WWF SummerSlam 1990 Review (Can Earthquake Rattle Hulkamania?)

Welcome everyone to my review of WWF SummerSlam 1990 – featuring the returning Hulk Hogan meeting the Earthquake and the WWF Champion Ultimate Warrior putting his belt on the line against Rick Rude in a cage match in a double main-event. Also, The Hart Foundation challenge Demolition for the tag titles, The Texas Tornado challenges IC Champion Mr. Perfect. And more.

Here is the list of champions in the WWF heading into this show:

  • WWF Champion: The Ultimate Warrior
  • WWF Intercontinental Champion: Mr. Perfect
  • WWF World Tag Team Champions: Demolition (Ax, Smash & Crush)

Enjoy the review!

REVIEW: Summerslam 1990: My Nostalgia Is High -
IMG credit: WWE &

The hosts are Vince McMahon & Roddy Piper
Live from Philadelphia

The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. Power & Glory (Hercules & Paul Roma)(w/ Slick)
IMG credit: WWE & WhatCulture

Michaels was injured at this point and wasn’t even working house shows heading into this event, but the company still wanted to advertise him so here he is. The heels jump him on the outside and attack the knee to keep him out instead, as Jannetty starts the match 2-on-1. Jannetty responds with hiptosses and dropkicks and even gets a roll-up on Roma for two. Slick gets up on the apron to distract the referee which gives his guys an even bigger advantage and allows them to double-team Jannetty. Meanwhile Michaels tries to slowly get back up on the apron, but Hercules kicks him right on the knee to keep him down. Herc comes in for a powerslam that Jannetty blocks and turns into a cradle, but Roma gets the tag to break up the pin. Roma hits a backbreaker for two. Jannetty goes for his comeback with a powerslam and a superkick. A flying fistdrop gets two. Hercules jumps in to cut off Jannetty’s comeback, and the Hercules superplex into the Roma splash puts him away at 6:00.

  • Rating: Really just a handicap match with the added story of Michaels being injured as Michaels loses his smile does a stretcher job afterwards. But still really just a handicap match with a cool finish. **

Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan says nobody beats Mr. Perfect.

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Mr. Perfect(c)(w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. ‘The Texas Tornado’ Kerry Von Erich
IMG credit: WWE

This is a really bad time in Kerry’s life, and you can see in Kerry’s eyes that he’s not coming out alone if you know what I mean. Meanwhile Perfect was one of the best in the industry, which makes the eventual result of this match make even less sense looking back. Perfect goes flying off the early lockup and he bails. Perfect responds with a hiptoss back inside but a Kerry clothesline sends Perfect back to the outside. He catches Kerry with a cheapshot back inside and works a sleeper. Perfect bitchslaps him in the corner, so Kerry responds with the CLAW OF HEAD SQUEEZING DOOM followed by the Tornado Punch for the pin and the… sigh… the pin and the goddamned title at 5:15.

  • Rating: This looked good on paper, but it was over just as it was starting to get going. *1/2

Meanwhile, Perfect and Heenan interrupt what was supposed to be an interview with Mean Gene and Sapphire to complain about their loss.

Sensational Queen Sherri vs. Sapphire
IMG credit: WWE &

Sapphire no-shows and Sherri wins by forfeit.

  • Rating: Moving on. N/R (no rating)

Meanwhile, Dusty Rhodes is worried about Sapphire and asks Jim Duggan if he’s seen her. We got a mini story going on at this show, that’s always nice to see.

The Warlord(w/ Slick) vs. Tito Santana
IMG credit: WWE

Look at Stone Cold Warlord up there! Tito absolutely killed it with Perfect the prior month and showed he still had so much left in the tank… so of course he gets to job to this useless steroid freak in minutes. I apologize to Warlord fans – all three of you – that might feel offended by those comments. Warlord no-sells a number of holds and dropkicks to start. A crossbody actually takes Warlord down for the count, but Warlord kicks out WITH AUTHORITY BY GAWD and sends Tito flying. He’s BIG, get it?! Warlord pounds away back inside with the vicious CLUBBING BLOWS until Tito suddenly hits the Flying Jalapeno. Warlord literally crawls his way into the ropes and completely telegraphs what’s coming. Santana covers and SHOCKINGLY Warlord grabs the ropes to break up the count. No one saw that coming whatsoever. Warlord slugs away with (you guessed it) THE CLUBBING BLOWS and finishes it with the running powerslam at 5:28.

