WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Poster for the event featuring Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake
August 27, 1990
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

WWF Summerslam 1990 is a weird show in the sense that, despite two title changes and a steel cage match main event, it hardly felt like the show actually mattered much.

Though it wasn't a bad show, it was one that's very easy to forget. Just to jog your memory then, here's what went down.

Welcome to Philly
In a Coliseum Home Video exclusive,  men with big mullets were shown selling lots of WWF merchandise to little kids with even bigger mullets as Sean Mooney gave us the most monotone sales pitch in history.

At one point, Mooney called the event a sizzling spectacular (or something to that effect) and somehow made it sound like the most mundane thing ever.

There were no such problems for Vince McMahon however.

As was typical of the period, the man most casual fans knew back then as a harmless commentator let rip with a ferocious growl as he promoted tonight's double main event pitting Ultimate Warrior in a steel cage match against Ravishing Rick Rude and Hulk Hogan in a god awful clash with Earthquake.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Vince McMahon and Rowdy Roddy Piper hosted the event
Speaking of McMahon, he was joined on commentary this year by none other than Rowdy Roddy Piper, who welcomed us to Philadelphia, PA where, according to the Hot Rod,  'bagpipes are hot and Baghdad is not.'


The Rockers (Sean Michaels and Marty Jannety) vs. Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules w/ Slick)
With a need to write the already-injured Shawn Michaels out of the action, Power and Glory struck during the Rockers entrance and took out the future Hall of Fame Star.

This left Marty Jannetty to handle things in a make-shift handicap match.

Though hardly the finest hour for anyone involved, this was nonetheless developed into a fairly decent opener, especially when Jannetty looked as though he would score the upset.

Yet the inevitable finally happened, and Power and Glory walked away with the win.
Your winners: Power and Glory

Backstage, a still sedated Sean Mooney spoke to the Intercontinental Champion, Mr. Perfect and his manager Bobby Heenan.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: WWF Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect (W/ Bobby Heenan) had some harsh words for his challenger, Texas Tornado
Perfect insisted that despite having no time to prepare for the challenge of Kerry Von Erich (stranding in for an injured Brutus Beefcake), his 'perfect record' would see him prevail. Heenan then rambled on about the Texas Tornado having his head in the clouds.

Offering a retort, the Texas Tornado, a relative newcomer to the World Wrestling Federation, made a bunch of tornado metaphors which basically equated to 'I'm going to beat you up and take your title, Mr. Perfect.'

WWF Intercontinental Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. The Texas Tornado
This passable, five-minute bout saw the Tornado looking strong in the early going before the devious Mr. Perfet stole the advantage and dominated the plucky challenger.

Having absorbed several minutes of punishment from the champion, Von Erich no sold all of it, gripped Perfect with his family's famous 'claw' hold, then smashed his face in with the  Spinning Tornado Punch.
Your winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Texas Tornado

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund gushed over the new champion before informing us that Sweet Saphire, despite having arrived at the arena, was nowhere to be found. Bobby Heenan and Mr. Perfect then arrived on the scene and had a heart attack. 'NOBODY BEATS MR. PERFECT,' said Mr. Perfect after being beaten.

Sensational Queen Sherri vs. Sweet Saphire
For reasons nobody made clear (or even mentioned), Sensational Queen Sherri dressed for her match against Saphire in an evening gown, had her face painted like a cat and wore some kind of mask.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Sensational Queen Sherri dressed up like some kind of cat. Nobody knew why.
That was about the most interesting thing about this whole thing, even more interesting than Roddy Piper referring to Saphire as Saffur' and more interesting than the fact that Saphire failed to show up and lost the match by forfeit.
Your winner via forfeit: Sensational Queen Sheri

Out in the back, Mean Gene asked Dusty Rhodes where Saphire had gone. Dusty didn't know either, but he did know that Saphire had been receiving gifts including fur coats and mink coats from somebody, and that it worried him.

The mystery continued

The Warlord (w/ Slick) vs. Tito Santana
I'll admit, when I first saw The Warlord in the ring, I thought we were in for yet another match pitting the former Power of Pain against The British Bulldog.

Instead we were given this forgetabble, though  by no means terrible, match against former Strike Force star Tito Santana.

Santana took the early lead against his larger opponent with some lightning fast offence before finally, and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, losing the match to The Warlord.
Your Winner: The Warlord

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Demoltion three-man team ft. Ax, Smash and Crush
Vince McMahon took some time out to plug the 1990 Survivor Series before a simple-minded Sean Mooney failed to get his head around the idea that despite there being three members of Demolition, only two could compete in the upcoming match.

