Continuing with his retrospect of Saturday Night’s Main Event in 1986, Erik Vasquez takes a look at the fifth episode of SNME which took place on March 1 from Phoenix, Arizona.
Before we get the show started lets look back at what was going on in the world in February of 1986. Lots of sports news happened in February, Spud Webb wins the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, a remarkable feat for a man that stands 5′ 7″. Brian Boitano wins the US male Figure Skating championship and Marvin Johnson wins the light heavyweight boxing title for a 3rd time. In other news Halley’s Comet reaches 30th perihelion (closest approach to Sun) and “John Lennon: Live in NYC” is released posthumously.
Saturday Night’s Main Event V: Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum – 3/1/1986
The show opens with Mean Gene Okerlund in a gym while TV star Mr. T punches away on a heavy bag. Okerlund is there to get Mr. T’s comments on his boxing match tonight with “Cowboy” Bob Orton. Mr. T yells at Mean Gene for interrupting his work out and says this isn’t a fight, this is a war. When he gets done with Orton he is going to look like Mean Gene Okerlund.
Vince McMahon on commentary alongside a very snazzy dressed Jesse “The Body” Ventura. McMahon goes through the card for the night which also includes a Hulk Hogan video. Flashback to Hogan’s appearance on “Piper’s Pit” from February 1986. Being that I was born that very same month, this recap of Piper finding out Orton is boxing Mr. T is blowing my mind. I was just beginning my life.
Ringside Mean Gene Okerlund is standing by with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Cowboy” Bob Orton. Piper talks about how Mr. T comes off as “America’s greatest hero” and is someone every kid looks up to. Piper says this is a lie because of a newspaper clipping he pulls out of his back pocket. The clipping is a photo of Mr. T with pop star Boy George. Piper questions whether parents of America would allow their children to look up to a man who hangs out with a person like Boy George. More or less Piper was questioning the morality of a man who associates himself with a gay man. Sidenote: Obviously I know in today’s world statements like this even if meant to make the bad guy seem even more cold, are unacceptable. I certainly am accepting of all people, regardless of race, shape, color, or sexuality and I hope others live a judgement free life as best they can. The reason I bring this up in the article is because this is what the world was like in 1986. In 28 years the world has come so far with regards to tolerance of others. Yet we still have so far to go. Orton is saying something however Mean Gene pulls the plug on the whole thing. They cut to Mr. T getting his hand wrapped and a clip of him beating the snot out of someone. He cuts a promo saying he’s going to take Bob Orton out, Rocky III was just a movie this is real life. Mean Gene mentions Piper and how he could be an issue and Mr. T nearly blows a gasket and kicks him out of his locker room. Time for the boxing match.
“Cowboy” Bob Orton vs. Mr T in a Boxing Match
Before the match starts Piper throws a towel in Mr. T’s face. While the official is trying to get Piper out of the ring Orton attacks Mr. T. The two square up and the official signals for the bell. Orton seems to have a height advantage but T has the speed and skill in the boxing department. Mr. T looks to move in but each time Orton hangs on to him. During an exchange of punches it seems as if Orton thumbed the eye of Mr. T. He says he’s good to fight and both men exchange punches before the bell signals the end of the first round. Now instead of being a good sports-man Orton lays in a shot after the bell has rung. The second round begins and Orton begins dancing around as if he knows he is going to win. Mr. T catches him good and begins a flurry of punches that connect with no blocks. Piper hops up on the apron and distracts the referee meanwhile Orton throws a knee to the but of Mr. T, an obvious disqualification if the referee saw it. Orton traps Mr. T and brings him over to Piper. Piper throws a punch but Mr. T ducks and Piper hits Orton. T escapes and cleans house of everyone. Orton cannot make it back into the ring by the referee’s count to ten which makes Mr. T the winner. Piper isn’t happy with the outcome so he decides to take matters into his own hands and steps in the ring. Mr. T is still in the ring and asks the official to step aside. Piper baits Mr. T in a corner and Orton hits him with a running knee from behind. The two double team Mr. T. Piper finds a leather belt and beats Mr. T while he is held down by Orton. Ventura is saying some really racist stuff on commentary. What was wrong with people back then?
Back from a break and Mean Gene is ringside with Mr. T asking him if he is okay. He says he hasn’t been whooped like that since he was 6 years old by his Mama. He doesn’t like that Orton and Piper fight dirty and he wants to get his hands on Piper. After a quick replay of the action we go back to Mean Gene who is standing by with King Kong Bundy and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Mean Gene asks Heenan if Bundy is ready for his match to which Heenan responds with he is ready to take the WWF title away from Hulk Hogan. There’s only one problem, his opponent isn’t Hulk Hogan, at least not tonight. Heenan says Bundy is ready for anyone, even Hogan, anytime anyplace.
