A2Z Analysiz: WWE SummerSlam ‘90 (Ultimate Warrior, Rick Rude, Hulk Hogan, Earthquake)

The Spectrum – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – August 27, 1990

Vince McMahon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper will be calling the action tonight. “Mean” Gene Okerlund and Sean Mooney are on hand for backstage interviews.

MATCH #1: The Rockers vs. Power & Glory

McMahon declares that this match will be a hum-dinger. Well I’m sold. Hercules and Paul Roma don’t even get a proper entrance. Before the Rockers can even enter the ring, Roma attacks Jannetty and Hercules attacks Michaels with his steel chain! Michaels is hurt outside the ring, leaving his partner Jannetty to fight both men off on his own. He does a great job for a bit but then the numbers advantage takes hold. In fact, with manager Slick distracting the referee, it’s more like three-on-one. Michaels keeps trying to get on the apron but Power and Glory keep knocks knocking him right back down. Piper’s voice is really irritating to listen to on commentary. Jannetty gets a few hope spots in but looks slightly lost without his partner. He manages to hit Roma with a flying fist drop off the top rope, but Hercules breaks it up. Power and Glory disregard the five-second rule (not the food on the floor one) and double-team poor Jannetty. Hercules hits Jannetty with a superplex and Roma follows with a splash off the top rope and gets the pin with just a foot on the chest at 6:01. I believe Michaels was injured before this match, and they really made the most of the injury, making Power & Glory look really good as a team right out of the gate. Of course by WrestleMania VII they were jobbing to the Legion of Doom in less than a minute, but whatever.
Rating: *¼

MATCH #2: Intercontinental Championship Match – Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado

Brutus Beefcake was slated to challenge Perfect for the title here, but the infamous parasailing accident derailed that idea, so the Texas Tornado took his place. Tornado immediately asserts his power advantage and Perfect takes a powder. Back in the ring Perfect hits an armdrag and a hiptoss. Heenan wipes the sweat off his brow. They lock up and Perfect backs Tornado into the corner for a chop. Tornado fires back with a flurry of offense culminating in a clothesline that sends Perfect back to the floor. Now Tornado goes to work on the arm, but Perfect fires back with a forearm to the side of the head. Perfect snap mares Tornado down and hits the neck snap. He locks on the Sleeper and Tornado makes it to the ropes. Perfect gets over confident and slaps Tornado in the face. Tornado grabs Perfect and catapults him into the top turnbuckle. He locks Perfect in the Iron Claw and then hits the Twisting Tornado Punch to get the win and the title at 5:14. Obviously they didn’t get a ton of time to work with here but what they gave us was fine for like a Superstars main event or something.
Rating: *½

MATCH #3: Sensation Queen Sherri vs. Sapphire

Howard Finkel announces Sapphire and her music plays, but she doesn’t come out. No one seems to know what’s going on, so they stop her music and then start it again. WWE Officials give Sapphire 30 seconds to get down to the ring or risk forfeiture of the match, and when Sapphire doesn’t show up Sherri is declared the winner via forfeit. Is there anyone who is upset that they didn’t do the match?
Rating: N/A

MATCH #4: Tito Santana vs. Warlord

Warlord is accompanied by the Doctor of Style, Slick. Santana is one of my all time favorite wrestlers. Even so, Warlord shows his impressive power right away. Santana comes back with a fast-paced flurry of offense that sends Warlord briefly to the floor. Back in the ring Santana goes to work on the arm. Warlord comes back with a bodyslam but misses an elbow drop. Santana gets a quick cover but Warlord kicks out hard, sending Santana to the floor. Warlord goes out to the floor and rams Santana’s back into the ring post. The big man goes to work on Santana’s back inside the ring. Warlord tries a charge in the corner but Santana gets a boot up and then blasts out of the corner with a clothesline for two. Santana fires off a series of punches and then hits the patented Flying Forearm but Warlord gets his foot on the bottom rope at two. He argues with the referee and then goes for a monkey flip and Warlord flips him back to the mat. Warlord picks Santana up for a running powerslam to get the pin at 5:29. I know they were trying to push Warlord as a singles wrestler at this point, but I would have rather seen the originally scheduled match of Santana versus Rick Martel. Hopefully they would have gotten more than five minutes.
Rating: *

MATCH #5: Two out of Three Falls World Tag Team Championship Match – Demolition vs. Hart Foundation

