*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV and TV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***
Saturday Night’s Main Event XXVI – 4/28/90
April 28, 1990
Frank Erwin Center
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura
1) Hulk Hogan defeats Mr. Perfect with the legdrop at 8:03
Fun Fact: This is a continuation of the Hulk Hogan/Mr. Perfect feud that kicked into high gear back at SNME XXIV when Perfect and The Genius stole and destroyed Hogan’s title belt. Since that point, Hogan and Perfect were the last two participants in the ‘90 Royal Rumble, with Hogan tossing Mr. Perfect for the win. At WrestleMania VI, Mr. Perfect’s undefeated streak came to an end at the hands of Hogan’s bestie, Brutus Beefcake, and Hogan lost the World Championship to the Ultimate Warrior.
Scott: Our post-WrestleMania edition of SNME begins with the final blow-off that dates back to late-1989 when the Genius scored an upset countout win over Hogan, then he and Perfect smashed the WWF Title belt. Hogan did eliminate Perfect as the final guy back in January at the Royal Rumble. Both Hogan and Perfect looked at the lights at WrestleMania. No belt on the line here, but Hogan can finally get his piece of Mr. Perfect and put this feud to bed. For the first time in years we have somewhat of a theme, as Vince and Jesse are sitting on horses as we are at the home of Longhorns basketball. The match is usual TV fare, as Hogan gets off to the hot start, but then Perfect takes it to the floor and dominates the next few minutes until he ducks a boot to the face and hits the floor. Hogan follows him to the floor and attacks him. Since his loss in Toronto, Hogan does seem to be extra vicious. He abuses Perfect with fists and threw him into the steel post. Some referee interference allows The Genius to toss the metal scroll to Perfect who smacks Hogan in the head with it. Perfect works him over some more and then hooks the Perfectplex. Well you know what’s happening next. Hogan kicks out, pumps up, boot, leg drop, three count. After the match Hogan is celebrating and gesturing that he wants the WWF Title back. I don’t know at the time if a rematch with Ultimate Warrior was in the offing, but for now Hogan vanquishes Mr. Perfect and moves on to another big (and I mean big) feud. Grade: **
JT: We enter a post WrestleMania world with a brand new WWF Champion and a pretty shaken up roster as a whole. Hulk Hogan has no gold around his waist for the first time in over a year but he shows up here to battle his nemesis Mr. Perfect. Instead of being prepped as a potential high level title contender, Perfect has seemingly slipped down the card a bit as he lost his Mania match to Brutus Beefcake and then steps into the ring here for what feels like a blowoff to his issues with the Hulkster. I always enjoyed the motif to this episode, with the cowboy theme in place as it harkens us back to 1985 when all of the SNME installments had a gimmick to them. And with Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura ride down the aisle on horses, we can confirm they are back inside the arena for this one. Back to the ring, Mr. Perfect heads out, no longer undefeated, and the Genius accompanies him, no longer with his own hair, as they look to back on track. Since his head was shaved by the Barber in Toronto, Genius is rocking an absurd wig which makes for a good laugh. Hogan would power walk to the ring and as he did, Perfect and Genius bailed to ensure they got things started on their own volition. As the bell sounded, the two circled each other before locking up and getting things under way. Hogan showed off his strength to start, leading to Perfect bailing back out to regroup. Perfect would come back with a hiptoss that was followed by a great Genius skipping celebration at ringside. Hogan overpowered again but Perfect bailed back out to kill the momentum. Hogan followed him out and Jesse thought that was a sign that Hogan was frustrated and outsmarted. It didn’t seem that way as Hogan flung Perfect into the post and then shot him back inside. Hogan kept pouring it on, cutting Perfect down with a clothesline and then slinging him over the top to the floor. He followed out a second time and hammered away as Jesse started to lose his mind about Hulk’s antics. Genius would run some interference and that allowed Perfect the chance to smack Hogan with the metal scroll and take over. Perfect laid in punches and kicks while Jesse just kept unleashing a verbal assault on Hogan (for cheating) and McMahon (for defending the cheater). Hogan made a brief comeback but Perfect stopped that with a clothesline and a Perfectplex… but Hogan blew out at two and Hulked his way back to his feet. The crowd rallied the Hulkster as he wagged the finger, slugged away at Perfect and put him down with the big boot and leg drop for the win. Well, it was nice while it lasted, Perfect. Genius tried to attack Hogan after the match but that ended poorly for him. This was effectively a nail in the coffin of Perfect as a World Title player with Hogan blowing out of his finisher and pinning him clean in under ten minutes. Hogan is back on track after losing the Ultimate Challenge and time will tell what his next challenge will be. Grade: **
2) Earthquake defeats Hillbilly Jim with the Earthquake splash at 1:58
Fun Fact: John Tenta was born in June, 1963, in Surrey, British Columbia. He began amateur wrestling at the early age of six and after graduating high school he received a wrestling scholarship to LSU. Following college, he moved to Japan and began a career in sumo wrestling after being recruited by a former Yokozuna (top level sumo wrestler). Despite his success in sumo where he won all of his matches, his stay in it was very brief, only eight months. After leaving sumo, he quickly signed on to learn professional wrestling in Japan under the guidance of “Giant” Baba. He spent two years in All Japan before getting offers from promotions in the west. He signed on with the WWF in the fall of 1989, making his television debut in November.
