On This Day: April 28, 1990 – Saturday Night’s Main Event #26: Hogan Jerks The Curtain

Saturday Night’s Main Event 26
Date: April 28, 1990
Location: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura

This is the first show after Mania 6, so Warrior is your new world champion. Jesse Ventura is in one of his final shows tonight I think. Actually he would be around until August. For those of you that don’t know, he left because he made a deal with Sega to let them use his face in a video game, but the WWF had a deal with Nintendo, so Vince had to let him go.

This would be considered a landmark show I would think, as we are in a new era of the company here. However, there’s one major reason as to why this era didn’t last long: Hulk Hogan. After he lost to the Warrior, Hogan didn’t step aside. He stuck around instead of going to make a movie or something like that. By sticking around, he made it impossible for Warrior to be taken seriously as the top guy because Hogan was just a bigger star.

Think of it like 2000 when Austin took time off for neck surgery. Rock got huge, but he wouldn’t have been able to with Austin still around. Other than that, nothing really has changed. Everything is the status quo, which means it should be good on wrestling and bad on angles. Let’s get to it.

Warrior says he will walk where no man has ever been. This was surprisingly coherent.

Haku, his challenger tonight, has Heenan say that he’s ready.

Mr. Perfect says Hogan isn’t perfect and tonight he’s going to prove it.

Hogan, or more commonly known as he who will not leave, says tonight he’s the professor and tonight Perfect and Genius are going to the principal’s office. Yes, that was the point of his promo.

The opening video is the traditional highlight package of guys fighting tonight, which if you caught onto the trick really was a great way of saying what you could expect tonight. We open with Vince and Jesse on horses. As they said on the Best of SNME DVD, Jesse looks perfectly fine up there while Vince looks scared to death. They run down the card from horseback, which is kind of cool actually.

Mooney is with Perfect and Genius. I think they just gave up on trying to convince anyone that Genius was straight and just let him act gay. Apparently ping pong, chess and horseshoes are sports. Perfect says Hogan is different since Mania, and he’s going to prove it.

Mr. Perfect vs. Hulk Hogan

Dang, he main events Wrestlemania and less than four weeks later he’s opening a TV taping. I miss the awesome logos everyone used to have. They were so simple yet so cool at the same time. That gum slap never gets old. Hogan says that they’re perfect fools and that Hulkamania will never die. It’ll never retire either. Gene is wearing one of those southern ties where it goes into two parts if that makes sense. I hate those things.

Jesse points out something very funny by saying Hogan must be hard of hearing since it takes him four tries to hear the roar of the crowd. That’s very true. This was allegedly supposed to be the main event of Mania 6 after Perfect won the 1990 Rumble, but that show’s main event was changed so many times I’ve heard of at least 4 different possible main events that Vince was contemplating even up to the new year.

Compared to the previous year and Mania 5 where the main event was set in stone about 18 months in advance, that’s saying a lot. In a stunning turn of events, Perfect is in trouble at first but then takes over and the fans are SCARED! It’s weird hearing Vince and Jesse like this after hearing them on Raw three days ago. They’re almost perfect here and it’s sad that they didn’t use this formula on Monday night.

I love how Vince defended Hogan forever back then but today more or less hates his guts. We’re on the floor at this point with Hogan beating up Genius. This allows Perfect to get the scroll and blast him in the head with it.

We take a break with Hogan in trouble and apparently this show is called the Tussle in Texas. I can’t stand gimmick names like that. They just sound stupid. Perfect is on control and you can hear the hearts of fans breaking everywhere.

This match feels really accelerated as Perfect controls for about two minutes before he Hulks Up and everything you expect to happen ends it. He beats up Genius afterwards to restore the glory of Hulkamania despite it never being gone in the first place. In a very interesting line, Vince calls Hogan the Brahma Bull which is so strange to hear. Vince mentions to Jesse we have a Barbecue, and Jesse is none too pleased.

Rating: B-. This was Hogan 101 and it worked fine. It’s just weird as heck seeing Hogan opening a show. This was fine as it was just a little TV match, but it was a perfect example of how to make Hogan look great and get a solid pop from the crowd. He was in trouble but he came back and defeated Perfect with relative ease.

However, that’s the problem: he defeated Perfect with relative ease. Perfect was supposed to be a big deal but he looked like a jobber here. He would win the IC Title in a mostly fake tournament soon enough though, so that means enough I guess.

After a commercial we come back for…another commercial. This one is for Arrogance though, that new cologne for wrestlers who don’t want to smell like a taco salesman from Tijuana. That sounded a lot better in my head.

Jesse is with Earthquake and Jimmy Hart. Quake was a total monster at this point and would be made the top heel over the summer. He’s got Hillbilly Jim tonight, which I’m sure will be a classic encounter. They reference Deliverance, and say they’ll make Jim squeal like a pig. For those of you that don’t know, in the film Deliverance, that’s what a crazed hillbilly says to one of the main characters before raping him.

