Written by: Jim
Madison Square Garden
February 19, 1990
Buddy Rose vs Tito Santana
A rematch from the opening match from Wrestlemania 1. Rose had just returned to the WWE earlier in the month. Before the match, Rose plays up his fat man gimmick as he tries to determine which side of the arena wants to see him take off his shirt the most. Early on, Rose works on Tito’s back with that move where you slingshot your opponent into the ropes and he falls backwards onto your knees. This may have been the earliest I’ve seen that done. Interestingly, Rose keeps Tito laying on his knees as if it’s a submission. It doesn’t look too effective and it’s easy for Tito to escape (Just sit up), but it’s something different. Santana comes back and we Rose ends up messing with the draw string on his tights more than selling. Finally, Santana wins with the flying forearm. While the match started off great, it lost it’s direction once Tito was no longer selling. My main problem seemed to be the match length. From the opening to end bell, it lasted nearly twenty minutes. Chop off a good five minutes at least and you would have had an awesome little match with the heel working over the back before Santana’s comeback to winning. Rose was good on offense while Santana is just good overall, so it’s still a solid opening match. 2 1/2 Stars.
Earthquake vs Ron Garvin
I could have swore these two met at a SNME or Wrestlemania around this time. I guess I’m just thinking of Earthquake’s attack on Garvin after Ronnie’s SNME match against Dino Bravo. Pretty simple match with Garvin using his brute toughness to try and match Earthquake’s power. The commentating is really what helped me enjoy the match though. The team of Gorilla Monsoon, Hillbilly Jim and Bobby Heenan made for some great lines. Heenan “Is it okay if I call you Hillbilly or Jim? What about Mr. Hillbilly Jim? See, I can be nice. It’d be rude of me to call him “Hick!” ” In something that completely blew my mind, Hillbilly Jim kept using Larry Sweeney’s “Aint no doubt about it” line. How crazy would it have been had Sweeney stole the line from Hillbilly Jim of all people? Anyways, Earthquake catches Garvin from the top rope and slams him to the mat. Earthquake sit down squash follows to get the win. After the match, Quake does the move a couple more times to Garvin, forcing the medical staff to carry Garvin away on a stretcher. Maybe it’s just the commentating, but I found myself really enjoying this. Unlike the previous match, this match lasted just long enough without starting to drag on. Earthquake ends up looking like a million bucks, but since it wasn’t a short squash, Garvin isn’t hurt by it. 2 1/2 Stars.
Rick Martel vs The Red Rooster
Bobby Heenan really going over the top in attacking Hillbilly Jim during the commentating helped add to the match. The first half is all Red Rooster while Martel stalling by doing various taunts. At first, Rooster works on Martel’s arm/shoulder to weaken it for his chicken wing submission. However, it’s once Rooster moves out of the way of a charging Martel, The Model injures his knee. This allows some great selling by Martel to begin. Near the end though, Martel is able to come back and begins working over the back. This allows him to force Rooster to tap out to the Boston Crab. At twenty-one minutes, this was far too long. There were various “Boring” chants throughout the match and for good reason. I really dug Martel’s selling, but they still had to tell a story of Rooster hurting his back, so it was going to be a long match. Near the end, they picked up the pace to FINALLY get the crowd into the match. The referee being so slow in his counts didn’t help matters either. Terry Taylor just sucked in the WWE, but the match did have it’s high points. It continues the trend of decent, but not bad matches. 2 1/2 Stars.
Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake vs Mr. Perfect and The Genius
Brutus was added to the great Hogan/Perfect program after he cut the hair of the Genius at the Royal Rumble. The Genius gives away the start of the match as he quickly removes his robe and hat, making it clear that there was going to be some sort of fight before the bell. The heels gain control over Hogan with a shot to the back of his head with the Genius’ scroll. This leads to the first face-in-peril sequence as the heels continue to work on Hogan. The Genius is just stealing the show with his antics while Hillbilly Jim busts out a bunch of PG gay jokes. Once the hot tag occurs, Brutus is only able to be in control for a bit before the scroll is once again used. Classic tag wrestling with the heels double teaming behind the ref’s back every chance they get, Genius chokes Brutus with a tag rope and Hogan gets the tag behind the ref’s back, but must go back out. All of this finally leads to the second hot tag of the match with Hogan taking over. Hogan gets the win over the Genius (To keep Perfect undefeated) with the leg drop. After the match, Perfect runs away while Brutus cuts off more of the Genius’ hair. Man, this was loads of fun. Perfect and The Genius were a great heel team while Hogan and Brutus kept the fans in the match. The ending wasn’t quite as exciting as it should have been, but the match was far better than I would have imagined. My biggest pet peeve of Mr. Perfect (Overselling) was kept to a minimal, so he was just entertaining. Way better than the Warrior/Hogan vs Perfect/Genius SNME match that happened a month prior. 3 Stars.
