Through the Years: Saturday Night’s Main Event #19


Saturday Night’s Main Event from Tampa…I believe we have seen this before. This is certainly not the first time an episode of this was taped in a prior location, and at this taping they gave fans a lot of matches that they’d want to see. In the dark portion they had a match between Randy Savage and the Big Boss Man, and one between Andre the Giant and Jake Roberts. As bad as the latter one sounds, I have no doubt that the crowd was really amped up for it. This was taped nearly a month before its air date, which is a pretty large gap. A lot could have happened injury wise, but fortunately nothing did. To the show!


– Taped to air January 7th, 1989, from the Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida


THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR SCREAMS ABOUT HONKY TONK MAN! Honky says he’s going to win his title back! Brutus Beefcake is going to face Ron Bass in a hair match! Akeem’s NBC logo has spears in it, uh…I’m uncomfortable. He’s facing Hulk Hogan though! Hogan’s responds by saying Slick and Akeem have no honor, BROTHER.

Once again we have Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura on commentary, I’m glad to see that Jesse hasn’t quite faded out yet.


Ron Bass vs. Brutus Beefcake in a HAIR VS. HAIR MATCH

Pre-Match Thoughts: Honestly, other than what Bass did to the Barber before SummerSlam, I cannot think of anything he’s done in the WWF. I don’t even know why he’s in the WWF. He’s a rare case of a WWF heel without a manager, and it’s in large part because the WWF just doesn’t care. With promos like the one he just gave, I don’t know why they didn’t use him more. Bass has interesting blade scars, by the way.

Match Review: Bass attacks Beefcake to start the match, using Miss Betsy to choke him. The Barber winds up with the whip, we get some brutal added sound effects, and the referee finally takes it away. Beefcake hits Bass with a high knee, sending him to the outside. Bass gets back in, and taken down with some right hands. The Barber drops a fist, and hits him with 15 straight punches. Bass comes back with an inverted atomic drop, and gives him a stomach-breaker as well. He gives Beefcake a back elbow, and a boot to the gut. This match really stinks. The terrible offense continues on for some time, and Bass finally livens things up with a piledriver. He drops the Barber throat-first on the top rope, and decides to give Beefcake a clothesline. Finally Bass goes for a cover, and it gets 2. Bass goes for the Barber’s shears, but decides not to use them. Beefcake puts Bass in the sleeper, and that puts him to sleep for Beefcake’s victory at 7:40. Beefcake now has license to cut some hair, and after the commercial he does exactly that.

My Thoughts: Man…that’s embarrassing. The ultimate way to get jobbed out. This was a brutal match, and I couldn’t believe the reaction from the fans to Beefcake winning. At least some people in the front row didn’t stand up. Those were smart guys. I have nothing good to say about this, or many other of Beefcake’s matches. The commentary was also horrible, making matters worse. 1/4* for the entertainment factor of seeing someone get their head shaved after losing a wrestling match.


Akeem (w/Slick & the Big Boss Man) vs. Hulk Hogan (w/Elizabeth)

Pre-Match Thoughts: Slick’s interview with the Twin Towers gives them all a chance to look menacing. I don’t expect a great match, but I’m looking forward to this. Obviously, Elizabeth in Hogan’s corner ties in to their dissension. Macho invades Hogan’s interview, and makes a statement that he’ll be keeping an eye on things in the back. He looked extremely angry when Hogan helped Elizabeth into the ring.

Match Review: Akeem misses a charge to attack Hogan from behind, and Hogan throws Slick onto Akeem in response. He puts his headband in AKeem’s mouth, and clotheslines him. Hogan attacks Boss Man, and throws Slick onto him as well. The crowd is really amped up at this point, but Hogan has his bodyslam attempt blocked. Akeem misses another charge to the corner, and Hogan runs him across the ring into the turnbuckles. He clotheslines Boss Man off the apron, and has one to knock Akeem down. Akeem takes over with a wristlock, but Hogan gets out and lands a running elbow. Boss Man gets on the apron again, and Akeem gets whipped into him. Hogan constantly doing Akeem’s arm jiving is pretty funny, I’ll admit. He charges at Akeem, who pulls the referee into the way. That gives Boss Man the opportunity to clobber Hogan with his billy club. We cut to the back with Macho Man, who says Hogan will be okay. He’s not going out there! Akeem gives Hogan a big splash, and Boss Man does as well. Elizabeth runs to the back, looking for Savage as we go to a commercial.

