THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It was the summer of 1990. Hulk Hogan was returning to action after being brutally attacked by the massive Earthquake, while WWF Champion the Ultimate Warrior had renewed his rivalry with “Ravishing” Rick Rude. These were the two main events as the WWF presented it’s third annual Summerslam show, with Vince McMahon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper handling commentary duties.
The show began with tag-team action as the Rockers, Marty Janetty and Shawn Michaels, went up against Power & Glory, Hercules and Paul Roma, accompanied by their manager, the Doctor of Style himself, Slick.
This was more or less a handicap match. Herc took Michaels out before the match began by clobbering him in the knee with his trusty old chain.
From there P&G took Janetty apart. Old Marty managed to get in a few shots, but in the end he fell to P&G’s awesome finisher, Herc’s superplex followed by Roma’s top rope splash. Nice opening encounter.
The first title match saw Mr. Perfect defending the Intercontinental title against the Texas Tornado. The perfect one had his manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan with him.
Kerry Von Erich was actually a late replacement for Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, the victim of a para-sailing accident that would put him on the shelf for a couple of years.
Despite the lack of build-up this proved to be a very entertaining encounter, with Curt Hennig underestimating Von Erich and thinking that he would have an easy match.
But the one-footed one proved to be a worthy opponent, and tougher than Hennig thought. The Tornado ended up pinning Perfect for the title, softening him up with the famed Von Erich claw before finishing him off with the tornado punch.
The third match never actually happened. Sensational Queen Sherri, cohort of Macho King Randy Savage, was due to face Dusty Rhodes’ manager Sapphire.
But Sapphire never actually showed, and Sherri was given the victory by forfeit. So why did this happen? More on that later.
Normal action resumed as the Warlord, accompanied by Slick, faced everyone’s favourite Mexican Tito Santana.
If there’s one thing I enjoy watching these old shows for it’s seeing Santana again. That guy was a great wrestler, and he was also great at making others look great.
Which was the case here, as the Warlord was looking to carve out a singles career after splitting from the Barbarian. It’s your basic David versus Goliath battle here, with the big guy taking Santana down with the running power slam. Entertaining, and it definitely achieved what it set out to do.
The title action continued as the Hart Foundation, Bret “Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart challenged Demolition for the Tag-Team titles in a best of three falls match.
Lots of things to make not of here. This was when Demolition had three members, with Crush and Smash defending the titles as Ax was banned from ringside.
It’s also important to note that commentator McMahon went to great pains to say that Ax and Smash looked very similar, although Stevie Wonder would have been able to tell those two apart.
Finally, how can you not get pumped up by Rick Derringer’s classic entrance theme?
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. This was a hell of a match, filled with drama and intensity, the likes of which we just don’t see these days.
Demolition took the first fall after taking the Hitman down with their trademark elbow drop finisher. The Harts evened things out when Crush was disqualified for stopping the referee’s count after Smash fell to the Hart attack clothesline.
Then came the really important moment. Remember what I said about McMahon’s Ax and Smash confusion? Between falls Ax came running down to ringside and hid under the ring while Smash and Crush distracted the referee. They did the old switcheroo when Ax replaced Smash, and everyone apart from those in the ring could see what was going on. Still, it made for great drama.
We then got an appearance from the Legion of Doom, Hawk and Animal, who sorted the whole mess out before the Hitman pinned Crush after the Anvil took him down with a slingshot shoulder block, and with that the Harts were the new champions.
After a ton if interviews it was back to normal action as Bad News Brown faced Jake “The Snake” Roberts, with the Big Boss Man as special referee. Bad News also had a few “Harlem sewer rats” in a covered cage with him at ringside to counter Jake’s buddy Damian.
Both guys went for their finishers early before Jake sold his heart out for Brown’s offence. Bad News also had his fair share of run-ins with the Boss Man before finally getting disqualified for clobbering Jake with a chair for the second time.
The Boss Man then stopped Brown from leg dropping Damian, before Jake returned the favour by saving the Boss Man from a beating. Nice stuff here.
After a special edition of the Brother Love show in which the returning Sgt. Slaughter cements his status as the new heel in town it’s back to tag-team action as Mr. Fuji’s Orient Express, Sato and Tanaka, faced “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff, now beloved by the American people because of the fall of communism.
After Duggan and Volkoff murdered God Bless America it was more or less a squash match as they overwhelmed their smaller opponents, with Duggan getting the pin after his big clothesline. Entertaining in it’s own way I suppose.
The big mystery surrounding Sapphire was solved in the next match as Dusty Rhodes faced Macho King Randy Savage, accompanied as always by Sensational Queen Sherri.
Before the match began the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase appeared on the stage with his faithful bodyguard Virgil, revealing to the world his latest purchase, none other than Sapphire, proving that twenty years later Ted Junior certainly has a better taste in women.
So it was a clearly distracted American Dream who began this match, easy prey for Savage, who ended up getting the quick pin after clobbering Rhodes with Sherri’s loaded purse. Rhodes then ended his evening running after Dibiase’s limo as it left the building.
Main event #1 saw Earthquake, accompanied by manager Jimmy Hart and his buddy Dino Bravo, taking on the returning Hulk Hogan, with the Big Boss Man in his corner.
Of course, this situation began when Earthquake attacked Hogan and put him out of commission for a while during an episode of the Brother Love show. (Probably so he could go off and make one of those bloody awful films.)
Bravo and Earthquake would later go on to take out Hogan’s original corner man, Tugboat, with Hogan choosing the Boss Man as his replacement. It was probably a good thing that Tugboat wasn’t there, as he’d probably have stumbled through a wall on his way to the ring.
It was your typical Hogan versus big man fare from this period, with liberal amounts of interference from Bravo and the Boss Man.
Hogan had some early success before the big guy took control, with Hogan doing the inevitable after a second sit down splash from Earthquake.
But after Hogan took Earthquake out with a body slam and the leg drop Jimmy Hart jumped into the ring to stop the count. The proverbial all hell then broke loose, with Hogan slamming Earthquake onto a ringside table before getting the count out win. The Boss Man then saved the day during the post-match attack so Hogan could end the appearance with his usual posing. Thankfully the Boss Man didn’t try to join him for that!
Main event #2 saw “Ravishing” Rick Rude challenging the Ultimate Warrior for the WWF title in a steel cage match.
I remember when this match was announced my first though was “Warrior v Rude, again?” The thought of seeing these two go at it again didn’t exactly set my pulse racing, especially as they had a regular match a few weeks before on Saturday Night’s Main Event.
It’s a good enough match, but sadly not a patch on their encounter at the previous year’s show. There’s all the usual stuff here – both men throwing each other into the bars, Rude’s manager Bobby Heenan slamming the door into the Warrior’s head before he himself got dragged into the cage for a beating, and the champion getting the win by climbing over the cage after taking Rude down with a gorilla press.
In conclusion – I’d read a couple of online reviews of this show to get me in the mood as it were. They weren’t exactly complimentary.
I found this, the second Summerslam I ever saw, to be great. Okay, the two main events may not have been classics, but there were some great matches on the undercard, with the Harts/Demolition the best of the bunch.
But as with other shows from this era it’s also sad when you see the number of performers here who are no longer with us – Hercules, Curt Hennig, Kerry Von Erich, Sapphire, Sensational Sherri, Crush, Hawk, Bad News Brown, the Big Boss Man, Earthquake, Rick Rude, as well as referee Joey Marella. All gone for various reasons.
So while those other writers may tell you that this was an awful show I’m here to give 1990’s Summerslam a big thumbs up, because this is a great example of early 1990’s wrestling at it’s best, and it was well worth viewing again.