From JHawk's Beak: Saturday Night's Main Event's Greatest Hits
Posted by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins on Mar 8, 2006, 08:12
From JHawk’s Beak: Saturday Night’s Main Event’s Greatest Hits
By Jared “JHawk” Hawkins
With the return of Saturday Night’s Main Event to NBC after a way-too-lengthy absence, I felt it was time to take a look back at some of the greatest moments of the show’s history.
Debuting May 11, 1985 with a show taped the night before, the show was a staple of NBC for six years before moving to FOX for an aborted run. Results from that first-ever show (courtesy of Graham Cawthon’s <aHistory of WWE website):
WWF @ Long Island, NY - Nassau Coliseum - May 10, 1985 (8,300)
Salvatore Bellomo defeated Johnny Rodz
Les Thornton defeated Rick McGraw
Big John Studd defeated Tony Garea
Jose Luis Rivera defeated Charlie Fulton
Moondog Spot defeated Steve Lombardi
Saturday Night's Main Event - 5/11/85 on NBC - featured Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura on commentary; included Paul Orndorff as a guest of Piper's Pit in which Orndorff and Piper came to blows, with Bob Orton Jr. attacking Orndorff as he prepared to hit the piledriver on Piper; moments later, Mr. T came out and made the save for Orndorff before he could be double teamed:
Mike Rotundo, Barry Windham, & Ricky Steamboat defeated George Steele & WWF Tag Team Champions Nikolai Volkoff & the Iron Sheik when Windham pinned Steele; Volkoff and Sheik refused to let Steele tag out at the climax of the bout and attacked him afterwards until he cleared the ring; after the bout, Capt. Lou Albano came to the ring and hugged Steele - turning him into a face
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Bob Orton Jr. via disqualification when Roddy Piper broke the pin by gauging the eyes of the champion; after the bout, Piper and Orton flee ringside after Mr. T and Paul Orndorff come to the champion's aid
WWF Women's Champion Wendi Richter pinned the Fabulous Moolah by reversing a slam into a small package; prior to the bout, Moolah had Cyndi Lauper banned from ringside but Lauper returned after the bout to celebrate with the champion
The Junkyard Dog (w/ his mother) pinned Pete Doherty with the powerslam
Yes, they used the first match on network TV in thirty years to turn George freaking Steele into a baby face. And it worked! And another bit of trivia: the Richter-Moolah match was the only women’s match in SNME history (although that’s bound to change with this new incarnation).
Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the greatest moments in Saturday Night’s Main Event’s history. NOTE: I will also include moments from the prime time “Main Event” specials although I consider them separate entities.
March 1986: King Kong Bundy attacks Hulk Hogan
In the angle that set up WrestleMania 2, Don Muraco was given a shot at Hulk Hogan’s WWF World Title. However, Muraco’s manager, Mr. Fuji, was sick with a sudden flu, so Bobby Heenan filled in at ringside. It turned out to be a setup all along.
After about six minutes of certainly passable wrestling, Hogan had the match well in hand when Heenan interfered, causing Muraco’s disqualification. King Kong Bundy then went on the attack, hitting Hogan with three avalanches in the corner, followed by two splashes. Hogan suffered kayaked rib injuries that he would sell until well after WrestleMania 2. The angle itself was very well done and is quite possibly the first truly great angle in SNME history.
October 1986: The British Bulldogs vs. The Dream Team
It would be the final shot for the Dream Team of Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake as they attempted to regain the tag team titles from the team who beat them for them at WrestleMania 2. This match was two out of three falls, a fact that did not sit well with color commentator Jesse Ventura, particularly after the Dream Team took the first fall. The Bulldogs would go on to win the next two falls in what might have been the WWF TV match of the year.
October 1987: The formation of the Mega Powers
Following a match between Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man and Randy Savage, The Hart Foundation began helping Honky triple team Savage. Elizabeth ran into the ring in an attempt to save Savage from a guitar shot, but was tossed to the mat by the champion. Elizabeth ran off to the locker room, only to bring out Hulk Hogan, who saved long-time adversary Savage. The two men looked tentatively at each other before reluctantly shaking hands.
November 1987: Bret Hart vs. Randy Savage
In what might have been the greatest match in SNME history, Savage overcame Jimmy Hart, Jim Neidhart, and a sprained ankle to pin Hart in a 12-minute contest. Seriously, find this match now!
February 5, 1988: Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan
The greatest angle in SNME history, as an evil referee (Earl Hebner) replaced assigned official Dave Hebner to cost Hulk Hogan the WWF Championship. One paragraph simply can’t do this angle justice, but I’ve covered it before here.
February 3, 1989: The Mega Powers split up
It had been building since WrestleMania IV, with Hulk Hogan slowly getting closer to Elizabeth and Randy Savage getting more and more jealous. Then came this match with Hogan and Savage against the Twin Towers. Savage was tossed into Elizabeth, who was knocked out cold on the outside. Hogan took Elizabeth to the first aid room and sat with her…leaving Savage to the wolves in the process. Hogan eventually returned to the ring, only for Savage to walk out. Hogan got the win for his team, but afterwards was attacked in the first aid room by Savage. Another tremendous angle.
November 1992: Shawn Michaels vs. The British Bulldog
The last SNME prior to next week’s show, and the last good match in SNME’s history wound up being a historic one. Michaels spent the vast majority of the match working on Davey Boy Smith’s back, which led to the pinfall that earned Michaels the Intercontinental Title. It was Shawn’s first official title reign in the WWF and the match that led to his breakout performance a few weeks later at the Survivor Series.
Next week: SNME’s Greatest Misses. In the meantime, drop some feedback if you have comments or issues.