Hate what you’re seeing on Raw of late? Despise TNA? Wondering why you ever started watching wrestling in the first place, and are now regretting that decision? Then repeat these words: “Saturday Night’s Main Event.”
I cannot tell you how much I LOVE the WWE’s recent release of The Saturday Night’s Main Event set on 3 DVDs. It’s the first “new release” WWE DVD I’ve bought in quite some time and I was certainly not disappointed. The matches and feuds covered on the set brought back so many fond memories. This is what wrestling should be: great matches, great angles, and personalities you remember 20 years later. Too many awesome things to elaborate on, in fact, but the Macho Man Randy Savage Vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart match from 1987 is worth the price alone. If you’re an old school WWF fan like myself, I HIGHLY recommend it and suggest you go buy it this very moment. Seriously, order it online (you can help the site by doing it here) or go to the mall, Wal-mart or K-mart and pick it up. I’ll be here when you get back.
Got it? Alright. With that glowing praise, there’s the flip side, which, in its own way, is also awesome. SNME has turned up some of the best Wrestlecrap we’ve seen on this website. Uncle Elmer’s Wedding, Oktoberfest, Trick or Treating at Rowdy Roddy Piper’s House, and Mean Gene and Lord Alfred’s Wild Kingdom.
Hey…I don’t believe that last one has been inducted yet. Can’t believe RD missed out on that one, but his loss is my gain.
To give you a little background info, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom was a wild animal and exploration television show sponsored by the insurance company Mutual of Omaha in the 1960s and 70s, somewhat of a precursor to today’s 24/7 Animal Planet channel. The host of the show was a distinguished Alistair Cooke-like fellow named Marlin Perkins who would provide voiceover narration from a cozy room while sipping warm cocoa as wildlife expert and frequent Tonight Show guest Jim Fowler would be getting squeezed to death by a 30 foot Amazonian anaconda or chased down the Serengeti by a pride of hungry lions.
Not sure about you, but when I see someone being mangled by wild animals, I like to sip on hot chocolate.
Jump ahead about 20 years, July 28, 1990, Saturday Night’s Main Event is in Omaha, Nebraska and for this special event, Vince decides to go with a Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom theme.
Well, of course.
Now sure, we had some matches. But who cares?
Who can possibly concern themselves with Ultimate Warrior or Tito Santana when we had Lord Alfred Hayes (sporting a MONOCLE NO LESS) and Mean Gene Okerlund doing host segments ala Wild Kingdom from a “hunting lodge”?
Let me repeat that: Gene Okerlund and Lord Alfred Hayes in a HUNTING LODGE.
And they looked just like members of Chef’s “Super Adventure Club” from South Park.
Don’t let them near the children!
A running gag during this segment is that Alfred keeps calling Gene “Jim.” See, like in JIM FOWLER?
Where’s that WWE GET IT? logo when you need it?
So the bit is that Gene keeps correctiog him, which Alfred promptly ignores. You might think this is for “comedy” value in calling him by the wrong name (cause heaven knows it is guffaw-inducing) but as we know with Alfred’s stellar commentary skills, he most likely thinks Gene’s name really is “Jim”.
So for the fun of it, and because I don’t give a damn, he will be referred to as “Jim” for the rest of the induction.
In fact, I may petition RD to refer to Okerlund only as Jim from now on.
Alfred says he and “Jim” will come face to face with lions and tigers and bears.
“Lions and tigers?”
You know what wrestling needs?
MORE WIZARD OF OZ REFERENCES.
Unless that hunting lodge landed on top of Leona Helmsley, I really don’t see the point (and no, Leona Helmsley did not play “WEEZEY” on The Jeffersons, nor is she related to Hunter but she should be).
Alfred describes their itinerary for the day and Jim makes a Pete Rose joke. The best part is Okerlund looking on, as though he’s soaking up a laugh track he can hear in his own mind.
(Note from RD: I have that exact same look and hear those same laughs each week on WrestleCrap Radio.)
Alfred and Jim head out into the wilds of deepest darkest western Connecticut and encounter untamed creatures such as…
Hey! There’s our old pal Koko B. Ware!
Excuse me, that’s not right.
HALL OF FAMER KOKO B. WARE!
And he’s got Frankie with him, no less. Koko tells them he’s looking for a mate for Frankie.
Seriously, the guy is looking to pimp out his maccaw.