Bad News Brown vs Jim Brunzell
I’m not sure what the story is on Brunzell. This is only his second match back after returning to the WWE (First match was the day before). He had last wrestled in November 1989, but he only worked two matches in 1989. His last full time match was in November 1988. Brunzell controlled the match early on due to using a mat game to out wrestle Bad News. Brown gains control as he whips Brunzell into the steel railing on the outside. Behind the ref’s back, Brown removes a turnbuckle. Brunzell blocks the exposed steel shot and smashes Bad New’s face into the exposed turnbuckle. The moron doesn’t go for a pin, but instead hits some European Uppercuts and other moves before finally trying to win. Bad News makes him pay with the Ghettoblaster to win the match. Looking at the match, I expected this to suck. It was over fifteen minutes long and man could Bad News Brown be boring. However, this wasn’t too bad. Brunzell kept things exciting and I actually thought he would win when he rammed Brown’s head into the exposed turnbuckle. It wasn’t an amazing match or anything, but once again, exceeded my expectations. 2 3/4 Stars.
Akeem w/Slick vs Dusty Rhodes w/Sapphire
THE AFRICAN DREAM VS AMERICAN DREAM~! This match is sorta a continuation of the Boss Man/Rhodes feud that sorta ended at SNME 24. Boss Man is now a babyface, but Slick still hates Sapphire, so the match still has some purpose. Dull match with both guys slowly attacking each other. Akeem is tied up in the ropes and received ten punches in the corner. The two fights on the outside, but Slick accidentally kicks Akeem in a totally awesome kung-fu/Human Tornado type kick. This allows Rhodes to climb back in the ring before the ten count. Akeem is counted out. Even though it was under ten minutes, it felt even longer than Brunzell/Brown. Luckily, I got to hear two of the best theme songs in history. So if nothing else, I enjoyed some aspect of the match. Sadly, it was before the bell rang. 1 1/2 Stars.
The Fink is out to announce the matches for the next time the WWE is at MSG. The card thus far for March 19, 1990:
– Hercules vs ???
– Koko B. Ware vs ???
– Demolition vs Orient Express (Orient Express’ MSG debut)
– Jim Duggan vs Earthquake
– Dino Bravo vs Brutus Beefcake
– Roddy Piper vs Rick Martel
– Ultimate Warrior vs Mr. Perfect
The two final matches could be pretty good. Looking at the actual results, Bret Hart would replace Roddy Piper to face Martel. Now there’s an upgrade. Hercules faces Black Bart while Koko faces Frenchy Martin. I didn’t even know Frenchy was still around in 1990.
The Powers of Pain and Mr. Fuji vs The Rockers and Jim Duggan
The heels control most of the match, with a long face-in-peril segment with Shawn. The camera manages to catch a young girl crying while holding up a poster of Shawn. That’s priceless. In a nice hidden highlight, Heenan compliments The Barbarian several times in the match. To go along with his hint that he was going to add a new member of the Heenan Family earlier in the night, he subtly hinted at The Barbarian. Michaels gets the hot tag to Duggan, but Duggan has little success against the much stronger team. While he’s not in often, Fuji is effective in doing some random karate like moves and tagging back out. Jannetty gets the tag and is lucky enough to get Fuji alone in the ring. All six man ends up fighting while Fuji pulls out a bag of powder. Before he can use it on Jannetty, Duggan blindsides him with a 2×4 shot, behind the ref’s back. Jannetty pins Fuji to win the match. Ha, the babyfaces were such cheaters! With the heels dominating, the faces only won because of the cheating. While it wasn’t quite as entertaining as the previous month’s POP vs Rockers, it’s still another quality Rockers’ tag. POP were great when they were able to showcase their power and strength. Due to their size, the Rockers were the perfect opponents for them. 2 3/4 Stars.
That’s 1990 for you. The best was just three stars while the rest was just in the decent category. Minus the Akeem/Rhodes match, there wasn’t a bad match though. Matches such as the tag team match and Bad News vs Brunzell exceeded my expectations while Tito/Rose wasn’t quite what I hoped. It’s a pity that the WWE moved from the Hogan/Perfect feud to the Warrior/Hogan angle around this time period. The Hogan/Perfect feud was easily the best thing going in the WWE. There isn’t much more to say about the show since it’s fairly unremarkable. Check out Hogan/Brutus vs Perfect/Genius for some enjoyable tag wrestling from a couple of makeshift teams.