The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #16 – 04.30.88
From one of the best shows in SNME history to…this one. We’re a month after Wrestlemania IV and Randy Savage is now the WWF champion. And Hulk Hogan is basically gone from the opening.
Oddly, they’re using Jake Roberts’ music for the pre-credits promos.
Taped from Springfield, MA, on 04.22.88, drawing 9000.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura
Meanwhile, “respected journalist” Mean Gene interviews the Heenan Family as Bobby tries to get “Jigsaw Jim Duggan” over as a new nickname for him and then Andre does a pretty awesome impression of Duggan’s “Hoooo!” while mimicking a choke. Not sure where he’s going with that one but we’ll let it play out and see where it goes.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Hercules
Before the match, Duggan clarifies that Hercules “is just a yo-yo on the end of Bobby Heenan’s chain” but he’ll be happy to feed them a high fiber diet of 2×4. I’m gonna need a flow chart to break down that metaphor. Hercules hammers away on him to start, but Duggan comes out of the corner with a clothesline and Herc retreats to the corner for some advice from Andre. That advice? “If you want to make people think you’re Asian, put a pair of pantyhose over your face and add a headband.” This appears to motivate Hercules, because he dodges Duggan’s kneedrop and goes to work in the corner while Jesse extols the virtues of a good ol’ thumb to the eye, which is the great equalizer. That’s 2020: The thumb in all of our collective eyes, no matter how big or powerful we were. Duggan slugs back but gets thrown to the floor, and back in for a back elbow from Herc that puts Duggan on the apron again. Duggan grabs his wood and clears the ring and naturally we take a break. Back with Hercules attacking him from behind and then slugging away in the corner, but Duggan is too stupid to go down, so Herc works the back and then gives him another thumb to the eye before going to a bearhug. Duggan fights out and Herc puts him down with a knee and we get more choking. But then Duggan makes another comeback and slugs away in the corner to set up the three point stance, at which point Bobby runs in for the DQ at 9:31. The Heenan Family comes in for the beatdown, but Ultimate Warrior debuts on SNME and makes the save and they probably go to a MENSA meeting afterwards. Kind of a crappy punchy-kicky match with a bad finish. Not really a great way to make Duggan strong for Andre later on. ½*
Meanwhile, Danny Davis and Jimmy Hart have a variety of scissors ready for Brutus Beefcake.
Brutus Beefcake v. Dangerous Danny Davis
Brutus basically promises to scalp both Danny and Jimmy and present the hair to Mean Gene so he can make a toupee out of it afterwards. Can’t someone stop this maniac? What is he, Buffalo Bill? IT PUTS THE LOTION ON ITS SCALP. Danny tries beating on Brutus, but he gets run into the turnbuckles and hiptossed out of the corner as a result. Luckily he manages a cheapshot and chokes him out on the ropes, while Jimmy tries to cut Beefcake’s hair with a pair of gardening shears. That wakes up Brutus and he boots Davis down, but Danny bails to the floor to escape. Back in, Beefcake puts him right in the sleeper and just ignores Jimmy Hart until Davis is out at 3:07. Total squash. DUD And of course, Davis gets a haircut and Beefcake spraypaints him for good measure.
WWF title: Randy Savage v. One Man Gang
Jesse is SICK that an athlete would need a WOMAN to inspire him to greatness. Vince: “What’s your inspiration?” Jesse: “Me!” Well that makes sense. Gang tries to pound Savage in the corner and Randy fires back right away, and slips away from a slam attempt and hits the double axehandle for two. Necksnap gets two. Gang slows it down again and uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS in the corner to take over and then chokes him out on the apron. Savage chases after Slick and walks into more choking from the Gang as I notice Mike McGuirk is at ringside beside Finkel as the ring announcer. So I guess this must have been a Challenge taping and they just used Finkel for this show? Gang continues choking, but misses a blind charge and Savage comes back with elbows and clotheslines him to the floor before hitting a double axehandle that takes out a cameraman as well as Gang! Back in, Gang goes up and misses the dying gazelle splash, but then Savage goes after Slick again and gets hit from behind by Gang, but Slick takes a shot with the cane and hits Gang by mistake, allowing Savage to drop the elbow and get the pin at 6:10. Savage obviously was motivated but he didn’t have a lot to work with here. *1/2
Demolition v. The British Bulldogs
Oddly, although Demolition are fresh off winning the tag titles, this is not the traditional first title defense in a 2/3 falls match. In fact, it’s non-title. Regardless, Demolition are still going to dip Matilda in chrome and mount her on Master Fuji’s Winnebago before driving to the Grand Canyon with it. Sounds like a classic Fuji rib to me! Smash beats on Davey to start, but Kid gets a blind tag and tries a rollup. Smash blocks that and it’s over to Ax, but the Bulldogs quickly double-team him before the Demos take over in their corner due to some shoddy refereeing. And of course, who is the moron who lets it happen? JOEY MARELLA. He’s the worst. Smash gets a bearhug on Kid but misses a blind charge and Davey gets the hot tag. At 3:00? Davey runs wild for a bit but Kid comes back in again and gets tossed to the floor, where Fuji gets some shots in and then Matilda chases him back to the dressing room as we take a break. Now that idiot Marella is letting animals attack people? Back with the Bulldogs using Fuji’s cane on the Demos and Marella finally calls for the DQ on them at 7:00. They had a decent rematch at the WrestleFest show that needs to be the Network but this was pretty rushed. **
Ted Dibiase v. Don Muraco
Muraco as the tie-dye babyface understudy for Graham was a complete loser gimmick, even though Muraco looked better than he had in YEARS. Plus he couldn’t match Billy’s steroid intake and everyone knew it. Muraco slugs away to start and chases Dibiase to the floor, and then back in for some clotheslines as Dibiase bumps all over the place. Muraco with a powerslam for two, but Virgil puts Dibiase’s foot on the ropes. What kind of a jobber gets pinned by a slam anyway? Dibiase comes back with a suplex for two and a gut wrench for two. Muraco elbows him down and gets another powerslam for two, but Dibiase slams him and pins him at 4:11. I guess that answers what kind of a jobber loses to a slam. Muraco had his foot on the ropes, but if you’ve got the energy to excitedly point to your foot on the ropes, then KICK OUT, dumbass. ** They made sure to call him “The Rock” a million times to get him over as a babyface, but I don’t think someone named “The Rock” can be a main event star, sorry.
Rick Rude v. Koko B. Ware
And poor Koko gets to be squashed in the death slot again. Speaking of death, once again Rude’s music is replaced with an abomination of generic saxophones and drums. Koko gets some offense but Rude goes to work on him and beats on the back, then follows with a suplex and goes up with a flying fistdrop. Rude with a rare dropkick, but he misses a second one and Koko tries a comeback, but misses a bodypress and clotheslines himself on the top rope like a goober. Rude Awakening finishes at 3:39. Usual squash here. ½*
This one was a pretty un-notable episode with no good matches and nothing that really made me excited to see the next big show. And as usual, the show goes on a 6 month hiatus after this and returns in October with the “new season”, so we’ll pick it up again there.