The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #17 – 10.29.88
Taped from Baltimore MD on 10.25.88, a rare four day turnaround time! No attendance listed but it did an 8.7 rating for the “season premiere”.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura
Meanwhile, on Superstars, Rick Rude tries to get Cheryl Roberts to join the “Rude Awakening” club at ringside, triggering a brawl with Jake Roberts and then a series of tights with Cheryl’s face on them. So after one time too many with the tights gag, Jake rips off the tights, leaving Rude “naked” via big “Censored” spot, and now it’s time for the blowoff.
Rick Rude v. Jake Roberts
Yes, as usual now, Rude’s “music” is overdubbed into a cacophony of garbage noises, although it’s still better than Skrillex or whatever other music that the kids like these days. Jake does a hell of a promo with Cheryl beforehand, declaring that he’s not offended by Rude because you have to be a man to offend him and Rude isn’t one, but Cheryl is offended and that’s good enough for him. And Cheryl offers Rude a fig leaf to wear once Jake rips the tights off him and exposes “Little Rick Rude”. As usual, the program was completely burned out on the house show circuit by this point, but this was still new for the TV audience. They immediately go after each other while Jesse makes “Robin Givens” comments about Cheryl. What, did Tyson rape her, too? Jake quickly goes for the DDT while Rude sells an atomic drop (IT’S LIKE TWO TASTES THAT TASTE GREAT TOGETHER!) but Rude bails to escape. Back in, Jake goes for the short-arm clothesline, but Rude hits his own and drops elbows to take over, but keeps stopping to swivel at Cheryl. I have to wonder, did Liz Hunter from PWI know that Rude was putting the moves on another woman like this? Of course the third time he tries to hit on Cheryl, it’s one time too many, and Jake makes the comeback with a gutbuster and then holds Rude in the ropes so Cheryl can slap him. And WHICH idiot referee allows this blatant managerial interference? JOEY MARELLA. BECAUSE HE’S THE WORST. “Well, it was a woman slapping a man’s face…sure it’s a little humiliating…” I bet Johnny Depp would give Vince a piece of his mind on THAT one. We take a break and return with them fighting on the floor while Rude runs Jake’s arm into the post, as Joey has thankfully sent Jake’s wife back to the dressing room before she can permanently injure anyone. Back in the ring, Jake makes the comeback with a backdrop, but Rude escapes the DDT and drops elbows while Vince declares it SEE SAW MATCHUP BACK AND FORTH. Did your hero Okada ever have one of those? Rude goes up with a flying fist for two and goes for the finish, but Jake bites the arm to escape and hits the DDT out of nowhere. But then he goes for the tights and Bobby Heenan runs in for the DQ at 9:40. And then Andre comes out to provide some backup, but Jake unleashes the snake and we learn that in fact Andre is afraid of snakes to set up the next program out of this. And then we get a bit too far over the top as Jake throws the snake at him and Andre has a “heart attack” out of terror. Really, having Andre be afraid of it and backing off would have been more than enough heat, having Andre collapse and “die” was just stupid. Anyway, usual good Rude-Jake match here and this was putting in the WORK, ending the Rude feud and setting up the Giant feud in one match. ***
WWF World tag titles: Demolition v. The Hart Foundation
This is a rematch from Summerslam 88, with the same basic setup and Jimmy Hart acting as co-manager for Demolition in his efforts to screw over his former team. And just like at Summerslam, the Harts don’t even get an entrance here! You’d think this would be 2/3 falls or something to change it up, but NOPE. The Demos double-team Anvil in the corner to start, but he fights back with a suplex on Smash for two. Bret comes in and beats on Smash, but Smash takes him down with a clothesline and whips Bret into the corner for the Bret Hart Bump. Smash goes to work with a neck vice and the Demos double-team in the corner, with Ax choking him out and then putting the badmouth on Anvil. Bret makes a comeback and Smash beats him down to cut him off again before Bret hits him with the clothesline and makes the hot tag to Neidhart. Anvil is a HOUSE OF FIRE and actually throws dropkicks while running wild, and a powerslam gets two. Ax makes the save and it’s BONZO GONZO as the Harts ram them into each other, but Bret goes after Fuji and the Rougeaus interfere, allowing Smash to use the megaphone and pin Anvil at 5:56 to retain. And we’re off into the Harts-Rougeaus feud, which was another highlight of the house show circuit for the rest of the year. Wasn’t as good as the Summerslam match, given it was just too short. **
