I have absolutely no idea what is about to happen on my television screen. Chronologically, we are less than a year from when I would be born, and the only context that I have for this episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event is having seen clips of the Uncle Elmer wedding every now and again. However, we are definitely into uncharted territory.
Not having the expanse of wrestling knowledge as Chris Mullet, I fear that this section of the diary could become a barren wasteland of one-liners and set-ups that eventually outstay their welcome. So, I’m going to try a different approach and use this section exactly as it’s titled. A diary. Just a few lines about my personal life, and I’ll still try to bring it back around to the show at hand.
September 25, 2014
This past weekend is still in my thoughts. My college improv troupe/club, Theatre Strike Force, celebrated its 25th Anniversary and every element was intoxicating (through endorphins or otherwise). Now I am back home in the city I recently moved to, and the realities of not having landed a job yet are starting to sink in. I’ll stay diligent on that search, but while I do have this precious free time, I should watch and log as much archived wrestling as I can. This is my free-time duty, and I will not (and shall not) take making light of Nikolai Volkoff’s barrel chest lightly! Tally-ho!
#2 – SATURDAY NIGHT’S MAIN EVENT: OCTOBER 5, 1985
THE FIRST THING YOU SEE: “Classy” Freddie Blassie, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, and Nikolai Volkoff standing in the weird “not-really-backstage-because-we-can-see-the-crowd” area. Volkoff, dressed like one of the guards in snow in Rocky IV, is holding the Soviet flag.
-Close up on Volkoff as he sets up the title match with Hulk Hogan for tonight. Volkoff had a weird-ass tongue.
-“Gobeldy-gook, incomprehensible Russian accent, yada-yada-yada, I’LL PUSH THE MISSLE BUTTON.” Very subtle, Nikolai.
-Hogan promo about, well . . . what is it ever about? The important thing is that he was wearing that sweet “American Made” tank that I’m surprised they’ve never tried to bring back.
-OH HELL YES. I’m ready for the first nationally televised wedding since Tiny Tim and Miss Vicky in 1969! AND we get to watch Uncle Elmer wrestle beforehand!
-“Rowdy” Roddy Piper wedding crashes the party early with hay in his hand and cuts a promo on the bride and groom. And, of course, it’s good until Piper is interrupted mid-sentence by the show opening.
-Vince McMahon welcomes us to the Meadowlands Sports Complex and runs down what seems to be pretty lengthy cards considering there’s still a wedding to get to.
-Alongside Vince, Jesse Ventura is letting his bald flag fly tonight.
-Vince sends it down to the ring for, of course, Volkoff singing the Soviet National Anthem. I guess we’re starting off with the title match.
-Hogan coming out in all white (after Labor Day, no less) to Stars and Stripes Forever has an incredibly different feel than coming out to Real American.
MATCH NUMBER ONE: WWF Heavyweight Championship Match – Nikolai Volkoff w/ “Classie” Freddie Blassie v. Hulk Hogan (Champion) w/ an American Flag
-This match has started with Hogan still wearing the title.
-I can’t help but see a blonde and balding Bo Dallas with Hogan wearing all this white.
-The word “running” is allergic to this match.
-“We’re seeing no scientific wrestling in this matchup, whatsoever.” –Vince McMahon. MVP of the Show so far.
-In the most athletic thing I’ve seen The Hulkster do on American soil, he bounces off the wrong ropes and has to change his body direction in mid-air to hit the leg drop on Volkoff and . . .
WINNER: Hulk Hogan by pinfall to retain the title.
-Hulk Hogan then goes on to do the following to the Soviet Flag: rip it off of the pole, spit on it, shine his boots with it, throw it on the floor, spit on it again. International diplomacy is running wild.
-Post-match interview Hogan Highlights: Calling Volkoff “baby doll,” “wrestlers are nice people, too,” and seemingly honest excitement to see Okerlund playing the organ in the wedding.
FINAL WORD: Surprising is the word for this match. It was fast-paced (considering) and told a very brief story (considering), and Volkoff had some decent work in this match (considering). It was definitely an opening match.
-Cut to the bride’s room in the back and—hold on, do we even know who this bride is? Are we supposed to know?
-Over with Mean Gene accompanied by Uncle Elmer, Hillbilly Jim, and, perhaps my new favorite name in wrestling, Cousin Junior.
-Hillbilly Jim is either the most competent person of the three by looking like he wants to be there and knows what he’s doing there, OR Elmer and Junior are the most intense method actors ever by acting JUST LIKE two Appalachian hillbillies that are scared shitless to be on “the TV.”
