wrestling / Video Reviews

Saturday Night’s Main Event (11.25.1989) Review

August 19, 2020 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Hulk Hogan Saturday Night's Main Event 5-27-1989
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Saturday Night’s Main Event (11.25.1989) Review  

-So..this is exciting. I’m not reviewing this one from WWE Network, although it’s there. My parents would not allow me to stay up late to watch Saturday Night’s Main Event because we had church in the morning, planting the seed that would eventually lead me to abandon organized religion. So I recorded this one on our VCR and I’ve kept the video after all these years. So here now as aired on WTAP that night is the original broadcast of Saturday Night’s Main Event.

-Cold open promos: Ultimate Warrior hopes Andre knows the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Bobby Heenan warns Warrior that Andre the Giant isn’t a fairy tale. Dusty Rhodes wants to teach Boss Man a lesson in justice. Slick WINS the cold open promo montage hands down by calling the Boss Man “the greatest crimefighter since du-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh BATMAN!” The Genius has a poem for us all, and Hulk Hogan responds with a poem of his own that ends with “Whatcha gonna do…”

-It’s November 25, 1989.

-We’re in Topeka, Kansas tonight.

-Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura, whose outfit tonight is peak Jesse.

-We re-watch Andre’s surprise chokehold on Warrior back in August. Jesse talks to Andre and Bobby, who agree that Warrior shows fear any time he deals with Warrior. Andre makes a really terrifying sound with his mouth to mimic the sound of Warrior choking to death.

-During the entrance, Vince touts this as “one of the greatest championship matches we’ve ever had” and on cue, we see Andre putting his arm around Bobby Heenan for help walking up the steps. Just the sight of that got me curious so I went to Cagematch to confirm…yeah, this is the last time you’ll ever see Andre the Giant in a singles match.

-We get a rebuttal of Warrior, who breathes not fear but the air of victory.


-So right away we see the problem with having a guy who can’t call the match versus a guy who’s nearly immobile, as they just stare at each other with no idea where to start with this, until Warrior just turns his back and faces the crowd for no reason except to allow Andre to sneak up on him and choke him.

-So Andre chokes and chokes and chokes, and a headbutt sends Warrior tumbling out to the floor. Andre backs off and allows Warrior to get back in. Warrior grabs Andre’s strap and uses that to choke Andre and choke him and choke him and choke him. Warrior winds up for a big clothesline, but Andre ducks and Warrior falls out of the ring. Warrior makes it back in. Warrior keeps hooking his arm around Andre’s head like he really, really wants to try a side headlock, and Andre seems to be legit resisting every time Warrior goes for it.

-Andre tries the closest thing to a surfboard he’s physically capable of, but Warrior breaks the hold by thrusting his ass into Andre’s balls, then clotheslines him to the floor as we pause for a commercial break.

-Timex takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

-Two guys buy this abandoned warehouse, but when they use magic spraypaint, it transforms into a bar. They need customers, so one of them pours out a bucket of white paint that forms a Wile E. Coyote-style magic hole in the floor and a group of ladies in snug-fitting dresses emerge, and judging from the hair product visible in this ad, these ladies are about to form their own Wile E. Coyote-style magic hole in the Ozone layer.

-PARTNERSHIP FOR A DRUG-FREE AMERICA! Oh my god, it’s the first commercial break of the night and they couldn’t sell the full two minutes of ad time? That’s not good.

-Clifton Davis of “Amen” reminds you not to join a gang. The more you know…

-Back from commercial, Andre is still on the floor as this referee was doing the slowest ten-count in wrestling history. Andre finally makes it back in and Warrior locks on a bearhug. Andre breaks it with a headbutt and applies his own bearhug. Warrior throws Bart & Lisa-style windmill punches trying to break it, so Andre just headbutts him in the stomach. Warrior fights back with some Flair-style chops, getting some impressive sound from Andre’s chest, and a big clothesline knocks Andre into the ropes and gets him tangled up.

-Warrior hits the ropes and charges as Andre, but Andre raises a big boot and Warrior is splayed out on the mat sucking wind. So Warrior is in pain and Andre is being untangled by the referee, Bobby Heenan, for no visible reason, grabs the title belt and runs in to take a shot at Warrior, getting Andre DQed. Warrior fights back and press slams Heenan onto Andre as the referee calls for the bell, and even Jesse Ventura points out that there was no sensible reason for Bobby Heenan to do what he did. Really, the booking they did at Survivor Series two nights ago was the correct booking here, as Warrior should have just hit the ring and clotheslined the hell out of Andre until Andre tumbled out to the floor and couldn’t get his wind back in time to re-enter the ring. Short, Warrior would look like a bad ass, and Andre doesn’t have to get pinned. Instead we got seven minutes of zero chemistry with a finish that didn’t make any sense. And there it was, your Wrestling Observer worst match of 1989. 0 for 1.

