Through the Years: Saturday Night’s Main Event #28

It’s time for Saturday Night’s Main Event, and they tried to bust out everything they could in order to get people to watch it. The Macho King/Dusty Rhodes feud is going to be blown off on TV. They also made a six man tag with Demolition taking on the Legion of Doom. There were also more…abhorrent ways of trying to garner people’s interest. Those will be addressed throughout the show. Time to check it out!

 

– Taped to air October 13th, 1990, from the Sports Arena in Toledo, Ohio

 

I see they’re going with an absurd Oktoberfest motif for this card. Many of the wrestlers were dressed up, and it was as terrible as it sounds. Our commentators tonight are Vince McMahon and Roddy Piper, and Vince talks about Sgt. Slaughter being led to the ring by an Iraqi. Oh dear. We also have Tugboat and Hulk Hogan teaming up to face Rhythm and Blues. I miss the introduction where the wrestlers would cut promos.

 

Demolition vs. The Ultimate Warrior (WWF Champion) & Legion of Doom

Pre-Match Thoughts: Six guys with painted faces. That doesn’t happen too often in one match. This was also a series around the country, so with the match happening on TV, it would seem that the WWF feels they’ve exhausted the potential to draw crowds with it. I bet Ax won’t be in this match that much, he doesn’t look to be in good shape at all. LOD had a promo of their own, the puns were terrible. “Whimper over your weiner” has an interesting connotation. Clearly there was a lot of piped in sound for Warrior’s entrance.

Match Review: The babyfaces clear the ring with a series of shoulderblocks, that was a nice way to start the match. Weird shot of Dustin Rhodes in the front row there. Smash attacks Animal with a clothesline, and the match has normalized. Animal comes back with a powerslam, and it gets 2. Animal drops an elbow, but gets poked in the eye and Ax tags in. Warrior tags in as well, and stomps on Ax in the corner. Warrior then blocks a charge to the corner after a whip, and takes Ax down with shoulderblocks. A clothesline follows that, and Smash runs in to get bodyslammed. Crush runs in to get bodyslammed as well, and Ax takes the last one. Warrior goes for the BIG SPLASH, but Ax moves out of the way and tags in Smash. Smash throws Warrior to the outside, and Crush rams him into the apron. Back in he goes, and Demolition maintains control by trapping Warrior in the corner. Crush leaps off the top with a double axehandle, then chokes away for a bit. Warrior powers up, gets his eyes raked, and gets triple-teamed. Animal runs in and throws Crush out of the ring, then Smash throws Animal out of the ring. Demolition goes for their finish, but Hawk runs in to break it up, and Warrior makes the tag to him. Hawk nails Smash with a back elbow, and follows that with a flying shoulder. He then drops a fist, and heads up top for a big flying clothesline. He then hits the other members of Demolition, and tags Warrior back in there. Warrior nails everyone with clotheslines, shakes the ropes, and all six are in. The faces clear the ring, Warrior hits Smash with a flying shoulderblock, and the big splash for the pin at 4:59.

My Thoughts: This match was nothing special, but I find the way it turned out interesting. Perhaps I’m reading too much into Warrior playing face-in-peril. I did find it strange, but in the end he got the pin. I thought that it was structured that way to make LOD look strong. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyway, the fans who wanted to see a LOD/Demolition match got to see it, and this was as good as it could possibly get. *1/4.

 

Before the next match, here comes more WWF stupidity. They’re showing OKTOBERFEST, with the Genius, Akeem, Slick, Mr. Fuji, Akeem, Hacksaw Duggan, the Hart Foundation, and the Bushwhackers. It makes their tag champions look really bad to be part of this thing.

 

The Macho King (w/Queen Sherri) vs. Dusty Rhodes

Pre-Match Thoughts: I was really hoping this was over at SummerSlam, but Dustin Rhodes being at ringside makes this far more interesting. Should be fun now. The King gimmick is bordering on dropped, so this may be the last time I call him that. They were pushing the idea of him facing the Ultimate Warrior pretty hard. They had Dusty hug his son before the match, so I think this will be angle-driven. I dig it. Hilarious that Savage stole somebody’s Warrior poster and ripped it up. Real heeling.

Match Review: Dusty hits Savage with an elbow to start the match, and tries a bear hug. Savage pokes him in the eye, then goes for a hip toss that gets reversed into a backslide that gets 2. Sherri gets on the apron, and Dusty gets kneed from behind after being distracted. Sherri then chokes Dusty, and Savage drops a knee on him for 2. Savage puts a sleeper on Dusty, and now Ted DiBiase seems to be coming through the crowd down to ringside. Virgil is too. DiBiase and Virgil give people $100 to leave, the front row, and now they’re stuffing money into Dustin’s pocket. Dustin tears up the money, so Virgil and DiBiase sit next to him. Dusty breaks out of the sleeper and DiBiase pulls Dustin back into his seat to stop him from cheering Dusty on, which makes Dusty very angry. He confronts DiBiase, and we go to a commercial!

