Saturday Night’s Main Event 19
Date: January 7, 1989
Location: USF Sun Dome, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
This would be just before the 89 Rumble where nothing of note happened. Savage is world champion but is losing his mind very slowly as he descends into being a crazy man. There’s not a ton to say here and the card looks pretty bland. Let’s get to it though as anything in the 80s should be at least passable.
Warrior will defend his title.
Honky will get his title back.
Beefcake will cut Bass’ hair.
Akeem will beat Hogan.
Hogan says he’ll win as we hit the theme song.
Vince’s voice is especially deep here. He and Jesse run down the card and Jesse calls Gene a bald midget.
Ron Bass is with Gene and says he’ll cut Brutus’ hair.
Brutus says this is about hair, not honor, but Gene wouldn’t get that. I chuckled.
Brutus Beefcake vs. Ron Bass
This was a fairly brutal (for its time) feud as Brutus had cut up Bass’ whip so Bass had used his boot spur on Brutus’ head, cutting him badly. They put a big red X on the screen with the word censored over it, even though Brutus moved around and you could see the cut anyway. That cost Brutus the IC Title shot he had at Summerslam. This is hair vs. hair.
I don’t think they’ve both been in the ring for more than 30 seconds yet. It’s pretty much all Brutus at this point and you know what happened because I said that. Bass gets a nice piledriver. There’s very little to this match at this point. Bass takes forever to go for the pin and after arguing with the referee he walks into a sleeper and of course he’s out in about 4 seconds.
After the commercial he cuts the back of his hair as Bass is apparently out cold for about 5 minutes from a 4 second sleeper. DAMN he actually did cut it. Always nice to see them actually do what they’re supposed to do. Perfect timing that he wakes up just when the haircut is over isn’t it?
Rating: D+. This was pretty weak but not awful I guess. This was your run of the mill thing but Bass was your standard heel and Beefcake was WAY over so it works out fine I guess. This was ok for an opener and it does give a blowoff to the feud so it served its purpose in that sense.
Slick says Akeem will take care of Hogan tonight.
Hogan, with Liz, says exactly what you would expect him to say. Savage comes up to second him to help out with Boss Man.
Hulk Hogan vs. Akeem
It’s 1989. How much explanation do you need here? Hogan gets a fucking ERUPTION. Savage stays in the back with Gene to keep an eye on things for no apparent reason. He doesn’t like Hogan looking at Liz. The Mountain Dew Slam of the Night is about Demolition. At least they didn’t do it in the middle of a match this time.
Like an idiot Hogan hits the floor and goes after Boss Man for no apparent reason. Akeem takes over off a missed slam and I think he does nothing but forearms and splashes. Hogan of course takes over again and does his dance. Oh dear.
There goes the referee and Boss Man comes in. We cut to the back and Savage says Hogan will be ok. Liz bounces to the back to find Savage who says Hogan will be fine. This is brilliant stuff. Hogan makes his comeback and hits the slam but Boss Man gets a nightstick shot for the DQ. Savage runs in with a chair as the heels go after Liz.
Rating: C-. This was ALL about the angle and Akeem was just there as a placeholder. The angle was brilliant though and Hogan vs. any giant is always worth a glance if nothing else. This would be the main event of the second Main Event where Savage would just erupt and turn heel.
Honky and Hart say they’ll get the IC Title back. Apparently he would be the first person to regain it. Not really even close but whatever.
Warrior says what is normal to him.
Intercontinental Title: Ultimate Warrior vs. Honky Tonk Man
So Warrior beat Honky in about 30 seconds in a famous match at Summerslam and this is the token rematch as NO ONE thinks Honky has a chance in hell. I can barely hear his music. That’s odd. Vince and Jesse agree that if Honky gets it back he’s the first ever two time champion. Do Don Muraco, Pedro Morales or Tito Santana mean nothing to these people? Dude that’s just pathetic.
Honky tries to run and in a SICK display of strength, Warrior gets him in a press and carries him about ten feet back to the ring. The guy was strong if nothing else. They’re going to have Heenan on a mic later when he’s at ringside. That could be FUN. Hart slips in the Megaphone which gets us to even at least. How exactly do you slam someone WITH AUTHORITY! Warrior no sells everything and a shoulder block ends this massacre.
Rating: D-. This was just bad. Honky was just worthless by this point and it was really clear too. Warrior was starting his mega push that would culminate at Mania 6. Anyway, this was a squash and a bad one as neither was really any good in the ring at all.
Slick wonders if the Mega Powers are still together.
Jesse is with Red Rooster. This was when he was somehow more worthless than he is today. Heenan was managing him and he was really inept so Heenan was taking all the credit.
Tito Santana vs. Terry Taylor
Remember that Heenan is on a mic so we can hear everything that he’s saying. Taylor is undefeated somehow. George Steinbrenner is here. They speed it up so if nothing else it’s interesting looking. Heenan argues with Steinbrenner which is interesting as hell obviously. We shift over to a more common style of match. This is interesting as it’s mainly just Bobby talking and you rarely hear from him in the manager role.
After some stupid stuff from Taylor Heenan goes off on him and they shove each other. This is Santana doing most of the work. Keep in mind that I can’t stand Taylor at all. This is boring as hell. Santana gets a rollup for the pin. A boring argument starts, leading to Taylor vs. Brooklyn Brawler of all things. Heenan gets beaten up afterwards.
Rating: D. This was about as boring as you can ask for. It was all storyline but they left out the interesting part of the storyline. This was just boring as hell and I couldn’t care less.
Gene is with some young guy named Curt Hennig who has a new move called the Hennig Plex.
Curt Hennig vs. Koko B. Ware
Hennig isn’t perfect or anything yet so don’t expect a ton. Koko gets his normal stuff in here as I can’t imagine this going much of anywhere since there are about five minutes left and we’ve been promised time with Hogan. And yep after Koko makes a mistake the Perfectplex debuts to end it.
Rating: N/A. Too short to mean anything and it was just to showcase Hennig. Nothing special here at all.
Hogan talks a lot and says everything is cool. Savage says something unintelligible. Jesse doesn’t believe them and we’re out.
Overall Rating: C-. Considering this was all about setting up Main Event II and ultimately Mania 5, this was definitely a success. The wrestling isn’t terrible other than the IC match but what did you expect from those two? This is nothing classic but it’s certainly good as it served its purpose. Nothing worth going out of your way to see or anything but a fun show.
Saturday Night’s Main Event 16
Date: April 30, 1988
Location: Springfield Civic Center, Springfield Massachusetts
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
So this is the first post Mania 4 show meaning Savage is the brand new world champion. His first defense is against One Man Gang. Go figure I guess. Other than that this card is pretty weak but it’s 1988 WWF. How could you fuck this one up? Let’s get to it as I start counting the ways.
Duggan says he’ll win. The opening interview music would become Jake Roberts’.
Heenan and Hercules say it won’t be one on one.
One Man Gang will win the title tonight.
I love that FREAK OUT FREAK OUT thing Savage did. He says he won’t lose.
Let’s hit that intro. No Hogan advertised. Thankfully the image is right as it’s Savage and Liz. Vince and Jesse run the card down and here we go.
We see Duggan blasting Andre over the head with the 2x4 which of course knocked him out cold. Heenan and company say they’ll win. Andre does Duggan’s HOOOOOOOOOOO. That was AWESOME.
Hercules vs. Jim Duggan
Andre cheated Duggan at Mania so Duggan went after him on TV…giving us this somehow. Duggan says he wants Andre and will go through Hercules to get to Andre. Simple and yet he makes it cool sounding. The guy was over as hell for some reason so there we go. Duggan gets a POP. Apparently Jesse knows what a wounded water buffalo in heat sounds like.
Jesse talks about Vince having an illegitimate son. WOW. Duggan audibly calls Hercules a son of a bitch. Ok then. All Duggan to start us off here but standard cheating ends that theory pretty quickly. This is a total contrast of styles to say the least so it’s mainly punching and kicking stuff.
Duggan grabs the board and everyone bails as we head to commercial. They’re just kind of meandering along here with little to no flow to this whole thing. Naturally we hit the bearhug since this is 1988 after all. Duggan’s face while being choked is great. Three point clothesline hits and here’s Heenan for the DQ. Ultimate Warrior, who Hercules had a mini feud with, comes in for the save and start his feud with Andre.
Rating: D-. Even though this was all story advancement, it still was pretty weak. Nothing good at all here and even though I’ve always liked Hercules, I hated this match quite a bit. Just a total clash of styles.
Jimmy Hart says he’ll repay the haircut Brutus gave him at Mania.
Brutus says he’ll cut all of Davis’ hair, and he has Hart’s hair with him. Sure why not?
Danny Davis vs. Brutus Beefcake
Based on the two interviews I think you get the story here. Davis is the former referee that always cheated and is now a bad heel. Jesse sounds stunned when Davis goes on offense. That’s hilarious for some reason. They botch something and down goes Davis. DAMN Beefcake is over here. The sleeper goes on and this is academic. Post match Davis gets his hair cut…kind of. Oh and he gets a skunk stripe put on his back and hair.