-I didn’t know you could find people based off of the Country Bears Jamboree.
MATCH NUMBER TWO: “Gentleman” Jerry Valiant v. Uncle Elmer w/ Hillbilly Jim & Cousin Junior (barefoot)
-Jerry runs with a full head of steam towards Elmer for the . . .
WINNER: Uncle Elmer wins via body slam into a pinfall.
-We’ve just seen history as The Fink announces that match set a new WWF record as the shortest at just six seconds. Erasing King Kong Bundy’s mark from earlier that year, Vince then throws to that match.
-Elmer then garbles something into Okerlund’s microphone.
FINAL WORD: That was one hell of a wedding gift.
-Who cares about those celebrities, though? Rush them off the camera and let’s get to The Body Shop!-Vince talks about celebrities being in the crowd like some douche bag from NBC. Behind him is Arnold Schwarzenegger.
-Remember when I made mention that Jesse Ventura was plain bald for this episode? Well, now he looks like an Arabian, a pimp, and a fly all at the same time. He makes it look like Bobby Heenan got his sequins jacket from Men’s Wearhouse.
-Paul Orndorff tries to eat Okerlund’s microphone.
-Piper gets the full bagpipe procession for the second ever SNME. Not too shabby.
MATCH NUMBER THREE: “Mr. #1derful” Paul Orndorff v. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper – Bobby Heenan has placed a $50,000 bounty on Orndorff’s head.
-This is one ugly-ass brawl.
-Piper and Orndorff brawl all the way to the backstage area by way of under the broadcast platform with Vince and Jesse.
RESULT: Double count out??
-I never heard a bell, but Piper retreated to a locker room and then it was thrown to commercial teasing the wedding. So I’m going to assume this is over for now.
FINAL WORD: This was rough city.
-We’re in the ring with Uncle Elmer as Mean Gene is playing the bride down the aisle . . . WHO IS THIS WOMAN??? There is nothing redneck or hillbilly gimmick-y about her!
-Ventura just drops the name on us! JOYCE! Closure is such a powerful thing.
-Babyfaces surround the ring. Hogan in his finest tux, Andre the Giant in his finest gear.
-Captain Lou does NOT have buttons on his tux. They are rubber bands! That’s commitment!
-Oh, bullshit, Cousin Junior put on shoes for this! That’s it, I’m out.
-Vince is having a stellar night by his standards as he and Jesse absolutely crap all over this wedding, and it’s helped out because it sounds like the mics shouldn’t be on.
-OH MY GOD! Joyce is in the middle of her vows and someone, with Greg Maddux-like accuracy, FUCKING NAILS JOYCE RIGHT IN THE FACE with some sort of throwable object (definitely not a tennis ball)!!! Joyce then no-sells the shit out of it and keeps on with her vows! This hurts me to say, but this Waffle House Shift Leader is our new MVP of the Show.
-Jesse, not missing a beat, calls that object a sign from the heavens . . . I think he may have thrown it.
-Ventura described the kiss best as looking like “two carp going after the same piece of corn.”
-We get a look at the reception area where hay, pigs and chickens abound.
-Down to the interview area with King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd, and Bobby Heenan.
-Did Bundy never have eyebrows or did he actually shave them for all those years? I sure hope it’s the former.
-Andre the Giant makes his way to the ring. Supposedly Tony Atlas is behind him.
MATCH NUMBER FOUR: Andre the Giant & Tony Atlas v. King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
-Oh! Land of the Giants! Now I get that expression!
-The only move for the full first 30 seconds of this match was Andre choking the shit out of Bundy. Some corner moves and chokes him again. Andre Heel Tactics #1 & 2
-The ring literally doesn’t look big enough for the amount of person in there.
-What a mess.
WINNERS: Andre the Giant & Tony Atlas via Disqualification.
-Bundy and Studd commence with the mugging of Andre, and Hogan comes out (in a tux!) to make the save. I can’t believe I didn’t notice this before, but it actually fits the occasion this time—under Hulk Hogan’s Seth Rollins-type pants are Cowboy Boots. I hope he’s good for that at least once an SNME.
FINAL WORD: With all of those guys in the ring at once, it’s hard not to get the idea of the spectacle of “Giants.” That said, if they were being exposed on a weekly basis plodding around like that, I think even the fans back then would clamor for something more.
-Vince throws it to a video pre-tape from the field to “Jungle” Gene Okerlund in full safari garb in a tiger-striped Ford Bronco.
-This could either get very racist or very silly.
