SkyDome – Toronto, ONT – Sunday, April 1, 1990
Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura are on commentary.
Rick Martel defeats Koko B. Ware at 5:30. No story going into this match as far as I remember, just two guys needing a match. They stick to the formula here, with Martel striking first, Koko coming back for his shine, and then Martel taking heat. Koko make his comeback but misses a cross body block from the second rope. Martel locks on the Boston Crab to get the win. Perfectly serviceable opening match here, and a solid win for Martel. Only one of these guys is in the Hall of Fame, by the way.
Demolition (Ax & Smash) defeat WWF World Tag Team Champions The Colossal Connection (Andre the Giant) & Haku, w/ Bobby Heenan) at 9:15 to win the titles for the third time. Andre and Haku have been the Champions since 12.30.89, and this is their third defense. The challengers are looking to become Champs for the third time, so they isolate Haku from the get-go. Haku fights back and the Champions isolate Ax for several minutes. Smash gets a hot tag and things quickly break down. Heel miscommunication ends up with Haku accidentally kicking Andre in the face, and Andre falls back into the ropes and is trapped. Demolition hit the Demolition Decapitation to win the titles and earn a HUGE pop. Match was formulaic, and Andre was SO limited by this point, but the crowd was into it and the finish was great.
Then to continue the greatness, Heenan and Haku turn their backs on Andre and try to attack him, but Andre runs them both off and gets cheered wildly as he rides the little cart backstage. That was Andre’s last match in WWE, and seeing him leave to a huge ovation is a true WrestleMania Moment.
Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeats Hercules at 4:52. Hercules tries to use his speed to stick and move, but that only works for so long. Earthquake dominates for the most part, and when Hercules makes the comeback and tries the Backbreaker rack, Earthquake blocks it. Earthquake drops the big elbow and hits the Earthquake Splash to get the pin. This was actually fine for the time given and the participants involved.
Brutus Beefcake defeats Mr. Perfect (w/ The Genius) at 7:48. Both men are aggressive from the bell, but Beefcake has everything going his way early on. Perfect is bumping around like crazy, of course. Genius has to leave his scroll for Perfect, and he distracts the referee so Perfect can hit Beefcake in the face with it. Now it’s Perfect’s time to go on offense, and he works on Beefcake for a bit. Perfect gets over confident though, and Beefcake sweeps the legs and slingshots Perfect over the top turnbuckle and into the steel ring post! That’s enough for Beefcake to get the pin. Simplistic but entertaining match there, with a cool finish for the time.
Bad News Brown and Roddy Piper wrestled to a double-countout at 6:48. For who knows what reason, Piper has done half of his body in blackface, which is just baffling in every way. Also, his promo before the match is phenomenally atrocious. This is all brawling and no wresting. The referee keeps getting in the way for some reason. Piper pulls out a white glove, which looks like it does absolutely nothing special. The fight continues and spills to the floor, where both men get counted out. Well that was just awful in every conceivable way.
The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) defeat The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov) at 0:19. Volkoff and Zhukov try to sing the Russian national anthem, but the Hart Foundation jump them from behind and hit Zhukov with the Hart Attack to get the win. On principle, I must give this match a high rating than the last one.
The Barbarian (w/ Bobby Heenan) defeats Tito Santana at 4:33. This is a true style clash, as Barbarian uses his size and power, while Santana uses his speed and technique. Santana does a great job, and knocks Barbarian out with the Flying forearm smash. Heenan puts Barbarian’s foot on the bottom rope, doing his job as manager. Moments later the Barbarian takes Santana’s head off with the Diving clothesline to get the pin. Fine little match there to kick off Barbarian’s singles run, but I feel like Barbarian v Koko and Santana v Martel would’ve been the way to go here.
Dusty Rhodes & Sapphire (w/ Miss Elizabeth) defeat Randy Savage & Queen Sherri at 7:31. This is WWE’s first-ever mixed tag team match. Before the bell can ring, Dusty get on the mic and announces that Elizabeth will be in their corner! The crowd gives her a big ovation. This is only Sapphire’s fifth-ever match (the first four were against Slick on house shows), and this is her one and only match on TV or PPV. Dusty and Sapphire work very well together and the crowd is heavily in support. Savage and Sherri take over and they isolate Dusty. It’s odd how much man-on-woman violence there is here, compared to what they would allow today. Sherri tries to go after Elizabeth, and the normally demure Elizabeth shoves Sherri back, and she trips over Sapphire and right into a rollup. Sapphire is 1-0 lifetime! This was far from technically amazing, but the crowd was red hot and it has some historical significance, so I have no issues here.
