By the fall of 1987 the WWF roster was loaded with talent in part because guys saw the spectacle of WrestleMania 3 and knew it was the place to be. Just since the last SNME in May, Ted DiBiase, Bam Bam Bigelow, Rick Rude, and the Ultimate Warrior made the jump to New York. None of those guys would make it on this show however and the main story was that of Macho Man Randy Savage’s gradual babyface turn in the summer as he chased the IC title. He would take on the Honky Tonk Man in this show from Hershey, PA. Our hosts are Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan. O Jesse Ventura, where art thou?
The Honky Tonk Man was in a great groove as the champion and he stated that he’s a real entertainer and would steal Elizabeth from Savage. In his own promo response, Savage bit the head of a Jimmy Hart LJN figure, said Honky didn’t know the difference between a G-string and a guitar string and was a dime store imitation of Elvis. He proclaimed that Honky was entering the danger zone, but probably not the Kenny Loggins kind.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Honky Tonk Man (C) (w/Jimmy Hart) for IC title
Honky gets in a cheap shot as the ref tries to break a tie-up, but Macho regains control with offense that didn’t change much as a babyface. It was one of the great babyface turns because it wasn’t a specific moment, but was rather gradual anger in Savage over Honky proclaiming himself the greatest IC champion of all time combined with the fans catching on to how cool the Macho Man was. Honky would get in a move, then would preen for Liz which was a mistake since he got hit with the Macho Man double axe handle from the top to the floor.
With Savage firmly in control, Jimmy Hart starts grabbing legs during pin attempts, first Honky then Savage, who drags his former manager in Memphis in and clobbers him back to the outside. This brings the tag champions the Hart Foundation to ringside, who drag their unconscious manager to the back as the show hits the ad break. Match devolves into a lot of punch and kick, but then Honky was never a great technician. He misses the fist drop off the top and reminds me how much I love his comic overselling of things. If anything, HTM was more of a Jerry Lawler as a heel impersonator than anything else, which makes sense as they are cousins. Savage’s father Angelo Poffo ran an outlaw promotion in Memphis in opposition as well at one time.
The Harts get in their shots on Savage, but the comeback is inevitable. Up top, and Savage lands the big elbow but the pin is broken up by a diving Bret Hart and the match is a DQ. Just like at This Tuesday in Texas 4 years later, the post-match angle would be more of the story here. Savage gets beat up, and Honky measures to hit him with the guitar. At the last second, Elizabeth throws herself in front and begs for mercy. Honky tells her to move, then just shoves her to the ground like a dick, breaking a strap on her dress too. Elizabeth leaves and the crowd is kind of in shock more than angry. There are screams when Savage takes the guitar to the head.
The Hulkster is dragged by Liz toward the ring and he cleans house. Oh look, he’s sharing a ring with Bret Hart! “You’re not on my level, brother” is probably what he said as he dispatched the Hitman. Savage isn’t sure what to make of this but of course the Megapowers unite with a handshake. Crowd is pretty delirious and Savage is now cemented as the #2 behind Hogan. One thing about this: I wish Jesse was on the call. Heenan at this point wasn’t as good as he would become and I can only imagine Jesse bitching about Hogan joining up with his old pal Savage.
But Hogan’s all tired now and will have trouble in his match! That’s the story anyway. His opponent is Sika, father of Roman Reigns and man who likes chicken since he’s eating one for the camera. Hogan proclaims that the Madness has met the Mania, but Heenan says Hogan will be looking for the Shell answer man. They used that line a LOT, and Shell wasn’t even a sponsor. I don’t know if anyone asks questions at a gas station anymore.
Hulk Hogan (C) vs Sika (w/Mr. Fuji) for the WWF World Title
How good could this be? If you want to bitch about Roman Reigns, go watch his dad first because he makes Roman look like Dean Malenko by comparison. Vince has a line I found very amusing about Sika, “This man is a consummate savage!” When I hear the word consummate, it’s usually followed by “businessman” or “professional” not savage. I enjoyed that. Hogan steals Fuji’s cane but the ref takes it away as I wonder if Hogan would be okay with his daughter dating a Samoan guy. I am snapped out of that thought when Hogan GOES UP TOP AND TRIES A SPLASH. He hits knees, but wow that was weird. Lot of Fuji interference follows, then a rest hold which is a claw to the pectoral muscle. Headbutts by Sika lead to the kickout, Hulk up, you know the rest.
Gene Okerlund is with Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff and his new manager Oliver Humperdink. Wonderful said he wasn’t going to take a back seat in the Heenan Family, even though he’s totally now in the back seat behind fellow Humperdink protégé Bam Bam Bigelow. We hear from Bundy, who is sans Bobby Heenan for this one.
King Kong Bundy vs Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff (w/Oliver Humperdink)
Bundy takes control early as I get distracted by the Paul Orndorff arm issue. Because of nerve damage sustained in 1986 that he never let heal properly, his right arm is much smaller than his left and it is all I notice with late era Mr. Wonderful. Orndorff does a sunset flip on a 450 lb guy which actually works for a two count. I wish I could explain what Humperdink was; he reminds me of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat with his odd attire. Very few men can pull off a babyface manager role, and he is not one of them.
Orndorff gets control and the Brain leaves the broadcast booth in a panic so he sends Andre the Giant to ringside. Other than a lone house show appearance in a tag match (a dark match on the last SNME taping), Andre was not active between Wrestlemania and October. He was slowly reintroduced to boos as everyone awaited the inevitable rematch with Hogan. His role was mainly that of a ringside troubleshooter for Heenan’s guys. And he got better clothes, which I hope is stuff they let him keep from promoting the Princess Bride. In any event, he grabs Orndorff by the trunks which allows Bundy to get the Avalanche and the win.
The Hart Foundation is with Okerlund who compares the attack on Savage to Pearl Harbor. Let’s ease up a smidge on the hyperbole, Gene. The Harts will be defending the tag belts against the Young Stallions.
The Hart Foundation (without Jimmy Hart) (C) vs The Young Stallions for the WWF Tag Team titles
This was an actual short-lived feud over the Stallions “stealing” the song “Crank It Up” from the Harts. I don’t know if that’s better or worse than a feud over a shampoo commercial. Referee Dave Hebner actually counts three on a crossbody by Powers, but it’s not the finish. Classic Hart Foundation transition sequence with Bret hitting a knee in the back from the apron. Paul Roma gets a powerslam on Bret but the pin is broken up. Out of nowhere, the Harts get the Hart Attack finisher for the win. Not sure what they ever saw in the Stallions, especially since the two guys hated each other.
And because you’ve read this far, it is now time for a great moment in WWF history. The premiere of the Piledriver video, the song that would be Koko B. Ware’s theme for the next several years.
It’s a total babyface construction crew, really. Hogan’s pants are hilarious. Why would Honky drive the convertible through a dusty construction zone? The expression on Vince’s face whenever they show him is great. And it ends with a forklift raising a port-o-john with a guy inside. What’s not to like here other than the weird Oliver Humperdink “pouring water on his crotch” thing? I remain convinced that the WWF left money on the table with Koko B. Ware because of their prejudice…against smaller guys. Oh and the race thing too.
Summary: The opening match and angle are worth viewing. And of course, so is Piledriver. But a bit too much Humperdink here.