Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Saturday Night’s Main Event II – 10/5/85


*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***

Saturday Night’s Main Event II – 10/5/85

October 5, 1985
Meadowlands Arena
East Rutherford, NJ
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura
Attendance: 8,000

1) Hulk Hogan defeats Nikolai Volkoff in a Flag Match to retain WWF Heavyweight Title with a legdrop at 5:17

Fun Fact: After Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik lost the tag team titles back to the US Express, Volkoff began wrestling more singles matches. The 80s were a prime time for US/USSR feuds in wrestling and in the WWF that meant the big Russian Volkoff going against the face of the company, Hulk Hogan, for the title.

Scott: We open the show with yet another WWF Title match, which again is a big deal because at the time we rarely saw WWF Title matches on TV. Nikolai was a big time heel challenger for the title in the 70s against Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund. After being a tag team champion earlier in the year Nikolai hops back in the ring as a solo star and goes after the big prize. Hogan is all American and a flag match is the perfect gimmick for these two guys. I found it odd that we didn’t have an SNME during the summer as Saturday Night Live ran reruns for the most part. Jesse is full heel now after somewhat playing it down the middle on the first episode. Volkoff starts off with the big heel segment early with choking and power strikes. We are treated to the alternate all white Hogan combo, as he really wouldn’t stick totally with red & yellow until 1986. Just like Nassau, the crowd is crazy as both guys really bring the goods here. Vince sometimes struggles with calling the moves, as at one point Volkoff is clearly going for a piledriver and Vince says it’s a backbreaker. Volkoff really shows off his power here and is not rusty for a singles push after being in a championship tag team for the past few months. Hogan eventually makes is big comeback and successfully retains his WWF Title. The crowd is on their feet as he goes after Freddie Blassie and then shines his boots with the Soviet flag. The match was a lot of fun as it was a five minute sprint with good power moves and psychology. Grade: **

JT: For the second straight SNME, we get the treat of a big Hulk Hogan World Title match. After taking the summer off, we are back it on NBC and this time around the Hulkster is defending the honor of America against the deadbeat Communist Nikolai Volkoff in a flag match. I love Nikolai’s big ass Russian winter coat. That thing is pimp. And amazingly enough, Volkoff is 2-2 when it comes to singing the complete anthem on SNME. Hogan is decked out in white here and enters to Stars & Stripes Forever while toting the stars and bars. Nikolai wasted no time at all, kicking Hogan in the back before he could even take the strap off. Volkoff pounded on him with right hands and then slammed him into the buckle before yanking Hogan’s shirt off and choking him with it. Hogan quickly made a comeback as the crowd was going bonkers, clotheslining the Russian down and dropping a quick elbow. A boot to the gut knocked Volkoff through the ropes and onto the timekeeper table. Hogan followed him out but Nikolai was able to run him into the post to take control of the bout. Back inside, Nikolai showed off his power with a backbreaker for a near fall. Nikolai followed by trying for a piledriver, but Hogan backdropped his way out of it. Hulkster tried to punch his way up but Nikolai caught him with some stuff kicks to the face and then scooped and slammed him again for two. And then Hogan hulked up. And that was that. Nikolai would miss a big charge in the corner and Hogan dropped the leg for the victory. America was defended successfully and yet again an invasion was thwarted. After the match, Hogan spit on the Russian flag and then shined his shoes with it. Insulting. Hogan would pose with the flag to celebrate and await his next great challenge. I liked this match. It was pretty spirited and both guys hustled and landed some good, heavy blows. Grade: *1/2

*** We check on the bride-to-be, Joyce, as she preps for her big wedding, which is coming later in the show. Gene Okerlund then checks in with Uncle Elmer and Hillbilly Jim and neither seem all to worried about Elmer’s match or nuptials. ***

