The third SummerSlam event in 1990 saw a changing of the guard because The Ultimate Warrior was the WWE Champion while Hulk Hogan was out of the main event for the first time in SummerSlam history.
I remember the cage match main event very well and the Tag Title match, but not much else. Let’s go back to 1990 to see what else happened at the third SummerSlam.
WWE SummerSlam 1990
The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
August 27, 1990
The show began with Vince McMahon narrating a brief video hyping up Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake and Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude.
Vince McMahon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper were on commentary for the show. They were shown on camera with the crowd going wild for Piper.
Analysis: It was likely going to be Jesse Ventura with Vince on commentary, but Ventura quit WWE a few weeks before the show.
The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Michael Jannetty) vs. Power & Glory (Hercules & Paul Roma) w/Slick
(Pre-match notes: The Rockers were faces while Power & Glory were heels.)
Hercules attacked Michaels with a chain outside the ring before the match started. Hercules went after the knee. Jannetty was on fire against both heels with a double dropkick and a double headbutt to stagger them. Jannetty managed to get a cradle on Roma, but Slick distracted the ref to delay the count. Jannetty knocked Hercules out of the ring. Michaels slowly tried to get in the ring, but Hercules kicked him in the leg to leave Michaels out of the ring. Hercules hit a press slam. Jannetty got a pin attempt, but Roma tagged back in with a backbreaker. Jannetty hit a powerslam on Roman and a superkick on Hercules. Michaels was still down. Slick distracted the ref as Jannetty hit a fist drop off the top and Hercules made the save. Punch to the face by Hercules while Jannetty ran the ropes. Double team move by P&G where they launched Jannetty in the air and he landed on his stomach. Hercules with a clothesline. Hercules hit his Superplex followed by Roma hitting a top rope splash leading to Roma pinning Jannetty with his foot.
Winners by pinfall: Power & Glory
Analysis: ** It was essentially a handicap match with Michaels not active at all due to a legit knee injury that Michaels had. Dominant win by the heels because they had a lot of potential as a heel team and this was a way to give them a big win on a major show. The Rockers were more established at this point, so it was a big thing for Power & Glory to beat them. The push for P&G didn’t get that far mostly because the duo weren’t that good in the ring. They had the bodies Vinny Mac liked, but their matches were boring.
Post match, Power & Glory attacked both Rockers. They stomped away on Michaels’ right knee, so Jannetty put his body on the knee of Michaels to protect his buddy. Referees got Power & Glory out of there while Michaels was taken away on a stretcher.
Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan were interviewed by Sean Mooney on the interview set. Perfect said he’s got the perfect body, the perfect mind and the perfect record. Heenan ripped on Texas Tornado saying that he’s got his head in the clouds because he doesn’t have his feet on the ground. Perfect ended it with this: “Nobody beats Mr. Perfect…nobody.”
Analysis: Perfect was my favorite guy on the roster at this time along with Randy Savage. It was hard not to love a guy that was as good as him in the ring and as cool as him. It was such a great gimmick. Let’s all spit out our gum and slap it in the air.
Texas Tornado was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund in the locker room. Tornado said that tornadoes are powerful, unpredictable and devastating. He said when he heads back up into the clouds he’ll be taking back the Intercontinental Title.
Mr. Perfect entered first with Heenan to boos. As Tornado walked to the ring, Vince McMahon called him Kerry Von Erich, but his WWE name was only Texas Tornado.
Analysis: Tornado was Kerry Von Erich, who was one of the biggest names in the NWA in the 1980s. His family was huge in Texas. I didn’t know about Kerry Von Erich at the time because I was only ten years old, but in later years I watched a lot of him to see how great he was and wondered why they wouldn’t just use his Kerry Von Erich name. It’s WWE wanting to come up with their own names, so that’s what they did with him. Tornado debuted in WWE about one month before this. It was a strong push for him to get the IC Title shot so soon in his WWE run. Rumor is that it was going to be Brutus Beefcake getting this match, but he was hurt and had major surgery on his face.