Rating: N/A. Just a pointless match to get Brutus over a bit more. That works as it was just a comedy thing for the most part but it was really short. Post match stuff went on a good bit long though.
Slick says he’ll get the belt for the Gang tonight in the tournament rematch. Somehow that takes a minute and a half.
WWF Title: One Man Gang vs. Randy Savage
Any bets here? I love Slick. Vince says Savage will be sky high for the match. That’s just funny. The interview would suggest Vince is right. Interesting little note that is a sign of the times: all six guys have gotten entrances tonight, but these are the first with music. Savage chases Slick to the back and we’re ready to go. This is exactly what you would expect given who is in there.
Gang is rather sloppy and that’s as nice as I can make it. In a painful looking move, Savage grabs Gang by the beard and jumps over the ropes to clothesline Gang. Freaking OW man. Slick is back now and he gets Gang the advantage which he already had. This is pure formula stuff but a white hot crowd is helping things a lot.
Savage hits the always sweet top rope double axehandle. I love that move and he did it better than anyone else. A second rope splash more or less seals this as Gang misses it. WOW that was worded badly. A cane shot from Slick misses and hits Gang and there’s your elbow. Guess what happens next.
Rating: C-. Simple yet it did its job to perfection. This was to get Savage an easy title defense on TV and it did just that. Short at around 6 minutes so this was perfect. Savage was over as hell if nothing else so the crowd was very into this.
The British Bulldogs say they’ll protect Matilda drom Demolition. They were on their very last legs as a team here due to Dynamite just falling apart.
Fuji and Demolition say nothing of note.
British Bulldogs vs. Demolition
This is non title for absolutely no apparent reason. Demolition had won the titles at Mania to start their year plus long title reign which is never going to be broken. Damn their music is awesome. Smash and Davey Boy start us off and Smith has nothing at all. I love the idea of Demolition: no finesse or anything close to it.
Instead just hit the other guys really, REALLY hard and do it a lot. Simply yet effective. The Bulldogs have a ton of support here but this is a glorified squash. Smith gets the hot tag and uses some very jobber level offense. That’s just weird to say. The Bulldogs chase Fuji to the back and once they’re back they have pieces of his cane which cause the DQ. Odd ending to say the least.
Rating: N/A. Nowhere near enough action to really give a grade here. The ending was just WEIRD and I have no idea why this was nontitle. For the life of me I do not get that. These two teams could not take more different paths after this either.
Billy Graham says Muraco is awesome and they’ll beat up DiBiase. No not really but it sounded good.
Don Muraco vs. Ted DiBiase
I love the running joke Jesse uses of Graham stealing all of Ventura’s gimmicks. That always made me laugh. DiBiase cuts his usual great promo. Him calling Okerlund little man was just greatness. DiBiase comes out while Muraco’s music is still playing which is odd as hell. They need to bring back the individualized logos for wrestlers too. I love those things.
Muraco starts off fast and DiBiase looks great at bumping as always. This is very similar to their Mania match which was ok I guess. DiBiase is more or less dominating here which is fine. Muraco hits a bad looking Russian legsweep which didn’t get a name. DiBiase gets a pin off a slam as Muraco had an unseen foot on the ropes. There’s another weird ending as that’s going around tonight.
Rating: D+. Nothing special at all here but it filled in some time. I’ve seen far worse though so this is fine I guess. The ending was just kind of stupid. Scratch the just kind of part actually.
Savage rambles a lot.
Rick Rude vs. Koko B. Ware
And here’s your filler to close the show as almost no one was watching at this point. Rude needs to shut up so we can get this over with. Rude gets more of an entrance than Rude. That’s just stupid. Hall of Famer my ass. Seriously, what are you expecting here? Go with what you would expect here and that’s exactly what you get. Rude Awakening after a missed dive at the ropes ends this.
Rating: N/A. Seriously, this is the most cookie cutter match I have ever seen. Fine way to close I guess.
Overall Rating: D. Just pure Mania follow up here with nothing new coming out of it and mainly rematches from the PPV. That’s fine I guess but it was nothing special really. It’s watchable but don’t expect anything at all to be special here. Nothing worth seeing but it’s not a bad show or anything like that.
Saturday Night’s Main Event 15
Date: March 12, 1988
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
We’re two weeks away from Mania so what do you think this show is going to be about? Go on and take a guess. That’s right: it’s going to be about kangaroos. What else would this be about? Anyway, we’ve got nothing of note other than what would be the main event in the middle of the show with Savage vs. DiBiase. Other than that, there’s not much other than a Hogan vs. Race match that has a rather important moment which we’ll get to when it gets here. Let’s do it.
Savage is going to bounce DiBiase like a bad check. Nice line.
DiBiase says he’s better than Savage.
Brutus says his match will be a hair raising delight.
One Man Gang says he’s not afraid of Ken Patera. Well Slick says it but you get the idea.
Race says Hogan will bow.
Hogan says Race will be crowned.
Theme song hits. Get your reinforcements.
We see a clip from Andre vs. Hogan II where Andre allegedly beat Hogan for the belt in the most famous ending to a match ever up to that time. Actually scratch that as their first match was more famous by far. If you don’t know that story, look it up as I know I’ve written about it before.
Jimmy Hart and Valentine say they’ll take down Beefcake, Valentine’s former partner.
Beefcake keeps up his string of horrendous puns.
Brutus Beefcake vs. Greg Valentine
These two used to be tag champions if you didn’t know that already. Valentine of course starts running from Beefcake. Can you blame him? Ventura and McMahon argue a lot. What else is new? The overselling of atomic drops never gets old at all. It’s just hilarious period. Figure four doesn’t work due to the ropes. This is incredibly not interesting although it’s not bad.
And here’s Honky Tonk Man. He was fighting Brutus at Mania. I almost forgot about that. He winds up hurting things as Beefcake would have been counted out if he hadn’t talked forever. We get another figure four after the break. Oh never mind it’s an elbow to the leg. At least he’s working on it.
This just isn’t interesting. Beefcake wasn’t much in this time period so that likely has something to do with it. Sleeper is put on but Valentine gets him to the floor. And we get the oldest ending in the world as it’s a German/belly to back suplex with Brutus getting his arm up while Valentine doesn’t. That’s just old at this point. Glad it’s over if nothing else. Beefcake cuts some of his hair too.
Rating: D. Just hated this for some reason. It’s a boring match with no purpose about a team that split up a year ago. I know things were slower back in the day but this is ridiculous. Just never could get into this at all and I didn’t like it period. That’s rare for me but I was bored silly here.
Heenan says Race will finish what Andre started and end Mania.
Hogan says he will never bow. I wonder if he’ll break.
Hulk Hogan vs. Harley Race
HOLY CRAP THEY KEPT IT RIGHT! What I mean by that is Hogan’s shirt is torn both in the interview and in the intro. See, back in the day these interviews might be taped 4 months in advance in multi-hour long sessions. This would result in problems such as titles being different and clothing changing. In his interview, Hogan ripped up his shirt and he came out with a ripped shirt again. Most impressive indeed.
Hogan beats the hell out of Race before the bell rings. Fucking twat waffle. They start brawling and Race takes over like he should be doing the entire time. It’s sad to see Race having to do this as he was a better worker than Hogan could ever dream of being. This is far closer to a brawl than an actual match which I think was the best choice in this case. Race hits the belly to belly and doesn’t even cover here. Good.
That is a terrible finisher no matter who uses it. This is your run of the mill Hogan match so there you are. What else do you expect here? Hogan is laid on a table and Race dives at him, missing though. The important thing here though is that the table spiked up and went into Race, injuring him and more or less ending his in ring career.
The headbutt from the top hits but it’s Hogan in the 80s. What do you think he’s going to do? The usual ends it with what looked a lot like an edit. Heenan comes in and gets beaten up. Oh wait no he doesn’t as he DIVES over the top rope. That looked awesome.
Rating: B-. Pretty solid brawl here but nothing amazing. Race vs. Hogan is something close to a dream match but not from this era. Still though it’s cool to hear names like that announced as opponents given what they mean to the business as a whole. That being said, this was a decent match for Hogan’s standards.
DiBiase says he’s better than Savage and that he destroyed Hulkamania.
Savage isn’t afraid of DiBiase or whatever surprise he has planned. My money is on it being Andre.
Ted DiBiase vs. Randy Savage
And I’m right. It’s Andre and Vince is FURIOUS. Vince if you hate your own booking that much maybe you should step down. With Virgil and Andre interfering Savage is in trouble earlier and as I’m typing that DiBiase messes up. That’s never happened before of course. This match is more or less awesome just based on who is in there. Jesse thinks that might not be Dave Hebner. Damn that was a brilliant angle.
DiBiase busts out the spinning toehold! Is there a class on that at West Texas State or something? The heels triple team Savage and Virgil is thrown out for it. This is solid so far but again it feels like they’re off a bit. They might not be wanting to do any of the stuff they had planned for Mania. The referee goes down “by mistake” and Andre beats the hell out of Savage on the floor.
