I’m sorry, the “37th Annual WWF Slammy Awards”.
Each and every week without a major wrestling event, the At Odds with Wrestling podcast hosts alternate assigning each other classic wrestling events from the past to watch or rewatch. This week’s viewing is the 1987 WWF Slammy Awards.
Live-ish from Caesars in Atlantic City – the “entertainment capital of the universe”. The Circus Maximus is the “traditional home of the Slammy Awards”. Except for that nasty incident at the 23rd Slammy Awards which caused the venue change for the next year. However, Stan Stasiak was punished for his drunken behavior that night and then we ended up with a years long title reign for Bruno Sammartino.
Mean Gene announces from the helicopter which “crashes” into the building. The Superstars arrive in style in ambulances, hot rods, limos, fire trucks, every sort of vehicle available. Brutus Beekcake shows up in a rolling barber shop. That seems safe. Hacksaw in the first tuxedo adjustment of the evening. Sika and Haiti Kid were still in WWF at this point? Tonight’s festivities are sponsored by Schlitz Malt Liquor, Milk, Halls, and Oxy 10. I haven’t thought of Oxy 10 in probably 20 years.
Vince McMahon opens the show and we are in for a night of over doing everything. All ham. Over the top like an arm wrestling tournament. I have to assume there were some sort of substances backstage throughout the evening.
Mean Gene and Jesse the Body Ventura host. The podium looks like a turnbuckle corner. The president of the World Wrestling Federation Academy of Sports and Sciences – or, the WWF ASS – Jack Tunney makes an appearance. Do I hear a laugh track? I wondered that and then proceeded to hear it for the rest of the show.
Your nominees for Best Performance by an Animal are – Damian, Frankie, Matilda, and George the Animal Steele. Steele doesn’t appear to be sitting with the rest of the wrestlers. Are the wrestlers all up front and then there’s a divide for the fans? Also, are these fans or WWF staff and this is also a company Christmas party? Steels gets lost on his way to the podium then he eats the turnbuckle pad while accepting his award.
There will be performances of the Best Song nominees throughout the evening. All of these songs are off of the hit album Piledriver. First off, Honky Tonk Man sings Honky Tonk Man. Jimmy Hart claps along. Is Jesse Ventura playing piano? The background dancers are actually good and putting their all into this silliness. The Hart Foundation come out to dance, and look at Anvil slide! Big thanks are given to Jesse “Lee” Ventura. This is a Vince joke for sure.
Jimmy Hart is up to the second podium and I wasn’t convinced there were two podiums. This looks like they recorded Mean Gene’s lines then moved the same podium over to the other side of the stage to record Hart. However, later in the evening there is a wide shot showing two podiums. Jimmy Hart is telling Mean Gene the proper way to introduce King Harley Race.
The Woman of the Year nominees are – Sensational Sherri, Dolly Parton (its not), the Fabulous Moolah, Yoko Ono (it’s not, and looks less like her than “Dolly” looks like her namesake), and Miss Elizabeth. Hart calls her the lonely Elizabeth instead of the lovely. I don’t know how I never heard that before. Honky blocks Liz from getting to the podium. Savage runs off to scare off Honky. LIz accepts the award and thanks Randy.
Hacksaw comes out and his 2×4 has a bowtie as well. The nominees for Best Dressed Ring Apparel are – Demotion (in their tuxedo shirts under leather and spikes), Macho Man Randy Savage, the Honky Tonk Man, King Harley Race, and the British Bulldogs. Hacksaw refuses to read the winner. He has the girl (there’s always a girl to the side at awards shows but I can’t remember the word for this) because Harley Race is the winner. Heenan comes up with a bowtie over his neckbrace and accepts the award for Harley. Hacksaw won’t bow down to Harley. There’s a shove and a fight. Gorilla Monsoon runs over from the other side of the stage and calls the action. Hacksaw and Harley fight in the make up room. Oh, there’s the powder fueling the show! Why are there chickens and donkeys backstage? Again, this whole show is just Vince’s humor on display.
Off screen during the fight the award for Best Head is given to Mean Gene and Bam Bam Bigelow. I’m sure that joke went over the heads of many kids watching this way back when. Harley jumps to axe handle Hacksaw but crashes through a table. It’s a table spot back when they were rarely seen and yet it comes across silly instead of devastating.
