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WWF Saturday Night's Main Event - November 26, 1988
by Scrooge McSuck
- It's not a thanksgiving show, but it took place over the Thanksgiving weekend, and it's a quick show to sit through, so there. The WWF was only days removed from Survivor Series, where very little happened, other than the double-turn of Demolition and the Powers of Pain, and some subtle hinting that there might be some tension between the Mega Powers, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.
- Originally broadcasted on November 26th, but taped only about a week earlier, from the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, CA. Vince McMahon and Jesse "The Body" Ventura call all the action, all twenty minutes worth. Remember, Saturday Night's Main Event was a bunch of promos and interviews surrounding a handful of 4-minute matches.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Ultimate Warrior © vs. The Super Ninja (w/ Mr. Fuji):
Although Warrior was doing the house show circuit with the Honkytonk Man, there was hardly any angle to speak of to support it as a serious "feud." Warrior didn't start doing anything interesting as champion until the '89 Royal Rumble, when the program between Warrior and Rude kicked off. The Ninja's identity is debatable, but the most popular name is Rip Oliver, who did some stuff in the Pacific Northwest, and not very much else. Another popular rumor is this was supposed to be a masked Honkytonk Man (or something), but that one is much more up in the air in terms of accuracy. Since it wasn't debuted for another two years, no Orient Express music for the masked "Japanese" superstar. Warrior no-sells Ninja's "karate" and knocks him out of the ring with a big boot. Warrior follows out, just to press slam the Ninja back into the ring. Warrior sends the Ninja to the corner, then nails him coming off the ropes with a back elbow. Warrior with a stiff clothesline, and he's already signaling for the end. Gorilla press slam and the big splash, and Warrior retains the gold in his first defense on Saturday Night's Main Event at 2:11. Super Ninja should've been called Super Jobber... yeah, that wasn't very creative. I'm sorry.
Hercules vs. Virgil (w/ Ted Dibiase):
This is seriously starting to come across as a sweeps-month version of Superstars of Wrestling. It wasn't too long ago that Ted Dibiase magically purchased the contract of Hercules from Bobby Heenan, in hopes of making him his SLAVE. There's a word you can't get away with anymore. Hercules refused, and instantly turned babyface because he opposed Ted Dibiase. THIS was suppoed to give him a main event rub? As soon as this program ended, Hercules babyface run was just a demotion to JTTS levels before a much-needed heel turn during the Summer of 1990. Before the match begins, it's promotional consideration from Burger King. We return, with Hercules laying both men out with clotheslines, and knocking Dibiase out of the ring with rights. Hercules with a back drop and clothesline, sending Virgil out of the ring, as well. Hercules follows and chases Dibiase around the ring, before going back to pounding away on Virgil. Hercules with a jumping elbow drop, followed by mounted punches. Dibiase creates a distraction, but Virgil is just a hired-JTTS here, so there's no doubt Hercules is winning. Hercules with a pretty lazy knee lift, followed by more clotheslines, with equal enthusiasm behind the execution. The canned heat is obviously in effect at this point. Hercules scoops Virgil up, and plants him with a running powerslam for the easy three count at 3:23. I'm not very sure, but this program kind of faded away, until a random "blowoff" at the 2nd Main Event, playing second fiddle to the big Mega Powers break-up. Match was your typical low-level feature on Superstars, as expected.
WWF Championship Match:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan):
Here we go with the only match worth a damn on the show, and it features someone barely mobile enough to walk around for 20-seconds without clinging to the ropes. I love Andre, but it's really hard to watch his matches from this point of his career, and the really sad part is that his physical abilities got WORSE. There's no program here, but they were doing house shows. Andre was already involved in a program with Jake Roberts, having had a "heart attack" on the previous episode of SNME. Savage was doing a lot, but doing little, as well. They had him and Hogan battling the Twin Towers, and he was also doing a program with Bad News Brown that really went nowhere in the television world. Savage's eventual heel turn really put an abrupt end to that, too. Savage attacks right away and gets trapped in the corner. Andre controls with his size advantage and clamps on a front facelock (kind of), then crushes Savage in the corner. Savage with a brief comeback, but Andre smothers him again and starts choking Savage with his singlet strap. Savage stupidly goes for a slam, and takes some knees to the chest for his troubles. Andre with more choking, then back to that double-arm hook thing he does. Savage comeback, Andre chokes. Savage takes Andre off his feet with a double axehandle, and suddenly Jake Roberts
comes down to ringside. Things come to a hault, and Savage takes the time to tell Jake to take a hike. Back to the action, and it's more of the same, while Heenan checks under the ring for Damian. Andre gets distracted, Savage attacks, Andre shrugs him off. Lather, rinse, repeat. Heenan FINALLY finds the bag, but that brings Roberts back, and suddenly, the bell rings at 8:33. Savage knocks Heenan into Andre, trapping him in the ropes, then tosses Heenan out of the ring. Roberts enters the ring and unleashes Damian, but Andre escapes at the last possible moment. Match wasn't very good, and was just a back-drop for advancing the terrible program between Andre and Roberts.
