Saturday Night’s Main Event is expected to land on the WWE Network today. With 36 shows and over 3000 minutes of matches where do you even start? You would start with the ten best SNME matches as determined by a blogger who has seen them all!
WWE championship: Hulk Hogan vs. Terry Funk (SNME #4) – This match rarely gets the love it so rightly deserves. Terry Funk was on his game here and believe it or not he and Hogan had tremendous chemistry. In another shocker it is Vince McMahon’s commentary that really puts this one over as he is disgusted with Funk. Funk chokes Hogan at one point with his wrist tape (something I am surprised more heels don’t do) and Vince loses it. As usual with a Terry Funk match you may find yourself laughing at some points at his shtick. I liked this one a lot and while not as technically sound as others on this list, it is hard to find a match as entertaining as Hogan and Funk.
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase (SNME #15) – Bret was starting to break out here as he was on the upswing while DiBiase was on his way down. DiBiase is now managed by Sensational Sherri. These two had tremendous chemistry here and it was obvious immediately that they enjoyed working with each other. This was a real solid match, psychologically as sound as you will find for the time period. Roddy Piper gets into the mix as Bret’s advocate and the match winds up going to a double-count out with everyone fighting on the floor.
WWE Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs – 2/3 Falls (SNME #11) – I remember watching these matches at the time as a kid convinced they were real. These two teams fought so hard and stiff that even after 20/20 I was still questioning whether it was dare I say fake or not. These two teams are the epitome of this as you had four guys that brought their own styles to the WWE as opposed to today where you have guys adjusting to the style of the WWE. Jesse predicts a classic and he is right. The Rock and Roll Express vs. Midnight Express is generally regarded as the greatest tag team series of the 1980s but I’d put this match right up there with them. The Bulldogs take this one in two straight falls to win the WWE tag team titles. I’d highly recommend checking this match out as one of the first SNME bouts on the WWE Network.
WWE championship: Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff Steel Cage Match (SNME #9) – You will see why this is regarded as one of the best steel cage matches in WWE history. It may not be as brutal as some of the classics from the 70s and early 80s, but it is a lot of fun. Both guys work hard throughout the match to reach the floor only for both to touch the ground at the same time. Hogan wins the match after a restart. The crowd ate this one up from start to finish. There is a reason these two sold out arenas around North America and you’ll see exactly why in this match.
WWE IC Championship: Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts (SNME #8) – What a fantastic match! This was probably my favorite all-time SNME match. I will tell you what. The more I watch these matches the more I am reminded about how awesome Savage was in his prime. He was truly a pioneer. This was a unique match as both guys were technically heels at the time yet Jake was slowly turning. Vince even remarks how the fans are behind Jake towards the end of the match. What I really liked about this is that Jake wrestled like a heel even though he was clearly positioned as the babyface. This match took place well before their famous feud several years later. The match had the sound psychology here as you would expect. Savage was great here as the heel champion coming close to getting pinned on several occasions. Jake goes for the DDT constantly only to have Savage weasel out of it. Both guys are disqualified as you’d expect in a match with two heels. If you want to see an old-school match telling a great story then go out of your way to watch this one on the Network.
The Brain Busters vs. The Rockers – 2/3 Falls (SNME #24) – It’s a shame that these two teams didn’t wrestle more because this rivalry had the potential to be one of the best ever between tag teams. The Brain Busters and Bobby Heenan have a heated talk before the match, teasing dissection. Vince and Jesse tease that the Busters seem out of sync. Jannetty scores the first pin on Tully with a sunset flip over the top rope only after a few minutes of action. Heenan yells at the Busters after they lose the fall. He pushes Tully and is then backed out of the ring by the Busters. The Rockers take advantage of this and go quickly into the second fall. Heenan walks out on the Busters. The Brain Busters take the second fall with a real weak finish as Arn clotheslines Michaels across the top rope for the pin. The third fall is the best of the three as the action really picks up. Jannetty blocks a piledriver attempt by Anderson and Michaels hits the flying bodypress off of the top rope for the pin. This was great but I think the drama with Heenan and the Busters actually hurt this one as it took the emphasis away from the action.
WWE championship: Hulk Hogan vs. Big Boss Man Steel Cage Match (SNME #21) – This was an interesting match as it was the end of the feud and more or less a promotion for Hogan’s movie. Nonetheless it is a great match as Bossman and Hogan really gelled in the ring during this time. The match is contested In an unbelievable moment Hogan catches Bossman after he has climbed over the top and is a few feet from the floor, pulls him back up and suplexes him off of the top of the cage! Hogan winds up ramming Bossman into the cage three times and dropping a leg for the pin in a fun cage match from SNME.
WWE IC Championship: Mr. Perfect vs. Tito Santana (SNME #27) – Many regard this match as the greatest match in Saturday Night’s Main Event history. I don’t know if I’d go that far but it is certainly top 10, maybe even top 5. I have always regarded Santana as one of the most underrated workers of the 80s/early 90s. Put Tito in there with another workhorse like Mr. Perfect and you have magic. These two extract the best from one another, starting out at an incredibly fast pace. At what point McMahon notes that this match can’t keep up for much longer in regards to the pace. Hennig slows it down after a few minutes. The crowd goes crazy for Tito’s comebacks which really add to the intensity. Hennig is his usual bump machine throughout the match. Bobby Heenan’s facial reactions are also priceless. Hennig wins surprisingly with a clean cradle in a thriller.
Randy Savage vs. Bret Hart (SNME #13) – I would dare say that this was probably Bret Hart’s first major singles match on WWE television. This match lived up to all expectations. The pace was solid, much faster than most WWE matches at the time. One odd spot in the match saw Bret get a 2-count on a piledriver, odd since the piledriver was an established finisher at the time. Savage was extremely generous here as the ascending star as he gave Bret about 50/50. Savage was an animal taking bumps all over the place including a backdrop to the floor. The only thing preventing this match from going down as an all-time classic was the short time they were given. Savage catches him out of nowhere with a small package for the win and the crowd goes ballistic. Ten more minutes and this match had potential to be a classic.
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