WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event May 2nd, 1987

May 2, 1987

From the Joyce Athletic & Convocation Center in South Bend, IN

Your hosts are Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Vince McMahon

We get promos to hype tonight’s matches which include: “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. George “The Animal” Steele in a Lumberjack Match, British Bulldogs vs. Hart Foundation for the Tag Team Titles in a 2/3 Falls Match, and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Hercules. Plus, Andre the Giant & Bobby Heenan tells us why Andre really won the title from Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III and more.

We are shown footage of Ken Patera destroying Bobby Heenan after their debate on “Superstars of Wrestling.”

Kamala w/ Mr. Fuji & Kimchee vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Before the match, Okerlund interviewed Fuji about Kamala’s fear of snakes in an interesting bit. The match starts with Kamala fleeing the ring after Jake dumps Damien on the mat. Kamala then attacks Jake from behind as he was distracted. Jake fights back until he runs into a throat thrust. Kamala grabs a bearhug that Jake is able to escape from. Jake stomps Kamala’s feet then works the arm until Kamala chops him down then chokes Jake out on the mat. Kimchee orders Kamala to attack Jake, who then starts to fight back. Kamala lands a few headbutts then Jake outsmarts him as he catches Kamala with a kneelift. Jake hits another kneelift then signals for the DDT as the crowd goes nuts but Fuji distracts the ref then Kimchee sneaks in the ring and nails Jake in the back of the head as that allows Kamala to hit the splash for the win (4:18) *1/2. After the match, Kimchee takes off his hat then suit as he reveals himself as the Honky Tonk Man, complete in his own suit. Honky beats on Jake before hitting the Shake, Rattle, and Roll. After that, Honky grabs the mic and thanks the fans, who boo him in return.

Thoughts: Having Honky as Kimchee was clever and it kept his feud with Jake hot. Honky was rapidly becoming a top heel in the company at this point. Poor Jake has certainly been jobbing a lot since turning face. He was still insanely over though.

Lumberjack Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. George “The Animal” Steele

Lumberjacks include: Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs, Can-Am Connection, Danny Davis, Honky Tonk Man, Kimchee, Ricky Steamboat, Hercules, Tito Santana, Iron Sheik, and Nikolai Volkoff. Steamboat walks Steele to the ring and while he is inside, Hercules trips him up to sell their match later in the show. Savage starts the match by attacking Steele from behind for licking Elizaberh’s hands. Steele fights back and knocks Savage outside as the heels help him out for a minute. Savage tries to roll out but the faces prevent him. Savage and Steele go back and forth as neither man can gain an advantage until Savage hits an axe handle from the top then sends Steele to the floor, where the heels beat him down until Duggan chases them away with the 2×4 then goes in the ring as the lumberjacks fight with themselves. Duggan gets sent to the locker room then back from break we see Steele headbutt Davis. Back inside, Steele eats a turnbuckle then throws the stuffing at Savage, who comes back with a knee smash. Savage then hits a suplex but shortly after that gets tossed to the floor where Steamboat throws him back into the ring. Steele bites Savage then tosses Savage, who hits Steamboat and that triggers a brawl as Davis sneaks inside and whacks Steele with the bell as Savage hits the flying elbow smash for the win (6:44) **1/4. After the match everyone starts brawling in the ring then Jake Roberts comes out with his ribs taped up and holding Damien as Honky bails but Jake wraps Damien around Kimchee.

Thoughts: The action between the lumberjacks kept this match entertaining as there was always something happening here. This was also billed as possibly the last time Steele would wrestle Savage and see Elizabeth too.

Gene Okerlund is with Andre the Giant and Bobby Heenan, sporting a neckbrace from the attack by Patera, in a pre-taped interview. Andre and Heenan say they were cheated and that the officials always back Hogan and has footage to prove this as they claim the referee counted to three as the camera angle was so that Andre’s body was blocking the view and you could see the arm motions from the referee. Heenan and Andre then demand an investigation. The three count thing is a little weak in terms of building up a rematch but they needed something to go off of while keeping Andre strong so it could have been worse I suppose.

Best of Three Falls
WWF Tag Team Title Match
British Bulldogs vs. Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart & Danny Davis

The crowd goes nuts as Matilda bites Jimmy Hart as Jesse goes off about how the Bulldogs should be in jail for that. Match starts with Davey and Bret going back and forth for a bit. Davey catches Bret with a monkey flip and a crucifix but runs into a knee. Neidhart tags and hammers away as the Hart Foundation cheat behind the referee’s back. The Hart Foundation continues to neutralize Davey until he gets his knees up on a charging Bret. Dynamite makes the tag and picks up Bret by the hair. Clothesline gets two. Snap suplex gets two. Neidhart breaks up another pin attempt then Davis stomps on Davey outside as Tito chases him around then goes in the ring after the bell rings as the Bulldogs win the first fall by DQ due to double-teaming by the Hart Foundation (4:34). The second fall starts with Dynamite getting destroyed. He mounts a brief comeback and tries to make the tag but Neidhart runs in and stops that. He then puts Dynamite in a front facelock as Davey chases Bret and Davis around the ring. Back to the match as Dynamite is busted open and back to getting his ass kicked. Bret misses a charge and that allows Dynamite to make the tag. Davey runs wild and gets a few nearfalls on Neidhart but ducks his head and gets kicked. Neidhart accidentally knocks Bret to the apron then Tito runs in and knocks Davis off of the apron as Davey tags Dynamite and launches him at Neidhart for the pin as the crowd goes berserk, thinking the Bulldogs have won the titles (9:48) **1/2. However, as Jesse laughs on commentary, we learn that you cannot win the title on a DQ, which took place in the first fall so the Hart Foundation retains.

Thoughts: This match was solid and given Dynamite’s injuries was probably the best they could have done. Hart Foundation took care of Dynamite when they were on offense as he did not take any high impact moves. Its also sad to see Dynamite perform is snap suplex at this point, seeing how the move did not have any snap to it at all. This feud continues.

Okerlund is with Hulk Hogan and asks him about wrestling Andre. Hogan talks about how all of the Hulkamaniacs were behind him and calls the comments of Heenan and Andre about an investigation ridiculous but if they want a rematch, they can have one, but they will not strip him of the title.

Hercules w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Backstage, Savage is shown watching the match on a monitor backstage as he rants about getting his IC Title back, wanting Steamboat to keep the belt so he can personally take it back from him. Hercules works the back until Steamboat comes back with a pair of dropkicks. He sends Hercules outside then hammers away. Back inside, Hercules pulls Steamboat into the ringpost as we get an insert of Savage shown rooting for Steamboat to win. Steamboat fights back and hits a swinging neckbreaker then hammers away until Hercules pokes his eyes and puts on the full nelson. Savage is shown taking off from the monitor as he runs into the ring and pulls Hercules into the ropes as Heenan yells at him. Hercules comes out and stands around as Steamboat is on the mat. Back from break, Hercules heads up top but Steamboat gets his knees up on the splash attempt. Hercules comes back with a slam then misses an elbow drop then a charge. Steamboat fights back with chops until Hercules comes back with an inverted atomic drop. Heenan tosses the chain into the ring as Hercules uses it to choke out Steamboat for the DQ (6:42) **. Hercules continues to choke him as Savage looks conflicted then says that Steamboat’s the winner as he has a few words with Heenan and Hercules as they head backstage. Savage then heads inside to help Steamboat as the ref orders him out but he instead he heads up top and hits the flying elbow smash.

Thoughts: The match itself was fine but they sure didn’t make Steamboat look too strong here as he only retained because of a DQ then took Savage’s finisher after the match.

Okerlund is with Duggan, who is sitting ringside to make sure Volkoff does not sing the Russian National Anthem.

Can-Am Connection vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff

Before the match we get a promo from Slick, stating how he is getting down with the Communist Party. Duggan chases Volkoff away as he began to sing then leads the crowd into a pro-USA chant. The match starts with the Can-Ams taking control of the match. Sheik boots Zenk then hits a gutwrench suplex for two. The crowd rallies behind Zenk as Sheik suplexes him around as the heels are isolating Zenk in their corner. Sheik puts Zenk in an abdominal stretch then catches him with a clothesline. The heels then toss the Can-Ams to the floor and attack then Duggan yells at them, eventually hopping the railng and that allows Martel to surprise Volkoff with a reverse rollup for the win (4:45) *1/2. After the match its 3-1 against Duggan after they toss the Can-Ams to the floor. The faces then run off the heels after that.

Thoughts: Basic match that did more to push Duggan than anything else.

Final Thoughts: Not a bad show at all. No memorable matches or anything but the show breezed by and Savage came off looking like a huge star. They also teased a Hogan/Andre rematch and that is huge news as well. This show apparently did a terrible advance at the box office and they added a Hogan & Patera vs. Hercules & Andre match after this show was taped in order to boost ticket sales.

WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event March 14th, 1987

March 14, 1987

From the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI

Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Vince McMahon

The hosts put over the fact that both Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan will be in the 20-Man Battle Royal.

Gene Okerlund is with Hulk Hogan, who doesn’t care how many men are in this battle royal because he is coming after Andre the Giant. Good promo from Hogan.

Recap of George Steele taking Elizabeth away during the last episode of SNME.

Okerlund is with Elizabeth and Savage, who says he is “psyched up” and will hurt Steele real bad as the camera zooms in on Elizabeth, who is worried. Per the rules of the Savage/Steele match, Elizabeth enters the match last as the winner leaves with her as their manager. Savage heads to the ring as Steele comes in and says he will win Elizabeth.

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. George “The Animal” Steele

Elizabeth comes out with security as Jesse accuses Okerlund of being a “pervert” for checking her out as she walked away. She sits on a lifeguards chair as Savage hits Steele from behind with a double axe handle then takes her to the back but Ricky Steamboat’s music hits as he comes down as Savage retreats. He goes in the ring as he looks at Steamboat but that allows Steele to attack him from behind. Steele roughs up Savage then goes over and bites open the turnbuckle but takes too long as that allows Savage to hit him with a running knee smash from behind. He slams him down and heads up top connecting with a double axe handle. Steele fights back then bites Savage on the arm before using a lifting chokehold. Steele bites open another turnbuckle and throws the stuffing into the face of Savage. Steele heads outside and helps Elizabeth off of the chair but Savage attacks him from behind then slams the chair on him and rolls back inside to get the win via countout (4:30) *. After the match, Steele comes in the ring and hits Savage with the chair before tossing him to the floor. Steele then puts the Intercontinental Title over his shoulder then opens up a poster of Elizabeth.

Thoughts: Not bad for what it was, which was a match filled with smoke and mirrors to further along the Elizabeth/Steele and the Steamboat/Savage stories heading into WrestleMania. It succeeded in doing just that.

An insert promo of Hogan pumping iron yelling out Andre’s name along with others.

20 Man Battle Royal
Hillbilly Jim, “The Outlaw” Ron Bass, Sika, The Islanders, “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, Hercules, “The Natural” Butch Reed, Paul Orndorff, Billy Jack Haynes, Koko B. Ware, Nikolai Volkoff, Blackjack Mulligan, Demolition, The Honky Tonk Man, Killer Bees, Andre the Giant, and Hulk Hogan

Andre blocks Hogan from entering the ring as Hogan shows him the belt. He then finally enters as he tears off his shirt and eggs on Andre but Orndorff attacks him from behind as the match begins. Honky is out first and Hogan dumps him over the top rope. Andre then dumps Sika and fights off Mulligan and Hillbilly before tossing Haku out of the ring. He then drags Poffo by the hair as he tosses him over the top rope. Hogan is halfway out as Ax and Reed work him over. The camera shows Poffo busted open on the floor after Andre headbutted him then they take him away on a stretcher with blood all over his face. Back to the match as Hogan backdrops Bass to the floor then Andre takes out Mulligan with a hip toss as Andre and Hogan have accounted for all of the eliminations so far. Volkoff is gone courtesy of Hogan then Blair gets tossed by Andre. Hogan and Orndorff are going at it as Andre chokes out Koko with his foot. Hercules and Orndorff are now double-teaming Hogan but fail to get him out. Hogan gets whipped into Andre as they have a stare down. They then trade punches but Orndorff attacks Hogan then Demolition beats on him too. Hogan eventually fights out and dumps Orndorff but Andre hits him then headbutts him down before eliminating Hogan as Jesse is ecstatic on commentary. Andre then does a “brush away” gesture as he looks at Hogan on the floor. Several referees take Hogan to the back as we go to commercial. Back from break as Andre tosses Brunzell to the floor then everyone else besides Hercules, who failed to stop, dump Andre over the top rope. Smash then eliminates Hillbilly in sloppy fashion then Koko ducks an attack before sending Reed over the top rope with a dropkick. The final four are now set: Hercules, Billy Jack Haynes, Smash, and Koko. Haynes makes the save for Koko  but Hercules is able to dump him after that. Hercules and Smash double-team Haynes, who comes back and takes out Smash. Hercules and Haynes start brawling until Heenan jumps up onto the apron. Haynes chases im away but that allowed Hercules to eliminate him and win the Battle Royal (11:16) **.

Thoughts: This told a good story with Hogan and Andre taking turns tossing guys out in order to be in the ring alone with each other. It also left doubt that Hogan could beat Andre, who eliminated him from the match. Their confrontation was fun though and a good tease for their WrestleMania III match. As for this match, it was pretty standard as far as battle royal’s are concerned but it really died off once Andre got eliminated and understandably so as no one else in the match could follow the Andre/Hogan dynamic.

Okerlund is with Andre the Giant, who said that it took 8 wrestlers to get him out of the ring but it only takes one giant to get rid of Hogan. Heenan then comes in and gloats over the fact that Andre took out Hogan, accusing him of hiding during the match. Heenan then says that Andre will remain undefeated and become the next Heavyweight Champion.

Now, Okerlund is with Jake Roberts, who will be facing King Kong Bundy. Roberts says that both he and Damien are ready for King Kong Bundy. He leaves before saying that its time for both of them to satisfy their hunger.

