The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #20 – March 1989 – Taped from Hershey, PA. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. – Ravishing Rick Rude v. Brutus Beefcake. My god, the mullets! So many mullets! Long lockup to start and they slug it out, which Beefcake wins to set up a backdrop. Quick sleeper by Beefcake, but Rude breaks. Beefcake tries the corner punches, but gets atomic dropped and Rude knees him in the gut. Suplex gets two. We hit the chinlock, as Andre joins us for no discernible reason other than to give Jake Roberts an excuse to be there as well. Beefcake comes back with an atomic drop, but runs into a knee. Rude tosses him and Andre beats the crap out of him, which as predicted draws out the Snake, and it’s a wash. (Beefcake NC Rude, 5:41, *) Really disappointing, as both guys were in the midst of big pushes and I was expecting a lot more out of this than a setup for the lame Roberts-Andre match. – Hulk Hogan v. Bad News Brown. Once again, I would like to stress that Bad News was so far ahead of his time, with 90s attitude and UFC street cred, that it’s a shame he wasn’t born 20 years later. He could have been like Samoa Joe or something. Bad News attacks to start and pounds on Hulk, then chokes him down. He misses elbows, however, and Hulk slugs him out of the ring. Hulk slingshots him back in and elbows him down, setting up the elbowdrops and a big boot. Bad News no-sells a shot to the turnbuckle, however, and takes over. He runs into a boot and gets dumped and Hogan keeps coming as they brawl on the floor, but Brown finally sends him into the post to go on offense for good. They fight over a chair and Hogan wins that battle, so a frustrated Brown heads to the back as we take a break. He returns with a snow shovel of some sort, but Hogan gets rid of it and hammers away in the ring. Brown catches him with a clothesline and works him over. Hogan takes a breather outside, where he gets run into the post again. Back in, Brown gets the legsweep for two. He stops and cuts a promo mid-match on Hogan, telling him outright that it’s time for the Ghetto Blaster, and if that doesn’t count as the most blatant telegraphing of a move ever, I don’t know what does. (I’m surprised someone hasn’t literally tweeted at ringside that they were about to do a finisher, actually.) Needless to say, Hogan dodges the enzuigiri and the rest is academic. (Hogan d. Brown, legdrop — pin, 10:00, **1/2) Brown being a jerk and Hogan acting all fired up to prepare for Savage was a good combination, and the result was a good brawl and lots of fun. It should be noted that Elizabeth was with Hogan here, thus proving Savage’s suspicions correct. – Ted Dibiase v. The Blue Blazer. Dibiase clotheslines Blazer off the backflip into the ring and elbows him down. Elbowdrops follow, but the Blazer cradles for two. Backslide gets two. Dibiase clotheslines him, however, and gets the middle-rope elbow. Suplex and backdrop, but Blazer lands on his feet and dropkicks him out of the ring. He follows with a rather nasty tope, and Dibiase hits the post afterwards. Back in, Blazer gets a high cross for two. Backdrop a pair of dropkicks have Dibiase reeling, but a crossbody attempt is reversed to a powerslam for the pin. (Dibiase d. Blazer, powerslam — pin, 3:55, **) A very energetic, but short, TV match. (Seemed way better when I was a kid.) – The Rockers v. The Brainbusters. This is pretty famous, as both teams were making their network TV debut and decided to blow the roof off the place. Donnybrook to start and Tully rolls up Marty, but Shawn breaks it up and Rockers clean house. Arn goes up and gets slammed off by Shawn, who follows with a Boston crab. Tully breaks it up and it’s BONZO GONZO already, and the Busters bail. Shawn suplexes Tully back in and slugs away in the corner, then hiptossses him into a flying headscissors. Arn comes in and gets taken down, but boots Shawn in the gut. Bobby pulls down the top rope for good measure, getting himself thrown out of the match in the process. We take a break and return with Marty slugging it out with Tully and sending him into the corner, but Arn makes the classic blind tag and clobbers Jannetty from behind. The Busters take over, but Marty gets a sunset flip for two. Arn tosses him to end that rally, but Marty keeps coming with a another one for two. Marty slugs it out with Tully and they do a great pinfall reversal sequence with the bridges into the backslide, but Marty ends up in the heel corner again. Arn gets the BADASS spinebuster for two, but misses the pump splash. Hot tag Shawn Michaels, who rams the Busters into each other. They come back with a double-team on Shawn for two, but everyone brawls outside for the countout. (Rockers DCOR Brainbusters, 8:36, ****) This was a monster tag match by TV standards, probably the best one ever on SNME and featuring tons of innovative stuff that hadn’t been done in the WWF before, like the NWA-ish pinfall reversal sequence that was right out of a Flair match. They were shooting for the full monty here, and given another 7-10 minutes and a finish, likely would have gotten it. – Red Rooster v. Brooklyn Brawler. And from that to this. (Rooster d. Brawler, small package — pin, 1:03, DUD) The Pulse: Rockers v. Brainbusters is a no-brainer (nyuk nyuk), but Hogan-Bad News is also very much worth a look, making this one of the best SNMEs in the whole series.
— page 4
So, that was an interesting RAW.
|It’s so hypnotic.|
TONIGHT: We get to hear the censors bleep out “bitch” — even though they let both women say it without bleeping it with the eight-second delay — and, possibly, “HELL” if they’re feelin’ real frisky.
Ambrose is out to the ring to give a promo. He says he’s back in he’s pissed. He doesn’t kiss babies or anything like that. Let’s cut the crap, he says. He tells Seth Rollins to get out here so he can get his teeth kicked in. But, he knows Rollins won’t show up. Ambrose channels Michael Keaton in BATMAN and says he wants to get nuts.
Seth doesn’t show. Ambrose says he thought that’s what would happen. So, he’ll continue to chase Rollins around and go through the Authority to do it.
Del Rio shows up and tells Ambrose to focus on him, instead. He says that he’s gonna lock in the Cross Arm Breaker on Ambrose, rip his arm off and put it on his shelf as a present. Then he weakly kicks Ambrose in the arm and Ambrose oversells it, falling to the mat like a pile of bricks, because, damn, that shot to his shoulder really hurt his legs.
Del Rio, for some reason, just leaves the ring and stares down Ambrose who isn’t very happy.
LAST NIGHT: Cena was not happy with the idea of being VICTIMIZED by Brock Lesnar.
Apparently, they’re gonna fight at SummerSlam.
The Usos are backstage, ready for action…NEXT!
Promo for Sunday SummerSlam, running each Sunday up until SummerSlam.
Promo for Slam City which still exists, I guess.
RybAxel is out for action against The Usos.
MATCH #1: RybAxel (Ryback & Curtis Axel) vs. WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) (non-title)
Xavier Woods and the Nation of Reluctant Supremacy are at ringside. Kofi is especially adorable in his Angry Hoodie of Doom while E’s gone Mr. Hughes without the shades and suspenders. Ryback starts with Jimmy, locking him up and bullying him in the corner. Jimmy hits a chop, dances around and then hits a dropkick off a whip. Jey tags and they hit an elbow on Ryback. Ryback hits a belly to belly suplex and tags in Axel. Axel hits a nice dropkick and stomps at Jey’s chest. Tag to Ryback and the two drop several knees to Jey, pinning him for two. Woods is upset about the lack of title shots that they’ve gotten while Ryback slugs away at Jey and tags in Axel. Axel hits a backbreaker and gets two, tagging in Ryback. Ryback hits a Warrior Splash and a Spinebuster. He goes to the top rope but misses the Macho Elbow. Hot tags on both sides. Jimmy all over Axel with uppercuts and kicks. He hits the Rikishi Splash and tries to get on the buckle but Axel knocks him off. Axel hits a Perfect Plex but Jey runs in and makes the save. Ryback dumps Jey. Jimmy kicks Ryback. Axel rolls up Jimmy for two. Jimmy gets up and hits a Superkick and they get the Superfly Splash at 7:00 to win.
WINNERS: The Usos via Superfly Splash
Post-match, Woods, E, and Kofi look at the Usos who flaunt the belts at them. Kofi and E look envious even though Kofi’s already been a Tag champ, but whatever.
TONIGHT: Clips of Steph and Brie at RAW.
Promo for WWEShop.com.
RAW REBOUND: Brie shows she’s better than Steph by illegally blackmailing her.
TOMORROW ON WWE.COM: Cole will interview Brie Bella.
Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil come out for a tag match.
DANIELLE: I thought Titus didn’t like Heath anymore.
MATT: He doesn’t.
DANIELLE: Why are they together again then?
MATT: I don’t know.
DANIELLE: But Titus can just walk away…
MATT: I know…
DANIELLE: I don’t get–.
MATT: I don’t have anymore answers…wow, they’re taking on Zack Ryder and Damien Sandow dressed like Tyson Kidd?!
MATCH #2: SlaterGator (Heath Slater & Titus O’Neil) vs. Zack Ryder & Tyson Kidd
WINNERS: SlaterGator via Powerslam
RATING: **. Well-wrestled but nothing special.
Post-match, Slater celebrates and hogs the spotlight. Titus and Slater shove one another, fighting over who got the win.
ON RAW: Orton beat the shit out of Reigns.
ON SMACKDOWN: Orton has a “message for Roman Reigns”.
Dean Ambrose is out for the main event.
Promo for Cena/Ambrose at SummerSlam.
MATCH #3: Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio
Ambrose is all over Del Rio to start, running him from buckle to buckle, then climbs on Del Rio and punches away. Suplex and one-count. Del Rio kicks Ambrose in the head on a comeback but Ambrose knees Del Rio in the stomach off a Whip. He tosses Del Rio outside and into the crowd barrier before putting Del Rio back in the ring and pounding on Del Rio’s chest. He locks Del Rio in a submission hold and shoulder spears him in the corner after Del Rio gets to his feet. He charges at Del Rio but Del Rio moves and Ambrose’s shoulder hits the post. Del Rio kicks Ambrose in the head from outside the ring and then works on Ambrose’s injured arm. Ambrose gets free but misses a corner charge and ends up tied up on the buckle. Del Rio attacks but Ambrose knocks him off and hits the Missile Dropkick, then starts slugging away at Del Rio, stomping at Del Rio in the corner. Del Rio gets up and tries to toss Ambrose out of the ring but Ambrose lands on his feet outside the ropes. Del Rio sees this and hits an Enzuguri, knocking Ambrose outside. We go to break.
WWE 2K15 Sting Promo.
Total Divas commercial.
Del Rio has Ambrose in a Side Headlock as we come back from break. Ambrose breaks and kicks at Del Rio. Del Rio comes back and clotheslines the hell out of him for two. Del Rio picks up Ambrose and tosses him into the ring post. Del Rio picks up Ambrose and goes for the Superplex and hits it. Two count. Alberto puts Ambrose in another headlock. Ambrose counters with a Side Suplex and Cross Body with punches. Del Rio rolls outside and Ambrose hits a Suicide Dive. Del Rio actually ends up in the front row as a fan tells Del Rio he wants to see his ticket. Back in the ring, Alberto misses a kick and Ambrose rolls him up for two. Del Rio hits a kick and Ambrose misses the Clothesline. Del Rio hits a nice German Suplex for a close fall. Ambrose gets to a corner and Del Rio follows only to get DDT’ed. Del Rio quickly hits an Arm Breaker and the Mini Superkick, getting two. Del Rio goes for the Cross Arm Breaker but Ambrose counters and hits the clothesline off the rope bounce. Suddenly, Seth Rollins shows up and it’s a brawl. Match time was 13:03 for those playing the home game.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose via DQ
RATING: **. This just had no real intensity or heat.
Post-match, Ambrose beats Rollins outside near the announce table, then tosses him back in the ring and clotheslines him out the other end. Del Rio sneaks up on Ambrose but Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds. He invites Rollins back into the ring and the two just glare at one another as we go off the air.
OVERALL: Meh. Was fair, at best. At least it was consistent tonight.
Thank you to all the BoD’ers and, hey, if you wanna read more of our stuff, please check me out at The Daily DDT (http://dailyddt.com/author/mattlperri/) for all my wrestling editorials and opinion, visit WE HATE YOUR GIMMICK at http://wehateyourgimmick.blogspot.com and, of course, visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/wehateyourgimmick/.
The SmarK Retro Rant for The Main Event #2 – February 1989 – Live and in prime time from Milwaukee, WI. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. (Our cable was out at the time and I was freaking out, so we had to watch this one at my grandma’s house, but the main angle was so upsetting to her that she had to leave the room because it was all so unfair to Hulk Hogan. That’s how you know it was effective.) – The Megapowers v. The Twin Towers. Here’s a huge unintentionally prescient comment from the pre-match promo: Mean Gene, describing the various antics of Akeem and Bossman against Hogan and Savage, calls it a “terrorist attack” by the Twin Towers. Ouch. Well, at least Hulk didn’t use a metaphor about the power of Hulkamania flying a plane into Bossman to bring him down. So anyway, the Towers had been alternating attacks on the MegaPowers in the weeks leading up to this, and the result was Randy Savage getting increasingly internalized and paranoid about Hogan’s intentions towards his woman and his title. The reason why this worked is that it fit perfectly with everyone’s character — Savage was a well-known paranoid sociopath to begin with, and Hogan is an asshole. Needless to say, this whole angle was money in the bank and really freshened up the smiling babyface character Savage was shoe-horned into at that point. (That’s a pretty major understatement.) So we start with Hogan and Bossman, and Hogan cleans house right away. The heels regroup outside and Bossman tries it again, but gets nowhere again. He bails, and Savage adds a humiliating shot from behind to rub it in. Akeem’s turn, and Hogan has it under control, so Savage comes in with an axehandle and slugs away in the corner. Hogan does the same sequence, but gets caught by the heels and clotheslined. Bossman adds a piledriver and Akeem pounds the back. Hogan dumps Bossman, however, and they brawl on the floor, but Bossman gets a spinebuster back in the ring for two. Akeem pounds away, but heel miscommunication allows Savage to come in. Savage gets a high cross on Akeem for two, but a cheapshot from Slick puts the heels back on offense. Akeem tosses Savage, and then does it again when Liz is in the way, and you can basically see the heel turn right before your eyes. Thus begins the gravitas of the situation, as Savage tries to win the match alone while Hogan tends to the fallen Elizabeth and abandons his partner. Again, this is why I was cheering for Randy at Wrestlemania V. The Towers commence beating the shit out of the Macho Man while Hogan carries her to the back like he was King Kong or something, but it’s a hell of a visual, I’ll give ’em that. Still, way to support your team, jackass. We follow Hulk all the way back to the first aid station (where James Andrews was likely standing by telling her to tape it up and work through it) and get some Daytime Emmy award-winning acting from Hulk and take a break. The commercials are cut out of this one, but I’m guessing whatever Burger King commercial followed had better acting. Back with Savage getting pounded to within an inch of his life, but never mind that, because Hogan is still ACTING. (I also forgot to mention the infamous “tizzime” request from Hulk that ended up on live TV.) And Liz awakes from her dramatic coma, perhaps from the smell of cancerous skin caused by years of over-tanning on Hogan, and thus Hulk decides the time is right to generously return to the match, nearly 5:00 (plus commercials) after leaving Savage twisting in the wind with a pair of 400-pound guys. Jerk. So finally we get back to the ring, as the Towers get a double-team backbreaker on Savage, but he evades them and hits Bossman with an axehandle. Hogan gets up on the apron, but Savage is clearly snubbing him and trying to win the damn match by himself. Hogan keeps whining, being the gloryhound that he is, so Savage gives him a well-deserved bitchslap and walks out. This would seem to be a perfect way to have Hogan do a job, but if you think that, then you haven’t been watching Hogan for very long. (Hogan & Savage d. Bossman & Akeem, Hogan legdrop — pin Akeem, 19:39, **) Match quality is hard to judge because a lot of match was in the background of the Hogan drama class, but it was just there to make people want to buy Wrestlemania, and damned it if didn’t do that. – Backstage, Savage cuts the heel promo of his life, accusing Hogan of lusting after his woman and lusting after his title, going nuts with an all-time great paranoid rant against him unmatched by anything short of the rap album he made a few years back. (This was such a great heel promo, probably one of the best of all time, which basically sold hundreds of thousands of PPV buys and actually made him a heel against Bad News Brown at all the house show runs.) Hogan protests, so Savage hits him in the face with the belt and then tosses Liz around like a ragdoll in an awesome moment. God, Super Heel Randy Savage escaping Wrestlemania with a DQ loss and then rampaging over the WWF until the broken and injured Hogan returned to win at Summerslam could have financed the company for 15 years after. It’s a total shame that they turned Savage into such a joke by pairing him with Sherri, because this was his defining moment. – Ted Dibiase v. Hercules. With the Megapower Explosion eating up the first 45 minutes of the one hour show, this was pretty much an afterthought. Basically Hercules is pissed because Bobby Heenan sold him into slavery, something which I think we can all relate to. Herc attacks and dumps Dibiase, then goes after Virgil. He slingshots Dibiase back in and gorilla slams him, but Dibiase yanks him out of the ring. Dibiase takes over with a pair of fistdrops for two. Middle rope elbow gets two. Herc comes back with a suplex, but runs into a boot, and Dibiase gets two. Herc rams him into the turnbuckle a bunch of times and powerslams him, but misses a charge. Virgil wraps the chain around the turnbuckle, but Dibiase takes it instead. Hercules gets two off that. Into the chain again to set up the torture rack, but Virgil trips him up and Dibiase gets the lame rollup. (Dibiase d. Hercules, rollup — pin, 7:07, *1/2) Weak finish to protect “third Megapower” Hercules (no, seriously), but it’s fucking Hercules, who cares? (If anything shouldn’t Beefcake have been the Third Megapower?) The Pulse: Less of a wrestling show than an hour-long angle and commercial for Wrestlemania V, it certainly accomplished the goal it set out to achieve, and somehow made me hate Hogan all the more. Sadly, the blowoff match gave me no happiness.
