wrestling / Video Reviews

The Name on the Marquee: Saturday Night’s Main Event (1.7.89)

December 25, 2018 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: Saturday Night’s Main Event (1.7.89)  

-Cold open promos: The Ultimate Warrior guarantees ultimate victory! The Honky Tonk Man promises to be the ultimate challenger! Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake calls Ron Bass a bushwhacker in a weird moment! Slick and Akeem promote a message of brotherhood and honor! Hulk Hogan knows that Akeem is only getting in the ring because the Big Boss Man and his nightstick couldn’t get the job done!

-Originally aired January 7, 1989.

-We’re in the Sun Dome.

-Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura.

-Outlaw Ron Bass says he’s going to make his spurs dance on Brutus Beefcake’s head tonight.

-We recap the feud. The Outlaw was about to do something mean to a jobber, so Brutus Beefcake stopped him by knocking him out of the ring and using his shears to cut up Outlaw’s hat and whip, “in true bushwhacker fashion.” The following week, Outlaw attacked Brutus from behind, using his spurs to gently knick the forehead of the Barber, but clever placement of a giant X across the screen makes it look like a severe eye injury. Brutus Beefcake missed out on an Intercontinental Title match at Summerslam as a result of the attack.

HAIR vs. HAIR: BRUTUS “The Barber” BEEFCAKE vs. OUTLAW RON BASS
-Bass uses the handle of his whip to attack Beefcake before the bell. Beefcake manages to steal the whip from him and clears the ring, with some embarrassing fake cracking sounds dubbed in. Bass tries to get back into the ring, but Beefcake keeps blocking him. Once Bass finally gets back in, Beefcake won’t let up, unleashing a slew of fists. Funny moment with Beefcake posing for the crowd while sitting on top on the Outlaw, and Vince is all, “Uh, that’s a pin.”

-Outlaw takes control and takes an interesting approach to psychology, working the STOMACH. Forearms and elbows by Bass while Jesse speculates that Bass caught Beefcake overeating before the match. Stomachbreaker, which Jesse has never seen before, so he calls it a “backward backbreaker to the stomach.”

-Bass keeps going for the pin and picking Beefcake up at two because he wants the Barber completely KOed before he goes for the win. Joey Marella’s arm actually does come down for three, but Beefcake kicks out and there’s controversy about Marella’s count from that. Wow, continuity.

-Bass tries to finish Beefcake with a clothesline, but Beefcake ducks and clamps on the sleeper to knock out Bass and win the match. Afterward, Beefcake shaves Bass’s head, with Vince excitedly doing an impression of a bulldozer as the electric razor makes contact. Jesse says the sight of the head-shaving reminds him of “Full Metal Jacket.” I guess that would make Ron Bass Private Cowboy. Right? Am I right?

-Jesse suspects that Bass is related to Gene Okerlund after seeing the resemblance, then remarks, “I know where Brandon Tartikoff’s going for his next haircut.” Ha! Take that, guy going through chemotherapy! 1 for 1. Well, okay, nobody watches Bass/Beefcake hoping for the second coming of Jerry Brisco/other really good worker. But you know what? Psychology, no resting, kept it moving. I can’t complain with this.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Slick and the Fat Boys. Slick deems Hulk Hogan a repeat offender as an in-ring rulebreaker, so he’s bringing the Bossman to the ring to act as an independent observer.

-Gene talks with the Hulkster. Hulk Hogan knows he won’t be unmanned. Randy Savage promises to stay in the locker room and keep an eye on the match in case anything gets out of hand. Jesse questions the logic of bringing Elizabeth and leaving Randy Savage behind instead of vice versa, then thinks better of it, realizing that it would mean leaving Elizabeth alone with Gene Okerlund.

-Gene and Randy Savage watch the match from a monitor in the locker room. Randy seems annoyed when Hulk holds the rope for Liz.

-The Mountain Dew Slam of the Night salutes Demolition. They are mean and often hit people.

