The Road to WrestleMania V kicks into overdrive with this edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event, headlined by Hulk Hogan against Bad News Brown and Miss Elizabeth’s “Decision of a Lifetime” as she chooses between the Hulkster and the Macho Man!
The Chrononaut Chronicles – WWE 24/7: WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event – Saturday, March 11, 1989
– The WWE 24/7 Rewind clip prior to the feature presentation is from April 5, 1992, as Randy Savage rolled up Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII to win his second WWF Championship. I watched it live at my friend’s house since he had a cheater box and I was pissed that Flair lost because he only held the belt for two months. I also remember when the Ultimate Warrior made his surprise run-in later in the show and we all marked out, but my buddy’s mom wondered if Warrior was going through “steroid withdrawals” because he acted like such a spazz.
– The opening video is narrated by Vince McMahon and recaps the Mega Powers saga, noting that Elizabeth was the glue that held them together, as she must choose tonight who she will support at WrestleMania V.
– McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are NOT LIVE (via green-screen) from Hershey, Pennsylvania. Was there some reason they did so many SNMEs in Hershey, PA, or does Vince just really like chocolate?
– Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan as they plan to rid the wrestling world of Brutus Beefcake. Were they driving that boat?
– After Heenan and Rude make their entrance (sadly, without Ravishing Rick’s usual prematch mic work), Mean Gene interviews Brutus Beefcake, who promises that Rude’s hair will suffer the same fate as Ron Bass. Okerlund’s hair puns are groan-worthy.
– “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
Rude’s tights depict the Ultimate Warrior, which is a neat little psychological tactic that I’m surprised hasn’t been used with anyone else. Brutus unloads on Ravishing Rick to start and clamps on an early sleeperhold, but Rude wriggles out and jars Beefcake with an inverted atomic drop to turn the tide as Rude pounds away. Snap-suplex gets a two-count and Rude applies a chinlock, but Beefcake breaks it with a jawbreaker as Andre the Giant lumbers down to ringside and stands with the Brain. The Barber drills the Ravishing One with an inverted atomic drop of his own and charges in the corner, but Rude gets the knees up and dumps Beefcake to the floor, where Andre sits on Bruti’s head and chokes him while Rude distracts the referee. Jake Roberts comes out with his ominous sack and scares Andre away from Brutus, but Rude clobbers the Snake before he can unleash Damian and rolls Roberts in the ring as the bell rings at 5:45. Ventura praises the “vintage Heenan Family” tactics as Andre & Rude hammer Jake until Brutus drives Rude off, but the Giant kicks the Snake out of the ring and attacks the Barber. Big John Studd walks in to make the save and stares down Andre until Jake unleashes the snake and the Heenan Family retreats while Studd, Roberts, and Beefcake stand tall together. I would have liked to see them in a six-man against the Family, but I believe Big John was gone by the next SNME. ** Not much of a match, just an angle to build up the Andre/Jake match with Studd as the special ref at WrestleMania V, but it was a good one and got Rude and Beefcake some TV time instead of forcing us to suffer through Studd or Andre actually wrestling.
– Hulk Hogan cuts a promo in front of the green-screen crowd vowing to stand up for Miss Elizabeth and make Bad News Brown yesterday’s news.
– Jesse brings up the allegations that Elizabeth was “doing favors” for WWF President Jack Tunney to keep Bad News Brown from getting his WWF Title shot (that was a pretty adult angle for the WWF in 1989) and interviews Brown, who blames Liz for breaking up the Mega Powers and claims to have some “bad news” for the Hulkster tonight because nobody’s getting between Brown and his title shot.
– After Bad News makes his entrance, Mean Gene interviews Miss Elizabeth and Hulk Hogan, who tells Okerlund to “shut up” when he repeats Brown’s accusations. The Hulkster explains that he challenged the Macho Man for WrestleMania V because Savage’s jealousy destroyed the Mega Powers and hurt Elizabeth, so he’s going to stand up for her and take the WWF Championship. Pretty slick how Hogan tried to turn himself into Savage with this angle, by stealing Liz and acting a bit like the Macho Man.
– Bad News Brown vs. Hulk Hogan (w/Miss Elizabeth)
Elizabeth escorts the Hulkster, as he holds the ropes open for her and rips off his shirt. Jesse notes that this is the biggest match of Brown’s WWF career as he pounds and chokes Hogan, but he misses two elbowdrops and Hogan knocks him to the floor. Hogan slingshots Brown back in and levels him with a clothesline, two elbowdrops, and the big boot before ramming his head against the turnbuckle, but like all black people apparently, Bad News has a thick skull and no-sells it as he eyegouges the Hulkster and charges in the corner. However, Hogan stops him with a boot and sends him sailing over the top rope after an atomic drop. Hogan batters Brown at ringside and ducks a punch, so Brown accidentally punches the ringpost and grabs a chair, but Hogan blocks it and causes Brown to hit his own head. Once again, it has no effect and Bad News bangs his head against the chair several times to prove that point while Hogan goes back inside. Brown looks around under the ring and can’t find anything (sorry bud, it’ll be another 10 years before you’ll find random weapons hidden under there) so he tells the Hulkster to just wait there while he returns to the curtain and retrieves a RUSTY STEEL SHOVEL. Several referees try to stop him from bringing the weapon to ringside as we go to break, and when we come back, Ventura points out how McMahon had no problem with Brutus Beefcake’s cartoonishly-oversized shears earlier. Meanwhile, Hogan blocks a shovel shot and throws Brown back in the ring.