Liz runs off and of course comes back with Hogan. Savage gets counted out first though and DiBiase wins it. In a stupid thing, when Hogan gets there with a chair he throws it in the ring where either heel could have picked it up. Genius isn’t he?
Rating: B-. Solid but not great. This was about setting up Mania and obviously this wasn’t the projected final so it’s not like they were giving anything away. These two could always have a good match and this was no exception. I liked it but not as much as the mania one actually.
The Islanders are ready for the Bees.
Islanders vs. Killer Bees
This is actually a 2/3 falls match but only the first fall is shown. That’s what the live crowd would get. Nice. Good grief the tag division was epic back in the day. These are midcard tag teams and there were tag team jobbers. That’s so insane by comparison to today when you think about it.
Heenan is in a beekeeper’s outfit which is hilarious. They botch the living hell out of something as the Bees got a clean pin on a rollup but the referee won’t count it because I guess Toma missed a spot. It looked awful and Haku gets a rollup for the pin to end what was really the first fall. Islanders won it 2-0 I believe.
Rating: D. Match was so fast and such a clusterfuck at the end that it was just a joke. Nothing special here at all and was nothing but time filler. These guys would have far better matches later.
Slick insults the Olympic team.
Ken Patera vs. One Man Gang
My how the mighty have fallen. Patera was a dark horse to main event Mania 2 and now he’s jobbing here. He was just a joke here and way too old. Gang jumps him and it’s pretty clear as to what’s going to happen here. Gang is put in a bearhug and it’s fairly decent looking actually. This match already needs to end. Now we get the full nelson. Gang uses the power of the fat to take over and this is just bad. Gang gets the pin off a damn clothesline. Really? He hit a clothesline and just fell on him. This was sad.
Rating: F. Patera had no business being in a ring at this point. Prison took a lot out of him to say the least. This was just pitiful. Not bad, but pitiful. Ok it was bad too.
Hogan says he’s ready for Mania and that’s it.
Overall Rating: D. For a show that was to set up Mania, this didn’t do that great a job of it. There is one match that makes you think of Mania and other than that it’s more or less a clusterfuck. I wasn’t impressed at all and you could tell the guys were kind of sleepwalking through it. Take a pass here.
Saturday Night’s Main Event 21
Date: May 27, 1989
Location: Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Des Moines, Iowa
Commentators: Jesse Ventura, Vince McMahon
This is actually kind of a famous show if nothing else for one match. It’s the first big show after Mania 5 so Hogan is world champion once again, I believe for only the second time actually. He’s defending the title against Boss Man in a cage match that I’m sure a lot of you have seen. It’s famous for one big bump and not much else. This should be fun though as we’re in a transitional period around this time with Hogan being champion but Warrior on the rise. It’s a new beginning really so let’s get to it.
We open with a promo from Hogan inside a cage. Generic but fine. Pretty sure there’s only one cage wall there and he’s in front of a green screen.
Cue theme song.
Who would have believed that at the end of the day, Vince McMahon would win more WWF titles than Jesse? That’s just amusing. We run down what sounds like a decent card.
We get a clip of Mania where Rude won the IC Title from Warrior with the famous finish of Heenan holding the leg. Heenan says win at any cost. This is his first title? Really?
Intercontinental Title: Rick Rude vs. Jim Duggan
Oh and Duggan is now King. It’s by far the least remembered of the reigns with that, including King Haku. The belt looks extra shiny here. Duggan with the crown looks hilarious. It’s Memorial Day Weekend if nothing else so there’s a point to the patriotic gimmick if nothing else. He comes out to what would become Lawler’s music. I always loved the jobbers carrying the throne to the ring.
It’s like “do your job bitches before I squash you.” Jesse mentions that he used to be a Navy SEAL. That’s just awesome. Duggan uses the robe as a bull cape which is kind of funny I guess. Duggan takes over early as you would expect him to. Rude gets a boot up to stop though and we go into something a bit more traditional. The tights Rude wore were completely awesome. Duggan is RIDICULOUSLY over.
We get a false finish as Duggan gets the pin but Rude’s foot is on the rope. Here’s Haku who Duggan beat for the crown. Rude makes a comeback but rams Duggan’s head into the buckle which of course doesn’t work at all. Duggan gets a normal comeback for him but a hot crowd is helping a lot. The clothesline hits and Duggan wins by countout. His music changes when he wins for some reason.
Rating: C-. Not terrible for what it was. This definitely got the crowd into things to say the least. It was a TV match and that’s all it was supposed to be. On Memorial Day, this is perfectly acceptable. Not great, but it was certainly watchable.
Jim Neidhart is with Gene. He has….RANDY SAVAGE tonight? The hell? Anvil vs. Savage? Why? According to Neidhart to get to Hogan, Savage has to go through Anvil. WHAT THE HELL?
Vince thinks Anvil will win. I want some of the cocaine he’s on to say that.
Savage says he’s looking to the future and wants Hogan again. Sherri is his new manager too. That went on for about two years which is far longer than I would have thought.
Jim Neidhart vs. Randy Savage
Ok seriously, who is Savage fighting tonight? This joke has gone on long enough. Who is Savage really fighting? Nothing against Anvil as he’s fine, but dude, this is RANDY SAVAGE and it’s less than 2 months since his year long title reign ended at Wrestlemania. Why is Anvil out there for this? It just doesn’t make anything resembling sense at all.
They’re making this out to be Savage vs. Bret circa 1992. When did Anvil and Hogan become buddies? Sherri grabs the leg of course and it does nothing of note. Neidhart hooks a bearhug as I’m not even sure what I’m watching. Again, it’s not bad. It’s just odd. We get a great piece of insight from Vince: Sherri is a different human being than Liz.
You mean, they don’t just put different wigs and outfits on them and hope we don’t notice? THANK YOU OWNER OF THE DAMN COMPANY! Sweet damn she’s freaky looking. Anvil gets a BIG kick out, likely throwing Savage high enough in the air that he could have hit the top rope. That’s borderline Yokozuna levels. Anvil gets a slingshot shoulder block which would freaking HURT.
Notice the cameras always getting shots of Sherri’s ass. It’s clear Vince was running the company back then given what we know now. This is more or less ALL Anvil here. Sherri unhooks Anvil when his arms are tied up and it lets Savage reset the universe to its natural order as he takes over. Wow that was a long sentence. The elbow finishes soon after.
Rating: B-. This was WAY better than it had any right to be. I don’t think anyone was idiotic enough to think that Anvil was going to win, but still it was nice to see him get in such a long stretch of offense and have time being in control. This was a decent enough match and it got Sherri over as a threat to Savage’s opponents, which was the point here. Not bad at all.
Slick and Boss Man say they’re ready for Hogan. Slick is Jesse’s height. That’s very odd indeed. Boss Man is just pure fat here. In 90-91 he would drop about 90 pounds and become freaking lethal. Slick says there’s a surprise for Hogan.
WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Big Boss Man
This is in a cage remember. Slick says that the surprise is Zeus. He stands on the steps and slams the cage door, blocking Hogan’s entrance. Damn it I was hoping I was done with this guy. Ok here’s the concept of Zeus. Hogan made a movie called No Holds Barred.
The main villain in that movie was named Tom Lister, playing the character of Zeus, a monster fighter that was a crazed wrestler. Hogan played a character that more or less was himself named Rip. At the end of the movie, Rip beats Zeus as you would expect him to. So what this would be is Zeus the character coming after the actor that played the character Rip.
In other words, a character played by an actor is coming after a character played by a character played by Terry Bollea. Now here’s the big problem: LISTER CANNOT WRESTLE. Vince of course contemplated putting him vs. Hogan in SkyDome at Mania 6 for the title. Yeah around this time WWF was in REAL financial trouble until Mania saved the freaking company. Anyway, this is Zeus’ debut.
Remember, this is a movie character going after an actor that played a character that beat his character up. Yeah it was idiotic but oddly enough few got the problem, mainly because most kids were so freaked out by Zeus, including me, that they didn’t get how stupid this was. Oh and remember Hogan hasn’t even come to the arena yet.
We get a clip of No Holds Barred, showing Zeus beating up a street fighter. That movie needs to be on DVD. It just does. Hogan comes out and can’t get in. Zeus beats Hogan down as you would expect. Remember, this would be like Christian Bale claiming to be Batman beating up Liam Neeson. Not Ra’s-as-Ghul, but Liam Neeson. Boss Man dominates early but here comes the champion as you would expect.
See here, the fans are cheering and money was coming in. BIG difference to today. He hits what would be called a spinebuster on Hogan but doesn’t have a name other than “look at that maneuver!” Boss Man gets over the top of the cage but since Boss Man can’t climb down with any kind of speed, Hogan gets there in time. We then get the mega spot of the match, which really isn’t much by today’s standards.
With Boss Man on the top of the cage and Hogan on the top rope, Hogan suplexes Boss Man to the mat. I think it’s because of the size and era that this is considered such a great bump. They’re up about 45 seconds later and everything is fine. Boss Man has handcuffs which don’t work of course. Ah never mind it’s just a chain. Both guys get rammed into the cage and they’re both down.
