Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Saturday Night’s Main Event XXIX – 4/27/91

*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV and TV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***

RPHH

Saturday Night’s Main Event XXIX – 4/27/91

April 27, 1991
Civic Auditorium
Omaha, NE
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Randy Savage

Fun Fact: This episode was originally recorded for broadcast as an episode of “The Main Event” as can be noted by the banners in the arena and the microphone flags. The event was changed by NBC to a Saturday Night’s Main Event episode before airing.

Fun Fact II: In 1990, NBC acquired the rights to cover NBA basketball and began to lose interest in covering wrestling. Ratings had fallen and NBC decided to drop SNME from their lineup. This would be the final broadcast of wrestling on NBC until the relationship with the WWE was revived in 2006.

Fun Fact III: Following his loss at WrestleMania VII in the retirement match, this would be Randy Savage’s first run a color commentator on the show. Despite the Elizabeth storyline face turn at WrestleMania, tonight Savage’s commentary is more as a heel, as would be the case for his first few months in the role.

1) Ultimate Warrior defeats Sgt. Slaughter by disqualification at 8:00

Fun Fact: This is a rematch of their encounter at Royal Rumble 1991, except this time neither has the championship. Also, the Gulf War had concluded nearly two months earlier, yet Sgt. Slaughter continues his Iraqi sympathizer role.

Scott: We open with the long-awaited Royal Rumble rematch. Sgt. Slaughter’s feud with Hulk Hogan has gone past WrestleMania when he threw the fire in Hogan’s eyes minutes after losing the title. However he has to deal with someone else whose wrath he incurred. Warrior seems to be floating aimlessly after beating Randy Savage at WrestleMania, but was overshadowed by Savage’s reuniting with Elizabeth. Speaking of Macho Man, he’s commentating here with Vince since his in-ring career is “technically” over. Slaughter dominates the action early including a long bear hug. This definitely sounds like the audio was laid down after the fact. I know it’s been that way for a while, but sometimes it sounds worse than others. This time it definitely sounds like they’re in a studio. During the match Paul Bearer wheels out the casket that Warrior was locked in a few weeks earlier in the Funeral Parlor. Warrior is shaken at first, but then recovers to get the advantage and starts to build the momentum to win the match, until the casket opens and out comes the Undertaker! He, along with Col. Mustafa and General Adnan start beating Warrior down, causing the disqualification. The four-on-one beatdown commences until WWF Champion Hulk Hogan comes out to help his friend. We get a Zeus-like moment where nothing handed to him affects the Undertaker. An effective way to keep the Slaughter feud going without any definitive finish, but a LONG road to SummerSlam begins. Grade: **

JT: A little over a month removed from WrestleMania we encounter our final SNME on NBC. It has been a hell of a run but with the overall popularity and ratings taking a dip, it was time for the partnership, which had already been dwindling, to officially come to an end. Our opener is a big one, featuring the last two WWF Champions going at it in a Royal Rumble rematch. Sgt. Slaughter’s brief reign came to an end in Los Angeles at the hands of Hulk Hogan. However, even with the Gulf War tapering, his heat is still there as he had quickly built himself into quite the detestable heel. We have another shakeup in the booth as well as the recently retired Randy Savage steps in next to Vince McMahon, sending Roddy Piper to backstage interview duty as a result. Savage was still in heel mode despite the tearful resolution to his Mania war with the Warrior. Sarge tried to get off to a sneaky start but Warrior caught him on the top rope and slammed him hard to the mat. Warrior mowed through him from there, looking to put this one away early. Sarge was able to turn the tide and knock Warrior to the floor, where Col. Mustafa also got involved in weakening the Ultimate one. Sarge hopped out as well and used the edge of the ring apron to help his attack as Savage blatantly rooted him on. Back inside, Slaughter focused on the lower back and when Warrior tried to make a comeback he collapsed from the pain of his weakened lumbar. Sarge would crank on a bear hug and as he wore down Warrior, Paul Bearer showed up, pushing a casket down the aisle to ringside. Warrior was captivated with that arrival, allowing Slaughter to drill him from behind and knock him back to the floor. Warrior would eventually come back with clotheslines and a shoulderblock but as he did, the casket opened and the Undertaker sat up and stared him down. Warrior stood in shock until Sarge, Adnan and Mustafa all jumped him. Taker joined in on the fun and all four laid in some kicks until Hogan showed up for the save. The crowd loved that one. As Hogan and the Triangle fought to the back, Warrior went toe-to-toe with Taker with neither man really coming out on top. This was pretty paint by numbers as far as matches go but the main goal was to continue Hogan’s feud with Slaughter while pushing along Warrior’s issues with Undertaker. Grade: *1/2

