Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #24

The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #24 – November 1989 – Taped from Topeka, KS – Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura (And we wrap up the current run of SNME shows on the Network here until they upload the next batch.  I have very few of the remaining ones done past this, so anything further they upload will probably result in fresh rants.)  – Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Andre the Giant. Andre starts choking and that goes on for a while, and Warrior bails. Back in, Warrior uses Andre’s own tights to choke him out. TASTE THE IRONY! But back out he goes again, as this car wreck picks up momentum, threatening to take out the whole freeway. Andre surfboards him, which looks not painful in the least, but Warrior clotheslines the giant out of the ring, and we take a break. Back with Andre fighting back from the floor, with what else, choking. Warrior bearhugs him in a silly spot, but Andre headbutts out. Warrior responds with an ugly charge to the corner that misses and Andre gets his own bearhug to really ramp up the excitement. Warrior makes the comeback, clotheslining Andre into the ropes, but he runs into a boot, and Bobby Heenan runs in for the merciful DQ finish. (Warrior d. Andre, DQ, 7:50, -**) Real ugly, probably the worst match ever on SNME, as it was booked to go too long (ie, over 30 seconds) and they were tripping over each other.  (Man, Meltzer absolutely TRASHED this match, both at the time and even recently in his Warrior bio pieces, I believe calling it one of the worst TV matches in history.)  – WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. “The Genius” Lanny Poffo. (So this is pretty famous.)  Genius’s pre-match promo is actually quite refreshingly laid-back compared to the yelling and screaming most guys do. I still think he was a really underappreciated guy in a lot of ways. Hogan powers him out of the ring, but he gracefully returns and Hogan applauds it. Hogan slams him, however, and Genius is forced to use his amazing intellect to evade the big boot. He stops to write out a formula on one of his scrolls, which apparently spells doom for Hulk. How can you not love this match? They fight over a lockup and Genius gets a cheapshot, thus annoying Hulk. So Genius prances and minces while Hulk waits him out, until he’s ready to charge out with a lariat that nearly rips his head off. Tremendous. Corner elbow and atomic drop follow, and a backdrop suplex sets up the elbowdrops. Hogan hammers away while Mr. Perfect joins us at ringside and disrespects the belt by spitting gum on it. Hogan chases him, but runs into the post. Back in, it’s a Genius moonsault for two. Hulk Up Time, and Poffo’s reaction is classic, as he quickly eats the big boot after nearly shitting his pants in terror. (Lanny Poffo on the receiving end of the Hulk comeback, doing the exact opposite of what every other heel did in reaction, was such an awesome character touch.)  So they trade backrakes as Genius desperately alters the game plan, and then Poffo takes a great bump as Hogan tosses him to the floor. He makes the mistake of chasing him out, however, and after tossing his victim back into the ring, Perfect clocks Hogan with the belt and the most famous upset in SNME history is complete. (The Genius d. Hulk Hogan, COR, 8:35, **) Not a great wrestling match or anything, but for comedy value and entertainment it was tremendous. – Big Bossman v. Dusty Rhodes. Bossman attacks and gets repelled, but catches Dusty from behind. Slick chokes away, which angers a vocal fan at ringside. Dusty eats post and Bossman pounds him back in the ring and starts working on the arm. He knees Dusty down and stays on the arm, then elbows him down. He misses a charge, however, allowing Big Dust to slug him down. Bossman chokes him on the ropes, however, and then makes the mistake of stalling, which allows the cheap rollup finish. (Rhodes d. Bossman, rollup — pin, 4:39, *) The annoying fan at ringside joins Dusty for some dancing in the ring, and would later be known as Sapphire. – Red Rooster v. Mr. Perfect. By this point, Rooster was little more than a jobber, and would be back in WCW by the beginning of 1990. Perfect slugs away to start, but gets taken down. They work on the mat and Perfect goes to the ropes, then suplexes him. Necksnap, but Rooster sunset flips him for two. Perfect gives him some quality trash-talk in the corner and they slug it out, and Rooster bulldogs him. Backdrop gets two. Perfect has had enough of that, and you know what comes next. (Perfect d. Rooster, Perfectplex — pin, 4:14, *1/2) – The Rockers v. The Brainbusters, 2/3 Falls. I totally forgot about this match. This was Tully’s last televised match before a failed drug test forced him into premature retirement. The storyline is welded onto the match with a blowtorch, as they insert a pre-match promo where the Busters are arguing with Bobby Heenan to establish that they’re done with the promotion. Those magic production gremlins strike again, as the pre-match promo sees Tully Blanchard wearing black tights, then heading out to the ring, at which point his tights magically turn red. Speaking of failed drug tests, Marty headlocks Tully to start and armbars him, as a frustrated Blanchard can’t keep him down. Marty stays on the arm, but gets suckered into the heel corner, and narrowly escapes. Sunset flip out of nowhere gets the pin on Tully at 1:40. Bobby Heenan flips out, and the Rockers get a double rollup for two. Bobby walks out on his team as Arn slugs it out with Shawn, who then gets a rana on Tully and the Rockers clean house. Rockers double-team Arn, who brings Tully in. Marty slugs away and Shawn gets a kneelift for two. Finally, clotheslines Shawn on the top rope to block a headscissors, and Tully gets the pin at 5:00. Third fall and Shawn is hurt, so naturally Tully is all over it. Arn gets the spinebuster for two, and they do the knucklelock spot. Arn turns it into a catapult, however, and Tully comes in with a flying knee and tosses Shawn. He comes back with a high cross for two, but Arn cuts off the ring. Arn and Shawn collide, and it’s hot tag Marty. The Busters double-team him and it’s BONZO GONZO, as the Busters set up the spike piledriver. Shawn, however, comes back in with a high cross on Arn to end the WWF careers of Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson. (Rockers d. Brainbusters, Shawn pin Arn, 9:02, **1/2) Not stellar or anything. – And then another famous moment to finish, as an enraged Perfect smashes the WWF championship belt with a hammer to set up his winter program with Hogan. This would become even more famous when the belt returned some 9 years later, taped up and re-dubbed the Hardcore title.  (Nope, this was of course debunked conclusively once starting doing history pieces.)  The Pulse: Oh come on, Genius v. Hogan and Perfect smashing up the title belt with a hammer? How can you lose?