For information on Earthquake’s debut in the WWF, please see the PTBN Vintage Vault Refresh Volume 1: The Federation Years, under the Survivor Series 1989 review.
Fun Fact II: We bid farewell to Hillbilly Jim as an active wrestler after this show. We will see him again in the WWF in the mid 90s in other roles with the company.
Scott: We haven’t seen Hillbilly Jim doing much of anything in the past few years, so this is clearly nothing but a showcase for Quake to take someone out other than a nameless jobber. The match is similar to Apollo Creed vs. Ivan Drago. Hillbilly comes out quick with lefts, rights and shots to the turnbuckle but then Jimmy Hart takes Jim’s horseshoe which gives Quake a chance to recover. He drops the big elbow, and then we get the obligatory Quake Drop, and three seconds later Hillbilly Jim heads back into obscurity. Quake drops an aftershock on Jim for good measure. There’s not much more to say here, as Earthquake moves on and faces a bigger challenge. Grade: *
JT: Ever since debuting in November, Earthquake has been wrecking shit left and right, up and down the roster. He was embroiled in the middle of the Ultimate Challenge feud but hasn’t quite entered the fray fully yet. Instead, he was focused on destroying under card stars while building his resume and confidence. We haven’t seen Hillbilly Jim in active action on SNME in quite a few years as he had settled into an announcer role on air. But he got back into action a bit here in 1990 and this would easily be the biggest test of his return. Quake tried to attack before the bell but Jim dodged him and unloaded with some punches that rattled the big man. Quake finally stabilized and rammed Jim hard into the corner. Jim was able to kick his way back into things, staggering Quake with more punches and chops but he would get distracted by Jimmy Hart and that was about it. Quake squashed him in the corner, dropped an elbow and finished the Hillbilly with the Earthquake splash. That was followed by two more to really put the hurting on Jim. And that is about it for Hillbilly as an active competitor. Quake continues to roll on, looking as dominant as ever. Grade: 1/2*
3) Hart Foundation wrestles the Rockers to a double disqualification at 9:30
Fun Fact: The winner of this match would be in excellent position to face the newly crowned tag team champions, Demolition. This would also be an early look at the rivalry between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.
Scott: We haven’t seen the Hitman & the Anvil on SNME in a while, whereas Shawn & Marty battled the now-departed Brain Busters in 1989. After losing the tag team titles in late-1987, they seemed to have faded into the mid-card while other teams battled Demolition. Now both teams are in the limelight to take on the Demos, who seems to be leaning away from full babyfaces and will start to edge back towards their original heel status. That has more to do with another team debuting in the company later in the year. The match is what you would expect; two expert teams working very well together. A wrench is thrown into the mix when the Tag Team Champions, still babyfaces, come down to observe the teams. Of course with three babyface teams it’s about misunderstandings and shoving. It happened when Bret Hart was tossed out and later in the match when Shawn Michaels was dumped to the floor. Marty Jannetty attacked Smash and then all hell broke loose. The referee rings the bell and we have a double DQ and a total schmozz. We’re not sure who the #1 contender is yet, but we’re pretty sure it is the Hart Foundation after their declaration challenge after WrestleMania. These two teams will battle more in the next year (including an infamous match with an equipment malfunction) while Demolition goes through their personality change. The match was really going well until the finish. Grade: **1/2
JT: With Demolition back reigning on top of the tag team mountain, there was a lot of jockeying underneath to see which team would step up to receive the next title shot. The Hart Foundation had issued an official challenge back before Toronto and then picked up a big Mania win and seemed prime to take their long missing titles back. The Rockers had been scuffling a bit but a quality SNME win here could certainly mean being things for the title hopes. It was the perfect setting for two teams like this, clashing to move up the ladder. The Harts were actually positioned as heels a bit with Jesse stumping for them and taking digs at the Rockers. Bret Hart and Marty Jannetty opened things up and after a quick little sprint of reversals, Jannetty slammed Hart into the corner and made the tag. Shawn Michaels came in with a cross body but Hart rolled