Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: The WWF at Madison Square Garden 6/3/91

Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter (w/ Gen. Adnan) in a Desert Storm match for the WWF Championship

We now move out of the spring and into the summer of 1991, and things were pretty hot for the company as we continue the trek towards Summerslam which would take place in this very building. The feud between Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter has been raging on since what happened at Wrestlemania, and after their last encounter in this building you knew they were going to face off at least one more time. Obviously, there was going to be some sort of stipulation in place and we have what is called the “Desert Storm” match which is basically similar to the old Boot Camp matches that Slaughter occasionally had back in the 1980s. Unlike those matches where he was the face fighting the evil heel, he is now the evil heel with Hogan being the conquering hero and you hoped that these two would just beat the crap out of each other in this environment.

Since their last match back in April, the two men continued their feud on the house shows and on the last Saturday Night’s Main Event, Hogan would assist the Ultimate Warrior against Slaughter and his crew along with the Undertaker. Slaughter would typically win the matches against Hogan by DQ until 5/18 when they had the first Desert Storm match which Hogan won and they would run that match over the next few weeks leading to this show while they continued the feud on TV by cutting promos on each other. There was a lot of anticipation going into this match given how well they have worked together since Wrestlemania, and you hoped that this would be a fun brawl to potentially finally close out this feud.

Both men give great promos prior to the match and Slaughter was red hot as a heel as he comes out with Adnan, and Hogan gets a big pop from the crowd as he comes out in a mask, camo gear and fatigues in a nice touch. Hogan throws the belt into the ring to distract Slaughter as he gets in the ring and throws powder in Slaughter’s eyes to start the match, and Hogan grabs the belt and hits Slaughter in the face with it before grabbing Slaughter’s helmet and he hits Slaughter with it. Hogan grabs Slaughter’s swagger stick and he whips Slaughter with it repeatedly before hitting a headbutt and he throws Slaughter over the top to the floor, and he goes outside and rams Slaughter into the steps before choking him with the microphone and he pounds on him. He throws Slaughter back into the ring and rams him into the post which busts him open before grabbing a “We Support Operation Desert Storm” flag from a fan at ringside, and he holds it up to a big pop and then he chokes Slaughter with the flag as Slaughter rolls outside to regroup and Hogan goes after him. He rams Slaughter into the announce table and then he hits Slaughter in the face with the microphone, and he throws Slaughter back into the ring and whips him into the corner before pounding on him. He hits a high elbow on Slaughter and stomps on him before raking his boot across Slaughter’s eyes, and he pounds on Slaughter on the mat and bites him in the face before slingshotting him into the post. Slaughter grabs the stick and jabs it into Hogan only for Hogan to rake the eyes and he gets a kick in before pounding on Slaughter, and Slaughter catches Hogan ducking with a kick which he no-sells and Slaughter pounds on him before raking the eyes. Slaughter takes his belt off and he hits Hogan in the head with it before grabbing his helmet and he hits Hogan with it as Hogan falls to the outside, and Slaughter goes outside and rams Hogan into the guardrail twice before pounding on him as both men roll back into the ring. Slaughter grabs a strap and whips Hogan with it repeatedly before choking him with it in the corner, and Hogan escapes by raking the eyes as Adnan hands Slaughter a chair from the outside and he winds up only to collapse to the mat out of exhaustion. Hogan grabs the chair and he hits Slaughter in the back with it before pounding on him only for Slaughter to duck a shot and he hits a Russian legsweep, and he pounds on Hogan and grabs the chair as he hits Hogan in the back with it and then he hooks the Camel Clutch on. Hogan refuses to submit and escapes the hold by sending Slaughter into the corner though Slaughter recovers first and pounds on Hogan, and Slaughter goes up top only to collapse to the mat out of exhaustion and he goes up top again only for Hogan to get a shot in and he tosses Slaughter to the mat. Both men clothesline each other and Slaughter takes his boot off as Hogan pulls something out of his pocket, and Slaughter winds up with the boot only for Hogan to throw a fireball in Slaughter’s face and he tears his shirt off as he starts to fire up. Slaughter charges with the boot and Hogan ducks it before hitting a clothesline and he grabs the boot as he hits Slaughter in the head with it three times, and he hooks the Camel Clutch on and the ref asks Slaughter if he wants to quit only for Adnan to throw the towel in which gives Hogan the win and he retains the title. After the match, Adnan gets in the ring only for Hogan to throw powder in his eyes and he throws both men over the top to the floor, and Slaughter gets back on the apron and Hogan knocks him to the floor as a fan gets in the ring and he celebrates with Hogan.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard and put on a fun brawl though to be honest, it was almost a squash as Hogan pretty much dominated the 16 minutes with Slaughter getting some shots in throughout the match. Obviously, you figured that Hogan was going to win the match and keep the title going into Summerslam as well as potentially end the feud, but you thought that the match would be a bit more balanced and instead they had Hogan in essence destroy Slaughter. It certainly felt that this was the definitive end of the feud with Hogan looking so strong and also getting revenge by throwing a fireball in Slaughter’s face, and now the question was if this was indeed going to be the end of the feud or if they would be able to stretch it out to potentially reach Summerslam. The crowd was red hot for the whole match and popped big for Hogan when he won. Hogan gets the win over Slaughter in the Desert Storm match and he retains the title, but we will see if this feud actually continues after this.

Final Grade: ***1/2