The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #10 – 03.14.87
What can I say? I was feeling nostalgic for this era after watching Prime Time Wrestling the other day, and my original rant on this show is pretty crappy. So it’s time to back and start redoing these classic shows, starting with what was basically the go-home show for the biggest show in WWF history up until that point.
Taped from Detroit, MI
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura
Hogan’s pre-show promo is epic stuff. “YOU BROKE THE RULES. NOW THERE ARE NO RULES!” Also Andre is 7’5” and 500 pounds. I really wish they’d bring those back because it was such a great and easy hook to have guys like Hulk and Jake Roberts cut little soundbites to explain the reason for watching in a 30 second promo.
GODDAMMIT they’ve edited out Obsession and replaced it with the shittier generic song from the later show.
Intercontinental title: Randy Savage v. George Steele
Elizabeth is ON THE LINE here along with the title. And now we have a Women’s title match main eventing Wrestlemania. WHAT A COUNTRY. Mean Gene hints that Elizabeth is more than just Macho’s manager in the pre-match promo, so Savage threatens to slap Gene so hard that his head goes through the backdrop. Gene’s followup interview with Liz is pretty funny, too. “Gene, I’m just worried someone is going to get hurt out there.” Gene: “Well, these things happen sometimes…” And then he gives a pervy look to the camera as she leaves the shot! Anyway, Mean Gene’s lechery aside, Savage’s technicolor dreamcoat robe is BOSS. Savage immediately attacks the Animal and tries to take Liz back to the dressing room, but Ricky Steamboat chases him back, complete with overdubbed run-in music. I can at least understand that, Alan Parsons Project is EXPENSIVE. In the ring, George with his usual choking and biting and he rams Savage into the turnbuckle and then rips it open, but Macho takes him out with a high knee and hits the double axehandle. Steele smothers Savage’s mouth and bites the arm to come back and rips open another turnbuckle, but he makes the mistake of trying to steal Elizabeth and Savage goes NUTS and lays him out on the floor, for the countout at 4:20. Steele grabs the belt and Vince is like “There’s the rightful Intercontinental champion!” What a stupid thing to say. He never even tried for a pin! Match was total crap but you can beat the Animal all day long and never hurt him. ½*
Normally I’d try to frantically recap the participants, but they helpfully do it for me in this case!
There you go.
Andre’s pre-match promo is nicely succinct: “Hogan, I want YOU.” Vince’s overwrought speech during Andre’s entrance is quite the plate of cheese. Andre taught Hogan everything about being a hero to children everywhere and now he’s betrayed everyone! And then Jesse just brushes it off with “It’s just business, shut up”. Everyone goes after Hogan, but Hulk throws out Honky at 0:41 while Andre tosses Sika at 1:01. I’m betting on Lanny Poffo! People go after Andre, but he tosses out future tag team championship partner Haku like garbage at 1:41. And then he smashes Poffo’s head open with a headbutt and throws him out at 1:51 for good measure. Well there’s $100 I’ll never see again. Andre manhandling Mulligan and Hillbilly is great stuff, as he grabs the two biggest guys and beats the shit out of them. Poffo goes out on a stretcher with a PRIMO blade job, like a true artist. Ron Bass gets dumped by Hulk at 3:34 to continue that storyline, and Andre hiptosses Mulligan out at 3:53. Hogan backdrops Volkoff out at 4:22, so Andre throws out Brian Blair at 4:30 as they play “Can you top this?” Orndorff and Hercules double-team Hogan on behalf of the Heenan Family, but can’t throw him out. Andre meanwhile just keeps wrecking dudes until Hogan goes after him. Koko stupidly tries to get involved and Andre shoves him down like a gnat. Hogan takes a moment to get revenge on Orndorff at 6:10, but turns his back on Andre and gets thrown out at 6:20, as Andre gives them the ol’ “Bye Felicia” treatment and brushes him off like he’s nothing. Hogan of course whines and cries about his totally clean and legal elimination as we take a break. Back with Andre’s bloodlust satiatied, but he throws out Brunzell anyway at 7:48 and then everyone left wisely gangs up on him and he’s out at 8:10. Eh, he made his point. Then it’s EVERYONE OVERBOARD as they start diving out rapid-fire, including Tama and Hillbilly in quick succession, then Reed at 9:14.
