It is now time to review the biggest edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event that there ever was! The Main Event wasn’t in the same time slot, so I’m not counting that. This was a massive show. Another George Steele vs. Randy Savage match is a bummer, this feud has gone on forever and seems to never end. But this has the return of ANDRE THE GIANT. Nobody would turn down watching that! Nobody knew what kind of shape he was in, either. This being an edited, taped show, not everything has to go right. It can be fixed in editing, and I assume that things were made to look very right. The rating on NBC for this was massive. Let’s get to it!
– Taped to air March 14th, 1987, from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan
Our opening vignette starts with Hogan talking about the battle royal! Heenan talking on behalf of Andre! Elizabeth! The Hart Foundation! Jake Roberts! So, apparently the Randy Savage vs. George Steele match is for possession of Elizabeth. That doesn’t seem very fair to her! As usual, Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are our commentators, and they talk about the Hogan/Andre angle a bit. That leads into an interview with Hulk Hogan, where he says he’ll get Andre tonight. Hm.
George Steele vs. Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: This match is also “for” Elizabeth. Before the match, a portion of the match from SNME #9 is shown. That was quite alright. Now, Savage is with Gene Mean. After the interview, Vince says that George Steele and Elizabeth would make a great couple. Jesse comes back with a great and very accurate response. That would be gross! Now, George Steele is “interviewed”. He plays a good moron. They have Elizabeth sitting on a lifeguard chair. What the hell…
Match Review: Steele goes over to Elizabeth to lust over her, and Savage uses the distraction to give him the big double axehandle from the top rope, down to the floor. Savage then tries to carry Elizabeth to the back, but…RICKY STEAMBOAT intervenes in the aisleway to prevent that. Huge pop for that. Savage backs into the ring, and Steele clobbers him from behind. He rams Savage’s head into the turnbuckle as well, and starts eating the turnbuckle. I don’t know why the crowd likes that. Savage knees Steele from behind, and gives him a bodyslam as well. Up top the Macho Man goes, and down with a double axehandle. Savage continues with dirty choking and twisting tactics, until Steele does the same to the crowds delight. Savage tries a clothesline now, only to be bitten. Steele follows with a chokelift, and starts messing around with another turnbuckle. This time, he shoves the stuffing into the face of Savage, and of the referee. Now Steele walks over to Elizabeth and tries to force her to leave the ringside area. Savage uses that as an opportunity to hit Steele, and then drops the lifeguard chair right on top of him. Dave Hebner counts to 10, and Steele has been counted out at 4:30.
In the ring, Steele fights off Savage and throws him down to the floor. He also celebrates with the Intercontinental Title, and takes out a poster of Elizabeth that he hugs.
My Thoughts: This wasn’t as good as their match from January. Was nothing special, but it kept things going so that Savage would have something to do after losing his title to Steamboat. This feud has been going on for far too long, but both guys are really over…so that’s as good a reason as any. *.
The insert promo with Hulk Hogan before the battle royal is absolutely fucking hilarious. He rattles off random names, but Andre’s the most.
20 Man Battle Royal
Pre-Match Thoughts: Our participants tonight are Hillbilly Jim, RON BASS, Sika, The Islanders, Lanny Poffo, Hercules, Butch Reed, Paul Orndorff, Billy Jack Haynes, Koko B. Ware, Nikolai Volkoff, Blackjack Mulligan, Demolition, Honky Tonk Man, The Killer Bees, Andre the Giant, and HULK HOGAN (WWF Champion). Before the match begins, Andre the Giant is interviewed by Gene Mean.
Match Review: Hogan and Andre are supposed to square off at the start of the match, but Orndorff can’t resist and attacks Hogan himself. Around 30 seconds in, Hogan slams Honky out of the ring and down to the floor. HAHA. Andre tosses out Sika shortly after, and we’re down to 18 already. The big man tosses out Haku as well, with everyone selling like crazy for big Andre. Out goes Poffo as well, who did an amazing blade after an Andre headbutt. That would get anyone over, much less Andre. Hogan backdrops Bass to the outside, and Andre hip tosses Mulligan to the floor. Damn. Hogan sends Volkoff out as well, with the eliminations getting faster and faster. Blair goes out at the hands of Andre, who is just destroying guys. Now Hogan and Andre FINALLY COLLIDE, only for Orndorff and Ax of Demolition to attack Hogan and put a stop to that. Now Hogan dumps Orndorff to the outside, and Andre grabs a HOLD OF THE CHAMPION. HEADBUTT, GOOD BYE HOGAN. WOW.
