Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: Saturday Night’s Main Event VII – 10/4/86


*** 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 VII – 10/4/86

October 4, 1986
Richfield Coliseum
Richfield, OH
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura
Attendance: 21,000

Fun Fact: Jesse Ventura returns to the WWF after some time away to film Predator, debuts his new short hair and announces that this is the season premiere of Saturday Night’s Main Event.

Fun Fact II: This event is the beginning of the classic SNME promo shoots prior to the opening video sequence. Future events would see these promos shot where the background was keyed out and a black background with iconic character logos would appear.

*** An injured Roddy Piper, with his knee taped up, vows that he will ignore doctor’s orders and compete in his match later tonight. ***

1) Hulk Hogan defeats Paul Orndorff to retain WWF World Title by disqualification at 10:00

Fun Fact: Tensions had been building between Paul Orndorff and Hulk Hogan for months before this match. The fallout began back in June when Adrian Adonis began claiming to Orndorff that Hogan was trying steal the glory away from Mr. Wonderful. The following week on the Flower Shop, Bobby Heenan issued a challenge to Orndoff and Hogan to face his two big men, Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy. Orndorff accepted the challenge without Hogan there. When Orndorff tried to contact the champion on the phone he was told Hogan was too busy to talk to him, which irritated Orndorff. The third week on the Flower Shop had both Hogan and Orndorff being interviewed with Orndorff proclaiming that the team would face the Moondogs the next week and would then take on Heenan’s challenge the following week.

In their match with the Moondogs, Orndorff worked the majority of the match and intentionally did not tag Hogan in. The following week saw the turn of Mr. Wonderful. Prior to the match, Orndorff was again brought up the missed phone call with Hogan trying to get him to move on from it. During the match, Hogan accidentally ran into Orndorff and knocked him off of the ring apron. Studd and Bundy double teamed the World Champion with Orndoff refusing to help. Heenan’s team was disqualified for their double teaming. After helping Hogan to his feet, Orndorff clotheslined him and then gave him a piledriver for good measure. Heenan soon signed on as Orndorff’s manager. Hogan and Orndorff would battle for the title at The Big Event in Toronto in front of over 74,000 (see the PTBN Vintage Vault Volume 1 eBook for a full writeup on this event).

Scott: Wow things have completely changed from when season one of SNME ended back in May. Paul Orndorff was a beloved but somewhat directionless babyface in the spring, losing by disqualification in a dopey match with Adrian Adonis. Over the summer they did what needed to be done and turned Orndorff heel to be a new challenger for the WWF Championship. After turning on Hogan over the summer and then competing in the title match at The Big Event in Toronto, Mr. Wonderful gets another shot here on the season premiere of SNME. I love how Jesse says the crowd is 50/50 as both men came in to Real American, which was pretty hilarious. Orndorff connects with Bobby Heenan as the Brain tries to pry the World Title from Hogan after King Kong Bundy failed at WrestleMania II. This match was fun as Hogan takes control early but the Brain distracts him and Orndorff takes control. We have lots of brawling around the ring and chasing by both men. The crowd is hot and the action, although not featuring great workrate is fast paced, and both guys are moving around the outside quickly and keeping the crowd on their feet and going crazy. As Hogan does his big comeback a large woman comes in the ring and attacks Hogan. That large woman is of course Adrian Adonis and he and Orndorff attack the champion. That brings in Roddy Piper who smacks Adonis with the crutch and chases both heels off. Hogan and Piper glare at each other and another brawl could have happened, but Piper instead leaves the ring. We have a disqualification which means this feud rightfully continues. Without any PPVs on the horizon these feuds need to be stretched out for many months and multiple house shows and TV tapings. This was a hot feud throughout the second half of the year and it won’t be the last SNME match between these two. Grade: **

