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Saturday Night’s Main Event (5.27.1989) Review

September 9, 2019 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Hulk Hogan Saturday Night's Main Event 5-27-1989
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Saturday Night’s Main Event (5.27.1989) Review  

-Reposting this from a few years back. This is on WWE Network, obviously, but the review was written from an original broadcast copy.

-Hulk opens the show with a promo inside the cage, vowing no mercy and the maximum sentence tonight for the Big Bossman!

-It’s May 27, 1989.

-We’re in Des Moines, Iowa, and sponsored by Burger King.

-Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. Jesse thinks Hogan is too focused on invading Hollywood to concentrate on a title match tonight.

-We flashback to Wrestlemania V to see how Bobby Heenan interfered in the Intercontinental Title match.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Bobby Heenan and Rick Rude, who admit they break some rules, but they don’t break Rule #1: Just win.

-Cute bit of history brought up by Jesse: Ravishing Rick Rude won the Jesse the Body Award at the 1987 Slammys…and he beat the Ultimate Warrior for that.

-I have just one note to add here in 2019, now that I’m writing this in a world where thehistoryofwwe.com exists. This was actually taped BEFORE Duggan beat Haku for the crown, so unless they did some extra angle in the arena, his entrance here makes no sense to the fans in the arena.

-Duggan rides the throne to the ring, and the fans are going NUTS for him tonight. Thousands of tiny flags handed out as freebies, and by god, if you give a wrestling fan something to do with their hands, instant overness. Duggan does superhero poses with his newly obtained cape, which is funny.

-Lock-up to start and Duggan gets the early advantage and runs with it, clotheslining Rude out of the ring and suplexing him back inside. Rude mounts some offense with forearms and an axehandle from the top. Jesse notes that it’s impossible for Rude to lose the Intercontinental belt, because it’s painted on his tights at all times.

-Duggan gets a comeback with an inverted atomic drop and a piledriver, and that looks like it might finish, but Rude gets a foot on the ropes. Former King Haku shows up to bitch for a while and the match comes to a halt while officials show up to chase him back to the locker room. They just went through the summer of 1989 on Classics on Demand with the “Prime Time” reruns, and I have the same issue with the Duggan/Haku feud that I had with the Warrior/Honky feud. The first shot fired in the feud was the face defeating the heel cleanly and decisively to win a title, and if that’s how to lead off, where do you go with it? A herd of referees, including newly reinstated Danny Davis, arrives to get Haku to leave, and we pause for commercial.

-Back from the break, Rude finally has a firm upper hand and wears Duggan down pretty well, but targets Duggan’s head, which, despite Duggan’s noted whiteness, doesn’t go well for Rude. Three-point stance by Duggan connects, but it launches Rude clear out of the ring and Rude is so dazed that he can’t make it back inside, and Duggan wins by count-out. 1 for 1. Not a technical classic, but fun to watch. Duggan celebrates Memorial Day weekend with “Stars and Stripes Forever” playing instead of the king music.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. He warns Randy Savage that if he wants a rematch with Hulk Hogan, he’ll have to go through the Anvil!

-Jesse Ventura talks to Randy Savage and his new manager, Sensational Sherri. They’re on the comeback trail toward the world title.


-They circle the ring in a lock-up, with Savage getting a cheap shot when Sherri hooks the Anvil’s leg. Anvil clamps on a bearhug and Savage breaks it with a rake of the eyes. Savage chokes away at Neidhart, then distracts the referee so Sherri can apply a choke. Neidhart comesback with shoulderblocks and a clothesline for two. Standing dropkick knocks Savage out of the ring.

-Back inside, Neidhart gets a powerslam for another two and then tangles Savage in the ropes. Neidhart charges at Savage, but Sherri untangles her man and Neidhart crashes to the floor. Axehandle off the top by Savage, and he finishes soon after with the flying elbow. 2 for 2. Well, okay, it had an obvious conclusion, but getting there turned out to be fun.

-Jesse Ventura talks to the Big Bossman and Slick. I have a REALLY good copy of this episode, and what’s instantly noticeable in this promo is a big smear of make-up across one side of Bossman’s forehead, almost as if he needed to cover up a wound on his forehead for some reason. Slick promises a big surprise.

-Slick reveals his big surprise, Zeus. Vince is so shocked by this unexpected development that he immediately throws it to a clip of No Holds Barred with Zeus laying waste to Jeep Swenson.