Intercontinental Championship: Mr. Perfect (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Texas Tornado
(Pre-match notes: Perfect was the heel champion while Tornado was the face.)
The ref of this match was Mike Chioda, who is still a main referee in WWE 27 years later. I looked it up and Chioda is 50, so he was 23 here. Tornado with a hip toss, body slam and clothesline that sent Perfect out of the ring. Perfect took control with a forearm to the head. Perfect hit his patented neck snap followed by a sleeper hold. They were up against the turnbuckle with Tornado slapping him I the face repeatedly. Tornado no sold it, slingshot sent Perfect into the turnbuckle and Tornado applied the claw hold. Tornado hit the spin punch, Perfect spun around to sell it and Tornado covered to win after 5:15.
Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: Texas Tornado
Analysis: *1/4 Quick match to put over Tornado in dominant fashion. I’m not sure why the match was so short, but they made the most of their time with an exciting finish that the crowd loved. Incredible selling by Perfect as usual.
The crowd was going crazy as Tornado celebrated with the IC Title. Perfect was such a good seller that he stumbled back to his feet and bumped to the floor just for the hell of it.
Analysis: This was a great moment in Kerry’s WWE career, but his life ended early in Feb 1993 when he was 33 when he shot himself and committed suicide. Mr. Perfect also passed away in 2003 when he was 44 after a drug overdose. It’s tough watching matches like this where these guys are so full of life and energy only to feel sad about how their lives ended way too. Perfect got the title back a few months later and had an even longer reign with the IC Title. We’ll pick that up in the 1991 SummerSlam review.
Okerlund was on the interview set with Perfect and Heenan showing up. Heenan said it was the worst officiating in the world. Perfect said he’ll be back to win the title to bring it back to the family.
Sensational Queen Sherri vs. Sapphire
Sensational Sherri was in the ring for a match against Sapphire. The Dusty Rhodes song hit, but Sapphire never showed up. It was announced that if Sapphire didn’t make it into the ring in 30 seconds then she would forfeit the match. The clock ended and Sherri was announced as the winner.
Winner by forfeit: Sensational Queen Sherri
Vince McMahon on commentary: “Sensational Queen Sherri wins by forfeit. What the heck is going on?”
Analysis: A lot of fans have the same questions about your booking decisions, Vince.
Dusty Rhodes was in the locker room being interviewed by Mean Gene. Rhodes didn’t know where Sapphire went after they arrived to the arena. Rhodes said he was worried about Sapphire and Jim Duggan showed up to say they’ve all been looking for her. Rhodes said he had to go find Sapphire.
Tito Santana vs. The Warlord (w/Slick)
(Pre-match notes: Santana was the face and Warlord was the heel.)
Listening to Vinny Mac say “arriba” is more entertaining than you might think. Just saying. Warlord looked gigantic. Huge steroid guy. Yes, I think it’s fair to assume that. Santana hit dropkicks that sent Warlord out of the ring. Warlord did a powerful kickout to send Santana out of the ring. Warlord sent Santana back first into the ring post after Slick distracted the referee. Back in the ring, Warlord punched Santana in the ribs as he took control. Santana with a boot to the face and a clothesline for two. Warlord missed a clothesline and Santana connected with his flying forearm for a two count as Warlord got his foot on the bottom rope. Warlord blocked a Santana attack. Warlord picked up Santana and hit a running Powerslam for the pinfall win at 5:28.
Winner by pinfall: The Warlord
Analysis: * Boring match to put over Warlord as a midcard heel that they liked, but he was below average in the ring. Santana was used mostly to put over heels at this stage in his career. My favorite thing about Warlord matches were when they were over.
They plugged Survivor Series 1990 on November 22.
The Demolition promo trio of Ax, Smash and Crush were interviewed with Sean Mooney. They debuted Crush a few months earlier to help establish them as heel champions. When Mooney mentioned Legion of Doom, Crush called Legion of Doom “second rate imposters” and the others mentioned they’re going to beat the Hart Foundation.
