Through the Years: Saturday Night’s Main Event #16


WrestleMania IV is in the books, but the action from the spring of 1988 is not over yet! We’re going to skip ahead to Saturday Night’s Main Event #16, and then cut back to angles and stuff from earlier in April. The period of Savage with the title is a blur to me, as there is very little of it I have seen. I’ve been trying to not look up what’s on these cards so I can head into them blind, and right here I have no idea what’s going to be on it. I didn’t spoil it for myself, so that’s cool. I know Savage is defending against the One Man Gang. I think that can be a good matchup. To the action!


– Taped to air April 30th, 1988, from the Civic Center in Springfield, Massachusetts


We open with HACKSAW! He’s going to do some spring cleaning, starting with Hercules! However, due to his attack on Andre the Giant (which will be shared in the next WWF article), Heenan says that he’ll have to deal with Andre too! The One Man Gang is with Slick, and they say they were robbed at WrestleMania. Savage is ready for his first title defense! This is really cool to have such a Savage-centric show.

Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are our hosts, and they seem pumped up. Brutus Beefcake is facing Danny Davis…fuck that. Fuck that so much. Demolition will defend their titles against the British Bulldogs! Savage vs. Gang! Duggan vs. Hercules!


Hercules (w/Bobby Heenan & Andre the Giant) vs. “HACKSAW” Jim Duggan

Pre-Match Thoughts: Before this thing gets going we get to see a clip of Duggan busted way open by Andre the Giant. In the middle of that he takes Andre out with the 2×4. Have not seen anyone do something like that to Andre…ever. In the back, Okerlund interviews the heel trio. Heenan calls Duggan “Jigsaw Jim.” Haha, I liked that one. Andre does his best Duggan impersonation while squeezing his hands together like he’s going to choke him, that could be interesting. At this point with Hogan gone, Hacksaw is the #2 babyface. Of course they’re going to push him hard. He’s interviewed, backing up that assertion. To the match!

Match Review: Hacksaw climbs into the ring, and these two big men lock up. Hercules tries some clubbing blows, but Duggan rams him into the buckle. He follows with a clothesline, and an atomic drop as well. Hercules is getting his ass kicked. Hacksaw takes a look at Andre, and pulls Hercules back into the ring. Duggan gives Hercules a backdrop too, and tries a knee drop, which he misses. Hercules rakes the eyes, but Duggan comes back with some forearms. Hacksaw misses a charge to the corner, and Hercules chokes him. Duggan gets dumped to the floor, and when he gets back in, knocked to the apron with a back elbow. Heenan walks over to hit Duggan, and that makes Hacksaw angry enough to grab the 2×4. He gets in the ring and swings it around, and the referee hasn’t disqualified him for some reason. Anyway, we go to a commercial.

Back from that break, Hercules attacks Duggan from behind as the ref is removing his weapon from the ring. They trade punches and not wrestling moves, until Duggan gets thumbed in the eye. Hercules puts him in a bear hug, and gives Duggan a knee after the hold is broken. Duggan takes control after a double axehandle to the back, and rams Hercules into the buckle. He gives Hercules 10 punches in the corner, and a hip toss as well. Three point stance time, and a big clothesline follows. Heenan climbs into the ring, and breaks the cover for the DQ at 8:47. Bad canned heat was added to the broadcast for that.

Andre climbs into the ring as well, and puts a beating on Duggan. These guys triple team Duggan, and here comes THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR. WHAT THE HELL? I didn’t see that coming at all. He clears the ring to a huge pop, and he and Duggan then parade around the thing.

My Thoughts: This was a hideous match. You can count the bumps these two guys did on two hands. I didn’t enjoy the match at all. There was that WWF style brawling which is unappealing, no bumping which was unappealing, and guys running out of gas which was unappealing. The only thing I liked was the way Duggan played to the crowd, he kept them hot throughout the match despite a lack of action. That gets 1/2* out of me.


Danny Davis (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Brutus Beefcake

Pre-Match Thoughts: They have milked this Danny Davis thing much further than I would have thought possible. At this point, his being a referee had to be out of memory for most people. It’s nearly a year and a half after the fact! The barber thing on the other hand has a lot further to go. It isn’t reliant upon somebody screwing other wrestlers out of matches from a position they would realistically no longer be able to hold. Remember that Beefcake cut Jimmy Hart’s hair at WrestleMania, so now Hart has short hair and is wearing a hat. Davis doesn’t even get to speak in the promo before the match. Beefcake’s promo is insane.

Match Review: The Barber gets in the ring, does his strutting, and after we come back from the break the match begins. Beefcake shoves Davis to the canvas, then after a Davis right hand, Beefcake messes up Dangerous Danny’s hair. He gives Davis a hip toss, but Davis comes back with his hardest punches. Beefcake gives Davis a knee, and a bodyslam as well. Beefcake puts his SLEEPER on Davis, and Davis goes out at 3:10. Easy win for Beefcake.

