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Saturday Night’s Main Event (7.29.1989) Review

May 10, 2020 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Hulk Hogan Saturday Night's Main Event 5-27-1989
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Saturday Night’s Main Event (7.29.1989) Review  

-Going to dive into the batch of Prime Time Wrestling episodes that got uploaded on the Network after I had reviewed everything they had, but as it happens, there’s an episode of SNME right before the next episode, and here’s my review of that.

-Cold open promos: Randy Savage is holding a summer barbecue and he’s going to cook a big hot dog named Brutus Beefcake! Beefcake is going to make Sherri sweep up Savage’s hair with the broom she rode in on! Brainbusters are taking the belts! Demolition vows to keep their cool and keep their belts! Honky Tonk Man knows that the summer will be followed by Hulk Hogan’s fall! Hulk Hogan says this match won’t be a game of Name That Tune…Well, I already hate that match, then…

-Originally aired July 29, 1989.

-We’re in Worcester, MA.

-Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura.

-We lead off with “The Honky Tonk Man’s Greatest Hits,” a montage of guitar shots to the heads of Jake Roberts, Ultimate Warrior, Jimmy Snuka, Bret Hart, and Brutus Beefcake. Jake’s is the best-known, but the shot to Warrior looks and sounds goddamn brutal.

-Gene Okerlund talks to the Honky Tonk Man, who vows that Hulk is going to Heartbreak Hotel down at the end of Lonely Street.

-Hulk has a lot on his mind, like his hit movie, his new tag team partner, his feud with Randy Savage, and his big match next month at Summerslam, but retaining the gold is always priority #1.

WWF TITLE: HULK HOGAN (Champion) vs. HONKY TONK MAN (with Jimmy Hart)
Honky goes for a guitar shot right away. Hogan ducks and takes him out to the floor immediately. Jimmy Hart attempts an attack, and Hulk piggybacks him into the ring and smashes him in the corner. Honky tries another guitar shot and misses again. Hogan rams him from turnbuckle to turnbuckle and lays into him with an atomic drop and an elbow.

-Hogan finally tears off the shirt and Jimmy Hart winds up in the ring again to take a noggin knocker. Hogan clears the ring and heads back out to the floor. Jimmy tries another guitar shot, and his attempt actually makes contact, dropping Hulk to his knees. Interesting note from the Observer around this period, as Hogan actually ended up sitting out a few house shows after this taping due to a neck issue, so apparently Jimmy found the mark. Hogan’s back is hurt and Honky capitalizes with an elbow from the apron. Back in, Honky keeps working the back with axehandles and knees. Hogan counters a rear chinlock by getting to his feet and ramming Honky facefirst into the turnbuckle.

-Honky stops him from making a comeback and takes him back down. Shake, Rattle, and Roll by Honky, but he makes the always fatal mistake of doing the post-match celebration BEFORE going for the pin, and Hogan kicks out and has had enough shit. He grabs the guitar, clobbers Jimmy, clobbers Honky, and wraps things up with the legdrop. 1 for 1. Hogan had his formula down to a science by this point—hot start, beat up the manager, kick more ass, fall victim, sell his ass off for a while, false comeback, more selling his ass off, make the real comeback and finish—but dammit, it worked here, and it was a fun TV match.

-Back from commercial, Hulk is still posing in the ring, irritating Jesse, who wonders why nobody will tell him that they have more matches tonight? Rugged Ronnie Garvin finally shows up to officiate the next match, and Hulk takes the hint and leaves.

-This leads seamlessly to a recap of the Ronnie Garvin saga. Garvin battled Greg Valentine in a retirement match, and Greg got the victory with a handful of tights. Garvin became a referee and had serious issues with anger management, kicking the shit out of Iron Mike Sharpe and the Brooklyn Brawler. He got into an all-out fistfight with Dino Bravo, and that one finally got Jack Tunney’s attention. Tunney has ruled that if Ronnie Garvin gets into another altercation, he will be fired from his refereeing gig too.

-As if to say “I dare you,” Jack Tunney has assigned Garvin to officiate a match involving the guy who caused his retirement.

-Valentine attacks from behind and hammers Snuka down. He follows with a chokehold, but Snuka finally shows some life with a chop and a headbutt. Diving headbutt, but he catches a shinguard to the head and Valentine goes back to work with elbows for two. Snuka winds up on the floor and when Valentine won’t let him back in the ring, a shoving match erupts. Garvin gets fed up and pops Valentine one right in the old schnozzola, and Snuka capitalizes with a flying crossbody to get a three-count. 1 for 2. I get what this was; they just needed to tell the story and didn’t want to devote a lot of TV time to a match with a foregone conclusion, but still, pretty unsatisfying.

-We go back to April, when Brutus Beefcake was a guest of Brother Love. Sherri provides the distraction, Randy Savage provides the sneak attack, and they cut Beefcake’s hair.

-Jesse Ventura thanks Savage for giving Brutus a taste of his own medicine. Savage promises a big surprise during the match. Savage won’t tell, presumably because the surprise is so obvious that there’s no reason to.

-Brutus says he has the edge, and he’s a cut above the rest.