Analysis: The “imposters” line about LOD was pretty funny because Demolition were actually copying LOD when they made a name for themselves as the Road Warriors in the NWA and elsewhere. The main reason for using Crush was because Ax was getting older and adding Crush allowed Ax to not wrestle as often.
Demolition entered for the title match. It’s Crush and Smash teaming for Demolition.
The Hart Foundation duo did a pre-match promo with Mean Gene in the locker room.
Analysis: I have fond memories of this match because I was a huge Hart Foundation fan and wanted them to get those titles back.
WWE Tag Team Championships in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match: Demolition (Smash & Crush) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “Anvil” Neidhart)
(Pre-match notes: Demolition were the heel champions. Hart Foundation were face challengers. This was Demolition’s third reign as Tag Team Champions.)
The faces were in control of Smash early as Piper said both Demolition guys were “severely ugly.” Good description. Crush was in for the heels, he caught Bret during a cross body block attempt and hit a body slam on Hart. Crush charged at Bret in the corner and Bret got his boot up to stun him. Smash got the tag and so did Neidhart, which led to Crush hitting a knee to the back of Neidhart to take control. Neidhart hit a clothesline on Crush, who had tagged in. Hart faced off with Smash again with a clothesline by Hart to Smash and a dropkick to Crush. Bret fought off both guys with an atomic drop to Smash. Bret whipped Smash into Crush that sent Crush out to the floor. Hart hit a Russian Legsweep for two. Crush sent Neidhart into the barricade. Elbow by Hart off the middle rope and Crush hit a leg drop to the back to break it up. Backbreaker by Smash with Crush hitting the elbow drop off the middle rope for the first pinfall of the match.
Demolition wins the first fall of the match
Hart was hurting as the heels worked him over with plenty of quick tags. After a couple of minutes, Hart managed to come back with a running clothesline. Smash held onto the leg of Hart, but Hart managed to get to the Anvil for the hot tag. Forearm smash by Anvil on Smash and then a powerslam earned a two count for Neidhart. Shoulder tackles by Neidhart on Smash in the corner. Double team by the Hart Foundation with Neidhart hitting a shoulder tackle in the corner. Hart was the legal man, Neidhart held Smash and Hart hit the running Hart Attack clothesline for the count as Crush broke it up by jumping on the ref. That looked weird. Crush picked up the ref, so referee Earl Hebner rang the bell for a disqualification.
The Hart Foundation wins the second fall of the match
Analysis: Why wouldn’t he just hit Bret to break up the count? He jumped over the pinfall attempt to hit the ref. It looked so awkward.
The Hart Foundation were on the floor regrouping. Ax ran down to the ring and hid under the ring while Demolition prevented the referee from seeing it. Hart Foundation went for a double team move. Neidhart hit a shoulderblock on Ax and Neidhart slammed Bret onto Smash for two as Crush broke up the pin. Smash went to the floor, so Ax emerged from under the ring. Ax went into the ring and pounded on Bret with fists. Ax has different hair and a different look, but the ref was too dumb to notice apparently. Ax hit a clothesline on Bret with Vince ranting about how Ax was illegally in the ring. Ax whipped Bret into the corner leading to the usual sternum bump from Bret. Crush with the backbreaker on Hart. Anvil went into the ring to go after Crush, so Ax brought Bret outside the ring so Smash could hit him with punches. Smash went back in the ring while Ax went under the ring again. The crowd came alive as the Legion of Doom duo of Hawk & Animal made their way down to the ring. They went after Ax on the floor. Demolition went for their double team finisher, so Hawk punched Crush in the leg. The ref didn’t see that or it would be a disqualification. The crowd was going crazy here. What a huge ovation for LOD. Crush was staggered, so Anvil hit a slingshot shoulder tackle on Crush leading to Bret covering Crush for the pinfall win at 14:24.
The Hart Foundation wins the third fall of the match to win the match 2-1.
