Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: Saturday Night’s Main Event 13

“Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart (w/ Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart)

So as we head into the final big Saturday Night’s Main Event of 1987 a mere two days after the debut of Survivor Series, there were a lot of questions going in as to what was the future for some guys heading into 1988. After being one of the most hated men since debuting in 1985, Randy Savage has quickly become one of the most loved faces and his feud with the Honkytonk Man was reaching its apex following their encounter at Survivor Series. On the other side of the coin, Bret Hart was still cruising along as part of the Hart Foundation who had just lost the tag titles to Strike Force so it would be interesting to see how the rest of 1987 and the early part of 1988 would turn out for them. These were two guys that I think a lot of people wanted to see fight each other since they seemed like they would work well together, and it would be a rare showcase for Bret as a singles star since he was mostly working as a tag wrestler. Considering that we wouldn’t see these two wrestle on TV very much going forward when Bret was a better worker and Savage would be at his peak as a top star, this would be a special treat for fans watching at the time.

There wasn’t much build for this match when it was announced as Savage was continuing his feud with Honkytonk Man while Bret and Neidhart would look to get the tag titles back from Strike Force. Obviously, there was some history as Bret and Neidhart would help HTM attack Savage after their match from the previous SNME which saw HTM shove Elizabeth to the mat, and they would hold Savage as HTM hit him with the guitar until Hulk Hogan made the save. At Survivor Series two nights ago, Savage would defeat HTM in a Survivor match while the Hart Foundation’s team would lose to Strike Force’s team. Again, even though there wasn’t much in the way of build for this match on TV, I’m sure most people were excited to see these two wrestle and how they would put on a great match.

Both men would cut good promos before the match as Savage vowed revenge for what happened to Elizabeth at the last SNME and we also get comments from HTM, and Bret was red hot as a heel as he comes out with Neidhart and Jimmy and Savage gets a big pop from the crowd which includes Seattle Seahawks star Brian Bosworth. Savage chases the Foundation around the ring to start the match and he prevents Bret from rolling back in the ring, and he drives the elbow into his head and rams him into the post before rolling into the ring. Bret regroups on the floor until Savage pulls him into the ring and pounds on him in the corner, and he tears at his face as both men attempt a reversal with Savage sending Bret back into the corner only to miss a charge. Bret pounds and stomps on Savage in the corner before choking him and he hits a snapmare, and he drops the elbow on Savage and pounds on him only for Savage to catch him ducking with a kick. Savage nails Bret with an elbow as Bret rolls out to the apron and Savage tries to do something only for the ref to force him back, and Savage shoves Bret off the apron into the guardrail as Jimmy and Neidhart check on him. Neidhart gets on the apron and challenges Savage as Jimmy tries to bring him down only for Savage to ram their heads together, and he goes up top only for Bret to catch him coming down with the megaphone to the ribs. Bret rolls back into the ring as Elizabeth checks on Savage until Neidhart comes over and kicks at Savage, and he throws Savage back into the ring where Bret pounds on him and kicks him to the mat. Bret yells at Elizabeth and hits a legdrop on Savage before hoisting him up and ramming him into the corner as he puts him in the tree of woe, and he stomps on Savage who frees himself and Bret hits a piledriver for a two count. Bret drives the elbow into Savage’s head and whips him into the corner only to miss a charge and he rams his shoulder into the buckle, and Savage rams Bret’s shoulder into the post and hits a snapmare before going up top and hitting an axehandle on Bret for a two count. Bret gets a shot in and hits a backbreaker on Savage before going up to the middle rope only to miss the elbow, and Savage gets a kick in before leaping over the top rope as he hotshots Bret on the top rope. Savage rolls back into the ring and gets a two count as he tears at Bret’s face only for Bret to backdrop him over the top to the floor with Savage hurting his ankle, and Savage struggles to his feet though he can’t get up as Elizabeth helps him unlace his boot and the Hart Foundation stalk them as we go to a commercial break.

We are back from the commercial break as Elizabeth has taken Savage’s boot off and Savage pulls himself back into the ring, and the ref tries to have the match stopped though Savage refuses to quit and he challenges Bret to come to him. Bret grabs at Savage’s leg and pounds on it before stomping on the ankle, and he goes outside and pulls Savage to the corner as he rams the ankle into the post before rolling back into the ring. He drives the knee into the ankle and hooks a spinning toehold on Savage who kicks Bret off and sends him shoulder first into the post again, and Savage chokes Bret on the top rope and snaps him to the mat for a two count only for Bret to grab the ankle and hook a submission on as Savage grabs the rope to force a break. He stomps on Savage’s ankle and hooks a half Boston crab on as Savage crawls under the rope which forces the break, and Savage rolls out to the apron as Bret snaps him over the top back into the ring and he pounds on the ankle. Savage tears at Bret’s face and dives after Jimmy only for Bret to grab him and attempt a slam back into the ring, but Savage counters with a small package which gets the three and he wins the match. After the match, Jimmy and Neidhart get in the ring as Neidhart goes after Savage only for Savage to shove him through the ropes to the outside, and Bret holds Savage for Jimmy only for Savage to move and Jimmy hits Bret with the megaphone by mistake. Savage grabs the megaphone and chases Jimmy out of the ring with it, and the Hart Foundation head to the back as Savage recovers in the ring with Elizabeth.

The match itself was great as both men worked hard for the 12 minutes that they got and they put on a really fun match that could’ve been an all-time classic if given 10 more minutes. We all knew going in how great Savage was by this point, but this was a real good showcase for Bret as he gets to show his skills in front of a big TV audience which was a big test for him and I think he succeeded in that. He’s always a guy that you would imagine be a future solo star and its matches like this that allow him to build cred as a singles star. I thought that they meshed well and went at a fast pace for most of the match until the point when Savage hurts his ankle, and Savage does a great job selling the ankle though wrestling with only one boot was pretty weird to see. Going in, you had a feeling that Savage was going to win since he was building towards another match with HTM, but Bret is kept pretty strong as you could say that Savage used his experience to surprise Bret at the end. I thought that Vince and Jesse were on top of their game for this match as it is funny hearing Jesse still somewhat defend Savage even though he’s now a face and Vince was his usual over the top self. The crowd was pretty hot for the match and popped big time for Savage when he won. Savage gets the win over a game Bret and both men move on as Savage looks towards a final showdown with HTM for the IC Title.

Final Grade: ****

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