Hogan whips Brown into the corner, but Brown shocks Hogan with a clothesline and hammers away before executing a legdrop of his own for a two-count and kicking the Hulkster out to the floor, where Bad News chases Elizabeth until Hulk makes the save. However, Brown posts Hogan and snaps off a Russian legsweep in the ring for a near-fall as Hogan gets his foot under the ropes to stop the count. Brown continues to slug away as he grabs the mic to taunt Hogan and warns him that it’s time for the Ghetto Blaster, but that proves to be REALLY FUCKING STUPID because the Hulkster ducks and hulks-up as Jesse agrees with my assessment of Brown telling Hogan what he was going to do. Instead of using the big boot to set up the finish, we get a flying kneelift off the ropes (Fucking HHH!) and Hogan legdrops Brown for the pin at 9:44 to blow off that feud and send Bad News plummeting down the card. Afterwards, Hogan does his posedown routine while Elizabeth cups her ear and applauds him before the Hulkster lifts her up on his shoulder to show off his trophy manager. Jesse rightly points out that Liz has obviously made her decision already and wonders how McMahon would feel if his best friend stole his woman, but Vince claims that’s not the case with Hogan and Savage. Yeah, whatever. ***1/4 Fun match with Bad News showing that he was ahead of his time as a main-event act with the ringside brawling, weapons, and mid-match mic work.
– Backstage, WWF Champion Randy Savage paces outside Elizabeth’s dressing room door.
– Mean Gene interviews Ted DiBiase, who brags about his newly-made Million Dollar belt and predicts that the Blue Blazer’s “star is about to fall”. That’s a tad eerie.
– After the Million Dollar Man and Virgil enter the ring, Mean Gene interviews the Blue Blazer, who states that it’s an honor to be on Saturday Night’s Main Event and plans to bring DiBiase down with his aerial attack.
– “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) vs. The Blue Blazer
For the three of you out there who might not know, the Blue Blazer is Owen Hart under a mask as he moonsaults into the ring, but the Million Dollar Man immediately pounces on him and dominates him until DiBiase sets for a back-bodydrop and the Blazer small-packages him for a two-count. The Blazer counters a hiptoss with a backslide for another near-fall, but DiBiase rakes the eyes to regain control and clobbers Blazer with a double-axhandle off the middle turnbuckle and a textbook vertical suplex. DiBiase back-bodydrops Blazer, but the masked man lands on his feet and knocks the Million Dollar Champion to the floor with a dropkick before soaring through the ropes with a beautiful suicide dive. DiBiase hits the ringpost after an atomic drop and the Blazer throws him back in the ring for a flying bodypress off the top to score another near-fall. The Blue One unloads on the Million Dollar Man, but DiBiase catches Blazer in mid-leapfrog and powerslams him down for the three-count out of nowhere at 3:57. **3/4 They were going along great and well on their way to ***+ until the abrupt finish. Did Owen and Ted ever have a proper singles match at any point? I’d love to see it.
– The Macho Man is still lurking outside Elizabeth’s dressing room as we go to break.
– Mean Gene is in the arena to interview Elizabeth, who has changed her dress just for this interview, I guess. How did she get past Savage? He must have taken a bathroom break. Anyway, Elizabeth is indecisive and responds that she will not be in Hulk Hogan’s corner at WrestleMania V, so the Macho Man comes out to gloat, but Liz informs Okerlund that she won’t be in Randy’s corner either. Savage is PISSED and warns Elizabeth that she made the wrong choice, but Hogan comes out and Liz tries to play mediator again. The Hulkster explains that he won’t take Savage’s head off tonight because he respects “MY manager” (what a prick) too much and he’d rather wait until WrestleMania when he can also take the WWF Championship back. The great guy that he is, Hogan walks off and leaves Elizabeth to deal with a pissed-off Macho Man by herself while Ventura speculates that she’s being non-committal so she can leave with the winner. She didn’t have the personality to pull off a convincing heel turn, but it would have been interesting to see Liz shock the world and side with Randy. Where was Russo when we needed him?
– Mean Gene interviews the Brain Busters and Bobby Heenan as they prepare to go over the Rockers en route to the WWF Tag Team Championship. Arn notes that the Brain does the thinking, Tully has the speed, and he provides the power. Such a natural combination. I loved Bobby in the WWF as much as anyone else, but it would have been interesting to see him manage the Four Horsemen in the NWA.
– After Heenan, Anderson, and Blanchard head to the ring, Mean Gene interviews the Rockers as they are ready to show a national television audience what they’re all about.
