Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Saturday Night’s Main Event XIII – 11/28/87

*** 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! ***


Saturday Night’s Main Event XIII – 11/28/87

November 28, 1987
The Coliseum
Seattle, WA
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura
Attendance: 16,000

1) George Steele defeats Danny Davis by disqualification when Davis kicks the referee at 3:49

Fun Fact: The feud between Danny Davis and George Steele began back in May at SNME XI during the Savage/Steele lumberjack match. Davis was one of the lumberjacks at ringside during the match. While his role was to make sure neither wrestler escaped, Davis took the opportunity to initiate a feud with Steele when he was outside the ring by hitting him with the ring bell. The two feuded on the house show circuit off and on through the late spring into the fall with nothing spectacular occurring during the feud. This match would be the blow off to this less than stellar feud. In the end of year award from the Wrestling Observer, this feud was voted the Worst Feud of the Year for 1987.

Scott: You know immediately this match is going to be a colossal mess for two reasons. You have two guys with limited wrestling ability, and Danny Davis is no Randy Savage to dictate a match like a good heel wrestler would. Instead Danny Davis runs around the ring and Steele bites and throws chairs. Davis then uses a foreign object to choke Steele out, and then hides it in his tights. Steele then holds Davis up in an armbar for a submission but then Davis kicks Joey Marella down and gets disqualified. Jesse says it was an accident and honestly they framed it pretty well so it looks like it. This is a throwaway match to end a feud from the last episode but pretty soon the Animal is gone from the WWF. George has been a SNME mainstay since the show started a year and a half ago. However the roster is always getting better and he is clearly looking very dated. Our show gets off to a shaky start with a bad throwaway match. Grade: 1/2*

JT: Our final SNME of 1987 comes on the heels of the inaugural Survivor Series and is looking to set us up for a big 1988. Jesse Ventura is back in the booth and with this opener, we are going to need his anger and wit. Danny Davis’ run as any sort of legitimate heel player is just about over and he is nothing more than a jobber to the stars at this point. Sadly his opponent here is in the same boat, but these two have been programmed with each other for quite a while now. George Steele is really at the end of his usefulness and his act was getting really stale, but at least he is finally away from Randy Savage. Although maybe not, as Steele was fondling an Elizabeth figurine during his prematch interview. Steele went right at Davis and wasted no time biting him and then hoisting him up high with a chokehold to the delight of the fans. Steele would knock Davis to the floor where the Dangerous one regrouped and bitched out the referee. Davis tried to sneak up on Steele but the Animal saw him coming and actually took him down with a drop toehold, shocking Jesse. Steele would try to bring a chair in the ring but the referee stopped him, allowing Davis to jab a foreign object in his throat and then choke him with it. Steele came back and hooked the flying hammerlock but Davis’ legs clipped Joey Marella to draw a weak DQ. Well that was a fine waste of time. The crowd at least was into it and they kept it short but it was full of nothing and had a dumb finish to top it off. I am done with the Animal. Grade: DUD

2) Randy Savage defeats Bret Hart with an inside cradle at 12:03

Fun Fact: This match between Savage and Hart is a result of interference at SNME XII. During the Honky Tonk Man/Randy Savage IC title match, Savage had hit HTM with his elbow from the top rope and went for the pin. Bret Hart came into the ring and broke up the pin, causing a DQ win for Savage, but not a title victory.

Scott: Now we are talking a complete 180 degree turn with two great in-ring workers, a match that today many considered mythic. But it certainly did happen, and even though Bret Hart hasn’t blossomed into the Hall of Fame worker he would become he’s still an expert talent and was the better choice than the Anvil to have this match. There’s an urban legend Savage actually requested this match because of the potential the match had on paper. Now from the start it was utter chaos with battling and brawling outside the ring and Bret being thrown into everything from the stairs to the steel barricade. Savage is incensed from what happened on the last episode when Bret cost Savage the IC Title and helped in Elizabeth getting assaulted by Honky Tonk Man. Savage had things his way in the match until he took a spill to the floor. Savage either sells it well or his legitimately hurt but he’s holding his left leg/ankle. He actually takes his boot off but “angry referee” keeps the Hart Foundation at bay. After a commercial Savage toughens it up and decides to continue wrestling on one foot. Bret of course takes vicious advantage of it and stomps on the foot, throwing it into the steel post. Savage is crawling around the ring and raking Hart’s eyes, but in a great finish Bret is going to slam Savage but (like what was done to him at WrestleMania) Macho Man hooks the leg and cradles Hart for the three count and the huge victory. It’s evident that Savage has immediately become the #2 babyface in the promotion and that rise would continue as the calendar turns to 1988. This was a fun match with a hot crowd and a great psychological finish. Grade: ***

