Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: No Holds Barred: The Match

Hulk Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage and “The Human Wrecking Machine” Zeus (w/ “Sensational Queen” Sherri) in a Steel Cage match

As the year of 1989 officially comes to an end, it has a been a very good year for the WWF as we saw a lot of new names start to make their mark within in the company and it was also clear that 1990 was going to see the rise of the Ultimate Warrior. However, there is no question that 1989 belonged to Hulk Hogan as he had once again won the WWF Championship back at Wrestlemania V and has had a really good title reign. It was also during this year that Hogan would make his debut on the big screen in a starring role of a movie not counting of course his iconic role as Thunderlips in Rocky III. He would star in the film No Holds Barred and while the film would end up having a fairly average run in theaters, it would also play out on TV when Zeus was brought in and paired with Savage against Hogan and Beefcake. Now that it’s run in theaters was long over and it was starting to play on PPV, this would lead to an interesting concept that the company decided to try and that was offering a bonus match tacked onto the PPV. It would see this feud finally come to an end inside of the steel cage and put the final note on this feud which has been a pretty hot one, and it was only right to put it in the cage and finish it off for good.

Since their match at Summerslam, the two teams continued to snipe at each other as Savage and Zeus vowed revenge, and over the fall Zeus would be loaned out to Ted Dibiase who tried to use him to defeat Hogan and become champion though he would be unsuccessful. At Survivor Series, Hogan and Zeus faced off in their match with Zeus getting disqualified after choking Hogan, and later in the night Hogan and Beefcake would cut a promo on the upcoming cage match only for Sherri to blind both men and Savage and Zeus would attack them. It was interesting that they somewhat cooled things down after Summerslam before quickly heating it back up in time for this match, but there was still plenty of juice in the feud though it was pretty obvious that this would be the end.

Hogan and Beefcake get a big pop from the crowd as Beefcake comes out in red and yellow to match Hogan, and Savage and Zeus were red hot as heels as they await Hogan and Beefcake in the cage. Beefcake gets into the cage first and then Hogan starts to step in only for Sherri to ram the door into his back and he falls to the floor, and Savage pounds on Beefcake and winds up the arm before whipping him into Zeus who knocks him down. Zeus chokes Beefcake on the mat as Savage reaches through the cage and chokes Hogan from the outside, and the ref tries to separate them as Sherri grabs the chain and she locks the door with the chain and padlock. Zeus hotshots Beefcake on the top rope as Savage releases Hogan only for Hogan to trip him up from the outside and he pounds on him, and Hogan climbs up the cage and gets inside it as he kicks Savage away and Zeus continues to choke Beefcake. Hogan hits a clothesline on Zeus and Savage before scratching Zeus’ back and he pounds on him, and Zeus blocks a ram into the cage though Hogan does ram him into the cage on a second attempt which knocks him down. Hogan pounds on Savage and tears at his face before whipping him into Beefcake who backdrops him into the cage, and Beefcake whips Zeus into a big boot from Hogan and he pounds on Savage before ramming him into the buckle. He whips Savage into a big boot from Hogan and they pound on Savage until Beefcake hits an atomic drop and Hogan hits a high elbow, and they scratch at Zeus and pound on him only for Zeus to block a ram into the cage and he rams both Hogan and Beefcake into the cage. Zeus chokes Hogan on the mat as Savage climbs up the cage and Beefcake chases after him, and Zeus hits a clothesline on Hogan as Beefcake pounds on Savage and he pulls him back into the cage while Zeus chokes Hogan on the mat. Sherri climbs up the cage and grabs at Beefcake only for Beefcake to ram her and Savage’s heads together, and Savage falls to the mat as Sherri hangs onto the side of the cage and Beefcake leaps onto Zeus’ back as he hooks a sleeper on. Savage goes up top and hits an axehandle on Beefcake as Sherri chokes him from the outside while Savage and Zeus hit a double clothesline on Hogan, and then they hit a double clothesline on Beefcake and they ram Hogan into the cage. They then ram Beefcake into the cage and they ram Hogan into the cage twice as Zeus chokes him, and he tosses Hogan to the mat as Savage rams Beefcake into the cage and Zeus chokes Hogan on the mat while Savage drops a knee on him. Savage and Zeus climb up the cage on opposite sides only for Beefcake and Hogan to stop them and pound on them, and Hogan hits a back suplex on Zeus as Beefcake hits an atomic drop on Savage and they ram each other into the cage. The ref unlocks the door to try and get in only for Sherri to ram the door into him as she climbs up the cage with the chain, and Savage takes the chain as he climbs to the top of the cage and wraps the chain around his fist only for Beefcake to nail him coming in. Hogan pounds on Zeus as Beefcake wraps the chain around his fist and he nails Savage in the head with it, and Zeus falls on top of a slam attempt by Hogan as Savage kicks at Beefcake and Zeus chokes Hogan on the mat. Beefcake and Savage pound on each other as they climb up the cage and Hogan starts to hulk up, and Hogan no-sells Zeus’ shots as Beefcake rams Savage into the cage and he falls to the mat. Hogan pounds on Zeus as Beefcake climbs down the cage and hits the floor as Savage crawls to the door and we see he is busted open, and Hogan hits a clothesline on Zeus as Beefcake pulls Savage out of the cage and he rams him into the cage. Hogan hits a slam on Zeus as Beefcake gets back in the cage only for Hogan to keep him back, and he rams Zeus into the cage repeatedly and pounds on him before hitting a second slam and a trio of legdrops which gets the three and he wins the match for his team.

The match itself was pretty good as both teams worked hard and put on a pretty solid cage match. I liked the idea of having the cage match to go with the “No Holds Barred” theme since it would be anything goes, but you do wonder if they could’ve just done something like a tornado tag match with no holds barred though they did use the cage very effectively here. This was a pretty big spot for Beefcake as it was clear he was being primed for a big run in 1990 while this seemed to be a good blowoff to the Hogan/Savage feud which has been going for quite a while to this point, and it was a good final match for Zeus to end his run even though there was still some thought they could get him to WM. But honestly, this was the perfect end for this feud and to put the bow on No Holds Barred while giving Hogan some momentum going into 1990 as he prepares for his next big feud. The crowd was really hot for the whole match and popped for Hogan and Beefcake when they won. Hogan and Beefcake get the win over Savage and Zeus in the cage, and both teams move on as Hogan and Savage would face off one more time while we bid farewell to Zeus.

Final Grade: ***

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