Rock Star Gary reflects on…WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XIX

Taped from Tampa, FL

Airdate:  January 7, 1989 (taped 12/7)

Attendance:  9,176

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

To open the program, the Ultimate Warrior centers his promo on victory. In spite of the promo’s theme, I hope the US military didn’t use this as a motivational tool for the troops.

In rebuttal, the Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) proclaims he’ll regain the title per request of his fans.

With payback in mind, Beefcake challenges Bass to a hair versus hair match.

Slick (w/ Akeem) then cuts a promo about honor and the destruction of Hulkamania.

To defend Hulkamania, Hogan wants to rid the WWF of Akeem. He should have given him directions to the nearest Burger King.

Prior to the first match, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Bass with Miss Betsy (his whip).

We then revisit the incident when Beefcake destroys both Bass’ hat and Miss Betsy with his hedge clippers (aired 8/20/taped 8/3). After that, we revisit the censored version of Bass’ retribution from the following week.

Next, Okerlund interviews Beefcake.

Match 1 (hair): Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake versus “Outlaw” Ron Bass

Highlights:

  • As Beefcake made his entrance, Bass choked him with Miss Betsy. But when Beefcake got ahold of her, Bass sought refuge outside the ring.
  • When he returned, Beefcake reversed an Irish whip and delivered a high knee.
  • As Bass tried to re-enter the ring, Beefcake guillotined him using the top rope.
  • After delivering a series of rights, Beefcake gave the downed Bass a fist drop.
  • He then put Bass in the corner to deliver the ten-punch count-along, but `Bass countered immediately with an inverted atomic drop.
  • After a gutbuster, Bass placed Beefcake atop the top rope and punted him down to the mat.
  • Upon giving Beefcake a back elbow, Bass kicked him in the midsection.
  • He then gave Beefcake a face plant and put another knee into the midsection.
  • Afterward, he delivered a piledriver but stopped referee Joey Marella’s count to deliver more punishment.
  • In doing so, he guillotined Beefcake using the top rope, got a 1-count, and pulled Beefcake up.
  • After a clothesline, Bass only got 2.
  • He then grabbed Beefcake’s clippers, but Marella told him he hadn’t won yet.
  • Bass then missed a clothesline, and Beefcake applied a sleeper.
  • Good night, Bass.

Rating: *

Summary:  If there wasn’t a haircut stipulation in this match, I would have fallen asleep on this snoozer.

After the match, Beefcake cuts a ton of Bass’ hair off his head. He then gets an electric razor to remove it even quicker. Upon completion, Bass is BALD! When Bass wakes up, he realizes he lost more than just the match and chases after Beefcake backstage.

Speaking of bald, er, I mean, backstage, Okerlund interviews Slick with the Twin Towers.

After Akeem makes his entrance, Okerlund interviews Hogan (w/ Elizabeth). Out of nowhere, WWF champion Randy Savage joins the interview. He then kidnaps Okerlund to watch the match together. Quite the downgrade for a snuggle partner there, Randy.

Match 2: Hulk Hogan (w/ Elizabeth) versus Akeem (w/ Slick & Big Boss Man)

Highlights:

