Hey there everyone. Welcome to the very first review of 1989. We kick things off with an edition of SNME, which features a hair match as well as a SummerSlam rematch between Warrior and Honky Tonk Man, and much more. Plus, the point system to determine the 1989 wrestler of the year starts here as well, with the NWA/WCW joining the party from this year going forward. Here’s how the point system works:
- 1/2 point (0.5): a win via DQ or count-out; extra for pinfall/submission falls in stipulation matches (ie: iron man matches, elimination tag matches, steel cage match, etc)
- 1 point: main-eventing the show; winning via pin or submission (in a tag team match, the person getting the winning fall will get an EXTRA 1/2 point); winning a stipulation match; successfully retaining a title
- 2 points: capturing a title
- The star rating: the exact star rating a match gets will be considered points for all the participants
- Vice-versa for those wrestlers who get pinned or drop titles, as the exact same number of points will be TAKEN from said wrestlers
- In case there’s a draw, those two (or more) wrestlers involved will be untied by a) number of victories; b) the overall number of main-events; c) direct confrontations between each other; and d) the number of appearances, as I will give the edge to the wrestler who appeared less times on the reviews and managed to get as many points as someone with more appearances
There will of course be some special exceptions to these rules in some particular matches, such as the Royal Rumble or Survivor Series, but I will mention that at the time. Finally, the champions in the WWF at the time of this show:
- WWF Champion: Randy Savage
- Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior
- Tag Team Champions: Demolition (Ax & Smash)
- Women’s Champion: Rockin’ Robin
Enjoy the review!
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura as usual
– ‘Outlaw’ Ron Bass opens the show with a promo on Brutus Beefcake. Bass says typical heel things while Mean Gene sells the presence of Miss Betsy.
– Brutus Beefcake is next. They show a recap of the feud, which started all the way back in the summer when Bass brutally attacked Beefcake and cost him his IC title shot at SummerSlam, which opened the door for Warrior. Beefcake wants revenge.
Hair vs. Hair: Brutus Beefcake vs. Ron Bass
Bass chokes away using Betsy before Beefcake can even enter the ring. Beefcake escapes the attack and steals Betsy from him, which makes the Outlaw bail while Brutus taunts him. Beefcake gets it away, and Bass is back in to get things going. Beefcake catches him with a high knee and sends Ron all the way to the floor. He keeps trying to get back up to the apron, but Beefcake keeps knocking him back down as the crowd is pretty much into it. Back in, a slugfest is won by Beefcake and the crowd counts along as he pounds away with punches. The confident Beefcake struts. Into the corner, where Bass finally gets something going by catching Brutus with a reverse atomic drop out of the corner. Bass proceeds to work over the midsection, with repeated knees and rights to the gut. He stays on it, adding an elbow, a forearm and a kick. Ron grabs Brutus’ head and arrogantly slams it into the mat to get heat. And back to the midsection he goes, with more of the same kicky punchy stuff. Ron with a piledriver, but he doesn’t want the pin yet. He proceeds to snap Beefcake’s throat on the top rope, but he still hasn’t had enough fun. Clothesline and he finally covers, but it only gets a nearfall. Now Bass is pissed, who argues with the ref. That allows Beefcake to block a second clothesline, and the sleeper puts Bass (and his hair) away at 7:40.
– Back from break, ‘The Barber’ goes to work on the haircut to end the segment.
- Analysis: As a match, it was very basic with lots of punches and kicks. There was some psychology(?) over Beefcake’s midsection, but no big deal was made out of it, and I never once saw Beefcake sell it like it could cost him the match. Neither did it factor in the finish. However, I will say it was nice to see them actually having a winner and delivering on the promised stipulation, unlike the whole Roberts/Rude deal. So props to them on that. **
– Mean Gene is in the back with Slick and The Twin Towers (Akeem & The Big Bossman). Akeem has a match with Hogan next, and Gene wants to know what is the Bossman doing there. Slick says it’s to keep things fair since Hogan likes to break the rules here and there.
– Hulk Hogan & Miss Elizabeth are next. Gene is worried about how Hogan has everything against him. Hogan disagrees, saying that he always has Lady Luck on his back with Liz by his side. Randy Savage (the 1988 wrestler of the year) shows up to even the odds for the babyfaces.
