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Saturday Night’s Main Event Countdown: #3

The SmarK Retro Rant for Saturday Night’s Main Event #3 (11/2/85) – I skipped over this one when I was doing my massive SNME run last time because the video quality was pretty bad, but since I’m a completist at heart and I’ve got an hour to kill, I figured I’d give it a go anyway. The sound is pretty low on the DVD so I’ll have to extrapolate from the picture only, like for instance the opening montage of the wrestlers in costumes only slightly gaudier than their regular outfits, which suggests a Halloween show. See, this is easy!  (I am nothing if not the consummate professional.)  – Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura. Opening match: Terry Funk v. Junkyard Dog This is the result of Funk beating up a ringboy, possibly to send a message about testifying against Terry Garvin and the consequences thereof, and then moving his aggression to JYD because that’s what they do in the south. Or so the liberal media has taught me. I mean, we all know that the Funks vote Republican. Terry bails and comes back in with a slam, but misses an elbow, and Dog tosses him again, expressing the rage of black men and ringboys everywhere! Who says Vince doesn’t understand the black viewer? Headbutts and Funk bails again as this is going nowhere, much like my agonizingly forced running gag, and Funk slugs him down for two. Oh man, two punches, he’s in trouble now. Sleeper, but JYD makes the ropes and comes back with his own. Funk, once the sleeper, is now the sleepee, and Jimmy Hart runs interference, allowing Funk to hit Dog with the megaphone and pin him. Luckily, he’s unable to follow up and brand him, because that would be too racist even for the 80s. (Terry Funk d. Junkyard Dog, megaphone — pin, 4:28, 1/2*)Meanwhile, Mean Gene hosts a pie-eating contest, which gives us Sheik and Volkoff dressed as Batman and Robin, thus making this worth the price of admission alone. The participants are a toga-wearing Lou Albano and Abraham Bundy. Hulk Hogan standing behind Captain Lou dressed as a gladiator makes me wonder just what kind of sick Halloween party this was, anyway. – And now, it’s Piper’s Pit time, with special guests George Bush and his cabinet. No, sorry, it’s actually the Hillbilly family. See, I was going for some Red State humor there. Anyway, I can’t hear the conversation so I miss the fascinating details, but it draws out Jesse Ventura from the announce booth and sets up a six-man tag on the next show. The Hillbillies stomp on Jesse’s hat to REALLY show they mean business.  (That’s like 0.5 Brock Lesnar on the hat destruction scale.)  Meanwhile, it’s bobbing for pumpkins with JYD and Macho Tarzan seconding Bobby Heenan and Cousin Luke. Liz playing Jane? I’m there. Bobby wins a clean match, surprisingly. – Hulk Hogan & Andre The Giant v. Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy When they hyped “The Dream Team” before the break, I was hoping to see a tag title defense by Valentine & Beefcake, and then they went and shattered my dreams with this. Hogan loses a shoving match to Bundy, but slugs him down and tries a slam in retribution. Man, he just can’t take any loss well, can he? Corner clothesline and Andre comes in and chokes Bundy out, wrestling essentially the same way he would as a heel later on. Hogan goes all aerial with a flying axehandle, although even Haystacks Calhoun would look like an X-division worker next to the other three. Studd tries to take over, but Hogan gets an atomic drop and the “Dream Team” works him over in the corner. Sadly, the ref is bumped, and it’s a big brawl as the faces clean house and we take a break. Back with Andre locking the bearhug on Studd and then whipping him into Hogan’s boot from the apron, as they show the kind of sportsmanship that all kids can learn from. Andre adds his own boot and it’s another big brawl, leaving Andre tied up in the ropes as per usual while Bundy beats on Hogan. But fear not, because he makes the comeback and the heels run away and all is right with the world again. (Hogan & Andre d. Studd & Bundy, countout, 5:43, DUD) I know they couldn’t give away the house show main event on free TV, but that was barely even a match. Hogan’s entire heat segment consisted of him getting splashed by Bundy while Andre was tied up in the ropes. – And now I’m really sad that the sound is bad on this DVD, because we get the video for Land of a Thousand Dances with all the cheesy adlibs by the singing wrestlers. I wonder how many takes they needed for their “spontaneous” lyrics? And poor Bret Hart doesn’t even get a wacky line, as he’s forced to look vacantly at the camera while Jim Neidhart gets to ham it up. Of course, it’s likely that 70% of my audience demographic wasn’t even born when this came out and thus has no idea what the fuck I’m talking about, but that’s the chance I take every day. Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. Randy Savage Oh, cool. Savage escapes a couple of lockup attempts before taking him down with a cheapshot out of the corner, but Santana comes back with a hiptoss. Savage pops up and goes up with a double axehandle for two, however, before hitting the chinlock. At 1:30? Suck it up, Macho Man. Tito is sadly unable to loose himself from the power of Savage’s vice-like grip, and Macho slams him and goes up again, but this time gets caught coming down. Tito fires back and goes for the flying forearm, but Savage wisely runs away and they brawl on the floor until the bell rings. (Tito Santana draw Randy Savage, double countout, 4:10, 1/2*) This has not been a banner night for wrestling action, I’ll tell you that much. Luckily, Savage would go on to win the belt in a much longer and better match in February 86. – And now, a classic bit of stupidity, as Roddy Piper teaches us how to properly enjoy Halloween, like wrapping bowling bowls up as candy apples and disguising bricks as chocolate bars. Sure, it’s cartoonishly evil, but that’s the charm of it. Now, he’s just a cartoon, and that’s much sadder. This of course leads to a payoff of Piper abusing a kid dressed as Hulk Hogan and stealing his candy. – We conclude with the “Kung Fu Challenge,” as Mr. Fuji and Ricky Steamboat engage in the closest thing to mixed martial arts that the WWF would ever see. Steamboat gets a series of kicks into an enzuigiri, but Fuji comes back with his headbutt to the groin. Steamboat chops him down again, but Fuji uses a biel by the jaw before Steamboat reverses a suplex and goes up to finish with the missile dropkick, a staple of all kung fu exhibitions. Shockingly, Magnificent Muraco attacks afterwards and they fuck him up good. The Pulse: The Halloween stuff is pretty funny, but the in-ring stuff is less amusing. Take a pass.