Through the Years: Saturday Night’s Main Event #31

 

This is the end of an era in some respects, with the WWF being removed from network TV for years afterward. The business problems, steroid news, and all the bad press had brought the WWF down quite a bit from its previously lofty stature. There were some pretty interesting matches on this show. We had Papa Shango challenging Bret Hart for the WWF Championship, Shawn Michaels challenging the British Bulldog for the Intercontinental Championship, and Money Inc. defending their tag titles against Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior. So, let’s see what happens!

 

– Taped to air November 14th, 1992, from Hullman Center in Terre Haute, Indiana

 

The Ultimate Maniacs vs. Money Inc. (w/Jimmy Hart) for the WWF Tag Team Championships

Pre-Match Thoughts: Well, they certainly weren’t wasting time. The show immediately started with DiBiase’s entrance music playing. Bobby Heenan and Vince McMahon were on commentary for this. Savage and DiBiase had some great matches in their past, but I don’t know if they could pull that off at this point. It’s so strange to see the WWF’s new video board. I wonder if they had any idea how big this thing would get. Warrior and Savage look silly wearing matching gear. They ran down to the ring together!

Match Review: Money Inc. attacks, so we’re underway. DiBiase throws Warrior over the top, but Warrior gets back in there and cleans house. They hit Money Inc. with some double clotheslines, and follow by throwing them both over the top. They have a telestrator for some reason, haha. Savage and DiBiase keep it going with Savage giving him an atomic drop for 2, then he clotheslines DiBiase with the top rope. Warrior tags in, grabs DiBiase for a suplex, and covers for 2. Warrior goes for the flying shoulderblock, but DiBiase moves and gives him a facebuster. IRS tags in, cuts Warrior off from the tag, and puts a sleeper on him. Now we get a double screen with Razor Ramon and Ric Flair watching the match. Lots of gimmicks here. Flair and Razor had an interesting promo about the match, right as Warrior breaks the sleeper. DiBiase puts the MILLION DOLLAR DREAM on Warrior, but Savage breaks it with a knee to the back. Warrior and DiBiase then clothesline each other, and both guys make tags out. Savage works IRS over for a little bit, backdropping him. DiBiase gets clotheslined, then Savage slams IRS. Savage goes up top for the FLYING ELBOW, and drops it on IRS. DiBiase breaks the cover, and we have a brawl going on for a little bit. Savage hits IRS with a back elbow, then Warrior clotheslines DiBiase over the top. Savage atomic drops IRS over the top, and it’s time for Money Inc. to take a walk. They get counted out after 6:09, and the Ultimate Maniacs decide to meet them in the aisle to beat them down. HERE COME RAZOR RAMON AND RIC FLAIR! They attack Savage and Warrior, with Mr. Perfect and Money Inc. getting in on that action too. Eventually a host of referees and officials run out from the back, finally separating everyone after quite a long time.

My Thoughts: They put the feud between Razor/Flair and Warrior/Savage over pretty well, otherwise this was quite unimportant. It’s funny that Perfect was in on the attack of Savage only to join him at Survivor Series. The match was fine, by the way. They worked hard for those six minutes and got a lot of stuff in. At least it wasn’t treated like it wasn’t important. **1/4, good angle afterward I suppose. Perhaps it should have been edited out, though.

 

They cut out the Bret Hart music video, so I don’t get to watch it. That’s dumb.

 

Shawn Michaels vs. The British Bulldog for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the only title defense of the Bulldog’s that I’ve watched. There are a lot of reasons for that. I’m not sure if it was the WWF’s intention for Bulldog to be a transitional champion, but that’s how things turned out. I think it was for the best in any case. Michaels was made for this spot. Bulldog on the other hand, I don’t think it would have mattered much for him to be champion for very long. Even if he’d have stuck around, this was the proper way to go about things.

Match Review: Bulldog throws Michaels to the canvas, showing HBK his power. He does so again, then Michaels tries to run him over and fails. Michaels gets a punch in there, then goes for a hip toss, having to flip over to do it. Michaels goes to a short arm-scissors, and Bulldog lifts him up with one arm before slamming him on the canvas. Big crowd reaction for that. Bulldog press slams Michaels, then he clotheslines him over the top and on his head. Michaels gets back in there in due time, only to whip Bulldog into the corner and be taken down with some body-scissors and arm drags. Michaels gets up, elbows Bulldog a few times, dodges a charge to the corner, and Bulldog shoulderblocks him. Michaels counters by throwing Bulldog out of the ring, and tries to take the turnbuckle pad off one of the corners as we go to a commercial.

We come back and no time was taken off the match, and Michaels brings Bulldog in the ring for some knees to the back. Michaels puts him in an abdominal stretch, but Bulldog hip tosses his way out of that. Bulldog misses an elbow drop and Michaels covers for 2, then Michaels goes back to the abdominal stretch. Bulldog gets out the same way, and this time he lands the elbow drop. He follows that up with a facebuster, and throws Michaels upside down into the buckle and out for a clothesline. Bulldog catapults Michaels into the corner, then clotheslines him once again for 2. Bulldog follows up with a delayed vertical suplex, and covers for 2 again. Michaels then sends Bulldog’s back into the uncovered turnbuckle, only for Bulldog to take him to the other side. Bulldog then goes for a SUPERPLEX, but Michaels falls on top and covers Bulldog for the title win at 10:26!

