Throwback Thursday: A Birthday Tribute to The Honky Tonk Man on WWE Network

January 28, 2016 by Brock Allen

WWE Network Throwback Thursday - Logo

He’s cool, he’s cocky, he’s bad. In an era filled with flamboyant personalities few could match the skill or charisma of the Honky Tonk Man. Monday of this week marked his 63rd birthday.

To celebrate, Throwback Thursday on turns Throwback Tribute once again as we look back at some of the best moments and matches of the Honky Tonk Man’s career – all available to watch right now on the WWE Network.

WWE - Honky Tonk Man Entrance with Guitar

Singles Match (WATCH)
Honky Tonk Man vs. Mr. X (Danny Davis)
WWF Maple Leaf Wrestling ? November 16, 1986

Debuting on the 4th edition of Wrestling Challenge from Sept. 28, 1986 (featuring Bobby Heenan’s debut as color commentator) the Honky Tonk Man was an instant sensation, sparking visceral reactions from fans everywhere. No better example exists on the Network than Honky Tonk’s earliest available match from Toronto where the Canadian crowd sounds 20 years ahead of its time.

“Grudge Match” (WATCH)
Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts w/Alice Cooper
WWF WrestleMania III ? March 29, 1987

WWE Network - The Honky Tonk Man vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts

Culminating in the guitar shot heard around the world, it was this feud that completed Jake Roberts slow babyface turn and cemented Honky Ton Man as a legitimate heel in the WWF. On this night Roberts and Honky Tonk had to follow Steamboat/Savage, but the fact that the Silverdome crowd stayed put and were every bit as in to this match as the previous is a testament to the talent and ability of both men and the appeal of the angle.

WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship (WATCH)
Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/Miss Elizabeth vs. Honky Tonk Man(c) w/Jimmy Hart
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XII ? September 23, 1987 (AIRED: Oct. 3, 1987)

WWE Network - The Honky Tonk Man vs. 'Macho Man' Randy Savage

After winning the Intercontinental title from Ricky Steamboat on the June 13, 1987 edition of Superstars, Honky Tonk Man spent a good portion of the summer working with Randy Savage at house shows and select regional TVs. This marked the first time a national audience got to see two of the most flamboyant wrestlers in WWF history go one-on-one. This match is notable, as well, for the formation of the Mega Powers.

“5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match” (WATCH)
Team Randy Savage w/Miss Elizabeth: Randy Savage(capt.), Brutus Beefake, Jim Duggan, Jake Roberts, & Ricky Steamboat vs.
Team Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart & Bobby Heenan: WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Honky Tonk Man(capt.), Hercules Hernandez, Danny Davis, Harley Race, & Ron Bass
WWF Survivor Series 1987 ? November 26, 1987

After the post-match attack on Savage at SNME XII both Savage and Honky Tonk Man gathered four of their toughest friends and signed on to meet at the inaugural Survivor Series. In the first “Survivor Series” match ever, “Team Savage” and “Team Honky Tonk Man” put on a classic encounter that set the tone for a classic night of action.

WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship (WATCH)
Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Ultimate Warrior(c)
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XIX ? December 7, 1988 (AIRED: Jan. 7, 1989)

WWE Network - The Honky Tonk Man vs. The Ultimate Warrior

Since losing the Intercontinental title to Warrior at SummerSlam ’88 Honky Tonk faced Warrior at numerous house shows and 8 televised matches across the regional TV landscape between Sept. and Nov. on NESN (Sept. 10 & Oct. 10), PRISM (Sept. 24 & Nov. 12), MSG (Sept. 29), Z-Channel in Los Angeles (Oct. 16 & Nov.. 17), and Maple Leaf Wrestling (Nov. 6). This match, however, was the first national rematch between the two men since SummerSlam ’88.

WWF World Heavyweight Championship (WATCH)
Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart vs. Hulk Hogan(c)
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XXII ? July 18, 1989 (AIRED: July 29, 1989)

By the summer of 1989 Honky Tonk Man was considered the “number one contender” for Hulk Hogan’s WWF World title. While the match is fun, illustrating Honky Tonk’s effectiveness as a heel, it’s the standard Hogan-against-the-world story that culminates, as usual, with Hogan getting the upper hand. Having said all of that, the match is fun while it lasts.