Vince McMahon comes out to perform his Best Song nominee “Stand Back”. This show must have taken place before Vince had hush money because the whole song is him blowing himself. Hulk Hogan plays bass. Junkyard Dog and the Killer Bees on sax. Savage, Jake the Snake Roberts, and Beekcake on trumpet. All of them of course are actually playing the instruments because they are well rounded talents. Renaissance Men one and all. Do I see Steele in the background playing tambourine? It’s a weird song because it’s Vince the announcer singing about Vince the promoter which was not on screen public knowledge at the time.
Hacksaw and Harley keep fighting backstage. Gorilla is back there to call the action. For no reason a llama walks by.
There is most likely a commercial break here and then the fight continues. Bobby the Brain Heenan jumps in to assist Harley. They lock Hacksaw inside some electrical area. Hacksaw climbs the fence and pushes over a wall of cardboard boxes onto Race and Heenan. The fight makes it’s way into the dressing room. Oh my goodness! Women in their underwear! This is supposed to be a family show! Full of jokes going over little Hulkamaniacs heads. Heenan is beaten by an old woman brandishing a yardstick.
Mean Gene introduces Hulk Hogan for the Real American award. Hogan enters from all the way in the back. Hogan talks far far far too much. Probably the longest of the night. Superstar Billy Graham is the winner for … reasons? He has big muscles?
The Hacksaw and Harley fight continues. They destroy all the food and tables for the Christmas cast party. Not much of a spread there. Brain is put through the table with an atomic drop. Again a table spot that should have been impactful but because of the time that this is comes across as comedy.
The Jesse the Body award nominees are – Rick Rude, Butch Reed, the Ultimate Warrior, Sensational Sherri (the current women’s champion? I don’t recall them doing anything with that title at this time. Yeah, won at a live event, lost later on Prime Time Wrestling and then that was it for the title for about 4 years.), and Hercules. Rude wins. Holy crap, he’s only 29 here. I feel retroactively old. Rude strips down full Chippendale’s style. Mean Gene comes out at just the nick of time to drape a towel over the front of Rude.
“Hit Me with Your Best Shot” is a highlight video of WWF hits set to the Pat Benetar song. Honestly the best segment of the night. Very well timed clips with the song lyrics. I wouldn’t mind seeing one of these at the end of every year.
The Harley and Hacksaw fight spills to the stage. The Best Hit nominees are – Andre the Giant (who is never seen this evening), Hacksaw, the Honky Tonk MAn, Strike Force, and Bam Bam Bigelow. Hacksaw wins. He comes back to accept the award. I guess his fight with Harley is finally over?
Gorilla announces the Manager of the Year nominees – Slick, Jimmy Hart, Mr Fuji, and the Brain. Every one of the nominees walks up to the stage to accept the award despite not winning it yet. Really funny bit. Gorilla announces that none of them have won. Some of the best comedy of the night.
Koko B Ware sings Best Song nominee Pile Driver. Bam Bam plays the sax. The dancers are in their best outfits of the night. These would look nice now. The Ultimate Warrior doesn’t know how to react to a woman giving him attention. See also when Sherri kissed him. We cut to Koko out on a romantic evening for three – him, his lady friend, and Frankie the bird. Bam Bam almost misses his sax solo because he was busy spinning the instrument.
Mean Gene introduces the nominees for Best Personal Hygenie – Sika, Hillbilly Jim, George the Animal Steele, Nikolai Volkoff Boris Zukov and Slick, and King Kong Bundy with his big appearance of the show being a poop joke. The team of Volkoff, Zukov, and Slick win for their video in which they all use the same oversized toothbrush. Such a dumb skit but I still laughed.
Jimmy Hart performs “Girls in Cars” which is dumb 80s cheese but I still enjoy it. Things can be silly, stupid, and fun.
Savage and Elizabeth introduce the Best Vocal Performance nominees – JYD’s growl, One Man Gang’s bellow, Hacksaw’s ho, Jimmy Hart’s shrieking megaphone, and George the Animal Steele’s wail. Hacksaw wins making him a double Slammy winner. He should have taken that gimmick and ran with it before Owen Hart.
All of the Superstars are on stage to sing and clap along to “If You Only Knew”. Virgil neither sings nor claps. The heels are on one side of the stage, faces on the other. Some look more spaced out and far off than others. Some people are here that had nothing to do for the evening. The second Outback Jack cameo of the night! The best song will be announced. The heels steal the envelope. They pass it around their side and finally Sika eats the paper. This might explain why he’s on the show. Just for this spot.
That’s it for the evening. Say good night Jesse. “Good night Jesse.”
I may have watched this many years ago, but it’s been decades. For anyone who grew up with the rock n wrestling era this is loads of fun. Over the top and lots of jokes just for the people in the room. But still lots of fun to see a simpler sillier time in wrestling.