Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Saturday Night’s Main Event XXX – 2/8/92

*** 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! ***

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Saturday Night’s Main Event XXX – 2/8/92

February 8, 1992
Municipal Coliseum
Lubbock, TX
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan

Fun Fact: After being bumped from the NBC lineup, Saturday Night’s Main Event was picked up by FOX in 1992. The show had a new logo, new theme music and intro, a trimmed down 60 minute format and a prime time slot instead of late night. FOX was a very new network, having only started broadcasting in October 1986.

1) Roddy Piper defeats Mountie to retain WWF Intercontinental Title after using the cattle prod at 3:30

Fun Fact: On January 17, two days before the Royal Rumble, at a house show in Springfield, MA, The Mountie defeated Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Title. Bret was sick with the flu and had a 102 degree fever, but said he would at least get in the ring and drop the title. The other reason for the switch that has been floating around is that Bret and the WWF were in the midst of contract negotiations, and the WWF wanted to make sure that if Bret did leave the company that the belt was protected. He obviously re-signed, and would soon be in the hunt to get the title back.

Fun Fact II: At the Royal Rumble, Roddy Piper defeated The Mountie for the IC title. This made The Mountie the shortest reigning IC title holder for many years to come. Tonight’s SNME match is a rematch for the title. In a pre-match stipulation for the match, Bret Hart would face the winner of this match at WrestleMania VIII for the belt.

Scott: Well things have indeed changed a lot since the last time we were on SNME. We have new talent, a new logo and even a new network. NBC had tired of wrestling by 1991 and cut the WWF loose. It was clear that the product had started to slide in terms of ratings, and by the early 90s, Saturday Night Live had one of their best casts ever (Farley, Miller, Nealon, etc.) . So NBC decided the “filler wrestling program” was no longer needed. As a network Fox was only about five years old, so adding some programming didn’t hurt. The last time we were on air back in April, Roddy Piper was Vince’s color commentator. Fast forward to now, and all of the sudden he’s the Intercontinental Champion. The roster went through such a change in the fall of 1991 with the additions of Sid Justice and most importantly Ric Flair, the elevations of Piper, Bret Hart and Undertaker and the return of Randy Savage to active competition (as well as a babyface turn). The real glaring omission is Ultimate Warrior, who one year earlier was at the top of the card and the former WWF Champion and now is nowhere to be found. Well, on to the card. Mountie shockingly won the IC Title in early January when Bret had a fever (kayfabe) and was in contract negotiations (real reason). When Bret was fine (in both situations), Roddy Piper made history at the Royal Rumble and won his first singles title in the WWF after eight years. So the Mountie gets his rematch here. It’s a lot of punching and kicking, but I was wondering why Piper was wrestling with a t-shirt on. Then I realized after Mountie’s shock stick didn’t work. Piper shocked Mountie back while the referee was down and got the three count. Piper took his shirt off and he had a “shock proof” vest on. Pretty cunning I must say. So the match is set for April 5 in Indianapolis: Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Title. This wasn’t much, but the next IC Title match will be. Grade: *

JT: Well, this looks an SNME, and is presented as one… but, it just isn’t the same. Regardless, here we are on a Saturday Night on Fox with a pretty big card lined up for this reboot episode, which was actually just an hour instead of the usual ninety minutes. Vince McMahon is still in the booth but he is joined by Bobby Heenan, who hasn’t called an SNME in over five years. And they are definitely in the house as they are actually at ringside here. The company was in a very interesting spot here, coming off a red hot Royal Rumble and featuring a very load roster that had veterans and youngsters flowing over into what was becoming a very enjoyable product. In our opener, brand new IC champ Roddy Piper just his title on the line against the former champ, the Mountie. Mountie had upset Bret Hart for the gold a few weeks earlier but his run was brief as Piper was granted a title shot at the Rumble and cashed in for his first ever singles gold. This was an interesting match because you would assume Piper would hang on to the strap until at least WrestleMania but there was a chance that Mountie could steal it back and set up a Mania bout with Bret Hart, who had already been slotted for the Mania IC title match, to give the Hitman some revenge. Mountie jumped Piper from behind and tossed him to the floor but Hot Rod sprinted back in and slugged both Mountie and Jimmy Hart from behind. Mountie bailed outside but Piper stayed on top of him and harassed him right back into the ring. Before he could even get his shirt off, Mountie caught Piper coming into the ring and went to work with some stiff kicks, picking up a near fall along the way. Piper made a quick comeback with a flurry of punches but Mountie blocked a bulldog and shoved Piper into the referee. With the official down, Mountie stuffed Piper with a piledriver and then dumped water all over the Hot Rod. Mountie would then grab his cattle prod and attempt to electrocute him but Piper sat right up, punched Mountie, zapped him and picked up the win to retain his strap. After the bell, Piper revealed that he had a protective shock proof vest under his shirt in a nice little storyline bit. This match was basically a TV squash but Piper always brought such great energy and the vest gig was pretty funny. Piper now aims his eyes to Indianapolis as he has a date lined up with Bret Hart. Also, to really hammer home that we are on Fox, Vince makes a “Homey don’t play that” joke, so there ya go. Grade: 1/2*

