Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Saturday Night’s Main Event #13
Date: November 28, 1987
Location: Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, Washington
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
We are just after the first Survivor Series and that means we are still somewhat in the shadow of Wrestlemania III. This show may not look like much on paper, but it has a match that would open a lot of eyes in the WWF and start setting a stage several years down the line. There’s also a Wrestlemania II rematch here so let’s get to it.
Savage opens in a Twilight Zone themed promo (complete with similar background music) and does a new version of the same thing he said last month: now he’s east of Saturn, west of Jupiter and south of Mars. He goes over Honky Tonk Man and the Hart Foundation trying to hurt Elizabeth last time but now it’s time for revenge.
Bundy says he has a big surprise: Bundamania lives and Hulkamania will die tonight.
Hogan, with his bandana cut up and hanging over his eyes, is ready for Bundy with a 24 gun salute. All of the opening promos had what looked like stars behind them for some reason.
Vince and Jesse do their intro.
We flash back about six months to see Danny Davis hitting George Steele in the back with the bell.
Steele, playing with an Elizabeth action figure, says Davis hurt Elizabeth. He holds his head and shouts the word bell before running off.
Davis doesn’t understand how he could get banned from refereeing while Steele is allowed to keep wrestling. He promises to ring Steele’s bell again.
George Steele vs. Danny Davis
Steele starts fast and goes after Davis in the corner before choking him in the air. At least Danny is smart enough to bail to the floor so Steele chases the referee around the ring. Back in and Davis’ right hands have no effect as George punches him right back out to the floor. Davis tries to sneak up on him but Steele falls to his stomach into a drop toehold, sending Danny back to the floor and Jesse into shock.
A chair won’t be allowed inside the ring but the distraction lets Danny get in a cheap shot with a foreign object. Davis chokes on the ropes, with Jesse claiming that he’s just brushing Steele’s teeth and barely holding back a big laugh. More foreign object shots have Steele in trouble but he grabs a flying (lifting) hammerlock, actually his regular finishing move. Davis kicks the referee by mistake for the DQ.
Rating: D-. Why in the world did this not close the show? Steele winning here is fine as no one was going to buy Davis as anything other than a joke heel, so I really don’t see why Steele couldn’t have gotten the submission here. This really was an odd choice to open the show as it was a comedy match instead of the usual hot start. Also did a moment from the spring really need a blowoff in November?
Steele gets the object from Davis and chases him away.
We recap the Harts attacking Savage last time.
Jimmy Hart says Elizabeth was trying to bewitch him men. As for the guitar to Savage, just be glad Honky Tonk Man doesn’t play the piano.
We look at Elizabeth being shoved down which even Jesse can’t condone.
Elizabeth says she’s had some pain from being shoved down but she’s fine. Savage however isn’t fine because those guys laughed about what they did to Elizabeth. Vengeance is his tonight.
Randy Savage vs. Bret Hart
This has some potential. Of note, the Harts have recently lost the Tag Team Titles to Strike Force but no mention of it is made here. Neidhart and Jimmy circle Elizabeth before the bell, only to infuriate Savage even further. We go to a break before the bell and come back with Seattle Seahawk Brian Bosworth coming to his front row seat. Also, Honky Tonk Man says he isn’t done with Elizabeth, but more importantly, she’s not done with him either. Back to the ring, Savage chases Bret around ringside and posts him so he can point at Neidhart.
They get inside with Randy hammering away, only to miss a charge into the corner. Bret stomps him down and drops an elbow, only to get kicked in the face for his efforts. Savage is all fired up again and knocks Hart off the apron and into the barricade for a huge crash. The two Jims are rammed together but Savage dives into a megaphone shot to the ribs, giving Bret the real advantage.
Things slow down as Bret is in Excellence of Execution mode. He shouts down at Elizabeth and drops a leg before tying Savage up in the Tree of Woe. That goes nowhere so Bret goes a bit more practical with a piledriver for two. Savage avoids a charge in the corner though and Bret meets the buckle. It seems that he should have hit the post though so Savage sends him shoulder first into the post for good measure.
The top rope ax handle only gets two but Bret grabs his backbreaker. Savage misses the middle rope elbow though as he doesn’t quite have the Five Moves of Doom perfected yet. Bret isn’t done yet though as he backdrops Savage over the top rope for a crash. He comes up holding his knee too and Bret has an opening. Elizabeth starts taking his boot off and the referee has to threaten the Harts with a DQ for stalking her.
We come back from a break with nothing changed. I love that about this show. Not much happens in the breaks but it’s something that I don’t get to see most of the time. Bret goes after the ankle like a shark by kicking it out from under Savage and slapping on a spinning toe hold. Back up and Savage sends Bret into the post for the third time, only to have Hart go back to the leg. A half crab has Savage in agony but he grabs the bottom rope for the save. Bret loads up a slam but Savage uses the lesson he learned earlier in the year, countering it into a small package for the pin.
Rating: B. Oh yeah this was great. This match needed another five minutes to make it a classic, but this was rolling with great storytelling and Savage making Bret look like a million bucks. The idea of which body part would give out first isn’t something you often see with Savage’s selling making the match work like a charm. Really good stuff here.
Savage can’t even walk up the aisle and collapses on the way.
Heenan says Hulkamania dies tonight.