JT: Season two of Saturday Night’s Main Event brings us to the fall of 1986 and on deck is a nice mix of new feuds and ongoing wars that started back in the spring. Our opener features Hulk Hogan, competing in his seventh straight SNME, and he is facing off with former friend Paul Orndorff. In one of the greatest heel turns of all time, Mr. Wonderful shockingly turned on the Hulkster and aligned himself with Bobby Heenan. Here, he is gunning for his old pal’s WWF Heavyweight Title on national TV. In a great heel touch, Orndorff enters to Real American to really mock the champion. Hogan started hot, peppering Orndorff with a series of right hands, but the challenger used a Heenan distraction to clothesline the champ to the floor. Hogan spiked Orndorff into the apron and took the fight to him again back in the ring. The audio mix is a bit wonky this episode as the noticeably fired up crowd sounds tamped down a bit and Vince and Jesse sound really over dubbed as a result. Heenan would run interference again, allowing Orndorff to deck Hogan from behind a second time and this go around it seemed to stick. With the Hulkster prone on the edge of the ring, Orndorff stomped away and dropped a tight knee to the chest, sending Hogan careening to the floor and into the timekeeper. Orndorff stayed aggressive, choking Hogan with an extension cord and continuously battering him back to the floor. Back inside, Orndorff kept the heat on, using hard strikes and a suplex to grab a near fall. Hulk made a comeback via a high knee but Heenan hooked his leg when he hit the ropes, again slowing the champ down. Hogan ducked a charging Orndorff, causing him to fall over the top to the floor as as he recovered, a bunch of security guards came to ringside and carried Heenan to the back, where he was trapped behind a locked door. After a break, we returned to see Hogan still keeping Orndorff at bay, but the challenger eventually baited Hogan to chase him around ringside and was able to catch him with a kneedrop as he slid back in. He targeted the neck with forearm blows and a short clothesline but Hogan was able to block a piledriver with a back drop. Hogan went to work from there, slugging away and then hammering him with the same clothesline Orndorff used to fracture their friendship. Hogan attempted a piledriver but before he could hoist him up, Adrian Adonis hopped out of the crowd and jumped Hogan to draw the DQ. Jesse is awesome as before he realizes it’s Adonis he says “a fat sweat hog from the audience” jumped in the ring and then acts shock when Hogan hits “an old woman”. As Adonis and Orndorff double teamed Hogan, Roddy Piper hobbled to the ring on his crutches to make the save. He went wild swinging at everyone, cracking Adonis in the arm and also including a swipe Hogan which led to a staredown, but cooler heads prevailed as Piper dropped the crutch and limped off proudly. Lots of heat here and a very aggressive match. The finish made a lot of sense to keep the Hogan/Orndorff feud simmering and also brings the Piper/Adonis issue to top of mind. A strong opener to showcase the WWF’s top feud of late 1986. Grade: **1/2

2) Ricky Steamboat defeats Jake Roberts in a Snake Pit match with a crucifix at 6:19

Fun Fact: This will be the end of the Ricky Steamboat/Jake Roberts feud that started at the last SNME with the Snake’s knockout DDT on the concrete floor. The duo battled in a Snake Pit match in Toronto at the Big Event (PTBN Vintage Vault Volume 1), which Steamboat won despite being dominated most of the match. This is a rematch from that event.

Scott: This feud has also burned through the summer, beginning back in May when Ricky Steamboat tasted the Providence cement via a DDT. Steamer got revenge at the Big Event by defeating Roberts in Toronto. I’m not sure what the stipulation means here but I think it’s who can go after their respective lizard bag. Before the show no one was exactly sure what was in Steamboat’s bag but we knew the awesome Damien was in Jake’s bag. I liked Steamboat’s blue and red tights combo, but that didn’t last throughout the entire year. Jake was a crisp worker and really went into Steamboat with some sharp strikes and chokes. Roberts was always an underrated in-ring worker during his WWF tenure but in this early feud with Steamboat he definitely showed his skills. Just like the match in Toronto, Steamboat sneaks a quick pin (this time a crucifix) for the victory. Jake cheap shots the Dragon after the bell and then beats him down before going after Damien. However off camera something happens and then we see the Dragon holding…a dragon. It looks like a baby alligator but is was a Komodo dragon. Jake begs off and leaves the ring. This feud could be over but with both of Steamboat’s wins via quick fluke roll-ups perhaps the feud isn’t over. The match was fun but could have been better with a few more minutes. Steamboat’s quickly moving up the babyface ladder but Jake really doesn’t get hurt by this loss. Grade: **

