“THE MAIN EVENT” (2/5/88)

THREE GUYS AND… RETRO WRESTLING

series created by Marvin Mercer and Nick Stephenson

“THE MAIN EVENT”

written by Dominick Cappello

***

– WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Andre the Giant (w/ The Million Dollar Man & Virgil)

– WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Strike Force (c) vs. The Hart Foundation (w/ Jimmy Hart)

– Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Honky Tonk Man (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth)

***

POSITIVE:

The most watched wrestling program in American television history. How about them apples? Jesse “The Body” Ventura flew in Hollywood for The Main Event. The fans were pumped. Hulk Hogan and his 24-ich pythons were pumped. The Honky Tonk Man vowed to take Miss Elizabeth down to the Heart Break Hotel. You’d think he would have learned his lesson being that the last time he faced “Macho Man” Randy Savage he had barely escaped by the skin of his teeth.

Speaking of The Macho Man, he was back in the danger zone… DANGER ZONE! Just like the last time, The Macho Man outclassed and out-wrestled The Honky Tonk Man, the self proclaimed greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. On commentary, Jesse Ventura was picking on Miss Elizabeth all throughout the match. He was way too hard on her. The Macho Man was victorious. Unfortunately, it was by count-out and titles cannot change hands by count-out or disqualification. It has to be a pin-fall or a submission. So, The Honky Tonk Man retained. A hollow victory for Randy Savage. Instead of a guitar, this time The Macho Man was struck by Jimmy Hart’s megaphone. He then destroyed the guitar. The Macho Man hoisted Miss Elizabeth up onto his shoulder. A hint at what we would see at WrestleMania IV.

The greatest rematch in WWF history. Andre the Giant challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship. Jesse Ventura was still claiming that The Giant won the title at WrestleMania III. Yes, I saw referee Joe Marella count three, but I also saw Hulk Hogan lift his right shoulder off the canvas. The stakes were high because if Hulk Hogan were to be defeated, then Andre the Giant would surrender the WWF Championship to “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.

Hulkamania was running wild. He was seemingly outnumbered three against one, but he had all of his Hulkamaniacs in his corner. It was pandemonium. The crowd went wild before the match even started. Hulk Hogan began with a flurry of offense, cleaning house, having to contend with The Giant, The Million Dollar Man, and Virgil. Jesse Ventura was such a hypocrite. It was alright for Andre the Giant to bend the rules, but not for The Hulkster. Hulk Hogan hit his big atomic leg-drop, but referee Dave Hebner was distracted by Virgil. The Giant capitalized, attacking Hulk Hogan from behind. He then pinned The Hulkster and the referee counted three even though only one shoulder was down. Andre the Giant! The Eight Wonder of the World! The new WWF Champion!?

“Mean” Gene Okerlund was on hand for a post match interview with The Giant, who did as he promised and immediately surrendered the title to The Million Dollar Man. So, we have another new WWF Champion? The plot thickened as Hulk Hogan caught Dave Hebner with his twin brother Earl. Two Hebners for the price of one? It was a conspiracy. It was Earl Hebner and not Dave who officiated the match. Earl was is cahoots with The Million Dollar Man. Everyone has a price for The Million Dollar Man. We should have known that Earl Hebner was a sneaky little money-grubber. Earl tried to escape, but Hulk Hogan military pressed him out of the ring. So, who’s the WWF Champion? Is it Andre the Giant or The Million Dollar Man? Stay tuned to find out. All we know is that it’s not Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster’s over four year long title reign had come to end. He had tears in his eyes. I’d never seen Hulk Hogan so distraught.

What about the Tag Team Championship Match? Well, it was over in a flash. Strike Force defeated The Hart Foundation. Vince McMahon said farewell, so it looked like we wouldn’t see the conclusion of this match, but Rick Martel pinned Bret “Hit Man” Hart after countering a sunset-flip just before the show went off the air. This match was short-changed due to time constraints. Other than that, it was solid show, with an historic title change, and momentum was being built for WrestleMania IV.