Final Four: Koko B. Ware, Billy Jack Haynes, Smash and Hercules
Quite the final four there. Everyone pairs off and Koko makes a lame comeback on Herc, but he’s over and out at 10:15. So Billy Jack is alone with 2 heels and he manages to clothesline Smash out at 11:05, but goes after the Brian like a moron and gets thrown out at 11:22 to give Hercules the win. Hell of a battle royal, actually, with the great storyline between Hogan and Andre as they tease it coming down to them and then pull the rug out from everyone with Hulk’s shocking elimination. Once they were gone, though, it was pretty whatever. Really, I have no idea why they put Herc over here, since they weren’t doing anything with him anyway.
Meanwhile, Bobby goes off on a rant about how “we” won the match, and while it took 8 guys to put out Andre, it only took 1 Andre to put out Hogan.
Jake Roberts v. King Kong Bundy
Jake is wearing his rare red tights tonight, and they fight for the lockup to start and then Bundy suckers him into a test of strength. Jake fights out of that, so Bundy pounds him with forearms in the corner and goes to a facelock. Jake fights back with a kneelift and slugs him down, but Bobby steals the snake and runs away as we take a break. Back with Jake getting choked out by Bundy, and Bundy hits a pair of shoulderblocks to put Roberts down. Finally he charges one time too many and hits the corner, and Jake makes the comeback, but prematurely goes to whip out his snake and gets DQ’d for hitting the ref at 6:15. What a stupid finish. Bundy was wrestling MIDGETS on the PPV and he couldn’t do a job to super-hot Jake Roberts? Bundy tries to lay him out afterwards, but Jake hits him with a DDT and the ref actually tackles him to prevent the snake from getting put on Bundy. Vince is DISGUSTED that Jake wasn’t able to finish draping his snake all over Bundy, even though he didn’t actually win the match. Thankfully Jesse sets him straight, as usual. *1/2
WWF tag team titles: The Hart Foundation v. Danny Spivey & Tito Santana
It’s the traditional First Title Defense on Saturday Night’s Main Event, which marks a weird kind of synchronicity in that Tito was their first title defense, and their last months later. This is also the debut of Danny Davis as the second for the Harts. This was obviously to be Spivey and Rotundo, but Mike went back to Crockett just before the biggest PPV in history. Tito and Spivey get some quick double-teams on the Harts to start, but Spivey plays face in peril as Bret slingshots Neidhart onto him for two. We’ve clearly switched to the heat machine now as the crowd is burned out with Hogan and Andre done for the night. Santana gets the hot tag and hits the forearm on Bret, but he decides to go for the figure-four instead of the pin, and Davis sneaks in and clocks him with the megaphone for the pin at 5:30. Davis had nuclear heat in this role, but nothing in the ring to back it up with. Match was super-rushed but pretty OK. **
Ricky Steamboat v. Iron Sheik
Sheik attacks to start as a crazed Savage joins the commentary team, but Steamboat gets a back suplex and chops him down. Ricky goes to a facelock and they head to the floor and brawl. Sheik sends him into the stairs and Savage points out “That’s where I’d go to the top rope and drop down on him, yeah!” Back in, Sheik with a gut wrench for two. “I would’ve hooked the leg and taken him home with that suplex!” Sheik with the abdominal stretch, but Steamboat escapes and hits the flying chop for the pin at 3:28. Savage gets all riled up and threatens to throw his chair across the crowd at Steamboat, so Steamboat makes fun of his hand gestures and dares him to try it. Man, 12 year old me just ate this up with a spoon. **
Meanwhile, Hogan is now convinced that Andre cheated EVERY TIME he got his hand raised in the past and declares him “the undefeated obesity.” Well that’s a bit revisionist.
And finally, Roddy Piper talks with Gene about his impending retirement (the first one) and then we get a video tribute package with overdubbed piano music. I don’t even remember what the original selection was.
Definitely one of the more fun and memorable episodes of the show, especially the battle royal centerpiece where Andre was the KILLER. On the Burn It / Avoid It / Skim It / Watch It / Binge It scale, I’d give this one a solid WATCH IT.
I think I need little graphics like the Completionist has so I can do a visual representation. Oh well, something to work on.