Rock Star Gary reflects on…The Main Event!

Live from Indianapolis, IN

Airdate: February 5, 1988

Attendance:  unknown

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

In lieu of being in the late Saturday night slot, this show aired on NBC in prime time on a Friday night.

To begin the show, Savage, with Elizabeth, cuts a promo on the Honkytonk Man.

Afterward, Honkytonk Man rebuts alongside Jimmy Hart as we revisit the guitar shot he gave to Savage back at SNME XII.

Following that, DiBiase, with André, cuts a promo on Hogan as we revisit Andre’s attack of Hogan at SNME XIV.

For those who require both sides of the story, Hogan rebuts by saying that Hulkamania “will never die!” Famous last words…

Wow! This is a HOT crowd! Meanwhile, Ventura predicts that Hogan will lose. I wonder if he made a stop in Vegas on his way to Indy from Hollywood.

We then see a Hogan training video set to Jake Roberts’ entrance music for some peculiar reason.

Backstage, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Honkytonk Man who calls Gene “Green Bean.” He vows to steal Elizabeth away from Savage and quotes Elvis Presley lyrics.

After Honkytonk Man makes his entrance, Okerlund interviews Savage with Elizabeth. While Savage cuts his promo, Honkytonk Man’s music continues to play.

Match 1 for the Intercontinental title: The Honkytonk Man (champion w/ Jimmy Hart & Peggy Sue) versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth)

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, Peggy Sue was portrayed by reigning WWF women’s champion Sensational Sherri.
  • After Savage made his entrance, Hart distracted him so that Honkytonk Man could shimmy for Elizabeth.
  • To begin the match, Savage chased Honkytonk Man around the ring and gave him an elbow smash.
  • Back in the ring, Savage guillotined him using the top rope.
  • After a cross-corner whip, Savage delivered a back elbow.
  • As Honkytonk Man exited the ring to regroup, Savage gave a double noggin knocker to him along with Hart.
  • After Savage reversed an Irish whip, Honkytonk Man tried a sunset flip but ate a knuckle sandwich.
  • Upon a double reversal of a cross-corner whip, Savage came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Hart then distracted Savage causing a chase around and through the ring. In the meantime, Hart left his megaphone behind.
  • As you would expect, while Hart occupied referee Joey Marella’s attention, Honkytonk Man nailed Savage with it but only got 2.
  • A subsequent knee to the midsection by Honkytonk Man sent Savage under the bottom rope to the floor.
  • Honkytonk Man then leaped from the apron and delivered a double axe handle.
  • Back in the ring, as Honkytonk Man distracted Marella, Hart gave Savage the business.
  • After giving Savage another shot to the midsection, Honkytonk Man delivered a clothesline.
  • Upon delivering a series of elbow drops, Honkytonk Man sauntered after Elizabeth.
  • Savage then nailed Honkytonk Man from behind and tossed him back inside the ring.
  • Afterward, he tossed Honkytonk Man to the floor, mounted the top turnbuckle, and nailed him with a double axe handle.
  • Back in the ring, after a slam, Savage mounted the top turnbuckle again and delivered another double axe handle for 2.
  • Hart then got up on the apron so Savage brought him in the hard way.
  • Honkytonk Man tried to hit Savage with Hart in his clutches but hit Hart instead.
  • Savage then applied a sleeper as Peggy Sue got in Elizabeth’s face.
  • Consequently, Savage exited the ring to protect Elizabeth. As Honkytonk Man leaped from the apron to give him another double axe handle, Savage caught him in the midsection.
  • Next, he rammed him shoulder-first into the ring post.
  • After Savage climbed back into the ring, Marella counted out Honkytonk Man.
  • While Savage won, Honkytonk Man retained the title.

Rating: ***

Summary:  This match has an interesting backstory as Savage was penciled in to regain the Intercontinental title here, but Honkytonk Man, while trying to preserve his character on TV, refused the job. I wonder what the WWF plans to do with Savage in the near future.

After the match, Honkytonk Man grabs his guitar and threatens to nail Savage with it. From behind, Hart hammers Savage with the megaphone. Elizabeth then comes into the ring to check on Savage, and Honkytonk Man almost knocks her into the middle of 1994 with it. When Honkytonk Man tries again, Savage catches the guitar and takes it away from the scurrying Honkytonk Man. He then smashes it against the ring post to a big ovation. Afterward, Savage finally acts like a gentleman and opens the ropes for Elizabeth. Aw. To finish the segment, he hoists her upon his shoulder.