After the commercial, Hogan is being ushered to the back by officials. Andre dumps Brunzell to the outside, and then everyone decides they want to throw out Andre. Which they do! The crowd can hardly believe it. Hercules sends Tama out, Hillbilly Jim throws Ax out, and Smash (not Barry Darsow) gets revenge by dumping Jim. Koko gives Butch Reed a dropkick to catapult him over the top, and our final four is Hercules, Smash, Billy Jack Haynes, and Koko B. Ware. They pair off, with Hercules destroying Koko. Haynes comes over to save Koko, but Herc dumps him anyway. He and Smash give Haynes a double clothesline, but Smash gets clotheslined over the top himself, by Haynes. Haynes and Hercules resume their feud now, with Heenan running distraction for Hercules. Haynes rushes over to Heenan, and Hercules finishes the battle royal by sending him over the top at 11:16.
In the back, Andre has some comments. Andre seems happy about Hercules victory, and Bobby Heenan certainly is as well. That’s a launch pad for him to discuss Hogan.
My Thoughts: This was a really strong battle royal. All I ask of those matches is to be entertained. I was certainly entertained. Aesthetically it wasn’t the greatest match, there weren’t very many MOVES. **3/4 and recommended. It’s essential viewing, really. Whether or not you think Andre or Hogan are good workers, they had a very interesting feud that every wrestling fan should have seen the major bits of.
King Kong Bundy (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake Roberts
Pre-Match Thoughts: Bundy’s NBC logo is hilarious looking. It’s basically just a fat blob. Roberts talks before the match, and as usual, it’s great talking. Some kid in the crowd has a Bundy action figure. That’s weird. Cool Hart Foundation insert before the commercial as well.
Match Review: Bundy clobbers Roberts to start the match, but notices he’s near the snake and moves out of the way. Roberts then moves away from a clothesline attempt, which serves to get him over as a super smart operator. A test of strength follows, and that undoes the work done to get Jake over. At least in my mind. Roberts fights out with some kicks, and gets hammered again. Bundy puts a front face-lock on Roberts now, and it lasts for some time. Roberts fights out, runs the ropes and gives Bundy a knee lift, then lands a big shot to knock the fat man down! And now, Bobby Heenan runs off with the snake. Is he stupid? Roberts chases him, as we head to commercial.
Back from that commercial, Jake has his bag, and everything’s back to normal. Except for Bundy standing on him, that is. Bundy follows with a clothesline, and a shoulderblock too. He tries another, and this time Roberts moves out of the way, causing Bundy to run into the turnbuckle at full speed. Roberts knocks Bundy down with a clothesline of his own, and GOES FOR THE BAG. The referee tries to stop him, but Roberts kicks him in the gut, leading to the fan favorite getting disqualified at 6:14.
After the match, Bundy slams Roberts, but misses a big fat elbow drop. Then…JAKE GIVES HIM THE DDT! To huge cheers! The snake is coming out of the bag now, but Heenan pulls Bundy out of the ring. Damn. Instead, Jake tries to put the snake on the referee.
My Thoughts: Nothing match, with the post-match completely eclipsing what happened during it. These two weren’t a very good match for one another, and I’m glad their mini-program stayed exactly that, mini. 1/2*. Yes, it was worse than the Steele vs. Savage match.
Tito Santana & Danny Spivey vs. The Hart Foundation (w/Jimmy Hart & Danny Davis) for the WWF Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: Before anything else, a video of the Foundation’s title win is shown. And now, they are interviewed by Gene Mean. His mention of Danny Davis pisses them off a tiny bit, but it doesn’t matter because…Davis will be at ringside! This doesn’t seem like a fair match. Remember that Danny Davis “screwed” over Tito Santana.
