WWF The Main Event - February 5, 1988
by Scrooge McSuck
- Coming to you from the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, IN, and the first of the "Main Event" specials to air, featuring the much anticipated WrestleMania III rematch between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant for the Heavyweight Championship, as well as the Honkytonk Man defending the Intercontinental Championship against a (somewhat) freshly turned "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are calling the action. The only thing that would've made this night better is subbing Vince out for Gorilla Monsoon, but you can't complain too much. I forgot, we also have Strike Force defending the Tag Titles against the Hart Foundation... So much action to come!
- We show a vignette of Hulk Hogan working out to JAKE ROBERTS' theme music? Maybe Roberts had yet to start using it, but anyone watching this now is probably going "zuh?!" like me. As a completely heterosexual male, I don't find this in the least bit entertaining, yet seeing Hogan in even less clothes wrestling another man is.... Oh well.
- Mean Gene Okerlund is standing by with words from the Intercontinental Champion, who is a little too cocky for his own good. Remember, it was a few months back where Honky got physical with Elizabeth, and you know Savage wants blood now. Randy Savage gets his turn to talk, and he's going to rip Honky apart and take back the Intercontinental Championship. Spoiler alert: I don't know, I've never seen this show before (sarcasm!).
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
As mentioned in the earlier paragraph, Randy Savage is a little bit more than pissed at the Honkytonk Man, partially out of what he did to Elizabeth, but mostly for claiming to be a better Intercontinental Champion than he was. Honky brings Peggy Sue out with him (Sherri under a blonde wig), so you know something is going to be up. Honky taunts Elizabeth, ticking Savage off, further. They go through a game of cat-and-mouse, and Savage quickly hangs him up across the top rope. Whip to the corner, and Savage knocks Honky out of the ring with a back elbow. Savage gets in Jimmy Hart's face, allowing Honky to attack from behind with a flurry of rights. Whip to the ropes, Honky goes for a sunset flip, bu Savage blocks with a well placed right. Savage misses a charge to the corner, but Honky misses a follow up elbow drop. Savage again goes after Jimmy Hart, and in the confusion, gets laid out with the megaphone. Honky covers, but only gets a two count. Honky with a snapmare, and he slaps on a reverse chinlock. Savage escapes with elbows to the midsection, but goes down courtesy of a knee to the midsection. The action spills out of the ring once more, and Honky comes off the apron with an axehandle. Back in, and Honky remains in control with his minimal offense of kicking. Jimmy Hart gets a few shots in while the referee has his back turned. Savage mounts a comeback with a series of elbows, followed by his signature jabs. Honky plants a boot to the misection and takes Savage down with a clothesline to kill the momentum. Honky drops a pair of elbows, and continues to focus too much of his attention at Elizabeth. The gaggle of villains try and trap her, but Savage comes to life and nails Honky across the back of the head with a double axehandle. Savage tosses Honky back in the ring and throws him over the top rope, then comes crashing down from the top rope with another double axehandle. Savage with a scoop slam, and another double axehandle gets a two count. Savage throws Jimmy Hart into the ring, and Honky accidentally nails him with a high knee. Savage with a sleeper hold applied, but Peggy Sue goes after Elizabeth. Savage releases the hold to make the cut off, then throws Honky into the post for attempting an ambush. Savage rolls back in, and wins the match by Count-Out at 8:23. Honky comes back in the ring with his guitar, and Jimmy nails Savage from behind with the megaphone. Elizabeth uses herself as a shield to Savage, buying him time to recover and chase Honky off before he could have his way with her. Savage busts the guitar just for the hell of it, afterwards. Savage celebrates with Elizabeth on his shoulder, despite not winning the Championship. The wrestling was mostly balls (thank you, Honkytonk Man), but the entertainment value was pretty damn good. A strong example of storyline overcoming wrestling quality to put on an entertaining match.
The Honkytonk Man © (w/ Jimmy Hart & Peggy Sue) vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth):
- We go back to the Pontiac Silverdome, in front of over 93,000 fans. Early in the match, Hogan attempts a slam, but Andre falls on top for what looked like a three count, but was really only two. This past January, Andre attacked Hogan following a title defense on SNME against King Kong Bundy. At the Copps Coliseum site of the inaugural Royal Rumble, Andre put his "official stamp of aproval" on the contract for their rematch, ramming the little dinky table in the ring into Hogan, and flipping it over.
