The SmarK Rant for WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event – 05.02.87
(Originally written around the same time as the last one: March 2019. Since I’m gonna be reviewing Survivor Series this weekend, I might as well just repost this one now and that way I can be ready and armed to redo the September 87 show, which has some stuff you may have heard about before.)
Carrying on with another one that could use a redo. Don’t have to twist my arm to get me reviewing 1987 shows again.
Taped from South Bend, IN, home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish! That team name has always confused me, since the school name is French. Plus it’s kind of stereotyping the Irish. Connor aside.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura
Earlier today, on Superstars, a debate between Ken Patera and Bobby Heenan goes horribly wrong. Wait, why didn’t Patera wear his prison jumpsuit like Nailz did years later?
Jake Roberts v. Kamala
Fuj the Stooge debuts as Kamala’s new manager here after the failure of using King Curtis for the first while. Kamala runs away from the snake because he’s a mindless savage, you see, and also black. Unfortunately Jake turns his back while putting his snake away and Kamala attacks him with chops. Kamala with a bearhug, but Jake wisely stomps the toes, forcing Kamala to choke him out instead. That continues well past the bounds of the ref’s five count, but as usual Joey Marella doesn’t do anything about it. Jake makes a comeback but gets headbutted out of the ring and then suckers Kamala in for a pair of kneelifts. And then Fuji takes the ref and Kamala gets the pin with a big splash at 4:25 after some help from Kimchee. Well that was pretty abrupt. And then in an awesome angle that I completely forgot about, Kimchee unmasks as HONKY TONK MAN, and gives Jake the Shake Rattle N Roll. Kudos, 1987, you got me. *1/2
Meanwhile, at Wrestlemania III, some indeterminate amount of people view Hulk Hogan taking on the 600 pound Andre the Giant.
Lumberjack match: Randy Savage v. George Steele
Yes, it’s the END OF AN ERA, as much like HHH and Batista they have one last epic clash that’ll probably suck. Animal…Animal…DO I HAVE TO DRAW YOU A FREAKIN’ ROADMAP? All kinds of subplots bouncing around this one, as Ricky Steamboat is a lumberjack and having words with Hercules to lead up to THEIR match later tonight. I’m saddened that we didn’t get the gag from Finkel where he tweaks Macho by announcing him as “the former Intercontinental champion”. Steele tosses Macho out a couple of times and the lumberjacks throw him back in, but Savage runs Steele into the turnbuckle and beats on him in the corner. Savage goes up and drops the double axehandle, then tosses Animal to the floor for some abuse from the heels, but another subplot sees Duggan chasing off the commies with his 2×4 before referees escort him out.
We take a break and return with Steele making a comeback and ripping up the turnbuckle, but Macho cuts him off with a suplex and drops the knee, then tosses him out where the babyfaces gently shield him and send back in. And then Steele tosses Macho and Steamboat fires him right back in. What a sore winner. He already won the man’s title! Savage takes another quality bump over the top and Steamboat attacks him again like a coward, but Hercules heroically saves and Danny Davis comes in and knocks out Steele with a ringbell, and the big elbow finishes at 6:40 to win the feud. And then everyone brawls like it’s a pre-Survivor Series show until Jake Roberts comes out and puts the snake on Kimchee to clean house. “Well, Jake the Snake won the battle royal, I guess” notes Jesse. There was sure a lot of stuff packed into 10 minutes there. *
Meanwhile, Mean Gene sits down with 700 pound Andre and Bobby Heenan, and Bobby unveils the footage of Andre falling on top for the supposed three count early in the match. Pretty CONVENIENT that we only saw the count from the one angle where you couldn’t see Marella’s hand. Come on, like Hogan would ever pay off a referee!
WWF tag team titles, 2/3 falls: The Hart Foundation v. The British Bulldogs
Davey Boy works the arm on Bret to start, but Bret does a slick reversal into a headlock and Davey reverses into a crucifix for two. Bret cuts him off with a knee to the gut and Neidhart beats on him. Bret with a backbreaker for two and he drops the leg, but Bret misses a blind charge and Kid comes in. Dynamite with a short clothesline for two and snap suplex for two, but Neidhart comes in for a double-team while Tito chases Danny Davis around and the ref calls for the DQ at 4:32 to put the Bulldogs up 1-0.