The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #19 – January 1989 – #18 wasn’t on the list of stuff, which means that I’ve done it somewhere before. It didn’t sound familiar to me — Ultimate Warrior v. Super Ninja? — but at this point my fans know better than I do what I’ve covered and what I haven’t anyway. Again, if you’re enjoying these SNME rants, check out www.gamshowutopia.net, because it needs the traffic and stuff. (Not anymore, apparently.) – I’d also like to note before we begin that today, Feb. 25, marks my first wedding anniversary, although I can only hope to achieve the kind of long-term wedded bliss of Britney and K-Fed. (Ninth anniversary was this year!) – Taped from Tampa, FL. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura. – Hair v. Hair match: Brutus Beefcake v. Outlaw Ron Bass. The backstory is the usual for wrestling — Bass costs Beefcake his shot at the title, Brutus is pissed and wants revenge in C-show midcard matches around the country. I can’t believe Beefcake’s low-grade blading required a big red X on it, unless it was to cover up the fact that there was no blood. I’ve seen Lex Luger go deeper than that. Boss opts for the sneak attack, but loses his whip and runs away. He’s helpless without his giant phallic symbol, you see. Beefcake quickly gets a high knee and Bass bails, so Beefcake won’t let him back into the ring. Back in, Beefcake slugs him down and pounds away on the mat. Bass comes back with an inverted atomic drop and a gutbuster, and now it’s Beefcake on the floor. Back in, Bass elbows him in the gut and adds a running boot. He keeps working over Beefcake’s abs, and he’s just lucky it’s not Rick Rude or all this psychology would be for NOTHING. Piledriver gets nothing, as Beefcake is in the ropes. Stun gun gets two. Lariat gets two. Bass thinks it’s over, but of course it’s not, and in fact he walks into the sleeper and goes nightie-night. (Beefcake d. Bass, sleeper — submission, 7:40, *1/2) Basic kick and punch TV match, with some interesting stuff with Bass working over the midsection for no real reason. Bass showed up for the Royal Rumble with his ‘do and then vanished off the face of the earth. (Kudos to them at the time because I legitimately bought the washed-up Bass as a threat to Beefcake back in 88.) – Hulk Hogan v. Akeem. Hogan is borrowing Liz AGAIN tonight. No wonder Savage got all jealous. Randy, however, is watching via a TV in the back with Mean Gene. Akeem misses a charge to start and Hulk slugs away, then he stops to go after Bossman and Slick. Back in, he tries to slam the African Dream, but gets pounded down. Hogan runs into an assortment of turnbuckles, but tries a wristlock and gets taken down. That wrestling stuff always comes back to bite you on the ass. He comes back with more punches, having learned his lesson about wrestling, and sends the Towers into each other. OMG, he’s like a one man gang! Akeem kills the ref and the beatdown is on. Then begins the funniest portion of the match, as Savage is watching backstage with Gene and they have a conversation which I’m paraphrasing and embellishing below: Mean Gene: My god, they’re killing him! (Akeem and Bossman hit Hogan with a series of splashes and stomps the crap out of him.) Savage: I’m gonna see how this plays out first. Mean Gene: They’re literally ripping his head off and shitting down his throat! (Indeed, Bossman has dropped his pants and is defecating on the headless corpse of Hogan, something you didn’t often see on network TV at the time) Savage: I have every confidence in him, Mean Gene. GO HULKSTER! That’s why I was cheering for Savage at Wrestlemania V. And in fact, Savage proves to be RIGHT, as Hogan comes back from all that after the break and the match continues. (Never bet against Hogan! Overcoming the odds is what he DOES!) Hulk takes Akeem down with the dreaded POPEYE PUNCH OF DOOM. Big boot, bodyslam, and the inevitable DQ. (Hogan d. Akeem, DQ, 7:00, 1/2*) This went nowhere but the point was to set up The Main Event #2, with the Megapowers EXPLODING, and that it did. Sadly, Savage’s gay buccaneer look was just too far ahead of its time, as there wasn’t yet a porno version of Pirates of the Caribbean for him to star in. However, if they did decide to make Butt Pirates of the Caribbean today, Randy could haul it out of the closet and be ready. – Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Honky Tonk Man. This feud pretty much peaked with their first match. Stupid “fact” du jour — three different announcers tout the idea that Honky would be the first person to regain the IC title, which is ludicrous considering there had just recently been a Coliseum video released detailing how Pedro Morales, Don Muraco and Tito Santana had all done just that. Anyway, Warrior tosses Honky around like the proverbial sack of potatoes to start, but misses a charge and Honky uses the megaphone to beat him down. This shows the fundamental problem with the “feud” — Honky was so out of Warrior’s league that he couldn’t even go on OFFENSE without something extreme like that. He stomps away in the corner and dodges an elbow, but Warrior no-sells and clotheslines him down. Splash hits knee and Honky gets two. Funny spot as Honky tries a clothesline, and Warrior won’t even sell the minimal amount needed to MOVE, and Honky just bounces off him awkwardly. Warrior then finishes with a shoulder tackle. (Warrior d. Honky Tonk, shoulderblock — pin, 4:49, 1/4*) Both guys were just phoning it in, and that pretty much ended Honky’s run as any kind of singles threat. – Terry Taylor v. Tito Santana. Speaking of people who weren’t a singles threat, this was the big angle where Red Rooster turned face. Yay. Lockup in the corner to start, and they criss-cross into a Tito dropkick for two. Tito tries a splash and hits knee, allowing Taylor to take over. Jawbreaker and choking follow. Sunset flip is blocked and Tito comes back. Backdrop and spinning toehold, but Taylor pushes him off. Heenan pulls his guy out and slaps him around, and we take a break. Back with Terry getting a kneedrop for two. Tito cradles for two. Backslide gets two. Blind charge hits boot and Taylor gets a piledriver for two. Stun gun sets up a scorpion death lock, but Tito comes back and dumps him with a clothesline. Heenan, fed up with Taylor, throws him back in and Tito rolls him up for the pin. (Santana d. Taylor, rollup — pin, 7:44, *1/2) Really long and dull, as Heenan’s abuse of Taylor was the focus and ruined the match. Taylor officially turns on him afterwards, setting up the epic Rooster v. Brawler feud, and as it turned out he should have stayed with Bobby. – Koko B. Ware v. Mr. Perfect. (Hall of Famer Koko is back in his rightful spot in the death slot.) This was before the vignettes, before the longer tights, and definitely before the steroids and managers. Koko hiptosses him out of the ring to start, but Perfect comes back with chops. He grabs a headlock, but gets armdragged. Perfect gives him a cheapshot and pounds him in the corner, and a dropkick puts Koko on the floor. Koko comes back and misses a charge, and the hot new move promised, The Perfectplex, puts him away perfectly. (Perfect d. Koko, Perfectplex — pin, 3:07, *) Just a squash. The Pulse: I gotta say, this one made me want to see The Main Event #2 now, and good thing because it’s next on the list. Not really a memorable show otherwise. (The Savage exchange and Rooster face turn make it pretty notable.)
The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event – November 26 1988 – Are you KIDDING me? They just happen to show the one SNME that I don’t have a copy of and have never reviewed? (Unfortunately they aired probably the worst one of all time.) Seriously, this channel is like Christmas every single day. – Taped from Sacramento, CA. – Your hosts are Vince & Jesse. WWF Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Super Ninja. Some dumbass on Wikipedia keeps posting that Ninja was Keiji Mutoh, although I’ve always heard it was Rip Oliver doing a quick job. Mutoh did have a stint in Florida as “Super Ninja”, but this guy is clearly way bigger than Mutoh was in 1988. The Ninja tries a lame superkick to start and Warrior totally no-sells it and tosses him on his head, then boots him out of the ring. Back in, Warrior elbows him down and then hits him with a super-stiff clothesline, then finishes with the gorilla press and splash at 2:08. Ninja might as well have been a mannequin out there. DUD (Seriously, what was the point of starting with a Warrior squash when he was hot off winning the IC title?) – Let us take you back to Ted Dibiase buying Hercules as a slave, which didn’t work out very well for anyone involved. Where’s Abe Lincoln when you need him? Hercules v. Virgil. Odd that a black man would be fighting for his rich boss’s right to buy slaves. Ah, irony. Hercules notes in his pre-match promo that each link in his chain represents a victory in the ring. Geez, he’d been wrestling for like 8 years at that point, so that’s not really something to be proud of. (Sounds about right, though.) Dibiase attacks to start, but Hercules cleans house and totally ignores Virgil, going after Ted instead. Back in, Herc slugs away on Virgil and elbows him down, then drops an elbow and pounds away on the mat. Back to Dibiase again as Herc keeps getting distracted, but he goes back to Virgil and kneelifts him. He throws clotheslines as poor Virgil bumps all over the place with no offense, and Herc no-sells his brief comeback. Running powerslam finishes clean at 3:22. Another total squash. 1/2* Hercules was pretty over thanks to sympathy heat, but they overplayed their hand and tried to push him at a level he wasn’t ready for as a babyface, and it ruined him. (And speaking of Hercules, I was reading the Observer from 11/94 trying to figure out if there was something weird around the Kid-Backlund match at the time, and one of the tidbits that I had forgotten about was that Hercules was being brought in to play Razor Ramon’s old Cuban gangbanger friend who would now be his rival, presumably because he sold out to the man or something. That’s…not bad, actually.) WWF World title: Randy Savage v. Andre the Giant. Ugly pea-soup green tights for Macho tonight, my least favourite variant. Savage tries the boxing in the corner, but Andre boots him down and grabs a facelock in the corner. Andre rams him in the corner, but Savage hits him with a knee to the back before Andre goes back to his facelock again. Andre switches to the choking with the strap and headbutts him, but Savage keeps fighting in the corner. Andre headbutts him again and goes back to choking, but Randy uses a jawjacker to break free. He slugs away in the corner, but Andre chokes him down again. Savage goes up with the double axehandle as Jake Roberts joins us to further that ridiculous feud. So the match grinds to a halt as the ref kicks Roberts out and we take a break. Back with Savage jumping Andre from behind while Bobby searches for the snake. Andre smacks Savage down and gets all worked up about the snake while Heenan tears ringside apart. Savage uses the distraction to keep on the attack, but he can’t take Andre off his feet. Savage chases after Heenan and gets attacked by Andre again as a result, and finally Bobby finds Damian. And it turns into a big schmoz at 8:42 with everyone running in. Decent enough, but it didn’t actually lead to a finish and Savage looked really weak selling like a jobber for Andre at that point in both of their careers. ** Savage, the World champion, got no significant offense in, which would have been fine if it lead to him getting the big come-from-behind win, but it didn’t. (They had a much better match on a couple of the house shows taped for TV airing, actually.) Flag Match: Hacksaw Duggan v. Boris Zhukov. Slugfest to start and Duggan gets the atomic drop, sending Boris to the floor. Boris comes back with a boot and drops an elbow, but Duggan sidesteps him, only to miss his own elbow. Boris slugs away in the corner, but Duggan follows with a clothesline coming out and slams him to set up the three-point clothesline to finish at 2:49. Yeah. 1/4* – Brother Love interviews Slick (with Jive Soul Bro sadly omitted again) and Hulk Hogan, so they can debate the recent attack by Big Bossman. Love asking questions and then cutting Hulk off is really funny stuff. Hogan cutting off Love is less funny. But then I’m biased anyway. And then of course Hulk the sportsman beats up little Slick and little Brother Love because he’s a big man and Bossman isn’t around to stop him. The Young Stallions v. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers. The Rougeaus announce their American citizenship before the match, which sadly means no theme song yet. We’ve got limited time left so this should be squashtastic as well. Jacques overpowers Powers to start and dropkicks him, but Powers hammers away in the corner. Jimmy Hart hits him in the leg with the megaphone to break that up, and the Rougeaus take over in the corner with the abdominal stretch and superkick combo. Raymond works on the back and Jacques gets a back elbow for two. He misses a crossbody, however, and it’s hot jobber tag to Roma. He powerslams Jacques and goes up with a missile dropkick on Raymond for two, and it’s BONZO GONZO. La Bombe De Les Rougeaus finishes at 3:07, however. Quick and not particularly interesting. *1/2 – We wrap things up with angry words from Andre, menacing words from Jake Roberts, and Hulk Hogan saying “brother” and “man” a lot. The Pulse: I won’t go so far as to call this the worst SNME I’ve ever seen, but it’s close enough that I can definitely call it a strong recommendation to avoid at all costs. (I’d call it one of the worst, although crap like the 1990 ones with the depleted roster really gave this one a run for its money.)
