SummerSlam 1990 was the third annual SummerSlam professional wrestling pay-per-view produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It took place on August 27, 1990 at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The card featured ten televised matches, including two main events. The Ultimate Warrior successfully defended his WWF Championship against Rick Rude in a steel cage match, and Hulk Hogan defeated Earthquake by countout.
The pay-per-view also included two other title matches. Mr. Perfect lost his WWF Intercontinental Championship to the Texas Tornado, who was a substitute for Brutus Beefcake, who had been injured in a real-life accident. The Hart Foundation won the WWF Tag Team Championship from Demolition in a two out of three falls match. Each of the matches was built up through feuds scripted by the WWF's writers, and the matches that took place at the event had pre-determined outcomes that had been decided by the WWF.
Reviews of the event are mixed. The tag team title bout is generally considered to be the best match on the card. Several matches are thought to have been poorly executed. Some reviewers enjoyed the event, while others claimed that it is not worth watching.
Paul Roma began feuding with The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) during the June 21, 1990, episode of WWF Superstars. Roma was attacked after a match by Dino Bravo; when The Rockers came to the ring for the following match, Roma accused them of attacking him. The argument turned physical, and Roma was backed up by Hercules. One week later, Roma and Hercules appeared on the Brother Love Show, an interview segment, and announced that they had formed a tag team known as Power and Glory. A match between the two teams was later scheduled for SummerSlam.
The feud between Mr. Perfect and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake began at the 1990 Royal Rumble. Beefcake, whose gimmick included cutting his opponents' hair, was wrestling The Genius, Perfect's manager. When he began giving The Genius a haircut when Perfect interfered and caused a double disqualification. Perfect and Beefcake wrestled each other at WrestleMania VI, and Beefcake won the match. Perfect won the Intercontinental Championship on April 23, 1990 in a tournament final. He had caused Beefcake to be eliminated from the tournament by interfering in his match. Beefcake and Perfect had a series of matches at house shows leading up to their planned SummerSlam match. Shortly before SummerSlam, Beefcake was injured while he was standing on a beach and a female friend's knees hit him in the face while she was parasailing. Several bones in his face were legitimately broken, including his jaw and nose. As a result, the Texas Tornado replaced Beefcake in the SummerSlam match.
At the 1990 Royal Rumble, Sensational Sherri, Randy Savage's valet, appeared on the Brother Love show. Brother Love discussed the definition of a "lady", using Sherri as an example. He then discussed "peasants", bringing out Sapphire, Dusty Rhodes's valet, as an example. Sherri and Sapphire fought, which led to Savage and Rhodes fighting to defend their valets. Rhodes and Sapphire faced Savage and Sherri in a mixed tag team match at WrestleMania VI. Rhodes and Sapphire won the match with assistance from Miss Elizabeth, Savage's former valet. For SummerSlam, individual matches were scheduled, with Sapphire facing Sherri and Savage wrestling Rhodes. Meanwhile, Sapphire had been receiving gifts from an anonymous benefactor.
Tito Santana and Rick Martel formed a tag team named Strike Force in 1987. They won the WWF Tag Team Championship together before Martel abandoned Santana during a match against the Brain Busters at WrestleMania V. This led to a lengthy feud between the two, The team split up as a result and the former partners had a lengthy feud. and a blow off match was scheduled for SummerSlam. Martel was injured prior to the SummerSlam match, so the WWF created a storyline that he was unable to compete because he was participating in a modeling competition in Paris. He was replaced in the match with The Warlord, who had been competing against Santana on house shows since April.
Demolition and The Hart Foundation had faced each other two years earlier at SummerSlam 1988, where Demolition had successfully defended the WWF Tag Team Championship. The Hart Foundation duo of Jim Neidhart and Bret Hart later focused on singles wrestling but soon reunited as a team. They announced on the March 31 episode of WWF Superstars that they wanted to challenge for the WWF Tag Team Championship after the WrestleMania match between The Colossal Connection and Demolition. After Demolition won the match, The Hart Foundation faced The Rockers on the April 28 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. Demolition interfered, causing a double disqualification. On the July 14 episode of WWF Superstars, Demolition and The Hart Foundation brawled after The Hart Foundation claimed that Demolition having three members was evidence of cowardice. The following week, a match between the teams was announced for SummerSlam. The stipulations stated that it would be a two out of three falls match and that only two members of Demolition would be allowed at ringside.