We take a break and return with the second fall, and the Harts do a Demolition elbow on Kid for two. Harts cut off the ring and Bret does some classic heeling, suckering Davey in for the distraction while Anvil cheats and chokes Kid out. Kid appears to have busted his nose somewhere here, so Anvil bites it, but Bret misses a charge and crotches himself. Hot tag Davey Boy and he beats on Anvil with clotheslines for two, and the delayed suplex gets two. Anvil cuts him off again and the Harts double-team him in the corner, but Anvil hits Bret by mistake and Davey brings Dynamite in and presses him onto Neidhart for the pin at 9:47. Vince (and the crowd) thinks the titles change hands, but the first fall was a DQ so somehow this negates the title change. This was not actually a rule previous to this match, and in fact two very notable tag team title changes happened with DQs in 2/3 falls matches two years later. I’d say that the Bulldogs should file a grievance with Jack Tunney, but both of them are dead, and so is Tunney, so…what are ya gonna do? ***1/2
Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan doesn’t care if they want an investigation and rematch with the 800 pound Andre the Giant, because he fears no man and will live forever. The evidence is certainly on his side at the moment.
Intercontinental title: Ricky Steamboat v. Hercules
This is another great bit of business, as Randy Savage is revealed to be watching the match backstage and cheering for Steamboat, so that he can take the title back for himself. They slug it out to start and Herc wins that one, obvs, but Ricky uses his speed and dropkicks to put Hercules on the floor. Had you travelled back in time to 1987 and told me “The Rock will play Hercules in a Hollywood blockbuster” that sentence would have had a very different meaning to me. I’d also wonder why someone would invent a time machine and then choose to impart THAT particular information instead of, say, the Blue Jays World Series run in 92 and 93. Herc comes back and beats on Dragon while Savage does an inset where he sounds like he’s watching porn and ready to blow (“Come on, show me who the real champion is!”). Steamboat comes back with a neckbreaker and throws chops, but Herc goes to the eyes and gets the full nelson, at which point Savage freaks out and runs down to the ring to take care of business himself. He breaks up the move while Heenan is like “WTF?” and we take a break. Back with Hercules going AIRBORNE and missing a splash, allowing Steamboat to make the comeback with a neckbreaker and chops. Savage continues yelling “SAVE IT FOR ME!” at ringside. Not to be that way, but he’s referring to the belt and not, like Steamboat’s ass or whatever, right? I mean, not judging. Anyway, Herc decides to choke him out with the chain and that’s the DQ at 6:20. Steamboat, left laying in a heap and needing to have his title saved by a combination of Macho Man’s interference and a disqualification, looked like kind of a geek here. And then Savage comes in to tease helping Steamboat and Vince is like “MAYBE HE HAS A HINT OF DECENCY!” and then suddenly drops the big elbow on Steamboat instead. That’s our Macho Man! **1/2
Meanwhile, Jim Duggan is at ringside, and he sums up his philosophy as “I love the USA and I hate anyone who doesn’t”. What about Rick Martel?
The Can-Am Connection v. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
Slick makes his SNME debut here, and does a promo pre-match where he stands for their right to party…the COMMUNIST PARTY! And as promised, Volkoff tries to sing his national anthem and Duggan runs in and beats him up with a 2×4. Maybe he should build a wall. That seems like it would be an effective solution. The Can-Ams double-team Sheik, but Zenk quickly gets caught in the corner and suplexed multiple times. Volkoff comes in with the big boot and stomps Zenk down, and it’s more suplexes from the Sheik and into the abdominal stretch. Zenk hiptosses out and Sheik tosses him for some abuse right in front of Duggan until finally he can take no more and runs in with the 2×4. This would seem to warrant a disqualification, but Zenk rolls up Sheik for the pin at 4:00 instead. HE WAS STANDING IN THE RING WITH A WEAPON! “He’s looking for a commie!” notes Vince. Well that tactic sure didn’t work out for Joseph McCarthy, did it? Duggan needs better role models. Energetic match, though. **1/2
Damn, between his shitty refereeing job at WM3 and his subpar work all night here, one thing is for certain: Joey Marella is the WORST.
On the scale of Burn It / Avoid It / Skim It / Watch It / Binge it, I give this episode a solid WATCH IT. Lots of stuff going on to hold your attention and a couple of classic angles, plus a classic tag title match, make this one a keeper.