Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Saturday Night’s Main Event X – 3/14/87

*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV and TV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***

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Saturday Night’s Main Event X – 3/14/87

March 14, 1987
Joe Louis Arena
Detroit, MI
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura
Attendance: 21,000

1) Randy Savage defeats George Steele to retain WWF Intercontinental Title via countout at 4:30

Fun Fact: This is the continuing feud between Randy Savage and the love-struck George Steele. In this rematch from SNME IX, an additional stipulation has been added where both the IC title and Elizabeth are on the line.

Scott: I honestly thought this ridiculous feud was over, but sadly it isn’t. George Steele is so out of style compared to the new crop of superstars that have arrived on the scene. Everything is all about Elizabeth in this match and we forget that Steele has gotten more than his share of IC Title shots and now we see the final one. Savage tries to bolt quickly with Liz but, as expected, Ricky Steamboat cuts him off at the aisle and forces the Macho Man back in the ring. Mercifully the match is only four and a half minutes, mostly with Steele mangling Savage in the early going. Then Steele the idiot starts to tear the turnbuckle up which gives Savage the advantage. They go back and forth with the usual punching and biting. Steele goes to another turnbuckle and throws stuffing in Savage’s face. Steele is horrendous, running around the ring and grabbing Elizabeth. The match mercifully ends in a countout and we hope that this stupid feud is finally over and Savage can focus on Ricky Steamboat and a real feud for the Intercontinental Championship. Grade: *

JT: As we inch towards the monstrous WrestleMania III, we squeeze in our tenth edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event. Power, some things just never change. Yet again we have another Randy Savage/George Steele match in the feud that won’t end. And this time the stakes are even higher as both the IC Title and Miss Elizabeth are on the line. Lots to gain for the Animal, lots to lose for Macho. Of course, at our last show back in January, Ricky Steamboat made his big return from injury when these two were locked in battle. Now, Steamboat has a showdown with Savage at the Silverdome and you would have to assume he will show up during this one. Poor Liz had to sit on a red, white and blue lifeguard chair, hung on display, her career up for grabs. Steele went over there to say hi to Liz but Savage came off the top and cracked him with an axe handle blow. Macho then tried to walk off with Liz but Steamboat showed up and blocked his exit, driving him back to the ring so the match could get started. Back in the ring, Steele went to work, clubbing away at the champ before ramming his head into the turnbuckle. However, he would distract himself by tearing the buckle open and chucking the foam around. Savage took advantage and drilled him with a knee and a slam. Idiot. Steele would make a comeback, biting Savage and then tossing him with a tree slam. But he again ripped apart another buckle, this time jamming the foam in Savage’s face. Instead of going for a pin, he went over to Liz and led her off her perch, again giving Savage a chance to knock him down. Macho then dropped the giant chair on Steele’s back, leaving him trapped and eventually counted out. Steele really wasn’t very bright here at all. The Animal beat on Savage and chucked him to the floor but it was too little, too late. This was marginally better than most Steele stuff, but that isn’t saying much. Savage deserves much more by this point. Grade: 1/2*

2) Hercules wins a 20 Man Battle Royal

Entrants:
Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Ron Bass, B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Ax, Smash, Haku, Tama, Billy Jack Haynes, Hillbilly Jim, Honky Tonk Man, Blackjack Mulligan, Paul Orndorff, Lanny Poffo, Butch Reed, Sika, Nikolai Volkoff, Koko B. Ware, Hercules

Fun Fact: Ronald Heard began his wrestling career in 1975, mainly working his way through the NWA territories. Depending on what territory he was in at the time, he either went by “Cowboy” Ron Bass, “Outlaw” Ron Bass or Sam Oliver Bass. The Outlaw made his way into the Federation here in 1987 where he would take a predominantly midcard role. Bass was unique in his heel run in the WWF in that he did not have a manager during his time. Bass would take part in the inaugural Survivor Series event later this year as well as the inaugural Royal Rumble in 1988.

Fun Fact II: The Islanders, made up of Haku and Tama, made their debut as a team in the WWF in 1986. Haku, formerly King Tonga, came into the Federation in 1985 while Tama, formerly the Tonga Kid, had been in the the promotion 1984 before leaving after a feud with Roddy Piper. When he returned 1986, he was given his new name and paired with Haku. The duo began their run as faces, wrestling primarily early card matches. With the depth of teams in the Federation at this time, the Islanders couldn’t catch a substantial break. In a few short months, we will see this team make a heel turn that will serve them well.

