Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Saturday Night’s Main Event XXV – 1/27/90

*** 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! ***


Saturday Night’s Main Event XXV – 1/27/90

January 27, 1990
McKenzie Arena
Chattanooga, TN
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura

1) Randy Savage defeats Jim Duggan by collapsing on Duggan during a suplex when Sensational Sherri hooked Duggan’s leg at 9:14

Fun Fact: Following the crowning of the Macho King, Randy Savage and Jim Duggan battled throughout the fall on the house show circuit. This would be the final confrontation between the two as Duggan seeks to get his revenge.

Scott: Our first SNME of the 1990’s begins with a rematch for the crown. Back in September the Macho Man became the Macho King by beating Jim Duggan with the loaded purse. Four months later Hacksaw gets his rematch. Savage settled into this role nicely after being on the losing end of the Hogan feud. Savage was on top of his throne (carried by a bunch of jobbers) until Duggan flips him over onto the floor. Queen Sherri was getting into her hot cougar phase starting with this show as she leads her King to the ring. Savage begins his run of wearing long tights instead of his usual short trunks with words on the back. Savage also starts using colors more now, with his robes and tights changing with every show. It’s funny how Danny Davis has settled into being a referee again with no reference to his heel past. Duggan actually dominated the action but every time there was a pin attempt Sherri would distract the ref or put Savage’s foot on the ropes. Duggan chases Sherri around, even grabbing her skirt (which shows off some panties; not sure NBC was thrilled about that). Eventually Savage loads the purse and decks Duggan, but Hacksaw actually kicks out of it. I thought that perhaps the crown would change heads but when Duggan brings Savage over the ropes with a suplex, Sherri would grab the leg while Savage put his on the ropes and the Macho King keeps his throne. That was actually a fun match and maybe…just maybe…one of Duggan’s best WWF matches. Grade: **1/2

JT: We roll into the 1990s with a lot of excitement for potentially monstrous WrestleMania in Toronto’s SkyDome and with the Royal Rumble in our rear view mirror tonight’s show is the next major building block for our main event and perhaps flushing out the rest of the card as well. Our opener features a rematch from late 1989 when Randy Savage ripped the royalty right out of Jim Duggan’s hands to officially become King of the WWF. Duggan is looking for revenge here but as always has the odds against him due to the ever active Queen Sherri. Savage and Sherri really bought into the gimmick hard and did an awesome job executing it with their promos and mannerisms. They felt like true wrestling royalty and carried themselves as such. Duggan wasted no time getting started, knocking Savage off the sedan and clobbering him back into the ring. He missed a charge in the corner but shook it off before Savage shoved him to the mat and started choking away. Savage was still so damn quick in the ring, bouncing all over the place and laying in shots from all angles. Duggan came back with a clothesline and followed with a flurry of offense that was cut short due to a Sherri distraction. Savage smashed him with a pair of axe blows and went right to work, going for pin covers whenever he could. Duggan responded by sending Savage flying over the top and to the floor but Sherri again got involved to prevent a count out. Duggan met Macho with a clothesline on the floor and the crowd was rocking as the show went to break. When they returned, Duggan brought the fight to Macho, picking up steam but Sherri continued to get into the mix to prevent a loss. Savage couldn’t get in gear at all but Sherri did her best, even falling into near danger as Duggan dragged her into the ring. That bought Macho just enough to time to recover and drill Duggan with a knee to the back. Savage followed with another axe and then grabbed Sherri’s loaded purse and cracked him with it but this time Hacksaw kicked out. Duggan laid into Macho and hit the running clothesline but it knocked Savage to the floor. Hacksaw tried to suplex Savage back in but Sherri tripped him up and Savage collapsed on top, put his feet on the ropes and stole the win. That was pretty fun as Duggan had his working boots on and Savage was his usual pinball self, bouncing all over the ring. I also liked how Duggan was so focused and never let Savage breathe and it was Sherri that ran just enough interference to get Macho out with his crown. They are an awesome pair and seem unbeatable as a unit. I never appreciated how well they worked together until watching this all unfold more closely. Grade: **

2) Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior defeat Mr. Perfect & Genius when Hogan pinned Genius with the legdrop at 8:02

Fun Fact: Lots of puzzle pieces fitting together in this match. As you will recall from the last SNME, The Genius and Mr. Perfect stole Hulk Hogan’s belt and destroyed it backstage. Just a few days prior to the airing of this show, Hogan and Perfect were the last two participants in the Royal Rumble match, with Hogan making the elimination and winning. During the match, Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior had a faceoff that the crowd went crazy over. The two larger than life superstars would be teammates here before looking ahead to WrestleMania.