2) Nasty Boys defeat the Bushwhackers to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Knobbs pinned Luke with a roll up at 6:48

Scott: This match seems so short of excitement, simply because this is the Bushwhackers, not the Sheepherders. Now that would be a fantastic match of violent proportions. However, it’s not it. I like that even though Savage reunited with Elizabeth, he’s still acting like a full blown heel on commentary. Just because he has his woman back doesn’t mean he should have to be a babyface. For now, anyway. The Nasty Boys dominate the action by really beating the Bushwhackers down until the hot tag to Butch. I noticed on one camera angle that there was a “Superstars” banner hanging from the Omaha rafters. That must have been a long night of matches. A great heel finish as Knobbs had Butch rolled up and Sags had his foot on Knobbs’ butt for extra leverage and the champions retain the belts. Honestly there was no way the Bushwhackers were winning this match. Those belts are being saved, for two guys with spiked football pads. Grade: **

JT: Back in Los Angeles, the upstart Nasty Boys stole the tag team titles from the Hart Foundation, surprising many longtime WWF fans along the way. The Nasties had surprisingly jumped from WCW in late 1990 and were quickly pushed to the top of the mountain here. Their first major TV defense is against the stalwart Bushwhackers, who we haven’t seen on SNME in quite a while, but the story is always the same when it comes to them. Luke and Knobbs opened things with some strikes and brawling until things broke down and all four men tussled, ending with the Nasties getting knocked outside. When things resumed, Sags worked over Butch but that was short-lived as Butch punched his way out and tagged in Luke, who grabbed a near fall. A moment later, the Whackers cracked both tag champs with battering rams but both were knocked to the floor. Once again, the Nasties made it back inside and immediately grabbed control. This time they quick tagged in and out, putting a beating on Luke with their basic brawling style offense. Luke eventually escaped and made the hot tag to Butch, who came in on a tear, ripping through both champs with clotheslines and almost nabbing the titles. Butch was looking really jacked here, moreso than usual. The Nasties cheated as the referee was tied up, but weren’t able to put the Whackers away. The challengers would get a super close near fall after some trickery of their own, but a moment later, Knobbs rolled Luke up and got an assist from Sags to pick up the win. Not a bad little tag match as it had a lot of back and forth and quick tagging on both ends. The Whackers may have been prepping for some sort of run as they looked to be in pretty damn good shape. The Nasties escape with the gold and their unlikely title run rolls on. Grade: *1/2

3) Mr. Perfect wins a 20 Man Battle Royal at 12:30

Participants: The Barbarian, Big Boss Man, The British Bulldog, Jim Duggan, Earthquake, Haku, Hulk Hogan, Kato, Tanaka, Hercules, Paul Roma, Jake Roberts, Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, Jimmy Snuka, The Texas Tornado, Tugboat, Greg Valentine, and The Warlord

Fun Fact: This would be the final SNME appearance for several superstars in the Battle Royale. Paul Roma, who would make his final PPV appearance at SummerSlam 1991 before leaving the company in October. His partner Hercules would stay on through early 1992, mainly being used as enhancement talent. Greg Valentine would stay with the company through the Royal Rumble in 1992, but would not be around when SNME reappears on Fox in the spring of ‘92. Valentine’s value in the WWF was diminishing and he decided to resign with WCW. The Barbarian would also stay through the Rumble ‘92 before going back to WCW.

