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WWF Saturday Night's Main Event - April 30 1988

by Erick Von Erich

Officially the 16th episode of the series and...gasp...the first with someone-not-named-Hulk Hogan as champ! Originally happening on April 22, 1988, at the Springfield Civic Center in Springfield, MA. Springfield?! Whatever you do, do not look beneath the city's video arcade. Oh wait, that was a different Springfield...or was it? Set to the tune of Jake Roberts' music, we get opening promos from "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan ("Hoooo! Hey, folks!"), Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (with Hercules and Andre the Giant), Slick (with the One Man Gang) and our NEW WWF Champion, "Macho Man" Randy Savage (with Elizabeth). One of my favorite babyface Macho Man promos, as he says: "oh yeah, freak out freak out!" Our hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse "The Body" Ventura, who fill us in on what's happened since WrestleMania IV. Including the big Hacksaw/Andre 2x4 confrontation! But with so much going on in the World Wrestling Federation, let's get down to ringside for...

"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Hercules (w/Bobby "The Brain" Heenan & Andre the Giant)

Heenan's pretty serious (for him) in the pre-match interview, calling "Mean" Gene Okerlund a jerk and a cow-pie. I guess Andre's manager's license from the last few SNME's hasn't expired. Herc (who Vince actually calls "Hercules Hernandez") starts off with a low-kick and begins "Hammering Away". Irish whip to the corner is reversed as Hacksaw returns with a clothesline. Atomic drop and an elbow send Herc reeling. Herc bails, allowing Hacksaw time to glare at Andre. Herc is brought back in via hair and a snapmare. Baaaack bodydrop, but Hacksaw misses a kneedrop. Herc works on the injured knee and gets the Greco-Roman Thumb to the Eye to stop a Hacksaw comeback. Some back-and-forth brawling, errr, "Hammering Away", until Hacksaw hits the ring apron and Heenan gets a few shots in. Hacksaw grabs his 2x4 and clears the ring to break the action and cue the commercial break. As the ref tries to grab the 2x4, Herc attacks. More brawling until Herc cinches a bear hug. Big kneelift stops another comeback and Herc maintains control. Hacksaw blocks a backdrop attempt, then tosses Herc into the corner for 10, 10, 10 Vunderful Punches-- ah-ah-ah! Hip-toss and then Hacksaw's charging clothesline connects! Hacksaw covers for 2, but Heenan runs in to break it up and draw the disqualification. Andre enters, as it's a 3-on-1 beatdown until the Ultimate Warrior runs in with the 2x4 to make the save. Your basic brawl, but with tremendous amounts of energy! The crowd was eating it up and everything worked well. Kept the feuds between Hacksaw/Andre and Warrior/Herc simmering. You really couldn't ask for a better match from everyone involved.

Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. "Dangerous" Danny Davis (w/Jimmy Hart)

I'll mark this as Davis' last official noteworthy match. His character had gotten stale and he did nothing of notice until quietly returning to referee duties the next year. We get a video flashback from WrestleMania IV, where Bruti cut off some of Jimmy Hart's mullet. To spice up the match, Hart and Davis bring their own shears and barber bag to the ring. Collar-to-elbow tie-up, then Davis gets a shot in and does his usual cowering in the corner. Bruti takes him on a Tour de Turnbuckle, then hip-tosses him. The ref tries to break things up in the corner, so Davis sees the spot and nails Bruti. Series of forearm shots, then Davis chokes him on the bottom rope. They try a whip to the ropes, but blow it as Bruti's usual high-knee turns into a half-assed kneelift. Slam, then Davis slides out. Bruti snapmares him back in, then sends him to the ropes and hooks the sleeper. Hart does his best to distract the ref, but Davis' arm drops 3 times and Bruti gets the win. Afterwards, Bruti gives Davis a little trim and even spray-paints him. Golly, no wonder the Booty Man wanted to join the original nWo in 1996, he was probably figured they were all brothers-in-spray-paint. Anyways, Bruti wakes up Davis, shows him a mirror, then beats the tar out of him for good measure. Match was complete garbage. It was all about the outside antics of Hart and his shears. I counter it with the match, above, but there the outside antics worked. I get that they wanted to show Bruti going through Jimmy Hart's men to get to Honky Tonk Man, but they needed a different opponent in there, or at least let Davis get more offense in. You couldn't trot out Greg Valentine again and the Hart Foundation was busy firing Jimmy Hart, so I guess their options were limited.

