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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event 03.11.89

December 18, 2023 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWE Saturday Night's Main Event 3-11-89 Hulk Hogan Miss Elizabeth Randy Savage Image Credit: WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event 03.11.89  

-We continue along our journey through 1989. Next up will be Clash if Champions and WrestleMania V. I reviewed WM V 15 years ago, but I think it may re-do the show because I want to watch Hogan/Savage again. We are nearing the end of the year, so I will take a short break from this series so I can get my 2023 countdown of every match from Main Event and Level Up finished. 

-Quick story as this show takes place from The Hershey Park Arena. I have been to that Arena twice in my life and both times left bummed because I watched my high school alma mater lose the Pennsylvania High School Basketball Championship. Once in 2000 to Chester (led by future NBA star, Jameer Nelson), and again in 2002 to Harrisburg. I was excited to see the arena because I knew of it’s history with WWF. With that stated, let’s get to it!

-Announce Team: Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
-Location: Hershey Park Arena, Hershey, PA
-Attendance: 9000
-Air Date: 03.11.89 (Taped: 02.16.89)
-Rating on NBC: 10.0

-Jesse Ventura cuts off Vince McMahon every time he tries to tell us what’s to come tonight in a funny gag. Wonder if there was any story behind Ventura wearing a Yale t-shirt?

-Mean Gene Okerlund is backstage by the pink curtains with Rick Rude and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Their goal is to get rid of Brutus Beefcake to help wrestling’s image.

-Mean Gene is at the silver curtains now with Brutus Beefcake. It seems Heenan is all hot air like a hair dryer. It’s all about the cuttin and struttin!

”Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake

-For some reason the sound gets wonky during Rude’s entrance and it kind of muffles the crowd under Vince and Jesse. Slow start as we wait for Beefcake to take off his robe and put away his clippers. The women actually scream for Beefcake so he shakes his ass. Some say The Booty Man was born that day! Beefcake controls early with a backdrop and Rude backs to the corner. Brutus follows it and gets the mounted punches in the corner which gets the crowd going. Rude misses a punch and Beefcake gets the sleeper, but Rude is able to force a break near the corner. Rude gets his head bounced off the buckle and more punching. This time Rude walks out and hits a sweet reverse atomic drop. For those wondering, Rude’s green tights have Warrior’s face on the back. Rude with a knee to the gut and now he gets to throw some right hands and forearms. Nice snap suplex gets two! Rude hooks a reverse chinlock as Jesse lectures Vince on never being in the ring and thus has no knowledge. That would certainly change! Hey, Andre The Giant is on the his way down too the ring and he says something to Heenan. Beefcake is making a comeback and gets his own reverse atomic drop and Rude sells it like only Rude can. Rude gets a reverse in the corner and smartly sends Beefcake to the floor where Andre is waiting. Andre just squashes Beefcake and then gets the choke, but here comes Jake “The Snake” Roberts for the save and the ref calls for the bell at 5:45.

Winner: Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake via DQ at 5:45
-Not much here as it was mainly for the angle as they built towards WrestleMania. The match was fine otherwise. Andre destroying fools in a match he isn’t part of, was fun though. **

-Rude and Andre double team Jake for a bit until Beefcake is able to pull Rude away. Another atomic drop and a clothesline sends Rude to the floor. Beefcake then goes after Andre and that’s pretty stupid. Andre beats the piss out of him, so Big John Studd if here to make the save. The have a stare down and the crowd goes crazy. Jake slides Damian into the ring, and Andre bails out of fear. This was all great stuff as they tied a bunch of stories together and the crowd ate up all of it.

-Hogan cuts a promo and it sounds like his voice is gone. Sickness?

-Jesse Ventura is backstage with Bad News Brown and the story is that Bad News is accusing Miss Elizabeth of doing favors for Jack Tunney to benefit Hogan. Randy Savage has not defended Liz’s honor, but Hogan is ready to do so. Brown blames Liz for splitting the Mega Powers and says Hogan is now between him and his Title shot.

-Gene is backstage at the white curtain with Hulk Hogan and Miss Elizabeth. Hogan is rather pissed considering what happened with Savage and now the accusations of Bad News. Man, Hogan’s voice is just gone here. He looks kind of sick as well as this promo didn’t have the energy you usually get from him.