BRUTUS “The Barber” BEEFCAKE vs “Macho Man” RANDY SAVAGE (with Sensational Sherri)
-Vince makes a bald joke at Jesse’s expense, and then interrupts him when he tries to offer a comeback. Good to be the boss.

-Brawl starts with both men still in full entrance gear. Brutus wins the brawl and goes after Sherri. Savage comes to the rescue and back in the ring, Beefcake chokes Savage with his jacket to stay in control. Savage misses a charge and eats a bodypress. Sherri gets desperate and provides distraction. I’m a dude and even I have to give Sherri props for diving from the apron to the floor feet-first in spiked heels.

-Savage winds up on the floor again as this match is 100% Beefcake so far. Savage hides behind Sherri for a breather. The diversion works this time and before long, Beefcake is on the receiving end of the axehandle from the top rope and a spiked heel to the face. Back inside, Beefcake gets a cradle, but Sherri’s distraction prevents the three-count. Savage and Beefcake trade near-falls for a little bit.

-Sherri removes her hose and uses it to strangle Beefcake, and by this point, Sherri is actually sweating more than either of the guys actually in the match. Earn that pay, Sherri! And before long, she takes an accidental high knee from Savage during some attempted interference and crashes to the floor. Beefcake backdrops Savage to the floor and everybody is taking a breather. Savage tells Sherri to run back to the locker room, some nice mirroring of bits with Elizabeth on previous SNMEs…

-Back from commercial, Beefcake is in control of the bout until Savage decides to target his throat. Man, Savage IS going old-school tonight. And sure enough, here comes Zeus, just in time for Beefcake to clamp on a sleeperhold on Savage. Zeus takes his cue, interferes to get the DQ, and clamps Beefcake in a bearhug. Hogan comes to the rescue, but Zeus sells NOTHING for him and then applies a bearhug. Savage adds an axehandle from the top rope, and they gang up on Hogan. They nearly give him a haircut, but Beefcake comes to the rescue this time, and Zeus no-sells a final chairshot, giving us a “WTF?” face from Hulk. Zeus stares down Hogan and Beefcake, who are both waving chairs at him, Savage and Sherri actually have to talk Zeus into leaving the ring. Zeus does so…reluctantly. 2 for 3. Great little bout from two guys with chemistry.

-The Mountain Dew Slam of the Night: Bret “Hitman” Hart has excellence of execution.

-Backstage, Jesse and Savage’s crew celebrate Hogan’s terrifying ordeal. Sherri cracks me up with a line: “Say your prayers, eat your vitamins, beat up women, and cry when you lose!”

-Gene Okerlund talks to Demolition, who declare tonight to be “D-Day”.

-Fall #1: Tully Blanchard knocks Smash off the apron, then dodges a punch from Ax by sliding out to the floor…forgetting that he knocked Smash off the apron, and he promptly gets his ass kicked. Funny spot! Pier sixer erupts immediately and all four men wind up on the floor. Sanity is restored and Smash has an easy time handling Double-A. Arn winds up in the wrong corner and gets hammered down. The tide finally turns when the Busters make history by being the first tag team ever to notice that Smash always wears a brace on one knee, and targeting the knee actually works.

-Smash gets trapped in the Busters’ corner and gets worked over. Spinebuster by Arn only gets two. Ax blocks a double-team by getting a handful of Tully’s hair, and Smash immediately capitalizes by pinning Arn to take the first fall.

-Fall #2: Ax tags in and things go better for the Busters, getting a little double-teaming and sneaky tags to stay in control. Heenan gets a few shots in, too. Smash manages to tag back in and before long, all four men are brawling, and Heenan goes sternum-first into the post. Andre the Giant suddenly shows up and Demolition hits the decapitator, but they’ve both been in the ring way the hell too long, and the referee DQ’s them to tie up the match. At this point, Jesse dives in to announce a big rule change in the WWF, saying that the title can still change hands and only the THIRD fall must be a pin or submission.

-Fall #3: Andre has a seat next to Howard Finkel and Demolition stays on Tully Blanchard. Blanchard does the Anderson sacrifice, ramming Ax headfirst into his own partner, but he can’t really capitalize. Arn tags in, totally dazed, and it’s a pretty even fight in that way. Ax rams Arn into the turnbuckle so hard that Arn’s head snaps back and collides with Ax.

-Smash is able to make the tag and we have yet another pier sixer. Andre slides a chair into the ring and Tully DRILLS Smash with it (and Barry Darsow said in a shoot interview that it legit KO’ed him) and the Busters get the pin and the tag team gold. 3 for 4. Great match from a feud that didn’t get enough attention. Demolition’s reign ends after a historic 16-month run. Fun fact: This was the ONLY title change on the original run of NBC Saturday night specials.

-Postmatch, the entire Heenan Family celebrates in the locker room.

-Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake blah blah blah Zeus and Randy Savage blah blah brother. Hulk credits the Hulkamaniacs with bringing them back up when they sank twenty leagues under the sea, which is a measurement of distance and not of depth.

The final score: review Good
The 411
GREAT episode that got me thoroughly stoked for a 31-year-old pay-per-view.

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Adam Nedeff