This time it’s just for a few seconds though. Boss Man is bleeding a bit. The usual stuff ends it as Hogan goes over the top to get to the floor. For those of you that don’t remember, Slick is more or less Pope minus wrestling. I forgot to mention that Slick runs in and there’s a mix up, causing Boss Man to get cuffed to the rope. Hogan beats Slick up afterwards.
Rating: B-. It’s a Hogan cage match. That’s all there is to it. The bump is nice, but other than that there just isn’t much here. Hogan vs. a monster was where he was at his best and this came off just fine. It’s no classic or anything, but for a TV match this was quite good.
Jesse is with the Brainbusters and Heenan who says he’s getting the tag belts tonight. The wrestlers, shockingly enough, agree. Seeing Anderson in a WWF ring is always just weird to see.
Demolition say their usual awesome stuff.
Tag Titles: Brainbusters vs. Demolition
Damn that music is awesome. The red tongues were always a nice touch too. Tully and Smash start. I wonder if Darsow as Krusher Khrushchev ever fought the Horsemen. I wouldn’t think so. Arn gets the hell out of him. Jesse talks about how often Demolition tags in and out. THAT is what an analyst is supposed to do. So far this has been a total squash.
In what I think was a mistake, Tully gets knocked over the top and lands on Bobby. I think that was a mistake. Ah there we are as the Busters take over for once. Tully is a master of getting people riled up. Smash is the…..whatever the hell you call Demolition, in peril here as we hit the double knockdown.
In a very unique move, Tully sneaks to the floor and pulls Axe down so Smash can’t make the tag. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. Smash throws the referee across the ring for the DQ. There would be a rematch on the next SNME.
Rating: C. Formula stuff and it worked just fine. The ending was weak though, although it set up a rematch so I can’t complain there. This wasn’t a classic or anything, but it came off pretty well. Me liking both teams likely has something to do with it though.
Savage says he wants Hogan.
Boris Zhukov vs. Jimmy Snuka
This is your run of the mill “we’ve got like 4 minutes left and no one major other than Hogan hasn’t been interviewed yet so here’s a bullshit match for you” match to close the show. The splash ends this in MAYBE a minute.
Rating: N/A. The description of the match I wrote sums this up perfectly.
Hogan yells about Zeus and every word he says makes this whole angle seem all the more stupid. Vince is listed as the Executive Producer in the credits. How did we never catch onto that?
Overall Rating: B+. That’s higher than any of the matches, but this was a DAMN good show. There’s nothing bad on here and everything came off really well. For a free TV show, this was freaking great. Three title matches, a better than it should have been Savage match and a squash with a cool finishers makes this great. Loved it.
Saturday Night’s Main Event 4
Date: January 4, 1986
Location: USF Sun Dome, Tampa Florida
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
We’re in that awkward period for the company here where no one really had anything resembling a clue as to what to do as far as major stories. With the abomination that was Mania 2 about 3 months away, there is next to nothing set up or in the works for it. I wouldn’t put much stock into this show, but let’s get to it.
We open with Hogan and Gene preparing for Hogan’s match by drinking some protein drink. He has Terry Funk tonight and calls him the Rattlesnake. They go through the whole Florida theme and it’s a bit odd to say the least. Since this is from 24/7, all the sounds are edited and the theme songs are messed up, meaning no great entrance music.
Vince runs down the card and yeah it’s pretty uninteresting. Jesse comes in to talk, leading into this. Jesse brings Heenan in for commentary on the first match since he’ll be busy.
Jesse Ventura/Roddy Piper/Bob Orton vs. Cousin Luke/Uncle Elmer/Hillbilly Jim
Jim is the most talented of the face hillbilly team. What does that tell you? Piper and Orton say funny things about the hillbillies. He was a total master on the mic in this era. The hillbillies say generic hillbilly stuff. The mat is dark gray and the ropes are mixed up, as in they go blue, red then white. It’s weirder than it sounds. Also, the ring looks TINY. Uncle Elmer and Ventura start. Elmer is REALLY fat.
Wow it’s odd hearing Heenan from this era. It really is. He’s a totally different commentator. He’s still his usual jerky self, but his voice sounds different to put it mildly. Luke…sucks. That’s all there is to it. I mean he sucks HARD. Naturally he gets beaten down for the majority of the match. Piper was still moving in the ring at this time and was far better at wrestling than he was given credit for.
Jesse’s wrestling was underrated. He knew how to sell and could work a crowd really well. Luke gets his ass handed to him for a good while. We get the classic ref doesn’t see the tag spot which is one of the easiest ways in the world to get heat on someone. Piper beats up Uncle Elmer, who is like 6’7 and close to 500lbs on his own. It’s rather amusing. We get a melee and after a cast shot to Luke, Piper puts him to sleep to end a glorified squash.
Rating: D. Weak stuff here but like I said, I’d expect a lot of that. There was heat from the crowd, but when the third best in ring guy is Hillbilly Jim, it’s a bad sign. This just didn’t work and felt weak.
We see a quick replay from the last SNME where Jimmy got branded by the JYD. JYD agrees to a….water slide contest? Ok then. JYD wins. This took like a minute. Terry Funk is there for no explained reason. Oh he wants a tan for when he gets pictures taken after winning the world title.
We see Hogan losing to Funk in Denver by DQ and getting branded, setting this up.
JYD will be in Hogan’s corner. Wasn’t he at the water park?
WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Terry Funk
Hogan is in blue here as I think this was on the SNME DVD. Yeah it was. They botch an Irish Whip reversal sequence early in the match but it comes off ok I guess. It’s weird seeing Hogan in there with Funk. That’s just an odd combination if there ever was one. JYD keeps annoying Jimmy Hart.
Hart manages Funk in case you didn’t get that idea. We get a nice segment where Funk keeps dropping down and Hogan keeps stepping on his back. Simple but effective. Funk throws chairs, nothing comes of it. Crowd LOVES Hogan to put it mildly. We get a low blow which wasn’t a common move back in the day. And just as I say that he gets crotched on the top rope. Funk gets some tape and chokes Hogan to take over.
Piledriver gets two. GO TO MEMPHIS! You’d be champion for 3 months since Hogan would be in the hospital that long. And now all of a sudden Hogan can’t feel pain. Oddly enough Hart gets a shot in with the branding iron to get a cover for Funk. Naturally Hogan gets his foot on the rope and Funk thinks he’s won. I guess even legends can be idiots like that. Hogan waits on him and takes his damn head off with a lariat for the pin.
Rating: C-. Nothing classic at all, but for a free TV title defense, this was fine. Hogan vs. anything that weighed less than 300lbs is always interesting and Funk being certifiable helped a lot as it made things far more interesting.
Hogan says he wants more of Funk. JYD says he’s Deputy Dog. Wow I can’t stand him.
George Steele is at a water park. He likes duckies.
Savage and Liz are also there. He’s teaching Liz to swim. Liz is in a swimsuit. I don’t hear anything else that’s being said after that. She was perfect.
Randy Savage vs. George Steele
This is about a month and a half before Savage won the IC Title and held it for over a year, losing it to Steamboat at Mania 3 when Steele helped him win it. You could argue that this is the first match in a year and 3 month long feud. We get some chasing outside on the floor and then he eats a turnbuckle. A double axehandle…gets the pin. Ok then.
Rating: N/A. Total comedy match and a bad one. This got them nearly a year and a half. WOW.
We now get a video: the highlights of 1985. This is mainly just Mania and SNME clips, but there’s a bit more in there. Also, it’s not all Hogan. To be fair though, he was wrestling in this company back then.
Volkoff and Sheik run down America. I’m stunned too.
Corporal Kirschner does stuff at the water park too. Seeing him explain military stuff to Ventura, a former Navy SEAL is rather amusing.
Nikolai Volkoff vs. Corporal Kirschner
This is a Peace Match. Translation, it’s based on some peace talks that had been going on around this time. So they’re fighting for peace. Got it. We get technical stuff, but neither are very good at it. So basically they can’t do traditional stuff and it’s amateur style. This…is rather stupid.
Volkoff throws a damn cartwheel! WOW. Would not have called that one. The fans are liking it if nothing else so there we are. Blassie hooks a leg and Volkoff drops a knee for the surprising win. Of course there’s a postmatch beatdown as the heels get run off.
Rating: C-. It was different to say the least. It came off ok though, but this feud never went anywhere at all. Kirschner was the replacement for Sgt. Slaughter who went to the AWA. No one bought it.
Muraco and Fuji say they aren’t worried for tonight.
Steamboat and JYD say they’re ready. JYD is evening the odds for Steamboat.
Ricky Steamboat/Junkyard Dog vs. Mr. Fuji/Don Muraco
Someone needs to chain up pandemonium. It’s always breaking loose. Yeah I’m done with the bad jokes. Fuji was an occasional wrestler at this point but would be done soon. Basically the heels beat the hell out of JYD because you wouldn’t wasn’t the heavy hitter to come in for the save or anything like that would you? This is another fast match with JYD hitting the THUMP on Fuji for the pin.
