WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event (October 5, 1985)

WWF_Saturday_Night's_Main_Event

“WE ARE ON THE BRINK OF AN INTERNATIONAL CRISIS!” screams Mean Gene Okerlund.

What’s he talking about? Why the upcoming flag match between Nikolai Volkoff and Hulk Hogan of course!

Nikolai will not have a guilty conscious if the USSR launches nukes at the US because of the outcome of his flag match with Hulk Hogan. Hell, he says he’ll push the button himself. Or at least that’s what I think he said…it was a pretty marble-mouthed promo.

Hogan is standing by wearing the droopiest headband of all time. He vows to make sure that the only flag ever to fly in the US and A is the red, white and blue because he won’t have the little Hulkamaniacs being indoctrinated by a goddamn Bolshevik.

And now to domestic affairs! Mean Gene’s standing by with Hillbilly Jim and Uncle Elmer because there’s a hillbilly wedding taking place tonight provided we survive the nuclear strike that the Hogan vs. Volkoff match is sure to cause. Roddy Piper shows up to mock Uncle Elmer because Piper is the best and we go to the opening credits.

To the Announcers…

Vince McMahon runs down the card and then asks Jesse Ventura what he thinks. Jesse hates the entertainment part of sports entertainment and basically says the wedding nonsense is complete bullshit. Vince looks absolutely crestfallen.

Meanwhile In The Ring…

Nikolai apparently came out while Jesse Ventura was breaking Vince McMahon’s heart since he’s already in the ring. He sings the Soviet National Anthem much to the audience’s dismay.

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Hulk Hogan’s standing by with Mean Gene before his big match. He says that Volkoff singing the Soviet national anthem is one thing but to have the flag of our enemy there in the ring? That’s too goddamn much for the Hulkster.

Match 1: Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Freddie Blassie) vs. Hulk Hogan

“Real American” is apparently not patriotic enough because they send Hogan out to John Philips Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Hogan is clad entirely in white. I wonder if this is like Jerry Lawler being clad in white and it means we’re going to get Hogan bleeding all over the goddamn place?

Volkoff attacks before the bell and proceeds to drag him around the ring. Volkoff is the one to rip off Hogan’s shirt on this particular night. Volkoff tries to slam Hogan’s dome into the turnbuckle but Hogan blocks him and then puts the big Russian down with some running clotheslines.

Hulk unleashes some headbutts, a maneuver that Jesse Ventura is impressed by since he did not know that Hogan had it in his repertoire. Jesse, it’s just a headbutt, yeah I know that Hogan never really used them, but it’s not like he just did a corkscrew plancha or something. They’re not that hard to do. Hulk hits a big boot that causes Volkoff to slowly go over the top rope and land on the timekeeper’s table at ringside.

They brawl at ringside for a bit. Hogan tries for a bulldog but Volkoff escapes and pushes Hogan into the ringpost and gets back in control.

Back in the ring Volkoff works over Hogan’s lower back. He then gets him up in a Gorilla press wedgie combo that he transitions into a backbreaker. Nikolai Volkoff legitimately gave Hulk Hogan a wedgie on network television because in the words of Vince McMahon, “He is the master of roughhouse tactics.”

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Blassie yells at Volkoff to cover Hogan, but Volkoff instead yells at the crowd for awhile before going for the pin. When he makes the cover he gets two. Volkoff tries for another backbreaker, but Hogan escapes and goes on the attack. He gets cut off by Volkoff who slams Hogan for another near fall.

TIME TO HULK UP!

Volkoff reverses a whip in the corner and then charges, but Hogan is like a cat and gets out of the way causing Volkoff to run straight into the ringpost. Hogan hits the ropes and nails Volkoff with a big leg drop for a three count.

After the match, Hogan spits on Nikolai Volkoff’s corpse, takes the Soviet flag from Blassie and spits on it and then uses it to shine his boots.

Winner: Hulk Hogan

I’m confused by what made this a “flag match.” Sure, both dudes came to the ring with flags and after the match Hogan desecrated one flag and waved another around, but doesn’t a flag match generally involve capturing your opponent’s flag to win rather than just Hulking up, dropping a leg, and getting a three count? A small complaint I suppose.

This match was every single Hulk Hogan match ever, though Nikolai ran wild a lot longer than most heels facing Hogan at this time would have. I enjoyed this more than Hogan’s match from the first installment of Saturday Night’s Main Event. [**]

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

We come back from commercial break to find Hulk Hogan with Mean Gene. Gene’s like, “Good job saving America from nuclear annihilation Hulk Hogan, by the way, what’s your take on a hillbilly wedding?”

