WWF Saturday Night's Main Event - March 14, 1987
by Erick Von Erich
Originally taped on February 21, 1987 from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The WWF is still building towards WrestleMania III, so we get an opening promo from Hulk Hogan, who's itching to get at Andre the Giant for the first time since Andre's infamous heel turn. We also get words from Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (speaking for Andre), the Hart Foundation, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and ...Elizabeth?! Yup, her mangerial services are on the line in a match tonight. Our hosts are the main SNME team of Vince McMahon and Jesse "the Body" Ventura. Along with "Mean" Gene Okerlund conducting the pre-match interviews. But with so much going on in the World Wrestling Federation, let's get down to ringside for...
WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Oh golly... I thought the last SNME I recapped was the blow-off for this program, but it appears they had one more saved up. As mentioned above, the winner gets Elizabeth as their manager. In kayfabe terms I have to say: how the hell did the seemingly imbecilic George get that stipulation officially added?! Quite a coup. Captain Lou would be proud. Honestly I'm surprised Liz wasn't at stake, more often, during her career. Yet what will happen if George wins by countout or DQ-- no title, but he'd still get Liz? Oh, the questions. Liz gets her own special high-chair at ringside and as George goes to check on her, Savage flies off the top with a double axe-handle. Savage tries to take Liz to the back, but Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat blocks him in the aisle. Savage is forced back into the ring and gets clubbed by George. He bulldogs Savage into the turnbuckles, twice, then stops to have a snack. Savage hits him with a knee to the back and takes over. Slam, another double axe-handle from the top, then Savage chokes him on the bottom rope. George goes to the eyes, bites Savage's arm, then eats another turnbuckle and throws the stuffing. Savage gets a faceful and sells it like it's battery acid! George wanders out to see Liz, which allows Savage to recover, toss him into the railing then dump the high-chair on him. Savages rolls back in and wins by countout. George flings the chair into the ring, tosses Savage over the top and stands tall with the IC belt. He pulls out an Elizabeth poster and gives it a hug for good measure.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (c) (w/Elizabeth) vs. George "The Animal" Steele
20-Man Battle Royal
Participants: Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Sika, Ax, Smash, Jim Brunzell, B. Brian Blair, Hercules, Hillbilly Jim, Butch Reed, Ron Bass, Nikolai Volkoff, Haku, Tama, Paul Orndorff, Billy Jack Haynes, Lanny Poffo, Honky Tonk Man, Blackjack Mulligan, Koko B. Ware
This might be Andre's first official in-ring appearance since his heel turn, so he's obviously the center of attention for both the announcers and the crowd. Hogan enters last to allow for a mini-confrontation with Andre as he gets into the ring. Bell rings to start the match and it's Orndorff who attacks Hogan, first. The ring splits in two, as all the heels beat on Hogan, while all the faces (and Sika) beat on Andre. Hogan recovers and quickly slams Honky Tonk Man to the floor. Sika matches his WrestleMania IV longevity when he gets tossed by Andre at about the one minute mark. Mostly punching and huigging, but Andre manhandles Hilbilly Jim, Mulligan and the Islanders. Andre tosses his future tag team buddy Haku, then headbutts and tosses Lanny Poffo. Poffo does a blade and stetcher job to sell the headbutt, even. In a completely random pairing, Butch Reed and Ron Bass slug it out. Hogan ducks and eliminates Bass, while Andre tosses Mulligan. Just to be a mean guy, Andre headbutts Ax. Volkoff is sent out, courtesy of Hogan. Andre keeps pace by tossing Blair. Orndorff and Herc whip Hogan into Andre and we finally get a mid-ring stand-off. Doesn't last long, as Koko tries to bearhug Andre and the other heels attack Hogan. Hogan fights back and slams Orndorff over the top... but Andre is waiting, delivers a headbutt and eliminates Hogan!
Koko tries to mess with Andre, again, but gets brushed away. Ha! Andre almost eliminates himself as he throws Brunzell out. All 8 remaining guys finally get the message and team up to dump Andre. Things start weeding out, quickly, as Herc tosses Tama and Hillbilly tosses Ax. Smash ducks under and eliminates Hillbilly. Butch Reed misses a clothesline and gets drop-kicked out by Koko.
Final four is Smash, Koko B. Ware, Billy Jack Haynes and Hercules. Herc curb-stomps Koko until Haynes makes the save. Haynes squres off with Smash, while Herc dumps Koko. Herc and Smash try a double-team manuver, but Haynes counters and eliminates Smash. It's now time for another Never-ending MidCard Feud Moment as we get Haynes/Herc for a bit. Bobby Heenan jumps up on the apron to distract. Haynes, being a complete dolt, goes after Heenan, which allows Herc to run up from behind, dump him and win the battle royal.
