Written by: Jim
Madison Square Garden
March 19, 1990
Jim Powers vs Iron Mike Sharpe
A match that could main event any arena in the country. Sharpe stalls early on before he takes over. During his long heat sequence, Sharpe is constantly yelling out random noises. The only way I can describe it is that it’s very Mankind (Circa 1996) like. It’s pretty entertaining though. Powers fires back and the action picks up near the end with Powers winning with a power slam. For a thirteen minute Jim Powers match, this wasn’t too bad. Sharpe remains my favorite enhancement talent ever as he’s always doing something entertaining. The main source of my slight enjoyment is from the commentating team of Gorilla Monsoon, Lord Alfred Hayes and Hillbilly Jim. They were talking about everything except for the match. Such topics included praising of Larry Sharpe, Hayes believing Jim Powers needs a haircut, Gorilla Monsoon loves watching PPV‘s alone and in his underwear and Hillbilly Jim proclamation of his love of arena hot dogs. Sharpe rules and Powers still sucks. 2 Stars.
Hercules vs Black Bart
Sharpe and Black Bart looks like they could have been an epic jobber tag team. It’s all Black Bart here with the commentators talking about the upcoming Wrestlemania 6 instead of the match. Bart locks in a reverse chin lock and keeps it on forever. Even Randy Orton is appalled that someone could have the move in for so long. Finally, Hercules makes his comeback and wins with a torture rack (Really just held Bart up without punishing him, so I guess Bart gave up because he was slightly uncomfortable). This pretty much sucked. Black Bart being on offense for the majority of the match just meant the action grinding to a halt. The more I see Hercules, the clearer if becomes that he only put in effort against anyone with talent. Herc looks like a fool having such a difficult time against a JTTS. 3/4 Star.
Demolition vs The Orient Express w/Mr. Fuji
The Orient Express had just debuted on TV just over two weeks ago. Sadly, Demolition’s music has been edited to some generic crap. Demo dominates the early going with some simple brawling. Ax in particular is great as every time an Orient Express member comes near the Demotion corner, Ax kicks or punches him. Orient Express takes over and Smash plays the face-in-peril. Plenty of cliche (Yet still good) heel spots with Mr. Fuji interfering and using his cane on Smash. Smash finally gets a hot tag to Ax after hitting a closeline on Pat Tanaka with Tanaka taking his 360 bump. Ax looks to have the match won as Smash sets up the Demolition Decapitation. Mr. Fuji interferes and hits Ax with his cane. Ax goes to chase Fuji, but Sato throws salt in Ax’s eyes. Ax is counted out and Orient Express picks up a huge win. Count-outs are never fun, but I didn’t have a problem with this. With this being Orient Express’s first competitive tag match in the WWE, getting a win over Demolition is huge. At the same time, losing by count-out doesn’t hurt Demolition as they head into challenging for the tag titles at Wrestlemania. It’s your basic tag formula match with the faces looking strong at first, the heels cheat in the middle, but the faces regain control at the end. It works. 2 3/4 Stars.
Koko B. Ware vs Frenchy Martin
I had no idea that Martin was even still in the WWE at this point. Frenchy had stopped managing Dino Bravo way back before Summerslam 1989. A nothing match with Frenchy controlling the majority of the match. He locks in a never ending nerve hold. A lot of boring chants during the entire match. Koko finally comes back and finishes Frenchy off with the Ghostbuster (Brainbuster).So incredibly dull. On the plus side, it wasn’t AS boring as Herc vs Black Bart. Koko was already a JTTS so being beat up by Frenchy for such a long time wasn’t going to hurt him. Lastly, the finishing move was a hell of a lot more exciting. It sucked nonetheless. 1 1/4 Stars.
To show that you can’t escape the horror that is Michael Cole, Lord Alfred Hayes commented on one Koko B. Ware move as…and I quote, “That’s VINTAGE Koko B. Ware!”
Jim Duggan vs Earthquake w/Jimmy Hart
A match that makes sense in terms of building up Wrestlemania. Duggan is booked at the PPV against fellow Jimmy Hart camp member, Dino Bravo. In case you’re wondering, Bravo vs Duggan produced the worst match at Wrestlemania 6. A simple matchwith Duggan spending the first few minutes trying to knock Quack down. Earthquake dominates Duggan for a few minutes, but Duggan keeps getting up. Jimmy Hart (sorta) interferes, which allows Quake to squash Duggan in the corner. Quake wins with an elbow drop after hitting the ropes. After the match, Earthquake continues the beat down until Jim Powers and Koko B Ware tries to make the save. Earthquake easily throws both JTTS out of the ring. Duggan makes his own save by running Quack out of thering with his trusty 2×4. This match worked because they had a basic story, but they kept the match under seven minutes. Unlike the other singles matches, it didn’t drag on past ten minutes. With Quack about to start a program with Hulk Hogan, it made sense that Quack was put over strong. 2 Stars.
