Written By: Matt Peddycord
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #27: Wild Kingdom
July 28, 1990
(Taped on 7/16/1990)
The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Ultimate Warrior (4/1/1990)
Intercontinental Champion: Mr. Perfect (4/23/1990)
World Tag Team Champions: Demolition (4/1/1990)
From Vince’s odd sense of humor comes a parody of the “Wild Kingdom” nature show. In between matches, we would check in with our friends Marlon Perkins (played by Lord Alfred Hayes) and Jim Fowler (played by Gene Okerlund) who are involved in an on-going safari. The whole time, Gene remains in his usual character (It’s Gene, not Jim!), but Lord Alfred really seems to think he’s zoologist Marlon Perkins. It’s as hilarious as it sounds.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse “I wear Indiana Jones cabana wear” Ventura! This would be Ventura’s last SNME.
WWF World Champion Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan)
If I’m not mistaken, these two men are the first to ever feud over the IC title and then the World title. Rude has recently rid himself of the mullet and now has the look that would be familiar to us for the rest of his life. He attacks Warrior from behind, but tries one turnbuckle smash too many and Warrior returns the favor several times. Warrior whips Rude from corner-to-corner and delivers a pair of atomic drops before he sends Rude to the floor with a clothesline. Warrior gives Rude and Heenan the DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER just because he can and tosses Rude back in the ring. Warrior hits a clothesline and comes off the top with a double-sledge. He goes for the GORILLA SPLASH, but Rude rolls out of the way. Warrior’s so hurt, he rolls out to the floor to regroup. Meanwhile, Rude follows him out while Heenan distracts the ref. Rude grabs the WWF title belt and wallops Warrior in the face with it! Back in, Rude heads up top, but Warrior nails him on the way down. Warrior delivers another atomic drop, but Rude catches Warrior charging at him in the corner. Rude slips out of a slam and grabs a sleeper. Warrior falls to the mat and looks to be done, but he fights out with a jawbreaker. Rude ducks a clothesline though and fires back. He wants the RUDE AWAKENING, but Warrior powers out. Rude ducks another clothesline and hits the RUDE AWAKENING out of nowhere! He covers for 1-2-NO! Warrior WARRIORS UP, hits a bunch of clotheslines, and looks to finish with the GORILLA SPLASH for 1-2-WAIT! Heenan pulls Warrior off of Rude. Warrior goes out to grab Heenan, but Rude saves. Warrior NO-SELLS a blow to the back and presses Rude back to ringside. Heenan buries a knee into Warrior’s back, but that just gets Heenan in more trouble. (9:42) Typical SNME match. **
Next up, they show a special video look at the Hulkster set to “Real American” played at half-speed and sounding really depressing! Hulk’s making his return tonight for an interview after being squashed by Earthquake back in May. He comes out to one of his usual humongous crowd reactions and thanks the Hulkamaniacs for their support and that Earthquake is going to get what is coming to him at SummerSlam. Earthquake and Dino Bravo attack, but ol’ Tugboat makes the save.
We head over to Lord Alfred Hayes and Gene Okerlund for more shenanigans!
WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition vs. The Rockers
This is one of the first matches with Crush as part of Demolition, as Ax was having health issues and needed someone to fill in for him for a few months. All the same, Ax was still healthy enough to be at ringside to interfere and such. The Rockers OWN the Demos to start with STEREO HEADSCISSORS and dropkicks to send the champs out to the floor. Shawn gets a blind tag and surprises Smash with a monkey flip, but then he turns around into a clothesline from Crush to turn the tide for the champs. Only for a moment though, as Crush gets caught with a double-team hiptoss/elbow drop/kip-up combo from the Rockers. Crush escapes a headlock from Jannetty by placing him on the top-rope, but then Jannetty comes off with a sunset flip for 1-2-NO! Jannetty slides out to the floor to avoid some Demolition cheating (they’ve turned heel since Crush entered into the team) and gets clobbered by Ax. Back in, the Demos work the back, including a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Crush! Smash applies a bearhug. Jannetty punches out and tries a sunset flip, but Smash punches out of it. Jannetty gets a desperation head smash on Crush and makes the HOT TAG TO MICHAELS! They rid the ring of Crush and set up Smash for the STEREO FLYING FIST DROPS! It connects as Michaels covers for 1-2-NO! Crush makes the save. Shawn surprises Smash with a rollup off the ropes while the ref is with Crush, so Ax sneaks in and nails Shawn with a clothesline. Smash rolls out of the ring while Ax covers Shawn for 1-2-3. (9:29) Hey, they stole that from the Brainbusters! Hot finish that makes the Demos look like HUGE a-holes. LOD and the Harts run down to argue with the ref, but Demolition has already headed to the back. **½
More Lord Alfred and Gene ridiculousness.
WWF Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Tito Santana
Santana starts off by delivering a pair of hiptosses and then dropkicks Perfect out to the floor. Santana brings him back in, but ducks low off a whip and gets dropped with a clothesline. Perfect hits a knee-lift and Santana starts to punch back, but Perfect puts him down with a slam. Santana punches out of a neck vice and brings his foot up off a corner charge from Perfect. Tito catches Perfect with a clothesline for the crazy flip sell. Perfect begs away, but gets nailed and falls on the ref’s ankle. Santana starts kicking Perfect up against the ropes to do more insane flipping to set up the FIGURE-FOUR! The ref is nowhere near to check on Perfect, so Tito releases the hold to check on Hebner. Santana spots Perfect getting back to his feet and clobbers him with the FLYING JALAPENO! He covers as the ref crawls over for 1-2-NO! Santana comes off the middle rope with a clothesline and covers again for 1-2-NO! Since Hebner could be costing Tito the title, he calls out another ref to replace Hebner. Santana drills Perfect with a crossbody block for 1-2-NO! Perfect gets up and nails Tito to set up the rolling neck snap. Santana fights back and slings Perfect by the hair and gets split on the ringpost. A pair of atomic drops and a clothesline later, Tito covers and gets 1-2-NO! Tito whips Perfect into the ropes, but he ducks low into the PERFECTPLEX! No! Tito counters with an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! Perfect shifts his weight and reverses the cradle for 1-2-3! (10:15) A very good match that made you believe Santana had a REAL chance at winning this thing. Especially since now Beefcake was out, they needed a new credible challenger for SummerSlam. ***½
Ok, now the whole jungle thing with Alfred and Gene is getting annoying.
Kerry Von Erich vs. “Playboy” Buddy Rose
Wow, Buddy Rose has reached ’87 Adrian Adonis size here. This is Kerry Von Erich’s WWF TV debut. It’s a squash as you might expect. Rose slows Von Erich down with a rake to the face and heads up top, but Von Erich slams him down and delivers the TORNADO PUNCH for the win. (3:11) CRAP
Final Thoughts: Now we have the two main events for SummerSlam (Warrior/Rude cage match, Hogan/Earthquake) set up quite nicely even if the payoff was less than spectacular. As for the matches, Perfect/Santana is a great match with a hot crowd behind it. According to many smarts on the ‘net at the time, it was considered a match of the year candidate. If you disregard the jungle silliness aside, it’s a pretty decent show. Thumbs up.