-Jesse Ventura talks to The Genius, who has ANOTHER poem for us, holding his nose for a Hulk Hogan impression in the middle of it.

-Hulk Hogan cuts his promo in the form of a long, complicated math problem, but it doesn’t come anywhere NEAR the bar set by Scott Steiner.

-Sean Mooney shows us a highlight reel of Hulk Hogan’s match against the Honky Tonk Man earlier in the year.

-Smokey Bear reminds us that only we can prevent forest fires. I’m pretty sure the kid in this spot is Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Remember JTT, everyone?

-Next, the Ad Council reminds you that the National Guard and Reserve OH MY GOD, DID THEY SELL ANY ACTUAL ADVERTISING FOR THIS SHOW?


-Genius offers a left-handed handshake and we get a duel where Genius keeps trying to offer handshakes and Hulk sticks out the wrong hand each time. Genius switches tactics, adjusting his kneepads to stall for time, then trying to prompt Hogan to chase him. They finally lock up, and Hogan just rears back and shoves Genius so hard that he flies straight through the ropes to the floor. Referee Earl Hebner has a funny non-plussed reaction to that, and Genius gets right up from the floor and announces “I’m fine!”

-Back in, Hogan slams the Genius a few times. Hulk sends Genius into the ropes for a big boot, hoping to make this a quick night, but Genius slides out to the floor to avoid the boots, and in the highlight of the match, Genius grabs his scroll and writes a mathematical equation on it, concluding that “310/6’8″<313√543/313 = HULK DOWN!" and satisfied with that calculation, he heads back in the ring to finish the match.

-Hulk looks irked at how much time the Genius is wasting. They lock up and Genius armdrags him, then stops everything to celebrate with some ballet. And then Genius gives Hulk one HELL of a slap across the face. Hulk seems to be seeing red for a bit, but then calms down, leans back in the ropes, and basically lets Genius have the ring all to himself. So Genius does a gymnastics exhibition for a bit until Hulk winds up and beheads him with a clothesline. Hulk does a little dance to mimic the Genius after each offensive move and drops a series of elbows on him…

-And a concerned Mister Perfect suddenly shows up to check on his advisor. Hulk tries to keep his focus while Perfect picks up the WWF Title belt and declares that since the champion isn't perfect, the belt isn't perfect, so he pulls the gum out of his mouth and mashes it over the front plate. Hulk sees this and goes to the floor to do something about it, but Genius sneaks out and rams him into the post.

-Back in, Genius tries to finish with a moonsault, but Hulk kicks out at two, and Genius' reaction to the Hulk-up is the best thing about this match, literally gasping and covering his mouth like he just saw a mouse. Hulk rakes the back repeatedly like the hero he is, then bodyslams Genius over the top rope and straight down to the floor, which was a pretty hardcore spot for 1989.

-Hulk heads out to the floor to throw Genius back inside and get the pin, but once he's rolled the Genius back in, Perfect swiftly grabs the title belt again and smacks Hulk right across the skull with it, knocking him out, and he did it fast enough that the referee didn't see a thing. Hulk gets counted out, and Lanny Poffo gets his arm raised for the most surprising ending of 1989. 1 for 2. Barely a match, more of a little tale of Genius and Perfect irritating the shit out of Hulk until they finally found an opening to steal the match from him. But it was surprising, it made sense, it advanced the Hulk/Perfect feud…I liked it.

-Sidebar, Lanny Poffo has a great locker room story about this night, as the rest of the heels in the locker room were just completely dismayed that Lanny, of all people, was the chosen one who was actually going to get a win over Hulk Hogan on NBC, so Rick Rude gets in Lanny's face and says, "Isn't it true that you're only getting this win because you're the Macho Man's brother?" Lanny looked Rude square in the eye and responded, "Yes, that's true." And Rude just stares at him and then walks away without saying another word, because he wasn't expecting Lanny to admit that.

-Big Boss Man and Slick promise that "Husky Toes" will be subjected to Boss Man Law: Feel the pain, the whole pain, and nothing but the pain.

-Mean Gene welcomes Dusty for his first SNME match, and Dusty tells us that he's the common man who can lead the common people.

-Hell yeah, Burger King paid for 30 seconds of advertising! It's an ad set at a military base, and that's pre-"In Living Color" David Alan Grier playing a radar technician.

-An atrocious ad for Bugle Boy Jeans featuring a monkey in a suit.

-And holy shit, here's Jamie Foxx in a spot for the United Negro College Fund!

-Partnership for a Drug-Free America again…okay, honestly, I can understand why NBC's enthusiasm for this show might have been waning, the balance of actual commercials vs. public service announcements here is NOT good.

