#WF050 – Saturday Night’s Main Event – The Greatest Hits

James Dixon:

 

Flag Match
WWF Championship
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Nikolai Volkoff
This also features on Hulk Hogan: Real American. We go back to October 1985 for this. Hogan comes out to ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ and is wearing all-white. He throws me when he wears that, he is like a different guy. Volkoff jumps Hogan before the bell and rips his shirt off, choking him with it. Hogan comes back with a pair of clotheslines and an elbow drop. A big boot from Hogan is mistimed, and ends up being a polite toe to the chin. Volkoff doesn’t give a shit, and bumps it to the outside anyway. Volkoff throws Hogan into the post on the outside, and takes over back in the ring. Vince makes the claims that Hogan and Nikolai are the same weight, but Volkoff is stronger. I don’t think so somehow Vince, you mad bastard! Impressive bench press into a backbreaker from Volkoff, but Hogan thwarts a piledriver attempt with a back body drop. Volkoff fires back and hits a slam for two, but Hogan begins his Hulking Up routine. It is inevitably over. Hogan, bastion of political correctness, shines his shoes with the Soviet flag. He is a bit of a tail isn’t he? At least the match was short. For what it was, it wasn’t bad and the crowd remained hot throughout.
Final Rating:

 

Hulk Hogan & The Junkyard Dog vs. The Funks
We are in Providence, Rhode Island for this match from May 1986. The Funks are Dory (Hoss) Funk Jr. and Terry Funk. Hang on a minute, what is going on here? JYD is dressed as Hogan and does the shirt ripping routine, and Hogan has JYD’s chains around his neck and is acting, well, like a dog! They even have a little midget lovechild with them. Mental! JYD gets the better of both Funks single-handedly to begin with before Hogan tags in. They do a fun spot, with the Funks confused by Hogan into doing a crisscross spot with each other, ending with Hogan’s bit boot and a surprisingly energetic elbow drop. This has surpassed my expectations thus far, but Terry Funk was the absolute hot shit in 1986, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. The Funks are sent reeling again, so Jimmy Hart pushes over the midget and then floors Mel Phillips as he runs away from Hogan. Man, Mel must have just hated being ringside during the Funk’s matches, he got a kicking. This becomes a wild brawl, with Terry taking a bump onto the announcers table, and then soon after, Hogan gets a kicking on the outside, with Terry trying to throw him into the crowd. JYD slams Funk on the outside and then he takes a back body drop in the aisle. Where did this random little gem comes from? It is superb fun; it has been riotously entertaining and it hasn’t stopped once for breath. JYD takes a brief heat, but Terry Funk’s punches soon stop having any effect. A double clothesline takes both guys down, but Terry prevents the tag to Hogan with a slam. Terry misses a flying headbutt off the top, and JYD gets the hot tag to Hogan who steamrolls the brothers and pins Terry after the legdrop. No Hulking Up routine and phony comeback, no rest holds and no stop in the action. This was a great brawl, and it carries on after the bell too. This wouldn’t have been out of place in ECW, it was chaotic!
Final Rating: ***

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. George Steele
Wow, did this feud ever drag on. Talk about a waste of Randy Savage. This is towards the end of their run, taking place in February 1987 from Detroit, Michigan. The winner of the match gets Elizabeth as their manager. I rarely give Steele any credit and I hate watching him work, but he was good at the comedy stuff he did, he just shouldn’t have been in there with the proper workers like Macho Man. The director makes three consecutive unnecessary cuts to Elizabeth backstage for comments. What is the point? It’s not like she has anything to say anyway. Ventura does though, as he rips Mean Gene a new asshole for drooling over Liz. It’s about time he was called out on it! Gene’s general demeanour screams “pervert” to me. Savage tries to lead Elizabeth backstage, but Ricky Steamboat blocks his path and forces him to retreat. Steele bites away at Savage back inside, and bulldogs him into the turnbuckles. Steele takes a break to eat one of the pads, and Savage seizes the opportunity to strike with a knee to the back. A slam and the double axe handle from the top follow, as Elizabeth is shown grimacing at ringside. Steele blocks a clothesline by biting the arm, but again gets distracted by the pad, and throws the foam insides at Savage and then the referee’s face. Steele goes to Elizabeth on the outside, but Savage throws him into the railings and nails him with a chair, then jumps in the ring for the count out victory. At under five minutes long, that is exactly how I like my Steele matches. The story was all there, even if the wrestling was limited. I can’t believe I am going to say this, but I rather enjoyed that, for what it was.
Final Rating:

 

