Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #22

The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #22 – July 1989 – Taped from Worcester, MA – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura – WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Honky Tonk Man. Not exactly a promising opener. Honky tries using the guitar to start, but Hulk evades that pretty easily and drags Jimmy into the ring. Honky then gets the crap kicked out of him and clotheslined, and Hulk hits an atomic drop and follows with an elbow in the corner. Jimmy gets involved again and the result is the dreaded DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER OF DOOM. Finally, Jimmy manages to pull a Jeff Jarrett on Hogan from behind and Honky takes over. Honky works the back and tries a camel clutch, but just ask Iron Sheik how effective that move is against Hogan. Collision, but Honky’s hair protects him from damage, and he recovers with Shake Rattle N Roll. Is this the end for Hogan? I’ll give you one hint. (Hogan d. Honky Tonk, legdrop — pin, 6:14, *) This was a rarity for a Hogan match, as he easily dispatched his challenger without the usual extended heat segment and barely broke a sweat in doing so. – Jimmy Snuka v. Greg Valentine. Ronnie Garvin is the special referee. Hammer attacks and chokes away, but gets chopped down by Snuka. Snuka goes up and hits knee, and Hammer takes over. Elbows get two and he dumps Snuka, and Valentine keeps beating him on the apron. This builds high tension with Ronnie Garvin, who is all “Hey, stop that, you meanie” This leads to a shoving match, and amidst all the gravitas, Snuka finishes with a high cross. (Snuka d. Valentine, bodypress — pin, 3:12, *) Garvin v. Valentine wasn’t exactly setting the promotion on fire at that point. – Brutus Beefcake v. Randy Savage. This was leading up to Summerslam, a PPV audacious enough to expect us to pay to see Zeus wrestle. This one seems to be begging for a non-finish. Savage attacks and gets nowhere, and Beefcake uses his coat to choke him out. That gets two, but he quickly runs into a boot and Savage pounds him with rights. Beefcake comes back with a bodypress for two, but goes after Sherri. He ducks a sleeper from Savage and gets the high knee for two, but Savage uses a well-timed cheapshot, then misses a charge. Beefcake hits another knee to dump him. Man, rough night for the Macho Man. They brawl outside and Sherri distracts Beefcake long enough for Savage to blindside him with the double-axehandle to the floor. Savage and Sherri trade off cheapshots on Brutus, and Sherri distracts the ref while Beefcake gets a fluke rollup for two. Backslide gets two. Savage is all “enough of that” and chokes him down again, as does Sherri. To the top for the axehandle, but Beefcake nails him coming down and makes the comeback. Savage blocks the sleeper, but hits Sherri by mistake. Beefer misses a charge, but so does Savage, and he ends up on the floor. With Savage in trouble, he sends Sherri to the back in a funny callback to the Megapowers, and we take a break. Back with Savage missing a kneedrop, but managing to drop Beefcake on the top rope for two. Beefcake gets a sunset flip for two, however, and tries to finish with the sleeper, but Zeus the Human Sucking Machine wanders in to wreck a perfectly good match. (Beefcake d. Savage, DQ, 9:45, ***1/4) Good, fast-paced, hard-hitting match between two guys on a roll at that point. – WWF tag title, 2/3 falls: Demolition v. The Brainbusters. You may recall the Demos getting DQ’d at the last SNME. Or maybe not. Ax starts with Tully, who quickly bails, but gets tossed back in by Smash. The Demos pinball Tully in the corner, and then Ax fights off both Busters. They brawl outside and it’s chaos in the ring, so the Busters regroup. Back in, it’s Smash v. Arn, and Arn headbutts him in the gut, but Smash catches a stomp and AA is in a bad place. He gets axed and smashed in the corner, and Tully has about as much luck. Arn keeps slugging, a horrible idea if there ever was one, and finally Tully goes with cheating and has more success. Go with what you know. AA spinebuster gets two. Ax breaks up a double-team, allowing Smash to stun-gun Tully for the pin at 4:57. Second fall and Smash is choking Arn in the corner, and Ax chops him down. Smash pounds away and goes to a neckvice on Arn, and Ax dumps him on the top rope, and stays on the neck. Arn escapes and brings in Tully for some choking, and a catapult under the bottom rope. He whips Ax into Arn’s knee and cheating abounds, as they cheapshot him like nuts. Arn goes to a rear chinlock and switches off with Tully, but Ax makes the hot tag to Smash. Slams for both and it’s BONZO GONZO, but Demolition won’t obey the ref, so he calls for the DQ at 9:46. And now Andre joins us. Third fall and Ax elbows Tully down and Smash tosses him. Back in, Ax elbows him down again, but Tully rams Ax into Arn’s head, never worried about sacrificing a partner for the greater bad. Arn and Ax then collide in the corner, in a signature AA spot, but Arn tags Tully while Ax tags Smash. Smash clotheslines Tully in the corner, but Tully reverses a suplex and it’s chaos again. Tully hits Smash with a chair, and history is made. (Brainbusters d. Demolition, Anderson chair — pin Smash, 13:26, ***1/4) This was historic for quite a few reasons, as it was the one and only title change on the NBC version of Saturday Night’s Main Event and marked the first time that a team had won the NWA and WWF versions of the tag titles. It also marked Bobby Heenan’s first tag team champions.  (As big of a Demolition fan as I was, I was more about Tully & Arn at this point and this was a HUGE shock to me as a young fan.  Actually seeing my favorite team WIN, that is.) The Pulse: Weak start, but the Beefcake-Savage and Brainbusters-Demolition matches were a strong finish to the show, making this one of the better SNMEs I’ve seen.  (A personal fave.  Not much else to add.)