Winners and New Tag Team Champions: The Hart Foundation
There was a huge ovation after the pin. One of the loudest ovations you’ll ever hear for a tag team title change. It was booked really well. I promise you when that moment happened a nearly ten year old me was marking out in my cousin’s living room. That was one of my favorite title changes ever from this era.
Analysis: ***1/4 Good tag match ending with a big title change that the fans loved. The timing of the match felt just right too. That’s an important aspect of a match like this. The way they did the second fall was awkward and looked bad, but the rest of the match was a lot of fun. I thought Bret was outstanding here. You could always tell he was the better performer on his team, but he really stood out in this match. A year later he was in a better spot and the year after that it was in the main event. I’m looking forward to re-watching those matches.
There was a plug for WrestleMania 7 at the Los Angeles Coliseum for what Vince said would be 100,000 screaming fans. Oops. It ended up being in the arena instead with about 15,000 people.
The Legion of Doom duo of Hawk and Animal were interviewed by Mean Gene in the locker room. Lots of yelling about how they wanted Demolition. The Hart Foundation walked in with their newly won Tag Team Titles saying they’ll take on any comers.
Sean Mooney was outside the Demolition locker room, but they wouldn’t let him in the room.
Sensational Queen Sherri was interviewed by Mean Gene in the interview area. Sherri bragged about her “win” over Sapphire. Gene threw it to a five minute intermission.
Back from intermission, Mean Gene shilled the matches still to come.
There was a shot of Jake Roberts’ snake in the shower and Bad News Brown has some sewer rats. Okay then.
Big Boss Man was interviewed by Mean Gene because he’s the referee of the Roberts vs. Brown match later.
The new tag team of Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff (with the US flag instead of the Russian flag) were interviewed by Sean Mooney in the locker room.
Earthquake, Dino Bravo & Jimmy Hart were interviewed by Mean Gene. Earthquake talked about how he’s going to beat Hulk Hogan.
Jake Roberts was interviewed by Sean Mooney in the locker room about his match against Bad News Brown.
Analysis: There was a lot of time killing there because in this era they liked to put an intermission in the middle of the show. Next time I’m not recapping the intermission filler stuff.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Bad News Brown w/Big Boss Man as the referee
(Pre-match notes: Roberts was the face and Brown was the heel with BBM as the face referee.)
Roberts went for the DDT early, but Brown nailed an arm drag. Brown with a leg drop for two. Way to steal Hogan’s finish, brother. Brown didn’t like the count of Boss Man, so Roberts went for a DDT again and Brown bailed to the floor. Roberts followed Brown to the floor. Brown had a steel chair that he used to jab Roberts in the ribs with. Boss Man didn’t disqualify him for that. Back in the ring, Brown whipped Roberts into the turnbuckle three times in a row followed by a clothesline. Brown to the middle rope, he missed a fist drop as Roberts moved and both guys were down. Roberts comeback with the knee lift and clothesline. Fans chanted for the “DDT” and Roberts went for it, but Brown hit a back body drop with Piper noting that Brown had his head oiled. Brown grabbed the chair again and hit Roberts in the ribs with it. Boss Man disqualified Brown for it. End of the match at 4:40.
Winner by disqualification: Jake Roberts
Analysis: * Boring match with a lame finish. Brown didn’t look like he was in good shape and it felt like they called the match early, but that’s just a guess on my part. Was that really the best they could do? It was weak. Brown ended up leaving WWE shortly after this event.
After the match, Brown tried to leg drop the snake in the bag, but Boss Man pulled the bag out of the way. Boss Man turned his back, so Brown punched him in the back. Roberts took Damien the snake out of the bad, attacked Brown with it and Brown got out of there. Roberts’ music played to end it.
Analysis: The crowd liked that post match angle, so at least that was a a good idea, but it didn’t hide the fact that the match sucked.
There was another commercial for WrestleMania 7 in Los Angeles.
The Demolition trio were interviewed by Mean Gene on the SummerSlam interview set. They said they would get back their Tag Team Titles and they were coming for Legion of Doom too.