Flag Match: "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Boris Zhukov:
If it weren't for all of these matches being incredibly short, I'd start openly complaining even more about how crappy this episode is, but we've still got a few more segments to go. I don't think this was anything more than "Duggan loves his country", entering a program with Dino Bravo that was aborted just as quickly as it had started. They did a handful of Flag Matches on the house shows, but the hell if I know who got the best out of it. Zhukov spent pretty much the rest of his time in the WWF as a total Jobber. I'm pretty sure this was recycled for the Jim Duggan Coliseum Video. Slugfest to start, and Duggan with an atomic drop, followed by a clothesline. Irish whip, and Zhukov with a boot to the face, followed by an elbow drop. Zhukov pounds away, but Duggan no-sells, and does some of the same. Duggan out-smarts Zhukov, but misses an elbow drop. Zhukov controls with Jobber offense, but Duggan quickly regains control. Duggan with a big scoop slam, and the big charging clothesline finishes Zhukov off at 2:25. That was very squashtastic... Duggan gets to have his flag raised in victory, because he loves his country and all that crap.
- We get a special, in-ring edition of the Brother Love Show, with his guests Hulk Hogan (in one of his few non-wrestling SNME appearances) and the Doctor of Style, Slick, manager of the man who is currently feuding with the Hulkster. That would be the Big Boss Man, by the way. It's the same old bit we've seen countless times. Love treats Hogan like garbage, ignoring his rebuttals, and praises Slick and the Boss Man. The blow-off is Hogan beating the crap out of Slick and Brother Love, to the surprise of no one. Seriously, how many times did Hogan whoop Slick, for no good reason? I'm sure they recycled the exact same bit two years later, except it was Jimmy Hart, managing Earthquake.
The Young Stallions vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (w/ Jimmy Hart)
(Jim Powers & Paul Roma vs. Jacques & Raymond Rougeau)
We're coming close to the end, so don't except this match to be very long. That seems to plague all of the matches closing out the show, but the weird thing about that is these are taped, so I'm sure there was a way to edit the broadcast so that the last match wasn't a 90-second rush job. The Rougeaus are introduced from their new hometown here (Memphis, TN), having relocated to the United States. Honestly, outside of the theme song (which has not debuted yet), I didn't give too much of a crap for the Rougeaus, either as babyfaces or heels. Powers and Jacques start. Jacques with a headlock and shoulder block, followed by a dropkick. Lockup into the corner, and Powers teases a monkey flip before pounding away. Jimmy Hart nails Powers from the outside, allowing the Rougeaus to regain control. What a loser... Irish whip, and Jacques with a diving elbow for a two count. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Powers ducks a cross-body attempt. Roma gets the JTTS Tag and nails Raymond with a clothesline. Roma with a powerslam on Jacques, followed by a second rope elbow. Roma with a missile dropkick on Raymond, but that only gets two. Things get out of hand, until the Rougeau Bomb finishes Roma off at 3:06. That was pretty much as much of a squash fo a tag team match as you could expect.
- We close the show out with the interviews from the likes of Hulk Hogan, gloating about beating up non-wrestlers and managers, and Andre The Giant, who is very much pissed off at Jake Roberts for bringing that damn snake out and trying to make him look bad in front of everyone else. It's sad when the closing promos are worth more than the matches on the show.
Final Thoughts: I remember having a very harsh opinion on this show back in the day, but over the years, I've come to the conclussion that old episodes of Saturday Night's Main Event are a lot like pizza. Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. The wrestling wasn't very good, but it wasn't terrible, and the matches consisted of the lowest caliber of matches ever seen on any episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. On the more positive side of things, they did try and advance the storylines for Roberts/Andre and Hogan/Bossman, even though only one of them actually wrestled, and in a match totally unrelated to the program in question. While I definitely would consider it one of the weakest episodes ever (not counting the relaunch in 2006-2007), it's still an okay waste of an hour (excluding the commercials, of course).
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