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Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #1

(Thankfully I have the entire run of the series done and in good enough quality where I won’t need to redo very much, so we should be able to breeze through these on schedule.  Although at least SNME is short and one of my favorite shows to re-watch, so it’ll be easy enough if need be.) The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #1 – May 10, 1985 – Well, with the imminent return of everyone’s favorite 80s retro wrestling program to the Saturday night schedule on NBC, I figured that it was only fitting to go back and take a look at the very first one, during the height of the Rock N Wrestling Connection.  (The return of the show was of course a disaster, but good on them for trying.)  – Taped from Nassau, NY – Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura. Opening match: The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff & George “The Animal” Steele v. Barry Windham, Mike Rotundo & Ricky Steamboat. Hard to remember a time when the Animal was a heel, actually. Sheik of course reminds us that Iran #1, Russia #1. But does he have economic data to back that up, and where could I find it? (Maybe from the WWE investor’s call?)  Windham & Rotundo using “Born in the USA”, which was an ironic anthem from Springsteen about how lousy veterans were being treated, makes me think that people in the music department weren’t actually listening to the music. (To be fair, that was a common problem with that song.)  Finally, for those of you who are too young to remember SNME in the first place, Rotundo went onto greater fame as IRS in the 90s. (I hear he has a couple of kids in the business now, too.)  Anyway, onto the match, as Windham wins a slugfest with the Sheik to start and hiptosses him into the face corner. Rotundo and Steamboat trade off with shots off the top, and Rotundo drops an elbow for two. Steamboat comes in and falls victim to the abdominal stretch, but it’s BONZO GONZO and the faces clean house. Back from a break with Sheik still getting clobbered, as Dragon hits him with a missile dropkick and high cross for two. Volkoff fights his way in and gets double-teamed into a Windham dropkick for two. Rotundo drops a leg for two. Rollup gets two. Backslide gets two. Back to Windham, who gets a melodramatic sunset flip for two. Steele comes in and the other heels immediately take off to the back, leaving him to get pinned by Windham in his confusion. (Windham/Rotundo/Steamboat d. Sheik/Volkoff/Steele, Windham rollup — pin Steele, 6:50, **1/4) This had a few moments but was far too quick and the finish was out of nowhere. The heels return to turn on the confused Animal, but former manager Lou Albano consoles him and officially turns him face, where he would remain for the rest of his career. Just a quickie match to deliver a big midcard angle right out of the gate. – Piper’s Pit time, with guest Paul Orndorff. This was the fallout from Wrestlemania, marking Orndorff’s face turn. Oddly enough, he would turn heel again less than a year later for a program against Hulk Hogan and draw millions of dollars as a result. The trash-talking comes fast and furious here, leading to Orndorff telling Piper that he’s been “drinking too much of his own bathwater!” OOOOOOH, you got SERVED, son! Orndorff should have just run down to ringside and high-fived everyone in the front row right then, and possibly joined the Def Comedy Jam afterwards. Note: I am being sarcastic. (In case you couldn’t tell.)  Anyways, the insult is so lame that Piper and Orton have no choice but to beat the crap out of him for wasting their time with it, resulting in Mr. T making the save. – An interview with Hulk Hogan immediately afterwards reveals that in fact he trusts Mr. Wonderful with his life and completely forgives him. See, this is why I was cheering for Orndorff later on. – WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Cowboy Bob Orton. Hogan and Mr. T rip off each others clothes to show how pumped they are, as George Michael and Elton John stop having sex backstage and go “Dude, that’s pretty gay”. (That may have been a tad insensitive.) Orton tries the sneak attack to start, but Hogan sees the reflection in his own bald spot and gives him a series of bodyslams. Orton gets advice from Piper, which through the magic of digital reconstruction, is finally revealed as follows: “Make sure to train Randy as a wrestler, wait until he’s a big star, and then call me so we can leach off his talent for a few more bucks.” (Bret gives that joke a 4/10.)  Orton is so distracted by this advice that he runs into the post, allowing Hogan to go after his “injured” arm. Orton comes back with a high knee and pounds on Hulk, and the dreaded atomic drop gets two. You notice that no one ever does the non-inverted version of the atomic drop anymore, unless it’s someone like Eugene doing throwback matches? Kneedrop and elbows to the head leave Hogan down, but not for long. Hulk Up time, clothesline, elbow, but he only gets two. Hmm, that’s a rather odd change from the formula. Orton catches him with an inverted atomic drop and sets up for the superplex to finish, but Hogan blocks and drops the leg instead. Piper runs in for the DQ. (Hogan d. Orton, DQ, 6:50, *1/2) Didn’t really go anywhere, like most of the matches on these shows. The beatdown begins, but Orndorff saves, kicking off a friendship which I’m sure was destined to last until the end of time. – Cyndi Lauper and Lou Albano deliver a double-team interview so stupid that I feel my brain melting just listening to it, setting up Lauper’s “Good Enough” video from the Goonies’ soundtrack. Rather ironic since it wasn’t “good enough” to make it onto her album. It’s the video with all the wrestlers in it dressed as pirates and stuff. I can’t believe that Lauper is now a respected adult contemporary artist. – WWF Women’s title: Wendi Richter v. Fabulous Moolah. Moolah was a spry 102 at this point, while Richter was nearing the end of her title reign, although she didn’t know it at the time. (Oh, TAG!) Again another case of the music department not understanding the music, as Richter uses “She Bop”, Lauper’s tribute to masturbation. Moolah, as befitting someone who was alive during the Crusades, produces a SCROLL from the WWF Head Office declaring that Lauper is banned from ringside. Moolah pushes Wendi down and hairtosses her a few times, but stalls forever and gets dropkicked out. Back in, Moolah dropkicks her for two. Richter does the “pull her off the ropes” spot a couple of times, and reverses a slam for the pin. (Richter d. Moolah, inside cradle — pin, 3:14, 1/4*) Way too short and too crappy to mean anything. – Junkyard Dog v. Pete Doherty. Ah, the Duke of Dorchester. (Worst.  Commentator.  Ever.)  Headbutts, headbutts, headbutts, powerslam, pin, goodnight. Usual squash match for those still watching at 1:30 in the morning. (JYD d. Doherty, powerslam — pin, 3:07, DUD) – And we close with a Mother’s Day celebration, which Fabulous Moolah interrupts. I’d reveal her fate, but I’ll just note that there’s a giant cake on the table and leave you to figure it out. The Inside Pulse: This was the one that set the formula for the show and produced DRAMATIC increases in production values over their usual weekly TV, and it probably has some value for nostalgia purposes and the like. (Yeah, Dick Ebersol was kind of a genius and he pushed them kicking and screaming into the TV production era.  I bet they used a lot of the lessons here when it came time for RAW.)  As a wrestling show, it’s worthless, but then most of the SNME shows were. Recommended for nostalgia and not much else.