Scott: We now officially can say what the main event of WrestleMania VI is going to be. It’s just a question of what path do they take. Hogan wants a piece of Mr. Perfect after his belt was destroyed on the last episode of SNME. Hogan got some revenge when he tossed Perfect out last at the Royal Rumble, but of course that PPV is remembered for the face to face between the WWF Champion and the Intercontinental Champion. They tag here against Perfect and his manager, The Genius. The match is all Hogan and Warrior as their power and strength leads to both heels getting bounced around like ping pong balls, until the referee is distracted and Perfect smacks Hogan with the metal scroll. Watching this again, I never realized how effeminate the Genius gimmick was. The turning point is when Hogan eats the Perfectplex and instead of getting the three count, Perfect stops the referee and wants Genius to get the pin. Well we all know what that leads to. We get the obligatory face comeback and then Warrior cleans house. Hogan blind tags him and drops the leg for the three count. Pretty straightforward right? Well now the fun begins. Perfect takes Hogan outside, while Warrior battles the Genius. Perfect comes back in and Warrior starts clotheslining the heels, but then Hogan comes back in the ring. Warrior, blindly thinking he’s being attacked again, clotheslines Hogan without really seeing him. Hogan is steamed and both men go face to face. Jesse predicted it but Vince says it was clearly an accident. The match was solid, but time to ask the question: Toronto, anyone? Grade: **

JT: Our next match exists to tie multiple storylines into one bout, resolving one issue and igniting another. Hulk Hogan capped off his running feud with Mr. Perfect by chucking him out of the ring to win the Royal Rumble. During that same match, he also had a red hot encounter with Ultimate Warrior that nearly blew the roof off the O-Rena. The writing was on the wall for Mania but before we get there we see the two top champions team up as a dream team in an attempt to plunge one last dagger through Mr. Perfect world title aspirations. Perfect has the Genius with him as always but they are really just a back drop for the potential tension across the ring. From the jump Jesse Ventura predicted there would be issues with Hogan and Warrior due to their massive egos and we will see if that plays out. Hogan opened the match up hot, slamming Perfect and Genius over and over until they bailed and regrouped. Warrior met them there and smacked them around and then restarted the match in the ring by smashing both guys and knocking them both to the floor yet again. That was an incredibly hot start featuring two great pinball sellers doing their thing. Things settled down as Perfect landed a couple shots but Hogan sent him flying back outside with a big elbow and then the Hulkster slung him hard into the guardrail. As Hogan kept the offense going, Genius grabbed his scroll and started jotting down notes in the corner. Things spilled back outside where Genius’ plan unfolded as he handed Perfect his scroll, allowing him to smash Hogan with that and a chair. Back inside, Perfect and Genius tagged in and out and picked apart Hogan, wearing him down slowly but surely. Perfect took Hogan over with the Perfectplex but before the referee counted three, Perfect reached up and blocked him before releasing the hold. He tagged in Genius but that immediately backfired as Hogan fired up, fought both off and tagged in Warrior. Warrior kicked the shit out of both men, dropped Genius with a press slam knocked Perfect to the floor and allowed Hogan to come in and drop the leg for the win. Jesse pointed out Perfect and Genius’ epic mistake and it is hard to argue with it as they had the Hulkster beat for sure. Perfect and Genius weren’t done as they came in and attacked Warrior. During the scrum, Hogan came in to protect Warrior, but Warrior blindly swung and wiped Hogan out. Warrior tried to check on Hogan but that led to a shoving match and face-to-face showdown that ended the segment. Mission accomplished. The match was a lot of fun with tons of pinball selling and great crowd heat and anticipation. Perfect had a strong little run at top but will now slide back into the mid card for a bit. The closing segment was great and really sets the stage for our soon to be WrestleMania main event. Grade: **1/2

3) Jake Roberts defeats Greg Valentine by disqualification at 5:16

Fun Fact: On the 1/20 episode of Superstars, Jake Roberts came out to the ring following a Ted DiBiase match, attacked DiBiase and Virgil, stole the Million Dollar belt and put it into the snake bag.