Hillbilly Jim says Quake reminds him of a hog that won the Mudlick county fair last year. For anyone from Kentucky, this is one of the funniest promos you will ever hear because everyone knows someone just like Hillbilly and it’s dead on. For anyone not from here, it’s mindless babbling that you won’t understand more than two words of. I loved it of course.

Hillbilly Jim vs. Earthquake

First of all, let it be known that Jim’s music is freaking amazing on all levels. Jim wasn’t much in the ring, but he wasn’t supposed to be. He was a gimmick character that worked as well as any ever has. Can you think of a single time that he didn’t get a pop and a half? He was just so ridiculously over because of nothing more than the clapping thing he would do.

Like I’ve said before, he found something that worked and he ran with it. I would almost guarantee that if he came back today as a guest host, he would get the roof blown off almost any arena in the country. The key thing to him was that he was never taken seriously. He wasn’t shoved down our throats as a major player ever and because of that we never got sick of him.

Look at Eugene. He was originally an awesome character that a lot of people marked out for. Then they put him in an 18 minute match with HHH at Summerslam, and to the shock of no one, he got booed out of the building. The point is, keep the comedy characters in the right place.

As for the match, it’s a 90 second squash as Hart distracts Hillbilly and Quake hits a corner splash and two earthquakes to end this. That’s how it should have been. As usual, Quake’s opponent is taken out on a stretcher. That more or less was his gimmick which was fine.

Rating: N/A. It’s far too short to grade, but it did its job so this would have been a positive rating.

We get a quick promo about Rick Martel being in a match at the Maple Leaf Gardens. That’s odd indeed. He talks about Garvin, but I’m confused about having a promo for a match in Toronto which would be a house show. The Bushwackers have comments about the show also, which is about Rhythm and Blues.

Jesse is with the Harts and says they were smart to challenge for the titles before the title match at Mania happened. Anvil literally says 5 words and that’s the promo. That was a bit of a waste if nothing else.

Hart Foundation vs. The Rockers

The Rockers say they’re ready and be prepared for a broken heart. We get a Dallas reference, as in of the TV show from the late 80s to really date the show. The horses are still at the broadcast booth. Let’s get this going. Given the guys in here, this is your standard great early 90s tag match. Seeing Bret vs. Shawn never gets old. You could tell that these two were going to be something awesome.

After about three or four minutes of solid back and forth stuff, the real interesting part happens as Demolition comes out. Somehow after being huge faces at Mania they’re tweeners here just four weeks and no television appearances later.

Even Jesse isn’t sure why they’re here. They don’t actually do anything but they distract everyone in there. Since it’s a Rockers match, Shawn gets beaten on for a long while before Marty gets the tag. Both teams are faces here so the crowd is a bit divided.

The Rockers were a great team but they never got that big push for some reason. As influential in the WWF as they were, they were nothing more than jobbers when you think about it. I’ve always loved that slingshot splash the Harts did with Anvil. Actually it was typically a shoulder block and not a splash but whatever. Anvil comes in and cleans house as Demolition is still on the floor.

Shawn gets thrown to the floor where Demolition tries to put him back in. Marty runs over and gets into a fight with Smash, leading to the inevitable 6 man brawl for the double DQ. That’s a shame and everyone, including the announcers and audience hate this.

Rating: B. It’s a shame they went with the angle here because this really was a good match. I get that they were going for the Demolition heel turn and they didn’t want to have either team lose, but still it’s a disappointment to say the least. These teams had undeniable chemistry and it’s another shame that they never had the big PPV match to show off how great they could be. This was good though.

Earthquake says he loves the environment and proves it by getting rid of waste like Hillbilly Jim. He calls out Hogan, setting up the summer feud, which didn’t happen over the summer for the most part as Hogan took months off due to an “injury.” He really made a movie.

Hogan says he’s not afraid of Earthquake and that Hulkamania is more powerful.

We come back from a break to see clips from Mania of Warrior taking the title.

Haku and Heenan make fun of being in Texas and that for once there’s going to be something good to remember in Texas: Haku winning the title. HAKU SPEAKS ENGLISH??? Heenan manages to coherently convince us that Rosemary Clooney, George’s mother, was at the Alamo.

Gene is with Warrior who says something about an hourglass and being the chosen one. Seriously, what in the world went on in his head? This goes on for about three minutes and I have zero clue what he said. You know that Gene just wanted to shout WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???

WWF Title: Haku vs. Ultimate Warrior

The pop for Warrior is there as the challenger has no entrance and is just shown warming up in the ring. Yeah this is going to be an even match if there ever was one. Vince had Perfect and DiBiase and Rude and Savage and even Rhodes on the roster and he picked this guy to replace Hogan. Unbelievable. Surprisingly, we start fast.