2) Hulk Hogan & Sid Justice defeat Ric Flair & Undertaker by disqualification at 11:42

Fun Fact: The road to this match has taken many twists and turns. Ric Flair came to the WWF in late 1991 claiming to be the real World Heavyweight Champion (with the very REAL NWA title belt). At Survivor Series 91, The Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan with the assistance of Ric Flair. An immediate rematch was ordered by President Jack Tunney for This Tuesday in Texas. Hogan wins here after throwing ashes in Taker’s eyes and rolling him up. Tunney vacates the belt and sets the Royal Rumble match to be where a new champ is crowned. Flair wins the Royal Rumble after Sid Justice throws Hogan out and Hogan helps pull Sid out as Flair pushes him over the top rope. Hogan was named the #1 contender to the belt, which infuriated Sid who thought it should be him. Sid apologized to Hogan for his angry remarks.

Fun Fact II: For a full bio of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, see PTBN’s Vintage Vault Refresh Volume #1 – The Federation Years, under Survivor Series 1991.

Scott: It’s a general consensus that the 1992 Royal Rumble is one of the best PPV shows ever. Ric Flair won the WWF Title on that night, but there was also the issue between Hulk Hogan and Sid. If you watched that show live, you know that when Sid dumped Hogan over the top rope the crowd went crazy (as did I, for at the time I was a big Sid mark), then Hogan yanked Sid over the top rope to give Flair the title and everybody booed. In the most obvious editing job in WWF history to that point, all the highlight packages from that point forward had such overdubbed booing when Sid dumped Hogan it was ridiculous. Then when Hogan was named #1 contender at WrestleMania in that cheesy staged press conference everyone was even more pissed off. Sid snapped after the presser, but then made amends and “apologized” to everybody, including Hogan. That brings us to this tag team encounter, as the two powerhouses combined to face the World Champion and the Deadman. Bobby Heenan was awesome here (as he was during Flair’s entire reign as champion). Sid gets beaten down by the heels, but then he finally tags Hogan, who starts getting worked over by Taker & Flair. Sid is apparently making no effort to tag in or help Hogan in the ring. Finally after a double clothesline, and Hogan crawling to his corner, Sid drops off the apron, and walks away. Maybe Sean Mooney no-selling him in the pre-match interview was the final straw, or maybe he was just fed up like everybody else in the WWF. The roster was so loaded with other top talents that Hogan is now no longer the #1 guy in the company and the crowd knows it. I was a huge Sid fan at the time and had really waned with my orange kool-aid drinking. You knew the Flair/Hogan title match for WrestleMania wasn’t holding. This match was needed really to push this storyline with Sid and not much else. Flair is still the man, but Undertaker was changing from this point. He was getting some cheers from the fans, and maybe a turn for him was in the offing. At this point in early February, you knew the WrestleMania card was going to change. Grade: **

JT: Our star powered main event has quite the dynamic behind it with most the issues having stemmed from the closing moments of the Royal Rumble. It was there in Albany that Sid eliminated Hulk Hogan, followed by Hogan pouting and repaying the favor, ultimately giving Ric Flair the vacant WWF Title as a result. Flair and Undertaker had been in cahoots since the fall and they team up here to take on Hogan and Sid, who had mended fences despite Justice being pissed off that Hogan had been granted the title match against Flair at WrestleMania. So, the question heading in here was simple: could Hogan trust Sid or would they be torn apart and destroyed by Flair and Taker? The narrative was clearly being set that it was Sid who was underhanded for shoving Hogan out from behind but he was playing within the rules. Hogan was not. And it made him look like the jerk, which harkens back to the odd booking decisions of early 1989. Hogan and Sid had Brutus Beefcake in their corner as he and his reconstructed face had returned in the summer of 1991 to host a talk show and back up his buddy. Sid and Flair started things off and Sid used his size to set the tone, tossing the champ around until he hit the floor to consult with Mr. Perfect. Sid tagged in Hogan and things reset as Flair returned. Our WrestleMania prelude opened with Hogan also tossing Flair around, as well as Taker when he hit the ring to make the save. Sid tagged in and went at it with Taker in a cool little slugfest and then Hogan came in and mowed through both guys again as the crowd went bonkers. Great atmosphere here for this one. Things finally turned as Taker was able to slip in a thrust blow to Sid, followed by Flair coming in for a double team.

