wrestling / Video Reviews

Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event 01.07.89

October 25, 2023 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWE Saturday Night's Main Event Image Credit: WWE
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event 01.07.89  

-Two of my friends (shout-out to Brian and Kent) recommended I submit a writing sample to 411 back in 2008 when they were hiring. Thanks to them pushing me, I have been here for over 15 years now. I told one of them to pick a year he wanted me to go back and review all the major shows and he decided on 1989. After finishing off 1996, the time is now for 1989. Let’s get to it!

-Announce Team: Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
-Taped: Sun Dome, Tampa, FL

-The Ultimate Warrior lets us know victory brought him his belt and tonight for The Honky Tonk Man, it will be The Ultimate Defeat.

-Honky Tonk Man offers his retort and Jimmy Hart notes HTM can sing and dance better than any man with a painted face. Not sure how that will help in a wrestling match. I mean, today it would probably work and get a “This is Awesome” chant, but these were simpler times.

-Brutus Beefcake notes the IC Title would be his if it wasn’t for Outlaw Ron Bass. Tonight loser gets their head shaved!

-Akeem with Slick is next and they are all about brotherhood and fair play. They won’t rest until Hulk Hogan is gone from the WWF. 

Give it four years!

-Hulk Hogan responds by noting he doesn’t know where Akeem comes from, but he knows where is going and the 24 inch pythons point the way.

-Obviously these small snippets are awesome as it sets the stage for what’s to come and it didn’t take the opening 20 minutes. We know some matches and some stakes and we are ready to roll.

-Vince and Jesse welcome us to the show as Vince sets Jesse up about each match and just lets him go to work.

-Mean Gene is in the back with the neon pink curtain and Ron Bass is his guest. This all stems from Bass using his spurs to slice open Brutus Beefcake’s forehead. I remember watching it as a kid and the giant X they put on the screen to keep us from watching at home. Obviously it was very effective as I remember it thirty four years later.

-We flashback to the incident from the last year as Beefcake cuts Bass’ whip and cowboy hat with his trimmers. Later, Bass gets his revenge and there’s the spur across the face and the big X with CENSORED!

-Brutus Beefcake is backstage with Gene and they are in front of the silver curtains. He gets in a crack about Gene being bald and he is out for revenge tonight.

Hair vs. Hair: “Outlaw” Ron Bass vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake

-Bass jumps Beefcake before the bell and uses the whip to choke. Beefcake breaks and grabs the whip, so Bass bails to the floor. They even add in some cheesy sound effects for the whip. Lockup and Bass buries a knee to the ribs, but Beefcake responds with a high knee that sends Bass to the floor. Bass gets dropped throat first on the top rope and we get some strutting from Beefcake. Another lockup and Brutus wins a punching contest as Bass is bouncing all over the place. Beefcake tries the mounted punches, but Bass walks out and gets a rough looking reverse atomic drop. Gutbuster from Bass or “a backward backbreaker to the stomach,” as Jesse calls it. Makes sense actually! A knee to the gut sends Beefcake to the floor. Bass buries a knee to the gut and fires off some forearms. Bass lands another shot to the stomach and then threatens the ref. Bass continues to work over the abs and ribs which is nice to see. Piledriver, but Bass stops the ref’s count as he isn’t ready to finish this one yet. Bass drops Beefcake throat first on the top rope and he picks Beefcake up at one. Even Ventura is questioning what Bass is doing. Clothesline from Bass, but Beefcake is out at two. Bass thinks he has won and goes for the trimmers, but Marella tells him it was a two count. Bass charges, but misses a clothesline and Beefcake hooks The Sleeper. Bass fades and the arm drops three times at 7:39.

Winner: Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake via submission at 7:39
-This would fit in with the matches we get on Main Event today. I enjoyed the simplistic approach of Bass as he just worked the ribs. He got stupid though and paid for it with his hair. *1/2

-They throw to commercial and when they come back, Beefcake is shaving the head of an unconscious Ronn Bass. More dubbed in sound effects and then Vince does his own sound effects over top those. Ventura has no doubt that Ron Bass is a relative of Gene Okerlund. Beefcake actually does a solid job as Bass has a shaved head. He then wakes up Bass, who freaks out and sprints to the back as the ring crew are in to sweep up the hair.

-To the pink curtain where Slick, Akeem, and The Big Bossman are backstage with Gene. I forgot Bossman was a little chunkier here and started to slim down from this point. Slick calls Hogan a rule breaker and Bossman is here to make sure law and ordeal prevail.

