WWF Saturday Night's Main Event - Apr 23, 1991
by Erick Von Erich
Taped on April 15, 1991 from the Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska; it's the FINAL episode of Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC. Sure, the series had a brief comeback with FOX in 1992, but for all intents and purposes, this is the end of the "true" SNME series. This review is a bit of a "re-do" for me, as I had originally recapped it about 10 years ago for another, long-gone, Crappy Website. It's been cleaned up a little and I've added details to make it read more in-line with the other SNME reviews here on DWS.
Vince McMahon and "Macho Man" Randy Savage are providing commentary and welcome us to
the show. Macho runs off to interview Sgt. Slaughter, Gen. Adnan and Col. Mustafa. Macho's more than a little pro-heel, which was something that'd fade away, soon. We're shown a video from immediately after WrestleMania VII when
Sgt. Slaughter ambushed Hulk Hogan with flash paper! Later, Slaughter even terrorized
Hogan with Fun Snaps!! Mean Gene is standing by with the Ulllltimate Warrior, and
we're shown another recent attack-- this time from "The Funeral Parlor" when the
Undertaker attacked and locked Warrior in a casket. Thankfully, Rene Goulet and others were there with a rubber mallet and screwdriver to finally break the casket's seal! I'm sure you can check it out on YouTube. But with so much going on in the World Wrestling Federation, let's get down to ringside for...
Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter (w/Gen. Adnan and Col. Mustafa)
Bell rings and Sarge decides to enter via the top turnbuckle. Warrior catches him and tosses him around. Sarge takes over with an eyepoke and revisits PunchaMania VII. Bearhug follows....twice! Macho chimes in:
"...and that...is a bearhug by a very strong man yeah!" During the break, errr,
"hold", Paul Bearer wheels a casket down to ringside. Warrior gets distracted, allowing Slaughter to clothesline him in the external occipital protuberance. Warrior begins shrugging off Slaughter and jogging, building up his comeback. It's halted when the cakset opens to reveal the Undertaker. Warrior tries building up again, but Adnan and Mustafa enter the ring and bang away on Warrior, drawing the DQ. Undertaker joins in, until Hulk Hogan
runs in to make the save. Hogan brains Taker with the championship belt, but it has no effect.
Hogan then decides it's easier to punch Slaughter and waddles off down the aisle with the
"Iraqi" contingent. Taker and Warrior are left alone in the ring for a face-off/micro-match. Warrior hits Taker with two clotheslines, to no effect! A shoulderblock sends Taker to the ropes, where he flips over and lands on his feet. StrikeForce:Referee enters to simmer things down. One of the first high-profile displays of the Undertaker's no-selling and casket tactics, so it's significant in that regard.
WWF Tag Team Championship: Nasty Boys (c)(w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Bushwhackers
(Brian Knobbs and Jerry Saggs vs. Butch Miller and Luke Williams)
Pre-match interview has the 'Whackers licking Roddy Piper and lifting up his
kilt. Okay. The Nasties interview is equally animated, as Knobbs proclaims he'll "rip off their arms and stick 'em up their noses! Cuz' we're NASTY!! Yahahaha!" Lots of punches and kicks for the entire match. Whackers clear the ring early, allowing the Nasties to hop outside and re-group. Saggs takes over when Butch stops to wave to the crowd. Butch gets a knee-lift and makes the "hot tag" to Luke. Near 3 count, then the battering ram clears the ring. Knobbs
tries lifting Butch for a slam, but Luke slides in and takes out the knees as
Butch scores a near three count. In the usual 4-way confusion, Knobbs grabs Butch's legs and rolls him up for the pin.
Saggs puts his leg on Knobbs' caboose for added "leverage". Sure, the match was very basic, but the crowd seemed into the Bushwhackers. Several 2.99 counts for the 'Whackers probably added to the excitement. That enthusiasm would be killed, shortly, as these two teams seemed to endlessly match-up for the next 18 months or so.
"Mean" Gene has a quick locker room interview with the Undertaker and Paul Bearer, who promise to make the Warrior "Rest...in peace".
20 Man Battle Royal
("Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Earthquake, Mr. Perfect, Big Bossman, Jake Roberts,
Barbarian, Warlord, Greg Valentine, Tugboat, Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels,
Marty Jannety, Kerry Von Erich, Kato, Tanaka, Jimmy Snuka, Haku, Davey Boy Smith,
Hercules & Paul Roma)
Before the match "Mean" Gene takes us back to when Earthquake "destroyed"
Jake "the Snake" Roberts' buddy Damien (Quake just dropped ass on "Damien" while he was
in the bag). The gist is that Damien's DEAD! Macho Man is with Jake, who introduces us to Damien's big brother- "Lucifer, the devil himself" Watching this, at the time, I thought Lucifer was brand-new. Then, just a few years ago, I saw a TNT episode from 1986 on WWE Classics, where Jake introduced us to a few of his snakes, including Lucifer. So nice continuity how Lucifer was actally making his "return".
