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Leaping Through The Network: Wrestling Superheroes (1990)

Putting the ‘Flashback Friday’ into Flashback Friday, welcome to a review series with a twist. See, every review series be it typed up or a talking podcast lays out their timeline from start to finish and they go forward in a straight line.

My twist is that I took my timeline that I wanted to do (and damn is it a long one) and I rolled it up into a ball. When you do that the timeline gets jumbled up and the bits of timeline all touch each other allowing me to move seamlessly from one to the other.

In scientific terms (shamelessly borrowing the plot of a TV show I used to watch) that is called quantum leaping. And that, dear reader, is what we are going to do. We are going to quantum leap through the timeline. One week we might be covering the Attitude Era the next it’s the New Generation Era. It could be the Old School Era, it might be the Ruthless Aggression Era. Could be ECW. Could be WCW. Could be meat, could be peaches.

All except the first one. All journeys have a start point. Even if you decide to spend the next year randomly getting on a train and seeing where it takes you, the start point is when you leave your house and go to the first train station. Sorry rambling, point is we have to start somewhere. I have seen a ton of wrestling. Anything we review here I’ve probably already seen. But years ago a nine year old boy got a VHS tape for his Christmas. It was the first time he had ever saw wrestling as a moving picture and not on a trading card. So we are starting there. All the way back at……

WWF Wrestling Superheroes – March 21 1990

We start with Sean Mooney welcoming us and introducing us to all the competitors we’ll see. Nothing else of any importance, moving on.

Axe & Smash vs The Warlord, The Barbarian & Mr Fuji
Handicap Match for the WWF Tag Team Championships

To someone who had never seen wrestling before, a Handicap Match must have seemed odd. To someone who has seen wrestling, I find the idea that two guys the size of The Warlord and The Barbarian need a third, comparatively smaller, tag team partner odd.

I’ll get this out my system now. What in hell are Axe and Smash wearing? Maybe at the time they looked like bad asses but time has passed and they look like they have been engaging in a spot of S&M which in the kid friendly days of the late 1980’s is an odd gimmick to run with so more power too them.

Warlord starts by clubbing Axe with some forearms to the shoulder blades before Axe reverses an Irish Whip and hits Warlord with forearms of his own battering Warlord to the ground. Tag to Smash and they both batter Warlord with punches. Odd start to the contest with the champions battering the challenger down thirty seconds into the match, imagine the Tweets if that happened these days. Right hand, Snapmare, Rest Hold. Hang on a rest hold? Now? On the plus side he’s bac up in mere seconds and Smash Facelock Drags him into the corner to tag Axe who hits a Snapmare and…. for the love of…. a rest hold!

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Smash is back in and they beat Warlord down again before he finally carries Smash to his corner and tags Barbarian who gets a couple of punches in before Smash via a boot takes back control. Tag to Axe who knocks Barbarian down with a Clothesline. It goes like this for a few minutes. Punches, kicks. frequent tags. All by Axe and Smash. There’s nothing really happening but the odd looking guy with the red tie sat in the front row seems interested.

Warlord and Barbarian have finally worked out what ‘being on the offence‘ means and like their opponents, it’s punches, kicks and (because they’re the bad guys) foot on the throat choking. Fuji is in and he hits a chop and a headbutt to Axe’s gut where Fuji’s shoulder catches Axe low. More of the same punches and kicks by Warlord and Barbarian before a Barbarian Powerslam. Fuji tags in and attempts a top rope Elbow Drop and misses. Axe and Smash hit Warlord with some sort of double team Stun Gun which gets a two count.

All five are in the ring now until Axe Clotheslines Barbarian out of the ring and goes out to get him. Warlord grabs Smash’s arms as Fuji digs for some salt (doubt you’ll see Japanese wrestlers do that anymore) Smash ducks and the salt goes into Warlord’s eyes. Fuji is all alone with Axe and Smash and Axe pins Fuji after The Decapitator (a second rope elbow drop). Nostalgia tells me this was a better match but it really wasn’t. Not going to give it a star rating though, my name isn’t Meltzer.

Winners: Axe & Smash (Still Tag Team Champions)

Jimmy Snuka vs Greg Valentine

Valentine attacks Snuka from behind to start this one continuing his attack with chops and a couple of Elbows. Already this looks a better match than the last one. A chop gets Snuka back into the match before knocking Valentine down with a running Headbutt but a second rope diving Headbutt is met by Valentine’s knees (or shin guard to be more exact) and a series of Elbow Drops wins Valentine a two count.