2) Uncle Elmer defeats Jerry Valiant with a bodyslam at :06

Fun Fact: John Hill, aka Jerry Valiant, was a Canadian wrestler from Hamilton, Ontario. He began his wrestling career in 1959 in Canada and moved to the US in 1960 where he wrestled under the name Guy Hill. During his career in the 60s and 70s he wrestled throughout the US, Canada and Australia under various names, including Guy Mitchell, The Destroyer and The Stomper. He came to the WWWF in 1979 as Jerry Valiant. At the time, Jimmy Valiant had contracted hepatitis and a new “family” member was needed to team with Johnny. The duo won the WWWF World Tag Team Championship and when Jimmy recovered the three wrestled in six man tag matches. Jerry Valiant left the territory in 1980 to continue his solo wrestling career elsewhere. He returned to the WWF in 1984 as a referee and lower card wrestler.

Fun Fact II: Uncle Elmer sets a WWF record for quickest match, surpassing King Kong Bundy’s win over Special Delivery Jones at WrestleMania.

Scott: I will leave the majority of my comments to my PIC who loves hillbillies about as much as I love midgets. Poor Gentlemen Jerry, a former tag team champion and here he’s just fodder for the groom to be. Grade: DUD

JT: Valiant is apparently a “big city clicker” according to Vince. We will see how he fares against the gigantic, sloppy farmer Uncle Elmer. And of course we get to be graced by the presence of jackass Cousin Junior and his stupid square dancing. Hillbilly Jim gives Elmer a hug and that is all the motivation he needed as he scooped Valiant up, slammed him and then just laid on him for the win. I’ll take it. The less Junior and Elmer I have to watch, the better. Vince notes that the early reports indicate this was a new record and the Fink confirms it for us all. A true gift for us all. Grade: DUD

*** Jesse Ventura heads to the ring for a special edition of the Body Shop, with guest Bobby Heenan. Heenan talks trash on Paul Orndorff, who fired the Brain earlier in the year. Heenan subsequently put a bounty on Mr. Wonderful and then doubled it to $50,000. He instructs Orndorff to just retire before someone collects. Gene then catches up with Orndorff, who says that anyone that wears a skirt isn’t tough enough to collect a bounty. Gene would later catch up with Roddy Piper, who claimed he wasn’t here just for money but instead to take out Orndorff. Gene asked him if he was worried that Heenan wouldn’t pay up and Piper said if that happened, he would rip Bobby’s throat out too. ***

3) Paul Orndorff wrestles Roddy Piper to a double countout at 4:01

Fun Fact: The Piper/Orndorff feud continues here at SNME II. Following WrestleMania, Orndorff fired Bobby Heenan as his manager on the April 26 episode of TNT. Heenan proceeded to place a $25,000 bounty on the head of Orndorff for anyone that could injure him. After no one was able to succeed, he upped the bounty to $50,000. Piper was one of the first to try to take Orndorff out at the higher target.

Scott: This match is just as much a spotlight match for this show as the title match was earlier in the night. This feud stems all the way back to WrestleMania when Piper and Bob Orton left Mr. Wonderful high and dry after losing in the main event. The situation was exacerbated on the first SNME back in May. Now both men finally meet face to face in the ring and I’m not expecting any expert in-ring moves here, just a lot of punching, kicking and probably a disqualification. Well I was right on the money as these two men brawl into the hallway and eventually both get counted out so we don’t have a definitive winner. I think that hurts Orndorff’s babyface run as Piper really needed to put him over if they intended a big push for Orndorff after this. The whole thing about Bobby Heenan’s bounty really doesn’t play into any of this. The brawl is entertaining but honestly Piper needed to do the right thing and at least have Orndorff win in some capacity. Entertaining match, but unfulfilling. Grade: **

