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[1990-08-27-WWF-Summerslam] Hulk Hogan vs Earthquake

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Last time I saw Summerslam 90, this was the best match on the card. Definitely the smartest put together. It's been a little while but that really surprised me at the time a year or two ago

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I'm looking forward to watching it. We debated clipping to the finish, but it didn't seem right to do that for what was probably the biggest match of the year in the United States.

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There must be a typo somewhere. From ProWrestlingHistory.com, which would have gotten them from the WON:

 

WrestleMania VI

April 1, 1990 in Toronto, ON

Skydome drawing 67,287 ($3,490,857)

Shown live on CCTV drawing 53,000 ($600,000)

Shown live on PPV (4.5)

 

SummerSlam 1990

August 27, 1990 in Philadelphia, PA

The Spectrum drawing 19,304 ($338,452)

Shown live on PPV (3.8)

 

Also likely that there were more "buys" for Mania, as it's possible some areas didn't carry Slam that did carry Mania.

 

John

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Dave had a big argument with someone at The Board recently around the idea that Hogan/Warrior delivered a disappointing buyrate, and was even outdrawn by Summerslam that year.

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From the 9/3/12 Observer:

 

It was another successful show, selling out the Spectrum in Philadelphia, and doing an estimated 507,000 buys on PPV. What’s notable is that was very close to the Hogan vs. Warrior WrestleMania match a few months earlier (550,000 buys), making it one of the few times SummerSlam has ever come close to the WrestleMania numbers of the same year.

I believe Summerslam did outdraw Wrestlemania in 1997.

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Link here: (For subscribers)

 

In North America, Mania went from being gigantic for the Hogan vs. Savage to being a huge disappointment for Hogan vs. Warrior to the point the plan for a rematch was dropped and Slaughter was brought in for Hogan the next year.

 

Almost all the Toronto tickets were sold before the match was announced so that's like listing the Atlanta attendance and saying Hogan vs. Goldberg was big.

 

There was no mainstream interest at all in Hogan vs. Warrior, and Hogan vs. Earthquake at SummerSlam beat it on PPV which is the only time in history a SummerSlam match beat a Mania match in the same year.

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Something still seems a bit off:

 

3.8/4.5= 84.4%

507000/550000 = 92.2%

 

I don't think an expansion of the number of households with PPV from April to August in 1990 would led to that wide of a variance.

 

John

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Boss Man liberally putting his hands on Earthquake in plain sight of the referee is exactly what we've been talking about on this board with Hogan bias for years. Other than that, I thought this was a very good match that was well laid out. The build to the bodyslam was excellent. It would have been great if all this interference and extra stuff had led to a Hogan/Earthquake cage match with a decisive finish on a big show. The finish seems like a ripoff, but the work itself was solid. Quake worked hard and gave a good performance.

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Odd pre-match promo from Hogan. It starts off great, with Hogan dedicating the match to Tugboat and bringing up the feeling he felt of getting his sternum crushed and the outpouring of Hulkamaniac prayers and letters, Boss Man follows up nicely...then it's like they were wearing earpieces and somebody (Vince?) yelled at them to suddenly cram in as many Founding Father puns as possible in the time left. Just a total left-turn into SNME-ville when it wasn't necessary.

 

This is definitely an above-average Hogan match, with Earthquake playing the immovable object and Hogan only getting openings when 'quake makes a mistake. There are some new offensive wrinkles here to boot: 'quake comes off the top turnbuckle (!) and applies a Boston crab, while Hogan goes for a cross body block (which gets caught and turned into a powerslam). 'quake also provided some great, Blackwell-esque weeble-wobble selling. The Hulk-Up and Legdrop is broken up by Bravo and Hart, but Hogan bodyslams Earthquake on a conveniently placed ringside table to get the COR. Hot post-match angle with Earthquake lifting Hogan up in a chokehold and not breaking as Boss Man is whaling away on him with a chair. Whether it was from the table slam or the chairshots Tenta gets some incredibly nasty-looking marks on his back.

 

I'm a little surprised that they didn't continue the formula of the first two SummerSlams and have Hogan in a tag match here. It would have accomplished the same purpose, as best I can tell.

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Pretty great match I thought. Psychology was strong throughout and both competitors looked tough coming out of the match. Even though the finish was sort of cheap Hogan selled it so well that you were satisfied as a viewer. I am betting Vince wanted to slap Piper on commentary throughout most of this.

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Hogan is dedicating the match tonight to Tugboat. Hogan gives us some American history. Earthquake wins the elbow and collar power challenge. Hogan takes a quick walk with Earthquake knocking him down again. So Hulk goes to the eyes. Earthquake finally gets knocked down. Bravo and Jimmy Hart get their shots too. With Boss Man, double boot for both Bravo and Earthquake. Big Boston Crab from Earthquake. Too close to the ropes though.

