On July 15th, pro wrestling fans were “treated” to the second edition of the newly reborn classic WWE show on NBC, Saturday Night’s Main Event.
The original Saturday Night’s Main Event had a special, almost ppv-like atmosphere. It was just about the only environment in which “name” wrestlers battled their peers rather than Iron Mike Sharpe, the Brooklyn Brawler, or Brady Boone. It was fun to stay up late on those rare Saturday nights to see a packed card full of marquee match-ups. For a young wrestling fan, SNME never disappointed.
TODAY’S ISSUE: SNME 2, Electric Boogaloo
Growing up in New Jersey, I only had access to the WWF on television. I would have enjoyed the old NWA much more, due to their focus on in-ring quality and less cartoonish gimmicks, but all I got was Vince McMahon’s traveling circus. As a child I wasn’t concerned with workrate, moveset, character development and strong storyline writing, so the WWF was enough to satisfy me.
I do recall being confused about why so many pro wrestlers needed to hold other jobs such as plumber, hockey player, garbage man, or magician (and why they brought those personas with them to the ring each week), but I digress.
The normal fare for WWF television back then consisted of shows like All-Star Wrestling, Wrestling Challenge or Superstars of Wrestling, which routinely featured headline names easily dispatching their “enhancement talent” opponents (read: jobbers). The big name star had the opportunity to showcase his big moves, look dominant, and pad his win-loss record. They sometimes used the show to advance storyline angles featuring two of the more recognizable characters. The payoff, however, would have to wait.
With pay-per-view just beginning to catch on and being offered far less frequently than today, SNME was a perfect venue to showcase some special angles and matches in a “big fight” environment. I’ll always remember events like the controversial Orndorff vs. Hogan cage match, the “Madness” that was Savage vs. Steamboat, and the seeds being planted for the explosion of the Mega-Powers.
Sadly, “Volume II” of SNME has failed to recapture any of that special feeling, most likely because the market is currently flooded with pro wrestling. Here are my thoughts regarding the 2 hours of routine and tedium presented by Vince McMahon this time around:
I was a bit surprised that Randy Orton “respectfully” requested a match against Hogan. Thankfully, the challenge itself went against the grain of every similar situation in the last 30 years, in which Orton would have been expected to pull Hogan’s punk card, then run and hide when Hogan answers back. The attack in the garage that came later in the evening was much more in line with Booking 101.
I’ve been loving the new King Booker, and thought his match could have lasted a bit longer. I’m glad Regal got to showcase his over-the-top delivery of the line, “All hail King Booker!” on network TV. I also thought the Leprechaun’s assistance in Finlay’s title match last Friday would have been better on NBC than the silly attack he made on Mysterio instead. JBL was as good as he’s been lately on color commentary, which is simply, VERY good. However, this was a simple case of combining multiple feuds into one tag team match for the sake of reminding us all who’s fighting who at the next SmackDown! ppv, the Great American Bash, and added nothing to the equation for any of the three programs involved.
DX’s “what Vince is thinking” segment was unfunny garbage. This incarnation of DX is lacking a certain edge, which might have something to do with HBK’s and HHH’s age, standing in the company behind the scenes, and lack of originality.
The mixed tag team match was fun, but nothing you can’t and don’t see on Monday Night RAW week after week. Melina is over her head feuding with one of the best female wrestlers in recent history. This match was also too short to really get going.
While I was not surprised in the slightest that DX won the elimination match against all five members of the Spirit Squad, I was expecting HBK to get eliminated via nefarious means so HHH could make the Superman effort and defeat two or three of them all by himself. The shutout was quite unexpected. Vince’s fingerprints were all over the childishly suggestive pileup that was meant to look like a gay gang-bang. Nice touch for the network, Vince.
Also, I have to object that HHH was able to eliminate Johnny with a spine-buster just minutes into the match. The problem there is that if it were not an elimination match, a performer at that level would never lose a fall following such a simple transition maneuver. DX scored the other four decisions following combinations of their two legendary finishers, the Pedigree and Sweet Chin Music.
The Khali/Big Show/Undertaker segment didn’t make good use of the time it took (I guess they wanted to do the whole “ominous Undertaker entrance” gimmick on national television again), except to give another pure-WWE wrestler an excuse to visit the SciFi network on Tuesday night. Poor ECW. They haven’t had their own uniquely-ECW show yet since being resurrected under the WWE banner.
Speaking of ECW, Sabu’s squash of Stevie Richards in the first ever “extreme rules” match in SNME history should never have been a squash. Richards should have been allowed to score some offense before counting the lights, so this would have been more of an “extreme” contest. The match was nothing more than Sabu running through his routine of high-risk offense for a few minutes. Sabu didn’t even come close to hitting his Arabian Facebuster off the top rope, but give him credit for slipping it in after the match ended.
As for Brooke Hogan, I wouldn’t watch her music video on MTV if there were money in it for me, and I sure as Hell didn’t want to see it on a wrestling show. Ugh.
Speaking of the Blonde Goblin, how stupid does it make her look to wonder out loud what happened when her father wound up hurt and on the ground with NOBODY within 100 feet except the guy who had just challenged him to a match moments ago? As the daughter of arguably the most famous wrestler ever, has she never watched a pro wrestling show in 18 years? For some people, Brooke’s father IS professional wrestling. As blonde as she might be, she should have been able to put two and two together in that situation. She even asked Orton, “Randy, what happened to him?” Wow. That’s staggeringly dumb.
The bull-riding contest was far from Vince’s most clever excuse for fitting in all the T & A he craves. You know what would have worked just as well, and been more appropriate on a professional wrestling program? A wrestling match featuring many or all of the divas McMahon lusts over with his disgusting, dried up, over-tanned, steroid-raging libido. Too bad there isn’t any type of wrestling match that allows several competitors to appear on screen at the same time (please notice my tongue planted firmly in my cheek).
The main event featured another match-up we’ve been seeing a LOT of lately, WWE Champion Edge versus John Cena. They did the “big-fight” in-ring introductions to make this match seem like something special, but it wasn’t. Not only did they fail to bring something different to the feud, it also ended on a disqualification. You’d think somebody could score a legitimate win on NBC, wouldn’t you? What an anti-climatic way to end a big show.
Edge’s miscue on the superplex attempt caused a few scary moments until the replay showed it wasn’t as bad as it might have looked. It weakens Edge when he needs Lita’s help to survive a pinfall as early in the match as it occurred, time-wise. The guy’s supposed to be a world champion. And after the botched superplex, I was very uncomfortable with Cena’s super-FU from the ring stairs to the table. That could have been very ugly.
Overall this edition was a disappointment, and didn’t hold a candle to the original run.
For more on Saturday Night’s Main Event, check out The Fatal Four-Way Short Form by Eric S., and Saturday Night’s Main Event Results by PK.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.
p.s. – What disease did cured ham suffer from before treatment?