JT: Our next match is a continuation of a heated feud that went next level at our previous SNME. A pissed off Randy Savage is looking for revenge after Jimmy Hart’s group of champions beat him down and also put their hands on Miss Elizabeth. It was a step too far and Savage is gunning to make an example out of the Hitman here. He also doesn’t allow Liz into the ring and has her stay on the floor. She would be an early distraction as Neidhart and Jimmy would inch towards her, drawing Savage to the floor to protect her. Before the match started, we got a word from Honky and also saw Seahawks star Brian Bosworth making his way out to his seat. Savage jumped Hart on the floor and hammered him a few times and shoved him into the post before things reset. Back inside, Savage stayed on offense, slinging Hart into the corner but missing a charge. Hart went to work but Savage battled back and went to the eyes before sending him flying off the ring apron and into the barricade sternum first. That was a great spot and bump. Savage continued to clean house as he slammed Neidhart and Jimmy together but then made a huge mistake as he flew off the top rope to the floor but on the way down Hart bashed him in the gut with Jimmy’s megaphone. That was another great bump. Back inside, the Hitman zeroed in on the abdomen and whipped him hard into the corner before planting him with a piledriver for a near fall. It was then Hart’s turn to make a mistake as he charged at Savage but Macho dodged him and he careened into the post shoulder first. Savage shoved him away and scooted to the top rope, leaping off and decking Hart with a sledge blow for a two count. Savage followed by spiking Hart’s throat across the top rope but after getting tangled with the referee, Hart took advantage and sent Savage flying over the top rope an hard to the floor, injuring his lower leg in the process. After a break, Savage was still on the floor but now had his boot off and pulled himself back inside. And Hart ferociously attacked that ankle, slamming it into the ring post and then picking it apart with a spinning toe hold and stomps. Savage kicked Hart into the corner and stole a near fall but Hart recovered and continued his assault, turning over a single leg crab. Hart methodically stayed in control but as he went to scoop Savage off the match, Macho snatched him into an inside cradle and picked up the surprising win. What a great match and finish. Jesse can’t believe Savage won on one leg and the crowd was nuts, including am airhorn blaring in the background. Savage fended off the Anvil and then dodged the Mouth as he accidentally belted the Hitman with his megaphone. The Hart Family scampered as the gutty Macho Man alternated between celebrating and gripping his ankle. Well, if he wasn’t fully a face yet, this type of showing will do it. This match needed another ten minutes to push it to the next level but as is it was a terrific little sprint that blended in nice limb work and some big spots along with a hot crowd. Grade: ***1/2

3) King Kong Bundy defeats Hulk Hogan by countout at 13:45; Hogan retains WWF World Title

Fun Fact: This was more of a Heenan Family vs Hogan match than anything else. While it was a rematch of the WrestleMania II main event, the real story was Andre the Giant in the corner of Bundy. The continuing tension between Andre and Hogan would come to a head in just a couple of months…so stay tuned.

Scott: After facing the unpredictable Sika in our last episode Hogan faces his WrestleMania II opponent with his WrestleMania III opponent outside the ring. This crowd is red hot for a Northwest locale and the Hogan chants are deafening. The match starts similar to the Andre match at Mania, as Hogan goes for a body slam but can’t get big Bundy up and for the next few minutes the challenger works Hogan’s back over with submission knees and stomps. Andre then interferes and the bell rings, but instead of the match ending, Andre has to leave the ring or else Hogan wins the match. Andre is frustrated with having to leave the ring and Heenan is begging him to leave so Bundy doesn’t get DQ’d. Andre shoves a cameraman to the ground (which was pretty cool) and finally the big guy leaves the ring. When we resume Bundy dominates the action again and really drills Hogan’s back over and over, then squeezes him with a bear hug. Watching all these episodes, I have to say I have a new respect for him as an 80s heel. He was a big hoss who put on solid matches when needed. After a Bundy splash, we get the obligatory Hogan comeback (including a slam) but instead of a leg drop and victory Bundy and Hogan go outside, but thanks to Bobby Heenan grabbing Hogan’s foot Bundy gets back in the ring and wins the match by countout. That was kind of a shock to me but that’s ok, it was still a really fun big man match. Hogan beats on Bobby like he always does. Hogan’s title matches have been fun on these shows for various reasons but it’s evident the war between the Champion and the Family is far from over. Grade: **1/2

