June 12, 2011
Matt D & Vic
Legion of the Damned
Demolition © vs Hart Foundation - 2/3 Falls - Summerslam 1990 - Philadelphia - 8/27/90
Vic: This is a 2 out of 3 falls match for the tag team titles. This is the last big match Demolition ever had. Demolition had turned heel over the summer and added a third member named Crush. I remember being really confused by Demolition turning heel because it was so sudden. In hindsight it should not have been they treated the Hart Foundation they they did the Brainbusters and Andre/Haku.
First thing I notice is the Hart Foundation are super over, The Spectrum explodes when they come out. Its going to be Crush and Smash tonight.
First Fall: Match starts with Bret and Smash. Smash tries to pull Bret into his corner for a double team. But Neidhart runs in and drives out Crush. Now the Harts hit Smash with a double back elbow. Basic story of the first fall is Hart Foundation out wrestling Demolition at every turn. Bret catches Smash with a surprise roll up. Followed by arm drags. He tags in Anvil and they work over the arm. This continues for a few minutes. I liked how Smash stopped it by slamming Bret even while Bret had his arm. Now Crush is tagged in.
Crush is really green here. He brings a few things to the table. He is really big. Demolition was always more about being super tough than being over sized or super powerful. Really nice spot for Bret comes running off the ropes fast for a crosbody and Crush catches him and very casually slams him.
Crush is also pretty good at working the crowd. A big minus is he is not too good at the clubbering. He charges Bret in the corner and eats a big boot from Bret. Vince and Piper put over how Crush is still standing when Bret does a great looking surprise roll up.
Bret crawls to Anvil. While Crush tags Smash. Which I think is a good sign of inexperience. I could not see the Ax/Smash Demolition doing that. Anvil runs over Smash. Tries it again but Crush kicks him in the back. Now we have a brief heat segment on Neidhart. We finally get our first clubbering with Smash nailing Neidhart in the back. Crush is back in. Whips Neidhart into the same corner he threw Bret but this time gets hit by one of Anvil's No Brakes clothslines
Again Crush tags out instead of stopping Neidhart. Also basically did the same sequence with Anvil as he did Bret.
Smash goes to meet Bret and its odd as Bret takes his time coming in with Smash waiting there. Bret cleans house on Smash and then hits Crush with a running dropkick. Bret starts doing the ten count punch on Smash then dives onto Crush and pounds him. Bret nearly gets the pin with a russian legsweep and crowd erupts.
Bret hits the elbow but Crush legdrops him and Demos get the first fall with Decapitator. Demolition gets a huge pop for this. Til the ref gets to 3 and the response is mixed between cheers and boos.
Fall 2: Demos keep beating up Bret and Crush hits a nice looking Bossman chokeslam. Smash comes in and hits on big ax handle in the belly. Followed by a back suplex. Smash seems pumped now. Tags in Crush who uses the Demo head twist on Bret. Smash gets tagged back and Bret hits the Hart Attack clothesline. Smash tries to prevent the tag but Neidhart is in. Taking out both Demos. Harts do their irish whip shoulderblock into Smash followed by the Hart Attack. I liked how Smash tried to fight out of it. Crush tackles HeBner which gets the DQ. Fans are booing Demolition now.
Crush knocks Bret out of the ring with a clothesline while Smash is still groggy from the Hart Attack. Meanwhile Ax runs to hide under the ring.
Third fall starts. Bret hits Smash with a sunset flip for a near fall.
Really neat sequence where Anvil whips Bret into Smash who moves but Bret stops himself, Anvil hits Smash with a big shoulderblock and power slams Bret onto Smash. Smash gets to the outside and swaps places with Ax. I love this so much. Ax is selling like is hurt but does it in a extra phony way from how he normally sells. Bret hits him and Ax chops him down. Bret whips him into the corner and Ax nails him with a big clothesline.
Vince is really indignant while trying not to call Hebner a blind idiot. Ax hits him with a leg sweep. Then tags in Crush who hits his tilt a wirl backbreaker. Anvil breaks up the pin and Ax swaps places with Smash again. But first they both beat up Bret. Crush beats up Neidhart and LOD pull Ax from under the ring. In the confusion Neidhart hits his springboard shoulderblock and Bret rolls up Crush for the win.