That momentum was short-lived as Hogan again made the save and he and Sid worked together to clean house. So far, so good for the Hulkster and Justice when it came to teamwork. Flair and Taker regained control after a commercial and started to work over Sid in their corner, exhibiting strong heel tag work. Sid survived and swatted off Flair to tag in Hogan but Perfect hooked Hulkster’s leg, allowing Flair to kick out the knee and finally slow Hogan down. Flair went right to work on the leg, hooking in the figure four. Hogan inched his way to the corner but when he reached out to tag, Sid turned his back and adjusted his kneepad and then waved to the crowd. Hogan would reverse the hold and crawl to his corner but Sid made no effort at all to tag or help his partner up. Vince and Bobby started to sniff the dissension as Taker cracked Hogan with a leaping clothesline. Hogan kept slipping free and trying to make that tag but Sid just looked off in the distance, ignoring the pleas and letting Hogan get dragged back to the opposite corner and worked over. Hogan gave it one last go as he Hulked Up out of the corner, walking through Flair’s chops and shoving him into the corner. Taker came in and the double team was on but Hogan cut them both down with a double clothesline and looked for the tag again. But this time Sid looked him in the eye and basically told him to fuck off as he dropped from the apron and sauntered away. The crowd pissed all over that and Beefcake tried to talk sense into him but Sid threatened to smash Brutus in the face before walking off to the back. Flair and Taker kept pounding in the ring until they were finally disqualified. Beefcake came in to help out and they were able to run off Flair and Taker to bring an official end to the match. I never get sick of this one. There was so much going on and the pacing was nonstop. Plus the crowd was super into everything and it all tied together wonderfully with everything going on between Hogan and Flair and Hogan and Sid. Despite the wonky nature of what happened at the Rumble the crowd was now rabid for Hogan to get his hands on Sid and things are starting to seem murky for Mania. This match is always an easy watch and Bobby and Vince on commentary were great pushing the angle along as well. The star power doesn’t hurt it either. Grade: **1/2

3) Sgt. Slaughter & Jim Duggan defeat Beverly Brothers when Slaughter pinned Blake after Duggan hit the running clothesline at 2:39

Fun Fact: This match was originally supposed to be the Legion of Doom vs. the Beverly Brothers. LOD member Hawk had failed a drug test which necessitated a change to the match. Slaughter and Duggan took their place here.

Fun Fact II: For a full bio of The Beverly Brothers, see PTBN’s Vintage Vault Refresh Volume #1 – The Federation Years, under Survivor Series 1991.

Scott: So as I’m watching this, it’s pretty evident that this show doesn’t have the same flow and excitement that past shows did. This seemed more like a canned Superstars or Prime Time. I have no idea what this match was for, as it was only a couple of minutes. Vince and Bobby in essence glazed over this match while they were still talking about the Sid/Hogan situation. The All Americans win, and that’s that. Grade: DUD

JT: Next up we have a quick tag team showcase to cool the crowd down a bit. The Beverly Brothers got off to a hot start in late 1991 but have settled into a mid card tag role, adding the Genius into their corner and coming off a feud with the Bushwhackers. After finally losing his feud with Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter saw the error of his ways and asked his country and fans to forgive him. Everyone welcomed him back, especially Jim Duggan, and the two patriots formed a team and actually seemed set up for a potential WrestleMania tag title match. The Legion of Doom were originally scheduled for this bout but they were having some issues with the company and were subbed out for Sarge and Duggan instead. Unfortunately for the Beverlys this one was pretty short lived. They got a blip of offense in, but everything quickly fell apart on them when Sarge tagged in and smacked them around before Duggan smashed Blake with the running clothesline for the win. The way this one went certainly made it seem Duggan & Sarge were getting that Mania title shot. Grade: DUD

4) Randy Savage defeats Jake Roberts with the flying elbow at 5:25

Fun Fact: This hot feud has been going since SummerSlam 91. During the wedding reception of Miss Elizabeth and Randy Savage, a live snake was opened by Elizabeth. Jake Roberts and Undertaker then attacked Savage. In October, Roberts kept egging Savage on, who could not get revenge since he lost a retirement match back at WrestleMania VII. He was able to get him in the ring, attack him, tie him up in the ropes and have a (devenomized) king cobra bite him. Savage was reinstated beginning their in-ring feud. This match marks the end of this feud.