Top Gun on NBC, tomorrow night!

-The 1990 Lincoln Towncar…”Finally, a real commercial!” you might be saying. TV advertising has these things called makegoods; basically, you promise your sponsor that the show they’re advertising on will get at least a certain rating, and if the show gets less than that rating, the sponsor gets a free commercial on another show. I would bet money that this is a makegood because there is no way Lincoln was buying advertising on WWF wrestling in 1989.

-The Money Market: The bank with a supermarket in the lobby!


-Dusty demands that Slick leave the building, so Slick goes into his wallet and produces his manager’s license to prove that he has the right to be at ringside, so there’s a nice detail for you. Managers need licenses.

-Dusty gets distracted by Slick and Boss Man attacks with knees to the shoulder. Slick chokes Dusty while he has an opening, but gets distracted by that devoted Dusty Rhodes fan that we’ve seen before.

-Dusty chases Slick around ringside but it’s a ploy for a sneak attack again. Back in the ring, Boss Man stays on the arm, but Dusty has one good arm left after all the punishment so he just fights Boss Man with one arm. Boss Man shakes off the offense and drapes Dusty over the ropes for the Boss Man leg drop. He tells Slick to get the nightstick, preparing for imminent victory, but Slick and Boss Man get distracted by the sassy woman at ringside again, and Dusty sneaks up and rolls Boss Man for the three-count. Boss Man is pissed at Slick for screwing up, an omen of things to come, and Dusty pulls his fan into the ring to dance with her post-match. 2 for 3. This was fine.


-This match feels like a mistake because Hulk vs. Genius ended with Genius and Perfect stole the title belt and ran away plotting some kind of diabolical scheme, so having them come back out for another match kind of leaves this weird cloud hanging where you’re wondering “Why doesn’t Hulk just come back out?”

-501 Jeans! That’s a lot of jeans!

-Stay in school, says Clifton Davis! The more you know….

-Tip O’Neill and William F. Buckley with a message for the US Space Foundation.

-And then they lock up. Perfect and Rooster, that is.

-Rooster gets the early edge and almost has the chicken wing applied right away, but he’s too close to the ropes. Perfect blocks the hold and suplexes him. Perfect snaps the neck while The Genius gives Gorilla Monsoon a run for his money, telling the camera exactly which vertabrae were targeted.

-Rooster fights back, faceplanting Perfect for a two-count. He goes for a hiptoss but Perfect blocks it, clotheslines Rooster, and finishes with the Perfect-plex. The Perfect Record lives another day. 3 for 4. Fine for what it was, but this would have been a much different match two years ago.

-Vince McMahon provides a little clarity from two nights ago, as the official kayfabe story here is that Tully Blanchard didn’t show up for the Survivor Series due to an argument with Bobby Heenan, forcing Bobby to wrestle the match in his place.

-Gene Okerlund tries to interview Bobby Heenan and the Brain Busters, but they’re in a huge argument, with Bobby emphasizing that Arn & Tully need to think about the FAMILY and listen to him more. Arn fires back and says that they would have lost the Tag Team Titles anyway with the advice that Heenan was trying to give them for that match. Tully says that Heenan only cares about them in as much as he likes being able to brag about managing the champions–he doesn’t actually care about THEM.

2 OUT OF 3 FALLS: ROCKERS vs. BRAIN BUSTERS (with Bobby Heenan)

-Again, I really do find myself feeling genuinely bummed out about the end of the Brain Busters here. They were just intelligent, good wrestlers, which made them a breath of fresh air and unique characters in the company.

-Also, Burger King.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation opens Friday at a theater near you!

-Give blood today!

-The Ad Council’s Give Five campaign. We can improve our communities if we all pledge to give five percent of our income. Sounds like what we’re giving is communism, Ad Council.

-FALL ONE: Tully Blanchard and Marty Janetty start. Janetty dropkicks and armdrags Blanchard for their last tag team match in the company, and I’m sure 31 years later Tully looks at himself and Marty in the ring and he’s like, “Really, I was the problem?”

-Tully tries elbow drops but he misses every one of them. Janetty ends up on the floor, where he fights off both Busters and slingshots himself back in the ring, over Tully, and goes for a sunset flip. Arn reaches in and grabs Tully’s wrists to try to provide leverage, but Shawn Michaels leapfrogs over all the bodies and lands on Arn’s arms, breaking his grip and causing Tully to fall backward into the sunset flip for the three-count, giving the first fall to the Rockers.