- Mean Gene Okerlund is back with challenger Andre The Giant, and his entourage of Ted Dibiase and Virgil. Remember, Dibiase had recently purchased Andre's contract from Bobby Heenan for an undisclosed amount of money. To the surprise of no one, Andre promises to walk away with the Championship. Mean Gene gets words from Hulk Hogan, and physically gets startled by Hogan's aggressive start to his promo. Hilarious. The crowd reaction is so loud, that it's hard to hear Hogan's promo (was this promo actually done live, or were they getting cute dubbing in the live reaction to a taped promo?).
WWF Heavyweight Championship Match:
It's time for what had to be considered the most important match in WWF History... since their last encounter at WrestleMania III. Dave Hebner is the referee, no doubt because Joey Marella, the referee for their previous match, wasn't allowed to officiate this one because of the whole fake three count scenario. Hogan has a different headband on for the match, so yes, that promo was taped well beforehand. The crowd is definitely jacked up for this one... Andre just hangs back while Hogan continues to feed his own ego, playing to the crowd. Hogan attacks after plenty of stalling, pulls Dibiase and Virgil into the ring, and knocks them both out with big boots. Hogan lays into Andre with rights and chops, then rams him into the turnbuckle. Hogan comes off the ropes with a charging elbow, followed by a clothesline. Hogan gets dirty, raking the eyes, and charging into the orner with another clothesline. Hogan does the Popeye wind-up punch, rakes the eyes again, and goes to the top rope, only to get slammed off by the Giant. Andre finally topples over, following the slam. Hogan is up first and goes for a cover, but Andre chokes him out before a count could be made. Whip to the corner, and Hogan goes down like a sack of potatoes. Andre with a scoop and a slam, followed by a headbutt. Hogan grabs a leg, and takes a knee to the face for his efforts. Andre with more chops and a headbutt, then back to the choke hold. Whip to the ropes, and Andre knocks Hogan out of the ring with a big boot. Virgil tosses Hogan back in the ring, allowing Andre to choke some more, using his singlet to change it up. Hogan starts fighting back to his feet and forcefully breaks the choke hold, then drives a knee into the midsection. Hogan backs Andre into the corner with chops and roundhouse rights. Hogan to the second turnbuckle, and he comes off with a clothesline, taking Andre off his feet. Hogan hits the ropes, but Virgil hooks the ankle. Hogan drops the leg anyway, but Hebner is too concerned giving Virgil the business. Hogan argues with Hebner, allowing Andre to get to his feet. Andre with a series of headbutts, and a sloppy underhook suplex gets a one count... or a three count at 9:09?! Hogan clearly got the shoulder up, though.
Hulk Hogan © vs. Andre The Giant (w/ Ted Dibiase & Virgil):
Hogan argues the decision with the referee, but it's falling on deaf ears, as Dave Hebner awards the WWF Championship to Andre The Giant, who moments later, presents it to the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase! Does this count? Is Ted Dibiase officially recognized as the WWF Champion?! The referee even raises his arm in victory! Hogan keeps yelling at Andre and Dibiase, and suddenly the camera cuts back to the ring, and we have TWO Hebners! What is going on?! (WWF actually signed Earl Hebner, Dave's twin brother, away from JCP weeks earlier, no doubt just for the sake of doing this bit). Hogan does the whole "who's the real Hebner?" bit, and when one attacks the other, that's more than enough for Hogan to make a decision. He hoists the Evil Hebner up, and LAUNCHES HIM over the top rope, damn near over the extended arms of Dibiase and Virgil, and crashing in the aisle.
- We head to the ring for the Tag Title defense between Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel) and the Hart Foundation, but we quickly cut away backstage, where Mean Gene Okerlund is with an obviously shaken up Hulk Hogan. Choice quote "How much money did they spend on the plastic surgery, man!?" You have to give credit where credit is due... that was an incredible swerve and screwjob. We cut back to the ring, with Rick Martel getting worked over by the Foundation, but the program is out of time, so we're going to have to say so long from Indianapolis.
From start to finish, an outstanding broadcast, with storylines more than exceeding expectactions in quality and delivery. The actual wrestling was feh, but who the hell cares? Randy Savage vs. Honkytonk Man was good enough, but then the wrestling world imploded from the rematch between Hulk and Andre, and the evil referee switch-a-roo screwjob that somehow gave Ted Dibiase the championship. This episode of the Main Event is a must-watch for all wrestling fans, and was a very strong start for the push to WrestleMania IV.
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