Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Saturday Night’s Main Event III – 11/2/85


*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV and TV 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 III – 11/2/85

November 2, 1985
Hershey Park Arena
Hershey, PA
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura
Attendance: 8,000

1) Terry Funk defeated Junkyard Dog after hitting him with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone at 5:16

Fun Fact: Terry Funk’s wrestling career began in 1965 working in the NWA territory in Amarillo, TX for his father, Dory Funk, Sr. He and his brother, Dory Jr., tagged together as well as rising into the upper card against top names in the business. In 1975, Terry won the NWA World Heavyweight title over Jack Brisco and held the title for 14 months before posting to Harley Race. Following the loss of the title, Terry and his brother travelled to different territories, Japan and Puerto Rico. Funk came to the WWF in 1985 and immediately stirred things up. In his debut on Championship Wrestling, he attacked ring attendant Mel Phillips for putting on Funk’s cowboy hat. Funk proceeded to pummel Phillips. It was announced a week later on Piper’s Pit that Funk was fined $5,000 for his actions.

Fun Fact II: The Funk/JYD feud began on house shows during August and September, but really came to a head in October. At a taping event at MSG on September 23, JYD pinned Funk. Following the match, Funk attacked JYD and ended up branding him with his branding iron. This footage is shown prior to the match here at SNME #3.

Scott: We open this festive episode with a blood feud dating back to the summertime. Terry Funk was a lost gem in 1980s WWF. He was an awesome crazed heel who waved the Double Cross Ranch branding iron. Over the summer at an MSG House Show Funk beat the JYD down with the branding iron and now the Dog gets his chance at revenge here. This is one of those fun themed SNME shows where we have a Halloween party interspersed throughout the matches with superstars dressed in costumes. Bobby Heenan cutting the promo in the open with chocolate sauce all over his face is pure hilarity. That is what made the Brain awesome. Anyway this match is all JYD early on beating down both Funk and Jimmy Hart but Funk eventually settles in and works a sleeper on the Dog. The Hershey crowd is red hot during the match, as the WWF was smart to have these first few episodes in East Coast venues where the crowd is extra red hot. I thought Funk winning was a huge upset here but he gets his heat back when Funk goes for the branding iron the JYD gets the iron and clubs Funk with it. Then in one of the most infamous moments in SNME history, Jimmy Hart gets his pants pulled off and the JYD brands his little red underwear with the Double Cross logo. A fun, quick match but this feud is far from over. Grade: **

Justin: I love me some theme shows and based on the opening, it was clear this would be much more treat than trick for me. Having everyone decked out in costumes and having a party backstage throughout the show was a really nice touch and added a unique atmosphere to things. I also enjoyed how many fans were dressed up too. Our opener features a WWF newcomer battling a popular stalwart in what has been a burgeoning feud. Terry Funk was well known around the world and a former NWA World Champion that had finally made his way to New York, picking up Jimmy Hart as his manager along the way. Leading up to this show, Funk branded JYD and the Dog was ready for revenge here. And he wasted no time at all, jumping Funk before the bell and smacking him around before he could even get his chaps off. Funk would survive and regroup but whiffed on an elbow drop. JYD would scoop Funk up and slam him over the top and to the floor in a great bump that popped the crowd. JYD kept pouring it on with slams with Funk continuously trying to regain his bearings. Things spilled to the floor when Jimmy Hart ran some interference, but that ended with JYD back dropping Funk on the exposed wood in another wild bump. Back inside, Funk finally slowed the Dog down and hooked on a sleeper, but the Hershey fans did the best they could to rally him through it. JYD would escape and grab a sleeper of his own and that again drew Hart onto the apron. JYD broke the hold and yanked Jimmy into the ring, but with the ref turned around, Funk grabbed the megaphone and popped the Dog in the head with it to win the bout. After the win, Funk again tried to brand the Dog, but JYD blocked it and nailed Terry with the iron. With Funk out, JYD drilled Hart and branded him for revenge. This was a really fun match with a hot atmosphere and some wild bumping from Funk. It may be one of my favorite WWF JYD matches that I have seen. I wish it was a bit longer and had a little bit of a heat segment, but they had an SNME formula already in place so I can’t blame them there. JYD dominates the bout but Funk steals the win. Grade: **