  • Rating: This offered nothing. Santana could’ve wrestled himself out there and it would’ve been more interesting. 1/2*
Two Out Of Three Falls – WWF World Tag Team Championship: Demolition (Smash & Crush)(c) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart)
IMG credit: WWE

Bret and Smash start things off. Crush tries to help Smash on a test of strength which Anvil prevents. Double elbow by the Harts on Smash before Anvil leaves. Smash tries a slam on Bret who blocks and rolls him up for two. Bret then catches a charging Smash with a quick armdrag and goes to work on the arm. Quick tags by the babyfaces as they continue to go to work on Smash’s arm. Bret legdrops Smash right on the arm as Smash then escapes an arm submission with a slam. Crush comes in with a slam of his own only to miss a kneedrop. Bret headbutts him right in the jaw and pounds away. Bret’s caught going for a crossbody and slammed yet again. Crush ends up eating knee on a blind charge in the corner however, and a Bret roll-up gets two. Smash gets the tag but so does Anvil. Shoulderblock but Crush cheapshots Anvil while he runs the ropes, briefly giving the heels the advantage once more. That ends up going nowhere though as Crush eats clothesline on a blind charge. Tags on both teams once again as Bret clotheslines Smash and dropkicks Crush. Bret eventually knocks Crush out of the ring by sending Smash into him. Russian legsweep gets two as the crowd’s starting to feel it. The backbreaker sets up the middle rope elbow but Crush legdrops Bret to break up the pin. Smash tags him in as the Demolition Decapitation gets them the first fall.

Demolition 1-0 Harts

The second fall begins with Crush hitting his pretty cool one-handed chokeslam on Bret. Off to Smash who hits a backdrop suplex for two. Back to Crush as the Demos start cutting the ring in half. Crush with a chinlock while the crowd claps for Bret to make the hot tag. Bret tries to fight out of the hold only for Crush to cut him off with a cheapshot. Back to Smash who smashes (pun 100% intended!) Bret’s face on the top buckle. Smash misses a clothesline as Bret manages to hit a flying clothesline. Double KO spot as the fans scream for the hot tag. Smash holds Bret by the ankle while Crush grabs Smash’s leg for leverage. Hebner kicks him away though and that allows Bret to make the hot tag! Anvil cleans house as eventually he hits a powerslam for two. And the nearfall actually draws boos from the crowd! Anvil follows it up with the spear in the corner. Crush tries to come in but Bret fights him off. Hart Attack on Smash for one, two… Crush jumps the referee just before the three count, which ends up giving the Harts the fall by DQ anyway.

Demolition 1-1 Harts


Before the third fall starts, Ax joins us behind the ref’s back and he gets under the ring. Bret shoulderblocks Smash on the apron and sunset flips him for two. Atomic drop and the vicious abdominal stomp by Bret. Anvil comes in with a shoulderblock followed by a slam on Bret onto Smash for two. That was nice! The ref gets busy with Neidhart though, which opens the door for the switcheroo. Ax immediately pounds away as Vince once again claims it’s tough to tell Ax and Smash apart. Whatever you say, captain… Ax catches a charging Bret with an awesome and violent lariat. Bodyslam gets two. Russian legsweep gets two more. Ax whips him hard into the buckle for the classic Bret bump, as Neidhart comes in to break the count. Crush comes in to hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as Neidhart breaks up the pin once more. That gets the ref busy once again, and allows Smash and Ax to trade places once more. This finally draws the LOD to ringside to show the ref that Ax is under the ring, which gets a monster pop. Meanwhile Neidhart slingshot shoulderblocks Crush right into Bret’s roll-up for the final pin and the titles at a total of 14:24.