JT: Up next we have a very legitimate grudge match to help anchor this episode. Back in May, we saw these two go at it inside Piper’s Pit as they exploded after their humiliating loss at WrestleMania. Things have boiled over since then and now Piper is looking to both eliminate Orndorff and also cash in on Bobby Heenan’s bounty along the way. The match got off to a red hot start as the two traded right hands before Piper took over in the corner. Hot Rod landed a great kick and then slammed Orndorff’s skull to the mat until Mr. Wonderful came back and hammered away with abandon. This was a real street fight as the two rolled around the mat tossing fisticuffs and ripping at hair and eyes. Piper’s kicks were fantastic here. The match briefly spilled to the floor but quickly returned inside the ring, where Orndorff took Hot Rod up and over with a back suplex. The crowd is going nuts for this. So am I. The two would collide in the middle of the ring and instead of covering, Piper just went on the attack again. That backfired, as Orndorff buried a pair of knees in his gut to block a big splash. Orndorff would get a head of steam and fly into Piper, sending them both over the top and to the floor. Things got wild out there, as they brawled all around ringside and saw Piper whiff with a chair. They would brawl to the back and through the hallways and both get counted out, meaning no bounty would be cashed in on. Piper would eventually lock himself in a dressing room to escape. That was an awesome brawl and about as exciting a four minute match you will see during this era of WWF TV. The passion and fire was tremendous and between the existing bad blood and the bounty money on the line, the tension was really palpable. Toss in a great performance by Jesse and Vince and a hot crowd and this was my favorite SNME segment so far. Grade: **1/2

*** With Elmer, Jim and Junior in the ring with some other wrestlers and Gene Okerlund on the ivories, Joyce made her way to the makeshift alter, ready to seal the deal with the love of her life. Judge George Savino presided over the nuptials as Elmer was flanked by his hillbilly pals, Lou Albano, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant (in tights). Jesse was great here, just trashing the whole thing and ripping everyone apart, especially Elmer as he struggled to hear the judge and fumbled his way through some of the vows. The judge went through the full vows but before they could finish, Roddy Piper showed up and ripped everyone from the aisle, saying the whole thing stinks. He would leave and finally Elmer and Joyce were wed. And as they sealed it with a kiss, Jesse hit his line of the night: “It looks like two carp in the Mississippi River going after the same piece of corn.” ***

4) Andre the Giant & Tony Atlas defeat King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd by disqualification at 4:26

Fun Fact: This match was billed as a tag team contest between the four largest athletes in the WWF. It would actually be the start of the slow build for the main event at WrestleMania II between Hogan and Bundy. Following the match, Hogan would come to the aid of Andre and the stage would be set for the next SNME event.

Fun Fact II: Anthony White, better known to wrestling fans as Tony Atlas, began his wrestling career in the NWA Mid Atlantic area in 1974. He wrestled throughout the territories during the 70s and 80s as well as becoming popular in the world of bodybuilding. He won the Mr. USA title on three different occasions in the late 70s and early 80s. He also made history with Rocky Johnson on November 15, 1983 by coming the first African Americans to win the World Tag Team Title when they defeated the Wild Samoans.

Scott: Now this is a match I can sink my teeth into. Three big hosses and the jacked up Tony Atlas go at it with Bobby Heenan at ringside. This goes all the way back to 1984 when Andre’s hair was chopped by the Heenan family. Then at WrestleMania, Andre slammed Studd and threw $15,000 into the MSG crowd after the match. The battles continue here, but like our Piper/Orndorff match it ends inconclusively as Heenan’s family dumps Atlas and begins really laying into Andre, who is really the highlight guy here as Atlas was just an afterthought. Both men really start beating Andre down until he is saved by the WWF Champion, as Hogan comes out to a huge megapop. He chases the big guys off and Hogan promises he will help Andre get rid of the Family members. Way to toss Tony Atlas to the curb. I loved that Bundy/Studd team, as nothing is more awesome than big hoss heel tag teams. Hogan is all over this show and his evening is still not over. Neither is the war between the Eighth Wonder of the World and the Heenan Family. Grade: **

