Saturday Night’s Main Event #14 (1.2.88) review
January 2, 1988 (Taped: December 7, 1987)
We’re in Landover, Maryland at the Capital Centre. Landover, in case you were wondering or gave a shit, is basically Washington DC. The Capital Centre was built in 1973 to host NBA action and soon after, NHL. The Washington Wizards called the Cap Centre home. At the time they were called the Capital Bullets, hence the Cap Centre. They changed their name to the Washington Bullets the following year. The arena was demolished in 2002 as the Bullets, now the Wizards, had moved to the Capital One Arena. As for the WWF, the biggest event held here was the 1995 Survivor Series. Hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. We get the final Hogan-Bundy clash tonight, set up last time out. Aside from that, it’s not the strongest of SNME cards.
Jesse Ventura looks like a complete slob. His jacket must have gotten lost by the airline.
We get some backstage promos and Slick refers to Strike Force as preachers of “capitalist propaganda”. Slick looks like he was a capitalist, brother. Ventura tells us Gene Okerlund looks a bit like Nikita Khrushchev. He looks more like Steve Buscemi pretending to be Khrushchev.
Two Out of Three Falls
WWF Tag Team Championship
Strike Force (c) vs. Bolsheviks
Babyface Rick Martel is so weird. He doesn’t seem to know how to behave like a good person. Comms talk about Rambo and Ventura claims Sylvester Stallone is 5’3”. He’s actually 5’9”, so if we were talking WWF heights, he’d be at least 6’. Ventura himself was 6’3” so I guess most actors look small to him. They play this smart with a lengthy opening shine on both Russians. Martel beats Zhukov with the Boston crab for 1-0.
Fall two sees the Bolsheviks finally get something going, picking off Martel. They litter in a bunch of hope spots and it’s a really well put together match. It helps to cover the general incompetence of Boris Zhukov. Vince calls him “an idiot” on commentary. Bolsheviks miscue with Slick’s cane and Zhukov gets pinned again. 2-0. A surprisingly good little match. **½
Mr Fuji with a perfectly normal sized jar of MUSTARD. This is perfectly normal. Sika is going to eat Damian.
Jake Roberts vs. Sika
Sika’s best days are long behind him. This has been demonstrated frequently over the past couple of years. He retired in 1989. Although his biggest contribution to pro wrestling will be in the future; the career of his sons. Well, one of them anyway. I am, of course, referring to Rosey. Speaking of Rosey, this match would totally get the Three Minute Warning treatment in 2003. It’s all Sika rest holds until Jake’s punch-heavy comeback. We don’t even get a DDT as Sika misses in the corner and gets pinned. DOGSHIT. At least Fuji has the common decency to hop in there and eat the DDT. It doesn’t even knock his bowler hat off, to my amusement.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. King Kong Bundy
Andre was kicked out from ringside last time, so Heenan has given Andre his manager’s licence for this as Heenan has a bad neck. Again, from the last match when Hogan attacked him.
Hogan promises to “wipe out Bundamania forever” and deal with that “stinky giant”. For starters mate, it’s “Bundymania” and you’re not dealing with anything. Hogan was starting to get insufferable in 1987 and it’ll only get worse. I’ve got nine years until he turns heel. NINE YEARS. This doesn’t have the energy levels of their last match, nor the presence of Bobby Heenan to help. By the time this aired, Bundy had already left the WWF and wouldn’t return to wrestling until ECW November to Remember 1993.
They go through a lot of boring rest holds. Bundy gets obsessed with an armbar. They go from that to a terrible, awful ref bump, which makes no sense whatsoever. The ref does a stretcher job and the new ref looks like Earl Hebner, rather than Dave Hebner. Hmm, I wonder if that will play into any forthcoming storylines? We get going again and straight into a chinlock. Good grief, this is nowhere near as good as the first match. Big Splash connects, Bundy demands the five count, but Hogan kicks out, Hulks up and that’s the end of Bundymania. Awful match. It was sluggish and ran to Hogan’s worst formula.
Post Match: Hogan calls in Andre as the entire point of this is setting up Hogan vs. Andre II for the title at the Main Event.
Andre chokes Hogan out and a bunch of wrestlers come out to make the save and can’t. Duggan whacks him with a 2×4 and Andre refuses to sell it. He looks at Duggan like “what the fuck are you doing?” Andre celebrates with the belt while Hogan is carried out of here. Angle aside, this was a bad segment.
Greg Valentine vs. Koko B. Ware
This isn’t even a fun set up. They can’t get a decent interview backstage. Valentine does call Beefcake “Brutus the Fruitcake”. Fighting words. Valentine would carry on in the WWF until Royal Rumble 1992. He has stopped giving a shit and is just here for the pay day. Valentine was fantastic circa 1985. Legitimately one of the best workers in the company.
The match is Valentine basics until Brutus Beefcake comes down here to distract Greg. This sets up two months of house show matches before an eventual SNME showdown on #15. Beefcake is chopping those scissors around randomly. It’s lucky he didn’t chop Frankie’s head off. That would have had the show take a dark turn. Koko vs. Beefcake could have been a hot feud coming off that though. Valentine gets the Figure Four leglock and Koko quits like the chicken he is. Someone gave up to Hammer’s Figure Four? Holy shit. A two star, Memphis classic here.
One of the worst SNME shows to date. Usually the show is able to showcase the best of the WWF as a time capsule. Here, the only worthwhile thing was the Hogan-Andre angle to set up their rematch from WrestleMania III. The Strike Force title defence was surprisingly good but the other two matches were filler and the Hogan match wasn’t good. A very disappointing show.