wrestling / Columns

The Best Of Times 1.31.08: May 1987

January 31, 2008 | Posted by Matt Adamson

Well, another The Best Of Times is here and all is well. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I like writing it. It’s nice to have a weekly nostalgia trip. I get excited to write this every week. Speaking of being excited; I’m getting excited for club soccer to resume in North America. I know I’m a good ten months away, but my Portland Timbers season tickets are burning a hole in my pocket.

Some of you may be reading this column for the first time, so let me explain things before we get going. The Best of Times is a column in which I will be evaluating several wrestling promotions during a selected month from the past. I’ll take anywhere from 3-5 promotions that were thriving during the period I’m covering and go over what went down in each promotion during that month including results of big shows and major angles going on at the time. I’ll give my opinion of each and then choose the best wrestler, tag team, match, feud, show and promotion of the month. I hope to give this is slight old school kayfabe feel with a lot of modern analysis. Well, on with the show!

May 1987

The news worthy events of May 1987 actually involved professional wrestling. Due to the tremendous popularity of the WWF, it was a pop culture phenomenon and the wrestlers were well known around North America. In May 1987, Jim Duggan and The Iron Sheik were good buddies and were busted with possession of marijuana. That wasn’t it for wrestling in the news media. In Tennessee, the state court ruled that Harley Race could not be billed as the King of Wrestling in that state because Jerry Lawler held that claim. Also in May 1987 the first heart-lung transplant is performed in Baltimore, Al Unser Jr. won his 4th Indy 500, and this happened in professional wrestling…


In a month that was stacked with big shows, the WWF was without one. They were one month off of the biggest show in the history of professional wrestling, WrestleMania III and were riding high. Their ratings were untouchable and they were all over the mainstream media. Strangely however, in May 1987, instead of running a major show at the Garden, they did a TV taping for Prime Time Wrestling. So the biggest show of the month was on May 2nd, and it was Saturday Night’s Main Event. Here are the results for that show…

1. Kamala def. Jake Roberts
2. Lumberjack Match: Randy Savage def. George “The Animal” Steele
3. WWF Tag Team Championship/Two Out of Three Falls: The British Bulldogs def. The Hart Foundation © 2 falls to 1, but the title didn’t change hands as the 1st fall was won by DQ.
4. Intercontinental Championship: Ricky Steamboat © def. Hercules by DQ
5. The Can-Am Connection (Tom Zenk and Rick Martel) def. The Iron Sheik and Nikoli Volkoff

Being one of few SNME’s to not feature Hulk Hogan, the show didn’t seem as important at the time, but the tag title match would be viewed as one of the biggest of the year in 1987. The Hogan/Andre feud would still be going on, and setting the wrestling world on fire, but May 1987 was one of the most unimportant months of the most important year in the history of the WWF.

World Class

World Class Championship Wrestling was far from its former glory by the time 1987 came around. They were draw dismal numbers to shows and their TV ratings had fallen to unbelievably low numbers for that company. Both Mike and David Von Erichwere no longer with us, and the biggest star of the promotion was Kevin and Bruiser Brody. Despite difficulty drawing fans to their show, World Class decided to continue running their annual Parade Of Champions show at Texas Stadium. In the past, the show had drawn between 20,000 and 35,000 fans. This year was a different story as only 5,000 fans would show up to the 70,000+ seat stadium. Here are the results from that show…

1. Matt Borne and Scott Casey def. Jack Victory and Black Bart
2. Cousin Junior def. The Grappler
3. Steve Doll def. Tim Brooks
4. Red River Jack and Spike Huber def. Abdullah The Butcher and Eli The Eliminator
5. Red River Jack def. Gary Hart by countout
6. Mil Mascaras def. Al Madril
7. Lumberjack Match: Skip Young def. Brian Adias
8. WCCW Championship: Kevin Von Erich © fought Nord The Barbarian to a double count out
9. Scaffold Match: The Fantastics and Steve Simpson def. The Rock and Roll RPM’s and Eric Embry
10. Bruiser Brody def. Jeep Swenson

Needless to say, the show has gone down in history… or wait, no it hasn’t, and World Class would never regain it’s former momentum despite all its best efforts, including a partnership with AWA and Continental. May 1987 was another meaningless month for a meaningless promotion that had long since lost its glory.

