WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event (January 4, 1986)


Recorded on December 19, 1985 at the Sun Dome in Tampa, the fourth installment of Saturday Night’s Main Event aired on January 4 of the following year. As is the case with all of these shows we start with some random promos before the actual event gets underway.

This time around we start with Mean Gene and Hulk Hogan standing poolside as Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” plays. Hulk Hogan pours himself a glass of what appears to be lemonade but is apparently one of his famous Python Protein shakes. He gives a glass of it to Mean Gene and makes him promise not to give that snake, Terry Funk, the recipe. Mean Gene chugs the concoction and promptly begins to flex.


We go next to Roddy Piper and Jesse “The Body” Ventura who appear to be on a beach with 80s beach babes. Piper is still in a t-shirt and a kilt, but Ventura’s working on his tan. They use binoculars to spy on the hillbillies floating in inner-tubes and makes jokes about whales and then the opening credits roll.

After the intro videos we go live previously recorded to the Sun Dome where Vince McMahon is standing by. Vince gives us a rundown of the card and then Jesse Ventura shows up in his wrestling attire and is like, “Why didn’t you talk about my match, McMahon?”

Vince hems and haws and then Jesse’s like, “I don’t want you calling my match alone since you’re biased so I got the only person with the brains and credibility to fill in for me.” Bobby Heenan shows up. This is a good thing.

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Mean Gene interviews a silent Bob Orton and a cleary high as fuck Roddy Piper. Piper rambles for awhile until Ventura shows up and utters, “We’re going to kill those hillbillies…” or some other generic heelish pre-match promo platitudes.

The heels head down to the ring to Piper’s music and then Gene talks to the Hillbillies. Hillbilly Jim gets on the mic and talks about how Piper and Ventura insulted them and how this match is about family pride. They head down to the ring as well.

Match 1: Bob Orton, Jesse Ventura & Roddy Piper vs. Hillbilly Jim, Cousin Luke & Uncle Elmer

Ventura and Uncle Elmer are starting things off. Elmer works over Ventura for a couple seconds but Ventura immediately rakes his eyes to take control. Elmer fights his way out of the corner and Hillbilly Jim tags in. He gets Ventura in a headlock but Ventura shoves him into the ropes and knees him in the gut. Both men get to their corners and make tags.

Piper and Cousin Luke come in and Piper offers him a handshake. Who the fuck is Cousin Luke? Wasn’t the third Hillbilly named Cousin Junior? Luke takes Piper’s hand and before Piper can do anything underhanded Luke kicks him in the stomach. Piper makes a comeback and tags in Orton. They hit a double back elbow.

They keep Luke, who is not wearing shoes for some goddamn reason, isolated and work quick tags. They do the faux hot tag spot to Jim which allows more double-teaming on Luke. He finally makes a legit HOT TAG to Elmer who comes in and hits some blows before getting Piper up in the requisite Hoss Bearhug. This causes everyone to hit the ring and start brawling. The Hillbillies clear the ring and we go to commercial. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

We come back from break to find the heels storming the ring only to get beaten down some more. You would have thought they’d have been counted out during the commercial break. Things finally get back under control and we get Piper and Hillbilly Jim squaring off.

Piper hits some headbutts, but Jim is unaffected by them and lays out Piper with a headbutt of his own. He ends up getting back into the heel corner. Piper tags in Ventura who works over Jim before tagging Piper back in. Piper goes for some punches, but Jim blocks them and fires back. He makes it back to his corner and tags in Cousin Luke who comes in and cleans house on the heels.

He lays out Orton and Ventura and then gets Piper up for a slam. Piper escapes the slam attempt and gets Luke in a sleeper hold. The Hillbillies hit the ring which brings in Orton and Ventura. We got a donnybrook! Luke tosses Piper to escape the sleeper, but he ends up getting brained by Orton with the cast when he backs into the ropes. The ref was distracted though and didn’t see it, so Piper slaps the sleeper back on Luke. He’s knocked the fuck out so his arm falls three times and Piper and Friends are declared the victors.