Rating: C. It did it’s job but much like Saturday Night Live, once the first hour was over, no one cared at all. This just didn’t mean much but it filled five minutes I suppose.
Jesse and Vince wrap us up.
Overall Rating: D. This was an hour and a half of NOTHING. Hogan vs. Funk wasn’t bad, but other than that there just wasn’t much at all to say here. Like I said this wasn’t a good time at all for the company and this didn’t come off well at all. There’s nothing of note here at all here and it showed badly. To be fair though, it’s 1986. On the other hand though, the show completely sucked. BIG pass here.
Saturday Night’s Main Event 17
Date: October 29, 1988
Location: Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
So we’re still in the Savage reign here and this is the last major show before Survivor Series. That being said, nothing of note is on the card. This looks really weak to say the least so I guess it’s one of those shows we just have to get through. I hate them too but then again I’m trying to do every major show ever so I have to get these two I guess. Let’s get to it.
Jake Roberts says Rick Rude will know pain but never some pleasures, implying Jake’s wife who is next to him. More on that later.
Boss Man is here to enforce the laws. Not as good as beatings will continue until morale improves.
The Hart Foundation say they’ll win the tag titles. Neidhart says hell.
Demolition is ready for the Harts.
Hogan says he’s the real king, not Haku. Liz is with him.
Let me hear some theme music!
Jesse is in a SUIT. Wow that’s weird looking. Haku is defending his crown against Hogan. Why do I think we won’t see King Hogan?
We recap Roberts vs. Rude. The idea is that Rude had a gimmick going of giving a woman a kiss after his matches. He picked a woman in the front row and she declined. She said her husband was a pro wrestler. His name is Jake Roberts. Rude started wearing tights with Cheryl’s face on the crotch and ass. Jake literally ripped them off of him and it was censored. In reality he was wearing a thong but you get the idea.
Rude says he’s never embarrassed of his body. Heenan talks about snake charmers hypnotizing snakes and hypnotizes Gene until Rude shouts RUDE AWAKENING. Funny.
Jake and his wife say really generic stuff.
Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude
What a natural paring this is. No theme music for Jake yet. Rude is wearing those tights again. Jake goes for the tights nearly immediately. Is Cheryl not satisfying him? I’ve watched nearly six minutes of this match and there’s just nothing to say about it. Cheryl gets thrown out for slapping Rude. Vince saying that she shouldn’t be because it didn’t hurt him is very funny for some reason.
Jesse goes on a rant about Vince playing favorites and it’s just freaking boring. I don’t know why but this just isn’t interesting at all. It’s not bad or anything. It’s just not getting my attention at all. Rude dominates for the most part with Jake just punching and looking for the DDT. Rude Awakening is blocked. Jake totally fakes him out by pulling back a punch and there’s the DDT. Instead of the cover though he goes for the tights.
Heenan comes in for the DQ. And here’s Andre, who would beat RVD in any match they had I think should be mentioned, to beat Jake up. Jake gets the snake out and since Andre is a heel, he’s terrified of it. The look on Andre’s face is priceless. Jake throws the snake at him in a smart move. Andre then has a heart attack. WOW.
Rating: D+. Not bad, but just not that interesting really at all. They would have what I guess was supposed to be the other big match at Mania 5 but this was just not a very good match. Oh yeah Rude was involved here. Yeah I couldn’t really care less. Match was ok though.
The Harts talk about Jimmy Hart rather than Demolition. They more or less just turned face.
Jimmy Hart says Demolition will win the tag match. This was a REALLY short partnership. Fuji is still there too. The closeups of Demolition’s faces are creepy.
Tag Titles: Hart Foundation vs. Demolition
No entrances for the challengers. The Harts that is. Smash vs. Neidhart starts us off. I don’t think Demolition has ever lost on TV before. At least not by pin. This has nothing on Summerslam 90. The fans seem unsure who to cheer for. Also, Bret is called a powerful young man. Ok then.
Anvil comes in and cleans house. This isn’t that interesting at all. Vince says you can feel the titles about to change, sealing the titles’ safety. The Rougeaus are here for no apparent reason. They throw in the Megaphone for the shot on Neidhart so Demolition retains.
Rating: D+. Again, not bad but just not interesting at all. This was just to have a title match on the show and nothing else. This whole show just feels completely uninteresting and thrown together. To be fair though, how much do you expect them to do this close to a PPV?
We see the spot that more or less ended Race’s career.
Bobby talks about how Haku is going to beat Hogan. Right. They trick Gene into bowing. Pointless.
Hogan says he won’t bow to Haku. Liz says they have to go.
King Haku vs. Hulk Hogan
Remember, this is FOR THE CROWN as they mentioned earlier. Bets on Hogan winning and not being king? Haku jumps him and you can smell the comeback from here. Yep there it is. I’d also bet on a shot from Haku taking him down to set up the inevitable. Hey what do you know I’m right. Heenan gets taken out and not a lot of people care. Haku hits a suplex for two, and now Hogan can’t get hurt. I’m not wasting my finger energy on filling in the ending here.
Rating: D+. Standard Hogan match but just lackluster. To be fair though, no one believed Haku would win here and it was just to get him on the TV show. Why mess with what works I suppose. Nothing great at all, but certainly watchable and bearable.
Dino Bravo is ready for Ken Patera. Oh joy.
Patera says he’s really strong.
Dino Bravo vs. Ken Patera
Patera had been given the advice to retire by Monsoon on commentary. Literally, Gorilla said he needs to retire due to a lack of skill. This is pretty bad. Patera can only do basic strongman stuff and just tries to get the Full Nelson. Side Slam ends this in like three minutes, most of which was punching.
Rating: F+. You could always tell when SNME was ending as the matches just started to suck and have no purpose. This was definitely one of those occasions. This just was bad in general and Patera would be gone really soon, likely for his own good.
Slick says Boss Man is awesome. He was new around this time. He was also far fatter than he usually was.
Big Boss Man vs. Jim Powers
No entrance for Powers of course. Seeing the massive pit stains on Boss Man is kind of funny. Standard squash formula as Boss Man beats on him for a few minutes until the quick offense does nothing but set up the Boss Man Slam. Nightstick attack follows.
Rating: N/A. Just a nice little squash to make Boss Man look good. Not a thing wrong with that either. He would get a nice little push very soon too, including knocking Hogan out of the next Rumble.
We see clips of Boss Man beating Hogan up on the Brother Love Show. Hogan calls him out. Yeah this was the next big feud for Hogan after Savage. Actually he had two mini feuds with Boss Man, which was odd.
We go to Jesse with Andre and Heenan. Andre doesn’t like having his fear of snakes being mentioned. Heenan’s rant is pretty funny. And that’s it.
Overall Rating: F. This was bad. There was nothing at all of note on here and only minor feuds were really started. Jake and Andre was a big deal but the blowoff wasn’t for over five months. This just wasn’t a good show at all. Survivor Series hadn’t even been mentioned yet and just nothing happened. Total throwaway show that went nowhere at all.
Saturday Night’s Main Event 28
Date: October 13, 1990
Location: Toledo Sports Arena, Toledo, Ohio
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Roddy Piper
This is just after Summerslam 90 where Hogan made his triumphant return. He has his big match tonight teaming with Tugboat against Rhythm and Blues. Other than that there’s just Sgt. Slaughter being evil and beating up Koko B. Ware. There just isn’t much on this card as we’re in a transitional show to an extent as we’re waiting on a new top heel to come up. Let’s get to it.
It’s Oktoberfest. We get to hear the production guy saying we’re on the air. Oh dear. Piper shows up in lederhosen.
I still love that theme song.
Demolition says they’re going to beat up the LOD.
The LOD say Demolition doesn’t scare them. This is interspersed with Oktoberfest jokes. Warrior, their partner, pops up. Yeah I have no idea what he said.
Ultimate Warrior/Legion of Doom vs. Demolition
Has there ever been a better collection of theme music in one match? The LOD cost Demolition the tag belts and Warrior is there….uh because. This would be a Survivor Series match in a month with Hennig and Tornado joining them. Piper points this out. We get a shot of Dustin Rhodes in the crowd. Keep that in mind as it’ll come into play later on. Warrior comes in and just destroys people.
The splash misses Axe though and he’s Smash. Demolition was more or less worthless by this point and would get squashed at Mania and be done. Hawk comes in and just wipes them out. You can see the crushing of them beginning. He continues the trend of beating all of Demolition by himself. Everybody comes in and brawls but Smash is more or less dead and gets caught by the splash for the pin. This was domination in every sense of the word.
Rating: D. Just not interesting at all as Demolition was made to look like a bunch of jobbers here. I don’t think anyone ever bought them anymore once the LOD showed up. Not the worst match ever, but a little challenge would have been nice.
We go to the Oktoberfest celebration and a lot of wrestlers are there. Alfred Hayes is talking about beer with a German guy.
