Saturday Night’s Main Event. Those four words should send a feeling of nostalgia and good memories through the body of any fan who grew up with the WWF in the mid-late 1980s. I know for me, without SNME I wouldn’t be the fan of pro wrestling that I am today.
SNME was a special WWF ran in Saturday Night Live’s time slot a few times a year on NBC. SNME debuted at a time where there was no PPV so these shows were treated like a big deal and featured title matches and big stars.
A while back I reviewed the excellent three disc Best of Saturday Night’s Main Event DVD here on TJR. Now, with the inclusion of the first 13 episodes (with the rest to come) on the WWE Network I am going to review every episode of SNME. Whether you watched SNME or are too young to even know what SNME is this is a column (hopefully) you’ll want to read. It’ll take you back to a simpler time in wrestling. Before the internet where you could just enjoy what you were watching. The goal is to post at least one of these a week until I reviewed all of them including the ill fated return in 2006.
Without any further ado, let’s get started with the first episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event.
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event 5/11/85
The debut edition of SNME comes to us just about six weeks after the first WrestleMania from the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York.
The show opens with music superstar, Cyndi Lauper coaching Women’s Champion Wendi Richter as Richter prepares to defend the Championship against The Fabulous Moolah later tonight.
After Lauper’s less than stellar coaching session we cut to the WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and his buddy Mr. T. T will be in Hulk’s corner as Hogan defends the title against Bob Orton tonight. They welcome us to the inaugural edition of SNME and we are ready to go. Jesse Ventura and Vince McMahon are the commentary team tonight.
Our first match on SNME is a six man tag team match. Mean Gene is with the All-American Team of Ricky Steamboat, Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham. The Windham/Rotundo team just lost the Tag Team Titles to The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff at WrestleMania. They are two of their three adversaries in the six man tag. Windham is looking for some revenge for WrestleMania.
We head to the ring and Volkoff is singing the Russian National Anthem for some cheap heat. Sheik declares Iran and Russia number one and we are ready for action.
Barry Windham, Mike Rotundo and Ricky Steamboat beat George Steele, The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (*1/2) 6:05
I was expecting more from this match considering how good the Tag Title bout at WrestleMania between Rotundo/Windham and Sheik/Volkoff was at WrestleMania. The match was basically five minutes of the babyface team working over Sheik. They had a nice flow to the match as the babyfaces used a lot a speed moves. Steele finally got tagged in and was losing a slugfest to Windham and wanted out. As he went to make a tag, the Tag Champions left their partner high and dry and Windham rolled up Steele to pick up the win for his team.
After the match, Steele in anger started biting open the turnbuckles and the Tag Team Champions thought this was a good spot to jump Steele but Steele ended up clearing the ring of Sheik and Volkoff.
Mean Gene tries to get a word with Sheik and Volkoff but Steele causes some more chaos so Gene throws it to Vince who tosses it down to the ring for Piper’s Pit.
Roddy Piper is with Bob Orton. The two are going to interview Paul Orndorff. Vince tells us that this is the first time the threesome has been together since Orndorff took the fall in the Main Event of WrestleMania when Orndorff and Piper lost to Mr. and Hulk Hogan. Before the interview starts, Orndorff banishes Orton to the corner. Piper calls Orndorff a loser and this gets Orton hot so he leaves the corner so this leads Orndorff giving Orton and Piper dog commands. The two then go on to blame each other for their loss at WrestleMania. Orndorff says Piper bailed on him and Piper said Orndorff lost his guts and is a loser. Piper looks like he’s going to leave but cheap shots Orndorff. Orndorff has the advantage until Orton nails him with the cast. Mr. T comes out to even up the numbers and bring the injured Orndorff to the back.
Piper is one of the greatest promo guys of all time but this was a real miss. It served its purpose in setting up a face turn for Orndorff so not a lost segment.