JT: Bobby Heenan’s issues with Andre the Giant continue here. Back at WrestleMania, Andre defeated John Studd in the Bodyslam Challenge and had generally frustrated the Heenan Family over the past year. Studd is teaming with his regular partner King Kong Bundy and Andre has the powerful former tag team champion Tony Atlas in his corner. Vince takes us back six weeks ago to Toronto where Studd and Bundy double teamed Andre and left him laid out. Now, Andre has some backup. And he immediately goes for the jugular, choking the crap out of Bundy in the middle of the ring. He then back Bundy into the corner and smashed him with his huge frame before tossing in some chops. Atlas came in and ate a back elbow from Bundy but he dodged an elbow drop. Bundy tagged in Studd, but Atlas kept him rocking with some right and hands and headbutts before failing to slam the big man. Atlas whiffed on a bad looking dropkick, giving Studd the opening to stomp away. Studd would amble over and tussle with Andre, allowing Bundy to come in and splash Atlas. Andre would tag back in and kick Studd to the floor, but Bundy came in and started laying the wood. Outside, Studd rammed Atlas into the ring post and then slid back inside for some double teaming. With Atlas useless on the floor, Hulk Hogan showed up and helped clear the ring to another mega pop. Match was nothing but the angle was good and the heat was there as well. Looks like Andre may have a new partner in his war with the Heenan Family. Grade: 1/2*

*** We cut to a jungle where Gene Oklerlund pulls up in a jeep, on the search for a cunning creature. And that creature is George Steele, who had been reported to have been sighted in the Detroit Zoological Park. Gene would indeed happen upon the Animal, who he claims the entire world had been looking for. He informs us that we haven’t seen George since his electrotherapy that caused him to eventually relapse and disappear. In a funny bit, Gene saw a tiger and asked what kind it was, leading George to reply “Detroit”. After some more hi-jinks, George ran away. ***

5) The Dream Team defeat Lanny Poffo & Tony Garea to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Greg Valentine made Garea submit with the figure four at 3:30

Fun Fact: Anthony Garelijich, aka Tony Garea, was born in 1946 in Auckland, New Zealand. He was trained by Wild Don Scott and made his debut in New Zealand before signing with the WWWF in 1972. He teamed with Haystacks Calhoun in May 1973 to win his first WWWF World Tag Team Championship. After winning the titles a second time with Dean Ho later that year, he started a short singles career in the spring of 1974. He would go back to tag wrestling in 1977 when he teamed up with new partner, Larry Zbyzsko. The team would strike gold again for Garea in 1978. In the early 80s Garea would team with Rick Martel to win a fourth tag team title. When Martel left the WWF in 1982, Garea became a jobber, helping newcomers to the business until he retired in 1986.

Fun Fact II: Lanny Poffo is part of the Poffo wrestling family, led by his father Angelo Poffo and his older brother, Randy, aka “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Lanny began his wrestling career in the 1970s in the NWA territory system. He joined his father’s promotion, International Championship Wrestling, and held their primary title. When the promotion folded in 1984, he followed his brother to the CWA and then to the WWF. Lanny built a babyface persona where he would come to the ring with short poems that he had written that would ridicule the heel he was facing along with frisbees that he would throw out the audience. He was primarily used as an enhancement talent.

Fun Fact III: The Dream Team was made up of Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake along with manager Johnny Valiant and was formed in May 1985. Prior to the team’s creation, Valentine was managed by Jimmy Hart and had won the Intercontinental Championship. Beefcake came into the WWF in 1984 and was managed by Valiant. The two managers put their talents together as a team in 1985. After Valentine lost the IC title in July, the duo concentrated their efforts on tag team wrestling and set their sites on the US Express. Over time, Valiant became the team’s sole manager in their run for the titles. On August 24, 1985, the Dream Team won the titles after Beefcake took a lit cigar from Valiant and burned Barry Wyndham’s eye with it.

