The Honkytonk Man (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
So as we finally head back to prime time TV and our first Saturday Night’s Main Event since back in May, suffice to say there has been a lot of things that have changed over the summer and into the fall. One of the things that seemed like a sure thing was that Ricky Steamboat was going to have a lengthy reign as Intercontinental Champion after his huge win over Randy Savage at Wrestlemania III. However, that did not end up happening as instead we have the unlikely reign of the Honkytonk Man going on right now as he has been champion longer than I think anyone at this point expected him to be. At the same time, it was pretty clear that Savage was not going to remain a heel by this point as he was already getting over with the crowd as 1987 started and his performance at WM put him over the top as a guy the fans had started to respect. You figured that Savage was set to either get the IC Title back or at least be in a long feud with the champion which meant that rematches with Steamboat would’ve been highly anticipated, but now with Honky as the champion it looked like Savage was going to be the guy to end his sham of a reign and once again become champion.
The issue began way back on the 6/16 Superstars when Honky upset Steamboat to become the new IC Champion, and he would work the house shows with Steamboat until Steamboat was pulled to take his time off. Honky would also work house shows with Jake Roberts while Savage continued to work as a heel as he feuded with Steamboat and Hulk Hogan on the house shows, and Savage would begin facing Honky on the house shows in July. The feud on TV began on the 8/29 Superstars when Honky declared he was the greatest IC Champion of all time and to forget past champions like Savage, and the next week Honky continued his claims while also mentioning that Savage had taken offense to them. On 9/12, we saw footage of Savage confronting Jimmy Hart and telling him to tell Honky to stop degrading him with his comments, and on 9/26 Honky began to present a list of 10 reasons as to why he was the greatest IC Champion. Savage would confront him and challenged him to a fight which Honky refused, and it was announced that Savage would face Honky here and on Superstars earlier in the day, Jimmy and Elizabeth had a debate about the match. It was pretty interesting to see how hot this feud was able to get considering it just started a month ago, and even more amazing was how quickly Savage had gotten over as a face after being such a hated heel since debuting back in 1985.
Honky and Savage give two really good promos prior to the match as Honky starts the real needling of Savage by going after Elizabeth, and Honky was pretty hot as a heel as he comes out with a lot of confidence and Savage gets a big pop from the crowd. An interesting note here is that Bobby Heenan is doing commentary with Vince instead of Jesse and it would be interesting to hear him put this angle over. The two men lock up to start with neither gaining an edge and the ref tries to force them apart which allows Honky to get a shot in, and he stomps on Savage in the corner and drives the elbow into the back of Savage’s head. Savage catches Honky ducking with a kick and he hotshots him on the top rope as Honky begs off, and Savage chokes him on the mat and rams him into the buckle before hitting a snapmare and dropping a knee on him. Honky begs off again as Savage kicks at him and tears at his face in the corner before pounding on him, and he whips Honky into the other corner and hits a back elbow as Jimmy stalks Elizabeth on the outside. Savage goes outside and confronts Jimmy which allows Honky to nail him from behind and he throws Savage back into the ring, and he pounds on Savage only for Savage to duck a shot and he nails Honky with an elbow. Savage pounds on Honky and hits a snapmare only to miss the knee and Honky drops an elbow on him, and he drives the knee into Savage and taunts Elizabeth before pounding on Savage. He hits a snapmare on Savage before going up to the middle rope and dropping a fist on him, and Honky goes outside and goes after Elizabeth as Jimmy blocks her from the other side and they surround her. Savage comes outside and nails Honky from behind before driving the elbow into his face, and he returns to the ring before going up top and hitting an axehandle on Honky. He throws Honky back into the ring and rams him into the buckle twice before rolling him up, but Jimmy breaks it up from the outside and Savage hits a back suplex on Honky only for Jimmy to again break the pin up from the outside. Savage drives the elbow into Honky and goes up top as Jimmy grabs at his leg only for Savage to kick him to the floor, and Savage goes up top and hits an axehandle on Honky for a two count as Jimmy again breaks the pin up. Savage pulls Jimmy into the ring and winds up before knocking him through the ropes to the floor, and Savage throws Honky out to the apron and stomps on him only for Honky to attempt a sunset flip as he grabs the tights though Savage nails Honky to break it up. Honky rolls outside to regroup and checks on Jimmy as the Hart Foundation come down as well, and Savage pulls Honky onto the apron and snaps him back into the ring before choking him on the top rope. He stomps on Honky and chokes him with his knee as Honky tries to battle back only for Savage to knock him through the ropes to the outside, and the Foundation pick Jimmy up as Honky helps them take him to the back as we go to a commercial break. The first half of this match has been pretty hot as Savage has pretty much dominated Honky aside from a few spots, and it would be interesting to see how the rest of the match plays out now that Jimmy is out of the equation.
