WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #23 Review – 10.14.1989 (Hogan vs. DiBiase)

Welcome everyone to my latest review. Today I bring to you the 22nd edition of SNME, featuring Hogan vs. DiBiase for the title, Roddy Piper returning to the ring on a SNME for the first time in a couple of years and more. Check out the point system here.

Before starting, here’s the list of champions in the WWF at the time:

  • WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan
  • Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior
  • Tag Team Champions: The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard)

Enjoy the review!

The hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura

Macho King Randy Savage(w/ Sensational Queen Sherri) vs. Jimmy Snuka

This is Savage’s first appearance on SNME since winning the crown from Jim Duggan. We get a great backstage rap from Savage and Sherri because they are the best. Savage attacks Snuka while the ‘SUPAH SUPAH SUPERFLY’ theme song is still playing but immediately eats Snuka’s usual opening chop. Snuka follows up with an atomic drop but Sherri trips him, allowing Savage to turn the tables and drop a knee for two. Savage dumps Snuka and connects with the flying double axehandle. He gets back in while Sherri chokes away behind the referee’s back. Savage follows up with a knee to Snuka’s back before Snuka makes his comeback and has Savage in trouble in the Tree of Woe position. Sherri hands Savage the DEADLY PURSE OF EXCRUCIATING DOOM, allowing Savage to hit Snuka and roll him up for the win at 05:37. Savage tries to hit the Macho Elbow post-match, but misses and Snuka cleans house.

  • Analysis: Watchable match. There’s not much to see here, but it’s okay and the right guy goes over. *1/2

WWF Championship: Hulk Hogan(c) vs. Ted DiBiase(w/ Zeus)

Before starting, RIP Tommy ‘Zeus’ Lister, who passed away recently. I am not a fan of his WWF run but that’s the least important thing in such a hard time for his family and loved ones. My condolences to them.

Hogan obviously wins a slugfest to start, but Zeus trips him up to allow DiBiase to hit a clothesline. That brings out Jake Roberts – who’s feuding with DiBiase – to even things up, giving Hogan the chance to roll him up for two. DiBiase goes for his million dollar elbow but misses and meanwhile Virgil runs in to steal the snake, drawing Roberts away from ringside. And we take a break.


We return with DiBiase hitting a clothesline for two. Suplex gets two more. The million dollar middle rope elbow gets two more. DiBiase hits the chinlock and Hogan does a tremendous selljob. Hogan escapes that and it’s a double clothesline for a double KO spot. Zeus adds in a shot of his own and DiBiase drops a flying kneedrop but Hogan hulks up. From there it’s no no no, punch punch punch, the big leg… but Zeus gets involved. That distracts Hogan for a while and DiBiase gets back up, but Hogan cradles him for the pin to retain anyway at 08:24. After the match, Hogan gets face-to-face with Zeus and Vince on commentary says “it’s the match we all want to see”. First of all, Hogan had already pinned Zeus at SummerSlam. Second of all, no. It was more than time for Hogan to move on to a feud with actual contenders for his title.

  • Analysis: The match was your typical Hogan match, it followed the same formula as all of his other matches do, only with Zeus stuff added to the picture. **

Roddy Piper vs. Haku(w/ Bobby Heenan)

Piper is obviously in the best feud in the company at the time with Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan, and he’s on a mission to take out members of Heenan’s family one by one. Piper goes after Heenan after the bell but that obviously allows Haku to take over. A back elbow is followed by a shoulderblock for two. Haku adds a legdrop and goes up for a diving headbutt but totally misses and Piper plants his face on the mat. He follows up with a belly to belly suplex and that’s… it? Wow. The match only went (surprisingly) 3:02. After the match Piper signals to the camera ‘one member down, four to go”. Piper’s charisma is just ridiculous.

  • Analysis: Yeah, this was much shorter than I expected. As far as the proper wrestling goes there’s not much to say, but Piper’s post-match warning makes you want to keep following the story. *

Tito Santana(w/ Dusty Rhodes, Brutus Beefcake & The Red Rooster) vs. Rick Martel(w/ Akeem, The Big Bossman, The Honky Tonk Man, Slick & Jimmy Hart)

This is FINALLY the Strike Force explosion everyone had kind of been wanting to see since WrestleMania V. I’m not joking, when Martel was in control of his matches against weekly TV jobbers, the crowds would all chant ‘Tito’. But then this quickly turns into a big Survivor Series ad as members of each guys’ teams join them at ringside. Which I understand, but you know… I wanted to see just these two! They all get into a major brawl on the outside and Santana gets a sunset flip back inside for two. Choking follows and Tito transitions from that into an armbar before a crossbody gets two. Martel turns the tables and puts Tito in the Tree of Woe position, but Tito quickly fights back and hits the flying forearm only for everyone to join for a brawl as we go to a break.


We return with Tito backdropping Martel but getting thrown to the outside and back in Martel goes to work on the back. They fight over a backslide and the crowd gets into it a lot, which Santana wins and gets two. Martel chokes away and goes for the Boston Crab but Tito’s in the ropes and that saves him. Santana turns that into a pinning position for two. Martel catches him with a backdrop and goes up, but Tito shakes the ropes like The Ultimate Warrior and brings him down. Santana follows up with the figure four but everyone gets in for the sportz entertainment finish at 09:41.

  • Analysis: While the action inside the ring was very solid, this was ultimately nothing but a major advert for their Survivor Series tag match. ***

(Alleged) main-event: The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond Rougeau)(w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Bushwhackers (Butch & Luke)

We’re all American boooooys… Sorry, I just can’t resist when I see a Rougeaus match! The Bushwhackers go after Jimmy before the match and take off his pants to send him to the back. This does provide the Rougeaus a distraction, however, as they work over Butch. The Bushwhackers quickly get the hot tag though and finish Jacques with the double headbutt followed by the double gutbuster for the win at 03:15.

  • Analysis: Comedy match. 1/4*


Final thoughts: This wasn’t bad. The wrestling isn’t great or even good (apart from Tito-Martel), but you shouldn’t even expect that when it comes to SNME. With that said though, most matches were entertaining and either got characters or feuds more over than they were previously. Good show. 6/10

Finally, here are the points for this show:

  • Hulk Hogan: 4 points (2 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for successfully defending a title)
  • Tito Santana: 3 points (for star rating)
  • Rick Martel: 3 points (for star rating)
  • Bushwhacker Butch: 2.75 points (0.25 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for main-eventing + 0.5 for winning the fall)
  • Randy Savage: 2.5 points (1.5 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
  • Bushwhacker Luke: 2.25 points (0.25 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for main-eventing)
  • Roddy Piper: 2 points (1 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
  • Ted DiBiase: 1 point (2 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Jimmy Snuka: 0.5 points (1.5 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Raymond Rougeau: 0.25 points (0.25 for star rating + 1 for main-eventing – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Haku: 0 points (1 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
  • Jacques Rougeau: -0.25 points (0.25 for star rating + 1 for main-eventing – 1 for pinfall loss – 0.5 for losing the fall)

As always, thank you for your time reading. Don’t miss the next review, where I’ll be looking back at NWA/WCW’s Halloween Havoc 1989. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!