May 16, 2010
Matt D & Vic
Legion of the Damned
Demolition © vs. Rockers - Austin, Texas - 7/16/90
Aired on Saturday Night's Main Event - 7/28/90
Matt D: This is the big showcase for your newly heel Demolition trio. Demolition had butted their heads in during a pretty exciting Rockers/Harts match at the last SNME and now the Rockers are getting the shot at them and the belts. The match is to make Demolition look like nasty bad guys in case any of the fans weren't clued in after the 7/14 weekend syndicated angle where the trio attacked the Harts from behind at the Brother Love show. It's also there to be a showcase for Crush and to set up the last fall of the Summerslam match. Ax is at ringside playing coach and it's a role he's great at. I think the Smash and Crush pairing could have lasted as viable heels through 91 with little problem if they had Ax there to direct traffic and add to the aura. The Rockers were good in 88. They're REAL good in 90. A couple of years experience (including at least one lengthy feud with Arn and Tully) has done them good. I was a huge Rockers fan as a kid and may or may not had a Rockers pin which I scratched Michaels' face off of after the turn. For what it's worth this is also one of the last times Jesse announced for the WWF. He'd be gone by Summerslam. Enjoy.
Marty and Smash to begin. Jannetty's great at outquicking Smash and Smash is great at the teeter-totter selling and taking a nice little bump through the ropes off a dropkick. Both Demos come in and eat stereo headscissors and then dropkicks (Marty's is looking particularly high tonight). Smash comes back on in and the Rockers hit a nice quick tag off the ropes giving us this sort of weird spot where Marty climbs all over Smash to distract him before Michaels can get him in a monkey-flip (assisted by a Marty dropkick). It's a little awkward, but it works almost through sheer persistence. As Michaels turns around after the move, Crush comes from off-camera and takes his head off with a clothesline. If you want someone bumping for you in your big match debut, you could do a lot worse than the Rockers. The ref goes over and yells at Ax for some reason and Ax points to show how the Rockers were double-teaming and how it was just fair. Vic has noted before that Demolition as heels in mid 90 were just treating the Rockers and the Harts the same way they treated the Brainbusters and the Connection. There's something to that.
Crush tags in and the camera work is good and Michaels selling is good, but there's really something quite skittish about his offense. Ax and Smash are smooth and fluid. Crush is big and powerful but there are lots of starts and stops and it's a bit unnerving, which isn't necessarily a bad thing on its own. Michaels reverses an irish whip into the corner and Crush bounces back right into a double arm drag/elbow/kip up combo. The nice part is just like earlier in the match with Crush, Jannetty shows up out of NOWHERE, the camera not catching him come in. Marty gets Crush in a headlock and Crush gets to show off the strength, lifting him up and bringing him to the turnbuckle, goozling him. This leads to Marty jumping off with a really sloppy sunset flip. The story right now is a real strength vs speed feeling out process between Crush and the Rockers. They start working on the arm to contain and wear down Crush with a few quick tags before the big guy signals for Smash to get on the middle of the apron. It takes forever to set this up, and you're starting to think it's a flub, but when Crush sends Jannetty across, he slips between Smash's legs and lands on the floor. Crush distracts the ref and Marty eats an Ax clothesline. Good spot. Ax dismissively taunts Shawn and we go to break.
When we come back, Demos are undeniably on top (Smash is clubbering Marty). The it factor here has been Ax on the outside. The Rockers can outquick the still developing Crush/Smash teamwork, but they have to overcome Ax's presence as well. Smash gives Marty a bum's rush through the second and third ropes just so Crush can toss him back into the ring. Smash then holds Marty so that Crush can hit a HUGE axhandle off the top to the back, followed by the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as Ax claps from the outside. Crush really gave Demolition some impressive size and power. There's no questioning that. Unfortunately his normal back/rib breaker is still pretty crappy. He hits the Bossman chokeslam off the ropes and then Smash and Crush have a big high five, which leads to a funny bit of Vince trying to say that should have been a tag. The extra time bought with the high five allows Marty to get his wind back and do some great kicks to Crush from the ground, but Smash tags in and they're right back on him. Smash with a big bear hug, which makes sense considering Crush was working on Marty's back. Shawn's a great heat-generating face on the outside, up on the second rope. They cut off a comeback and Crush comes in. Ax seems to be really directing traffic on the outside at this point. Big whip into the corner but then on another whip, Marty rides Crush down leading to the well timed hot tag.
