May 23, 1987
From the Convention Center in Anaheim, CA
Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and Vince McMahon
Tonight, Hulk Hogan will be wrestling in our featured bout as he squares off against Cowboy Bob Orton. We cut it to Mean Gene as he declares this a special Memorial Day edition of Superstars as Hulk Hogan comes on and says the greatest Americans are the ones we will honor today as they dedicated their lives to freedom and Hogan promises to win and honor those veterans today.
Jerry Monti vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage w Elizabeth
Once again, Savage flips out after being referred to as the “former Intercontinental Champion.” Monti surprises Savage with a quick rollup for two as Ricky Steamboat is shown in an insert promo taking about how he will not duck any challengers, including Savage, and will face him anytime. Savage then slams Monti to the mat after tossing him outside and gets the win with a flying elbow smash (1:33).
Thoughts: They certainly teased another Steamboat/Savage match here. Speaking on Savage, I loved how he was full on mental over losing the IC title at this point. He was great.
WWF Update with Craig DeGeorge. They no longer have the newasnchor-style desk as DeGeorge is sitting in what would be called the “Event Center.” The opening music and graphics have changd as well and not for the best, IMO. This week’s subject is Superstar Billy Graham as he show a clip of him destroying a jobber as we hear a doctor tell us that Graham’s hip is destroyed and will need to be replaced and thus unable to wrestle. However, Graham is shown hobbling on crutches saying that no matter what the surgeons say his career is not over and he will come back. Next week we will get another update. There was no point of even pushing Graham at this point. He did come back for a few months but was practically immobile.
A vignette with Mr. Fuji and Killer Khan airs that shows him in his native land praying as we get creepy closeups of his face while Fuji talks about Khan being devastating and ugly. Khan’s push is getting stronger.
Buddy Ryder & Dave Barbie vs. Hillbilly Jim & Outback Jack
Jesse asks if either Jim or Jack can read and write then we get an insert promo of both guys tasting foods from their native land. The crowd seems to be digging this team. Barbie beats on Jack then tags Ryder, who works one of the worst sequences I have ever seen as Ryder’s offense is nowhere near Jack, who keeps moving out of position. Hot tag to Jim as he offers a handshake but Ryder kicks him low. Jim then catches him with a boot and drops an elbow. He cartwheels as Vince cackles like an idiot then tags Jack, who gets the win with a bulldogs (2:24). After the match, Jack and Jim do the do-si-do as Vince is in all his glory.
Thoughts: The wrestling in this match was nothing short of embarrassing but the crowd was into Jack & Jim enough for them to traction as a lower card tag team. Jack was one horrendous wrestler.
Okerlund is with Hogan, who hypes up his “Texas Death Match” in Boston against King Harley Race. They did this on the house show circuit for a month or so.
The Fabulous Moolah plugs the WWF Ice Cream Bar and wonders why one wasnt made for her. She was referred to as the WWF Women’s Champion as she seems to be back on the scene after an absence of two years.
Jesse Cortez vs. One Man Gang w/ Slick
This is the TV debut of Gang, who destroys Cortez immediately after the bell. Gang looks impressive in beating down Cortez as we get an insert promo from both Slick and Gang, who says that he likes to cripple people. Gang then bulldogs Cortez before putting him away with an elbow drop from the second rope (1:47). The crowd boos Gang after the match then Jesse Ventura breaks the news of Bobby Heenan having a new tag team before they cut away.
Thoughts: Strong debut here for Gang, who was moving around well for a man his size during the match.
Okerlund is with Bobby Heenan, who says that he doesnt care about Hogan and promises that Race will become the champion. Race comes on and promises to leave Hogan laying in a pool of his own blood as there is nothing he cannot and will not do. Heenan was funny when ragging on Okerlund and Race did a fine job during his portion as well.
Replay of Danny Davis costing George “The Animal” Steele is match against Randy Savage from “Saturday Night’s Main Event.”
