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WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #9 – January 3, 1987

WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #9 – January 3, 1987

It’s a new year for the WWF, as we roll into 1987, and the road to Wrestlemania III. During this week of WWF TV is where Andre the Giant did his huge heel turn and attacked Hulk Hogan on the set of Piper’s Pit, which was played out over three or four weeks of WWF TV. This SNME and the next one are two of my favorites, as the build to the biggest and best Wrestlemania was great, and Andre’s heel turn was a shock. Almost as shocking was Roddy Piper’s announcement that Wrestlemania III was going to be his final wrestling match, sadly some twenty three years later Piper still wrestles on occasion. Before we begin, let’s do our title roll call, World Champion is always Hulk Hogan, IC Champ is still Macho Man Randy Savage, The Hart Foundation has retained their Tag Championships and the Women’s champion is still Moolah. So, in essence nothing has changed since the last SNME, but big changes were coming, and we’ll see those changes over the next two or three SNME’s. For now though let’s get to tonight’s episode.

We start with Bobby Heenan and Paul Orndorff, as Orndorff says Hulk-a-mania dies tonight. Hulk in the cage says he likes that there is nowhere to run or hide, and if Hulk goes down, let it be. Jimmy Hart reminds Roddy Piper of what he did to Adrian Adonis, who says its payback time. Mene Gene with George Steele asks what George has is store of Randy Savage, and Steele says a surprise. King Harley Race promises that JYD will learn to bow in servitude, The Dog says he bows down to no man but the Lord above, as we go to our opening. I miss those quick little interviews, each was under 30 seconds, but they got the point across. As opposed to RAW with its twenty minute opening interviews, which usually accomplish nothing, Randy Orton, we are looking at you!!!

Vince McMahon welcomes us to Saturday Night’s Main Event, coming to you tonight from Hartford, CT with 16000 fans, as Vince introduces Jesse Ventura. Ventura says Hulk Hogan cannot run from Paul Orndorff in the cage tonight, and Jesse predicts a new world champion tonight. Vince says tonight is the first time a steel cage match has aired on network TV. Jesse says Bobby Heenan is glad to be in Hartford, as Heenan has taken an insurance policy on Paul’s new championship. Mene Gene is with Bobby and Paul Orndorff, and Heenan says tonight Hulk will be left like an old newspaper, lining the bottom of a bird cage. Orndorff and Heenan come out, once again to Real American. Hulk Hogan responds by saying the steel cage is a dead end for Paul Orndorff. Gene asks why Hulk didn’t end the feud sooner, and Hulk says the cage is the brutal match and Mr. Wonderful will find out why.