WWF Championship
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (c) (w/Elizabeth) vs. One Man Gang (w/Slick)

First televised title defense for Macho. More WrestleMania IV flashbackin', as they show the Gang getting disqualified against Savage in the title tournament. So we've got your basic kayfabe rematch and storyline. Slick tries getting in Liz's face, so Macho hops the top rope and chases him all the way to the back. After an intitial lock-up, Macho is all duck n' dodge until Gang catches him off the ropes. It looks like Gang will slam him, but Macho is able to succesfully land a body-press and get a 2 count. Jesse freaks out, as that move rarely works! Gang bench-presses Macho to the floor, but Macho is quickly up and off the top turnbuckle with anotehr boydpress for 2. Bulldog/hangman from macho gets another 2. Macho tries a front facelock, but Gang powers him into the corner and clubs away. Gang works him over and Slick gets his shots in, too. Gang whips him to the ropes, but Macho ducks and slides out after Slick! Gang catches him on the return and chokes him out. Elbowdrop gets a count 2 for the Gang. Gang accidentally hits the turnbuckle, as Savage senses an opening and responds with a few elbowsmashes, then clotheslines Gang over the top rope to the floor! Flying double axe-handle from the top turnbuckle to the floor! Macho tries another, in the ring, but Gang is ready and hits him in the tummy. Nice scoop slam from Gang, but his misses his 747 splash from the seond rope. Slick distracts and Gang takes over, again. They try a double-team, but Slick accidentally hits Gang with his cane. Macho is a ball of lightning as he hops up top to land the Big Elbow and get the pin! Much more exciting than the usual Hogan formula of fighting big monsters. Macho not only looked capable, but showed ring-smarts. You weren't expecting a techical masterpiece with the Gang, so once again it's about the best match you could get with this combo.

The British Bulldogs (w/Matilda) vs. Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji)

Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid vs. Ax & Smash Non-title match for whatever reason you can come up with. In a somewhat strange interview, the Demos and Fuji say that their facepaint is a "face of pain". They say they plan to dip Matilda in chrome, mount her on Fuji's Winnebago and visit the Grand Canyon. Wait, these guys are supposed to be heels?! Here comes the Ax and here comes the Smasher, in a Winnebago...canine hood ornament...

Smash starts by, umm, smashing Davey. Whip to the ropes and a blindtag to Dynamite, who comes in with a clothesline. Headbutt, Dynamite, but Ax comes in to pound some more. Dyanmite goes for the snap-suplex, but Smash makes the save. Side back-breaker from Smash gets 2. Smash slaps on a breahug and Dyanmite tries to break with a series of headbutts. It works, but Smash alertly grapevines the leg and tags off to Ax. Dynamite's in the worong side of town, until he gets a boot up and makes the hot tag to Davey Boy. DBS with a slam for both Demos and a drop-kick to send Ax to the floor. Dynamite returns, but gets hit with a shoulderblock from Ax and tossed outside. Fuji tries to get in some cane-shots, but Davey and Matlida are there to fend him off. All three bulldogs (lowercase, as I'm counting Matilda) chase Fuji to the back as it's commercial break time. Back from break, as the Bulldogs (uppercase, as Matilda stayed in the back) storm the ring, each with a broken half of Fuji's cane. They beat away on the Demos and get disqualified. A fairly ordinary match, with no real rhyme or reason. These two teams put on better matches, later in the year.