The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #17 – October 1988 – Taped from Baltimore, MD – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura – Jake Roberts v. Rick Rude. This was the big blowoff for the B-show main event feud, triggered by Rude hitting on Jake’s wife Cheryl. These days the big twist in the storyline would be Cheryl leaving Jake for Rude, but in those days it was merely Rude losing his pants on national TV. Different times, I guess. Funny bit of commentating between Vince and Jesse, as Vince puts down Jesse’s outfit and Jesse retorts that Vince wouldn’t know anything about Wall Street anyway. Well, not THEN, certainly. (Apparently not now, either.) Cheryl and her 80s cougar hair are at ringside to inspire Jake. Lockup to start and they slug it out, and Jake starts working the arm with a long wristlock. Rude bails to escape the DDT. Back in, Rude counters the short-arm with his own to take over, pounding away in the corner. He stops to hit on Jake’s wife, however, alternating between beating on Jake and posing at Cheryl. Jake finally clotheslines him and slugs him down, and allows Cheryl to slap him. Jesse calls for a DQ, but the ref tosses her instead, and we take a break. We return as they brawl outside, and Jake gets posted. Back in, he makes the comeback with a backdrop, but Rude blocks the DDT and drops an elbow. To the top for a fistdrop, and that gets two. Jake does a slick dodge of a backdrop, kick wham DDT, but Heenan runs in for the DQ. (Roberts d. Rude, DQ, 7:37, **1/2) Going pretty good before the lame finish. Andre the Giant comes out to attack, but we learn his secret shame — fear of snakes. Sadly, they go all the way with the angle, as Andre has a “heart attack” out of fright, thus kicking off the low point of his career up until then. – WWF tag titles: Demolition v. The Hart Foundation. The Harts had just turned face, and Demolition was practically there. Still, Jimmy Hart is joining Fuji in the heel corner tonight to further the Harts-Rougeaus feud. Ax and Neidhart slug it out to start, but Anvil gets tripped in the corner and pounded. The Harts return the favor on Smash and Bret dropkicks him into an elbowdrop for two. Smash sends him into the corner, and Ax comes in to choke him out. That goes pretty well for the champs. Smash smashes and goes to the chinlock. Double-team smashing in the corner, but Bret smashes back. OK, enough of that. Hot tag Anvil and he cleans house. Powerslam gets two. It’s BONZO GONZO and the Demos collide, but there’s a million managers and sneaking a megaphone in is pretty easy in the chaos. (Demolition d. Hart Foundation, Smash megaphone — pin Neidhart, 5:56, **) This was more about hammering home the Hart v. Harts feud than anything else. – Hulk Hogan v. King Haku. Hulk has Liz with him tonight. No wonder Savage was insanely jealous. Haku attacks during the ref’s inspection and pounds away in the corner. Hulk quickly slugs him down, however, and unleashes the Knives of Eternity. (That would be a Remo Williams reference.) He drops the elbows and chops him down, but stops to chase the Brain and gets caught with a choke by Haku. The Vulcan Nerve Pinch of Doom follows, and the superkick puts Hulk on the floor. Haku tries to follow with a chop of the apron, but Hulk pulls Heenan in the ring and then steals Haku’s crown. What a poor sport. Heenan heads to the back and we take a break. Back with Hogan slugging away, but he runs into a clothesline. Haku stomps him down and suplexes him for two. You know the rest. (Hogan d. Haku, legdrop — pin, 6:20, *) – Ken Patera v. Dino Bravo. Without even seeing the match, I shall use my powers to predict that Patera misses a blind charge and gets pinned after the sideslam. Let’s see. Patera slugs away to start and backdrops him, so Bravo bails. Back in, Bravo pounds him in the corner, but Bravo escapes the full nelson. It’s no Masterlock. Blind charge misses, and the sideslam finishes. SPOOKY. Or just repetitive booking. (Bravo d. Patera, sideslam — pin, 3:03, 1/2*) – Big Bossman v. Jim Powers. Bossman’s SNME debut as a big star, and Powers is a jobber. You do the math. (Bossman d. Powers, Bossman slam — pin, 2:30, DUD) The Pulse: Not much here. (Indeed not.)
– Taped from Springfield, Maine.
– Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Hercules. Who the hell thought of THIS matchup? (Well, Bill Watts originally, I’d imagine.) Herc pounds away, but gets clotheslined. He bails and talks things over with Andre. Duggan gets an atomic drop and Hercules bails again. Back in, Duggan gets a backdrip, but misses a kneedrop and Herc jumps on the knee. Duggan fights back, but misses a charge and Hercules chokes him out. Duggan comes back, but gets tossed. Back in, Herc stomps away, so Duggan grabs his 2×4 and clears the ring. We return from break as Herc goes to the eyes and grabs a bearhug. That oughta pick up the pace. Not. Kneelift and more choking follow. Duggan comes back and hits the three-point stance, but everyone runs in for a DQ at 7:22. God, they gave it 7 minutes for THAT finish? Warrior saves to give us the Dream Team for the 90s: Duggan & Warrior. There’s not enough stars in the sky and negatives to put in front of them for that teaming. 0 for 1.
– Dangerous Danny Davis v. Brutus Beefcake. It’s the Pat Patterson Alliterative Nickname Nightmare match. Brutus tosses Danny around and gets a hiptoss. Davis comes back with some token jobber offense, but gets caught with the sleeper and goes to lullaby-land at 3:02. Total squash. 0 for 2.
– WWF title match: Randy Savage v. One Man Gang. Gang overpowers Savage, but Randy does some sticking and moving. Bodypress gets two as he muscles Gang down by sheer force of will. A bodypress off the top gets a more convincing two. Stungun gets two. Gang nails him in the corner to end all that fast-paced offense, however, and gets down to the business of slowing things down with some good old fashioned choking. Quite a lot of it, as well as that other big fat guy standby, pounding on the back while yelling. (It’s the CLUBBING FOREARMS.) Elbowdrop gets two, but a charge misses and Savage elbows him right back. He dumps Gang and drops the double axehandle, but presses his luck by coming off the top again inside and gets caught on the way down. Gang goes up, but misses the 747, while Slick puts the moves on Elizabeth. Savage takes offense, so Slick takes a swing with the cane, nails his own man by mistake, and Savage drops the elbow for the pin at 5:56 to retain. They should have done that match at Wrestlemania 4. 1 for 3, for Savage’s offense.
– Demolition v. The British Bulldogs. This is non-title. Smash & Smith start off, and Smash kicks some ass. Dynamite sneaks in with a clothesline, but Smash blocks a rollup and tags in Ax. He gets double-teamed by the Bulldogs, but a well-timed cheapshot turns the tide. Smash gets a backbreaker on Dynamite for two. Bearhug, but the Kid fights free. Ax keeps pounding him, but Smash misses a charge. Hot tag Smith, and he dumps Ax. Dynamite comes in, but Smash tosses him. The dog chases Fuji to the back as we go to a break. We return with a brawl and the Bulldogs quickly getting DQ’d at 4:46. Hot match, stupid finish. 2 for 4. The canned heat was ludicrously overbearing here as they constantly tried to drown out the cheers for Demolition. (It’s BIZARROWORLD.)
– Ted Dibiase v. Don Muraco. Dibiase attacks to start and pounds away, but gets backdropped. He bails and buys some time. Back in, Muraco overpowers him and gets a clothesline. Powerslam gets two. Dibiase takes over with a clothesline for two. Suplex gets two. Side salto gets two. Muraco catches him with his head down and gets an elbow and standing powerslam for two. Dibiase sucker-punches him, however, and gets the pin at 4:10 as the referee “accidentally” fails to notice Muraco’s foot on the ropes. Vince makes allegations about the ref’s honesty. Good little match while it lasted, though. 3 for 5.
– Rick Rude v. Koko B. Ware. Koko slugs away to start, and loses badly. Rude poses and gets dropkicked, which only further serves to piss him off. He pounds away on Koko’s back, and the goes up for the fistdrop. He gets a rare dropkick, but tries again and misses. Koko comes back but quickly hotshots himself and the Rude Awakening puts him away at 3:37. You can’t spell sasquatch without “squash”. 3 for 6. (I have no idea what I was going for there, either.)
– Vince wraps things up.
The Bottom Line: Quite the decent little episode here. A .500 average is about all you can ask for these things anyway.
(Damn Andy Goss, stealing my thunder again…) – Live from Nashville, TN – March 12/ 88
– Your hosts are Vince & Jesse.
– We of course discuss the Hogan/Andre/evil referees controversy first. Funny story about that situation: I was watching some of those old Superstars shows from Feb / 88, and they did an angle whereby every time Jesse Ventura would start to talk about the Main Event, Vince would have the truck bleep out his entire diatribe, by order of Jack Tunney. 13 years ago, I of course had no clue why they were doing that, but now I realize that obviously those shows were from the taping cycle BEFORE the Main Event was shot, but aired AFTER it showed on NBC. And since Vince was like Howard Hughes with all the paranoia about anyone possibly leaking the Mystery Finish, he obviously didn’t want to tell Jesse anything in advance and thus came up with the censorship angle to hedge his bets.
– Brutus Beefcake v. Greg Valentine. Beefcake overpowers Valentine, but gets slugged down. Beefer comes back with the high knee and a slam, however. Big boot and Hammer is reeling. Beefcake gets a pair of atomic drops and an elbow, and rolls up Valentine for two. Weirdest moment ever: Vince has been commenting the whole match on Beefcake’s bizarre tights (you know, the ones with the big split down the side of the legs) and when Beefcake does the rollover pin attempt, the camera is aimed squarely at his crotch, and an uncomfortable Jesse quips “Well, that’s more of Beefcake than we really needed to see.” Vince immediately jumps all over Jesse for even noticing, and they spent the rest of the show slinging gay innuendos at each other, making for some very awkward commentary. Anyway, Beefcake hammers away, but Valentine cheapshots him and drops an elbow. He goes up with another one, and drops the hammer for two. Figure-four, but they’re in the ropes. Greg, however, keeps on the knee until Brutus bails, drawing Honky Tonk Man out of the dressing room. Honky mocks Beefcake until Valentine tosses him back in. Valentine pounds away with elbows and goes for the figure-four, after going to work extensively on the knee in Flairish fashion. Figure-four attempt is blocked by Beefcake with a handful of tights. Again, but Beefcake kicks him away. He comes back and fires back on Valentine, and gets an elbow. Sleeper in the center of the ring, but Greg barely makes the ropes and they tumble out. Jimmy Hart taunts Beefcake into releasing the move and chasing him, which allows Valentine to jump him on the way in and hit a backdrop suplex for the pin at 9:48. But WAIT! In fact, Beefcake lifted his shoulder at two, and he’s the winner. I’ve always hated that finish, but Beefcake worked his ass off here and it was a ***1/4 match as a result. 1 for 1. (To think we’ve reached a point where the double backdrop suplex pin is no longer on my top 10 most hated finishes list.)
– Hulk Hogan v. “King” Harley Race. This a rather famous match for two reasons, which will be explained when we get there. (What a tease.) The storyline here is that Hogan is right pissed off because of the Andre situation and ain’t taking no shit tonight. Here’s a neat touch of continuity from the generally sloppy production crew: Hogan does one of those cheesy pre-match promos with Mean Gene backstage and rips his shirt during the course of it. When he comes out for the match immediately after, the shirt is still ripped. Why is this neat? Because those promos are generally done either WAY before or WAY after in post-production, usually before. So someone actually remembered that Hogan needed a torn shirt. For the evil flipside of this, check out The Main Event, where Hogan cuts a “backstage promo” wearing the 86-88 version of the WWF title belt, and when he “heads off to the ring” 5 seconds later the belt mysteriously metamorphizes into the now-classic WWF title belt! (Metamorphizes is totally a word.) Anyway, Hogan no-sells a pre-bell attack, but Race gets a pair of headbutts. Hogan no-sells that, too, and just unloads on him. Hogan gets a pair of clotheslines, and then hits another one that sends Race over the top, where he hits a ringside table gut-first on the edge. That innocent-looking blow to Race’s gut would actually result in a career-ending injury. Hogan posts Race, but gets jumped by him soon after. Race tries a piledriver on the floor, but can’t pull it off. Hogan atomic drops him and posts him again. They head back in, where Hogan chops away and chokes Race out with his wrist tape (!). Man, this match is so much like a prototype of Hollywood Hogan that it’s scary. Clothesline with the tape and Hogan keeps slugging away. Hogan stops to choke Heenan, allowing Race to nail him and get a kneedrop. Belly to belly sets up another kneedrop and a piledriver. Race dumps him and puts him on that same ringside table, but misses a dive off the apron and goes through the table himself. And that, my friends, is the first recorded table spot in North American wrestling. (Well, if you’re not counting the times that Randy Savage piledrove dudes through tables in Memphis, sure…) There seems to be some debate over exactly which table spot injured Race in this match, but I think the first one did more specific damage – this one was the usual “Fall down, break table” type with the weight distributed evenly over the surface. It certainly couldn’t have HELPED the internal injury, however. Back in, Race hammers away and goes up for a diving headbutt, which gets two. Hulk up, yada yada legdrop at 7:24. Again, everyone busts ass and it’s one of Hulk’s better TV matches that I’ve ever seen. I’d call it about ***1/2 given the timeframe and innovative stuff here. 2 for 2. (Also notable about this feud was the series of ridiculous columns in PWI at the time where one of the writers talked about seeing a bookie, who set odds on this particular series of house show matches for people to bet on. And now this happens FOR REAL.)
– Ted Dibiase v. Randy Savage. Yes, Vince actually gave away the main event to Wrestlemania 4 two weeks before the show, so it’s not a new thing. Savage goes out to abuse Virgil, and Dibiase attacks. Back in, Ted hammers away and chokes him down. Elbow and Dibiase pounds away in the corner. Elbow off the middle leads to more choking. Savage reverses a whip and elbows him back, then a high knee sends Dibiase dramatically flying out. Back in, double axehandle and Dibiase begs off. Clothesline gets two for Savage, however. Savage gets a hotshot and another elbow, and Dibiase now bails. Savage calmly invites him back in as they play mindgames with each other. Savage loses that battle, however, turning his back and getting jumped. Dibiase drops a pair of fists and chops away. A charge hits foot, and Savage gets an elbowdrop for two. Kneedrop misses, so Dibiase tries a spinning toehold to work the knee. Savage kicks off and Dibiase bails, but it was purposely done, as he then pulls Savage out of the ring and brawls with him. Virgil smokes Savage from behind to turn the tide. The ref tosses Virgil as we take a break and return with Dibiase getting a double axehandle and elbow for two. He hits the chinlock and uses the hair to keep Savage down. Savage elbows out and suddenly hits a clothesline out of nowhere. Backdrop, but Dibiase cheapshots him and the ref is bumped. Savage tosses Dibiase and follows with an axehandle, but Andre just CLOBBERS him. Man, DUMB DUMB DUMB move to follow Dibiase out to where the Giant was. Liz wisely runs back to get the cavalry as Andre just absolutely lays a shitkicking on Savage until the ref revives and counts him out at 11:42. Heel beatdown follows, you-know-who makes the save to set up the finish of WM4. Total PPV quality match with psychology and a story and everything, hovering around **** and blowing the Wrestlemania main event out of the water. 3 for 3. (“blowing the WM main event out of the water” isn’t really saying much given both guys had worked multiple matches already at the end of a four-hour show.)
– The Killer Bees v. The Islanders. This is actually a bit of videotape magic, as this match is 2/3 falls but only the first fall was shown. Brunzell slams Tama to start, for two. Bees double-team him, and a Blair rollup gets two. Brunzell works the arm, but misses a dropkick. Tama gets a suplex for two, and Haku dropkicks him for two. Tama pounds away, but gets atomic dropped. Haku gets back in, and he and Brunzell clothesline each other. Hot tag to Blair, who sends Haku out and slams both guys. Rollup on Tama gets two, but he’s left wide open for a Haku superkick and Tama gets the pin at 3:38. Standard tag action. 4 for 4.
