Thought of the Day: Possibly The Most Brilliant Storyline WWF Ever Produced

This match and angle popped into my head today and it still amazes me how perfect it was.Back in 1987, Randy Savage lost the Intercontinental Title to Ricky Steamboat in arguably the greatest match of all time.  Well in 1987, Steamboat wanted to take some time off, so Vince had to take the title off him.  On Superstars one day, comedy wrestler the Honky Tonk Man shocked the world by beating Steamboat for the title (Interesting note: this was a surprise if nothing else because of how fast Steamboat lost the belt.  In the 8+ years that the title had been around at that point, the shortest reign was over five months and three reigns had been over a year.  That title did not change hands that often.  The next reign shorter than Steamboat’s wasn’t until 1992).


Now this is where things get interesting.  In essence, this would be like Heath Slater winning the title today.  The fans instantly believed that the first person with talent that faced Honky would win the belt back.  That didn’t happen, so everyone knew it would be the next guy.  Well Honky survived that too, so the third guy HAD to be the one to get the belt off of him.  Every time, the less talented Honky Tonk would get himself disqualified or counted out and sneak away with the title.  This infuriated the fans who wanted ANYBODY to pound Honky’s face in and give him the punishment that he deserved for cheating so much.


This is where Vince had the fans and he knew it.  The idea was simple: Honky had to lose eventually, so let’s see how long we can drag this out for.  This went on for well over a year, with Honky surviving against every midcard star in the company, ranging from Jim Duggan to Brutus Beefcake to Ricky Steamboat to Randy Savage to Jake Roberts to Tito Santana.  Everyone knew he had to lose someday, and people would put their money on the table to see him finally do it.  It was a money making machine, but it had to end somewhere.


This brings us to the first ever Summerslam and the Intercontinental Title match.  Brutus Beefcake had been named as challenger, but due to an attack by Ron Bass, he had to drop out.  This left no challenger for Honky, so he said something very stupid: “Get me somebody out here to wrestle.  I don’t care who it is.”  A few seconds pass, and Ultimate Warrior’s music hits.  The roof gets blown off, because everyone knew what was about to happen.  At this point, Warrior had done nothing but squash jobbers and beat up Hercules for a year and a half.  This would be like if over the summer, Cesaro issued an open challenge and we heard FEED ME MORE.


From the time that Warrior’s music hit to the time that the final bell ring, 54 seconds passed.  Warrior punched him twice, hit a shoulder block, a clothesline and a splash to win the title.  It still remains one of the loudest pops I have ever heard.  The brilliance here continues to astonish me.  Ultimate Warrior may be a lot of things, but clever is not on that list.  He comes out of nowhere and wins the title that no one else could pry out of Honky’s hands through nothing but sheer power and intensity.  Honky didn’t have the chance to use any of his old tricks and the fans got exactly what they wanted.


It was absolute brilliance and still is one of the best angles from beginning to end in WWF history.

1 comment

  1. SamualDude says:

    Just a bit of my own opinion here but the feel of Warrior vs Honky Tonk Man I think they tried to replicate with Sheamus and Daniel Bryan at Mania this year.