Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: The WWF at Madison Square Garden 4/22/91

Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter (w/ Gen. Adnan) for the WWF Championship

Coming off what ended up being a very memorable Wrestlemania, we now begin the spring run of house shows as we start to cultivate some new characters as well as begin some potential feuds for Summerslam. One of the feuds that was actually going to continue after Wrestlemania was between Hogan and Slaughter which was interesting since Hogan won fairly decisively, and also the Gulf War was pretty much over at this point so the heat was going to die off eventually. However, it was clear that they wanted the feud to be featured on the house shows and you know Slaughter will do what he can to keep himself hot as a heel, and having Hogan as the champion again would obviously spike some houses as well so it was just a matter of how long the feud was going to last.

The feud would continue after Wrestlemania when on the 3/26 Prime Time Wrestling, Hogan was giving an interview following his win only to be attacked by Slaughter and Adnan with Slaughter throwing a fireball in Hogan’s face. This would be played on TV over the next two weeks as both men cut promos on each other, and during the overseas tour of Japan Slaughter would mainly work with the Ultimate Warrior while Hogan participated in bigger matches. The feud would officially kick off on the house shows on 4/13 and the two would trade wins with Slaughter getting his wins by DQ as it was announced the two would face off here at MSG. You knew the MSG crowd was going to be hot for this match even after seeing it at Wrestlemania and that it would help carry the match.

Slaughter was still red hot as a heel as he comes out with Adnan and Hogan gets the big pop from the crowd as they chant “USA”, and Slaughter and Adnan waste no time and attack Hogan to start the match only for Hogan to ram their heads together. He clotheslines Adnan over the top to the floor and kicks at Slaughter before raking the eyes and he sends Slaughter into the post as he sails over the top to the floor, and Hogan goes outside and rams Slaughter into the guardrail before choking him with a cord and he pounds on him. He throws Slaughter back into the ring and Slaughter begs off as Hogan kicks at him in the corner and pounds on him, and he whips him into the other corner and hits a backdrop before hitting a clothesline and he rams him into the post. He pounds on him on the mat and throws him over the top to the floor before going outside himself and he pounds on Slaughter, and he grabs something and hits Slaughter in the back with it before grabbing a chair and he hits Slaughter in the back with that as well. He throws Slaughter back into the ring and hits a clothesline before dropping a pair of elbows on him and he rakes his boot across the face, and he tears at Slaughter’s face only for Slaughter to catch him ducking with a kick and he rakes the eyes. He pounds on Hogan and rakes his face across the top rope before scratching his back and he continues to pound on him, and he rams Hogan into his boot in the corner and mocks him as he continues to pound on him and knocks him down. He stomps on Hogan and pounds on him as he knocks him through the ropes to the outside and Adnan knocks him down, and we see Hogan is busted open as Adnan rams him into the apron and Slaughter goes out to the apron as he stomps on Hogan. He returns to the ring and taunts the crowd as he pulls Hogan onto the apron and knocks him to the floor, and Slaughter goes outside and rams Hogan into the steps before grabbing the belt and he hits Hogan in the face with it. He rams Hogan into the guardrail and stomps on him before returning to the ring as Adnan distracts the ref, and Slaughter goes outside and brings the bell into the ring as he hits Hogan in the head with it and sends him back to the floor. Slaughter holds the ref back and then he brings Hogan back into the ring before pounding on him and he knocks him down for a two count, and he tears at the open wound repeatedly and pounds on him before spitting on him and he stomps on him. Slaughter stands over top of Hogan and hooks the camel clutch on as he tears at Hogan’s face and Hogan escapes the hold by sending Slaughter through the ropes to the outside, and Adnan helps Slaughter back into the ring and Hogan battles back as they rake each other’s eyes repeatedly. Slaughter takes control and stomps on Hogan before hitting a backbreaker for a two count and he continues to stomp on him, and Slaughter goes up top and drops a knee on Hogan’s back for a two count as Hogan starts to hulk up. He no-sells Slaughter’s shots and pounds on him before hitting the big boot and he pounds on him until Slaughter shoves Hogan off and the ref gets taken out, and Slaughter gets a shot in as Adnan tosses a chair into the ring and Slaughter takes it before hitting the ref in the back twice with it. He winds up only for Hogan to avoid the shot and Slaughter charges only for Hogan to avoid another shot as the chair bounces off the rope and hits Slaughter, and Hogan grabs the chair as Adnan gets in the ring only for Hogan to jab him in the ribs with the chair and he hits him in the back with it. He hits Slaughter in the head with the chair and winds up only for the ref to come to and he takes it from Hogan as he calls for the bell and awards the match to Slaughter by DQ though Hogan retains the title. After the match, Hogan grabs the chair and argues with the ref as Adnan pulls out several materials which he hands to Slaughter, and he attempts to throw a fireball at Hogan who blocks it with the chair and Slaughter and Adnan roll out of the ring before heading to the back. Hogan chases Slaughter up the aisle with the chair and hits him twice with it before heading back to the ring, and he celebrates with the title as he brings a young fan into the ring to pose with him.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard and put on a solid title match though it was a slight notch below their match at Wrestlemania. Given the fact that Hogan won that match clean and the Gulf War was over, there was still some juice left in this feud though you did have to wonder if they were going to be able to make it to Summerslam or if it would end just before it. These two still had really good chemistry and Slaughter does a great job in targeting the wound on Hogan’s face, and the ending made sense since you knew the feud was going to continue a bit though I think this could’ve closed the show and not have been in the middle. The crowd was red hot for the match and Hogan, but are not happy when Slaughter wins. Slaughter steals the win over Hogan by DQ though Hogan does retain the title and this issue is not over yet.

Final Grade: ***