Demolition 1-2 Harts

  • Rating: Really good match that still lives up to this day. The work between the four wrestlers (well five) was great, but I believe what really stood out here was the dramatic story and the really hot crowd who was beyond invested in it. They ended up being rewarded with the babyfaces going over, which helped. The debuting LOD coming out to even the odds was a great way to introduce them to WWF PPV audiences, if they weren’t over enough already! Finally, the booking of the falls, which was the classic tactic of having the babyfaces lose and have to fight from underneath to win twice in a row got the crowd even more excited for the Harts’ win. Overall a fantastic tag match that turned out to be quite memorable and legendary. Absolutely worth your time! ****

Meanwhile, the Harts celebrate while LOD want Demolition. Sherri has heard rumors about Sapphire that she doesn’t reveal. After intermission, we see shots of Damian in the shower and Bad News Brown’s sewer rat… giant facepalm.

Jake Roberts vs. Bad News Brown – special referee: The Big Bossman
IMG credit: WWE

So this is a battle over animals, oh joy. Bad News Brown went from facing a half-white-half-black Roddy Piper at WrestleMania to fighting a man over snakes and rats (oh boy does this sound interesting if taken out of context!) at the next big PPV. No wonder he was out of there as soon as possible after this. BNB jumps Roberts to start but misses the Ghetto Blaster. Roberts front facelocks him to hit the DDT but BNB escapes and bails. Brown hits him with a chair on the outside, which Bossman completely ignores. Back inside where Brown goes to work but misses a flying fistdrop. The kneelift and short arm clothesline set up the DDT, but Brown backdrops him out. Brown hits him with the chair yet again which this time draws the DQ at 4:44. Brown tries to legdrop Damian afterwards only for Roberts and Bossman to clean house to close the segment.

  • Rating: I was ready to absolutely hate this, but the in-ring work and the build up for the DDT (which ultimately never happened) were solid enough. This was still absolute stupid nonsense and pure filler, but I’ve seen much worse. *1/2
Brother Love Show – Sgt. Slaughter
IMG credit: WWE &

Because this show isn’t long enough and full of filler already. Slaughter gives Brother Love an award for American Of The Year because everyone else has gone soft for cheering Nikolai Volkoff and yadda yadda yadda.

The Orient Express (Sato & Tanaka)(w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. ‘Hacskaw’ Jim Duggan & Nikolai Volkoff
IMG credit: WWE

Volkoff goes to work on Tanaka until he gets caught in the Orient corner. He gets the tag to Duggan and the atomic drop into the 3 Point Stance clothesline puts Tanaka away at 3:22.

  • Rating: At least it was short. 1/4*
Randy Savage(w/ Sensational Queen Sherri) vs. Dusty Rhodes
IMG credit: WWE &

However before the match we get the big reveal – Ted DiBiase has bought Sapphire’s services away from Big Dust. Savage goes to work while Dusty is distracted with the whole situation, but a Dusty dropkick(!) turns things around. Bionic elbow and Savage is out of there. Dusty’s mind is not in this match though, and he once again looks at the back, which allows Savage to hit Dusty with Sherri’s LOADED PURSE OF DOOM for the win at 2:15.

  • Rating: More of angle than a match, which is alright. With Randy Savage as a total afterthought, which is not alright. 1/2*
Hulk Hogan(w/ The Big Bossman) vs. Earthquake(w/ Jimmy Hart & Dino Bravo)
IMG credit: WWE &