After a commercial break, we revisit WrestleMania III when André fell atop Hogan and almost won the title. Next, we revisit SNME XIV when André attacked Hogan post-match followed by the contract signing at the Royal Rumble.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews DiBiase and André with Virgil.

After André makes his entrance, Okerlund interviews Hogan.

Match 2 for the WWF title: Hulk Hogan (champion) versus Andre the Giant (w/ the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase & Virgil)

Highlights:

  • The referee looked awfully familiar. Vince called him Dave Hebner, but I smell something fishy.
  • As the match began, Hogan ambushed André then gave DiBiase and Virgil a double noggin knocker.
  • He then brought each of them in the hard way.
  • Upon giving each the big boot, Hogan blocked a right hand from André to a HUGE ovation.
  • Subsequently, Hogan tried everything but the kitchen sink to knock André off his feet including an Axe Bomber.
  • After hitting André with a clothesline which didn’t take André down, Virgil got up on the apron only for Hogan to nail him.
  • While checking on Virgil and the money, DiBiase got his hand stepped on sending the $100 bills flying.
  • After a clothesline in the corner, Hogan surprisingly mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught.
  • André then slammed him down to the mat but missed a head butt finally leaving his feet.
  • However, a HARD cross-corner whip by André hurt Hogan’s back.
  • After a slam, André gave Hogan the big boot sending him outside the ring. Immediately, Virgil tossed him back in.
  • Hogan came back with some punches, surprised me again by mounting the second turnbuckle, and gave André a flying clothesline.
  • As Hogan came off the ropes, Virgil grabbed his leg.
  • With Hebner occupied by Virgil, Hogan delivered the leg drop and got a false pin.
  • As Hogan admonished Hebner for dereliction of duty, André grabbed Hogan by the back of the head and gave him a pair of head butts.
  • Upon giving Hogan his variation of a double underhook suplex, André made the cover and got the pin. Yet it was BLATANTLY obvious that Hogan got his left shoulder off the mat before the count reached three.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: **1/2

Summary: This is an extremely historical match as Hogan’s four-year reign as WWF champion comes to an end.

After the match, Hebner grabs the championship belt and awards it to André much to Hogan’s chagrin. As Okerlund gets up on the apron to interview André, he surrenders the title to DiBiase. In an effort to get to André, Hogan moves Hebner out of the way, but the heels flee. While he jaws with the heels, a second referee comes in to speak with Hebner.

Wait a minute! There were TWO Hebners! In fact, the WWF hired EARL Hebner shortly after his last appearance at NWA Bunkhouse Stampede. I knew I smelled shenanigans!

Nevertheless, Hogan grabs each by the throat, but his anguish gets the best of him. Afterward, the Hebners begin to shove one another until Earl punches his brother down and kicks him out of the ring. Since Hogan sees the whole thing, he figures out that Earl took money to screw him. That wouldn’t be the only time Earl screwed over a wrestler.

Regardless, Earl tries to leave, but Hogan grabs him by the belt. Much to the crowd’s delight, Hogan gorilla-press-slams him then vaults him over the top rope onto the heels.

After a commercial break, Okerlund interviews the former champion backstage. A distraught Hogan complains about plastic surgery and being ripped off by Earl Hebner.

Match 3 for the WWF tag team titles: Strike Force (champions) versus the Hart Foundation (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Highlights:

  • The match was joined in progress as Martel nailed Bret with a forearm until the Hart Foundation could double-team him.
  • Bret then gave Martel a piledriver.
  • Do we have new tag champions tonight as well?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • The show ended with the match still going.
  • BUT WAIT! WWE Network actually had the rest of the match as Bret tried a sunset flip, but Martel hooked his legs and got the pin.
  • Strike Force retained.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  This was only here to fill the rest of the program.

Conclusion:  If this show isn’t THE best of the Main Event series, it certainly ranks near the top. Due to the historical title change/switch, this show sets the foundation for WrestleMania IV on March 27 and is a must-see for ANY wrestling fan. I would even recommend to those who have seen it to watch it again.

See you for WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XV!

Rating: 15.2 (Wow! HISTORIC rating for wrestling!)

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