HULK HOGAN (with Elizabeth) vs. AKEEM (with Slick and Big Bossman)
-Hulk goes right to work, kicking Akeem’s ass, kicking Slick’s ass, bodyslamming Slick on top of Akeem and counting the pin himself, kicking Akeem’s ass, then going to the floor, kicking Bossman’s ass, and kicking Slick’s ass again.

-Akeem manages to get the upper hand fairly early but misses the avalanche and gets rammed from corner to corner. Hogan makes a comeback and knocks Bossman around a little more for good measure. Handfuls of hair turn the tide for Akeem again. Hulk makes another comeback and puts Akeem down with the axe bomber. He Irish whips Akeem into the Bossman on the apron, too. Jesse correctly points out that Bossman hasn’t provoked a bit of this so far.

-Twin Towers create a diversion and the referee gets sandwiched between Akeem and Hogan in the process. With the referee out, Akeem and Bossman go the fuck to work on Hogan. Ref’s lifeless body is just laying in the ring, so Bossman grabs him by the belt and carries him like a suitcase to the corner to get him out of the way, which is a great visual.

-Back in the locker room, Randy Savage sees the asskicking but decides not to take action because he has confidence in his Mega-Partner. Dig it! Bossman and Akeem just keep laying into Hogan, and Elizabeth has had enough, going to the locker room to beg Randy for help as we go to commercial.

-Back from the break, Elizabeth is still running, so apparently the Sun Dome is about the size of Seahaven. She finally makes it to the locker room and Savage says not to bother because Hulk will be okay.

-Back to ringside, Randy proves to be right. Hulk hulks up, kicks Akeem’s ass, kicks Bossman’s ass, and kicks Slick’s ass. Then he goes to the floor and kicks Bossman’s ass again. Then he atomic drops Slick into Bossman. Back in, he slams Akeem and goes for the legdrop, but he annoys me by bouncing off the ropes in Bossman’s area even though he’s in a position where he didn’t have to, and naturally Bossman attacks with the nightstick. This time, the referee is awake and sees it, so that’s a DQ.

-Hogan’s almost out cold and Elizabeth returns to try to do something, but she’s in dangerous territory. Bossman handcuffs her and Akeem and Slick circle like vultures, and BOOM, Savage is in the ring armed with a chair and clears the ring the moment he sees his woman in trouble. And she immediately dashes over to Hulk to see if he’s okay. You know, if you wanted to re-do this whole feud and have it culminate with HULK turning heel, it wouldn’t need much of a re-write. 1 for 2. If they were blowing off the Hogan/Bossman feud, that’d be one thing, but knowing it’s going to keep going, the “Hulk makes three guys look like little bitches and doesn’t need help until they go to drastic measures” thing left me cold. Nice way to develop Hogan/Savage though, I’ll give it that.

-Gene Okerlund talks to the Honky Tonk Man. Jimmy declares his man to be the People’s Champion.

-Ultimate Warrior says he can win this title match without the element of surprise. He’s just that much better.

INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: ULTIMATE WARRIOR (Champion) vs. HONKY TONK MAN (with Jimmy Hart)
-This feud did NOT work. It was instigated with Honky willingly declaring that he would defend his title belt and didn’t even care to learn who his opponent was. It was the Warrior, who then beat Honky cleanly and decisively in less than one minute. And if that’s how you START the feud, then where do you go with it?

-Weirdness of the night: Jimmy, Vince McMahon, and Jesse Ventura all mention that if Honky wins, he’ll become the first two-time Intercontinental Champion. Honky tries to stall, but Warrior just attacks him on the floor and press slams him into the ring. Warrior does a leapfrog and barely clears the hunched-over Honky, showing why he didn’t do that move often. Jimmy Hart takes a bump for good measure.