Beefcake goes to the outside for his gear, and I don’t mean drug paraphernalia. The scissors are in, and Davis is getting his hair cut. The crowd loves this, and when I was a kid, I did too. He puts a big stripe in his hair, draws a ‘B’ on the chest of Davis, and that’s him pretty much killed off.

My Thoughts: Nobody can possibly take Davis seriously after this. As a match, that was a nothing affair. Can’t say that was good, and it sure was bad. At least it was short, but there were even less to this match than the last one. DUD. Beefcake and Davis in tandem was just bad, end of story. I listened to part of a Brutus shoot interview, and he said there was a lady in the back to clean these guys up after his cutting. Davis sure would need it.


The One Man Gang (w/Slick) vs. Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) for the WWF Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is Savage’s first title defense on TV. I don’t like the way they built to it while using WrestleMania as that tool, but nothing can be done about that now. The transition from match to match on this episode is very quick, by the way. Slick does all the talking for Gang, I love this guy. He’s great at getting heat and I usually listen to what he has to say. Savage says that Liz is his inspiration. That’s one way of putting it. By the way, Hogan has not been mentioned yet on this show.

Match Review: Slick gets in Liz’s face, which leads Savage to chase that clown to the back. Wonder if he’ll be back, and we’ll find out after the commercial. The match starts, and I don’t see him. Savage and Gang lock up, and Savage evades him when they break it up. Gang tries a bodyslam, but he blocks Gang’s attempted slam and falls on top for 1. Up top Savage goes, and down with a flying body press for 2. There is a lot of Savage merchandise on camera. Savage uses the rope clothesline for 2, but gets driven back to the corner. He picks Savage up with a choke and tosses him to the canvas, and there’s Slick to choke Savage with his cane! Savage leaves the ring to chase Slick, and catches him, only for Gang to attack from behind. Gang goes for a choke, and uses the nose rake as a dirty tactic too. Gang drops an elbow, and it gets 2. Gang misses a charge to the corner, and Savage comes back with elbows. He takes a big run, and clotheslines Gang over the top. Up top Savage goes, and down with a double axehandle to the floor. The crowd loves Savage’s style, and it’s a nice change from the usual. Back inside, Savage comes off the top and gets hit in the gut. Gang slams Savage, and heads up to the second rope. Gang jumps, and misses a big splash. Slick goes over to Liz again, which causes Savage to get attacked from behind…again! Gang throws Savage across the ring with another choke lift, and sets him up for Slick. Slick hits Gang with the cane on accident, and Savage goes up top…FOR THE BIG ELBOW. DOWN HE COMES, 1-2-3, SAVAGE WINS AT 6:03!

My Thoughts: I am slightly surprised that Gang took this job on national TV. Maybe he thought his manager hitting him played a big enough part in it, but so many big guys wouldn’t play ball back then because their size was their gimmick. Not losing was their gimmick. However, as we know, Gang would play ball on pretty much anything, like he did with the Akeem gimmick. I liked the match, there was no down time and both guys worked really hard. Savage as champion is great for the entertainment value of the promotion. I don’t need Hogan. Gang bumped around much better than expected, so I’ll give this **3/4.


The British Bulldogs (w/Matilda) vs. Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) for the WWF Tag Team Championships

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the first time Demolition has appeared in a tag team match on NBC, and it will be as tag team champions. I question the logic of that. The Bulldogs are interviewed in the back, and man…Dynamite has a lot of scars on his forehead. Demolition is also interviewed, and the only reason they have the mouthpiece is simply to keep them heel. Fuji is just there. I’m not surprised that they had to use quite a bit of canned heat for Demolition’s entrance. It’s also strange that this isn’t a 2 out of 3 falls match, which is the usual for SNME tag team matches.

Match Review: Smash and Davey start, and Davey gets beaten up until he tags in his partner, who gives Smash a big clothesline. Smash blocks a cradle attempt, then misses an elbow drop. Ax tags in, and Davey does as well. He works Ax’s left arm, tags back out, and Dynamite gets attacked from behind before a suplex. Smash tags in legally, and gives Dynamite a backbreaker for 2. The canned heat here is obnoxious. Smash puts DK in a bear hug, which Dynamite is able to break after a short bit. Ax tags in, and goes to work with punches until Smash tags back in. After a turnbuckle shot, Smash tries a big rush in, but Dynamite blocks it with a kick. Davey tags in, and gives both Demolition members bodyslams. A dropkick to Ax, and Dynamite tags back in. Smash takes him down with a shoulder, and dumps him to the outside. Fuji kicks Dynamite, and then Davey gets the dog. Matilda chases Fuji all the way to the back, and the Bulldogs give chase as well. Demolition follows, as does the referee. Why isn’t the referee going to count the Bulldogs out? That makes no sense.

