WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #13 (11.28.87) review
November 28, 1987 (Taped: November 11, 1987)
This is a bit of a strange show, because they taped it before Survivor Series, but then screened it afterwards. Given the scheduling, it does make sense because this is literally two days after Survivor Series, which in turn happened on Thanksgiving to fuck with Jim Crockett’s business. We’re in Seattle, Washington at the Seattle Center Coliseum (which, at time of writing is called the Climate Pledge Arena). It was, at the time, the home of the Seattle Supersonics NBA team. Of course, that ‘franchise’ moved to Oklahoma in 2008 and the team doesn’t exist anymore. American franchises are so weird. I hate them. Hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura.
Randy Savage welcomes us from “east of Mars, north of Hell”. He claims Honky Tonk Man “maimed” his manager Elizabeth and he’s after vengeance. Maimed is a stretch. He pushed her over.
What the hell were these guys smoking in late 1987? What’s with that bandana, brother? I’ve literally gone to @ him on Twitter because that’s A Decision. Hogan warns Bundy he’s about to face a “24-gun salute”.
We go to ringside, and Jesse Ventura sarcastically says he’s thrilled to be here. Vince takes it straight. Of course, Vince McMahon doesn’t understand sarcasm.
George Steele, meanwhile, is still obsessed with Elizabeth.
Danny Davis vs. George Steele
Davis bashed Steele with the ring bell to set this up. Davis, as with every match he has ever been in, looks hopelessly out of his depth. Vince complains about Davis using a foreign object, despite that being Steele’s own shtick being used against him. Davis accidentally kicks the ref in the ribs and he disqualifies him. Good lord, this was awful.
Saturday Night’s Main Event was usually a showcase of the best of the promotion at the time. This is not that.
We go to clips of Honky Tonk Man shoving Elizabeth over on the last SNME. Vince is fuming. Liz tells us she’s suffering some pain but she’s fine. Savage isn’t fine! He calls the Harts and Honky “cowards” before quoting himself in the third person. “I’m in the DANGER ZONE!” “Vengeance is mine said the Macho Man”.
Before the match we see Brian Bosworth outside the ring. The linebacker was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 1987 and had a few successful years there before retiring very early in 1989 thanks to a shoulder injury. He then went into acting and starred in the 1991 actioner “Stone Cold”.
Randy Savage vs. Bret Hart
To this point Bret’s singles opportunities have been limited. Usually matches extending from the tag ranks, like vs. Dynamite Kid or Ray Rougeau. Or the odd televised miracle like the Tom Magee match. 1987 has not been a year of singles opportunities for Bret. It’s been 100% Hart Foundation. So, this represents his first chance to impress in singles, in front of a big audience, ever. It’s also kind of bizarre that even after this, he didn’t get a singles push until 1991. The WWF, stuck in their ways!
After the match is initially Savage vs. Both Harts on the floor, we settle into a contest in the ring. If Bret has any nerves about his big singles shot, it doesn’t show. Bret takes his bump off the apron into the rail. It’s a spot he did a few times but here he doesn’t shatter his sternum. They bring the goods with Savage flying off the top to the floor and Bret catches Randy with the megaphone. These are big ideas, beautifully executed.
Bret, running the match as a heel, is measured, capable and snug. Watching him, with the benefit of hindsight, they should have pushed him harder. By the time they got around to it he only had five good years left. Savage seems to enjoy having someone who can keep up with him. As with Ricky Steamboat.
Savage takes a spill to the floor, resulting in a heavy limp. Anvil’s chuckling reaction is suitably silly/evil. Randy’s selling extends to removing his boot. Bret goes for a slam but Savage holds on tight and rolls into a pin for the win. It’s another beautifully executed spot in a series of them. Bret Hart’s technical performance here was gold and Savage played babyface in peril wonderfully. ***¾
This match strengthens Savage’s claim to be Wrestler of the Year for 1987. He’s a strong contender thanks to the Steamboat match at Mania on top of great heel performances with Bruno Sammartino back at the start of the year and great babyface performances against Honky since he turned.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. King Kong Bundy
Hogan had the belt at Survivor Series, so it should be pretty clear who wins here. Bobby Heenan breaks out a returning Andre the Giant to be in Bundy’s corner, which is less of a shock because Andre had just appeared at Survivor Series, although this was taped beforehand. Hogan’s pre-match promo involves “the blue tinge”, the “24 gun salute” and the “power pack” he claims in hidden behind his left ventricle, powerered by vitamins and prayers. What the fuck was he smoking?
The Hogan-Bundy feud has been there on-off since late 1985, as an extension of Bobby Heenan’s obsession with ending Hulkamania. It always felt like they could go back to Bundy when they needed someone for Hogan to overcome.
This is surprisingly animated for Hogan vs. Bundy until Bundy hooks a chinlock. It picks up again towards the finish but Andre trips Hogan up for the DQ.
But wait, the referee decides to eject Andre and have the match continue. Which is unfortunate because a lot of the following action involves Bundy rest holds. Hogan eventually gets the slam he’s been after for the entire match before they spill outside and brawl. Bobby Heenan grabs Hogan’s foot to stop him coming back in and it’s a count out win for Bundy, which would set up one final Hogan-Bundy match at SNME #14, the last TV match for Bundy in about five years. **½
Hercules vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Bigelow is fresh off a star-making performance at Survivor Series, or rather he would be as this was taped beforehand.
Bigelow’s monosyllabic responses to interview questions explain why they gave him Oliver Humperdink as a manager. He is not a good interview. Even Hercules seemed more comfortable talking. This is nicely paced, as Bigelow could take bumps like a champ. So, he’s flying all over the place for Herc. Hercules is very limited but his clubbering blows are made to look effective here. They brawl around on the floor for a double count out.
Bigelow grabs the microphone and demands the match continue! Bam Bam breaks out a cartwheel, popping Vince as much as the crowd. Bigelow’s insistence at working like a cruiserweight looks odd in retrospect but given the standard in the company was all kick-punch-resthold behaviour, it made him stand out. Herc tries out the ropes but gets caught, slammed and beaten with the slingshot splash. Big win for Bigelow, eventually, although if you get rid of the stupid DCO false finish this would feel more important. They wanted Bigelow to look like a big star after making him at Survivor Series. He was so over, what happened?
Brian Bosworth offers to take Jesse Ventura to the woodshed, so Ventura heads over for a chat. He promises to sign autographs for the various Seattle Seahawks.
Video Control takes us backstage for some words. King Kong Bundy is all fired up having beaten Hogan. Bobby Heenan isn’t around thanks to a neck injury, sustained in a post match beating from the Hulkster. Ventura strolls in to congratulate Bundy on his win. Elsewhere, Hulk Hogan gets words. “WellyaknowMeanGene”. Hogan is mad he didn’t get to beat Bundy tonight, and calls Bundy and Andre out for a rematch.
The Savage-Bret match is great the Hogan-Bundy angle is passable. It seems very weird they got the Megapowers concept over so well on the last SNME only to do nothing with it the next time out? Have Hogan chase Honky Tonk Man off or something? Instead both guys just fight their way through on their own, as if nothing happened. Due to it being recorded before Survivor Series and airing it afterwards caused various issues. Not the best SNME to this point, although the Savage-Bret match is well worth checking out.