  • After Akeem came up empty on a charge, Hogan grabbed Slick from the apron and tossed him atop Akeem.
  • He then stuffed his bandana into Akeem’s mouth and nailed him.
  • Next, he exited the ring to nail Boss Man. When Slick tried to interfere, Hogan grabbed him again and tossed him atop Boss Man.
  • Back in the ring, Hogan couldn’t slam Akeem. Whoops. Too much Burger King.
  • After Akeem gave Hogan a cross-corner whip, he missed an avalanche.
  • Upon softening up Akeem, Hogan delivered a clothesline but couldn’t take Akeem off his feet.
  • Boss Man then got up on the apron, but Hogan nailed him.
  • Another clothesline by Hogan took Akeem off his feet.
  • Hogan then gave Akeem a shoulder block staggering him.
  • Afterward, he hit the Axe Bomber sending him down to the mat.
  • With Boss Man on the apron again, Hogan whipped Akeem into him. Boss Man tried to remain on the apron but ultimately fell to the floor.
  • After mimicking Akeem, Hogan gave him a cross-corner whip.
  • With Boss Man on the apron yet again, Akeem pulled referee Dave Hebner in front of him as Hogan charged.
  • Hebner was OUT COLD.
  • Boss Man then came into the ring and WALLOPED Hogan with the nightstick.
  • He then tossed Hebner aside like a rag doll before continuing to double-team Hogan with Akeem.
  • Meanwhile, Savage supported Hogan 100% as he and Okerlund watched on a monitor backstage.
  • Akeem and Boss Man then delivered a double clothesline using the nightstick.
  • While Boss Man held Hogan’s legs, Akeem gave Hogan the 747.
  • Boss Man splashed Hogan as well.
  • A second 747 by Akeem prompted Elizabeth to seek assistance backstage.
  • As Elizabeth called out for Savage backstage, 747 #3 SQUISHED Hogan.
  • After a commercial break, Akeem mounted the second turnbuckle, but what happened afterward wasn’t shown.
  • Instead, Elizabeth tried to elicit Savage’s help for Hogan, but Savage knew that Superman wasn’t dead yet.
  • As Elizabeth returned to the ring, it’s Hulk-up time! See, Savage knew the script, er, I mean, his partner really well.
  • After Hogan clotheslined Akeem again, he nailed Boss Man upon his fourth trip to the apron.
  • He then nailed Slick when he got up on an adjacent apron.
  • As Savage basically needed pom-poms to complete his Hogan cheerleader routine, Hogan rammed Boss Man face-first into the apron.
  • He then gave Slick an atomic drop sending him directly into Boss Man.
  • Back in the ring, Hogan gave Akeem the big boot.
  • After a slam, Hogan went for the leg drop, but Boss Man nailed him with the nightstick in the back.
  • Hebner called for the bell disqualifying Akeem.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Typical Hogan versus extra-large opponent match. There must be more to this story than this.

After the match, Boss Man chokes Hogan with the nightstick. As the Twin Towers double-team Hogan, Elizabeth climbs into the ring. While she hopes that Savage can save Hogan, Boss Man nails the Hulkster with the nightstick in the midsection. When Boss Man grabs and handcuffs Elizabeth, Savage FINALLY runs in with a chair to scatter the heels. According to Ventura, Savage didn’t come to Hogan’s aid; rather, he came to aid Elizabeth.

As Elizabeth comforts Hogan, Savage wants to know what’s up. Wait a minute! This is more like it. When Elizabeth tries to help Hogan up, Savage pulls her away. Ever the sleuth, Ventura smells a rat. Stay tuned for more of this saga, folks.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart).

After Honkytonk Man makes his entrance, Okerlund interviews the Ultimate Warrior. Considering the time of night this aired, it probably made sense to the bleary-eyed viewers.

Saturday Night’s Main Event is sponsored by Burger King. Akeem would be proud.

Match 3 for the WWF Intercontinental title: The Ultimate Warrior (champion) versus the Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Highlights:

  • As Warrior caught a scurrying Honkytonk Man in the aisle, he military-pressed and tossed him into the ring.
  • After a leap frog, Warrior delivered a big boot.
  • When Hart got up on the apron, Warrior executed a double noggin knocker.
  • Upon delivering a back elbow, Warrior gave Honkytonk Man the ten-punch count-along.
  • He then gave Honkytonk Man a cross-corner whip followed by a shoulder block.
  • After another cross-corner whip, Warrior came up empty on his follow-through.
  • As Hart distracted referee Joey Marella, Honkytonk Man nailed Warrior repeatedly with the megaphone.
  • While Honkytonk Man distracted Marella, Hart gave Warrior the business.
  • Upon receiving quite a bit of punishment from Honkytonk Man, Warrior came to life (by no-selling) and slammed him.
  • On the other hand, he missed an elbow drop immediately afterward.
  • After blocking a shot to the turnbuckle, Warrior gave Honkytonk Man the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along.
  • Upon clotheslining Honkytonk Man, Warrior tried a splash but hit knees.
  • As Warrior got to his feet, Honkytonk Man tried a clothesline but bounced off him like a pinball.
  • After ducking a pair of clotheslines, Warrior delivered a flying shoulder block.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Warrior retained.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  If you want style over substance, then this is the match for you.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews the Twin Towers (w/ Slick) again. They’re ecstatic about the beating they laid upon Hogan.

