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The Wrestling Summit - April 13, 1990

by Scrooge McSuck

Hulk Hogan vs Stan Hansen

- I originally intended this for my ongoing series of Flashbacks, exclusively on DWB, but figured I'd give a little more effort to create something worthwhile. The WWF joins up with All Japan and New Japan Pro Wrestling for a Super-Show at the Tokyo Dome, and it would be an understatement to say things didn't go very smoothly. The originally scheduled main event was to be Hogan vs. Terry Gordy (and before that, Hogan vs. Tenryu, but McMahon wanted an American in the match for reasons that could range from pointless paranoia to wanting something more marketable for home distribution), but Gordy backed out at the last minute (possibly due to Hogan no longer being Champion and not wanting to look weak in a Non-Title Match). There were cooperation problems over ring placement, referees, and handling the press (the WWF guys were keeping kayfabe, even guys who were regulars in Japan in the past). Nippon TV wouldn't feature any matches that included New Japan wrestlers since it was the network home for All Japan and didn't want to promote a rival company. The list goes on and on, and it's no wonder that later in the year, Vince and the WWF entered an agreement with Tenryu's newly created SWS.

Tito Santana & "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. Kenta Kobashi & Masa Fuchi:

Don't look now, but Shane McMahon is getting some in-ring duty... as a referee. Kobashi and Fuchi come out to "Highway to the Danger Zone." Santana and Kobashi start, trading holds. Santana eases into subtle heel, throwing closed fists and tossing Kenta to the floor, allowing Snuka to get a cheap shot in. Kobashi comes back in with a springboard cross body. Fuchi tags in and mounts Tito for a series of strikes, followed by an enzuigiri. Kobashi with a missile dropkick for two. Snuka with miscommunication, and he eats a dropkick from Fuchi. Snuka tags in to drag the match down to hell, doing very little, and botching a back-drop spot as if he were a rookie on his first day of training. Tito comes in and hits everyone with dropkicks. Flying Forearm to Fuchi. Flying Forearm to Kobashi. Snuka comes off the top with the splash on Fuchi and gets the three count at 8:27. Santana and Kobashi worked the majority of the match and felt like they did the first few minutes of a 20-minute match before Snuka came in and they almost immediately went to the finish. **1/4

Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Tiger Mask:

I'm watching the match on the Bret Hart "Dungeon Collection" DVD, since the compilation of the show that I have only has this JIP to the final minutes of the match. This is technically Tiger Mask II, Mitsuharu Misawa. Lockup and clean break. Tiger Mask controls with arm drags and arm-bars. They seem to tease a big sequence, but abruptly ends with Bret knocked over the top rope with a dropkick. Crucifix cradle for two. Bret rolls through a flying body press for two. Crisscross sequence goes in Tiger Mask's favor, and they poorly time a slingshot spot into the corner. Bret counters a second crucifix cradle with a back drop. Bret with a slam and elbow drop between resting. Tiger Mask with a plancha for our first high spot of the match. Bret hides in the corner, selling the arm. Bret sells the knee on a crisscross, and the crowd isn't buying it. Tiger Mask, on the other hand, does, and Bret gives him a sucker blow and taunts the crowd. Stomp to the midsection and back breaker for two. Bret with some stiff forearms (or at least look stiff) until Tiger Mask counters with a back slide. Bret tosses Tiger Mask to the floor and embraces the role of villain. Russian leg sweep for two. Tiger Mask with a slam and Bret comes back with a sloppy inverted atomic drop. Bret misses a second rope elbow drop. You can always tell when he's intending to miss based on his leap. Tiger Mask with a flying body press for two. Hard whip to the corner for two. Whip to the ropes and Tiger Mask with a cross body as the bell rings at 20:15, signaling a time limit draw. They play Bret's music anyway. Well, this was OK, I guess. Proof there's no magic formula to having a great match, but it didn't help half the match was chin-locks. **

Greg "The Hammer" Valentine vs. The Great Kabuki:

This should be an interesting contrast of styles. Valentine comes to the ring to Roxette's "She's Got the Look" for reasons that offer no explanation. Shane McMahon is once again the referee. Kabuki showing off his nunchaku skills and red mist might be the match highlight. Lockup and not-so-clean break. Valentine with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. Snap mare into a chin-lock. Kabuki side-steps a charge and wakes the crowd up with a series of strikes. Valentine with a butterfly suplex for two. Kabuki misses a dropkick in the corner and traps himself in a tree-of-woe. Valentine can't quite apply a Figure-Four and gets rolled up for two. Kabuki sweeps the legs and turns over with a Boston Crab. Valentine takes control with an atomic knee drop and celebrates doing a bad Honkytonk Man impression. He goes for the Figure-Four again, but Kabuki cradles him for three at 7:18. Greg Valentine and Bret Hart must've had a wager over who was going to try the least. *

Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. The Big Boss Man:

Yes, technically both men are babyface, but maybe Vince just assumed nobody would notice, and sent Boss Man out there to work full-blown heel. Earl Hebner is the referee, so I'm assuming Shane's night of referee duty is over. Roberts wastes little time going for the DDT, the foundation of his babyface matches. When that doesn't work, he targets the arm. Boss Man catches him coming off the ropes with a spine-buster for the first big offensive move, followed by a splash across the back. He works the back and casually grabs a bear-hug. Whip to the ropes and a clothesline for two. We change things up with a chin-lock. I don't think Roberts has had any offense since the opening moments. Boss Man with a slam, but he misses a splash from the top rope, and ends up on the floor with all the momentum. Roberts pulls him into the post by the arm and goes into finishing mode, unloading with jabs, followed by the short-arm clothesline. Roberts gets a knee up in the corner, but misses a running knee lift and gets thrown into the turnbuckle. Roberts counters a slam and finishes with the DDT at 10:26. Post-match, Boss Man gets the Damien treatment. Dull middle and s hot finish gives us an average match. The resting wasn't as bad as I might've made it feel, with each spot being short. **

Haku & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mr. Perfect & Rick Martel:

If this were being booked by the modern creative team, Hennig and Martel would be something dumb like "Team Perfect Model." Mel Phillips introduces Haku as "King Haku" for whatever reasons. Jumbo Tsuruta had a long, storied career, so I'm sorry for skipping it almost entirely for the sake of saving time here. Perfect is introduced as "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig. I can understand introducing Hennig as such, but why KING Haku? Perfect meets a boot in the corner and over-sells a running high knee. Haku kicks at the leg for more patented Hennig over-selling. Shoulder breaker gets two. Dropkick for two. Perfect with a snap mare and floating neck snap on Tsuruta. Haku with a slam, but misses a running senton. Martel tags in for the first time at 4:00, plants Haku with slams, and drops a pair of elbows across the back. Martel with a hurricanrana for two. No, that wasn't a typo. Slingshot splash for two. He goes for the hurricanrana again, but Haku counters by dropping him face-first across the turnbuckle. Martel with the Boston Crab, but Jumbo makes the save. Martel with a suplex and knee drop for two. Haku gets the knees up on a splash and hot tags Tsuruta. Jumbo with strikes and slams. He hits Martel with a running high knee, and the tear drop suplex finishes at 10:52. Good tag team match. Not much heat for Perfect and Martel, but they were working hard to get the crowd invested in the match. ***

Genichiro Tenryu vs. "Macho King" Randy Savage (w/ Queen Sherri):

Strong match to put underneath, although you could argue Savage's stock had fallen considerably with recent feuds against Jim Duggan and Dusty Rhodes (fighting over the King title, and then "King vs. Common Man" cartoon bullshi*). Crowd is hot for this one. Shoving match to start. Savage bails on a failed Irish whip attempt. Tenryu blocks a suplex and unloads with a flurry vicious chops. Sherri with the distraction, allowing Savage to recover and attack from behind. Tenryu counters a whip to the ropes and hooks Savage with a clothesline for two. Tenryu sends him over the top with a back drop and comes off the apron with a diving body press. Savage benefits from another Sherri distraction and throws Tenryu onto the ringside table. Back in the ring, Tenryu gets a boot up to counter a charge to the corner and connects with an enzuigiri. Savage shoves the referee down and still manages to cover Tenryu for a near fall. Tenryu hangs back in the ropes, so Savage charges at him with a clothesline. Savage comes off the top with the double axe-handle. Back in the ring, Savage comes off the top with another axe-handle for two. Savage comes off the top with his signature flying elvow, but Tenryu kicks out at two. Tenryu counters the 3rd axe-handle attempt, and Savage counters the Powerbomb. Savage comes off the top with a flying body press, but sells the knee after impact. Tenryu from behind with the enzuigiri, and the Powerbomb finishes at 10:49. Soft Powerbomb aside, a strong match featuring some good spots and an invested crowd. Clean finishes help, too. ***1/2