A quick insert promo from the Hart Foundation and Jimmy Hart about how they are defending their titles for the first time. At least they are on television.

King Kong Bundy w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Roberts uses his quickness to elude Bundy, who is afraid of Damien. Bundy gets increasingly frustrated before taking down Roberts with a test of strength. He holds him down on the mat until Roberts fights out. Bundy beats on Roberts in the corner then grabs a front facelock as the fans are behind Roberts. Bundy ducks his head for a backdrop but gets caught with a knee lift. Roberts knocks Bundy down with a punch then Heenan runs off with the snake bag, causing Roberts to chase him. Back from break as Roberts is walking down the aisle with the bag but Bundy attacks him as he re-enters the ring. Clothesline by Bundy who then runs him over with a shoulder block a few times. Bundy charges at Roberts in the corner but misses as both men are down. Roberts gets up first and fires away then goes to grab the snake but the ref intervenes. Roberts then knees the referee, who signals for the DQ (6:14) 1/2*. Bundy tries to attack Roberts, who fights back as Vince weirdly defends Roberts for hitting the referee, saying that he should not have interfered. Bundy goes for an elbow drop but misses and after that Roberts hits the DDT as the fans go nuts. Heenan runs out as Roberts goes after him and Bundy with the snake but the ref trips up Roberts, who then chases him out with the snake as Vince is pissed because he did not get to see the snake on top of somebody.

Thoughts: Bad match. This was all about hyping Jake here as Vince was really trying to get over the snake and even defending him for attacking the referee. A year after headlining WrestleMania 2 Bundy had nothing at all going on here.

We get a goofy promo from Steamboat about how will be “breathing fire” before making some odd “karate” noise. 80’s WWF Steamboat promos were usually so bad they were funny.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match
Tito Santana & Danny Spivey vs. Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart & Danny Davis

Match starts with Spivey getting two off of a crossbody. Neidhart works him over for a bit but Spivey catches him with an atomic drop before tagging Tito. Bret and Tito work a nice sequence then Spivey tags back and gets two off of a shoulder block as Neidhart broke up the pin. The Hart Foundation are now beating on Spivey as they neutralize him in their corner. Neidhart gets two with a slingshot splash that looked sweet then Brett chokes him out against the ropes. Spivey tries and fails to fight out of the corner then gets attacked from behind as the ref orders Tito back on the apron. Tito gets tagged behind the referee’s back but as he goes back to the apron, Spivey ducks an attack that knocks Neidhart off of the apron. Tito cleans house and even knocks Davis off of the apron. he hits Brett with the flying forearm then applies the figure four but as Spivey and Neidhart fight, Davis sneaks in and whacks Tito off of the head with the megaphone and Brett  covers for the win (5:31) *1/2.

Thoughts: Decent action. This was the end of Spivey as a tag team wrestler as he was taken off of TV then became a singles heel wrestler that never got past the opening match level at house shows. He beat the likes of Lanny Poffo and Sam Houston for a year until leaving the company in 1988.

Okerlund is with Steamboat, who claims that he is 100%. Steamboat also says that he breathes fires and it gets hotter and hotter as he knows that everyone is going after his throat. Better than the promo right before this as he got over the injured throat storyline.

Iron Sheik w/ Slick vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Savage comes out on the apron to distract Steamboat, allowing Sheik to attack him from behind. Savage then joins on commentary as Vince yells at him. Savage then tells us that Steamboat can’t even tie his shoes and that he does not have what it takes to win. Steamboat skins the cat then hits Sheik with a back suplex as Savage tells us that neither guy is in his class. Steamboat hits a shoulder block and a hiptoss before grabbing a chinlock. Sheik goes on the attack then suplexes Steamboat back into the ring for two. Sheik rakes the eyes then uses an abdominal stretch but Steamboat breaks that up with a hiptoss as Savage promises that will not happen to him. Steamboat then slams Sheik and heads up top with a flying chop for the win (3:29) *. Savage then screams about how Steamboat cannot do that to him as Steamboat waves him on but Savage grabs a chair as Steamboat attempts to hop the guardrail to get to Savage but the referee prevents him.

Thoughts: Basic action but the confrontation between Savage and Steamboat here was excellent as that feud remained red hot heading into WrestleMania III

Okerlund is with Hogan and asks him about Heenan’s comments on Andre staying undefeated. Hogan then questions Andre if he cheated to get everyone of his wins and that his whole life has been a gigantic lie. Hogan says that now the whole world knows about Andre attacking people from behind.

Roddy Piper is now with Okerlund, who introduces him before his tribute. Piper thanks the fans and the WWF before saying that he always gave 110% and will do the same as he gives Hollywood a try. The video is then shown, set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” as all of his WWF career highlights are shown. Great video. The 80’s WWF music videos were done to perfection.

Final Thoughts: As a stand-alone show this was nothing special but in the grand scheme of things it did a fine job hyping up WrestleMania III. There was not any memorable matches or anything but the battle royal was fine leading up to the Hulk/Andre confrontation and they kept the Savage/Steamboat feud really strong and that was really all they needed to do here.

New E-Book: History of Saturday Night’s Main Event

One of the most common complaints wrestling fans have today is how
much content there is to watch.  WWE alone has at least seven hours of
wrestling TV a week.  For over twenty years, we’ve gotten used to
wrestling airing every Monday night with some of the biggest stars in
the sport squaring off.  However, things weren’t always the same.  Back
in the 1980’s, wrestling television was based around the idea of squash
matches.  Most shows featured a big name against an unknown and matches
against other stars were almost unheard of.

Things began to change in 1985.  Powered by the strength of
Wrestlemania and Hulkamania, the WWF was able to air a series of
specials on NBC, featuring matches between big name stars and even title
matches, all for free.  The shows were major successes and helped push
the company into their golden era, sending professional wrestling to
heights no one had ever seen possible.

In this book, I’ll be looking at all thirty six episodes of the
series, as well as the five Main Event specials, breaking down every
match, segment and show as a whole.  As usual I’ll be providing play by
play, historical context and analysis of every show.

The books runs over 300 pages on a Kindle and only costs $3.99, or
the equivalent in other currencies. If you don’t have a Kindle or e-book
reader, there are several FREE apps you can use to read it on pretty much any electronic device. You can find those from Amazon here.

You can pick up the book from Amazon here.

From the UK Amazon here.

From the Canadian Amazon here.

Or if you’re in another country with its own Amazon page, just search
“KB’ Saturday” and my book will be the first thing that pop up.

Also you can still get any of my previous books on the WWE
Championship, Monday Night Raw from 1998 and 2001, Monday Nitro from
1995-97, In Your House, Summerslam, Starrcade, ECW Pay Per Views, Royal
Rumble and Clash of the Champions at my author’s page here.

I hope you like it and shoot me any questions you might have.

Thomas Hall

WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event January 3rd, 1987

January 3, 1987

From the Civic Center in Hartford, CT.

Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Vince McMahon

Matches tonight include Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan in a Steel Cage Match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, Adrian Adonis vs. Roddy Piper, George Steele vs. Randy Savage for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, and King Harley Race vs. Junkyard Dog.

WWF World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan (Championship)

Before the match Vince flips out because Danny Davis is the referee. Orndorff attacks Hogan before the bell then drops a few elbows. Orndorff tries to escape but Hogan grabs his leg as Vince tells us that Davis shouldn’t even be the referee here as Joey Marella is here and listed as the official for the match. Orndorff almost climbs out of the cage but Hogan grabs him by the hair as Jesse jokes how Hogan would not be the champion right now if Orndorff was bald. Hogan stays in control then tries to climb out but Orndorff yanks him down then hammers away. The crowd chants for Hogan as Orndorff is stomping away. Orndorff misses a pair of elbow drops then Hogan hulks right up and fights back. Orndorff prevents Hogan from going through the door then is able to go back on offense. Then in a goofy-looking spot, both guys slam each other’s head off of the cage. They slowly get up and climb up opposite sides of the cage and both jump down as Hogan is declared the winner by Marella but Davis says that Orndorff was the winner. Davis then knocks Marella down so Hogan takes him out then Finkel lets us know that it was a “tie” as they both have to go back in and finish the match. Orndorff roughs up Hogan then rolls him back inside as Davis is carried to the back. Orndorff fires away but Hogan hulks up then chops away. Hogan rams Orndorff into the cage then hits a backbreaker before the leg drop. Heenan runs into the cage and distracts Hogan enough to let Orndorff get up but Hogan stops that then whips Heenan into the cage and climbs out of the cage before Orndorff can get through the door for the win (10:42) **3/4. Hogan gets back into the cage after the match and goes after Heenan as Jesse rags on Hogan. They then show the replay of the “tie” as Jesse tries to explain that Orndorff won because Hogan’s legs were bent when they hit the floor.

Thoughts: Good match. These two had solid chemistry in the ring and the way this ended could have been used to prolong the feud (Heenan goes to Tunney and gets a rematch or something like that). However, this ended up being the end of the Hogan/Orndorff feud as he would wrestle Kamala at house shows for a bit then get a new feud very shortly after this.

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
George “The Animal” Steele vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Champion) w/ Elizabeth

Before the match we get a promo from Savage as he yells at Elizabeth to shut up before he “slaps her and pushes her against the wall.” Is that line edited on the Network? Steele also promises us a surprise during the match. This match is the result of Steele’s infatuation with Elizabeth, something that has been going on for about a year at this point. Before the match Steele gives Elizabeth his action figure as Savage flips out and takes it from her. Steele then attacks Savage and slams him down but goes to the corner and appears to wave someone on but Savage yanks him down. Savage then goes to climb up top but Ricky Steamboat’s music hits as he comes out to the ring. Savage is beside himself then gets tossed to the floor. Steele then goes outside and picks up Elizabeth and carries her up the aisle. Savage sees this and is out of his mind but Steamboat stands in his way and he stays in the ring. Steamboat tries to enter the ring but a few officials try to stop him as he breaks free. Steamboat gets escorted to the back by the police as Steele comes back without Elizabeth and beats on Savage. Steele bites open the turnbuckle and throws it in Savage’s face. Savage comes back and beats on Steele in the corner but Steele returns the favor then starts to bite Savage. Steele gets kicked a few times but is able to bite Savage’s arm. Steele then pulls a foreign object out of his trunks and uses it to knock Savage out of the ring. Steele then pushes down the ref after he tried to search him but Savage grabs the timekeeper’s bell and uses it to whack Steele in the back of the head then covers for the win (8:30) *1/2. Savage tries to attack Steele some more but Steamboat runs down and chases Savage away.

Thoughts: They used a lot of smoke and mirrors here and it worked about as well as you could have hoped for anyway. Steamboat’s return was huge and a great surprise. They also managed to keep two storylines going in this match.

King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Junkyard Dog

Again, Vince flips out because Davis is the referee for this match. Race punches JYD down then drops an elbow as Vince says it happened because Davis distracted JYD. Race hits a high knee smash then gets two with a knee drop but JYD gets up and fights back. Race goes shoulder first into the post but comes back with an eye rake. He hits a belly-to-belly suplex then tries a headbutt but JYD no-sells that then hits a few of his own then takes Race out of the ring. JYD then grabs Race’s robe and crown and puts it on as the fans applaud. Vince yells at Davis for not counting out Race as Heenan tries to attack JYD but that fails. JYD knocks Heenan down, who comically oversells the punch, then picks him up again but Race hits him from behind with a top rope elbow smash. Race hits a pair of elbow drops then the bell rings as JYD won by disqualification (6:00) 1/2*. After the match, Race and Heenan attack JYD but that fails as JYD chases them away. Davis tries to stop JYD but gets knocked down with a headbutt.

Thoughts: Very slow and dull match as Race’s methodical style was passe and JYD was abysmal in the ring at this point. Their feud, which started over JYD saying he would refuse to bow down to Race, would continue.

We see a clip of Heenan and Orndorff backstage. Heenan tells Orndorff that he saw the video replay and saw that he hit the floor before Hogan and will prove that he is the champion and go to Jack Tunney to straighten it out. Heenan kept calling Orndorff “champ.” We are shown the replay again as Jesse tells us that the tape is doctored.

“Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Roddy Piper

Piper tosses his kilt at Adonis’s face then backs him into the corner. Piper takes him down with a knee lift as the kilt remains over Adonis’ face. Adonis bumps like a maniac for Piper then comes back with an eye rake. He then rakes Piper’s back but gets knocked down. Piper slams Adonis’ face off of the mat then Adonis comes back with the Good Night Irene but Piper takes them both through the ropes and they brawl. Adonis gets free and squirts his fragrance in the eyes of Piper then rolls inside and wins by count out as Piper could not see where he was (3:35) *. After the match Piper flips out as a few referees eventually calm him down to wipe his face.

Thoughts: Decent for while it lasted but it was just a short match to keep their feud going. Adonis was really, really big here. He could at least go in the ring though.

Okerlund is backstage with Hogan in the locker room. Hogan says that he won the match and will move on to other challengers. Okay then.

Jimmy Jack Funk vs. Blackjack Mulligan

This is billed as the “Battle of Texas.” Vince lets us know that Elizabeth is unharmed. Funk makes the referee order Mulligan to take off his spurs before the match. Funk lands a few shots but gets whipped into the corner then tossed to the floor as we get an awful insert promo from Mulligan as he is interviewed by Okerlund. He just rambled on and on using every single lame cliche about Texas. Mulligan beats on Funk in the corner before putting him away with a jumping back elbow smash (2:31) 1/4*. After the match, Mulligan tries to hang Funk with his rope but he was able to escape.

Thoughts: Just filler, really. I’ll never get why they tried to push Mulligan here. All of this build was wasted.

Final Thoughts: As a stand alone show, it wasnt much, but in the grand scheme of things this advanced a lot of storylines and the first ever steel cage match on Network TV was really cool to see,especially since it was a title match, so this was a good show overall that looks even better in hindsight as it laid the foundation for three WrestleMania matches. The WWF had a really good product at this time that was fun to watch.

WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event November 29th, 1986

November 29, 1986

From the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, CA

Your hosts are Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Vince McMahon

Tonight, Randy Savage defends his Intercontinental Title against Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Also, Koko B. Ware takes on Nikolai Volkoff, Hart Foundation take on the Killer Bees,and Roddy Piper takes on Cowboy Bob Orton. And Hulk Hogan puts up the WWF Heavyweight Title against Hercules.

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage (Champion) w/ Elizabeth

Savage was great in his preshow promo, telling Elizabeth to shut up and polish his belt. Jake cut an impressive promo himself. The crowd is amped for Roberts, even starting a “DDT” chant. Roberts intimidates both Savage and Elizabeth with the snake before the match. They start off playing mindgames as Savage slips out of a DDT attempt and ducks outside and Roberts chases him around until they wind up back in the ring. Savage traps Roberts in the corner and hammers away, getting a nearfall in the process. He tries to put Roberts a few more times and fails. Roberts fights back but Savage grabs his hairs then ties him up in the ropes as they go to break. When they come back, Roberts breaks free then knees Savage through the ropes. He goes out and grabs the snake bag then comes back in and hits Savage with a short-armed clothesline that gets two as Savage got his foot on the ropes. The camera shows a worried Elizabeth as Roberts teases a DDT and hits a gordbuster instead and Savage once again breaks the count by getting his foot on the ropes. The fans are really into Roberts. Roberts knocks down Savage then tries for the DDT again but Savage is able to hook on to the ropes and duck outside. Roberts goes outside and Savage uses Elizabeth as a shield then attacks Jake from behind. He heads up top and hits Jake with a double axe handle. Back inside, Savage gets a nearfall with another double axe handle. He heads up top again but Roberts catches him with a shot to the face. Roberts yanks Savage to the floor and roughs him up before rolling him back inside. Savage knees Roberts and fires away then shoves referee Dave Hebner when he tries to intervene. Roberts takes the advantage and also shoves the ref as he tries to break things up as the ref rings the bell and rules the match a double DQ (9:30) ***1/2. After the match, Savage grabs a chair then Roberts gets his snake and chases him away.

Thoughts: Great stuff. These two had the crowd in the palm of their hands the entire time. It also showed just how popular Jake was, even as a heel, and his face turn would happen shortly.

WWF Heavyweight Championship Match
Hercules w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan (Champion)

They battle over a test of strength until Hercules breaks that up by ramming Hogan’s chest. He slugs away in the corner but Hogan reverses an Irish whip and hits Hercules with a corner clothesline. Hercules ducks a clothesline but Hogan catches him with a high knee. Heenan runs up on the apron and Hogan chases him around for a bit. Back inside, Hogan boots down Hercules before hitting a slam but misses an elbow drop as Hercules takes control. He sends Hogan into the corner and targets the back then puts him in the backbreaker as Jesse on commentary is yelling how he heard Hogan say that he quit. Hercules drops Hogan down and acts as if he has won but referee Dave Hebner tells him that he did not as Jesse loses his mind on commentary. Hercules covers and gets two as Hogan hulks up immediately and unloads on Hercules. He rams his head off of the turnbuckle ten times then chops him down before hitting the big boot then getting the win with a leg drop (6:30) *1/4.

Thoughts: Fine for what it was as they got Hercules over more than he was before this and seeing Hogan defend the belt on TV was a must-see event among WWF fans so that was cool. The finish here (hulking up after kicking out of a pin then big boot/leg drop) made it’s debut on a National level in this match I believe.

Ventura is shown at a restaurant interviewing Bob Orton and Jimmy Hart. He asks Orton about being Piper’s best friend as Orton says that Piper stole all the glory and says that he does not have any friends now as this leads to Vince introducing us to a video package of the Orton/Piper friendship set to the Clearance Clemons & Jackson Browne tune “You’re a Friend of Mine.” It was a great video.

“Cowboy” Bob Orton w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Roddy Piper

Muraco comes out wearing a kilt to stand in Orton’s corner but the referee sends him to the back as you see agent Chief Jay Strongbow escort him back. In the ring, Piper wins a slugfest then takes him down with a bulldog. Orton backs away and begs for mercy but Piper bites his forehead then sends him into the corner. Piper gets two off of a kneelift but ducks his head and Orton takes him down with an uppercut. He hits a gutbuster and a fist drop that gets two. Orton misses an elbow drop then but Hart grabs Piper. Orton stops short after Piper escaped but gets knocked into Hart then Piper rolls him up for the win (3:48) *.

Thoughts: Basic match. With Adonis back, the WWF had little use for Orton and he began his sharp decline down the card until leaving in the middle of next year.

Mean Gene is backstage with Piper and asks him about being on his own and not out to win “popularity contest” as Piper brags about getting revenge on Orton and calls out Muraco and Adonis after that. They were slowly turning Piper into a traditional babyface role with this as the first step.

Killer Bees vs. Hart Foundation

The Bees start the match working over Brett as we get an insert promo of the Bees being interviewed wearing their masks trying to confuse Okerlund. Neidhart tags and the Bees take him down with a double elbow smash. Brett knees Brunzell in the back from the apron as the Hart Foundation take control. Neidhart dropkicks Brunzell then applies a chinlock. Brett tags and hammers away as the Hart Foundation continues to cut off the ring. Back from break, Brunzell gets two with a sunset flip but Brett knocks him down then tags Neidhart. The Hart Foundation continue to work Brunzell until he dropkicks Brett. Brunzell makes the tag but the referee did not see it and orders Blair back to the apron as Neidhart knocks him down. The Bees go underneath the ring and get their masks as Blair is in the ring and cleans house. He puts Neidhart in a sleeper but Brett breaks it up with an attack from behind but Brunzell sneaks in and plays possum then is able to catch Brett in a small package for the win (9:00) **1/2.

Thoughts: Solid match. I have seen better from these two but still fun. The announcers all but called this a number one contender match too as it was seen as a huge win for the Bees.

Nikolai Volkoff w/ Slick vs. Koko B. Ware

Volkoff attacks Koko as Slick distracted the referee. Volkoff hammers away in the corner but Koko dodges a charge and punches away. He hits Volkoff with some odd-looking hurricarana then follows that with a pair of dropkicks for a nearfall. Volkoff takes control and hits a slam but misses a kneedrop. Koko hits him with a missile dropkick for two. Volkoff knees him in the face and hits him with his backbreaker but picks Koko back up after two and goes over to Slick for advice but that allows Koko to get up and knock him into Slick and roll up Volkoff for the win (2:30) 1/2*.

Thoughts: A cheap win that continues Koko’s midcard push and keeps Volkoff relatively strong. Really not much more to say other than that.

In the locker room, Okerlund is with Hogan. He asks him about Ventura pointing out weaknesses in his match tonight as Hogan talks about the power of Hulkamania.

“The Rebel” Dick Slater vs. Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji

Fuji sings “Dixieland” in a prematch promo that makes me laugh. Muraco knocks down Slater and sends him into the corner. Slater slips out of a fireman’s carry then knocks down Muraco. He hits a few elbow smashes then climbs up top for an elbow smash but Fuji puts Muraco’s foot on the ropes to break the count. Fuji then trips up Slater but Muraco misses an elbow drop. Muraco then hits a poor excuse of a clothesline to get the win (2:12) DUD.

Thoughts: These two were just going through the motions as Muraco had become increasingly lazy and bloated and Slater was a step above a TV jobber as he was failing in his role. Well, he was terribly miscast anyway. Slater would not be here much longer as he was gone just before WrestleMania III.

Final Thoughts: A really good show. The opener was great and the tag match was fun. The Heavyweight title bout was solid and for the Piper fans, you got to see him get revenge on Orton. Sure, the final two matches were nothing much but that was expected with these shows.

Here is the rest of my schedule

Thursday: YouShoot with Teddy Long
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/30/86
Saturday: RoH Retribution: Round Robin Challenge Two 4/26/03
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/6/86
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/7/86

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #36

The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event – August 2 2008 (And so we wrap up the series with a pathetic one hour show thrown together to fulfil their NBC deal and feature Jenny McCarthy for some reason.  This show DIED in the ratings, but by this point no one cared at all.) – Taped from Washington, DC. – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. JBL, Ted Dibiase, Cody Rhodes & Kane v. John Cena, Cryme Tyme & Batista. Kane hammers Batista down to start, but Dave comes back with a corner clothesline and boots him down for two. He gets caught in the heel corner and Cody Rhodes comes in and slugs away, but Batista powers him into the face corner, where JTG beats on him. Shad alley-oops JTG into Cody (that move needs a cool name in the worst way) and a press slam gets two. Snake Eyes follows, but a weak cheapshot from JBL slows him down and Shad is YOUR thug-in-peril. And thus we take a break. Back with JBL tossing him for some punishment on the floor from Kane, which gives JBL two. Dibiase comes in with a suplex and clothesline for two (complete with canned “oooohs” from the crowd and overdubbed NBC shilling from JR that sounds like it was bolted on with a rivet gun). Into the corner for more dull heel offense. Cody pounds away in the corner and follows with a weak dropkick to cut off the tag, and it’s over to JBL for some elbows that get two. Over to Kane for a seated dropkick that gets two, and he goes to a bodyscissors of all things. C’mon, this is prime time! This crap is supposed to hook viewers? Dibiase tries a suplex, but Shad reverses it and it’s hot tag Cena. Backdrop suplex for JBL and the five knuckle shuffle follows, but Kane breaks up the F-U. Batista dumps Kane and hits Dibiase with a spinebuster, which allows JTG to go up and get launched onto Dibiase. He’s not legal, so the ref won’t count, but when JBL hits him with the Clothesline from New York, he will count that and the heels win at 12:13. What happened to more realism in the reffing? (Vince went to sleep and woke up the next morning with a new obsession.)  Dull match that got hot for about 10 seconds at the end but was all kicking and punching before that. And really, if you’re a new fan tuning in and watching Dibiase & Rhodes, you’d think they were a couple of jobbers instead of the World tag champs and the hot new act of the promotion that the WWE is pushing them as. ** (Well, you’d be half right.)  Jeff Foxworthy wants us to know that autism is reversible and he’ll be watching later when Jenny McCarthy talks about it. I thought they were trying to convince advertisers that rednecks WEREN’T watching their shows? Carmen Electra also dislikes autism. Really bringing out the A-list celebrities here, aren’t they? The Great Khali v. Jimmy Wang Yang Yang doesn’t even get an entrance, not that there was any doubt about the finish anyway. Khali clotheslines him and tosses him around, then swats Yang out of the air and finishes with the tree slam and pins him with one foot at 1:24. Lemme just say, had they taken the time to book Big Show this strong in 1999 he might have ended up as a major star instead of the minor one he is now. Khali, however, is a lost cause, no matter how much crowd noise they pipe in. DUD Ben Stiller reads his sincere greetings off a cue card. Autism, it sucks, man. Anyone else waiting for him to endorse the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too? And now, it’s Jenny McCarthy. Who really gives a crap about Jenny McCarthy in 2008 anyway? Anyway, autism is bad, we get it. (Oh man, we didn’t even know the depths of her insanity at this point.  Even WWE wasn’t crazy enough to give her prime time TV and tell us how we shouldn’t vaccinate our children because of all the EVIL MERCURY and instead just let her talk vaguely about autism. Sadly, this is still a thing that idiots propagate in Facebook groups to this day, no matter how many times the science is discredited.)  I’d rather not be preached to in a one-hour wrestling show, especially when they go from something where we’re supposed to see the “good side” of the WWE and then they cut right to… Edge’s trashy (but awesome!) wedding soap opera with Vickie and the wedding planner, which immediately makes them look completely low-class and silly again. Lemme say, HD close-ups of Vickie = EPIC FAIL. Edge needs Lita back in his life as a stabilizing force again. Lita v. Vickie in a battle of trailer trash would be so amazing that they’d have to go super-duper HD to contain it. Edge v. Jeff Hardy Hardy takes him down to start and they exchange baseball slide attempts, which allows Jeff to hit a pescado. Edge rests on the railing and Jeff tries to follow with a somersault off the stairs, but he splats into the barricade with a nasty bump and we take a break. Back with Edge working the leg, and he counters away from the mule kick and takes Hardy down again. Edge wraps the leg around the post, but Hardy comes back with a clothesline and puts Edge in the Tree of Woe. Baseball slide misses, but Jeff recovers and mule kicks him for two instead. Twist of Fate is reversed into the Impaler by Edge, and that gets a very close two. Edge tries the spear, but Jeff moves and hits the Whisper in the Wind for two. Jeff hits him with a front suplex and goes up for the swanton, but Edge rolls away and Jeff can’t limp over and continue the advantage. Edge tries another spear, but misses again and lands on the floor. With the ref counting Edge, MVP pops out of the crowd and hits Jeff with the high kick out of nowhere, making him even goofier, and that darn spear finally finishes at 13:26. Good stuff, with Jeff selling the knee consistently and Edge looking like a star as usual. *** The Pulse Pretty pointless show from my end of things, as they had a timeslot on NBC and just kind of did a half-hearted Summerslam build because they knew no one would be watching anyway. But that autism, it’s the real heel!  (More like the “doctor” who came up with that fucking anti-vaccine bullshit.) 