-Hulk comes to ringside, confronts Zeus and gets hammered down by Zeus’ metal wristbands. Zeus wails in triumph and leaves. We may not even have a match now! So we pause for a commercial…

-And not just any commercial. The GREATEST COMMERCIAL EVER. We’re in Las Vegas, site of “the greatest wrestling event of all time.” It’s Lite-a-Mania! Vince McMahon and John Madden are at ringside to call the match between The Masked Marauder, who drinks Miller Lite because it’s less-filling, and Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who drinks it because it tastes great. Howard Finkel extols the greatness of the beer next, while Jesse stares at his masked opponent and asks, “Who is this guy?” To be continued…

-Back to the show. Hogan is still out of it on the floor and Bossman gets tired of waiting and drags him inside to start the match. He tears Hulk’s shirt off and chokes him out with it. Hulk shows some life with a clothesline and a series of eye rakes. Big boot for the Big Boss and Hogan starts to leave, but Bossman brings him back in and clubs him down.

-Hogan blocks Bossman’s attempted exit but runs into a spinebuster. Bossman attempts to exit over the top of the cage and nearly makes it to the floor, but Hogan grabs him by the neck and the ear and yanks him back up to the top of the cage, and in the spot that made this match famous, Hogan superplexes him from that position.

-Both men are out cold for a good while after that. Hogan shows life first and crawls to the cage door, but Bossman manages to meet him there and stops him. Back in, Slick throws a chain into the ring and Bossman chokes Hogan with it. They duel with the cage wall, trying to ram each other into it, and they manage to knock each other out again.

-They revive again and Hogan gets his hands on the chain. He lays a few punches into Bossman with the chain wrapped around his fist, and Bossman is busted open right on the side of his forehead. (It later came out that NBC didn’t get tipped off that there’d be blood in this match, and the network was pissed about it.) Hogan rams Bossman from wall to wall and starts to make his exit. Slick gets desperate and knocks out the referee so he can get in the cage and prevent the exit. Hogan fights him off, crotches Bossman on the top rope, handcuffs him to the rope, and then climbs the cage wall. Bossman makes it to the door, but he’s still handcuffed and Slick needs to revive and unlock him, so we have a race to the finish…and Hogan makes it to the floor first. 3 for 3. Very decisive and exciting end to the feud.

-Jesse Ventura talks to the Brainbusters. They credit Bobby Heenan for their success, and they’re not going to blow this opportunity. Bobby Heenan admits to one worry; he’s afraid that the Busters will contract lead poisoning from Demolition’s cheap facepaint.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Demolition. They’re ready to take “The Egg Beaters.”


-Tully tries evasive maneuvers to wear Smash out, but Smash catches up to him and winds up mowing down both Busters with clotheslines. Ax tags in and gets Arn trapped in the corner, and Demolition goes to work with double-teaming. A brawl erupts and Demolition dominates decisively.

-Tully Blanchard continues getting hammered as this is just a total Demolition squash. Ax clotheslines him over the top rope and he lands right on top of Bobby Heenan. Heenan gets so angry that against his better judgment, he tries to enter the ring, and the Busters have to hold him back. We pause for commercial.

-Back to the show, ref distraction allows Tully Blanchard to clip Smash’s knee, and finally the Busters get some offense. Busters alternate between beating on Smash and taunting Ax on the apron. Busters have cut the ring in half pretty well and any time Smash gets offense they cut him right back down. Smash and Arn KO each other and we have the slow crawl toward the hot tag. Tully sneaks over and yanks Ax off the apron to block the tag, and Ax gets totally fed up and comes in anyway. Ax is so frustrated that he throws the referee across the ring, and the Busters get the win by DQ. “Robbery!” declares Jesse. Demolition retains. 4 for 4. Demolition controlled the match way too long and it kind of took me out of it in the early going, but they redeemed it. With another five to ten minutes they could have had a classic.

-Commercials. Here’s Joe Izuzu in a modern-day twist on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

-And we go back to Lite-a-Mania! And just to really amp up the insanity, we’ve added to our cast of characters; this commercial features Mean Gene Okerlund, Superstar Billy Graham, and a rare on-camera role for The Voice of NBC, Don Pardo.

-Jesse Ventura talks to Randy Savage. With his victory tonight, he has bounced back to the number-one contender’s slot, and there’s no more running for Hulk Hogan. Oohhhhh yeah!

-Squash match to close out the night. Snuka wins in about 90 seconds. 4 for 5.

-We look at another clip of No Holds Barred. Hulk thwarts a robbery with pies, causing an easy $25,000 worth of damage to the diner that he’s saving. Do guys with guns yell “valuables” at you, generally?

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
The rating here just reflects the quality of the show. The commercials on this episode bump it to 9.5.