Fun Fact III: William Albert Haynes III was born in Portland, Oregon in 1953. He began his wrestling training in Calgary in Stu Hart’s Dungeon and competed in Stampede Wrestling, teaming with Bruce Hart. He later moved on to the Pacific Northwest territory and took on the character name he is best known for, Billy Jack Haynes. Haynes had very short stays in many territories through the mid 80s including Florida, WCCW and Jim Crockett Promotions. He came to the WWF in 1986, first going after the IC title and then moving on to his most notable feud with Hernandez over which competitor had the better Full Nelson hold.

Fun Fact IV: Bruce Reed, aka Butch Reed, was born in 1954 in Warrensburg, Missouri. After a brief career in pro football with the Kansas City Chiefs, Reed began training as a professional wrestler in Kansas City in 1978. Through the early 80s Reed travelled through the territories, primarily in Kansas City, Georgia and Florida. In 1983 he joined Bill Watts’ Mid-South territory where he would feud with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and the Junkyard Dog. During his run in Mid-South, Reed would win the Mid-South Tag Team Championship with Jim Neidhart and would win the Mid-South North American Heavyweight Championship multiple times. He returned to Kansas City in 1986 where he teamed with Rufus R. Jones to form the Soul Patrol before turning on Jones and joining up with his new manager, Slick. During the summer of ‘86, Reed lost a Loser Leaves Town match against Bruiser Brody. Reed and Slick both left Kansas City and were brought into the WWF together in July 1986. Reed colored his hair blonde and took on the moniker “The Natural” Butch Reed.

Fun Fact V: Leati “Sika” Anoaʻi was born in 1945 in American Samoa. He is part of the famous Anoaʻi wrestling family. Sika began his career in 1974 and teamed with his brother Afa to form The Wild Samoans tag team. The team signed with the WWF in 1979 and held the tag team championships on three different occasions. Four days after winning their third championship, Sika was injured during a match and was forced to take time off. When he returned, Afa had left the WWF, forcing Sika to find another tag partner. He began teaming with Kamala and was managed initially by The Wizard and later by Mr. Fuji. During this time, Sika also wrestled as a singles competitor under Mr. Fuji’s watch.

Fun Fact VI: The tag team Demolition was made up of Bill Eadie (Ax) and Barry Darsow (Smash). The team made their debut in January 1987 with Randy Colley (Moondog Rex) as a member of the team instead of Darsow. The change was made to Darsow in February due to people recognizing Colley from his former character. Darsow had been working with Jim Crockett Promotions as Krusher Khruschev, but had recently left the promotion after a dispute. The team came to the ring dress in silver, white and red face paint, studded leather vests and masks. At this time, the Road Warriors had a similar look and some comparisons were made between the two teams from different promotions. Ax and Smash would become mainstays in the tag title picture through the mid-late 80s.

Fun Fact VII: Roy Wayne Ferris was born in Bolivar, Tennessee in January 1953. After graduating from the University of Memphis in 1975 and a short run as a high school football coach, Ferris began training as a professional wrestler, making his debut in 1977 in the Memphis territory. He travelled the territories, spending time in the AWA, Mid-Atlantic, WWC and Stampede, wrestling under his Wayne Ferris name. In 1986, he signed with the WWF and came in with a rock and roll gimmick with the new name, The Honky Tonk Man, a takeoff of Elvis Pressley. He initially came in as a babyface favorite, but soon after debuting shot a series of vignettes insulting the audience, turning him heel.

Scott: This is a perfect opportunity for the Hogan/Andre feud to get fired up in a big way on a national stage. I remember that Piper’s Pit like it was yesterday, when Andre walked out with Bobby Heenan and ripped the shirt and the cross off of Hogan. Wow that was gigantic and maybe the biggest heel turn in the WWF since Larry Zbyzsko and Bruno Sammartino. With a battle royal being a perfect stage for Andre to show his power by just chucking guys out of the ring and then beating down Hogan. Andre busted Lanny Poffo open hardway on a headbutt, and starts chucking big guys like Blackjack Mulligan out of the ring. Then we get the obligatory face to face between Hogan and Andre. Hogan gets whipped into Andre but then the heels go after Hogan and the face to face is cut off. Hogan eliminates Orndorff but Andre grabs him from behind, headbutts him and chucks Hogan out of the ring to eliminate him. Andre’s awesome hand wave as if Hogan is garbage was perfect. Now here’s where I think the booking made no sense. Andre should have won this thing and continued pitching guys over the top rope and he and Bobby Heenan should have stood tall here and really pulled the rip cord on the storyline. I mean even if it wasn’t clearly announced, it is obvious Hogan/Andre is going to be the main event at WrestleMania III. Now this was taped over a month earlier so WrestleMania wasn’t even mentioned. The rest of the battle royal was anticlimactic, even as Bobby’s other guy Hercules won the match, but it was evident that Hogan and Andre were on a collision course to Pontiac. Grade: **

