The Write Off: Saturday Night’s Main Event #21 (April 1989)

Sorry for not posting a review last week. Scott Keith is busy giving people a rundown of SummerSlam’s and I didn’t want to interrupt it, so I took two weeks to post this next review. This review happens to be of an old SNME tape I have in my collection I acquired via E-Bay and is the SNME after WrestleMania V. Enjoy!

Event Details:
Location: Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa
Hosts: Vince McMahon and Jesse “the Body” Ventura
Reported Attendance: N/A

-WWF Champion Hulk Hogan gives a pre-show promo where he says that he will be the judge, jury, and executioner of the Big Bossman in tonight’s steel cage match

-Footage is shown of “Ravishing” Rick Rude’s Intercontinental title victory over the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania V

-“Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Rude and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan who say that dreamers of title glory like Hacksaw Jim Duggan get a rude awakening

-“King” Hacksaw Jim Duggan dedicates his title match to the men and women of the armed forces and says that he’s proud to be red, white, and blue. HOOO!

-Intercontinental Championship Match: “Ravishing” Rick Rude (Champion w/Bobby “the Brain” Heenan) vs. “King” Hacksaw Jim Duggan:

Duggan was into his “king of the wrestling” gimmick, as he had recently defeated Haku for the crown, and he comes out to the generic royal music and on a throne. For a face that looks so…odd. Lockup starts and Rude gets in some fists, but a sunset flip is blocked by a Duggan punch and Rude is clotheslined to the outside. Duggan suplexes Rude into the ring for two. Duggan hits three clotheslines and Rude gets up and does a Flair flop. Duggan gets a bodyslam and a kneedrop for two. Rude gets a shot to the gut to get ahead and a Duggan blind charge to the corner on a reversed Irish whip eats boot. Rude hits a top rope chop (or something resembling that), but he taunts too much and Duggan nails a sloppy inverted atomic drop. Duggan hits a piledriver, but takes too long to cover and Rude puts his foot on the ropes to break at two. Haku wanders out to the ring to ruin the good flow this match is having (why am I not surprised?) because all he cares about is his stupid crown that Duggan beat him for. Thankfully the officials in the locker room, who may be shocked at the good match unfolding in the ring, choose to get Haku the hell away from the ring. Back in, Rude beats on Duggan which slows the pace. Rude gets some shoulder thrusts in the corner and a falling chop for two. We hit the chinlock, but Duggan fights up, only to get a kneelift for his efforts. Rude nails a top rope fistdrop and crawls over to the camera to practice his kissing skills. That was pretty disgusting. Rude takes Duggan to the buckle, but Duggan does his own hulk up because HIS HEAD IS MADE OF STEEL. Duggan hits a backdrop, but the Three-Point clothesline sends Rude to the floor, which it always does in important matches, and Duggan like the idiot he is just lets Rude get counted out at 7:05. Ventura says Duggan is an idiot over the countout and I agree. Man, I miss Ventura commentary because it’s always so damn right and direct. This match was actually pretty good! **½

-Okerlund interviews Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart who says that he doesn’t respect Randy Savage and that if Savage wants to get back into the world title picture he has to go through him. That’s pretty stupid considering Neidhart was a TAG TEAM wrestler. Maybe he should just mind his own business

-Ventura interviews “Macho Man” Randy Savage with a professional looking Sensational Sherri who says he never wants to hear the name Elizabeth again

-The Mountain Dew Slam of the Night is awarded to Big John Studd courtesy of Sean Mooney. Well ain’t that sweet.

-Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/Sensational Sherri):

Lockup to start and Sherri grabs Neidhart’s leg to help Savage get the advantage. Neidhart sits down on a Savage sunset flip attempt for one. Neidhart locks in a bearhug, but Savage escapes and knocks Neidhart into the turnbuckles with his knee. Savage hits a falling clothesline, chokes, and then distracts the referee while Sherri chokes too. Sherri then gouges Neidharts eyes behind the referee’s back too. Sherri sure is staying busy tonight. Savage hits a top rope axehandle for two. Neidhart falls on top of a failed Savage slam attempt for two. Neidhart gives Savage a shoulder thrust from the apron and nails his slingshot shoulderblock into the ring. Shoulderblock by Neidhart gets two and he dropkicks Savage to the floor. Outside, Neidhart being stupid confronts Sherri, but turns around and dropkicks Savage on the floor like something out of an N64 wrestling game. Back in, Neidhart hits a powerslam for two. Crowd is totally behind Neidhart here and wants to see Savage’s ass handed to him which really adds something to the match. Sherri interferes again in helping Savage untie himself from the ring ropes, and a Neidhart charge at Savage misses, and he falls to the floor as a result. Outside, Savage hits a top rope axehandle and rolls Neidhart in, where he hits a flying elbowsmash for the win at 5:40. Short, but it was sweet when it got rolling. **

-Ventura interviews the Big Bossman with Slick who says that Hogan will serve some hard time

-Steel Cage Match for the WWF Championship: Hulk Hogan (Champion) vs. The Big Bossman (w/Slick):

Slick announces that he has a surprise for Hogan and that surprise ends up being the eternal symbol of in-ring suckitude: Zeus. Zeus gets on the ring steps as the WWF shows a clip from No Holds Barred where Zeus beats up a construction worker. Wow, there’s nothing that will get a wrestler over as much as showing footage from A MOVIE. Get that Vin Diesel kid on the phone pronto! Anyway, Hogan comes down the ring and Zeus beats on Hogan’s back like the movie footage just showed and screams his way back to the locker room. Nevertheless, while that little bit of business sucked it was a smart move for Slick to make because now Hogan is incapacitated for the cage match.

The match starts with the Bossman choking Hogan with his shirt, whipping Hogan into the buckles, and getting a headbutt. However, Hogan reverses an Irish whip into the corner, hits a clothesline, and gets some fists. Bossman blocks a go into the cage, so Hogan does the nice thing and rakes the eyes. Hogan tries to climb out after a big foot, but the Bossman stops that and hits a splash in the middle of the ring. The Bossman tries to go out the door, but Hogan grabs his leg to stop that. Spinebuster by the Bossman, which ends up being weak because Hogan ran at him gingerly and didn’t take the full bump. Bossman tries to climb out of the cage and gets halfway down the other side, but in the weird world of wrestling physics Hogan reaches through the bars, grabs and pulls the Bossman back up the other side of the cage, and SUPERPLEXES the Bossman off the top of the cage. Damn, that’s a pretty dangerous bump for the Bossman. You see that bump today and you get the “holy shit” chants, and it’s so weird not to see those suddenly break out after that move. Earl Hebner comes in to give both men a double KO count, but Hogan crawls towards the door only to have the Bossman grab his leg. By the way, Hogan is looking really fragile in this match, so fragile that it’s surprising that he’s still wrestling after all these years. Slick throws the Bossman the nightstick and he uses it to choke Hogan out. The Bossman wraps a chain around his fist, but Hogan blocks a shot with it and both of them somehow take each other into the cage at the same time leading to another double KO. Bossman tries to crawl out of the cage, but Hogan stops that too and nails the Bossman with the chain thereby reinforcing the Michael Jordan-esque philosophy in the WWF that Hogan can get away with whatever he wants because he’s Hulk Hogan. Hogan pinballs the Bossman between the sides of the cage and hits the legdrop, but when he tries to climb out Slick comes into the ring and grabs his leg. Hogan knocks Slick around, crotches the Bossman on the ropes when he tries to climb out, handcuffs the Bossman to the top rope, and climbs out for the win at 10:01 when Slick can’t unlock the Bossman’s cuffs in time to let him escape. Afterward, Hogan throws Slick into the cage and poses for the crowd. There was nothing terribly wrong with this match and the cage made up for both men’s limited offensive skills. However, I wish the camera had given us a better angle of the finish because it zoomed in on Hogan’s climb out and paid no attention to Slick’s attempts to feverishly unlock the Bossman’s handcuffs. **½

-Ventura interviews the Brain Busters with Bobby “the Brain” Heenan and they say that all they have to do is go down to the ring and pick up the tag team title belts that are rightfully theirs

-WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition tell Okerlund that tonight has been a night of the champions and their match will be no different. Additionally, I notice that the interview scene for the faces, while corny, does look much better than what the heels are receiving. What about equality people?

