Part Thirty Six
The 1990 Survivor Series had arrived and Hulk Hogan finally had his chance to get Earthquake in the ring, along with Earthquake’s allies Haku, Dino Bravo, and the Barbarian. With Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Tugboat, and the Big Bossman backing him up, Hogan had to feel he could keep focused on Earthquake without having to watch his back for a sneak attack. The four-on-four encounter eventually came down to four men, Hogan and Tugboat vs. Earthquake and the Barbarian. Earthquake seemingly had Hogan at his mercy but when the former sumo wrestler missed a big splash on the Hulkster, it opened the door for a hot tag-if Hogan could make it.
And made it he did. A hot tag to the Tugboat and Hogan’s friend comes in, scrapping with the Earthquake. Hogan has taught Tugboat well and the babyface takes a cheap shot at the Barbarian, knocking him off the mat apron. Shoulderblock on Earthquake by Tugboat, but the big man isn’t moving. Gorilla Monsoon reuses his immortal line from the Hogan vs. Andre match at WrestleMania III, proclaiming the “irresistible force meets the immovable object.” Wow. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.
Hogan grabs Earthquake’s leg from outside the ring, pulling him out of the ring. Tugboat and Hogan try a double-team but the Hulkster is still woozy from the shellacking he took earlier, and Tugboat goes after ‘Quake. Eye rake on Tugboat slows him down, allowing the Earthquake to put Hogan in a bearhug and ram Hogan’s back into the ringpost.
The referee counts Earthquake and Tugboat out, leaving Barbarian and Hogan to face each other. The Barbarian goes out to the floor, rolling Hogan back into the ring. Barbarian goes to work on Hogan, chopping him, then kneeing him out of the ring. Hogan shows some guts and gets back in the ring, but Barbarian is waiting and pounds away. Barbarian works the Hulkster over in the corner, following up with a piledriver. Cover but Hogan kicks out at two. Gorilla Monsoon notes Hogan didn’t get the full brunt of the piledriver, pointing out the Barbarian’s mistimed execution. Irish whip by Barbarian and both men clothesline each other.
With Hogan and Barbarian down, the referee began counting them out. However, the Barbarian gets up before the ten-count, going back to work on the Hulkster. Mafia kick sends Hogan back to the floor, giving the Barbarian time to climb to the top rope and hit a flying clothesline on a dazed Hogan. Cover but somehow, Hogan rallies and “Hulks up,” kicking out at two and showing the Barbarian he’s ready for more. The Barbarian slugs away at Hogan but it’s pointless as Hogan is now supercharged and seemingly invulnerable. Hogan blocks a punch and retaliates with a series of his own, followed by an Irish whip into the ropes. Big boot by Hogan and a legdrop marks the end of the Barbarian. The referee raises the Hulkster’s hand; he is the sole survivor in the battle between the Hulkamaniacs and the Natural Disasters. Almost as if by instinct, the Barbarian’s manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan runs in, ready to take a post-match beating. Hogan slugs Heenan then whips him into the corner, with Heenan gracefully flying over the ringpost out onto the floor. Heenan took so many bumps during his career that it’s no surprise he had neck problems.
The Hulkster did his traditional pose-down following his victory, but the night wasn’t over yet. The 1990 Survivor Series saw the survivors of each match going on to face each other in one last battle. In Hogan’s case, he had the Ultimate Warrior and Tito Santana on his team, with the babyface trio facing the team of “The Model” Rick Martel, The Warlord, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, and the team Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules).
Sean Mooney interviews Hulk Hogan, Tito Santana, and The Ultimate Warrior before their match with Hogan putting Warrior over for his fast rise to the top, and noting “The Arriba Man” (Santana) has been there with him since day one. Santana cuts a spirited promo, promising his team will be the survivors. Santana wasn’t the best on the mic but he still had enough energy and skills to get over. Finally, the Ultimate Warrior talks of something. Not exactly sure what, and not sure if he even knows. Hogan finishes by saying his team is walking the razor’s edge between glory and destruction. With everything on the line, he says there’s no way his team will fail.
It’s the grand finale match as DiBiase (survivor of The Million Dollar Team) and the entire team of the Visionaries (Martel, Power and Glory, and the Warlord) vs. Hogan (Hulkamaniacs), Tito Santana (The Alliance), and the Ultimate Warrior (The Warriors). The match gets off to a bad start for the heel team as Hogan slugs the Warlord, and Tito follows up with his flying forearm, covering the Warlord for the 1-2-3 The flying forearm was one of those finishing moves that reminded you of how potent finishing moves were built up back in the day, before wrestlers needed to hit 22 finishers to score a near-fall.
