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WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #17 Review – 10.29.1988

Hey everyone, it’s Tomás here with yet another SNME review. SNME makes its return after a relatively long hiatus (since that April, to be exact). We’re getting closer to the end of 1988, with only Survivor Series and another SNME – apart from this one – left.

Once the year ends, I’ll post a top 10 list based on who got more points in 1988, as well as a top 5/3 best matches in ’88. Also, coming up once I reach ’89, NWA… you’re nuts if you think I was gonna live through ZEUS and miss Flair/Steamboat!!

Anyway, this show…

The hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura

Jake Roberts(w/ Cheryl Roberts) vs. Rick Rude(w/ Bobby Heenan)

This has actually been the hottest feud of the year, and has elevated both men in their respective roles, so here’s a bit of background for you: a few months earlier, after winning a match, Rude seduced a woman in the audience as usual… however, that was Jake Roberts’ wife Cheryl, which started a brawl and a heated feud between the two. Throughout the year, Rude started wearing tights with Cheryl’s face on them, with Roberts ripping them once and telling him not to wear them again. Shockingly he did, with Roberts now wanting to give him a DDT and a slap via Cheryl, which brings us here to this match.

Basically, this is quite the big deal…

A furious Roberts goes immediately after Rude to start, quickly catching him in a front facelock for the DDT but Rude is outta there in a hurry. Back in, Rude blocks a short-arm clothesline and hits one of his own to take over. He stops to seduce Cheryl, however, and that earns him a clothesline with extra mustard. Roberts holds Rude by the ropes, allowing Cheryl to slap him, with the ref sending her to the back as we take a break.

We return with Rude sending Roberts to the post. Back in, Roberts is running wild but Rude blocks the DDT and hits an elbow for two. Fistdrop off the top gets two. Roberts reverses a backdrop and hits the DDT from out of nowhere… but Heenan runs in for the DQ finish at about 7:30. Well that finish can lick a horse’s dick, choke on it, die a slow death and ENJOY it.

After the match, Andre the Giant comes out to join the heel beatdown, but he’s apparently afraid of snakes and has a heart attack once Roberts gets Damien out of the bag. Yep, I shit you not. This was the culmination of one of the best feuds in that year, it deserved a proper finish. Not to mention Rude got himself over into superstardom, so it’s not like they couldn’t have the babyfaces win this feud and have Rude get his heat back later. Oh, and it also ruined Andre’s mystique, who was far from his prime but could still do great business in matches that could hide his physical weaknesses (ie: SummerSlam just a few months earlier). This started well, but turned into a huge mess that helped no one at all. A complete yawner and probably the disappointment of the year so far. **1/4

WWF Tag Team Championship: Demolition (Ax & Smash)(c)(w/ Mr. Fuji & Jimmy Hart) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart)

This is a rematch from SummerSlam, where the Demos stole the win via megaphone shot after an enjoyable contest. It would be nice to give someone else the spot, but to be honest there’s just no other babyface tag-team over enough to challenge the champs – the Rockers just joined the company, and the Powers of Pain are the ones being built up.

Ax and Anvil get things started, with Anvil getting tripped in the corner and worked over by the heels. The babyfaces do the same in a nice touch, and Bret dropkicks Smash followed by an elbowdrop for two. Ax comes in with the choking of death, and just like that Bret is playing face-in-peril. That doesn’t last long, as Neidhart quickly comes in for the hot tag and a running powerslam gets two. The champs collide but the Rougeaus soon join, and it’s BREAKING LOOSE ON SNME! In the middle of all the confusion, the Rougeaus give Smash the megaphone, and he retains over Neidhart at around 6:00.

Too short to be anything special, and the fact it was the very same finish from SummerSlam (only with a bit of Rougeaus added to the toppings) doesn’t exactly give the WWF any points for creativity. Still perfectly competent while it lasted. ** It’s also kinda interesting that despite going over the Harts twice, the Demos have nowhere to go and are just kinda there while the Harts have an interesting feud with the Rougeaus ahead of them. Shows you that while wins/losses do matter, wins/losses sometimes don’t matter that much. Sounds complicated? That’s pro wrestling in a nutshell for ya.

Hulk Hogan(w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. King Haku(w/ Bobby Heenan)

Hogan’s ability to politically manipulate everything and everyone continues to amaze me. While Randy Savage has been the World Champion all the way since WrestleMania, Hogan is the one who gets to wrestle a member of the Heenan family here, and he’s the one starting a feud with The Big Boss Man, arguably the most over heel now that Andre’s a pussy and DiBiase’s lost enough big matches to be taken seriously anymore. Plus he gets to have Savage’s valet, the most over manager in wrestling, by his side. Impressive. Haku might have the king gimmick but you’re the one I bow down to, Hogan.

Haku pounds away to start, but Hogan has no problem stopping that midcard furry, brother. He drops an elbow and lays in the MAIN EVENT chops, but a distraction by Heenan allows Haku to choke him. A superkick dumps Hogan, but Haku hits Heenan on the way down instead and Hogan steals Haku’s crown and shows off with it. Unjustifiably so, might I add. Hero to millions. We take a break, and return with Haku hitting a suplex but then Hulk up boot big leg yadda yadda yadda at over 6:00.

This was fine. Would’ve been nice to see the first WWF title match in months, though, just saying. *1/4

Dino Bravo(w/ Frenchy Martin) vs. Ken Patera

Welcome to the last few minutes of SNME, where a bunch of filler matches take place!

Bravo runs away from Patera, stalls for a bit, gets back in and finishes with the sideslam after Patera eats corner on a blind charge at 3:00. That’s basically everything that happened here, moving on. DUD

Main-event: The Big Boss Man(w/ Slick) vs. Jim Powers

As mentioned earlier, Boss Man started a feud with Hulk Hogan the week before, so he gets to squash poor Jim Powers here before going on to captain his team at Survivor Series against Hogan’s (and Randy hey I am here too Savage’s) team.

That’s basically what happens here, as Boss Man throws Powers around for a while before finishing with the Boss Man Slam at 2:30.

Nothing but a good old-fashioned squash, but an effective one at that. DUD

End of show.

This one would mostly depend on Roberts/Rude, and what a disappointing end that feud had. Personally, I strongly recommend you to avoid this edition. Final score: 2/10

Finally, the points for this show:

  • Demolition Smash: 4.5 points (2 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for retaining a title + 0.5 for earning the fall);
  • Demolition Ax: 4 points (2 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for retaining a title);
  • Jake Roberts: 2.75 points (2.25 for star rating + 0.5 for DQ win);
  • Hulk Hogan: 2.25 points (1.25 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win);
  • Big Boss Man: 2 points (1 for main-eventing + 1 for pinfall win);
  • Rick Rude: 1.75 points (2.25 for star rating – 0.5 for DQ loss);
  • Bret Hart: 1 point (2 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss);
  • Dino Bravo: 1 point (for pinfall win);
  • Jim Neidhart: 0.5 points (2 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss – 0.5 for giving up the fall);
  • Haku: 0.25 points (1.25 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss);
  • Jim Powers: 0 points (1 for main-eventing – 1 for pinfall win);
  • Ken Patera: -1 point (for pinfall loss);

Thank you all for your time. Don’t miss Survivor Series 1988, the second in history, coming up next time. Until then!