Nothing amazing, but it served its purpose to pump up Andre/Hogan. Especially with the first half of the match, when they were going tit-for-tat, eliminating everybody else. Common expectation would've been to have Andre win, so it's somewhat suprising that Hercules got the rub. Although, as soon as Hogan and Andre left, they switched gears and used the rest of the match to promote the Billy Jack vs. Herc program. In that sense, very little time was wasted.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. King Kong Bundy (w/Bobby Heenan)
Bundy tries starting off with a waistlock (?), which Jake counters into an armbar. Bundy freaks out a little bit at Damien's bag. Vince McMahon talks about "Damien's jaws coming down on Bundy"... umm, wasn't it obvious that Damien was a constrictor? They lock-up and Jake kicks away to break. Time for the Penultimate Knucklelock Challenge. Bundy tosses him around, then hooks a front facelock in the middle of the ring. Jake gets a kneelift off the ropes and finally puts Bundy down with a series of jabs. Heenan grabs Damien's bag and runs back to the lcoker room. Jake chases him out, just in time for the commercial break. Jake returns, with Damien, and gets thumped by Bundy. Bundy whips him in for a nice clohtesline and two charging shoulderblocks. Jakes dodges a third and Bundy hits the turnbuckle. Jake makes the comeback, but decides to go for Damien's bag. The ref tries to shop, but gets shoved aside, drawing the disqualification. Bundy attacks, slams Jake, then DROPS HIS STRAPS to miss a diving elbow. That's always a sign that a Big Guy is Pissed; when the straps go down. Jake then hits the DDT on Bundy to a monster pop. Heenan pulls Bundy out of the ring before Damien can be applied. The ref gets a little bit of it, instead.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
Played up as the Harts' first title defense on TV. In the pre-match promo, they bring in their "ringside observer", the recently "suspended for LIFE" Danny Davis. Vince and Jesse bring up the fact that Davis was the ref when Tito lost his Intercontinental title, so there's some relevance to this patchwork team. Jim "The Anvil" Nedihart makes sure to give the cameras a trademark: "yeah, baby" on the way to the ring. Spivey starts with Anvil and gets a quick high-cross bodypress for 2. He hits the ropes again, but Anvil cleaves him with a clothesline. Spivey reverses an Irish-whip and actually takes over with an atomic drop on Anvil, then whips the Hitman over to Tito. Double-team elbow, then Tito and HItman criss-cross (jump! jump!). Hitman does a leadfrog, then Tito puts on the brakes and slams him. Shoulderblock from Spivey gets 2, as Anvil makes the save. The Harts finally isolate Spivey in their corner and work him over. Back-breaker from Hitman, then the slingshot splash from Anvil for 2. More double-teaming on Spivey as Hitman lands his flying elbowdrop for another 2. Hitman applies a front facelock, so we can have the usual "babyface makes the tag, but Anvil distracts the ref" spot. Really, was there ever a (heel) Hart Foundation match that DIDN'T have that spot?! Another double-team effort backfires, allowing Spivey to make the hot tag to Tito. Tito cleans house, including Hitman's trademark "THUNK" into the turnbuckle and a flying forearm for Anvil. Danny Davis gets up on the apron and gets nailed, as well. Flying forearm connects on Hitman, then Tito hooks in the figure four! That's the cue for Jimmy Hart and the Anvil to distract the referee and Spivey, respectively. Davis grabs the megaphone, sneaks into the ring and smacks Tito. Of course, the ref turns around, sees Hitman covering Tito and counts to 3 as the Harts retain. Fairly short, but the match did its job and kept a decent pace. Even when Spivey was in there. I don't think anybody expected the faces to win, so it was just a showcase for the new, sneaky, evil tag champs and their new flunky.
Hart Foundation (c) (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Tito Santana & Danny Spivey
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. The Iron Sheik (w/Slick)
I love that the screen graphics include each guy's' logo...and that Sheik's has his pointy boot! Right before the bell, Randy Savage runs down to the apron, then hops the rail into the crowd and joins the commentary booth. Sheik uses the distraction to work over Steamer, while Savage runs him down on the mic. Steamer gets tossed, but does the skin-the-cat, slides under Sheik's legs and delivers an atomic drop. Sayyyyy... they did that SAME EXACT SPOT in 1991 with "The Dragon vs. Col. Mustafa" on Prime Time Wrestling! Chops, side headlock and a criss-cross hip-toss as the "Dragon is breathing fire". They roll outside and Sheik introduces Steamer to the steps. Sheik suplexes him in from the apron for a 2 count. Steamer breaks an abdominal stretch, lands a few chops, slams Sheik, then goes up top for a flying chop and scores the 3 count. Sheik and Slick evaporate from the ring, so Steamer and Savage can point at each other. Match was a VERY paint-by-number affair and just a build for WrestleMania III. Sheik looked more like Jose Estrada than a credible opponent for Steamer... but I'm not sure who else you would throw out there to build him up.
Speical Tribute to "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
"Mean" Gene is in the back to introduce Piper, mentioning his upcoming retirement and relating him to Rocky Marciano. Piper basically does a non-kayfabe interview, talking about his move to Hollywood and thanking the fans. A music video of Piper's WWF highlights follows, set to the tune of Frank Sinatra's "My Way". Includes all the stuff you'd expect: TNT segments, hanging with "Ace", Cyndi Lauper on Piper's Pit, interrupting Uncle Elmer's wedding, "Super Rod", destroying the Flower Shop, braining Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, etc. Piper highlights always makes me smile, so I enjoyed this.
Vince and Jesse sign off and quickly plug the next SNME on May 2. I'm a little surprised they didn't mention "WrestleMania III", but they probably thought we got the message.
Why'd You Watch This?
Like the January '87 SNME, this is more of the "Road to WrestleMania III". Santana/Spivey vs. Hart Foundation is probably the best match from a quality standpoint and the rest is just there to advance storylines. The lasting impression you get from this episode is Andre/Hogan in the battle royal as that was the WWF's intent. If you think about it, aside from their initial confrontations on Piper's Pit, Andre and Hogan did very little active build to their WrestleMania III main event. So overall, this is a quality episode, but not exactly in the upper tier of the (original) SNME series.
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