WWF Saturday Night's Main Event - October 14, 1989
by Erick Von Erich
In memory of the recently passed Don Pardo, I decided to cover another SNME episode that was on my "wish list". Well, okay, so all this has to do with Pardo is that he announced the quick 5-second bumper that preceeded the original broadcast-- "Saturday Night Live will not be seen tonight! So that we may bring you this special presentation of Saturday Night's Main Event"! Dang, hearing that little blip always got me pumped up. I watched this, live, back in October '89, but it killed me that I was unable to tape it, as I was having problems with my VCR and TV reception. Nowadays, I see that it would've been a half hour fix or maybe 40 bucks spent to solve those problems. Sheesh, I was a cheap n' lazy bastard back then. Apparrently, this bugged me so much that I'm STILL bitching about it about 25 years later! Egads. Nevertheless, I have only seen this show once.
Taped on September 21 from the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio, it's the official kick-off for a new season of Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC! Our hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse "The Body" Ventura, with "Mean" Gene Okerlund conducting the backstage interviews. Vince is giddy that this is the "sixth season" of SNME. I'm guessing time travels more quickly in the WWF Universe, as I'm pretty sure SNME actually started in 1985, making this the fifth season. We also get the quick "countdown promos" from "Macho King" Randy Savage, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, The Bushwhackers, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and WWF champ, Hulk Hogan. Of special note is that DiBiase now has ZEUS in his corner!
But with so much going on in the World Wrestling Federation, let's get down to ringside for...
"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. "Macho King" Randy Savage (w/Sensational Queen Sherri)
Savage sure did seem to hit lead-off for SNME a lot. We get a quick flashback to his coronation as "king", when no less than "The Genius" Lanny Poffo read him a special poem. Savage tries to attack, but Snuka takes control with a series of chops and a leaping headbutt before tossing Savage through the ropes and out. Snuka's out to continue the attack, but gets held up by Sherri on his way back in. Savage gets a slam and a kneedrop to a chorus of piped-in booo's. Snuka comes back with some headbutts, a reverse atomic drop and a clothesline. Savage is whipped, upside-down, into the corner and hooks his leg on the top turnbuckle. Referee Joey Marella tries to shoo Snuka away, which allows Sherri to un-hook the leg and pass Savage her Evil Loaded Purse. Savage uses it to smack Snuka in the kidney, roll him up and hook the tights for the 3 count. After the bell, Savage sets-up Snuka for the Big Elbow, but Snuka dodges it, slams Savage and clears the ring to retain some heat. It's a shame that most of Savage's matches in this period consisted mainly of him choking, getting two moves, then Sherri interferring. This match is no different.
I think it had been about 18 months since we had an official DiBiase vs. Hogan match. For continuity whiners: in Hogan's pre-match interview, he's wearing a full "Hulk Rules" doo-rag, but when he comes down the aisle, he's wearing a "Hulkamania" headband. Answer: he had the headband on UNDER the doo-rag, ya' big silly. Match starts with a lock-up into the corner, so Zeus can grab at Hogan's ankle. Hogan with a standing side headlock and a series of shoulderblocks off the ropes; cue the Zeus interference! DiBiase gets the upper hand for about 10 seconds, then Hogan's all "Hammering Away". Closed fists get a reprimand from referee "Good" Dave Hebner. For a second, I thought it was "Evil" Earl Hebner and wanted to make a joke, but Jesse quickly calls him "Dave" to kill my punchline. Zeus interferes again and chokes away on Hogan, which brings Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Damien down to ringside to even the odds. DiBiase is distarcted by Jake, allowing Hogan to roll him up for a 2 count. Hogan gets the better of a punch exchange. Suddenly, Virgil runs down to snatch Damien away, getting Jake to chase him. DiBiase blindsides Hogan, sending him over the top rope to the floor with a clothesline. DiBiase works on Hogan with basic wear-down moves, including a clothesline and some elbow smashes. Vertical suplex gets 2 for DiBiase and he follows it up with a second rope fist drop for another quick cover. A Chinlock occurs. Hogan elbows his way out, hits a charging shoulderblock, then both guys got down with a double clothesline. Hogan's up first and follishly tries to bounce off the ropes in front of Zeus, again. Kidney shot from Zeus floors Hogan and DiBiase lands his measured fist-drops. DiBiase flies off the top rope--and connects-- with a kneedrop for 2. Hogan goes into his Spinach Comeback mode. Three big punches, big boot...but Zeus sneaks in and attacks. Zeus holds up Hogan, but DiBiase accidentally hits Zeus. Hogan's right there to small package DiBiase and retain the title.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (w/Zeus)
Afterwards, Zeus and Hogan have a staredown, until DiBiase blasts Hogan in the back. Million Dollar Dream is applied! Zeus gets his Neck Snap of Terror, as well. Hogan goes down, but Jake returns with Damien to clear the ring. This was basically a warm-up for Survivor Series and to spice things up for an otherwise random "Hulkamaniacs" vs. "Million Dollar Team" match. A fairly well-worked match from both competitors. For a 1989 Hogan match, it's a "Four Star Classic".