JT: For the first time in SNME history, we have a battle royal and this is a pretty big one because the two top stars in the company are headlining it. Back in January, Hulk Hogan dispatched of Paul Orndorff, putting that feud to bed. However, since then another friend stabbed him in the back out of desire for WWF gold: Andre the Giant. Now backed by Bobby Heenan, Andre was likely to challenge the Hulkster at WrestleMania in arguably the biggest, highest profile bout since 1980. Lining them up in the battle royal here was a neat way to have them cross paths without really tussling. We also have some new faces in here as the company starts to mix in some fresh talent to shake things up a bit. Some have been around for a bit and some are newcomers, but overall the company is definitely going through some changes. As the bell sounded, the Heenan Family all immediately ganged up on Hogan, beating him down but he eventually fought through it and eliminated Honky Tonk Man. Andre would match the champion by chucking Sika out of the ring. Andre really was a force and a sight to see in this setting as he just towered over everyone else. He tossed Haku with ease and then began to stalk Hogan. On his way, he walked into Lanny Poffo, who he crushed with a vicious headbutt before eliminating. And in a great tough, Poffo started to gush blood, having been ripped open by the Giant. That is a killer blade job…and stretcher job as Poffo was carried on. Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura spouted about how we are seeing a new, more aggressive and vicious Andre now. Hogan would toss Bass and he and Andre are responsible for every elimination thus far. And on cue, Andre hip tossed Blackjack Mulligan and Hogan followed by dumping Nikolai Volkoff. As bodies kept flying, everyone was waiting for the two megastars to meet up. Andre sent Brian Blair to the floor as Hogan and Paul Orndorff reignited their feud in the corner. After another moment, we finally got the big showdown. They traded a few blows but it was brief as Orndorff and then everyone else got involved as well. It was a mistake by Paul as Hogan scooped him and threw him out. However, Andre grabbed hold of Hogan, drilled him with a headbutt to the back of the skull and then shockingly shoved him to the floor. That was really well done and helps build suspense for their eventual title match.

As Hogan was ushered away by officials, the match continued on through a break. Andre pushed Jim Brunzell to the floor, but a handful of competitors rushed over and were able to hoist Andre up and out to the floor in another upset. Bodies continued to fly as Hercules sent Tama flying and Hillbilly Jim knocked out Demolition Ax.  However, Jim’s night ended a moment later when Smash got revenge for his partner. That brought us to our final five, which quickly became four when Koko B. Ware dropkicked Butch Reed over the top. As things reset, Bobby Heenan warned Hercules not to trust anybody. He went right in on Koko as Smash and Billy Jack Haynes slugged away across the ring. Herc dumped Koko and then he and Smash punished Haynes. Billy Jack wriggled free and knocked Smash to the floor. As he and Hercules traded blows, Heenan jumped on the apron. As Haynes went over to grab him, Herc snuck up and pushed him out to win the match. That was a great battle royal! The action never slowed down and we had some really big moments, specifically with Andre and Hogan, which is what really mattered. The Poffo stuff was awesome and the finish came quick, with none of the late meandering you often get in these. It was also a good little win for Hercules. And I am fine with Andre not winning as he got what he wanted: he proved he could get the best of Hulk Hogan. I really dug this and it is one of my favorite battle royals by far. Grade: ***

3) King Kong Bundy defeats Jake Roberts by disqualification at 6:14

Fun Fact: On the February 22 episode of Wrestling Challenge, Jake Roberts had the Honky Tonk Man as his guest in The Snake Pit. During the segment, Honky Tonk Man attacked Roberts with a guitar. There have been conflicting stories from different people regarding the guitar shot that ended up injuring Roberts. HTM was supposed to hit Roberts with a tricked guitar that would shatter easily. However, Roberts was hit with a real guitar, injuring his neck and back. This injury would lead to Roberts dependence on prescription pain medication. Roberts had already been getting face cheers from the crowd prior to this segment, but the attack sealed the face turn.

