The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #22 – 07.29.89
Taped from Worcester, MA, on 07.18.89. No attendance or ratings info for this one, but it’s a pretty famous episode.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura
Oh man, Savage and Sherri trying to out-crazy each other in the pre-show promos makes me appreciate that pairing all the more. They’re gonna roast Brutus Beefcake like the WEENIE THAT HE IS.
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. The Honky Tonk Man
Yes, Honky Tonk finally gets a title shot at the man who brought him into the promotion! Truly this is the greatest story ever told. Mean Gene actually says a no-no word in the pre-match interview with Hulk, pointing out the “feud with Macho Man”, as I was always under the impression that you weren’t allowed to say “feud” on TV because it was considered an insider term at the time. Honky takes a swing at Hulk with the guitar but the ref rings the bell anyway, and Hulk carries Jimmy Hart around on his back to get rid of him and then beats on Honky in the corner and rams him into the turnbuckles. Hulk with the clothesline and atomic drop, and although Honky is no Rick Rude he’s pretty good at selling that. Jimmy tries to pull Honky out of the ring to save him, so Hulk pulls them both in and we get the noggin knocker, which is decidedly not an insider term, but finally Jimmy hits Hogan with the guitar behind the ref’s back to get the heat for Honky. Back in, Honky goes to work on the back and goes to the rear chinlock, but Hulk knows a thing or two about escaping from bad camel clutches and he rams Honky into the corner to break. Honky decides to put him away with the Shake Rattle and Roll and Vince sells this as a serious threat to Hulkamania, but he makes sure to celebrate before the cover, and I’m sure you can fill in the rest. Guitar to the back and legdrop finish at 6:16, as apparently the ref is so blind that he misses Hogan hitting the man with a guitar RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE. We can’t even blame Joey Marella for that one. Just a normal Hogan formula match and Honky is of course more than happy to bump like a pinball for him and put over the legdrop for a big payday. **1/2
Meanwhile, we recap the Ron Garvin referee saga, and we get words from corrupt old Jack Tunney, who puts Garvin on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION to prevent him from carrying out any more shenanigans. Well he’s still better than Joey Marella.
Superfly Jimmy Snuka v. Greg Valentine
So Garvin gets to test his resolve as referee here, and Hammer attacks Snuka and chokes him out on the ropes right in front of Garvin. Snuka chops him down and goes up, but he lands on the shin guard headfirst and knocks himself out, allowing Valentine to drop elbows on him for two. Valentine tosses him and Garvin actually puts a fair count on him, doing better than most “real” referees do. Valentine won’t let him back in the ring, so Garvin lays down the law and then hits Valentine with the knockout punch, which allows Snuka to go up and hit Valentine with a flying bodypress (while Valentine does a tremendous shocked sell of the punch) for the pin at 3:11. Well I’m pretty sure that falls outside of Tunney’s edict. *1/2 To be fair, Garvin was in the ring acting as referee when they had Tunney make his announcement, so he would have no viable way of knowing about the decision.