When we come back from commercial, Honky comes back down to the ring with the Foundation flanking him and they stay at ringside in Jimmy’s place, and Honky gets in the ring as Savage nails him before ramming him into the buckle. He pounds on Honky and hits a snapmare before dropping an elbow on Honky, but Honky kicks at Savage only for Savage to battle back and he drives the elbow into Honky’s head twice before tearing at his face. He whips Honky into the other corner only to miss a charge and Honky kicks him to the mat, and he hits a backdrop on Savage and taunts Elizabeth only for Savage to tackle him to the mat. Honky rams Savage’s head into the mat and pounds on him in the corner before hitting a snapmare, and he goes up to the middle rope only to miss the fist and Savage drives the elbow into his head repeatedly. He hits a backdrop on Honky who begs off again and Savage kicks at him before pounding on him, and he drives the knee into Honky’s face in the corner before choking him and tearing at his face. Savage hits a back elbow on Honky for a two count and then he hits a suplex for a two count, and Honky rakes the eyes and throws Savage over the top to the floor where the Foundation stomp on Savage and hotshot him on the guardrail. They continue to stomp on Savage while Honky distracts the ref and they throw Savage back into the ring, and Honky drops an elbow on Savage for a two count before setting up for the Shake, Rattle, and Roll only for Savage to escape with a backdrop. Savage hits a slam on Honky before going up top and hitting the flying elbow, but the Foundation jump in the ring and attack Savage which draws the DQ and Savage wins the match though Honky retains the title.
After the match, the Foundation continue to double team Savage as Neidhart throws the ref to the outside and they pound on Savage before holding him up, and Honky kicks at Savage and slaps him repeatedly in the face. He goes outside and grabs his guitar which he brings into the ring as the Foundation continue to hold Savage up, and he taunts Savage and winds up the guitar only for Elizabeth to get in the ring and stand in the way as Honky narrowly avoids hitting Elizabeth with the guitar. He tells her to get out of the way as she pleads with him not to use the guitar, and Honky shoves her to the mat and she rolls out of the ring before heading to the back as Honky taunts her. Honky picks the guitar up and continues to taunt Savage before winding it up and nailing Savage in the head with it, and Savage collapses to the mat as the three men continue to stomp on him. Just then, Elizabeth comes back out with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan who hesitates coming out with her before he sees what’s going on, and he charges the ring as the three men attack him as he comes in. Hogan battles back on all three men as Savage gets to his feet and scares Honky from the ring, and Savage knocks Neidhart to the outside as Hogan nails Bret who walks into an atomic drop from Savage which sends him over the top to the floor. Hogan and Savage bump into each other and nearly come to blows until Elizabeth gets in the ring and watches from the corner, and Savage cools down and offers a handshake to Hogan which he accepts to a big pop and Hogan raises Savage and Elizabeth’s arms. Later in the show, Hogan and Savage did an interview with “Mean” Gene Okerlund as they solidified their new friendship and even went on to deem themselves “The Mega Powers”, and then we close the show with a video package of Savage and Elizabeth set to “Stand by Your Man”.
The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard for the 13 minutes that they got and they put on a pretty hot title match. It was pretty cool to see how quickly Savage got over as a face and it was also a good testament to how hated Honky was even though he was only champion since June, but the fans were salivating to see Honky get his and that they wanted Savage to be the one to do it. I’m curious to learn if these two ever faced each other when they were in Memphis, but they had some really good chemistry as Savage pretty much dominates Honky with Honky getting his cheap shots in to take control. I thought it was pretty cool to see the Hart Foundation get involved as it had a gang mentality that they would protect their fellow stable mate, and I thought the DQ wasn’t too bad as they didn’t want to blow this off so quickly and they wanted to build it to a big rematch when Savage would finally end Honky’s reign. I did think it was pretty interesting that they teased an alliance with Savage and Hogan so quickly after Savage just turned face, but I guess it gave Savage a good rub even though he was already over after turning. While it would’ve been unique to hear Jesse call this match considering how much he was a Savage supporter when he was heel, I thought Bobby did a good job in putting Honky over and putting down Elizabeth which would become a constant theme going forward. The crowd was red hot for the match and Savage, but are not happy with the ending and the beating on Savage though they popped big time when Hogan and Savage shook hands. Savage gets the win by DQ though Honky again escapes with the title, but this issue is not over yet.