Winners: Roddy Piper, Bob Orton & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

This was honestly a pretty fun match. The bulk of the credit should be given to Piper & Co. since the Hillbillies were all kind of rubbish in the ring.  The fact that the crowd was super hot also helped make this better than it might have otherwise been. [**½]

Meanwhile With Vince McMahon…

Jesse Ventura shows up and praises Bobby Heenan’s job on the mic and tells Vince that if he isn’t careful he’ll find himself in the unemployment line. McMahon then tosses it to Mean Gene for fun in the sun!

Meanwhile at the Waterslide Park…

Mean Gene is atop a waterslide with Jimmy Hart and the Junkyard Dog. At the last Saturday Night’s Main Event JYD pantsed Jimmy Hart and branded him so Jimmy Hart wanted to get some revenge. He knew that he couldn’t possibly beat the Dog in the ring, so instead he challenged him to a waterslide race.

JYD would accept the challenge if Hart would compete in “those cute red undies,” that he wore when JYD branded him last time. Okay…

Anyway they race, JYD wins but Jesse Ventura calls shenanigans. He’s standing by poolside with Terry Funk. Ventura is like, “Terry Funk you don’t seem like a pool kinda guy…what are you doing here?”

Funk says that when he wins the championship from Hogan he’s going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated so he needs to work on his tan. He then says that since they put Hogan on the cover they’d better put him on the cover too after he wins or he’d brand all of them. God, is Terry Funk awesome.

Highlights for Children!

We get highlights of a match between Funk and Hogan from “Winter 1985,” where Funk brands Hogan’s tit. Hogan no sells this and we have ourselves a match for Saturday Night’s Main Event!

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Hulk Hogan (dressed in sky blue tights and boots with red knee pads) talks to Mean Gene and says absolutely nothing and then brings out the Junkyard Dog. JYD will be in Hogan’s corner during the match to keep an eye on Jimmy Hart.

Match 2: Hulk Hogan (w/ Junkyard Dog) vs. Terry Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart)

This is for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship and Vince calls it Hogan’s most important match since WrestleMania. Um…have you forgotten the match where Hogan saved us all from nuclear annihilation Vince? I think that’s a slightly more important match than a random title match with Terry Funk.

They lock up and Funk gets an early advantage, pushing Hulk into the corner. He attempts several times to whip Funk but Hogan reverses it repeatedly. After one whip to the corner, Hogan comes in with a clothesline that causes Funk to tumble out of the ring.

Jimmy Hart attempts to check on Terry Funk but gets chased off by the JYD. This became a running theme of the match and each time Jimmy Hart tried to get involved the JYD would chase him off.

Back in again, Hogan gets Funk in a headlock. Funk sends him into the ropes and drops down so Hogan just steps on him as he runs the ropes. This happens several times and is the greatest rope running spot I’ve seen in a long time. Funk bails to the floor and has a temper tantrum. He throws a chair into the ring so Hogan takes a seat and taunts Terry Funk.

Funk heads back into the ring and the two men lock up. Again Funk muscles Hogan into the corner and delivers some chops. Hogan turns it around and fires back with furious rights. Hogan whips Funk into the corner and sends him flipping out onto the apron. Hogan slams him back in and hits Funk with a back suplex for a two count.

Funk fights back with headbutts and then kicks Hogan in the junk. He heads up to the top rope, but Hogan gets to his knees and Ultimate Warriors the ropes causing Funk to get crotched. Hogan, being of the mind that Terry Funk’s dick hadn’t suffered enough hit him with an ATOMIC DROP!

“WOAAAAAH BAY-BAY!” screams Vince McMahon orgasmically as Terry Funk’s penis gets crushed by Hulk Hogan.

Hogan then hits a running clothesline and an elbow drop. Funk pushes him into the ropes and Jimmy Hart grabs Hogan’s legs and then hides under the ring when the JYD comes to intervene. As the ref is distracted with the JYD and Jimmy Hart shenanigans Funk takes off some of his wrist tape and uses it to choke out Hogan. He conceals this dastardly deed by applying a chinlock so the ref can’t see the tape.