Power and Glory’s Paul Roma is not happy with Santana’s upset over the Warlord so he runs in, stomping away at Santana while he’s still getting up from pinning the Warlord. Roma sends Santana into the ropes and hits a beautiful powerslam on the two-time Intercontinental Champion and two-time WWF Tag Team Champion (quite the accomplishment at the time). Tag to Ted DiBiase who hits a vertical suplex on Santana, Cover but Santana kicks out. DiBiase goes after Santana but Tito ducks, countering with a clothesline. Santana whips DiBiase into the corner, hitting a back-body drop on DiBiase as he comes out. Santana signals the flying forearm and bounces off the ropes, only for “The Million Dollar Man” to slip out of the way. Santana lands hard on the mat apron. DiBiase whips Santana into the corner and goes for a clothesline but Santana ducks and bounces off the ropes, charging at DiBiase.
However, DiBiase lifts up Santana, bouncing his neck off the top rope and covering him for the win. Santana looks good while doing the j-o-b. Santana’s work here shows why he was rumored as a WWF Champion candidate back when Vince McMahon was looking for a non-muscleman to take the WWF’s top spot.
DiBiase turns around and sees Hogan right in his face. Hogan points to “The Million Dollar Man” then pantomimes that he can’t be bought. Hogan punches DiBiase then Irish whips him into the corner, running in with a kick to the gut. Hogan takes DiBiase to the face corner where the Ultimate Warrior is waiting with his boot lifted, providing a nice target to ram DiBiase’s head into. Hogan underestimates DiBiase and whips him into the ropes, lowering his head only for DiBiase to boot him in it. DiBiase clotheslines the Hulkster then tags in Hercules.
Color commentator “Rowdy” Roddy Piper astutely observes that the heel team needs to send their most powerful man in against Hogan. Hercules wears Hogan down with punches and kicks, then tags in Paul Roma. Roma hits what looks like a flying chop from the top rope. Sloppy cover on Hogan and the Hulkster kicks out. The heels begin an onslaught against Hogan, with quick tags and everyone targeting Hogan’s back. All these heels must be aware of Hogan’s back injury at the hands of Earthquake as well as the punishment dished out in Hogan’s earlier match. Hercules goes after Hogan, throwing punch after punch. Hercules must think he’s working a match in Memphis with the non-stop punches he’s throwing. Hercules rams Hogan’s head into the turnbuckle several times before tagging in DiBiase.
The Million Dollar Man hits a flying axhandle on Hogan from the second rope, following up with a double knee across Hogan’s head. Cover on Hogan but the referee is out of position, giving Hogan that added time he needs to kick out. DiBiase wastes no time, returning to the offensive by dropping punches on Hogan’s head. Tag to Hercules who punches Hogan then takes him to the heel corner. Hercules lifts Hogan up for a suplex, tagging in Paul Roma. Power and Glory hit their finisher, The Power Plex (Superplex by Hercules followed by diving splash by Roma). And just like that, Power and Glory look like jobbers as Hogan “Hulks up,” effortlessly kicking out of Roma’s pin. Hogan clotheslines Roma, covering him for the elimination.
The Model comes in, going after Hogan but the Hulkster catches Martel slipping, booting The Model in the head. Hot tag to the Warrior who goes after Martel, kicking him numerous times in the gut, then dishing out punches to Hercules and DiBiase in their corner. Big back-body drop on Martel. The Warrior bodyslams Martel twice, dancing around then tagging in to Hogan. Hogan hits the big boot on Martel followed by a clothesline that sends the former AWA World Champion through the ropes and onto the floor. The Model clutches his face and signals he’s had enough, heading to the back and being counted out. Looking back, it’s amazing how Martel’s heel turn energized his character.
DiBiase enters the ring but he’s soon at Hogan’s mercy. The Hulkster hits the big boot and the legdrop, covering The Million Dollar Man for the three-count. Last man remaining is Hercules who finds himself outnumbered two-to-one by Hogan and the Warrior. Hercules runs in to break up the pin but he’s too late. Hogan catches him with a bodyslam (which looks like a botched powerslam) then tags in the Warrior. Warrior runs in, hitting two clotheslines on Hercules. Warrior dances around the ring, hitting a flying shoulder butt on Hercules. It’s clear Hercules is done and the Warrior bounces off the ropes again, this time hitting his running splash for the pinfall win. Hogan comes in to celebrate with The Ultimate Warrior, both men taking a break to beat up manager Slick before resuming their festivities.
The team of the Hulkamaniacs had prevailed at 1990’s Survivor Series against the Natural Disasters, but Hogan’s beef with Earthquake was still on. What would it take to end the rivalry between these two big men? Join us next time as we look at how the feud between Hogan and Earthquake finally ended, and the new challenges awaiting the Hulkster in 1991.
Cawthon, Graham. “The History of the WWE. Results. 1990”. The History of the WWE. Accessed 26 May 2017.
Wikipedia contributors. "Survivor Series (1990)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 May. 2017. Accessed 26 May. 2017.