Valentine kicks Snuka out of the ring and repeats this to break/restart the count anytime Snuka looks to be getting back into the ring. This angers the referee who gets into an argument with Valentine. In a move that confused the nine year old me and probably anyone watching this without context, the referee then punched Valentine in the head.

Context: the ref is a wrestler called Ronnie Garvin. He lost a retirement match to someone I think might have been Greg Valentine. No longer a wrestler, he’s now a ref. Everyone following? Cracking.

Said punch to the head by the ref has dazed Valentine. The argument has allowed Snuka to climb to the top turnbuckle and he flies of at the dazed Valentine with a High Cross Body. The pin, the win. Rather a short match.

Winner: Jimmy Snuka

Roddy Piper vs Rick Rude
Cage Match

Fun fact: I have watched this so many times that I know Rick Rude’s opening “What I’d like to have right now…” speech word for word. Also: this entire Piper vs Rude feud (hey that rhymed) started when Piper mooned Rude during a match. Wrestling was a bit odd in the late 80’s.

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Rude starts this by attacking Piper as he gets into the cage with a series of Right hands. An Irish Whip is reversed by Piper and Rude goes careering back first into the cage. Piper takes this time to remove his shirt and kilt. Rude tries to climb out so Piper takes his belt and whips Rude in the back with it. Looks painful. Piper wraps the belt around his fist punching Rude before biting him. Rude is bleeding. Rude decides escape is a good idea. Piper grabs Rude’s tights exposing a corner of Rude’s ass to a feminine pop before biting Rude on the leg. Rude is down but Piper grabs him and throws him head first into the cage wall. Piper tries escaping but Rude pulls him down and crotches him on the ropes. Men around the world exclaim “Jeez” and feel Piper’s pain as he rolls around the canvas clutching the affected area. Rude hits Piper with a low knee to the groin.

Rude goes for the door but Piper grabs his ankle in an attempt to stop him. It works but Piper receives some Stomps and Forearms for his trouble. He goes for the door again but piper literally drags Rude back into the ring. Rude hits a Rude Awakening (Neckbreaker) to Piper but has no strength to make the cover. Nor can he climb out because he can’t see due to the blood in his eyes, so his manager at ringside, Bobby Heenan, reaches through the bars and leads him to the door. Piper spies the open door and clambers over Rude to escape but Rude has to grab Piper to stop him. Rude sends Piper off the ropes and the clatter into each other knocking each other down.

Both men start climbing the same side of the cage and even exchange punches at the top. The both then climb down the outside of the cage. They both ram each other’s head into the cage and the both get to the floor at the same time.

Winner: Draw

The ring announcer tells us the match must continue so back in the ring we go. Rude climbs to the tippy top of the cage and instead of escaping, which would have been a really good idea, dives off hitting piper with a Fist Drop. Piper makes some strange noise like a horse snoring as Rude makes a cover but he only gets two as Piper kicks out. A Piledriver gives Rude time to climb the cage again but while he decides to leave or hit another Fist Drop, Piper shakes the cage and Rude drops onto the cage grapefruits first. A couple of Right Hands and Rude is hanging upside down from the top of the cage. Nothing can stop Piper as he heads for the door. Well, nothing except the cage door that Bobby Heenan slammed into his head anyway. Rude’s back down and makes the cover, gets another two. Bobby Heenan passes Rude some brass knuckles through the bars. A Right Hand by piper and Rude drops the knuckles. Piper finds them and well….. Rude is out. Piper is out of the cage.

Winner: Roddy Piper

Hulk Hogan vs Hercules
WWF Championship

We start with a Test Of Strength. Hercules wins as Hogan drops to a knee. Hogan makes faces and Hulks up and powers his way back to his feet. Hercules is on his way down but he Headbutts Hogan in the gut before lifting him and slamming him into the corner. Hercules peppers Hogan with Elbows and Right Hands before Hogan reverses an Irish Whip and follows Hercules with a Clothesline. Hogan shoots Hercules off the rope and Hercules ducks a Clothesline but is met with a High Knee. Bobby Heenan (him again) tries interfering but Hogan gives chase. Heenan slides into the ring allowing Hercules to ambush Hogan. It doesn’t last and a Big Boot knocks Hercules down. Hogan then Bodyslams Hercules before going for an ELBOW Drop? Hercules moves though and Hogan elbows the canvas. An Irish Whip drops Hogan to the ground where Hercules works over him with shins to Hogan’s lower back.

