And pumpkin passing.Saturday Night’s Main Event #3
Date: November 2, 1985
Location: Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura
Something you might notice about these matches is how fast all of them have gone. Up to this point there have been nine matches in the show’s history and none have broken seven minutes. It’s going to be a bit before anything breaks ten minutes and that’s going to take a two out of three falls match. These shows were designed to be fast paced and to keep the viewers from getting bored. It’s a very different style of wrestling than you get today where fifteen minute matches are fairly common. Let’s get to it.
This is the Halloween special so we open with Bobby Heenan in a Davy Crockett outfit bobbing for pumpkins. Gene asks him about the tag match later and Heenan crushes two pumpkins together as an illustration of what’s happening to Hogan and Andre.
Hogan and Andre say they’re ready.
Super Piper and Jesse loved how they interrupted the wedding and can’t wait for Piper to humiliate the Hillbillies in Piper’s Pit tonight.
Jimmy Hart’s newest protege Terry Funk is ready to take care of Junkyard Dog because it could lead to a WWF Title shot against Hulk Hogan. Funk spits his tobacco juice on the camera.
Vince runs down the card and brings in Jesse for more insults about the wedding.
We look back at Terry Funk attacking a ringside attendant over the summer, showing just how insane he truly was. Jimmy Hart says that was a special effect made to make he and Funk look bad. Funk says they have branding to do.
We get a clip of Funk attacking Junkyard Dog with a branding iron in Madison Square Garden to set up the next match.
The Junkyard Dog says that was Terry Funk’s day, but this is his.
Junkyard Dog vs. Terry Funk
The Dog jumps Funk before the bell and Jesse is aghast. Funk gets crotched on the top rope and Jimmy is hiding under the ring. Things settle down a bit with Funk getting his chaps off but missing an elbow drop. Dog holds him up for a slam and drops him down onto the floor in a big crash. Funk is so messed up that he almost hits Jimmy by mistake.
Back in and Dog punches him right back out to the floor but Jimmy trips Dog from the floor. The Dog goes after him and even backdrops Funk on the concrete. They head inside again and Funk nails a few right hands to take over and we hit a sleeper. Dog escapes and grabs one of his own, only to have Jimmy come in and drop the megaphone, allowing Funk to knock Dog silly for the pin.
Rating: D+. This was just a bunch of punching and then the ending but it did exactly what it was supposed to do. Funk looks like a more serious threat to Hogan and thankfully is more than just a big monster for Hogan to slay. The Dog wasn’t much at this point but he would soon win the Wrestling Classic to give him some momentum.
Post match the villains try to brand Dog but he fights them off and rips off Jimmy’s pants before branding Hart.
We go to the first round of the Halloween games competition with two teams captained by Lou Albano and Bobby Heenan. The teams are wearing costumes with Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth as Tarzan and Jane, Nikolai Volkoff as Robin, Heenan as Davy Crockett, King Kong Bundy as Abraham Lincoln, Iron Sheik as Batman, Tito Santana as Zorro, Hulk Hogan as Hercules, the Hillbillies as the Three Musketeers and Lou Albano as Julius Caesar.
The first contest is a pie eating contest with Albano vs. Bundy. Whoever wins the most pies in ninety seconds wins and it’s of course a huge mess. Gene Okerlund (dressed as a pumpkin) declares Albano the winner. Bundy says the contest is fixed but Albano wants another piece of pie.
We look back at Piper and Ventura messing with the wedding.
It’s time for Piper’s Pit with the Hillbillies as guests. Elmer isn’t interested in talking about the wedding night or family planning because it’s none of Piper’s business. Jim gets in Piper’s face but Piper blames everything on Ventura. If that’s the case, why doesn’t Jesse come out right now and say it to Elmer’s face? Ventura does just that and says he called it as he saw it, triggering a big brawl. The Hillbillies crush Jesse’s hat, setting up a showdown in the future.
Back to the competitions with Bobby Heenan vs. Cousin Junior in pumpkin bobbing. The only item of note here is Junkyard Dog as a mummy. Savage and Santana are holding the bags for the their respective team members and Randy is VERY excited about Bobby getting his first pumpkin in. Heenan uses his hands and wins by a score of 7-4.
In the arena, Heenan brags about his win and the giants call themselves the unslammable team. They’re the real dream team (not to be confused with Beefcake and Valentine of course) and are going to prove it to Hogan and Andre.
Hogan and Andre say this is the real competition tonight. They know they can win a fair fight. Albano is their manager for one night only.
Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant vs. King Kong Bundy/Big John Studd
Bundy and Hogan shove each other around to start and Hogan drops him with a clothesline for one. A slam doesn’t quite work and Hogan might have hurt his back. It’s fine enough for another clothesline though and here’s Andre to choke Bundy with the strap like he did last week. A right hand staggers Bundy and it’s back to Hogan for a middle rope ax handle as the heroes are in control.
