wrestling / Video Reviews

Saturday Night’s Main Event (1.3.1987) Review

November 19, 2021 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Saturday Night's Main Event Roddy Piper Gene Okerlund
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Saturday Night’s Main Event (1.3.1987) Review  

-Opening promos: Mister Wonderful is ready to watch Hulkamania die tonight! Hulk Hogan likes the idea of a match where no one can run and no one can hide! Adrian Adonis will avenge his broken arm tonight! George Steele has a surprise! King Harley Race will make JYD bow down! JYD won’t do it!

We’re in Hartford, CT, taped December 14, 1986; aired January 3, 1987.

-Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura. By the way, when I do SNME reviews, I keep forgetting to mention the weird jacket that Vince always wore on this show. So…what’s with the weird jacket that Vince always wore on this show? Am I right?

-Bobby Heenan has taken out an insurance policy on the WWF Championship belt. So, he’s paying premiums on something that he doesn’t own yet and likely wouldn’t own long-term anyway…That’s why he’s the Brain, everybody.

STEEL CAGE, WORLD TITLE: HULK HOGAN (Champion) vs. “Mister Wonderful” PAUL ORNDORFF (with Bobby Heenan)
-Joey Marella is the assigned referee at the door, but Danny Davis follows Orndorff to the ring and insists on staying at the door. Jesse suggests that having two referees present will ensure that there won’t be any controversy.

-Orndorff pulls an Orndorff as Hogan enters the cage with a sneak attack. He pulls the title belt off Hogan and whips him with it, then heads for the door. Hogan stops him and Orndorff puts the boots to him. He heads for the door again and Hogan stops him again. Clothesline by Orndorff and he decides to climb the walls instead this time, but Hogan follows him and yanks him back inside by the hair.

“Hogan would not be the champion if Mister Wonderful was bald.” – Jesse Ventura.

-Hogan starts his own climb, but Orndorff grabs the ankles to bring him back in. Orndorff drops the knee and chokes Hogan, then heads for the door, only to be pulled back again. Orndorff tries to drop elbows, but misses them. Hogan punches and punches, then heads for the door, but Danny Davis won’t open it this time. Joey Marella has to run over to unlock it, but that’s enough time for Orndorff to revive and pull Hogan away. Vince tries to play this off as chicanery by Davis, but Jesse’s level-headed response is, why would you want the door open for the entire match?

-Knee by Orndorff followed by a headbutt, then he plants Hogan’s face in the mat. Both men try to throw each other into the cage and both men are KOed as a result. They crawl to opposite walls and climb, and both men hit the floor simultaneously. This was actually a bit of video magic; in the arena Hogan actually very clearly hit the floor first, but in post-production they edited the camera shots starting with each of them on the floor and worked backwards from there.
-Big kerfuffle follows as Joey Marella declares Hogan the winner, but Danny Davis declares Orndorff the winner. Danny Davis loses his temper and shoves Marella over and Hogan goes over to voice his disapproval. Orndorff attacks from behind (knocking Davis out in the process) and rams Hogan into the cage. Marella gets fed up and declares the match a tie, and the match will be re-started when we come back after these messages!

-Orndorff continues kicking Hogan’s ass on the floor, then drags him back into the cage. Orndorff drops an elbow from the top rope and grinds a foreign object into Hogan’s eyes as Danny Davis is carried to the locker room. Clothesline by Orndorff and then Hogan kicks out (despite not being pinned) and Hulks up. Punches and chops by Hogan, and Orndorff goes into the cage walls a few times, doing the worst blade job ever in the process. It just looks like he spritzed throat spray on his face.

-Backbreaker and a legdrop by Hogan, and Bobby Heenan comes in to stop the escape. Hogan kicks him away and atomic drops Orndorff for good measure. Heenan goes into the cage as Orndorff goes for the door, but Hogan goes over the top and hits the floor first to retain the title. And then Heenan gets his ass kicked AGAIN. Fun match, fun booking, fun feud overall. And that’s the end of the Hogan/Orndorff saga. 1 for 1.

-A pre-match promo that’s always tickled me for some reason, as Mean Gene asks Steele what his surprise is and Steele grabs him by the neck, pulls him to the camera, and just yells “Surprise!”

-Steele arrives with an Elizabeth action figure, which everybody deduces to be his big surprise. Savage spikes it on the mat in irritation, so Steele just strangles and slams the hell out of him, then runs to the ropes and appears to wave “Come here!” to somebody who doesn’t show up. And really, who could blame them?

-Savage attacks Steele from behind and chokes him out, then slams him. He heads to the top rope, looking to finish, when some familiar entrance music strikes up and Ricky Steamboat sprints to the ring. Savage is distracted long enough that Steele slams him off the top rope, then sends him over the top rope. Then to really get our fill of booking, George goes outside the ring, scoops up Elizabeth, and carries her back to the locker room. Savage goes to look for her, but Steamboat blocks the aisle and Savage is afraid to fight him. We’ll go away for two minutes and see if this mayhem ends after the commercial.

-RANT TIME! When Ricky Steamboat’s music hit, Jesse Ventura went ballistic about it, arguing that it was a conspiracy against Randy Savage because it wasn’t as if “some idiot backstage just happened to start playing that music” in the middle of the match. And damn it, he’s right. I didn’t like it when the glass shattered before “Stone Cold” Steve Austin interfered in any match and I don’t like it when I watch RAW now and somebody interrupts their PPV opponent’s promo accompanied by music.

-Seriously, the next time you watch RAW and somebody’s cutting a promo in the ring and their opponent comes out to spend five minutes setting up a stipulation that could have been explained in 30 seconds, or whatever the hell it is they’re interrupting it for, close your eyes and imagine that interrupting wrestler running around backstage to get to the curtain and stopping at the production truck on his way to yell, “I’m going out there! Have my stuff ready!”

