John Tenta AKA Earthquake


Indie Wrestler
Jul 22, 2018
In this thread, I wanted to discuss one of my favorite wrestlers from the 1990s, Earthquake. This was a man who was a monster heel when he debuted in The States and had a good career prior in Japan. Earthquake was even named Rookie of The Year in 1987, under his real name John Tenta. Tenta was even a collegiate wrestler at LSU and was an accomplished Sumo Wrestler in Japan.

His first big feud in WWE (WWF at the time) was with Hulk Hogan. He gained attention as a monster heel by putting Hogan on the shelf in a surprise attack. When Hogan returned they had a match at Summerslam, where Hogan won by Count Out. It seemed like at the time WWE was protecting the big man, by not having him take a pin fall loss, to Hulk Hogan of all people. Anyway, we didn't get a re-match at Survivor series that year, but Hogan and Earthquake were the final two in the Royal Rumble match. Hogan went on to win the Royal Rumble and defeat SGT Slaughter for the WWE title at WrestleMania VII. Earthquake went on to Squash Greg Valentine. When asked, Bruce Prichard stated that Hogan didn't pin Quake because the WWE was trying to sell house show tickets. Even then, Quake was winning most of the house show matches.

Earthquake then feuds with Jake The Snake and even squashes his Snake in the process. Then on a taping, Earthquake has some grilled Quakeburgers, made with the remains of Damien (Kayfabe). Talk about Nuclear heat! So how do we capitalize on this WWE? Throw him in a tag team with Tugboat and call them The Natural Disasters, and have them defeat LOD by Count Out at Royal Rumble and not give them another title match until we turn them face. What!? Well, they did get a tag team title win at a House Show though, only to lose it on a taping of Wrestling Challenge. Lost the titles after the challengers (Money Inc) were attacked before the match. Even lost clean. Never understood why Earthquake passed out in the Million Dollar Dream, while Typhoon just stood there on the apron. Oh well...

Then takes a leave of absence. Returns and is defeated / injured (Kayfabe) by Yokozuna and goes to WCW. In WCW, he was given extremely shitty gimmicks I.E The Shark, Avalanche, etc. Side Note: Stevie Ray tells a hilarious story about Quake going ape shit in the locker room after Arn Anderson had him removed from a major angle. Seemed to be a common trend in WCW, the shitty gimmicks and back stage politics.

The return to WWE in the late 1990s, he was repackaged as a masked wrestler in the Oddities as Golga and was significantly smaller than he was before. Didn't go anywhere.

Anyway, why would WWE not capitalize on the Monster Heel they created? If he was brought in just to put Hogan over, why not pin him at Summerslam? Why not have a follow up match after that Summerslam? Why not have the face off at the following Summerslam? I mean, they were the final two in the Royal Rumble that year, and they had unfinished business. It was practically there. Why throw him in a tag team, when he could have served better as a monster heel. He would have been a better match for Bret at SNME than Papa Shango. Hell, they could have had a decent program over a few months. I know they were banking on Sid Justice, but he was unreliable. Especially during soft ball season. Let him face Warrior for the title at Survivor Series. The final elimination match meant nothing, so why not have you top title defended? You didn't have to give him the WWF Title, but he could have been better used than squashing Hercules, Adam Bomb, and Greg Valentine at WrestleMania. He would have even been a better fit in the Million Dollar Corp than Bundy was. Fine, you really have to have the tag team, keep them heel and let them beat LOD and have a longer than 85 day reign. Let them work the magic and have an awesome feud with the Steiners. So many missed opportunities here. Don't get me wrong, he had a better career than most, but WWE left a lot of money on the table with this guy.