The SmarK Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #12 – 10.03.87
(Originally written 11.23.20)
You may have also heard about this show before. The previous version I had was from 2007, which means…ugh…new format and it’s GOTTA GO. I will not rest until they’re all purged from my archives.
For some reason the Network version has removed the background bassline music from the pre-show promos and replaced it with generic crowd noise. I don’t even understand them.
Taped from Hershey, PA (on 09/23), drawing 9000 and a 9.7 rating. That’s actually a pretty fast turnaround for these, since they were normally a month behind.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan
Intercontinental title: Honky Tonk Man v. Randy Savage
So Savage was getting cheered around the horn and they decided to do a little experiment by having him substitute for Hogan in main events, and that went pretty well. So now we get this. Savage’s promo is primo coked up nonsense, as he’s been in the DANGER ZONE, yeah, south of Mars and north of Hell, dig it! Also Jimmy Hart doesn’t know the difference between a G-String and a guitar string. Mean Gene: “Ha! That’s funny!” Savage: “NO IT’S NOT!” I feel like that needed a Goodfellas reaction from Savage instead. Longtime heel Savage is just instantly into babyface mode, as Honky hits him with a cheapshot in the corner and Savage goes right to selling, but then makes a comeback and necks Honky on the top rope. Savage drops a knee and slugs away in the corner, but Jimmy Hart goes after Liz and Savage heads out to begin another fundamental shift in the relationship, as he defends her instead of using her as a shield. Back in the ring, Macho puts Honky down with another elbow and slugs away, but he misses a kneedrop and Honky goes to work, but then goes to put the moves on Elizabeth, which results in another beating from Savage and a flying axehandle. I feel like angering the jealous monster on vast amounts of drugs is, I dunno, a BAD idea? Savage gets a backdrop suplex for two, but Jimmy breaks up the count, so Macho goes up with a flying axehandle for two and Jimmy pulls Honky into the ropes this time. Finally Savage has had enough of this shit and puts the beating on Jimmy, but Honky tries a sunset flip. And Savage punches him in the head to block that, so Honky runs away again while the Hart Foundation show up to provide some backup and moral support. And they’re defending the titles later, so it even makes sense that they’re in the building! Back in the ring, Savage continues beating on Honky while Bret does this whole comedy routine of trying to revive Jimmy Hart, who is still completely out cold from Savage’s single punch. They haul him back to the dressing room and we take a break, and return with Honky and the Harts returning for more of a beating from Savage. Honky gets a couple of kicks but Macho just keeps destroying him, before missing a blind charge to finally put Honky on offense. He slugs away in the corner and goes up for the flying fist, but that misses and now he’s fucked. Savage makes the comeback and just chokes him out in the corner and gets a back elbow for two. Snap suplex gets two. Honky tosses him out for a beatdown from the Harts and Vince knows EXACTLY how to call this for maximum impact, and back in Honky gets two. Honky goes for the finish, but Savage somehow escapes his ridiculous neckbreaker and goes up to drop the elbow, at which point Bret Hart comes in for the DQ at 15:18 and the beatdown commences.
So as you may have heard about before, the Harts do a 3-on-1 beating on Savage and Honky grabs his guitar, at which point Elizabeth desperately steps in and pleads for mercy. And then Honky, in the scumbag heel move of the century, shoves her down and the crowd is SHOCKED. And then they finish smashing the guitar on Randy, but Liz runs back to the dressing room for the nuclear option, and finds Hulk Hogan to make the save. Probably had to pay him in advance. Hulk actually does some good acting here, coming down with a “WTF?” look on his face while Liz drags him out, and then seeing the Harts in the ring and suddenly realizing that EVIL IS AFOOT and he runs in to right wrongs. At which point Savage offers the handshake (not Hulk, notice) and the Megapowers are born. And Vince is like…
…and then like…
…And then Fry was like…
And then the dog was like…
Ha, that dog cracks me up. HE THINKS HE’S PEOPLE!
So to call this an atomic bomb on the wrestling industry is probably even underselling it a bit. What was Crockett gonna do to ever top this? Jesus, it was still awesome all these years later and I’ve seen it a million times. Also the match was GREAT. Honky was a sneaky underrated guy who knew exactly how to do the shit he needed to do. ***1/2 Another great touch that made it feel more spontaneous and real: They didn’t have Hogan’s music cued up when he got pulled out to make the save, which is another touch that made it seem like Hulk wasn’t expecting to be involved.
