The History of the Intercontinental Championship: Part Eight
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The History of the Intercontinental Title: Part Eight
Your host is Jack Korpela.
Once the Intercontinental champion Ultimate Warrior won the WWF title from Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI, the title became vacant and an eight-man tournament was started. This is that tournament.
- Tito Santana vs. Akeem (w/Slick) – WWF Intercontinental Title Tournament (Superstars, 4/28/90)
They play up the size difference to start with Tito trying to avoiding Akeem at all costs. Santana lays in some punches and that puts Akeem on the floor to stall. Akeem and Slick claim Tito caught him in the eye and demand the ref to DQ Santana, but that’s not going to happen. Back in, Akeem wants a test of strength. When he’s not looking, Tito locks up with Akeem and wrenches the arm down to the mat into an armbar. Akeem goes to the eyes to break the hold and hammers Santana in the corner. Santana avoids a corner charge and takes Akeem off his feet with a pair of dropkicks. Akeem kicks off the FIGURE-FOUR, but gets nailed with the FLYING JALAPENO that takes him all the way to the floor to give Santana the countout win. (4:04) Much like every match in this tournament, they kept it short and kept it fun. *
- Mr. Perfect vs. Jimmy Snuka – WWF Intercontinental Title Tournament (Superstars, 5/5/90)
Snuka sees a sneak attack coming and chops Perfect to the floor. Back inside, they do the Hennig trademark where Snuka slams Perfect and gets kicked away, then the same thing happens to Perfect. Perfect gets an O’Connor roll for two. Snuka kicks him off into the ropes for a school boy and gets two off that. Perfect rolls through a crossbody out of the corner with a handful of tights for 1-2-NO! Perfect keeps Snuka grounded and then goes to smash his head into the turnbuckle. Big mistake. If only turnbuckle pads were coconuts. Snuka gives chase after Perfect and chops him around. He charges Perfect in the corner and gets scooped up with his feet on the ropes for the cheap 1-2-3. (3:45) Snuka knows he got screwed and beats up Perfect a little more before Perfect escapes to the locker room. ½*
- Rick Martel vs. Roddy Piper – WWF Intercontinental Title Tournament (Wrestling Challenge, 5/11/90)
You know after seeing a bunch of Portland wrestling clips from the early ’80s lately on YouTube, I’ve come to appreciate a lot more than I already did – not to the mention the whole Don Owens fed in general. The reason I’m talking about Portland wrestling is because these two know each other pretty well from their days up in PNW as multi-time tag team champions together in that fed. Of course Martel is playing the Model character now. Martel cheapshots Piper from behind to start. Piper absorbs some punches and goes all Three Stooges on Martel in the eyes. Nyuk nyuk nyuk. Turnbuckle smash gets Martel all loopy for an atomic drop that gets two. Martel goes low on Piper and slams him down for some choking. He knocks Piper to the floor and forgets about him while he poses, which costs him big as Piper comes behind with fists-a-blazing. Now he sends Martel to the floor to make him eat some steel. Back inside, Martel goes to the throat and grabs his spray can of ARROGANCE. The ref Joey Marella stops any shenanigans happening with that. Martel whiffs on a crossbody out of the corner. He begs off in the corner and gets choked. Piper hotshots Martel and hits the big right hand. Martel buys himself some time by raking the eyes so he can grab ARROGANCE again. Piper ducks a shot of ARROGANCE and shoulder butts Martel in the corner. Heenan ~ “It’s JUST cologne.” They both wind up fighting over ARROGANCE. Martel kicks Piper away, so he goes out and grabs a chair. Piper avoids getting sprayed again by pulling the chair up in front of his face and then slams the chair back on Martel for the double-DQ since both men were using weapons. Even though Martel used the spray can first. (4:26) Not a very good finish at all. *½
- Brutus Beefcake vs. Dino Bravo (w/Jimmy Hart)– WWF Intercontinental Title Tournament (Superstars, 5/12/90)