– One Man Gang v. Ken Patera. This is the designated “final 30 minutes squash” for the evening. Gang attacks to start and chokes him with his own Olympic pants. Patera fights back and gets a bearhug. Gang rakes the eyes to break, but Patera tries a full-nelson. Well, points for effort, I guess. Patera keeps pounding, but Gang trips coming off the ropes and falls on top for the pin at 3:07. I assume that ending was screwed up or rushed somehow, but it was so ridiculous and out of place that I can’t give the match a point as a result. 4 for 5. The shattered ringside table appears to be whole and intact again, thus showing what order the matches were taped in. (Perhaps the table has John Cena’s genetics and just returned 6 weeks early for dramatic effect?)
The Bottom Line: Man, that first hour was one of the best televised shows that the WWF has ever done. The rest was the usual filler, but definitely check out Hogan-Race and Savage-Dibiase if you’ve never seen them.
Yeah, I know that’s wacky numbering, but blame the Network as they have The Main Event listed as episode 37 of SNME. I have multiple versions of the two matches featured on this show, so we’ll just include everything for fun, since they’ve been done on different DVDs and such. Netcop BONUS Retro Rant: WWF Main Event #1 (Feb. 1988) “Three years is a very long time.” – Andre the Giant, on Piper’s Pit prior to Wrestlemania III. – Live from Indianapolis, IN. – Your hosts are Vince & Jesse. – Hogan training video starts us off. He’s pumped, brother! – Opening match, Intercontinental title: The Honky Tonk Man v. Randy Savage. There’s a big ugly backstage political story behind this that I’ll get into later. HTM hits on Liz and Savage chases to start. Savage mops up with him, but Jimmy Hart’s interference (and megaphone) quickly gives Honky the advantage. He keeps stopping to swivel his hips at Liz, however, between stomps. He drops three elbows on Savage, but stops to hit on Liz again, and Savage makes the comeback. Double axehandle gets two, and Hart gets involved again. Savage puts Honky in a sleeper, but stops to save Elizabeth again, and fights with Honky on the floor. Honky hits the post, and Savage beats the count at 8:04. Cheap ending. Typical SNME match, too. ½* Savage fights off a post-match beatdown afterwards. (And now, the alternate version from Macho Madness!) Intercontinental title: Honky Tonk Man v. Randy Savage From the Main Event in February 1988, this is a match that has a lot of lore and history swirling around it, moreso than you’d expect for a mid-level feud like this. Macho attacks to start and necksnaps Honky on the top rope, then elbows him down and out of the ring before running him into Jimmy Hart. Hart hooks him up to distract him, allowing Honky to attack from behind and get a sunset flip. Savage blocks it and slugs away in the corner, but misses a charge, which allows Honky to take over. Savage takes a run at Hart again and Honky clobbers him with the megaphone for two. To the floor, where Honky hits him with an axehandle off the apron, and back in for some sweet words for Liz. What a ladies’ man. He stomps Savage down and goes to hit on Liz again while Jimmy does his damage, and Jesse blames it all on Liz. The Honkster drops some elbows and he’s still focused on Liz, but Savage has had ENOUGH of this shit and makes the comeback to a giant reaction. He tosses Honky and hits him with the axehandle. Back in, another axehandle gets two. Honky collides with Jimmy Hart and Savage gets a sleeper as the crowd goes insane, but now Savage has to contend with Peggy Sue as well. Honky charges him on the floor, but Macho steers him into the post and gets the countout at 8:23. Tremendous heat, but not a lot going on in the ring. **1/2 – Review of WM3 and the Andre situation for the casual fans. – WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Andre the Giant. This could be quite possibly the most important single moment in the modern era, just because of all the historical significance and precedence it set, and all the things that followed from it. This was the debut of the new WWF title belt that had been promised prior to Wrestlemania III, but never showed up for whatever reason. It’s of course the familiar design that was just retired last year when Steve Austin won the thing. Hogan does his posing before the match starts. Hogan cleans house on the seconds, then starts punching Andre. This goes on FOREVER, as Andre just keeps absorbing blows from Hogan and won’t go down. Hogan tries going to the top finally, but gets slammed off and suddenly starts selling a back injury like he was just in a career-ending car accident. Andre chokes a lot. He works a bodyslam in, then does a Hogan big boot and falls over in the process. Only quick camera work prevents him from looking like a total idiot. More choking. Still more. Choking, you say? Have some more. Hogan comes back and goes aerial, hitting a clothesline from the second rope and the STINKY WART-INFESTED NASTY GIANT-KILLING LEGDROP OF DEATH, but Virgil is distracting our referee. Hogan stops to argue the point, but Andre lumbers up and grabs him from behind, hitting a half-assed suplex/hiptoss thing and getting a one-count…which is extended into three because the ref keeps counting despite Hogan lifting his shoulder. The crowd is in SHOCK, as Hogan’s four-year title reign has come to an end under suspicious circumstances. HULK SCREWED HULK! Mean Gene pops into the ring for a word with Andre, who barely has the celebratory speech out of his mouth before he hands the title over to Ted Dibiase, becoming the shortest reigning champion in the WWF to date. The weirdness continues, as a SECOND Hebner comes out of the dressing room to argue with the first one. One of course was Dave Hebner, senior WWF referee, and the other was his twin brother Earl, current senior WWF referee. Earl eventually punks out Dave, which is good enough proof of Evil Intentions for Hogan, so he tosses Earl like a shotput into the arms of Dibiase (sending him about 15 feet into the aisleway in the process) and that’s that. ½* (And now, the alternate version from the SNME DVD!) WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Andre the Giant From The Main Event, on live network primetime TV. This did ungodly numbers and blows away all other ratings for wrestling matches. It also has one of the most famous finishes in history. As a match, not so good. Another first here as it marks the debut of the classic winged eagle WWF title belt, although Hulk’s pre-match interview sees him wearing the older design. Pretty big production gaffe there. Amazingly, that belt design would last for 10 years, second only to the Big Gold Belt (23 years and counting!) and the current I-C title (11 years and sorely in need of a redo). (Or in this case, a return to the previous belt.) Hulk cleans house on Dibiase and Virgil to start and then slugs away on Andre, but can’t knock him down. Hulk tries a corner clothesline, but still can’t punch him down, even after spinning his arm around like Popeye! That would KILL a normal man! He finally tries to go up, but Andre slams him off and then misses a headbutt. Andre chokes him out and stomps him, then puts him down with the headbutts. Big boot puts Hulk on the floor, and Virgil sends him back in for some more choking. Hogan fights up and slugs away in the corner, then gets a flying clothesline and drops the leg. The ref is busy with Virgil, and Andre headbutts Hogan from behind and suplexes him for the pin and the title at 9:04, despite Hogan’s shoulder being up at one. Pff, technicalities. So Andre immediately surrenders the title to Ted Dibiase as Hogan cries like a little bitch instead of manning up and doing something about it. I really wish 24/7 would show one of the house shows with Dibiase “defending” the title against Bam Bam Bigelow, for historical reasons if nothing else. I don’t know if any of them were taped for TV, though. Anyway, the really shocking thing here is that this isn’t even the worst refereeing job Earl Hebner would do in his career. Much better than their Wrestlemania match. That’s not saying much. ** – Backstage, he delivers that classic whining interview where he demands to know “how much money [did they spend] on the plastic surgery” while nearly breaking into tears. I was busy crying my own tears – tears of joy at Hogan’s ego-ridden title reign finally coming to an end. A Strike Force-Hart Foundation tag title match was also here, but it was cut off about 10 seconds in as the show ran out of time. (Apparently restored to full glory on the Network! All praise be to the Network!) The Bottom Line: I recently found out an interesting story behind the whole Savage-HTM thing, because at the time I thought that Savage was a lock to kill Honky and get the title. Turns out he was. But, wrestling being the nasty, political world it is, Honky threatened to take the title and jump to the NWA very shortly before the show aired, thus messing everyone up. So in order to keep everyone happy, Honky was kept as the IC champion, and Savage was given a bigger reward: The win in the WWF title tournament at Wrestlemania IV, which had previously been promised to someone else…Ted Dibiase. This would have presumably built to a Savage-Dibiase match at the first Summerslam for the title, but things changed and Savage got a longer title reign than originally expected. It also worked out better in the end because the Megapowers thing had better symmetry with Savage winning at WM4 and losing at WM5 the next year. Life is weird, no? (Holy cow, we’ve only heard that story a few times less than the Shane McMahon one. Get a life.)
Tonight, we’re supposed to have Sheamus and Rusev which tickles me so.
ALSO: Rusev takes on…SWAGGER?! Wait…what happened to Sheamus?
Rollins comes out to the ring to start us out tonight.with so much oil
in his hair, Russia’s upset that Europe signed a pipeline deal with his
Rollins is about to speak and…Fandango’s out here. Now. To wrestle. Wrestle Seth Rollins.
Seth, whose Inner Admiral Ackbar is suddenly set to “OFF”, accepts this.
hits a dropkick off a whip to start. Rollins takes a breather outside
and gets back in the ring, kicking and stomping at Fandango. Fandango
fights back but Rollins trips him and sends Fandango’s head into the
lower turnbuckle. He stomps at Fandango again and puts him in a side
headlock. Fandango breaks free with a Snap Mare and backslide pin for
two. A rush in the corner ends in a Sunset Flip by Fandango for two.
Fandango tries to lock Rollins’ head with his legs but Rollins
Powerbombs him into the top buckle and then hits the Curb Stomp for the
win at 3:08.
lock-ups go nowhere for about the first 90 seconds. Ryback gets in
Jey’s face after he dances and they start trading shots. Ryback misses
two clotheslines and Jey slides out of the ring to chill with Jimmy. Jey
gets back in and tries a Sunset Flip which Ryback counters with a Back
Drop. Jimmy gets stuck in a headlock but fights out and gets another
Sunset Flip for two. Ryback charges but gets stuck in two roll-ups for a
couple two-counts. Jey slaps at Ryback, then goes off the top rope but
Ryback catches him with a Spinebuster. Ryback goes for the Meathook but
Jey catches him and hits the Samoan Drop. Jey hits SHADESOFRIKISHI
because that’s what that move is called now. Axel interferes and Jey
knocks him off the mat. Jey turns around and gets caught with the Meat
Hook, getting the win for Ryback at 4:47.
Young has Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil who looks less than excited.
Their team is called Slater Gator. Titus goes full Dennis Haysbert and
tells him they’re “not a damn team” and Heath needs to sit down and shut
up. He walks off. Heath tells Renee that Titus didn’t mean that.
They’re gonna be the next great tag team. Whoo! Slater Gator! Yep.
Slater Gator, folks.
is E and Kofi’s new manager. He even stole Brother Love’s suit so we’d
all think “evil”. Kofi and Titus start things off. Kofi slaps Titus.
Titus hits back and hits a series of backbreakers and then just tosses
Kofi away like a newspaper. Slater tags himself in and stomps Kofi. Kofi
gets up and starts punching back but Slater pushes Kofi into the heel
corner. Kofi tries to fight his way out but Slater catches him by the
hair. Titus and Slater argue. Kofi escapes to get the hot tag and
punches at Titus. Kofi takes out Slater. E picks up Titus. Kofi and E
hit the Doomsday Device…but the match just goes on. Slater is in the
match and he gets a Doomsday Device as Malcolm X-avier yells at E to
stack the two up and pin them. E does at 3:21.
Woods barks and makes overdone motions with his arms like a chicken on
steroids as E and Kofi still look like they have no idea why they’re in
this gimmick when they were already successful.
Young interviews Zeb and Swagger. He says America and Russia have both
contributed to the world — but Russia has only given “Vodka” — and
they’ve been all slamming it non-stop. He calls Rusev “Boris” again but,
having blown the joke on the first two occasions by calling him
“Bullwinkle”, it seems forced. Oh well. WE THE PEOPLE, I guess.
Young is backstage with both Slater and Gator. Titus says he knew it
wasn’t gonna work out. Slater’s an albatross and he’s “always been bad
luck”. He walks off. Slater says Titus is joking. This will work! Whoo!
Slater Gator, Renee. Slater Gator.
says America surrendered a long time ago. Today, in New York City,
somebody put a white flag in the place of the American flag on the
Brooklyn Bridge. Putin is zee best. You know the drill.
is limping slightly. Swagger tries to trip him up and gets to a leg but
Rusev holds the ropes. Swagger gets a hold from behind but Rusev elbows
out. Rusev is all over Swagger in the corner and runs Swagger from
corner to corner. He tosses Swagger into the ropes but Swagger holds on.
Rusev charges and Swagger tosses him out of the ring. Rusev can’t stand
on his injured foot and hobbles around. We go to break.
break, Rusev kicks Swagger in the chest, knocking him down. He chokes
at Swagger against the ropes and Swagger rolls out of the ring. Rusev
chases and puts Swagger’s head into the barricades and steel steps. Back
in the ring, Swagger tries for the ankle again but Rusev kicks Swagger.
Rusev puts Swagger in an armbar while stepping on his head, then
converts it into a chinlock. Swagger powers out and kicks at Rusev as he
charges Swagger in the corner, then Swagger hits a HUGE clothesline.
tries the Swagger Bomb but Rusev puts his boot up. Swagger counters and
hits the Patriot Lock but Rusev breaks it and goes outside the ring.
Swagger chases and clotheslines Rusev in the head, hitting the Patriot
Lock. Rusev kicks out, then grabs the Russian flag, nailing Swagger with
Rusev climbs into the ring, ready to do some damage to Swagger. Zeb,
however, grabs the Russian flag from him and gives it to Lana. Rusev
screams at Colter. Swagger nails Rusev with a clothesline, knocking
Rusev out of the ring, then gets the American flag from Colter, waving
it as we go off the air.
About a * for me. This was just by-the-numbers and didn’t advance much.
A fight against Sheamus would have been slightly better than
be back next week, same time, same website. Thursday’s
double-feature day with the great Scott Keith’s NXT report and
Danielle’s Total Divas recap/rant. Tommy will cover Smackdown to take
you into your weekend and Andy PG will be back to start your week off
right with the PG Era Raw Rant on Monday.
you to all the BoD’ers and, hey, if you wanna read more of our stuff,
please check me out at The Daily DDT
(http://dailyddt.com/author/mattlperri/) for all my wrestling editorials
and opinion, visit WE HATE YOUR GIMMICK at
http://wehateyourgimmick.blogspot.com and, of course, visit us on
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/wehateyourgimmick/.
I brought up this show in the discussion part of my Raw Recap post
(see elsewhere), but I wanted to give it the full treatment. Then I
remembered Scott was doing his SNME archive binge and checked with
him first. Fortunately, he said “the more the merrier”, so
here’s my look at this shindig. Scott will be along with his later.
PG Era Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event, March 1988.
with all SNMEs of the time, we open with a Pulp Interview segment.
For those not around at the time, this basically means they cut from
wrestler to wrestler with quickie commentary on the night’s matches,
with no rhyme or reason as to the order of appearance. The “Pulp”
part – which I believe was first coined on Wrestleline, actually;
Scott can back me up if he remembers – is because ECW would do this
about once a month on their Hardcore TV shows in 1998-99, using
Misrilou (aka “That Surf Guitar Solo From Pulp Fiction”) as
background music. So today’s speakers are:
Savage, who tells DiBiase that money doesn’t matter in the Danger
Zone and he’ll get bounced like a bad check;
DiBiase, who says he has class to counter Macho’s crazy;
Beefcake, who hypes his match with Greg Valentine;
(on behalf of the One Man Gang), who mocks the US Olympic Team
because Gang faces Ken Patera and promises Patera will lose;
Heenan and Harley Race, who promise Hulk Hogan will be on his hands
and knees before the King;
Hulk Hogan, who says that Harley Race will be crowned by a big right
from Nashville, TN.
hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura, who spend the first five
minutes recapping Hogan/Andre from last month and looking at the
bogus count like it’s the Zapruder film. Each one accuses the other
of being delusional and saying the other twin is crooked. (McMahon
admits to being from the South here, while Ventura confirms Vince’s
neck is very red.) Luckily, the tournament for the vacated title
will be held at WrestleMania IV.
to Mean Gene with Greg Valentine and Jimmy Hart. Hart puts over that
this is the Dream Team meeting. Hart says prime rib Valentine will
beat that rump roast Beefcake, while Valentine will tenderize
Beefcake with the Hammer (Elbow). According to Okerlund’s throw to
the booth, Valentine was go-nowhere after the Dream Team breakup
until hooking up with Jimmy Hart. Hart, by the way, more famously
manages Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man, who at WrestleMania
IV will face Brutus Beefcake. INTRIGUE!
