Brian and I are doing co-reviews of all the Saturday Night Main Event episodes. Here's the one that started it all!
Saturday Night's Main Event I - 5/11/85 - Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, New York
1. The US Express & Ricky Steamboat vs. George Steele, Nikolai Volkoff, & The Iron Sheik - B: 3 A: 3
Brian: If this was just a typical house show I may have knocked the score down another notch but this felt slightly more special and like a moment being the kick off of the beloved SNME run. The good guys were aces on offense and given the abbreviated time allotments the matches got on this show the heels weren't even given a heat section. Felt bad watching Ricky try to hiptoss Steele and Volkoff as they were clearly giant uncooperative bags of manure he had to imitate he was physically tossing as they really both just awkwardly rolled forward their foots barely leaving the mat if at all. You get the sense here with his size and look Windham could have been a much bigger star. Steele gets rolled up playing up his hapless buffoon character then eats a turnbuckle post-match in frustration. I think I'd rather see these six hitting the buffet at Ponderosa than in the ring together.
Adam: There probably would have been more bite here if, like Brian mentioned, the heels had a heat section, even if small. Otherwise, this was as about as one-sided as you could get with a six-man tag team squash as the faces dominated the whole match. As was also mentioned, Steel and Volkoff were extremely uncooperative on some hiptosses, about as uncooperative as the giant bags of mulch I threw down in my flower beds this past spring. Windham rolling up Steele after Sheik and Volkoff bailed pretty much made the whole team look like they were imitating old Keystone Cops routines. Not much depth here but worth a look as the first-ever SNME match.
2. Hulk Hogan vs. Bob Orton - WWF Championship Match - A: 4 B: 2
Adam: This was hot off the heels of WrestleMania and was a fun little scrum. Hogan has his usual assortment of punching and brawling. Orton hit a few couple good knees, an atomic drop, and attempted a superplex but that was about the extent of his offense. Also, what was up with the ring during this match? Everything someone bumped it sounded like a snare drum. For a six-minute match, this was about as good as you’ll get during this time. The ending was a bit weak with Piper supposedly interfering with a punch and then Mr. T getting involved. Hogan was then cornered but was saved by Paul Orndorff causing the heels to scamper like roaches when you turn on a light.
Brian: Not the first to be confounded by Hogan's biting and face gouging and other villain-like tactics in lieu of more classicism and heroic posturing. Maybe marathoning a bunch of Jafar Panahi films has brought out the humanist in me but I found myself much more interested in watching the audience here than the participants. Crowds just believed so much more then. When Piper interfered there was a lady who's face got redder than a Scotch bonnet pepper. Today she'd be a meme.
3. Wendi Richter vs. Fabulous Moolah - WWF Women's Championship Match - B: 3 A: 2
Brian: Cyndi Lauper was forced to watch this match on as 9" monitor back toward the end of a darkened entrance aisle. Think I saw a guy in the crowd wearing a Peachfuzz mask. Title match gets 4 minutes so there's less meat to this thing than a black bean burger. Crazy to think how different women's wrestling is today. They'd never let an old, wrinkly, saggy lady be a top in-ring talent but Moolah was an asset here dishing out some mean offense like a short headbutt that looked brutal. Richter was all '80's hair and anguished facials but retained her title with a counter roll-up so as to keep Moolah looking strong as a perennial challenger.
Adam: I though Moolah was old in the 90s but she still looked incredibly old here. Moolah took a hell of a bump over the top rope and smashed on the floor pretty good. Seeing Lauper getting booted out before the match and then showing her watching this at the end of the aisle was pretty entertaining. Roll-up at the end felt pretty flat and the majority of this felt really choreographed.
4. Junkyard Dog vs. Pete Doherty - A: 2 B: 4
Adam: Not much here except your typical Saturday morning squash match, although Doherty has a bit more street cred than your Mario Mancini’s of the world. Since this was a Mother’s Day show, JYD brought his mom to the ring, who looked less than impressed at her son’s chosen profession in the pre-match interview. Doherty yelling when JYD yanked him up from the floor by his hair was a hoot and was pretty much the highlight of this. I’m guessing for the victory dinner, Dog and his Momma hit the local Denny’s on the way to the next town.
Brian: In an unforeseen plot twist similarly to the grandparents in The Visit not really being the kids' grandparents but escaped patients from a psychiatric hospital this shocked me by being my favorite match of the show. And while I wish I could give more credit to JYD and his momma's purple church dress I have to hand out MVP honors to Pete Doherty. This golden-haired jobber bumped and gesticulated with a fervor determined to stand out even if he was put in the death slot. Doherty took a superplex off the top so hard it made me incontinent. Sometimes JYD's headbutts can look lazy or dire but I loved how he kept his hands tightly in Pete's messy mop of blonde hair not letting him go and just delivering headbutt shots while Doherty made the fascinating acting decision to jiggle his pasty white physique after each skull rattling shot.