Saturday Night’s Main Event
May 11, 1985
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Uniondale, New York
I’m Rich Kraetsch, and I won’t be alone tonight when I review Saturday Night’s Main Event, because my main man, Larry is gonna be in my corner.
Well, lemme tell’ya somethin, brother…the World Wrestling Federation is hot off the very first WrestleMania…it broke records, brother. And everybody wants a piece of the action, jack! Just ask the number one Hulkamaniac at NBC, Dick Ebersol, brother. It didn’t take a genius to know all you had to do is grab on to the largest arms in the world and they’ll backstroke…no…doggy paddle you to an 11.6 rating, brother. I pity the fool who don’t enjoy Saturday Night’s Main Event, too. So kick back, relax, and enjoy as we review Saturday Night’s Main Event.
Disclaimer: These reviews will follow standard Voices of Wrestling WWE PPV review style where we won’t give move-by-move breakdowns but rather our thoughts and observations on the match and our star rating. However, instead of boring old star ratings, we’ve decided to go with Hogan Heads. Yes, the man Saturday Night’s Main Event was created for Hulk Hogan will be our grading scale. We will still use the DUD to Five scale as well as 1/2, 1/4 and 3/4th “heads.” Look… it’s the same as star ratings but we wanted to use silly Hogan cut-outs, so here we are.
Rich: I love green-screened promos. We got a few at the beginning of the episode with Wendi Richter/Cyndi Lauper which was, yeah, it was a promo. Hulk Hogan/Mr. T did a quick but effective one, everyone yelled but it worked. We also got a green-screened intro by Jesse Ventura and Vince McMahon, Jesse forgot a bunch of stuff which, this was a pre-tape but, hey, there you go.
Before the first match, we get yet ANOTHER green-screen with US Express and Ricky Steamboat apparently cutting a promo in a stairway in the arena. Did anyone actually believe these things were actually being done in an arena or was it always known they were pre-tapes?
Larry: Cyndi Lauper kicks off the very first edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event ripping off my tee ball coach for a pep talk. Cut screen to the God damn Hulkster getting sassy on ‘Cowboy’ ‘Ace’ Bob Orton, brother. The only thing that would make these any better would be picture-in-picture. Cut screen again, and FUCK…they didn’t use “Obsession” for a theme yet?
Jesse ‘The Body’ is decked out in a VINTAGE fabulous pink pirate outfit. Vince is in WHATAMANEUVER rare-form and hyping the fuck out of Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T. Jesse is absolutely lost in this promo.
The U.S. Express and Ricky Steamboat vs. Nikolai Volkoff, The Iron Sheik and George Steele
Rich: I don’t believe it, this match was a lot of fun. Sure, you’ll say, it has Steamboat and Windham I’ll counter with, yeah, but it also has Nikolai Volkoff, The Iron Sheik and George Steele. It didn’t matter, the pace was quick, the tags were frequent and the crowd was super into it the whole time. This was a lot of fun and Sheik took a bunch of bumps, which is a sight to be seen when you’re so used to seeing the guy as stiff as can be. The US Express + Steamboat team worked the match perfectly as they were constantly trying to use their speed advantage against the older and well, much much fatter team. I thought it worked well. I enjoyed the hell out of this match. The pop at the end of the match, when US Express wins, is incredible. It rivals pretty much every “big” pop over the last 5-10 years.
Larry: This show had some great booking. Everything is fallout from WrestleMania and the crowd is piping hot for it. Kicking off your big show with some of your better workers in the form of 1985 versions of Ricky Steamboat and Barry windham is fantastic. Even the heels are carrying their weight. It is Steamboat that stars here for me though. Windham gets a surprise rollup pin and the crowd explodes. Post-match shenanigans put over George Steele. That crazy bastard. Good match. **3/4
Rich: Wait, holy shit! Post-match Sheik and Volkoff walk up to Gene who IS actually in the arena?! Boy is my face red. He’s lit so horribly it looked like a green screen. I apologize Kevin Dunn, get your lighting fixed though.
Piper’s Pit with Paul Orndorff, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper & Bob Orton
Rich: I’m going to take a lot of heat for this, but I’ve never been a huge Piper fan, specifically his WWE run. Sure, his promos were passionate but he came across very corny in hindsight and it was hard to take anything he said seriously. Moreover, he had the sensibilities of a Bray Wyatt and his promos, to me, always ended up just being a mish-mosh of random thoughts. That’s not to say that Piper was always off, when he was ON, nobody was more on but when he was off, boy it was not pretty. This was not on. It was nothing more than shouting match between the losers of the big WrestleMania 1 main event (Piper/Orndorff vs. Hogan/Mr. T). Orndorff turned face here
Larry: How in the hell can you not be a huge Piper fan, Rich? Just wait until the guy puts on black face and starts throwing bananas. That shit is genius, and so was this Piper’s Pit. Only Piper could put over that he was legitimately angry at Paul Orndorff telling him he was drinking his own bathwater.