Okerlund interviews Beefcake, who turns the whole interview into
barber puns to the point that even Okerlund makes one.
Valentine v. Brutus Beefcake.
Brutus chases Valentine to the outside with his hedge clippers
before the bell rings. Hebner removes the hedge clippers… then
sees Beefcake also has barber shears and has to remove them, too.
Valentine understandably is slow to enter. Lockup, and Beefcake
shoves Valentine down. Valentine gets a kneelift and forearms, but a
clothesline misses and Beefcake with a Harley Race Knee and bodyslam.
Big boot by Brutus and Valentine does a Flair Flop. Beefcake struts
and goes to town with rights before landing an atomic drop (complete
with hilarious sell by Valentine), then another. Beefcake with a
running jump elbow and jack-knife pin for two, which impresses
Ventura. Ten punches in the corner and Valentine gets another Flair
Flop. The ref breaks up a lockup in the corner, allowing Valentine
to land a forearm to Brutus’s head and some front elbows. Hammer
Elbow off the top floors Brutus, then he winds up and drops a forearm
for two. Valentine applies the Figure-Four right by the ropes, and
both men grab it. Valentine has til five, you know. Valentine kicks
Beefcake out of the ring, allowing Valentine to get in an argument
with the ref. Must be Earl Hebner and not Dave because the ref tried
to fight back. And then Honky Tonk Man steals the house mic to mock
Beefcake and promise Brutus will never cut his hair or take his
title. Hebner and the other referees escort Honky to the back as
Ventura imagines Brutus is demoralized and we go to break.
Hammer pulls Barber up and throws him back in the ring, dropping
another Hammer Elbow to the back of the head. More elbows to the
skull (which at this point is 0% metallic), then a slam setting up
the figure-four. Valentine with a headbutt to the, erm, gut, then he
hyperextends the knees. Hammer rubs his sole of the boot into
Brutus’s calf like he’s extinguishing a cigarette, but the
figure-four is blocked when Beefcake pantses Valentine. A second try
is kicked out of, and Beefcake recovers with a back elbow. Slugfest,
won by Barber with massive chops, and another back elbow floors
Valentine. Beefcake wants the sleeper, and he hooks it on as the
crowd loves it. Valentine makes the ropes, and both men tumble
outside. Hart revives Valentine, but Beefcake is up first with
Polish Hammers. Back in, but Hart attacks Beefcake which Barber
rightly no-sells to start a chase. He almost catches Hart, but
Valentine stomps on Beefcake when Hart dives into the ring. Back
suplex with a bridge ends it at 9:00 shown, but Beefcake’s shoulder
was clearly up at two. What gives? Oh, the ref was counting
Valentine’s shoulders down instead, so Beefcake wins. Eh, the double
pin spot has its place – such as after a long match with a
desperation move where both men are tired (Cena/Punk 2012 comes to
mind) – but this wasn’t it. Too bad, because it was a fun match
with a veteran heel against a fired-up babyface. **1/2
is indignant at the decision because of course he is. Beefcake
steals a lock of Valentine’s hair as a reward, which infuriates the
Hammer. Beefcake protects himself with the shears, which causes
Hamer to freak out and run. Beefcake ALMOST catches Jimmy Hart
to Gene Okerlund, who is with Bobby the Brain and Harley Race.
Heenan is told the vacated crowd is on Heenan’s shoulders, which
Heenan gleefully claims. He loved seeing Andre the Giant beat Hogan
and seeing the kids cry. And tonight, they’ll see even worse when
Harley Race humiliates Hogan by making him bow before the King. And
if you at home wish to bow, go ahead. Race says that Hogan was
proven mortal, and all mortals bow to the King. But wait, Heenan
says Hogan will go so far as to kiss the feet of the King.
to Okerlund with Hogan now. Hogan refutes Hulkamania’s death, saying
that the juggernaut is running and Race is roadkill. Yeah, Heenan is
smart – he sold Andre to DiBiase because it was the only way Andre
could win. Hulk only bows to Jesus. And when Hogan’s done, Race
will be in pieces. Hogan tears his shirt backstage.
Race v. Hulk Hogan.
This is 1988, which is too bad because it’s a 1985 dream match. In
a neat bit of continuity, Hogan doesn’t replace his shirt between
interview and match, so it comes out pre-torn. If the storyline
didn’t make it clear, this match is like CM Punk and Curtis Axel last
year – a lesser member of the heel stable paying for the sins of
its ringleader. There’s a lot of fighting before the bell, so I’m
starting the clock on first contact. Hogan intimidates Heenan and
chases him halfway up the aisle. Race catches Hogan sneaking in with
elbows, but Hogan is in pure no-sell mode… until Race gets some
headbutts. One too many just gets wakes Hogan up, and he unloads on
Race with right hands. Of note: Hogan’s right fist is taped in this
match. Hogan rips his shirt as the bell rings 50 seconds in. Axe
Bomber to Race as Heenan returns. A second Axe Bomber and Hogan
clotheslines Race into the timekeeper’s table (which back then was
right next to the ring). On the outside, Race eats apron before
being sent into the post like he’s Rey Mysterio against Kevin Nash in
1996. Hogan has a chance to chase Heenan and gleefully does so, but
Race recovers and takes over with axehandles. Piledriver try by Race
on the floor, but Hogan backdrops out. Atomic drop, still on the
floor as they have been for well over a minute as the crowd is loving
it. Race eats more post, and Hogan rolls in and back out. Slam on
the floor, and Hogan stomps away. Back in, Hogan with a bionic elbow
and big chops. Hogan pounds away on Race’s temple as even Ventura is
impressed with how nuts Hogan is. Hogan chokes Race out with the
tape that was on his fist, then a clothesline into a blatant choke.
This is shades of Hollywood here. Hogan with right hands, then he
chokes Race against the ropes. The ref pulls him away, but that just
stalls for a second. Heenan tries to pull Hogan away, so Hogan
strangles Heenan until Race pounds Hogan from behind. Headbutt and
falling headbutt follow. Kneedrop softens Hogan up, and Race with a
belly-to-belly suplex. Another kneedrop, this one across the throat,
sets up a piledriver. Race stomps Hogan right on the forehead before
tossing Hogan outside. Race moves the timekeeper table into position
and sets Hogan on it, then goes to the apron for a falling
headbutt… but Hogan moves and Race smashes the table so hard it
craters! ECDUB! ECDUB! Anyway, Hogan can’t recover, so Race throws
him back in, though he’s worse for wear. Some clubbering follows,
then Race goes up for the diving headbutt. Race is as woozy as
Hogan, but recovers in time to cover for… two. Hulk Up time, and
Hogan doesn’t even block a punch, kicking Race in the gut and getting
two straight Axe Bombers before the Legdrop for the pin at 7:26.
Heenan attacks from behind, but that just gets Hulk angry. And you
won’t like Hulk when he’s angry! (I’ve been waiting for months to
write that.) Heenan manages to escape. **1/2
About that table spot: it was pretty clear the table wasn’t prepped
beforehand – the steel supports were still in – which wound up
doing a number on Race. In fact, internal injuries he suffered on
that spot basically convinced Race to hang them up.
to Gene, who’s with Ted DiBiase and Virgil. DiBiase: “Hogan isn’t
quite the same without the belt, is he?” DiBiase doesn’t have it
either, but that’ll be settled at Mania. Earlier on – during the
Pulp Interview – DiBiase said he’d have something or someone worth
his weight in gold. DiBiase dismisses speculation and threatens
Savage, saying he (DiBiase) destroyed Hulkamania. Savage thinks he’s
macho for having a hot babe? Riches are macho. And he’s going to
learn that here.
now, the Macho Man’s rebuttal. He isn’t worried about the surprise
in his corner. DiBiase couldn’t buy the title or Hulkamania, and now
he’s going after Macho Madness. DiBiase’s like one of his checks:
he’s about to get bounced. Elizabeth is worth WAY more than her
weight in gold – she’s a platinum doll. So there. Let’s go cash
DiBiase v. Randy Savage.
Vince says Ventura is the secret DiBiase has, but he denies it. By
the way, this is the main event of WrestleMania IV just three weeks down the line, but no one could predict that. And DiBiase’s
secret weapon: Andre the Giant in his corner. Savage sees Virgil
talk to Elizabeth and fires to the outside to beat him up, but
DiBiase attacks Savage and throws him in. Into the buckle goes
Savage, and DiBiase fires away in the corner. He chokes Savage
against the top rope, catapulting him back. Back elbow and DiBiase
trash talks Elizabeth before picking Savage up and sending him into
the corner headfirst. DiBiase works the gut in the corner, then
promises he’ll take the belt. DiBiase to the second rope, and he
drops a bionic elbow. Blatant choke by DiBiase, over and over, and
Andre adds a shove to Savage behind the ref’s back. Vince says the
Hebners have been fingerprinted to prevent shenanigans as Savage
reverses a Hammer Throw and gets an elbow and jumping kick. A knee
to the back sends DiBiase over and out, and Savage follows to get him
back in. Flying axhandle by Savage, and DiBiase begs off. A kick by
DiBiase is caught into a clothesline for two. Savage with his
Hotshot on DiBiase, and he returns with a big kick and running
elbowsmash. DiBiase falls out of the ring, and Savage INVITES HIM
BACK IN. Ha! DiBiase consults with Andre before stalling and making
his way to the apron. DiBiase comes in with a knee to the gut and
clubs away before dropping some Million Dollar Fists. DiBiase chops
Savage into the corner, but a blind charge eats knees. Savage with
an elbowdrop (from the mat, sadly) for two. Slam, but the kneedrop
misses. DiBiase with the spinning toe hold, but Savage kicks DiBiase
out of the ring again. DiBiase drags Savage out with him, but Savage
slams DiBiase into the apron. Suplex try, but Andre distracts Savage
and Virgil cheapshots him. The referee ejects Virgil from ringside,
with Andre telling him to just go and that he has it from here.
DiBiase back in and to the second rope with an axhandle. Running
elbowdrop gets two. We hit the chinlock as we look over Elizabeth’s
shoulder. DiBiase does the Dolph Ziggler leg lift to add leverage,
but Savage gets the arm up on a KO check. DiBiase uses the hair to
maintain the chinlock, adding knees to the back. Savage fights to
his feet, elbowing out of it and getting a tackle. Criss-crossing
leads to a lariat by Savage, and a Hammer Throw is followed by a
bionic elbow and back body drop. DiBiase begs off but goes to the
eyes, and the referee is wiped out on a criss-cross. Savage dumps
DiBiase and dives off with an axhandle. Andre saunters over and
headbutts Savage down before sending him into the post. Elizabeth is
worried. DiBiase comes back in and wakes up the ref as Elizabeth
runs to the back. Ventura calls Liz an abandoner as Andre tosses
Savage left and right and chops away. Meanwhile, DiBiase wakes the
referee up and makes sure the referee looks ONLY AT HIM while Andre
pounds away. The crowd demands Hogan to make the save, but it’s too
late and Savage is done. Countout follows at 11:40 shown. ***
Andre continues the beating post-match, as does Virgil (hey, the
match is over, he’s not ejected anymore). Many-teaming continues
until Hulk Hogan returns with a chair and sends everyone scattering.
Elizabeth is with Hogan when he shows up, leading to the assumption
that Liz was off to get Hogan. Or because it’s suddenly safe with
Hogan around. Depending on which announcer you ask, of course.
Hogan helps Savage to the back.
“Look at Savage and Elizabeth – with the Hulkster between them!”
“Yeah, the Hulkster might get between them at WrestleMania!”
year off, Jesse. One year off.
Ventura “races” to the back to interview Heenan (who is now in a
beekeeper’s outfit with a leash) and the Islanders. Oh, yeah, this
would be during the “Matilda is stolen” angle that was… just…
weird. It’s his tribute to the Wild Kingdom. The Islanders love
animals, as we can tell from their barking. The Bees will be down to
wax that Gene Okerlund will shine his head with.
Bees v. Islanders.
The Killer Bees as Jim Brunzell (who later became a great
enhancement talent in the early Raw era) and Brian Blair, famous for
being the subject of a YouTube rant that turned Iron Sheik into
everyone’s crazy grandpa. The Islanders are Tama and
THEMONSTERMENG… er, I mean, Haku. Ventura “races” back to
commentary, pretending to be out of breath as he arrives. Brunzell
attacks Tama and gets a slam and legdrop for two, brother. Blair in
with an elbow to the arm off the second rope, then a cradle for two.
Brunzell back in to continue the arm work, into a hiptoss and
armlock. Tama goes for the ride but misses a dropkick, allowing Tama
a headbutt as Vince and Jesse go on a sidebar about the tights being
worn. Back scratch and suplex by Tama, getting two. Haku in, and he
gets a clubbing blow and dropkick for two. He sends Brunzell into
Tama’s foot and makes the tag, but Brunzell fights out with an
inverted atomic drop. Haku tags himself in and chops away, but a
double clothesline follows. Tama in, but he can’t stop Brunzell from
reaching Blair. Blair with an atomic drop and Haku gets sent flying
too. Slam to Tama, then Haku, but Tama rakes the eyes to stop
momentum. Blair rolls up Tama, but Haku enters to save, but Brunzell
cuts him off, BUT that causes the ref to stop the count and clear the
ring. Haku lariats Blair, and Tama’s on top for the pin at 3:39.
(getting paid overtime tonight) is with Slick and the Gang. Okerlund
brings up the US Olympic comments, and Slick re-iterates that the US
team is Losers with a capital L. And Okerlund should know – his
son was on the loser hockey team! (Wait, he was? [checks Wikipedia]
Dang, he was!) And besides, if they were such losers, why call in
George Steinbrenner? Okerlund: “He’ll help the team.” This
marks the last time any babyface said anything nice about
Steinbrenner on TV. Slick then says forget about the Olympic team –
who needs a team when you have a Gang?
Man Gang v. Ken Patera.
Gang attacks Patera as he’s removing his track pants, clubbing away
and choking him with the pants. He strangles Patera against the
ropes and clubs some more, adding right hands. Patera slugs back,
rocking the Gang, then kicks him in the corner and sends him across
the ring… before hooking on a bearhug! Even the announcers are
impressed. Patera even gets Gang off the ground – not far, and not
for long, but off the ground. Gang rakes the eyes to break, then
does more CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY! Patera ducks one and
gets the full nelson out of nowhere, but Gang makes the ropes.
Patera keeps up the offense with forearms and elbows, but Gang
reverses and softens Patera’s gut in the corner. More body squashes
by the Gang, but Patera reverses and works Gang’s gut instead. A
right hand sets up a corner whip and knee in the corner. It’s ten
punches from there, then he keeps up the striking, but Gang with a
Vader attack and he falls on top for the pin at 3:07. Was that match
cut for time constraints? 1/2*
Gang keeps attacking, but Patera knocks Gang down with a second-rope
forearm. He gets Gang up for a slam, but Slick enters with the cane
to wiggle Gang free.