– Dr. Jelly

NEGATIVE:

The moment I’ve been waiting for! The demise of Hulkamania! Me and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are on the same page. Enough is enough when it comes to Hulk Hogan. But, first there was an Intercontinental Championship Match, a rematch from the previous Saturday Night’s Main Event, The Honky Tonk Man vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage. The Honky Tonk Man was disqualified in the last match and counted out in this match, so he continued to be the weakest booked champion in history. Never winning, but somehow always keeping his title. I don’t think he’s actually pinned anybody since he won the title from Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat the year prior.

The polar opposite of The Honky Tonk Man is none other than Hulk Hogan. The man who lives to grandstand. The strongest booked champion in history. How does his historic title reign come to end? A conspiracy worthy of an Oliver Stone film. We already knew from the 1988 Royal Rumble that Andre the Giant was attempting to win the championship on behalf of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. In addition, The Million Dollar Man has paid for an unknown individual to undergo plastic surgery so that he could impersonate referee Dave Hebner and call the match in favor of Andre the Giant. WHAT!?

The man impersonating Dave Hebner was of course his twin brother Earl. Montreal screw-job Earl Hebner. Why the elaborate story about plastic surgery? Why not just say that they are twin brothers and that Earl is the evil twin who took The Million Dollar Man’s money? Either way, who cares, Hulk Hogan has been defeated and the decision stands. I’m shocked that WWF President Jack Tunney didn’t reverse the decision immediately and return the championship to Hulk Hogan.

I had no interest in the rest of the show. I saw what I wanted to see. Hulk Hogan losing. This was the greatest of all the WWF shows that Dr. Jelly has forced me to watch because the Tag Team Championship match was over in a minute. It was glorious. 49 minutes overall! 49 short minutes! Thank you!

– Dr. Frisbee

INDIFFERENT:

Even though these matches took place almost thirty years ago, I was genuinely pumped up for this show. “Saturday Night’s Main Event” was now airing on Friday nights and simply known as “The Main Event”. It was a little odd to watch a Hulk Hogan training montage set to the future entrance music of Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

For the Intercontinental Championship Match, The Honky Tonk Man was joined by Peggy Sue, who was actually Sensational Sherri. The Honky Tonk Man continued to try to entice Miss Elizabeth with his garish dance moves. Wouldn’t that serve to make Peggy Sue jealous? The Honky Tonk Man lost to “Macho Man” Randy Savage via count-out, meaning that he losses the match, bot not the title. According to shoot interviews, The Honky Tonk Man refused to lose the Intercontinental Championship to The Macho Man, so Vince McMahon decided to book The Macho Man to win the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IV, which allegedly cheated “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase out of a WWF Championship reign. Instead of The Million Dollar Man keeping the title until WrestleMania IV and losing it back to Hulk Hogan, the title was declared vacant and a 14 man single elimination tournament was held at the pay-per-view.

What was up with actual WWF Heavyweight Championship belt? During Hulk Hogan’s first title reign, which lasted over four years, he wore four different versions of the belt. He defeated The Iron Sheik in 1984 for a belt with a green strap and side plates naming all the previous title holders. In 1985, he had a smaller silver championship, which was nice, but looked like a design more suited for a mid-card championship. In 1986, he had an oval shaped silver and gold championship with flags on the side plates representing all the countries where the belt had been defended. This was a good belt, but it was overshadowed by the belt that replaced it… the classic winged eagle WWF Championship. The belt that Andre the Giant is carrying in the picture below. This edition of The Main Event has an infamous continuity error. Hulk Hogan is being interviewed by “Mean” Gene Okerlund while wearing the oval shaped silver and gold belt, then he makes his entrance wearing the winged eagle belt. I guess it doesn’t matter, but why not wait for the WrestleMania IV title tournament to debut the new winged eagle belt? The Million Dollar man could have then be petty and kept the old silver and gold belt, turning it into the Million Dollar Championship.

Earl Hebner switched places with Dave Hebner and screwed Hulk Hogan out of the WWF Championship. Earl Hebner screwing someone out of the WWF Championship. Boy, does that sound familiar. This was Andre the Giant’s only WWF Championship victory. He only had the belt a minute or so before surrendering it. The Million Dollar Man was never officially recognized as WWF Champion. Hulk Hogan lost, but he wasn’t really beaten. Not until The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI would a superstar score a legit victory over Hulk Hogan.

– Dr. Rochester

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Author: Dominick

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