Once upon a time, many years ago, Saturday Night’s Main Event used to be a major happening. It was an age before Raw, one where the primary television outlet for the WWF was their weekly syndicated show, Superstars of Wrestling. Yes, Prime Time was around, but most folks followed the exploits of their favorite performers on a show that usually aired on Saturday mornings. Or at least it did in Cincinnati, where I grew up.
We talk today about how formulaic Raw is, and trust me, I am on that bandwagon. Looking back, though, Superstars was arguably more cookie cutter – you had an “Event Center” with whatever random Ken doll look alike they had at the time (Sean Mooney, Craig DeGeorge, etc.) and a talk show segment (Piper’s Pit, Brother Love, Flower Shop) wherein angles took place. Throw in Lord Alfred shilling at the end for Mr. Freeze Freeze Pops, and every week it was basically the same.
The vast majority of the show was the top guys pummeling local geeks; click on the “JOBBERS” tab up above and you’ll see a ton of them. The ‘main events’ of Superstars were such in name only. The only time you’d ever get to see big names actually pitted against each other was by attending live events or watching one of the very few pay-per-views the company did each year.
Saturday Night’s Main Event was a totally different cat. It was all about top guys battling it out. Hulk Hogan almost never wrestled on Superstars unless it was for an angle (Paul Orndorff turning on him was a huge one), but he was a fixture on SNME. So it was a huge deal, and was always something my friends and I looked forward to watching.
Of course, WCW Monday Nitro came along and changed the entire wrestling landscape. I say Nitro did that, because despite what WWE would have you believe, Raw in its early days still featured oodles of squash matches. Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching the Steiner Brothers beat the crap out of teams like The Executioners, but to say that WWE reinvented the industry would be untrue. Eric Bischoff forced that change by forcing Vince’s hand.
The point being of all this is that SNME was years ahead of its time. It was a great show, featuring so many memorable moments fans of that era will never forget. After a few years, though, the WWF’s mid-late 80’s popularity petered out and NBC took it off the schedule. It became a fondly remembered relic.
In 2006, WWE and NBC decided to bring it back. There was an initial reaction of glee; you need look no further than this here site to see nostalgia holds a place near and dear to our hearts. It didn’t take long, though, for everyone to realize the thrill was gone and that in the end, it was just another 90 minutes Vince and his crew had to produce.
But they did have to fill it, so they would come up with wacky ways to do so, such as the disaster we’re here to discuss today: a boxing match featuring Evander Holyfield versus Matt Hardy.
Really – they brought in “The Real Deal” (well, the boxing one) to fight MATT HARDY.
See. There he is in a boxing robe. Look, I’m a Matt Hardy fan (I loved the 1.0 gimmick), but I am not quite understanding why you’d bring in a name who was once as big as Holyfield’s was to have a boxing match with him.
Still, it did bring us the man to Matt’s left: a trainer who has feathered hair, parted in the middle, and a very pronounced mustache. Maybe I am supposed to know who he is. If that’s the case, I apologize.
Not to cast aspirations on the man, but for all I know he could be his hair dresser. In fact, he kinda looks like a hair dresser. That is one fine feathered do.
And yes, Holyfield comes out, seconded by MVP. According to the announcers, this boxing match was originally to be MVP versus Matt Hardy. Why were they going to box? Literally no idea.
Literally don’t care.
What I DO care about is the fact that not only did WWE pony up to get Holyfield, they also hit the ATM to give MICHAEL BUFFER a payday! I don’t remember if there was ever a battle for Michael Buffer’s services during the Monday Night Wars, but it was still pretty surprising to see him in a WWE ring after all the WCW main events he’d announced. I also know that every WCW guy who had any notoriety at all who came into WWE later eventually got jobbed out and…
And yes, we know who Shawn stole that from.
Hopefully they paid you royalties for it.
So MVP, who is not in the match, gets his very own ring introduction. I would go off on this, but who can get upset when it leads to a Michael Buffer “BALLLLLLLINNNNNNN!!!!!” recital?
Thankfully the next man introduced is in the bout – it’s “The Man Who Will Not Die (Despite All of the Company’s Attempts to Kill Him Off)”, Matt Hardy!
Is his hair dresser going to kiss him?
Kinda looks that way!
While Matt has a 0-0-0 stat line, Holyfield has a slightly better record.
Don’t like young Matthew’s odds tonight honestly.
That picture has so much insanity I don’t even know where to begin.
Michael Buffer looking like he may be copping a feel on the ref’s chest while staring at his fart chamber.
Matt Hardy wearing camouflage – CAMOUFLAGE!!!! – shorts.
Matt wearing headgear while Evander gets no such protection.
Matt’s corner man looking like he’s saying “Meow”.
So the fight starts and honestly, it goes exactly as it should:
With Matt getting pummeled.
Well, I guess I shouldn’t say it goes EXACTLY as it should, as you’d kinda want Evander’s punches to come somewhere near Hardy’s head. Unless you’re Matt, then yeah, I guess this is going exactly how he’d want it.
That or he did get clocked, as Matt does what appears to be his best sell job ever.
WrestleCrap FUNFACT: the filename for the image above is crosseyedmatt.gif.
RD Reynolds Decidedly NON-FUNFACT: I have a parody of that stupid Van Morrison song called “Cross-Eyed Matt” now stuck in my head.
Somehow Matt survives the round, and we get RING CARD girls making an appearance!
Michelle McCool appears wearing what appears to be your grandma’s drapes and Kristal Marshall appears as the complete smoke show she is. Lost in all this would be Kelly Kelly strutting and shaking her rump in an absolutely absurd manner, a piece of television history Kevin Dunn deemed not worthy to focus upon to save for future generations.
I know folks hate that guy for the zooming and shaking camera angles that now crush our eyeballs on Raw, but seriously, squint at that as hard as you can at Kelly Kelly in this image and tell me his failure here is not a bigger crime.
As the girls dance around, Matt can’t even enjoy it, as a) he’s loopy and…
b) his corner man is coming in for what appears to be a smooch. Yikes.
RD Reynolds Decidedly NON-FUNFACT: Van Morrison is now gone. Unfortunately, this has now replaced it.
As round two begins, for no adequately explained reason, Evander decides he doesn’t want to punch Matt in the face anymore. This despite the fact he had zero problem punching him in the face repeatedly in the first round.
MVP isn’t happy about it, so he goes in to tell Holyfield to go in for the kill.
And yeah, you know what happens next.
For whatever reason the ref dubs this the end of the fight. No idea who won or lost, but I do know this: Matt’s cornerman has wayward eyes!
He heads for Holyfield looking for some hug love immediately after the fight. And while Holyfield looks at the guy like, “who in the heck are you?” the advance is made unabated.
So while we don’t know who won or lost, we do know who had a great time.
In fact, let’s make him dance.
If I could make him sing, he would be singing this…with these guys.
I think he’d like that.
Did I mention this match was terrible? No?
WrestleCrap FUNFACT: this match was terrible.
My work here is done.