Brother Love Segment with Sgt. Slaughter
I’m a big fan of the Bruce Prichard podcast, but I’m not going to recap this entire segment. Prichard did a good job of being annoying as Brother Love. Sgt. Slaughter was the guest and he hugged Love in the ring. Slaughter did a heel promo about America being weak. Slaughter said “Saddam Hussan” (actually Hussein) and said that Iraq would kicker America’s butt like he will kick Nikolai Volkoff’s butt.
Analysis: It was the beginning of the heel turn by Slaughter that led to his anti-American/pro-Iraqi run that led to him winning the WWE Title and headlining WrestleMania 7 against Hulk Hogan.
The Orient Express with Mr. Fuji were interviewed by Sean Mooney in the locker room. It was cut short because of breaking news.
The breaking news was Mean Gene had found Sapphire backstage, but Sapphire walked into a room without talking to him. Piper had a good line saying it wasn’t the first time Okerlund had a door slammed in his face.
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Orient Express (Sato & Tanaka) w/Mr. Fuji
(Pre-match notes: Duggan & Volkoff were the faces while The Orient Express were heels.)
Duggan and Volkoff sang God Bless America before the match with the fans joining them.
Duggan and Volkoff each hit atomic drops to knock the heels out of the ring. Volkoff started with Tanaka. Sato jumped off the top with a chop to the head of Volkoff as the heels isolated against Volkoff. Fuji hit a cane shot to the face of Volkoff. Sato with a back kick on Volkoff. Splash attempt missed by Tanaka. Duggan got the hot tag with a double clothesline on both heels followed by the double noggin knocker and clotheslines on each heel. Duggan and Volkoff whipped the heels into eachother. Volkoff knocked Sato out of the ring. Duggan hit a running clothesline on Tanaka, who did a flip bump, and pinned him at 3:22.
Winners by pinfall: Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff
Analysis: 1/2* Terrible match, but it’s not like I was expecting much from Duggan and Volkoff. Easy win to put over Duggan and Volkoff as a new team. They didn’t have a lot of longevity as a duo, but it’s easy to see why WWE tried because the crowd was behind them. I’m glad it was a short match.
There was a plug for Survivor Series.
Dusty Rhodes was shown backstage knocking on the locker room door asking Sapphire to talk to him. Rhodes said he didn’t know what was wrong with her.
The “Macho King” Randy Savage was interviewed backstage by Sean Mooney. Savage said the rumors must be true about Sapphire while noting that the people wanted to see the Macho King.
Rhodes and Savage made their entrances. Ted Dibiase appeared on the stage with Virgil. Dibiase said that everybody has a price for the Million Dollar Man including a “common man” like Rhodes. Dibiase said that his money can buy anything including Rhodes’ humiliation. Dibiase said this is his latest purchase, the sweet Sapphire. Vince: “Oh no!” He was devastated. Sapphire walked out with a fur coat and had a WWE gym bag that had money in it. Dibiase talked about the things he bought for her including a diamond necklace and a Cadillac. Dibiase asked Rhodes what he was going to do about it.
Analysis: I’m not sure what the point of the angle was because Sapphire was out of the company shortly after this happened. Plus, Sapphire wasn’t that good of a performer anyway.
Dusty Rhodes vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage (w/Sensational Queen Sherri)
(Pre-match notes: Rhodes was the face while Savage was the heel. This followed their WrestleMania six match that was a mixed tag with Rhodes having Sapphire on his team and Sherri was with the Macho King.)
Rhodes went after Dibiase, so Savage attacked Rhodes while in the aisle. Back in the ring, Savage hit a double axehandle to the back of Rhodes. Sherry interfered against Rhodes while Savage distracted the ref. Rhodes came back with punches. Rhodes hit a dropkick that sent Savage out of the ring. Sherri handed Savage her purse, Rhodes chased after her, the ref tried to get Sherri out of the ring and Savage hit Rhodes in the back of the head with the purse. Savage pinned Rhodes to win at 2:15.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Savage
Analysis: * Good for the time given, but it was so short that it’s hard to analyze too much. They are two of the best ever although Rhodes was well past his prime by this point. Rhodes did not have a good run in WWE and was gone after being unhappy at Royal Rumble 1991. I can’t really blame Dusty because he was booked in a shitty feud even against a great performer like Savage.
