Saturday Night’s Main Event #1 – When A Cowboy Was A Good Gimmick

Saturday Night’s Main Event 1
Date: May 11, 1985
Location: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Long Island, New York
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura

So I figured this was a good one to get around to. This is the fallout show from Mania but there isn’t a ton of fallout. No one really knew what this was going to be like but it was an experiment worth trying at least. It was the first chance a lot of people would have to see these guys on television as it was shown on NBC in prime time which was unheard of back then. Either way, this should be fun so let’s get to it.

As usual we open with the main faces for the night talking. Wendi Richter and Cyndi Lauper are talking about the match with Moolah tonight and Hogan and Mr. T. say they’re ready for Bob Orton tonight. As always, the music is awesome. Jesse is in pink. He can get away with it though.

Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff/George Steele vs. Mike Rotunda/Barry Windham/Ricky Steamboat

That’s quite the face tag team. This was on the SNME DVD (great DVD that should certainly be picked up if you can find it. Awesome stuff on it) as an extra. Blassie is with the heels and Albano is with the faces. The two foreigners had taken the tag titles from the US Express at Wrestlemania for a token tag title change.

About a year prior to this, the US Express had been using Real American for their theme music. That went to Hogan of course and here they use Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen which works like a charm for them as it’s perfect. We start with Windham and Steele which is an odd matchup if there ever has been one.

Sheik was hitting the end of whatever usefulness that he had at this point. Rotundo would soon head to WCW and become a member of the Varsity Club, ending in an awesome moment with Rick Steiner taking the TV Title from him after months of being talked down to by him. Wow what a tangent that was.

Oh and he’s more commonly known as I.R.S. Oddly enough the faces dominate early on. We go to commercial with the faces dominating. We begin the awesome SNME tradition of not having action during commercials so we don’t have to be all confused about how we got to a point during a break.

Wow there are four hall of fame wrestlers in here and two on the floor. That’s rather impressive, especially considering that the two that aren’t in there are two of the three most talented. Steele comes in and his teammates abandon him, allowing Windham to get a quick rollup for the pin. Steele eats a turnbuckle and the tag champions beat him up. That doesn’t last long as Albano comes in to calm him down and Steele is a face.

Rating: C-. Eh this was fine. It wasn’t meant to be anything special other than a way to get Steele out of the dark side, but the heel offense consisted of about four Volkoff punches and other than that it was a complete squash. I don’t get why it was so one sided, but it did its job and wasn’t bad at all so for the first match in show history this was perfectly fine.

The heels blame Steele for the loss and Steele and Albano scare them off.

Piper’s Pit

The guest is Paul Orndorff, who was Piper’s partner in the main event of Wrestlemania. Orton is there as well. Paul more or less says go ahead and try to beat me up to Orton which Piper tries to defuse quickly. Piper has to be high on something. Either that or he’s just completely insane. I’m not sure which it is.

Piper keeps insulting Orndorff and then he would jump up and yell at both guys who run and scream. Piper finally gives up and calls Orndorff a piece of garbage and Paul cleans house. A piledriver is blocked by a cast shot from Orton. Mr. T. makes the save. Ok, we get it: Mr. T. is in a wrestling company. Let it go already.

Hogan says he dedicates the match tonight to his mother. Ok then. He’s also happy about Paul’s recent face turn.

WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Bob Orton

Hogan coming out to Eye of the Tiger is some combination of odd, awesome and epic. You figure out the proportions. Naturally it starts out with Hogan completely dominating Orton. This was also on the DVD but the color and picture quality were WAY better there. It looks bad here to say the least. This is exactly what you would expect it to be: Hogan works the arm and then a shot from Orton gives him control. Our hero is in trouble. WHAT IS HE GOING TO DO???

Well at the moment he’s going to get his head kicked in a little more. And of course there’s the comeback and you know the finish. Actually I typed too soon. Hogan drops an elbow and uses a headbutt of all things. Orton takes over again. This is most odd indeed. Hogan fights out of the superplex and comes off the top rope! He goes for the leg but Piper runs in for the DQ. The heels beat up T and set for the double team but Orndorff runs out for the save and the full face turn.

Rating: C. This was just pure average. It was what you expected but the DQ was kind of odd. It’s not like a pin would have been odd here but whatever. This was fine for what it was. Hogan gets on TV and the biggest star got to showcase himself.

After a break we come back to the three of them posing and you can just tell that Vince wants to screw all of them.

Gene is with Cyndi Lauper and Albano. Lauper has a VERY annoying voice. These two started the Rock N Wrestling Connection and launched wrestling into the stratosphere.

They air her new video which has about ever wrestler with a cameo in it other than Piper who shows up to yell about it. That was awesome actually.

Women’s Title: Wendi Richter vs. Fabulous Moolah

Before the match, Moolah says she’s tired of the interference so Lauper is barred tonight. The reading of the announcement that Lauper is gone tonight takes the better part of forever to get through and FINALLY we get to the match. This was match number two that fueled the mega run that wrestling went on.

We’re on the floor nearly immediately. To say Richter was popular at this time was the understatement of all time. She would actually main event house shows if you can believe that. Surprisingly, Moolah is being beaten down for the most part here. Considering she was champion for about 30 years, that’s saying a lot. Yes I know she didn’t really hold it that long but that’s kayfabe for you. Richter gets a quick small package for the pin.

Rating: D+. This is just long enough to grade but there isn’t anything of note here. It’s ok but that’s about it. Women’s wrestling back then was more of a mess than it is now, but the women could work MUCH better than they can today for the most part. Ok not really but these two had a feud going and that was better than nothing. Yeah the match sucked and I’m rambling.

JYD has his mother here for Mother’s Day. Her name is Bertha.

Pete Doherty vs. Junkyard Dog

Take a wild guess who wins here. Grab Them Cakes is a decent song if nothing else. Them Cakes means a woman’s back in case you were wondering. Oh never mind that’s Another One Bites the Dust. Wow my hearing must be off. And it’s a three minute squash with Doherty being on the floor for a lot of that. JYD and his mom dance afterwards.

Rating: N/A. This was just thrown in for filler as a lot of stuff was around this time.

We come back to see Cyndi Lauper’s Mother’s Day party. It’s just a long line of wrestlers with their “mothers” including Hogan. They all say they love them and then a food fight starts.

Jesse and Vince wrap things up.

Overall Rating: C+. It got the big names on TV other than Andre but he was a very sporadic guy at this point. This was fine for a debut but you could see that it was a lot of rehashing Mania which to be fair was so groundbreaking that they didn’t have a lot of other stuff to go with. Also, that was the hottest thing in the world back then so they were right to go with it I guess.

Not bad but a lot more for entertainment than wrestling which is fine. Great job of showing who everyone is though so that’s a major plus. Check it out because it’s a huge deal as far as starting a big tradition so there we are.