The Ultimate Warrior vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil) for the WWF Championship
As we come to the end of 1990, there was a feeling of change in the air as it seemed like Saturday Night’s Main Event was beginning to feel stale even though it was still drawing strong ratings on NBC. However, NBC began to think that wrestling was not as popular as it once was and while things weren’t as hot as they were when the show started in 1985, there was obviously still a strong audience for it. Ultimately, NBC started to slowly wean Saturday Night’s Main Event away as this show was supposed to be an SNME, but instead they moved it to Friday the night after Thanksgiving and had it become a Main Event. This should’ve been a clear sign that perhaps NBC was preparing to move on from this show, but the WWF still put a lot of stock in this show as we had a huge title match set between Warrior and Dibiase. Warrior’s title reign was starting to get on life support by this time and Dibiase was in the midst of another feud, but he was still a big enough name to give Warrior a challenge for the title when he was in dire need of challengers. While it seemed unlikely that Dibiase was probably going to win the title here since they were setting up Warrior’s next challenger in Randy Savage, there was just enough question as to whether Dibiase would steal his way to the title.
As mentioned, there was no feud between these two as Warrior had been working the house shows with the Legion of Doom in their feud with Demolition while Dibiase was working with Dusty Rhodes. It was announced prior to Survivor Series that Warrior would defend the title against Dibiase here, and the night before at Survivor Series the two men faced off briefly in the Ultimate Survivor match while earlier that night Randy Savage declared himself the Number One Contender. Again, it seemed unlikely that Dibiase was going to win especially with Savage being prepped as Warrior’s next challenger, but he was big enough of a name that he could give Warrior a good match and seem like a possible threat.
Both men give good promos before the match to build it well and Warrior gets a good pop from the crowd while Dibiase was pretty hot as a heel. The two men lock up to start with Warrior shoving Dibiase into the corner and they lock up again with Warrior again shoving Dibiase into the corner, and they engage in a test of strength with Warrior sending Dibiase to the mat as Dibiase gets a knee in and he pounds on Warrior. Warrior ducks a shot and hits a clothesline on Dibiase before clotheslining him over the top to the floor, and Dibiase regroups with Virgil as Warrior rams their heads together and he goes outside. He rams both men into the apron and throws Dibiase back into the ring as he goes up top and hits an axehandle on Dibiase, and Dibiase begs off in the corner as Warrior pounds on him and he whips him into the other corner only for Dibiase to catch him with a knee to the face. He hits a clothesline on Warrior and goes up to the middle rope as he hits an axehandle on Warrior for a two count, and then he hits a piledriver on Warrior for a two count only for Warrior to block a second piledriver with a backdrop. He knocks Dibiase down twice only for Virgil to grab his foot from the outside and Dibiase clotheslines him over the top to the floor as we go to commercial, and when we come back Dibiase throws Warrior back into the ring as he drives the elbow into the back of Warrior’s head twice. He hits a snapmare on Warrior and drops a fist on him for a two count as he takes Warrior to the mat with a headlock, and Warrior fights to his feet and whips Dibiase off as neither man goes down when they collide. Dibiase ducks a shot and hits a clothesline on Warrior only for Warrior to catch him ducking with a backslide for a two count, and Dibiase gets a shot in and rakes the eyes as he hits a suplex on Warrior for a two count. Warrior blocks a second suplex attempt and gets a knee in before hooking a sunset flip for a two count, and Dibiase throws Warrior to the outside and goes outside himself as he rams Warrior into the steps and pounds on him. He throws Warrior back into the ring and pounds on him as Warrior starts to fire up and he blocks a suplex before hitting one of his own, and Dibiase recovers first and gets a shot in as he hooks a headlock and Warrior whips him off only for Dibiase to duck a shot and both men clock heads. Dibiase goes up to the middle rope only for Warrior to nail him coming in and he starts shaking the ropes while no-selling Dibiase’s shots, and he knocks Dibiase down and hits a trio of clotheslines before hitting a flying tackle for a two count as Virgil gets in the ring and nails Warrior which draws the DQ and Warrior retains the title. After the match, Virgil pounds on Warrior who reverses a whip and he hits a clothesline on Virgil before pressing him up, but then Randy Savage runs down to the ring and hits Warrior in the ribs with the scepter. Savage goes up top and drives the scepter into Warrior’s throat before choking him with it as officials try to break it up, but Savage throws the officials to the outside and continues to choke Warrior on the mat. Sherri goes outside and grabs the belt as she hands Savage the scepter and he continues to choke Warrior with it, and more officials come out as Sherri hands Savage the belt and he poses with it while Sherri kicks at Warrior. She chokes Warrior with the scepter as Savage goes up top again and the officials try to block him, but Savage leaps over them and hits an axehandle on Warrior before heading to the back with Sherri. Later in the night, Savage cuts a great promo as he guarantees he will defeat Warrior and become the new champion, and Warrior gives a pretty intense promo as he vows revenge on Savage.
The match itself was good as both men worked hard and put on a pretty solid match. Even though his reign was on life support by this point, Warrior was still working hard to remain a credible champion and Dibiase was still a big enough name to provide a challenge even though again he had no chance of winning the title. It was wise not to have them touch much the previous night at Survivor Series and build to this match, and both men had good chemistry as they were able to put on a pretty good match. The ending was a bit weak as Warrior could’ve used a strong clean win and Dibiase wouldn’t have been hurt by the loss, and the focus quickly shifted to Savage assaulting Warrior after the match as he put a pretty good beatdown on him. The crowd was into the match and they did pop for Warrior when he won though they give Savage great heat when he beat Warrior down. Warrior retains the title over Dibiase by DQ and both men move on as Warrior now sets his sights on Savage.
Final Grade: **1/2