Back from the break, Savage is working Dusty over. Sherri gets on the apron and starts choking him with her gloves, as DiBiase laughs at ringside. Savage covers and gets 2, then uses the rope as a clothesline on Dusty. Savage heads up top and hits Dusty with a double axehandle for 2, Dusty isn’t about to give up yet. He rams Savage into the buckle, then falls down and gets choked. Savage goes for a leapfrog body guillotine, but Dusty moves out of the way. He headbutts Savage, and falls on top during a bodyslam attempt by Savage for a 2 count. Savage then heads up top, gets hit on the way down, and once again DiBiase puts hands on Dustin. Dustin finally hits him back, and gets thrown over the rail and jumped by DiBiase and Virgil. Virgil and DiBiase basically beat the guy unconscious, hitting him with a wooden chair and all. Oh shit. Dusty finally notices, but his son is busted WIDE OPEN. He leaves the ring, but Savage attacks him from behind with BOMBS AWAY to ensure the count-out victory at 9:30.

Once the match is over, Virgil and DiBiase continue to beat on the poor kid as Savage’s theme plays. Then, Dusty falls on top of Dustin to save his son and takes the brunt of the beating. That’s heroic.

My Thoughts: This match was more about the angle than the match, and that was a hell of an angle. One of the best I can think of from this year. They just went the whole way with it. I can only give the match **, but let’s talk about the angle. It says in the WON that the fans being paid to leave was legitimate. Tickets weren’t $100 for those seats back then, so it’s a pretty good trade. They got to watch the show for free and then some. On top of that, the angle made Ted DiBiase look legitimate again. He had been floundering around a lot, not been pushed that much, and they fixed it. Very dramatic angle and nobody really gave a shit about Sapphire anymore as she had been completely removed from the picture for the feud they had planned between DiBiase, Virgil, Dustin, and Dusty. It’s surprising the blood was allowed on NBC, but you know, I have a problem with the double standard that blood can be in all sorts of other shows but not wrestling. Maybe it wasn’t as prevalent to see blood on TV then, but still. Great stuff, one of the best things they had put on SNME. Dusty’s selling and screaming “NO” was great. Nice narrative with the feud as well, with DiBiase trying to destroy everything about Dusty, even the people around him.

 

Another Oktoberfest skit follows that, and the Bushwhackers are CUTTING THE CHEESE. This was funny, as juvenile as it was. Unfortunately at the end they went overboard with the joke.

 

Rhythm and Blues (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Tugboat & Hulk Hogan

Pre-Match Thoughts: Before this match, Hogan carried a promo done by the team. Tugboat just stood there and looked way out of place. I don’t care one bit about this match, but once Tugboat started talking, I can see why Hogan was doing so much of it. The puns in this were the absolute worst on the whole show. Calling himself “Herr Hogan” seems very offensive to me. It’s great to hear the Rhythm and Blues theme. I guess Tugboat’s punishment for getting a big head was over.

Match Review: Hogan and the Honky Tonk Man will start things off, and HTM drives him back to the corner with some punches. Valentine tags in, and they get hit with a double clothesline. Hogan then elbow drops them both, and gives them a noggin-knocker. He sends both guys into Tugboat’s boot, and Valentine pinballs from one guy to the next. Tugboat tags in, and goes to work on the arm for a bit. He tags in Hogan, who hits Valentine with a double axehandle, and continues the arm work. Tugboat’s back in, and gets chopped a little bit. Valentine makes a tag out, and HTM gets put in a bear hug. Valentine breaks it up, then legally tags in and drops an elbow on Tugboat. HTM tags in and drops one on Tugboat too, and it gets 2. Valentine illegally switches in for another count of 2, then elbows him. After more shitty double-teaming, including a chinlock by HTM, Rhythm and Blues misses a double elbow drop. Hogan makes the tag in, and hits Jimmy Hart pretty hard in the process. He gives the heels a noggin-knocker, and Hart’s on his way to the back. Hogan clotheslines Valentine, drops an elbow on him, and follows that with a back elbow. Hogan then gives Valentine a big boot, and goes for the LEG DROP…BUT TUGBOAT GRABS HIM. He shows him that EARTHQUAKE AND DINO BRAVO ARE ON THEIR WAY.

Sadly, they went to a commercial, as the road agents blocked Quake and Bravo from making it to the ring. Tugboat and Hogan give Valentine a double clothesline, and Tugboat squashes Valentine with a splash in the corner. Hart gets on the apron again, and HTM clobbers Tugboat from behind with the guitar for a DQ at around 7:20. Figured that would happen. Hogan makes the save by throwing Hart onto Rhythm and Blues, but here comes Bravo and Earthquake. They go five on one againstHogan, and Earthquake gives Hogan a big powerslam once that’s done. He gives Hogan a BIG SPLASH, then follows with the intention of giving Hogan the BUTT SPLASH, but Tugboat has the guitar and clears the ring with it.

My Thoughts: This was a good angle for Survivor Series, but this wasn’t the Survivor Series team Hogan faced. So, you know, that’s pretty dumb. Anyway, the match was fine other than the short heat segment on Tugboat. It was short, or I would have been all over how bad the match was. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad either. The angles on this show have all been good. *3/4 for something that turned out entertaining in the end. This could have been a painful watch.

