WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #5 (3.1.86) review
March 1, 1986 (Taped: February 15, 1986)
We’re in Phoenix, Arizona. Hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura. It’s another big crowd. WWF was packing them in during 1986. To the point where the forthcoming WrestleMania 2 emanates from three cities to get the maximum juice from three different markets. This did a whopping 10.0 rating, which is TV gold.
A word on WWE Network. The search engine used to be utter dogshit. They updated it recently and it’s EVEN FUCKING WORSE. Try searching for SNME on there and it no longer takes you to a dedicated page for that show, just a bunch of random shit. I hate it. Why is it so hard to have a working search engine? Sort your shit out!
Gene Okerlund tries to get a word with Mr. T. “What do you want fool?” “I’m gonna smash the chump now get outta here”. This has come about because “Boxing” “Cowboy” “Ace” Bob Orton Jr has an open boxing challenge.
Mr. T vs. “Battling” Bob Orton
How many nicknames has Bob Orton got? I was laughing that they added “Boxing” to his nicknames and now it’s “Battling” too? Maybe they thought “boxing” was a little too on the nose. This is a worked boxing match. There has never been a worked boxing match that was good. Vince becomes an expert boxing commentator here and Ventura mocks him for it. The match is terrible until Orton knees T in the ribs, Piper gets involved and T punches Orton out of the ring for the win. This was awful and only served to set up the Piper-T Mania match. Piper and Orton kick T’s ass after the match with Piper using his belt. Ventura makes a reference to “Roots” and his Tito Santana stuff is a little close to racist but that’s probably over the line. Interesting to note that Hogan doesn’t bother coming out here for the save.
Bobby Heenan and King Kong Bundy demand a shot at Hulk Hogan and the WWF title. Bundy seems confused and thinks he’s got a shot. Well, he has, but we don’t know that yet.
King Kong Bundy vs. Steve Gatorwolf
The possibility of Steve Gatorwolf pulling the upset pops into my head, immediately followed by Krusty the Klown yelling “I thought the Generals were due!” Naturally Bundy wins in under a minute and yells into the house microphone that he wants Hogan. Don’t feel bad for Steve Gatorwolf by the way, he’s a pedophile. He died in jail after being convicted for sex offences against a 15 year old.
Mr Fuji is ill so he’s being replaced by Bobby Heenan at ringside tonight. Hulk Hogan is asked about it and he’s pretty confident.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Magnificent Muraco
Hogan already had a decisive feud victory over Muraco in 1985 where he beat him in a cage match at MSG. Hogan has become somewhat obnoxious. He’s a jerk in this match. Lots of cheating and scumbaggery. Ventura is all over him for cheating. The match is short so Muraco doesn’t dog it, but his control periods are weak. He does a lot of lame stuff like bouncing off the rope and stamping. Hogan hulks up off a stamp, of all things. Personally, I’d have happily burned Muraco’s finish. Fuck him. Hogan hits the legdrop and it’s over but Heenan runs in for the DQ. The match was over, I don’t get that. Hogan goes after Heenan, so Bundy runs in. He splashes Hogan repeatedly to ‘break his ribs’ ahead of Mania. No one comes out to save him, it’s glorious.
They put Hogan in an ambulance, clearly having seen the work of World Class.
WWF Tag Team Championship
Dream Team (c) vs. British Bulldogs
The Bulldogs beat the Dream Team in a non-title match in January. The only reason the Bulldogs aren’t winning here is because they’re winning at Mania.
This match is in two halves. DK vs Valentine is all kinds of great. Davey-Beefcake is meh. However, Beefcake lets Davey just kick his ass, so it’s not terrible. It goes without saying, I think, that this match is easily the best thing on the show. Vince’s habit of calling Beefcake “The Beefer” makes me wonder if they’d considered calling him Brutus “The Beefer” Barbcake. The finish is bizarre as Hammer and Dynamite clash heads and Valentine falls on top, unconscious, and picks up the pin. This was really good fun and could have gone a lot longer. The fluke nature of the finish sets up WrestleMania 2. **¾
Music Video: “Real American”
This is Hogan switching from “Eye of the Tiger” to his own music.
The video is mostly Hogan beating people up and historical figures (JFK cuts a promo at the start) but also, bizarrely, someone cycling into a wall. Just a complete throwaway high spot.
The sequence of him playing on green screen in front of various monuments and stuff is spectacular. I love it.
Adrian Adonis vs. Junkyard Dog
Adonis is leaning heavily into the gayness here. An early Goldust-esque persona. Manly man JYD is confused by it. I preferred Adrian in the leather jacket, where it was implied rather than outright blatant. But then subtlety has never been wrestling’s strong point.
Both Adonis and Jimmy Hart bump around like crazy to try and get the match over. Adonis runs into Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and the crowd is so loud the sound distorts. JYD gets the pin. This was fine and it was over with the crowd, although the homophobia involved in having a gay heel getting beaten up sums up the action loving 80s.
We go to Gene Okerlund for an update on Hulk Hogan. The doctor tells us about his injuries (back, ribs, neck).
First off, this show was solely designed to shill WrestleMania 2. So, while the in-ring here was quite weak compared to other SNME shows, it did do the job. Hogan-Bundy, Dream Team-Bulldogs and Piper-T are all furthered here. The Mania card is starting to come together. Also, you need to see Hulk Hogan’s “Real American” video. It’s just sensational. Hogan playing guitar on green screen while various Americana is in the background like Statue of Liberty, the St Louis Archway, Mount Rushmore, etc, etc. It’s very, very funny.