Hogan gets the last words with Mean Gene. He’s laughing maniacally.
Okerlund’s even concerned. But Hogan says he’s in Stark Raving
Maniac mode. As far as Hulk goes, everyone who was involved in the
payoff announced the rules no longer apply. Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum! Andre
the Giant, here I come!
and Jesse wrap things up, hyping the Championship Tournament.
for free TV we had a pretty darn good show! You got a long-overdue
tag team blowoff, you got a shockingly vicious brawl and Hogan
showing more fire than he had to, and Savage/DiBiase was just enough
of an appetizer for the house show circuit after WrestleMania IV.
Heck, even Patera and the Gang seemed motivated, even though it was
all punch-kick between them. It’s only an hour or so once they cut
out the commercials, so definitely worth a watch. One of the best
SNMEs, and one that wouldn’t be out of place as a SmackDown today…
assuming you threw in some angle advancement, of course.
TIME: 34:52 over five matches
MVP: Brutus Beefcake for winning the feud and cutting Valentine’s
SCORE: 7.5. It’s too bad this show wasn’t in front of a better
WrestleMania, but it stands out on its own. The usual weak ending,
but no one was watching past the first three matches anyway, which
delivered in spades. Hey, I saw three (or four, if you include
Bees/Islanders) passable matches in an hour’s worth of watching.
That’s a great number even today!
– Taped from Landover, MD
– WWF tag title match, 2/3 falls: Strike Force v. The Bolsheviks. Oddly enough, both teams here were formed on the heels of one member of a more well-known team being fired – in this case, Tom Zenk and Iron Sheik were fired and replaced with Tito Santana & Boris Zhukov, respectively. (To be fair, Zenk quit.) Tito starts off with Boris and uses speed to keep him off-guard. They work on the arm in tandem and Tito rolls up Volkoff for two. Small package gets two. Bolsheviks hammer on Martel, but Tito comes in with a bodypress for two. Bolsheviks double-team for two. Much choking is evident. Zukhov gets a backdrop suplex for two as Jesse praises the technical acumen of the Russians. Boris hits the chinlock, but Santana makes the tag to Martel, who gets a hiptoss, backdrop, and quickly finishes the first fall via the Boston Crab at 4:26. Second fall: Santana dumps Volkoff and Strike Force double-teams Boris into another Crab. It’s a donnybrook, and Martel gets dropped on the top rope by Volkoff. Side salto gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Boris works the back, as does Volkoff. Double-elbow gets two. Martel gets a sunset flip for two, and everyone tags. Santana gets the hot tag and it’s BONZO GONZO. Flying Jalapeno gets two. The heels miscommunicate and Tito gets the pin on Boris at 7:56 for two straight falls. Longish but passable. 1 for 1. (Man, remember the days when there were so many tag teams that you could have tag team jobbers?)
– Jake Roberts v. Samoan Sika. In the human Escher painting that is the samoan family tree, I believe Sika is the father of the guys currently working in OVW as the Island Boyz, and is Rikishi’s uncle. (According to the family tree on Wikipedia, he is Rikishi’s uncle and the father of Rosey, but not Jamal.) But god knows I’m probably wrong because I have about as much luck with samoan relations as I do trying to remember anything from high school calculus. I think my life would be much easier if they all started wearing nametags listing immediate family. Jake works the arm to start and dodges a clothesline. He keeps punching, but gets backdropped. Fuji gets a cheapshot in, and Sika takes over. He goes to that old samoan standby, the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM, and that lasts a while. Jake slugs back, but Mr. Fuji trips him up. Sika charges, but Jake dodges and rolls him up for the weak pin at 3:30. Fuji takes the DDT afterwards, but it fails to dislodge his hat. I’m tempted to give a point just for that, but it wouldn’t be fair to those who have worked for their points. 1 for 2.
– WWF title match: Hulk Hogan v. King Kong Bundy. This is a rematch from a show that I desperately hoped was in the pile (but wasn’t), as Bundy beat Hogan on a countout on the November ’87 SNME. On the undercard of that show, Bret Hart & Randy Savage did a 15:00 wrestling clinic and THAT’S the match I’ve been looking for. Andre the Giant is acting as Bundy’s manager tonight. Hogan overpowers Bundy to start and runs him into the turnbuckles. Bundy bails and confers with Andre. Back in, Hogan gets a clothesline, Bundy bails again. Back in, Hogan slugs away and works the arm. Bundy actually reverses to his own armbar, albeit via a hairpull, but it’s still sort of like something resembling wrestling. An elbow puts Hogan down, and Bundy keeps on the arm. Hulk responds with a mini-version of the hulking up, and slams Bundy with ease, but hurts his arm. Psychology? HERE??? Bundy slams him back, but misses an elbowdrop. Hogan comes back and the poor ref gets creamed by Bundy in the corner and he’s legally dead. (Now THAT’S a believable ref bump!) Hogan slugs away as a replacement joins us. Bundy bails as the dead ref gets stretchered out, and we take a commercial break. We return with Bundy pounding away. Clothesline and kneedrop get two. He dumps Hogan and won’t let him back in. Finally, he chokes away and splashes Hogan for two, then hits the chinlock. Two Avalanches and a big splash…get two. Hulk up, you know the rest at 12:04. Andre sneaks in (as much as Andre could sneak anywhere) and kicks the shit out of Hogan during the posedown. He chokes him down for a good five minutes and a brigade of midcarders storm out to pull him off and save Hogan. Spoilsports. Match was looking to be okay at the beginning, but turned into standard issue Hogan. 1 for 3. (More importantly, it helped to set up the Main Event rematch between Hulk and Andre!)
– Koko B. Ware v. Greg Valentine. Oooo, we’re into the REALLY high-quality portion of the show, I see. The last half-hour of SNME was generally like, well, the last half-hour of SNL. Koko overpowers him, but gets hotshotted, and Greg drops an elbow for two. Valentine tries to work the leg, but doesn’t get anywhere. He stomps Koko down and gets an axehandle for two, however. We hit the chinlock and Koko gets dumped like Vince Russo from a job. Back in, clothesline gets two. Brutus Beefcake joins us at ringside, allowing Koko a pair of cradles for two. Backslide gets two. Valentine bails to regroup as the ref sends Beefcake back. Back from a break as Hammer chops away. Backdrop and elbow get two as even Jesse and Vince are commenting on how little offense Koko is getting here. Valentine goes up, but gets slammed off and Koko comes back with his token jobber offense before Valentine catches a kneebreaker and finishes with the figure-four at 7:28. Pretty much a glorified (and boring) squash. 1 for 4. (Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware, ladies and gentlemen! Is Valentine even in?)
– Blah blah blah, usual filler crap to wrap things up.
The Bottom Line: Strike Force v. Bolsheviks may have been a point, but it’s hardly anything I’d bother going out of my way to see. Throw this one on the scrap heap.
The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #13 – November 1987 (So yeah, the Network randomly stops here with the SNMEs, so we’ll finish this one off and take a break until they finally upload the rest.) – Taped from Seattle, WA, as evidenced by Brian Bosworth sitting ringside and making a jackass of himself. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. – George “The Animal” Steele v. Danny Davis. Davis’s heel stock was quickly falling, which is too bad, because if he had anything in the ring to back up his great character, he could have been something pretty big in the midcard. Steele does some biting and choking to start, and Davis wisely runs away. Davis loses a slugfest. Several times. Steele even slips in a drop toehold, and we get another chase. Davis hits him with a foreign object, however, and we get some tiresome and repetitive Jerry Lawler schtick out of that in the corner. Steele finally puts him in the flying hammerlock to get rid of him, and Davis kicks the ref to escape. (Steele d. Davis, DQ, 3:52, DUD) Total nothing match. – Randy Savage v. Bret Hart. This was Bret’s coming-out party as a potential single, as Vince basically challenged him to show him that he could work the leg and be a featured guy. So he did. Savage attacks Bret on the floor and sends him into the post, because he’s PISSED about the whole “Liz getting shoved” thing. Into the ring, he pounds away in the corner, but misses a charge and Bret stomps him. Bret drops an elbow, but puts his head down and gets elbowed to the apron. Savage tries to drag him in, then slingshots him into the railing instead, a later signature Bret spot. Jimmy & Anvil stall for time with Savage, so Randy gets rid of them and goes after Bret with a flying axehandle to the floor, but he meets megaphone on the way down. Back in, Bret knees him down and drops a leg. Savage gets hung in the Tree of Woe and stomped, and Bret follows with a piledriver for two. He misses a charge and hits post, and Savage sends him into the other post for good measure. Savage goes up and gets the flying axehandle for two. Bret comes back with the backbreaker, but misses the second rope elbow. Savage necksnaps him for two, and normally this would mark the finish of an SNME match, but this time Savage charges and gets backdropped to the floor, twisting his ankle in the process. Liz desperately pulls Savage’s boot off as we take a break, thus relieving the swelling. The image of Savage in his sock would become iconic of this match later on and proved a memorable hook. Savage hops back into the ring, unable to use the bad foot, and Bret immediately takes him down and goes after the ankle. He wraps it around the post and drops a knee on it, but gets kicked into the post. Savage hops up again and necksnaps him for two. Bret goes back to the foot again, getting a half-crab, but Savage makes the ropes. He crawls to the apron, but Bret slams him in, and Savage quickly reverses for the pin. (Savage d. Hart, rollup — pin, 11:58, ***3/4) This match basically laid out the later formula for PPV main events, and in fact the heat segment on the leg was relatively short compared to what we would be used to seeing later on. I think it was actually too short for ****, even by 1987’s standards, but Savage’s selling was impeccable and it was a memorable match for good reason. (I was losing my shit watching this in 1987. I thought Bret was no match for Macho and then I was terrified that Savage was going to lose to this tag team wrestler before he finally pulled it out. It was great stuff.) – WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. King Kong Bundy. It’s BUNDYMANIA running wild in Seattle. The crowd is throwing a LOT of garbage into the ring, a rarity for the relatively well-behaved crowds attracted by the 80s WWF. Shoving match and Hulk grabs a headlock, but Bundy overpowers him. Hulk takes him down for two, but tries a slam and Bundy falls on top of him for two. Choking follows. He misses a splash, however, and Hulk fights back with the clothesline and elbows for two. Hulk slugs away but puts his head down, and gets clobbered. We hit the chinlock. Hulk fights out and gets the big boot, but Andre trips him up and the bell rings. BUT WAIT. In fact, the ref is only tossing him out, and we restart after a break. Back with Bundy pounding on Hulk in the corner, but Hulk gets the corner clothesline and rams him into all four corners. High knee, but Hulk misses an elbow, and Bundy pounds him down for two. Bundy, amateur chiropractor by night, walks on Hulk’s back and gives him a massage in the form of a bearhug. Hulk escapes, but runs into an elbow, and it’s Avalanche season. Sadly, it’s also Hulk Up Season, so Bundy gets the hell out of there. They brawl on the floor, and Bobby sneakily grabs hold of Hulk’s leg. (Bundy d. Hogan, COR, 10:21, **1/2) Surprisingly good power match, actually. – Hercules v. Bam Bam Bigelow. They trade power to start, getting nowhere in either case, so Herc throws knees, but misses a charge. He fights on and clotheslines Bammer out, then pounds him on the apron. Bigelow snapmares Hercules to the floor and they brawl outside. (Hercules DCOR Bigelow, 3:04, 1/4*) Well, that certainly went nowhere. But (babyface) didn’t come all the way to (city) for (screwjob)! If (heel) has the (synonym for bravery), he’ll get into the ring RIGHT NOW! – Hercules v. Bam Bam Bigelow. Take two, as Bam Bam’s mad libs were enough to convince him during the break. They try the power stuff again to no effect, and Bigelow knocks him down for some ground and pound. Dropkick misses and Herc drops an elbow, and a knee. He stalls too long, however, and when he goes up, he lands in a press slam. Slingshot splash ends it. (Bigelow d. Hercules, splash — pin, 2:36, 1/4*) That wasn’t much better. The Pulse: Certainly get the Hart-Savage match (searching YouTube is a good start), and maybe Hogan-Bundy if you’re a completist, but the rest is a definite pass.
