It has been months since my last article. Only a special anniversary could bring me out of my semi-retirement.
This weekend marks 30 years since The Main Event II. NBC aired this live WWF show from Milwaukee. It was 52 weeks after an amazing live show in 1988 that saw Hulk Hogan’s championship reign of more than four years end in controversial and shocking fashion as 33 million viewers tuned in. Last month, I saw that a building was being demolished and wondered what potentially historic place was coming down. Vince McMahon spoke of the beautiful new building during this 1989 broadcast. The Bradley Center opened in 1988. It cost over 90 million dollars, which is the equivalent of over 200 million dollars today.
This event featured several classic moments. Hardcore wrestling fans knew that Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage were about to split. It had been teased. We just didn’t know how. A shocking collision lit the fuse. Savage was tossed out of the ring. He landed on his petite manager. The lovely Miss Elizabeth was knocked down in what appeared to be a legitimate accident.
However, fans would soon realize that it was just part of a script. Making this night even more memorable was a botch by Hogan. The rare live broadcast came back from commercial as he spoke in the locker room without knowing that the show had returned. Hulk eventually learned that they were on, and suddenly became emotional that Elizabeth (who was clearly awake already) had regained consciousness.
Finally, there was one more notable happening. The Big Bossman and Akeem were taking on Hogan and Savage in this contest. Akeem weighed over 450 pounds, and his partner checked in at over 350. When both men prepared for what was supposed to be a double splash, the ropes opened extra wide and caused the larger Akeem to tumble awkwardly threw the ropes.
It’s hard to describe a man of that size falling unexpectedly and banging his back on the ring as his feet hit the top rope and his body drops out of our view. Without a doubt, this was one of the greatest nights from my childhood. Happy anniversary!