A big Man Cuddle… sorry Bear Hug slows the pace down but keeps the pressure on Hogan’s lower back before Hercules drops Hogan back first over his knee. Hercules lifts Hogan for a Torture Rack. After a few minutes, Hercules dumps a limp Hogan to the canvas thinking he’s won the match and the title (he hasn’t). Hercules and the ref argue about this (although Dave Hebner doesn’t do a Garvin and punch Hercules) as do commentary. Accepting it, Hercules makes the cover. Hogan kicks out and it’s time for the familiar (or it will be the more of these I do) ‘Hulk Up‘ routine. Hercules’ punches have no effect on Hogan but Hogan’s stagger Hercules. Same when Hogan rams Hercules into the top turnbuckle pad. Boot. Legdrop Of Doom.

Winner: Hulk Hogan (Still WWE Champion)

Randy Savage vs The Ultimate Warrior

Savage attacks Warrior as he enters the ring but Warrior blocks Savage’s attempt to ram Warrior’s head into the turnbuckles and hits Savage’s head into them instead and a running Shoulder Block knocks Savage out of the ring. Warrior goes out after him and Gorilla Presses Savage back into the ring. Savage goes back outside the ring, Warrior gives chase. Savage back in the ring and ambushes Warrior as he gets in. Think Hogan fell for something similar in the last match. Warrior catches Savage as he attempts a High Cross Body and dumps him Tree of Woe style in the corner and stomps him. The ref tries to break it up but Warrior grabs the ref and sits him on the turnbuckles in the opposite corner.

That’s a DQ for manhandling the ref, or at least it SHOULD have been. Savage is back up but Warrior Chops him back into the corner before a 10 Punch Spot. A knee to the back sends Warrior to the outside before Savage climbs to the top turnbuckle and comes down at Warrior with an Axe Handle to the back. Back in the ring Savage grabs Warrior and hits a modified Stun Gun where, instead of lifting Warrior and dropping him over the rope, Savage grabs warriors head and leaps over the top rope dropping Warrior throat first over the rope.

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Blatant choking gets Savage a two count. As does a knee to the skull and a kick and a short Elbow Drop. A Chinlock allows both men to get their breath back before they Clothesline each other knocking both men down. Savage crawls over and gets a two count before climbing to the top and hitting Warrior with an Axe Handle to the skull which only gets a one count. Warrior counters a Suplex with one of his own for a two and Rick Rude is here to pose for some reason. Warrior whips, kicks and Clotheslines Savage before an Atomic Drop gets a two when Savage drapes a foot over the rope. A School Boy by Savage gets a two count and a pose from Rude. A Big Splash is blocked when Savage gets his knees up.

It’s time for Warrior’s ‘Hulk Up’ routine which is shaking the ropes as he gets his second wind. A couple of Clotheslines has Savage dazed and a Running Powerslam probably has him finished. Warrior however is distracted and exits the ring to confront Rude. A short chase ends with Warrior brawling with Rude at ringside. Count Out. Post match Rude takes a clobbering culminating in a Gorilla Press Slam. Doesn’t matter though.

Winner: Randy Savage.

Sean Mooney tells us to keep an eye out for more events (way ahead of you there Sean) and we’re done. Fade to black, Trademark Titan Sports.

Post show: Because this was the first wrestling I ever watched, I probably think of this differently from others. That said I’m aware that to others this is just another bog standard release. It’s decent but nothing more. However it is good as an introduction to wrestling, we saw Hogan, Warrior and Savage who were probably the three biggest stars of WWE at the time. We saw Singles matches, a tag match and a cage match. Wrestling Superheroes is good in that respect.

Match Of The Night: Rude vs Piper. Yes this is a random VHS tape but this is a match that probably should have been on a PPV as it may be one of the best cage matches I’ve seen. If nothing else it’s a heated standard that I have probably based other cage matches on. I strongly advise going out of your way to see this. Plus this, like everything else I’ll cover in this timeline, is available on the WWE Network. We know how much it is, we know the first month is free, go and watch this cage match.

MVP: As this is a mixtape and not a proper show, I’ll miss this one out.

And that is me. I’ve been Stevie C and I can be found on Twitter @Callaweasy2220 for anyone who wants to talk wrestling.

My hands are going blue. I feel I’m about to leap. Hope it’s a good one…….

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“He wants me to rub the moons on his belly? Are you bloody mad?”

Oh boy.


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