Rich: Remember, I’m much younger than you and Joe (by ~25 years – note: that’s a joke, I have no idea how old you are) so all the Piper I’ve consumed has been AFTER the fact none of it in the moment. Watching back, I always found him kind of corny and silly. I understand it’s an unpopular opinion but he was never really my jam. Unless you count his WCW run or his equally non-sensible WWE runs. To me, he was on/off, as I said when he was good and really building up something good, I understood the appeal. More times than not, I see a guy who just kinda shrieked, made weird faces and danced me through dead Pit segments that are for some reason heralded as the best things ever. Do I need to bring up WrestleMania V? Also save for his WrestleMania 8 match with Bret Hart, I can’t recall a truly “good” Piper PPV match. That’s a big deal to me as I wasn’t watching the weekly TV and only saw the PPVs, big events and now, finally, Saturday Night’s Main Event. Maybe watching these will change my mind.
Larry: Piper was never known for his workrate. However, he was a fine ring psychologist. As a heel, he’d build up the babyface and really grind’em down for heat and make the audience earn that comeback. As a babyface, incredibly sympathetic. The man would get molten heat in this era for every reason you’d want a guy to get that heat. Never afraid to go over the line. Nothing was off-limits. The man had this innate ability on the microphone. A surreal rawness and grit. When he spoke, no matter how over the top he was, I believed him. When he hated somebody, I was sold. When he put someone over, I believed. Anyway, Piper was fantastic…I will hear nothing that says otherwise.
Hulk Hogan vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton
Rich: I thought this was going to be a lot worse than it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was bad but both guys had their working boots on here. Hogan started with some super quick offense on Orton to really get the crowd into it, multiple body slams, flexing the whole deal. Orton controlled a bit of the match but ultimately this was Hogan’s showcase and it ended quickly. Hogan hit a boot on Orton but Piper interfered so we got a DQ finish but it was obvious who was the focal point. Saturday Night’s Main Event was Hogan’s show and it’s unbelievable the type of power and cache this guy had in 1985. Amazing *1/2
Larry: SPOILER ALERT, BROTHER: Hulk would be in the headline match in the first ten of these damn shows, because Hulkamania was a thing…a real thing, dudes. So much so, the first five rows on the aisle attempt to rape him on his way to the ring. Sadly, Hogan isn’t eating his bandana on the way down, because when he does, you know its go time. Before the bell even rings, Hulk and Mr. T strip each other, and embrace and it wasn’t even a questionable. What comes after is your token Hulkamania Era Hogan match. It sucked by any critical eye, but Hogan had the crowd in the palm of his hand for 10 minutes, which is what the crowd showed up for. But if I can be serious for a moment…If you haven’t seen Hogan matches from this era, get out from underneath the stairs and go get WWE Network or something…because they are must-see for a few reasons…of which…HOGAN WAS A GOD DAMN CHEATER!…and seemingly, only Jesse Ventura and myself and can see this shit. Anyway, Leg Drop of Doom hits…I got my money’s worth.
WWE Women’s Championship
Wendi Richter vs. The Fabulous Moolah
Rich: This was the culmination of the Richter vs. Lelani Kai “WrestlingMania (sic Lauper)” match. This was months before Richter and Moolah would be apart of the original WWE screwjob. I kind of wish I watched that instead because what we got instead was steaming pile of garbage. Considering Moolah trained Richter you would kind of assume these two would display some amount of chemistry but no, this was a total mess. There was some back and forth but it was sloppy, everything looked like shit and even Vince McMahon gave his patented “Not much scientific wrestling out there” call which loosely translates to “this match sucks.” Moolah wasn’t one for five-star affairs but this was particularly awful.
Larry: Cyndi Lauper filed no less than 37 charges for sexual assault going back and forth to the ring…and that’s all I got.
Junkyard Dog vs. Pete Doherty
Rich: Hard to explain my disappointment when JYD wasn’t facing off with the drug-addicted English rocker but instead The Duke of Dorchester Pete Doherty. Oh well. This was pretty bad but it was nothing more than a prolonged squash. Doherty got maybe a move or two in and the finish seemed to come out of nowhere (JYD powerslam pin) because the crowd didn’t react whatsoever after exploding for JYD’s entrance. I can’t grade an obvious squash too negatively but this wasn’t very good at all.
The best part of this entire match was watching JYD’s mom in her Grimace costume bustin’ a move. Bertha… Dog has a disturbing similarity to Shelton Benjamin’s Mom, Momma Benjamin. No, no, it’s not just because they are black. The hair, the dress, the way she talked, I’m convinced they gave Thea Vidale this tape in preparation for her character.
Larry: The Duke of Dorchester looks like he has a few terabytes of child pornography laying around his house. So, I marked out when The Dog squashed this scumbag and worked him over real good, all stiff-like.
Larry: The show closes with one helluva Mother’s Day party. We get to see Bertha Dog again…Iron Shiek saying “Gene Mean” which always gets a lol from me…Fred Blassie banging his 23 year old mother…Momma Hogan…and something something something Moolah is on the ground covered in cake.
Rich: I struggled to find anything significant to say about this Mother’s Day party. It was nice to see the heels and faces co-exist for the good of their mothers. There was a lot of Moolah on this show, way too much.
Larry: This is one of the easiest hours of 80’s wrestling you’ll see. Its got easy-to-digest matches and tons of corny nostalgia.
Rich: Seriously, what a breeze this show was to watch. After being force-fed three hours every Monday, a 60-minute show is nothing. I enjoyed this one greatly as I thought it hit every mark, it had nostalgia, a legitimate good match, 80s Hulkamania and some angle progression. I would’ve preferred one more “good” match but this is 1985 WWE, there wasn’t a lot of good to go around. Either way, an enjoyable show and highly recommended.