I really eenoyed this match but its not near the best Demolition match. I think the two out of three falls element hurt the match. With Brainbusters it served a purpose and built up a story but here it just detracted from the match. Wish they had done a regular match with Ax under the ring from the start.
Matt D: So if you brought up Demolition, the three matches people would want to talk about are the 1988 Survivor Series double-turn, the 1989 Royal Rumble, and the 1990 Summerslam 2/3 falls match. This is close to the last Demolition match I want to talk about. It's really just not that good. That isn't to say that the Harts and Demolition don't work hard. Smash does a hell of a job throughout (look at the way he tries to hammer out of the bearhug before eating the Hart Attack. Awesome). It's just structurally flawed and very frustrating. It's also more of a Harts match than a Demolition match (and past maybe Andre/Baba there aren't many Demolition matches you can say that about; they own every match that they're in). If you want to see a match that is a much better middle ground, well, we'll be doing the 1988 Summerslam match at the very end of the project.
This is vexing. Alright, here's the story, so much as there is one. Tunney decreed that only two Demos could be in this match. Harts were expecting Smash and Ax, the two "most experienced memebers." They went with Smash and Crush. Obviously Ax wasn't in 100% condition which is why they brought in Crush in the first place. We've talked about Crush briefly before. He gave Demos even more size and a few big power moves (like the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker) that they were lacking. It came at a fairly big cost when it came to ring presence and just general storytelling skill. Usually Eadie is there to direct traffic either on the Apron or outside as Coach Ax. For the first two falls of this match, he's not there at all.
It shows. I suppose the big question is whether it's part of the story of the match, of Crush being powerful but inexperienced and making stupid mistakes, or if it's just Adams being clueless. Vince and Piper certainly don't bring it up at all, so it's sort of hard to tell. From the work itself, you almost think it has to be the story, especially considering how clumsily the second fall ends, but it doesn't explain Crush just chilling outside of the ring towards the end of the first fall, letting Bret do whatever he wanted until it's finally his spot and time to come in. He often fails to cut off the ring and stay on his guy and lots of other stuff that make you wonder.
So Vic did a good job covering the ins and outs of the match so I'll just note a few things. I really hate the end of the first fall. Bret looks awesome fighting off both members of Demolition at once, fluidly going from one to the next, but it's all paced horribly with Neidhart outside the ring for a huge swath of time as if he was the odd guy out in a triple threat or something. Then Bret gets Crush out and instead of coming right back in or going to his corner, Crush just stands there on the floor like an idiot for a while, waiting for his timed spot to come on in and then when he comes in to set up the decapitation and the first fall the ref just allows it all. In the grand scheme of things it's not the worst sequence ever, but Demolition were usually so good at structuring matches where the key stuff at the end of that segment would have happened with Neidhart goaded and distracting the ref. It just would have had more logic to it.
There's a great hot tag between the at the start of the second fall, but the end of the fall is just silly. Harts hit the Hart attack on Smash and Crush is freed up to make the save. The problem is that he leaps right over Bret and gets the ref, leading to the DQ. I guess it protects Demolition a bit, but it doesn't make any sense. Are we just supposed to think he's too strong for his own good and leaped a few feet too far? I would have bought it a lot more if the ref was positioned between Crush and the pinfall. Eadie and Darsow were generally so good at making things make sense. Things were always so damn logical. It's one of those things that people don't generally notice until it goes away and it's far gone here.
Then Ax runs out and we get the Ax looks just like Smash switch which stretches believability too, but only a little, I guess. WWF refs are traditionally dumb, or something. The match really picks up once Ax gets there and it leads to an awesome bit of hamming when the LOD pull Ax out from under the ring by his feet. The end of the last fall is just chaos, however, with more focus given to the LOD than the Harts so that you barely see how the match ends. I know I've said more about the decisions than the interior work which goes against the mold of how I've done this from the get go, but this is blatant stuff that I would have called in any other match if it had happened. It just didn't usually happen in Demolition matches.
I mean it's not terrible or anything. It's just a mess and easily one of the worst matches we've looked at during this project. Vic thinks that this would be better as one fall. I can't imagine it being worse that way.