Hulk Hogan(w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Akeem(w/ The Big Bossman & Slick)
Savage stays in the back watching the match with Mean Gene, while Liz goes to ringside with Hogan. Akeem misses a charge to start, with Hogan sending Slick flying into Akeem. Poor Akeem even gets Hogan’s attire in his mouth (literally) as Hogan pounds away and takes out all the heels. Hogan mocks Akeem’s dance before going for a bodyslam, and if you’ve watched at least one Hulk Hogan match in your life you know what happens here. Akeem takes control from there, only to miss another corner charge and get his head rammed into the turnbuckle repeatedly. A clothesline doesn’t take Akeem down, but a second one does and Bossman gets to take a bump for Mr. Superman too. That does open the door for a distraction, though, which allows Akeem to grab Hogan by the hair right into a wristlock. Hogan obviously punches his way out of that one, once again taking Akeem down after two clotheslines. Akeem goes flying into The Bossman, and he finally pleads for mercy on his knees. I know this is Hulk Hogan, but after all that concern by Mean Gene earlier, it would be nice to see the heels actually get something going. Otherwise, what was that concern all about? Has Mean Gene never seen a Hulk Hogan match like ever? Hogan of course mocks Akeem’s dance a bit more, so Akeem pulls the ref in the way of a Hogan corner charge. With the ref down and out, the usual heel beatdown follows. We cut backstage where Savage is watching the match alongside the still worried Okerlund. Savage is not going out there, he believes in Hogan. “GO HULKSTER!” Unlike Mean Gene, Savage has seen Hogan matches in the past, there’s nothing to be worried about. Meanwhile, we return to ringside with Akeem hitting Hogan with the 747 numerous times as the ring starts to get filled with garbage. I miss kayfabe! Liz has finally had enough, and she goes to the back to ask Savage for help. And we take a break.
We come back with Akeem going up only to miss a flying splash. Meanwhile, Liz wants Savage to go to ringside, but he insists in staying. He has faith in Hogan. Akeem pounds away as Elizabeth returns to ringside. Not long after that Hogan is hulking up, thus proving Savage was right all along. The 24 INCH PYTHON CLOTHESLINE OF DEATH leaves Akeem seeing stars, which gives Hogan enough time to beat up both Bossman and Slick on the outside. Back in, the big boot still doesn’t put Akeem down, but the bodyslam does. It’s time to follow with the big leg, but Bossman hits Hogan in the back with the nightstick for the DQ at 8:06.
– Bossman joins for another beatdown, still no Savage. They turn their attention to Elizabeth to finally cross that line, as Savage runs in with a chair in hand to send the heels to the back. However, Liz is concerned with Hogan which Savage doesn’t appreciate. He argues with Liz, but she pretty much ignores him and walks away with the injured Hogan while Savage follows them yelling “ELIZABEEETH” to end the segment.
- Analysis: I won’t even talk about the match itself, it was literally every basic Hulk Hogan TV match ever. Akeem hit his finisher numerous times and was still a victim of the deadly Hulk Hogan comeback like he was nothing, so that is clearly a down after all the hype. With that out of the way, I know this existed for one reason and one reason only: to build up The Main Event II and the inevitable feud between the Mega Powers. They were effective when it comes to that. I am very excited to see what comes next between these two. *1/4
– Meanwhile, Mean Gene is in the back with The Honky Tonk Man & Jimmy Hart. Honky says he’s the greatest Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion of all time and he’s taking it back tonight. He adds he’s going to be the first wrestler to regain said belt. Apparently Don Muraco never existed? What is a Pedro Morales? Nice heel promo by Honky.
– The Ultimate Warrior is up next. Mean Gene questions his strategy in accepting this rematch, considering Honky has had time to study him unlike at SummerSlam. Warrior ignores him and instead punches his cheeeeeest a loooooooooot before saying (or yelling)… something. I’m sure it was effective.
WWF Intercontinental Championship: The Ultimate Warrior(c) vs. The Honky Tonk Man(w/ Jimmy Hart)
But not before a break.
We come back with Honky trying to run away from Warrior. That is before Warrior catches him and puts him back inside the ring with a gorilla press slam. Meanwhile, the clock surpasses the 00:30 mark, therefore meaning Honky has already done better than at SummerSlam. Way to go Honky! Warrior hits a big boot back in, and cracks Honky and Jimmy’s heads after the latter climbs up on the apron. Warrior spears Honky in the corner but a second one finds nobody. Hart distracts the ref allowing Honky to use the megaphone to take control. Hart even gets his little shots in while Honky distracts the ref, and the crowd hates it. Honky follows with some knees to the back, which are ultimately no-sold by Warrior but he misses an elbowdrop. Honky thinks about ramming Warrior’s head into the turnbuckle (seen that a lot on this show), but ends up eating that himself instead. Warrior splash finds knees for two. Warrior clothesline and the shoulderblock does it at 5:07.