1. Paul Orndorff v. Hulk Hogan. Jesse says the feud has gone on for six months, nowadays that’s considered a lifetime! We start with Danny Davis arguing with the other ref, Joey Marella, and Davis stays stationed at the door as the ref. Hulk enters the cage up and over the cage, and rips off his shirt, as Jesse says what a show of strength ripping a shirt! Hulk drops to the mat, and Orndorff jumps the Champ, and then whips him with his own World Title. Orndorff goes for the door, but Hulk grabs the Ankle. Paul turns around and stomps Hulk down, then goes for the door again, but Hulk lunges for him. Jesse says it’s better to be lucky than good. Orndorff nails a clothesline on Hulk, and then drops a big elbow before attempting to climb the cage. Paul makes it to the outside of the cage, but Hulk catches him by the hair and pulls him back in. Hulk rams Orndorff’s head into the cage repeatedly, while Paul hands upside down, Hulk quickly pulls him down to the mat. Hogan chokes Orndorff with the headband, while Vince claims to have seen nothing, as Hulk tries to escape, but Paul catches him this time. Paul with a vicious uppercut takes Hulk down to the mat; Paul drops a knee and chokes Hulk with the knee. Both men slowly crawl towards the door, but Hulk holds Paul back. Hulk opens up on the challenger, and Hulk goes for the door, but Davis has the door locked and by the time they get it opened Orndorff’s back on Hogan. Heenan screaming at Orndorff, as Paul continues the offense on the champ, including a falling headbutt. Both men get their heads rammed into the steel cage, and now both men are down and hurting. Slowly both guys climb opposite sides of the cage, almost mirroring each other. They both hit the ground, and Marella holds Hulk’s hand up, while Davis hold’s Orndorff’s arm high. Davis suddenly clobbers Marella, and Hulk get’s in Davis’ face, while Paul sneaks up behind Hulk and drills him with the knee to the back, also taking out Danny Davis. Vince screams that Hulk successfully defended the title, while Jesse disagrees. Howard Finkel announces this match has been deemed a tie! Howard continues that both men must get back in the cage and continue the match, as we go to commercial. We come back and Paul is pounding on Hulk outside the cage, and then drags Hulk around the ring and throws him back in. Jesse says Hulk has had enough and doesn’t want to get in the cage; Jesse is hilarious with his hatred of Hogan. Paul has the advantage and drops a series of knees, as we see Davis carried to the back. I miss the old blue cage, just looked so much sweeter than the crappy cage they use now. Jesse is chastising Vince, and telling him he’s tired of Vince’s love of Hogan. Orndorff continues to hammer the Hulkster, but Hulk suddenly Hulks Up. Hulk with three right hands, three big chops, then grabs Paul by the hair and rams him face first into the cage multiple times. Paul is out on his feet, as Jesse says Paul already won the match earlier, to which Vince responds that’s his opinion! Hogan nails Paul with the backbreaker, and then drops the leg, as Paul is busted open. Hulk starts to climb the cage, but Heenan dives in the cage and grabs the ankle. Orndorff tries to get out the door, as Hogan kicks Heenan off and nails Paul with the atomic drop, then whips Bobby into the cage hard. We have a race as Paul goes for the door, while Hogan climbs up, Hogan able to drop down first and retains the gold. 3.75/5 a great cage match, and another thrilling title defense for the Hulkster. The cage match with Boss Man in 89 is a better match, but the feud with Orndorff was amazing and the electricity of the crowd just makes this a huge match. Sadly this would the end of Orndorff’s big push, as he’d later turn face when Rick Rude debuts in the summer and feud with Rude before leaving WWF in early 88, but not before teaming with the Hulkster at the first Survivor Series in November of 1987. After the match, Hulk gets back in the cage, while Orndorff is down on the floor outside the cage, and turns his rage on Bobby Heenan. Hogan punches Heenan right in the face, and then atomic drops Heenan out of the cage. We see the replay of earlier when both men leave the cage same time, as Jesse swears the Paul won. They did the double win really win, much better than when they did it in the Rumble a while back with Lex and Bret. They really did come down at the same time, and that must’ve taken a lot of practice to time that out so perfectly. Hulk leans into the crowd as he leaves and hugs some girl with the classic LJN Hulk Hogan figure. Those were the best of the WWF figures ever made; I have about 40 of them. After the commercial we have Mene Gene who covers the feud between George Steele and Randy Savage, as we see George’s love for Elizabeth. Randy Savage and Elizabeth join us, as Gene asks Elizabeth about the surprise. She starts to answer and Savage tells he to shut up and no one cares about her. Randy threatens Mene Gene and tells Elizabeth to walk him down the aisle. Elizabeth looking great in red dress, as Vince is just drooling over Ms. Elizabeth, and Jesse calls Steele an ignorant fool. Gene is standing by with George “The Animal” Steele, as he asks George about the surprise. Gene mention Elizabeth, and Steele pulls Gene to the camera and yells surprise.

2. George Steele v. Randy Savage. This feud has been going on for an entire year now, as it started at the fourth SNME from Tampa. In between Savage had a match with Ricky Steamboat on TV, where Savage nailed Steamboat with the timekeeper’s bell and injured Ricky’s throat taking him off TV. That was an amazing moment on TV as it really did look like Ricky was injured as he flailed around so much, and they showed his wife crying in the audience. Steele comes to the ring, and is holding his LJN figure, love the product placement tonight. Savage hides behind Elizabeth, as Steele hands his figure to Elizabeth, as Jesse mocks Steele’s big surprise. Savage yanks the doll from Elizabeth and throws it. Steele attacks Savage before the bell, and rams his into the turnbuckle, and then slams Macho Man down. George picks up Savage and slams him again, as Steele climbs the turnbuckle and waves down the aisle to the locker room. Savage attacks Steele from behind and rams him into the buckle and drops a knee. Macho continues the attack, as he slams George and climbs the ropes, suddenly we get music! The crowd literally explodes as Ricky Steamboat comes running down the aisle, and Savage is distracted which gives George the chance to slam Savage off the top. Jesse screams this should be a DQ now, as Steele tosses Savage over the top to the floor. Steele follows outside, but instead of going after Savage, he scoops up Ms. Elizabeth and carries her back to the locker room, while people on one side of the aisle get a look up her dress!!! Savage slowly rises up and realizes Elizabeth is gone, and Savage tries to chase Steele, but Steamboat blocks the aisle. Two referees come out and try to get the Dragon to leave, as we see highlights of what Savage did to Steamboat, and we go to commercial. We come back, and Steamboat is back at ringside and chasing Savage, and out comes the Animal without Elizabeth. The refs finally get rid of Steamboat, while Steele rams Savage into the buckle and eats the turnbuckle and feeds some to Savage. George with a slam, and goes for another turnbuckle, while Savage slowly gets up and eats more stuffing. Steele goes to ram Savage into the buckle, but Savage reverses and now Randy opens up on the Animal! Savage gets caught running in and nailed with a big boot from Steele, who then bites Savage, as Jesse is asking what more are they going to allow Animal to do, as he bites Savage again. Vince claims he’s just salivating on Savage, while Savage kicks Steele and whips him in, as Savage goes for a sleeper, Steele starts to gnaw on Savage’s arm. Savage tosses Steele over the top, and as Steele comes in, he pulls something from his tights and nails Savage sending him to the floor. Ventura says he’s personally lodging a complaint with Jack Tunney, who passed away six years today, the President of the WWF about the action of George Steele, as Steele suddenly pushes the ref. Savage has had enough and grabs the bell, and nails Steele in the back of the head, and covers for the win. 2.75/5 not a great match, but the Steamboat stuff was amazing, and the heat Savage had back then was awe inspiring. No one knew how to piss off a crowd quite like Macho Man did, other people can learn from him. After the match Savage grabs the bell and climbs the ropes, but Steamboat out for the save, and Savage bails out to go find Elizabeth. Jesse says Steele and Steamboat should face jail time for kidnapping Ms. Elizabeth and says this will go in front of Judge Wopner; cool a People’s Court reference. Jesse asks what Steele’s intelligence is, and says it must be close to Vince’s, as Vince calls Steele the most feared man in wrestling. Jesse rebuts by saying that’s because there are no rules that apply to the Animal. Gene is standing by with King Harley Race and Bobby Heenan. Gene calls Race the self proclaimed king, and argues that he was crowned as we see the coronation. I love that the seven time NWA champion was treated like a no one when he came in, way to respect history Vince. Race says he is the king of all wrestling and everyone will bow to him, and they force Gene to bow. Gene says JYD will not bow, and Heenan says they will get Dog on his hands and knees, which sounds really perverse!