“Nikolai Volkoff, if you didn’t learn your lesson tonight I’ll teach you slower next time Baby Doll, but enough about that! Mean Gene, I hear you’re playin’ the keyboards bruther!” Hogan replies to Mean Gene.

“The organ, yes,” replies Mean Gene.

I guess we have Mean Gene on the organ to look forward to later tonight.

Meanwhile Backstage…

The bride-to-be is standing by in her wedding dress. Filling an hour of TV time is hard!

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Mean Gene is standing by with a gaggle of hillbillies, ready to fill some more time. Uncle Elmer is not only getting married tonight, but will be in action in a moment. Gene asks which he’s more nervous about: the wrestling or the romance.

Elmer’s not worried about either.

Match 2: Uncle Elmer (w/ Cousin Junior & Hillbilly Jim) vs. Jerry Valiant

The Hillbillies comes down the the ring. Vince McMahon is poleaxed by Uncle Elmer’s weight, “Uncle Elmer is 460 pounds?! Is that even possible?!” The Hillbillies dance in the ring for awhile. Jerry Valiant charges Uncle Elmer who bodyslams him and pins him. Valiant tries to kick out but can’t because Uncle Elmer is a fat fuck. Six seconds…A NEW RECORD!

Winner: Uncle Elmer

The match lasted six seconds. It consisted of a fat guy falling on a not fat guy. [NR]

Meanwhile at WrestleMania I…

We are show King Kong Bundy’s match against S.D. Jones from WrestleMania which used to be the record holder for the shortest match in history at 9 seconds. Rewatching it here it is obviously much longer than 9 seconds. Twenty to thirty seconds if I had to wager a guess.

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Gene’s standing by with the Hillbillies again. This is a goddamn disaster. Uncle Elmer can barely talk. Has there been a worse wrestler on the mic?

Meanwhile In The Body Shop…

We get a shot of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the audience before going to Jesse “The Body” Ventura standing by with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan in the Body Shop.

Heenan and Ventura talk about the bounty that Heenan had put on Paul Orndorff’s head for dumping Heenan as his manager. Heenan says he is raising it from $25,000 to $50,000 because no one is willing to do anything for $25,000 anymore. Roddy Piper, however, is apparently willing to step up and handle Heenan’s Paul Orndorff problem for $50,000 tonight. That will happen later tonight. Heenan, to prove he is a man of his word, shows off the briefcase containing $50,000.

This would have been a decent interview segment if not for the asshole who kept blowing an airhorn every five seconds.

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Mean Gene is standing by with Paul Orndorff who makes skirt jokes about Roddy Piper. Which prompts Mean Gene to say, “Roddy Piper’s spending like he’s already collected the $50,000 bounty!”

“What’s he spending it on? More dresses?” says Paul Orndorff. Good one Paul Orndorff, you’ve never gone to the “Hur hur hur…a kilt looks like a skirt which is a similar garment to a dress and therefore Piper must be some sort of a queer,” well before.

“No, not dresses. Plumbing for Piper Manor,” replies Mean Gene. I have no idea what is going on.

“The only thing Piper knows about plumbing is when he used to skindive for Roto-Rooter,” retorts Paul Orndorff. I have absolutely no idea what any of that means so I’ve decided it’s the most offensive thing ever and we should all be terribly offended.

Moments after Paul Orndorff leaves to go down to the ring Piper shows up and Gene asks him what he’ll do if Bobby Heenan doesn’t pay up on the bounty.

“I’ll rip his throat out,” says Piper rather matter-of-factly.

Gene-o doesn’t care much about Piper threatening to literally murder a man since he’s got more important matters to ask about, namely Uncle Elmer’s Wedding and why Piper is so against it. Piper says he’s against the wedding because if Uncle Elmer gets married in 12 years there could be 5 more Uncle Elmers.

“Who the hell needs that?” he inquires. Who the hell indeed.

Match 3: Paul Orndorff vs. Roddy Piper

Piper comes to ring with a drum and pipe band playing his theme music. This is awesome. Heenan comes out with the briefcase, and we go to break. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

We return from break and McMahon talks about how if Piper wins the check from Heenan will probably bounce. What check Vince? Heenan had a briefcase full of money. We all just saw it. Thank god for Jesse Ventura who basically calls Vince out on this.

The match that followed was just a brawl. Lots of punches and takedowns and stuff. They brawled ringside at one point. Orndorff took a chair to Piper and smashed his head into the timekeeper’s table. The only real wrestling hold in this match was a back suplex from Orndorff.