Scott: This is the final chapter of the feud that started way back in August after SummerSlam. Even when Randy Savage won at This Tuesday in Texas, we had the post match beatdown where Jake slapped Elizabeth across the face. They had interaction at the Royal Rumble but this was the final blow-off to put this thing to bed. Savage was another example of the major changes in the WWF one year. In February 1991 Savage was a top flight heel who cost the Ultimate Warrior the WWF Title and was going to face Warrior for his career at WrestleMania. Savage had a topsy-turvy rest of 1991 and now he’s a sympathetic babyface who’s taking out the guy who almost killed him with a cobra and struck his wife. The match is a fun, fast-paced brawl that Savage won, but it was more Savage attacking Jake post match, including trying to hit him with the ring bell. Jake crawls away, and Elizabeth comes out to celebrate with her husband. It was a great finish to send the crowd home happy. Jake Roberts was hiding behind the curtain as we went off the air. Why? Check out our WrestleMania VIII review and you’ll find out. Grade: **

JT: One of 1991’s greatest feuds finally comes to a close here with the last showdown between Jake Roberts and Randy Savage. The feud kicked off back at SummerSlam when Roberts crashed the wedding reception and sprung a cobra on Elizabeth. Things got ugly from there, with Savage getting bitten by another cobra and getting reinstated, Roberts slapping Elizabeth and Savage eventually eliminating Roberts at the Royal Rumble. It was an unforgettable feud and an epic heel turn for the Snake, a man driven to madness after the death of snake. So, Savage gets to give it a go at Roberts one more time here. In a cool historical trivia point, these two actually tussled on a SNME way back in 1986 as well. This one was just a tad more heated than that showdown. Savage went right at Roberts on the floor off the bell, scratching at his face and wailing away with kicks. Roberts broke free but Savage hunted him down and posted him before driving him to the ground. This is how you work a blood feud blowoff. You can feel the hate spewing from Savage as he mauls Roberts. Savage started to choke away at Roberts in the ring and then kept clawing at his face until Jake punched him off and sent him flying outside. Savage sprinted back in and slugged Roberts again until Jake was able to chuck him back outside again. Roberts actually got busted open at the bridge of his nose but finally regained his composure and cooly slammed Savage head first into the ring post. Back inside, Savage made a quick comeback but got caught with a right hand coming off the top. Roberts struck quick from there, snapping off a DDT and then sitting contently in the corner, allowing the referee to levy a ten count for Macho instead of going for a pin cover. Savage blocked a second DDT and flipped Jake to the floor. He hammered him with an axe blow that drove the Snake into the barricade, jamming his throat hard into the steel. Back inside, Savage hit the elbow smash and picked up the win to put the Snake down for good. Savage pounced with a second elbow after the ball, jumping right over a gaggle of officials to land on his nemesis. Macho wouldn’t stop, grabbing the bell from ringside but the officials rolled Jake out of the ring. As Roberts slithered to the back, Savage tossed around the officials with fury until he calmed down and called Liz to the ring. The two embraced and celebrated the victory but backstage Roberts hid behind the curtain and vowed that this feud wasn’t over yet. Just like Tuesday in Texas, this was all storyline moreso than workrate but the feud was so well orchestrated that was all it needed to be successful. Both men are so awesome at conveying emotion and working a frenetic pace when needed and because of that they had instant chemistry that popped on screen. Savage’s manic attack throughout was fueled by weeks and months of attacks but Roberts and his fury was palpable. It is what wrestling is all about and this whole storyline was a tremendous course by two of the masters. Grade: **

Final Analysis

Scott: From a television perspective, this show didn’t have that slick production that previous SNMEs did. Clearly Fox just wanted filler programming and didn’t put any real time or effort into it. On top of the fact they gave the WWF only 60 minutes instead of the normal 90 minutes made things feel rushed. There was major storyline advancement, including what was the start of a new feud and match for WrestleMania VIII. The roster was so top heavy with stars that it may be the most loaded (and crowded) main event situation in the company’s history. That most definitely made a certain yellow and red superstar a little nervous. By the next (and sadly, final) SNME the company looks even more different than the final show on NBC. This show had its moments, but sadly it felt like SNME “Light”. Final Grade: C

JT: SNME debuts on Fox with a bang. Sure, the feel was different and it felt more like a pure wrestling show than than the slick corniness of the vintage editions, but it was loaded up with stars and big matches and angles and cruised along for 60 minutes. There was no nonsense or BS to slow us down and it worked at a time like this because they had the horses to deliver where it mattered and didn’t need to cover for them. This stretch from the Rumble until Mania was red hot with big issues and stars all over the place. In ring, this wasn’t a strong night of action, but it was good enough to get everything accomplished to get the company on the road to WrestleMania. The tag main event alone was a perfect snapshot of what SNME was designed to be and it was executed so well. This is easily one of my favorite SNME episodes and the fresh feel of the Fox reboot helped break the stale feeling of the final few NBC installments and get us back on track. Grade: B