Christmas 1990 at MSG

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WWF – December 28, 1990

Not only have I never lived in New York City, but I’ve never even visited there. That seems very strange to me – I’ve done a decent amount of traveling, been to Paris, been to LA, been to Amsterdam, been to Chicago, been to Topeka…well, you get the jist. But never the Big Apple. I was supposed to go there many years ago for a book signing, but the weather was so horrible planes were grounded and I couldn’t make it to the show. That was a bummer not only for the fact I missed meeting whatever fans who were able to make it out, but also because I missed New York around Christmas time. And if television and movies have taught me anything, there may be no more magical place this side of the North Pole come late December than the largest city in the US of A.

With that in mind, I sometimes think about what children in New York may ask Santa for Christmas. More specifically, what might a young wrestling fan might have wanted under the tree back in 1990. Yes, thirty-two years ago. My brain is kinda warped like that

Since the mighty World Wrestling Federation was coming to town, I have no doubt a ton of them wanted tickets to see the big show at Madison Square Garden; after all, it was just a couple days after Christmas. And now, through the yuletide magic that is, I’m going to recap this show for you.

Allow me to apologize in advance (in the past) if any one of you reading this actually went to this show. Because it stunk to high heaven.

Broadcast later via the MSG Network, we get Lord Alfred Hayes and Gorilla Monsoon calling the action. That was pretty standard…Alfred and Gorilla were mainstays around this time for Vince. But seriously no Bobby Heenan in the broadcast booth? More specifically he was nowhere to be found anywhere on this show at all. No Brain? No Weasel chants?

That ain’t Christmas, Charlie Brown!

Our opener is the very epitome of a WWF 1990 opener, with Koko B. Ware going up against journeyman Black Bart. I went to a ton of WWF house shows around this time, and Koko was almost always the curtain jerker. Mock the guy if you want, but honestly, Koko being out there first made sense – he was an energetic guy, had decent enough matches, and was able to get the crowd into the event. This was a far cry from just a few years earlier when the company would send out Jimmy Jack Funk to start events. I must have seen a dozen shows with JJ openers and they all absolutely sucked – even now, what is it, 90 years later, I still get annoyed thinking about it.

Koko picks up the duke with a nice looking Ghostbuster on a guy quite a bit larger than him. Like I said, Koko was fine. Also fine will be that I am not going to do blow by blows of these matches. Folks like Scott Keith are way better than I am at that, and honestly, I ain’t about to cripple my sanity going into detail on the rest of this schlock.

SPEAKING OF SCHLOCK…our next contest features the Warlord. In the interest of saying something nice, check out his wacky Phantom of the Opera metallic mask and the mythical W wand. Fun fact: my buddy Casey and I used to play a game around this era where we tried to come up with the worst possible wrestler. Every time one of us would bring up Warlord (and watching his matches, that happened quite often), the other would shake their head and say, “but but but…he had that cool metal rod with a W on it!” and he’d get a reprieve. Our theory was that if a guy had even one redeeming quality, he couldn’t be the all time most horrible. Keep that in mind a bit further down.

Taking on the big guy this night would be “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka. These days all anyone really thinks of when Snuka’s name is mentioned is the fact he literally got away with murdering his girlfriend (allegedly) with the help of some shady tactics. In his prime, though, Snuka was an exciting wrestler and was incredibly over.

This was not his prime. By this point, Snuka was old and pretty darn slow and those giant leaps off the top rope weren’t quite so impressive. Additionally, even Vince knew Snuka was something of a basket case and wasn’t going to push him anywhere near the top. With that in mind, we got this horrendous match, notable only for the finish, which I have presented for you in the following animated GIF:

No really, that was the finish. Warlord bounced Superfly’s head all over the top rope and refused to break the hold at the count of five. Apparently this act was so brutal the ref had no choice but to disqualify him and award the contest to Snuka. I’d complain further, but honestly, let’s just all rejoice that this match ended sooner than it may have otherwise due to this ridiculousness.

I warned y’all at the start this wasn’t the greatest show ever, but don’t you fret – here’s Howard Finkel to tell us that we are about to get a very special guest.

And you will never guess in a million years who it is.

That’s right kids…it’s…


When I started this site, Gooker was naturally one of the very first inductions. Heck, he may have been the very first induction. At the time, I had only seen him at the Survivor Series and I wrote that he was never seen again. Even back then, I had people quickly correct me noting that he appeared on shows but I refused to believe them…even when they presented evidence to the contrary!