Don "The Rock" Muraco (w/"Superstar" Billy Graham) vs. "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil)

Another WM4 rematch, as the storyline is that DiBiase has to work his way back into the mix for a title shot. Really, if you think about the WM4 results, you can make a case that Muraco is in the top 4... if the WWF actually ranked these things. Virgil distracts, allowing DiBiase to start "Hammering Away". Muraco catches him off the ropes with a backdrop, then thumps him in the noggin. DiBiase begs him off, then rolls out to regroup and get the crowd heated up. Back in, Muraco with a side headlock and shoulderblock. DiBiase counters with a hip-toss, but misses an elbowdrop. Clothesline and power-slam, but Virgil pulls DiBiase's leg on the bottom rope as Muraco covers. Back up, as they criss-cross and DiBiase sticks a clothesline and gets a 2 count. Vertical suplex from DiBiase for another 2. Nice gut-wrench suplex for yet another 2. DiBiase tries a backdrop, but Muraco counters it into a Russian leg sweep. Muraco's on the warpath with a reverse elbow and a running power-slam for 2. DiBiase gets in a shot to the throat, then slams Muraco. Muraco gets his foot on the rope, but the ref doesn't' see it and counts 3 for DiBiase. Muraco protests after the bell... but the reality is that Virgil was a great second by spotting DiBiase's leg earlier, and Superstar was absolutely worthless. Not a bad little match, though. While Muraco may be one of my all-time favorites, it seems in this timeframe he would hit a move, then slowly stagger and look at his opponent. This may have been a result of his face turn, since, as a heel, he would use those little pauses to talk smack or rile the crowd. I know the common Internets Response is "Muraco was miscast as a face", but I'll take any form of Muraco and don't think his face run was that bad. I was happy to see one of my favorites actually getting cheers for once.

"Mean" Gene Okerlund is backstage with Macho Man and Elizabeth. Gene announces that DiBiase is now the #1 contender. Macho welcomes the challenge, as he stresses the importance of Macho Madness and the Inspiration of Elizabeth.

Koko B. Ware (w/Frankie) vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude (w/Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

Another random SNME match that's just there, as Rude's incident with Cheryl Roberts hadn't been aired on TV, yet. For the record, Rude tells all the "coyote ugly little boys" to keep the noise down. Rude starts attacking as Koko's on the apron. Koko fights his way, but right into some forearm shots. Koko with a leapfrog, then drop-kicks Rude while he gyrates. Koko even mocks Rude with some gyrations of his own. Nothing more than punchy/kicky as Rude targets Koko's backside. Rude lands a fist-drop from the top turnbuckle, chokes with the middle rope, then whips Koko in for a drop-kick. A second drop-kick misses the mark, as Koko grabs the ropes. Backdrop from Koko, but he tries a flying body-press and eats nothing but ring ropes. Rude Awakening connects and Rude gets the 3 count.

Vince and Jesse close things out, mentioning the important wins of both Macho and DiBiase. They then sign off until next fall. Phil Collins plays us out.

Why'd You Watch This?
The annual "post-WrestleMania SNME" would usually just show off the WWF's status quo after the event and fill everybody in on what happened. I'll say this, the use of the replays in this episode made WrestleMania IV seem like a big deal and not the boring snore-fest it really was. Macho's match was tonight's spotlight and a complete change from the Hogan formula. In fact, the words "Hulk Hogan" are not even spoken in this entire show! if you didn't know better, you'd think Hogan had left the WWF, completely (well, he kinda' did, temporarily). As it is, this is an impressive start for the "Macho Era".

This show itself is something of a nostalgic one for me, as it's the first one I taped. I remember telling my whole family that SNME would be on, and they didn't believe me. When it did come on, I remember my dad saying: "whoa, this is FREE? It's not pay per view or anything?!" So my dad was extremely bummed when he found out this wouldn't be on, every weekend. I remember having a high opinion of this show, when I began re-watching and recapping stuff, circa the year 2000. But personal connection aside, this is a very "nothing happening" show, even with 6 matches (an SNME record). They're all basic filler and there's nothing truly special. It moves at a brisk pace, but there's nothing you need to see. I'd maybe put the Macho/Gang match on a compilation and say the Hacksaw/Herc match is a good example of how to make the most out of the least. You can skip the rest.

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