Ted Dibiase, Virgil and Sapphire were shown going into a limo. Sean Mooney interviewed Dibiase with Dibiase saying there is nothing his money can’t buy. Rhodes ran out to the parking lot, but the heels left in the limo.
Earthquake entered with his buddy Dino Bravo and manager Jimmy Hart. They were booed heavily.
Hulk Hogan was interviewed by Mean Gene backstage and Big Boss Man was there because he is in Hogan’s corner. Hogan spoke about the tears in the eyes of the Hulkamaniacs when Earthquake injured him. Hogan talked about how Earthquake and Bravo injured Tugboat to make sure he’s not in their corner. Hogan called him “The Tugster” at one point. Big Boss Man talked about how he’ll be at Hogan’s side. Hogan ended it mentioning the constitution since they were in Philly where the constitution was signed.
Earthquake was announced at 468 pounds. Vince sounded excited. He loves big dudes, after all.
Big Boss Man entered to be in Hogan’s corner. He got a nice ovation.
Hulk Hogan entered to a massive ovation. It was weird not seeing Hogan holding the WWE Title or in a title match, but the crowd still loved him as much as ever. Vince said he had never heard an ovation like this before.
Analysis: The story was Earthquake injured Hogan in May 1990 on the Brother Love show and this was Hogan’s return. I believe Hogan took some time off for the birth of his son Nick, who was born in July 1990. The only match Hogan between April 30 and this match on August 27 (four months) was against Stan Hansen in Japan two weeks earlier. It was a well deserved break for the Hulkster after being the top guy in WWE for most of the previous six years.
Hulk Hogan (w/Big Boss Man) vs. Earthquake (w/Dino Bravo & Jimmy Hart)
(Pre-match notes: Hogan was the face obviously and Earthquake was the heel.)
Hogan shoved Earthquake, who was sweating heavily, but he barely moved him. Earthquake shoved Hogan down twice. Hogan’s slam attempt didn’t work as Earthquake weakened him with a punch to the back. Earthquake whipped Hogan into the turnbuckle. Boot to the face by Hogan, two clotheslines that staggered Earthquake and some punches for Hart and Bravo on the apron. A punch by Hogan sent Earthquake on his butt. Earthquake bailed to the floor as the crowd went wild. Boss Man and Bravo went into the ring, so Hogan and Boss Man did a double boot to him. Double boot by Hulk and BBM on Earthquake too. The ref sent Boss Man out of the ring, so double body slam by the heels on Hogan. Elbow drop by Earthquake earned a two count. Earthquake went up top with a punch. Boston Crab applied by Earthquake. I don’t remember him doing that too often. When Hogan was outside the ring, Bravo hit a body slam on Hogan on the floor. Earthquake with a body slam and he missed the slowest elbow drop ever because Hogan moved. Hogan went for a body slam, Earthquake fell on top and got a two count. Hogan probably did that spot in 80% of his matches against bigger opponents.
Earthquake slapped on a bearhug to wear Hogan down some more. Hogan actually ripped off part of the referee’s shirt while trying to get free. Hogan with two shoulder tackles and Earthquake caught him leading to a big powerslam with Vince busting out his “forget about it” line as Earthquake did a one foot cover for two. Earthquake ran the ropes for his running splash. Vince said it was over and one of the greatest careers is coming to an end. I love how cheesy his commentary was. Earthquake hit the running splash again for two as Hogan kicked out to start the Hulking Up routine. Hogan no sold some weak looking punches, Hogan connected with punches of his own and a big boot staggered Earthquake. Hogan wanted a body slam and this time he did it successfully. Leg drop by Hogan, but Bravo distracted the referee. Jimmy Hart jumped on Hogan while the referee dealt with Boss Man. Hogan tossed Hart onto Earthquake. Boss Man threw Bravo out of the ring. They brawled on the floor. The ref was counting them out as Hart accidentally hit Earthquake with the megaphone after Hogan moved. Hogan picked up Quake and slammed him onto a table, but the table didn’t break, so Quake was out on the floor. Hogan went back into the ring to win by countout at 13:16.