Randy Savage vs. Dusty Rhodes
This is a rematch from Summerslam. Savage wanted a shot at Warrior and DiBiase was about to feud with Rhodes. Dusty looks like a fucking moron, wearing a big black shirt with red polka dots. Now remember, Dustin is in the front row. After about three minutes of NOTHING interesting, Ted DiBiase is in the front row.
He starts paying people off so he can have the whole front row to himself. I get images of Cartman from the episode where he gets his own theme park here. Dustin of course isn’t for sale and stays in his seat. This just isn’t interesting. Savage can’t slam Dusty. That’s just funny.
He’s a power guy according to a lot of you. DiBiase and Virgil jump and beat the living hell out of him, which is about as clean cut of a definition of assault and battery as you could ask for but we’ll ignore that for storyline purposes. Rhodes goes to save his son and gets counted out. This led to a tag match at the Rumble which was Dusty’s last WWF match.
Rating: D. This was an angle rather than a match. They were just killing time in the ring until the angle could get going. There just wasn’t much at all going on here, but at the same time this was just to set up DiBiase vs. Rhodes so that’s fine.
Tugboat and Hogan say their usual stuff. Hogan dances. Yeah. They want Earthquake and Bravo. They want to know what’s going to happen when Hogan and Tugboat Bavarian Cream Rhythm and Blues. Oh dear.
The Bushwackers are making cheese. It turns into cutting cheese jokes. Alfred still won’t talk as he’s telling stories to the German guy.
Rhythm and Blues vs. Hulk Hogan/Tugboat
Rhythm and Blues are Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine in a dumb tag team. Tugboat is here because he got the people to try to make Hogan feel better when he got hurt. Do you ever feel sorry for Fred Ottman? Can we buy this guy a decent gimmick? Not even a good one but a decent one? This goes exactly how you would expect it to: Hogan destroys them by himself and they bail.
This is about as weak of a match as you could ask for. Naturally Tugboat gets caught by a Valentine axe handle which he sells like a hatchet to the head. Vince says that Tugboat is beached. You know, like a whale. The Blowhole Kid dodges some elbows and gets Hogan in to clean house. Hogan goes for the legdrop but here come Earthquake and Bravo.
They don’t get to the ring or anything though. Back to the match after a commercial, Tugboat takes a guitar to the back for the DQ. Here comes your monster heel and it’s a big beatdown. Tugboat is off somewhere in search of a Twinkie. Tugboad FINALLY realizes he’s at work and pops Quake with the guitar to send them running.
Rating: D+. Again, just more of an angle than a match as no one cared about who won or lost here. This was just to set up more Survivor Series stuff which is fine I suppose, but at the same time I wish they could have had a better way of doing it. Not sure what that way would have been though.
It’s time for a sausage stuffing contest and Gene says Genius is a master of it and is in the sausage stuffing hall of fame. Gay jokes were easier in the early 90s I guess. It’s Hacksaw and the Hart Foundation vs. Fuji and the Orient Express. Who would believe that Bret would have a title today? It’s the most you can do in a minute. Gene says we’re getting down to the short strokes. It goes like 45 seconds and there’s no winner. Hayes is still telling jokes to the German guy.
Intercontinental Title: Texas Tornado vs. Haku
I think this happened at Mania also. I love how at this point taking a match on ten days’ notice is a huge deal. Now you get matches on hours or even minutes notice. This is really short as Haku goes to the nerve hold early on but shifts to a sleeper. Tornado comes back and hits the Claw and the Tornado Punch to retain.
Rating: N/A. Just a way to make his title reign seem legit before he dropped it back to Hennig soon enough. I think it was in December or so.
Hogan and Tugboat make sailing jokes and talk about how his ribs are.
Sgt. Slaughter vs. Koko B. Ware
I wonder how this is going to go. Slaughter just became a major heel at this time and we were in Desert Storm at the moment. You could always kind of tell that Piper hated this angle and supported the troops. Koko starts off kind of hot then realizes he’s Koko and gets beaten on.
He makes the short comeback but takes a hotshot and actually just drives his knuckles into the side of Koko’s head. It’s the dumbest looking finisher I’ve ever seen but it works. Then in a cool moment as Slaughter is waving the Iraqi flag, Stars and Stripes Forever kicks on and Nikolai Volkoff is waving the American flag. Awesome visual if nothing else.
Rating: D-. More dullness as I want this show to end. Koko continued his tradition of jobbing like there was no tomorrow. Slaughter wound up being world champion out of this so there you go.
Neidhart and Slick have a bit of a dance off. And now there’s a food fight. Hayes still isn’t paying attention.
Warrior says he doesn’t like Sherri for slapping him and that he’ll fight Savage.
Savage and Sherri say Savage will be champion again.
Hayes yells at Gene and gets pied.
Allegedly the next SNME would be just after Survivor Series. That didn’t happen. Ah apparently it did but it was The Main Event and on a Friday. That makes sense I guess.
Overall Rating: F-. Just boring beyond belief with nothing of note and nothing being any good. This was a weird cross between a buildup show and a transitional show but neither worked. Probably the worst one yet which is saying a lot. Terrible show with nothing worth seeing.
Saturday Night’s Main Event 10
Date: March 14, 1987
Location: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
This is taped on February 21 of February, but they ran Detroit five weeks before Wrestlemania? To be fair they ran MSG a week before Mania I back in 85 so I don’t know why I’m so surprised. Anyway, the only thing to mention here is a 20 man battle royal where Andre and Hogan are both in it. That is the be all and end all of this show: we get to see those two in a match together. Let’s get to it.
Liz is a prize in a title match between Savage and Steele. Can Savage gain anything here?
The Harts laugh at Santana and Spivey. I would too.
Jake says Damien is going to eat Bundy.
We immediately talk about Hogan vs. Andre and go to Hogan. Mania might not have been made yet at this point. This is why the Superstars tapings are fun to see as we get every bit of build for it.
We see clips of Steele kidnapping Liz back in January. Great to see kidnapping being encouraged. I don’t think we ever heard how she got back to Savage.
Savage cuts Liz off like always. They imply that Liz and Savage like to fuck. That’s rather odd as an image. Seriously imagine Savage fucking and see how weird you feel about it.
Intercontinental Title: Randy Savage vs. George Steele
The winner gets the title and Liz. Liz says she’s worried and Steele comes up and babbles. And this man is in the Hall of Fame people! We go back to Liz again as we have to be stalling for time. She only thanks Gene and we head to the ring. Liz sits on a lifeguard chair for no apparent reason. Savage jumps George on the floor to get us going. Savage tries to run and here’s Steamboat for the save.
Vince says we have to have this match to find out who the rightful owner of Elizabeth is. WOW. George is dominating and stops to eat a turnbuckle. This is just freaking bad. I know it’s Steele but it’s still just awful even by those lowered standards. George gets beaten down and following a comeback he eats another buckle. He goes for Liz but gets jumped again and there’s the countout. This was awful. George beats him up afterwards.
Rating: F+. Seriously, this was terrible. It was sloppy as all hell and did nothing at all worth anything. At least it was short. Just a horrible match that served little to no purpose at all. Get to anything else.
Hogan uses a flex bar and yells about various heels with a focus on Andre.
Andre says he’ll beat Hogan.
The entrances take forever and it’s ALL about Hogan and Andre. Ok to be fair that makes sense.
André the Giant, Ron Bass, Demolition (Ax and Smash), Billy Jack Haynes, Hercules, Hillbilly Jim, Hulk Hogan, The Honky Tonk Man, The Islanders (Haku and Tama), The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell), Blackjack Mulligan, Paul Orndorff, Lanny Poffo, Butch Reed, Sika, Nikolai Volkoff, and Koko B. Ware.
So in other words, it’s everyone but Savage and Steamboat plus a few tag teams. Smash is the original Smash and not Barry Darsow and Honky is wearing suspenders. Andre won’t let Hogan get in. Orndorff jumps Hogan to prevent the showdown. More or less all of the heels jump Hogan and all of the faces jump Andre. Honky is out thanks to Hogan. Andre puts Sika out.
These are hard to commentate on as it’s just eliminations and fights. Haku, a face at this point, is out. Andre headbutts Lanny Poffo and he’s BUSTED OPEN, and I mean BAD. Totally hard way too. That is a sick cut. They have to get a stretcher to get him out. That’s impressive. Other than that it’s pretty much you punch me and I’ll punch you in the ring. Ron Bass is out as is Mulligan.
The ultimate Hogan jobber, Volkoff, is gone. We’re just killing time to get to Hogan vs. Andre as Blair is out. HERE WE GO! Hogan blocks a punch…and Koko jumps on Andre to be annoying. Hogan throws out Orndoff but gets jumped by Andre who does the headbutts to the back of the head and throws him out easily. WOW.
In a VERY funny moment, Hogan and Andre are doing a staredown and Koko tries to jump Andre. Giant just smacks him in the head without even turning around. That was hilarious. Everyone gets together to throw Andre out.
