The Name on the Marquee: The History of the Intercontinental Championship #9
-When last we left off, Mr. Perfect captured the belt with a little help from the manager that nobody knew he had, Bobby Heenan. Tito Santana, the guy who came agonizingly close to winning the belt, wanted revenge, and he wanted the gold that he felt he rightfully deserved. Let’s see what happens…
-Your host is Jack Korpela.
MR. PERFECT (Champion, with Bobby Heenan) vs. TITO SANTANA
-From Saturday Night’s Main Event, July 1990. I haven’t seen this match since it aired and I remember it kicking quite a bit of ass.
-Perfect kicks and pounds Tito early, but walks into a hiptoss and an armdrag. Dropkick sends Perfect out of the ring and MY GOD Tito is over. Tito chases him around the ring and chops him down. Back inside, they trade arm wringers and Perfect breaks it up with a kneelift. Clothesline takes Tito down. Kneelift to the jaw as Heenan freaks out at Perfect and tells him to pace himself.
-Series of chops by Perfect and a standing dropkick send Tito crashing down in the corner. Tito tries to mount a comeback with punches, but Perfect actually wins the slugfest and stays on him. Neck vice by Perfect. Great bit sees Heenan put his hand around his neck. He taps the referee on the shoulder, and when the referee turns around, Perfect turns it into a chokehold.
-Tito fights cheating with cheating and breaks the hold by yanking the hair. Hennig does a 360 sell off a clothesline. Tito winds up and punches Perfect, and when Perfect falls backward, he lands on Earl Hebner’s leg. Hebner collapses in the corner and writhes in pain as Perfect finds himself trapped in a figure four. Tito breaks the hold to check on Hebner. Perfect starts to revive, so Tito quickly takes him out with a flying forearm. Hebner takes forever to get into position (and Vince is irate, noting that even with an injured leg, he should be able to count to three) and Perfect is able to kick out at two. Clothesline from the top rope by Tito gets another two-count. Tito gets fed up and demands that another referee take over the match, and they actually do so. As the referees switch off, we take a break.
-Back from commercial, Tito hits a flying bodypress for two. Perfect throws punches and chops. He snaps Tito’s neck and arrogantly takes a break to towel off in the corner. Perfect boots Tito. Tito starts to slug back, and Perfect takes him right back down with a thrust kick. Perfect keeps working the neck, and Tito just gets riled up out of nowhere and punches him out of the ring. He brings Perfect back inside and beels him by the hair across the ring and nad-first into the post. Inverted atomic drop. Standard issue atomic drop follows. Clothesline gets two. Heenan is so freaked out that he starts to leave ringside, but thinks better of it and comes back.
-Santana goes for a backdrop. Perfect tries to reverse to the Perfectplex. Tito sees that coming and falls backwards to make it a cradle for two. Perfect reverses the cradle…and gets three. 1 for 1. Technically clean as a sheet, but the “What might have been” element with the referee was a neat little bit to make the crowd hate Perfect just a little bit more as a result.
MISTER PERFECT (champion, with Bobby Heenan) vs. “Texas Tornado” KERRY VON ERICH
-From Summerslam ’90. This was originally going to be Brutus Beefcake finally, finally, finally paying off his three years of chasing other heels in the mid-card and getting his long-awaited Intercontinental Title, but a parasailing accident on July 4 derailed his career for the next three years or so. Quick-fix solution was Texas legend Kerry Von Erich, who came to the WWF on the advice of friends and family who thought that jumping to the WWF would take his mind off the family tragedy and help him kick his drug habit. Yes, that’s how you go about curing a drug addict…you double his workload and give him more money than he’s ever had in his life. Anyway, Von Erich issued a challenge on “Superstars” nine days before the big night and Perfect accepted.
-Lock-up and Von Erich sends Perfect into the corner with force. Perfect ducks out to re-think his game plan. Back in, Perfect gets an armdrag and a hiptoss. Perfect backs Kerry into the corner and chops him, but an Irish whip his reversed. Hiptoss and a bodyslam daze Perfect and a clothesline launches him out of the ring. Arm wringer by Kerry but Perfect clotheslines his way out of that and perfectly punches the Tornado. Irish whip and a sleeper by Perfect. Kerry makes it to the ropes so Perfect pounds away and taunts him. He makes the mistake of turning his back to gloat, and when he turns around, Kerry hooks the legs for a slingshot. Claw and the tornado punch (discus punch) win the title for Von Erich. 1 for 2. Felt anticlimactic, somehow. A victory over “The Perfect Champion” by a newcomer (well, newcomer to the particular promotion, anyway) should have felt like a huge moment, but it just didn’t. The ever-present need to keep everything simple for Kerry Von Erich couldn’t have helped either.