-WWF Tag Team Championship Match: Demolition (Champions) vs. The Brain Busters (w/Bobby “the Brain” Heenan):

Well, Heenan’s 0-1 tonight so maybe he can correct that with this match. Smash and Tully Blanchard start us out and Tully bails after a clothesline. They run around the outside and back into the ring where Smash gets a bearhug, only to see Heenan distract the referee and Arn Anderson break it up. However, when the Busters try to double-team Smash he clotheslines them down and Ax is tagged in to deal with Anderson. Demolition double-team Anderson as he’s initially outsmarted by the faces, but Anderson gets a knee to Smash’s back when he tries to confront Tully. However, Smash no-sells a suplex and we get a four-way brawl that ends up with the Busters bailing after getting atomic dropped and slammed. Back in, Blanchard gets in some knife-edges that are, you guessed it, NO SOLD by Ax and a blind charge by Ax eats boot. However, he catches Blanchard in a bearhug and rams him into the buckle. Blanchard goes over the turnbuckles on a corner whip and Ax knocks him off the apron. Smash gorilla presses Blanchard into the ring and Ax proceeds to clothesline him out the other side. By the way, Heenan gets hit, whether accidentally or not I’m not certain, by Blanchard’s leg when he’s falling out of the ring on that suplex attempt, and he hops on the ring apron to berate Demolition. Heenan looks genuinely pissed there and I can’t say I blame him. The Busters hold Heenan back and we go to commercial. When we return, the Demolition beat fest continues and Ax puts a head vice on Blanchard. Smash comes in and hoists Blanchard up by the throat, but Anderson breaks that up behind the referee’s back and stomps away. Anderson gets two on a spinebuster. Busters continue to cheat and double-team behind the referee’s back and Anderson gets two on a kneedrop. Reverse chinlock is fought of by Smash, but Blanchard cuts off a tag allowing the Busters to continue their barrage. Slugfest leads to a double KO, but Blanchard intelligently sneaks over to Ax and pulls him off the apron to prevent a tag. We get a four-way brawl and Ax stupidly throws the referee into the corner like a sack of potatoes and that gets the champions disqualified at 9:15. Afterwards, both teams brawl to the back showing that this match settled nothing. This match followed the typical SNME formula where the face team runs through most of their offense and the heel team is just befuddled until they can cheat their way to the advantage. That is a fair enough formula to operate on, but when your face team is Demolition it really drags down the match. This contest never got ‘clicking’ like the other matches on the card and the crappy finish didn’t help. *½

-Ventura has another interview with “Macho Man” Randy Savage where Savage says that he’s now the #1 contender for the world championship after beating Jim Neidhart this evening. Well, that’s better than Triple H who just shows up and MAKES himself the #1 contender

-Boris Zhukov (w/Slick) vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka:

Zhukov’s stale rendition of the Soviet national anthem gets cut off by Snuka’s music. We return from the commercial break and the match is in progress with Snuka no-selling a take to the buckles. Zhukov gets taken to the buckles and Snuka gets a headbutt off the ropes. Snuka hits a backbreaker and a top rope splash finishes at 1:09. Wow, you’re telling me that Snuka WON a match? Just a squash and a footnote for the show. DUD

OVERALL TAPE RATING (BUST-****): **. This is a pretty good edition of SNME as three out of the five matches on the card offer up some wrestling and the tag team match is sort of in the middle. You probably can’t find this anywhere unless the WWF releases a SNME compilation (which would be awesome), but eBay may have a copy. I’d recommend it for a viewing just for the good wrestling, although aside from the Zeus appearance there’s nothing too significant on here.

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