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WWF Wrestling Challenge - February 11, 1990

by Scrooge McSuck

- I remember doing this episode a long time ago, but figured it was worth a shot to clean up, and give a more modern era Scrooge feel.

- We're taped from the Lee Civic Center in Ft. Myers, FL. This taping took place days after the Royal Rumble, which was held in Orlando, so it makes sense to keep it in the same general area. Gorilla Monsoon and Tony Schiavone are calling the action, which is just strange to type. Schiavone joined the Challenge broadcast team during the summer, forcing Bobby Heenan to "quit" on the air. I liked Schiavone, but I'll take Bobby Heenan 100 times out of 100. We run down what we'll be seeing today: The Main Event will be announced for WrestleMania VI! Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart in our feature match! Highlights from Jake Roberts vs. Ted Dibiase from yesterday's episode of Superstars! Plus Brutus Beefcake and the Tag Team Champions, the Colossal Connection will be in action!

Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. Pete Sanchez:

For those who forgot, Brutus Beefcake somehow shoe-horned his way into the feud with Mr. Perfect and the Genius, a spot previously occupied by Hulk Hogan. Poor Rick Martel ended up without anything to do, after all the trouble the WWF went through with starting a program between him and the Barber. Even WWF Magazine ran on article on it! We get a promo from Mr. Perfect and the Genius, who did a number on Beefcake back at the Royal Rumble. Lockup, and we get a clean break. Lockup #2, and Sanchez with a knee to the midsection, followed by some token clubbin' blows. Beefcake quickly comes back, sending Sanchez to the corner, and taking him over with a back drop. Beefcake with a snapmare, followed by an elbow across the back of the head. Irish whip, and Beefcake slaps on the sleeper for the victory at 1:48. The usual brisk squash from the Barber. As you would expect, Beefcake gives his opponent a little trim afterwards. Why would these jobbers with long hair keep signing up to wrestle Beefcake? Weren't there any bald ones?

- It's time for the WWF Special Report, brought to you from the pages of WWF Magazine. Jack Tunney has a special announcement for us... at WrestleMania VI, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan will take on the Intercontinental Champion, the Ultimate Warrior, in the main event. However, there is no word on which championship, if any, will be on the line in the match. We also get promos from Hulk Hogan and the Warrior. Nothing out of the ordinary from either man, but that's still a little bit unusual for normal people. Sadly, this isn't the Warrior promo about taking Hogan's plane into a nose-dive into parts Unknown. For tickets to WrestleMania VI, call 416-872-1111. Actually, don't call anymore, but 11 years ago, you should've.

Note: I don't usually mention the commercial breaks, but here's an exception: Honey Combs cereal, featuring Andre The Giant scaring a bunch of kids in their treehouse. It's just like a modern day version of Jack and the Beantalk... I guess. I don't know, but at the end, Andre seems to be having a blast playing with kids. Wasn't he a heel at this point? Seriously, it's up there with G.I. Joe commercials with Sgt. Slaughter airing when he was denouncing America in terms of "did anyone screen these commercials before broadcasting them?"

Rhythm & Blues (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Billy & Tony Mulkey:

Great, Honkytonk Man. I can never get enough of him. I seem to recall the Mulkey's being "recognized" jobbers, probably in the NWA or something. We get a promo from the newly formed Tag Team. Honky works over Tony with his usual garbage punches, then elbows him across the back of the head. Valentine tags in for some double teaming, and chops the skin off the poor Mulkey brother's chest. Valentine with a scoop slam, and Honky tags in to do more punishment. Valentine with a shoulder breaker, and finally Billy Mulkey tags in and doesn't fair much better. Irish whip, and Valentine with a back body drop. Honky tags in and finally finishes things off with the Shake Rattle and Roll (swinging neckbreaker) at 2:29. I guess it wasn't too bad of a squash match, even if I absolutely hate watching Honkytonk Man matches, usually. Afterwards, Valentine performs the worst dance routine this side of... uh... fill in the blank yourself, because I can't think of anything.

