the WWF title and his infamous match with Hogan at Wrestlemania seven.
NIKOLAI VOLKOV & JIM DUGGAN defs. THE ORIENT EXPRESS
After singing ‘God Bless America’ Volkov and Duggan took to defeating the Orient Express with considerable ease in what could be deemed a basic squash match. Duggan worked his socks off to get the match over as Volkov clearly could not wrestle and the Express were simply there to lose as Duggan hit a huge Lariat on Tanaka to give the allied team the win in a match that really had the crowd involved!
RANDY ‘MACHO KING’ SAVAGE defs. DUSTY RHODES
A clip of Rhodes pre-match knocking Sapphire’s dressing room door only to receive nothing as Rhodes took to the ring looking confused as Savage making a grand entrance carried to the ring only fit for a king! The match would be disturbed as Ted Dibiase, finally reveals the location of Sweet Sapphire, who it seems has fallen for the riches of Dibiase and has accepted the riches that come with deserting the common man and taking up with the Million Dollar Man as Dibiase sets up a feud that would take them to the Royal Rumble and Rhodes last match in the WWF before returning to WCW! Savage would attack Rhodes in the isle has Rhodes attempted to run after Dibiase and Sapphire and it would not take much other than Sherri’s purse, which savage used as a weapon to put the American Dream away with Savage running out the winner with the basis of the match setting up the Dibiase angle, somewhat waste of Savage’s talent.
HULK HOGAN (w BIG BOSS MAN) defs EARTHQUAKE (w DINO BRAVO)
So the Hulkster returns! The story for months leading up to the squashing of Hogan at the hands of Earthquake and whether Hogan could return from such a beating, with Tugboat succumbing to the same fate after rallying the fans of Hogan to send well wishes and cards to inspire the return of Hogan. The Big Boss man, on double duty tonight accompanies Hogan, who remarkably makes his return to face his larger nemesis Earthquake who is accompanied by Dino Bravo and Jimmy Hart. Usual Hogan routine match, Earthquake demolishes the former World champion for the first half of the match aided by outside interference until, somehow, and quite astonishingly Hulk Hogan kicks out of a second sit down splash by Earthquake on two and becomes completely invincible, nothing can hurt the immortal one as he finally succeeds in scooping Earthquake after several failed attempts and drops the leg to pin Earthquake but the referee is distracted by Bravo as Jimmy Hart breaks the pin as everyone goes ringside and Hogan scoops Earthquake this time through a table, which has no effect other than to give Hogan a countout win, which to be fair protected both men. Earthquake puts Hogan into a bear hug until Boss man hits Earthquake with a step ladder with Hogan being released on the third hit. The marks on the back of Earthquake suggesting that the Step ladder is not Kayfabe!!!
WWF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
ULTIMATE WARRIOR(c) defs. RAVISHING RICK RUDE
The world title is up for grabs as commentary emphasize that Warrior has not wrestled in a cage match before whereas Rude has done on several occasions. Watching this back on the Network it seems Rude’s music has been dubbed over and does not feel right. Both men feel the steel of the ‘Blue’ cage which eventually busts both men open until Rude gains the advantage by attempting to hit the Rude awakening neck breaker on the champion which the Warrior counters only for Rude to successfully nail his patterned finisher on the second attempt. However, Rude who simply could just leave by the door decides he wants to punish the Warrior by climbing to the top of the cage and nailing Warrior with a clenched fist, however the second attempt is countered and the Warrior crawls towards the door only for Heenan to slam the door shut with Rude making a pin attempt to follow. Rude himself finally makes an attempt for the door with Heenan pulling his family member out whilst Warrior has hold of his leg and Rude’s backside makes an appearance before both Heenan and Rude are in the ring as Warrior unleashes, finally nailing Rude with a Gorilla press slam and climbing the cage to victory. While this match had its critics, like a lot of cage matches do, I enjoyed it. Bobby Heenan’s involvement will always be a great addition, however, this match did feel like a title defence that the Warrior was never in any doubt of losing and even though Warrior and Rude had been feuding for sometime, even previously exchanging the IC title, this match seemingly did not build up to normal main event standards.
So my look back at Summerslam 1990, a show that still held up well for me and brought back many memories! Yes it was typical WWF, storylines, another Hulk Hogan remarkable comeback, the embarrassment of Dusty Rhodes continuing. However, I really enjoyed the opener as I was fan of Power & Glory. Mr Perfect as always was the man who had no problem putting new talent over which also cleverly got him over too. The two out of three falls tag title match however was the show stealer for me that rewarded the viewer in so many ways and awarded us new champions. Plenty of backstage segments with the legendry Gene Okerland and not having constant five minute packaged videos describing an ongoing angle, just the wrestlers giving short promo’s that told us everything we needed to know, and great to see Roddy Piper on
commentary, he gave so much enthusiasm and added to what made this a great PPV.
Power & Glory def. The Rockers
Intercontinental Championship Match
Texas Tornado def. Mr. Perfect to become champion
Sensational Queen Sherri def. Sapphire via forfeit
The Warlord def. Tito Santana
2/3 Falls World Tag Team Championship Match
The Hart Foundation def. Demolition to become new champions
Jake “The Snake” Roberts def. Bad News Brown
Nikolai Volkoff & Hacksaw Jim Duggan def. The Orient Express
Randy “Macho King” Savage def. Dusty Rhodes
Hulk Hogan def. Earthquake via countout
Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
The Ultimate Warrior def. Rick Rude to retain