Ok we’re down to Koko, Reed, Smash, Billy Jack Haynes and Hercules. Koko puts Reed out and we get faces vs. heels. Koko is out thank goodness and then we get rid of Smash too to get us down to the full nelson guys. Haynes goes for Bobby and there he goes for Hercules to win, which is probably the biggest win of his career somehow.
Rating: D. This was about Hogan vs. Andre and while that did happen, it was all of ten seconds long. Before and after that though, no one cared. This just wasn’t that interesting at all and it was about ten seconds out of eleven minutes. That can’t be a good sign.
Andre says he won. Heenan says they won. I say Hercules won. To say Heenan is fired up for Mania is an understatement.
We recap the only important part of the battle royal.
Jake cuts one of his usual promos.
The Harts cut a FREAKY quick promo about it being their first time. They mean title defense. I think.
Jake Roberts vs. King Kong Bundy
Heroes of Wrestling all over again!!! ANYTHING BUT THIS! Neither get intros. Ok then. Most of this is them feeling each other out if that makes sense. Jake is an idiot and tries a test of strength. What the hell? With stupid stuff going on, Bobby runs off with the snake.
Back from commercial and Jake has it back. This is a terrible match. Nothing of note at all has happened despite almost four minutes of wrestling. Jake starts fighting back and knees the referee for no apparent reason. Jake gets a horrible DDT and goes for the snake. Bobby gets Bundy out and the referee freaking tackles Jake.
Rating: G. That’s below an F. This was worse than a failure. I have no freaking clue what this was supposed to be but it completely failed. Just a horrible match that I was begging to end. I have no idea what the point was here but it failed huge.
We see how the Harts stole the tag titles.
The Harts say Danny Davis, the referee that stole the belts for them will be at ringside.
Tag Titles; Tito Santana vs. Dan Spivey
Yeah if I were the Harts I’d be scared to death too. The two power guys start us off in case you’re interested. Santana is in red here which is odd as hell but still cool since it’s Tito. The champions beat Spivey up I guess since he’s the less talented one.
I love that slingshot splash they would do. It’s just cool looking. We get heat grabber #1 in a tag match as the referee doesn’t see the tag. Tito gets the hot tag as we close in on the finish. The forearm puts both champions down but it’s only kind of the finisher yet. Figure Four on Bret but Davis slips in with the Megaphone for the pin by Bret.
Rating: D+. Somehow this is by far the best match of the night so far. This was actually watchable although not really good. It’s pure formula stuff but just five minutes long. Somehow, this is a classic by comparison.
Steamboat says he’s ready for Sheik even though his throat hurts.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Iron Sheik
Savage comes out to yell at Steamboat but it goes nowhere. Sheik jumps Ricky as Savage comes up for commentary. Savage is PISSED OFF. Steamboat of course completely outmoves Sheik as we have a ton of S’s in this match. Savage is FREAKING OUT FREAKING OUT FREAKING OUT on commentary and it’s rather amusing. The match is pretty much unimportant as the highlight is Savage being hilarious on the mic. Sheik hooks a decent abdominal stretch which lasts just a few seconds. A chop off the top rope ends it.
Rating: N/A. This was short and sweet as we were out of time. Savage was cracking me up with how pissed off he was about this though so I can’t complain about that at all. It led to one of the greatest matches ever though so I can’t complain.
Hogan says Andre cheated in the battle royal. What the hell? It’s an over the top battle royal and he got thrown over the top rope. What can he bitch about? Oh yeah it’s Hogan so of course he can bitch about stuff. Oh and Hogan can win because he has God on his side. Hogan says you have to win fair in the title match. That’s why he tried to piledrive Andre on the floor. I love Hogan freaking out like this.
Since Piper is retiring at Mania, we get a tribute to him set to My Way by Sinatra. Piper says he loves wrestling but he’s going out on top. That’s actually close to accurate. The song is perfect if nothing else as no one did things like Roddy did back in the day. Some of his stuff absolutely had me in stitches at times. Also he’s right when he says without him there wouldn’t have been a Mania.
People just wanted to see Hogan beat the hell out of him. Hogan had headlined MSG a bunch of times before this but it was never this special because it wasn’t a huge fight like it was to see him vs. Piper. Piper actually convinced me of that over the years which is surprising to me. That ends the show.
Overall Rating: F. Oh just no. When the highlight of the show is a series of clips of a guy that is retiring, that’s just not a good sign. I get that this is the final major show before Mania but at the same time these matches were just idiotic. I couldn’t stand watching it but at least it seemed to go fast. Stay FAR away from this as it was just horrible and you could tell that other than the battle royal no one cared other than maybe Savage in the last match. This was bad.
Saturday Night’s Main Event 5
Date: March 1, 1986
Location: Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizone
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
Something tells me this is going to be pretty weak. It’s the setup show for Mania 2 which to put it mildly, sucked beyond belief. We have a boxing match with Mr. T. vs. Bob Orton and Hogan vs. Muraco for the title. Other than that there’s nothing of note here. This is a very weak time for the company but I want to do all of these shows, even these that are terrible so let’s get to it.
We open with Mr. T. beating up a punching bag and yelling at Okerlund. Cue the theme song.
Vince slips up a bit on the intros which is rather funny. We see a clip of Piper and Hogan yelling at each other and Hogan saying he has a friend that wants to box Bob Orton. The contract says Mr. T. and Piper FREAKS.
Piper and Orton make fun of Mr. T.
Mr. T. isn’t afraid of Orton or Piper.
Mr. T. vs. Bob Orton
Remember this is boxing. Orton jumps him before the bell with forearms and the referee is fine with it. The fans of course like T. Naturally we have all kinds of stuff that would have them disqualified inside of 9 seconds in a real fight but this is “boxing” so it’s fine. Orton hits him with a thumb in the eye and of course he wants to keep going. The bell rings with nothing resembling a clock.
Piper jumps him in between rounds and Orton pops him. In the second round T fights back and then Orton uses knee lifts before T knocks him to the floor to get a countout win. My head hurts. Post match Piper comes in and wants to fight T. T goes for it and of course we get the 2-1 beatdown. We got Piper vs. T in more boxing at Mania.
Rating: N/A. Just idiotic and a waste of time if there has ever been one. This could have easily been set up in a beatdown after a promo or something but I guess this was a different time so it’s passable. Still rather idiotic though.
T says he wants Piper.
Heenan and Bundy say they want Hogan.
King Kong Bundy vs. Steve Gatorwolf
I’ll explain the point of this later on. This is 35 seconds long and of course Bundy wins with the splash.
Rating: N/A. Bundy needed something to show he was at the show. That’ll come into play later.
Should be noted that we’re 20 minutes into the show and that was the best match so far.
Don Muraco says his manager Mr. Fuji has the flu and he blames Hogan. Heenan is taking Fuji’s place tonight.
WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Don Muraco
Real American is used for the first time here. That’s rather cool. Apparently the music video debuts tonight as well. Muraco is number one contender for some reason. This screams generic Hogan match to me but I’ve been wrong before. This wouldn’t appear to be one of those times though. Actually Hogan is dominating here which isn’t something you often see. Hogan has white kneepads. That’s rather odd.
Muraco takes over and this isn’t anything of note at all, but somehow this is by far and away the best match of the night thus far. Muraco uses a move called the Asian Spike twice. I’d assume it’s a thumb to the chest or something like that. Hulk Up time and Heenan runs in for the DQ after the leg drop.
And here’s Bundy to beat up Hogan and break his ribs, setting up the terrible Mania 2 main event. Yeah they actually did just a four week build to Mania. It was a different time I guess. Some faces make the save including the British Bulldogs.
Rating: C-. Not bad but just a filler match to set up the ending angle. Much like the rest of the stuff around this time, there just wasn’t much here. Hogan did his usual stuff which to be fair was still huge back then. This was fine for what it was though.
Tag Titles: British Bulldogs vs. Dream Team
The Dream Team has Beefcake and Valentine and are the champions. If you’ve seen Mania 2, you know the ending here. The Dream Team comes out to We Are the Champions. That’s very awesome. Johnny Valiant, the manager for the champions talks about how losing in a non-title match means nothing.
Smith and Valentine start us off which should be good if nothing else. They’re going fast paced which is always fun. The 80s were the glory days of tag team wrestling and this is no exception. I love this kind of stuff so don’t expect a lot of play by play here. Albano and Valiant are about to fight on the floor and the teams join them as we hit a commercial. And now the heels take over.
Valentine even goes to the middle rope so you know he’s into this one. Dynamite comes in and cranks it up. He’s like Benoit so you know he’s going to be intense out there. In a creative ending, Valentine and Kid ram heads and Valentine lands on him for the pin to retain. I like that.
Rating: B-. Not bad at all here. They went with the formula and it worked quite well and when you throw in a solid finish, what more can you ask for? Like I said, this was the best time for tag wrestling ever so this was light years ahead of the best you see today. This is real tag stuff, not four singles guys having a 2-2 match.
Update on Hogan: there is no update.
We prevent this show from being a total loss by having the debut of the greatest wrestling music video and song ever as Real American and its video debut here. Sweet damn the 80s were awesome at some times.