Scott: We have new tag team champions since we last joined you as the heel team of former IC Champion Greg Valentine and his protege Brutus Beefcake won the straps from the US Express. Another title match to really boost this show up sees legendary tag wrestler Tony Garea and the newcomer Lanny Poffo looks to pull off the upset here. The match is sadly too short as we needed to fit this crap on the back end of the show. There probably would have been much more athleticism and workrate on this entire show with high profile matches that were sadly cut off so we can fit all this hillbilly junk. The Dream Team are one of the cooler heel tag teams of all time and one of my brother’s favorites. The champions retain but the former champions (with Barry Windham rocking the eyepatch) watching from ringside waiting for their chance to regaining the titles. Grade: **

JT: We close the night out with a tag title match as the new champions are ready for their first national TV defense. The Dream Team came together over the summer and upset the US Express, with an assist from Johnny V and his cigar, to grab the titles. Their opponents are definitely capable but this would certainly be a major upset. Both Tony Garea and Lanny Poffo were above average workers positioned as little more than enhancement talent for the stars at this point. As Valentine doled out elbows and slams to Poffo, we saw the US Express seated ringside. To help sell the cigar attack, Barry Windham was rocking an eyepatch. Beefcake would tag in but he got caught off guard and Poffo picked up a near fall on a moonsault. Beefcake came back and overpowered Poffo, but the poet laureate was able to tag in Garea, who came in and started doling dropkicks to both champions. After a near fall off a dropkick, Garea ate a back elbow from Beefcake and an elbow drop from Valentine. A moment later, the Hammer hooked on the figure four to pick up the win. Pretty much a squash here to showcase the new champs. Grade: 1/2*

*** We head to the wedding reception backstage, where Vince, Jesse, Hogan and Orndroff are at a table chatting. Hogan thinks this could really rocket Elmer to the top of the promotion. Gene visits another table, where Junior and Albano are chowing down like the slobs they are. Poffo is also at the table (in his tights) and he reads a poem he wrote for the happy couple. A poem that including a little plug for NBC. Hillbilly Jim is the best man and proposes his toast and informs the couple he will be over for dinner every Sunday. Gene then welcomes in a surprise guest, musician Tiny Tim. Gene informs us that Tim had been involved in TV’s most famous wedding until tonight. Tim is sure to mention that his wedding didn’t work out but implores Elmer to be good to his wife and then gives them a ukulele as a gift. As Tim left, Jesse walked up and read a poem of his own, one that started nicely and then degenerated into a string of insults. Hillbilly didn’t take that too kindly and hopped to his feet and shoved Jesse into the cake to a chorus of laughter. Before we wrap up, Vince and Hogan reveal that the Hulkster will team with Andre the Giant to battle King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd in four weeks at the next SNME. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This show is unbelievably frustrating. We had multiple title matches and a blood feud stemming from WrestleMania as well as the continuing feud of Andre vs. the Heenan Family all cut painfully short so we can watch nonsense like hillbilly weddings and receptions in barns with pigs running at your feet. Hogan/Volkoff could have been better with a few extra minutes. Paul Orndorff needed a definitive win to the feud with Piper, even if was by countout or disqualification. The tag match was fun but short and the Andre brawl with Bundy/Studd was great, including the Hogan run-in that sets up our next SNME main event. All that could have been so much better if we didn’t have to see that dope Uncle Elmer get married and poor Jesse gets embarrassed by falling into the stupid cake. Ugh big thumbs down for this one. Final Grade: D

JT: Well, this was certainly an interesting trip. The opener and Piper/Orndorff matches were a lot of fun and both had some pretty strong heat to will them along. The wedding stuff was quite campy but a fine enough through line for the episode. I also liked the Body Shop with Bobby Heenan to help push along the bounty angle. In fact, they did a nice job intertwining a few different angles throughout this show. Establishing the Hogan/Andre friendship was interesting too, lining them up as partners and setting up the main event for our next outing. Depending how entertaining you find the wedding stuff, your mileage may vary on this one. Regardless, it was a quick watch and the Piper/Orndorff brawl is certainly worth checking out. Until next time, may you find true love and one day wed in the middle of the ring. Final Grade: C-