But it can be denied no longer – here we witness Gooky coming to the ring cuddling up with children and dancing about with none other than the Fink himself. While Okerlund attempted to really ham it up by doing cartwheels and falling on his face, Fink takes a more dignified approach as he plays ring around the rosie with this absurd looking creature.

Look at those children, they’re going nuts for him. Roddy Piper was right all along, the kids really do love him! Well, except for that little girl who has a look on her face that reads “get the hell away from me, ya creep.” I’m on your side, kid!

Shew, we need a cool down match after all that action! But we ain’t getting one, as instead we get a tag team bout with Power & Glory (or “Herc & Jerk” as Gorilla loved to call them) taking on the Rockers, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. And as you’d expect this match is pretty darn good – Michaels of course was fantastic even at this stage, Jannetty was really good, and Roma and Herc were more than capable of being carried to fun matches like this. But just as soon as the boys were building to the climax…

…the ring ropes break! What is it with the Rockers and flimsy ring ropes? Not only does it screw up the match here, those things cost these poor guys a tag team title reign! Still, mad props to Lord Alfred who attempts to cover by screaming “what power by Hercules!” Yes, apparently Hernandez’s legs were so mighty that merely stepping on those things caused them to snap like a twig!

Thankfully this happened late enough that the guys only needed to cover a couple more minutes before the time limit expired and the contest was ruled a draw. DRAW. (That was me doing my best Howard Finkel impersonation in written form. If you get it, you get it.)

Up next would be another fantastic match, as we get Greg “The Hammer” Valentine versus..

…oh my goodness NO, it’s SABA SIMBA. This was horrible – and again one of the first inductions I ever wrote. In fact, you can read that Saba Simba induction right now.

Sadly, he didn’t vanish quickly enough, and was paired up with The Hammer in this completely horrendous match. In fact, the only thing worth noting in this one was Jimmy Hart accidentally clobbering Valentine with a guitar shot with The Hammer sold as only he could. Ok, I will admit – that did make me laugh.

Not enough to make up for the prior 15 minutes, but hey, you take what you can get.

A big ol’ tag match is next on the card, as we get Hulk Hogan and Tugboat taking on your friend and mine Earthquake and Dino Bravo. Quake is awesome, Hulk is over. Tugboat goes toot. I guess that’s something. Bravo? Remember that thing I wrote above about the game Casey and I played naming the worst wrestler and how we’d always come up with something silly like the W wand to say they actually had something, anything, positive? Bravo was the one guy we could never come up with a plus for – we determined he was the single worst wrestler we’d ever seen.

I mean, come on – have you ever seen Hogan use the big boot into a ROLL UP? How is that even possible? What is the logic there? Whatever it is, I blame Bravo. That guy totally sucks.

You want to know something else that totally sucks? Kerry Von Erich’s WWF run. And this match was a perfect example of it. He actually busts out the legendary Iron Claw and Virgil escapes it.

Let me say that again… VIRGIL GOT OUT OF THE IRON CLAW

And why? Because apparently Vince thought the claw was a ridiculous move. So instead, Kerry would use this big TWISKER punch as a finish. See, because he’s not Kerry Von Erich, he’s the TEXAS TORNADO. I was talking with EC3 earlier today about WrestleCrap that made us actually mad, and this one is right up there.

And I wasn’t even a huge Von Erich fan!

Woof. I legit thought big Dust was already gone by this point, but eh, a win here on his way out over Adnan could be fun enough. I mean, you look at those four men and you know for sure who is doing the job, right?

Well, no, as it’s Dusty who jobs clean to Sarge. If there’s one position I never wanted to see Dusty Rhodes in, this would be it. That’s just good old fashioned nightmare fuel right there. You’d think things couldn’t get worse, and amazingly, they don’t as our final match is…


You’d expect this to be a fun match, but what you might not expect is…

…Roddy kicking out of the PerfectPlex! The roof nearly comes off when that happens as no one was expecting that. At this point I can hear some of you exclaiming that this should save this show from being an induction, and while I respect that, I counter such an argument with one of the stupidest finishes I’ve ever seen in my life.

See, Piper crotches Perfect on the top rope and the ref gives him the fastest count out you ever did see to give the match to Hot Rod. Even Gorilla doesn’t know what’s going on, and questions what on earth just happened.

You and I know what happened – WrestleCrap, baby!

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