August 15, 1987
From the Dane County Coliseum in Madison, WI
Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and Vince McMahon
This week we will have the in-ring debut of the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (well, as the “Million Dollar Man” character anyway). Also in action will be Randy Savage, Sherri Martel, and Jake Roberts.
We see a limo pull up to the arena where Virgil gets out and opens the door for Ted DiBiase.
Steve Lombardi vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage w/ Elizabeth
Vince was fawning all over Elizabeth here. Jesse thinks that Savage is getting a bit soft for letting Elizabeth walk in front of him instead of behind as they are more blatant in their attempt to turn Savage face. Savage backs Lombardi against the ropes then gets attacked from behind when complaining to the referee. We see an insert promo of Elizabeth saying she was not in the running to manage Bam Bam because Savage was the premiere wrestler in the WWF. Back to the match as Savage hits a kneelift but misses a charge as Lombardi follows with a clothesline for a nearfall. Savage then gets dumped to the floor to a mixed reaction but he fights back. Savage slams Lombardi to the floor and follows out with a double axe handle then heads back inside where he hits the flying elbow smash for the win (2:38).
Thoughts: With Vince praising Savage while Jesse was criticizing him, the face push is well on its way. The fans were basically treating him like one and add that to the fact he was facing a heel jobber it was easy to figure out. Plus, Savage was not bullying Elizabeth here either.
WWF Update with Craig DeGeorge. This week’s subject is the One Man Gang as they show clips of last week’s show in which Gang laid out a referee and other wrestlers with his front suplex. We then see Jack Tunney telling us that Gang has been fined $10,000 and will be placed on a 30 day probation period and if he does something like this again, “more severe action” will be taken. Slick is then shown saying $10,000 is a “whole lotta mo-nay” for a first offense then he laughs it up with Gang about this not being a problem. They are hyping up Gang to feed to Hogan.
We are now shown Michael Caplan of A&R Epic Records as we learn about the Wrestling Album titled “Piledriver.” We will hear a whole lot about that for the next several weeks.
Sherri Martel vs. Angie Minelli
Before the match, Martel grabs the mic and tells us all she will be known as “Sensational” Sherri. The match starts with Sherri working the arm of Minelli then yanking her down by the hair. Minelli fights back and hits what Vince calls a “really sloppy” forearm before taking Sherri down with a monkey flip. We are then shown an insert of the French commentary team, which includes Frenchy Martin, as Martel then hits a suplex then finishes of Minelli with an awful-looking splash for the win (2:33).
Thoughts: It appears that they are going to push the Women’s division again. Its been over ayear since a women’s match has been shown on TV. This was the birth of Sensational Sherri. The match was nothing much to Vince seemed a little harsh on Minelli for some reason. She wasnt that bad.
Gene Okerlund runs down the 8/22 Madison Square Garden show card.In a production change, the graphics of the matches are now shown on the screen in sync with Okerlund. We then hear from Ricky Steamboat, who will be facing the Honky Tonk Man for the IC Title in a Lumberjack Match. He runs down Honky for stretching the rules and cheating to retain the title when they faced off last month. Much better than the typical Steamboat promo from this era. And the previous match they had was awesome.
We see a clip of the Honky Tonk Man singing his song for the Piledriver album. Honky rips on Elvis Presley then expresses anger over Hulk Hogan being on the cover of the album.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Dave Wagner
The crowd goes nuts for Jake here. He beats on Wagner as we get an insert promo from Danny Davis, saying things are getting out of hand in the WWF as evidenced by Jake using his snake after his matches and that if he was the referee, this would never happen. Back to the match as Wagner gets tossed to the floor then rammed into the ring post. They head back into the ring where Jake hits a kneelift then shortly after that gets the win with the DDT (2:37). After the match, Jake brings out the snake while Jesse leaves the booth, saying that he has an interview to conduct.
Thoughts: Jake was insanely over here. The bit with Davis seemed more geared towards his feud with Mr. T and the other WWF officials rather than Davis but that ended up being dropped fast when Mr. T was fired.
