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


Taped from Des Moines, IA

Airdate:  May 27, 1989 (taped 4/25)

Attendance:  unknown

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Can Hogan successfully defend the WWF title in a cage against the Big Boss Man? Let’s find out!

Behind the big blue cage, Hogan cuts a promo on Bossman. After referring to Bossman’s head as a “fathead,” he calls himself “Judge Hogan.” Oh, brother.

Opening montage.

Prior to the first match, we revisit WrestleMania V when Heenan assisted Rude with winning the IC title.

Backstage, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Rude with Heenan. Disturbingly, Rude and Heenan rattle off their “rule #1”—Just win, baby! While they’re stealing quotes from Al Davis, I certainly hope they’re not Raiders fans. YUCK!

After Rude makes his entrance, Okerlund interviews Duggan who became King on Superstars (aired 5/13, taped 4/26). To honor Memorial Day, Duggan dedicates his match to the troops.

Match 1 for the WWF Intercontinental title: “Ravishing” Rick Rude (champion w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan”) versus King Jim Duggan

Highlights:

  • Almost as regal as Sean Royal, King Duggan came to the ring on a throne. One of the four men who carried him was Tom “Rocky” Stone. Go figure, they were in AWA country.
  • While Duggan reversed an Irish whip, Rude attempted a sunset flip but ate a knuckle sandwich.
  • Duggan then clotheslined Rude over the top rope to the floor.
  • With Rude on the apron, Duggan gave him a vertical suplex returning him to the ring. That got 2.
  • Due to a series of clotheslines, a Rude flop occurred.
  • After a slam, Duggan delivered a knee drop for 2.
  • He then reversed a cross-corner whip but ate knee on his follow-through.
  • Rude then mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, and nailed Duggan.
  • Afterward, he celebrated with a hip swivel.
  • Duggan came back and gave Rude an inverted atomic drop.
  • Following that, he delivered a piledriver.
  • STICK THE FORK IN HIM! HE’S DONE!
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Rude placed his foot on the bottom rope. Whew!
  • Meanwhile, Haku came to ringside to steal the crown, but referees Dave Hebner, Joey Marella, and Danny Davis sent him back to the locker room.
  • After a commercial break, Rude came back with a dropkick and a series of elbow smashes.
  • Upon giving Duggan a snap mare, Rude got 2.
  • Duggan attempted a comeback, but Rude buried a knee into his midsection.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle again and hit a fist drop.
  • Duggan successfully came back and gave Rude a back drop.
  • He then gave Rude the three-point stance clothesline, but it knocked Rude between the ropes to the floor.
  • Hebner counted Rude out.
  • Rude retained.

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Very entertaining match that the Des Moines faithful enjoyed. Rude had his working boots on here. Color me impressed.

After the match, to further celebrate Memorial Day weekend, Duggan waved Old Glory.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Neidhart who hates Savage’s treatment of Elizabeth. Okerlund informs him of Savage’s NEW manager—Sensational Sherri. Neidhart calls her “Scary Sherri.”

After Neidhart makes his entrance, Ventura interviews Savage with Sherri backstage. Savage NEVER wants to hear Elizabeth’s name “ever again.” Uh huh. Sherri chimes in by calling Elizabeth “history.” Wow!

Match 2: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Sensational Sherri) versus Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (w/o Bret Hart)

Highlights:

  • While Sherri held Neidhart by the leg, Savage nailed Neidhart.
  • He then attempted a sunset flip, but Neidhart SQUISHED him for 2.
  • After an Irish whip, Neidhart applied a bear hug, but Savage escaped with an eye rake.
  • He then delivered a knee to the back resulting in a sternum-first bump to the top turnbuckle by Neidhart.
  • Upon giving Neidhart a clothesline, Savage distracted referee Dave Hebner so that Sherri could give Neidhart the business.
  • After a kick to the midsection, Savage mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a double axe handle for 2.
  • He then attempted a slam, but Neidhart landed on top for 2.
  • From the apron, Neidhart gave Savage a slingshot shoulder block.
  • He then delivered a clothesline for another 2.
  • Astonishingly, he then gave Savage a dropkick! Holy flying linebackers, Batman!
  • With Savage outside the ring, Sherri checked on him. Neidhart then backed her away and gave Savage a second dropkick on the floor. Amazing!
  • Back in the ring, Neidhart delivered a powerslam that almost got 3.
  • As Savage got tied up in the ropes, Sherri untied him behind Hebner’s back.
  • Unknowingly, Neidhart charged and landed on the floor.
  • Savage then mounted the top turnbuckle and gave Neidhart a double axe handle on the floor causing Neidhart to eat the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Walking Ched at the Zombie Burger & Drink Lab.
  • Upon tossing Neidhart back into the ring, Savage mounted the top turnbuckle yet again, hit the big elbow, and got the pin.