Akeem heads up to the second rope when we come back, and misses a splash. This bit with Savage in the back is so overproduced. Don’t really like it. Hogan comes back with a clothesline, knocks Boss Man and Slick off the apron again, and goes to the outside to give Slick an atomic drop. I have some major issues with this match by this point. Hogan gives Akeem a big boot, then follows with a bodyslam. Into the ropes, and Boss Man hits Hogan from behind for the DQ after 8:06.

The Twin Towers continue their double teams, and Boss Man seems to have an idea. He puts handcuffs on Elizabeth, and that finally brings out Savage to clear them from the ring with a chair. Savage appears to have a problem with how much attention Elizabeth is paying to Hogan, too.

My Thoughts: This match had a lot of problems, but the biggest was Hogan not losing it. He should have taken a job when Hebner woke up from his nap. Considering they were trying to build to a match in prime time on NBC, the best way to do that would have been to put some legitimate heat on the Twin Towers. Hogan was being attacked by three guys the whole match and still didn’t lose! He fought them off at every turn, without ever needing his partner to help them. That’s another problem…the constant cutting to the back to show Savage was really silly. Not only did it take me away from the match but it didn’t feel like wrestling, it felt like I was watching a soap opera. Too much production can be a bad thing. *1/4 for the bout, it merely fell into the pattern of Hogan beating up guys standing outside the ring. There was action, but I didn’t like the booking either.


The Honky Tonk Man (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: If I had realized this match was going to be on here, I never would have watched their match from Philly. Too bad for me, but hopefully they’ll have some different spots. Warrior was a special level of crazy during his interview here, and he blew himself up big time on the way back to the ring.

Match Review: Warrior decides to meet HTM on the outside, and chase him around the ring. Warrior looks like he has no more wind left by this point, but he gives HTM a gorilla press lift all the way back to the ring! Warrior then gives HTM a big boot, and a noggin-knocker to HTM and Hart. He gives HTM a back elbow, and 10 punches in the corner as well. Warrior rushes all the way across the ring with a shoulder-charge to HTM’s gut, then misses a huge charge to the corner on the other side. HTM sneaks in a megaphone shot, and Hart does the same with a choke. Interesting cheating going on there. HTM continues to pound away, but Warrior gets tired of that and bodyslams him. He misses an elbow drop, but is able to ram HTM’s face into the turnbuckle multiple times. He gives Honky a clothesline, but misses a big splash. That should have been the end. HTM tries a clothesline, but at the end of it he falls down. He tries again, Warrior takes him out with a flying shoulderblock, and that gets 3 at 5:07.

My Thoughts: This was nothing spectacular at all, following the trend of the previous two matches. I’m really disappointed with the wrestling aspect of this show, but at least the other parts like interviews and angles have held up well. For this match, it’s hard to believe that the WWF would put a belt on a guy who couldn’t wrestle at all. 1/2*, at least we can say that the crowd loved it.


The Twin Towers are in the back, hyping themselves up after having beaten up Hulk Hogan. Slick does some great talking on their behalf, being sure to point out that the Mega Powers don’t seem too tight of late.


The Red Rooster (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Tito Santana

Pre-Match Thoughts: Heenan’s promo features him shitting all over the chances and abilities of his client. This gimmick Terry Taylor was given is as bad as it gets. Santana was pretty much given no attention in the lead-up to this match. Bill Alfonso is the referee!

Match Review: Rooster is a bit reticent at the start, and it appears that Heenan has a microphone on for this match. Santana gives Rooster a dropkick, and covers for a 2 count. George Steinbrenner is at ringside! Santana misses a splash, and Rooster follows with a double stomp. He gives Santana a jawbreaker, but gets tripped and clocked in the face for a 2 count. Santana blocks a sunset flip, and gives Rooster a backdrop shortly after. He goes for the figure-four, but Rooster blocks it and gets pulled to the outside by Heenan. Heenan pushes Rooster around a bit, and Rooster gets tired of it! He pushes back, and we go to a commercial.