Scott: King Kong Bundy is slowly sliding down the card from one year ago when it was he who attacked Hulk Hogan and was the #1 contender for the WWF Title. Now he’s midcard fodder for the new babyface Jake Roberts. I think when Jake was getting face pops during his match with Randy Savage a few episodes ago the bookers thought maybe they should turn him and get another babyface on the roster. We’ve talked about the hierarchy of fan favorites after Hogan, and for a while it was Junkyard Dog in the #2 slot. Now though it seems some other candidates are moving up the ladder, in particular Ricky Steamboat and Jake Roberts. This match involved a lot of bobbing and weaving until Bundy took control with a front face lock and leaning all that girth. Bobby Heenan, still managing Bundy, came out and was going to take Damien but is chased off. Bundy continues to work Jake over with clotheslines and other power moves. Jake plays a great face in peril, but for some reason the match ends in a disqualification as Jake takes out the referee when he tried to block him from getting to Damien. We do get the obligatory DDT but it’s after the match. The decision really makes no sense but Jake loses cheap, which makes no sense at all. Why protect Bundy? Grade: *½

JT: Back in November, we discussed how the pops and support for Jake Roberts were really starting to swell. Since then, he had a brief feud with Hulk Hogan that was aborted because he actually got cheered over the Hulkster. That meant it was time for an official turn, so here we are. Jake Roberts is officially a face and is lined up for a big tussle with the always well regarded King Kong Bundy. Jake tried to attack the arm off the bell but Bundy just hammered him to break free. Jake started to stick and move and even tried to play some mind games through the presence of Damien. Bundy started to use his power to push Jake to the mat and then eventually grind him down with a front facelock. Jake would stop short after an Irish whip and rock Bundy with a kneelift before peppering him with right hands. As Bundy cracked Roberts, Bobby Heenan grabbed Damien and ran off. Jake followed in hot pursuit and after a break, he reemerged, sack slung over his shoulder. However, once he got back in the ring, Bundy regained control, pasting Roberts with a big clothesline. Jake got a break when he was able to sidestep a charging Bundy, leading to the big man careening into the corner. Roberts fired away with a flurry of right hands and a clothesline but instead of covering, he went for Damien. As the referee tried to intercept Roberts, Jake surprisingly just buried a knee in his gut for a DQ. That was weird. Bundy drilled Roberts but whiffed on a cool looking diving elbow. Jake then snapped off the DDT to a huge pop but before he could drape Damien across his back, Heenan pulled his charge to safety. Man the crowd loved that. Jesse didn’t and he was flipping out about Vince defending Jake’s actions at the end of the match. That was a fun little power brawl with good heat and the post match made up for the confusing finish. The Jake Roberts face turn is a great idea as the crowds were just dying to cheer the man. Grade: *1/2

4) Hart Foundation defeat Tito Santana & Dan Spivey to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Bret Hart pinned Santana after Danny Davis hit him with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone at 5:31

Fun Fact: On the February 7 episode of Superstars, the Hart Foundation faced off against the British Bulldogs for the tag team titles. The referee of the match, Danny Davis, allowed the Hart Foundation to execute numerous illegal double team moves. Davis ended up assisting the Hart Foundation to win their first WWF Tag Team Championship.

Scott: After their tainted title win over the British Bulldogs thanks to the disgraced Danny Davis, the Hitman and the Anvil have their first title defense against two solid fan favorites. Dan Spivey had replaced Barry Windham in the US Express in 1986, but after Mike Rotundo left he floated around aimlessly. Tito lost the IC Title over a year earlier and now looks for another tag team championship reign. Spivey has what I assume are patriotic tights but they look French to me. Bret Hart’s hair has that mid-80’s fluffiness to it that would eventually morph into the stringy, wet look we would get accustomed to. Tito gets control after a solid back and forth affair, and he’s about to hook the figure four on Bret, but Danny Davis interferes as expected and hits Tito from behind, getting the Harts the victory and retaining the titles. I was not a Hart Foundation fan as of yet so I was pretty upset and would continue to be throughout the year. Grade: **

JT: In a major development since our last show, we have brand new WWF tag team champions in the Hart Foundation. The Harts have been around for over a year but have finally landed into position for a big push. And their goofiness and camaraderie were pretty infectious. Their prematch promos here, giggling and dicking around with Jimmy Hart were really good and it was fun having an asshole team back on top of the mountain. As part of all this, Danny Davis was finally fully exposed as dirty and was transitioned from his referee gig to the role of an actual in ring competitor. And everyone that he screwed was looking for revenge. However, he had his buddies to protect him. And one of the people he had dicked over was Tito Santana, as Davis had turned a blind eye to the cheating of Randy Savage over a year ago when the Macho Man stole Tito’s IC title. Santana is teaming with Danny Spivey, a lower mid card act that was talented enough to slip into spots like this. The Anvil used his power on Spivey, but Danny reversed a whip and sent him flying into his partner in the corner. The Hitman tagged in and gave it a go but Spivey fended him off and made the tag. Santana went right to work but when he made the tag, Spivey got caught by the champs to turn the tide. The Harts quick tagged and kept Spivey trapped in the corner as they picked him apart. In a nice spot, Hart hit a stiff backbreaker and then yanked Anvil into the ring with a big splash by tugging on the top rope. The Harts were really good at the classic heel tricks but they made a big mistake when Spivey dodged a charging Hart, who crashed into the Anvil. Santana tagged in and cracked the Anvil with a flying forearm before shoving Davis to the floor. He would drill Hart with a forearm as well and the hooked the Hitman in the figure four. As Hart writhed in pain, the referee got tied up with Anvil and Spivey, allowing Davis to pop Tito with the megaphone. Hart would cover Chico and that was that. Fun little match that pushes along the Danny Davis angle, showing how integral he is to the Foundation’s success. Also, the Harts as champs was a really good move as they have the heel stuff down pat and draw some great heat. Grade: **

