The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #8 – 11.29.86
Taped from Los Angeles, CA on 11.15.86, drawing 16,000 people and a 9.7 rating.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura
Poor Elizabeth is stuck polishing Randy Savage’s belt, which establishes their relationship from the get-go.
Intercontinental title: Randy Savage v. Jake Roberts
This is a rare heel-heel match that didn’t have any particular buildup that I can recall. I know my wrestling geek friends at school were PUMPED to see this one, though. Vince is in full lecherous form over Elizabeth tonight, I should note. They trade hairpulls off an armbar to start, each trying to assert cheating dominance. Jake takes him down with a headlock and Savage pulls the hair to reverse, so Jake pulls the hair right back and then goes for the DDT, which sends Savage running to the floor to escape. Back in, Jake goes for another DDT, but Savage escapes and catches him with a boot out of the corner for two. Jesse sums up the strategy of both guys as “good down-home cheating” while Savage drops a knee for two. Elbow gets two. Savage chokes him out on the ropes and SHOOTS THE HALF for two, but Jake is too lanky and makes the ropes. Macho ties him up in the ropes and decides to go after the snake, as we take a break. Back with Jake still tied in the ropes, but he escapes and hits a kneelift, then retrieves his snake from under the ring where Savage hid it. Jake makes the comeback, clearly getting into the babyface role now, and hits a gourdbuster for two. Jake slugs away and goes for another DDT, but Savage ties himself up in the ropes and heads to the floor again. Wisely, Savage hides behind Elizabeth like a real man, and then sends Jake into the post after the distraction and follows with the double axehandle to the floor. Back in, Macho drops another axehandle for two and then pops up to the top again, but Jake catches him with a shot on the way down. Jake slugs away, but Macho cuts him off with a knee and they fight to the floor before taking turns beating up Hebner, who takes a crazy ragdoll bump onto the ringside table, and that’s a double DQ at 12:40. Sadly this one had no finish, because it was a barnburner and a hidden classic. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan buys the services of Hercules from Slick for a big pile of cash.
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Hercules Hernandez
Hogan’s pre-match promo is JUUUUUUUUUST a tad coked up, as he repeatedly points to his palm and declares “THIS IS WHERE THE POWER LIES!” while talking about he dove into the ocean and “hung and bung” with the Titanic, brother. Do they have cocaine in Los Angeles? Hulk has the strange yellow trunks and BLUE kneepads color scheme and it’s tripping me out. Hercules does the test of strength immediately and Hulk has to fight up, so Herc headbutts him and takes him to the corner for some elbows. Hulk fights back with a corner clothesline and a high knee and of course he stops to chase poor Bobby around for no reason, before hitting Herc with the big boot early. Elbow misses and Herc takes over and works on the back. Herc goes to the bearhug and then shirts to the torture rack, and Jesse is convinced that Hogan has quit, but Hercules lets him go like a moron. Hercules decides to go for a cover instead, and of course it’s time for the Hulk up and legdrop at 6:22. Pretty basic Hogan formula here. *1/2
Jesse Ventura sits down with Cowboy Bob Orton in a restaurant, and then we get the video package for Piper and Orton’s fractured friendship, which was originally set to Clarence Clemons’ “You’re a Friend of Mine” but now has been replaced by generic guitar music instead. And then Piper decides to out-coke Hogan’s promo with his own nutty promo, finishing with “I was rowdy before rowdy was cool”, which you can’t argue with.
Rowdy Roddy Piper v. Cowboy Bob Orton
Don Muraco gets thrown out by the ref before even doing anything to justify getting ejected, as Dave Hebner is just getting on Jesse’s nerves tonight all over the place. Interestingly, the Muraco-Orton team was managed by Jimmy Hart at this point, before shortly transitioning to Muraco’s manager Mr. Fuji instead. Piper goes after Orton in the corner and bites him for a bit, and then whips him into the other corner and beats on his former bodyguard before hitting a kneelift where he lands on his own back. Orton catches him with a forearm to block a backdrop and stomps Piper in a questionable area to take over, and Orton drops a fist for two. Orton misses an elbow and Piper knocks Orton into Jimmy Hart and pins him at 3:50 as the crowd goes nuts for him. Man, people were waiting FOREVER to cheer the guy and he’s just making the most out of it. *1/2 Feels like this could have been a really great house show main event but just didn’t get any time here.
Meanwhile, Piper reflects on his victory, but he’s not really pleased because the work has just begun. And when he’s good, he’s good, but when he’s bad, he’s much better.
The Hart Foundation v. The Killer Bees
Brunzell hits Bret with a high knee right away and the Bees double-team him in the corner. They do a series of rollup reversals and Anvil comes in, which allows Bret to get his customary cheapshot from the apron to take over. Harts with a Demolition elbow and Bret gets two on Brunzell, and Anvil comes in with a dropkick. Bret beats on Brunzell with forearms and Anvil chokes him out with the tag rope and then drops him on the top rope before Bret steps on the throat to choke him out. Vince is DISGUSTED by this cheating display. Bret comes in with the elbow and tosses Brunzell, and we take a break. Back with Jim fighting his way in with a sunset flip for two, but Bret cuts him off again and slugs away with forearms. Brunzell counters with a backslide for two and gets the dropkick, but Anvil comes in and cuts off the ring again while Bret distracts the ref. And then Anvil clears out both Bees, but of course they head under the ring and don their masks, at which point the cheating Bees switch places and Blair runs wild. Sleeper for Anvil, but Bret breaks it up from behind, at which point the Bees switch off AGAIN and Brunzell cradles Bret for the pin at 8:30. Well, the Harts got the last laugh in a couple of months. Fun match. **1/2
Koko B. Ware v. Nikolai Volkoff
Entrance music roulette here: Koko is using “Piledriver” here, which is of course ridiculous because that album didn’t come out for another year. Volkoff attacks in the corner and beats on him, but Koko makes a quick comeback with something like a rana and then a pair of dropkicks for two. Volkoff pins him down with a spinkick and drops him on the top rope, but he misses a kneedrop and Koko goes up with the missile dropkick for two. Volkoff comes back with the backbreaker for two, but he makes the classic mistake of picking up the babyface and then going to talk to Slick, at which point Koko gets the rollup for the pin at 2:32. I could have done without two of the exact same finish on the same show, but this was a surprisingly energetic match. **1/4
Dick Slater v. Magnificent Muraco
We’re joined in progress after a break with Muraco beating on Slater, but Slater escapes an airplane spin and gets a rollup for two. Slater goes up with his flying elbow, but Muraco is in the ropes. And then Fuji trips up the Rebel and Muraco puts him away with a clothesline at 2:05. Slater was such a geek. DUD
Not exactly an all-timer, but it was a really entertaining show up and down the card, complete with a dream match (at the time) to open the show and the Piper-Orton blowoff. Definitely worth a watch.