JT: We harken back to our last SNME where the feud between Jake Roberts and Ricky Steamboat violent ignited via a DDT on the floor. Since then, the two have warred around the country and Steamboat decided to tote out a Komodo dragon here to combat Damien. Steamboat landed some chops to kick things off, following that by focusing on breaking down the arm of the Snake. Nobody has explained the rules of the Snake Pit match to this point, but the focus of the match is certainly around the two reptiles. The Dragon grabbed a near fall on a flapjack before going right back to the arm. They cut a strong pace here as Steamboat was all over Roberts, giving him no room to breathe. Unfortunately, his aggression backfired as he tried a splash off the top but ended up eating a pair of knees. Jesse was all over that, saying Steamboat tried that move far too early in the match. Roberts started inching to his bag but when he saw Steamboat do the save, he sprinted over, dragged the Dragon to the center of the ring and cracked him with an gut buster. Roberts punished the ribs from there, angrily spiking Steamboat’s head to the mat along the way. These guys are really bringing the hate. Both Jesse and Vince were all over the referee here, bashing him for his slow counts on pin covers. Steamboat mounted a comeback but Roberts drilled him with a knee to the ribs to shut him down. However, a moment later, Steamboat slipped in and took Roberts down with a crucifix to steal the win. And the count was quicker, leading to Jesse bitching about referee consistency. Roberts clobbered Steamboat from behind, knocking him to the floor where he ran the Dragon into the post a few times. Back inside, Roberts unleashed Damien, but Steamboat popped up and pulled the dragon out of his sack. The two would charge each other and each time, Roberts backed down before bailing to the floor and walking off. This was solid stuff and the pacing was great, but they certainly could have used another five minutes or so as the finish was so abrupt for a blood feud. Roberts was on point in his offense though, and that combined with Steamboat’s selling kept this one humming along. The payoff was pretty good too. Grade: **

3) Roddy Piper defeats Iron Sheik with a small package at :43

Fun Fact: After taking some time off from the WWF, Roddy Piper came back in August to find that his popular Piper’s Pit segment has been replaced by The Flower Shop, hosted by Adrian Adonis. Even Piper’s own bodyguard, Cowboy Bob Orton had switched over to the new segment. Piper would begin crashing the show from week to week, leading up to a confrontation between the two. Adonis, Orton and Don Muraco teamed up on Piper and assaulted him, (kayfabe) injuring this knee in the process. Piper would get his revenge by destroying the Flower Shop set with a baseball bat.

Fun Fact II: Here we get our first SNME introduction to The Doctor of Style, Slick, the first African American manager in WWF history. Kenneth Johnson was trained in Texas All-Star Wrestling before moving on to the Central States territory in Kansas City and taking on the Slick persona. He debuted in the WWF in September of 1986, one month before the event here. With Freddie Blassie’s health on the decline, he was being slowly phased out of storylines. Slick initially purchased an interest in Blassie’s stable before taking them over full time.

Scott: This was nothing more than a quick squash to really hammer home that Piper is a babyface. He did threaten to smack Pedro Morales with the crutch as Pedro Morales was going to wrestle for him in his place. Piper goes crazy and beats Shieky Baby in less than a minute. We do get the SNME debut of the iconic Slick as Sheik’s manager. He replaces the ailing Freddie Blassie and we will see much more of the Slickster down the line. There’s no doubt Piper is fully a fan favorite as he had multiple awesome interviews and a big time squash to hammer that point home. Grade: DUD

JT: As we heard earlier, Roddy Piper had promised to gut this one out despite his damaged knee. Iron Sheik is out first and with him is his new manager, the Doctor of Style, Slick. Slick had taken over a majority of Freddie Blassie’s contracts when the Fashion Plate wrapped up his career. We immediately get some character building as we see footage of Slick and Sheik pulling up in a swank limousine. Pedro Morales was tabbed as Piper’s replacement and heads down to the ring, but Piper hobbles down and stares him down until Pedro just throws his arms up and walks off. Sheik charged hard but Piper cracked him with the crutch as the bell sounded. Piper kept tossing haymakers and fought through a Sheik flurry to roll the former champion up into a small package for the quick win. That match was nothing but it went exactly as it should have gone, setting up Piper as the defiant badass who is quickly becoming very beloved. Piper has been fantastic on this night, manic post match interview later in the show included, as his change in allegiances continues to develop. Grade: DUD

