On This Day: November 2, 1985 – Saturday Night’s Main Event #3: Wrestling Being Fun

Saturday Nights Main Event #3
Date: November 2, 1985
Location: Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura

This is in between the first and second Manias so you can tell that this isn’t going to be anything really special. The main thing here is that it’s Halloween and Roddy Piper is a jerk. There’s also Hogan and Andre vs. Studd and Bundy which would become one of the more important matches for them in their feud as clips of it were played about a dozen times before Mania. All that being said let’s get to it.

Bobby is getting ready for some contest as the Halloween movie music plays in the background which is a nice touch.

Hogan says it’s going to be a fair fight tonight and Andre agrees.

Roddy Piper is dressed as a superhero and Ventura is proud of how Piper messed up their wedding at the last SNME.

Terry Funk is brand new here, as is some guy named Jimmy Hart. Wow that’s weird to say. Funk says he’ll house train the JYD.

Cue theme song. That song and video made this feel special and it really was. The fans are all dressed as wrestlers which is pretty cool.

We see a clip of Funk beating up a ring attendant while there’s a female referee. Well ok then. Jimmy says that was because of television tricks.

We go to another clip of Funk beating up JYD in Madison Square Garden. Monsoon was great at making things feel epic.

JYD says tonight is his day to get revenge.

Junkyard Dog vs. Terry Funk

Grab Them Cakes is a fun song. I can’t stand the guy but he had cool music. JYD jumps him early on and here we go. Funk gets crotched and I have a bad feeling about this already. Any kind of logic or fairness says Funk wins here. It’s ALL JYD to start here and the reaction is great so I guess something is working here.

Funk grabs Hart, thinking he’s JYD. Didn’t the hair or jacket tip him off at all? I guess not. It’s still all JYD here as he beats up Jimmy. Funk comes back and my faith in the universe is restored. Hart comes in again and drops the Megaphone. You know what comes next I’m assuming. Post match Funk tries to brand JYD but it doesn’t work. JYD steals Jimmy’s pants and brands him afterwards.

Rating: D. Pretty weak here as it was about as paint by numbers as you could ask for. Funk got a weird short push around this time as he was a great heel that WWF didn’t really ever capitalize on. To be fair though he was gone soon so it’s not like it really mattered. This was more of a comedy match but the right guy won so my complaints will be limited.

It’s time for round one of the Halloween competitions. The wrestlers in costumes are rather funny. Iron Sheik is Batman of all people. The captains are Heenan and Albano. I wonder who is going to win this, which is a pie eating contest. Hogan is Hercules, Bundy is Abraham Lincoln, Albano is in a toga.

Savage and Liz are Tarzan and Jane (Liz in leopard REALLY works), Volkoff is Robin, Heenan is Davy Crockett, Tito Santana is Zorro, Gene is a pumpkin, the Hillbillies are the 3 Musketeers and this is awesome. Albano is Caesar apparently. Albano vs. Bundy in pie eating. This could cripple the pie market. It’s most consumed in 90 seconds. Albano is declared the winner. That was rather disturbing to watch.

Piper’s Pit

The guests are Hillbilly Jim, Cousin Junior and Cousin Elmer. The latter two were brought in because Jim broke his leg and they wanted to keep the angle going. We recap the last main event where Piper and Ventura were jerks. Piper has ridiculous heat at this point as he was the most evil man alive back in the mid 80s.

Elmer keeps saying things are none of Piper’s business. Piper says it was Ventura that said all those things and Jim calls Ventura out. Here’s the future governor which is just hilarious in hindsight. Dang that ring is huge. Piper shoves Junior over Orton for a school boy thing and it’s on. The Hillbillies get Jesse’s hat and stomp on it.

It’s time for round two: the Pumpkin Dunk. It’s Cousin Junior vs. Heenan. JYD is a mummy. He sucks at that too. It’s like bobbing for apples but in chocolate and with pumpkins. Heenan is whipping the hillbillies so far which is weird. Heenan actually wins fairly which is very weird. Good freaking night Liz was perfect.

Gene is with Studd, Bundy and Heenan. Heenan brags about his team as he was so good at. The heels say nothing interesting.

Hogan and Andre say they’re ready.

Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant vs. King Kong Bundy/Big John Studd

Hogan in white is always interesting. This was the main house show main event at the time so you would see this quite often around this time. It’s still Eye of the Tiger for Hogan which is weird to say the least. He’s rocking an Abyss shirt as it says American Made. Who would have thought ripping a shirt off would get such a pop?

Hogan vs. Bundy starts us off. Hogan of course can’t slam him and hurts his back. That lasts less than two seconds and it’s ALL Hogan. Ok make that Andre, called the Big Boss Man here which is something I’ve heard before. I love Andre’s punches since he has to swing down to connect due to his height.

Hogan does the majority of the match due to Andre already being injured. Ventura says he’ll be in a six man on the next SNME with the previously mentioned guys. Andre accidentally hits the referee and of course we get a huge brawl. It’s weird when Hogan is the smallest guy in there. Actually it isn’t as he commonly was. Another referee comes in since the original is more or less dead. Vince’s overselling of all this stuff is great. After a commercial we have Studd vs. Andre.