My Thoughts: I really liked this match, it finished hot and kept a good pace. Great idea to use the turnbuckle bump as part of the finish with Bulldog falling to the canvas. The crowd heat was obviously piped in, but the crowd was reacting strongly to the match and getting on their feet. The match was paced to keep Bulldog from blowing up or anything like that too. ***1/4, a good first title win for the Heartbreak Kid. Also, it’s nice that Michaels won borderline cleanly, with no case of overbooking or anything like that.

 

Ric Flair and Razor Ramon are there for another promo, and Flair hypes Michaels vs. Bret as best as he possibly can. BIG SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH. Razor doesn’t really give a shit about anything it seems like. He’s totally invested in the character and doing great work with it, though.

 

Papa Shango vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: This match sounds like a real stinker, but Bret seems to think it’s fine. I’m not going to defer to him because it just sounds awful. There’s basically no time between these matches, perhaps it’s simply the edit of this show that I’m watching. To some degree, it makes Bret look bad to face a gimmick like this. On the other hand, Hogan faced his share of them too. Bret is smiling way too much in his interview before the match. He invoked his dad, and described his wrestling training in the Dungeon.

Match Review: Shango attacks Bret with some clubbing shots to start this one, but Bret comes back with a monkey flip to gain control. Bret takes Shango down with a cross body, and gets thrown to the outside when Shango kicks out. Bret sneaks back into the ring, gives him an inverted atomic drop, and clotheslines him over the top. Bret follows that up with a great plancha, and we head to a commercial at the most inopportune of times.

Back in the ring, Bret takes his trademark bump in the corner. Shango chops him in the throat, then catches Bret for a bear hug. Bret bites Shango to stop that, but gets attacked from behind. Shango hits Bret with a back elbow, then headbutts him in the groin area. Shango picks Bret up with a choke, then goes to a nerve hold when he drops Bret. Bret gets out of that, but Shango levels him with a clothesline. Shango goes back to the nerve hold, and Bret gets out for a sunset flip, only for Shango to block that. Shango punches the canvas, and eats boots on a charge to the corner. Bret puts a sleeper on him, but Shango runs him into the buckle. Shango drops some elbows on Bret, then goes up to the second rope for an elbow drop that misses. Bret gets up, drops Shango with a Russian leg sweep, and that gets 2. Bret follows with a backdrop, which also gets 2. A flying clothesline from the second rope gets 2, but Shango whips him into the corner. Shango misses a charge, Bret locks on the SHARPSHOOTER, and Shango gives up the chase at 7:08.

My Thoughts: I feel like Bret was a great fighting champion who wasn’t really given the opportunity to flourish. In this match, which wasn’t great or anything like that, Bret did his absolute best to make himself look like a star and for Shango to look like a real villain. That being said, you can’t make chicken salad out of you know what. **, not too bad for Bret’s first title defense. I’m going to be watching a hell of a lot more of these. The crowd was extremely invested in Bret, which made him look like a real champion.

 

Wow, they brought back the Funeral Parlor! Obviously they were waiting for the right time to do so. Bearer is showing the Undertaker BUILDING A CASKET for Kamala! That’s really cool, you know. Bearer does such good gimmick work here. After that, they brought the Undertaker out, even though he was recovering from shoulder surgery at this particular time. His promo was really good, not that I’d expect anything less. They were going so heavy with the zombie thing, but giving him time to talk brought it to the next level.

Now, to close things up, we have Bret Hart with Gene Okerlund again. Gene wanted him to talk about Shawn Michaels, and here comes Shawn Michaels! Michaels drops some bombs on the microphone, and says he’ll take Bret’s belt. Bret tells him not to talk about it, but do something about it. Michaels then goes with the wrestling math, pointing out Bulldog beat Bret and Michaels just beat Bulldog. Michaels realized he had a chance to show how good he was and tried his best to take it.

Bobby Heenan was on the phone, and he just told people that he had the SCOOP OF A LIFETIME. SAVAGE AND WARRIOR WILL NOT TEAM UP TOGETHER! QUITE A RUMOR!

 

The way that show ended was really good, but this was way too short as an event. I get that they only had an hour and they tried to pack a lot in, but there wasn’t enough time to do much. I have to applaud their effort and ability to get so many different talents on the screen in that amount of time. All in all, this was an entertaining show, but in contrast to the SNME’s of the past, it’s interesting to see no changes in direction and no big angles. Even the title change felt less important. There were also so much less people in the building than before. Next up, it’s Clash of the Champions 21. I have quite a bit to say about that before watching it, too.

Wrestling Time: 23:43. Half the show, basically.

Best: Michaels vs. Bulldog. Not a coming out party for Michaels, but a match deserving of being called his first title win.

Worst: Having Perfect run out there to attack Savage when he was going to join up with him a few days later. Should have been edited.

Card Rating: 7.5/10. This isn’t because of great wrestling, but because they did everything in an hour that could possibly have been done. They also tried to get people interested in their regular programming with that Heenan scoop at the end.

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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