Tugboat was supposed to be in Hogan’s corner but Quake destroyed him on Superstars shortly before this show, so we get Bossman pulling double duty instead. This is Hogan’s first match since Earthquake put him out with two earthquakes in the Brother Love Show, so of course he gets a monster pop. Hogan spits in Earthquake’s face before the bell to show he’s PISSED. The heat before the match starts is unbelievable. Hogan shoves Quake on the lockup but he doesn’t even move. Then Quake does it twice and Hogan goes down both times. Jimmy Hart celebrates like crazy on the outside which draws a gigantic Hogan chant. Shoulderblock by Quake and Hogan bails to talk some strategy with Bossman. Hogan rakes the eyes back inside but a slam attempt doesn’t even take him off his feet. Quake pounds away only to eat boot on a blind charge in the corner. Hogan nails him but Quake stays on his feet. Another one drops Quake on his ass which gets a giant reaction. Jimmy and Bravo get up on the apron and eat some punches as well as Hogan puts Quake back in. Everyone joins in for a PIER SIX BRAWL with Hogan and Bossman giving Bravo a double big boot. And one to Quake, which for some reason isn’t a DQ, but the big guy still doesn’t go down. The ref rightfully gets Bossman out of the ring, which allows Quake and Bravo to double bodyslam Hogan behind his back. Massive elbowdrop for a nearfall.

The whole crowd gets up while Earthquake climbs the top rope for a flying fistdrop. Earthquake stomps the fingers before locking him in a Boston crab. Hogan makes the ropes to break but Bravo slams him on the floor while Quake distracts the ref. Quake with a slam of his own but a second elbowdrop finds nobody in the pool. Hogan goes for the bodyslam yet again, which does get Quake off his feet temporarily, but he drops on top of Hogan for two. Quake works a bearhug to kickstart the Hogan chants once more. The ref counts Hogan down for the pass out finish and Hogan rips his shirt apart. What a nice guy! Hogan slugs his way out of the bearhug but a shoulderblock still doesn’t put him down. A second one nearly does it. Quake catches a charging Hogan going for a crossbody with a running powerslam for two with the ARROGANT COVER! Quake charges and hits the earthquake splash, which leaves the crowd speechless while Vince says we’re watching the end of one of the greatest careers in history. Quake follows it up with a second one, which is what put Hogan out of action in the first place. It only gets two though and it’s Hulk Up time! Big boot accomplishes nothing and Hogan wants the slam yet again. He goes for it a third time and this time it connects for a giant pop. Legdrop follows but Bravo has the ref distracted. Hart runs in but Hogan slams him into Quake as they get into a slugfest on the outside. Quake holds Hogan for a Hart megaphone shot, but Hogan moves out of the way and he hits Quake instead. Hogan proceeds to slam Quake on a table that just happens to be at ringside for this one particular match for some reason and Hogan gets back in for the count-out win at 13:16. Quake then goes after Hogan but Bossman makes the save with some NASTY chair shots to Quake’s back to clear the ring. And then mucho posing by Hogan for about five minutes as usual. Moral of the story: in case of earthquake, just beat the count back in and get it counted-out!

  • Rating: All jokes aside, very exciting match. It was your typical Hulk Hogan match with the slam teases and the shoving, which is simple but effective more often that not. I didn’t mind the count-out finish here, as it allowed them to sell house show rematches for months. I feel this one isn’t talked about that often, which is weird as the storyline heading into it was good and the crowd took it to another level. Check this one out if you’ve never seen it. ***

Meanwhile, Dusty Rhodes says he can’t be bought and he is coming after DiBiase. Lord Alfred Hayes kills time while the cage get constructed.

Hulk Hogan says he felt the love of the Hulkamaniacs and debuts the fourth demandment: believe in yourself. Also he wants the WWF Championship back.

More time killing by Vince and Piper. Earthquake wants revenge. Bobby Heenan says Perfect will get the IC title back and Rude is about to beat Warrior again. Ultimate Warrior asks Mean Gene if he knows what Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan have in common with the Liberty Bell – one is cracked (how ironic) and the other is a ding dong. He must do what his four fathers have always done… something along those lines.