“Grudge Match” (WATCH)
Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart vs. “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes
WWF SummerSlam 1989 ? August 27, 1989

WWE Network - The Honky Tonk Man vs. Dusty Rhodes

Beyond the match with Hogan on SNME Honky Tonk Man spent most 1989 working house shows against Bret Hart, Hillbilly Jim, and Jimmy Snuka. On TV, however, Honky Tonk had moved on from his loss to Hogan to ridiculing and deriding “The American Dream” which led to this match. Another showcase of two of the most flamboyant stars in wrestling history, this match, while not a mat classic, illustrates what made both men so good for so long.

Tag Team Match (WATCH)
Hulk Hogan & Tugboat vs. Rhythm & Blues (Honky Tonk Man & Greg Valentine) w/Jimmy Hart
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XXVIII ? September 18, 1990 (AIRED: Oct. 13, 1990)

After the Fabulous Rougeaus disbanded after Royal Rumble 1990 (Rayond retired due to back injuries) Jimmy Hart took the on-again off-again team of Valentine and Honky Tonk Man, renamed them “Rythym & Blues” (a Rick Rude creation), and dyed Valentine’s hair jet black. The result was one of the most memorable heel tag teams in WWF/E history. This is only one of a very few “R & B” matches on the Network that illustrates the chemistry and talent of this often overlooked tag team.

WCW World Television Championship (WATCH)
Honky Tonk Man vs. Johnny B. Badd(c)
WCW Clash of the Champions XXIX ? November 16, 1994

WWE Network - Honky Tonk Man Wrestling in WCW

After a stint as a heel color commentator Honky Tonk Man left the WWF. In September of 1994 Honky Tonk debuted in WCW and quickly started a program with the “imposter” Johnny B. Badd. After ten-minute draw at Halloween Havoc ’94 the two would meet again here at COTC XXIX. This is the final Honky Tonk WCW match on the Network. Soon after this match Honky Tonk Man, after apparently not wanting to do business, was fired by Eric Bischoff.

WWE Intercontinental Championship (WATCH)
Honky Tonk Man vs. Santino Marella(c) w/WWE Women’s Champion Beth Phoenix
WWE Cyber Sunday 2008 ? October 25, 2008

After leaving WCW Honky Tonk Man worked the indy scene before returning to WWF to commentate and manage “Rock-a-Billy” Gunn. After appearances in the 1998 and 2001 “Royal Rumbles” Honky Tonk disappeared from the WWF. On the Aug. 31, 2008 edition of RAW then-WWE Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella debuted the “Honk-a-meter”, comparing his own weeks long reign to the 64-week reign of Honky Tonk Man. After winning a slim vote between Goldust and the late Roddy Piper, Honky Tonk Man showed Santino how to dance then put the champ on the ropes before Beth Phoenix’s interference halted the match. This marked Honky’s first WWE match in nearly 20 years and the first as a babyface.

WWE - Honky Tonk Man & Santino Marella Promo

Final Thougths

He’s got long side burns, his hair slicked back, he’s comin’ to your town in a pink Cadillac, he’s the Honky Tonk Man. As these matches illustrate the Honky Tonk Man was one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all-time. Though the library of Honky Tonk Man matches on the Network is light there are gems to be found. As Honky Tonk Man turns 63 we send well wishes to one of the greatest ever, the self-professed “greatest Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion of all-time”.

Happy Birthday, Honky Tonk!

That’s all for this week’s entry into TBT – thanks for reading! Are you a WWE Network subscriber? If so, check out the matches, see them for yourself, and let us know what you think below.

Until next week, see ya at ringside!

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6 Comments left on this article...

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  1. Dennis winship says:

    I remember getting a picture with the honky-tonk man. Dennis winship Lynn,Massachusetts

  2. nancy says:

    deep down honkytonk man did win wcw tv belt and ic in wwe

  3. Roland Smitts says:

    BTW, HTM vs Santino was NOT HTM’s first WWE match as a face. Before the winter of ’87, HTM worked face. It was the “Vote of Confidence” angle that saw HTM turn heel.

    • Brock Allen says:

      You are very right, Roland Smith, and that’s on me. Sloppy editing on my part. I should have seen it and fixed it. Thanks for pointing it out. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Take care.

  4. Roland Smitts says:

    I was there for Hogan vs. HTM! fun match from a looooong night of TV tapings. Same night saw Tully & Arn win the tag titles & a solid Warrior-Rude dark match.

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