– The Brain Busters (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Rockers
Arn quickly knocks Shawn out through the ropes with a knee to the back and goes after him on the floor while Tully attempts the slingshot suplex on Marty in the ring, but Jannetty slips out the back door and Blanchard blocks MJ’s rollup with a rollup of his own. However, the referee is busy with Anderson while Michaels soars off the top turnbuckle with a flying bodypress on Blanchard and all four men are in the ring at the same time. The Busters whip the Rockers into each other, but they dosey-doe and knock Arn & Tully out to the floor. Anderson apparently never learned anything from all those years with Ric Flair as he tries to come back in via the top turnbuckle, but Michaels slams him to the canvas and applies a Boston crab. Blanchard tries to make the save by diving off the top, but Shawn releases Arn and punches Tully in the gut on the way down as all four men end up in the ring again and Marty & Shawn nail stereo superkicks on Tully & Arn to send them out to ringside. Shawn suplexes Tully back inside and takes him down with a nice flying headscissors, so Blanchard tags out and Michaels front-facelocks Anderson after a drop-toehold. However, Arn powers Shawn back to the heel corner and tags Tully, who whips Shawn to the ropes and drops down while Heenan pulls down the top rope so that Michaels tumbles out to the floor. The Brain stomps Shawn in plain view of the ref, who promptly ejects Bobby from ringside as we go to break.
When we come back, Arn gets the blind tag when Marty lifts Tully for an atomic drop and AA surprises MJ with a clothesline as the Brain Busters take control and isolate Jannetty with their precision tag team skills. Shawn tries to come in to help his partner and ends up distracting the ref while Arn hurls Marty over the top rope. He must still be used to the NWA rules as over-the-top isn’t a disqualification in the WWF, so he didn’t really need to hide it. Jannetty slingshots in with a sunset flip, but Anderson makes the tag and Jannetty backslides Blanchard for a two-count before Tully stops him from tagging out by drilling him with an inverted atomic drop and tagging Arn. Spinebuster (aka “Look at that maneuver!” according to Vince) gets two as Michaels makes the save, but Marty blocks a pump splash by getting the knees up and finally makes the hot tag while Arn tags Tully. Shawn unloads on both Busters as he cracks their heads together and hooks up Arn for a suplex, but Tully takes him down in a sunset flip off the top and Marty makes the save. The Busters bail out as Marty goes out after Tully and Shawn leaps over the top rope to get at Arn. Jannetty whips Blanchard toward Michaels, who back-bodydrops him into Anderson as the ref counts both teams out around the 9:00 mark and the Rockers clear the ring with double-dropkicks afterwards. ***1/2 Awesome tag team stuff with the Rockers playing the part of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express, only younger and more athletic.
– Let’s take you back to January ’89 when the Red Rooster severed his relationship with Bobby Heenan by punching him out. One week later on Prime Time Wrestling, the Brain apologized for mistreating the Rooster and shook his hand, but suddenly slapped him in the face as the Brooklyn Brawler blindsided Rooster with a stool and even nailed Gorilla Monsoon with it before bodyslamming the Rooster through a nearby locker. Pretty hardcore for a lower-card angle in 1989’s WWF.
– Jesse interviews the Brooklyn Brawler and Bobby Heenan, who claims that the Red Rooster was a nobody when he found him (yeah, screw you too, Vince) and that the Brawler is a “bigger, better nobody” than the Rooster could ever be. I love how Lombardi keeps a straight face while his own manager basically admits that he sucks.
– Mean Gene interviews the Red Rooster, who also somehow keeps a straight face as he proudly declares that he’s the Red Rooster and crows like a rooster after explaining that when he beats any Heenan Family member, it’s like beating the Brain himself.
– The Brooklyn Brawler (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Red Rooster
Bobby Heenan is mic’ed up at ringside in the Brawler’s corner as the New Yorker mauls the Rooster to start, but Rooster mounts a comeback and quickly pins Brawler with a small package in 1:05 while McMahon notes that the Brain went 0-for-3 tonight. Afterwards, Heenan slowly steps into the ring to accept the challenge from his former protege, but the Brawler blindsides the Rooster and they pummel him until Taylor fights off Lombardi and Heenan flees the scene. * A nothing match, but it accomplished exactly what it needed to do to build up the Rooster/Heenan blowoff at WrestleMania V and show that Lombardi really was just a jobber that Vince–err, Heenan was using to make his point about Taylor.
– Mean Gene interviews Randy Savage, who is still pissed off about Elizabeth’s announcement and freaks out as he rants that he doesn’t need her and destroys the locker room.
– We get one last look at the meltdown of the Mega Powers during the end credits. Damn, I didn’t fully realize it as a kid, but Liz took some manly bumps when Savage crashed into her at ringside and when he threw her across the dressing room afterwards.
Afterthoughts: Great episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event, with some very entertaining matches and great build for WrestleMania V, and it is also the perfect complement to the MSG show on 24/7 as most of the WMV lineup was hyped between the two programs. This was around the time when I turned into a hardcore fan after being a casual fan ever since I can remember, so this era is pretty special to me.
Join me on my time travels and check out my other reviews on The Chrononaut Chronicles!