Rating: **1/2

Summary: While this would appear to be a showcase match for the former WWF champion, Neidhart surprised and awed me with his arsenal.

Not THAT kind of arsenal!

Backstage, Ventura interviews Bossman with Slick. Shockingly, Slick has a BIG surprise for Hogan.

Match 3 for the WWF title (steel cage): Hulk Hogan (champion) versus the Big Boss Man (w/ Slick)

Highlights:

  • As Bossman made his entrance, Slick got on the microphone and introduced Zeus. For those unaware, Zeus is the antagonist in No Holds Barred portrayed by Tiny Lister.
  • Before Hogan could enter the cage, Zeus blocked and kicked Hogan in the midsection.
  • After a couple of shots to Hogan’s trapezius muscles, Zeus menacingly returned backstage.
  • Upon completion of a commercial break, Hogan was still down on the floor.
  • Bossman then exited the cage and tossed Hogan in.
  • He then ripped Hogan’s shirt off and choked him with it.
  • Next, he gave Hogan a HARD cross-corner whip further injuring his back.
  • Hogan then reversed another cross-corner whip and delivered a clothesline.
  • He then tried to ram Bossman into the cage, but Bossman blocked it.
  • Afterward, he gave Bossman a third cross-corner whip followed by a big boot.
  • When Hogan attempted to climb out, Bossman caught him.
  • He then slammed Hogan and delivered a splash.
  • As he tried to exit through the door, Hogan grabbed his ankle.
  • Bossman then reversed an Irish whip and gave Hogan the Bossman slam.
  • When he attempted to escape over the top, Hogan caught him THROUGH the cage, pulled him back to the top, and delivered a superplex FROM THE TOP OF THE CAGE! Oh my God! That must be seen to be believed.
  • With both wrestlers down, referee Earl Hebner entered the cage to check on them.
  • As Hebner reached the count of eight, Hogan sat up and made his way to the door.
  • Bossman then lunged at Hogan and caught him.
  • He then received an Irish whip but gave Hogan a clothesline.
  • Nefariously, Slick tossed a chain into the ring so that Bossman could choke Hogan.
  • When Bossman tried to ram Hogan into the cage, Hogan blocked it. They both then rammed one another into it. You don’t see that every day.
  • Nonetheless, Hogan then gave Bossman the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along.
  • He then grabbed the chain, wrapped it around his fist, and nailed Bossman twice.
  • After being rammed into the cage, Bossman was BUSTED OPEN!
  • Hogan then hit the leg drop and attempted to climb out of the cage.
  • In the meantime, Slick rammed Hebner into the cage outside the ring, entered the cage, and prevented Hogan from escaping.
  • As Hogan kicked him away, Bossman attempted to climb out, but Hogan crotched him on the top rope. OUCH!
  • Hogan then grabbed the handcuffs from Slick, nailed him, and handcuffed Bossman to the top rope.
  • As Bossman tried to escape through the door, Slick tried to unlock the cuffs with the key.
  • Regardless, Hogan climbed out to win the match and retain the title.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Wow! What looked like a stinker on paper shocked me by being not only entertaining but also exceptional. While I understand they practiced that spot on the house show circuit, they delivered it in spades on national TV. Kudos to Hogan and Bossman!

After the match, Hogan raises Hebner’s arm then rams Bossman into the cage again. He then re-enters to get his hands on Slick. When Slick tries to escape, Hogan catches and sends him into the cage. Afterward, Bossman pulls Slick out to save his bacon. To close out the segment, Hogan poses while wearing Slick’s chapeau. Tres chic!

Backstage, Ventura interviews the Brain Busters with Heenan. An ever-so-confident Heenan is only worried about Demolition’s “cheap paint” job. It wouldn’t look cheap if they went to Maaco.

After the challengers make their entrance, Okerlund interviews Demolition.