-OK, he’s looking for George “The Animal” Steele at the Detroit Zoo. WHEW!
-Okerlund proceeds to give us the most context to any of the stories told on the show tonight dating back (ding) to the first SNME and then the segment when Captain Lou tried to get Steele some electro-therapy or something of that nature.
-This segment is great. I highly suggest seeking this out or just trying to go to a zoo with George Steele.
-Back to the arena, and “Leaping” Lanny Poffo & Tony Garea are in the ring waiting for their Tag Team Title match.
-Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Brutus Beefcake, and “Luscious” Johnny Valiant are in the interview area with Mean Gene. Looking at Valiant make me wonder if there was a store or a catalog or someplace specific that wrestling managers in the ‘80s ordered their clothes from.
MATCH NUMBER FIVE: WWF Tag Team Championship Match – “Leaping” Lanny Poffo & Tony Garea v. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (Champions) w/ “Luscious” Johnny Valiant
-Lanny Poffo looks like Tony Orlando.
-The ex-champs, Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo, are just sitting in the crowd. Windham has an eye patch on, selling the foreign object use that cost them the titles.
-Say what you will about Beefcake (and I’m sure we all have), but his wrestling gear game was definitely ahead of the curve.
-Lanny Poffo with a flurry of offense that culminates in a moonsault! With the first show of acrobatic athleticism in SNME history, if you keep that up, Mr. Poffo, you may earn yourself an MVP of the show!
-Poffo’s desperation to get the tag and overall “taking-of-the-heat” makes me really appreciate the much-overshadowed Poffo boy. Fuck it, I’m itching to give an actual wrestling-based MVP of the Show to Lanny Poffo.
-Cut back to the U.S. Express, and Windham has taken the eye patch off. Come on, man. You had one job tonight and you couldn’t hack it. I don’t care if this is petty, but Barry Windham, for your lack of commitment, you sir, are now the LVP of the Show.
-Valentine locks the Figure Four on Garea, and that’s the ballgame.
WINNERS: Valentine & Beefcake by submission to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
FINAL WORD: Leapin’ F’N Lanny Poffo! Get outta town!
-Back from commercial, and we are deep in the middle of the reception. For the second straight episode, a cake looms in the background.
-I’d love to see how much thought went into these table placements.
-I see a few glasses of beer, so it looks like there could be a decent open bar.
-Captain Lou is teaching Cousin Junior eating strategies and now, almost 30 years later, is also teaching me to always eat with your left hand. You can dunk with it, you can grab butter, and it keeps your right hand clean for patting friends on the back.
-Lanny Poffo gives a poem as his wedding gift, which would have been sweet had it not ended with a shameless NBC plug. MVP Status Revoked, Poffo!
-Ladies and Gentlemen, Tiny Tim.
-Ventura gets up there with a poem of his own, does his thing, and gets chased into the cake for his troubles.
-Vince and Hulk set up the next Saturday Night’s Main Event with Hogan and Andre taking on Bundy and Studd.
-Vince signs off with banjo music, and the newlyweds dancing in the background. Credits.
-I think Lou Albano and Cousin Junior hooked up after this wedding.
THE LAST THING YOU SEE: Uncle Elmer making out with Joyce.
THE WRAP UP
FINAL MVP OF THE SHOW: Vince McMahon
FINAL LVP OF THE SHOW: Barry Windham
MY FAVORITE SEGMENT: George “The Animal” Steele at the zoo.
MY LEAST FAVORITE SEGMENT: Roddy Piper v. Paul Orndorff
WWE HALL OF FAMERS ON THE SHOW: 16 (Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper, Big John Studd, Tony Atlas, Greg Valentine, Johnny Valiant, Nikolai Volkoff, George Steele, Freddie Blassie, Barry Windham, Captain Lou Albano, Paul Orndorff, Jesse Ventura, Mean Gene Okerlund, and Howard Finkel)
DEARLY DEPARTED ON THE SHOW: 7 (Andre the Giant, Big John Studd, Uncle Elmer, Cousin Junior, Jerry Valiant, Captain Lou Albano, and Freddie Blassie)
FINAL THOUGHT: These shows seem to be all fast-paced and don’t allow for you to get bored often. The matches are quick and the segments are usually entertaining for some reason or another. Watch this episode if not just for Joyce getting nailed with a flying object and the George “The Animal” Steele in a zoo segment. RICH RECOMMENDS.
NEXT TIME: We already have been advertised the big-time tag team match, but what I see in the thumbnail is even better . . . it looks like the #HalloweenCreep1985 will run wild on NBC!