Hulk Hogan (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. “The African Dream” Akeem (w/ “The Doctor of Style” Slick and the Big Bossman)
As 1988 comes to an official close and we now begin the final year of the 1980s with 1989, there was a feeling of excitement in the air considering how things played out at the end of 1988. The top of the card was firing on all cylinders with the Mega Powers as the top faces and the Twin Towers now becoming the top heels of the company, and as we come to the first big show of 1989 with SNME that was the focal point of the show. But there did seem to be some trouble in paradise between the Mega Powers as we saw at the end of Survivor Series when Savage seemed very displeased about Hogan celebrating with Elizabeth. This was an interesting storyline going on as the Mega Powers were dealing with the Towers while Savage also had lingering issues with Bad News Brown, and now with these internal issues going on it was going to be an interesting couple of weeks as we drive towards the first PPV of the year with the Royal Rumble.
Since the last SNME back in November, the issues between the Powers and the Towers continued on as they would mainly cut promos on each other and Hogan would continue his house show feud with Bossman. Savage would defend the title against various opponents over the next month on the house shows and it was announced on TV that Hogan would face Akeem here, and the two teams would continue to cut promos on each other as the Towers vowed to finish what they started at the last SNME with Hogan. This has been a well put-together feud thus far as the Towers have provided a good challenge to the Powers while the tension between the Powers seemed to be growing by the day.
The Towers cut a solid promo before the match and then we get a promo from Hogan as he brings in Savage who vows to watch his back and he even brings Okerlund with him to a room to watch the match. Akeem was red hot as a heel as he comes out with both Slick and Bossman while Hogan gets the big pop from the crowd as he comes out with just Elizabeth, and we cut backstage where Savage is watching on a monitor with Okerlund and a key note is the look Savage gives when he sees Hogan hold the ropes for Elizabeth. Akeem wastes no time and charges at Hogan to start the match only for Hogan to send him into the corner, and he grabs Slick off the apron and picks him up before tossing him onto Akeem and he covers both of them for a two count. Hogan pounds on Akeem and stuffs his bandanna in his mouth before knocking him down as he goes outside and pounds on Bossman, and Slick tries to nail Hogan from behind only for Hogan to pick him up and toss him onto Bossman before returning to the ring. He pounds on Akeem and attempts a slam only for Akeem to block it as he pounds on him and does his dance, and he continues to pound on Hogan and whips him into the corner only to miss a charge. He rams Akeem into the buckles repeatedly and pounds on him before hitting a clothesline as Bossman gets on the apron, and Hogan knocks him to the floor and hits a second clothesline on Akeem before pounding on him and he works on the arm. Akeem yanks Hogan to the mat twice by his hair and works on his arm as Hogan fights to his feet and pounds on Akeem, and he knocks Akeem back and then he hits a high elbow that knocks Akeem down. He continues to pound on Akeem as Bossman gets on the apron and Hogan whips Akeem into Bossman which knocks him to the floor, and he continues to pound on Akeem and knock him down as Akeem begs off and Hogan mocks him before grabbing at his beard. He pounds on Akeem in the corner as Akeem is laid out on the top rope and Bossman gets on the apron again which distracts the ref, and Hogan whips Akeem into the other corner and Akeem pulls the ref in the way when Hogan charges at him. Bossman gets in the ring and nails Hogan repeatedly with the nightstick before Akeem picks Hogan up and holds him from behind, and Bossman continues to nail Hogan with the nightstick as we see Savage watching backstage and he assures Okerlund that Hogan is ok. The Towers use the nightstick to hit a double clothesline on Hogan and then they hit a trio of big splashes on Hogan as Elizabeth runs to the back, and Akeem hits another big splash on Hogan and we see Elizabeth running down the hall yelling for Savage as we go to a commercial break.
We come back from commercial where Bossman revives the ref as Akeem goes up to the middle rope and we go backstage again as Savage continues to say he has confidence Hogan will recover, and Elizabeth comes in and begs Savage to come out and help though Savage says that Hogan will be ok. Elizabeth runs out and Savage yells at Hogan to get back in it as Hogan avoids the big splash from Akeem, and Akeem recovers first and pounds on Hogan in the corner as Elizabeth comes back down to ringside and Hogan starts to hulk up while no-selling Akeem’s shots. Hogan pounds on Akeem and hits a clothesline to knock him down as Bossman and Slick get on the apron only for Hogan to knock them back to the floor, and Hogan knocks Akeem down again as we cut backstage where Savage says that he told Okerlund he had confidence in Hogan. Hogan goes outside and pounds on Bossman before ramming him into the apron and he hits an atomic drop on Slick which sends him into Bossman, and Hogan returns to the ring and hits the big boot on Akeem before hitting a big slam. Hogan looks for the legdrop only for Bossman to nail him from the outside with the nightstick which draws the DQ and Hogan wins the match. After the match, Bossman gets in the ring and chokes Hogan with the nightstick as Elizabeth gets on the apron and looks to the back hoping Savage will come out and help, and Akeem throws the ref out of the ring and holds Hogan as Bossman nails him with the nightstick and Elizabeth gets in the ring as well. The Towers then corner Elizabeth as Bossman pulls out his handcuffs and he cuffs Elizabeth before pulling her towards Hogan, but then Savage runs down to the ring with a chair and clears the Towers from the ring as they head to the back. Elizabeth checks on Hogan repeatedly and Savage doesn’t appear to like it as he pulls Elizabeth away and yells at her, and they head to the back with Savage shouting for Elizabeth and Jesse believes that he smells a rat within the Mega Powers. We then get a promo from the Towers as they are proud of what they did and they even hint at dissension within the Powers, and then we get a promo from the Powers as they squash any hints of dissension and claim they are a united force.
The match itself was decent as both men worked hard and put on a pretty solid match for TV at this time. It was clear that this was more about the storyline between the Powers and the Towers as opposed to the match itself, but they still put on a decent match though it wasn’t quite up to the Hogan/Bossman match at MSG back in November. Hogan and Akeem did have some good chemistry though the match was in essence a handicap match as Bossman and Slick kept getting involved constantly throughout the match. You could also tell they were continuing to tease some dissension in the Powers by having Savage stay backstage even when Hogan was in trouble, but then only coming out to help once Elizabeth was in trouble. This is further stated when Savage clearly looks annoyed when Elizabeth spends more time checking on Hogan and this is where Jesse would start pushing the supposed tension as he first mentions that he smells a rat. It would be interesting going forward because it would appear that the Towers would become an afterthought in this feud and the focus would be solely on the Powers, but we will see how that plays out over the next few months heading into Wrestlemania. The crowd was red hot for the whole match and did pop for Hogan when he won before popping for when Savage made the save. Hogan gets the win over Akeem by DQ, but this issue is not over yet.
Final Grade: **