The Gladiator vs. Ken Patera
Vince asks Jesse about his report of Heenan having a new tag team but Jesse just talks about how the Heenan Family is going to go after Patera. Billy Jack Haynes is shown in an insert promo putting over Patera as a changed man as Patera slams The Gladiator a few times before putting him away with a bearhug (2:04).
Thoughts: Patera is still not in ring shape. They were trying to sell and promote him as a great guy who was wronged by Heenan but I don’t believe too many people were buying that.
Snake Pit with the Heenan Family as his guests. This was the first time the “Snake Pit” was shown on Superstars of Wrestling. Missy Hyatt was going to have the show on Superstars but that did not end up working out. Heenan comes out with just Hercules and Race as he tells us that his other men are unavailable. Jake taunts Heenan about his neck injury as his family warns Patera that he will pay.
Cowboy Bob Orton w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Hulk Hogan
The place goes nuts for Hogan, who comes out holding the American flag. Match starts with Orton backing Hogan into the corner. They go back and forth as Orton pulls up to avoid a punch but ends up getting clotheslined over the top rope. Orton heads back inside and gets whipped into the corner a few times, taking overexaggerated bumps. Hogan hits a slam then a trio of elbows as he plays up to the crowd, who cheer in approval. Hogan hits the Axe Bomber for two then works a front facelock. He hits a corner clothesline as the top rope nearly snaps off as it is barely hanging up. Fuji jumps up on the apron and Orton attacks Hogan from behind. Orton then knees Hogan through the ropes where Fuji hits him with his cane in the throat as we head to commercial. Back from break, Orton beats on Hogan, who is draped over the apron. He targets the back of the neck before applying a side headlock. Orton gets a few nearfalls and roughs up Hogan some more before applying another headlock as the crowd rallies behind Hogan, who fights back. Orton boots Hogan, who dropped his head for a backdrop attempt then gets two with a Roll of the Dice-type move as Jesse astutely notes that the fact the top rope is snapped prevents him from using his finisher, the superplex. Hogan mounts a brief comeback but Orton knocks him down. Orton tries antoher pin attempt but Hogan hulks up then hammers away as the crowd goes nuts. Hogan hits the big boot then the leg drop for the win (8:12, not including the commercial break) **1/2. After the match, Hogan plays up to the crowd as Jesse wonders why Hogan is not honoring him as he is a veteran.
Thoughts: Good match. Not everything in the ring was smooth but it was at a decent pace. Orton spent most of the match on offense and looked the best he has in months. The story of Orton trying to put Hogan away without his finishing move, due to the top rope being broken, was fairly clever. It really was a treat to see Hogan on TV and they were smart making it part of a special holiday show, even if it did come off a bit corny.
Okerlund is with Danny Davis, who will be facing George Steele in Boston. Davis says he is booked to face Steele as some sort of conspiracy as Steele is a dangerous man. Okerlund accuses him of being paranoid as Davis talks about knowing everything there is to be a referee before leaving. Demolition then appears as Smash yells at Okerlund for getting his name wrong. They cut a promo on the Can-Am Connection, their opponents in Boston. Good stuff by Demolition, who were without Fuji here. They were not bad at all on promos.
Next week’s featured matchup is the Can-Am Connection vs. The Islanders. We will also see the Brutus Beefcake vs. Dino Bravo match from “Wrestling Challenge.” Bobby Heenan is shown and tells us that the Heenan family will be growing as his newest tag team will be revealed next week.
Final Thoughts: Fun show. We got a good main event and the debut of the One Man Gang. There were some negatives as Patera is way over pushed at this point and the Jim & Jack tag match was pathetic. This show also was a reminder that they needed to get away from pushing stale acts and older guys but the overall holiday theme and the long (by TV standards anyway) match featuring Hogan outweighed all of that for this show.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 5/24/87
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 5/30/87
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Al Snow, Volume 1
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 5/31/87