Hilariously, Crush refered to the Legion of Doom as 'second-rate imposters' before the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions headed off to defend their titles.

After it was revealed that Crush and Smash would be representing Demolition, The Hart Foundation cut an awkward, cheesy promo in which they promised to give their opponents a Hart Attack and insisted that the champions would have to 'buy pacemakers by the truckload.'

Two out of three falls WWF Tag Team Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions Demolition (Smash and Crush) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart)
In the best match of the night so far (and what would ultimately turn out to be a highlight of the whole show), The Hart Foundation captured their second tag team championship in an exciting two-out-three falls contest.

This hard-fought, high impact match saw Demolition take the first fall thanks to the Demolition Decapitation before the Harts evened the score with the Hart Attack.

In the third fall, Ax snuck into the match and replaced Smash. The referee, who was clearly an idiot, couldn't tell the difference between Smash and Ax, and let it stand.

Countering such heelish actions, Hawk and Animal came down to the even the score, and The Hart Foundation walked away with the titles.
Your winners and NEW tag team champions: The Hart Foundation

Backstage, The Legion of Doom told Mean Gene that they hadn' finished with Demolition. Bret and The Anvil then showed up to celebrate with the men who helped them win. Gene Okerlund claimed he couldn't 'make head nor tails out of half the things that went on (in the tag team title match).

Apparently Okerlund was an idiot too.

Promos galore
Up next, Sean Mooney listened in on the arguments and frustration behind the door of Demolition's locker room.

Sensational Queen Sherri gloated about her win over Sweet Saphire. Sherri claimed she'd heard rumours as to Saphire's whereabouts and started to laugh.

'I don't think a missing person is funny,' said Okerlund.
'I said she was missing, I didn't say anything about her being a person,'  laughed Sherri. It was one of the funniest lines of the whole show.

Sean Mooney interviewed Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff. Volkoff, who had recently turned babyface, claimed that Duggan was his 'idol' (yes, idol) and that they were going to make a great tag team.

All this was followed by a promo from Earthquake, Jimmy Hart and Dino Bravo, hyping the mighty quake's upcoming main event clash with Hulk Hogan.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Jake The Snake had a snake on his face
Finally, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts had trouble keeping Damian still as he cut a promo on arch-rival Bad News Brown. As Roberts tried to sound menacing, his snake continued to wrap itself around his face. It was pretty funny.

Bad News Brown vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, with special guest referee, The Big Boss Man
At one point in the match, Roddy Pipper said that, for once, he was on Jake Roberts side, because he hated snakes too.

If you thought that made little sense,  wait until you see the rest of the match. If there was a reason for Big Boss Man being the guest referee, nobody mentioned it. There was a box of 'Harlem sewer rats' at ringside too, though these were barely mentioned, didn't come into play at any point in the story, and were completely unecessary.

Come to think of it, this whole match was unecessary. It was boring, dull and lifeless, and came to an end when Boss Man disqualified Bad News for using a chair.
Your winner via disqualification: Jake Roberts

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund spoke to the former tag team champions, Demolition. Ax, Smash and Crush reacted to the word 'former' as though Mean Gene had just called them all assholes. They then swore revenge on the Legion of Doom.

The Brother Love Show, with Sgt. Slaughter
WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Sgt. Slaughter was a guest on the brother love show
If there's one thing that confuses your writer, it's that Bruce Prichard played such a great character with Brother Love, and yet every pay per view segment I've ever seen featuring that character has been a snore-fest.

Care in point, this horrible skit involving American turncoat Sgt. Slaughter.  En route to his 1991 Royal Rumble title victory over the Ultimate Warrior, Slaughter declared Brother Love to the Greatest American Ever, then declared war on Nikolai Volkoff of all people.

'I'm going to kick your butt, Nikolai Volkoff,' said Slaughter. 'And that's an order.'

It's not though, is it?

Two cross-eyed?
Backstage, Sean Mooney spoke to Mr. Fuji and The Orient Express. Fuji muttered something about one cross eyed being better than two cross eyed (or maybe better than being too cross eyed?) before cameras caught up with Mean Gene, who had apparently found Saphire.

Not that we were going to get anything out of the polka-dot wearing diva. Instead, Saphire quickly shut herself off behind a closed door. Weirdly, it looked pretty much the same door as the one Demolition had been hiding behind earlier.

The Orient Express (Tanaka and Sato w/ Mr. Fuji)  vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff
Before the match got started, Duggan and Volkoff let rip with a toe-curling rendition of America the Beautiful that was somehow supposed to endear them to the Philly crowd.