Elsewhere backstage, Ventura interviews the undefeated Red Rooster (w/ Heenan). After Ventura and Heenan besmirch Rooster in front of him, Heenan remarkably leaves the match strategy to Rooster. Hmmm…

Match 4: The Red Rooster (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) versus Tito Santana

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, the Red Rooster was portrayed by Terry Taylor. I have no idea who he pissed off to deserve this gimmick.
  • As an added bonus, Heenan wore a microphone during the match.
  • After a pair of leap frogs, Santana delivered a dropkick. That only got 2 thanks to Rooster’s foot on the bottom rope.
  • Heenan then schmoozed with then-New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in the front row. I bet he tried to trade Rooster for Mattingly.
  • Meanwhile, Santana attempted a splash but hit knees.
  • After a double stomp, Rooster delivered a jawbreaker.
  • As Santana reversed an Irish whip, Rooster attempted a sunset flip but ate a knuckle sandwich.
  • Santana then gave Rooster a shot to the midsection and rang his bell.
  • After a back drop, Santana attempted the figure-four leg lock, but Rooster raked his eyes to escape.
  • Heenan then pulled Rooster out of the ring and berated him.
  • Prior to the commercial break, Rooster and Heenan shoved one another.
  • When we returned, Santana gave Rooster a vertical suplex from the apron into the ring for 2.
  • Rooster came back with a knee drop for 2.
  • He then gave Santana a backbreaker for another 2.
  • Santana then countered a vertical suplex with an inside cradle for 2.
  • He then hooked a backslide for another 2.
  • After a cross-corner whip, Santana ate boot on his follow-through.
  • Rooster then gave Santana a piledriver for 2.
  • Next, he delivered the stungun using the second rope.
  • He then attempted the Cock of the Walk (sharpshooter), but Santana nailed him to escape.
  • After Rooster missed a back elbow, Santana clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.
  • An agitated Heenan immediately tossed Rooster back into the ring.
  • As Rooster questioned his manager, Santana rolled him up for the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  This was more angle than match. Interestingly, Bill Alfonso was the referee for this match.

Afterward, Heenan enters the ring and slaps Rooster. In response, Rooster nails him then gives him a cross-corner whip resulting in a trademark Heenan bump. A second cross-corner whip sends Heenan shoulder-first into the ring post. As a “going-away present,” Taylor wallops him with a Popeye haymaker. WE HAVE A FACE TURN! OK, let’s not get too excited.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Mr. Perfect who introduces the Perfectplex.

Match 5: Mr. Perfect versus Koko B. Ware

Highlights:

  • To start the match, Ware reversed a cross-corner whip and delivered a hip toss.
  • He then slammed Perfect and gave him a dropkick.
  • Shortly after, Ware reversed another cross-corner whip and gave Perfect an arm drag.
  • After a pair of leap frogs, Ware delivered another arm drag.
  • Upon receiving a shot to the turnbuckle, Perfect responded with a vicious back elbow followed by a standing dropkick.
  • Ware came back with a clothesline, gave Perfect a cross-corner whip, but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Perfect then hooked the Perfectplex (fisherman’s suplex) for the pin.

Rating: ½*

Summary:  Showcase match for Mr. Perfect.

Back in the locker room, Okerlund interviews the MegaPowers (w/ Elizabeth). According to Savage, the MegaPowers “are together all the way.” They then give one another the exaggerated handshake to wrap it up.

Conclusion:  Without the drama of the Savage-Hogan ongoing soap opera, this show would have been duller than a 10-year-old butter knife. Pass on this unless you absolutely must watch every step of the MegaPowers’ path in the WWF.

See you for WWF Royal Rumble ‘89!

Rating: N/A

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202). Also, please be sure to check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com.

  • WChilders49

    Bruce Prichard spoke on his podcast about Terry Taylor’s Red Rooster gimmick, and how the gimmick might have worked if only Taylor had committed to it.

    Terry Taylor’s once promising career never recovered from the trifecta of getting seriously injured in an auto accident, pissing off Dusty Rhodes when Rhodes was booking for Crockett and getting saddled with the horrible Red Rooster gimmick.

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