The World Wrestling Federation — now known as World Wrestling Entertainment — brought four cards to the Duluth Arena in 1987. The fourth happened 30 years ago today — Dec. 27.
The main event featured “Honky Tonk Man” Wayne Ferris defending his Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship belt against “Macho Man” Randy Savage. As noted in the videos, this was a return grudge match from the previous Duluth card and this time “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart would be — according to “Mean” Gene Okerlund — “barred from the Duluth Arena” by Mayor John Fedo.
Okerlund opens his remarks in the top video by mentioning WWE’s “annual holiday spectacular returns here to the Twin Ports,” but the organization had not previously held a holiday card in the Twin Ports. Prior to 1987, Duluth was exclusively American Wrestling Association territory, and there had been an AWA card the previous holiday season.
In addition to the main event, several other WWE stars appeared on the card, including “The Natural” Butch Reed, who also cut a TV promo.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff did not appear as advertised. He had been hampered by an arm injury all year. One week later he did wrestle Rick Rude in Augusta, Ga., but then temporarily retired from wrestling.
Below are the Duluth match results as posted on the WWE website,
- Lord Littlebrook & Little Tokyo defeated Cowboy Lang & the Karate Kid
- Hercules defeated the Junkyard Dog
- Dino Bravo defeated Hillbilly Jim
- Danny Davis defeated Sam Houston
- WWF Women’s Champion Sensational Sherri defeated Rockin Robin
- Davey Boy Smith & the Dynamite Kid defeated Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov
- Don Muraco defeated Butch Reed
- Jake Roberts fought the One Man Gang to a double count-out
- Rick Rude defeated the Rock ‘n’ Roller (sub. for Paul Orndorff)
- Randy Savage defeated WWF IC Champion the Honky Tonk Man via disqualification after the champion pulled Savage into guest referee Nick Bockwinkel, knocking him down; after the bout, Savage pulled off Peggy Sue’s wig to reveal her as WWF Women’s Champion Sensational Sherri
It’s not clear who is in the photo above, but vague memories indicate it’s Butch Reed inside the ring and Don Muraco on the arena floor.
Barrett Chase shot the photo above showing Randy Savage warming up backstage. Savage died of a heart attack in 2011.
The photos below are a mix of photos by Chase and yours truly Paul Lundgren.
As barely shown above, the special guest referee for the main event was wrestling legend Nick Bockwinkel, who had appeared in his last match four months earlier during a Minneapolis AWA show. One year prior to this Duluth appearance, Bockwinkel held the AWA Heavyweight Championship, though he did not appear at that final AWA Duluth card.
At the time of his Duluth referring appearance Bockwinkel was on the front end of a two-year stint as a WWE road agent. He died in 2015 at the age of 80. The close-up of Bockwinkel below was also shot by Barrett Chase.
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