Okerlund runs down the 9/11 card at the Meadowlands before bringing out Brutus Beefcake, who will be facing the Million Dollar Man. Beefcake tells us he is burning like a “wildfire” and unable to be put out as he cuts a generic promo about Virgil and DiBiase.
Jesse is backstage with Johnny V. in the “Battle for Bam Bam” segment as we learn that Bam Bam has declined Johnny’s services. Johnny does not take to kind to the news.
New Dream Team vs. Brady Boone & Sonny Rogers
Johnny V. is not out here for the match. Bravo beats on Boone in the corner. Boone flips off of Bravo’s chest then tries a monkey flip but gets caught with one painful looking inverted atomic drop. Johnny V. finally runs out and is still pissed as he slaps the apron repeatedly. Valentine tags and hits Boone with a suplex as we are shown the Spanish broadcast team, including Tito Santana. Boone fights back with a dropkick then tags Rogers, who fails to do anything. Bravo tags and softens up Rogers until he tags Valentine, who gets the win with the figure four (3:02).
Thoughts: The New Dream Team was a flop and this was really just filler. Also, it was the beginning of the end for Johnny V. as once the Beefcake feud ended, he was a complete afterthought.
DeGeorge is at the podium with Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan, who tells us that Rude has the greatest physique in the whole Heenan Family and that everyone has welcomed him with open arms. DeGeorge then asks the whereabouts of Paul Orndorff as Heenan gets defensive and says he is on vacation. DeGeorge then brings up how Orndorff fired Heenan two years ago as Heenan promises to bring out Orndorff next week and claims Orndorff will tell Rude that he has the best physique in the Heenan Family. The seed is planted for the Rude/Orndorff feud.
Rick Martel vs. Barry Horowitz
Martel starts by using his agility to gain the advantage against Horowitz. We are then shown Heenan and the Islanders in an insert promo making fun of Martel and the Islanders as they threaten to put him out of wrestling. Back to the match as Horowitz is working the arm. Martel then comes back with a dropkick and an armdrag but Horowtiz uses a turnbuckle smash after an eye rake. Martel then fights back with a hiptoss then gets the win with a crossbody from the middle rope (2:28). After the match, the Islanders come out and surround Martel, eventually beating him down. However, Tito Santana runs out to the ring, wearing his announcing attire, and clears the ring. After the Islanders retreat, Santana walks Martel to the back.
Thoughts: The match was fine but the more important thing here was what occurred after the match as we saw what led to the formation of Strike Force.
Radio host Kal Rudman is here putting over the Piledriver album, specifically the production. Rudman also did some of the backstage interview segments at the Philadelphia Spectrum shows. They are going all out here to promote this album.
The British Bulldogs are here to tell us that Matilda does indeed talk then the camera zooms in on the dog as a voiceover says “headbutt, Dynamite.” This was really awful.
“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil vs. Jerry Allen
Before heading into the ring, DiBiase tells the crowd to beg him for some money as he throws some on the floor and makes them fight over it for his amusement. Match starts with DiBiase beating on Allen. He hits a slam and a backdrop as Jesse is impressed with his skills. Allen ducks a chop and comes back with a crossbody for two. However, DiBiase hits Allen with a stungun then puts on a Cobra Clutch then hits a Russian leg sweep for the win (1:51).
Thoughts: DiBiase looked good here but the crowd did not react as much as you would think. They were not all that loud. Not a good sign. That would change but it took time for him to get over with the crowd.
Next week in action will be Ken Patera, Butch Reed, Kamala & Sika, and Koko B. Ware. Plus, more on the “Battle for Bam Bam” and Paul Orndorff appearing to confront Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan.
Final Thoughts: An action-packed show this week. We saw how Strike Force was created, the birth of the Sensational Sherri character, the news about the Piledriver album, the beginning of the Rude/Orndorff feud, and how they are starting to push Savage as a babyface. A lot of stuff happened here.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Tuesday: WWF Boston Garden 8/15/87
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Rey Mysterio (2015)
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 8/16/87
Saturday: RoH The Tradition Continues 10/16/03
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 8/22/87