Scott: This is the star-studded main event, as both singles champions are in the match here against most of the top contenders (sans Slaughter and Warrior). We know what Hogan did at WrestlemMnia, and Mr. Perfect (although losing the match) kept his Intercontinental Title against Big Boss Man. Earthquake’s heel run is slowly fading, as well as the fact Jake Roberts has a new snake now, Lucifer after Quake squished Damien. Watching this Battle Royal, I still think to this day Warlord would have made a great #1 contender for Hogan’s World Title instead of Slaughter, as I feel that feud fades very quickly and they should have had great power battles throughout the summer leading to a big match at SummerSlam. Perfect and Barbarian do a great double team and eliminate Boss Man, effectively ending that feud I imagine. An interesting final four is Greg Valentine, Perfect, Barbarian and Shawn Michaels. The battle continues, and a most fitting booking decision, the Intercontinental Champion stays strong and wins this battle royal. Mr. Perfect stays strong throughout the spring and summer, but a pink and black attack is on the horizon. Grade: N/A

JT: It has been a while since we had a good old SNME battle royal, but like previous ones on this show, this bout is loaded with quality talent. Not only is our reigning WWF Champion Hulk Hogan in there, we also have IC Champion Mr. Perfect, Big Boss Man, Earthquake, Jake Roberts and others. Big time. There were a lot of lingering issues mixed in as well. Of course, Boss Man and Perfect still had eyes for each other and we also have The Snake looking for big time revenge on Quake, who had murdered Damien shortly before this show. Hogan was obviously pegged as the favorite but anyone taking the field may have a good shot given the talent spilling from the ring. The champ wasted no time igniting the fight as soon as he entered the ring and the match was officially on. Hogan and Roberts double teamed Quake in one corner as everyone else began to pair off around the ring. Paul Roma was the first to go, getting kicked out by Marty Jannetty, but Romeo returned the favor by yanking Marty to the floor as well. Hogan and Quake continued to battle on the ropes as things hummed along. There were some really cool pairings in this one things to the mix of talent. Hogan and British Bulldog almost eliminated Perfect but he hung on. Quake was really the main force in there as whenever he was away from Hogan, he bounced all over the ring and attacked whomever was in his way. Really impressive for a big guy. Shawn Michaels would avert near danger as he was basically crowd suffering amongst a few guys but slipped back inside. Perfect would almost go out again at the hand of Hogan and Greg Valentine but he also hung tight. However, a moment later Warlord got his WrestleMania revenge by eliminating the Bulldog. That one surprised me as I thought he may have a deep run here. Tanaka and Jimmy Snuka were the next to go out, followed by Roberts next as Quake snuck up on him from behind and shoved him to the floor. More great heat building for Quake, but a moment later, Roberts showed up with his new snake Lucifer and tossed it towards Quake, grinding the match to a halt as we went to break. After commercial, Perfect and Hogan traded more blows and the match edged along. There has been a real lot of action throughout this one, making it one of the better battle royals we have seen to date. In a shocking moment, Tugboat slugged Hogan from behind, leading to a big standoff between the friends. That played off the Rumble a bit when Hogan eliminated Tugboat. Warlord broke up the fight but he paid for it when Hogan chucked him out. Texas Tornado followed right after him, courtesy Barbarian. Quake struck again by dumping Duggan but he met his end at the hands of his nemesis Hogan, who again gets more revenge for that attack a year earlier. As Hogan was about to push Kato out, Tugboat snuck from behind and pushed his buddy to the floor, gaining his Rumble revenge. His celebration was short lived as Michaels came up and knocked Tugger out as well. Hercules was chucked into the fray as Hogan bitched out Tugboat, as was his usual reaction when this sort of thing happens. Regardless, that was a big shock to see Quake and Hogan go out in the middle like that. That left Boss Man as the top face but he went out next after a team up by Barbarian and Perfect. Michaels would dropkick Haku out a moment later, leaving us with our final four: Perfect, Michaels, Barbarian & Valentine.