The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #12 – October 1987 – Taped from Hershey, PA – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan. – Intercontinental title: Honky Tonk Man v. Randy Savage. This is pretty big, marking Savage’s official face turn after a few weeks of indeterminate tweenerdom, not to mention the start of perhaps the biggest angle in the history of the promotion. Conventional wisdom was Savage destroying Honky and winning the title. Long lockup to start and Honky pounds on him after a cheapshot, but Savage necksnaps him. Kneedrop and elbow out of the corner follow, and Savage goes after Jimmy Hart and gets caught. Honky tries to take over, but Savage elbows him down and slugs away. Honky comes back with a fistdrop and keepings wasting time with Liz, so Savage drops an axehandle on him and rolls him up for two. Backdrop suplex gets two, but Hart keeps breaking it up. Double axehandle gets two, and Savage drags Hart into the ring to get rid of him. Honky tries a sunset flip, but gets clobbered, and the Hart Foundation join us and tend to Jimmy on the floor. We take a break as they help him to the dressing room. Back with Savage whomping on Honky again, but he misses a charge. Odd spot Savage takes him down with a double-leg for two and the ref is confused about whether to count or not. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess if he does or not. Honky pounds him in the corner and goes for the fistdrop again, but misses. Savage comes back and chokes him out in the corner. Elbow gets two. Suplex gets two. Honky dumps him, allowing the Harts to do some damage, and HTM drops an elbow for two. Savage reverses Shake Rattle N Roll, however, and drops the big elbow, but there’s like 18 people at ringside so you can guess what happens next. (Savage d. Honky Tonk, DQ, 12:11, ***) Probably Honky’s best match ever up until that point, although he would later have what I can only term shockingly good chemistry with Brutus Beefcake. Savage was in a killer groove at this point. So things continue, as Honky tries to play Jeff Jarrett with his guitar, but Liz puts herself in the way. So Honky SHOVES HER DOWN, and to say this was a shocking angle for the WWF in 1987 would be an understatement. Liz was an untouchable up until that point, literally, as her character appeal was centered around guys leering at her (or the paranoid Savage thinking they were) and then getting bootfucked by her jealous boyfriend as a result. Actually having her get physically involved in an angle was huge, and when she ran to the back for the first time, the group of teenagers I was watching with went nuts. A beatdown follows, with Honky finishing his guitar shot, before Liz returns with the Orange Goblin in the flesh to chase off the bad people. By the time the inevitable handshake occurs, you can almost see the roof exploding off the arena and the dollar signs in Vince’s eyes. (Turns out those dollar signs were only about a third of what Vince promised investors.) – WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Sika. I don’t have my handy Samoan Family Relations chart with me, but I believe Sika begat Rikishi, the Tonga Kid, and one of the guys from 3 Minute Warning. However, as I have often said, Samoan family trees are about as easy to follow as Back to the Future II, so I’m probably wrong. Sika pounds away to start and Fuji chokes Hulk out and adds a shot with the cane. Hogan comes back with a clothesline to send him out of the ring, then adds a big boot and elbows. However, he goes after Kim Chee, and gets nailed from behind. They brawl and Sika meets ringpost. The ref tries to get Fuji’s cane away from Hulk, and we take a break. Back with Hogan trying a splash (!?) and hitting knee. Sika stomps him down and chokes away, and it’s time for Hogan’s epileptic selling as Sika applies a nervehold to the pecs. C’mon, he’s squeezing the dude’s boob, how can you take that seriously as a submission hold? It’s the PURPLE NURPLE OF DEATH. Hulk of course fights back, because that’s what he does, but Sika gets a bunch of headbutts for two. When that’s the best you’ve got to set up the big finish, you’ve got no business main eventing. Hulk up, yada yada yada. (Hogan d. Sika, yada yada yada, 7:51, 1/2*) (Back in the day I used to think Sika was a pretty scary guy. This again shows the value of the jobber system, as someone as useless as Sika could plow through job guys for a few weeks, make some money jobbing to Hogan around the horn, and then disappear again without hurting anyone in the midcard on the way up. These days if they want to build up Rusev for Cena they pretty much have to demolish every black guy above the level of Zack Ryder to accomplish it.) – Paul Orndorff v. King Kong Bundy. Back to the babyface side for Mr. Wonderful, which was pretty ill-advised, since it destroyed his career and all. More career advice: Don’t hire a guy named Humperdink as a manager and expect to be treated like a badass. (I’m frankly shocked that Humperdink managed to keep that name. I would have thought they’d change it to something embarrassing.) Orndorff slugs away to start, but gets pounded down. Much choking follows. Orndorff gets a sunset flip for two, but gets elbowed down again. Big fat elbowdrop misses and Paul comes back with an elbow off the top, and a fistdrop for two. Dropkick gets two. Andre the Giant joins us at ringside to advise Bundy (wouldn’t that require being intelligible?) and we take a break. Back with a slugfest, won by Bundy, for two. Orndorff slugs back and drops elbows, but misses a third one. It’s that third one that’ll get you every time. ALWAYS STOP AT TWO. Bundy drops a knee for two, and we hit the chinlock. Paul fights up and dodges the Avalanche, but Andre grabs him by the pants and Bundy hits another one. That’s one mean wedgie. (Bundy d. Orndorff, Avalanche — pin, 7:36, *1/4) – WWF tag titles: The Hart Foundation v. The Young Stallions. The Harts, I believe, debut the newer, shinier versions of the tag titles that would last for an amazing 15 years in that state before the switch to “WWE” would kill them off. Roma works on Neidhart’s arm to start, but Powers gets slammed. Bret comes in and Powers sunset flips him for two. Bret comes back with a knee and a backbreaker, and the champs work Powers over in the corner. Bret drops the elbow and chokes away, and Anvil drops him on the top rope. An anticlimactic hot tag to Roma follows, as this was clearly an extended squash, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Powers gets his lame powerslam on Bret to make us think “Oh, this could be a tremendous upset” and then the Harts are like “Uh, no” as they finish things instead. (Hart Foundation d. Young Stallions, Hart Attack — pin, 4:31, *1/2) As noted, a big squash. Sadly, the greatness of the Hart’s title reign would be cut short by Strike Force a month after this. – We finish with the CHEESY video for “Piledriver”, and MAN does that song not hold up. Five seasons of American Idol now reveal that Koko B. Ware is a pretty shitty singer, as he’s mostly out of tune, and the construction worker theme is just…creepy. (Having not watched the Network version of this show, $5 says this is not on there.) The Pulse: The Megapowers angle is of course insanely historic and great, and the match is pretty good, too. The rest is a major fast forward bonanza, however, so you’re taking your chances with this one. Plus I think the Savage-Honky rematch on the Main Event in 88 was better.
– Taped from South Bend, IN.
– Jake Roberts v. Kamala. The pre-match interview establishes that, in fact, Kamala is deathly afraid of snakes. Jake clears the ring with the snake, but gets jumped by Kamala. He overpowers Roberts and grabs a bearhug. Jake steps on his toes to break the hold – a truly innovative strategy – and keeps doing it to keep him off guard. Kamala knocks him over and chokes away. That goes on for a while. Jake fights back, but gets headbutted. Jake goes after Kim Chee and lets Kamala chase him, and then catches him with a kneelift coming into the ring. Fuji distracts the referee, however, allowing Kim Chee to get sweet, sweet revenge and nail Roberts. Kamala finishes with the BIG FAT SPLASH OF DEATH at 4:20. (What was with Jake doing all those jobs in ‘87?) Boring match, but afterwards Kim Chee unmasks to reveal Honky Tonk Man, engaging in a bit of subterfuge. A beatdown results. Good angle to save the segment. 1 for 1.
– Lumberjack match: Randy Savage v. George Steele. This is billed as the end of the feud, and I believe it was. The usual cast of characters from the time are your lumberjacks. Steamboat uses pantomime to explain the rules of the match to George, while Savage cuts an awesome, high-strung, pissed-off promo backstage. “VENGEANCE IS MINE, YEAH!” Gotta love heel Savage in his prime. Hercules and Steamboat nearly get into a brawl right away, setting up their match later on. Steele pays Liz some attention, so Savage snaps and attacks, but Steele chases him out into the heel side of the ringside area, where they gently coax him back in. Savage then tries bailing to the babyface side and gets tossed back in. Steele bites at him, but gets elbowed. Steele keeps hammering away, but Savage sends him into the turnbuckles to take over. He works him over in the corner, but Steele fights back. Savage goes up with the flying axehandle and tosses George to the wolves, where the heels beat him down. Jim Duggan comes to the rescue, but gets tossed by the referees for his troubles. Back from a break, George is choking Savage out and munching on turnbuckle stuffing. Savage sells the gruesome FOAM OF DOOM, but kicks away. He gets a suplex and kneedrop and tosses Steele again, but gets dumped out himself in turn. Suddenly, a huge brawl erupts after Steamboat attacks Savage, and Danny Davis sneaks in to nail Steele with the ringbell. Savage finishes with the big elbow at 6:38. A giant battle royale erupts and Jake gets revenge on the real Kim Chee by covering him with the snake. 1 for 2.
– Bobby Heenan and Andre review footage of the False Three Count from Wrestlemania III, which would eventually lead to them getting a rematch in Feb. 88.
– WWF Tag title match, 2/3 falls: The Hart Foundation v. The British Bulldogs. I remember being quite stoked for this one back in the day. Bret starts with Davey Boy and they do a cool Stampedeish wristlock sequence. Davey works the arm, but Bret kips up and reverses to a headlock. Davey monkeyflips out of it and gets a crucifix for two. Bret uses the knee to turn the tide and Anvil hairtosses Davey to make him face in peril. The Harts cheat like nuts and work him over in the corner. Bret gets a backbreaker for two. Bret gets a legdrop, but misses a charge and Smith gets the hot tag to Dynamite. He hairtosses Bret and hits a nasty stiff clothesline for two. Snap suplex gets two. Falling headbutt, but all hell breaks loose and it’s BONZO GONZO. Finally the ref disqualifies the Harts for double-teaming at 4:46. Second fall begins as Dynamite gets pounded in the heel corner. Demolition Decapitation gets two. The Kid fights out, but Bret prevents the tag by holding onto the leg. Smith chases him around the ring while Anvil uses the opportunity to choke Dynamite out. His nose is just gushing blood – I’m sure Vince was just thrilled to see that. Bret ties him in the ropes, but misses a dive at him and it’s hot tag Davey Boy. He dropkicks Neidhart and a clothesline gets two. Suplex gets two. Anvil cheapshots him, but the Harts have that old heel miscommunication problem and Smith presses Dynamite onto Neidhart for the win in two straight falls at 9:14. The place just comes completely unglued, thinking that there’s been a title change, but Jesse has the last laugh as he gleefully points out that titles can’t change when there’s a DQ in one of the falls. Two years later, that rule would be ignored and buried when the Brainbusters won the tag titles from Demolition with one fall being a DQ. Really good match. 2 for 3. (Now THIS would be a “hidden gem” on the Network. Also, Jesse’s cackle of delight for the titles not changing hands on a DQ was glorious.)
– Hogan offers his side of the WM3 controversy.
– Intercontinental title match: Ricky Steamboat v. Hercules. Savage is watching in the back, because he wants Steamboat to win so he can take the title himself. Herc and Dragon slug it out, and Herc wins. Ricky dropkicks him and chops away, and he bails. Steamboat chases him and gets an atomic drop, and back in we go. Hercules cheapshots him to take over. He kicks away, and a clothesline and elbowdrop get two as Savage cheers on Steamboat in the back. Steamboat fights back, but Hercules goes low. Steamboat sends him to the turnbuckles and gets a neckbreaker to come back. Hercules goes to the eyes again, and hooks the FULL-NELSON OF AGONY, so Savage takes action and runs in, pulling Hercules into the ropes to break the hold. We go to commercial and return with Herc coming off the top and missing. Elbow misses. Charge misses. Man, he ain’t very godlike tonight. Steamboat makes the comeback, working on the ribs. Herc chokes him out with the chain for the DQ at 6:14. Now, the interesting part, as Savage is standing around at ringside watching Hercules beat on Steamboat forever, and the crowd is READY to just cheer their heads off if he makes the save. But he doesn’t, which pisses them off more. Finally, Hercules leaves and Savage goes in to check on Steamboat, and AGAIN the fans are just waiting for the face turn…but Savage suddenly bolts to the top and drops a big elbow to crush that hope. I think this may have been where the WWF realized the potential they had in a babyface Savage. Match was duller than dishwater, though. 2 for 4.
– Mean Gene introduces us to Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who’s at ringside with a “ticket” that looks like one of those cheap ones you get at the carnival, and he’s going to prevent Volkoff from singing tonight.
– The Can-Am Connection v. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff. And indeed, as advertised, Nikolai pays tribute to his homeland and Duggan storms in and takes care of business, because America is the land of the free and no commies should be able to sing their anthem. Jesse points out the inherent hypocrisy there, bless his heart. Can-Ams double-team Sheik, but he nails Zenk with his curly boot and gets a side salto for two. Vertical suplex gets two. Volkoff stomps away and they work Zenk over. Belly to belly gets two for Sheik. He goes to the abdominal stretch, but Zenk hiptosses out. Sheik tosses him, and Martel for good measure, and they pound on Zenk right in front of Duggan. Duggan has had enough, and goes after Volkoff long enough for a distracted Sheik to get rolled up by Martel for the pin at 4:45. Nothing here. 2 for 5.
– The usual gabbing wraps things up.
The Bottom Line: Bulldogs/Harts is quite entertaining, although not even up to the standards of a RAW main event these day, the rest is the usual post-WM doldrums. Take a pass.
(Apologies if the font looks weird for this, as it was pulled from an old Word document containing four SNME rants in a compilation. Thus it’s also the point rating system rather than star ratings.) A Saturday Night’s Main Event Compilation Rant – Part Four – Taped from Detroit, MI, March 1987. – Your hosts are Vince & Jesse. – Intercontinental title match: Randy Savage v. George Steele. Tonight’s stipulation du jour: Not only is the title on the line, but the lovely Elizabeth as well. You know, given all of McMahon’s leering comments towards Liz over the years, I have to wonder if Linda actually watched these shows. (I’m pretty sure she overlooked a lot of shit.) I mean, sure we know NOW exactly how much of a perverted, dirty old man the Mr. McMahon persona has become, but it’s really kinda creepy watching these tapes from 1987 where a supposedly babyface announcer is drooling over Elizabeth like some sicko in the park on a Sunday. Anyway, Savage attacks the Animal on the floor, which prompts Steamboat to come out and prevent any more such shenanigans. They brawl, and Savage gets jumped by Steele as he gets into the ring again. Steele battering-rams him into the turnbuckles and darnit if they don’t look good enough to eat, so he does. Savage uses Steele’s moment of indiscretion to nail him with a high knee from behind, then gets the flying axehandle and chokes him down. Steele chokes back and gets one up on the dirty trick barometer by blocking a clothesline with a bite to the arm. Another turnbuckle meets its tragic end in Steele’s mouth, and he’s just so darn happy about that situation that he stops and goes to visit Elizabeth, presumably to share some of it with her. Savage, obviously concerned about what turnbuckle stuffing will do to Liz’s svelt figure, jumps Steele from behind and beats the crap out of him, then rolls in to win by countout at 4:31. Ballet, this ain’t. 0 for 1. (The Animal was always a nice easy night off for Savage, plus it paid off at Wrestlemania III.) – 20 Man Battle Royale: I won’t bother naming the participants, but there’s 20 of them and Hogan & Andre are in there along with some JTTS cannon fodder for the most part. The storyline is of course that Hogan & Andre have been avoiding each other leading to Wrestlemania III, and here they are stuck together by fate in the same match with only 18 other guys separating them and destiny. All the Heenan heels swarm Hogan to start, but he comes back by promptly getting rid of Honky Tonk Man. Andre, obviously in a bad mood, jettisons fellow heel Sika. Next up for him: Haku and then Lanny Poffo, who blades himself on the way down to sell the force of Andre’s headbutt. It actually gets out of control and he leaves huge pools of blood on the mats and gets stretchered out. (You know it’s 1987 because some dude is bleeding buckets on national TV in a BATTLE ROYALE.) Ron Bass & Butch Reed put aside cultural differences for the good of mankind, namely double-teaming Hulk Hogan, but obviously God is against them because Hogan tosses Bass soon after. Andre, meanwhile, gets rid of fellow Machine Blackjack Mulligan. Hogan stands up for the forces of capitalism and dumps Nikolai Volkoff. McCarthy would be proud. Andre gives B. Brian Blair a free ticket to the floor. Hercules & Orndorff again work Hogan over in the name of the Heenan family, but he escapes, and walks into Andre. The battle royale draws to a hushed stop, like the Queen Mother cutting a nasty fart at a coronation ceremony. (Feel free to work that one into everyday conversations.) Hogan breaks the awkward moment by throwing Orndorff out, but he was just a pawn in the complex chess game that is the squared circle, as Andre declares “Checkmate, chum!” and headbutts Hogan out of the match. (I feel like I was bored at that point.) The crowd is shocked and appalled. Andre gets back into the swing of things, getting rid of Jim Brunzell, but that gives everyone else left the chance to jump him and force him out of the ring by sheer numbers, leaving Ax as the sole member of the former Machines to be standing in the ring. Sadly, his revelry is broken by Hillbilly Jim sending him to meet the floor. Smash (Randy “Moondog Spot” Culley, not Barry “Repo Man” Darsow) (Nope, 1998 Scott, it was Darsow. He debuted in February.) quickly avenges the loss of his partner by dumping Jim out himself. Koko B. Ware dropkicks Reed out shortly after, leaving our final four as Koko, Smash, Billy Jack Haynes and Hercules. Hercules stomps Koko into Silly Putty and tosses him without breaking any significant sort of perspiration that I know of. Smash & Hercules double-team Haynes, but some inopportune miscommunication allows Hayes to backdrop Smash out. Heenan distracts Haynes, who goes after him like a moron, and Hercules eliminates him for the win at 10:53. If my play by play made it seem interesting or exciting in the least, I apologize, for that was not my intention. 0 for 2. – Jake Roberts v. King Kong Bundy. Jake works the arm to start, but gets clobbered. Jake uses his speed (er, running ability…) to keep away from Bundy, and then comes in for a headlock. Bundy tosses him into the ropes, but Jakes avoids contact again. Jake tries kicking at the leg, so Bundy gets sick of him and wants a test of strength. Why Jake would agree to this is beyond me, but he does. And he loses in about 3 seconds, as you’d expect. Bundy pounds away and goes for a facelock, but Jake kneelifts him and fires away with rights. Heenan steals the snake as we take a break, and return with Jake getting it back. Bundy attacks, however, and puts him down with a clothesline and two shoulderblocks. Blind charge misses, however, and Jake comes back. Clothesline, but the ref gets in Jake’s way and gets a knee to the gut as a result. Bundy wins by DQ at 5:46. As thrilling to watch as to type. 0 for 3. (This show was actually a lot more fun than I made it sound. I tend to enjoy these more from a nostalgic POV these days when I’m rewatching them.) – WWF tag team title match: The Hart Foundation v. Danny Spivey & Tito Santana. Tito is subbing for the departed Mike Rotundo, and this is the Harts’ “first title defense”, which used to mean something in the days before guys won belts in dark matches. Spivey bodypresses Anvil for two. He gets clotheslined, but atomic drops him into a tag to Bret Hart. The faces double-team Bret and Tito slams him. Spivey comes in and gets two, but the Harts cheat and beat on him in the corner. Bret’s backbreaker sets up Neidhart’s slingshot splash in for two. Spivey fights back, but gets double-teamed again. Bret drops an elbow for two. False tag to Tito, but heel miscommunication allows the real tag. Tito hits the Flying Jalapeno on both Harts, but he chooses to go for the figure-four for some reason. This allows Danny Davis to sneak in, nail him with the megaphone, and put Bret on top for the pin at 5:20. Thankfully, despite booking stutter-steps like this, the Hart Foundation would go on to become one of the most dominant teams of the decade. This match sucked, though. 0 for 4. (Synchronicity: Their first title defense was against a team that subbed in Tito for a departed partner, and so was their last!) – Ricky Steamboat v. The Iron Sheik. Steamboat draws the death slot this time, lucky him. Sheik attacks to start, as Savage joins us on commentary. Sheik tosses the Dragon, but he comes back in and suplexes him for two. Chops and a hiptoss, and Steamboat hits the chinlock. They brawl out, and Sheik suplexes him in for two, as my tape runs out. Well, luckily for you I saw this show in 1987 and Steamboat goes on to win about a minute later. 0 for 5. (PROFESSIONALISM. Of course, at the time there was no YouTube to just look this stuff up on.) The Bottom Line: This was not one of the better Main Events, to say the least. It was basically the “Hype the shit out of Wrestlemania III” show, and since that PPV did something like a 10.0 buyrate, I guess it worked.
