Written By: Matt Peddycord
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #21
May 27, 1989
Des Moines, IA
(Taped on 4/25/1989)
The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Hulk Hogan (4/2/1989)
Intercontinental Champion: Rick Rude (4/2/1989)
World Tag Team Champions: Demolition (3/27/1988)
Women’s Champion: Rockin’ Robin (10/7/1988)
Instead of a bunch of the usual great mini-promos, we listen to what the new champ Hulk Hogan has to say about the Big Bossman while he hides behind the blue cage. That means only one thing: training, prayers, and vitamins go up against handcuffs and nightsticks tonight in a STEEL CAGE MATCH! It’s time for Saturday Night’s Main Event!
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Tie-Dye Guy” Ventura
WWF Intercontinental Champion Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. King Jim Duggan
Duggan had “dethroned” Haku two weeks earlier on an episode of Superstars, so he’s temporarily the new king of the WWF. I love how the crown is WAY too big for his head. When he tries to cut a pre-match promo, it keeps falling down on his face and makes him look like an even bigger buffoon. But hey, it’s Memorial Day weekend! Give that crazy American a title shot! Duggan blocks a sunset flip attempt to start and clotheslines Rude out onto the apron. Duggan gives Rude a suplex back in for two. Duggan delivers a few more clotheslines and delivers OLD GLORY (running kneedrop) for 1-2-NO! Rude goes low and then catches Duggan with a knee in the corner. He follows up with a single-ax off the top and then does a little hip-swivel action. Duggan fights back with an inverted atomic drop and then executes a sloppy piledriver for 1-2-NO! Rude got his foot on the bottom rope. Haku runs down to ringside to bring Duggan out to the floor for a standoff, but a bunch of refs come down and send him to the locker room. Back in, Rude grabs Duggan and gives him a dropkick to set up some elbow drops. Rude hooks on a rear chinlock. Duggan quickly punches out, but Rude is right back on him with a knee to the mid-section. Rude delivers the top-rope fist drop and tries some turnbuckle smashes, which Duggan NO-SELLS. Duggan fires back and hits a backdrop as he calls for the THREE-POINT STANCE. He connects, but the impact sends Rude flying out to the floor. Instead of bringing Rude back in the ring and covering him, Duggan stands in the ring and counts along with the referee to allow Rude to get counted out. I guess he was just trying to show off that he knows what number comes after nine. (7:06) Well, one thing is true, Duggan’s an idiot. Ventura ~ “Duggan is the only guy in the entire WWF that doesn’t realize you can’t win the title on a countout.” I mean, isn’t the point of a TITLE match to WIN the title? Match was still fun, even if the finish was totally ludicrous. *
“Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/Sensational Sherri) vs. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
All of a sudden, Jim Neidhart cares what Randy Savage has done in the past several months and now he wants to be all chivalrous and beat up Savage. Savage says after he’s done with Neidhart, he’s going right after Hogan. Who is Jim Neidhart to get in his way? Sherri immediately shows how valuable she is at ringside by grabbing Neidhart’s ankle during a tie-up to start. That goes nowhere though, as Neidhart takes over with a bearhug. Savage escapes with an eye rake and delivers the running high knee into the corner. Savage and Sherri both choke away on Neidhart for a bit. Savage follows up with the double-ax handle for two. He goes to finish, but Neidhart falls on top of him out of a slam for 1-2-NO! Savage kicks Neidhart out to the apron, but then charges into a slingshot shoulderblock. Neidhart catches Savage with a clothesline for 1-2-NO! Neidhart follows up with a standing dropkick, but that sends Savage out to the floor to slow down his own momentum. Neidhart chases off Sherri and gives Savage another standing dropkick on the floor. Back in, Neidhart delivers the OKLAHOMA SLAM for 1-2-NO! Savage gets hooked up in the ropes and beat on until the ref backs Neidhart away and reprimands him while Sherri helps Savage get loose. Unbeknownst to Neidhart, he charges again but Savage ducks and lets Neidhart crash down on the floor. Savage hits the top-rope double sledge across the guardrail and tosses Neidhart back in for the MACHO ELBOW for the 1-2-3. (5:41) I guess they were just trying to see how Neidhart would do as a singles wrestler since they had tried it several times already with Bret. Match was good, but there was no way Neidhart was walking out as the winner. **
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Big Bossman (w/Slick) – Cage Match