 

Time for more Oktoberfest, and we’re with the MASTER SAUSAGE STUFFER, THE GENIUS. That’s a good one. It’s a contest with Hacksaw and the Hart Foundation on one side, and the Orient Express with Mr. Fuji on the other. The promo Genius cut while they were doing it was so funny. THE EXPERT OF STUFFING SAUSAGES. Mr. Fuji cheated or something, and there was no payoff to the segment.

 

Haku (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Texas Tornado for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: This isn’t exactly an inspiring matchup for Von Erich, but the heel side was really slim after the quittings. I can’t think of a heel besides Mr. Perfect or Randy Savage who he could have had a good match with at the time. I’ve never watched a match in which Von Erich was defending this title. There was no chance we’d make it through one of these shows without Heenan showing up.

Match Review: When these two lock up, Tornado takes Haku down with an arm drag and bodyslam. He goes for the CLAW, but Haku leaves the ring. When he gets back in, he puts Tornado in a rough looking sleeper. That hold sticks for a while, but Tornado fights out. Haku goes to the eyes, and nails him with a splash in the corner. Haku goes to a choke, but Tornado puts THE CLAW on him. Haku makes the ropes, but Tornado nails him with the TORNADO PUNCH for the win at 3:10.

My Thoughts: Absolutely nothing happened in the match and Kerry was frankly bordering on useless, but that wasn’t entirely his fault. He was just limited in what he could actually do, which wasn’t much at all. All he did was stand there. DUD.

 

Sean Mooney is now with Hulk Hogan and Tugboat, who continue with the terrible puns. This is a Survivor Series hype promo and nothing else.

 

Sgt. Slaughter (w/General Adnan) vs. Koko B. Ware

Pre-Match Thoughts: I’m interested to see the depths at which this goes to at the start of this Iraqi Slaughter thing. They’re also on NBC, so they had restrictions, I’m sure. Koko was good at making guys look good, so this was perfect match making. No promo before the match, just Adnan waving the Iraqi flag. To hear Vince McMahon’s indignation, given that everyone knew he owned the company, is just absolutely absurd.

Match Review: Koko evades Sarge for a little while, and when they lock up, he winds up taking Sarge down with an arm drag. That’s followed with a hip toss, and yet another arm drag. So, Sarge could still move and bump. Koko then dropkicks him, and misses a charge to the corner. Time for Sarge to go to work. Sarge gives Koko a backdrop, then drops a knee on him and covers for 2. Sarge gives Koko a backbreaker for 2, then goes for a backdrop and has it reversed into a swinging neckbreaker. Koko dropkicks Sarge a few more times, then headbutts him into the ropes. Koko then leaps and gets caught, which leads to a hot shot. Sarge then puts him in the greatest submission move ever, a NOOGIE, and that gets the win at 5:18.

As Adnan was waving the Iraqi flag in the ring, Nikolai Volkoff showed up at the interview platform and started waving the American flag. WHAT A FEUD. I CANNOT WAIT TO WATCH IT.

My Thoughts: I can’t believe that was his finisher, but they did a great job fixing that. Sarge did have something left to offer at least, that much was clear by his work in this match. Not like he was around all that long anyways. It’s nice that when he was brought in he did more than stand around doing nothing. **.

 

Back to the Oktoberfest stuff, they showed Jim Neidhart and Slick dancing. Hah, that’s so weird. Neidhart was wearing his wrestling boots! Eventually Neidhart accidentally ran into Bret Hart and shoved him into Fuji’s table, and things turned into a food fight. I’d hate to be the one tasked with cleaning all that shit up.

The Ultimate Warrior has a microphone, and seems quite angry at Sherri and the Macho King. He pretty much said Savage was hiding behind a skirt, but the Warrior WILL ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE. So, why didn’t he give him a title shot? I’m confused.

Piper was in the back with Savage and Sherri, and Sherri said that Warrior was still a coward, and one that’s going to lose his title at that. Weird to see Savage doing so much less of the talking. And that’s the show!

 

That was a strange episode. It started off well and petered out a little bit. One problem with the signings that the WWF made heading into this summer, was that they didn’t really feel like new talent that was brought in. I’ve previously said that the WWF needed to get more athletic, but Kerry Von Erich didn’t fit those hopes. Neither did Crush, the LOD, Sgt. Slaughter, Tugboat, and anyone else they brought in. Wrestling was headed towards a bad spot in large part because the territories being destroyed killed the avenues for young talent. Anyway, they built towards Survivor Series pretty well. Despite the awful puns and the Oktoberfest skits that sucked, some of those skits didn’t suck, and the show featured a great angle. All things considered, it was worth watching. Next up, I have to bridge the gap between Clash 12 and Halloween Havoc 1990.

Wrestling Time: 30:17. Decent enough, with two long angles that took place when the matches were over.

Best: Dustin Rhodes/Ted DiBiase angle. Without question.

Worst: Texas Tornado vs. Haku. Also without question.

Card Rating: 6/10. Barely past the average side of the equation. I’ll be glad when my watch of 1990 is over, honestly.

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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