Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: Summerslam Fever 1990

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart vs. Smash

As we come towards the biggest event of the summer, there was a lot going on especially in the tag division as the team that has been the dominant force for the last two years was going through some serious changes. After having possibly the biggest moment in their run back at Wrestlemania, Demolition had undergone a major change by adding a third man to their unit in Crush which slowly turned them heel after being one of the hottest face teams. While it was not known that Ax was having some health issues and that’s the main reason why Crush was brought in, it also made some sense on-screen because the Legion of Doom had just come in and were set to feud with Demolition as both teams accused the other of being a ripoff. At the same time, the Hart Foundation were slowly being groomed to once again be the top team of the tag division and they were set to face Demolition in a 2-out-of-3 falls match at Summerslam. Before that though, we have this special show to serve as the final push to Summerslam and though it was announced that Bret Hart would face Smash here, for some weird reason Neidhart is put in instead and he gets the match with Smash instead.

The buildup for this match pretty much started at Wrestlemania when Demolition won the tag titles from the Colossal Connection and the Hart Foundation challenged them to a title match, and the two teams would work the house shows with the matches usually ending in DQs or countouts. On TV, the two teams would cut promos on each other and over the summer, Crush would make his debut as the third member of Demolition and would take Ax’s place in the matches as it was announced Demolition would face the Hart Foundation at Summerslam in a 2-out-of-3 falls matches. At the same time, the Legion of Doom would make their debut and Demolition would claim that the LOD were Demolition knockoffs and LOD would make the same accusations at Demolition. On the July Saturday Night’s Main Event, Demolition defeated the Rockers when they used Ax to their advantage, and it was announced that Smash would face Bret Hart here though it was announced at the last minute that Jim Neidhart would take Hart’s place. Even though the match between Hart and Smash would’ve been a much better match, there was still enough heat in the feud that you knew the match wouldn’t be too bad.

Smash was pretty hot as a heel as he comes out by himself and Neidhart gets a good pop from the crowd. The two men lock up to start and they jockey for position as neither man gains an edge, and they lock up again with Smash hooking a headlock and Neidhart whips him off as neither man goes down when they collide. They tease a test of strength with Smash getting a kick in and Neidhart returns the favor as he kicks at Smash repeatedly, and he works on the arm until Smash whips him off and Neidhart knocks him down. They lock up again with Smash getting a knee in twice and he chokes him in the corner, and he pounds on Neidhart in the corner and continues to choke him only for Neidhart to toss him into the corner and he pounds on him. He rams Smash into the buckle and picks him up by the legs before slamming him to the mat, and Smash reverses a whip into the other corner only for Neidhart to catch him with a boot to the face and he hits a clothesline for a two count. He goes back to work on the arm until Smash pounds on him and he hits a slam on Neidhart, and he hits an axehandle on Neidhart and goes up to the middle rope only for Neidhart to catch him on a leap and he hits an atomic drop. He goes behind Smash who sends him into the buckle and he pounds on Neidhart before raking his face across the top rope, and he hits a clothesline on Neidhart and pounds on him only for Neidhart to catch him ducking by slamming his head into the mat. Smash recovers first though he misses an elbow and Neidhart fires up on him before hitting a backdrop, and he hits a dropkick on Smash for a two count and then he hits a Russian legsweep for a two count. Neidhart hits a tackle on Smash who rolls outside to regroup and Neidhart goes outside as well as he rams Smash into the post, and he throws Smash back into the ring and gets a shoulder in before attempting a slingshot sunset flip only for Smash to sit on top of him while holding the ropes for leverage as he gets the three and wins the match. After the match, Smash taunts Neidhart with the belt only for Neidhart to get a pair of kicks in, and he grabs the belt and nails Smash with it before heading up the aisle with the belt. Just then, Ax and Crush come up from behind and nail Neidhart from behind as Smash comes over and Demolition beat down Neidhart before heading to the back.

The match itself was decent as both men worked hard for the 6 minutes that they got and put on a pretty basic match. It is still pretty weird that they hyped up the match as Bret being the one to face Smash and that they changed it seemingly out of nowhere, but to their credit they did the best they could though you know the match would’ve been much better if Bret was in the match. Having said that, Neidhart was pretty much at his peak as a worker while Smash was also hitting his peak as well, and it was a smart idea having Smash in the match as Ax was having his issues while it was pretty clear that Crush was not ready for a prime singles match like this. It was interesting hearing Vince and Bobby on commentary though they had good chemistry as they hyped the Summerslam match, and the ending was smart as Smash steals the win to build some heat and then Demolition attack Neidhart to gain more heat. The crowd was into the match and Neidhart, but are not happy when Smash gets the win. Smash steals the win over Neidhart and gives Demolition some momentum going into Summerslam.

Final Grade: *1/2

Author: Steve Riddle

I have been a wrestling fan since 1993 and that is probably my biggest love, with movies being a close second due in part to being employed at a movie theater for over 9 years.