5) Ricky Steamboat defeats Iron Sheik with a top rope karate chop at 3:29

Scott: This is nothing more than a spot to push the Savage/Steamboat feud, and sure enough the Intercontinental Champion comes out and then joins Vince and Jesse on commentary. Savage puts himself over while Steamboat and Sheik have a suplex-fest for the first couple minutes. Jesse is in all his glory as Savage was one of his favorite guys and he never hid it on commentary. Sheik took control and took it to the outside, slamming Steamboat into the steps but too much showboating led to Steamboat taking control back and hitting the high cross body for the victory. The post-match stuff was so much more entertaining as Steamboat and Savage start to jaw jack back and forth from a distance. This SNME clearly set up the two showcase matches of WrestleMania III: Hogan vs. Andre and Savage vs. Steamboat. Because this was taped many weeks in advance there hasn’t been any mention of WrestleMania III within these feuds. Grade: **

JT: In his first SNME match since his throat injury, Ricky Steamboat has a tricky challenge in the former WWF Champion Iron Sheik. Before the bout, Randy Savage shows up and tries to interfere but he is driven from the ring and ends up in the commentary booth. Sheik would grab early control as Savage talked about how Steamboat couldn’t lace his boots. Sheik tried to dump Steamer, but he skinned the cat and came back in hot, hitting a back suplex. Steamboat slugged away while Savage vowed to hurt Steamboat even more next time they crossed paths. Sheik made a brief comeback and knocked the Dragon to the floor but he celebrated instead of following. It didn’t seem to matter as he suplexed Steamboat back into the ring for a near fall. The Dragon fought out of an abdominal stretch and quickly put Sheik away with a karate chop off the top rope. Nada  going on here, but Steamboat looks great, is over his injury and is clearly gunning for Savage’s title. Grade: 1/2*

*** Gene Okerlund interview Roddy Piper, who talks about his upcoming retirement. Gene notes that Piper is going out while on top and Piper says he is heading to Hollywood and wants to give it 110%. We then check out a tribute music video of the Hot Rod. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: The only mention of WrestleMania III was when Mean Gene mentioned it referring to Roddy Piper’s retirement. Otherwise they made this entire show feel like some of these things COULD be at WrestleMania III. Of course we all knew what would happen but it was unfortunate they couldn’t splash the WrestleMania logo all over the place and that the show seemed very disconnected from the build. The action was average but Andre settled into his heel role very nicely here, looking very smug and arrogant while chucking guys all over the place. I still don’t understand why he didn’t just win the battle royal but that’s neither here nor there. Savage and Steamboat are on a big time collision course and the build on that tonight was awesome. The show itself was fine, but because it aired almost a month after taping it the lack of WrestleMania mention knocks the grade down for me. Final Grade: C+

JT: I really enjoyed this episode. I think this was may favorite Savage/Steele match and by that I mean it was the least annoying of the series and was also hopefully the end of the road. The battle royal was fantastic and did a brilliant job of nudging the Hogan/Andre issue along and adding some intrigue to their future battle. Roberts/Bundy was well done too and showcased just how over the Snake is with the fans. The tag match was fine and again, it helped develop the Hart Foundation/Danny Davis relationship, meaning that nothing on this card was really a throwaway as every bout had some level of meaning behind it and most pushed ahead stories that would be a big part of the coming months. Especially when you toss the Roddy Piper stuff in as well. The show flew by and was very focused throughout. I know Scott mentioned the lack of specific mention of WrestleMania, but I think with all the seeds being planted here, you didn’t need to be obvious about it. The point was to lay the groundwork, whether you could call it out or not. And this show more than did that. Final Grade: B-

Author: Vintage Vault

Vintage Vault Reposts are a collection of reviews that Scott and JT have written over the years.