through for a near fall. The Rockers started to double team but the Anvil got pissed, hit the ring and mowed both guys down. Hart then tagged him in and he started to show off his power while Jannetty outworked him with speed before tagging out. Michaels would tag back in and the stalemate continued until he hit the ropes and was clubbed from behind by the Hitman. Jesse enjoyed that bending of the rules. Anvil went to work, sending Michaels high in the air and to the mat with a back drop before tagging back out. The Harts tagged in and out, trading off between sharp strikes and brute power. It was clear that Michaels was in a dire situation as the Harts kept softening him up. As the Hitman kept the pressure on, Demolition sauntered to ringside, which made Jesse wonder about their motives. Michaels tried a comeback but ran hard into a Hart boot. A second later he dodged a Hitman elbow and made the tag to Jannetty, who came in and cleaned house with great fire. He snapped Hart over with a powerslam and landed a crescent kick for a close near fall. Hart found an opening when Jannetty dropped his head but when he tried to catapult Anvil into the ring, Jannetty dodged it and the big man crashed to the mat. Michaels got the tag and he and Anvil collided in the center of the ring as the crowd was buzzing hard. Michaels would get tossed to the floor and as Demolition checked on him and helped him back in the ring, Jannetty jumped the champs, thinking they were causing problems. From there everything broke down and all six men brawled with the match ending in a no contest. Ventura was pissed and demanded the champions be fined for instigating. That was a damn good tag match that could have been an all time classic with another ten clean minutes. I also loved how the Harts were working heel and it felt so good after so much time on the face side of the ledger. The tag division was still in a really good spot at this point thanks to the heat and ability of these three top teams. Grade: ***1/2
4) Ultimate Warrior defeats Haku to retain WWF Heavyweight Title with the big splash at 4:49
Fun Fact: This is the first televised title defense for the Ultimate Warrior following his championship win at WrestleMania VI.
Scott: In his first TV title defense since his epic win in Toronto, the Ultimate Warrior wears the same outfit he wore April 1; the orange tights and orange tassles with green boots. Haku is clearly just a solid opponent for Warrior to work with while they figure out what heels can battle him. Sadly right now, there’s…none. They should have had Hogan face Dino Bravo on this show to build the Earthquake feud and had Warrior face Mr. Perfect to build a solid heel opponent. It’s a pretty decent TV match as Haku works his chops and kicks, including a sweet one-footed drop kick to Warrior’s throat. Warrior recovers and hits his shoulder blocks and splash for the victory. The one observation is Warrior’s promos are still comically incoherent, but they are much more subdued now that he’s WWF Champion. Warrior does get a summer feud going, but it seems all too familiar. Grade: *1/2
JT: After a long year of being prepped as a top flight superstar and face of the company, the Ultimate Warrior finally cashed in at WrestleMania, doing the unthinkable by pinning Hulk Hogan clean to win the WWF Title. However, one problem that gets identified almost immediately is that there was no clear heel challenger to help him carry the load. Nobody was lined up besides Earthquake and he was paired off with Hogan. Warrior gets Haku here in a throw away match, which is fine, but going forward he needs a legit contender with whom to tour the country and draw some houses. Despite his loss at Mania, this has been a strong sixteen months for Haku, having reigned as king and had a run as tag team champion. And now he looks to cap it all off with the big one. Warrior had great energy as always and fended off a quick Haku attack with kicks and chops until Haku bailed out to regroup. Once he returned, Warrior kept pouring it on, chopping away and working the arm. Haku eventually came back with some clotheslines, chops and headbutts. Vince was good here, noting how well Bobby Heenan knows Warrior and how that is aiding Haku in his attack. Haku grabbed near fall with a splash but that was it for him as Warrior fought to his feet, mowed through Haku with clotheslines and then polished him off with the big splash. This was paint-by-numbers and a tidy title defense but we see right away that Warrior’s formula TV title defense match may clock in at a much shorter time than Hogan’s usually did. Grade: *1/2
5) Big Boss Man defeats Akeem via disqualification at 3:18
Fun Fact: This is a rematch from WrestleMania VI.
