Rock Star Gary reflects on SNME XI

Taped from South Bend, IN

Airdate: May 2, 1987 (taped 4/28)

Attendance:  9,345 (sold out)

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

For all of my SNME faithful readers, here is a present for you. There’s an additional present at the end of my reflection too. Stay tuned!

Savage opens the program by cutting a promo on Steele and their lumberjack match.

Meanwhile, Steamboat is ready to melt Hercules’ chain.

In the next promo, the Hart Foundation will cause nightmares for the British Bulldogs.

Duggan is ready to crack his 2×4 on Volkoff if he sings the Soviet National Anthem tonight.

Heenan, wearing a neck brace, with Andre the Giant promises us to show how Andre the Giant became the WWF champion at WrestleMania III.  Andre adds “I am the champion!”

On another note, Hogan refutes Heenan’s conspiracy theory and will prove it tonight.

Opening montage.

To explain the neck brace, we revisit Superstars from “earlier today” where Heenan had a debate with Ken Patera (taped 4/23), but Patera basically leashed Heenan and then tugged HARD spraining Heenan’s neck. OUCH!

Backstage, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Mr. Fuji who now manages Kamala (with Kim Chee). I guess King Curtis couldn’t cut the mustard.

Prior to the first match, we revisit the Snake Pit involving the Honkytonk Man. Please revisit my WrestleMania III reflection to view this segment.

Afterward, Okerlund interviews Roberts.

Match 1: Jake “The Snake” Roberts versus Kamala (w/ Mr. Fuji & Kim Chee)

Highlights:

  • As Roberts entered the ring, he unbagged Damian scattering Fuji, Kim Chee, and Kamala.
  • When Roberts secured Damian in the bag, Kamala attacked him from behind.
  • Kamala applied a bear hug, but Roberts stomped his toes to break it.
  • Kamala then countered an arm bar with a chop to the head.
  • After a head butt by Kamala thwarted a brief rally by Roberts, another one sent Roberts outside the ring.
  • Kamala then chased him and followed him back into the ring.
  • Seizing his opportunity, Roberts delivered a knee lift.
  • Next, he mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a second knee lift.
  • While Fuji distracted referee Joey Marella, Kim Chee entered the ring and nailed Roberts from behind.
  • Consequently, a splash by Kamala got the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  While the crowd loved Roberts, Kamala doesn’t entertain me very well.

After the match, Kim Chee unmasks to reveal himself as the Honkytonk Man. With Roberts still down on the mat, the Honkytonk Man delivers a pair of elbow drops. Afterward, he gives Roberts Shake, Rattle, & Roll then gets on the microphone to thank the audience to a chorus of boos.

Highlight package from WrestleMania III.

Prior to the next match, Okerlund attempts to interview Steele backstage. All Steele could mutter is “Elizabeth” and “nice.”

The Honkytonk Man and Kim Chee then come down to the ring together. Who is that masked man? Anyway, Okerlund tries to explain it until Steamboat and Steele interrupt him.

After Steele makes his entrance, Okerlund interviews Savage (with Elizabeth). Savage intimidates Elizabeth to call him “champ.” Ric Flair would beg to differ.

Match 2 (lumberjack): “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) versus George “The Animal” Steele (w/ Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat)

Highlights:

  • FINALLY–a stipulation match to finish this feud.
  • When Steamboat got nearby, Hercules tripped him.
  • As Savage confronted Steamboat, Steele licked Elizabeth’s hand. Yuck!
  • When Steele basically knocked Savage out of his robe, Savage sought refuge outside the ring.
  • While the heels tried to keep him at bay, the faces tossed him back in.
  • After being rammed head-first into the top turnbuckle, Savage tried to escape again, but the faces disallowed it.
  • Steele tried to rearrange Savage’s facial features, so Savage tried to escape a third time only to have the faces toss him in again.
  • With Steele tied up in the ropes, Savage relentlessly nailed him.
  • Afterward, Steele fell out of the ring and was promptly replaced into it.
  • Upon giving Steele a kick to the midsection, Savage mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a double axe handle.
  • Next, he tossed Steele outside the ring so that the heels could put the boots to him.
  • Duggan, with his 2×4, chased them away from Steele.
  • Due to his distraction, Duggan was ejected from ringside.
  • After a commercial break, Davis tried to put Steele back into the ring but got hammered.
  • Upon slamming Savage, Steele gave him a standing choke.
  • He then made a mid-match snack out of the top turnbuckle.
  • Following that, a snap suplex by Savage was followed by a knee drop.
  • He then tossed Steele outside the ring, and the lumberjacks put him back in.
  • Steele then vaulted Savage over the top rope down to the floor.
  • Without hesitation, Steamboat tossed Savage back in.
  • After biting Savage, Steele tossed him over the top rope to the floor again.
  • Steamboat tried to toss him back in, but Savage hit him.
  • As Steamboat retaliated, Hercules nailed him from behind.
  • While a battle royal took place outside the ring, Davis entered the ring and WALLOPED Steele with the ring bell.
  • Savage mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the big elbow, and got the pin.