The Orient Express (Sato & Tanaka, w/ Mr. Fuji) defeat The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) by countout at 7:38. Michaels and Jannetty prove why Monsoon calls them “tag team specialists” in the early going, with some fast paced and high-flying offense. Fuji hooks the top rope with his cane, sending Jannetty flying to the floor. He adds another cane shot and then Sato pushes him into the ring post. Momentum shifts back and forth, with neither team staying in control for very long. When the Rockers appear ready to put Tanaka away, Fuji interferes again to distract Jannetty. Sato sneaks around and throws a handful of salt in Jannetty’s eyes. Jannetty can’t find his way back in and gets counted out. Fun match, terrible finish.
Jim Duggan defeats Dino Bravo (w/ Jimmy Hart & Earthquake) at 4:15. Not too much wrestling to be found here, and the United States patriot Duggan is quite over north of the border. After some nonsense brawling, Earthquake distracts Duggan and the referee, and Jimmy Hart throws Duggan’s 2×4 in for Bravo to use. Duggan intercepts and whacks Bravo across the back to get the pin. Nothing to see here.
Ted DiBiase (w/ Virgil) defeats Jake Roberts by countout at 11:53 to regain possession of the Million Dollar Title. Roberts’s promo before the match is incredible. The Million Dollar belt is on the line here, though it’s not an officially sanctioned title match. Roberts is aggressive in the early going and DiBiase tries to avoid him. These two pros work the formula, and do it well. DiBiase wears Roberts down for a while until the big comeback. Roberts hits a back body drop and the short-arm clothesline, which is the setup. Virgil pulls Roberts to the floor and pays for it with a bodyslam. DiBiase goes out and puts on the Million Dollar Dream, and then runs Roberts into the ring post. Virgil throws DiBiase back in the ring for the countout victory. Cheap finish aside this was a well-worked match between two of my favorites of all-time, but they certainly could have gone bigger and done more.
Big Boss Man defeats Akeem (w/ Slick) at 1:50. Before the match, Ted DiBiase, who was still out at ringside, attacks Boss Man, who turned face when he refused to take a payoff from the Million Dollar Man. Akeem slugs away on Boss Man for a bit, but Boss Man makes the comeback and hits the Boss Man Slam to get the pin. That was at least a necessary match to blow off the team, and it helped build the Boss Man / DiBiase program, so at least it served several purposes.
Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan) defeats Jimmy Snuka at 3:51. Steve Allen joins Monsoon and Ventura for commentary. Snuka turns his bac to adjust his knee pads and Rude attacks. Snuka fights back unloads with a flurry of offense, but he goes to the ropes one too many times and it costs him. Rude hits the Rude Awakening to get the pin. Typical TV match here, but as a method to kick off Rude’s big heel push for the summer it was okay.
WWF Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior defeats WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan to win the title at 22:51. Hogan has been the WWF World Heavyweight Champion since 4.2.89, and this is his eleventh defense. Warrior has been the Intercontinental Champion since 8.28.89, and this is his fifth defense. After some cautious back-and-forth, things speed up and Warrior clotheslines Hogan to the floor and Hogan appears to have injured his knee, as he’s badly limping. The referee tries to check on Hogan, but Warrior wisely throws the Champ back in the ring and starts kicking at the leg. Apparently, the injury isn’t so bad, as Hogan is quickly back in control and moving around just fine. Late in the match, Warrior charges at Hogan but Hogan ducks and the referee gets wiped out. Warrior goes up top and hits a double axe handle, and then another one. He tries a flying shoulderblock but Hogan sidesteps him and slams Warrior hard into the mat. Hogan counts his own three-count but the referee is out. Hogan gets frustrated and Warrior picks him up in a back suplex and counts his own pinfall, but the referee is still down. Eventually the referee crawls over but he only gets two. Hogan grabs a quick schoolboy rollup but the referee is slow and he can only count two. They head back to the floor, where Warrior rams Hogan’s face into the steel post. Back in the ring Warrior hits a clothesline. Warrior follows with the Press Slam and the Back Splash but Hogan kicks out at two! Hogan is Hulking Up! He hits the Big Boot and goes for the Legdrop but Warrior moves! Warrior then flattens Hogan with a Splash to get the pin and win the title. This felt suitably epic given the giant personalities involved. They laid it out perfectly and played into both men’s strengths. The crowd stayed into it all the way, which is what a match like this needed. Good stuff here.
The main event really delivers, but the rest of the card is mostly meh outside of a few fun moments. It’s also very long with a lot of wasted time (Rhythm and Blues singing, for one). But mostly Babyfaces win and that’s good for WrestleMania (Demolition winning is a major highlight), so it’s a fun show but a little tough to get through in one sitting.
Tags: Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, wrestlemania, WWE