-Hulk Hogan, at the silver curtain, has Liz by his side. Gene notes that Hogan may be out-manned tonight, but that brings Savage into frame. He is here to watch Hogan’s back and he takes Gene to a place where they can watch the match.

Akeem (w/ Slick and The Big Bossman) vs. Hulk Hogan (w/ Miss Elizabeth)

-We cut to the back where Gene and Savage are watching the match in a dimly lit room. Gene points out how Hogan held the ropes for Liz. Way to stir the pot Gene! Akeem charges and misses, so Hogan grabs Slick and slams him into Akeem and pins both for a two count. Hogan lays in some right hands and stuffs his bandana in Akeem’s mouth. Hogan bails to the floor and lights up Boss Man with some punches and Slick gets some more abuse as well. Back in the ring, Hogan goes for a slam and that’s not happening right now. Akeem lands some clubbing blows to the back, but misses a splash in the corner. Hogan bounces Akeem from buckle to buckle and then more right hands. He hits a running clothesline, but Akeem won’t fall. Boss Man gets on the apron and eats another shot and then a second clothesline sends Akeem to the mat. Hogan goes to the arm, but Akeem pulls the hair to get Hogan to the mat. The crowd is crazy for this as you would expect. Hogan fights back to his feet and knocks Akeem down again with an elbow and then sends him into Boss Man, who was back on the apron. Hogan mocks Akeem’s dancing and pulls the beard. Hogan goes for the running clothesline, but Akeem pulls the ref in the way and Hogan is screwed. Boss Man immediately enters and Hogan gets abused with the night stick. The crowd immediately starts looking down the aisle, but Savage is fine watching backstage as he has faith in Hogan. Liz finally bails as Hogan eats splash after splash. We cut to the back where she is running down the hall looking for Savage and we head to a break.

-We get 60 seconds of commercials on Peacock, so the match times will likely be off.

-Akeem is ready to come off the middle rope as we head to the back where Liz is begging Randy to help, but Savage is sure Hogan will be fine. Akeem missed whatever he was going for, as back in the ring Hogan has started to Hulk-up. Boss Man and Slick get ran into each other on the floor and Hogan dances some more in the ring. Back in the ring Hogan gets the big boot and gets a slam. He goes for the leg, but Boss Man gets in a night stick shot for the DQ at 9:12.

Winner: Hulk Hogan via DQ at 9:12
-This was all just to set-up next month which set-up WrestleMania V where Vince MADE ALL THE MONEY. Hogan basically dominated both men and their manager and Savage was correct in his belief that his partner could handle things himself. Crowd loved the match and I am sucker for Hogan matches from this era. *1/2

-Liz enters to try to save Hogan, but Boss Man slaps a pair of cuffs on her and that is what finally brings Savage in for the save. Boss Man and Akeem bail as Savage has a chair. Jesse is quick to point out that Savage didn’t make the save until Liz was in danger. Savage then seems annoyed as he sees Liz trying to help Hogan. Again, Jesse is all over this as he notes he smells a rat and there is something up with The Mega Powers. Yeah, Vince’s bank account!

-Honky Tonk Man is backstage at the pink curtains with Gene. Tonight he gets his return match against The Ultimate Warrior. Jimmy Hart makes me feel old as he notes Honky has the chance to become the first man to win back the IC Title. That doesn’t seem right and a quick check shows Pedro Morales, Don Muraco, and Tito Santana were all 2 Time IC Champions at this point.

-After HTM makes his entrance we head back to the white curtains where Ultimate Warrior gets interview time. Victory was his once and it will be again. His opponent only knows defeat and he will not deny him.

WWF Intercontinental Title: The Ultimate Warrior (c) vs. The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart)

-Bell sounds and Honky stalls on the floor. Warrior gives chase and lands a right hand. Honky stumbles up the aisle, but Warrior grabs him and gorilla presses Honky and carries him back to the ring. Back in the ring, Warrior lands a big boot and then rams Honky into Jimmy Hart. Warrior with a choke and then some chops. He gets the 10 count punch in the corner and hits a running shoulder in the corner. A splash in the corner misses and Honky gets the megaphone from Jimmy. He distracts the ref and that lets Honky land some blows with the megaphone. Jimmy chokes Warrior as Honky distracts the ref. Warrior starts to rally and lands a slam, but misses an elbow drop. Warrior blocks a shot to the buckle and then bounces Honky off the top buckle. Running clothesline followed by a splash, but Honky gets the knees up to block. Warrior easily kicks out at two and finishes with a leaping shoulder tackle at 5:06.

Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior via pin at 5:06
-This was not good, but Honky needed the rematch and Warrior got the win. Should have been a little more dominant though. 1/2*

-Back to the white curtains where Gene is interviewing a happy Slick and Twin Towers. Slick wonders how close Savage and Hogan are right now? Gene promises to find out how tight the Mega Powers are.

-Jesse Ventura is at the pink curtains and he congratulates Bobby Heenan for taking an inexperienced Red Rooster and making him undefeated. Jesse and Bobby run down Rooster’s skills, while you can see him getting annoyed. Heenan tells Rooster to not embarrass him out there tonight.

The Red Rooster vs. Tito Santana

-McMahon lets us know that Heenan is mic’d up for this match which is a first. If there is someone out there not aware, Rooster is Terry Taylor. He is playing a no name, no talent wrestler that is being taken to the top by Heenan. He is also undefeated at this point. Tito controls early as Heenan is losing it on the outside. He seeks out advice from George Steinbrenner at ringside and he recommends firing Rooster. Heenan lets Rooster know that he is cooking. Tito fires back with right hands and Heenan wants the ref to stop that. Good stuff here as Heenan yells for Rooster to hook the tights, and when he doesn’t, Tito turns the tide which angers Heenan. Tito connects with a backdrop and looks for a figure-four, but Rooster stops that. Heenan pulls Rooster out to the floor and yells at him and shoves him a couple times. Rooster shoves Heenan back and Bobby backs then as he is one to do.

-60 seconds of Peacock commercials!

-Back with Rooster trying a suplex to the floor, but Tito reverses and brings Rooster in with a suplex that gets two. Santana sets too early on a backdrop and Rooster punts him in the face. Rooster drops a knee for a two count. Heenan: “Can’t you count?” Backbreaker gets a two count. Heenan: “Can’t you do anything?” Tito escapes a suplex and gets a small package for two. Backslide gets two! Tito runs into a boot in the corner and sticks Tito with a SWANK piledriver for two. Tito fights back, but Rooster goes to the eyes and he hits a middle rope stun-gun. Heenan wants this one over, but Tito has other ideas as he fires back with right hands. Clothesline sends Rooster over the top to the floor and Heenan fires him back in the ring in disgust. Rooster yells at Heenan which lets Tito get a roll-up for the pin at 8:28.

Winner: The Red Rooster via pin at 8:28
-There were shades of a decent match in there, but it was all about the angle between Heenan and Rooster. Another match on this show building towards WrestleMania. *1/4

-Rooster tells Heenan he doesn’t need him anymore, so Heenan slaps him in the face. Bobby then begs for forgiveness, but Rooster punches him in the face and Bobby starts bouncing all over the ring. Rooster slaps Heenan around a little more and fires him shoulder first into the corner. One more right hand sends Heenan flying over his heels and he finally bails to the floor.

-Gene is back at the pink curtains with newcomer, Mr. Perfect. Perhaps, Heenan should manage him. Probably have good chemistry together!

Mr. Perfect vs. Koko B. Ware (w/ Frankie)

-Battle of Hall of Famers! Perfect wrestling just in a pair of tights without the straps looks weird. A dropkick sends Perfect to the floor, but he comes back with some good aggression as he fires off shots in the corner. Koko back with an arm-drag and then he fires up the crowd. Another lock-up and Perfect hooks a side headlock. They do a sweet sequence where they run the ropes and Koko ends up with another arm-drag. Perfect lands a shot to the back and sends Koko head first into the corner, which doesn’t do anything, so Perfect hits an elbow to the head. Standing dropkick sends Koko to the floor. Back in the ring Koko gets a clothesline, but misses what would become a Bronco Buster in the corner. Perfect-plex finishes at 3:08.

Winner: Mr. Perfect via pin at 3:08
-Just a way to get Perfect on the show and debut his new finisher. This worked! SQUASH

-Gene is in the locker room with The Mega Powers and Liz. Hogan says when someone messes with one of them, they have to mess with the other. Hogan credits Savage for being there to save him and Elizabeth. They breathe the same air, drink the same water, and sleep the same sleep. I chuckle as Hogan says Savage felt all the pain he felt and Savage goes off saying he felt a shock of electric every time Hogan got splashed. These two are great and I can’t stop smiling. My two favorite wrestlers of all time! They do the Mega Powers HANDSHAKE OF EPICNESS! See, all is right in the world. I am sure this partnership will last forever.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Average
The 411
Not a great in ring show by any stretch, but this was putting in the work to set up things coming down the line. It also freed Warrior of The Honky Tonk Man so he could move on to someone else and gave us a blow-off for Bass/Beefcake. Just an easy show to watch and the in ring action on this show would only get better the rest of the year.