Funk eventually releases the hold and hits a goddamn piledriver. He covers the Hulkster for two. Ventura says the count was slow. I’m inclined to agree. Funk stomps on Hogan, but Hulk starts HULKING UP!

Hogan starts to shake and then unloads on Terry Funk with rights. He nails Funk with a back elbow and follows up with a big boot that causes Funk to go out on the apron. Hogan goes to suplex him back into the ring, but Hart gets up on the apron and nails Hogan in the ribs with the branding iron. Funk falls on top of Hogan. ONE! TWO! NO! Hogan gets is foot on the bottom rope.

On the outside, JYD headbutts Jimmy Hart taking him out of the match. Funk is screaming at the ref about the last pin attempt. Funk turns around and eats a clothesline from Hogan that leads to the pin.

After the match Funk has a fit and chucks a bunch of chairs into the ring at Hogan and threatens to get into a fist fight with some fan. Mean Gene shows up and interviews Hogan and JYD. The Hulkster calls Funk “boy” and tells him that he hasn’t had enough so Funk should come back down. Gene praises JYD’s work in keeping an eye on Jimmy Hart.

“They don’t call me Deputy Dog for nothing,” replies JYD. When? When did anyone ever call the Junkyard Dog, Deputy Dog?

Terry Funk then drags Jimmy Hart away.

Winner: Hulk Hogan

This was a ton of fun; one of the more enjoyable 80s Hogan matches I’ve seen. Funk in the WWF in the 80s is weird because he’s still just Terry Funk. He’s hurling chairs about and hitting guys with branding irons and acting punch drunk in the ring and it’s fantastic. [**⅔]

Highlights for Children!

Vince McMahon gives us a rundown of what’s been happening with George “The Animal” Steele since the inaugural installment of Saturday Night’s Main Event while “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds plays.

We get some footage of Steele’s treatment under, and I quote, “famed psychiatrist gynecologist Doctor Sigmund Ziff,” and then the stuff from George at the Detroit Zoo. Talk about a slow build. I’ve seen a grand total of 4 shows from 1985 and the only “important” thing I missed out on in this story (that began like 8 months earlier) was the psychiatrist-gynecologist.

Meanwhile at the Waterslide Park…

Mean Gene is standing by at the waterslide park with George “The Animal” Steele and Captain Lou Albano. Steele slides into a kiddie pool as bikini babes cheer. Gene wonders if Steele’s going to have any ring rust.

“Why? Because he’s in the water?” replies Captain Lou.

Mean Gene tosses it over to Jesse Ventura who is elsewhere at the waterslide park where Macho Man Randy Savage is teaching Miss Elizabeth how to swim. Jesse asks Macho if he’s worried about George Steele.

Macho Man is a man, George Steele is an animal. What sort of man would be afraid of an animal? All he cares about is teaching Miss Elizabeth how to swim. He accomplishes this by throwing her off some giant structure into a pool. OOOOOOOOH YEAH!!!


Match 3: George “The Animal” Steele (w/ Captain Lou Albano) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth)

Savage makes his entrance and stops to jaw with someone in the audience, leaving Miss Elizabeth to her own devices up at the ring. Steele is smitten with her (who can blame him) and rubs his head on her. Captain Lou is like, “Dude, you gotta respect the ladies,” and pulls him away. Savage sees this and comes in all furious at Miss Elizabeth and chews her out as he takes off his ridiculous entrance attire.

The bell rings and Steele begins doing his goofy arm waving shit which causes Savage to bail to the outside. He comes back in and Steele proceeds to eat Savage’s face and then toss him over the top rope out to the concrete. Steele follows him out and chases him around the ring until he gets distracted by Miss Elizabeth being there. There’s some more shenanigans and at some point Savage is on the outside and Steele’s coming after him so Savage pulls Miss Elizabeth in front of him as a shield.

Back in the ring Steele tears apart a turnbuckle. He gets distracted again by Miss Elizabeth and Savage takes advantage and lays Steele out with a double axe handle for the win.

Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage

This was not particularly good. They didn’t really do anything in the ring and the story is kind of gross since Savage is still an asshole heel to Liz, but Steele’s just a creepy stalker guy, so to have them fighting over her is weird. The best thing about this match is the fact that pre-fame Dean Malenko was the referee during it. [½*]

Year in Review!

