Chris' Blog


Saturday Night’s Main Event – May 11, 1985

After a brief hiatus we return to the WWE Network with the very first Saturday Night’s Main Event. Coming to us about six weeks after the massive success of Wrestlemania, the WWF acquired a timeslot on NBC. Taking over for Saturday Night Live, SNME was the first WWF televised program to feature actual main events, and not just the squash matches that we were so used to. Back in the eighties seeing the WWF champion on TV was very rare, and seeing him in action on TV never happened. The only way to watch Hulk Hogan in the ring was to go to the house shows, SNME gave fans a chance to see huge matches for free, which is why the relaunch of SNME failed. Back then seeing title matches was a big deal, now it’s a weekly occurrence. I originally recapped this show six years ago, from the original broadcast and now we’re going to see how different the Network version is. True watching the shows on the network will be a better quality, but I know these will be missing things, most obviously the music.  With that, let’s see what the Network version is like.

Clocking in at only fifty-five minutes, sounds pretty close to broadcast without commercials, right away we get comments from Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter. Funny hearing Cyndi give tips to Wendi, then we’re introduced to Hulk Hogan who has Mr T with him and they threaten Bob Orton and Roddy Piper. We then go to the opening video, and shockingly the music is intact, what sorcery is this? Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura welcome us to the Nassau Coliseum for SNME, and they go over tonight’s matches. They send it to the ring for our opening contest.

1. Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff & George Steele v. Mike Rotundo, Barry Windham & Ricky Steamboat

The heels come to the ring and we get prerecorded comments from the face team with Lou Albano, who threatens Freddie Blassie. Howard Finkel is doing the introductions and we get Nikolai doing the Russian National Anthem and then the faces come out to a rip off of Born in the USA. Jesse compares the two teams, with the heels being the power team compared to the scientific skills of the faces. Sheik and Windham lock up and get in the ropes, Sheik goes for the cheap shot but Windham blocks and hammers Sheik. Windham with a shoulder block, Sheik with a leapfrog but gets hip tossed then slammed hard in the ring. Sheik in trouble early as Rotundo comes in via the top rope and then Steamboat does the same as Sheik bounces around like a pinball. Sheik is much thinner here as he eats both Steamboat and Rotundo’s elbows then gets slammed and Rotundo follows with the big elbow. Vince says this is only the second tag match for Steele, as the faces continue to hammer Sheik who fires Steamboat in and catches him in the abdominal stretch but Steamboat hip tosses him out and all six in. The faces quickly clean the ring and the heels try to regroup with Blassie as we go to commercial. We come back right where we left off with Sheik in trouble as he gets power slammed by Steamboat who follows with a perfect missile dropkick. A cross body almost ends it, but Volkoff breaks the pin and this allows Sheik to make the tag. Volkoff doesn’t fare much better as he gets tossed into the boots of Windham and Rotundo and the faces do more quick tags to work on the big Russian. Rotundo drops a pair of legs and covers, but Steele breaks it up and this distracts Rotundo allowing Volkoff to get a few shots in but Rotundo rolls him up for a near fall. A backslide almost gets the win for the faces, Windham tagged in and Volkoff brings in Steele for the first time. Steele has no idea what to do and goes to his corner, but the tag champions bail out. Windham rolls Steele up from behind for the easy win as Blassie, Sheik and Volkoff abandon Steele in the ring. 3/5 a good fast paced match as Steele did what he does best, stayed on the apron. The other five were impressive in the ring and maintained a great level of action. After the match the champions beat down Steele but Steele fights them off, Albano gets in the ring and tries to calm down Steele. Albano consoles Steele and helps him to the back, as we see the heels make their way to Gene. This was George’s big face turn as he catches Sheik and Volkoff at the interview area and attacks, Albano pulls him off.

1. Steamboat and US Express beat Sheik, Volkoff & Steele ***

Time for Piper’s Pit as we get replays from the end of Wrestlemania when Orndorff got pinned by Hogan. Piper asks Paul to sit and says they need to talk about Wrestlemania, Paul jumps up as Orton is circling him he tells Bob to make his day. Piper says Paul is afraid of Orton and gets Orton to stay in the corner. Piper calls Paul a loser and that angers Paul who jumps up again and gets in Piper’s face. Piper screams at Paul to sit down, and he cautiously does, Piper says it wasn’t his shoulders pinned to the ground. Paul asks where Piper was when it was all said and done, that he left Paul alone in the ring. Piper says he was fighting everyone and that Paul lost his guts, Paul retorts by saying Piper drinks his own bathwater. Piper calls Paul a piece of garbage who embarrassed everyone and they get nose to nose. Piper goes for a cheap shot, but Paul blocks and nails him then goes for the piledriver but Orton nails Paul with the cast. Mr T rushes to the ring to save Orndorff as Piper holds a chair over his head, the crowd is eating this up. T helps Paul to the back where Gene is standing by with Hulk Hogan. Hulk says this is typical and tonight he dedicates the match to his mom. Gene asks about Paul and Hulk says if the Hulkamaniacs can get behind Paul, so can he. Nothing like an 80s Hogan promo, always fun.