 

Hulk attempts the bodyslam but can’t get him up. First rest hold of the match with the bearhug. Hogan rips Hebner’s shirt. Big powerslam from Earthquake and some taunting too. Earthquake Splash but he doesn’t attempt to pin him. He wants another one and Hogan kicks out. Did he really need to take two of those moves so he could Hulk up? Leg drop but Jimmy interferes. Outside and Hogan bodyslams Earthquake off the side of a table. Don’t know how that table didn’t break. Hogan wins by count out. Boss Man smacks the hell out of Earthquake’s back with a chair. Check out those welts! Really good match.

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This was good in some ways, but disappointing in others.

 

First of all, I get that Bossman and Bravo are in the corners so we can see them fight, but did we have to have doubleteaming in the ring? That spot made Hebner look like the most incompetent official alive for not throwing the whole match out right away; he was looking right at it, yet only stood there and counted like it was a tag match. If you wanted a tag match, Vince, why didn't you book one? Like Pete said, it would have accomplished the same purpose that the single match did.

 

Second, the fact that Hogan's ribs and back were still hurting was part of the psychology of the match, and Quake did an excellent job working on both, with both strikes (including a blow from the top rope) and submission holds like the Boston crab and the bearhug. Okay, so we knew that Hogan was going to overcome all that at some point and slam Quake; that was an expected spot, and the fans would have gone home disappointed if he didn't do it. But if you know you're going to use that spot, don't have Quake splash Hogan twice, plus execute a powerslam that was in essence a third splash, then have Hogan slam him not once, but twice. How can a man whose sternum should be floating around somewhere near his armpits in a thousand pieces not only slam Quake twice, but do it effortlessly? One slam, preferably the one on the outside, would have made the point well enough. Did Hogan need to throw Andre around like a rag doll at Mania III? He most certainly did not. One slam for the ages was all it took to slay the Giant. Same with Bundy at Mania 2.

 

On commentary, I think this was the match Vince used to tell Piper to change his style, and to be honest, I can't blame him, even if I don't like how Piper changed. Rod ought to have known better than to dismiss the top heel in the company as a warthog, and you can hear Vince nearly shouting him down in an effort to make the fans forget about what he said. Rod then went back to the warthog thing several times almost in defiance, which you'd expect from 1984 heel wrestler Piper, not 1990 babyface announcer Piper. He then calls Bossman "The Big Bosomed Man" for no reason whatsoever in the postmatch, and from there proceeds to piss all over Hogan's big win, saying that he was celebrating for nothing.

 

Did he not know that this match wasn't meant to be the blowoff, that there would be more arena matches coming that would settle the issue? Was he trying to restart something with Hogan? Was he trying to push Vince's buttons, see how much he would stand for right off the bat? Not that he didn't provide some good talking points too, but unlike in the other matches, where his asides were only a small portion of what he brought to the table, he really went off on his own here, and not in a good way.

 

The promos before the match were becoming par for the WWF course, so it's hard to find fault with them. The days of wrestlers talking like adults in WWF-land were over for good at least until Flair came along, with a rare exception here and there like Dusty's promo in the wake of Sapphire's turn.

 

This was probably the best match you could expect out of these two on a pay-per-view, since the Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble really weren't set up to explore this feud further one-on-one, but it doesn't crack my top three for the year. My number three at this point is still Garvin/Valentine from the Royal Rumble, and that's something that shocks even me, considering what's come after it. A clean finish here would have definitely vaulted it over that match, which meant nothing in the grand scheme no matter how well it was worked. Alas, what we got wasn't.

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Easily the match of the show. When you're competing against warrior/Rude and a way overbooked Harts/Demo that's not saying much, but this match was way better than expected. I think the rap on Hogan is at least somewhat undeserved. He could work enough to make matches like this work, even dragged something not awful out of Warrior at Mania.

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Yes, this was the match of the night.  Insane heat, much more than the Warrior/Rude match.  I don't think it has been mentioned, but Earthquake's initial no-sell of the folding stepstool to the back from the Big Bossman reminded me of the Big Bubba Rogers chair no-sell a few years ago in the NWA.  Tenta's weeble-wobble selling was an art form in and of itself, and his initial collapse onto his bottom to a huge pop was great fun.  Was Hogan's tearing of Hebner's shirt some kind of rib?  It made no sense.  I loved Piper calling out Vince's 56th birthday, and Vince no-selling it due to the crowd noise.  The slam onto the table at the end seemed pretty gnarly and nicely set up Hogan beating the count.  Winning by beating the count always seems slightly cheap to me, so it set the stage well for a continuing program.

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This show was one of the definitive tapes of my childhood that I watched a hundred times and wore out.  Watching it tonight for the first time in probably 10 years and this match definitely holds up.  Of course I wish it had a clean finish but I love it regardless.  I’m sure some of it is nostalgia but there are some really clever spots and I really like Tenta a lot.  Easily match of the night.

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