3. Harley Race v. JYD. Jesse says that Harley Race won the King of the Ring, and needs a throne, to which Vince responds that may be where Race does his best work. Gene is with JYD, who says “This country has never had no King, and this country has never had no Queen.” Dog says the only time his parents told him to bow was when he prayed, as leaves to make his way to the ring. Vince complains about the fact that Danny Davis is the ref, and calls him the most biased ref in history as we go to commercial. We come back as Davis is yelling at the Dog, and Race cheapshots Dog, and then drops an elbow. Race whips JYD in, and hits a high knee and follows up with a big knee drop to the face. Race gets Dog in the ropes and starts to punch him, but Dog comes back with punches and whips Race shoulder first into the ring post. JYD hits a headbutt, and Davis gets in JYD’s face, giving Race a chance to rake they eyes, then hits a belly to belly Suplex on the Dog. Race drops a big headbutt, but no effect on the Dog who comes back with three of his own, and then throws the King out of the ring. JYD goes outside and grabs the robe and crown of Race and puts it on and dances around the ring, as Heenan looks on in disgust. Davis counts slowly, as Heenan jumps in and attacks Dog from behind. Dog shrugs it off, and catches Heenan by the hair and punches Heenan in the face, but this give Race a chance to climb the ropes. Race drops an elbow on Dog, and follows up with the elbows to the chest as the bell finally rings. 2/5 not a good match, but the Dog was never known for great matches, but tons of charisma. This would of course lead to a rematch at Wrestlemania III. After the match Race continues to pummel JYD, as Heenan reclaims the robe and crown. Heenan holds Dog, while Race pounds on Dog while Davis just stands there, they force Dog to bow. Dog fights back and sends Heenan over the top and goes for Race, but Davis grabs the Dog from behind. JYD grabs Davis and cracks him with a big headbutt, as Jesse screams he should be suspended for what he did. Vince agrees Davis should be suspended, and Jesse is getting flabbergasted and screams Dog is the one who should be suspended. We go backstage to Heenan and Orndorff, who’s furious and screams he should be champion. Heenan says Paul is the champion, and will get the footage showing Paul landed first and will force Tunney to declare Orndorff the champion. Gene walks in and tells Paul this can’t be the way he wants the year to start, and Paul goes after Gene, Heenan holds back Paul and tells Gene no one invited him and to get out. Once again we see the footage of the double landing from the cage match, as Jesse says the video has been doctored. Gene is standing by with Adonis & Hart, as Gene asks why Adonis wants to get back in the ring. Adonis says he can take a licking and keep on ticking, and Hart says Adonis is all heart and no one can keep him out of the ring. As Adonis and Hart come to ring, Gene is with Hot Rod, who says he hasn’t got much to say. Roddy says the shameful part is not getting back up, and says tonight he has a chance to get back at Piper and is fighting for pride.