*** Backstage, the Halloween party festivities kick off with the pie eating contest. On one side is Lou Albano (Julius Caesar), flanked by Tito Santana (Zorro), Hulk Hogan (Hercules) and the hillbillies (Three Musketeers) and on the other is King Kong Bundy (Abe Lincoln), supported by Randy Savage (Tarzan), Nikolai Volkoff (Robin), Bobby Heenan (Davy Crockett) and Iron Sheik (Batman). Gene Okerlund (Pumpkin) presided over the contest, which Albano would win. An angry Bundy smashed a pie in Albano’s face afterwards but he didn’t seem to care. ***

*** Back in the ring, Roddy Piper hosts an edition of Piper’s Pit with special guests Hillbilly Jim, Cousin Junior and Uncle Elmer. The hillbillies are looking to confront Piper about his antics during Elmer’s wedding on the previous edition of SNME. Piper did his usual shtick, easily outworking the hillbillies on the mic and taking shots at them and Joyce. Piper said he agreed with what Jesse Ventura said about the wedding as well. Elmer then demanded Ventura come down to say those things to their faces, and of course the Body quickly obliged. Ventura stood by his words and refused to back down. The heat here was great and as Elmer said he was looking to fight, Bob Orton knelt down behind Junior and Piper shoved him down to the mat. Hillbilly Jim knocked Orton to the floor and Piper and Jesse bailed before further incident. Elmer would stomp on Jesse’s hat as they stood tall in the ring. ***

*** Back to the party, it was now time for the pumpkin dunk contest. In this challenge, Bobby Heenan faced off with Cousin Junior. Heenan was assisted by Savage and Miss Elizabeth (Jane) while Junior was backed by Santana and Junkyard Dog (Mummy). Heenan clearly cheated throughout and would end up winning, drawing the overall contest even at 1-1. ***

2) Hulk Hogan & Andre the Giant defeat King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd via disqualification at 8:00

Fun Fact: This match is a result of the challenge that Hulk Hogan put forward after last month’s SNME tag team match featuring Tony Atlas & Andre the Giant battling Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy.

Scott: It’s awesome to see some continuity here as one month earlier in New Jersey the challenge was laid out and accepted by this powerhouse team. Why is Lou Albano here? Man he glommed onto every babyface team ever. The crowd is totally amped up for this one, as they were earlier. I like how Vince called Andre the “Big Boss Man”, while Jesse is destroying the referee for allowing the babyfaces to apparently cheat. I loved Studd and Bundy as a tag team, as they should have been the tag team champions instead of the Dream Team. During the match Jesse talks about a possible challenge between the hillbillies and he and Piper in a match. That would be awesome. All four men end up brawling like crazy but Andre accidentally cracks the referee and has to be replaced although Jesse says the match should be cut short. Eventually Andre is tied in the ropes and the heels really give him the business until the referee calls for the disqualification by not allowing him to get out of the ropes. The faces clean house and the heels beg off. Andre wants more of the Family and I’ve never seen him this fired up before. Hogan still wears the alternate white combo, but my favorite combo was the blue that he rarely wore. The match wasn’t much in the ring but it was still a fun segment that the crowd seemed to really get into. Grade: **

Justin: When we left our previous SNME, a challenge was issued and accepted, with the match set for this show. Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy had been all over Andre the Giant for quite a while now, including having shaved the Giant’s famous afro. After Tony Atlas failed him a month ago, Andre hooked up with his buddy Hulk Hogan to finally put Studd & Bundy away. And for some reason, Lou Albano is with Hogan and Andre, having to glom on to a big time tag team yet again. This was really a big time matchup and it was impressive seeing Hogan and Andre tag. When all four stood face-to-face before the bell, you really gained an appreciation for all the pure size in the ring. Hogan and Bundy would start things off with Hogan failing to slam the big man and injuring his back in the process. He recovered to shoot Bundy into the corner and land a clothesline before tagging out to Andre, who started choking Bundy out with his very own tights. Hogan would get tagged back in but got trapped in the corner and worked over. He fought through it and then botched an atomic drop, basically hoisting Studd up and dropping him on the ground. Andre came back in and as he unloaded on Studd, Andre accidentally clocked the referee. A second ref came down and took over as the heels bailed to the floor to regroup. After a commercial, Andre and Studd were trading blows, leading to Andre hooking in a bear hug. Andre and Hulk would dominate a bit longer until Andre got tripped up and tied in the ropes. With the Giant unable to escape, Bundy and Studd went to work with Bundy dropping a big splash on Hogan’s back. They also continued to hammer on Andre, forcing the ref to call for the DQ. The brawl continued after the bell, ending with the Heenan Family on the run. That was another fun match and again the crowd was red hot for it. And again there was basically no heat segment at all. No issue with the finish here as these four had legs as far as feuds went and you couldn’t really have any of them lose just yet. It was enough just to see the spectacle of it all. Grade: *1/2