- We throw it to the WWF Event Center, with our host, Sean Mooney. The WWF is coming to Nashville, TN on February 15th, just days away! Promo from the Model, Rick Martel, who hypes up his match with Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. He even makes reference to the incident where Beefcake destroyed his jacket on Superstars to kick off the new year. Next, it's a newcomer to the WWF, Tugboat Thomas, and he cuts one of the worst promos in history on his main event caliber opponent, the Brooklyn Brawler! It's even worse than his Royal Rumble '91 promo, about tossing life preservers at people, and throwing them over-board.

Koko B. Ware vs. Jerry Lou:

Koko has Frankie with him of course, and he's still rocking the oddball look of bleached hair with paint on the sides. I hate Koko squashes, mainly because I have nothing of note to mention about his position in the company at the time, other than "he was doing nothing." Irish whip, and Koko is bowled over with a shoulder block. Irish whip, and Koko with a series of arm drags, followed by a headbutt and a back body drop. Ware with a snapmare, then a bit of a heel-ish move, raking the eyes with the bottom of his boot. Koko with a scoop slam, then heads to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick. Ghostbuster time, and the three count is made at 1:45. If not for Koko being horribly under-sized for what the WWF was promoting, he really could've been used in a better way. I've never seen someone who never won a meaningful match after 1987 get good babyface reactions over the entire run he had in the company.

- Mean Gene Okerlund is on the platform for a special interview with Bad News Brown. He talks about the Royal Rumble Match, where he and Roddy Piper eliminated each other in an Insta-Feud Moment™. Brown puts the bad mouth on Piper, which of course brings Piper to ringside. Brown offers Piper a few words of advice: shave your legs if you're going to wear a skirt. Piper rushes the platform for some brawling, despite the attempts of a bunch of Jobbers trying to break things up. Not a shabby way of building up a feud that really wasn't much of a feud, but the end result sure was insulting.

Bret "Hitman" Hart (w/ Jim Neidhart) vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Marty Jannetty):

Although both teams had wrestled on various televised arena shows, this marks the first nationally televised encounter between the Hitman and Michaels. I seem to recall an article in WWF Magazine at the time having a feature on this match. The referee for the match, naturally, is Earl Hebner, but we've got roughly eight years before that whole thing went down, so let's just enjoy an old tradition I miss: the singles match pitting one half of a tag team against another half of a tag team. Neidhart removes the shades of the Hitman and casually hands them to some dork. Lockup into the corner, and we get a clean break. Bret with an overhand wristlock, and Shawn counters with an arm drag, to a chorus of boos. They fight over a wristlock, and Bret turns it into a hammerlock. Michaels escapes with an elbow, then comes off the ropes with a shoulder block. Bret catches Shawn off the ropes with a reverse atomic drop, then takes his head off with a clothesline. Bret with a snapmare, but he misses an elbow drop. Michaels with a side headlock, as we look over the shoulder of the Anvil. Bret tries a counter, but Michaels rolls through and puts Bret down with a dropkick. Shawn to the top rope, but Bret pops up and slams him off. Bret has words for Jannetty, and takes Shawn's head off with a pair of forearms. Michaels counters a third with a back slide for a two count. Bret drops an elbow across the back of the head. Irish whip is reversed, and Michaels with a slam, followed by a leg drop. Irish whip, and we get a collision knocking both men's heads together. They fight over a suplex, but get tied up in the ropes. Shoving match, and Bret cleans his clock with a roundhouse right. Jannetty hops on the apron and cheap shots Bret, and this brings Anvil into it. Everyone brawls, and it's a Double Disqualification at 4:23. It's only a mild brawl, as it only takes two referees to break things up. Enjoyable, fast paced match, considering the short amount of time given to it. I think the next time these two teams got together, in TV time, was the Saturday Night's Main Event following WrestleMania.