Beefcake hits a crossbody block for two and then they both take turns missing elbow drops. Beefcake puts Bravo on the floor with a pair of clotheslines and slams his head into the apron a few times. Jimmy attempts to bash his megaphone over the back of Beefcake’s head to cause the distraction for Bravo to strike from behind. Back inside before they’re both counted out, Bravo delivers an inverted atomic drop and hits a gutwrench suplex for two. Flying double sledge gets two for Dino. He tries another and gets caught on the way down. Knee Lift and a backdrop sets up the High Knee. Is it time for the SLEEPER? Yes it is. While Hart distracts the ref, Mr. Perfect runs down and pulls Beefcake to the floor for a pounding. Beefcake fights back and it looks like it should be a DQ. Bravo saves Perfect, but continues to brawl with Beefcake out on the floor until we have a double-countout. (4:56) Match was actually okay considering, but this was brilliant on Perfect’s part because now he doesn’t have wrestle either man and gets to go straight to the finals to meet Santana. *¼
- Tito Santana vs. Mr. Perfect – WWF Intercontinental Title Tournament Finals (Superstars 5/19/90)
Santana looks to become the first-ever THREE time Intercontinental champion at this point. He catches Perfect with a sick back elbow to escape a waistlock to start. He grabs a headlock. Perfect shoves off and gets taken down with a shoulderblock. Perfect takes Santana down with a drop toe hold into a headlock, but Santana slips out into a hammerlock. LOADS of hammerlock reversals here, which is cool to see. Santana catches Perfect with another back elbow to send Perfect flying. Perfect catches Santana when he’s not looking, but Santana quickly comes back with a hiptoss and dropkicks Perfect to the floor. He follows Perfect out and unloads with chops. Back inside, Santana delivers Air Pillman for 1-2-NO! Now there’s an awesome dream match that never happened – Pillman vs. Hennig. Santana grabs an overhead wristlock. Perfect escapes and goes down to a pair of shoulderblocks, but then trips up Santana to send him crashing on the floor. McMahon thinks that was luck and Jesse calls him out on it. It’s called skill, Vince. Back in, Perfect delivers a *lucky* kick to the short ribs. They get into a slugfest with both guys picking up nearfalls, but Perfect wins that battle with a clothesline that takes Tito to the floor. Santana trips up Perfect and posts the leg not once, but twice. Back in, Santana works over the knee some more to lead into the FIGURE-FOUR. Here comes Bobby Heenan, who is not Perfect’s manager yet. Santana goes for the FIGURE-FOUR, but Perfect counters into a small package for 1-2-NO! Tito fires back on Perfect and calls for the FLYING JALAPENO. Heenan gets up on the apron and distract Santana while Perfect gets to his feet. Santana turns back over to Perfect and goes for a slam, but Perfect counters into an inside cradle for 1-2-3. (7:02) Perfect celebrates with one of the tag team belts (you’re supposed to ignore that though) and introduces his NEW perfect manager: Bobby Heenan. This was just all fantastic booking and shows all-around brilliance on Bobby’s part for finding a way to regain the IC title after losing it back at SummerSlam AND losing the WWF tag team titles six weeks earlier at WrestleMania VI. Not a classic match like their match on SNME, but it’s interesting to see if you’ve never seen how Perfect and Heenan got together to kick-start the *perfect* IC title reign. **½
Final Thoughts: No matches were must-see, but this is one of the greatest examples of booking an eight-man tournament and avoiding as many awkward combinations as possible. Although Perfect-Piper would have been good, but Piper RARELY jobs. Since I’m a fan of the Santana-Martel feud, I might have had that match as the final or a quarterfinal somehow, but Perfect was definitely most deserving of the strap. Check this out if only to witness Mr. Perfect’s special moment of glory.
Posted on June 6, 2009, in WWE and tagged Akeem, Bobby Heenan, Brutus Beefcake, Dino Bravo, Jimmy Hart, Jimmy Snuka, Mr. Perfect, Rick Martel, Roddy Piper, Slick, Tito Santana. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.