Demolition was a three-man team at this point, as Crush had been added to Ax and Smash. They could defend the titles under Freebird Rules, so Crush and Smash are representing the team tonight. Smash and Bret Hart start the match for their teams. Crush tries to interfere illegally and the Harts thwart them with their own double-teaming. Hart takes Smash down with an armdrag. McMahon says it’s hard to tell Demolition apart, which is just ludicrous, and I even thought so as a kid. Jim Neidhart tags in and the challengers work over the arm. Smash comes back with a bodyslam and then makes the tag. Crush hits a bodyslam of his own but then misses a knee drop. Hart tries to take the big man down but it doesn’t work and Crush hits another bodyslam. Boy was he ever limited. Crush charges into the corner and runs into Hart’s boot. Hart gets a quick schoolboy rollup for two. Smash and Neidhart get tagged in and the crowd pops, so Neidhart puts on a headlock. Demolition uses some dastardly tactics to take advantage of the Anvil. That doesn’t last long and once again tags are made. Hart clotheslines Smash and hits Crush with a dropkick. He foils both champions to the delight of the crowd. Neidhart and Crush battle on the floor while Hart gets a close near-fall on Smash in the ring. Hart hits Smash with a backbreaker and the second-rope elbow drop, but Crush breaks up the cover. McMahon is aghast! Demolition then is able to hit Hart with the Decapitation Elbow and they take the first fall at 6:20.

Anvil argues with the referee, allowing Demolition to double-team Hart to start the second fall. The champs tag in and out and work over the weakened Hart. The Hitman ducks a boot and fires back with a clothesline on Smash and both men are down. Crush tries to assist Smash but the referee blocks it and Hart makes the tag. Neidhart is on fire. He smashes Smash with a big powerslam but it only gets two. The challengers hit Smash with the Hart Attack but Crush stops the pin by picking up the referee, which gives the second fall to the Hart Foundation at 3:48 (total match time 10:08).

A bell rings as Crush knocks Hart to the floor, and while Smash and Crush distract the referee, Ax comes out and hides underneath the ring. Moments later the bell rings again, so I think the timekeeper is confused. Hart comes back in the ring with a sunset flip for two and appears to be fully recovered now. Neidhart gets in on the action too, as they double-team Smash but can’t put him away. The referee gets distracted and Smash trades places with Ax from under the ring. Ax goes right to work on Hart, leveling him with a clothesline. I mean for crying out loud, Ax has short hair and Smash has long hair, and they have very different face paint. The match completely breaks down and all three members of Demolition are able to maneuver the referee so that they can all work over the challengers. The Legion of Doom isn’t fooled though, as they come out to pull Ax from under the ring and knock Crush off the top rope. Amidst all the confusion, Neidhart hits Crush with a slingshot shoulderblock right in front of Hart on all fours, and Crush tumbles over into a schoolboy rollup and the Hart Foundation wins the tag team titles for the second time at 4:08 (total match time 14:16). I used to love this mach as a kid but it doesn’t age real well with the Demolition “confusion” silliness, and how did the Hart Foundation not get disqualified when the Legion of Doom interfered on their behalf. It was an enjoyable tag team match for the most part (Crush was pretty bad at this point) but the extra-curricular activities dragged it down a bit.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #6: Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Bad News Brown (Special Referee: Big Boss Man)

Brown doesn’t wait for Boss Man to even make it to the ring before he attacks. Roberts goes for a quick DDT but Brown slips to the floor to avoid it. Back in the ring Roberts goes after the arm and Brown comes back with a hiptoss. Brown works Roberts over and gets a near-fall after a legdrop. He argues with the referee and Roberts recovers, delivering a boot to the midsection and once again going for the DVD but Brown once again slips to the floor. This time Roberts follows him out and Brown grabs a chair and drives it into Roberts’s midsection. Boss Man goes out to the floor to herd Brown back inside, but Brown grabs Roberts and throws him back in as well. Brown whips Roberts into the turnbuckle and slowly wears him down. He goes up for a fist drop off the second rope but Roberts moves out of the way. Roberts comes back with a knee lift and a series of jabs. He hits the short-arm clothesline and signals for the DDT. This time Brown counters it with a back body drop. They go back to the floor and Brown once again hits Roberts with a chair and this time Boss Man disqualifies him at 4:45. Well that made Brown look great and Roberts look terrible. After the match Brown tries to squash Damien but Boss Man comes to the rescue so Brown beats him up too. Then Roberts comes back and runs him off. What an odd match in every way.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #7: Nikolai Volkoff & “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. Orient Express

Earlier tonight Sgt. Slaughter was on the Brother Love show and he declared war on Nikolai Volkoff. Duggan and Volkoff sing a duet of “God Bless America” before the match. Yikes. Sato and Tanaka attack right away but Duggan and Volkoff come back with simultaneous atomic drops and then knock the Express to the floor. Volkoff and Tanaka start the match proper, while Duggan and Sato try to figure out which corners to stand in. Sato illegally interferes and the Express double-teams Volkoff in their half of the ring. Tanaka tries a splash but Volkoff moves and makes the hot tag. Dugan is all over both Sato and Tanaka, knocking both of them down with a dual clothesline. He continues throwing clotheslines and it turns into a pier-six brawl. Volkoff knocks Sato to the floor and Duggan hits Tanaka with the Tree Point Stance Clothesline to get the pin at 3:22. Well that was certainly short.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #8: Dusty Rhodes vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage

Before the match, Ted DiBiase announces that he has purchased sweet Sapphire. So along with Virgil, DiBiase only buys black people? That’s racist. Rhodes walks up the aisle after DiBiase, so Savage attacks him from behind. Back in the ring Savage hits a double axe handle off the top rope. Sherri gets her licks in from the floor too. Rhodes fires back with elbows and jabs, knocking Savage down to the canvas. He dropkicks Savage to the floor and goes out after him. Savage uses Sherri as a shield, and then Sherri hands Savage a foreign object before distracting Rhodes in the ring. Savage levels Rhodes with the loaded purse and gets the pin at 2:16. That was a nothing match used to set up DiBiase versus Rhodes.
Rating: ¼*

MATCH #9: Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake

Earthquake is accompanied by Jimmy Hart and Dino Bravo while Hogan is accompanied by the Big Boss Man. Speaking of the Boss Man he gets a HUGE pop for his entrance. They circle each other to start, seemingly in no hurry to start. Earthquake shows off his superior power early on. Hogan comes back by trying a headlock but Quake escapes and shoulderblocks Hogan down, so the Hulkster takes a powder. Back in the ring Quake continues to control the action, using his girth to wear Hogan down. Finally Hogan unloads a series of punches to take Quake down for the first time. Quake bails, and Hogan joins him out there and Bravo and Boss Man get involved as well. All four men get in the ring and Hogan and Boss Man hit double big boots on both Bravo and Quake. The referee sends Boss Man to the floor, allowing Bravo and Quake to double bodyslam Hogan. Quake follows up with an elbow drop for two. He goes up top and hits a forearm to the back! He then locks on a Boston Crab, further wearing down Hogan’s back. Hogan reaches the ropes and once again goes to the floor. Quake distracts the referee, allowing Bravo to bodyslam Hogan on the floor. Back in the ring Quake tries another elbow drop but misses. Hogan tries a bodyslam and Quake falls back on him for a two-count. Quake locks on a bearhug. Hogan punches his way out and tries to shoulderblock the gargantuan man down. He tries a flying body press but Quake catches him and hits a huge powerslam. Quake puts a foot on the chest for a two-count, and then the Tremors begin. He hits the Earthquake Splash, and then another one! But Hogan kicks out at two! He’s Hulking Up! Hogan hits the punches and the big boot, and then a bodyslam! He hits the Legdrop but Bravo is distracting the referee. Hart gets in the ring and Hogan throws him at Quake, and they both go down to the floor. Boss Man and Bravo join in the fracas as well. Quake holds Hogan for Hart to hit him with the megaphone, but Hogan moves! Hogan then bodyslams Earthquake on a table! And he did it in Philadelphia of all places. He gets back in the ring to win the match by countout at 13:11. Since there was another main event to go and this feud was to continue, that was actually a fine finish. The match wasn’t terrible, and the crowd reaction was great as usual for Hogan at this time.
Rating: **

MATCH #10: Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship – Ultimate Warrior vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude

This one will be under pinfall or escape rules. Rude goes to the top of the cage to taunt Warrior during his entrance, and Warrior meets him up there to start the match! Warrior wins a slugfest and knocks Rude all the way down to the mat. He comes off the top rope with a double axe handle. Piper says this is Warrior’s first cage match. The champion is all over the challenger, whipping him repeatedly into the cage. Rude moves out of the way of a charge, and the Warrior crashes into the cage. He tries to escape but Warrior isn’t worn down enough yet. Looks like Rude has been busted open. Even so, Rude is fully in control now. Warrior tries to fight back but Rude keeps knocking him back down. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening but Warrior powers his way out of it! Warrior hits a clothesline but eats knees on a splash attempt. Rude tries the Rude Awakening again and this time he hits it! He could win the match here but he goes to the top of the cage and hits a fist to the head instead. He foolishly goes for another one and Warrior gets a fist to the gut this time. Warrior tries to climb out the door but Heenan slams it on his head. Rude covers but only gets two! He goes for the door but Warrior grabs onto his ankle. Heenan pulls on Rude from the other side, so Warrior pulls Rude’s tights down for the requisite butt shot. Imagine WWE doing that today. Warrior pulls Heenan in to the cage and hits a right hand and an atomic drop to send the Brain back outside. Rude levels Warrior with a clothesline, but Warrior is Hulking Up. Warrior hits a series of clotheslines to take Rude down. He follows up with the Gorilla Press Slam and then climbs up and over the top to get the win at 10:03. This wasn’t too bad, but Rude didn’t seem like a main event guy and Warrior was still in Hogan’s shadow so it was a little bit flat.
Rating: **¼

The Pulse: I watched this show a ton when I was a kid and I loved it, but watching it today it’s really not so good. Nothing even reached three stars, and they seemed more interested in setting up later programs or extending current than providing anything too meaningful on this show. I still enjoyed it a little bit out of nostalgia, but it’s not one of the stronger SummerSlams.

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