Vince wants to know what Hogan’s thoughts are on what just happened so he tosses it to Mean Gene who is with the Champion.
Hogan said that is just what you should expect from Piper. He said with Mother’s Day coming up he wants to dedicate this upcoming match to his mother, brother. Hulk also said that with Orndorff turning over a new leaf, the Hulkamaniacs will back him up.
Hogan makes his way into the ring to defend his title and we are set for a commercial break. A graphic tells “Coming Up… HULK HOGAN!!”. All caps and two exclamation points? I guess someone was excited for the Hulkster.
We are back from commercial and Piper is in the corner of the challenger and Mr. T is in the corner of the Champion.
WWF Championship Match- Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Bob Orton via Disqualification. Hogan retained the Championship. (*1/4) 6:51
Hogan spent the early portion of the match working over the controversial arm, as Vince put it of Orton. Orton was able to gain the advantage with two knees to Hulk’s face. In reality in looked like Orton didn’t get extended on a dropkick and just caught Hulk in the face with his knees. Orton set up Hulk for his finisher, the Super Plex but Hogan fought out and hit Orton with an elbow off the second rope. Hulk hit the Big Leg and went for the cover but Piper punched Hogan in face breaking up the pin and causing the Disqualification.
Piper jumped in the ring to attack Hogan but T came in the even the numbers. Orton creamed T from behind and then Piper and Orton were going to double team the WWF Champion until Hulk’s new buddy, Paul Orndorff came out to make the save.
Mean Gene is with the challenger for the Women’s Championship, The Fabulous Moolah. Moolah is tired of Lauper’s interference in her matches and Moolah has gotten Lauper banned from the ring during the title match.
Mean Gene is now with Wendi and Lauper. Lauper says there is no way that Moolah can have Lauper banned because she is Wendi’s manager and is not going to abandon her. Lauper then goes on to complain about something that happened at “Wrestling Mania”.
Lauper comes to the ring with Richter and Moolah hands the referee a scrolled piece of paper. The Fink reads the paper which confirms that Lauper is banned for the Championship Match.
Women’s Championship Match- Champion Wendi Richter pinned The Fabulous Moolah to retain the Championship (1/4*) 3:15
Maybe when Cameron said Alicia Fox vs. Melina was the greatest match ever on Tough Enough, she was using this bout as a point of reference. What slop. If it wasn’t for the nice drop kick Richter hit Moolah with that caused Moolah to take a nasty bump on the floor this would have been a total dud. Richter won after she reversed a body slam into a small package.
Lauper runs to the ring after the match to celebrate with the Champion. They dance in the ring and all is right in the world.
We head on over to Mean Gene who is with the Junk Yard Dog and his Mother. He wanted to do something special for his Mother, Bertha by bringing her to New York for the first time. What a good Doggy.
The Junk Yard Dog beat Pete Doherty (SQUASH) 3:50
They could have accomplished everything they wanted to in this match in about a minute. Complete domination by the Dog who wins this one for his Mom with a big powerslam.
We head to Cyndi Lauper’s Mother’s Day Party. The heels and faces are partying together. Mean Gene tries interviewing some of the party goers. Sheik classically calls Gene “Gene Mene”. Some of the babyfaces have their Mom’s with them. The Fabulous Moolah comes and crashes the party and it ends with Moolah and Mean Gene getting tossed into a cake. WWF/E parties haven’t changed much in 30 years.
Vince and Jesse go over the events of the evening and then thank us for tuning into Saturday Night’s Main Event as the credit roll.
I’m not going to do a wrap up section like I normally do when I review a show/PPV. It’s not fair to break down something from 30 years ago. Especially when the point of the show wasn’t to have great matches but to feature big stars and blow off some feuds. I’ll just end it in the future with a score out of ten. The inaugural episode of SNME gets a 5/10.
I’d like to thank the incredible talented Melo Man for the beyond awesome banner he created for this column.
(That’s what she said.)
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Thank you for reading.