The feud between Bad News Brown and Jake Roberts began when Roberts sent Brown a birthday present on the April 22 episode of Wrestling Challenge. Upon opening the package, Brown found a rubber snake; it was revealed that Brown was afraid of snakes. On the May 5 episode of WWF Superstars, the two men agreed to a match; Brown later claimed that his fear of snakes was cured, although he was quickly proven wrong. On the July 28 episode of WWF Superstars, it was announced that Brown and Roberts face each other at SummerSlam with the Big Bossman as a special referee. Brown also announced that he would bring 200 pounds of Harlem sewer rats to counteract Roberts's boa constrictor, Damien.
Nikolai Volkoff began the year partnered with Boris Zhukov in a pro-Soviet tag team known as The Bolsheviks. After Lithuania, Volkoff's homeland, declared its independence from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990, The Bolsheviks split up. Volkoff became pro-Western and was presented with an American flag by Jim Duggan. They were then booked to face a Japanese team known as The Orient Express at SummerSlam.
As Hulk Hogan was being interviewed on the Brother Love Show during the May 26 episode of WWF Superstars, he was attacked by Earthquake. Earthquake hit Hogan with a chair and jumped on his stomach with an Earthquake splash. Hogan was taken from the stage on a stretcher. Hogan did not appear on WWF programming for almost two months, as the company teased his possible retirement. On the July 14 episode of WWF Superstars, Hogan announced that he was returning to action and would be facing Earthquake at SummerSlam. Hogan also stated that his friend Tugboat would be in his corner during the match. Earthquake and his ally Dino Bravo attacked Tugboat during a match on the August 18 episode of WWF Superstars. Tugboat was carried offstage on a stretcher after Earthquake performed two Earthquake splashes on him. Tugboat was rescued by the Big Bossman, but the injuries he sustained were said to be severe enough to prevent him from appearing at SummerSlam. Hogan later announced that the Big Bossman would be in his corner instead.
The Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude had been feuding since the 1989 Royal Rumble. The competed against each other in a "posedown" to show off their muscles, after which Rude attacked the Warrior. They faced each other at WrestleMania V in a match for the Warrior's Intercontinental Championship. Rude won the title, but the Warrior regained the title belt at SummerSlam 1989. The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania VI; he was forced to give up the Intercontinental Championship, and Rick Rude was named the top challenger for SummerSlam. It was later announced that the bout would be a steel cage match.
To build anticipation for the pay-per-view event, the WWF broadcast SummerSlam Fever on the USA Network. The show aired on August 19 and included several interviews as well as an appearance by Hulk Hogan and manager Jimmy Hart on the Brother Love show. It also featured nine matches that included wrestlers who would be competing at SummerSlam.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Shane Douglas defeated Buddy Rose
- Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules) (w/ Slick) defeated The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) (6:00)
- The Texas Tornado defeated Mr. Perfect (w/ Bobby Heenan) to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship (5:15)
- Brutus Beefcake was originally scheduled to compete for the title, but was pulled out after a parasailing incident.
- Sensational Queen Sherri defeated Sapphire by forfeit
- The Warlord (w/ Slick) defeated Tito Santana (5:28)
- The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) defeated Demolition (Smash and Crush) in a Two Out Of Three Falls Match to win the WWF Tag Team Championship (14:24)
- Jake Roberts defeated Bad News Brown with special guest referee The Big Bossman (04:44)
- Nikolai Volkoff and Jim Duggan defeated The Orient Express (Tanaka and Sato) (w/ Mr. Fuji) (3:22)
- Randy Savage (w/ Sensational Queen Sherri) defeated Dusty Rhodes (2:15)
- Before the match, Ted DiBiase came out to announce that he had bought out Sapphire. Dusty lost the will to win the match.
- Hulk Hogan (w/ The Big Bossman) defeated Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart and Dino Bravo (13:16)
- The Ultimate Warrior defeated Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan) in a Steel Cage Match to retain the WWF Championship (10:05)
Other on-screen talent
DVD & Video Releases
- SummerSlam 1990 Official Site
- SummerSlam 1990 at CAGEMATCH.net
- SummerSlam 1990 at Online World of Wrestling
- SummerSlam 1990 on WWE Network
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