The Canadian Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Jim Evans:

I never understood calling him "Canadian" in his name. There really was nothing wrong with just Earthquake. Other than being Dino Bravo's 450 pound buddy, Quake really wasn't doing much yet, but that would change in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania. Evans charges, but Earthquake uses his bulk to simply put Evans on his ass. Irish whip, and Quake with a scoop slam. Earthquake with a clothesline, followed by a powerslam. Earthquake drops one of his signature elbows, and it's time for the end, coming off the ropes with the vertical splash (sit-down butt drop move) for the three count at 1:01. Earthquake gives the poor guy an after-shock, just for the hell of it, and he gets to do a stretcher job in the process.

- More from the Event Center, hyping the show coming to Nashville. Jim Duggan has words for Mr. Perfect, which just seems like a really random pairing for some reason. Also, the Macho King and the Sensational Queen have angry screaming words for the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, and Sweep Sapphire. I'm guessing that'll be the main event on the card, considering the rest of what has been announced.

- We take a flashback to the previous days episode of SuperStars of Wrestling. Jake Roberts and Ted Dibiase were scheduled for one-on-one action, but it didn't take long for the match to get out of control when the Big Boss Man came to ringside and handcuffed Roberts to the ropes. Boss Man then proceeds to steal Robert's bag, containing Damian and the Million Dollar Belt. Afterwards, Dibiase, Boss Man, and Slick head to the stage prepared for an impromptu edition of the Brother Love Show. Dibiase says that to get back stolen property, you call the police, and then says he bribed Slick and the Boss Man to get the belt back for him. Boss Man suddenly has the old Dr. Seuss' Grinch change of heart, suddenly becoming disgusted by the mere thought he was paid off to do a job. He has threatening words for Dibiase, returns the bag and belt to Roberts, then shoves Slick on his ass to complete the face turn. One of the more unusual and out of nowhere turns at the time. It just doesn't make sense that someone like Boss Man, who was a vicious and ruthless heel for two years, suddenly didn't feel good about taking a bribe. Lest we forget the whole thing at the 89 Rumble, where it's implied that Dibiase paid off Slick and the Twin Towers for a better spot in the match? Yeah, I know. Logic in Wrestling.

The Colossal Connection (Tag Champs) (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Rico Fredrico & Jim Gorman:

For those with a short attention span, the Connection is the team consisting of Andre The Giant and Haku. We're really cramped for time, as we forgo all introductions, and I can only piece together their opponents names based on the commentary. Haku starts with Fredrico and beats him down with kicks and chops. Haku with a reverse atomic drop, then takes his anger out on Gorman. Andre tags in, hits Gorman with a headbutt, and chokes him out. Haku tags back in and connects with a reverse crescent kick, and Andre follows with one of his ugly elbow drops for the three count at 1:16. Just a quick squash, but it was always weird to see Andre wrestle on the syndicated shows. Until his brief tag title reign, his appearances in a wrestling role on these shows were as few and far between as Hulk Hogan. It makes sense though, since it makes people want to come see him live since he was rarely on television.

- More from the Event Center! The Bolsheviks are back, and they are out to destroy those dastardly Bushwhackers. I mentioned this in my January 6th, 1990 episode of Superstars review, but was there some sort of real life issue between the Soviet Union and New Zealand that I was never taught in school? After that, it's time for Dusty Rhodes to cut a promo on the Macho King. At least that's one good one. I never liked Rhodes the wrestler very much, but he was a magnificent talker. For those who care, the Nashville card looks something like this (doesn't it look like a show you'd want to go to?):

- Next week on Wrestling Challenge: We'll see "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan in action, as well as Dino Bravo. We get more matches announced for WrestleMania VI, along with comments from Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. The Powers of Pain will be in Tag Team action, and in the feature match, Dusty Rhodes takes on the Model, Rick Martel. Promos from both men follow.

Final Thoughts: What a show this turned out to be. We've got plenty here to interest nostalgia fans. The first nationally televised match between Bret and Shawn, the big announcement for the WrestleMania VI main event, the recap of the surprising turn of the Big Boss Man, and even the pull apart brawl between Piper and Brown was rather entertaining. The squash matches are all pretty short too, and don't bring the episode down at all.

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