In a pre-match interview, Slick says he’s got a surprise for Hogan. That big surprise is Hogan’s enemy in his new movie “No Holds Barred”. He’s 6 feet 11 inches tall, 343 pounds, and he goes by the name of Zeus. This guy is so into his character, he remains in it WAY after the movie is filmed! He stands in the cage doorway waiting for Hogan to make his entrance. After we catch a clip of Zeus beating up some punk in “No Holds Barred”, (seriously- he just pounds him down to the ground) Zeus gives Hogan the same treatment and then heads to the back! Bossman brings Hogan into the ring as the bell sounds. Bossman dominates to start until Hogan comes back with a clothesline. Bossman blocks a cage shot, but Hogan hits the Big Boot instead and begins the climb up the cage wall. Bossman brings him down and gives him a splash for good measure. Bossman tries for the door, but Hogan grabs hold of his ankle and brings him back in the ring. Hogan fires away on Bossman, but then runs into a spinebuster. Bossman starts to climb out and gets over the wall, but Hogan grabs him through the bars and gives Bossman a SUPLEX OFF THE TOP OF THE CAGE BACK INTO THE RING! OH SNAP! Hogan AND Bossman’s cool points just went up a notch. Both men are KO’ed. Hebner runs in to check on them, but Hogan pops up at the eight-count. Hogan starts to crawl for the door, but Bossman dives on top of him for the save. Bossman nails Hogan with a clothesline as Slick tosses in a chain to choke down Hogan. Bossman tries to send Hogan into the cage, but Hogan blocks and they send each other into the cage for another double-KO. Bossman gets up first and heads for the door, but Hogan puts a stop to it and gives Bossman a bunch of turnbuckle smashes. Now Hogan has the chain, and he wraps it around his fist and pounds away on Bossman. Hogan sends Bossman several times into the cage and then hits the LEG DROP. He starts the climb, but Slick beats down the ref and hops in the ring to play the part of Bobby Heenan by grabbing hold of Hogan’s leg. Hogan kicks Slick away and crotches Bossman on the top rope. He finds some handcuffs and cuffs Bossman to the ropes and then climbs out the cage for the win. (10:02) This match closes the book on the Hogan/Bossman feud, as Bossman and Akeem would battle Demolition throughout the summer. As far as the match goes, these two busted their tails. **½
WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition vs. The Brain Busters (w/Bobby Heenan)
This would be the ‘Busters first major tag title shot in the WWF. Demolition OWNS the ‘Busters to start by treating them like proverbial rag dolls until Tully drives a knee into Smash’s back as he comes off the ropes. Arn delivers a suplex on Smash, but Smash NO-SELLS and the Demos clear the ring of the heels. Nothing the ‘Busters have tried on the champs have worked thus far, as the first half of the match is filled with Demolition offense. Tully gets clotheslined out to the floor on top of Heenan, causing Heenan to become completely IRATE. Here comes the turning point. Smash has Tully up in a choke lift, but Arn runs in and clips Smash from behind. Arn gets a tag and delivers a BEEAUTIFUL Spinebuster for 1-2-NO! The ‘Busters make frequent tags while keeping Smash isolated on their side of town in classic fashion. Every once in a while, Ax will run in to protest while the ‘Busters do some double-teaming. We get a double-KO spot in the ring with Arn and Smash. Arn grabs hold of Smash to cut off the tag while Tully runs around the ring and yanks Ax off the apron to eliminate ALL chances of a tag. Now all four men get in the ring and brawl. Ref Joey Marella tries to get Ax out of the ring, but he’s shoved away for the DQ. (9:14) I love it. The Brain Busters made Demolition so frustrated because they are SO much better at tag team wrestling, that they drove Demolition to such a frustrating point where their anger got the best of them. Even though they’re still the champs, the Demos cost themselves the match. The DQ win for the ‘Busters would earn them a rematch at the next SNME in July in 2/3-falls match. This one felt like a flashback to the LOD/Horsemen matches from two years earlier. ***¼
Jimmy Snuka vs. Boris Zhukov (w/Slick)
This is Snuka’s first match on television in four years. Zhukov tries to smash Snuka’s coconut-like head into the turnbuckle, but we all know that doesn’t work. Snuka fights back with a running double-sledge and hits the SUPERFLY SPLASH for the win. (1:10) Just a squash to re-introduce Snuka to the WWF audience. CRAP
Final Thoughts: This is the second show in a row that has shined because of the Brain Busters. Also, Hogan and Bossman put on a memorable cage match. These two points alone earn SNME #21 a thumbs up from me.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.