WWF World Title: King Kong Bundy vs. Hulk Hogan
Heenan has a surprise for us. Remember last time when his surprise was to have Andre in Bundy’s corner? Well it’s the exact same thing this time. Hogan sees this and starts talking about a power pack in his heart full of training and vitamins. As usual, it only makes sense if you don’t think about it too much. Some fans have actually thrown some trash into the ring, which isn’t something you often see in the 80s.
They get nose to nose to start until Hogan tries a shoulder, only to bounce off the challenger. Another attempt sends Hogan down in a very rare visual. Hogan’s slam attempt fails as well and Bundy starts in on the back. He goes with the simple version of just standing on Hogan and the champion is reeling early. Bundy misses a splash though and Hogan pops up. A big clothesline puts Bundy down and Hulk is suddenly rolling after being in so much trouble just a few seconds earlier.
King comes back with some heavy forearms to the spine and we hit the chinlock. The hold stays on long enough that we get the three arm drops. Hogan makes his second comeback but Andre trips him up on the legdrop, drawing a bell. It’s actually not a DQ though as Andre is just being ejected instead of ending the match. Andre takes several minutes to leave until Bundy and Heenan finally talk him into it before he costs Bundy the match. He even shoves down a cameraman on the way out for a cool visual.
Back from a break and the match continues after nearly five minutes of stoppage. Bundy takes over in the corner but Hogan reverses a whip and nails a running clothesline. Hulk rams him into some buckles and nails a jumping knee. He still won’t drop the leg though and misses an elbow drop to give Bundy two. It’s back to standing on the injured spine as Bundy is running out of offense.
We hit the bearhug for a bit until Hogan elbows out, but what’s good for the Hogan is good for the Bundy and he eats an elbow to the jaw. The Avalanche connects in the corner and another lands on the mat for two. Now the slam works but Bundy rolls outside, likely because a slam shouldn’t have that much effect. They slug it out and Hogan throws him back in, only to have Heenan hold the foot so Hogan can’t beat the count.
Rating: C+. This is probably Bundy’s best match ever as he managed to work around his limitations in the ring with Hogan knowing exactly what to do in a match like this. This was more teasing of Hogan vs. Andre II though, which is going to be one of the biggest rematches of all time. Despite being known for doing the same match over and over again, Hogan really doesn’t get the credit that he deserves. He could last through a ten to fifteen minute match and keep it from getting ugly, which isn’t something you often think of with him.
Hogan, ever the sore loses, punches Bundy to the floor and chokes Heenan.
Hercules isn’t worried about facing Bam Bam Bigelow without Heenan in his corner (Heenan is listed as injured after Hogan’s post match attack).
Bigelow, with manager Oliver Humperdink, says he’s going to take the links out of Hercules’ chain.
Hercules vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
This is Bigelow’s debut on the show as he debuted in the early summer after a long battle between the managers to sign him. Bigelow chose Humperdink, who wasn’t shown actively trying to sign him. This led to feuds with the other managers’ clients, including this one against a member of the Heenan Family. Bigelow is nearly 400lbs but moves like someone half his size.
Hercules bounces off Bigelow to start before opting to knee Bigelow in the chest over and over. That’s fine with Bigelow who hammers him in the corner but gets clotheslined out to the floor. The ropes were sagging heavily under Bigelow’s weight on the way out. With Bigelow on the apron, Hercules uses forearms to the chest ala Sheamus in modern times but gets snapmared out to the floor. A quick brawl leads to a double countout for an early ending.
Bigelow says not so fast because he wants a clear winner. Without Heenan to tell him no, Hercules gets back inside after a break and we keep going. They get down for a football collision and no one goes anywhere. Hercules tries it again but drops low, only to have Bigelow cartwheel over him. Bigelow misses what would have been a bad dropkick and Hercules takes over. He takes forever to go up top though and gets caught in midair (remember that Hercules weighs about 275lbs). Bigelow gorilla presses him down and nails a slingshot splash for the pin.
Rating: D+. This was just a way to make Bigelow look like a star, but the countout kind of defeated the purpose. Hercules was a good victim for a guy like Bigelow though as he really doesn’t have anything going on but still has a reputation. Bigelow was pushed hard upon his debut and was in the main event of the first Survivor Series.
The Seattle Seahawks in the front row want Jesse.
Bundy says this is the greatest night of his life but he’s demanding a rematch with Andre in his corner. He guarantees a title win for the Bundamaniacs. Jesse pops up and says he believes in Bundy.
Hogan can’t deny that Bundy won but it doesn’t mean he’s the better man. He’d love to have a rematch and wants Andre there in the corner. The Hulkamaniacs will have his back.
Okerlund has no update on Heenan’s condition and doesn’t care to end the show. No mention of Survivor Series either whatsoever, just like on the previous episode.
Overall Rating: C+. The two big matches more than carry this to a solid grade. The key thing here though is Hogan vs. Andre II which is now just a matter of time. Other than that though, Savage vs. Hart is well worth a watch but it will leave you wanting more. The WWF is firing on almost all cylinders at this point though and that’s a great thing to have happening as they’re heading into Wrestlemania season.
The biggest question here though is the match order. I still don’t get the idea of having Steele vs. Davis kicking things off. Bigelow is the new hot commodity and he goes on in the death slot to end the show? This also pushed Hogan back another ten minutes, which probably diminished the audience. Maybe they’re trying something new though and to be fair, the opener is done in about five minutes so it’s not the biggest problem in the world.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!