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #35

The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #35 – 08.18.07 Taped from Madison Square Garden. Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jim Ross & JBL Meanwhile, Vince confers with the Coach about who his illegitimate child might be, and Coach promises to investigate. This leads to an awkward reveal that Vince might actually be his father. Oh, we’re getting off to a grand start already, I see. Batista & Kane v. Finlay & The Great Khali Oh yay, the World champion Khali era. Kane pounds on Finlay to start and hits him with a sideslam for two, and Batista comes in with an elbow for two. Batista with a suplex to send Finlay to the floor and we take a break. Back with Khali working on Kane’s ribs, but he gets the hot tag to Batista. Bossman slam gets two on Finlay and Khali gets tied into the ropes. The midget gets abused as a result, and Batista spears and powerbombs Finlay to finish at 7:42. Not much to this one. ** Meanwhile, Vince is tripping out and sees his 80s self in a mirror. Yeah. Meanwhile, MVP hangs out with Holyfield. Vince McMahon and Coach join us to continue their hard-hitting investigation of Vince’s child. Eugene and Melina are eliminated as suspects after some goofy innuendo, and finally Steve Austin is unveiled as the final choice. Hey, he WAS adopted. Austin reminisces a bit about the times he could have been spending with Vince as a child, but then decides to just hit Vince in the nuts and stun Coach instead. Austin feels bad for abusing his potential long lost father and offers him a beer, but then gives him a stunner anyway. The whole storyline was a complete dead end (original plan Kennedy, eventual payoff Hornswoggle) but Vince getting repeatedly smashed in the junk is always entertaining TV and Austin can get any stupid shit over by sheer force of willpower. John Cena v. Carlito Man, they just kept trying to reheat Carlito even when Carlito himself had no interest in it. Cena chases him out of the ring and we quickly take a break. Back with Carlito in control, but Cena hits the Throwback and goes up with the guillotine legdrop before finishing quick with the STF at 4:19. Literally only 2:00 of this was actually shown. * Randy Orton lays him out with an RKO on a chair afterwards to build up the most boring Summerslam main event ever. Boxing match: Evander Holyfield v. Matt Hardy This was supposed to be Hardy v. MVP, but MVP backed out due to his legit heart problems (which were discovered as an indirect result of the Benoit investigation) and we get this freakshow instead. Michael Buffer as the ring announcer, declaring that MVP is “STRAIGHT UP BALLLLLLLIN” is worth your $9.99 right there. So Holyfield unsurprisingly destroys Matt in every way. I suspect that this boxing match might not be on the up-and-up. Matt makes it through the first round and MVP offers some unwanted coaching to Evander (I’m reminded of “You, Strawberry, hit a home run!”) until Holyfield has finally had enough and just knocks MVP out instead. This was goofy comedy right out of the 80s, but it was fun. The Boogeyman & CM Punk v. Big Daddy V & John Morrison So this was a real match. Morrison was ECW champion and looking to hold onto it long-term, but in another weird side-effect of Benoit’s death John got popped for steroids during the ensuing fallout and Punk ended up with the belt instead, kickstarting his career for good. Punk with a backslide on Morrison for two and a leg lariat for two. And we take a break. Back with Boogeyman consuming some worms for energy, but Big Daddy lays him out and pounds away in the corner. Blind charge misses and Punk gets the hot tag, hitting a springboard clothesline for two. Morrison blocks the bulldog for two, but Punk cradles for the pin at 6:15. *1/2 The Pulse This show was decidedly light on wrestling to say the least, kind of a throwback to what Vince wanted the show to be in the 80s, and while it wasn’t terrible there’s nothing here you can’t skip in a heartbeat. No good matches and some stupid comedy is not exactly classic material.

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #34

The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #34 – 06.02.07 Welcome to the 2007 SNME, now cut down to a 90 minute show and abandoned to die by NBC. Which it did. This would be the very definition of “by contractual obligation”, as neither side had any real interest in continuing with the relationship. In kind of a throwback to the 80s, there’s a weird theme of “biggest, strongest, strangest, smallest, etc” like it’s a circus act or something. Taped from Toronto, ON Your hosts are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. John Cena v. The Great Khali Oh, also, that chick Ashley from the Diva Search who got hired because she agreed to pose nude for Playboy, is the ring announcer and she’s pretty much the worst one ever. So this is building up to a match between them at One Night Stand the next night, and I’m like…what? Give away the match on free TV to build up the same thing on PPV? Also, I guess Cena wasn’t the champion at this point? I’m guessing it was Randy Orton, but I wasn’t even checking results at this point and I feel like I woke up in The Cube with no idea what I’m watching or how I got here. Like seriously, I couldn’t even tell you 2 or 3 things that happened in the entirety of 2007 as far as WWE goes, including anything outside of the main event of Wrestlemania. And of course one other thing. Khali throws Cena around and boots him down like he’s Brock Lesnar or something and we get OVERSELLING CENA. Khali chokes him down and pounds away, but Cena gets him up for the FU and Khali elbows out and puts him down with the JUDY CHOP OF DOOM. Thanks, Caleb! Tree slam finishes with one foot at 6:00. Post-match commentary reveals that Cena was in fact the champion and the next night is a title match. So yeah, Khali squashed the shit out of Cena here and apparently this was supposed to make us want to see the rematch. ½* Arm Wrestling Match: Bobby Lashley v. Vince McMahon Apparently Vince McMahon was ECW World champion at this point. I ranted on the show where that happened, too, and totally blocked it out of my mind. So Vince doesn’t want to actually face Lashley and calls in a ringer, Mark Henry, and then it quickly turns into a brawl between Henry and Lashley. I don’t feel like I’m properly communicating all the stalling and boredom that this entailed. Batista & Chris Benoit v. Edge & MVP This one is more than a little uncomfortable to watch knowing what would happen less than a month afterwards. We pick it up after a break with Benoit throwing chops on MVP and hooking the crossface, but MVP makes the ropes. Over to Edge, who is crazy over as a babyface here, but Benoit chops him down and drops an elbow for two. Batista comes in and pounds away on MVP and follows with a suplex for two, then boots him down for two. Benoit with the rolling germans, but the diving headbutt misses and MVP takes over. They get the heat on Benoit, but he fights off MVP and makes the hot tag to Batista. Big Dave runs wild and a powerslam gets two, which is enough for Edge. He grabs the belt and abandons MVP, and the diving headbutt finishes him at 8:13. It was a match. ** Finlay & Hornswoggle v. The Boogeyman & Little Boogey So…yeah. This is a thing that happened on national TV. Yes, there was a midget version of the Boogeyman. Boogey had a neat look and weird charisma, but COME ON. As if wrestling wasn’t embarrassing enough as it is. Boogey with a spinebuster on Finlay and the midget Boogey comes in for a buttdrop that gets nothing. Finlay then has to tag out to his own midget because he’s getting too beat up by the first midget, and then just kicks Little Boogey in the face anyway. And then Finlay gets to do midget spots, but just boots Little Boogey for the pin at 3:51 anyway. Also, Candace Michelle was ring announcer for this one, which just ups the embarrassment one more notch. DUD Extreme Expose dances for us, and I totally forgot about Tessmacher being in WWE. Layla with the curly hair looks totally different and not in a good way. Sadly, they cut to the back for the midget fight and it spills into the ring. For some reason the midget brawl compels the girls to take sides and fight as well. IS THIS SHOW OVER YET? Kane, Eugene & Doink the Clown v. Kevin Thorn, Umaga, & Viscera I have no idea who would have been playing the clown, since Dinsmore was usually the guy they used in the role around this time, and he’s pretty small. So there’s like still 12 minutes left in this show, which means this match isn’t gonna be quick. The babyfaces work over Kevin Thorn (the vampire, by the way) and Umaga bulldozes Eugene, who bails to escape Viscera as we take a break. Back with Thorn hitting a flapjack on Eugene for two and Umaga goes to the nerve pinch. Thorn comes in with a chinlock and Umaga tries a pump splash and hits knee. Hot tag Kane. Yay. Kane with the flying clothesline on Thorn for two, and he dodges Viscera and chokeslams him for the pin at 12:40. * The Pulse Can we declare this one the worst SNME of all time or do we need to check out the August show first?

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #33

The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event – 07.15.06 Now we’re getting into the SNME shows I’m REALLY dreading, when the ratings tanked and both NBC and WWE stopped giving a crap at either end. Much like me, because I was all in on WWE 24/7 and paying zero attention to the product. This show was hyping the Great American Bash PPV that no one remembers. Taped from Dallas, TX. Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole & JBL. Hulk Hogan joins us to start with Brooke, back before they were ruining TNA. Hulk really has nothing to say, and Randy Orton interrupts to give Brooke a rose and respectfully challenge Hulk to a match at Summerslam. He accepts, and that’s that. King Booker, Mark Henry & Finlay v. Lashley, Rey Mysterio & Batista Entrances take FOREVER here, dragging on for nearly 10 minutes total. We immediately take a break and return with Finlay headlocking Rey, but Mysterio gets a moonsault for two and the heels bail. Hornswaggle appears from under the ring to get some shots in while the ref was presumably off making a sandwich or something. Over to Henry, who misses a corner splash on Rey and it’s a false tag to Batista, allowing Booker to come in and take a rana from Rey. Now the real tag to Batista and he hits Booker with the spinebuster as JBL way oversells an upcoming Batista v. Mark Henry match. IT’S KING KONG AGAINST GODZILLA, MAGGLE! Well except King Kong injured himself for the millionth time and the match didn’t happen. 619 into Batista Bomb finishes Booker at 8:25. As a reminder, Booker was the guy challenging Rey for the World title a week later. Lashley was literally not even in the match and poor Mark Henry blew out his knee and was out for months. * Meanwhile, Vince gives the Spirit Squad a pep talk, and DX overdubs his speech with “hilarious” new dialogue. It’s prime time on a G rated show, so it’s lots of talk about “butts” and poopy joke type stuff. Meanwhile, the Divas have a bullriding contest. And later tonight is the finals! Johnny Nitro & Melina v. Carlito & Trish Stratus I don’t remember Carlito as a babyface at all. Trish throws forearms on Melina, but gets tripped up by Nitro and Melina takes over with a hairtoss. Over to the men, as Carlito gets a dropkick and backdrop suplex and the ladies brawl outside. Carlito finishes Nitro with the backstabber at 2:38. Barely even a match. ½* Meanwhile, Kevin Von Erich makes a quick cameo. Shawn Michaels & HHH v. The Spirit Squad This was pretty much the final burial of the Squad. This is elimination rules and when you’re gone, you get locked in a cage at ringside. Shawn cleans house with the plastic megaphone and superkicks Mitch out of the match at 1:14. We take a break and return with HHH pinning Johnny after a spinebuster at 1:41. Kenny tries to take a walk and Shawn follows, but that allows Vince to come out and hit Shawn with a chair. Back in the ring, Nicky gets an elbow in the corner for two and follows with a sleeper. Kenny misses a flying legdrop and it’s back to HHH, as he fights off the clowns with ease and tosses Nicky. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE kills Nicky dead at 5:01. Mikey follows at 5:38. Shawn finishes the squash with the superkick on Kenny into the Pedigree at 6:18. Why would someone supposedly as powerful and smart as Vince use these morons to do his dirty work? ½* On the bright side, Nicky did OK for himself as Dolph Ziggler. The Great Khali is out for a promo about how he’s going to destroy the Undertaker, but Big Show interrupts. As if this show wasn’t swirling the toilet already. Remember at this point that Khali was actually being sold as a dangerous threat who had pinned Undertaker with one foot in their first match! So Undertaker interrupts this pointlessness and we get a three-way brawl that ends with Undertaker getting laid out with a chokeslam from both heels. JBL was really insufferable on commentary here, acting like Undertaker was literally dead from the chokeslam and claiming that, quote, “The dong has sounded for the last time.” Meanwhile, Big Show challenges Undertaker to an ECW World title match this Tuesday. Extreme Rules match: Sabu v. Stevie Richards Sabu quickly hits Air Sabu and a sloppy moonsault for two. A table gets involved and breaks before Stevie even gets situated on it, so Sabu improvises a flying chair for the pin at 2:00. Fucking awful. DUD Meanwhile, Orton keeps talking up Brooke, but Hulk wants none of that. Understandable. But then Orton turns on him with an RKO on the trunk of the car. Brooke is mystified as to what happened to Hogan, even though Orton was kneeling there with his evil smirk on his face. I’m guessing Summerslam bombed that year. Bull Riding Finals: Michelle McCool v. Victoria Michelle lasts 12 seconds, Victoria lasts 6. Well at least it was quick. RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena Brawl on the floor to start and Cena charges, but hits the floor as we take a break. Back with Edge clotheslining him, which sets up a sloppy superplex. Edge boots him down for two, but they slug it out, which allows Cena to get the backdrop suplex. Five knuckle shuffle and FU follow, but Lita pulls out the ref. Cena dodges a spear and hooks the STFU, but Lita decks the ref again and it’s a DQ at 5:00. Just a quickie TV match. ** for Lita’s boobs. The Pulse Keep in mind that this was during the time when WWE was still actually TRYING to put on a good show with these. Just wait until we get into 2007 with NBC leaving them in the death slot with no promotion. A complete and total waste of 2 hours.

WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event October 4th, 1986

October 4, 1986

Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Vince McMahon

Before the show, we get prerecorded promos from Jake Roberts, The Dream Team and Johnny Valiant, The Wizard, Paul Orndorff & Bobby Heenan, and Hulk Hogan.

Gene Okerlund is backstage with Roddy Piper, who has been ruled out from competing due to injury after being attacked by Adrian Adonis, Bob Orton, and Don Muraco. We are shown a clip of the attack as Piper goes off about not being able to fight the Iron Sheik tonight because the doctor said he couldn’t fight then says that he will wrestle if he wants and will not sit out. Piper was absolutely insane in this promo, with his eyes bugging out of his head.

We get a video package with interviews to hype the feud between Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff.

WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match
Paul Orndorff w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan (Champion)

Before heading out to the ring, Hogan picks up Okerlund and puts him aside after Gene tried to interview him. They slug it out to start with Hogan winning that battle. Hogan goes after Heenan who jumped up on the apron and that allows Orndorff to clothesline him over the ropes. Hulk blocks an apron smash and hits one of his own then chops Orndorff inside of the ring. He rams Orndorff into the turnbuckle then knocks Heenan off of the apron again but then gets hit from behind by Orndorff, who takes control of the match. He stomps Hogan off of the apron and into the timekeeper. Orndorff goes outside and chokes out Hogan with the camera cord. Orndorff goes back inside and mocks Hogan then goes back to work as Jesse calls Orndorff a perfect idol for the kids. Suplex gets two. Hogan reverses an Irish whip then hits a flying knee smash. He sets up for the leg drop but Heenan hangs on to his leg. Orndorff charges and flies outside when Hogan ducks as several cops pick up Heenan and bring him backstage as the fans go crazy then lock him backstage as we go to break. Heenan is shown banging on the door while insulting the cops as Orndorff takes control of the match. He hits a pair of elbow drops before choking him out on the mat. He then slams Hogan and gets two with an elbow drop. Hogan counters a piledriver attempt with a backdrop but Orndorff goes back on the attack as Hogan hulks up. Hogan knocks down Orndorff then hits an elbow smash. Hogan takes down Orndorff with a clothesline then signals for the piledriver as Adrian Adonis, first called a “fat sweathog from the audience” by Jesse, runs in and attacks Hogan for the DQ (10:19) **1/2. Its a 2-on-1 attack until Piper hobbles to the ring and bets the shit out of Adonis with his crutch. He then swings it wildly at Hogan, who ducks, and they almost come to blows as Hogan motions to hit him but stops. Piper then ducks outside then limps away as Jesse is upset over Piper’s actions, calling him a “sellout”. Hogan then instructs the referee to give the crutch back to Piper.

Thoughts: The match was heated but it wasn’t as good as their other bouts. The finish was the most memorable part as Piper made the save but they still made it unclear as whether or not Piper was in fact a face at this point. He was booked as a tweener, even though the fans were going wild for him. I thought his slow turn was booked quite well as he came back from Hollywood with Adonis taking his job then his friends turning his back on him.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Before the match, we are shown Okerlund interviewing Roberts and Steamboat with their pets. They trade arm wringers to start. Steamboat catches Roberts with an armdrag and works the arm. He pancakes Roberts and gets two off of that before catching him with another armdrag. Jake moves away from Steamboat’s dragon, which was in a bag, as Steamboat has him in an armbar. Roberts misses a corner charge then gets chopped down. Steamboat climbs up top but Roberts gets his knees up on a splash attempt. That looked really good and painful for Steamboat. Roberts hits a gutbuster and gets two off of that. Roberts works on the ribs of Steamboat before hitting him with a clothesline that gets two. Roberts drives his knees into the ribs of Steamboat then chokes him out. Steamboat attempts a comeback but that is stopped short with an inverted atomic drop but the Dragon comes back and takes Roberts down with a crucifix and gets the pin (6:19) **1/2. After the match, Roberts attacks Steamboat and goes for the snake but sees that Steamboat has the dragon in his hand and he charges after Roberts, who scrambles out of the ring. Steamboat then raises the dragon in the air as he celebrates.

Thoughts: Really good match while it lasted. This feud was really awesome but the shit with their pets was really corny.

Backstage, Okerlund is with Hogan. Hulk says that he was turned on by what happened in his match then warns Piper that if he steps to him again, he will get attacked. Hogan then says that he will never trust Piper. Hogan was amped here, maybe they had the really good shit floating around backstage during this taping, but the point of the interview was to leave some doubt in the mind of the fans regarding Piper being a face or heel.

We see a clip of Jesse interviewing Iron Sheik and Slick as they pulled up in a limo before the show. Not much of note happened here.

As the Iron Sheik and Pedro Morales are about to start their match, Piper, looking pissed off, comes out with his crutch and orders Morales to leave as he is going to wrestle tonight, threatening him with his crutch.

Iron Sheik w/Slick vs. Roddy Piper

Piper whacks Sheik with a crutch to start the match. Sheik hammers away then goes for a suplex but Piper turns it into a small package and holds the tights for the win (0:43).

Thoughts: A quick win to put over Piper. The fans are really into him tonight too.

Backstage, Okerlund is with Piper who dumps a drink on his head before running down Adonis. He then goes mental again when discussing how he got attacked. They did a great job with this feud.

Best of Three Falls
WWF Tag Team Championship Match
The Dream Team w/ Johnny V vs. British Bulldogs (Champions)

First Fall

Dynamite starts by hitting Valentine with an atomic drop. Valentine fights back and beats on Dynamite, targeting the leg. Beefcake tags and hits a suplex and goes for the leg but Dynamite is able to make the tag. Davey overpowers Beefcake for a bit but Beefcake drops Davey then tags Valentine as the Dream Team neutralizes Davey in their corner. Dynamite tags and unloads on Valentine while selling his right leg. Valentine comes back with an inverted atomic drop then a shoulderbreaker as Vince tells us that the doctor will update us on the condition of Adonis. Valentine then puts Dynamite in the figure four and he eventually taps out (4:44).

Second Fall

Before the fall started, Okerlund tells us that Adonis might have suffered a separated shoulder as they show the replay a few times to sell the segment. Valentine continues to destroy the leg of Dynamite. Beefcake tags and continues were Valentine left off then knocks down Davey. Again, the Dream Team use quick tags to work on the leg of Dynamite. Beefcake holds Dynamite up with one hand then slams him down for two. Valentine misses an elbow drop from the second rope and that allows Dynamite to tag out. Davey destroys Valentine then gets two with a delayed vertical suplex. He then hits the running powerslam as Beefcake breaks that up but Davey puts Beefcale on his shoulders and tags Dynamite, who leaps off of Beefcale’s back and hits Valentine with a diving headbutt for the win (8:10)

Third Fall

Valentine and Dynamite slug it out with Dynamite getting the best of that. Dynamite hits a snap suplex but misses a falling headbutt as Valentine takes control. Ventura tells us that Adonis has suffered a shattered elbow. Valentine goes to work on the leg but Dynamite fights off a figure four attempt and tags Davey. Beefcake also tags and hits a backdrop then catches him with a clothesline for a nearfall. He chokes him out on the mat then headbutts Davey in the groin. Davey comes back with a sunset flip for a nearfall but Beefcake goes right back on the attack. Valentine tags and gets two with a suplex. Beefcake then hits a running knee smash for two then the match breaks down. Davey then hits Beefcake with a Fisherman’s suplex for the win (13:09) ***1/2.

Rating: Really good match. These two teams always had great chemistry to begin with. Valentine looked great here too. Most people seem to remember him from the late 1980’s when he was older and slower but at this point, he could really go in the ring. This loss also moved the Dream Team out of the Tag Title picture.

“Leaping” Lanny Poffo vs. Kamala w/ The Wizard & Kimchee

No poem for Lanny tonight. Match starts with Lanny using his speed to his advantage but that doesnt last long. Kamala chops him down then uses a lifting chokehold. Kamala uses more chops but Poffo fights back. Kamala stops the comeback with an eye rake then hits a slam that sets up the splash for the win (1:44). After the match, Kamala climbs up top but Kimchee gets him down.

Thoughts: Just a quick win to put over Kamala during his return push that would eventually lead to a series of matches against Hogan.

Final Thoughts: An excellent show. They had hot angles and good matches. In whacking Adonis with a crutch, they wrote Adonis off of TV for several weeks as he was either suspended or sent to rehab. I forget what happened there. The Piper stuff was great, we got a World Championship Match free on TV and an awesome Tag Team title match plus Steamboat/Roberts.

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 10/5/86
Thursday: Highspots Shoot Interview with Mike Awesome
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 10/11/86
Saturday: RoH Night of the Butcher 12/7/02
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 10/12/86

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #32

The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #32 – 03.18.06 This was pretty near my lowpoint for wrestling fandom so I had little interest in watching this when it aired on NBC. This was building up to Wrestlemania 22, another show I had little interest in and didn’t see until much later. The cast of characters gives their introductory blurbs to start, in the style of the original shows. Taped from Detroit, MI Your hosts are Jim Ross, Tazz & Jerry Lawler HHH & John Cena v. Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio & Kurt Angle Not surprising they’d get Cena on TV right off the bat. I don’t even remember Rey’s theme from this time, the one between the original and “Booyaka 619”. Orton with hair, body fat and no tattoos is so weird now. So of course the gag here is that the RAW half of the Wrestlemania main event is facing the Smackdown half, and clearly the one side is the bigger deal. Angle throws suplexes on Cena to start, but walks into a spinebuster that gets two. HHH comes in and stomps him down in the corner, but Angle fires off the german suplexes and Rey springboards in with a cradle for two. Backslide gets two. Cena comes in, but HHH saves him from a 619 and lays out Rey with a lariat and we take a break. Back with HHH tossing Rey around on the floor and there’s TENSION between HHH and Cena. If they can’t co-exist here, how can they ever compete for the title in the main event of Wrestlemania? Yeah, I don’t get the motivations here, either. HHH with a spinebuster for two, and it’s time for the MAIN EVENT SLEEPER. Amazingly, Rey escapes this devastating hold and hits a moonsault press, setting up the hot tag to Orton. Cena with the backdrop suplex and FU for two, but HHH takes him out with a Pedigree and puts Orton on top for two. Rey makes the save there for some reason and Orton takes out Angle with an RKO, but Cena rolls him up for the pin at 13:49. Decent enough, but the ending made no sense. ** And who could actually look at Orton v. Angle v. Rey as a serious Wrestlemania main event after they got turned into a bunch of goofs here?  What a mess this was.  Meanwhile, Booker T is in tremendous pain and is unable to wrestle Boogeyman tonight. His knee is so bad his career might be over, in fact. Edge and Lita’s spectacular rack are out to interview Mick Foley. Oh man, 2006 Lita. Edge runs him down and lights a table on fire, so Mick responds by beating him down and dumping thumbtacks all over the ring. Edge goes into them and takes a conchairto to boot. You see, they didn’t like each other. We get a video recap of the Vince v. Shawn feud, which didn’t particularly make any sense and went on for months, leading to the first DX reunion of many. Meanwhile, Booker and Sharmell celebrate pulling one off on the doctor, by dancing on national TV where everyone can see them. Sadly, the Boogeyman interrupts their revelry to continue the stupidest feud of the year. Kudos to Booker and wife for doing whatever it takes to get it over, though. Beer Drinking Contest: JBL v. Steve Austin So we’re at the one hour mark with one match so far. JBL gets heat by literally saying “Your sports teams are all pathetic.” Come on, he’s had better material than that. Austin runs through his usual material and JBL just goes for every cheap heat line about American beer being terrible and Detroit’s hockey team being terrible, which is part of his charm, and then the beer drinking is ON. Of course, JBL cheats and just pours them down his shirt, and that’s the most offensive thing you can do around Austin. JBL tries to run, but Chris Benoit throws him back in and JBL takes a dozen beers to the head and KICK WHAM STUNNER. And then JBL went on to win the US title from Benoit anyway. This was fine, exactly what you’d expect from it. Victoria & Candice Michelle v. Mickie James & Trish Stratus This was in the thick of the awesome “lesbian stalker” storyline that ended up getting abruptly dropped. I don’t even remember Michelle, to be honest. She does appear to have impressive boobies, which would probably explain her Playboy shoot and thus employment in general. Trish gets choked out in the heel corner and Victoria slingshots in for two, but Trish quickly fights back and reverses a double suplex. Hot tag to Mickie is cut off as Trish is selling like it’s 20:00 in, but then she just hits the bulldog anyway and pins Michelle at 2:40. DUD Mickie offers a handshake and goes in for the kiss, but Trish turns away from it, so Mickie lays her out with the high kick. Psycho Mickie was pretty great. Mark Henry is out with Daivari (was that really a thing that happened?) to cast aspersions on Undertaker’s chances of winning at Wrestlemania, so Undertaker responds by tombstoning Daivari on the casket and chasing Henry off like a geek. Yeah, that sure makes me want to see the match now. No wonder no one remembers this Wrestlemania. Street Fight: Shawn Michaels v. Shane McMahon Shawn attacks during the Shane Dance and they brawl in the aisle, with Shawn hitting him with a chair and then setting up a table. Shane reverses him into the post and retrieves a ladder before sending Shawn into the post again. Vince puts Shawn on the table, but he fights up and they slug it out on the ladder. That results in Shane getting superplexed through the table, although Shawn gets most of that one as well. And we take a break. Back with Shawn slugging away in the ring, and he slams Shane and goes up the ladder, only to have Vince break it up with a kendo stick. Shane pounds him with the ladder for two, then runs the ladder into his face for two. Shane goes to a surfboard, which lasts a lot longer than you’d like for a street fight, and a hurricane DDT gets two. Chairshot sets up the Shane Terminator, but Vince gets too close and takes it instead. Shawn comes back with the flying elbow and superkick, but Vince pulls the ref out now as they stretch this out with every shortcut possible. Shawn goes after Vince, which allows Shane to go low and hook Shawn in the Sharpshooter, and of course Vince is there to ring the bell at 13:50. Seriously? They went with THAT finish? Shane just kind of does the same match over and over. *** The Pulse This show was a pretty big flop at the time, although today the rating would be considered spectacular given some of the ratings for their NBC specials since then. A total nothing show with only two real matches that did a pretty good job of making you want to see Austin v. JBL and not much else. And it would only continue going downhill from there. Recommendation to avoid.