Steel Cage Match
WWF Championship
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Paul Orndorff
This match is rather famous, and appears on a few different tapes featured in this book. This comes to us from Hartford, Connecticut in December 1986. Orndorff was a great talent. It is a shame he was only around for the early years of the cartoon era, because he could have had a helluva run once he turned babyface (again), opposite the likes of Savage, Santana, DiBiase, Perfect and later on Flair. He goes for the door early on as he gives Hogan a kicking, but Hogan prevents him by grabbing the ankles. A clothesline to a seated Hogan takes him down, and Orndorff this time tries to climb out. He gets most of the way down, but Hogan grabs him by the hair to deny him escape again, as Ventura quips: “Hogan would not be the champion if Orndorff was bald”. Brilliant. I love Jesse’s dry wit. Hogan takes over by choking Orndorff with his headband, but Orndorff stops him climbing out and the tide shifts again back in favour of ‘Mr. Wonderful’. They go back-and-forth, and then do the spot where both guys ram each other into the cage simultaneously. Orndorff and Hogan both climb out of opposite sides, unaware of the other scaling the cage too and hit the floor at the same time, resulting in mass confusion over who the winner is. It is a good spot, and executed with perfect timing here. The announcement comes that the match is a tie, and thus has to continue. They brawl on the outside before re-entering the cage, and Orndorff is the aggressor once again. Hogan eventually Hulks Up and fires back with big chops, then throws Orndorff into the cage three times, busting him open. Hogan hits the legdrop, but Heenan comes into the cage and holds onto Hogan’s ankles as he tries to leave. They just love booking, don’t they! All manner of things have gone on here! Next, Hogan fights off Heenan and climbs over the cage as Orndorff tries to leave through the door, but he is too late and Hogan’s feet reach the floor first. I enjoy how much Ventura hates Hogan: “What an all-American” he sneers, as Hogan takes a shot at Heenan post match. The slowed down footage shown afterwards clearly proves that Orndorff’s feet hit the floor first during the earlier spot, by about a millisecond. I would count it, Orndorff should be champion. He would have been a great one too, though it would have rather screwed the main event for WrestleMania III.
Final Rating: ***¼

 

Hercules vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
We go to November 1987 for this one, which took place in Seattle, Washington. It is an odd choice to be featured, and on paper it should be awful, yet I am still strangely intrigued by it. Hercules’ power has little effect on Bigelow’s size, and he is unable to knock him down with tackles. He eventually clotheslines Bam Bam to the outside, but Bigelow brings him out with a snapmare over the top. They have a brawl and Bigelow slams Herc on the outside, but the bell has gone for a double count out after just a couple of minutes. Bigelow protests that he didn’t come all this way for a draw, and thus the match is restarted. I am actually amazed they were allowed to resume the match, usually that kind of thing didn’t happen with the WWF. They resume by doing football tackles to each other, and then Bigelow uses a cartwheel to avoid Herc, and takes him down with another tackle. Bigelow misses a standing dropkick, and Herc drops some elbows and a knee drop, but doesn’t go for the cover. Herc goes up top but gets caught by Bigelow, who gorilla press slams him and hits a slingshot headbutt for the win. Like the Steele-Savage match, this was more than ok for what it was. It was not designed to be a mat classic, rather just a vehicle to get Bigelow over, and it worked.
Final Rating: *

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
The Honky Tonk Man (c) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
Savage is on the very cusp of a top babyface run here, with this taking place in September 1987 from Hershey, Pennsylvania. We are joined (slightly) in progress. Honky was actually supposed to lose the title on this show, but he refused because he didn’t want his character to be destroyed on a show with such a massive audience (supposedly, around 35 million people) and talked them out of it. What happened after this match became rather important, and it would not have occurred had Savage won the belt here. The original plan was for Ted DiBiase to win the WWF title, but because of Savage not getting the IC strap, they went with him for WWF champion instead. Strange how things work out. Neither guy gets a clear advantage, with Savage beating Honky from pillar to post to begin with, before Honky goes to a heat. It doesn’t last long, as Honky targets Elizabeth and thus gets a kicking from Savage. Jimmy Hart breaks up a few pin attempts and then tries to pull Savage down as he tries to climb the ropes. Savage shakes him off and hits the double axe handle, but Hart saves Honky again. Macho has had enough and beats up Hart, while continuing to get the better of Honky. The Hart Foundation come down to save Jimmy, and eventually carry him to the back, before returning to ringside. So far this is pretty good. I don’t think I have seen another Honky match as watchable and entertaining, but then, Savage was the perfect opponent for anyone from 86-89. Honky takes over on Savage again briefly, but misses a fist drop, allowing Savage to come back with a series of moves. Honky begs off but Savage doesn’t relent, continuing to hit move after move on Honky in a quest to regain the IC belt. Honk goes to the eyes and catches a breather when he throws Savage to the outside, where the Harts lay a beating on him. Back in the ring, and Savage reverses the Shake, Rattle and Roll and then hits his top rope elbow drop, which would have been enough, but the Hart’s come in to cause the DQ and save Honky’s title belt. What follows is legendary. Honky shoves Elizabeth down when she gets in the way of a guitar shot to Savage, and she runs to the back. After fannying around for ages, Honky eventually breaks his guitar over Savage’s head, just as Hulk Hogan comes in for the save. He clears the ring and the spotlight hogging begins, some six months before Savage wins the WWF title at Mania IV. The first seeds of the famous angle between Savage and Hogan are planted here, leading to an eventual blow-off (well, of sorts, some 18-months later at Mania V, though they did continue to wrestle everywhere for years). The people go crazy as Hogan and Savage shake hands, and the Mega Powers are born! Decent little match. While not quite the classic some have rated it at, it was still fun all-round and it led to the birth of the Mega Powers, so it is certainly historically significant.
Final Rating: ***

 

Summary: A little goody bag from Coliseum Video here, with a trio of fine matches, surrounded by three inferior yet still surprisingly watchable ones. In the lesser bouts, the key was that the more talented workers were motivated, and in two of the cases there was a strong story going in, which undoubtedly helps. All three were short and thus inoffensive, so don’t drag the tape down at all. SNME was a great show for the WWF, with numerous classic moments, matches and angles taking place on the event, and this tape is a decent representation of that. There are no must-see classics on here, but this still comes recommended.
Verdict: 58

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