After a commercial, the Bulldogs are back, and they have Mr. Fuji’s cane. They clobber Demolition with the pieces, and get disqualified at 5:05.

My Thoughts: This was another stinky match. I don’t know what’s going on here, but other than the WWF Championship match, there isn’t very much hard work going on here. These guys took a few bumps, and I guess that’s good enough for a * rating, but I’m pretty disappointed with what this show has been.


Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) vs. Don Muraco (w/Superstar Billy Graham)

Pre-Match Thoughts: I could have done without this rematch, but I guess Muraco was an obvious guy to have lose to DiBiase on national TV as well as at WrestleMania. Superstar does a good promo on his guy’s behalf. The dubbed music used for Muraco is hilarious. They don’t even bother to turn off Muraco’s theme for DiBiase’s entrance, so we get a dubbed version of DiBiase’s future music as well. I’m cool with that.

Match Review: DiBiase attacks Muraco to start, and chokes him using the rope. Muraco gives DiBiase a backdrop, and rams him into the buckle as well. DiBiase takes a breather, and when getting back inside, he gets shoulderblocked. He comes back with a hip toss, but misses an elbow drop and gets clotheslined by Muraco. Muraco powerslams him as well, and Virgil puts DiBiase’s foot on the rope during the cover. Now Superstar and Virgil tease a fight, as DiBiase gives out a clothesline for 2. DiBiase follows with a suplex for another 2 count. He’s bringing the hard work tonight. DiBiase uses a gutwrench suplex for another 2 count, and Muraco comes back with a Russian leg sweep. After a hard elbow by Muraco, he picks DiBiase up for a big powerslam, which gets 2. DiBiase comes back with his own slam, and covers with Muraco’s foot on the rope. The referee doesn’t see it, and counts 3 at 4:12.

My Thoughts: I think that finish got screwed up. I believe Virgil was supposed to take Muraco’s foot off the rope, judging by how he was pointing at his foot and staring down Virgil after the match. That’s no big deal in terms of the quality of the match, I thought it was pretty good. It wasn’t long enough to be great or anything like that, but it was solid work. DiBiase did a nice job bumping around and doing his stuff. **1/4.


In the back, Randy Savage has an interview regarding DiBiase. DiBiase is now proclaimed as the #1 contender, and Macho Madness is ready. DIG IT!


Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Koko B. Ware

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a really good show closing match. Given that these are usually throwaway, it’s cool for it to be between two interesting characters. I know it won’t be long, but I’m cool with the matchup.

Match Review: This thing starts with Rude and Koko trading blows from the apron. Koko gives Rude a dropkick, and steals Rude’s posing. Rude takes control with punches, then lands some elbows to the back of Koko’s head. Rude poses, and then gives Koko a snap suplex. Up top Rude goes, and down with a fist drop. Rude follows that with a dropkick, and tries a second one, only to miss it. Koko gives Rude a huge backdrop, and tries a charge towards the ropes, only for Koko to miss and get hung on the top rope. Rude sets him up, RUDE AWAKENING, and it’s over at 3:44.

My Thoughts: That was essentially a squash, but it was pretty good. Despite the poor WrestleMania match, Rude is beginning to come into his own as a character and worker. The posing and stuff is necessary to keep people interested, and it seems to be doing exactly that. It being a squash, it will get 3/4*. It’s too bad that Koko is used the way that he’s used. He’s a loser.


Vince and Jesse were sure to note that there would be no more SNME episodes until the fall, and I think with how this one went, that may be a good thing. I didn’t like the show very much at all. The main event scene is hot but the rest of the card is lacking. Hogan’s name was not mentioned on the whole show. There were two matches of decent quality, and the other four were just bad. I haven’t looked at my list of matches to watch for the months ahead since I made it, so I am wondering how things are about to go. I know there’s an amazing DiBiase vs. Savage cage match coming up soon. Duggan vs. Andre stuff too. Otherwise…I’m blind. They did seem to further three programs on this show. In addition to the two that were just mentioned, British Bulldogs vs. Demolition as well. Given that Demolition must win that program, I’m okay with that as one of the feuds. The Bulldogs have lost a lot of their quality so they are a good team to feed to another. Next up is April through June 1988!

Wrestling Time: 31:01. They could not have had more wrestling on this show.

Best: The One Man Gang vs. Randy Savage. I think this would have been great with more time.

Worst: Brutus Beefcake vs. Danny Davis. Awful match, somewhat saved by the angle at the end, but referring specifically to the match this was the worst thing on the card.

Card Rating: 4/10. Poor show, fortunately wasn’t that long. Goes back to what I said about the WWF needing better workers with strong personalities. They did get them!


Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.

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