Scott: In the lead up to this show, Jake Roberts swiped Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Belt. Now it’s wrapped safely within Damien in the bag. Valentine is tasked with trying to get the belt back for DiBiase. Valentine is coming off his loss to Ronnie Garvin in that great match at the Royal Rumble and now he begins his quiet slide down the roster, clearly past his prime with the other young heel lions on the roster. The match is straightforward and ends when Jake hits the DDT, but before getting the pin, in comes DiBiase and Virgil to attack the Snake and get the DQ. Both try to go after the bag with the title belt but once Damien is unleashed both heels run for the hills. This feud is far from over and will also lead us right into SkyDome. Not much more to say here. Grade: *

JT: Jake Roberts’ issue with Ted DiBiase was still smoldering after having lit up way back at WrestleMania V and he recently captured Ted DiBiase’s most prized possession: his Million Dollar Title. He shows it off gleefully before his bout here with the always tough Greg Valentine. The Hammer struck first with a pair of arm drags but as he started to work the arm Jake wriggled free and teased an early DDT that sent the Hammer out to the floor in retreat. Valentine came back in focused, whipped Roberts hard into the corner twice and then dropping a hammer blow for a two count. Jesse got all over Valentine for his lax cover as the Hammer peppered the Snake with stiff right hands. Hammer worked the back for a moment until Roberts made a quick comeback that rattled the grizzled veteran with a pair of clotheslines. Roberts loaded Hammer up for the DDT but took too long and Valentine was able to counter. Hammer then dodged a running knee but would collide with Jimmy Hart and then walk into a DDT. Before Roberts could cover, Ted DiBiase and Vigil hit the ring and drew the DQ. As DiBiase punished Jake’s back, Virgil reluctantly went after the belt in the bag. His hesitance cost him as Jake clubbed them both and unleashed Damien to chase them to the back. The feud rolls on. The match was fine and Jake’s selling of the lower back was really good but it was too short to amount to anything special. Grade: *

4) Dusty Rhodes wrestles Rick Rude to a double count out at 9:04

Scott: This match for me means only one thing: Hearing Jesse trash Sapphire literally every 30 seconds. He tells Rude during the pre-match interview “I wouldn’t touch her on a bet…” I’m also realizing Jesse will only be on for a few more shows and I’m becoming very melancholy. Rude is getting decimated by the Dream, while Bobby is getting in Sapphire’s face and reading her the riot act. Eventually the referee throws both of them out, but Sapphire returns with a ticket and she’s sitting at ringside. The match starts to level out and both men go at each other. Wait, how is there still a ringside seat for this sold out show? Hmmm, maybe Jesse was right about Jack Tunney’s corruption. Rude goes outside to grab Sapphire and Rhodes follows and they brawl on the on the floor. Jesse is making me laugh out loud when he says things like “Stop showing her on camera”. The match ends in a double countout and Rude leaves while Dusty and Sapphire dance in the ring, as Jesse is disgusted. That match was fun too, even with way too much Sapphire on camera. Grade: **

JT: After a really jam packed 1988 and 1989, Rick Rude finds himself aimless for the first time in his WWF run. Here he takes on the American Dream, who has entered into a heated issue with Randy Savage that was amped up a few notches at the Royal Rumble. Rhodes officially has Sapphire with him as a full time manager now, but we last saw her on SNME as aa boisterous fan in the crowd. Vince lands what may be the best line of the night when he wonders if Rude will be distracted by Sapphire because she is “beautiful in her own way”. Jesse quickly topped that by saying Rhodes and Sapphire were “tons of fun” and the barbs didn’t end there. Rude jumped Dusty to start but the Dream used his power to fire back, followed by a sharp elbow to the lower back. Rhodes chucked Rude to the floor where he drilled him into the edge of the ring, keeping the focus on the lumbar. Rude tried to come back with a slam but his back crippled that attempt and left Dusty still in charge until the Dream came up empty on an elbow drop. Rude was moving gingerly but was able to cinch on a rear chinlock that was quickly broken up by Dusty. On the outside, Bobby Heenan got in Sapphire’s grill, pointing and screaming at her, which drew the Dream out and allowed Rude to clobber him from behind. The referee would throw Heenan out of ringside causing Jesse to lose his mind. Sapphire was tossed too so things stayed even. After a break, Rude was in control but that lower back was still causing him some serious pain. As Rude worked the arm, Sapphire reemerged at ringside, somehow being able to purchase a front row seat halfway through the show. Rude made a mistake coming off the top rope and Rhodes caught him with a right hand before attempting a figure four that was broken up by an eye rake. They would go back and forth from there until they spilled to the floor and battled to a double count out. This match was pretty feisty and fun and featured a lot more chemistry and flow than I expected. Even the manager stuff at ringside was pretty well done. Too bad they didn’t have and extended series because their was a natural storyline in there to mine. Grade: **