WWF Championship Match: The Ultimate Warrior vs. "Million $ Man" Ted Dibiase:

I believe this match was used for the Coliseum Video "World Tour", released that same Summer. To say the Warrior wasn't over with the Japanese crowd would be a huge understatement, especially compared to similar looking stars like the Road Warriors, who can cut promos, work a crowd, and beat the crap out of people. Dibiase attacks from behind with strikes. Warrior comes back with a slam and clothesline, sending Dibiase over the top rope. Warrior does his usual "WWF style" work which translates poorly to the crowd they're working for. They do a crisscross until Warrior runs over Dibiase with a shoulder tackle. He goes for the diving variety, but Dibiase side-steps and slams him face-first to the canvas. Crowd appears to be behind Dibiase on offense. Dibiase with a snap mare and fist drop, followed by a suplex for two. Piledriver for two. Warrior starts having a seizure and time to wrap things up. Clotheslines and Splash and we're done at 6:12. Dibiase might as well have wrestled the invisible man, it would've had more heat and the invisible man might've gotten a babyface reaction, too. *

Demolition vs. Andre The Giant & Giant Baba:

Demolition are the reigning Tag Team Champions, but this is Non-Title since there's no way you're getting people to accept Andre and Baba jobbing here. Random thought: I never cared for the chaps Demolition wore. I'm more than positive it wasn't something used during their original heel run. Baba's physical proportions are something to see, with a thick torso and the frailest arms you'll ever see. Crowd is super-hot despite his moving in slow motion. Andre with cheap shots from the apron. Smash sells every blow like he's being shot. Andre gets too cocky and misses a butt-drop. Ax and Smash take turns pounding on him with axe-handles. Andre being so defensive, even in a compromised position, is such an underrated part of his work, even during his declining years. Baba fights out of the Demolition corner and takes Smash down with a swinging neck breaker. Andre no-sells Smash's offense and Smash does his best Hennig impression selling one punch. Baba breaks up a 2-on-1. Big boot to Smash, and Andre drops the elbow for three at 6:38. Not much better than the previous match, but at least the crowd cared. *

Hulk Hogan vs. Stan Hansen:

Main Event of the card, and we've already talked about the problems in the weeks leading up to this event. Another match recycled for Coliseum Video, Hulkamania 6 if memory serves correct. They fight over a lockup and get into a shoving match. Hansen mostly blocks a drop toe hold, Hogan catches him in a front face-lock. Hogan traps the ankle again and almost has a cross-face applied. Half-nelson into a cover for two. They exchange strikes and eye rakes, with Hansen getting the better of it before tossing Hogan to the floor. Hansen gets busted getting rammed to the post. Hogan with a back suplex for two. Hansen easily counters an abdominal stretch, but remains on defense. Hogan with chops in the corner. Hansen leads to the floor and takes a tumble over the guardrail. Hogan slams him onto a table and sends him to the post again. Hansen gets a boot up in the corner and goes all in on a shoulder tackle. Hansen tosses Hogan over the rail at ringside and smacks him over the head with a chair. Hogan is busted open too, and Hansen isn't shy about targeting the wound. Hogan teases a comeback, but misses the leg drop. Hansen goes for the cover and gets two. Whip to the ropes and Hogan with a diving body press for two. Hogan with the boot and AXE BOMBER for three at 12:32. He's never going to be called a great wrestler, but it always feels weird watching Hogan work a more serious match and using an extensive amount of wrestling holds. Good heavyweight match, with decent brawling and the chain-wrestling sequences. ***1/4

Final Thoughts: As far as the television product is concerned, this meant absolutely zilch, with only a pair of matches exclusively featuring WWF talent, but clearly the point of the show was to promote the WWF alongside All-Japan Pro Wrestling (as far as the TV product is concerned) and offer some interesting inter-promotional matches. Hogan/Hansen and Savage/Tenryu delivered on the top of the card with strong performances (and clean finishes!), while the rest of the card varies wildly. You had one solid tag team match in Henng/Martel and Haku/Tsuruta, and then some so-so stuff like the opener and Roberts/Boss Man, a disappointment between Bret and Tiger Mask, and then turds like Warrior/Dibiase and Valentine/Kabuki. It's always hard to determine the quality of a one-and-done super-card, but this was mostly an enjoyable 2-hours of wrestlin

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