Jesse Ventura mentions that neither man is attempting to go for a pinfall at one point, which I think remained true throughout the match. This was just two guys who wanted to kill each other trying to hurt one another.

Towards the end of the match Piper drops Orndorff after poking him in the eyes and goes for some sort of bellyflop onto the prone man, but Orndorff gets his knees up. He then comes off the rope with a quasi-crossbody block that causes both men to go over the top rope. They fight on the floor again and make their way up the aisle, continuing to brawl underneath the announce location.

The two fight their way backstage where Piper heads into a dressing room and slams the door on Orndorff’s arm. He manages to get the door shut and Orndorff continues to pound on it as we break for commercials. This one’s going to be a double count out.

Winner: N/A (Double Count Out)

This was awesome and at least for the WWF seemed years ahead of its time. This was like 1995 ECW, not 1985 WWF. Yeah I know that in Memphis they’d been doing this sort of stuff for awhile, but I can’t think of an earlier WWF match where guys fought all over the arena like this.

As for the match itself I’m glad that it was ugly and contained very few wrestling moves. This was a blood feud between two dudes. There’s no reason two guys in the situation would attempt to put headlocks on one another, and here they didn’t. They just brawled, which was exactly what they needed to do. [***]

Meanwhile at Uncle Elmer’s Wedding…

What the fuck is even going on? Vince keeps going on about how this is the first wedding on network television since Tiny Tim married some lady back in the 1960s or some shit, but none of that matters. What does matter is the fact that Hulk Hogan is here wearing a dress shirt with no sleeves, a bowtie, leather pants, cowboy boots and a weightlifting belt. Andre the Giant is here as well. He couldn’t be bothered to put on a shirt or pants…

Mean Gene is indeed on the organ as promised. He looks like the Phantom of the Opera according to Jesse Ventura. Someone is dumping popcorn on him from above as he plays.

The Hillbillies all come out. They’ve got shirts and ties on under their overalls. The audience HATES this. They are booing so loudly. A wedding ceremony commences and Jesse Ventura shits all over it on commentary.

“I think the judge should sentence them both to jail,” opines Jesse Ventura.

At one point, Uncle Elmer’s bride, Joyce, gets nailed in the face with a pretzel or something to the delight of Jesse Ventura, “DID YOU SEE THAT MCMAHON?! A sign from the heavens! It’s not going to work!”

Uncle Elmer can’t hear what the judge is having him repeat at one point. I can’t tell if it’s because he’s deaf or the boos are just deafening. This is an awful segment.

Elmer can’t get the ring on Joyce’s finger which causes Vince to say, “I hope that’s not a premonition for what’s going to happen later tonight,” which I think is Vince joking about Elmer not being able to get his dick in his wife’s vagina…WRESTLING EVERYBODY!

Finally the judge is like, “If anyone has any reason why this man and woman should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

Roddy Piper appears on cue and shits all over the wedding and says it has no business taking place in a wrestling ring, “YOU STINK, YOU STINK AND THIS WHOLE WEDDING STINKS!”

The thing that surprised me most was the fans who had been booing this stupid wedding thing from the very beginning start booing Piper. I thought it might have been some post-production audio sweetening, but Piper delivers his speech from the entrance ramp surrounded by fans who are visibly giving him thumbs down and scowling at him. Has there ever been a more hated heel than Roddy Piper? He said the same thing everyone in the audience was thinking and he still got booed.

Hogan takes umbrage with Piper talking real bad about hillbilly love and starts to head out of the ring like he’s going to kick Piper’s ass. Piper, having said what he wanted to just heads to the back without further incident and Hogan heads back into the ring.

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Elmer kisses the bride and thankfully this bullshit comes to an end.

Meanwhile Backstage…

We see some hay and pigs and chickens backstage. It’s the wedding reception for Joyce and Elmer and it’s going to be a country hoe-down. Fuck!

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Gene’s got Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy and Bobby Heenan. They all hate Andre the Giant. Brain says that NBC has a peacock for its logo but tonight we’ll see a 500 pound turkey go down in the ring.

Match 4: Andre the Giant & Tony Atlas vs. King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd w/ Bobby Heenan

This match seems to be a part of the same feud that gave us the Colossal Jostle. AW YE YE! I love me some hoss fights!