TEXAS TORNADO (Champion) vs. MISTER PERFECT (with Bobby Heenan)
-So they’re doing that thing where they’ve established the already-established guy as a WWF star, so they’re taking away his already-famous name and just having him go by his WWF-issued nickname. We’re off to MSG for a rematch.
-Perfect attacks before Tornado gets his robe off and they trade punches. Perfect clotheslines him over the top rope and onto the floor. Perfect attacks him on the floor, then stops him from coming back in. Tornado yanks him outside the ring and hits the discus punch on the floor, forgetting that it’s his finisher and he shouldn’t do that. Perfect comes back inside on rubber legs and he sends Perfect over the top rope and onto the floor on the opposite side. Back in, Tornado applies an arm wringer. Perfect backs him into the corner and hits a hard chop. Sleeper in the middle of the ring by Perfect. Tornado gets free and applies his own sleeper. Perfect backs him into the corner and chops him. Perfect snaps Tornado’s neck and applies the neck vice. Tornado gets free and tries a slugfest, but Perfect wins that. They dual for an Irish whip and the referee gets taken out in the corner.
-Perfect clotheslines Tornado and applies the Perfectplex for some reason. He gets the visual three count and tries to revive the referee. Tornado starts to recover, so Perfect removes a turnbuckle pad and rams him into the steel. He gets another near-three. Tornado comes back and hits another discus punch, then sends Perfect over the top rope. He follows him out and they brawl on the floor, and we get the anticlimactic double count-out. 2 for 3. Better than their Summerslam offering, but there was a clear lack of chemistry between these two guys.
THE BROTHER LOVE SHOW
-So we fast-forward to December 1990, and Brother Love’s guests are Dustin Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. This seems out of nowhere, but Jack assures us that there’s a reason that we’re seeing this. The premise here is that DiBiase wants to hire Rhodes to act essentially as a second Virgil. He has Virgil demonstrate some of his duties, like wiping sweat from DiBiase’s brow and polishing his boots (and Brother Love’s shoes, for good measure). He offers Dustin a wad of cash for his first payday (and Brother Love is hilariously hypnotized by the sight of the money, keeping his eyes fixed squarely on it the entire time DiBiase talks). Dustin slaps it out of his hand and that triggers a 2-on-1 assault by DiBiase and Virgil. The Texas Tornado shows up and even things up and takes out Virgil, DiBiase, and Brother Love, sending everybody running to save the day. An angle! Yay! 3 for 4.
TEXAS TORNADO (Champion) vs. MISTER PERFECT (with Bobby Heenan)
-From the following week. Howard Finkel introduces a special guest ring announcer (perplexing the commentary team). Our guest ring announcer is Ted DiBiase, who hands Howard a stack of bills and takes the microphone.
-Tornado overpowers Perfect and sends him into the corner to start. Perfect armdrags him and talks a little trash to assert himself. He slams Tornado and backs off. Piper is a little suspicious that Perfect isn’t trying as hard as he could be.
-Perfect gets tossed out of the ring, and Tornado noggin-knocks Heenan & Perfect for fun. Back inside, Tornado works on the arm, then sends Perfect into the corner and catches him with a punch to the gut. Perfect raises a boot to counter a corner charge. Tornado charges again and Perfect dodges it. After Tornado crashes in the corner, Perfect distracts the referee and DiBiase takes a few free shots.
-Standing dropkick by Perfect sends Tornado to the floor, and DiBiase sends Tornado into the post while the referee chats with Heenan. Back inside, the referee gets caught in the middle of an Irish whip and gets taken out. Tornado rams Perfect into the turnbuckle, and the discus punch looks to finish, but in comes DiBiase with the Intercontinental belt, and he KOs the Tornado. Heenan wakes up the referee as Perfect applies the Perfectplex, and one slowwwww three-count later, Mister Perfect is a two-time champion. 4 for 5.
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The 411: Good-not-great selection of stuff this time around, with Perfect having one truly great match here and then carrying three others. Check it out if you want.
|Final Score: 7.0 [ Good ] legend|