Brutus Beefcake v. Randy Savage
So once again Brutus’s outfit completely changes between the backstage interview and his entrance to the ring. WHY DOES THAT ALWAYS HAPPEN ON THESE SHOWS? I guess they just had really talented seamstresses who helped with quick costume changes back there. Beefcake chases Sherri around the ring, but Savage WALLOPS him from behind to save his manager. Who says he doesn’t know how to treat a lady? Beefcake chokes him out with his jacket and puts him down with a double sledge for two. Now, although Savage’s blood-orange and yellow gear is pretty awesome here, the lack of stars on the front of his trunks is tripping me out because it just looks wrong. Beefcake gets a bodypress for two, and a high knee for two. Savage puts him on the ropes and takes a run at him, but Beefcake moves and then sends Savage to the floor with another high knee. Savage hides behind Sherri to buy time, so Beefcake throws Savage back in and then Sherri pulls Beefcake out to the apron and allows Macho to hit the double axehandle on the floor. And then she lays in the kicks to the ribs for good measure. As Jesse notes, you think Elizabeth would ever get her hands dirty like that? Sherri adds a heel to the eye and then takes the ref while Beefcake gets a small package, so it only gets two. This Sherri deal is paying dividends for Savage all over the place. Beefcake with a backslide for two and Savage chokes him out, and then Sherri takes off a stocking and chokes Beefcake out with THAT. And then she puts it back on because she has CLASS! Savage goes up and Beefcake nails him on the way down, and makes the comeback with a clothesline. Sherri interferes again, but Savage knocks her off the apron with a high knee by mistake. But then Beefcake misses a blind charge and hits the buckle, but he recovers and backdrops Savage to the floor for a giant bump. And then in a fantastic inversion of the Megapowers trope, Savage sends Sherri to the back ala Elizabeth, except she’s not going back for Hogan this time. We take a break and return with Beefcake continuing the comeback, but Savage necks him on the top rope for two. And indeed, Sherri brings Zeus to the ring while Beefcake gets a sunset flip for two. Beefcake with the sleeper and that just leaves him open for Zeus to destroy from behind at 11:49 for the DQ. Hell of a match thanks to Sherri working as hard as the guys. ***3/4 But then Hogan comes out to make the save because he doesn’t know when to mind his own damn business as usual, and the heels double-team and try to cut his hair. Yeah good luck finding anything to cut. An increasingly desperate Hogan grabs a chair and tries to chase them off with that, but Zeus no-sells and then finally Savage convinces him to leave. Man, if Zeus had ANYTHING in the ring, he would have been huge. Vince knew EXACTLY how to book this stuff.
Meanwhile, Savage and Zeus do their post-match promo, and Sherri is awesome here. “Hogan, what are you gonna do, say your prayers and eat your vitamins, and then beat up women and cry when you lose?” Sounds like Hogan to me.
WWF tag team titles: Demolition v. The Brainbusters
So after the Busters managed to make the Demos lose their cool and get DQ’d at the last SNME, this is the rematch with 2/3 falls. Tully gets a cheapshot on Smash and then runs away from Ax, but that backfires as Smash presses him back into the ring and Tully takes a beating. The Busters try to double-team Ax in response but that also backfires and the heels have to retreat further. Back in, Arn beats on Smash, although neither guy is legal unless they edited some stuff out already. Arn gets caught in the corner and double-teamed, and then Tully comes in and Smash bearhugs him. Smash tries a slam on Arn, but Tully dropkicks them over and then chokes out Smash in the corner. Arn with the spinebuster for two, but Smash hits Arn with a stungun and pins him at 5:00 to win the first fall.
Second fall and Smash beats on Arn in the corner, and the Demos beat on Arn to retain control. Ax drops him on the top rope and goes to a chinlock, but Arn escapes with a cheapshot and Tully comes in and clotheslines Ax under the bottom rope to take over. Bobby even gets a shot from the outside behind the ref’s back, and Tully takes Ax to the floor and puts the boots to him out there. Back in, Arn with another chinlock on Ax, but it’s hot tag Smash and he cleans house. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and Demolition again loses control and won’t listen to the ref, so it’s a DQ at 11:44.
Third fall and Jesse clarifies that the rules are apparently now that a DQ in the first two falls is OK, but a DQ in the deciding fall does not change the titles. Also, Andre the Giant is now at ringside as well. Demolition continues double-teaming Tully and Ax hits a back elbow, but Tully runs Ax into Arn’s head for the sacrifice play, and Arn comes in and slugs it out with Ax. Ax runs Arn into the corner and they collide for a double down, but Smash gets the hot tag and starts destroying Tully. Clothesline out of the corner and it’s BONZO GONZO, but Andre throws his chair into the ring and Tully nails Smash, putting Arn on top for the pin and the titles at 17:37. Which marked the first (and for a long time only) title change on SNME. Didn’t like this one as much as the original match, as this felt disjointed and never really got into a groove or had a strong heat segment for the Busters. *** Young NWA stan Scott was pretty damn happy about this one, let me tell you. As much as I was a huge fan of Demolition at the time, they had been champions for more than a year and even I could I tell it was time for someone else to have a crack at it.
Meanwhile, the Heenan Family celebrates their newfound riches, although it would be shortlived for them.
And then Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake do another promo to wrap things up.
Another tremendous 1989 episode, with Beefcake v. Savage being a sneaky classic match and of course the tag title change making history.