4) The British Bulldogs defeat The Dream Team to retain WWF Tag Team Titles in a Best Three Falls bout

Greg Valentine forced Dynamite Kid to submit to the figure four at 4:41
Dynamite Kid pinned Greg Valentine with a diving headbutt at 8:10
Davey Boy Smith pinned Brutus Beefcake with a fisherman’s suplex at 13:09

Fun Fact: This is a tag team rematch from WrestleMania II where the British Bulldogs first won the titles.

Scott: This was set up to easily be the match of the night as we have great workers in the ring and two iconic managers on the outside. Well Luscious John is awesome, and fat, sloppy Lou Albano is a freeloader who’s padding his career stats. The premise here is that it’s the European two out of three falls match, and immediately the Dream Team gets the first fall with Valentine’s figure four forcing Dynamite to submit. From that point forward Jesse harps on the fact that this isn’t Europe and the Dream Team got the submission and should have regained their championships. Vince no-sells that point and from that point forward Jesse doesn’t let it go, and even tells Vince “I will not let it go!” The back and forth in this match is tremendous as the Bulldogs hit their sweet combination of power and speed. There’s also an inordinate number of suplexes on both sides, just another example of the expert workers in this match. The tag team division is slowly growing with some top flight teams coming down the pike. Valentine and the Bruti are particularly aggressive and the referee is very lenient with the double teaming. The action continues non-stop with multiple instances of both teams brawling in the ring. In the climax both teams are brawling and Beefcake misses a knee in the corner. From there Davey Boy Smith hooks a fisherman’s suplex for the victory and the retention of the championships. Every time the Bulldogs are on this show they come up aces in terms of putting on a great match. This may have been the end for the Dream Team as that was their contracted rematch. The Bulldogs easily are 1986’s tag team of the year but the question is who is the next heel team to challenge them? This could be the best match in SNME history to this point and the two of three falls helped make it such. Grade: ***

JT: Back at WrestleMania II, the British Bulldogs upended the Dream Team to win the tag team titles. They have reigned strong ever since, but the Dream Team was hungry for a rematch and they finally get it here. These best of three falls tag matches have been a nice little trend here on SNME and helps the division stand out in front of a national audience. The Bulldogs wasted no time at all, doubling up on Greg Valentine until the Hammer came back by kicking away at the knee of Dynamite. Beefcake came in and hit a nice vertical suplex before also working over the knee. Dynamite would slide away and make the tag, leading to Smith working the shoulder but a double team turned the tide back to the challengers. Dynamite would end up back in the ring but the Dream Team bullied him down with Valentine worked his usual methodical assault, punctuating it with a shoulderbreaker. Beefcake would get a few licks in and a moment later, the Hammer hooked the figure four and forced Dynamite to submit to end the first fall. That was a great showing for the Dream Team, including Beefcake charging in and smashing Smith to prevent him from making the save. Beefcake has really improved over the course of 1986 as he is way more crisp and aware here. Fall two picked up after a break and Valentine and Beefcake were still punishing the knee with a precision attack. I like this story as it continues the angle of Dynamite’s balky knee from back in the spring. Dynamite would survive the assault and tag out with Smith coming in on fire, grabbing a quick near fall after a vertical suplex. He followed with a powerslam but Beefcake broke up the pin. Smith then hoisted Beefcake onto his shoulders and Dynamite leapt off Brutus and landed a diving headbutt to draw the match even. The only downside there was Dynamite was now the legal man and had to fight through his balky knee against Valentine. And he did gut his way through it, fighting the Hammer off and taking him over with a crisp snap suplex. For some reason he didn’t make the tag and instead whiffed on a sledge blow. The challengers went back to work on the leg yet again but Dynamite was able to kick out of a Valentine figure four attempt and make the tag out. Beefcake met Smith head on and gained the advantage, planting Smith with a clothesline and choking away. The Dream Team has really dominated this match from start to finish and has looked great in doing so. They really had Smith in trouble until thongs broke down and all four men ended up in the ring. During the confusion, Smith took Beefcake over into a fisherman’s suplex to win the match and retain the straps. Man, that was fun. These teams have some wonderful chemistry. The Bulldogs have this great style going on and it makes them look like badasses as they keep fighting through pain and injury and find a way to come out on top at the end. Plus, their offense is so crisp and effective that it is believable they can hit a few moves and grab a match from the jaws of defeat. The Dream Team looked really good here too as Valentine really set the tone and pacing of the match and Beefcake’s development allowed him to accentuate things nicely. I would put this slightly behind their WrestleMania match but it was still very good. Grade: ***