JT: The Hulk Hogan vs. Heenan Family war continues to rage right along as he has to fend off a challenge from his old WrestleMania II opponent King Kong Bundy. And if that wasn’t challenge enough, Heenan’s big surprise for the Hulkster is that Andre the Giant will be in Bundy’s corner. The crowd erupted as the WWF Champion marched to the ring, ready to battle the odds as always. Andre’s jacket was pretty swank and he stood on stoically, already distracting Hogan before the bout started. As the bell sounds, Jesse points out that Joey Marella is the referee and is not very happy, claiming he always finds a way to referee Hogan’s biggest title matches. That of course was a reference to WrestleMania III and the close near fall for Andre early in the bout. Bundy won the early battle, smashing Hogan to the the mat with a shoulderblock but Hogan pasted him with a high knee. Hogan tried for a slam but Bundy collapsed his weight onto the champ and started to work the lower back. Bundy would whiff on a splash giving Hogan the chance to rock him with right hands and a clothesline. The guys have some really strong chemistry and always cut a nice pace. Hogan kept pelting Bundy but got caught with his head down, giving Bundy the opening to slug him across the back before hooking on a chinlock. This crowd is really good too, willing Hogan to his feet but Bundy leaned harder and forced him back to the mat.  Hogan again fought to his feet and drilled Bundy with the big boot but as he hit the ropes for the legdrop, Andre tripped him up to draw the DQ. Hogan dumped Bundy to the floor but the Fink reveals that the match was not quite over. He decreed that Andre had to leave or else the match would end now. If he went to the locker room, the match would start back up. Andre wanted to get in the ring but Bundy and Heenan convinced him to finally retreat. In a great dick move, Andre slugged a cameraman as he slowly stalked to the back. This some great heat building here, what a presence from Andre. The low camera angle of his head bobbing over the sea of fans was so well done too.

As the match restarted, Hogan gained momentum, running Bundy from corner to corner as the crowd went insane. Bundy would fall but Hogan came up empty on an elbow drop to turn the tide. Bundy returned to working the back, locking in a big bear hug, which Hogan sold great as always. What a raucous crowd that has really taken this episode up a notch. Bundy shot Hogan into the corner and after the champ fell he dropped the big splash on him for a two count. Hogan blew out of the cover and Hulked Up before finally getting that body slam. Bundy rolled to the floor and dragged Hulk out as well. They traded blows out there until Hogan shoved Bundy back inside. As Hogan climbed on the apron, Bundy rolled into the referee and Heenan hooked Hogan’s leg, giving Bundy the count out victory. The crowd did not like that at all. Heenan celebrated like crazy as boos and trash rained around the crowd. Hogan would smack and toss Bobby around after the bell and then posed for his fans. Man that was some fun stuff. Both guys worked hard and the heat was great. Factor in the Andre stuff and this had a nice dose of storyline advancement too. Plus it ties in to the Survivor Series finish as well, where Hogan was also counted out in his war with the Family. Grade: **1/2

4) Bam Bam Bigelow defeats Hercules with a slingshot splash at 7:00

Fun Fact: Bam Bam Bigelow was substituting for Jim Duggan in this match.

