Hulkamania ran wild at Viking Hall.
Hulk Hogan beat the “Macho Man” Randy Savage to retain the World Wrestling Federation heavyweight championship at a house show in Bristol, Tennessee, on July 25, 1987 and the event was such a big deal that the Bristol Herald Courier had two stories on the proceedings.
Judy Bracher talked to some of the fans for a feature that appeared on the front page, while Joe Avento covered the matches in a story that ran in the sports section. Chris Taylor provided the photos.
Mark Pike Sr. brought his two sons – Mark Jr. and Brandon – all the way from Huntsville, Alabama, to see the six-match card. It was that big of a deal.
What did the Pike family and the other folks in attendance get to see that night?
>>> In the opening match, The Dingo Warrior (he would become the Ultimate Warrior and reach superstar status) handily beat Barry Horowitz.
>>> Frenchy Martin pinned Omar Atlas.
>>> Demolition (Ax and Smash) defeated Raymond and Jacques Rougeau.
>>> One Man Gang overpowered Sam Houston.
>>> Paul Roma and Jim Powers earned a victory over a tag team known as The Shadows.
As for the main event, here’s how it was described by Avento in the Herald Courier:
Once Hogan regained his composure, he toyed with Savage, whom he outweighed 302 pounds to 238. After throwing “Macho Man” out of the ring, Hogan climbed out himself and lifted Savage’s beautiful manager Elizabeth into the air.
Of course this infuriated Savage, who then spent the next couple of minutes tossing Hogan around like a rag doll.
Finally, Hogan stood up and said, ‘no, no, you can’t hurt me.’
And that was it. The Hulkster put Savage down less than 15 minutes after the match, which had a one-hour time limit, began and pinned him to the canvas.
After Savage left the ring in defeat, Hogan remained on the state exhibiting his championship belt, waving goodbye to his beaten opponent and going through a series of bodybuilder posses.
Less than two years later, Hogan and Savage would headline WrestleMania V in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
That night, a crowd of 3,948 in Bristol witnessed the two legends tangle.
It was a busy Saturday evening on Edgemont Avenue.
The Johnson City Bears – a semi-pro football team – played their first game at the Stone Castle in front of an estimated 2,000 spectators and suffered a 38-6 loss to Forest Park from Georgia. Former East Tennessee State University running back Herman Jacobs had 73 yards on nine carries for the local squad.
Bristol has hosted many professional wrestling events through the years, but that Hogan vs. Savage main event might have been one of the biggest bouts in town and the big man from Venice Beach, California prevailed.
As the headline read in the following day’s paper: "No surprise here … Hulk Hogan keeps belt."