Who would have guessed that in a Warrior match? Continuing the surprises, Warrior is odd, sloppy and a bit dangerous. They keep referencing the Mania 5 match where Rude managed to beat Warrior, which was apparently his only loss to date. That’s surprising indeed, which isn’t a joke this time.

We hit the slowdown mode as Haku goes through his incredibly generic power midcard guy offense. Jesse claims a slow count to get some very cheap yet basic heel heat going for him. That’s something he and Lawler were great at.

They could say something so simple like that and go off about it for a few minutes and it worked like a charm every single time. Using the exact same formula in the Hogan match, Warrior makes his comeback and takes over on Haku to hit his signature set of moves to end this. For some reason this isn’t the main event but whatever.

Rating: C. This was the epitome of average, but it did the job it was supposed to, which was getting Warrior a little credibility as champion. There’s nothing wrong with having him beat a midcard guy in an otherwise worthless title match and that’s exactly what he did here. This went fine and Warrior looked good, despite it being about five minutes long. That was his status quo and it worked out for him here so that balances out the boring match.

We get a Bad News Brown promo about that Toronto show. Seriously, what the heck is up with these things? He talks about Roberts which was his feud at the time so that works fine. Apparently Jake doesn’t fear himself?

We get another Arrogance commercial, this time the tennis one which is a bit better known.

We see a clip from Mania where Boss Man got jumped by DiBiase before his match with Akeem. Ted beat him down which led nowhere for no apparent reason. Since Boss Man didn’t get a fair shot, we have Boss Man vs. Akeem in a rematch here. There’s just one flaw with that plan: BOSS MAN WON CLEAN. Why have a rematch if an already attacked Boss Man beat Akeem? Is a full strength one supposed to not be as good?

Slick and Akeem say that DiBiase has offered them a lot of money to beat Boss Man. That’s odd as well because unless it was on house shows and lasted all of a month, they never feuded over it. That’s the early 90s for you. Jesse throws it to Gene, who he says is the illegitimate father of all four mutant ninja turtles. WHERE IN THE WORLD DID THAT COME FROM??? I don’t know but I want to go there because it’s the land of awesome. Boss Man says he’s going to destroy Akeem in a Texas sized beating.

Big Boss Man vs. Akeem

If nothing else, they have sweet music. Vince and Jesse argue over whether or not Gene looks like the turtles. Jesse says if you put a mask and a shell on him he would. Seriously, what in the world brought this completely random and absurd debate on?

I remember DiBiase not taking a bribe from Boss Man which was why DiBiase beat on Boss Man at Mania, but other than that, there was nothing that happened between them. Jesse insults the Texas Democratic Primary and says it was dirty. Yeah it was so dirty that no democrat has won in probably a few centuries or so. Boss Man throws him around but gets caught with some bad punches.

He uses the same movements as Hogan when he Hulks Up but with amazing eyes while he does it. Those things are around the level that Edge would have. Boss Man manages to backdrop Akeem over the top rope. He had some freaking scary power.

The Boss Man Slam, which in this case was more like a clothesline and a leg sweep puts Akeem down but here’s DiBiase and Virgil for the beatdown. Seriously, I don’t remember these two feuding in an actual match ever. They cuff Boss Man to the rope and the booing is insane. Virgil gets the nightstick but Boss Man is the only smart wrestler of all time as he has the key to his own cuffs. He gets loose before he gets sticked and takes out the heels as we go to a commercial.

Rating: N/A. While Boss Man had some good power stuff in there, there simply wasn’t enough to go on here to grade it properly. The DiBiase run in is odd as it led nowhere unless I’m completely blanking on something. Either way, the angle at the end was far more important than the match, and since the angle was good this would have been a decent grade.

After the last commercial, we come back for our fourth Martel bit of the night as once again he’s talking about Arrogance. This is either a bad theme for the night or dumb booking and I’m leaning towards both.

Heenan says that Rude is coming for Warrior and the title.

Warrior says something about a disease being out of control.

Vince and Jesse talk about Rude being able to beat Warrior and Hogan running wild and eventually facing Earthquake before plugging the next SNME in three months to take us out.

Overall Rating: B+. They packed a lot into two hours here. They got over the main angles which is all you can ask for I suppose. The matches were at least ok and the whole show came off as good television. It wasn’t great, but it certainly wasn’t bad at all. Hogan and Warrior continue their domination, Demolition more or less turned heel or at least took a big step towards it, and everyone came off looking good. This was a solid follup to Mania and it set up the summer feuds. Overall, this is a good show and worth watching if you’ve got some time on your hads.

 

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book on the History of the WWE Championship from Amazon for just $5 at:

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C3RZIR8

Leave a Reply