The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #9 – January 1987 – Taped from Hartford, CT. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. – Opening match, WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Paul Orndorff. I’ve seen this a million times, so I’ll just grab the review from a previous Coliseum Video rant. (Very Brock Lesnar-ish of me.) By this point, Orndorff had lost to Hogan so many times that they needed to give it a rest for about 6 months anyway. This is from SNME, and it has a rather famous finish. Paul attacks right away, and whips him with the belt, but can’t get out the door. Boogie-Woogie Elbows and again he can’t get out. Paul keeps dropping elbows and climbs, but Hogan grabs the hair to stop him, leading Jesse Ventura into one of his funniest lines ever: “Hogan would not be the champion if Mr. Wonderful was bald!” Back in the cage, Hogan chokes him out with the headband and climbs, but Orndorff pulls him down. More choking. They fight for the door, and Hogan comes back. Hogan slugs him down, but Danny Davis locks the door. Vince is aghast. Jesse has a more reasoned perspective on it: “Well, what do you want, the door left open all the time?” (A motivated Jesse Ventura was just awesome.) Orndorff goes low and drops an elbow, and both guys crawl for the cage and ram each other into it. Both guys climb opposite sides of the cage.and exit at the same time. Joey Marella says Hogan wins, Davis says Orndroff wins, and I think that since Davis is still alive his opinion should count. (Too soon.) Sadly, the match MUST CONTINUE. So back in we go, and Orndorff drops an elbow from the top. He keeps on him with kneedrops, a short-arm clothesline and a fistdrop, but it’s Hulk up time. Hogan unleashes some chops and sends Paul to the cage a few times, drawing blood. Legdrop and after the requisite beating up of the helpless manager, Hogan exits, stage left, to win at 12:44. Pretty good for a WWF cage match, and the simultaneous exit finish was definitely the talk around the water fountain the next day in school, at least at my school. (In all fairness, I hung out with a bunch of nerds.) They go over the replays afterwards, where Jesse insists that Orndorff won because “Hogan’s knees were bent and Orndorff’s were straight”, which I don’t get at all. (I’ve had it explained to me before and my eyes still glaze over like I’m John McClane doing the water bottle puzzle in Die Hard 3.) (Hogan d. Orndorff, escape from cage, **1/2) – Intercontinental title: Randy Savage v. George Steele. Steele clobbers him from behind and chokes him down, then gets a couple of slams. George waves for someone to comes out of the back, which allows Savage to take over. Savage quickly goes up, but Ricky Steamboat returns from the dead, or at least his throat injury, and Savage freaks out. (Hey, I’d love to turn on the Network and be able to call up that original Savage-Steamboat match. Whoops, sorry, can’t do that.) Steele dumps him and then kidnaps Elizabeth, and we take a break. Lots of stalling as Animal is gone, and Steamboat chases Savage around the ring until George returns from taking a piss or whatever he was doing. He gives Savage some turnbuckle stuffing, but gets shoved into the exposed steel. Normally that would end things, but this is the long-form tonight. Savage chokes him out, so Steele bites him in retaliation. Savage tries a sleeper, so Steele bites his arm. Steele then produces his nebulous foreign object, and shoves the ref, so Savage clocks him with the bell to FINALLY finish. (Savage d. Steele, bell — pin, 8:07, DUD) This was all running around and choking and stalling and shit. But it set up the big showdown between Steamboat and Savage, so huzzah. – Junkyard Dog v. Harley Race. Speaking of WM3 setup matches, here’s another. Race had just recently been crowned King, which is arrogant for normal people but actually kind of modest for wrestlers. Just look at HHH. Race punches Dog down for two and adds a high knee. Kneedrop gets two. Dog reverses him into the post and headbutts him down, but Race comes back with a belly-to-belly and falling headbutt. This is of course ill-advised, because black people have hard heads in the world of wrestling. Race ends up on the floor, and Dog steals the crown and robe, which is pretty silly. He also stops to beat up Bobby Heenan, which never leads to good things, and indeed Race hits him with an elbow off the top and they double-team JYD for the DQ. WEAK. (Dog d. Race, DQ, 3:56, 1/4*) Too short to be worth much. (Not like the eventual Wrestlemania match was any longer or better.) – Adrian Adonis v. Roddy Piper. This show seems very familiar. Piper hiptosses him and ties him in the ropes, then whips him into the corner. He goes to work on the arm, but Adonis gets a cheapshot. Piper slugs him down and they tumble out, where Adrian sprays perfume in his eyes for the countout win. (Adonis d. Piper, countout, 3:43, *) Never really got going, and again it was just a setup for WM3. – Blackjack Mulligan v. Jimmy Jack Funk. This was the start of Mulligan’s short WWF tenure. Total squash, nuff said. (Mulligan d. Funk, back elbow — pin, 2:26, 1/4*) He was in and gone before anyone noticed. The Pulse: Hogan v. Orndorff is legendary and will be included on the upcoming Hogan 4-disc DVD set, so the rest is superfluous and worthless as a result. (What 4-disc set is that? He’s had a couple of 3-disc ones but I don’t believe this match ever made it to a DVD anthology outside of the SNME one.)
That seems pretty definitive. Man, the 14 people who order Battleground on PPV are gonna be pissed at having the main event spoiled, though.
The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #8 – November 1986 – I’m actually done up to #12 now, but only in written format, and hopefully I’ll get them transcribed by the end of the century. (Hey, the Network is only up to #13 anyway. And what IS up with that? Did they get bored and decide to stop at 1987?) – Taped from Los Angeles, CA – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. – Intercontinental title: Randy Savage v. Jake Roberts. This was a weird choice for a match, as both Savage and Roberts were very much scumbag heels at this point, and cult favorites with the wrestling-savvy junior high school crowd that I hung around with when I was 12. (Although to clarify, I didn’t actually attend junior high school because that’s not a thing in Vancouver. Elementary ran from K-7 and then high school was 8-12. In case you were wondering.) Typical discourse about this match: “Did you know that Randy Savage fought Jake Roberts before?” “No way!” “Yeah, it was on Saturday Night’s Main Event.” “No way!” For those who couldn’t stay up until midnight, SNME was a mythical home for unheard of matches like this one, stuff you just didn’t see on TV. Jake cuts a GREAT heel promo before the match as well, basically threatening to take Savage’s title because he’s that much more evil. Liz polishing the belt in the blue-screen promo for Savage is another great touch. So they trade wristlocks and hairpulls to start, and the unapologetic cheating on display is glorious, as they both ham it up and the crowd loves it. Savage freaks out over Damian and bails, so Jake brings him in and grabs a headlock, and they cheat like crazy again until Savage runs away to avoid a DDT. Back in, Jake tries it again, but Macho hammers him into the corner and then buries a knee in his face to block a charge. That gets two. Faceplant gets two. Straight kick to the head gets two. Kneedrop gets two. Jake fights back, so Savage drops an elbow gets two. Savage chokes him down for two, as Hebner gets a workout tonight. Axehandle gets two. Savage is just throwing EVERYTHING at him tonight. Jake slugs back , but gets tied up in the ropes, which would become a signature spot for him as a face. We take a break, and return with Savage preening on the apron, which allows Jake to catch him with a kneelift. Savage blocks another DDT, but Jake short-arms him for two, clearly playing the babyface for the biased crowd now. Front suplex (aka Arn Anderson’s gourdbuster, as if that helps anyone born after 1984 anyway) gets two for Jake. Jake fires away with his punches, but puts his head down and gets caught. Savage gets caught with another DDT attempt, however, and barely blocks that, and they brawl outside. Jake gets the snake, but Savage sends him into the post. I’d bet on the post every time, too. Randy drops the double axehandle from the top to the floor, and back in the ring for another one, which gets two. Again, but Jake catches him with a punch coming down, and it looks to be DDT time. Savage dumps him and it’s a brawl, but they both lose their temper and shove the ref, because they’re bad people, and it’s a wash. (Savage DDQ Roberts, 9:25, ***1/4) How did THIS one escape the near-legendary status that a lot of mediocre SNME matches like Hogan-Bossman attained? (OH NO YOU DIDN’T JUST SAY THAT!) This was CRAZY shit for 1986, with tons of near-falls and mindgames and stuff. Jake turned face soon after. (Yeah, after a test run against Hogan where people were cheering him too much.) – Meanwhile, Slick sells Hercules Hernandez to Bobby Heenan, but only for cash, because he doesn’t trust the Brain. That’s pretty funny. Ironically, two years later Hercules would be sold by Bobby to Ted Dibiase, but take it a lot harder. (Well, Dibiase is a terrible manager. And Bobby got him an immediate title shot!) – WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Hercules. So joining the Heenan family pays immediate dividends for Herc, as he gets to be the latest victim for Hogan in Bobby’s neverending war against him. Test of strength to start, a Hogan favorite. Hulk quickly wins that one, so Herc dumps him in the corner and pounds away. Hulk comes back with a corner clothesline and high knee, and a chase of Heenan leads to the big boot. Bobby’s dive over the top rope is a thing of beauty. He gets hangtime, man. Elbow misses, however, and Herc starts working the back, and Hogan does his overselling. This leads to a bearhug and backbreaker. Torture rack, but Herc releases prematurely (HEY-OH!), and then wastes time arguing the point, and then orders for pizza, and you know I don’t even NEED to type up the rest of the review, right, because we can all say it together now? (Hogan d. Hercules, legdrop — pin, 6:18, 1/2*) Very pedestrian, as Hercules didn’t get what I would consider “good” until a few years later. – Rowdy Roddy Piper v. Bob Orton. This is a very touching blowoff match, actually, as Orton escaped a bad relationship, as submissive femme to Piper’s dominant butch, and then got into a more healthy partnership with Don Muraco, who is a much more laid back guy. As with any relationship, they had to iron out the kinks (which manager do they go with? Who gets the cheque at dinner? What color are the curtains?) but it was nice to see Bob happy for once. (Lenny and Lodi also went through the same emotional cleansing.) Slugfest to start, and Piper bulldogs him. He adds some biting and whips Orton into the corner, setting up the Stooge Eyepoke. Kneelift gets two. Orton take over and gets a gutbuster for two. Elbow gets two. Piper shoves him into Jimmy Hart, however, and that’s it. (Piper d. Orton, schoolboy — pin, 3:44, *) The video package done to “You’re a Friend of Mine” was longer and more emotionally satisfying, although the finish might explain why Orton & Muraco opted for Mr. Fuji as a manager instead of Jimmy Hart. (That was a fantastic video package, actually.) – The Hart Foundation v. The Killer Bees. Bret eats a high knee from Brunzell to start, and Blair comes in and works the arm. Double reverse rollup spot is ruined by a drop-in promo from the Bees and Mean Gene doing a goofy comedy routine. Anvil comes in, allowing Bret to give Jumping Jim a cheapshot from the apron. Demolition Decapitation gets two. Neidhart gets a standing dropkick, and Bret slugs away. We get some quality cheating in the heel corner out of that. Bret gets a backbreaker, but misses the elbow. We take a break and return with Brunzell slingshotting into the ring for two. Anvil cuts off a potential tag, but Brunzell backslides Bret for two. Dropkick and it’s a false tag to Blair. The Bees regroup outside and put the masks on, which allows Blair to make the comeback. Jesse is suspicious of them. Sleeper on Neidhart, but Bret clobbers Blair from behind. It’s another switch out of that, however, and Brunzell rolls up Bret for the pin. (Bees d. Harts, Brunzell rollup — pin Bret Hart, 8:37, **1/2) Fun match, and although the Harts lost this #1 contender match, they would win the belts a little later. (It feels like the Hart Foundation lost a bazillion #1 contender matches to the Bees, but the Bees never got the title shot until the Harts actually leapfrogged them and won the belts.) – Koko B. Ware v. Nikolai Volkoff. Debut for Koko on SNME here. (That’s Hall of Famer Koko.) Volkoff pounds away in the corner to start, but Koko slugs back. Weird monkey flip and two dropkicks get two. Volkoff drops him on the top rope, but misses a kneedrop, and Koko gets a missile dropkick for two. Volkoff comes back with a backbreaker, but picks him up at one in a stupid decision, and it’s the old manager collision rollup finish that I hate so much. (Koko b. Ware d. Nikolai Volkoff, rollup — pin, 2:19, 1/2*) Two of the exact same finish in the same show is too many. (Geez, was I not watching RAW at the time?) – “The Rebel” Dick Slater v. Magnificent Muraco. Mr. Fuji singing bluegrass is an image that I didn’t need. If you don’t remember grizzled veteran Dick Slater coming in as a peppy southern babyface, in a company based in New York, then you probably understand why just by my explaining it. Muraco pounds on him in the corner, into a fireman’s carry, but Slater rolls him up for two. Slater comes back with elbows, elbows and more elbows, but stops to yell at Fuji, presumably about something elbow-related, and gets tripped as a result. That’s KARMA, bitch. You don’t fuck with the Fuji Vice. (Muraco d. Slater, clothesline — pin, 2:02, 1/4*) Good bye to Slater after this humiliating job in a 2-minute match. The Pulse: More of a curiosity than a memorable show, the Roberts-Savage match is a rarity worth saving (was it even on the new Jake DVD?) (No, but it was on the Savage one I believe. I know I reviewed it again SOMEWHERE.) and the Harts-Bees match is one of a million of them, most of which were better than this one. The rest is throwaway junk.