Things only went from bad to worse in this sloppy, thankfully short contest which the good guys won.
Your winners: Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Dusty Rhodes was all kinds of confused about Saphire
True story, the total length of the last three matches is still less time than the 15 minute tag team title match.

Anyway, back to the story of Saphire The Missing Person. Dusty Rhodes tried to coax her out from behind her door and could not, then ran off to the ring to face Randy Savage.

Before that match could take place, Savage had a few words of his own. Perched atop a wooden thrown which looked as though some kid had made in shop class, Savage promised the end of Dusty Rhodes.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Macho King Randy Savage (W/ Sensational Queen Sheri)
With both combatants in the ring, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase turned up with Virgil in tow, and announced that he had been the one sending Saphire all those gifts. Not only that, but such gifts were apparently enough for Saphire to ditch 'common man' Rhodes and join the dark side.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Saphire turned on Dusty Rhodes and joined The Million Dollar Man's team
Saphire arrived on the scene, wearing a long pink dress, a fair coat and a gormless expression which suggested she hadn't a clue what was going on.

This was enough to distract Dusty, who subsequently fell victim to the Macho King in less than three minutes.
Your winner: Macho King Randy Savage

Afterwards, Sean Mooney tried to find out what was going on with Saphire and the Million Dollar Man. The bad guys were having none of it, and disappeared in a limosine. Dusty Rhodes gave chase, and that was the end of that.

A second later, Sean Mooney turned up in front of a green screen hyping our two main events.

Speaking of which, we next got a promo from Hulk Hogan and Big Boss Man. His officiating duties over with, the Boss Man would be in the corner of Hogan as the Immortal one took on the mighty Earthquake in the first of our two-part main event.

Hogan went through his usual pre-match ritual and promised to dispose of  'Quake once and for all.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Hulk Hogan locked up with Earthquake at the show
Earthquake (w/ Dino Bravo and Earthquake) vs. Hulk Hogan (w/ Big Boss Man)
If you were expecting nothing more than your typical Hogan vs. Big Man match, you'd be pleasantly surprised.

Sure, this was a Hogan vs. Big Man match, but with both men bringing their A-game, it turned into an above-average encounter that was fun to watch.

Hogan won the match count-out and both he and Quake lived to fight another day.
Your winner via count-out: Hulk Hogan

For reasons which were never fully explained, it took the WWF ring-crew almost twenty minutes to set up the steel cage for our main event, giving us plenty of time for lots more promos!

First up, Rick Rude talked about Rocky Balboa facing Apollo Creed and promised to defeat the Ultimate Warrior.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Hulk Hogan had Big Boss Man in his corner
Dusty Rhodes yelled and screamed into Mean Gene Okerlund's microphone, expressing his upset over Saphire's betrayal.

Lord Alfred Hayes turned up from nowhere to tell us that the ring-crew were working very quickly to set the cage up. Yep, that happened.

Hulk Hogan then gave a post-match interview to Mean Gene. Looking as though he'd barely broken a sweat, Hogan vowed to become the number one contender to the WWF title once again. He then said he was going to get a new surfboard 'and a two-and-half foot skank.'

Killing more time, Vinny Mac and Roddy Piper talked about the previous match before, Earthquake challenged Hogan to a rematch. When Sean Mooney reminded Earthquake that he couldn't pin Hogan, big Earthquake only promised to inflict more damage the next time round.

Finally, Mean Gene interviewed WWF Champion Ultimate Warrior, who grunted and snorted a lot and promised to kill Rick Rude.

WWF Championship Steel Cage Match
World Wrestling Federation Champion The Ultimate Warrior vs. Ravishing Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan)

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: World Wrestling Federation Champion Ultimate Warrior defended the title against Ravishing Rick Rude inside a steel cage
And so we got here at last, a main event steel cage match in which Ultimate Warrior defended his World Wrestling Federation title against long-time rival, Ravishing Rick Rude.

Upping the ante on their Summerslam 1989 encounter, the two men battled back and forth in a dramatic, hard-fought main event.

Sure, at only ten minutes long it wasn't a match of epic proportions, but for the time they were given, both men busted their backsides to deliver a compelling main event.

Unsurprisingly, The Ultimate Warrior dropped to the outside first and won the match.
Your winner and still WWF Champion, The Ultimate Warrior

All in all then, WWE Summerslam 1990 was a mixed show. The two main events plus the tag team title match remain enjoyable bouts to this day. Take those out of the equation though, and what you're left with is a show stuffed full of sub-five minute matches (most of which were nothing special) and an abundance of interviews. Pretty much like your average TNA show today then. Not the most must-see event in the world, but definitely track down the three matches mentioned above.

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  1. It would have been cool to see Brutus Beefcake win the IC Title.