Main Event Steel Cage Match – WWF Championship: The Ultimate Warrior(c) vs. Rick Rude(w/ Bobby Heenan)
Chairshot Classics: WWF SummerSlam 1990 | The Chairshot
IMG credit: WWE &

Rude’s dubbed WWE Network theme song is really awful. How do you lose the credit to YOUR OWN songs made by Jim Johnston?? The reaction to Warrior is okay but nothing compared to Hogan’s earlier. Warrior decides to climb the cage instead of entering through the door and they get into a slugfest up there that is won by Warrior. Nice flying fistdrop by Warrior. Warrior rams Rude face first into the cage. Piper says if he was Rude he would tie Warrior’s armbands into the cage, which is actually quite the strategy. Warrior continues to send Rude’s face into the cage about six more times as Rude flies all over the place to get Warrior over as usual. Warrior charges but Rude moves and Warrior eats some cage. Rude climbs over but Warrior goes after him, only for Rude to kick him off and hit him with a flying fistdrop. Now it’s Warrior who gets a trip into the cage as apparently Rude’s bleeding. Into the cage goes Warrior once more. They get into a slugfest which is won by Rude before he literally slices Warrior’s face on the cage bars. Rude tries the Rude Awakening but Warrior powers his way out and clotheslines him. Warrior Splash hits knees, however, and the Ruke Awakening connects this time around. Rude teases climbing over but drops a fist on Warrior all the way from the top of the cage. Heenan begs Rude to walk out but Rude goes for it again, which misses. Warrior crawls out but Heenan slams the door right in his face for two. Heenan pulls Rude’s hands to the outside while Warrior pulls Rude back inside by the legs and the tights. Warrior obviously wins that battle and Heenan eats an atomic drop that sends him back outside. Rude jumps Warrior but HEEEE’S SHAKING! Three clotheslines followed by the Gorilla press and Warrior climbs out to retain at 10:05.

  • Rating: Decent match thanks to their good chemistry. Rude always managed to get some of the Warrior’s best matches out of him. This one was different to the WrestleMania and SummerSlam matches from the prior year, more violent. As it should have since this was a cage match and the others were regular wrestling matches. Good job by Heenan helping Rude get heat and then feeding Warrior’s comeback by bumping around for him. Solid main-event. ***


Final thoughts: Is there stuff here worth watching? Absolutely. The main event matches are obviously examples of that, particularly Hogan’s match and the massive heat in that one. There’s also the tag title match between the Hart Foundation and Demolition, which was by far the best match in the card and will be a contender for one of the WWF’s best in 1990. Apart from that though, it’s nothing but either boring filler or disappointing efforts like the IC title match. Sure there’s good stuff in here, but overall (and considering the show is 2h30 long) I can’t say this is an enjoyable show to watch from start to finish. High 4/10

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For more information about my point system click here.

WrestlerStar ratingsResultMain-eventingExtrasTotal
Bret Hart41+2 for winning a title
+0.5 for winning a fall by pin
-0.5 for losing a fall by pin
Jim Neidhart41+2 for winning a title 7
The Ultimate Warrior311+1 for retaining a title6
The Texas Tornado1.51+2 for winning a title4.5
Hulk Hogan30.53.5
Paul Roma21+0.5 for winning the fall3.5
Rick Rude3-113
Jake Roberts1.5+0.52
Jim Duggan 0.25+1+0.5 for winning the fall1.75
Randy Savage
The Warlord
Nikolai Volkoff0.2511.25
Smash4-1-2 for losing a title1
Crush4-1-2 for losing a title
+0.5 for winning a fall by pin
-0.5 for losing a fall by pin
Shawn Michaels2-11
Bad News Brown1.5-0.51
Marty Jannetty2-1-0.5 for losing the fall0.5
Sensational Sherri 0.50.5
Dusty Rhodes
Tito Santana
Tanaka0.25-1-0.5 for losing the fall-1.25
Mr. Perfect1.5-1-2 for losing a title-1.5

Thank you so much for reading. Make sure you like and follow the blog so you don’t miss the next pieces coming up. Stay safe everyone!