Bad News Brown vs. Hulk Hogan

-Hogan holds the ropes open for Elizabeth like a true gentleman. Ventura notes this is Bad News’ biggest match to date. Truth! Brown catches Hogan with a bunch of right hands to start and uses his boot to choke Hogan on the mat. Hogan starts selling like a champ and eats an uppercut. Elbow drop misses and then another misses. Hogan blocks a right and starts firing off right hands. Bad News flops through the ropes and hits the floor. Hogan follows and lands a right hand before heading back into the ring. Brown yells at some fans so Hogan slings him into the ring as Ventura notes Bad News made a mistake there. Hogan gets a shoulder block and hits a running clothesline. He drops a series of elbows and connects with the big boot. No leg drop as he opts to send Brown into the top buckle. Brown no sells and catches Hogan with a head-butt. Cool! Brown charges in the corner, but gets caught with a boot. Hogan gets an atomic drop and we head to the floor again. Hogan sends Bad News into the railing, so Brown goes to the eyes. Hogan gets sent into the post and Bad New tries to land a right, but Hogan ducks and Brown catches the post. Brown grabs a chair, but Hogan ducks and Brown gets hit in the head. Brown then hits himself to show it has no effect. Brown searches under the ring and can’t find what he wants, so he opts to head to the back. I wonder if that was a rib on Brown, where they took whatever he was looking for away? Brown is back with a snow shovel and we head to a commercial!

-60 seconds of Peacock commercials here!

-Back with Brown still trying to get to the ring with the shovel. Hogan is down to meet him and sends Brown into the ring. Heavy right hands from Hogan in the corner, but Brown sprints out from the corner with a running clothesline. Brown sends Hogan head first into the canvas and we get some more right hands. Another head butt and Hogan crumbles to the mat. Slam from Bad News and he hits HOGAN WITH A LEG DROP! Hogan kicks out with some power at two, so Bad News kicks him in the gut. They head to the floor again and Hogan gets sent into the apron. Bad News goes after Liz, which lets Hogan recover, but Brown sends him shoulder first into the post. Back in the ring Bad News gets a Side Russian Leg Sweep for two, but Hogan is able to get his leg under the bottom rope. Brown slugs away some more and then asks for a mic. He tells the crowd to look at their hero, who is crawling like a dog. He announces it’s time for The Ghetto Blaster and not surprisingly, Hogan ducks out of the way. Even Jesse notes Bad News made a rather dumb choice there. Hogan starts hulking up and the crowd is losing it. Hogan hits a high knee and drops a leg for the pin at 11:02.

Winner: Hulk Hogan via pin at 11:02
-This was great and just fun! A different kind of match for Hogan as it was a fight and even the finishing sequence was different as the big boot came earlier in the match instead of at the end. Hogan was pissed at Savage turning and Bad News’ accusations, so he brought the fight tonight. If Hogan was under the weather, it didn’t keep him from delivering a darn fine match. Credit to Bad News as well as he made the most of this spot. ***3/4

-Hogan celebrates with Liz as Jesse wants to throw up!

-Randy Savage is pacing and grunting outside Miss Elizabeth’s dressing room door.

-Gene is at the pink curtains with Ted Dibiase and Virgil. Ted shows off the Million Dollar Belt and Gene rains on his parade saying Jack Tunney is not recognizing the title.

-To the silver curtains where Gene is with The Blue Blazer. He plans to use his speed and aerial arsenal to get the win.

Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil) vs. The Blue Blazer

-Blazer does his back flip off the top into the ring and Dibiase immediately mows him down with a clothesline. Smart! Dibiase shows some great aggression here as he beats Blazer out of his robe. He showboats a bit too much though and gets caught with a small package for two and then another. Dibiase back with another clothesline and he comes off the middle ropes with a double axe. Jesse tells Vince not be jealous because he doesn’t have a million dollar belt. Blazer lands on his feet off a backdrop and hits a dropkick that sends Dibiase to the floor. Blazer catches Dibiase with a dive through the ropes and unloads with right hands. He pitches Ted back into the ring and comes off the top with a cross-body for two. Dibiase begs off, but Blazer gets a backdrop and a pair of dropkicks. Forearms from Blazer gets a two count. Dibiase catches Blazer and powers him into a power slam for the pin at 3:57.

Winner: Ted Dibiase via pin at 3:57
-Way too short but they packed in a good bit for four minutes. Blazer got to show off a bit, but got caught and Dibiase gets the win. **1/2

-Gene brings out Miss Elizabeth (using Macho’s music and in a different dress than earlier in the show) to announce whether she will be in the corner of Macho or Hogan at WrestleMania. Man, is she beautiful! Gene hounds her until she gives an answer and says she will not be in Hogan’s corner. Savage is out and celebrates as Liz will still be with The Champion after WrestleMania. Gene wants to hear it from Elizabeth, and he stands up to Savage. Liz says she won’t be in Savage’s corner either and he lifts up her chin, which brings out Hogan. He tells Savage he will wait until WrestleMania to take his head off and he will take back what’s his: The WWF Championship. Jesse calls Liz a two-timer for not making a decision and accuses her of going off with the winner. Have I mentioned how much I love this feud?