Shawn's a firecracker here, doing these great forward motion punches to a retreating Smash and hitting an awesome shoulder block and ducking punches. Anything but the usual "same move to one-guy then the next" hot tag offense. Smash and Crush do the collision spot well, with Crush bouncing back off the ropes. Double dropkicks abound. Then the double superkick. Then the stereo firstdrop and you buy the title change is about to happen but Crush (perfectly timed this time) breaks up the pin. Jannetty fights with him, distracting the ref, as Shawn rolls up Smash. Ax comes in and just takes Shawn's head off with the nastiest clothesline you've seen in a while and covers Shawn for the sneaky, sneaky pin. The Harts and LOD come in to dispute things later in the match.
All in all, it's a really good match that showed off Crush's strengths. I could have used a few more minutes of getting heat on Marty but it was a SNME match with time limitations so what are you going to do?
Vic: This is the first big Crush match on tv and they are defending against the Rockers. I said that the Summerslam 90 match was more of a Hart Foundation match than a Demolition match. This match is more of a Rockers match than a Demolition match. This is definitely because of Ax being replaced. Ax was a ring general and he always controlled the match. If it was a fast tempo he was allowing it. If you disagree check out the matches and we'll argue some more.
With Crush the dynamic changed. Ax is now the coach on the outside. Ax is in the role Fuji played in Demos matches as the third man. Interfering on he outside.I think he was giving Crush pointers because he is better here than at Summerslam.
Smash is now in Ax's role as team captain. The veteran of the team. The credibility of the team. He controls the pace of the match. I do not think he was as good as AX was in this role but he does a good job.
Crush is the Powerhouse and the young upstart. I like that Crush was not a generic Smash clone. Instead being different from any previous Demo. He is really powerful and has a few flying moves. Which I have no memory of. He looks a lot like Mike Awesome. I only say this because Mike Awesome looks like a potential Demolition member.
Onto the match. Things start with Marty and Smash. Smash knees him in the gut and beats him down. I noticed Smash did not play to the crowd like he use to in 88. I guess to avoid doing anything that fans would cheer. Now Marty out wrestles Smash using his quickness and dropkicks him out of the ring. Both Demos come in the ring and the Rockers take them down with stereo headscissors and stereo dropkicks them out of the ring.
Smash comes back in and their is this odd sequence. That ends with a dropkick monkey flip combo. Crush runs over Shawn with a clothesline. I don't think anybody took a clotheline better than Shawn Micheals.
Smash tags Crush in and he starts working over Shawn. I like those Karate chop punches Crush would pop guys in the gut with. Rockers hit Crush with a double hip toss stereo fist drop. Crush put Marty on the top rope but Marty hits him and lands a flying sunset flip for 2.
Rockers stay in control with quick tags til Crush lures Marty into a trap where he avoids Smash but gets clotheslined by Ax on the floor. The story of the match is that Demolition are unbeatable with three members.
Back from commercial and Smash is clubbering Marty. Smash tosses him out and Crush press slams him back in. The type of power move you never saw from Ax and Smash. Crush comes flying off the top with a nice looking axhandle on Marty. Big tilt a whirl backbreaker. Good looking one too. Impressive how it looked like he used one arm. He continues dominating with power moves. Hits that Side Chokeslam he used on Bret at Summerslam.
Like how Marty was fighting back from the ground with punches and kicks. Smash comes in and slaps on a bear hug. Like how Shawn was cheering Marty on as he fought out of it.
One thing I noticed was how Crush and Smash keep whipping Marty into the Rockers side of the ring. Its one of those things you never saw prime Demolition do.
Marty hits this flying head slam on Crush and gets the hot tag to Shawn. Shawn attacks both Demos. Love when Smash starts swinging blind with Shawn ducking. Whips Smash into Crush Then they double dropkick Crush over the top rope. Then double dropkick Smash followed by the double superkick and the double flying fist drop. Before they get three, Crush breaks it up.
Ref is tied up with Marty and Crush. Shawn rolls up Smash, but AX hits a great looking clothesline on Shawn and pins him. Loved how AX kept his head covered then got out of the ring fast. Now Hart Foundation and LOD are at ringside bitching about cheating.
This was a good match. I don't think its a top Demos or Rockers match. But still a good match that sets up Summerslam 90.