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #31

The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event – October 27 1992 – Another show I’ve never seen, because Fox didn’t debut in Edmonton until well into the 90s, believe it or not. – Taped from Indiana State College, IN – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan WWF World tag team titles: Money Inc. v. Randy Savage & Ultimate Warrior Big brawl to start and the, ahem, Ultimate Maniacs clean house and toss the champions twice. This gives Bobby a chance to work in a lame telestrator joke, and we’re back with Savage getting two on Dibiase. Necksnap and it’s over to the Warrior as the canned crowd noise is REALLY obnoxious here, like something from the early 80s. I mean, the crowd isn’t even MOVING and yet the sound is off the charts. Warrior suplexes Dibiase for two, but misses a shoulderblock and lands on the mat. IRS comes in with a sleeper to take advantage, which gives us a chance to hear from Razor Ramon and Ric Flair backstage, as they hype Survivor Series. So they’re using the tag champions to warm up the babyfaces for another team. That’s swell. Dibiase comes in and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Savage breaks it up with a knee to the back. Warrior and Dibiase clothesline each other, but it’s hot tag Savage. And now at least the crowd is excited to see him for real. Clotheslines for Money Inc and he drops the big elbow on IRS, but Dibiase breaks it up and we’re BONZO GONZO. Warrior dumps Dibiase with a clothesline and IRS goes out from an atomic drop, and they’ve had enough tonight and walk out at 6:10. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Ramon and Flair and Perfect beat the crap out of the Maniacs on the way back to the dressing room. They might as well have put this together from a store bought kit. ** – A music video about Bret Hart follows, although obviously the original song, Tom Petty’s “Making Some Noise”, has been replaced with ultra-generic country rock. Intercontinental title: Davey Boy Smith v. Shawn Michaels Bulldog overpowers him to start, of course, so Shawn goes with the cheapshot, into a hiptoss and short-arm scissors. Hey, wonder what Bulldog will do to counter? And yes indeed, he powers Shawn up and drops him on the mat. Press slam follows and a clotheslines puts Shawn on the floor, as he’s just bumping all over the place in his big solo network debut. Back in, Shawn slugs away in the corner, but Bulldog wins a battle of reversals and gets the armbar. Shawn dumps him to escape and unties the turnbuckle, as we take a break. Back with Shawn going to the chinlock and Bulldog slamming out of it, but Shawn works on the back and goes to the abdominal stretch. Bulldog fights out and faceplants him, then sends him into the corner and out with a clothesline. Catapult into the corner is followed by a clothesline for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Finally the turnbuckle comes into play, however, as Shawn gets a desperation whip into the dreaded cold steel to slow Bulldog’s comeback. Another whip, but this time he eats the turnbuckle, and Bulldog goes to finish with a superplex…but his back gives out and Shawn pins him to win the title at 10:15. Clean as a sheet, as they say. Really liked this one, as the psychology was consistent, with Shawn working the back and then winning the title when Bulldog’s back gave way. ***1/4 That’s all I ask. – Back to Ramon & Flair for more trash talk towards the good name of the Ultimate Maniacs. WWF World title: Bret Hart v. Papa Shango Bret gets a bodypress on Shango for two right away, and puts him on the floor with a clothesline. He follows with a pescado, and we take a break. Back with Bret missing a charge into the turnbuckle and Shango pounds him in the corner. Bret slugs back, but walks into a bearhug, forcing him to bite Shango’s head to escape. Shango pounds him down again and chokes him out, and it’s … no … it can’t be … the deadly VOODOO NECK PINCH OF DOOM! What a fiend. Bret elbows out, but walks into a clothesline, and it’s back to that nerve hold. Bret fights out and grabs a sleeper, but Shango rams him into the turnbuckles to break right away. Shango starts chanting, which Bobby clarifies is a bad thing for Bret, but instead he misses an elbow off the middle rope and Bret comes back. Russian legsweep gets two. Backdrop gets two. Clothesline off the middle rope gets two. Shango whips him into the corner, but misses a charge and the Sharpshooter ends it at 7:10. Bill Alfonso excitedly pushes Bret off Shango to break the hold in a weird deal, and Bret looks kind of pissed at him. Usual Bret match as they wanted to put him over huge on network TV. **1/4 – And we wrap it up with comments from Paul Bearer and Undertaker, as they prepare for Kamala in the casket match. The Pulse Well, this show tanked in the ratings compared to the NBC glory years, and the PPV was a gigantic flop, neither of which were terribly surprising because Vince was trying to put out a product that looked like the 80s glory days but with people who didn’t yet have the star power to draw money for him. A totally forgettable, throwaway show, although the Shawn title change is worth seeking out if you don’t have the DVD already. Recommendation to avoid.

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #30

The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #30 – 02.08.92 Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to FOX we go with the SNME series, although only for two one-hour episodes. And with a terrible opening sequence and logo. As I’ve mentioned before, the FOX network wasn’t available in most parts of Canada until well into the 90s, so this was a show I never got to see. Taped from somewhere. Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan. Intercontinental title: Rowdy Roddy Piper v. The Mountie Mountie attacks from behind, but Piper tosses Jimmy Hart out and rolls up Mountie for two. A cheapshot puts Mountie in control and he hangs Piper in the Tree of Woe and stomps him down for two. Splash hits knee, however, and Piper makes the comeback while we get an inset promo from Bret Hart hyping his title shot at the winner of this. Ref is bumped and Mountie gets a piledriver, then follows with the shock stick, but Piper no-sells it. Mountie gets shocked in return and pinned at 3:40. And then the payoff, as Piper reveals a shock-proof rubber vest under his shirt. Uh huh, because that’s totally a thing. Nothing match. ½* Meanwhile, the Royal Rumble, Sid Justice dumps Hogan and they overdub the crowd reaction to booing for both Sid and Flair. Thankfully modern airings of the clip have restored the smarky crowd to all their glory. Then at a Wrestlemania press conference, Jack Tunney names Hogan the #1 contender and Sid flips out. Hulk Hogan & Sid Justice v. Ric Flair & Undertaker Flair starts with Sid and gets backdropped out of the corner, and it’s over to Hulk. He hiptosses both heels and runs Taker into Sid’s knee. Sid adds a slam, as does Hulk, and the heels bail and regroup. Back in, Taker gets an uppercut on Sid and Flair adds a clothesline for two. They double-team Sid, but Hulk comes in for the brawl and they give Flair the double-boot and clear the ring. Hulk poses and Sid looks none too pleased about him hogging the spotlight. We take a break and return with Undertaker attacking Sid while he seethes, and we get double-teaming in the heel corner. Sid rams them together and brings Hulk back in, but Flair takes out the leg and goes to work. Figure-four, but Sid turns his back on him. The heels continue to double-team, but Hogan slams Flair off the top…and Sid denies him the tag again. Hulk hits the heels with a double clothesline, and Sid takes a walk. Flair tosses the ref for the DQ at 10:58, allowing Hulk to clean house. Nothing as a match, but again it had to be here for the Sid heel turn. *1/2 Meanwhile, Sid goes full-on supervillain to complete his heel turn. Meanwhile, Brutus Beefcake tells a creepy story about waking up from his boating accident with Hogan laying in the bed next to him, pumping blood from his own veins into Brutus. Um, OK. Hacksaw Duggan & Sgt. Slaughter v. The Beverly Brothers Apparently this was advertised as the LOD but they were removed from the show without explanation. Duggan quickly gets double-teamed by the Beverlies, but makes the hot tag to Slaughter, who gets a backbreaker on Blake for two. Then he just decides to cheat and hit Blake with the Genius’ scroll for the pin at 2:38. What a hero. DUD Jake Roberts v. Randy Savage Savage’s pre-match promo is a work of art. I would not want to fuck with this man. Savage launches a crazed attack on Roberts on the floor and chokes away in the ring, and Jake has a broken nose from something already. So Savage goes after it, forcing Jake to toss him to escape. Back in, Savage attacks again, so Jake tosses him again to buy time and then sends him into the ringpost. And then again, HARD. And we take a break, with Savage shockingly not bleeding all over the ring after that. Savage comes back with an elbow and goes up for the double axehandle, but Jake catches him coming down and follows with the DDT. He demands a knockout count instead of a pin, but Savage is up at 8. Savage backdrops out of a second DDT and drops Jake on the railing, then finishes with the flying elbow at 7:26. Clearly the best match of the show. *** Savage isn’t done yet and he goes OLD SCHOOL with the ringbell, but Jake manages to escape a Steamboating. Liz comes out to celebrate to end the show, but Jake lurks behind the curtain at the Gorilla position as the show ends. Later, we would see him try to ambush Liz, only to be foiled by Undertaker in his babyface turn. The Pulse I can see why this one didn’t set the ratings on fire.

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #29

The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #29 – 04.27.91 End of the line for the NBC version of the show. In a reverse of the November 90 show, this one was taped as The Main Event and then edited into a full SNME after the fact because NBC didn’t want to give them a primetime slot. So all the banners say “The Main Event”. This is another one I’ve never seen because advertising for the show was so minimal that I didn’t even know it was on at the time. Taped from somewhere that is again never mentioned. Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Randy Savage. Sgt. Slaughter may have lost the title, but he threw fire at Hogan, so everything is cool. Oddly, Randy Savage is playing backstage interviewer and Slaughter puts him over as a “great American”, which is opposite of what he should have been doing after Savage’s babyface turn. Ultimate Warrior v. Sgt. Slaughter Warrior slams Slaughter off the top and slugs him out of the ring, but Slaughter pokes him in the eyes and tosses him. Cheapshot from Mustafa allows Slaughter to take over, and he stomps away in the ring and follows with a backbreaker. Bearhug follows, but Warrior slams out of it, so Slaughter goes back to it again. This allows Paul Bearer to wheel a custom Warrior casket out for him, and there’s way too much ick factor there right now. Warrior contemplates his own mortality while we take a break. Back immediately after the cut with Warrior making the comeback with clotheslines, but Undertaker pops out of the casket. Warrior is again freaked out, and Slaughter attacks for the beatdown and DQ at 7:30. Warrior should have got his job back here, but they needed Slaughter for the house show run against Hogan I’d assume so it had to be a screwjob. Shit match. ½* Undertaker gets chased off by Warrior afterwards, but he showed a real star presence here and would have fit in with the bigger era of the show with no problem. WWF tag team titles: The Nasty Boys v. The Bushwackers This is the end of a great SNME tradition, as this is the last “first title defense” on the show for the tag champions. All it was lacking was Tito Santana and a random partner. I would presume it was taped as a dark match and added in afterwards. The Bushwackers manage to clear the ring, but Sags hammers away on Luke. The Bushwackers clear the ring again, however, and the Nasties are forced to cheat and take over on Luke. Butch gets a quasi-hot tag and quickly gets double-teamed down again and it’s BONZO GONZO, allowing Knobs to roll Butch up for the pin at 6:50. Another terrible one. -* Battle Royale We’ve got Hulk, Earthquake, Rockers, Orient Express, Jake Roberts, Jim Duggan, Texas Tornado, Warlord, Tugboat, Mr. Perfect, Haku, Greg Valentine, Power & Glory, Big Bossman, Barbarian, British Bulldog and Jimmy Snuka. Roma and Jannetty put each other out and then it’s a whole lot of milling around and punching. Hulk and Hammer team up with elbows on Perfect, but can’t put him on the floor. Warlord dumps Bulldog and Tanaka goes out off-camera. Quake takes Snake. Jake gets pissed and lets the snake slither around the ring, so the ref halts the match and we take a break. Back with Hulk and Tugboat having a dramatic altercation until Warlord interrupts and gets tossed out for his troubles. Barbarian puts Tornado out, and Duggan stands there going “Hooo” until Earthquake tosses him out. Hulk dumps Quake in retribution. Hulk puts Kato out, but Tug puts Hulk out, then Shawn puts Tug and Herc out. Wow, good showing for Michaels. Perfect dropkicks Bossman into a Barbarian backdrop over the top, making him the only choice left with a shot to win. Shawn dropkicks Haku out and goes after Perfect, but can’t get him over the top. Shawn bumps to the apron, however, and Perfect slugs him to the floor and out. That leaves Perfect, Valentine and Barbarian. Hammer can’t get Barbarian out and the heels double-team him, but Perfect accidentally dropkicks Barbarian out of the match. Perfect and Hammer exchange chops in the corner and Perfect goes down, then Hammer puts him down with an elbow for good measure. He drops the elbows and tosses Perfect, but he still won’t go out. Another go at it and Perfect takes him out while holding the ropes, winning the match at 12:30. Bret Hart v. Ted Dibiase Dibiase slugs away in the corner, but Bret comes back with a hiptoss and a pair of clotheslines before clotheslining Dibiase to the floor and following with a pescado. Back in, Bret grabs a headlock, but gets tripped up by Sherri before recovering with a rollup for two. Bret charges and runs into a stungun, however, and Dibiase takes over with a piledriver. That gets two. Dibiase tosses him and Sherri gets some cheapshots, and back in for the choking. Bret takes the corner bump and it’s Million Dollar Dream time, but Bret runs him into the corner to break. Bret makes the comeback and Dibiase begs off, so Bret gives him an atomic drop and back elbow for two. Russian legsweep gets two. Middle rope elbow gets two. Sherri trips Bret up again and this time he chases her (Piper: “This is on purpose!” Ya think?), which allows Dibiase to attack from behind. And in fact Piper is so pissed that he leaves the “booth” and heads down to help Bret, sending Sherri running with a broom. Back in the ring, Bret hammers away in the corner, but Dibiase chases after Piper and Bret follows for the lame double countout at 9:37. Weak, this was in **** territory before the cop-out finish. ***1/2 I feel like the Piper-Dibiase feud was a wasted opportunity to book a cheap Scotsman against the richest man in the company. Think of the vignettes! Tito Santana v. The Mountie Whoa, a Wrestlemania rematch to close out the NBC era of the show! Fitting that Santana would get to be the guy to turn out the lights on the series. Tito chases him from the ring with dropkicks and slugs away in the corner, but Mountie blocks a monkey flip to take over. He runs Tito into the turnbuckles, but Tito comes back with the Flying Jalapeno for two. Jimmy Hart gets involved and takes one for the team as well, but the DILDO OF DOOM puts Tito down for the pin at 4:22. Nothing much to this one. * Next up: The brief FOX era of the show!