Winner by countout: Hulk Hogan
Analysis: **1/4 Slow paced match that was typical from Hogan against a bigger opponent. The crowd was into all of it, so even though it was boring it’s hard to deny how successful the formula was. The countout finish was a bit of a surprise because it should have been a pinfall win for Hogan after making his return from a long absence. I’m not sure why they opted for the countout, but it was probably done to set up rematches on live events more than anything.
Post match, Earthquake went back into the ring and punched Hogan in the back. Earthquake choked Hogan. Boss Man hit Earthquake in the back with a chair three times to get him to stop. The heels left as Hogan’s music played. Hogan celebrated with Boss Man with Hogan doing his posing routine to a big ovation like usual.
Analysis: Happy ending to the match with Boss Man proving that he was trustworthy as a guy watching Hogan’s back.
Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan were interviewed by Sean Mooney in the interview area. Rude said a Steel Cage match is his kind of match and he has the advantage. Heenan added some thoughts and Rude said there will be no rematch.
Dusty Rhodes was interviewed by Mean Gene in the locker room. Dusty did a fired up speech about emotion saying Sapphire took the money and she paid him back in scorn.
The steel cage was being set up with Lord Alfred Hayes at ringside. It’s the blue cage with big spaces between the bars to make it easier to climb.
Hulk Hogan did an interview with Mean Gene in the interview. Hogan said he’s going to beat Earthquake all around the country and that he wants to be back where he belongs as the #1 Contender to the WWE Title. Hogan talked about the 400,000 cards and letters he got while he was out. Hogan said this is the decade of the little Hulksters with four commandments: train, say your prayers, eat your vitamins and believe in yourself. He was fired up like usual. Hogan did a backstroke to leave the screen.
Analysis: Hogan was fired up there. Cheesy promos as always from here, but they are fun to watch all these years later. I say that as somebody that wasn’t a huge Hogan fan too. It’s easy to enjoy it all these years later.
Vince and Roddy talked about the event while the ring crew was still assembling the steel cage for about eight minutes.
Earthquake, Jimmy Hart and Dino Bravo were interviewed in the locker room with Earthquake saying that he’s not done with Hogan. Lots of yelling from Hart and Bravo as well.
The Ultimate Warrior was interviewed by Mean Gene in the interview area. Warrior did a ranting promo that was hard to make sense of, so it was the usual from him. Vince reacted to it with: “Whoa baby!” Vince is weird.
Analysis: This era was full of guys yelling at the top of their lungs for their promos. It’s not that common today. I don’t know what’s better, but these characters had more interesting personalities.
The rules of the cage match is pinning your opponent, exiting over the top of the cage or exiting through the door.
Rick Rude walked out with his manager Bobby Heenan. I’m not sure what the audio issue is on WWE Network, but the Rude music is way too loud and you can’t hear the announcers. Must have been some kind of edit. Rude insulted the fans like usual leading to him taking off his robe. He’s got his face on the front of his tights and Warrior on the back of his tights.
The Ultimate Warrior entered with the WWE Title around his waist. Warrior ran down to the ring, climbed part of the cage and shook it repeatedly. Huge ovation for Warrior as he ran around the ring like the madman he was.
WWE Championship Steel Cage Match: Ultimate Warrior vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan)
(Pre-match notes: Warrior was the face champion and Rude was the heel.)