Rating: **1/2

Summary: Thank God that this feud is over. Steele’s matches may entertain the kids but not me. Savage, as always, came to play and performed well.

After the match, Steamboat comes in and nails Savage then Hercules hammers Steamboat from behind. Suddenly, all the lumberjacks enter the ring and brawl with one another. With taped ribs, Roberts enters the ring with Damian and scatters everybody from the ring. The only soul left is Kim Chee upon whom Roberts gets his revenge by tossing Damian onto him.

In an “exclusive interview,” Okerlund speaks with Heenan and Andre. While Heenan feels the WWF brass is disingenuous, Andre feels “cheated.” Footage from the title match at WM III is shown. Simply put, Heenan claims that Marella counted to three after the failed slam attempt, and he either wants the belt for Andre or, at the very least, a rematch. Stay tuned!

Before the next match begins, Okerlund interviews the Hart Foundation with Hart and Davis.

Match 3 for the WWF tag team titles (2 out 3 falls): The Hart Foundation (champions w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the British Bulldogs (w/ Tito Santana & Matilda)

Highlights:

First fall:

  • As Jimmy Hart entered the ring, Matilda chased after him. She actually took the megaphone from him!
  • After a leap frog, Smith gave Bret a monkey flip.
  • Crucifix pin by Smith got 2. Bret would swipe that to beat Smith at IYH V.
  • Upon giving Smith a knee to the midsection, Bret tagged in Neidhart.
  • While Neidhart distracted referee Joey Marella, Bret choked Smith.
  • Afterward, a backbreaker by Bret got 2 on Smith.
  • Next , a standing leg drop by Bret was followed by a cross-corner whip. Unfortunately for Bret, he ate a mule kick upon his follow-through.
  • Dynamite Kid tagged in and gave Bret a sternum-first bump in the corner.
  • Following that, a clothesline by Dynamite Kid got 2 on Bret.
  • Snap suplex by Dynamite Kid got another 2.
  • After a diving head butt by Dynamite, Neidhart entered the ring and tossed Smith outside the ring.
  • Davis then put the boots to Smith.
  • The bell rang as Marella disqualified the Hart Foundation for double-teaming Dynamite Kid.

Second fall:

  • While Neidhart held Dynamite Kid over his knee, Bret mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered an elbow smash. That got 2.
  • As Smith chased Bret around the ring distracting Marella, Neidhart choked Dynamite Kid.
  • Meanwhile, Dynamite Kid’s nose was BUSTED OPEN.
  • Bret tied Dynamite Kid in the ropes, dove at him, but missed.
  • Hot tag Smith who delivered a dropkick to the incoming Neidhart.
  • After a back elbow, Smith gave Neidhart a second dropkick.
  • Upon clotheslining Neidhart, Smith got 2.
  • Delayed vertical suplex by Smith got another 2.
  • While Dynamite Kid distracted Marella, Neidhart mistakenly nailed Bret instead of Smith.
  • When Davis got up on the apron, Santana entered the ring and WALLOPED him down to the floor.
  • As Dynamite tagged in, Smith military-pressed him then tossed him atop Neidhart.
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE NEW CHAMPIONS!

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Wait a minute! They won the first fall by DQ. Does that count?

As the crowd comes unglued, Finkel announces that due to the DQ, the Hart Foundation cannot lose the titles. SNEAKY! CLEVER! BRILLIANT!

Next, from an undisclosed location, Okerlund interviews Hogan. Again, we revisit the title match from WM III with Hogan’s comments.

As we see Hercules already in the ring, Okerlund interviews Steamboat backstage.