That doesn’t last long though as Bundy gets Hogan into the corner for a stomping from Studd. In unrelated news, Jesse wants to team up with Piper to face the Hillbillies at the next Saturday Night’s Main Event. Hogan gets over to the corner for a tag to Andre and the Giant cleans house. The referee gets decked so we get a replacement as the heels are knocked to the floor and we take a break.
Back with Andre putting Studd in a bearhug before sending him into Hogan’s boot. A Hogan clothesline puts Studd down and it’s back to Andre to just run John over. Bundy sneaks in (well, as sneaky as a 440lb man can be) and knocks Andre into the ropes, triggering a big brawl and a DQ win for Hogan and Andre.
Rating: D+. This was designed as a big showdown tag but they couldn’t have a clean win to keep things going for the house show. That was the rule of thumb for wrestling shows back in the day as we haven’t quite gotten to the point where television was the main focus of the business model.
Andre says he wants more of the giants.
We get the Land of 1000 Dances music video, featuring most of the roster getting to say a line. This was the first WWF music video and it holds up quite well for its sheer insanity.
Randy Savage doesn’t like being asked why he has a woman for a manager. He’s ready for his Intercontinental Title shot too.
Intercontinental Title: Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage
Tito is defending but doesn’t even get an entrance. The champ takes Savage up to the ropes to start but the referee quickly breaks it up. Savage hides in the ropes as the referee, who might stand 5’2 on a stack of phone books, admonishes Santana again. A knee lift puts Tito down but he comes back with a hiptoss, only to miss an elbow.
Savage jumps up to the top for an ax handle and two. We hit the chinlock but the fans are entirely behind the champ. Another top rope ax handle is blocked by a right hand to the ribs and Tito is all fired up. Santana hammers away but Savage bails to the floor. That’s fine with Tito who goes out after him, resulting in a double countout.
Rating: C-. This was fun while it lasted but it’s getting old with nothing getting anything sort of a finish. These two could and did have some excellent matches for the title in the upcoming months as Savage continued to become a bigger deal in a very short period of time. This needed a few more minutes though and it suffered due to the time constraints.
Mr. Fuji and Ricky Steamboat prepare for their kung fu challenge.
We go to Piper Manor where Piper makes candy apples out of bowling balls and chocolate bars out of bricks. He doesn’t care for Vince referring to him as a native of Scotland because natives live in Africa and have sticks through their nose. Piper hates children ringing his doorbell but answers the door and invites some kids into his house. He really doesn’t like the kid dressed as Hogan and destroys their bags with his “treats”. The kids leave him candy but reveal that they’re chocolate covered red peppers. This is totally over the top but Piper looks like the most evil man in the history of ever as a result.
Hogan thought what those kids did was great.
Mr. Fuji breaks bricks with his bare hands and a board with his head.
We see Mr. Fuji and Don Muraco choking Steamboat a few weeks ago.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Mr. Fuji
This is a kung fu challenge. A lot of people remember Fuji only as a manager but he actually held the Tag Team Titles five times and had the most combined days holding the belts. They use what is called kung fu to start with nothing but chops and kicks as even Jesse says he has no idea if this is in good form or not. Fuji takes over with a kick that may have been low but Steamboat erupts on him to put Fuji down. Some elbows and chops give Fuji control again but they start using suplexes to throw the kung fu out the window. Steamboat ends him with a top rope kick to the chest in a short match.
Rating: D+. This was far less embarrassing than the usual mess we get in boxing matches. They were smart enough to keep this short instead of making it go on and on. It helped that Steamboat got a clean win instead of something silly, but it’s not like many people were watching in the first place.
Fuji and Muraco beat Steamboat down post match.
It’s time for the final event of the games: the Pumpkin Pass. The wrestlers and Elizabeth were even nice enough to change back into their costumes after putting on their gear for their in ring segments. The idea here is you put a pumpkin under your chin and pass it to your partner with the most successful passes winning. This goes by quickly with the good guys winning five passes to four, despite the bad guys cheating. Savage freaks out on Elizabeth, blaming her for the loss.
Jesse and Vince recap the evening to the Monster Mash song to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. The backstage stuff saves this from being a disaster but it’s still just ok. This continues to not be much of a wrestling show but much more of an entertainment show with some wrestling on in the background. They’re doing a better job of setting up stuff for the next shows though, which to be fair is much easier with a month or two between shows rather than six months, which is an eternity in wrestling.
The key thing to the backstage segments is how they may be insane, but they make perfect sense for this cast of characters. They take us out of the arena for a bit and show us these people in a different environment, which makes things a lot more interesting. Compare this to today’s product where you have the ring, the backstage interview area, the office and the locker room. Other than those places, you almost never see anything different. Just something as simple as going to Piper’s house made this feel more authentic and shows you that there’s a world outside the arena for these people to explore. That would be useful today.
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