Bret Hart vs Rick Martel
Despite just hanging out in the ring for a few minutes, Bret Hart waits until the bell rings before he goes to the outside to give away his pair of sunglasses. I would be so pissed off if I was Martel. Martel shows that he can waste time by showboating and stalling in the early minutes of the match. Martel ends up paying for it as The Hitman hits a nice closeline as Martel does a back handspring. While Bret spends most of the first half working over Martel’s left arm, Martel works over Bret’s back. Shockingly, Martel ends up as the star of the match as he remembers to sell the arm when he’s showboating and his back work makes sense as it sets up the Boston Crab. Near the end, Bret makes a comeback and sends Martel rolling to the outside every chance he gets. Some good drama is created as the viewer is left wondering if Bret can get Martel back in the ring before they’re counted. In the end, the time limit expires at twenty minutes. A pretty good match with both guys having logical strategies. Once Bret realized he was in trouble, he gave up working over the arm for a faster way to win. As much as his workrate dropped during his Model days, Martel looked really good here. The time limit draw was lame, but sorta expected. The best part was that it was a very different match from their Copps Coliseum bout from the previous May. 3 1/4 Stars.
Brutus Beefcake vs Dino Bravo w/Jimmy Hart
If you don’t mind going back to 1987, this one has a nice little backstory. At the start of 1987, Bravo became the running buddy of the Dream Team (Brutus and Greg Valentine). At Wrestlemania 3, Valentine, Bravo and manager, Johnny V, all left Brutus in thering due to some disagreements. After that, Bravo replaced Brutus as Valentine’s new partner in the NEW Dream Team. Bravo loves showing off his strength, so we get long sequences of a test of strength and later an incredibly erotic bear hug. Bear hugs already look pretty creepily sexual, but Bravo did a lot of pelvic thrusts to hurt Beefcake more. Brutus makes his comeback and slaps on the sleeper. With Jimmy Hart distracting the referee, Earthquake runs out and pulls Brutus out of the ring. Quack rams Beefcake against the ring post and drops him down. Bravo wins by count-out. After the match, Quack drops a couple of elbows on Brutus. Bravo sucks. I can count his good matches on one hand and that’s even after a fireworks injury. The Earthquake booking is awesome though. The WWE has made him look like a total monster tonight. 1 1/2 Stars.
Tugboat vs Pez Whatley
Pistol Pez had just debuted at the start of the year. He’s just a jobber though and he’ll be gone around Wrestlemania 7 time. If you take out the Tugboat noises, Tugboat’s theme song totally sounds like a Foster the People song. Whatley is the main. He’s constantly struting and screaming as Tugboat manhandles him. Pez manages to knock Tugboat off of his feet with a middle rope headbutt, but Tugboat kicks out of a cover at one. Tugboat eventually finishes Pistol Pez off with a 747 splash. Pistol Pez as a jobber was hands down more enjoyable than anyone else on this show. How was he not used more in the WWE? I have to put up with seeing Dino Bravo on nearly every PPV, but Pistol Pez is kept off? Bull****. A little too long for a squash, but it was fine for all of the Pistol Pez antics. SQUASH.
It’s worth noting that the fans are not into the Tugboat act.
The Fink is out to announce the main event for the next MSG show (April 30th):
Earthquake (Undefeated) vs Hulk Hogan (Current WWE World Champion)
Earthquake comes out and promises to beat Hogan. Quake’s all over the show.
The Ultimate Warrior vs Mr. Perfect
It’s all Warrior until Perfect gets the knees up during a splash attempt. Perfect works over the back. Sitting in a modified Camel Clutch, Perfect further punishes the back of Warrior. Finally, Warrior Warriors Up and makes his trademark comeback. A gorilla press and splash later, Warrior ends the perfect record of Mr. Perfect. This was Warrior vs Rude formula with Perfect inserted in Rude’s role. I can’t say I have a problem with that since both Hennig and Rude bumped around like a pinball for Warrior and the matches always made sense. The clean finish was surprising as Perfect didn’t need to lose here. Technically, Perfect had lost several matches already, but this would be his first televised loss as Mr. Perfect. Looking back, they should have just had Mr. Perfect screw Warrior out of the title (With plenty of outside help) as Warrior and Perfect were switching roles anyhow. A perfectly fine way to close out the show. 2 1/2 Stars.
The WWE was in full Wrestlemania mode and they made sure to remind the fans of this PPV every chance they got. While 1990 was hardly a great year for the WWE, this show was a bit below par for MSG shows that year. The main objective on the show was to put Earthquake over and establish him as a legitimate threat to Hulk Hogan. As much as you could in 1990, I’d say they accomplished that goal. The usual suspects (Perfect, Pat Tanaka and Bret) managed to have the best matches of the night. Shockingly, the biggest jobber on the show, Pez Whatley, left the biggest impression. He made a simple squash the best reason to check out the show. Come for Pistol Pez, stay for Bret and Perfect, but skip everything else.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.