Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice (w/ Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake) vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and the Undertaker (w/ Mr. Perfect and Paul Bearer)
Back in 1991, the final edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC for 15 years aired and it seemed like this staple of TV was going to fall by the wayside, but it was announced that the show would return and be aired on FOX instead. It was a pretty big move for the fledging network to put SNME on and it would also serve well for the WWF to have a big show between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania VIII. One of the big matches for the card was this unique tag match that came out of the Rumble, and with the WM main event seemingly set between Hogan and Flair, it was going to be interesting to see what would happen in this tag match especially after seeing Justice’s actions the last few weeks.
On the 1/25 Superstars, it was announced that President Jack Tunney would hold a special press conference the next week to determine the Number One Contender for the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania VIII. He also announced the five men who were considered for the title shot which were Hogan, Justice, Taker, Randy Savage, and Roddy Piper as all five men cut promos to show why they should earn the shot. On the 2/1 Superstars, we saw footage from the press conference where Tunney officially announced that Hogan would face Flair for the title at WM, and after the announcement Justice was visibly upset and he cut a promo saying that he would’ve beaten Flair and also blamed Hogan for costing him the Rumble. That same day, it was announced that Hogan and Justice would team up to face Flair and Taker at SNME, and earlier in the day Justice apologized for his comments and Flair would also cut a promo on this match and WM. The build for this match was pretty solid as it was going to be interesting to see if Hogan and Justice would cooperate or if they would ultimately fall apart in the end.
We got a good video package before the match highlighting the Rumble and the press conference, and Hogan and Justice cut a good promo as Hogan promised a surprise for the match and Justice walked away from him. Hogan and Justice get a good pop from the crowd as Hogan brought out Beefcake to be in their corner, and Flair and Taker were pretty hot as heels. Justice starts off the match with Flair who stalls in the corner and they lock up with Flair raking the eyes, but Justice reverses a whip into the corner and hits a backdrop on Flair before hitting a hiptoss as Flair rolls outside to regroup. He rolls back into the ring as Hogan tags in and he kicks at Flair before raking the eyes and he whips Flair into the corner, and he hits a backdrop of his own on Flair and then he hits a hiptoss as Taker comes in and Hogan hits a hiptoss on him. He pounds on Taker and rams him into Justice’s knee as he tags him in and he grabs at Taker before ramming the knee into him, but Taker gets a shot in only for Justice to block a slam attempt and he hits one of his own before ramming him into Hogan’s knee. Hogan tags in and he pounds on Taker before hitting a slam of his own as Flair comes in and Hogan hits a slam on him, and he hits a pair of clotheslines as both men and Taker rolls outside as Hogan knocks Flair to the outside. They regroup as Taker returns to the ring and Hogan hooks a headlock before tagging Justice who kicks at Taker, but Taker catches him ducking with a shot as Flair comes in and they hit a double clothesline on Justice for a two count. Flair and Taker hit a double atomic drop on Justice for a two count as Taker pounds on Justice and Flair comes back in, and they attempt a double team only for Hogan to come in and rake Flair’s eyes as he pounds on him and Justice pounds on Taker. Hogan and Justice hit a double big boot on Flair and then they clothesline Taker over the top to the floor, and Flair rolls outside as well and they regroup as we go to commercial. Back from the break, Taker rolls back into the ring and pounds on Justice before ramming him into the buckle as Flair tags in, and he kicks at Justice and pounds on him as Taker chokes him from the apron and he hotshots him on the top rope. Taker tags in and he goes up top as Flair holds Justice from behind and Taker nails him before continuing to pound on him, and Flair comes in and they attempt a double team only for Justice to ram their heads together and Flair flops to the mat. Hogan tags in and pounds on Flair while Justice holds him from behind and Bearer gets on the apron only for Hogan to nail him, and Perfect gets on the apron as Hogan scares him back to the floor and Perfect grabs his leg as Flair nails Hogan from behind. Flair kicks at Hogan’s knee and slams down on it before hooking the Figure-4 on as Justice turns his back to the ring and fixes his kneepads, and Perfect provides leverage from the outside only for Hogan to turn the hold around on Flair who releases the hold. Taker tags in and stomps on Hogan before pounding on him and he hits the flying clothesline as Flair tags in, and he pounds on Hogan and goes up top only for Hogan to grab him and toss him to the mat. Hogan crawls for the tag as Taker tags in and pulls Hogan back before pounding on him and he chokes him in the corner, and Flair chokes Hogan from the apron and tags in as he pounds on him in the corner only for Hogan to no-sell his shots and he fires up. Flair begs off and Hogan grabs at him only for Taker to come in and hit a headbutt to the back of Hogan’s head, and they whip Hogan into the other corner only for Hogan to hit a double clothesline and he crawls for the tag again. Justice makes like he will tag in only to drop to the floor and he heads to the back, and Beefcake confronts him and Justice threatens him before heading to the back as Flair and Taker pound on Hogan in the corner. They continue to pound on Hogan and stomp on him as Flair tosses the ref to the mat which draws the DQ and Hogan and Justice win the match. After the match, Taker chokes Hogan on the mat and Flair stomps on him as Beefcake gets in the ring and challenges both men, and Hogan gets to his feet as Beefcake avoids both men and Hogan hits a clothesline on Flair before knocking Taker down. He pounds on both men and ram Flair into Taker who gets knocked over the top to the floor and Flair flops to the mat, and Hogan whips Flair inside out in the corner with Flair landing on the apron and Hogan clotheslines him to the floor as they head to the back and Hogan stands tall with Beefcake.
The match itself was pretty good as both teams worked hard and put on a solid tag match. This was a good tag match to have on this show coming out of the Rumble and going into Wrestlemania, and for being the first SNME on FOX this was a good match to feature and get people hooked in. These four men still had really good chemistry and it was good to see Taker still involved in the main event scene though he was clearly the fourth man in this match and was pretty much there to be a partner to Flair. Even though it seemed like this was just the final stepping stone to Hogan/Flair at WM, it was clear that something unusual was up given how they had Justice leave Hogan high and dry after being lackadaisical for most of the match. Now, you had to wonder if that was going to lead to a potential change or if they were just preparing Justice as a challenger for Hogan after WM. The crowd was into the match and popped for Hogan when he won. Hogan and Justice get the win over Flair and Taker by DQ and both teams move on as we continue to WM and the obvious Hogan/Flair match, or not.
Final Grade: ***