5) Dino Bravo defeats Ron Garvin by reversing a high cross body at 3:19

Fun Fact: Flashback less than one year, Dino Bravo and Ron Garvin battled each other at WrestleMania V. Following this event, Frenchy Martin left the WWF in his role as a manager. He would not appear in a WWF ring again until 1990 where he would return as an enhancement talent. Following Martin’s departure from the company, Dino Bravo would join the Hart Family.

Scott: This match has squash written all over it, simply because of who seconds Dino Bravo to the ring. The massive Canadian Earthquake, who has main event heel written all over him. Even two years later Vince and Jesse still talk about Bravo’s tainted bench press record. Bravo dominates early with elbows and power moves, but eventually Hands of Stone recovers with punches and chops. Garvin always had that NWA/territory feel to his matches. Garvin goes to the top rope for a high cross body, but Bravo’s momentum rolls him over and he gets the three count. Garvin attacks Bravo but that leads to the inevitable attack by Earthquake, two squashes and Garvin is done. Thus begins the reign of terror that the massive Earthquake goes on for the next eight months. Grade: 1/2*

JT: Our final match of the night features a WrestleMania V rematch but this time around Dino Bravo is running with a different crowd. Gone is the useless Frenchy Martin and is his place is Jimmy Hart and Hart’s new prized heel, Earthquake. Ronnie Garvin is in his final months with the company here but still as rugged and hard hitting as ever. He and Bravo trade big right hands for a bit until Bravo throws Garvin to the floor where Quake met him and ran him hard into the edge of the ring. Garvin was pitched back inside and Bravo went right to work with elbows and stomps. Garvin would dodge more elbow drop attempts and start pouring in chops and fists before pulling Hart into the ring and then chucking him out into Quake. He then slugged down Bravo and clobbered him with the Garvin Stomp but a Quake distraction allowed Bravo to shove him to the floor. Garvin headed up top and came off with a cross body but Bravo rolled through for the win after Quake tipped him off to Garvin’s plan. Quake jumped Garvin after the bell and squashed the piss out of him, signifying what was to come throughout 1990. Nothing match but this was all about Earthquake’s reign of terror. Grade: 1/2*

*** Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage deliver promos for the big WWF Heavyweight Title match on the February 23 Main Event. It is announced that Iron Mike Tyson will be the special enforcer referee for the bout. ***

Final Analysis

Scott:The first SNME of the decade is a solid one with big storyline advancement as WrestleMania season is in full swing. It’s no doubt that Hogan/Warrior is being primed for the main event in Toronto, and that build will continue. The other feud the WWF focused on was Jake Roberts vs. Ted DiBiase, as the Million Dollar Man did not get his belt back. We also saw the Canadian Earthquake make his presence felt, a superstar that will dominate for the first 3/4 of the year. It’s sad to see WWF stalwarts like Greg Valentine considered afterthoughts but the roster at this point has fresher talent filling it up. We have a prime time Main Event before we reach Toronto April 1, which includes (at this moment anyway) a major celebrity as part of the main event. Final Grade: B

JT: We start off 1990 with a pretty solid installment of SNME. There is no stand out classic match, but the show met its goal of setting up major WrestleMania angles and progressing the directions of various characters. The opener and Rhodes vs. Rude were surprisingly more fun than they looked on paper and the anchor tag was a big time match with huge fallout for WrestleMania. We also get lots of late hype for The Main Event, which made sense in the case considering the stakes and involvement of Mike Tyson. One of the few issues here, and it really started in mid 1989, is the proliferation of wonky finishes as they attempt to protect everyone. We get lots of interference, distractions, count outs and DQs all over the roster. Eventually clean finishes are needed and hopefully this is a brief blip and not a long trend, but we will track it as we move through 1990. Final Grade: B-