It was a hell of a showing for Michaels to be in there as the top face this late and to take the fight right at Perfect at a breakneck pace. However, he moved a bit too fast and ended up on the apron, giving Perfect the easy opening to bump him to the floor. Valentine did his best to hang in throughout the double team and a miscommunication ended up with Barbarian on the floor and a fired up Hammer left with Perfect as the final two. After a quick battle with both laying in some stiff chops, Perfect was in trouble and the crowd was really into the underdog Hammer story. And he came close to winning but Perfect was able to stay alive. Valentine stayed with it and tried to push Perfect out but his momentum carried him over as well. Perfect held on as Hammer hit the floor and that was that, another big SNME win for Mr. Perfect. We don’t rate battle royals but this one was really good and is one of my all time favorites. It had a lot of talent and everyone kept moving and working hard throughout right up until the finish. It was a nice break from the usual SNME format and stands out accordingly. Grade: N/A

4) Bret Hart wrestled Ted DiBiase to a double countout at 9:56

Fun Fact: Following the tag team title loss at WrestleMania VII to the Nasty Boys, the Hart Foundation split and Bret Hart began his singles career. Jim Neidhart started a less successful singles run, but also joined the commentary team for Wrestling Challenge broadcasts.

Scott: This is a match that has been teased for years at Survivor Series and other shows, and now it finally is here. Bret Hart is officially on his solo course and he takes on an equally talented opponent in the Million Dollar Man. DiBiase has taken Sherri into the fold after she essentially dumped Randy Savage at WrestleMania. It must be weird for Macho Man to say anything on commentary after that moment during this match. Roddy Piper has joined commentary here because of the DiBiase/Virgil storyline that Piper is involved in. After DiBiase dictated things early, both guys go back and forth with expert technical maneuvers. Meanwhile Piper comes down to ringside (leaving the “broadcast booth”, well timed there…) and chases Sherri around the ring with a broom between his legs. We can leave it at that. Meanwhile Bret and DiBiase continue to brawl out to the aisle and eventually both men get counted out. The match was really good but a lot of the outside stuff took away from it a bit. Bret continues his march to one goal: Mr. Perfect. Grade: **1/2

JT: With the Hart Foundation dropping their tag team gold in Los Angeles, the long rumored Bret Hart solo push is upon us. And it begins in earnest here in a big time singles match against the perpetually main event level heel, Ted DiBiase. Of course, DiBiase was embroiled in a feud with his former bodyguard Virgil and Virgil’s mentor Roddy Piper, who hops in the booth for this one. Of course, we also see Sensational Sherri who had hooked up with DiBiase after the Macho King’s career came to an end. They had a hell of a run together and she was equally as good a fit for a douchebag like DiBiase. Hart held his own early, weathering a quick storm and rattling DiBiase with clotheslines that eventually sent him to the floor. The Hitman popped the crowd with a nice dive over the rope and it looked like he was locked in for this big opportunity. Hart kept pouring it on and even dodged some interference from Sherri. However, he got a little too aggressive and was caught on a charge and hung across the top rope via a DiBiase stun gun. DiBiase stayed focused on the neck, drilling Hart with a piledriver for a near fall. Hart would end up on the floor where Sherri finally got her licks in, clobbering the Hitman until DiBiase pitched him back inside. Teddy laid in some more offense, focusing on the neck in between levying kicks and chops. After shooting Hart hard into the corner, DiBiase went for the Million Dollar Dream but Hart blocked it and rammed him into the buckles to break up the hold. Hart racked DiBiase with right hands and then grabbed a near fall on a Russian leg sweep as well as after a backbreaker and elbow off the second rope. The crowd was really heated up by this point but before Hart could put DiBiase away, he got distracted by Sherri, which drew him to the floor to get in her face. DiBiase attacked from behind and shoved him back inside just as Roddy Piper marched to the ring to even up the sides. He forced Sherri away from ringside and then grabbed a broom, which he used to make a witch joke and also smacked her on the ass with it. DiBiase finally went after Piper and Hart followed, leading to a double countout finish. Well, can’t blame them for that finish but if we did get a clean fall, this could have been a true gem, especially with DiBiase’s focused offense around the neck. As was, it was a lot of fun, was crisply worked and got its main point across: Bret Hart could hang with the big boys and was ready for this type of push. DiBiase’s issues with Piper continue to evolve but we also get to see that Sherri is going to remain hyperactive at ringside and play a major role in his matches. Grade: ***