Match 4 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (champion) versus Hercules (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)

Highlights:

  • While Steamboat made his entrance, Savage watched the match in the back. Narcissistically, Savage only thought about regaining the title.
  • Steamboat avoided a right hand by Hercules and delivered a pair of dropkicks.
  • Continuing the flurry, a series of chops sent Hercules between the ropes to the floor.
  • Outside the ring, Steamboat gave Hercules an atomic drop.
  • Back in the ring, Hercules hit a clothesline and an elbow drop for 2.
  • Steamboat came back with a swinging neckbreaker.
  • Full nelson by Hercules as Savage screamed “That’s my belt!”
  • Savage then stormed the ring and pulled Hercules to the ropes to break the hold.
  • After a commercial break, Hercules mounted the top turnbuckle, tried a splash, but hit knees.
  • Upon slamming Steamboat, Hercules missed an elbow drop.
  • Cross-corner whip by Steamboat who then followed with a chop.
  • Ten punch count-along by Steamboat, but Hercules countered with an inverted atomic drop.
  • Heenan then tossed Hercules’ chain into the ring. Is that like throwing in the towel?
  • When Hercules wrapped it around Steamboat’s neck, referee Dave Hebner called for the bell.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Without Savage’s involvement, this match could have been a whole lot worse.

After the match, Hercules keeps yanking the chain around Steamboat’s neck as Savage observes the dastardliness. Once Hercules leaves, Savage comes into the ring and turns him over. Is he saving him? Has he had a change of heart? Nope, he mounts the top turnbuckle and hits the big elbow. Cool! A heartless Savage is a good Savage in my book.

At ringside, Okerlund interviews Duggan. xenophobia at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.

As Sheik and Volkoff come to the ring, a pre-recorded promo by Slick airs.

Match 5: The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Slick) versus the Can-Am Connection

Highlights:

  • To create nuclear heat, Volkoff sang the Soviet national anthem.
  • Duggan couldn’t stand it any longer, jumped the steel railing, and nailed Volkoff with the 2×4. He then led the crowd in a healthy “USA” chant.
  • After a cross-corner whip by Volkoff, Martel floated over him and delivered a pair of dropkicks.
  • Shortly afterward, a gutwrench suplex by Sheik to Zenk got 2.
  • Sheik then followed with a vertical suplex for another 2.
  • To keep up his quota, Sheik delivered a belly-to-belly suplex that yielded yet another 2.
  • He then hooked the abdominal stretch, but Zenk broke the hold with a hip toss.
  • Upon clotheslining Zenk, Sheik tossed him outside the ring.
  • He then tossed Martel over the top rope to the floor.
  • In front of Duggan, Sheik and Volkoff beat up Zenk.
  • When Duggan jumped the steel railing a second time and entered the ring, Martel rolled up Sheik for 3.

Rating: **1/2

Summary: Fluke pin by the Can-Am connection helped the crowd enjoy the match after the heat segment.

After the match, Sheik and Volkoff attack Duggan. With the assistance of the Can-Am connection, Duggan clears the ring while holding his 2×4.

INTERESTING TIDBIT: On May 26, 1987, Duggan and Sheik were arrested by New Jersey State Police after working in Asbury Park. While both Sheik and Duggan were cited for drug possession, Duggan was also cited for DUI. Of course, since Duggan was a face and Sheik was a heel, both were subsequently fired for breaking kayfabe.

Conclusion:  Five weeks after WrestleMania III, the WWF used SNME as a fallout show, and I enjoyed the controversial angle between Hulk and Andre. Could a rematch be looming? In addition, Savage’s involvement was crisp and awesome. On the other hand, there are equal or better (if not longer) Hart Foundation-Bulldogs matches than the match they had here. I’m torn on the recommendation, so I’ll say skip it unless you love Randy Savage.

Rating: 9.50

IN OTHER NEWS THIS WEEK IN WRESTLING HISTORY: The AWA held Superclash II in San Francisco, CA on this very date, but had only 2,800 people in attendance. I believe most of these matches ended up on the AWA show for ESPN, but let’s run down the card, and then I’ll review the AWA World title match:

  1. Sheik Adnan Al-Kassie pinned Buck”Rock’n’Roll”
  2. DJ Peterson drew with Super Ninja in 15 minutes.
  3. Sherri Martel retained the AWA Women’s title by defeating Madusa Micelli.
  4. AWA World title match (see below.)
  5. The Midnight Rockers & Ray Stevens (who may have promoted the show) beat “Playboy” Buddy Rose, “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers, & Kevin Kelly.
  6. “The Mountain from Stone Mountain” Jerry Blackwell defeated Boris Zhukoff.
  7. In the main event, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka & 49ers tight end Russ Francis beat the Terrorist (Brian Knobbs) & the Mercenary (Ron Fuller).