-Gene at the pink curtain with The Brain Busters and Bobby Heenan. They are the finest team and are going over The Rockers!

-Gene is now at the silver curtains with The Rockers. This is the match they have been waiting for as they want the world to see. When they are good, they’re good, but when they’re bad they are better.

The Brain Busters (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. The Rockers

-Arn decks Shawn from behind and sends him to the floor. In the ring Tully tries a slingshot suplex, but Marty escapes. Tully gets a roll-up, but Shawn comes off the top to break and everyone starts fighting in the ring. The Rockers get the advantage and clear the ring. Shawn and Arn start proper and Arn heads up, but gets slammed down as I assume he was honoring Ric Flair there. Tully tries to come off the top, but Shawn catches him with a punch to the gut. All four men back in and The Rockers clear the ring again. Shawn brings Tully in from the apron with a suplex. They battle in the corner and Shawn gets a hip-toss followed by a flying head scissors. Tully bails and Arn gets the tag. He controls with a side headlock and mows Shawn down with a shoulder. Shawn catches him with a drop toe-hold, but Arn catches him and makes the tag to Tully. Heenan pulls the rope down and Shawn crashes to the floor. Heenan lays in the boots as well, which is kind of cool! The ref catches him though and sends Bobby back to the dressing room. The ref starts a ten count and Heenan has no choice, but to leave.

-60 seconds of Peacock commercials!

-Back with Marty and Tully in the ring. They trade punches and Marty gets an atomic drop, but Arn made a blind tag. He drops Marty with a clothesline! Arn sends Marty into Tully’s knee. Tully back in and he nearly gets caught with a sunset flip, but Arn makes the save and decks Shawn for good measure. He distracts Shawn and the ref as Tully sends Marty to the floor and drops an elbow. Marty gets another sunset-flip, but Arn made the blind tag again. Tully in and we get a reversal sequence that ends with Marty getting a backslide for two. Marty jumps for the tag, but Tully stops him and makes the tag to Arn. He plants Marty with a spinebuster, but Shawn makes the save. Arn tries a Vader Bomb, but Marty gets the knees up and this crowd is rocking with them. The race is on and Tully gets the tag, but he is too late to stop the tag being made to Shawn. He runs wild and takes out both Busters. He tries a suplex, but Tully flips over to get a sunset-flip. Arn hits a clothesline to send him over, but Marty makes the save. All four men brawl on the floor and we have a double count-out at 9:40.

Double Count-Out at 9:40
-This was awesome and really deserved a finish. Perhaps they were building to the blow-off at Mania, but that didn’t happen obviously as they each faced different teams there. ****

-They aren’t done though and start brawling in the ring again. The Rockets hit Tully with a double dropkick and then Shawn sends Arn back with a dropkick as well.

-Recap of Heenan’s issues with The Red Rooster. Heenan slaps Rooster on an episode of Prime Time and The Brooklyn Brawler decks him with a wooden stool. Monsoon even gets hit as well as he was going after Heenan. Rooster gets slammed through a locker for good measure.

-Jesse is at the pink curtain with The Brooklyn Brawler and The Red Rooster. Heenan calls Rooster a nobody and notes, Brawler is a bigger and better nobody. Heenan: “Just do what I tell you, and you will make a lot of money.”

-Gene is at the white curtains with The Red Rooster. Rooster notes he is someone and doesn’t need Heenan around. He does his rooster call and heads to the ring.

The Brooklyn Brawler (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. The Red Rooster

-Rooster gets Heenan at Mania, so this is just to help build to that. Heenan is also mic’d for this one and Rooster gets a small package for the win at 1:06 before anything else of note happens.

Winner: The Red Rooster via pin at 1:06
-Basically a match as an angle to get a little more heat on Rooster/Heenan. DUD

-Heenan and Brawler attack, but Rooster fights Brawler off, so Heenan bails.

-To the dressing room as Randy Savage is broken up about Liz not being in his corner. He doesn’t need anyone as he is the champion. He nearly tears his ACL destroying the place and boy would that have been a disaster. Knowing Savage, he would have shot his knee up with pain killers and whatever else he could find, hobbled out there and did what he needed to do.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Another fantastic show for the WWF in this spot. Hogan/Brown and Rockers/Busters are two of the better matches in the history of the show. The rest was fine and was just setting the table for WrestleMania. Add in the continued Mega Powers saga and this adds up to a great show. 1989 is off to a hot start for Vince and company.