Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are doing commentary, still taped from Austin, Texas.
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.
Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura handle commentary duties, starting a new round of tapings in Sacramento, California. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, these tapings took place on March 6 and attracted a crowd of 13,500, with 2,000 of those fans attending for free. This week Ventura has his face painted like the Ultimate Warrior – a horrifying sight – and is wearing tassels because he is once again changing his prediction for the WrestleMania VI main event.
Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are in the studio to spar with each other before they toss the broadcast over to new matches. Tonight’s feature match comes from Chattanooga, Tennessee and was taped on January 3.
Heenan is upset that he cannot have the guests he wants on the program whereas Monsoon was able to bring Arnold Skaaland on last week’s show. Monsoon tells Heenan that he had better not abscond with the yellow Royal Rumble hats on the broadcast desk.
1989 was a strong year for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The Mega Powers angle between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage created a strong buyrate for WrestleMania V and rematches between the two throughout the spring and summer generated healthy gates. In addition, the company expanded its revenue streams by adding The Royal Rumble to its pay-per-view lineup in January. And other competitors were faltering as the American Wrestling Association (AWA) was on its last legs and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was riven by divisions between Executive Vice President Jim Herd and talent like Ric Flair. Times were good for the WWF’s Golden Age.
However, there were some cracks underneath the surface that the WWF would grapple with as 1990 began. The company’s star, Hulk Hogan, wanted to make his mark on Hollywood and WWF owner Vince McMahon wanted to find the next big act to replace him. And without Hogan it was unclear whether casual fans, who fueled the WWF’s rise throughout the late 1980s, would continue to tune in. Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior appeared the most likely successor, with a physical build similar to Hogan’s and laying claim to being the second-biggest star in the company. Both men had been kept away from each other in storylines and McMahon looked at a clash between them as a way to resolve the conundrum. And beyond the Hogan-Warrior transition there were questions as to who the big heels of the company would be. Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase had failed in their efforts to win the WWF Championship, reduced in standing by multiple losses. Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude, and Zeus were considered possibilities but Perfect had not held a singles title yet, Hogan refused to work a program with Rude, and Zeus was limited in the ring. So, the WWF was on the look for new talents that they could slot into main event programs and continue to draw houses on par with those of the late 1980s.
WWF SUMMERSLAM FEVER 1990:
* These “preview shows” for PPVs are always a great source for little-seen matches. In this one, we’re a week away from SummerSlam, we have our prelude show in Utica, New York (what kind of a place doesn’t know the expression “steamed hams”?), featuring a handful of big name vs. name matches- Earthquake vs. Hacksaw! Smash vs. Neidhart! Mr. Perfect against Ronnie Garvin! And most importantly, THE BOLSHEVIKS EXPLODE!