Andre and Bundy start things off. Bundy charges Andre, so Andre just holds out his hand so that Bundy runs into a choke. He chokes Bundy with the straps of his singlet and then beats on him in the corner. There some clubbering and then it’s back to strangling a dude with his clothes. The ref gives zero shits about this.

Andre gets Bundy into his corner and then grabs Bundy’s head in one hand and Tony Atlas’ head in the other and smashes them into each other. Was Tony Atlas part Samoan because he does not sell this at all.

Atlas comes in and gets laid out by Bundy. Bundy misses a running elbow drop though and then gets headbutted by Atlas. Big John Studd comes in and hits a shoulder block and then comes off the ropes, but Tony Atlas leapfrogs him. This is probably the single most impressive feat of athleticism of the night since John Studd is legit like 6’8″ and Atlas just leaps right over him.

Atlas hits some headbutts and then attempts to slam Big John Studd which is stupid since no one can slam Big John Studd. Studd whips Atlas into the ropes but after Atlas misses a dropkick Studd takes control.

Studd hits an elbow drop and then stomps on Tony Atlas. He goes after Andre, but Andre headbutts him. While this is going on King Kong Bundy comes in in splashes Atals center ring.

“THAT’S GROUNDS FOR DISQUALIFICATION!” shouts Vince McMahon.

“And Andre choking Bundy with his singlet wasn’t?” shoots back Ventura.

Atlas makes the tag and Andre comes in through the ropes rather than over them. We have Andre vs. Studd in a rematch of their $15,000 Body Slam Challenge from WrestleMania. The crowd goes bananas as Andre hits some forearms and a headbutt and the a HUGE BOOT that sends Studd to the outside.

Bundy comes in and starts beating on Andre as Studd pulls Atlas off the apron and slams him into the ringpost spine-first. Bundy hits an Avalanche and the heels double-team Andre in the corner as the ref calls for the bell.

Atlas is still dead somewhere so Andre fights back and hits Bundy and Studd with the Double Noggin Knocker. Hogan hits the ring, still in his formal ware to make the save. Hogan and Andre clean house.

Winners: Andre the Giant & Tony Atlas

As far as hoss fights go, this certainly was one of them. Lots of clubbering, a bajillion headbutts and Andre strangling Bundy with his clothes for half the match doesn’t make for a particularly interesting match by 2017 standards, but we should probably cut them some slack since it’s 1985 and these dudes are basically the Mount Rushmore of Wrestling Hosses. [*½]

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Mean Gene is in the ring with Hulk Hogan. He wants to know why Hogan came down to help Atlas and Andre.

Hogan more or less says, “Let me tell you something Mean Gene. These two dudes had the match won, so I had to come down and make their victory about me.”

Fives are highed and Vince McMahon is like, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant teamed up?”

Earlier at the Detroit Zoological Park…

Jungle Gene Okerlund shows up at the zoo in safari gear to track down George “The Animal” Steele who went missing at getting dumped by Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik at the first Saturday Night’s Main Event. Following that fiasco George underwent electroshock therapy, but then bailed to the zoo in Detroit.

Jungle Gene finds him pretty quickly and then they go around and look at animals while mocking WWF guys. They see a camel and Steele grunts, “Sheik.” A hippo prompts him to mumble, “Bundy.” It’s pretty stupid. In the end Steele runs off into some bushes and makes an elephant noise. I guess he’s coming back soon.

Meanwhile In The Ring…

Back in the arena Leaping Lanny Poffo and Tony Garea are in the ring awaiting the arrival of their opponents for the night, the current Tag Team Champions, the Dream Team. Poffo’s got an amazing perm and pornstache combo.

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

The Dream Team are Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. They, along with their manager, Johnny Valiant, are with Mean Gene. Valiant’s smoking a cigar and flicks his lighter in Gene’s face for some reason.

We get a replay of how the Dream Team won the belts from the US Express. Brutus raking Windham’s eye with an international object allowing Valentine to drop and elbow on him and make the pin. We then go to break. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

Match 5: The Dream Team (w/ Johnny Valiant) vs. Tony Garea & Lanny Poffo

Valentine and Poffo start off with Valentine quickly taking control. He pounds on Poffo and then gets him in a headlock. They show Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham watching the match from the front row. Windham’s sporting an eyepatch.

Poffo gets an armbar on Valentine but Valentine gets to the ropes for a break. He then bodyslams Poffo and tags in Beefcake. They attempt to double team Poffo, but he fights them both off. He throws hiptosses and dropkicks and then bodyslams Beefcake and leaps up to the top rope and hits a moonsault. ONE! TWO! NO!