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Sika
The “Night of Champions” continues with a questionable challenger for Hulk, but apparently Kamala declined to eat the legdrop on national TV and no-showed here. How STUPID do you have to be to turn down that kind of payday? Probably didn’t have to ask Sika twice. Sika attacks in the corner and stomps Hulk down, allowing Fuji to get some choking in and hit Hogan in the throat with the cane. But Hulk no-sells it and pops up to slug Sika to the floor, where Kimchee is hanging around for some reason. Back in, Hulk drops elbows and then goes after Kimchee, but Sika hits him with some kind of international object and sends him to the floor. Hulk continues no-selling and runs Sika into the post, but he steals Fuji’s cane and he’s threatening referees like a maniac, at which point we take a break. Back with no actual break in the action, at which point Hulk dodges a charging Sika, but tries a BIG SPLASH?!? Yeah that goes badly for him, and Sika goes to work with his samoan martial arts. “What’s Hogan going to do now, run to the dressing room and get Elizabeth to help him?” asks Bobby. Sika uses his various nerveholds and suchlike, but Hulk barely affords him the honor of taking his comeback before dropping the leg at 10:00 to finish him off. Like he seriously just slammed him and dropped the leg, not even doing the usual routine. That’s just RUDE. Not much to this one. *1/2
Meanwhile, Mr. Wonderful and his new and grossly mismatched manager Oliver Humperdink are coming after Bobby Heenan. Who the fuck looked at Humperdink and thought that he would make a good BABYFACE? He literally looked like a troll!
King Kong Bundy v. Paul Orndorff
Orndorff attacks to start and slugs away in the corner, but Bundy chokes him out on the ropes and clubbers on him with forearms. Meanwhile Vince suggests that Bobby is scared to be at ringside for this, which is why he’s on commentary tonight instead. Bundy beats on Orndorff with elbows and rakes the eyes for good measure, but misses a big fat elbow and Orndorff makes a comeback and goes up with an elbow from the middle. Boogie Woogie elbow gets two, and this prompts Bobby to abandon the broadcast position while Orndorff gets a dropkick for two. So this brings Andre out to offer his assistance at ringside, and we take a break. Back with Paul making a comeback and slugging away in the corner, but Bundy takes him down with a chinlock, and then misses the Avalanche. But then Andre grabs Orndorff’s tights and holds him in the corner, and a second one finishes at 10:00. Hell of a start to Orndorff’s big babyface push with Humperdink there. **
Meanwhile, the Harts feel like they’re completely justified in beating up Savage earlier tonight because they were just defending their manager! And Mean Gene calls them worse than Pearl Harbor and throws down the microphone in disgust before storming off. Real professional there, Scheme Gene.
WWF World tag team title: The Hart Foundation v. The Young Stallions
The Stallions won a non-title match to kick off their semi-push, but then spent weeks jobbing to the Harts around the horn. The Stallions double-team Bret to start and Powers gets a powerslam for two, but Bret catches him with a knee to the gut and Anvil comes in and pounds away. Powers tries a comeback and Bret gets his patented knee from the apron and then drops an elbow on him before choking him out. Bret slugs him down, but Powers tries a leapfrog and kind of lands on his knees in a weird botch, making the hot tag to Roma regardless. Double dropkick puts Anvil on the floor and Roma gets his big powerslam for two on Bret, but Anvil makes the save and they put the geeks away with the Hart Attack at 4:34. Just a basic Superstars-level squash. *
Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage are pretty concerned about BLOWING UP THE UNIVERSE with the combined power of Macho Madness and Hulkamania, as they keep doing additional handshakes like excited teenagers making out for the first time. Aw, they’re so cute!
And we finish with the WORLD PREMIERE of the Piledriver music video. The idea of having to live in a house constructed by Don Muraco, Billy Graham and Billy Jack Haynes is, frankly, terrifying. I feel like after the first round of drugs it would be like Ned’s rebuilt house after the hurricane. Rooms that don’t go anywhere, rooms with too much electricity, you name it.
This was of course an all-timer, one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. But your mileage may vary of course. I don’t know why. But it might.