Fun Fact II: Scott Charles Bigelow, who would come to be known to wrestling fans around the world as Bam Bam Bigelow, was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey in September, 1961. He trained at the Monster Factory under Larry Sharpe and made his in-ring debut in 1986 in Memphis. He had a very unique look in that he was tall (6’4”), heavyset (390 lbs.) and his bald head was covered with a colorful flaming tattoo. He debuted as a monster heel who was strong and agile for his size. In the territory he was dubbed “The Beast from the East” and began making his way up the ladder toward Jerry Lawler’s title. After brief stints in CWA and WCCW in early 1987, Bigelow signed on with the WWF in May. Upon his arrival, all of the heel managers wanted Bigelow in their stables and were jockeying for his services. In the end, Bigelow turned face after turning them all down and going with manager Oliver Humperdink. Bigelow would take part in the main event of the inaugural Survivor Series as part of Hulk Hogan’s team.

Scott: Our finale involves another Heenan family member taking on the Beast from the East, the pride of Asbury Park baby. Bigelow was such a unique individual with his massive size but pretty mobile in the ring. It was cool to see Oliver Humperdink in the WWF as the company needs some babyface managers for some of the guys who need a mouthpiece. They go back and forth for a bit but the match at first ends in a double countout. But Bigelow didn’t come all the way from New Jersey for a draw. So the match restarts and Bigelow gets the win with his slingshot spash. Not much overall here, just a showcase for the Beast from the East. Grade: *

JT: With Bobby Heenan banged up, Hercules had to go it alone here against the big newcomer Bam Bam Bigelow. Bigelow is accompanied by the flamboyant Oliver Humperdink, and part of the story here is that Heenan was angry about being spurned by Bammer when he joined the company. Bigelow had a great, unique look and blended impressive athleticism with his burly physique. He was certainly a nice add to the roster to help bolster the face side of the ledger. Hercules tries to overpower Bigelow off the bat but Bammer wouldn’t budge as Jesse wondered if Herc may have to win this one through finesse. Herc shot Bigelow in hard to the corner but Bammer caught him with a kick and started to unload his arsenal of strikes. Herc came back with a clothesline and after two more, Bammer went tumbling hard over the top rope to the floor. Herc ended up out there too and they traded heavy blows until the bell rang for a double countout. Continuing the trend for the night, we aren’t done as the match is restarted at Bigelow’s request. That was an odd choice, but anyway, we are back under way. After a break the two brawlers lined up in a three point stance and collided hard in the middle of the ring. They lined up again but Bigelow ducked it and rammed into Herc with a shoulderblock before just straight up punching Herc in the grill a few times. That was really well done. Bigelow came up empty on a dropkick as Herc started dropping elbows with some force. Herc would head to the top, but Bigelow caught him, pressed him to the mat and then hit a slingshot splash for the win. That was an impressive showing for Bigelow and made him look like a big deal with how he demanded the restart and then picked up the hard hitting win. The Era of Bam is underway. Grade: *1/2

*** Gene Okerlund chats with Andre the Giant and King Kong Bundy and it is revealed that Bundy will receive a rematch with Hulk Hogan and that Andre will be in his corner yet again. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: We have another excellent edition of the show, as they really got into a great groove of forwarding storylines and highlighting new stars. The Hogan/Heenan Family feud is raging through all the members as well as with Randy Savage and Jimmy Hart’s stable of champions. Maybe finally we’ve exhausted ourselves of George Steele and replaced him with a fresh, better face in Bam Bam Bigelow. 1987 was a landmark year for the WWF and it seems the roster is really loading up with top talent for 1988. The year had top to bottom an entire slate of great SNMEs, even if they did eschew the themes like they had in 1985 and early 1986. I’m pretty sure those return soon. The Savage/Hart match is a hidden gem you must check out. Overall another great episode. Final Grade: B

JT: This is certainly one of the best installments of SNME to date. The crowd and atmosphere was fantastic and every match felt like a really big deal as a result. The opener was a throwaway but once that ended, we were cooking right through the finish. Savage and Hart put on a clinic that was dripping with tension and hate and had a great finish that helped further along Savage’s entrenchment as a face. Hogan and Bundy put their chemistry on display and had a good power match that sets up a future rematch and also keeps the Hogan/Andre war simmering. Andre looked like a badass, especially when he slugged the cameraman. Bigelow’s SNME debut was done well too and closed out the show on a strong note. As we eschewed the campiness of the early editions, the gravity and importance of these shows has really amplified with less throwaway matches and more storyline advancement and major moments. 1987 comes to a close but Hulk Hogan’s biggest nemesis from throughout the year remains in front of him. Final Grade: B+