The SmarK Rant for The Main Event #4 – 11.23.90
So this one was of course originally taped as a Saturday Night’s Main Event, complete with the Rockers winning the tag team titles from the Hart Foundation, but due to schedule changes from NBC it ended up edited down to an hour and moved to a prime time slot instead, where it DIED. In fact the banners even read “Saturday Night’s Main Event”.
Taped from Fort Wayne, IN, on 10.30.90 and doing an 8.6 rating on NBC. That is not great for prime time to say the least.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Roddy Piper in front of a brutally obvious green screen.
Ted Dibiase joins Mean Gene in the locker room, and Gene accuses him of bankrolling “some of the cruelest stunts in WWF history”. Even more than Mr. Fuji? Dibiase notes that his wealth is deeper than money, because he’s flush with wrestling prowess. But money is still the most important thing.
Ultimate Warrior then gives a rebuttal about how money doesn’t buy desire and dollars don’t build biceps. Um, several dozen contract renegotiations on his part would seem to dispute the first part, and Dr. Zahorian would probably argue the second one.
WWF World title: Ultimate Warrior v. Ted Dibiase
Pretty sure this match has been on other compilations and I’ve reviewed it a bunch of times, but whatever. By this point in the game, Warrior’s title reign was already DOA and everyone knew Hogan was getting it back. We immediately get a weird edit where Warrior hands Hebner the belt and on the next shot, the belt is GONE. Nice continuity there, guys. Dibiase attacks and gets a clothesline, but Warrior shrugs it off and clotheslines Dibiase to the floor, then rams him into Virgil and beats on him back in the ring. Blind charge misses and Dibiase clotheslines him out of the corner and hits him with a middle rope elbow for two. Piledriver gets two. Warrior backdrops out of a second try and makes a comeback, but Virgil hooks the leg and Dibiase clotheslines him to the floor as we take a break. Back with Dibiase dropping elbows on him to take over, and the fistdrop gets two. Dibiase goes to a headlock on the mat and then puts Warrior down with a clothesline, but Warrior gets a backslide for two. Dibiase gets a suplex for two, but a second one is blocked and Warrior gets a sunset flip (!!) for two. Dibiase dumps him again to buy time and beats on him out there, but Warrior makes the comeback in the ring and gets a suplex, and they collide for a double down. Dibiase is up first and tries another middle rope elbow, but Warrior hits him on the way down and he’s hulking up. Interesting that they started the match with heavy-handed fake crowd noise but it actually turned to real noise as Warrior made the comeback. And then Virgil runs in for the DQ at 12:07 and Warrior beats on him as well. But this brings out the Macho King to smash the scepter into Warrior’s head from the top rope and beat him down, while Sherri tries to steal the title belt. Ended up being a hell of a TV match with a really good heavy heat angle afterwards, but the horses had already left the barn with Warrior’s title reign and it was too late to fix it. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Macho King talks with Mean Gene and basically says that Dibiase paid him to attack Warrior after the match, but then he discovered how good it felt to beat up Warrior and he realized he would have done it for free.
Nikolai Volkoff v. Sgt. Slaughter
Slaughter, who isn’t QUITE a complete Iraqi sympathizing traitor yet but is instead billed as a “mercenary” by Vince, attacks Volkoff and beats him down with the riding crop and puts him in the camel clutch, which of course brings Hacksaw Duggan out to make the save and after two commercial breaks leading to the match, there’s not actually a match. Good talk, bro.
Meanwhile, the Big Bossman is out to avenge the awful things that Bobby Heenan said about his mama tonight. But not against Rick Rude, who was already gone.
Mr. Perfect v. Big Bossman
OK, just to keep the timeline straight here, this show was taped on October 30, when Kerry Von Erich was still IC champion. Perfect regained the title on November 19, four days before this show aired, but they continued to treat Kerry as champion until the title change actually aired later in December. So technically Perfect was in a Schoedinger’s Cat state of champion and not-champion between those dates. But actually he was champion. But not here. Got it? Good. Bossman slugs away on Perfect and whips him into the corners for some patented Hennig bumps and then drags him around by the hair and throws him into the post. Bossman goes up and misses a top rope splash, however, and Perfect takes over and gets the necksnap for two before putting the boots to Bossman’s ribs. Small package gets two. More boots to the ribs get two, but Bossman fights back, so Perfect beats him down again and undoes a turnbuckle. Bossman of course runs him into the steel for the ironic bump,a nd Bossman slugs him down again. This match feels like Dolph Ziggler watched it and decided to base his entire career off Perfect’s selling without paying attention to all the other stuff he did in better matches. Perfect runs Bossman into the turnbuckle to gain control again, and NOW YOU’RE GONNA SEE A PERFECTPLEX, but Bossman reverses to a small package for two. They slug it out and NOW YOU’RE GONNA SEE ANOTHER PERFECTPLEX, but Bossman kicks out at two. Bossman tosses Perfect and goes after Bobby Heenan, who runs for his life and takes a comedy bump backstage while Perfect wins by countout at 8:22. This was a weirdly lethargic match for both guys outside of Perfect’s comic overselling. **
Meanwhile, Bobby runs to Scheme Gene looking for help from Bossman. Knowing Gene he’d probably charge him $1.99 a minute for advice and then stooge him out to Bossman.
Meanwhile, Buddy Rose presents BLOW AWAY. This was of course the legendarily wacky infomercial spoof with Buddy pouring powder on himself and blowing it away, magically dropping to 217 pounds in the process. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Rick Martel v. Tito Santana
Well this is quite the delayed blowoff. Martel attacks to start and tosses him, but charges and gets sent into the post by Tito, hurting his arm in the process. Tito goes to work on the arm in the ring and blocks a monkey flip by stomping on his face before going back to the arm. Martel escapes again but puts his head down and Tito outsmarts him again with a small package this time, for two. Back to the arm, so Martel takes him down for a chinlock, but Tito immediately reverses to a hammerlock on the mat. Martel makes the ropes to escape that, so Tito gives him a shot for good measure, and finally Martel gets a cheapshot and chokes him out on the ropes to take over. Tito fights back, so Rick gives him the old thumb to the throat and beats him down on the mat. Martel goes up but then changes his mind and does a backbreaker instead before going to the top for real, but Tito crotches him to bring him down. Tito makes the comeback and gets his own backbreaker, and goes up with a middle rope clothesline for two. Martel tries an atomic drop, but Tito just picks the leg and goes for the figure-four, which Martel turns into a small package for two, and then finishes him off with the Boston crab at 6:55. Standard TV fare here. **1/2
Meanwhile, Scheme Gene talks with the blinded Jake Roberts, but Jake thinks that Martel is the one who is TRULY blind. I dunno, I feel like Jake is still the blinder one.
And Vince and Roddy recap the Macho attack on Warrior again, and we get another Warrior promo with Sean Mooney to wrap things up.
The Warrior match was good, but the rest was pretty inessential as 1990 limps to a close for SNME.