Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #12

The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #12 – October 1987 – Taped from Hershey, PA – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan. Intercontinental title: Honky Tonk Man v. Randy Savage. This is pretty big, marking Savage’s official face turn after a few weeks of indeterminate tweenerdom, not to mention the start of perhaps the biggest angle in the history of the promotion. Conventional wisdom was Savage destroying Honky and winning the title. Long lockup to start and Honky pounds on him after a cheapshot, but Savage necksnaps him. Kneedrop and elbow out of the corner follow, and Savage goes after Jimmy Hart and gets caught. Honky tries to take over, but Savage elbows him down and slugs away. Honky comes back with a fistdrop and keepings wasting time with Liz, so Savage drops an axehandle on him and rolls him up for two. Backdrop suplex gets two, but Hart keeps breaking it up. Double axehandle gets two, and Savage drags Hart into the ring to get rid of him. Honky tries a sunset flip, but gets clobbered, and the Hart Foundation join us and tend to Jimmy on the floor. We take a break as they help him to the dressing room. Back with Savage whomping on Honky again, but he misses a charge. Odd spot Savage takes him down with a double-leg for two and the ref is confused about whether to count or not. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess if he does or not. Honky pounds him in the corner and goes for the fistdrop again, but misses. Savage comes back and chokes him out in the corner. Elbow gets two. Suplex gets two. Honky dumps him, allowing the Harts to do some damage, and HTM drops an elbow for two. Savage reverses Shake Rattle N Roll, however, and drops the big elbow, but there’s like 18 people at ringside so you can guess what happens next. (Savage d. Honky Tonk, DQ, 12:11, ***) Probably Honky’s best match ever up until that point, although he would later have what I can only term shockingly good chemistry with Brutus Beefcake. Savage was in a killer groove at this point. So things continue, as Honky tries to play Jeff Jarrett with his guitar, but Liz puts herself in the way. So Honky SHOVES HER DOWN, and to say this was a shocking angle for the WWF in 1987 would be an understatement. Liz was an untouchable up until that point, literally, as her character appeal was centered around guys leering at her (or the paranoid Savage thinking they were) and then getting bootfucked by her jealous boyfriend as a result. Actually having her get physically involved in an angle was huge, and when she ran to the back for the first time, the group of teenagers I was watching with went nuts. A beatdown follows, with Honky finishing his guitar shot, before Liz returns with the Orange Goblin in the flesh to chase off the bad people. By the time the inevitable handshake occurs, you can almost see the roof exploding off the arena and the dollar signs in Vince’s eyes.  (Turns out those dollar signs were only about a third of what Vince promised investors.)  WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Sika. I don’t have my handy Samoan Family Relations chart with me, but I believe Sika begat Rikishi, the Tonga Kid, and one of the guys from 3 Minute Warning. However, as I have often said, Samoan family trees are about as easy to follow as Back to the Future II, so I’m probably wrong. Sika pounds away to start and Fuji chokes Hulk out and adds a shot with the cane. Hogan comes back with a clothesline to send him out of the ring, then adds a big boot and elbows. However, he goes after Kim Chee, and gets nailed from behind. They brawl and Sika meets ringpost. The ref tries to get Fuji’s cane away from Hulk, and we take a break. Back with Hogan trying a splash (!?) and hitting knee. Sika stomps him down and chokes away, and it’s time for Hogan’s epileptic selling as Sika applies a nervehold to the pecs. C’mon, he’s squeezing the dude’s boob, how can you take that seriously as a submission hold? It’s the PURPLE NURPLE OF DEATH. Hulk of course fights back, because that’s what he does, but Sika gets a bunch of headbutts for two. When that’s the best you’ve got to set up the big finish, you’ve got no business main eventing. Hulk up, yada yada yada. (Hogan d. Sika, yada yada yada, 7:51, 1/2*)  (Back in the day I used to think Sika was a pretty scary guy.  This again shows the value of the jobber system, as someone as useless as Sika could plow through job guys for a few weeks, make some money jobbing to Hogan around the horn, and then disappear again without hurting anyone in the midcard on the way up.  These days if they want to build up Rusev for Cena they pretty much have to demolish every black guy above the level of Zack Ryder to accomplish it.)  Paul Orndorff v. King Kong Bundy. Back to the babyface side for Mr. Wonderful, which was pretty ill-advised, since it destroyed his career and all. More career advice: Don’t hire a guy named Humperdink as a manager and expect to be treated like a badass. (I’m frankly shocked that Humperdink managed to keep that name.  I would have thought they’d change it to something embarrassing.)  Orndorff slugs away to start, but gets pounded down. Much choking follows. Orndorff gets a sunset flip for two, but gets elbowed down again. Big fat elbowdrop misses and Paul comes back with an elbow off the top, and a fistdrop for two. Dropkick gets two. Andre the Giant joins us at ringside to advise Bundy (wouldn’t that require being intelligible?) and we take a break. Back with a slugfest, won by Bundy, for two. Orndorff slugs back and drops elbows, but misses a third one. It’s that third one that’ll get you every time. ALWAYS STOP AT TWO. Bundy drops a knee for two, and we hit the chinlock. Paul fights up and dodges the Avalanche, but Andre grabs him by the pants and Bundy hits another one. That’s one mean wedgie. (Bundy d. Orndorff, Avalanche — pin, 7:36, *1/4) – WWF tag titles: The Hart Foundation v. The Young Stallions. The Harts, I believe, debut the newer, shinier versions of the tag titles that would last for an amazing 15 years in that state before the switch to “WWE” would kill them off. Roma works on Neidhart’s arm to start, but Powers gets slammed. Bret comes in and Powers sunset flips him for two. Bret comes back with a knee and a backbreaker, and the champs work Powers over in the corner. Bret drops the elbow and chokes away, and Anvil drops him on the top rope. An anticlimactic hot tag to Roma follows, as this was clearly an extended squash, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Powers gets his lame powerslam on Bret to make us think “Oh, this could be a tremendous upset” and then the Harts are like “Uh, no” as they finish things instead. (Hart Foundation d. Young Stallions, Hart Attack — pin, 4:31, *1/2) As noted, a big squash. Sadly, the greatness of the Hart’s title reign would be cut short by Strike Force a month after this. – We finish with the CHEESY video for “Piledriver”, and MAN does that song not hold up. Five seasons of American Idol now reveal that Koko B. Ware is a pretty shitty singer, as he’s mostly out of tune, and the construction worker theme is just…creepy.  (Having not watched the Network version of this show, $5 says this is not on there.)  The Pulse: The Megapowers angle is of course insanely historic and great, and the match is pretty good, too. The rest is a major fast forward bonanza, however, so you’re taking your chances with this one. Plus I think the Savage-Honky rematch on the Main Event in 88 was better.