*** During the last match, Jesse Ventura announced that Adrian Adonis suffered a shattered elbow at the hands of Roddy Piper’s crutch earlier in the evening. ***

5) Kamala defeats Lanny Poffo with a big splash at 1:44

Fun Fact: This would be Kamala’s return to the WWF. In his initial run in the WWF, he was managed by Skandor Akbar and Freddie Blassie. In his return, he is now paired with a masked handler named Kim Chee and is managed by The Wizard.

Fun Fact II: Kamala was the character portrayed by James Harris from Mississippi. Harris had been a burglar in his teens trying to help support the family after his father was shot dead. After being asked to leave town by local police, he moved to Florida and then later to Michigan where he met Bobo Brazil, who began training Harris. His pro career began in 1978 where he went by many different names before moving to the UK to wrestle for several years. While there he continued to build his skills while wrestling under the name The Mississippi Mauler. When he returned to the US to the Memphis territory, Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett had him change his gimmick to the one he would be known by for the remainder of his career. He would take on the role of the Ugandan Giant, Kamala, an African cannibal covered in face and body paint and loincloth. He wrestled in Mid-South, Memphis and WCCW before making his first appearance in the WWF in 1984.

Scott: We wrap the show up with an effective squash for a new heel on the block. Kamala technically isn’t a new heel to the WWF as he feuded with Andre the Giant in 1981 that culminated with a steel cage match in Toronto. Poffo is always a good guy to go in there and put over a monster heel. His house show matches are usually pretty solid but here he’s tasked to take Kamala’s licks and put him over. I was never a fan of the Wizard as his promos were kind of stupid but I did always love the iconic (i’ve said that word a lot on this review) Kim Chee. His manager has followed him through many promotions but I’m sure the guy has changed based on wherever they were. In any event the squash is effective and Kamala is back. Grade: DUD

JT: We have a returning monster heel on the scene in the WWF, the Ugandan Headhunter Kamala. This time around he has the Wizard bellowing menacingly at him from his corner as well as the masked Kim Chee. Kamala pounces on the always game Poffo, mauling him with chops and kicks. Poffo has some interesting hair going on here looking like an extra from Police Academy. And he would have plenty of time to shoot the movie as this match was very short lived. Kamala would drop a big splash and take the easy win. Nothing to see here besides a showcase for Kamala. Grade: DUD

Final Analysis

Scott: This was a fun show with some fresh matchups because so much has changed in the promotion since we were last on the air back in May. Orndorff a heel? Piper a BABYFACE? What’s going on here? It actually added some fun and intrigue, particularly during the moment when Hogan and Piper were in the ring and glared at each other. The tag match may be the best SNME match so far and the tag division is just getting better and better. Jake and the Dragon still have unfinished business but soon Steamboat will have other priorities to deal with. This episode was definitely all Piper, all the time to put over his new role in the company and with our usual Hogan title defense this was definitely one of the better episodes thus far. Final Grade: B

JT: Season two of SNME kicked off with a pretty strong offering. The World Title match was very good and keeps a red hot feud churning along. The Piper stuff was all really good too and keeps the Adonis/Piper issue churning while also giving Piper a measure of revenge by busting up the Adorable One’s elbow. Steamboat and Roberts had a good close to their feud and we saw the Bulldogs finally put away the Dream Team in a really good three falls match. Again, we have moved away from the running theme and campiness, but the Piper stuff played that through line role for this show and it clicked really well. This is definitely one of my favorite installments so far and well worth checking out. Final Grade: B