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

Taped from Cincinnati, OH

Airdate:  October 14, 1989 (taped 9/21)

Attendance:  14,000 (12,000 paid)

Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

What can DiBiase do to win the WWF title from Hogan? What’s new with Savage? Can Piper be any zanier? Read on!

Piper opens the program by calling Heenan “Boobsie.” Yep, he’s excessively zany tonight, folks.

In the meantime, the NEW king of the WWF is ready for the Superfly.

If you can stomach it, the Bushwhackers are prepared to give the Rougeaus a licking. Ew.

Having scourged the insurance capital of the world, Hartford, CT, DiBiase has an insurance policy for his WWF title match tonight—Zeus! I hope his premium isn’t too high.

In corny fashion, Hogan rebuts “insufficiently.”

To being SNME’s sixth season, Ventura welcomes us to the “gambling capital of the world.” Thanks, Pete Rose.

We then revisit the coronation of “Macho King” Randy Savage (aired 9/30, taped 8/30).

Backstage, Ventura interviews the Macho King. “Long live the King of the (WWF)!”

After Savage makes his entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Snuka who barks at the King. He must need a new flea collar.

Match 1: “Macho King” Randy Savage (w/ Queen Sherri) versus Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka


  • Since when did Savage become king? Ohhhhhhh yeahhhhhhh (aired 9/25, taped 8/30).
  • Savage ambushed Snuka upon his entrance and delivered a knee lift.
  • After Snuka chopped Savage down to the mat, Queen Sherrie got up on the apron.
  • Snuka wasn’t fooled and nailed Savage with a flying head butt.
  • He then gave Savage an atomic drop that sent him between the ropes to the floor.
  • Next, he joined and chopped Savage on the floor.
  • Back in the ring, Queen Sherri halted Snuka’s return long enough so that Savage could give Snuka a double axe handle.
  • After a slam, Savage delivered a knee drop for 2.
  • He then tossed Snuka over the top rope to the floor.
  • Upon mounting the top turnbuckle, Savage then nailed Snuka with a double axe handle on the floor.
  • Behind referee Joey Marella’s back, Queen Sherri put the high heels to Snuka.
  • While Savage distracted Marella, Queen Sherri choked Snuka with her purse handle.
  • Savage then put a knee into Snuka’s back but couldn’t take him off his feet.
  • Snuka came back, gave Savage a cross-corner whip, and followed with a clothesline.
  • After a head butt, he gave Savage a second cross-corner whip that resulted in a Savage flip.
  • When Savage was tied to the Tree of Woe, Snuka manhandled Marella.
  • As Marella admonished Snuka, Queen Sherri freed Savage and gave him her purse.
  • While Queen Sherri distracted Snuka, Savage WALLOPED him with the purse.
  • He then hooked a rollup for the pin.
  • Savage retained the crown.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Crappy match punctuated by Snuka’s inability to shine as a babyface.

After the match, Savage puts another knee into Snuka’s back, slams him, mounts the top turnbuckle, but misses the big elbow. Upon slamming Savage, Snuka mounts the top turnbuckle, leaps over Queen Sherri, and nails Savage. He then saunters after Queen Sherri, but she escapes in the nick of time.

After a commercial break, we revisit SNME XXI as Zeus prevented Hogan from entering the cage. Next, we revisit SNME XXII when Hogan nailed Zeus with a steel chair to ZERO effect. Afterward, we revisit Summerslam when Zeus applied a bear hug to Hogan.

Backstage, Ventura interviews DiBiase with Zeus. According to DiBiase, “money will talk, and Hogan will walk…if he’s able.” HA!

After DiBiase makes his entrance, Okerlund interviews Hogan who uses financial terminology to confuse the Hulkamaniacs. Not too smart, Hulkster!

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


  • When DiBiase had Hogan in the corner, Zeus grabbed Hogan by the ankle.
  • Also, as DiBiase distracted referee Earl Hebner, Zeus tripped Hogan coming off the ropes. SNEAKY!
  • Hogan then gave DiBiase a cross-corner whip followed by a back elbow.
  • He then gave DiBiase a ten-punch count-along on the mat until Hebner stopped him.
  • After a clothesline, DiBiase distracted Hebner again while Zeus choked Hogan.
  • Suddenly, Jake “The Snake” Roberts came to the ring to even the odds.
  • Upon giving Hogan a fist drop, DiBiase noticed Roberts.
  • Hogan then rolled up the distracted DiBiase for 2.
  • He then gave DiBiase the ten-punch count-along in the corner.
  • Abruptly, Virgil ran to the ring to steal Damian causing Roberts to chase after him.
  • DiBiase then clotheslined Hogan over the top rope to the floor.
  • After a commercial break, DiBiase delivered a clothesline for 2.
  • Upon giving Hogan a series of elbow smashes, DiBiase delivered a vertical suplex for another 2.
  • He then mounted the second turnbuckle and gave Hogan a double axe handle for almost 3.
  • Afterward, a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
  • While Hebner checked on DiBiase, Zeus nailed Hogan with a double axe handle to the back.
  • After DiBiase delivered another series of fist drops, he mounted the top turnbuckle and gave Hogan a flying knee drop for 2.
  • It’s Hulk-up time!
  • Hogan then gave DiBiase the big boot.
  • Zeus then entered the ring and grabbed Hogan from behind.
  • As DiBiase came off the ropes, he nailed Zeus instead of Hogan.
  • Unbelievably, Hogan then hooked an inside cradle for the pin.
  • Hogan won.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Hogan with an inside cradle? Who’da thunk it? Good story told here with a unique finish.