Back from that commercial, Santana suplexes Rooster back into the ring for a 2 count. Rooster blocks a backdrop with a kick, and drops a knee for 2. Rooster follows with a backbreaker, it also gets 2. Santana turns a suplex attempt by Rooster into a small package for 2, and Santana tries to pull off a backslide. After the 2 count, Rooster blocks a charge to the corner, and gives Santana a piledriver for 2. He gives Santana a hotshot, and goes for a sharpshooter, only for Santana to block it. Santana clotheslines Rooster over the top, in what was probably the best spot on the show so far. Heenan tosses Rooster back into the ring, and Santana rolls the poor sap up for a 3 count at 7:27. I couldn’t accurately convey this, but Heenan was screaming at Rooster for his mistakes all match.

Now that it’s over, Heenan is even more angry. He screams at Rooster over how that match went, and slaps him. Rooster is sick of this treatment, and he slugs Heenan! He launches Heenan into the corner, and Heenan takes a great bump for him.

My Thoughts: I haven’t heard Heenan’s thoughts on this angle, but I got the impression that Heenan did his best to get Terry Taylor over. It didn’t work, because of how it looks to have a young wrestler beating up an old looking manager, but he tried. This was decent wrestling but the match was about something way different and made it hard to pay attention. I suppose I’d give this a ** rating, but like the first two matches it was about the angle more than the match.


Mr. Perfect vs. Koko B. Ware

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the perfect opponent to make Hennig look good, no pun intended. He talks about his Perfect-Plex, and says he’ll be displaying it right here! No manager yet for Perfect, I think they wanted him to get heat without one. They did a nice job building him up slowly, for that matter.

Match Review: Perfect gets hip tossed immediately, and given a bodyslam as well. Koko dropkicks him to the outside, and Perfect takes his time getting back in. He knocks Koko down with a knee, and one thing I’ve noticed that really works against Perfect in terms of getting heat is his look. With his attire and all, he’s very generic. Koko takes him down with an arm drag, and does so again. Perfect’s attempts to ram Koko’s head into the buckle fail, but a hard elbow to the cranium works. Perfect tags him with a standing dropkick, but is given a clothesline. Perfect then dodges a charge, gives Koko the PERFECT-PLEX, and picks up his victory at 3:10.

My Thoughts: Perfect gave Koko way too much offense here. He needed his own offensive spots to work in, but didn’t have them and the match suffered as a result. It didn’t make him look good, and no wonder it took him a while to get heat. It’s hard for a guy who barely wins to get heat in the WWF due to the cross-country nature of the promotion. It wasn’t a territory. * for the clean finish.


In the back, we have the MEGA POWERS! Hogan tells Okerlund to shove his speculation, and he sounds completely delusional after the events that just took place. It’s funny to see Hogan selling this stuff, and Savage with his sympathy when it’s transparent that he’s full of shit. That closes the show!


I do not recall any Royal Rumble hype during this entire broadcast. That is extremely strange. I thought the business deal was supposed to help promote their secondary PPV’s as well, but maybe that was done via commercial rather than mentions in the broadcast. This show wasn’t good at all in terms of wrestling, but the angles and storyline stuff really delivered. This is a good example of how the WWF was able to retain viewers while offering terrible wrestling. The best match was between two of their best workers, was below average and served as a vehicle for an angle that came off really well. Just about sums it up, but they got people really looking forward to The Main Event. With that, we’ve gone through a year of writing these articles, and I look forward to getting into 1989, 1990, 1991…and perhaps even 1992 next year. One can hope! The next article will be about Royal Rumble 1989.

Wrestling Time: 31:30. My main critique is that they could have used it better. 5 minutes in total could have been cut off the matches shown to tell the same stories, and another match could have made the show. I don’t have any specific ideas, I’m just saying.

Best: Mega Powers dissension. This stuff really works, got over strong and seems real.

Worst: Overproduction. I can’t stand to watch these SNME’s because of how the crowd noise is edited and promos are scripted.

Card Rating: 4.5/10. Despite what I said about the bad wrestling, the angles made up for it to a large extent. If not, this would have been the worst rating I’ve ever given out.


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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