It gets worse.
Koko refers to Frankie’s mate as “he”. Um…does that mean Frankie’s a gay bird?
(Note from RD: Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.)
You know, homosexual ornithological mating habits is something that was just flat out ignored on television in the early 90s.
Instead we got Margot Hemingway kissing Roseanne.
On their next stop, Gene falls face-first on the ground and into the eyes of a “killer Cobra”…that rattles.
A rattling killer cobra. Now there’s a mating ritual that would have been intriguing to see. It would be like two snakes getting together and the rattler saying, “You know, I’m pretty deadly” and the cobra saying, “So am I” and then the rattler saying, “Let’s bump uglies and make a super duper deadly snake!” and then the cobra nodding and saying, “Awesome.”
(Note from RD: I can totally see that.)
Thankfully, Gene is saved just in the nick of time by good old Jake the Snake Roberts, who takes the time to cut a 5 second promo on Bad News Brown. Trust me, a 5 second Jake Roberts promo >x10,000 than a 15 minute Randy Orton one.
You know, 19 years later and I’m still disappointed that Bad News didn’t deliver on the “Harlem Sewer Rats”. I’m thinking someone stayed up late drunk one night watching Willard and it came to them, “I have the GREATEST match idea EVER”, that quickly fell apart.
Next, Gene and Alfred cross the railroad tracks of the “Nairobi Express”, which appears to be the size of the train tracks in Ricky Schroeder’s living room on Silver Spoons. You couldn’t have a wreck on these tracks even if you wanted to. It’ll de-rail if you dropped a penny on it.
Speaking of trains and wrecks, here come The Bushwackers stomping down the train tracks. And they immediately pass by and don’t say a word.
This was, for the record, my favorite Bushwackers appearance ever.
Alfred bitches at Jim for not wearing his mosquito repellent when Jim is attacked by mosquitos that attack en mass, stinging his flesh and sucking his precious blood from his arms, face, legs and….
“Feel the Eye of the Hulkster, Brother!”
STOP IT, HULK!!
Apparently being stung in the ass by mosquitos causes Jim to act like a monkey…
…and the “bacon-bellied Borneo bore.”
Oops, I mean boar.
How silly of me.
Alfred then “saves his life” by shoving a random plant up Jim’s nose.
There’s a joke to be made about someone in wrestling snorting medicine up their nose, but I’m far too much of a lady to make it.
Because if I wasn’t a lady, I’d make a joke about how Jimmy Snuka was spotted running away from the cops.
Again, I refrain.
Alfred and Jim then come across a big boiling pot….but no Kamala.
Let’s see…smoke machine, big plastic cauldron…looks like someone got a Spencer’s gift certificate for their birthday!
Our dynamic duo next come across Akeem, a true native of Africa and The Doctor of Style: Slick, who tell them the river they’re looking for is “that-a way” then they go shuckin’ and a jivin’ off the other way.
What’s a pimp doing in Africa?
And just in case you didn’t believe this was all taking place in “Africa”, the WWF spared no expense with this fine map, complete with outlines of their travels.
At long last (perhaps at VERY long last, considering the ground the covered in that map above), Alfred and Jim find the river they are looking for. Cue the Jaws theme, as Alfred loses his balance and throws Jim into the water. Thankfully for Jim’s sake, the water appears about 8″ deep.
Either a shark in a foot of water is about to attack or Sabu is going to pop up from the river in his Hannibal Lecter mask.
Alfred then throws tree bark in because it’s “pie-ranna” repellent.
Pie-ranna, wasn’t that Beulah McGillicutty’s big signature move?
God, I’m a detriment to my species.
Anyways, Alfred saves Jim from the pie-rannas and admonishes him.
“IT’S NOT JIM, IT’S GENE!!”
Well alright, if you insist.
If that is your real name.
We’re back at the “hunting lodge” and Gene apparently has made a new friend in Bubbles the chimp.
I could just hear Vince with Patterson and Brisco with his Vince voice, “WE NEED A MONKEY!!! I WANT A MONKEY, DAMMIT!!!”
Bubbles starts getting a bit rambunctious because he thinks they’re gonna put him in a little bellboy outfit and the segment is officially over.
Wow, that was bad. But bad in a goofball, funny kind of way. I loved the fact that if you watched closely, you could see apartment buildings in the background.
I wonder if Paul Christy owns it. Hmmm…