2. Cowboy Bob Orton v. Hulk Hogan

Hulk comes out to Real American, so they cut Eye of the Tiger, just like at Wrestlemania. Worst part of the edits is you don’t get to hear the monster pop Hogan was getting at this point. At least he starts using Real American pretty soon, so the edits will stop soon. After a commercial break Hulk is joined by Mr T as they rip each others clothes off, well that sounded wrong. Bob Orton is wearing chaps, like Shawn Michaels did ten years later. Orton goes for the cheap shot, but Hulk catches him and quickly unloads and Orton to the floor. Orton slides in and gets caught in body drop followed by a trio of slams and Orton bails out. Orton sneaks back in and gets a knee in the midsection of Hogan but misses the corner charge and Hogan begins working on the supposed injured arm. Hogan bites the challenger as T cheers him on, Hogan continues to work the arm. Orton shoots him in and catches Hogan with a flying knee that takes down the champion. Orton follows with an atomic drop and cover but Hogan kicks out with power, Orton drops a series of knees and then drives Hogan’s face into the mat as Piper and T get in each other’s faces at ringside. Hogan in a world of trouble as Orton continues to hammer the back and neck of the champion, but Hulk shakes it off. Hulk comes back with three rights and whips him in, Orton dropped with a lariat and Hogan follows with the elbow, that was and odd sequence as it looked like classic Hulking Up but with a twist. Orton sets the champion up for the superplex and the title, as something is happening in the crowd, Hulk fights him off and hits a double ax handle. Hulk drops the leg and covers, but Piper nails Hogan drawing the disqualification. T charges in and we get chaos as Piper and Orton take down T. This leaves Hogan alone with the heels, as they stalk their prey but Paul Orndorff makes the save and it’s three against two. 3/5 a fun fast paced match even if no one thought Orton stood a chance of winning.

2. Hulk Hogan pinned Bob Orton ***

3. Wendi Richter v. Fabulous Moolah

Before the match we go to Moolah with Gene, Moolah says he will regain the gold and says she is tired of Lauper and her interference as we see highlights from MSG. Moolah has got Lauper barred from the ringside area and if she comes out she will be ejected. She then heads to the ring as we get comments from Cyndi and Wendi, and Cyndi says she will be at ringside and says Moolah plays dirty. Wendi has the biggest hair, it’s just enormous looking, as she comes out to cheap generic music as they cut Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. They also cut out the world premiere of the Goonies video which aired just before the match. Love that Moolah’s paperwork banning Cyndi is a giant scroll, looks like something from Shakespeare. Howard reads the scroll which states Cyndi must leave ringside now, and she is escorted to the back where we see her watching on a little TV after commercials. Moolah quickly on the offense tosses the champion around and chokes her on the top rope. Wendi gets tossed to the ringside area as Moolah poses, she kicks Wendi off the apron and taunts Cyndi. This allows Wendi to dropkick Moolah over the top rope and Wendi follows. She tosses the challenger back in the ring but Moolah sends her in and backdrops her. Moolah with a headbutt but Wendi comes back with an elbow and then chokes her on the ropes. Wendi pulls her off the ropes and then repeats the spot again, Moolah comes back with a chop to the throat and goes for a slam but Wendi with a small package for the win out of nowhere. 1/5 not as good as the match at Wrestlemania, but it was kept short at least. Wendi and Lauper celebrate in the ring as Moolah looks on in anger. We get a promo from Junkyard Dog and his mom, as he wishes all mom’s a happy Mother’s Day.

3. Wendi Richter pinned Moolah *

4. Pete Doherty v. Junkyard Dog

JYD has Grab Them Cakes for his music, so Queen was edited out, not surprised. JYD tries to come in with a chair but the ref, who looks like Kevin Sullivan, stops him. JYD headbutts Pete and unloads on him, then follows with a huge clothesline and Pete bails. JYD grabs his hair and pulls hard, as Pete goes for a swing at JYD’s mom. JYD grabs him and throws him in the ring, Pete tries to hammer Dog but no effect. JYD snapmares Pete and follows with a series of vintage headbutts, or at least that’s what Vince said. So now we see where Michael Cole gets that stupid vintage crap from. Pete tries to comeback in via the top but JYD catches him and slams him down hard. JYD with a trio of headbutts. Dog follows with an atomic drop and then pulls Pete up, JYD hits the Thump Powerslam for the easy win. DUD just a quick squash match to showcase JYD. Nothing more to it.

4. JYD crushed Pete Doherty DUD

We go backstage to a WWF Mother’s Day party as JYD is right beside Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. JYD and Sheik side by side just seems weird, but yet so perfect. Fred Blassie introduces his mother, who’s about 20 years old, a schtick stolen by Jerry Lawler ten years later. Lou Albano reads a poem and then we get comments from Hogan and his mom. Then it’s Lauper and her mom, plus Wendi Richter in the background. We’re joined by Moolah who seems to be wearing a Shawn Michaels’ outfit from the nineties. She gets in Cyndi’s mom’s face and Cyndi shoves her, sending Moolah and Gene crashing into the cake. Moolah throws cake at JYD’s mom and falls again as we go back to Vince and Jesse. Jesse calls Hogan’s win tainted and that the champion broke every rule. Vince closes the show as the credits roll with the opening music instead of Eye of the Tiger playing.

MATCH RECAP

1. Steamboat and US Express beat Sheik, Volkoff & Steele ***
2. Hulk Hogan pinned Bob Orton ***
3. Wendi Richter pinned Moolah *
4. JYD crushed Pete Doherty DUD

All in all a fun start to Saturday Night’s Main Event and a great way to introduce fans to the WWF as they began the national expansion. The first two matches were good but the women’s match and the squash were nothing special. Still a fun hour of classic WWF programming, and the only things cut were a few themes and the Goonies video, so better then I expected. Next up is another episode of SNME from October featuring the wedding of Uncle Elmer, be afraid!!!

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