Aftershock: The WWF Experiences An Earthquake!

Brian Damage

When a new wrestler debuted with the World Wrestling Federation, they usually received several weeks of build up with vignettes and video packages. This was especially true for the WWF back in the late 80’s throughout the 1990’s. For the 6ft 7in over 460 pound former sumo wrestler named John Tenta…he was one of the few exceptions to the rule. Despite not getting any major hype or build, Tenta would rumble onto the scene and make a bigger impact in the company than most.

It all began on October 2nd, 1989, on an edition of WWF Superstars. Dino Bravo along with his manager Jimmy Hart…were claiming that Bravo was the strongest man in the entire WWF. For months, Dino Bravo had given himself the moniker of “Canada’s Strongest Man.” On this particular episode of Superstars, Jimmy Hart promised that Bravo would prove he was the strongest of the strong. Hart would pick the biggest, heaviest fan from the crowd in attendance and show everyone just how strong Dino Bravo was.

‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund was in the ring when Jimmy Hart began scouring for the biggest fan he could find. He went from one side of the ring to the other…even hopping on the turnbuckles to look into the rafters for his pick. The cameraman panned the crowd and focused on a rather heavyset man sitting by himself up high in the arena. Other fans, actually starting pointing at the guy to get Hart’s attention.

When Hart caught a glimpse of the big man…he chose him to test Dino’s strength. The rather large fan seemed caught off guard that Jimmy Hart had selected him. He seemed embarrassed and bashful at first, but the unnamed fan decided to take Hart up on his offer. So the big man made his way down the steps and climbed into the ring.

He was immediately interviewed by Okerlund, who seemed in awe of the man’s gigantic size. The man said his name was John and that he weighed 465 pounds. That seemed to worry Bravo’s manager, who felt that perhaps he got more than what he bargained for. Bravo, on the other hand, seemed poised and confident that he could do a series of pushups with the much larger fan named John on his back.

After Bravo got into position, John straddled his back and looked like he put all of his tremendous girth on it. Dino Bravo would do six successful pushups with John on his back before Hart pulled John off of him. The challenged was made to the then reigning Intercontinental champion Ultimate warrior to do better than that.

The Ultimate Warrior accepted the challenged and entered the ring where he got in the pushup position with John straddling his back. At that point, you could see both Hart and Bravo give a thumbs up sign to John…who drop all of his weight on the Warrior’s back. That led to Bravo dropping several elbows to the fallen Warrior.

Then, in a shocking twist, John delivered not one, but two vicious splashes to the injured Ultimate Warrior. Vince McMahon, who was on commentary, was disgusted and called John a ringer for Jimmy Hart. Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, who was also on commentary, claimed that The Ultimate Warrior failed in the challenge and Bravo was indeed the stronger man.

In the following week, it would be revealed that John was indeed a ringer and was working with Bravo and Jimmy Hart all along. His new name was ‘The Canadian Earthquake,’ and as we would soon find out….was going to terrorize the WWF locker room for months to come. Soon, the Canadian was dropped from his name and he was known simply as Earthquake. Earthquake would destroy the likes of Jake Roberts pet snake Damien and even severely injure WWF champion Hulk Hogan. What an initial impact John ‘Earthquake’ Tenta would make in the company.

3 thoughts on “Aftershock: The WWF Experiences An Earthquake!

  1. Truly one of the most underrated wrestlers in WWF history, both as a single and tag team Earthquake could move for a guy his size and was a classic monster heel. The Natural Disasters were bad ass and it is a shame they didn’t have a longer run.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ultimate Warrior was such a gullible chump with challenges. He fell for this one, and he also got his ass handed to him by Ravishing Rick Rude with gym equipment in a bodybuilding contest.
    Let’s be nice and not mention how Jake The Snake tricked him in his feud with Undertaker.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love Earthquake. Dude was underrated and he could move well for such a big dude. I hadn’t discovered wrestling at that point but having gone back retroactively on what happened and such. I found myself wanting to root for the Earthquake during his feud with Hogan and I wished I wrote that letter that Jimmy Hart read during a promo when Hogan was out of scene for a bit as that writer thanked Earthquake for destroying Hogan.


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