Valentine breaks up the pin and then Beefcake fights off Poffo and makes the tag. Valentine brings Poffo into their corner and hits him a few times before tagging Beefcake back in. Beefcake bodyslams Poffo and goes for a pin but Poffo kicks out at one and makes the HOT TAG to Garea.

Garea comes in with dropkicks that take out Valentine and Beefcake and then hits a crossbody on Beefcake for a near fall. He charges into the corner but Brutus gets an elbow up that takes out Garea. Beefcake tags Valentine in and he drops the Hammer Elbow on Garea.

Valentine then slaps on the Figure Four Leg Lock, a move that Ventura says that no one can get out of. I suppose this is why Poffo just stood there and watched as Garea submitted.

Winners: The Dream Team

This should have been a squash match, but it surprisingly wasn’t. Poffo was a fantastic worker and Valentine and Garea were both solid as well. Beefcake’s not as roided up as he’d become so he’s still got some mobility here. All in all this was a fun little tag team match.

It’s sad that Poffo was never a bigger star. He was great in the ring and solid on the mic, but just wasn’t a hoss in an era when that was what the people wanted. 1980s Lanny Poffo would probably be a top guy in 2017. [**⅔]

Meanwhile at Uncle Elmer’s Wedding Reception…

Mr. Wonderful, Hogan, Vince, and Ventura are all seated at the same table. Jesse’s hard at work on a poem. Vince talks to Hogan about the big tag team match that has been signed for the next installment of Saturday Night’s Main Event: Hogan & Andre vs. King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd.

Hogan talks about Hulkamania running wild and how with Andre in his corner Hulkamania would be able to run even wilder. Vince then asks Hogan and Orndorff what they thought of the wedding. The both sing its praises, but Ventura talks more shit about it.

Vince asks Jesse what the hell he’s wearing since he’s changed his outfit for the third time that night. Jesse replies that he’s wearing his Keith Richards look…”elegantly wasted.”

Gene interviews Captain Lou Albano and Cousin Junior. Albano is teaching Junior etiquette. “Eat everything with your left hand, that way if you have to pat your buddy on the back you’ve got a clean hand,” says Albano.

We go next to a shirtless and pantless Lanny Poffo who offers up a poem to the bride and groom. It’s a pretty decent poem because Lanny Poffo is apparently a Renaissance man. Up next is Hillbilly Jim who makes a toast and tells the bride and groom that he’ll always have a space for them at the table for Sunday dinners.

Tiny Tim then shows up for some reason and gives Uncle Elmer a ukulele. Uncle Elmer then serenades his wife with “Walk Through This World With Me.” Elmer’s either super nervous or he has the DTs because his hand looks like it’s been set to vibrate as he sings. His singing voice isn’t really terrible, but it’s not good either. This could have been way, way worse than it ended up being.

Up next is Jesse Ventura who delivers a poem of his own, transcribed below:

There’s always a place in life for love,
a place for the lillies, a place for the doves
There’s always a time in life to care,
a time to cuddle and a time to share.
Yes, a time and place for everything,
a time to dance and a time to sing.
Now I’ve seen your dance, and I’ve heard your song,
and I must tell you…that this is WRONG!!!!
That wrestling is a deadly dance,
and is no partner to romance.
And SHAME ON THOSE WHO EVER DID MIX
WRESTLING AND ROMANCE JUST FOR THESE HICKS!

This is too much for Orndorff and Hogan to bear so they give chase. Ventura flees but gets tripped by Hillbilly Jim and falls into a cake. Gene tells him, “See, I told you this would be more fun than the longshoreman’s convention,” as we go to commercials.

Meanwhile With Vince McMahon…

Vince McMahon wraps things up for us and informs us that a match pitting Hogan & Andre against Bundy & Studd will happen at the next Saturday Night’s Main Event in four weeks’ time and then thanks us as credits roll.

Final Thoughts

This was weird. The wrestling was more or less fine, but the matches only made up like a third of the entire show. The rest is Uncle Elmer’s Wedding and dudes talking about Uncle Elmer’s Wedding. I don’t know why Vince McMahon is/was obsessed with hillbillies but it does not make for very engaging television.

If you’ve got the Network just check out the Piper vs. Orndorff match and the Tag Team Championship match, other than that the only stuff worth looking at is Hulk Hogan’s amazing outfit during Uncle Elmer’s Wedding. Everything else is entirely worthless.

The true MVP of the evening is probably Jesse Ventura. His commentary is completely fantastic and probably the only thing that got me through the non-wrestling segments of this show.

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