January 3, 1987
From the Civic Center in Hartford, CT.
Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Vince McMahon
Matches tonight include Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan in a Steel Cage Match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, Adrian Adonis vs. Roddy Piper, George Steele vs. Randy Savage for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, and King Harley Race vs. Junkyard Dog.
WWF World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan (Championship)
Before the match Vince flips out because Danny Davis is the referee. Orndorff attacks Hogan before the bell then drops a few elbows. Orndorff tries to escape but Hogan grabs his leg as Vince tells us that Davis shouldn’t even be the referee here as Joey Marella is here and listed as the official for the match. Orndorff almost climbs out of the cage but Hogan grabs him by the hair as Jesse jokes how Hogan would not be the champion right now if Orndorff was bald. Hogan stays in control then tries to climb out but Orndorff yanks him down then hammers away. The crowd chants for Hogan as Orndorff is stomping away. Orndorff misses a pair of elbow drops then Hogan hulks right up and fights back. Orndorff prevents Hogan from going through the door then is able to go back on offense. Then in a goofy-looking spot, both guys slam each other’s head off of the cage. They slowly get up and climb up opposite sides of the cage and both jump down as Hogan is declared the winner by Marella but Davis says that Orndorff was the winner. Davis then knocks Marella down so Hogan takes him out then Finkel lets us know that it was a “tie” as they both have to go back in and finish the match. Orndorff roughs up Hogan then rolls him back inside as Davis is carried to the back. Orndorff fires away but Hogan hulks up then chops away. Hogan rams Orndorff into the cage then hits a backbreaker before the leg drop. Heenan runs into the cage and distracts Hogan enough to let Orndorff get up but Hogan stops that then whips Heenan into the cage and climbs out of the cage before Orndorff can get through the door for the win (10:42) **3/4. Hogan gets back into the cage after the match and goes after Heenan as Jesse rags on Hogan. They then show the replay of the “tie” as Jesse tries to explain that Orndorff won because Hogan’s legs were bent when they hit the floor.
Thoughts: Good match. These two had solid chemistry in the ring and the way this ended could have been used to prolong the feud (Heenan goes to Tunney and gets a rematch or something like that). However, this ended up being the end of the Hogan/Orndorff feud as he would wrestle Kamala at house shows for a bit then get a new feud very shortly after this.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match
George “The Animal” Steele vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Champion) w/ Elizabeth
Before the match we get a promo from Savage as he yells at Elizabeth to shut up before he “slaps her and pushes her against the wall.” Is that line edited on the Network? Steele also promises us a surprise during the match. This match is the result of Steele’s infatuation with Elizabeth, something that has been going on for about a year at this point. Before the match Steele gives Elizabeth his action figure as Savage flips out and takes it from her. Steele then attacks Savage and slams him down but goes to the corner and appears to wave someone on but Savage yanks him down. Savage then goes to climb up top but Ricky Steamboat’s music hits as he comes out to the ring. Savage is beside himself then gets tossed to the floor. Steele then goes outside and picks up Elizabeth and carries her up the aisle. Savage sees this and is out of his mind but Steamboat stands in his way and he stays in the ring. Steamboat tries to enter the ring but a few officials try to stop him as he breaks free. Steamboat gets escorted to the back by the police as Steele comes back without Elizabeth and beats on Savage. Steele bites open the turnbuckle and throws it in Savage’s face. Savage comes back and beats on Steele in the corner but Steele returns the favor then starts to bite Savage. Steele gets kicked a few times but is able to bite Savage’s arm. Steele then pulls a foreign object out of his trunks and uses it to knock Savage out of the ring. Steele then pushes down the ref after he tried to search him but Savage grabs the timekeeper’s bell and uses it to whack Steele in the back of the head then covers for the win (8:30) *1/2. Savage tries to attack Steele some more but Steamboat runs down and chases Savage away.
Thoughts: They used a lot of smoke and mirrors here and it worked about as well as you could have hoped for anyway. Steamboat’s return was huge and a great surprise. They also managed to keep two storylines going in this match.
King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Junkyard Dog
Again, Vince flips out because Davis is the referee for this match. Race punches JYD down then drops an elbow as Vince says it happened because Davis distracted JYD. Race hits a high knee smash then gets two with a knee drop but JYD gets up and fights back. Race goes shoulder first into the post but comes back with an eye rake. He hits a belly-to-belly suplex then tries a headbutt but JYD no-sells that then hits a few of his own then takes Race out of the ring. JYD then grabs Race’s robe and crown and puts it on as the fans applaud. Vince yells at Davis for not counting out Race as Heenan tries to attack JYD but that fails. JYD knocks Heenan down, who comically oversells the punch, then picks him up again but Race hits him from behind with a top rope elbow smash. Race hits a pair of elbow drops then the bell rings as JYD won by disqualification (6:00) 1/2*. After the match, Race and Heenan attack JYD but that fails as JYD chases them away. Davis tries to stop JYD but gets knocked down with a headbutt.
Thoughts: Very slow and dull match as Race’s methodical style was passe and JYD was abysmal in the ring at this point. Their feud, which started over JYD saying he would refuse to bow down to Race, would continue.
We see a clip of Heenan and Orndorff backstage. Heenan tells Orndorff that he saw the video replay and saw that he hit the floor before Hogan and will prove that he is the champion and go to Jack Tunney to straighten it out. Heenan kept calling Orndorff “champ.” We are shown the replay again as Jesse tells us that the tape is doctored.
“Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Roddy Piper
Piper tosses his kilt at Adonis’s face then backs him into the corner. Piper takes him down with a knee lift as the kilt remains over Adonis’ face. Adonis bumps like a maniac for Piper then comes back with an eye rake. He then rakes Piper’s back but gets knocked down. Piper slams Adonis’ face off of the mat then Adonis comes back with the Good Night Irene but Piper takes them both through the ropes and they brawl. Adonis gets free and squirts his fragrance in the eyes of Piper then rolls inside and wins by count out as Piper could not see where he was (3:35) *. After the match Piper flips out as a few referees eventually calm him down to wipe his face.
Thoughts: Decent for while it lasted but it was just a short match to keep their feud going. Adonis was really, really big here. He could at least go in the ring though.
Okerlund is backstage with Hogan in the locker room. Hogan says that he won the match and will move on to other challengers. Okay then.
Jimmy Jack Funk vs. Blackjack Mulligan
This is billed as the “Battle of Texas.” Vince lets us know that Elizabeth is unharmed. Funk makes the referee order Mulligan to take off his spurs before the match. Funk lands a few shots but gets whipped into the corner then tossed to the floor as we get an awful insert promo from Mulligan as he is interviewed by Okerlund. He just rambled on and on using every single lame cliche about Texas. Mulligan beats on Funk in the corner before putting him away with a jumping back elbow smash (2:31) 1/4*. After the match, Mulligan tries to hang Funk with his rope but he was able to escape.
Thoughts: Just filler, really. I’ll never get why they tried to push Mulligan here. All of this build was wasted.
Final Thoughts: As a stand alone show, it wasnt much, but in the grand scheme of things this advanced a lot of storylines and the first ever steel cage match on Network TV was really cool to see,especially since it was a title match, so this was a good show overall that looks even better in hindsight as it laid the foundation for three WrestleMania matches. The WWF had a really good product at this time that was fun to watch.