wrestling / Columns

The Best Of Times 2.28.08: May 1990

February 28, 2008 | Posted by Matt Adamson

With each passing day the MLS season is approaching and I’m getting more and more excited. Not to mention and the CONCACAF Champions Cup is even closer. Great times the beginning of the US Soccer season is. I just love it. All kinds of great acquisitions have taken place in the offseason leaving Real Salt Lake (my choice MLS club) with quite the squad. Here’s to getting to the playoffs this season.

Well, now that I’m done getting excited about the approaching soccer season, let me explain things to you first time readers before we get going. The Best of Times is a column in which I will be evaluating several wrestling promotions during a selected month from the past. I’ll take anywhere from 3-5 promotions that were thriving during the period I’m covering and go over what went down in each promotion during that month including results of big shows and major angles going on at the time. I’ll give my opinion of each and then choose the best wrestler, tag team, match, feud, show and promotion of the month. I hope to give this is slight old school kayfabe feel with a lot of modern analysis. Well, on with the show!

May 1990

1990 was quite the year for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. With Communism creeping ever so quickly to its death in that part of the world, Latvia announced its independence from the Soviet Union. Gays and Lesbians around the world rejoices as the World Health Organization deemed their sexual urges to indeed NOT be a disease by taking it off the list of diseases. In North America, the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup and this happened in professional wrestling…


May 1990 wasn’t a big month for the WWF. Ultimate Warrior was the new champion as he had just defeated Hulk Hogan for the title at WrestleMania VI. There were no big shows for the WWF during the month of May, but they were already setting up things for Summerslam another 4 months away. Hulk Hogan and Earthquake were just kicking off their feud, which started just a day prior to the beginning of the month. The Twin Towers were feuding as they had just broken up their team. The Big Bossman was clearly gaining the upperhand in the feud and was getting booked into a feud with Ted Dibiase. The biggest feud of the month of May in WWF was The Hart Foundation vs. Demolition, which would rock the house at Summerslam in August. Not too much going on, but the beginning of some great feuds.


Sting was the most popular wrestler in the company in 1990, but in May he was out injured. He maintained his popularity much like John Cena did during his recent time recuperating. Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen were the biggest heels in the company and since Sting was out, Lex Luger was the biggest active baby face. Flair and Luger had been involved in an angle over the World Title while Sting was out, which was prepping for Sting’s eventual title win. The month of May revolved around one big Pay Per View which was on May 19th and called Capitol Combat ’90 – Return of Robocop. Yes, you read that correctly, fricking ROBO COP in WCW. Basically he just made an appearance during the PPV, chasing off the Horsemen. The show took place in DC and featured a big main even in the Thunderdome cage, which is much like Hell In A Cell without a full roof. Here are the results from that show…

1. The Road Warriors and Norman def. Kevin Sullivan, Cactus Jack and Bam Bam Bigelow
2. Mean Mark Callous (The Undertaker) def. Johnny Ace
3. Fatu and Samoan Savage def. Mike Rotunda and Tommy Rich
4. Hair vs. Hair Match: Paul Ellering def. Teddy Long
5. United States Tag Team Championship: The Midnight Express def. Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman © to win the titles
6. Corporal Punishment Match (Straps on turnbuckles): The Rock and Roll Express def. The Fabulous Freebirds
7. World Tag Team Championship: Doom def. Rick and Scott Steiner © to win the titles
8. World Heavyweight Championship/Thunderdome Cage Match: Lex Luger def. Ric Flair © by DQ. Flair retains the title

The show was quite impressive to all types of fans. The three title matches were very good and the stage was set for Sting’s return. Robocop of course meant nothing in the scheme of things, but this show really stuck out as something quite good in WCW in 1990. While the DQ ending in a cage match was a tad unusual and irritating, the main event itself proved to be a very good match, and very well might have been Luger’s last great match if not for Ron Simmons’ efforts later.


To be perfectly honest it is hard to find something after 1989 to use as the third promotion for this column until 1994 when ECW became relevant. The USWA at this point was actually doing quite well for itself all things considered. It had a national TV deal with ESPN and was running full time. The big feud at the time was Jimmy Valiant vs. Jerry Lawler over the Unified Heavyweight Championship. Lawler won the title on May 5th and then began to feud with The Snowman. It wasn’t exactly brilliant wrestling, but in 1990, the AWA knew how to book angles. There was also an angle going in the tag ranks over the tag titles and there was a title change on the 21st. The Southern Rockers of Rex King and Steve Doll defeated The Uptown Posse of Brickhouse Brown and Sweet Daddy Falcone. These two feuds and title changes didn’t hold a candle to what would be the defining feud of the USWA. It began in May 1990 and featured a young Steve Austin. He and Jeannie Clark would kick off their feud with “Gentleman” Chris Adams and wife, Toni Adams. At this stage it was mostly just the two men, but Toni would get involved. Clark would get involved later.

The Best of Times: May 1990

Best Wrestler: Ric Flair (WCW)

At this point in Flair’s career it seemed as if he was untouchable. It took considerable effort to put on a better match than Flair when he had big events to work. In a month with very few big matches and events, Flair’s competition was limited to those he worked directly with. Luger put on a good show at Capitol Combat, but Flair shone like the sun as he always did in the biggest matches.

Best Tag Team: The Midnight Express (WCW)

It was a tag team heavy month as some of the best stuff came from the likes of the Midnight Express, The Freebirds, The Rock and Roll Express, The Rockers, The Hart Foundation, Demolition, The Steiner Brothers and Doom. So to pick just one tag team was a difficult task, and choosing the Midnight Express over Doom is equally as tough, but they not only won a title, but were the key instrument in the match of the month for May 1990. I guess I gave a little away.

Best Match: The Midnight Express vs. Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman (WCW)

There are three brilliant matches in that one PPV, but in my opinion this one was the best. The Doom vs. Steiners match was good, but not AS GOOD as this one, and while the Luger vs. Flair match was on par with this one, the finish was terrible. This match is something special and worth checking out if you haven’t seen it before. See Brian Pillman’s genius very early on in his career.

Best Feud: Steve Austin vs. Chris Adams (USWA)

This was one of the best feuds in the country in 1990 and 1991. It was brutal and involved the women in a way that really hadn’t been done before. The big blowoff even had a little nudity, but the seeds were planted for this legendary feud in May 1990. We all know what heights Austin would rise to and I have little doubt that this feud is what garnered him the attention that lead to the move to WCW in 1991.

Best Show: Capitol Combat ’90 (WCW)

This is one of those times that there isn’t any competition so the only show of the month gets the win. However, Capitol Combat ’90 could have competed with any of the PPV’s of 1990. It was a great show, especially at the top of the card. It focused on the strengths of each participant so it turned out to be quite a fun little show, and hell, it featured Robocop.

Best Wrestling Promotion: WCW

WCW was building toward something very big that soon after it happened would dive into the realms of embarrassing. This is the height of WCW in 1990. They put on a great PPV and moved their way closer to Sting’s big moment. WCW would not always be on top of the world in 1990, but in May, they sure were.


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Matt Adamson

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