1/21/89 NWA Saturday Night
Was this one a tough one to put together or what?! The 1989 Saturday Night set that I own does not include the January 21st edition. After learning about the events of Saturday Night in 1989, I knew that I couldn’t just simply skip this episode as it is arguably the most important of the entire year. So I set out in finding at least the main event from the show. After some creative googling, I was able to scour the many reaches of internet video hosting sites and find the show on Myspace video, of all places. I will give the quick and dirty results for those of you who are wishing to be completists and follow the exploits of my main man Randy Hogan through the whole year.
Michael Hayes over Russian Assassin #2 in 6:34
Butch Reed (W/ JJ Dillon) over George South in 2:16
Mike Rotunda and Kevin Sullivan over Randy Hogan in Gene Miller in 4:09
What I could find begins with Ross and Schiavonne going over the night, including Michael Hayes taking on one of Paul Jones’ Russian Assassins, the debut of Butch Reed with JJ Dillon and the big tag team match between the Horsemen and Gilbert and his partner.
They are quickly joined by Eddie Gilbert to hype up the tag match later in the hour. Gilbert is only on for about 30 seconds, but does a fairly good (if not slightly overblown) job of being excited about his partner and lays in a good line about everyone calling their neighbors and telling them to turn on TBS if they aren’t already watching.
My clip now jumps to later in the show to the second Eddie Gilbert promo of the night. In this one, they show the beatdown of Gilbert that led to this match. Another short one as Eddie goes on to quote Flair’s famous line of “To be the man, you gotta beat the man” and goes on to say that his partner would be able to beat all three of them with one man tied behind his back. Then my clip goes to the match.
EDDIE GILBERT and MR. X vs. BARRY WINDHAM (US Champion) and RIC FLAIR (World Champion)
Coming back from the commercial, the three named participants are already in the ring awaiting the arrival of Gilbert’s mystery man. The theme made most famous by the 1990s Chicago Bulls plays and the mystery partner arrives, to be RICKY STEAMBOAT!! The announcers lose their stuffing as Steamboat comes out grinning and is visibly pumped for the match. The Horsemen are totally incredulous and don’t know what hit them.
Steamboat starts and is a house of fire, looking great with arm drags and shoulder tackles that chase Windham to the outside to regroup with Flair and Dillon. Flair comes in next, and Ricky is getting the best of him with chops, culminating with a big military press slam that sends Flair outside to regroup this time. This is such awesome booking. Steamboat is taking everything. Although Flair gets a few shots in here and there, Steamboat always gets the upper hand, even taking on both champions at once. Gilbert comes in against Flair and even he gains the upper hand with punches and a flying head scissors that sends Flair flopping into the corner for Windham. Windham finally gets the advantage with a huge back suplex to take over on Gilbert. However, they can keep Hot Stuff down for long, and he gets Flair locked in his own figure four leglock! Flair is able to escape and tags in Windham, who again takes over for a small glimpse. Despite brief respites, such as an awesome flying clothesline from Gilbert, the Horsemen are able to hold the heat for an extended amount of time. Steamboat is chomping at the bit to get in and take over on the champs. Flair is really taking over on Gilbert, who is doing a fantastic job of being the face in peril here. At around the 15:00 minute mark, Steamboat comes in totally on fire with a flying shoulderblock and other attacks on Flair. After getting the best of both Horsemen for about a minute, Steamboat finishes Flair off with a press slam and flying crossbody! The champion has been defeated!
Winner, 15:35: EDDIE GILBERT and RICKY STEAMBOAT (Flying Crossbody) **** This was awesome. A great match. Everybody looked fantastic in this match, especially Flair and Stemboat. A perfect job of making the fans want more from those two.
After the match, Steamboat and Gilbert get on the mic. They watch the tape of the match. Gibert is a little too high off the match invoking the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and just slurring his way through his portion, but Dragon nails his part. He is subdued as normal, but comes across great when saying that he will take Flair’s title and do what he has yet to do in his career: win a world championship.
Flair and the Horsemen come out and Flair is in full Wildman mode which is great. Dillon writes off the match as being unprepared and as something will never go down in the record books.
Even without seeing the main event, I know that I can mark this down as a great one. When the whole show went an hour and this one match with the promos was almost 30, it was a one match show at its core. Steamboat looked great, Flair was a chicken shit, and Gilbert looked like someone who could be beaten and come back unharmed. Great all around
MVP: Steamboat. There is a lot of pressure that comes with making a huge debut like this, but he was great in all facets.
LVP: None. I’m sure I could’ve found one in the other parts, but everything in this portion was good.
Best Promo: There are a lot to choose from, but I’m going to go with Steamboat again, coming off the match. He came across great in this one.
Worst Promo: Although none were bad per se, I’ll say the first Gilbert promo for being a little too child-like, almost to a Duggan-esque level.
Fashion Statement of the Night: Gilbert was wearing a coral-pink sweatshirt that I believe was from Daytona Beach or a place such as that. Only a real man could pull this one off.
Hey! It’s 1989!: Since we only have a few more weeks of it this year, it’s Tony Schiavonne’s moustache. A work of art, that is.
That’s Racist: Is it a judo chop Jim? Karate? Maybe Kung-Fu? Aww, it’s all the same, right?