Written By: Matt Peddycord
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #1
May 11, 1985
Long Island, NY
(Taped on 5/10/1985)
The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Hulk Hogan (1/23/1984)
Intercontinental Champion: Greg Valentine (9/24/1984)
World Tag Team Champions: Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (3/31/1985)
Women’s Champion: Wendi Richter (3/31/1985)
Besides grabbing Hogan from Verne Gagne and taking a chance on Wrestlemania, putting Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC was the best idea Vince had in the 1980s. When you consider that the majority of America back then did not have cable or satellite television, not everyone could enjoy WWF programming so this show played a big part in making the WWF the most popular wrestling promotion in the country. The show also played a major role in kick-starting many of the huge Wrestlemania main-event feuds. The first episode is the fallout to the first Wrestlemania. A couple things that you need to remember before I go ahead with the recap; in the main-event at Wrestlemania, Orndorff took the fall and was therefore blamed by Piper and Orton for losing the biggest match in their careers. Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff captured the tag titles from the US Express, Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda. Also with Cyndi Lauper at her side, Wendi Richter regained the Women’s title against Lelani Kai who was managed by Fabulous Moolah. As you might be able to tell, I’m being a lot tamer on this show compared to the newer, over-exposed SNME’s. It’s just not the same!
We hear from Wendi Richter, Cyndi Lauper, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T!
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura!
Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff & George “The Animal” Steele (w/Freddie Blassie) vs. Barry Windham, Mike Rotunda & Ricky Steamboat (w/Capt. Lou Albano)
Ha, I forgot the US Express had “Born in the USA” as their theme song. In case you’re wondering, the faces all have black trunks. Windham starts off with Sheik and he completely dominates Sheik to start. Rotunda tags in and comes off the top with a single-ax to the arm, followed by a tag to Steamboat who does the same. Steamboat wrenches the arm for a bit and then tags Rotunda in for a double back elbow. Rotunda gets a slam and covers for two. Steamboat tags in and karate chops Sheik and returns to the arm. Sheik comes back with a whip and hooks on an abdominal stretch, but Steamboat quickly escapes with a hiptoss. That brings all six men in for the faces to clean house as we go to a commercial. We come back to Steamboat delivering a powerslam to Sheik. Steamboat goes to the top and hits a missile dropkick! He goes up once more and connects with the FLYING BODYPRESS for 1, 2, NO! Volkoff tags in and gets BEAT by both Steamboat and Windham after a double-team dropkick for two. Rotunda tags in for another double back elbow. After a pair of standing leg drops, Rotunda covers for two. Rotunda gets a couple of near-fall attempts on Volkoff, but can’t get the three. Windham tags in and gets a sunset flip, but Volkoff is in the ropes. Now Steele tags in and tries to trade blows with Windham. Once he wants out, Sheik and Volkoff both drop off the apron. As Steele is jawing with the tag champs, Windham comes up from behind and rolls up Steele for the three-count. (6:40 shown) Post-match, Steele gets attacked from behind by the tag champs. The amazing thing is that he actually fights both of them off and sends them running! Albano, who is Steele’s former manager, gets in the ring to calm him down. **
Mean Gene stops the Sheik and Volkoff on their way to the dressing room and asks them what in the world is going on? Blassie says he didn’t tag when he was supposed to because he’s a fruitcake! Steele and Albano walk past them for another beatdown of the tag champs. You may be saying to yourselves that the tag champs looked incredibly weak here and Rotunda/Windham looked like the champs, but it’s all just a sign that the US Express would regain the belts about a month or so later.
Next up is Piper’s Pit alongside his bodyguard Bob Orton, Jr.! His guest tonight is their former partner, Paul Orndorff. If this were 2006, this would be the opening segment of the Raw after the PPV. Orndorff doesn’t trust (or like!) anybody in that ring besides himself as he demands Orton steps back. Piper calls Orndorff a loser and a piece of garbage for losing their Wrestlemania match because he embarrassed everybody for losing! It eventually breaks down to a two-on-one situation as Orndorff nails both Piper and Orton to the mat. Orndorff tries for a PILEDRIVER on Piper, but Orton nails Orndorff from behind with the cast! Mr. T runs down for the save!
We go to Mean Gene who is standing by with the WWF Champ, Hulk Hogan. With all that just happened, Hogan would rather talk about Mother’s day.
WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan (w/Mr. T) vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr. (w/Roddy Piper)
It’s the EYE OF THE TIGER! Nothing is cooler than listening to your ’80s LPs! It starts off as your typical ’80s Hogan match with the heel being chased and beat down by Hogan. Orton regroups out on the floor with Piper and then comes in with a knee to the gut. Orton cross-corner whips Hogan, but then runs shoulder-first into the steel-post. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Hogan works the cast for a bit. Orton reverses a whip and delivers a running knee to the chest. Atomic drop by Orton gets two. Orton controls with knee drops and elbow drops. Once the crowd gets to cheering Hogan on, it means that only one thing is getting ready to happen. Yep, he HULKS up! Hogan hits a clothesline and an elbow drop out of the corner for 1, 2, NO! Hogan attempts the ten-count corner punch and once he gets about four on him, Orton counters out with an inverted atomic drop. Orton sets Hogan up for the SUPERPLEX, but Hogan fights him off and hits him with an elbow. Hogan hits the LEG DROP, but Piper nails him from the floor as he goes for the pin. The ref saw it and calls for the bell as Hogan wins by DQ. (6:45) Orton and Piper beat down Mr. T and then slowly go after Hogan as Orndorff runs in to make the save for Hulk. The heels bail out of the ring while the beefcakes pose in the middle of the ring THROUGH the commercial break and for another minute after that. Two complete face turns in one night! ½*
Let’s go to Mean Gene who is in the back with Cyndi Lauper and Capt. Lou Albano. They act as though they care about the Women’s title match, but they REALLY just want to introduce her new video which is the first Rock n Wrestling Connection music video. I believe the song is called, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough”. The story in the video is that Cyndi Lauper and her father, Lou Albano, run a gas station that is NOT making enough money to pay bills so they need some filthy rich customers to come by and help them out. Here comes the WWF limousine with Piper, Blassie and the Iron Sheik which turns into a big argument between everybody! Meanwhile, Moolah drives by in an old (I’m talking from the ’50s, not the ’80s) truck with Volkoff in the bed milking a cow. Yes, a “cow” is in the bed of this truck. Finally, the music starts and I can fast-forward! After they show the video, Piper comes by Lauper and Albano and tells them it was the greatest music video he ever seen until she started to sing. Good point.
After the break, Gene is standing by with the Fabulous Moolah who has a contract that bars Lauper from ringside due to all her interference in previous matches for this upcoming championship match.
Lauper’s says she can’t be barred from ringside just because she’s a manager, but it’s going to happen. Oh yeah, her boyfriend looks like comedian Mitch Hedberg. That guy hasn’t aged a bit!
WWF Women’s Champion Wendi Richter vs. Fabulous Moolah
Howard Finkel reads Moolah’s official contract that looks like the Magna Carta which bars Lauper from ringside. After a commercial break, we apparently are JIP as Moolah controls Richter. Moolah makes the mistake of turning her back on her opponent and then gets tossed out to the floor. Back in, Moolah gets a backdrop for one. This match is billed as Moolah’s last title shot. Moolah hits a chop and tries a slam, but Richter counters into a small package for the three-count to retain the title. (about 3:00) Lauper and Hedberg come in the ring to celebrate with Richter. Spider Lady is coming, Wendi. CRAP
After the break, Mean Gene is standing by JYD and his momma. She looks more like his wife than his momma.
Junkyard Dog (w/his momma) vs. Pete Doherty
Pete Dougherty is a legendary WWF jobber from the ’80s and that’s about it. At the time, JYD was to Carlito Cool in 2006 as far as being over with the crowd at Intercontinental title status. A clothesline, some headbutts and the THUMP get the three-count for JYD. (about 3:00) CRAP
Next up, some of the WWF guys have a little Mother’s day party with their moms who are just hanging out. This seems to be breaking kayfabe somehow with JYD and Hogan standing so close to Blassie and Co. without wanting to beat them up. Lauper and her mom are also at the party and Richter’s mom doesn’t even care to show up! Moolah comes by and is FURIOUS she wasn’t invited. Lauper and Moolah get in a fight! Somehow Gene and Moolah gets shoved into the cake. SUCH HILARITY!
Final Thoughts: The only thing that was overkill here was Cyndi Lauper. She’s the so-called “Avril Lavigne” of her day and I just don’t care for her. But at the time, she was popular and it had to have drawn in many non-wrestling fans to watch the show that enjoyed her. As far as the wrestling goes, it’s the ’80s WWF. It’s not going to be that great unless a certain few are involved. The opener was good but Windham, Rotunda and Steamboat all wrestle at a much faster pace than the Sheik, Volkoff and Steele that it would be impossible for them to keep up. Also with the reactions the US Express got here, putting the tag belts back on them was a must. Orndorff’s face turn is a very interesting one as he just later on ended up turning on Hogan again. Also George “the Animal” Steele’s face turn was a somewhat big deal as he would never turn heel again. No Tito, which I guess is why we had no Valentine either. It’s a great show to check out if for nothing more than just for historical reasons.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.