-So Heenan’s head absolutely explodes at the Busters losing the first fall and losing it so damn fast, and he heads into the ring and tears them a pair of new assholes, finishing up by shoving Tully. Tully gives him a death stare and Bobby immediately backs off and retreats to the floor…

FALL TWO: So the Rockers pick up right where they left off, clearing the ring with superkicks, and the camera cuts to Bobby Heenan, who is now in the aisle instead of at ringside.

-Arn gets get in the ring as Bobby screams “I’m finished!” and walks back to the locker room. Double dropkicks by the Rockers clear the ring again as this match is just a disaster for the Busters. Heenan stops to take one last look at the Busters, then disgustedly goes through the curtain, never to return.

-And then curiously, the moment the Busters are gone, they actually get some offense going. Arn distracts Marty and the referee turns his back to get Marty under control. Shawn goes for a flying headscissors at that moment, and Arn yanks him by the hair and just snaps his neck over the top rope, and Tully gets the three-count to tie the match.

-The Rolling Stones for Budweiser!

-Akeem Olaijuwan for L.A. Gear, which just happens to be selling a red, white, and black sneaker for use on the basketball court.

-Don’t use pot.

-Cliff Clavin warns us not to drop out of school. The more you know.

-Grandpa’s After-Church Nap. Otherwise known as televised golf, tomorrow on NBC.

-Rally’s! Now open at the Grand Central Mall!

-Oh my god, Pastor Gas himself, Reverend Robert Tilton, encourages us to tune into “Success ‘N Life” weekdays at 5:30 a.m. on channel 15! If you have a day off, give yourself eight hours to watch an amazing documentary on YouTube about this guy’s church and his absolutely cartoonish fall from grace. It’s called “Gospel of Greed.”

-We return with Jesse Ventura talking to Bobby Heenan backstage, and Bobby just drives a backhoe over the Busters, describing them as the worst tag team he’s ever managed and saying they might as well be homeless. They aren’t welcome in the Heenan Family anymore.

-FALL THREE: Spinebuster by Arn gets a two-count when Marty Janetty rescues his partner. Arn slingshots him into the Busters’ corner and Tully clotheslines him down. Tully throws Shawn out to the floor as the Busters are suddenly on a roll without Bobby Heenan there. Front facelock by Arn. Shawn tries to walk to his corner while caught in the move, but Arn cuts off the hot tag. Arn releases the hold and throws a punch, Marty punches back, and Arn’s head snaps back and collides with Shawn’s head, so they knock each other out, basically.

-So everybody tags and Marty cleans house. All four men brawl, and for a burial of the Brain Busters, the finish here is perfect. Tully and Shawn spill out to the floor and Tully manages to fight Shawn off enough that Tully can scurry up to the top rope for the spike piledriver, a move which, for 14 months, has depended on Bobby Heenan supplying extra distraction from the floor for them to pull it off properly. Well, with Bobby Heenan gone, there’s nobody distracting Shawn, so Shawn just follows Tully up there, knocks him off the top rope, and before Arn can lift Marty into position, Shawn flies off and bodypresses Arn for the three-count. 4 for 5. Busters looked rather strong for the last few minutes of that send-off.

-So, funny thing about being seven and watching this originally, without knowledge of newsletters, and knowing only what we saw on WWF TV every week and nothing more–I interpreted this whole thing as a Brain Busters face turn. They got a raw deal in the match where they lost the titles (the referee counted the wrong man) but then Heenan turned around and blamed THEM. Heenan buried them in that interview between falls, but during the argument in the ring, as soon as Tully looked ready to stand up for himself, Heenan cowered away. The Busters wrestled a better match without Heenan around, which, I might add, was exactly what happened in the March 1989 Rockers/Busters match on SNME–the moment Heenan was gone, the Busters did better. I didn’t think the Brain Busters were leaving the company–I thought that we were building to Brain Busters vs. Colossal Connection at Wrestlemania.

-And now, a legendary scene, with the Genius prancing and singing around the interview area while Mr. Perfect is on the floor with a hammer smashing the title belt. No title belt will ever be perfect until Mr. Perfect is wearing it, so he vows to destroy every title belt that Hulk tries to wear to replace it until the right man has the belt.

-Burger King!


-Cocaine!…Wait, the ad is actually AGAINST cocaine. My mistake.

-We return from commercial with Gene Okerlund presenting Hulk with the shattered remains of the belt…Hulk is emotional as he tells Mr. Perfect that destroying the belt doesn’t destroy what it stands for. No more Perfect Record. All that remains is perfect defeat.

-501 jeans!

-The dad from Clarissa Explains It All feels better with Benadryl Plus Nighttime Formula!

-Join the Peace Corps!

-Update: Cocaine is still bad.

-Jesse Ventura’s predictions for 1990: Hulkamania will fall just like the Iron Curtain, and the 1990s will be a perfect decade.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
1989 wrestling sure is fun.