- Analysis: This was what it had to be. Despite being (way) longer than their SummerSlam bout, this was still smartly kept short so it wouldn’t expose the Warrior too much as they usually did. Honky got in some heat at least, so good for him. But at the end of the day, this was still nothing more than a glorified Ultimate Warrior squash. *
– Meanwhile, Mean Gene is once again in the back with Slick & The Twin Towers. Slick is happy for the beatdown, before questioning the Mega Powers’ relationship and saying his stable is like a family.
– Jesse Ventura interviews Bobby Heenan & The Red Rooster. Heenan and Ventura completely ignore Rooster and mock him for being rubbish, saying the only good thing about him is Heenan’s brain. I guess Terry Taylor really missed working marathons with Ric Flair over the NWA World title at this point in his career. I certainly can’t blame him.
The Red Rooster(w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Tito Santana
This match is totally pointless, as it’s totally about Heenan and Rooster constantly fighting. Mat sequence to start, Rooster backs off and Heenan gives him advice. He ends up running into a dropkick anyway. Rooster stomps away, hitting a jawbreaker to create some distance before choking away. Santana with a takedown and he pounds away. Rooster turns the tables and tries a sunset flip, but Santana holds on and drops a right hand to Rooster’s jaw. Head meets the turnbuckle (again!) followed by a backdrop. Tito wants the figure four, but Rooster grabs the hair to escape. Heenan pushes Rooster off the ring to abuse him, and Rooster finally has enough and shoves him back.
We come back to Santana hitting a suplex for two. Rooster comes back with a Flair kneedrop for two. Backbreaker gets two more. Rooster tries a suplex that Santana turns into a small package for two. Backslide gets two. Santana charge finds boot and a piledriver gets two. Out of all the matches to use the piledriver for a nearfall… this one? No wonder why the piledriver is more than dead nowadays and has been for years. Santana takes control but Rooster goes to eyes and stunguns him. Figure four is blocked and Santana dumps Rooster with a clothesline. Heenan puts him back inside the ring himself, and Santana follows with a quick roll-up from behind for the win after 7:27. Rooster finally snaps and attacks Heenan afterwards to turn face.
- Analysis: Technically solid but this was way too long for what it truly was, filler. The Heenan/Rooster drama was the focus of this whole thing and it went a little bit too long. Still, the match was good enough. **
– Mr. Perfect interview. It’s his first appearance on SNME, so it’s nothing more than a basic promo to introduce the characters to those watching him for the first time. He basically likes to say the word ‘perfect’ a lot.
Main-event: Mr. Perfect vs. Koko B. Ware
Fast wrestling sequence gets things going, which ends with Koko dropkicking Perfect all the way to the outside. Perfect takes over back inside. Koko armdrags him and they go into another fast sequece off a lockup that ends with Perfect running into another Koko armdrag. Perfect (prepare to get shocked) rams him into the turnbuckle before Koko tries to do the same to Perfect only to eat an elbow. Dropkick sends Koko flying. Back in, Koko catches him with a clothesline but misses a charge and the Perfectplex ends things at 3:10.
- Analysis: A squash, but fast paced and exciting while it lasted. *1/2
– The Mega Powers are backstage. Hogan says when you mess with one of them, you mess with both. They are as one. Savage adds they all feel the pain together and celebrate glory together. Elizabeth is the power that keeps them going.
– Vince & Jesse promote The Main Event II to end the show. Make sure you don’t miss my review of that show too.
END OF THE SHOW
- Final thoughts: Nothing out of this world, but easily the best edition of SNME in over a year. ‘The Main Event I’ aside, this is the best SNME since the one featuring Savage/Bret all the way back in late ’87. The matches were not great as usual, but the show did a great job of putting an end to the Warrior/Honky and Beefcake/Bass feuds as well as making people invested in the Hogan/Savage promo and their inevitable feud. 6/10
The points for this show:
- Mr. Perfect: 3.5 points (1.5 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for main-eventing)
- Brutus Beefcake: 3 points (2 for star rating + 1 for submission win)
- The Ultimate Warrior: 3 points (1 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for successfully defending a title)
- Tito Santana: 3 points (2 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
- Hulk Hogan: 1.75 point (1.25 for star rating + 0.5 for DQ win)
- Koko B. Ware: 1.5 point (1.5 for star rating + 1 for main-eventing – 1 for pinfall loss)
- The Red Rooster: 1 point (1 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
- Ron Bass: 1 point (2 for star rating – 1 for submission loss)
- Akeem: 0.75 points (1.25 for star rating – 0.5 for DQ loss)
- The Honky Tonk Man: 0 points (1 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
That’s it for the very first review of 1989. Don’t miss the next review, where I’ll cover the first PPV of 1989, Royal Rumble.