3) Randy Savage and Tito Santana wrestled to a double countout at 4:08; Santana retains WWF Intercontinental Title

Fun Fact: Randy Poffo originally had his sights set on a professional baseball career. Coming out of high school, Poffo signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and was sent to their minor leagues. He lasted four seasons in the minors before setting his sights on a career in his father’s business, professional wrestling. He started wrestling in 1973 during the off season. At the suggestion of Ole Anderson, Poffo took on the name Randy Savage. Savage got his first major push while in Memphis in the Continental Wrestling Association battling Jerry Lawler. His star was on the rise and in mid 1985 the WWF signed Savage. His was dubbed the “top free agent in pro wrestling” and his introduction to the WWF audience was all of the top managers vying to provide their services to the star. He eventually chose Miss Elizabeth (Elizabeth Hulette, his real life wife) as his manager.

Fun Fact II: Tito Santana first won the Intercontinental Championship on February 11, 1984 by defeating Don Muraco. In doing so, Santana became the first Mexican-American to win the title. Santana held the title until September of that year when he was defeated by Greg Valentine, who in storyline injured Santana’s knee and put him out of action for a few months. Santana returned in December and set his sights on Valentine and revenge for the loss of the title and the injury. Santana finally regained the title on July 6, 1985 in a cage match in Baltimore. Valentine was so pissed at losing the match, he destroyed the IC belt. The end result was the creation of the iconic Intercontinental belt, which Santana was the first to hold.

Fun Fact III: When Savage entered the Federation, he was given a strong push into the Intercontinental title hunt. This is the first televised match between the two, starting a feud that would last into the winter of ’86.

Scott: The SNME debut of an icon of the Federation Era, hell of the entire WWF. Randy Savage takes on the current Intercontinental Champion, as we see the TV debut of the iconic Intercontinental Title belt that would last for the next thirteen years (though with some different leather from time to time). The match is fast paced with one expert worker in Tito and the other in Savage, who’s still clinging to that Memphis stalling style which would slowly work itself out of him within the next year or so. Savage was easily one of those guys who once you looked at him you knew he was an immediate superstar and would be pushed to the moon. The match is a solid affair for the short time it got until both men continued to brawl outside and it ends in a double countout. Tito was one of the best workers in the early days of the Federation Era and before, but it is evident he is “transitional” for this newcomer who has the look of a bona fide superstar. Grade: **

Justin: Over the summer, Tito Santana had regained his beloved Intercontinental Title from his rival Greg Valentine. He barely had time to celebrate the win before newcomer Randy Savage was hot on his trail, looking to win gold and make an instant name for himself. Savage was well known and revered based on his work in Memphis and it was only a matter of time before he was scooped up by the WWF. He got an immediate push, tossed into a house show feud with Hulk Hogan and becoming a major player in the IC division as well. The two very evenly matched studs started with a lock up before Savage landed a kick to the gut and then dropped a stiff knee to the champion. Tito would land a hip toss but come up empty with an elbow. Savage was so quick here, flying around the ring and working a superb pace. After hitting an ax handle blow, Savage hooked in a tight chinlock. With the crowd rallying the champ, Tito elbowed his way out. Savage would slam him down but Tito hammered him with a right hand as the challenger came off the top rope. A fired up Tito unloaded a bucket of rights and lefts and kept Savage rocking. Macho Man would bail to the floor, with Tito following him out. They would keep brawling, leading to an eventual double countout. That was a really fun sprint with tons of energy and crisp strikes. This Hershey crowd has been top notch. Tito escapes with his title but it is clear that Savage is far from done with him. Grade: **

