Imagining a Theoretical Summerslam 1987

Seriously, this might have worked

Since we’ve reached mid-1987 in the Saturday Night’s Main Event series, it would be fun to imagine what a Summerslam card would have looked like in August of ’87. That show was not added until the following year. I will follow a couple of rules with this: I will not rebook the reality of what had happened; Guys who were injured/suspended will not be included; I will attempt to integrate it into what happened later.

Main Event

Hulk Hogan had a lighter schedule in the summer of 1987 as he was not working house shows on a nightly basis. Once he disposed of Andre, there weren’t a whole lot of viable challengers and at this point Andre was not active. The big man was gearing up to promote the September release of The Princess Bride, a movie in which Andre jobbed cleanly to Westley. Here are some potential challengers to Hogan:

– Randy Savage: This was done on selected house shows, but unlikely to be on PPV as it could be saved for a bigger moment. Savage was also in the middle of the face turn that would eventually lead to a world title win less than a year later.

– Kamala: This story was mostly played out in late 1986 so would be unlikely. Kamala was in the midst of a bit of a forgotten program with King Kong Bundy, with Kamala as the babyface.

– King Harley Race: This was done on house shows after WM3 and included a memorable match at MSG.

– Ted DiBiase: He was so new at this point that it would have been hard to have him main event a PPV so soon, especially since he would be losing cleanly.

– One Man Gang: Also new to WWF in 1987, he had the size of a Hogan challenger. But I would have held that over for a bit longer.

– Killer Khan: This is the most logical Hogan opponent because he doesn’t get hurt by the loss and was built up well on television. He would be out of the promotion soon anyway. I would add a stipulation to give it some juice, so make it a cage match.

Match: Hulk Hogan vs Killer Khan in a steel cage

Undercard

IC title match

The Honky Tonk Man would have to defend against either Ricky Steamboat or Randy Savage. A triple threat match would make sense but that just did not exist in 1987 so a choice will have to be made. I would give Steamboat his rematch, but have him lose due to Honky and Jimmy Hart cheating or have a DQ/countout finish. This keeps Savage free for his future matches with Honky down the road.

Match: The Honky Tonk Man vs Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat for the IC title

Tag Title Match

Since the tag division was very deep in 1987, a tag title defense must be made by the Hart Foundation. The British Bulldogs would make sense, but Dynamite Kid was generally not available at this point as he did not wrestle for two months from early August to October. The newly formed Strike Force could make sense, but I want to use them elsewhere. The Killer Bees were not available at that point. So that leaves one logical team: The Rougeau Brothers, who were not all that compelling as babyfaces but did have wins over the Harts. In fact, they “won” the titles at an August 1987 show in Montreal which was done for the benefit of the hometown boys. I’d have the Harts win this match to retain, though.

Match: The Hart Foundation vs The Rougeaus

Other matches:

Randy Savage needs to be on this card because he is too big of a star to not use. I would look to further cement his face turn by having him go against a heel here. The match listing for the Macho Man in the summer of 1987 is really crazy: he was alternating between heel and face on house shows on a nightly basis. He would face Honky Tonk Man one night, then Hulk Hogan, then go back to facing Butch Reed or One Man Gang. I would use him against King Harley Race because that match has a lot of potential, and they did have matches during this time.

Match: Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs King Harley Race

One of the best feuds of 1987 in WWF was the battle between Bobby Heenan’s Islanders and the Can-Am Connection, which started when the Islanders revealed Heenan to be their manager in a Superstars match with the Can-Ams. In mid-July, Tom Zenk left the WWF suddenly which was a strange move given the push the Can-Ams were given. Not only did he leave, but the WWF made sure to completely bury the guy as a quitter on TV. A sharp-looking Rick Martel said his old partner couldn’t hack it and that he would face the Islanders himself, which he did until Tito Santana came to the rescue and Strike Force was born. The team was formed officially on TV on 8/22, enough time for my proposed August 31 show at Madison Square Garden. The two teams tore it up for some of the best tag matches ever seen in the WWF.

Match: The Islanders vs Strike Force

The veteran team of The Magnificent Muraco and Bob Orton had a falling out on TV during the summer of 1987. Orton would be gone by year’s end and Muraco would get a minor babyface push, during which he allied with Superstar Billy Graham.

Match: “The Rock” Don Muraco vs “Cowboy” Bob Orton

Bobby Heenan brought “Ravishing” Rick Rude to the WWF in 1987 and just to be a dick, insisted that Paul Orndorff admit that Rude had the better body. Naturally, Mr. Wonderful took issue with this and left the Heenan Family on the Aug. 4 Superstars taping. I would not have Orndorff face Rude right away, but instead put him against Hercules in a power vs power match that would end in Rude interference or something to that effect.

Match: Hercules vs Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff

Demolition debuted in early 1987 and took a bit to find their way, with the role of Smash changing from Randy Colley to Barry Darsow. I would put them on this card and give them a win against a lesser team like the Young Stallions, but maybe give the Stallions a small bit of shine in having them look better against Demolition than anyone else had before.

Match: Demolition vs The Young Stallions

The One Man Gang debuted in the WWF after Wrestlemania 3 after leaving the UWF where he had a run as their champion. Also during this time Koko B. Ware was about to get some recognition for his work on the Piledriver music album, which would be released in September. I would possibly give Koko a fluke win over the Gang here to try and keep the Gang strong, but give the impression that Koko can use his speed and aerial work to take down bigger guys. In the aftermath, I’d have Gang go on a rampage and have jobbers do stretcher jobs against him on TV.

Match: Koko B. Ware vs The One Man Gang

The breakup of the original Dream Team never had much of a blowoff since Brutus Beefcake was moved into a feud with Adrian Adonis instead, which had to be scrapped when Adonis was fired in the spring. Greg Valentine and Dino Bravo had no chemistry as a team, but it was not the Hammer’s fault as he was always a solid hand in the ring. Beefcake and Valentine did have a match on national TV, but not until March 1988 on Saturday Night’s Main Event. I would bump that up to this slot to round out the 10 match card.

Match: Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs Greg “The Hammer” Valentine

So here is the card in order, which I would have held at Madison Square Garden on Monday Night August 31, 1987 (having bumped the other August MSG show to this date):

  1. The Islanders vs Strike Force
  2. Don Muraco vs Bob Orton
  3. Demolition vs Young Stallions
  4. Brutus Beefcake vs Greg Valentine
  5. Honky Tonk Man vs Ricky Steamboat

    INTERMISSION (as was the style at the time)

  6. Koko B. Ware vs One Man Gang
  7. Hercules vs Paul Orndorff
  8. The Hart Foundation vs the Rougeaus
  9. Randy Savage vs King Harley Race
  10. Hulk Hogan vs Killer Khan in a steel cage

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