Fun Fact II: Up to the Royal Rumble, Akeem and the Big Bossman were tag team partners, The Twin Towers, under the management of Slick. In the feud between Ted DiBiase and Jake Roberts, Roberts had stolen the Million Dollar Belt and was carrying it around in the same bag that he kept Damien in. Following a match on the 2/3 episode of Superstars, Bossman handcuffed Roberts to the ring rope and took the bag with the belt. He, Slick, DiBiase and Virgil all made their way to the Brother Love set. DiBiase explained how his money can buy anything and that in order to catch a thief he had to buy the best police officer. At this, Bossman’s expression changed. He was under the impression that he was just recovering stolen property, not that he had been bought. He told DiBiase that he will never be bought, took the belt and bag back to the ring and gave the handcuff key to Jake. Bossman later went back to the set and shoved down his former manager and repeated that he will never be bought.
Fun Fact III: We say our second goodbye of the night to Akeem, aka the One Man Gang in his earlier days with the promotion. Akeem would stay with the WWF into the fall, but would not appear in a major capacity past this point.
Scott: Our final match is a WrestleMania rematch between the former Twin Towers partners. Boss Man had a change of heart when he wouldn’t take Ted DiBiase’s money and now is a huge babyface. The crowds really got behind Boss Man after that and then he defeated his former partner at WrestleMania. Before that match Ted DiBiase (who had just wrestled Jake Roberts earlier in the card) came out of nowhere and attacked Boss Man before the match for not taking the money. Boss Man recovered to win the match, but as he’s about to grab the victory here back out comes DiBiase and Virgil to beat down Boss Man and get the DQ. DiBiase tries to handcuff Boss Man to the ropes but fails and they flee. This was a big moment for Big Boss Man as this really moved him up to the babyface stratosphere. Sadly we won’t see Akeem too much longer on national TV. Untapped potential there for a great heel. Oh well. Grade: *
JT: Our final bout is a WrestleMania rematch between the two former tag team partners. After having a strong 1989, the Twin Towers split apart early in 1990 after Ted DiBiase tried to buy off the Big Boss Man. Boss Man wasn’t having it and turned his back on Slick and Akeem en route to getting payback on DiBiase. Boss Man made quick work of Akeem in Toronto but the Dream gets another crack here. Before the match, Slick hints that DiBiase paid them off to take out the Boss Man here on SNME. I could watch Akeem’s absurd strutting and hand movements as Jive Soul Bro echoes in the arena all night long. Akeem tried to attack off the bell but Boss Man dodged him and started to hammer away before tossing Akeem across the ring. He followed by with the leg drop to the back as Akeem was draped in the ropes and then punched away in the corner. Akeem turned the tide and used his girth to pound Boss Man down in the corner and hammer away at his back. Boss Man was wobbling as Akeem laid in the right hands, eventually falling to a back elbow. Akeem would hit his big splash but Boss Man actually kicked out and turned the tide by back dropping Akeem to the floor while blocking a piledriver. Boss Man flipped Akeem back into the ring and rattled him with right hands before hitting the Boss Man Slam. Before he covered, DiBiase and Virgil attacked from behind and laid the wood. They put a pretty good beating on him and even cuffed him to the ropes before laying in more strikes. Boss Man eventually dug out the key, unhooked himself and ran off his assailants. The match was nothing but the post bell beatdown was really good and added some strong heat to this feud. I will miss you, Akeem. Please come back someday. Grade: *
Scott: This post-Mania SNME closes some doors on feuds, like Hogan/Perfect and Boss Man/Akeem. We also reinvigorate the tag team division as the Hart Foundation reemerge and the Rockers move to the forefront. For the second time in his WWF career, Hulk Hogan drops out of the spotlight to make a movie, so the World Title is shifted to another top babyface. Randy Savage did a yeoman’s job in 1988 which led to another great feud. I don’t really see Ultimate Warrior eventually turning heel so we will see where this title reign will go. This was a standard SNME episode with no real surprises or memorable moments. Final Grade: C+
JT: This was a fun show to watch but you could tell the company was hitting the post WrestleMania and post Hulk Hogan doldrums. The arena was very dimly lit and when the lights did shine a bit, there were lots of empty seats out there. The WWF was doing a nice job of overhauling the roster a bit and shaking things up and even the presentation feels a bit more crisp and on point as well. The opener was solid but it was sad to see Mr. Perfect’s main event essentially ended by Hogan. The tag match was match of the night and really solidified the tag division while giving a taste and a reminder of how awesome the Harts were as heels. We also got some fun Rick Martel vignettes throughout the night as he was pimping his new cologne Arrogance. Outside of those matches, the in ring action was pretty pedestrian but we did get some solid angle development and continued reshuffling up and down the card. This is worth checking out for a look at the reboot of 1990, but the show itself is nothing special outside of the hot tag match. Final Grade: C