Hulk Hogan v. King Haku
So with Hogan having dispatched one King on this show earlier in the year, he now has a chance to take out the replacement. Speaking of replacements, Elizabeth is with Hogan “on loan” from Randy Savage, and Jesse Ventura feels like this is a bit peculiar. It’s a DAMN SIGHT peculiar. Hogan holds the ropes for Liz just to make own partner look like a punk. Nice passive-aggressive shot at your supposed best friend and Megapower partner, jerk. And everyone knows Hogan would slap his own grandmother upside the head for an extra 2 points on his merchandise, he’s not fooling anyone with this “chivalry”. Haku attacks to start but Hulk slugs him down and rakes the back like a cheating lowlife, then rakes Haku’s eyes with his boot. Then Hulk goes after Bobby for literally no reason, big man that he is, and thankfully Haku gives it right back to Hulk with some eyerakes and choking. Two wrongs make a right, as the saying goes. Haku hits the SUPERKICK and puts Hulk on the floor because he chooses to run away from Haku like a coward rather than face him. And then Haku comes off the apron with a flying chop, but Hulk pulls Bobby in the way like a goddamn COWARD again, probably messing up poor Bobby’s neck again as a result. What a monster. We take a break as Hogan tries to steal the crown for himself, which is certainly on trend for him, and return with Haku putting him down with a headbutt and stomping away on him. Suplex gets two, but Hulk makes the comeback. Hopefully he can hold his own without a manager to beat up. Big boot and legdrop finish at 8:18 as he makes sure to kill the new regent’s heat barely a month into his reign. And then he brainwashes Liz into joining his cult by getting her to pose with him, before sexually assaulting her by grabbing her by the ass and carrying her around the ring. No wonder Savage kept her locked in the dressing room with this pervert running around. **1/2
Dino Bravo v. Ken Patera
I wonder if Bravo could have gotten Patera a good deal on smokes while he was in jail? I’m glad that Joey Marella isn’t refereeing here because then the universe might explode. Patera slams Bravo and chases him out of the ring, but Bravo slugs away in the ring as this match is like watching two LJN wrestling figures doing battle for all the flexibility they have. Bravo chokes away in the corner, but Patera slugs back and goes for the full nelson. Bravo goes to the corner to escape and, say it with me, Patera misses a blind charge and Bravo finishes with the side suplex at 3:00. Patera looked fucking awful here, but as always, DINO BRAVO IS THE SECOND WORST. DUD
Big Bossman v. Jim Powers
Powers tries a sleeper and Bossman slowly beats him down while yelling for Hogan, and then chokes him out and goes to a bearhug before changing his mind and choking him out some more. Powers makes a comeback with some dropkicks, but walks into the Bossman Slam at 2:30. And then he delivers a nightstick beating and continues on through the break.
Hulk Hogan joins Mean Gene and promises he’ll get revenge on Big Bossman for doing stuff like beating up Jim Powers and himself. SO WHY NOT GO HELP THE POOR GUY, YOU JERK? You were literally cutting a promo while Bossman was beating the shit out of him on national TV! Too busy trying to convince another man’s wife to play “hide the orange sausage”, probably.
Meanwhile, Jesse talks with Andre the Giant and Bobby, who deny that there was any heart attack, and we wrap it up.
Aside from Hogan’s disgusting sexual harassment of another man’s wife, this was a good episode.