Match Review: Neidhart and Spivey start the match, with Spivey giving Neidhart a cross body for 2. Neidhart comes back with a clothesline, but gets whipped into Bret Hart’s boot. Damn. Neidhart is then given an atomic drop, as Bret tags in after that. So does Santana. Double back elbow from the challengers now, and a bodyslam by Santana on Bret. Spivey tags in, shoulderblocks Bret, and gets 2. Hart Foundation is looking very vulnerable here. The Foundation double teams Spivey for a bit, with Neidhart tagging in for a top rope throat clothesline. That’s what I’m calling that overused move now. Bret makes the switch, and gives Spivey an excellently executed backbreaker. Then Neidhart tags in, with a slingshot splash. That gets 2. Great athleticism shown by the Anvil. Bret gets back in the ring, chokes Spivey, and with the referee distracted, the Foundation goes for another double team. Up to the second rope Bret goes, and down with an elbow for 2. Tito tags in, but it’s behind the referee’s back as usual. Good job by Neidhart. Then the Foundation tries another double team, and Bret hits Neidhart with a running knee. That failed. Santana makes a real tag now, and runs Bret hard as possible into the turnbuckle. He knocks Neidhart and Davis off the ring apron, and lands another big flying forearm. Tito goes for the FIGURE-FOUR to a huge roar, but Danny Davis has a plan. The referee gets distracted, Davis walks into the ring, and clobbers him with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone. 1-2-3, and the Hart Foundation retains at 5:31. HAHA.
My Thoughts: I didn’t like how weak the Foundation were made to look, but that’s part of being heel champions. Bret sold everything like a beast, including after the match, still selling his knee after the figure-four. That’s what wrestling is supposed to be about, right there. **, it wasn’t long enough to be great, but it was long enough to have an impact and allow people to form an opinion of the new champions. It also set up the 6 man tag at WrestleMania III very well.
Ricky Steamboat vs. The Iron Sheik (w/Slick)
Pre-Match Thoughts: We segue straight into an interview with Steamboat, who is ready for his match with the Iron Sheik. That was pretty nicely done I’d have to say.
Match Review: After Steamboat makes his entrance, Randy Savage is on the ring apron! Great outfit he’s wearing, too. He leaves, and walks over to the commentary position, which is awesome. YES. COMMENTARY. Steamboat and Sheik are fighting during this, and Steamboat gets rammed into the spike on Sheik’s boots. He tosses Steamboat over the top and starts posing, but Steamboat skins the cat and gives him a back suplex. Sheik tries bowing to Steamboat to get him to stop kicking his ass, but that’s not going to happen. Steamboat gives Sheik a hip toss, and tries a front face-lock, which causes both men to head to the outside. Sheik rams Steamboat into the wooden stairs, and tries to suplex him back into the ring. The suplex works, but it only gets 2. Vince, Jesse, and Macho is one of the best commentary teams ever. Ever! Sheik puts Steamboat in an abdominal stretch now, only to be hip tossed out of it. Steamboat follows with a slam, and to the top rope he goes. Down he comes with a flying chop, and that gets a 3 count at 3:29.
My Thoughts: Match wasn’t great, but highly enjoyable. Everything about the Steamboat/Savage feud was awesome. The referee having to hold Steamboat back from chasing Savage was a neat touch as well. *1/2 for the match, one billion stars for the commentary.
In the back, Hulk Hogan has some comments. He looks sad at first, but his spirits pick up very quickly. Especially when talking about Andre’s obesity. That’s a low blow, brother.
After a commercial, Roddy Piper is interviewed by Gene Mean. As everyone knows, Piper is retiring, and there are some things for him to say. He says that he’s going to Hollywood, as we know. THEY LIVE! So, a video of his best moments in the WWF are shown to the tune of “My Way.” Aw damn. On that sad note, the show closes.
By a sad note, I did mean for people at the time. Not now. I know he’ll be back, but I’m slightly sad that I won’t be watching him as part of wrestling for a while. A few months to a year or so. Piper is the best, there’s really nothing more to say on that subject. This SNME was a really strong episode. The WrestleMania build was bordering on perfect, there were a few weak points, but not very many. Any watch of WrestleMania 3 probably requires this to be watched beforehand. At least in my opinion. You get the whole story that way. It was a really smart move to delay showing this after the taping for nearly a whole month. It was exceptionally smart to hold this in Detroit to build excitement for the big card. Strong showing. My next review, will of course be of WrestleMania III.
Best: The battle royal. I don’t hate battle royals, especially ones this entertaining.
Worst: Jake Roberts vs. King Kong Bundy. Probably necessary to show babyface Jake on NBC, but not a good match.
Card Rating: 7.5/10. Check it out!