Adrian Adonis and Jimmy Hart aren’t worried about Junkyard Dog.
Junkyard Dog vs. Adrian Adonis
I tried to avoid watching this one but they caught up with me at the border. This is my punishment. I begged for something simpler like electrocution or being a large man named Bubba’s girlfriend in prison but no go. JYD makes fun of Adonis as you would expect him to. Dog just beats the living hell out of him here and it’s just not that interesting.
To be fair, these two both absolutely suck so that might have something to do with it. Hart ties JYD’s leg to the rope and no one sees anything wrong with this apparently. The referee pulls Adonis’ hair to get him off. Of JYD you freaking perverts. And there goes the referee. Adonis takes the Megaphone to the head and we’re done.
Rating: F. Oh this was bad. It’s the standard we’ve got nothing left of importance but we have 15 minutes left so here you go before we can talk about Hogan some more. Again though, I can’t stand either of them so that has something to do with the grade I think.
A “doctor” tells us Hogan has a bunch of injuries. That would continue through Mania.
We recap the night and we’re done.
Overall Rating: C+. Ok, so the wrestling was pretty damn bad, but this was designed to set up Mania 2 and it did that exceptionally well, giving us the three main events for the three cities (still a dumb concept if there ever was one) very well. If nothing else Mania Monday (scratch that initial claim of dumb concepts and replace it with this one) is pretty much set so I can’t complain.
While it was a horrible Mania, they didn’t know what they were doing yet and this was a weak time for the company as they were pretty much booking day to day as there were no real long term plans. That would change in about a year though as we had Hogan vs. Orndorff a few months away which drew insane money and then Hogan vs. Andre which drew even more insane money. As for this show, the wrestling is bad but it did its job, hence the good grade.
Saturday Night Main Event 12
Date: October 3, 1987
Location: Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan
Well we’re just around the bend from Survivor Series 87 so we’ll be getting a few pushes for that here tonight. The main thing here is Honky vs. Savage for the IC Title which has a very important thing afterwards which we’ll get to later. Other than that we have Hogan vs. Sika, who is replacing Kamala. Yeah that was weird. Also we have the premiere of the Piledriver video. Let’s get to it.
Honky isn’t afraid of Savage and he’s going to take Liz away.
Savage says he’s going to beat Honky up.
Bundy is going to beat up Orndorff for Heenan.
Sika wants to eat a chicken.
Hogan says he’ll beat Sika.
HIT THAT THEME SONG!
All three titles are on the line. Heenan promises a surprise.
Honky says nothing of note.
Savage says something about the danger zone which is south of Mars and north of hell. Ok then. Oh it was the late 80s. Did you expect sobriety? Honky apparently doesn’t know the difference between a guitar string and a g-string. That’s kind of good.
Intercontinental Title: Honky Tonk Man vs. Randy Savage
This is a BIG grudge match as these two flat out cannot stand each other. Honky is reaching his most annoying here as people would pay to see him get beaten up. Somehow he would hold the title almost a year longer. Savage kicks him in the hand which is called the neck but whatever. Jimmy goes after Liz and the save by Savage lets Honky smack him to take over.
Honky goes after Liz which of course doesn’t work and Savage takes over again. So that’s twice that Liz has changed the course of the match. Hart interferes three times in less than a minute. That’s got to be something close to a record. We need more managers like that today.
Vince and Bobby are rather funny together. Jimmy goes down and here comes the Hart Foundation to check on him. This has been a better match than I was expecting it to be actually. Jimmy is carried to the back as the match more or less completely restarts. I’m really surprised by how back and forth this has been as Savage is making a fair few mistakes.
Honky misses a middle rope fist, which used to be his finisher if you can believe that. That was back when he was a face. His heel turn was probably the most unique ever: they had the fans write in and say if they would give him a vote of confidence. When most said no, he turned heel. Now THAT is an original angle. The Harts beat up Randy but it only gets two.
The elbow hits after the shortest comeback ever and there’s the run-in for the DQ by Bret and Jim. This would never get a proper blowoff as the final match and the title change was set for Mania 4. Honky threatened to jump ship if he had to drop the title so he kept it for another 4 months. Savage got the world title instead.
Liz comes in and gets in between the guitar and Savage’s head, but then Honky becomes the new Satan by SHOVING DOWN ELIZABETH. Savage takes the guitar shot anyway. Liz runs off as the 3-1 beatdown ensues and comes back with one Hulk Hogan. With the jaws of Hulkamania flaring (Seriously look at how much Hogan’s jaws go up and down. It’s insane) Hogan fights them off.
For you trivia geeks, this is the ONLY time ever that Bret and Hogan fought. Savage and Hogan shake hands, forming the Mega Powers and officially becoming a face.
Rating: B-. This was WAY better than I was expecting. The key thing here though is the historical aspect of it, as that shove would fuel this feud for a long time and obviously Hogan and Savage being friends would last for a good while also. Still though, this was a back and forth match that back in the day would have drawn serious money on a house show.
Hogan, Savage and Liz all pose for a long time afterwards. This would be like Orton and Cena becoming partners or friends.
WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Sika
We cut to a Sika interview from earlier today, even though he knows what just happened not a minute ago. Sure why not. Sika is a savage. That’s all you need to know about him really. Somehow he’s number one contender.
Oh and Hogan went to the back despite there being no transition between the matches. Crowd is white hot here. Apparently Hogan is tired or something after that run in. Sika is the consummate savage. That’s a good line actually. He has the same tights Umaga wore, and he’s one of the Samoan family so there you are.
Fuji gets a cane shot in that does nothing. Oh why am I doing commentary here as it’s Hogan vs. a monster in 1987. What are you expecting here? A song and dance routine? Hogan does the spinning punch which works, meaning Hogan can defy stereotypes.
Apparently Sika is Umaga’s uncle so there’s the continuity of the tights. Hogan tries a splash. Well that’s a new one on me. It doesn’t work or anything, but Hogan tried something new so take that Hogan haters. Did I just tell myself off? Sika squeezes Hogan’s armpit for no apparent reason other than the invisible nerve in there I guess.
Hogan gets up as apparently he has magic pecs. They’re not as good as Masters’ but whatever. Sika hits a headbutt and Hogan Hulks Up. Fast forward about 40 seconds and we’re done. He beats up Fuji and Kim Chee post match.
Rating: C. Like I said it was Hogan vs. a monster in 87. What were you expecting here? Hogan gets an easy win on TV so everyone is happy. Yeah that’s all I’ve got.
Orndorff hates Heenan. This is the second time that he’s hated him I believe. Orndorff wants to beat the hell out of Heenan apparently rather than beating up Bundy.
Bundy says he’ll take care of Orndorff for Heenan.
King Kong Bundy vs. Paul Orndorff
Heenan is on commentary here which is odd. Paul is managed by Oliver Humperdink so this is very close to the end of his run here. A dropkick misses very early and Bundy is dominant. I never got the appeal of Bundy. He’s right up there with One Man Gang for incredibly generic heels. Vince and Bobby arguing is rather amusing.
Bobby finally gives in and heads to the ring, leaving us with the hell that is more commonly known as Vince on solo commentary. And here’s Andre. This won’t end well. This is really not that good at all. It’s more or less a glorified preview for Survivor Series so at least there’s a point. Orndorff makes his comeback but Andre hooks the tights in the corner so Bundy can hit the avalanche although it was just for a three count which is rare for Bundy.
Rating: D-. Oh this was boring. It just came off as pointless as hell to me with no point at all to it. Also, this is the epitome of a clash of styles if there ever was one. Bundy never was anything special and this was no exception. Nothing good at all here.
The Harts are upset about not having Jimmy with them. Amazing that Gene and Bret were on Raw last night nearly 23 years after this.
Tag Titles: Young Stallions vs. Hart Foundation
The Stallions are Paul Roma and Jim Powers. They never really got above jobber status so there you are. This is a glorified squash and is mostly about Brain making fun of the Stallions and saying how they could be good with him as their manager but they suck otherwise.
Powers hits a leap frog and either gets hurt or is great at selling his back and I’m not sure which it is. I’m betting on selling. We get the “new champions momentarily” line which seals the retaining of the belts. And all of a sudden Roma takes the Hart Attack. I didn’t even seen how that happened. Literally 2 seconds later we’re talking to Hogan and Savage.
Rating: D. Just a very fast match to say there was a title defense. Strike Force would get the belts off the Harts in like 3 weeks and hold them until Mania. The Stallions never were worth much at all and this is a fine example of it.
Hogan loves Savage. Savage loves Hogan. Mania 5 was more or less set in stone already at this point. They’re officially the Mega Powers too.
We get the music video of Piledriver. Here it is.
If anyone can find a point to that, please let me know.
Overall Rating: D+. Honky vs. Savage is pretty good and the stuff after it is huge to say the least. Other than that though, there is very little to talk about there. The other three matches are completely forgettable and not a lot is said about Survivor Series, which might not have even been announced at this point. Anyway, this wasn’t great but it’s historic which is worth something I suppose. Find the Mega Powers formation for historical purposes if nothing else.
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