After the match, Zeus and Hogan circle the ring, but DiBiase nails Hogan from behind. Zeus then twists Hogan’s neck. After DiBiase tosses Hebner outside the ring, he hooks the Million Dollar Dream on Hogan. To a raucous ovation, Roberts returns to the ring with Damian and chases the heels away.

Prior to the next match, we revisit Summerslam when Piper interjected himself in the IC title match between Rude and Ultimate Warrior. We then revisit the Brother Love show on Superstars when Rude        blinded Piper with mouthwash from behind (aired 9/9, taped 8/8).

Backstage, Ventura interviews Haku with Heenan. When Heenan feeds Haku a softball question, Haku responds with “you bet, Bobby.” A three-word interview from Haku? There must have been a full moon on this night.

While Haku makes his entrance, Okerlund interviews Piper who calls Haku “Sneezie.” HA!

Match 3: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper versus Haku (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)


  • At the onset, a brawl broke out until Piper clotheslined Haku over the top rope to the floor.
  • Piper then leaped from the apron giving Haku a Thesz press.
  • He then sauntered after Heenan, caught him, but Haku clotheslined him on the floor.
  • Back in the ring, Haku delivered a back elbow.
  • After a shoulder breaker, Haku got 2.
  • He then delivered a standing leg drop, mounted the top turnbuckle, but missed a diving head butt.
  • Piper then face-planted Haku and delivered a belly-to-belly suplex for the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Under what rock did Piper EVER use a belly-to-belly suplex? The moon must not have only been full but also bad when this show took place.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews DiBiase with Zeus who blames Roberts for not becoming WWF champion. He then cuts a promo claiming he’s ready for revenge against Roberts. In addition, Zeus calls out Hogan on Thanksgiving. Does that mean he called Hogan a turkey?

After a commercial break, Okerlund interviews Martel with Slick.

As Martel makes his entrance, Okerlund interviews Santana.

Match 4: Tito Santana (w/ Dusty Rhodes, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, & the Red Rooster) versus the “Model” Rick Martel (w/ the Twin Towers, the Honkytonk Man, Slick, & Jimmy Hart)


  • It’s the payoff of the Strike Force breakup. Or so I hope.
  • After Santana gave Martel an atomic drop, he clotheslined him sending him between the ropes to the floor.
  • Santana followed and rammed Martel face-first into the apron.
  • Back in the ring, Santana hooked a sunset flip for 2.
  • After a leap frog by Martel, Santana hit a cross body block for another 2.
  • Martel then used momentum to send Santana into the top turnbuckle.
  • Shortly after, Santana gave Martel a back drop followed by the flying forearm.
  • Before Santana could pin Martel, Slick got up on the apron to distract him.
  • When Bossman got up on the apron, Rhodes got up on the opposite apron.
  • Suddenly, everyone flooded the ring. With both Rhodes and Bossman in the ring, I would have expected a break in the dam.
  • After a commercial break, Santana reversed an Irish whip and gave Martel a hip toss.
  • Upon missing a clothesline, Santana fell between the ropes to the floor.
  • Martel then delivered a pair of elbow drops to Santana’s back.
  • When Martel attempted a hip toss, Santana countered with a backslide for 2.
  • Martel then hooked the Boston crab, but Santana made the ropes.
  • Still in Martel’s grasp, he then climbed the ropes, used momentum to get on top, and got 2.
  • Martel came back with a backbreaker and mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • However, Santana shook the ropes crotching Martel. OUCH!
  • He then joined Martel and gave him the ten-punch count-along.
  • Next, he gave Martel the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along.
  • After a cross-corner whip, Santana gave him a forearm.
  • When he attempted the figure-four leg lock, Slick got up on the apron.
  • After Santana nailed him, Bossman and Rhodes brawled in the middle of the ring.
  • Hebner called for the bell and ruled the match a double-disqualification.

Rating: ***

Summary:  This was a preview of one of the upcoming Survivor Series match-ups. Honestly, I wish there had been a finish, nefarious or otherwise.

After the match, chaos erupts as all the wrestlers brawl with one another until the babyfaces clear the ring.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Piper who’s ready for more from the Heenan family.

As the Rougeaus make their entrance, Okerlund interviews the Bushwhackers who lick him before hitting the ring. YUCK!

Match 5: The Rougeau Brothers (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the Bushwhackers


  • After an Irish whip, Luke nailed Jacques in the midsection.
  • While the Rougeaus sought refuge outside the ring, Hart was caught in the corner by the Bushwhackers. The Rougeaus then tried to pull him from the ring and were successful albeit without Hart’s pants. For those curious unlike me, Hart wore Quebecois boxers.
  • An embarrassed Hart then ran back to the dressing room.
  • Meanwhile, the Rougeaus gave Butch a double clothesline.
  • While Luke distracted referee Earl Hebner, the Rougeaus gave Butch a Boston crab/knee drop combo.
  • Jacques tagged in and gave Butch a flying back elbow.
  • Raymond tagged in, but the Rougeaus miscommunicated when they attempted another double-team.
  • Hot tag Luke.
  • After Jacques avoided a back drop, Luke clotheslined him for 2.
  • When Raymond came in, Luke gave the Rougeaus a double noggin knocker.
  • Butch tagged in, and the Bushwhackers gave Jacques the battering ram followed by a double gutbuster.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Bushwhackers won.

Rating: *

Summary:  Say what you want about this comedy match, but the Bushwhackers are OVER.

After a commercial break, Okerlund interviews Hogan backstage who tasted Rice Krispies upon getting his neck twisted.

Conclusion:  The Hogan-DiBiase match as well as the Martel-Santana match make this show worthwhile. Additionally, the table for Survivor Series is getting prepped. Let’s see what happens next.

Stay tuned for NWA Clash IX!

Rating: 9.50

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