Match 4 for the AWA World title: Nick Bockwinkel (champion) versus Curt Hennig

Highlights:

  • Stanley Blackburn was in the ring Uh oh. Could this match include some controversy?
  • Before the competitors were introduced, a tuxedo-clad Larry Zbyszko interrupted by referring to himself as the “true #1 contender” and requested a shot at the winner. He then took a seat at ringside.
  • After Hennig escaped most of Bockwinkel’s mat-based offense, Bockwinkel slapped him.
  • Upon trading slams, a mule kick put Hennig in control.
  • Hip toss by Bockwinkel, but he avoided the mule kick this time.
  • After reversing a cross-corner whip, Hennig gave Bockwinkel some forearm shots.
  • Hennig reversed another cross-corner whip, but came up empty on his follow through. Remarkably, he landed outside the ring on the concrete floor!
  • Since Hennig hurt his arm from the fall, Bockwinkel wisely went to work on it.
  • After applying a hammerlock, Bockwinkel rammed Hennig shoulder-first into the top turnbuckle.
  • While Bockwinkel held an arm bar, the San Francisco faithful chanted “Larry sucks.”
  • Slam by Hennig, but Bockwinkel mule-kicked him this time.
  • Knee to the midsection by Hennig, but Bockwinkel punted him on a back drop attempt for almost 3.
  • After escaping Bockwinkel’s persistent arm work, Hennig attacked Bockwinkel’s leg.
  • Upon utilizing a pair of spinning toe holds, Hennig applied the figure-four leg lock.
  • However, Bockwinkel made the ropes to break the hold.
  • Knee to the midsection by Bockwinkel resulted not only in a 360° sell by Hennig but also further hurt Bockwinkel’s knee.
  • Nevertheless, the persistent Bockwinkel got 2.
  • He then reversed a cross-corner whip that SLAMMED Hennig’s back hard.
  • Will he retain the title here?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Hennig came back with a sunset flip and got 2.
  • Afterward, a pair of face plants got another 2 for Hennig.
  • Atomic drop by Hennig who then rolled him up for yet another 2.
  • Cross body block by Hennig almost got 3. Play-by-play announcer Rod Trongard was ready to crown a new champion right there.
  • Continuing his assault, an uppercut and somersault rollup only got 2 for Hennig.
  • He then hit the Axe but only got 2 because Bockwinkel grabbed the bottom rope.
  • To try and finish off Bockwinkel, a piledriver by Hennig was followed by a standing dropkick for only 2.
  • Cross-corner whip by Hennig, but Bockwinkel exploded out of the corner with a clothesline.
  • Next, Bockwinkel countered a side headlock with a belly-to-back suplex.
  • A double shoulder block put both men down on the mat.
  • Zbyszko came over to Hennig to offer him something. Golf advice, perhaps?
  • Consequently, Hennig nailed Bockwinkel knocking him OUT COLD.
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: ****

Summary:  Unable to beat Bockwinkel fair and square, Hennig did whatever he could to win the title here. You can see the distinct differences in styles between Hennig and Bockwinkel. The latter retired soon after, but not before getting revenge on Zbyszko.

After the match, Zbyszko congratulates Hennig in the ring as Ray Stevens comes in to talk with referee Gary Derusha. Stevens points out that there are dimes scattered all over the mat and accuses Zbyszko of passing them to Hennig to use as a weapon. While Blackburn and Zbyszko debate the ruling on this match, DeRusha tries to take the belt from Hennig but not without reprisal. The official announcement is that the belt is held up. A vociferous San Francisco faithful sings a resounding chorus of “BULLSHIT” on that decision.

Furthermore, Trongard interviews Blackburn who confirms the decision. Next, Trongard interviews Bockwinkel who confirms that he lost consciousness suddenly at the end of the match. He also states that Stevens pulled Zbyszko’s hand causing dimes to fly all over the place. Perhaps Zbyszko needs to make a phone call. Nevertheless, Hennig gets in Bockwinkel’s face. When Trongard interviews Hennig, Zbyszko puts words in DeRusha’s mouth then Hennig nails DeRusha to shut him up. To end the segment, Zbyszko pleads Hennig’s case.

In an effort to save face and avoid a recurrence of the fallout from Super Sunday, the AWA deemed Hennig the AWA World Champion.

See you for WCCW Parade of Champions ’87 (which took place the day after these shows)!

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