Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are in the studio for tonight’s show. Heenan wants Mr. Perfect’s feature match against Hercules to air at the beginning of the telecast, but Monsoon urges patience because the show is two hours long.
Beating a bunch of midcarders and you change the business forever. Wrestling is weird.
WWF KING OF THE RING QUALIFYING MATCHES (1996):
* You might have heard of this tournament before. So by this point, the tourney was kind of up in the air after Mabel’s failed Main Event push. It could have even poisoned the “King” title, in fact. Hopefully THIS year’s winner makes more of a go of it.
So the backstory here was that the crown was meant to go to the “Next Big Midcarder”, more or less- mid-tier heel Hunter Hearts-Helmsley was expected to win it. But instead, he was one of the few guys the WWF could punish for doing the infamous “Curtain Call” (the Kliq members all coming out for a group hug in the ring, “exposing the business” by confusing fans at an MSG house show). And so he had his big push taken away and they threw it on some other guy. Thus giving HHH a lifelong persecution complex and an obsessive need to look smarter and better than everyone else, covering his own ass at every opportunity. But who knows what effect THAT had on the business?
This review is comparatively massive, because I decided to put the trio of Quarterfinals in the same review instead of splitting them up. Easier to look at the tourney as a whole that way! Hopefully it’s not too long, haha.
HENRY O. GODWINN (w/ Hillbilly Jim) vs. JUSTIN “HAWK” BRADHSAW (w/ Uncle Zebekiah):
* Weirdness abounds as tag wrestler Godwinn is out there with absolutely ZERO chance, taking on rising midcard guy Bradshaw, then a super-green Stan Hansen wannabe in red trunks and a ponytail managed by Zebekiah. At this point, the future JBL was nowhere near as protected as he would be even as part of the Acolytes, but he was protected enough.
Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are in the studio and handle tonight’s broadcast. Heenan blasts Tugboat’s gimmick, arguing that kids should want to be the President of the United States rather than “a stupid boat.” Monsoon has a good counter, asking Heenan what the Barbarian wanted to be as a kid.
As noted in prior columns, this show was a joint effort by the WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling. The WWF was looking to expand its global presence while New Japan and All Japan felt threatened by Akira Maeda’s shoot-like Universal Wrestling Federation, which drew a 50,000 person crowd to the Tokyo Dome for a big show in November 1989. To counter them, New Japan and All Japan worked together on a supershow at the Tokyo Dome on February 10. Then, they built on that effort by partnering with the WWF for another big card in Tokyo on April 13 that was named The Wrestling Summit. According tothehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a crowd of 53,742.
Andre & Baba versus two 6’7″ guys so bad even Vince didn’t want them. I’m in love. So how bad do you have to be to have neither Vince nor Eric want you when you’re that big? Read on!
Time for more Dream Matches! This time, I’ve found one of those things that opens up the floodgates- wrestlers I’ve never heard of before who send me on a YouTube-fest that bring sup all sorts of weirdo matches! Come see two 6’7″+ guys even VINCE didn’t want as the “Land of Giants” take on Andre the Giant & Giant Baba in 1990!
Also, we have two bouts from the same episode of Prime Time Wrestling, as Jake Roberts takes on Typhoon and Paul Roma goes up against The Dragon! And then a match recommended to me a week ago- Dean Malenko vs. SURFER-era Sting from Nitro! And we’ll cap things off with the WCW Saturday Night debut of one Bill Goldberg, as the “Best of Roadblock” series continues! Can Bill defeat the 6’7″ guy who almost never wins? Who knows?!?
REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 1990:
ANDRE THE GIANT & GIANT BABA vs. THE LAND OF GIANTS (Butch Masters & Skywalker Nitron):
(All Japan, 25.11.1990)
* Oh my god you GUYS. This is Andre & Giant Baba in their retirement tour as crippled old men, and they’re taking on two gigantic dudes I’ve never heard of! I have to know everything about these guys now. Looks like they’re two never-was acts (Nitron sniffed WCW for a second as “Big Sky” and that’s all the Big Two has for them), both about 6’7″ or so but with physiques like the Young Bucks and knock-off Ultimate Warrior facepaint. Oh wait… Big Sky/Skywalker Nitron was Sabretooth in the first “X-Men” movie! It’s Tyler Mane! And he has a goddamn bleached RAT TAIL haircut! Butch has more fashion with a regular brown mullet. I love this match already.
Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are in the booth and they are live from Toronto, Ontario, Canada in what will be Ventura’s last appearance calling a WWF pay-per-view. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a sellout crowd of 67,678, a new attendance record for the venue. It drew a buyrate of 3.8 (an estimated 550,000 purchases). This was a decline from the 5.9 buyrate of WrestleMania V, but this can be attributed to more homes getting pay-per-view access by 1990, thereby messing with the buyrate average.
Robert Goulet sings the Canadian National Anthem. According to Bruce Prichard, Goulet was picked for this spot because he badly botched signing “The Star Spangled Banner” several years earlier and this was a chance for him to redeem himself in front of a live crowd. The WWF put the lyrics on the Skydome’s video screen to ease Goulet’s nerves. And if you watch his body language during the performance, he goes from a bad of nerves to a guy having the time of his life halfway through. His wife, who watched backstage, cried her eyes out after he nailed the song.