King Kong Bundy vs. Steve Gatorwolf
The match lasted 41 seconds, that’s it. Bundy hits Gatorwolf with a splash in the corner and gets not only the three count but demands the referee count to five. Any chance we could see Bundy vs. Big E at WrestleMania 31? Howard Finkel announces Bundy as the winner but Bundy cuts him off and calls out Hogan for a shot at the title.
We go back to Okerlund who is with “Magnificent” Muraco who is annoyed that his manager Mr. Fuji is out sick with a case of the flu and he suspects Hogan is behind it. Mean Gene asks if it’s a case of the Asian flu. Ouch. Muraco announces that Heenan will replace Mr. Fuji who we see is backstage laying down in his full attire but with ice packs on his head and stomach. Poor Fuji.
Back with Okerlund who is with Hogan who says he’s ready for Muraco even though he is a little worried about the Heenan/Fuji switch.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Magnificent Muraco for the WWF Title
Muraco starts the match off with a series of back rakes around the ring. Hogan reverses Muraco out of the corner with a back body drop and begins a flurry of offense. Heenan looks to distract Hogan on the apron but Hogan hits him with a punch. Hogan still on offense hits Muraco with an atomic drop that sends him to the outside. Hogan brings him back in and both men exchange punches in the middle of the ring. Hogan’s punches seem to be doing more damage as Muraco goes crashing down like bricks. Hogan goes for the pin but only gets a two. Hogan sends him off the ropes and puts Muraco in a bear hug tightly in the middle of the ring. Muraco gets out of the bear hug with a headbutt to the nose. Murco begins stomping away and hits Hogan with a knee drop but only gets a two count. Muraco showboats after a knee lift then continues to lay a beating into Hogan. Muraco lands an Asian spike from the second rope but that can’t put away Hogan. He hits him with punches but they have little to no affect on him and begins to “Hulk up” as the crowd roars behind him. Hulk sends Muraco off the ropes and hits him with the big boot. Hogan lands his leg drop but before the referee can begin the count Hennan is already in the ring. Heenan interrupts the count and gets Muraco disqualified. Hogan has Heenan trapped in the corner but he gets blindsided by King Kong Bundy. Muraco and Bundy both double team Hogan with Muraco trapping Hogan in corner by his arms and Bundy splashing Hogan over and over again. Heenan instructs Bundy to splash Hogan two more times as he laid lifeless in the ring. The crowd is so hot right now they are throwing trash in the ring at Muraco and Bundy. A few guys from the back come to check on Hogan but they are a little too late.
Post Match Notes: This match would eventually lead to both men battling it out inside of a steel cage for WrestleMania II. After the attack Hogan would be diagnosed with broken ribs after multiple splashes from Bundy. Against doctors orders Hogan would go on to face Bundy.
After doctors remove Hogan from the ring via stretcher we get a recap of the actions of Bundy and Muraco. Hogan is shown being entered into an ambulance with Gorilla Monsoon with him. The ambulance exits and the tone becomes very serious.
Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine (c) vs. The British Bulldogs for the WWF Tag Team Titles
After both teams enter the ring we cut to a pre-taped promo from Beefcake, Valentine, and their manager Johnny Valiant. Mean Gene asks Valiant what the mindset of his team is after losing to the British Bulldogs in a non-title match, their first loss in over a year. Valiant says there’s nothing to worry about because it was a non-title match. Valentine says the Bulldogs are nothing more than a circus act. What they’re going to find out is who the real champions are.
Davey Boy Smith and Greg Valentine start the match off. Valentine gets hit with an atomic drop that sends him into the opposing corner where Dynamite Kid hits him with a headbutt. Davey Boy attempts a cover but only gets a two. Both Bulldogs in the ring and hits Valentine with a double shoulder block. Beefcake gets the tag in but is not doing well against Dynamite Kid. Davey boy gets tagged in and begins working the arm of Beefcake. Valentine tags in but he can’t stop the offense of Davey Boy who tags in Dynamite Kid. He drops the knee square on the face of Valentine. Dynamite Kid hits a suplex and a falling headbutt but only gets a two count. After a knee from the second rope Davey Boy who comes in with forearm shots for Valentine. Greg tries to fight back but gets dropkicked for his troubles. Davey Boy rolls him up for a small package but only gets a two count. Bulldogs keep with the frequent tags but Valentine hits an atomic drop and gets the tag to Beefcake. On the outside Valentine and his manager Valiant get into a scuffle of words with Bulldogs manager Captain Lou Albano. Now everyone is on the outside and they go to commercial.