4. Adrian Adonis v. Roddy Piper. Piper comes out to quite an ovation, as the crowd is going crazy. Piper starts out by throwing his kilt in the face of Adonis and bites Adrian’s head, then tosses Adonis across the ring. Piper hits a knee lift to face of Adonis, who winds up tied to the ropes, He gets untied, and Piper tosses him in the opposite corner, as Jesse says Vince is losing his voice from cheering his favorites. Piper continues to toss Adonis around the ring, and then starts to work over the injured arm of Adrian. Piper gets caught yelling at Adonis, as Adonis nails Piper and catches him the corner with a series of scratches. Adonis with a kneelift to the midsection, but Piper blocks a punch, and fires back with one of his own, and then driving Adrian’s face into the mat, twice. Piper whips Adrian in, but reversed into a sleeper, and both men tumble to the floor. Hart gets in the middle and Piper nails Jimmy, but turns around and Adonis has the perfume sprayer, and sprays Piper in the eyes. I guess Adonis’ perfume wasn’t as strong as Rick Martel, since Piper didn’t have to wear the white contacts like Jake did 3 years later. At least that means this won’t lead to a blindfold match, like Jake and Martel did at Wrestlemania VII, what a horrible match that was. Adonis keeps spraying in face, as Jesse says he squirted him in the mouth due to Piper’s bad breath. Adonis rolls in the ring, as the ref counts Roddy Piper out and the crowd boos the decision. 2.5/5 not a good match, but the feud was amazingly hot at the time, and lead to a great match at Wrestlemania III. Piper still blinded gets back in the ring, as Adonis and Hart bail; Piper grabs the ref thinking its Adonis and tosses him across the ring. Jesse screams at Vince that all his heroes are punching out referees tonight, as Vince says he’s blinded, to which Jesse respond that Adonis wasn’t wearing a shirt. Gene is standing by with Hogan in a really cheesy looking red satin jacket! Hogan says he gets off on the victories, yuck that sounded not very family friendly. Gene says Heenan will be taking video to Tunney and Orndorff will win the title, Hogan responds by saying that they declared it a draw. Hogan again says he’s getting off to this victory, that’s just another bad image Hogan, gross!

5. Jimmy Jack Funk v. Blackjack Mulligan. Jimmy Jack would be the last of the Funk’s in the WWF, even though he wasn’t a Funk, and doesn’t have Jimmy Hart anymore. Mulligan is the dad of Barry and Kendall Windham, and was a former tag team champion with Blackjack Lanza in the 70’s. This is the battle for Texas, which inspires Jesse to ask who would fight over Texas!!! We have a female referee, which just seems odd, as Funk is pointing to Mulligan’s feet, as he still has his spurs on! Mulligan removes them, and Funk with a cheapshot, but Mulligan whips him in the corner and clothesline Funk over the top rope. Mulligan follows, and JJ runs but Blackjack catches him, as we get a corner interview. Funk goes for a slam, but cannot life Mulligan, who then press slams JJ, and punches Funk down. Mulligan rams Funk into the turnbuckle and chokes JJ in the corner. Mulligan whips JJ in and nails a lariat, as Jesse calls all Texans a big windbag, as Mulligan hit a jumping elbow on Funk for the win. 1.5/5 basically a squash, but Funk’s bumping made it watchable and saved it from the DUD territory! After the match, Mulligan grabs Funk’s noose and wraps it around JJ and tries to hang him. JJ runs backstage, as Vince says we will see more of Mulligan, which we do at the next episode and I think never again after that. Jesse and Vince recap the show, as Jesse demands Ricky Steamboat be fined and suspended for interfering in the IC title match. Vince congratulates Hulk on his win, and Jesse snaps again and says Davis crowned Paul the winner and he stands behind Paul. We close with, what else, “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins as we see Hulk’s celebration from earlier.

Match Recap

1. Hulk Hogan beat Paul Orndorff in the cage at 10:42 3.75/5
2. Randy Savage pinned George Steele 2.75/5
3. JYD beat King Harley Race by DQ in 6:000 2.5/5
4. Adrian Adonis beat Roddy Piper by countout in 3:35 2/5
5. Blackjack Mulligan squashed Jimmy Jack Funk in 2:31 1.5/5

Our ninth SNME comes to an end, and while four of the matches may not have been classics, the heat in three of them was huge at the time. The cage match was great, and the draw and restart was perfectly done. Both men should be commended for pulling that off so well. The IC title match was fine, but the highlight was seeing the Dragon return, and most of the points are do the Savage and his amazing abilities back then. JYD/Race was ok and helped build towards the rematch at Wrestlemania, same thing with Adonis and Piper’s match. The final match was, as they always are, a squash match. This show started to build towards Wrestlemania III, and our next one which takes place fifteen days before Wrestlemania just seals the deal for the matches. Our next episode comes from Detroit, close to where Wrestlemania emanates from, and features a huge 20 man battle royal!

Hogan/Orndorff cage match

Savage/Steele

JYD/Race

Piper/Adonis

The Battle For Texas

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