-Warrior keeps wailing on Honky with punches and charging. Honky dodges a charge and sneaks in a series of shots with the megaphone while Jimmy works his ref-distracting magic. Honky follows with stomps and punches. Warrior makes a mini-comeback, but Honky gets lucky and avoids an elbow. That keeps going, with Warrior making little comebacks but Honky dodging high-impact stuff. Flying tackle connects out of nowhere, though, and Warrior gets three to retain and end the feud. 1 for 3. Honestly, I would have liked it if the match had gone longer, because they stumbled into a nice bit of storytelling in the final two minutes and then got the go-home signal.

-We get words from Slick, who’s ecstatic because not only did Hulk get his ass kicked, but it looks like his friendship with Randy Savage is falling apart.

-Jesse Ventura talks to Bobby Heenan and the Red Rooster. Jesse commends Bobby Heenan for taking such a limited, mediocre wrestler and making him an undefeated star. Rooster objects to the way that he keeps getting undermined. Bobby Heenan warns Rooster not to embarrass him tonight.

TITO SANTANA vs. RED ROOSTER (with Bobby Heenan)
-Bobby Heenan is wearing a clip-on microphone to give the fans some insight about a manager’s job at ringside. Rooster completely ignores an instruction by Heenan to back away from Tito, and Tito connects with a right hand as a result, completely pissing off the Brain. He goes to ringside and finds a sympathetic ear in George Steinbrenner.

-Rooster gets the advantage with a chokehold, but Tito makes a comeback. Rooster goes for a sunset flip, but refuses to hook the tights like Heenan is telling him to, so Tito is able to break away from it. Skullcracker by Tito, followed by a backdrop, and Heenan is totally frustrated. He yanks Rooster out to the floor to scream at him for screwing up. A shoving match ensues as we go to commercial.

-Back to action with Tito suplexing Rooster for two. Rooster turns things around with knees and kicks while Vince says that Rooster could probably be better off without Heenan. Jesse can’t follow that logic since Rooster’s undefeated.

-Roll-up by Tito for two. Backslide gets another two. Rooster gets another comeback going with a piledriver for his own two-count. Stungun by Rooster and he appears to be going for a sharpshooter until Tito punches free. Rooster gets clotheslined out to the floor and Heenan tosses him back in out of spite. Rooster and Heenan argue, and Tito takes advantage of the distraction to roll up Rooster and get an easy three-count.

-Heenan’s head absolutely explodes and he heads into the ring and slaps Rooster across the face for fucking up. Fatal mistake; Rooster kicks his ass, with the mic picking up every blow in a nice touch. 2 for 4. This match told a different story than you’re used to, but it was fun to follow the tension mounting and seeing it paid off.

-Gene Okerlund talks to “Mister Perfect” Curt Hennig. Hennig’s been in the company for months now, but since this is his first SNME, Gene behave like he’s never seen Hennig in his life and asks him why he calls himself “Mister Perfect” and what this thing called the Perfect-Plex is. See, that’s smart, they know they have a bigger audience than usual for the NBC specials, so they make sure all the first-time viewers aren’t going to feel left out.

KOKO B. WARE vs. “Mister Perfect” CURT HENNIG
-They still can’t decide whether to call him by his gimmick name or his real name. Koko gets an early advantage, but Hennig just gets pissed and hammers away. Armdrag by Koko, then another. Koko is showing some life until Hennig comes back with kicks and clubbing blows. Standing dropkick by Perfect knocks Koko to the apron. Headbutts by Koko keep Hennig at bay.

-Koko misses a corner charge and hits the turnbuckle balls-first. Hennig capitalizes, getting the Perfectplex for the three-count. 2 for 5. Awfully short, and kind of weird. Koko came off looking like a much bigger star, actually, breaking out all kinds of impressive offense while Perfect stuck with punchy-kicky stuff the whole time.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Hulk and Randy, who assure us that everything is JUST FINE and the Mega-Powers are stronger than ever.

4.0
The final score: review Poor
The 411
The 411: From a match standpoint, it's a pretty underwhelming show, but it's huge for storytelling. Two feuds got blown off, Rooster turned, Mega Powers are in trouble. Necessary for completists, but as a stand-alone show, pass it.
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