The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #18 – 11.26.88
Taped from Sacramento, CA, on 11.16.88, drawing a 9.4 rating.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura
Time for the SNME debut of the Ultimate Warrior!
Mr. Fuji and his newest find, the SUPER NINJA, join Mean Gene in advance of their shot at the IC title. He’s been training in seven arts, for seven years, on seven continents. With a brief stopover in Portland, OR, of course.
Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. The Super Ninja
Warrior’s coked up promo readying himself to face a masked Rip Oliver is really something else. Super Ninja tries one of his patented deadly kicks and Warrior just catches it and drops him on his head. “Warrior’s making him like a FOOL! He’s anything but Super thus far!” Way to bury your talent, Vince. For all we know kids could have been rushing to the merch stands to buy Super Ninja shirts. Everyone’s got a favorite wrestler, even if some of them are stupid. I bet there’s even people who don’t think Joey Marella is the worst! Haha, just kidding, of course no one thinks that. Warrior finishes with the press slam and splash at 2:03. DUD
Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan sells Hercules to Ted Dibiase as a slave, which for some reason doesn’t go over well with Hercules. You just can’t reason with some people.
Hercules v. Virgil
Dibiase’s pre-match promo is something, as Jesse asks him why he doesn’t wrestle Hercules himself and Ted notes “Donald Trump doesn’t wash the windows of his skyscrapers, that’s what people like HIM are for!” as he points to Virgil. Yeah we know how Donald feels about people like Virgil. You know, Olive Garden patrons. Meanwhile Jesse compares Hercules to a character from Roots as the good taste express rolls on. Because THAT’S totally the same thing. Hercules cleans house on the capitalists to start and clotheslines Virgil to the floor, and then beats on him back in the ring and drops an elbow. Dibiase distracts the ref, and speaking of terrible people OF COURSE it’s Joey Marella, who probably brokered the deal to sell Herc into slavery because HE’S THE WORST. Herc with clotheslines as poor Virgil finally rakes the eyes to come back, but that’s the end of his offense as Herc clotheslines him down again and then pins him with a powerslam at 3:20. Another banger on this classic episode. DUD
WWF title: Randy Savage v. Andre the Giant
Once again, I have to put over the brilliance of Bobby Heenan, who sold Andre for $1,000,000 and bought him back for $100,000. And then he nearly sold Hercules to Dibiase, too! No wonder he’s the Brain. Savage calls him a “two legged snake” in his promo, however. Isn’t that, like, a salamander? Sadly, the Network version omits the MOUNTAIN DEW SLAM OF THE NIGHT that Vince tries to introduce, so we’ll never know what it is. Savage, in his all time ugliest green tights, attacks the Giant to start and that goes about as well as you’d expect. Andre beats on him in the corner, but Savage knees him in the back. So Andre chokes him out with the strap, actually looking reasonably mobile compared to most of his matches that year, but Savage finally escapes and tries a slam, which also goes nowhere for him. Andre kind of leans on his neck for a bit and chokes him out on the ropes and chokes him out in the middle of the ring, but Macho fights back in the corner. And then Andre goes back to choking him out again. Finally Savage makes a comeback and works him over in the corner, but now Jake the Snake comes out and Andre gets all distracted, so we take a break while Savage tries to talk Jake into leaving. Back with Macho attacking again in the corner while Bobby looks for the snake under the ring. Savage just can’t get ANYTHING going and Andre sits on him in the corner, at which point Savage goes after Bobby instead. Back in, Andre boxes Savage while Bobby finally finds the snake, at which point Jake returns and it’s a double DQ at 11:00. This was a complete mess and although Savage and Giant had some pretty good matches at the house shows, this was definitely not one of them. * Jake chases the heels off with the snake and Jesse declares the whole thing a conspiracy to save Savage’s title. Well Jesse is the expert on conspiracy theories these days.
Flag match: Jim Duggan v. Boris Zhukov
Duggan declares that this is the land of the free, so no one will ever be allowed to fly any flag other than the US one! Also Dino Bravo’s Quebec flag “looks like squashed frogs” to him and the Russian one looks like an advertisement for a hardware store. Says the guy carrying a board around with him. Sad to see one of Sgt. Slaughter’s Privates in his kind of sad career position. Boris pounds away on the ropes and gets a backdrop, then rakes the face in the corner. But Duggan comes out of the corner with a clothesline and then finishes him off with the three point stance at 2:23. And once again the country can sleep soundly knowing that alternative ideologies will not be presented to them. Maybe they should have brought Boris back and had Lex Luger squash him in 1993, too! Maybe he would gotten over that way. DUD
Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan goes on the Brother Love show in October and it goes badly for him, as Big Bossman beats on him and handcuffs him to a piece of railing. ORANGE LIVES MATTER!
Brother Love joins us for a special in-ring interview with Slick, as we cut to the back where Hogan is OUTRAGED because he was supposed to be the guest! So we take a break to let Hulk stew in his own juices, and then return with Hulk getting to do his interview segment after all. You do NOT mess with Hogan’s TV time! Brother Love asks the hard questions, like how it felt “flopping around like a jellyfish” while Bossman beat him, and then does the gag where he pulls away the microphone before Hulk can answer. But then Hulk can take no more of not being able to get a word in, and then encourages the crowd to “tie up Slick and beat him with a stick”. Also, “Every one of my Hulkamaniacs would get in line to beat you, boy!” OK that’s a bit questionable. But then Hogan does the “ask the question and yank the microphone away” gag right back to the heels, which is pretty funny. But then Slick gets too uppity for Hulk and gets tossed over the top rope as a result, and then he beats up Brother Love and handcuffs him to the ropes, which as Jesse notes is Hulk being a bully just because they were being mean to him.
The Rougeau Brothers v. The Young Stallions
Before the match, the Rougeaus announce that they have moved to Memphis, although we do not yet have “All American Boys” as the entrance music. Jacques beats on Powers to start, but Powers comes back and slugs away in the corner until Jimmy hits his knee with the megaphone. Seems like the referee should have caught that and…oh wait, it’s JOEY MARELLA. Never mind. Rougeaus double-team him with Jacques’ back elbow for two, but Jacques misses a bodypress and it’s “hot” tag to Paul Roma although even the heat machine can barely be bothered to care at this point in the show. Roma goes up with a nice missile dropkick on Raymond for two and the ref gets rid of Powers, allowing the Rougeaus to hit the Le Bombe de les Rougeaus for the pin at 3:10. Total squash. ½*
Andre the Giant offers some words of warning to Jake Roberts, and we get a nice touch as Jesse asks “I thought you were afraid of snakes…” and Andre suddenly grabs him and throttles him despite being a fellow heel.
With what were essentially a bunch of squashes and a shitty WWF title match, can we safely call this the one the Dino Bravo of Saturday Night’s Main Event episodes? Not the WORST, but right down there.