NWA – Jim Crockett Promotions

While Jim Crocket Promotions didn’t run any major shows during May of 1987, they did manage to pull off some of the best TV of the time. They were getting ready to set up the Great American Bash and Ric Flair was on fire in his feud with Jimmy Garvin and Precious. Also going on during this time was the fantastic feud between Lex Luger and Nikita Koloff as well as one between Dusty Rhodes and Tully Blanchard. Those two coupled with the ongoing heat between Rhodes and Flair would spark what would become Wargames. Though insignificant, May 1987 would plant some seeds for The Great American Bash that year, which would be a top notch tour, producing two of the greatest matches I’ve ever seen.


No matter what people might say, 1987 was not a bad year for the AWA. While they might have become insignificant in the larger scheme of things, they were still putting on some great wrestling. In May of 1987, the AWA put on its second Superclash show, their biggest show of the year. Though it hadn’t happened in 1986 (where they ran a tremendous show called WrestleRock), they decided to continue with the Superclash name and put on this dandy of a show…

1. Sheik Adnan Al-Kassie def. Buck Zumhoff
2. DJ Peterson fought The Super Ninja to a 15 minute draw
3. Women’s Championship: Sherri Martel © def. Medussa Micella
4. World Heavyweight Championship: Curt Hennig def. Nick Bockwinkel © to win the title
5. Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty and Ray Stevens def. Buddy Wolfe, Buddy Rose and Doug Somers
6. Jerry Blackwell def. Boris Zhukov
7. Jimmy Snuka and Russ Francis def. The Terrorist and The Mercenary

Verne Gagne took a big chance with Curt Hennig, who wasn’t exactly young in the business at the time and many wrestling journalists make that mistake. He was a proven talent in other territories and he and Bockwinkel put on one hell of a show. Besides this show, the AWA would sneak back into even further obscurity for the rest of the month of May, just barely holding on to day to day operations. One thing to note about this show is that it stacks up much like WrestleMania XI in that the football player (Russ Francis) received top billing over the true main event, the World Title match.

The Best of Times: May 1987

Best Wrestler: Curt Hennig (AWA)

Hennig was absolutely awesome in the ring for much of his early career from the early 80’s in Portland to the AWA here in May 1987 to the WWF until late 1993 where things started to take a downhill turn. He was one of the best wrestlers not name Ric Flair at this time.

Best Tag Team: The British Bulldogs (WWF)

Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid were one of the 4 best tag teams in the world at this point in time, and their company at the top of the list is incredible. Their only peers were their opponents in the ring, The Midnight Express and The Rock and Roll Express.

Best Match: Nick Bockwinkel vs. Curt Hennig (AWA)

This match was truly a spectacle at the time and the two came to put on a real show. I always think of how it’s a shame that Bockwinkel was never able to show his stuff in one of the two companies that everybody cares about today from this period. I only put this match in this spot because of the bullshit ending to the Bulldogs vs. Hart Foundation match, as that one was also awesome.

Best Feud: Ric Flair vs. Jimmy Garvin & Precious (NWA – Jim Crockett)

Things were getting closer to the Great American Bash and Garvin and Flair were at it. This was absolutely the best stuff going on in May 1987 from a feuds standpoint. Some of the greatest Promo’s by Flair including the one where he acknowledges the fans cheering for him even though he was the heel. This feud is often disregarded because it didn’t produce much in terms of matches, but Flair was all over Precious and is a smarter man for it.

Best Show: Superclash II (AWA)

This was really a tough one to weigh. It wasn’t exactly the greatest show, but it was the most important and it also featured two damn fine matches in the World Title match and the Six Man Tag featuring the Midnight Rockers.

Best Wrestling Promotion: WWF

There is no denying that during this period, the WWF was untouchable in those months that Jim Crocket Promotions didn’t run its major shows. While this month would have a lot going for it, the WWF was on top of the world, it was paradise for the company in terms of publicity and they had a damn fine group of wrestlers putting on great matches to prove they were the best.


article topics

Matt Adamson

Comments are closed.