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper vs. Haku (w/Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)
Part of the Piper vs. Rick Rude feud, which actually started as Piper vs. "Boobsy" Heenan on the set of Prime Time Wrestling. We get some quick flashbacks of Piper interferring at SummerSlam, then Rude attacking and "blinding" Piper a few weeks later on the Brother Love Show. Y'know, I think this is Piper's first nationally televised non-squash bout since his return. Haku attacks Piper on the apron, but Piper gets the best of a brawl and clotheslines him over the top rope. Piper with a modified Thesz press from the apron onto the floor! Piper chases Heenan in and around the ring, which allows Haku to recover and take over with a clothesline. Reverse elbow-smash and shoulder-breaker get 2. Big legdrop, but Haku misses a splash from the top. Piper beats Haku into the mat, flips him up for a face-first drop, then finishes things with a belly-to-belly suplex for the 3 count. Piper signals that it's "one down" in his war against the Heenan Family. Sounds cool enough, but I don't think he went through Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Andre the Giant on his way to Rick Rude.
"Mean" Gene is backstage with Ted DiBiase and Zeus. DiBiase blames Jake Roberts for costing him the WWF Championship, while Zeus barks threats at Hogan about Survivor Series.
Tito Santana vs. Rick Martel (w/Slick)
Still fairly early in the Strike Force Wars, as this is probably only Round 43 or so. Martel is still a few weeks away from officially adding "The Model" to his ringname. Slick teases back-up, which turns out to be Survivor Series buddies Big Bossman, Akeem, Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart, who all follow Martel to the ring. Chico initially comes out on his own, then summons his Survivor Series buddies from the back: The Red Rooster, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and Dusty Rhodes. So we've almost got an unofficial lumberjack match. Chico and Martel brawl, until Tito blocks a kick, hits a reverse atomic drop and sends him outside. No interference, as the babyfaces allow Chico to attack. Back inside, Chico dominates, getting a sunset flip for 2, then working on the left arm. Criss-cross (JUMP! JUMP!) action and Chico gets a flying cross-body for another 2. Cheapshot uppercut from Martel to set up the Martel Stomp. Chico blocks a backdrop attempt and they go back to brawling. Nice backdrop from Chico and he connects with the Flying Forearm. He goes for the cover, but Slick gets up on the apron. All the other team members come to life as a second referee and a commercial break arrive.
Order is restored as we come back to Martel going all punchy/kicky. Hiptoss from Chico, but he misses a clothesline and falls outside. More punchy/kicky from Martel, then he lands an elbowdrop and works the back. A Chinlock Happens. Chico fights up and they do a pretty good show of strength as they fight over a backslide. Chico gets a near 3 count, but then it's more punchy/choky from Martel. Ah, mixing it up a bit! Martel gets the Boston Crab, but Chico grabs the ropes. Chico reverses and gets another 2 count. Big slam from Martel, but he goes upstairs and gets shaken off the ropes. Chico thumps him into the turnbuckle, then sets up for the figure four! That's the cue, as all 6 observers enter the ring and a big brawl breaks out. Officially a double disqualification, but the babyfaces clear the ring to trigger Chico's theme music. This would've fit in perfectly on a "Survivor Series Showdown". Match itself was carried by Chico, as Martel still seemed a little green with his basic heel offense.
More backstage "Mean" Gene fun, as he interviews Roddy Piper. Piper reiterates he's targetting Rick Rude and the Heenan Family. I remember being bummed that Piper wasn't on Ultimate Warrior's team at Survivor Series. Warrior, Piper and Two Other Guys against Rude, Andre the Giant, Arn Anderson and Haku would've made for a tighter storyline, but I can see why they split 'em off into two separate matches.
The Bushwhackers vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (w/Jimmy Hart)
(Butch & Luke vs. Jacques & Raymond Rougeau)
Yeah, I'm finally giving in and dropping the Whackers' last names so I'm now "writing WWE Style". Whackers clear the ring upon arrival and beat up Jimmy Hart, stealing his jacket and eventually his pants. Damn, that spot seemed to happen to Jimmy A LOT. He retreats to the locker, while the Rougeaus take over and hit a doubleteam clothesline on Butch. They follow it up with their Bsoton Crab/kneedrop double-team and the obligatory flying reverse elbow from Jacques. Jacques accidentally nails Raymond with a knee, allowing the hot tag to Luke. House-cleaning with a flying clothesline and a double noggin-knocker from Luke. Battering ram on Jacques, followed by the Whacker's doubel-team stomach-buster slam thingie. That's enough for the 3 as Butch pins Jacques. Very quick match, which worked in this occassion.
One more "Mean" Gene interview, this time with the Hulkster complaining about Zeus and pumping up Survivor Series.
Vince and Jesse close things out in two fairly worthless segments.
Why'd You Watch This?
A solid card, but not spectacular. The Hogan match is the highlight is was supposed to be, but the rest is fairly forgettable. So much that, in the 25 years since I last saw this, I completely forgot about the last two matches and all the hype for Survivor Series.
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