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #41

The SmarK Rant for The Main Event #5 – 02.01.91 This is the last of the Main Event primetime specials, and one which I’ve never even seen before. NBC was basically burning off their contractual obligations at this point because the product was ice cold and ratings were falling fast. Taped from somewhere never mentioned. Turns out it was Macon, GA. Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Roddy Piper Hulk Hogan & Tugboat v. Dino Bravo & Earthquake Hogan wins a test of strength with Dino Bravo and the babyfaces beat on him FOR ‘MURICA! Earthquake comes in and misses an elbow on Tugboat, so Hogan slams both heels to pretty definitively show who won that feud. But as usual, Tugboat comes in and immediately fucks up, allowing Quake to take over with choking. Elbow gets two. Tugboat gets dumped and beat up on the outside and we take a break, as Vince notes “we’ve got trouble here in River City.” That kind of pop culture reference sounds about right for Vince. Back with the false tag to Hulk, which allows the heels to put Tugboat down again, but as usual Hogan cheats and prevents them from winning. Hot tag to Hulk, and he schoolboys Bravo for the pin at 13:02. * Recap of the Warrior-Savage storyline from Royal Rumble. Fucking Randy Savage, man. Hope Warrior retires him. Meanwhile, Sgt. Slaughter is on top of the world and doesn’t foresee any circumstance where he could ever lose his title. WWF World title: Sgt. Slaughter v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan Slaughter claims a hairpull and then chokes him out in the corner, but Duggan comes back and pummels him down. Clothesline puts Sarge on the floor in an awkward bump, but Adnan trips Duggan and Slaughter gets two. Heel miscommunication and Duggan makes the comeback, but Slaughter slugs him down and we get more choking. Am I watching LeBron James here? SEE, BASKETBALL REFERENCE! Board to the head gets two. LOADED TOE OF DOOM follows, but Duggan comes back again and Slaughter takes his trademark corner bump. Finally he’s had enough and lays out Duggan with a chairshot to draw the DQ at 7:00. Fucking terrible. DUD As usual Slaughter looks like a chump who isn’t even worthy of being champion and can’t even beat Duggan, and then they wondered why Wrestlemania was a giant bomb? The Legion of Doom v. The Orient Express Animal overpowers Kato and the faces clear the ring as Vince notes that Jack Tunney will be announcing the #1 contender for Wrestlemania shortly. The Express briefly gets some offense on Hawk, but he shrugs them off and destroys Kato, followed by Animal laying him out on the floor with a clothesline. The Express are just bumping like crazy here, taking somersaults off every move. Finally Fuj the Stooge throws salt in Animal’s face just to give the heels a heat segment, but that literally lasts 10 seconds before Animal makes the hot tag and Hawk obliterates everyone. Doomsday Device ends the slaughter at 5:10. Just a total and complete massacre. * Mean Gene interviews Jack Tunney in the ring, and he puts an end to all the rampant speculation by announcing Sgt. Slaughter v. Hulk Hogan for Wrestlemania. Meanwhile, Slaughter isn’t particularly worried about facing Hogan. Hulk Hogan is out for the main event interview and blah blah blah Saddam Hussein blah blah blah Hulkamania. He literally ends the promo with the Pledge of Allegiance in the most sickeningly pandering attempt to cash in on the Gulf War you could imagine, as if the US military strategy in Iraq is riding on him winning the title or something. Just totally embarrassing to watch as a fan. The Pulse This has to be the worst of the series by far, although the final SNME is still upcoming.

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #40

The SmarK Retro Rant for the Main Event #4 – November 1990 – Taped from Fort Wayne, IN – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Roddy Piper – So with SNME going down the crapper, ratings and quality-wise, by 1990, we get this strange experiment. Originally taped to be a 90 minute Saturday Night’s Main Event show, complete with a controversial tag team title switch, the show was instead moved to prime time and chopped down to an hour. The result was not only horrible ratings, but the Rockers’ tag title win over the Hart Foundation being erased from history until the recent retroactive change has seemingly given them the belts again. Oddly enough, both Michaels and Jannetty would go on to win the belts with different partners anyway. – WWF title: Ultimate Warrior v. Ted Dibiase. Warrior was tanking badly as champion by November and a title change was imminent, while Dibiase was a non-factor by this point and was reduced to feuding with his own hired help by Wrestlemania VII, so that shows you how well this one was destined to do. Warrior powers Dibiase into the corner to start, but he slugs back, so Warrior dumps him with a clothesline. Back in, Warrior clotheslines him off the top and slugs away in the corner. Blind charge hits knee, however, and Dibiase takes over with the middle rope elbow. Piledriver gets two. Another is reversed and Warrior shoulderblocks him down, but gets dumped. We take a break and return with Dibiase dropping a fist for two. He grabs a side headlock, and clotheslines Warrior down. Warrior comes back with a backslide for two, but Dibiase suplexes him for two. Another is reversed to a sunset flip for two by Warrior, and Dibiase tosses him. Back in, Warrior reverses a suplex and starts no-selling, and they collide for the double KO. Warrior recovers and comes back with some rope-shaking, and the clotheslines and shoulderblocks follow, so Virgil runs in. (Warrior d. Dibiase, DQ, 9:50, ***) As much as I bust on Warrior’s in-ring prowess, Dibiase handled him like a champ and got a really good match out of him here. And of course the Macho King runs in afterwards and lays out Warrior to set up the fateful title change at Rumble 91, and the eventual WM classic between Warrior and Savage. – Nikolai Volkoff v. Sgt. Slaughter. No match, as Slaughter lays him out and whips him with the riding crop, and the camel clutch follows. Jim Duggan makes the save. (Volkoff d. Slaughter, DQ?, no rating) – Mr. Perfect v. Big Bossman. Texas Tornado was busy borrowing the IC title at this point, so Perfect doesn’t have it. Perfect sticks and moves to start and leads Bossman in a chase, but walks into a clothesline. Bossman hammers him in the corner and whips him into the turnbuckles, then hairtosses him around the ring and into the post. Backbreaker and Bossman goes up (!), but misses a splash. Perfect necksnaps him to take over, and gets two. Small package gets two. Perfect slugs away and undoes a turnbuckle, but Bossman blocks and sends him into it. Ear-wringer and Bossman comes back, but Perfect whips him into the exposed steel. Perfect goes to finish, but gets cradled for two. They slug it out and it’s the Perfectplex, but it only gets two. Criminal. Bossman dumps him and goes after Heenan, and gets counted out. (Perfect d. Bossman, COR, 8:29, *1/2) Could we actually have a FINISH to a match tonight? Just one? – And now, Blow Away. Where to start with this one? This was a fake infomercial for a weight-loss product which revolved around a gag with Buddy Rose. Basically, Rose pours a magic powder all over himself, eats whatever he wants, and when he blows the powder off he loses weight. Except of course he doesn’t lose any weight and looks exactly the same. This bit was, to say the least, famously bad and completely bombed on every level, as no one got the joke or those who did get it didn’t think it was funny. Mostly the latter. Now, on a deeper level, from what I understand the skit was a tryout of sorts for hot Stampede manager Dr. Jonathan Holliday, as Stampede itself was a feeder system for the WWF by that point. The skit was apparently his baby, and he decisively did not win himself a job with it, although it would have appealed to Vince’s sense of humor. – Rick Martel v. Tito Santana. Martel attacks to start and tosses Tito, but runs into the post. Back in the ring, Tito gets a double axehandle and starts working the arm, then blocks a monkeyflip with the a stomp to the face. Back to the arm, and a small package gets two. He says on the arm, but Martel grabs a chinlock, so Tito reverses to a hammerlock and forces Martel to go to the ropes. Martel chokes him out and works him over in the corner, and gets a backbreaker. He goes up and gets brought down by Tito, who goes nuts in the corner and dropkicks him. Backbreaker and top rope clothesline get two. Figure-four is reversed by Martel for two. Boston Crab finishes. (Martel d. Santana, boston crab — submission, 6:43, **1/2) Kind of disappointing compared to previous outings from them, but at least it’s a clean finish. The Pulse: It’s the show with BLOW AWAY. What more do you need to know? Throw it out the window and watch Impact or something instead.

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #28

The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #28 (October 1990) It’s OKTOBERFEST! Oh man, I kind of love this one. Taped from somewhere that isn’t Germany, sadly. I believe they were trying to get away from naming the city at this point for some reason. Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Rowdy Roddy Piper in front of an obvious green screen. Demolition v. The Ultimate Warrior & The Legion of Doom Sadly, the backstage interviews have been replaced by generic green-screen cut-ins at this point, showing the budget cuts for the series. And really, would it have KILLED them to do Ax & Smash v. LOD here, just so we could get it once for posterity? Big brawl to start as we get a quick shot of 19-year old Dustin Rhodes watching at ringside, possibly plotting revenge for getting his father fired from the NWA two years earlier. Smash chokes out Animal, but walks into a powerslam for two. Warrior comes in and runs wild on the Demos with slams, but Ax evades the big splash and Warrior is the nutjob-in-peril. They work him over in the corner and it’s DEMOLITION DECAPITATION, but Hawk has had enough and makes the save before they can hit it. Hot tag to Hawk follows, which seems a bit unfair since he broke up their finisher illegally, and he hits Smash with a flying clothesline before Warrior finishes him off with the big splash at 5:33. Demolition was circling the drain at this point anyway. * Meanwhile, at Oktoberfest, Mean Gene introduces some of the guys partying down and getting hammered. I haven’t seen this show in 20 years but I’m already predicting a food fight to end it. Dusty Rhodes v. Macho King Randy Savage The feud was long dead and buried by this point so this should be an easy win for Savage. Savage doing the iconic “Stand on the apron and point menacingly at the camera from above” pose was incredibly badass and shows how effective their crew still was at that point. Dusty dominates him with elbows to start, but he gets distracted by Sherri and attacked from behind. Kneedrop gets two. Savage goes to the sleeper, while Ted Dibiase buys the entire front row with CASH MONEY, until Dustin takes a stand and throws their money back at them. To be fair, Dusty was doing pretty good and he probably didn’t need the money anyway. So clearly not understanding the concept of personal space, Dibiase and Virgil sit right next to Dustin to watch the match, which really upsets Dusty. C’mon man, leave a buffer seat at least! We take a break and return with Sherri choking out Dusty and Savage hitting the double axehandle for two. Dusty makes the comeback and reverses a slam for two. Savage goes up and gets caught coming down, prompting Dustin to pick a fight with Dibiase and that, uh, doesn’t go too well for him. So after Dibiase thoroughly kicks his ass, Dusty goes out to make the save and gets counted out at 12:22. Really, Dibiase was a jerk, but Dustin threw the first punch, so really a chair to the head was kind of warranted. It’s mostly Dustin’s fault for being born a Rhodes. Decent enough match here. **1/2 Meanwhile, Hulk and Tugboat feel like Rhythm & Blues will be playing the glockenspiel after tonight. Please don’t let Tugboat talk anymore. Although Hulk promising to “Bavarian cream” them makes me feel dirty. Meanwhile, The Bushwackers demonstrate how well they can cut the cheese. Meanwhile, Lord Alfred Hayes continues getting drunker by the segment. Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine v. Hulk Hogan & Tugboat What exactly was Tugboat’s gimmick supposed to be, anyway? Is he supposed to be an actual boat, or the captain of a boat? Or just a random sailor? When he became Typhoon did he actually transmute into a storm? Was there a backstory where his boat got wrecked by an actual typhoon and he swore revenge? Really, the whole thing was just lazy. Hulk easily dominates both heels by himself and they control Valentine, and of course Tugboat is completely useless and gets clobbered from behind. Honky with an elbow for two and some choking. Hey wait, I think I just got that Bushwackers joke! See, they were literally cutting cheese, but it was a metaphor for farting! Ho, the wit and wordplay on these shows. Hogan gets the hot tag and is going to finish, but Earthquake and Bravo are wandering out so Tugboat stops him from hitting the legdrop. Uh, why? He’s still 100 feet away! Like Earthquake is gonna sprint out there and break up the pin or something? So we take a break and return with the match continuing until Honky quickly nails Tugboat with the guitar for the DQ at 11:11. And the beatdown is on as the four heels destroy Hogan while Tugboat is busy tripping over a piece of the set outside or something. And they wonder why the fans turned on Tugboat? Uncle Fred finally gets around to making the save. Why would Hogan bother keeping this goof around to help him? Maybe he finally got sick of people turning on him and knew Tugboat was too stupid to think of doing that? Meanwhile, the sausage stuffing contest, presided over by “master sausage stuffer” Lanny Poffo. Ha! Mr. Fuji throws a blatantly premade sausage on the table to win via cheating. Ha! This was a great segment. Intercontinental title: Kerry Von Erich v. Haku Tornado takes him down and tries the claw, which would seem to be an “unstoppable force v. immovable object” conundrum, but Haku escapes to the floor avoid the whole philosophical argument. He gets some advice from Bobby Heenan, and that advice was “Learn to sell cars.” Haku grabs a headlock and pounds away in the corner, but Tornado gets the clawhold and finishes with the discus punch at 4:09. ½* I feel like we were missing a wacky segment where Kerry crashes the party while completely drunk off his ass while clutching a beer stein and Mean Gene goes “What are you doing here at Oktoberfest?” and Kerry goes “What’s Oktoberfest?” THANK YOU, I’m here all week, try the veal. Sgt. Slaughter v. Koko B. Ware This was shortly after they shifted the character from “Former patriot who can’t deal with the cold war ending” to “cartoonish Iraqi defector” in order to cash in. Koko controls with armdrags, but Slaughter claims a hairpull in a funny heel bit. Because he’s bald, you see. That’s why it’s funny. In case you didn’t get it. Koko throws dropkicks, but misses a blind charge by a mile and Slaughter takes over with his boring offense. Backbreaker gets two, but Koko comes back with yet another series of dropkicks before walking into a stungun. And Slaughter finishes with the greatest motherfucking finisher in the history of the WWF, the MOTHERFUCKING ATOMIC NOOGIE OF DEATH, at 5:18. It was a sad day when he switched to the camel clutch, let me tell you. * Meanwhile, Slick and Anvil have a dance off and Lord Alfred is really fucking drunk. And then, as this trainwreck can only end with, the FOOD FIGHT closes things out. In his book, Bret Hart said that the other participants came to him with a tear in their eye and told him that it was the best food fight they ever had. Meanwhile, Ultimate Warrior gives a post-match interview, where he has now completely changed his makeup and tights, but he does grant Randy Savage a title match. Savage, also in a different outfit, is overjoyed to hear about this. Thankfully, Roddy Piper is still man enough to pay attention to continuity and keep his stupid Bavarian suspenders outfit from earlier. Meanwhile, Mean Gene and Alfred wrap things up. Vince promises that the next show will be in November after Survivor Series, but in fact that did not happen and instead NBC cut the show down to an hour and put it in a death slot at The Main Event instead. BAIT AND SWITCH! The Pulse This one was so stupidly fun you had to love it. See, they were CUTTING THE CHEESE.