"Mean" Gene has one more interview with Hulk Hogan, who claims to be in "war mode". Then where's the War Bonnet, Hulkster?
Match starts with much hugging and punching, as Hogan goes after Earthquake. Jake then takes over, brawling with 'Quake, until Kato attacks him. Mr. Perfect spends a good portion on the apron or ropes, teasing elimination and sneaking around. Paul Roma is flipped out by a headscissors from Marty Jannety, who himself is then pulled out.
Davey Boy Smith is a suprisingly early exit, courtesy of the Warlord. Jake goes shortly after when Earthquake blasts him in the back. Jake's pissed and throws Lucifer into the ring, stopping the match for a bit.
Action resumes. Tanaka, Superfly and Hercules are gone, but damn if I can tell who eliminated them. Hogan has a face-off with "#1 Hulkamaniac Tugboat" to a mild pop, then tosses the Warlord. Barbarian dumps Tornado. Duggan gets tossed by Earthquake. Hogan dumps Earthquake and Kato, then is immediately dumped
by Tugboat! Hogan is pissed, but of all people, Shawn Michaels is there to immediately dump Tugboat. Bossman goes after the Heenan Family, but gets eliminated by Perfect and the Barbarian. Another Heenan Family double-team backfires, as Michaels drop-kicks Haku to the floor.
Final four boils down to Michaels, Valentine, Perfect and Barbarian. Perfect and Michaels have a quick
little sequence that ends when Michaels hops onto the apron and gets caught with
a Perfect elbow. Barbarian and Perfect then work together on pummelling Valentine.
Valentine ducks and Perfect errantly hits Barbarian with a dropkick to eliminate him.
Valentine and Perfect got at it for a bit, then both tumble over the side.
Perfect grabs the top rope, has his toe barely graze the ground, hops back in and wins the thing.
Probably the high point of Valentine's face run, by the way. Not too bad for a basic battle royal, as it had a decent field of potential winners. Michaels in the final four was some well-done foreshadowing. I'll even say that this was better than the famous March 1987 SNME Battle Royal. That one had the intensity of Hogan/Andre, but little else. Yet keep in mind that we're rating BATTLE ROYALS...which are usually 80% hugging/punching.
Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (w/ Sensational Sherri)
Roddy Piper joins the commentary team for this one, continuing his issues with DiBiase.
This match basically signals that Bret's solo run is officially on. Lock-up to the rope, where DiBiase gets in a kneelift and some cheapshots. Bret reverses things with a hip-toss, clotheslines DiBiase over the top, then leaps out out to the floor with a flying bodypress. Back in, they hits the ropes until Sherri tries interferring. DiBiase accidentally hits her, allowing Bret to roll him up for a quick 2. DiBiase slows it down when he lifts Bret into a stun-gun for 2. Bret tries another roll-up after reversing a power-slam, but DiBiase ducks and Bret is sent to the floor. Sherri takes off her jacket to choke Bret and almost falls out of her top in the process.
DiBiase with a piledriver, then whips Bret to the tunbuckle for his usual "THUNK" spot. DiBiase goes for the Million Dollar Dream, but Bret kicks back into the turnbuckles to break. Bret fights back with a series of rights and a reverse atomic drop for 2. Yup, follow-up is the Russian Leg Sweep for another 2. You guessed it: back-breaker and second-rope elbow for 2. Sherri tries tripping again; which spurs Piper to walk down to ringside and harass her with a broom. The two run down the entrance way and DiBiase follows. Bret follows him out and they brawl to a double countout. Great showcase for Bret, as this match finally sold audiences that his singles run (third try) was for real.
Tito Santana vs. The Mountie (w/Jimmy Hart)
Rematch from WrestleMania VII plus, I'm sure, a few house shows and/or episodes of "Superstars". Tito starts with a clothesline, atomic drop and a dropkick to knock Mountie around. Tito then misses a monkeyflip
out of the corner as Mountie takes over. Mountie kicks and uses his
"restraining technique" to pound Tito into the corner. McMahon sells Titos' credentials when he mentions: "he's one of the few individuals who has been in every WrestleMania to date". Tito comes back
with the flying forearm, but stops the cover to check on Jimmy Hart who is
bringing the shock stick into the ring. Tito chokes and scolds Hart, allowing Mountie to zap Tito (WITH sound effect) and score the pin. The crowd also has their own sound effect dubbed in ("booooooo")!
Two more wrap-up interviews from Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter to further their issues.
Why'd You Watch This?
For a series finale, it's pretty decent. 3 of the 5 matches kept you entertained with upper-card talent. Tito/Mountie and the Tag Title match were about as good as they could have been; just filler stuff to pump up the respective heels. SNME had kinda' stunk in 1990 (Hillbilly Jim vs. Earthquake?), so this is a quality send-off for the series. To borrow from my esteemed colleague and personal friend, it's a tasty order of "pizza". I'd rank it right up there with some of the 1987 cards; maybe #5 overall. Worth the track-down and viewing time.
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