Match 4 for the WWF tag team titles: Demolition versus The Brain Busters (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)

Highlights:

  • At the onset, Smash gave Blanchard a cross-corner whip.
  • During his follow-through, Blanchard applied the brakes before eating boot yet received a clothesline from Smash.
  • As Smash hooked a bear hug on Blanchard, Heenan got up on the apron to distract referee Joey Marella. Arn then put a knee into Smash’s back. SNEAKY!
  • The Busters then gave Smash a cross-corner whip, but he exploded out of the corner giving Blanchard a clothesline.
  • He then clotheslined Arn out of his boots.
  • Ax tagged in and gave Arn a back elbow.
  • After a slam, Ax clotheslined Arn from behind.
  • As the Busters used heel tactics to gain the advantage, Arn gave Smash a vertical suplex.
  • Unfortunately, Smash no-sold it. Sigh.
  • When Smash slammed Arn, all four men were in the ring.
  • While Ax slammed Arn, Smash gave Blanchard an atomic drop.
  • Ax then slammed Blanchard, gave him a cross-corner whip, but ate knees on his follow-through.
  • Blanchard then mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but got caught in another bear hug by Ax who rammed him back-first into the top turnbuckle.
  • As Blanchard received a cross-corner whip, he took a shoulder-first bump into the top turnbuckle and vaulted to the apron.
  • Allegedly, Ax wasn’t thrilled with Blanchard’s act and responded with a back elbow sending him to the floor.
  • After Smash press-slammed Blanchard back into the ring, Ax clotheslined him over the top rope onto Heenan on the floor.
  • Heenan was so perturbed that the Busters sent him back to the locker room.
  • After a commercial break, Ax brought Blanchard back into the ring the hard way and hit him in the midsection.
  • Smash tagged in, gave Blanchard a cross-corner whip, and followed with a standing choke.
  • While Ax distracted Marella, Arn kicked Smash in the leg causing Blanchard to fall on top. Clever!
  • After an exchange of tags by the Busters, Blanchard mounted the top turnbuckle, lowered the boom on Smash, and guillotined him using the top rope.
  • Arn tagged in and gave Smash the SPINEBUSTER for 2.
  • When Ax distracted Marella again, the Busters double-teamed Smash.
  • After a knee drop, Arn got another 2.
  • For a third time, Ax distracted Marella. In the meantime, Blanchard tossed Smash between the ropes to the floor.
  • As Blanchard stirred the distraction pot, Arn leaped from the apron to give Smash a double axe handle.
  • Shortly after, when Arn and Smash nailed one another, both wrestlers fell to the mat.
  • When Arn nailed Ax on the apron, all four men were in the ring.
  • Ax then gave Arn a clothesline and tossed Marella down. Tsk. tsk.
  • Smash then delivered a cross-corner whip which resulted in a sternum-first bump by Blanchard.
  • While Smash tossed Blanchard over the top rope to the floor, Marella called for the bell.
  • As a result of a disqualification, Marella awarded the match to the Busters.
  • On the other hand, Demolition retained.

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Good tag match with a crappy finish. I smell a rematch in the offering.

After the match, Demolition chased after the Busters and brawled with them in the aisle.

When we return from commercial, Ventura interviews Savage with Sherri again. Savage claims to be the #1 contender and promises to get his belt back. After Sherri uses Hogan’s catchphrase against him, she along with Savage and Ventura give us a collective “Oh Yeah!” In your face, Hulkster!

Match 5: Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka versus Boris Zhukov

Highlights:

  • Before Zhukov could utterly destroy the Soviet national anthem, Snuka made his entrance.
  • After an Irish whip, Snuka gave Zhukov a flying double axe handle.
  • Upon giving Zhukov a backbreaker, Snuka mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the flying splash, and got the pin.
  • That was brisk.
  • Ahh, refreshing!

Rating: *

Summary:  Showcase match for Snuka.

After a commercial break, Okerlund interviews Hogan backstage. Hogan invites Zeus to join him “in the squared circle” and also invites the little Hulksters to see his new movie. C’mon, Hulkster, shill the popcorn too!

Conclusion:  Extremely good episode that stood on its own very well. If you’ve never seen the Hogan-Bossman match, seek it out ASAP. If you’ve not seen it in a while, gather your friends and family and relive it on the WWE Network.

See you for NWA Clash of the Champions VII!

Rating: unknown

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