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #27

Saturday Night’s Main Event (July 28 / 90) (Found this one in the archives as well, although it was just a text file so the formatting is wacky.) – Taped from Omaha, Nebraska. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura – This one has a “Wild Kingdom” theme.  (Because of Mutual of Omaha, which is exactly the kind of decade-delayed pop culture reference Vince would get.)  – Opening match, WWF title:  The Ultimate Warrior v. Ravishing Rick
  Warrior destroys Rude (who has the new crewcut look at this
point in an effort to give him credibility) by tossing him from end to
end and atomic dropping him out of the ring.  Back in and Warrior with a
couple of clotheslines and an axehandle off the top, but Rude moves out
of the way of the splash.  As per the Saturday Night’s Main Event
formula, Rude gets Warrior to chase him out of the ring and nails him
with the designated foreign object (in this case, the WWF title belt)
and takes control until the commercial break.  But first Rude takes his
contractually obligated reverse atomic drop.  But alas for Warrior, Rude
gets a sleeper hold after slipping out of a bodyslam.  In an insanely
ridiculous bit, Joey Marella tests the Warrior’s consciousness by
lifting his leg (instead of his arm).  Warrior fights out, but Rude hits
the Rude Awakening.  It gets two and Warrior makes the wildman comeback
with the usual, but Heenan puts Rude’s foot on the ropes at two.  They
fight outside the ring and Rude gets counted out.  Warrior brutalizes
Bobby Heenan for fun.  Not a good match.  1/2*  (No way This was leading to a
cage match at Summerslam 90.  I thought it would have sold better to
have Rude win the title here and Warrior regain it at Summerslam, but
then I’m not the booker.  (Oh man, if you thought Warrior couldn’t draw before, dropping the title to Rick Rude would have KILLED him.)  Some say I should be… – And wasn’t the world just waiting for a career retrospective on Hulk
Hogan, who suffered that awful career-ending injury against Earthquake.
*Sniff*.  Get well, Hulk!  Just to piss me off way back when, my dad
made a giant banner saying “Get Well Hulk” and hung it in my room, for
which I’ve never quite forgiven him.  Of course, this is the same guy
who used to fashion nooses and randomly hang my LJN wrestling figures
around the house, so you can see how my upbringing may have warped my
life….  (“May have…”?) – The Immortal Orange Goblin comes out for a quasi-inspirational
interview to hype his grudge match against Earthquake at Summerslam.  I
fast forward.  Earthquake and Dino Bravo run in to attack, but Tugboat
makes the save.  Wow, this is sure exciting. – WWF tag title match:  Demolition v. The Rockers.  This is the sort-of debut of Crush, who was known as “B.A.” at house shows before this.
Let’s see, we have a wannabe golf pro (Barry Darsow), an nWo Japan scrub (Bryan Adams), a retiree (Bill Eadie), a jobber (Marty Jannetty) and a three-time WWF World champion (Shawn Michaels).  8 years ago, could *you* have guessed which would be which?  Smash and Crush are doing the honors tonight.  The Rockers start with some SWEET double-team flying
headscissors and housecleaning.  Shawn hits a sort-of rana (with help
from Marty) but Crush decks him from behind to give the champs the
advantage.  Crush is really, really bad at this point.  He fucks up a
sunset flip with Jannetty and can’t sell properly.  (But he did demonstrate the three qualifications for a push in the 90s and beyond: Tall, muscular, full head of hair.) The Rockers control with double-teams on the arm of Crush but inevitably the Demos cheat and
gain the advantage.  Jannetty is dead on the outside as we head to
commercial.  We return with Smash going medieval on Marty, who takes a
couple of really choice bumps.  Crush debuts the tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker and hits a pretty good chokeslam.  Marty hits a desperation
move on Crush after some more punishment and hot tags Shawn, who is his
usual awesome self.  Superkick and double dropkicks get rid of Crush,
and they hit the double superkick and the double flying fist on Smash
for two, but Crush makes the save.  Shawn rolls up Smash and Ax rolls in
and hits a wicked clothesline on Shawn and makes the illegal pin
himself.  Good little match with a hot ending.  ***  (Pretty sure it was better than that.)  The Hart Foundation and the LOD run in to plead the Rockers’ case, but no luck. – Intercontinental title match:  Curt Hennig v. Tito Santana.  Hennig dumped the Genius at the end of May and won the Intercontinental title
tournament with the help of new manager Bobby Heenan, defeating Santana
in the finals.  This is the rematch.  From here until Summerslam 91,
Hennig was God.  (Not HHH level God, of course.)  Santana blitzes Hennig to start, sending Hennig over the top (of course) and chasing him around the ring.  Tito puts his head
down and gets decked very quickly.  Off-night for Hennig as he kicks and
rests his way through the offensive portion.  Tito hairpulls his way out
of a chinlock and begins El Comeback Superman-o.  Hennig does a triple
somersault off a punch and takes out Earl Hebner, and of course Santana
goes for the figure-four then.  Crowd is going nuts.  And you know the
great part?  When Tito releases the hold, Hennig sells the STRAIGHT LEG!
Awesome.  Flying jalapeno as Hebner crawls over…for…two.  Santana
with a clothesline off the top for…another…two…count.  That’s some
twisted ankle Hebner’s got there.  Santana calls in a new referee as we
go to commercial.  We come back as Hennig also comes back.  Chops
(whoo).  Now Hennig goes through the Patented Offense ™ and gets
towelled off by Heenan.  Hennig even pulls out a thrust kick.  Santana
returns fire and sends him over the top again with a punch, and of
course Hennig goes crotch-first into the ringpost.  Santana with atomic
drop both ways, and a clothesline for two.  Super hot crowd.  Santana
puts his head down and Hennig hooks the Perfectplex, but Santana inside
cradles him for two, but Hennig reverses that for three.  Whew.  GREAT
MATCH!  **** – I’m skipping the various stupidity with Mean Gene and Lord Alfred
Hayes on safari for obvious reasons. – Playboy Buddy Rose v. Kerry Von Erich.  This is the Tornado’s WWF
debut.  The announcers make fat jokes about Rose to kill time.  Total
squash as Von Erich decimates Rose.  Rose gets the token offense but
gets dumped off the top and tornado punched for the pin.  DUD – Rude comments. – Warrior rebutts. – Vince and Jesse wrap it up. The Bottom Line:  An *awesome* show for a SNME.  Nuff said.  (Indeed, a stone cold classic episode.) 

Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #26

(Fair warning, this is an old rant and I don’t like it very much, but today was my daughter’s birthday party and I’m sunburned to a crisp from being in a swimming pool for three hours and don’t feel in the mood to redo it, so this is what you get.  However, everything else from here will have to be fresh rants because I don’t think I’ve done any more.)  Saturday Night’s Main Event (April 28 / 90) – Taped from Austin, Texas. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. – Okay, this is the fallout show after Wrestlemania VI, as Warrior is now the World champion and Hogan is reduced to a secondary role. Thus begins the end for the glory years of the WWF. – Curt Hennig offers his opening thoughts, wearing yellow tights. When he emerges for the first match, they’ve magically become orange. Pre-taping or miracle, you decide. – Opening match: Curt Hennig v. Hulk Hogan. The usual as Hogan dominates with the punches and the body slams, all of which are hideously oversold by Hennig. This is pretty much move-for-move the same as the tag match from the first SNME in this rant, and my thoughts will be confirmed if Hennig tags Hulk with the scroll to gain the advantage. Yup, Hogan chases Hennig outside the ring and gets clobbered with the steel scroll.  (Well really, by this time the formula was set with the main matches being move-for-move copies of the house show circuit from a couple of months before, so it shouldn’t have been surprising.)  We come back from commercial with Perfect doing the usual spots and stalling. Hennig with the Perfectplex but it only gets two. Comeback, three punches, big boot and legdrop and that’s it. This was, as they say, good enough for government work, and it was a better match without Warrior weighing it down like in the tag match. ** Hogan goes over clean but Hennig would go on to bigger and better things over the next year.  (I feel like this was a better match than I’m giving it credit for, but I checked my redo for the Hulk Still Rules DVD set and I actually downgraded it by a star.)  – Rick Martel does a western themed ad for Arrogance. – Earthquake v. Hillbilly Jim. (This would be the last significant appearance of Hillbilly Jim, would it not?)  What is with Vince and redneck wrestlers? Canned heat is in full effect as Hillbilly starts off quickly. Jimmy Hart distracts Jim and it’s elbow and FATTEST BUTT SPLASH IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SPORT for the pin. Lasted a bit over a minute. DUD Earthquake does the world a great service and flattens Hillbilly Jim with about five elbowdrops and two butt splashes.  (Oh man, I’m gonna hear about this one from a certain person on the blog…)  – Another Arrogance spot. – The Rockers v. The Hart Foundation. YES! YES! YES! Awesome opening sequence that is ruined for me by my roommate telling a disgusting bar story. (I believe that would have been the infamous “SMELL ME, JOHNNY!” story, but I could be wrong.  There were a LOT of them.)  Rockers double-team Bret, but Anvil takes out Shawn with power. The Harts take over with their patented knee-to-the-back from Bret on the apron. Is it me, or is Bret hitting Shawn really stiffly? The Harts get several two counts on Shawn, and then Demolition wanders down to have a look at the action. Bret is yelling at the Demos and Shawn dropkicks him right into them as we go to commercial. We’re back as Bret continues to lay an ass-whupping on Shawn. Hot tag to Marty, who cleans house for a bit and brings Shawn back in. Anvil nails him with a shoulderblock and Shawn does a triple somersault. Hennig must have taught him or something. Shawn goes over the top and gets beat up by Demolition, triggering a three-way brawl. Now see, if they knew what a three-way dance was in 1990 this would have been a killer match at Summerslam. Still, a great match ruined by a bonehead ending. ***3/4  (No way it was that high.  Let’s check the redo from the Bret Hart DVD…) The Hart Foundation v. The Rockers. From SNME, 4/29/90. Bret and Jannetty exchange takedowns to start, and the Rockers double-team him until Anvil comes in and overpowers Marty. Shawn comes in and can’t slam Anvil, but a dropkick works. Anvil has no such trouble slamming Shawn, allowing Bret to come in (along with a moment of FORBIDDEN COMMENTARY from Jesse Ventura!) and the Harts do the quick tags and work Shawn over. The theme is “pounding the back” and the double-whip gets two. Shawn comes back with a sunset flip for two, as Demolition comes out to scout. Bret stops to yell at them, and we’re clipped for an ad break. Back with Bret pounding on Shawn in the corner, but missing an elbowdrop. Hot tag Jannetty, who superkicks Bret for two. Sunset flip gets two. Bret comes back with a neckbreaker, but slingshots Anvil in and misses with that. Back to Shawn, who promptly runs into Anvil and takes a two-count as a result. High cross body gets two, however, and Demolition runs in for the double DQ at 9:02. Seen better, but this was fun enough. **3/4  (Sounds more reasonable.)  – Earthquake gives an environmentally friendly interview. – Bobby Heenan lists the good points of Texas. Oh, and the cow dung, can’t forget that. – Warrior says…something. I think. – WWF Title match: The Ultimate Warrior v. Haku (geshundheit). I should point out that Warrior needs canned heat here whereas Hogan needed none. Further, the lights are *gone* past the first few rows, which means that everyone past the floor seats has left and they had to darken the arena to cover it up. (Maybe they all went to sign up for the Network?)  That is an unspeakably bad sign for the Warrior’s popularity (or lack thereof). Haku takes control with whatever but Warrior makes the comeback to canned cheers with the usual clotheslines, shoulderblock and splash. Totally underwhelming. 1/4* – Another Arrogance spot, this time on a tennis court. The spiel could be used by Val Venis today! Picture this: “Hello, ladies! You know ladies, when the Big Valbowski plays at Wimbledon, heh heh, he’s always the NUMBER ONE SEED. (Pause for screams of ladies) And the Big Valbowski is always one SHOT, right into the royal box!” (Man, I think just like Vince Russo!)  Hmm, Jim Cornette said that the statute of limitations on stealing angles is 7 years, so Val could use that one if he wanted. Rick is retired anyway.  (Wow, and it’s now been SIXTEEN years since I wrote that!  Time flies.)  – Big Bossman v. Akeem. This is the last match so it should be quick and painless. The arena has brightened considerably, so either the people came back or this was taped earlier in the evening. Jesse takes shots at dirty politicians, foreshadowing his own political career. (He was elected mayor pretty soon after this, in fact.)  Akeem dominates quickly with punches and butt splashes in the corner, then hits the big splash for two. Bossman backdrops him over the top rope and then slingshots him in. Nice spot. Cross corner whip and Bossman splash, but Dibiase and Virgil run in for the DQ. Not terrible or anything. * The Million dollar beatdown ensues. This is the first and only time you’ll see a black guy beating on a cop with a nightstick. Go fig. – Warrior offers more thoughts, ostensibly taped after his match, although he’s still wearing the belt, he’s not sweating, and his makeup is in perfect condition. Plus his hair isn’t messed up. I bet they taped the first interview, sprayed some water on him, and then taped the followup interview. The Bottom Line: Not a bad show overall, with a great tag match and a better-than-usual Hogan match. Considering that these shows were usually the bottom of the wrestling quality barrel, that’s not bad.