They fought while Warrior was going up the cage and the bell rang before Warrior even entered the cage. Warrior knocked Rude down and hit a fist attack off the top rope. Warrior whipped Rude into the cage three times. Warrior charged, Rude moved and Warrior hit the steel cage. Rude tried to climb out, Warrior grabbed his foot to stop and Rude entered back in the ring with a punch. Rude whipped Warrior hard into the cage. Rude worked on Warrior with punches. Rude whipped Warrior into the cage again. Rude was bleeding from the forehead. Rude worked over with some kicks and punches. Rude went for the Rude Awakening neckbreaker, but Warrior powered out of it with the crowd cheering loudly for the champ. Clothesline by Warrior and he went for a splash, but Rude got his knees up to block it. Rude picked up Warrior and hit the Rude Awakening neckbreaker. Rude climbed up the cage and he jumped off the top of the cage with a fist attack. Heenan opened the door telling Rude to get out the door, but Rude climbed up the cage. Rude jumped off the top with another attack and Warrior stopped him with a punch to the gut. Warrior tried to crawl out the door, but Heenan slammed the door on his head. Rude covered Warrior for a two count. Warrior and Rude collided, so both of them were down. Rude tried to climb out the door, so Warrior held onto his foot to prevent him from getting out with Heenan trying to help. Warrior even pulled the tights of Rude to expose his butt a bit. Warrior brought Heenan into the cage and decked him with a punch. Warrior with an atomic drop on Heenan to send him out the door. Rude hit Warrior with a clothesline. Warrior did his no selling routine leading to three clotheslines in a row and a Gorilla Press Slam. Warrior climbed up the cage. Warrior got out the other side, he did some hip gyrations to taunt Rude and Warrior touched the ground to win the match. It went 10:05.
Winner: The Ultimate Warrior
Analysis: **1/2 Okay match, but too short to really stand out. It was no surprise that Warrior retained the title because it was his first major title defense. A lot of the offense in the match was simple with whips into the cage. It would have been better if they changed it up a bit more. Their match at SummerSlam 1989 was better than this one even though this was for the WWE Title (1989 was for the IC Title) and that match ended with interference. Rude is one of the better WWE performers that never was a WWE Champion.
Warrior celebrated with the WWE Championship as the crowd went wild for him. The show signed off shortly after with no replays because they were probably close to the sign off time and that was it.
This event has a run time of 2 hours 40 minutes on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– My favorite moment from this event will always be the Hart Foundation win. It meant so much to me as a kid because they were my team and for them to win those titles one more time was huge. I’m glad that it holds up so well as an entertaining match. It was the highlight of this show in terms of in-ring action.
– Hogan’s reaction when he first appeared was thunderous. I know I joked about how Vince McMahon was maybe too excited about it, but after seeing it and hearing it you can understand why there was that kind of reaction to it.
– Two title changes on the card with Texas Tornado and the Hart Foundation winning titles. That’s a big reason why SummerSlam had a big time feel to it in the early years because you knew if you tuned in you would see some title changes. There were title changes on shows like Superstars and Saturday Night’s Main Event, but doing them on PPVs were more common.
– The show did a good PPV buyrate number with 507,000. It was a drop off from the 625,000 buys from a year earlier, but it was the second highest number of PPV buys in the first ten years of the event.
– I thought the broadcast was organized poorly. They had about 15 minutes of a break between the last two matches and it just dragged. It should have been handled better because the crowd seemed exhausted by the time we got to the main event.
Best Match: The Hart Foundation vs. Demolition
Worst Match: Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Orient Express
Most Memorable Moment: Hulk Hogan slamming Earthquake. I’m not a huge Hogan fan, but they built that moment up well and the crowd popped huge for it.
- The Hart Foundation
- Hulk Hogan
- Ultimate Warrior
- Rick Rude
Show rating (out of 10): 3.5
It was a poor show with not enough good in-ring action. The previous two years had better undercards.
Matches With Ratings ****+ (out of 5*) and higher:
None so far.
Ranking SummerSlam Reviews (on 1-10 scale)
SummerSlam 1989 (Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1988 (Mega Powers vs. Mega Bucks) – 5
SummerSlam 1990 (Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude) – 3.5
Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.