August 23, 2023

WWF Saturday Night Main Event VII (10.4.86) review 

WWF Saturday Night Main Event VII (10.4.86) review 


Taped: September 13, 1986 


We’re in Richfield, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland). Attendance is a whopping 21,000. They popped a 9.4 rating for this and it’s because the Hogan-Orndorff feud was HOT. The heel turn had worked to perfection and people were ready to eat up the clashes between the two for the WWF title. Orndorff had his fans, but people were also anxious to see Hogan get revenge. Jesse Ventura welcomes us to the show, remarking he has returned after Bobby Heenan subbed in for him. Apparently, Dick Ebersol loved Ventura and wanted him on play by play. Heenan was better at the job but hey, it’s who you know.  

We get pre-show interviews including Jake cutting one from the showers. Thankfully he’s still got his pants on. They play some funky synthetic music over it and I’m vibing to it. Hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. The crowd is smoking hot in here.  

We get an interview with Roddy Piper, who is now a babyface, and has had his knee messed up by “some goofball in a dress and some fat hog”. Piper is refusing the doctor’s orders and is going to fight tonight. They should have put the belt on Piper, he was a way better interview than Hogan.  


WWF Championship 

Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Paul Orndorff 

Orndorff comes out to “Real American” and poses. It doesn’t stop and Hogan just marches out here in the second chorus.  

Everyone is on form here. Orndorff is all over the ring, Hogan is all piss and vinegar, and Heenan is his usual hard bumping self. The trouble they have is they go to the heat too quickly. Hogan’s opening shine at the Big Event was a key part of the match. Heenan interferes one time too many and the ringside cops carry him out of there!  

Orndorff seems to lose his mojo after that. He can’t land anything as clean as usual. Hogan replicates the short clothesline from the heel turn, as he did during the Big Event. He goes for the piledriver, but Adrian Adonis runs in for the DQ. Another unsatisfying conclusion to a Hogan-Orndorff match. This was decent but not good. **½. Roddy Piper, on one leg, makes the save and they tease Hogan and Piper wailing on each other, after Piper swings his crutch at the champ.  


I like the dynamic with Piper and Hogan. The idea being that Piper had no interest in saving Hogan, but Adonis happened to be in the ring, and he wanted revenge. The fact that he swung at Hogan is key. Also, Hogan has to be suspicious of Piper after their lengthy feud and Orndorff turning on him. There’s some subtle storytelling going down here. Seeing as Orndorff didn’t actually lose, the feud must continue! 


Snakepit Match 

Ricky Steamboat vs. Jake Roberts 

This is the same stipulation as the Big Event, but they did nothing with it on that show. Ricky now has a Komodo dragon to offset the snake, which is sat in a bag. I’m sure the RSPCA would love that one. This is by and large the same match as Big Event, only quicker. The only real difference is Jake selling fear for the Komodo dragon. You see, it’s funny because he’s got a big evil snake, but he’s scared of another animal. Vince spends most of the match criticising Jake’s psychology. As with the previous matches Ricky gets the pinfall out of nowhere, this time on a crucifix. This was fun enough but too short to get any psychology going. You don’t get the time in six minutes to build anything. Jake pulls out Damian but Steamboat pulls out his dragon.  

Jake is all scared of a largely inanimate and probably drugged Komodo dragon and takes his own snake to the back. **½  


We get words with Hulk Hogan on tonight’s business. He says the 20,000 Hulkamaniacs judging Orndorff as guilty “turned him on”. He points out Piper needs to mind his own business and not “come at me with tombstones in your eyes”. He doesn’t trust Piper. He keeps making weird judicial references in his promo.  


Iron Sheik vs. Roddy Piper 

We get a word with Slick who calls Piper a “yellow coward” and calls Iron Sheik the next world champion. They briefly threaten to sub in Pedro Morales for Piper but Roddy limps out here anyway. Piper threatens everyone, breaks his crutch over Sheik’s back and cradles Sheik with a handful of tights for the win. I love that Piper still cheated despite being a “face” now.  


We get an interview with Roddy Piper. He does it in that incredible high pitch he was able to talk at. “You can break my neck, I fight for a living. When you carry a big stick you’ve not gotta walk so soft no more”. The great thing about Piper is he genuinely seemed unhinged. Like Terry Funk, he was a shoot.  


Two Out of Three Falls 

WWF Tag Team Championship 

British Bulldogs (c) vs. Dream Team 

This is a match where Beefcake is a smaller part, so Valentine is able to guide him through it and know he’s got two good guys across the ring to help. The story of the first fall is a feeling out process until Dynamite Kid gets his knee hurt. Hammer hooks the Figure Four and Dynamite quits to give them a fighting chance over three falls. 


Fall two: Dream Team still have Dynamite in there and go after his knee some more. You’d think Hammer would just hook the Figure Four and finish it but they take the long way around. Hammer misses off the ropes, hot tag to Davey. He nails Hammer with the running powerslam and DK comes off his shoulders with the diving headbutt for the pin. 1-1. I have issues with Dynamite coming off the top like that as he landed on his knees, which have been worked over. Jesse even points this out!  


Fall three: Dynamite does a good job of selling his leg while staying on top of the match. Dream Team don’t go after the leg until Hammer comes to his senses though. Davey gets another hot tag but is immediately cut off. Beefcake is actually pretty good in this match. He understands his role and does a good job working over Davey until he gets too cocky, misses in the corner and gets fisherman suplexed by Davey for the loss. *** 


Lanny Poffo vs. Kamala 

Kamala just jumped to WWF (from Mid-South/Universal) and has only had a few matches. They’ve paired him with the Wizard and Kim Chee. Kamala wrestled here back in 1984 so he’s known to the WWF audience. Wizard is Curtis Iaukea, the Hawaiian wrestler turned manager. Kim Chee is Steve Lombardi, the Brooklyn Brawler with a weird mask/helmet thing on. Iaukea is supposed to be the mouthpiece and Lombardi the handler. The match is very short, and Kamala finishes with the running splash. Ventura calls Poffo dumb for trying to take Kamala head on.  They’d rush Kamala into a few title matches with Hogan but it is telling that he didn’t make the card for WrestleMania III. 


The 411: 

I have really enjoyed the SNME shows on this whole 80s odyssey. They’re snappy, breezy and demonstrate the best of the WWF in that snapshot of time. Putting forth their leading feuds, their best talent and it’s an easy hour of pro-wrestling. It helps that they’ve got good feuds to showcase, and the shows are fun to watch. Every one of them so far has been an easy thumbs up, without ever being the best show of the year. It’s just a fun time at the wrestles, and sometimes that’s all you need.  

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