5) Mountie defeats Tito Santana after using the cattle prod at 4:29

Fun Fact: This is a rematch from WrestleMania VII. This contest was over three times as long as the one in LA, although it was still less than five minutes.

Scott: This is a WrestleMania rematch to finish the show off. Mountie is the fresher character, so we know what Tito’s job is here. They work for a few minutes before the cattle prod goes into Tito’s throat and the Mountie advances on. Honestly there’s not much more to say here. Grade: *

JT: Our final match of the NBC era is a WrestleMania rematch set to spotlight a relative newcomer: The Mountie. Jacques Rougeau had returned in late 1990 under this new gimmick but retained Jimmy Hart as his manager. After mopping up Koko B. Ware at the Royal Rumble and picking up a quick win over Tito Santana at Mania, he gets a rematch with Tito here. During his brief run to date, it was clear that Mountie wasn’t above cheating and bullying his way to wins, doing whatever he could to get the duke. Tito rocked him with a huge right hand early on and took the fight right to the Mountie with a pair of dropkicks. Tito followed Mountie to the floor and they traded blows there but eventually Tito came out on top and shoved him back inside. Tito kept bringing the heat but Mountie blocked a monkey flip and Tito crashed hard to the mat. Mountie got some brief offense in but ate a pair of knees on a splash attempt. Santana looked ready to put this one away as he hit the flying forearm but Jimmy Hart dove in the ring and distracted the ref. Tito popped up and drilled Jimmy with a forearm as well but that allowed Mountie to grab his cattle prod and zap Tito with it for the dirty win. This wasn’t bad for a quickie and I loved Tito smashing Hart with the forearm. Mountie gets the win and continues to build his resume as Santana continues to be one of the most underutilized guys on the roster. Grade: *

Final Analysis

Scott: All the stars were out for this one as we were about a month past WrestleMania and some feuds continued while others ended. One thing I definitely noticed is I feel like Ultimate Warrior took a step back on this show, and everything was about Hulk Hogan again. Bret Hart looked like a star here even though he didn’t win his match. We have a Jake Roberts SNME sighting for the first time in a while. Mr. Perfect is clearly the #2 guy in the entire company, and even a higher heel than Sergeant Slaughter. Sadly NBC had decided wrestling wasn’t as good as in 1985-1988 so this will be the last show of a great run, which is a bummer. By the time we are on this stage again in February, the WWF will look very, very different. Final Grade: B

JT: It has been an awesome run of 29 SNME installments on NBC. We have seen some great episodes and some clunkers, but there have been tons of memorable matches and moments mixed in everywhere. By this point, the WWF was on a downward slide and NBC was ready to jump ship. That writing has been on the wall for a while as the 1990 and 1991 episodes were fewer and had more space in between than in the early years. This last one was loaded as every important member of the roster was on the scene and involved in the show. We see Ultimate Warrior’s big feud with Undertaker on display while Hulk Hogan’s issue with Sgt. Slaughter continues to rage on. Mr. Perfect gets a showcase win as do the Nasty Boys. We also kick off the solo run of Bret Hart with a fun battle against the ever present Ted DiBiase. The match quality was up and down here but it was a really fun episode to watch and the battle royal was really solid and anchored the show nicely. We still have a couple more of these to go but it won’t be or feel the same. Final Grade: B-