-When I worked indy shows in West Virginia as a ring announcer, I occasionally did double-duty and handled the music, too, because…well, because it was an indy show in West Virginia. And one night the promoter told me, “A beatdown’s going to happen, and the champ’s going to make the save, so have his music ready for when he comes out.” And I asked him, “Why would I have his music ready if we don’t know he’s coming out?” He saw my side and we had the champ make the save with no music, and miracle of miracles, the crowd popped anyway.

-Okay, I’m done now…Sorry, it’s just that Jesse’s anger over Steamboat’s music hit a nerve with me. It’s one of those things about wrestling that probably shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but it does.

-Back from commercial, Steamboat is still trying to get his hands on Savage. Steele suddenly returns (Well, “suddenly” after a two-minute commercial break) without Elizabeth and beats the hell out of Savage as security forces Steamboat to leave.

-Steele destroys a turnbuckle and throws the foam at Savage and the referee. He goes after another turnbuckle and gives Savage more foam, but Savage rams Steele onto the top turnbuckle and the post. Savage pounds Steele down in the corner, but Steele kicks him in the face and bites him, as Jesse begins wondering out loud what it takes for a referee to disqualify him. More biting by Steele, but Savage kicks him away and does his own biting. Savage attempts a clothesline, but Steele bites him in the arm as he comes off the ropes and then jams Savage in the throat with his foreign object. The referee tries to take it away from him and Steele shoves him on his ass, and Jesse is absolutely exasperated.

-But it’s a mistake by Steele, because with the referee down, Savage KOs him with the ring bell and the referee revives quickly and counts three for Savage to retain. Post-match, Savage decides to go back to the bell, but Steamboat arrives to stop him, and Savage retreats to the locker room. 2 for 2. What this match lacked in technical skill, it made up for in sheer fun and angle-building. Entertaining brawl.

-Harley Race makes Gene Okerlund bow down, and Bobby Heenan proclaims that they’ll make Junkyard Dog “bow-wow.”


-Danny Davis is back.

-Bobby Heenan insists that JYD bow down, and JYD obliges, only facing away from the King. Danny Davis gets in JYD’s face with final instructions and Race takes advantage with cheap shots. High knee and a kneedrop by Race for two. JYD fights back with fists and Irish whips Race between the turnbuckles and into the post. He takes a shot to the throat and Davis reprimands him in a hurry.

-Eye rake by Race and a belly-to-belly by Race. Falling headbutt hurts Race more than it hurts JYD, and JYD does the rolling headbutts and Irish whips Race clear over the top rope. Just for shits and giggles, JYD grabs the crown and cape and tries them on in the ring while Race recovers on the floor. Heenan gets pissed when he sees it and jumps JYD. That backfires naturally, and Heenan gets a proper ass-kicking until Race returns with an axehandle from the top rope.

-Race & Heenan double-team JYD, and the timekeeper just kinda overrules Danny Davis and rings the bell while Davis stands there and allows the ass-kicking to go on. JYD is declared the winner, and Davis raises his unconscious arm as Bobby Heenan keeps kicking him in a funny visual. They try to make the Dog bow, but JYD suddenly revives and knocks Heenan out of the ring, and Race heads for the hills. Davis physically restrains him and lets Race get away, and JYD has had enough. He headbutts Davis down. Barely a match and more of an angle, but Race’s bumping made it fun. 3 for 3.

-Backstage, Paul Orndorff throws a fit, and Bobby Heenan vows to take the footage to Jack Tunney and show prove that Orndorff was the winner. This was actually the set-up for Wrestlemania III, Plan B. If Andre had been in no condition to wrestle, the WWF Title would have been held up, with the winner decided once and for all at the Silverdome. But then Andre decided he’d be able to stick it out and make it to the show, and this “controversy” was dropped and never brought up again.

-Piper throws his kilt in Adonis’ face, which triggers a “skirt” joke about Adonis so obvious that Jesse takes Vince to task for making it.

-Piper Irish whips Adonis all over the place and bites him. Adonis offers a handshake, but Piper hangs onto the hand and whips him across the ring, then grabs the arm and snaps it over the top rope. Adonis desperately slugs him and rakes the chest & back. Piper fights back with fists and plants his face in the mat a few times. Adonis reverses a clothesline and goes for Goodnight Irene, but Piper yanks him out to the floor. Jimmy Hart tries to intervene and Piper punches him onto the ring apron. Referee gets distracted by Hart and Adonis blinds him with an atomizer and gets back into the ring. Blinded on the floor, Piper staggers around and can’t find the ring in time to beat the ten-count, and your winner is Adrian Adonis. They seemed to be rushing this, unfortunately. 3 for 4. This actually should have been the match that Danny Davis officiated tonight because it would have set up his association with Jimmy Hart later.

-Hulk Hogan doesn’t give a crap about Heenan’s protest and assures us that he’s “getting off” on his victory tonight. I remember seeing that video on Gawker.


-Yes, we needed a squash match instead of two more minutes of Piper-Adonis. Mulligan has some pretty awesome entrance music, though.

-Mulligan tries to wrestle with his spurs on, and Funk protests, then attacks while Mulligan takes them off. Irish whip is reversed and Mulligan clotheslines Funk over the top rope. Funk gets backdropped on the floor as we’re so pressed for time that we’re showing Blackjack’s pre-match promo with Mean Gene during the bout. He goes on rambling so long that Jesse even cuts in and gripes, “Do I have to listen to this?”

-Back to the match, Mulligan elbows Funk down for three. Yes, his promo actually took most of the match to show. 3 for 5.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Expertly-booked episode that ended the big angle of 1986 and laid the groundwork for multiple Wrestlemania III matches. And some great action for the first hour.