Hogan spits at Studd after knocking him down. What a nice guy. Andre gets tied up in the ropes and Bundy hits the avalanche on Hogan and the double team begins. The referee throws it out as Hogan makes the save. Hogan and Andre win by DQ.

Rating: D. This was a glorified squash as the heels controlled for a combined 9 seconds I think. This was just to have a TV spectacle and nothing more which is fine I guess. It’s a tag team main event match, but this was just different and didn’t work in the slightest. The historical aspect helps it a bit though.

Andre rambles on a lot afterwards and is difficult to understand. I think he wants the pastrami on rye.

We now get the debut of the Land of 1000 Dances video, which for any nostalgic fan like me is must see.

That was just awesome, if nothing else for seeing Bret Hart try to dance.

Gene asks Savage why he has a woman for a manager. Savage says anyone that asks that is blind or stupid. Savage was brand new at this time and wouldn’t mean anything until he made it to the finals of the Wrestling Classic less than a week after this aired. Gene stares at Liz as she leaves. Can’t blame him.

Intercontinental Title: Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana

Oh yes! Liz’s cleavage makes this work. Santana doesn’t even get an intro? These two had some freaking WARS on the touring circuit and they never ceased being awesome. Savage stalls and the heat is GREAT. Savage nails him with a right and Santana looks like he got shot. Was there a point to that clap Savage would do before throwing a back elbow? I always guessed rhythm or something. DAng this is fast paced.

Savage was just completely awesome at this point and Santana wasn’t far behind. You have to keep in mind that Savage was completely revolutionary in what he did. The heels on this show so far are Roddy Piper, Bob Orton, Terry Funk, Bundy and Studd. None of them are incredibly athletic guys. Piper was more of a talker than a wrestler at this point, Funk was brand new, Orton was a bodyguard that occasionally wrestled and Bundy and Studd were Bundy and Studd.

Savage came out there as this small guy that was completely insane and could go move for move with guys like Santana. He was a completely new kind of heel as he had a mean streak but wrestled like a face but with insane speed. He was exciting yet deadly, which made him AWESOME. Liz didn’t hurt either, as women managers simply didn’t happen that often, at least not in WWF.

Savage runs away and catches Santana coming back into the ring and the fight is on on the floor. Savage goes for a piledriver out there, channeling his inner Memphis. It’s a double count out to set up the final blowoff match I believe in Boston where Savage won the title about three months later, holding it until he lost it to Steamboat.

Rating: B-. Short but exciting as all goodness. These two are another pair of guys with mad chemistry together and this was no exception. This is another of those matches that you simply can’t screw up, even in a 4 minute TV match. It was another of their many battles and while it’s not great, some of their others were utterly fantastic.

Mr. Fuji makes funny sound effects and grinds his knuckles into his head.

Steamboat breaks cinder blocks and wood. There’s a Kung Fu Challenge coming up.

We go to Roddy Piper’s house to see how he spent Halloween. Piper is making candy apples out of bowling balls and chocolate out of bricks. Piper is completely insane here and it’s hilarious. He looks like the villain in a decent comedy/horror movie. Some kids come up and Piper HAS to be on coke here.

No one could talk this fast otherwise. One of the kids is dressed as Hogan. Piper drops bowling balls in their candy bags and steals some of their candy. He’s COMPLETELY insane here and then it turns out the kids give him chocolate covered red peppers. This was funny yet oddly creepy.

Hogan thinks it was funny.

Fuji is ready for the Kung Fu Challenge.

We see a clip of Steamboat being hanged by Fuji and Muraco. Steamboat says nothing of note.

Mr. Fuji vs. Ricky Steamboat

There are different rules here apparently. Don’t worry: they’re not important or anything since we aren’t told what they are. Basically it’s an overly long striking contest with little of note to it. Steamboat hits a missile dropkick from the top for the win. Muraco and Fuji beat up Steamboat afterwards.

Rating: N/A. This was definitely something different so I’ll give them points for that. That doesn’t mean it’s good or anything though.

It’s time for the finals of the Halloween Games. This is the Pumpkin Pass where you have a line of guys and you put a pumpkin under your chin and between your chest and pass it to the next guy and so on and so forth. Furthest down the line wins. The faces allegedly cheat but there’s no proof of it. HOGAN SCREWS IT UP!

They score five passes. The heels then go and have Roddy with them, apparently giving them an advantage somehow. The heels keep covering things up with capes and we get an upskirt shot of Liz as we more or less see her in a bikini. Oh yes. They only get four and therefore the faces win. Savage blames Liz of course.

Vince and Jesse close us out as Monster Mash plays in the background.

Overall Rating: C+. This is FAR more about comedy here than anything else but it had that 1980s charm to it that worked pretty well. Again the wrestling is freaking bad but to be fair it wasn’t supposed to be that kind of show. There was no direction here so they improvised and it worked well I thought. Not really recommended, but the comedy is solid and they didn’t try to be anything impressive here, which made this work I think.

 

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