Mean Gene is groovin’ to some tunes on his Walkman which prompt him and Hulk Hogan to show us a video of all the highlights from 1985. The bulk of them featured Hulk Hogan and came from WrestleMania and the three installments of Saturday Night’s Main Event that aired in ’85.

After the video we go back to the arena where Jesse Ventura complains that there wasn’t a single clip of him in the highlight package. He really should have been there since he’s basically been the MVP of these shows.

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Mean Gene talks to Nikolai Volkoff ahead of his “Peace Match” against Corporal Kirchner. He’ll prove that Russian athletes are superior in a fairly contest match. Freddie Blassie and The Iron Sheik are here too. Neither of them really say anything but Gene is like, “Iron Sheik’s not a licensed manager! He can’t be here!”

Meanwhile at the Waterslide Park…

Jesse Ventura interviews Corporal Kirchner about his match. Kirchner talks about how his military training has prepared him for anything that Nikolai Volkoff might throw at him. He then rids a zipline down into a pool. I was confused by this interview. Up to this point all the interviews Ventura conducted were heels. Kirchner was the one exception.

Match 4: Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Freddie Blassie and The Iron Sheik) vs. Corporal Kirchner

This is a “Peace Match.” What exactly is a “Peace Match?” Like the “Kung Fu Challenge Match” from the last Saturday Night’s Main Event, the rules are only vaguely explained. Jesse Ventura says that “combat maneuvers” are disallowed. I guess that means no punching or kicking. This will be just wrestling, which is a strange gimmick for a wrestling match.

Volkoff sings the Soviet national anthem but gets interrupted by Kirchner coming out with some kind of military marching band playing some kind of patriotic song. I want to say it was “Stars and Stripes Forever,” but I could be wrong and I’m not going to go back and check.

The match begins with the men locking up, since under the rules that’s pretty much all they can do. Twice then end up on the ropes and break clean much to everyone’s surprise. Volkoff takes Kirchner down but gets caught in an armbar. They are evenly matched in the early going.

Kirchner gets Volkoff in a headlock, Volkoff tries to escape, but ends up in a test of strength that takes both men into the ropes for another break. They lock up again and Volkoff goes for another takedown. He bridges and gets a near fall. Volkoff goes for a slam, but Kirchner flips out of it and goes for a rollup that gets a one count.

A headlock from Kirchner follows but Volkoff again gets to the ropes. Kirchner applies a hammerlock, but Volkoff trips him up and then hits a shoulder block off the ropes. Kirchner gets him in a hammerlock but Volkoff manages to break free only to get rolled up in a small package for a near fall.

They lock up again and end up in the ropes, but this time Volkoff knees Kirchner in the gut. He hotshots Kirchner on the top rope to drop him and then drops a knee on Kirchner’s head. Volkoff covers and gets a three count.

Kirchner is not pleased and after the match cleans house on the heels, giving them a double noggin knocker to send them packing.

Winner: Nikolai Volkoff

The ending was kind of confusing to me since Referee Dean “Stinko” Malenko clearly saw the knee drop and hotshot but still counted Volkoff’s pin attempt afterwards. I thought that such things would result in a DQ, but apparently that is not the case in a “Peace Match.” The being said, the match was otherwise decent enough.

Volkoff and Kirchner were both decent enough grapplers and the ending allows a feud to be established. By today’s standards, it was slow paced and problem boring, but it was a gimmick match with a gimmick that didn’t overwhelm the match, though perhaps this did not please Kirchner who would later go on to wrestle in zany deathmatches in Japan as Leatherface  and Super Leather. [*⅔]

Meanwhile at the Waterslide Park…

Don Muraco is surfing. A bunch of bikini babes then show up and hug him.

Meanwhile With Mean Gene…

Back in the arena, Mean Gene is with Muraco and Mr. Fuji. He talks to them about their beef with Ricky Steamboat. Don Muraco is terrible on the mic. Mr. Fuji talks about how little he worries about Steamboat’s partner, the Junkyard Dog.