Back from commercial with Beefcake trapped in the corner of the Bulldogs. One would think the Bulldogs would be the champions the way they’ve been controlling this match. Beefcake is finally able to get the tag to his partner Greg Valentine who begins working on Davey Boy. Valentine locks Davey Boy in the Figure Four leg lock but it is broken up by Dynamite Kid. Davey Boy tags in Dynamite and he and Valentine exchange shots. Valentine gains the upper hand by hitting a second rope elbow drop but only gets a two count. Shoulder breaker from Valentine gets a two count again. The champions take over the match with Dynamite Kid trapped in their corner. Frequent tags from Beefcake and Valentine coupled with moves on a helpless Dynamite Kid only seem to get the results of a two count. Valentine looks to lock on the Figure Four but Dynamite Kid fought out. Kid hits a missle dropkick and goes for the pin but Valentine wisely puts his foot on the ropes. Kid goes for a pin but the attempt is broken up by Beefcake who is met with a dropkick from Davey Boy. Beefcake and Davey Boy both exit the ring while Valentine comes running off the ropes crashing into Dynamite Kid. Apparently after the collision Valentine’s leg stayed across Dynamite Kid’s body enough to warrant a three count from the official. The crowd isn’t too happy with the result and rightfully so as the Bulldogs had the match in hand for the majority of the contest and it was looking as if new champs were going to be crowned.
We come back to Okerlund outside the hospital where Hogan was transported but unfortunately no word on the condition of Hulk Hogan. We get to see the “Real American” music. I’m feeling it brother.
Before the main event of tonight Mean Gene is standing by with Adrian Adonis who says tonight he is going to send his opponent Junkyard Dog back to the fire hydrant. “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart says Adonis will take care of JYD and he should expect a surprise tonight.
Junkyard Dog vs. Adrian Adonis
Adonis starts the match by antagonizing JYD who grabs Adonis by his scarves and begins beating him all around the ring. After a two count JYD takes his time but Adonis hits JYD with slaps. JYD reverses an Irish whip and sends Adonis crashing to the outside. Hart hops up on he apron bu JYD knocks him down with a headbutt. JYD mocks Adonis and the crowd goes wild showing just how popular JYD was. He goes to bring Adonis back into the ring and ends up dragging him along with Hart back inside the ring. JYD hits Adonis with a headbutt then sends Hart into the waiting arms of Adonis and both men go crashing to the outside. We come back from a break with JYD hitting Adonis with a punch but only getting a two count. After JYD misses a headbutt Adonis goes to distract the official. While Adonis is doing that Hart is taking what’s left of Adonis’ scarf and using it to tie Junkyard Dog to the bottom rope. With JYD secured Adonis drops an elbow to the face of JYD. The distracting of the referee continues until the official has had enough and forcefully removes Adonis from further damaging JYD. Finally JYD escapes from the ropes and Adonis goes for the piledriver. The feet of JYD hit the official who goes down. Adonis tells Hart to get up on the apron. Adonis whips JYD who reverses it sending Adonis crashing into Hart who was holding his megaphone. JYD goes for the pin and gets a three. Hart gets in the ring and JYD almost makes him wet by barking at him. While JYD is distracted by Hart Adonis attacks him with the megaphone sending him to the outside. Adonis throws a tantrum because he loses and we’re sent to Okerlund who is standing by with a physician.
The physician states that although Hogan sustained injuries to the head, neck, and abdomen he did not suffer any internal bleeding. He will be having an X-Ray done to make sure there isn’t any further damage. We get a recap of the opening contest and what happened with Hogan who apparently releases a statement saying nothing can hold him down. We go to credits.
Final Thoughts: Overall I thought it was a good show. Best match of the night was the tag match for the titles in my opinion. Safe to say Dynamite Kid personally left a mark on wrestling and his influence is still seen today. The main event was decent, just way too many parts where the ref was distracted.
Catch Episode 5 of Saturday Night’s Main Event in it’s entirety if you have the WWE Network. Afterward let me know what you thought of the event by leaving a comment below, on our Facebook, or on Twitter! Part one of Erik’s retrospect of SNME in 1986 can be found here.