Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #8

The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #8 – November 1986 – I’m actually done up to #12 now, but only in written format, and hopefully I’ll get them transcribed by the end of the century.  (Hey, the Network is only up to #13 anyway.  And what IS up with that?  Did they get bored and decide to stop at 1987?) – Taped from Los Angeles, CA – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. – Intercontinental title: Randy Savage v. Jake Roberts. This was a weird choice for a match, as both Savage and Roberts were very much scumbag heels at this point, and cult favorites with the wrestling-savvy junior high school crowd that I hung around with when I was 12. (Although to clarify, I didn’t actually attend junior high school because that’s not a thing in Vancouver.  Elementary ran from K-7 and then high school was 8-12.  In case you were wondering.)  Typical discourse about this match: “Did you know that Randy Savage fought Jake Roberts before?” “No way!” “Yeah, it was on Saturday Night’s Main Event.” “No way!” For those who couldn’t stay up until midnight, SNME was a mythical home for unheard of matches like this one, stuff you just didn’t see on TV. Jake cuts a GREAT heel promo before the match as well, basically threatening to take Savage’s title because he’s that much more evil. Liz polishing the belt in the blue-screen promo for Savage is another great touch. So they trade wristlocks and hairpulls to start, and the unapologetic cheating on display is glorious, as they both ham it up and the crowd loves it. Savage freaks out over Damian and bails, so Jake brings him in and grabs a headlock, and they cheat like crazy again until Savage runs away to avoid a DDT. Back in, Jake tries it again, but Macho hammers him into the corner and then buries a knee in his face to block a charge. That gets two. Faceplant gets two. Straight kick to the head gets two. Kneedrop gets two. Jake fights back, so Savage drops an elbow gets two. Savage chokes him down for two, as Hebner gets a workout tonight. Axehandle gets two. Savage is just throwing EVERYTHING at him tonight. Jake slugs back , but gets tied up in the ropes, which would become a signature spot for him as a face. We take a break, and return with Savage preening on the apron, which allows Jake to catch him with a kneelift. Savage blocks another DDT, but Jake short-arms him for two, clearly playing the babyface for the biased crowd now. Front suplex (aka Arn Anderson’s gourdbuster, as if that helps anyone born after 1984 anyway) gets two for Jake. Jake fires away with his punches, but puts his head down and gets caught. Savage gets caught with another DDT attempt, however, and barely blocks that, and they brawl outside. Jake gets the snake, but Savage sends him into the post. I’d bet on the post every time, too. Randy drops the double axehandle from the top to the floor, and back in the ring for another one, which gets two. Again, but Jake catches him with a punch coming down, and it looks to be DDT time. Savage dumps him and it’s a brawl, but they both lose their temper and shove the ref, because they’re bad people, and it’s a wash. (Savage DDQ Roberts, 9:25, ***1/4) How did THIS one escape the near-legendary status that a lot of mediocre SNME matches like Hogan-Bossman attained? (OH NO YOU DIDN’T JUST SAY THAT!)  This was CRAZY shit for 1986, with tons of near-falls and mindgames and stuff. Jake turned face soon after.  (Yeah, after a test run against Hogan where people were cheering him too much.)  – Meanwhile, Slick sells Hercules Hernandez to Bobby Heenan, but only for cash, because he doesn’t trust the Brain. That’s pretty funny. Ironically, two years later Hercules would be sold by Bobby to Ted Dibiase, but take it a lot harder.  (Well, Dibiase is a terrible manager.  And Bobby got him an immediate title shot!)  WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Hercules. So joining the Heenan family pays immediate dividends for Herc, as he gets to be the latest victim for Hogan in Bobby’s neverending war against him. Test of strength to start, a Hogan favorite. Hulk quickly wins that one, so Herc dumps him in the corner and pounds away. Hulk comes back with a corner clothesline and high knee, and a chase of Heenan leads to the big boot. Bobby’s dive over the top rope is a thing of beauty. He gets hangtime, man. Elbow misses, however, and Herc starts working the back, and Hogan does his overselling. This leads to a bearhug and backbreaker. Torture rack, but Herc releases prematurely (HEY-OH!), and then wastes time arguing the point, and then orders for pizza, and you know I don’t even NEED to type up the rest of the review, right, because we can all say it together now? (Hogan d. Hercules, legdrop — pin, 6:18, 1/2*) Very pedestrian, as Hercules didn’t get what I would consider “good” until a few years later. – Rowdy Roddy Piper v. Bob Orton. This is a very touching blowoff match, actually, as Orton escaped a bad relationship, as submissive femme to Piper’s dominant butch, and then got into a more healthy partnership with Don Muraco, who is a much more laid back guy. As with any relationship, they had to iron out the kinks (which manager do they go with? Who gets the cheque at dinner? What color are the curtains?) but it was nice to see Bob happy for once. (Lenny and Lodi also went through the same emotional cleansing.)  Slugfest to start, and Piper bulldogs him. He adds some biting and whips Orton into the corner, setting up the Stooge Eyepoke. Kneelift gets two. Orton take over and gets a gutbuster for two. Elbow gets two. Piper shoves him into Jimmy Hart, however, and that’s it. (Piper d. Orton, schoolboy — pin, 3:44, *) The video package done to “You’re a Friend of Mine” was longer and more emotionally satisfying, although the finish might explain why Orton & Muraco opted for Mr. Fuji as a manager instead of Jimmy Hart.  (That was a fantastic video package, actually.)  – The Hart Foundation v. The Killer Bees. Bret eats a high knee from Brunzell to start, and Blair comes in and works the arm. Double reverse rollup spot is ruined by a drop-in promo from the Bees and Mean Gene doing a goofy comedy routine. Anvil comes in, allowing Bret to give Jumping Jim a cheapshot from the apron. Demolition Decapitation gets two. Neidhart gets a standing dropkick, and Bret slugs away. We get some quality cheating in the heel corner out of that. Bret gets a backbreaker, but misses the elbow. We take a break and return with Brunzell slingshotting into the ring for two. Anvil cuts off a potential tag, but Brunzell backslides Bret for two. Dropkick and it’s a false tag to Blair. The Bees regroup outside and put the masks on, which allows Blair to make the comeback. Jesse is suspicious of them. Sleeper on Neidhart, but Bret clobbers Blair from behind. It’s another switch out of that, however, and Brunzell rolls up Bret for the pin. (Bees d. Harts, Brunzell rollup — pin Bret Hart, 8:37, **1/2) Fun match, and although the Harts lost this #1 contender match, they would win the belts a little later.  (It feels like the Hart Foundation lost a bazillion #1 contender matches to the Bees, but the Bees never got the title shot until the Harts actually leapfrogged them and won the belts.) – Koko B. Ware v. Nikolai Volkoff. Debut for Koko on SNME here. (That’s Hall of Famer Koko.) Volkoff pounds away in the corner to start, but Koko slugs back. Weird monkey flip and two dropkicks get two. Volkoff drops him on the top rope, but misses a kneedrop, and Koko gets a missile dropkick for two. Volkoff comes back with a backbreaker, but picks him up at one in a stupid decision, and it’s the old manager collision rollup finish that I hate so much. (Koko b. Ware d. Nikolai Volkoff, rollup — pin, 2:19, 1/2*) Two of the exact same finish in the same show is too many.  (Geez, was I not watching RAW at the time?)  – “The Rebel” Dick Slater v. Magnificent Muraco. Mr. Fuji singing bluegrass is an image that I didn’t need. If you don’t remember grizzled veteran Dick Slater coming in as a peppy southern babyface, in a company based in New York, then you probably understand why just by my explaining it. Muraco pounds on him in the corner, into a fireman’s carry, but Slater rolls him up for two. Slater comes back with elbows, elbows and more elbows, but stops to yell at Fuji, presumably about something elbow-related, and gets tripped as a result. That’s KARMA, bitch. You don’t fuck with the Fuji Vice. (Muraco d. Slater, clothesline — pin, 2:02, 1/4*) Good bye to Slater after this humiliating job in a 2-minute match. The Pulse: More of a curiosity than a memorable show, the Roberts-Savage match is a rarity worth saving (was it even on the new Jake DVD?) (No, but it was on the Savage one I believe.  I know I reviewed it again SOMEWHERE.)  and the Harts-Bees match is one of a million of them, most of which were better than this one. The rest is throwaway junk.

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