“In Japan you know what we do to dogs? We eat dogs. Broiled dog. Boiled dog. Fried dog…” I don’t think that’s honestly true, but okay Mr. Fuji.

The heels head to the ring and Vince is like, “Hasn’t he ever heard of a HOT dog?”

Steamboat and JYD join Mean Gene and Steamboat says that Fuji and Muraco have done everything possible to him except beat him in the ring. He and JYD then head down to the ring to “Another One Bites the Dust,” and we go to commercial. TAPE MACHINES ARE ROLLING!

Match 5: Don Muraco & Mr. Fuji vs. Ricky Steamboat & Junkyard Dog

We come back from break and the heels sneak attack the faces. Steamboat gets thrown to the outside and Fuji is out after him to slam him on the concrete. In the ring Muraco is kicking JYD. I guess these two are the legal men. JYD reverses an Irish whip and back body drops Muraco. He goes for his falling headbutt, but Muraco gets out of the way and tags in Fuji.

Fuji hits some chops and throat thrusts, but Deputy Dog fights back and body slams Fuji. Fuji backpedals and begs for mercy before going to JYD’s eyes to get some distance. He tags in Muraco who JYD armdrags as he’s coming in. Hey 1986 JYD, when you’re in a match with Ricky Steamboat, maybe don’t do any armdrags since even without the best armdragger in the history of wrestling standing right there, yours are not too good.

JYD bodyslams Muraco and goes for a pin getting a two count. Muraco gets back to his feet, but kind of stumbles into Steamboat who levels him with a right to thunderous applause. JYD brings Muraco into a neutral corner.

More headbutts follow as Fuji tags in. He hits some chops, a kick and an elbow to take down Deputy Dog before tagging Muraco back in. Muraco also takes down the Dog with a kick and a knife-edge chop before hitting an elbow drop. Muraco goes for a piledriver, but JYD reverses it into a big back body drop.

Fuji gets tagged back in and he cuts off JYD from making the tag to Steamboat by hitting a headbutt to JYD’s dick. He tags Muraco back in for more stomping. He then whips JYD into the corner and charges but JYD gets out of the way so Muraco eats shit in the ringpost. JYD gets to his corner and HOT TAG!!!

Steamboat comes in and kills Muraco with ever sort of chop and knifehand strike known to man and then decks Fuji on the ring apron. He sends Muraco off the ropes and wrecks his shit with an enziguri. Fuji tries to come in so Steamboat catapults Muraco into him to take them both out.

Steamboat goes up top and hits a flying bodypress on Muraco and covers. ONE! TWO! NO! Fuji hits the ring and breaks up the pin. Muraco makes the tag and Fuji comes in. He goes for an ATOMIC DROP but Steamboat rolls out of it and makes the tag to JYD who hits a headbutt (because what else would he do) and gets the win and we go to commercial.

Winners: Ricky Steamboat & Junkyard Dog

This was an alright match, though having JYD as the face in peril and Ricky Steamboat as the HOT TAG guy was kind of weird. I probably would have had it the other way around. [*⅓]

Meanwhile Back in the Arena…

We come back from break and Vince and Jesse wrap things up. Vince says that the greatest thing we saw tonight was Hogan retaining the title and asks what Jesse thought the best thing was. Jesse Ventura must have rolled his eyes behind those crazy sunglasses. He says that clearly the best thing that night was him wrestling and winning his match as an announcer. “You don’t see Vin Scully going down and taking the high hard one from Doc Gooden!”

We take another break and then McMahon and Ventura say their goodbyes and the credits roll. Happy New Year!

Final Thoughts

I got really excited because the first two matches here were honestly really good. Maybe that’s a bit strong…they were good for 80s WWF matches. Unfortunately things took a nosedive during the Savage vs. Steele match. Things moved back into the okay for 1980s WWF territory with the match between Kirchner and Volkoff and stayed there for the Steamboat & JYD vs. Fuji & Muraco match. Overall though this was a pretty decent installment of Saturday Night’s Main Event that I’d recommend for Hogan vs. Funk, the six man tag team match and the random shenanigans at the waterslide park.


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