*** We head to Roddy Piper’s house, where he is visited by Vince McMahon as he preps for Halloween night. Piper wanted to exact revenge on trick-or-treaters that kept annoying him by ringing his doorbell, so he wraps up bowling balls and bricks as candy. And he does this in a very manic way. When the kids show up, Piper jams his rigged treats into their bags to break them and then steals some of their candy as well. The kids did get revenge as the candy Piper stole was laced with hot pepper. Piper’s mouth would burn up, leading to him drinking water from a vase to cool down. ***

4) Ricky Steamboat defeats Mr. Fuji in a Kung Fu Challenge match with a dropkick off the top rope at 3:16

Fun Fact: This match is a continuation of a feud between Ricky Steamboat and the pair of Mr. Fuji and Don Muraco. On July 9, Steamboat was double teamed by the duo following a match and was hung from the top rope using his own belt. On the October 19 episode of Piper’s Pit, Mr. Fuji issued the challenge to Steamboat for their match here. 

Scott: This was one of my favorite early era feuds. Muraco and Steamboat waged a bitter war throughout late 1985 and into 1986. Muraco was sadly becoming a forgotten guy since the advent of PPV, as he was one of the best heels of the first half of the decade and one of its best Intercontinental Champions. Steamboat came in earlier in the year from Jim Crockett Promotions and has been in small stuff until this feud started. Steamboat was choked out by Muraco and Mr. Fuji earlier in the year and now Steamer was looking for payback. Steamboat blocks some chops from Fuji and started laying in with the strikes but Fuji would take control midway through the match with his mastery of the martial arts, but Steamboat takes control of it and wins the match. But to keep the heat going, Muraco comes in from outside and he and Fuji really lays the kicks into Steamboat which continues this hot rivalry on the house show circuit. This was probably the worst match of the card but the heat is still white hot for the feud. Grade: 1/2*

Justin: Leading into this show, Ricky Steamboat had entered a bitter feud with Don Muraco. Muraco and Mr. Fuji had really done a number on Steamboat, choking him out with a belt on TV over the summer. Here, Fuji steps into the ring but the gimmick is set up to potentially give him a shot to really hang with the Steamer. Muraco was at ringside to back up his manager and once the bell rang, all the kung fu tropes were extolled by both, right down to the mannerisms and strikes. Fuji actually dominated the first minute or so, but Steamboat quickly came back with kicks and chops. Fuji chopped him back down and impressively controlled again, but that ended when Steamboat blocked and then reversed a suplex. A moment later, Steamboat landed a dropkick from the top rope and won the match. There was no time for celebrating though, as Muraco hopped in the ring and sprayed mist in the Dragon’s face. Muraco and Fuji stomped away on Steamboat and left him blinded in the ring. Match was nothing but the skirmish after was the important stuff. Grade: DUD

*** Returning to the party, it was time for the final challenge of the contest: the team pumpkin pass. Before getting to the finals, Vince and Jesse recapped the previous events, leading to one of the greatest lines of Ventura’s career: “Well, that didn’t surprise me one bit, because Lou Albano is a big, fat, sloppy pig.” The faces did a fine job, picking up five successful passes until Albano dropped it. The heels, now joined by Roddy Piper (SuperRod) were rolling as well, but Elizabeth botched her transition to Piper, leading to Savage and Piper berating her for blowing it. As the show wrapped up, Ventura issued a tag challenge for the hillbillies to face him and Piper at the next SNME. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: This is an iconic episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event. There will be better moments in the ring but for pure top to bottom entertainment this one will always take the cake, or in Lou Albano’s case, more pie. The costumes were great, the contests were hilarious and the back and forth banter was classic 80s cheese. The matches weren’t horrible, in fact they were good templates for what all the feuds can really bring when given time. I’m sure the Tito/Savage house show matches tore them down when given 10-15 minutes. I’m probably being very generous with this show, but it made laugh out loud multiple times. Final Grade: A

Justin: This is one of my favorite SNME offerings of all time. It was super campy but in a really entertaining way and I love how the all bought in and went all the way with it. The costumes, the games, the puns…the big, fat, sloppy pig. It had everything you could ask for. Even the matches were all pretty solid this time around. The opener was hot and had some great Funk bumps, the tag was a superstar dream match and the IC title bout was well paced and a nice appetizer of what those two could do. I really liked the Piper at home bit and I enjoy how they continue to set up the next month’s show as these wrap. A very spirited effort this time around. Final Grade: B+