wrestling / Video Reviews

Saturday Night’s Main Event (11.29.1986) Review

September 26, 2021 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Hulk Hogan Saturday Night's Main Event 5-27-1989
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Saturday Night’s Main Event (11.29.1986) Review  

-Taped November 15, 1986 at the Sports Arena in LA, CA. Aired November 29.

-Opening promos: Jesse Ventura is excited to be hosting the show from Hollywood! Jake Roberts & Damien are going to squeeze the title off Randy Savage! Randy Savage tells Elizabeth that if he loses tonight, it’s her fault! Koko B. Ware is going to drop some bombs on Nikolai Volkoff! Rowdy Roddy Piper is the “toughest son of an unnamed girl” you’ll ever see! The Hart Foundation will kill the Killer Bees by swatting them, spraying them and giving them a Hart Attack! Hulk Hogan talks about things!

-Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Toupee” Ventura.

-One of the things to look forward to about this episode is that it has the greatest collection of spaced-out, insane promos from the WWF Superstars ever seen in a single broadcast. We start right off with Jake Roberts sneaking up behind Gene Okerlund and sticking Damien right in his face, causing him to blurt out “Good god, Roberts!” Jake tells the viewers at home that he’s like Hailey’s Comet, because he’s going to take what he wants and he can’t be stopped. And he wants Randy Savage to remember that when he’s getting his hair dry-cleaned tomorrow. Meanwhile, Gene is so scared of Damien that his hands are shaking, leading Jesse to say afterward that he made the microphone look like a vibrator.

-Randy Savage is going to make a “Jakeskin belt” after defending his title tonight, and if Mean Gene isn’t careful, Randy will use him to make the buckle.

INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: RANDY “Macho Man” SAVAGE (Champion, with Elizabeth) vs. JAKE “The Snake” ROBERTS
-It’s a super-rare-for-the-era heel vs. heel bout. Usually, on the rare occasions you see them, one will take the role of face for one night only. Neither man changes his act for this match, and Vince & Jesse discuss the possibility of the fans picking a side, with both of them predicting that the fans are going to cheer for Randy Savage…but a MASSIVE “DDT” chant goes up during the entrances, and Vince & Jesse are both completely thrown by that. I think this combined with the killed Hogan/Jake “Snake Pit” segment was enough to tip everyone off that there was some potential in a babyface Jake. They actually totally could have done that right here too. It’s a week after the Savage/Steamboat match and they could have done the Nikita Koloff thing, with Jake gaining respect for Steamboat after their feud and stepping up because he’s disgusted by what Savage did, but even as I type that, it hits me…no, wait, he’s THE SNAKE, nothing disgusts him. Nevermind.

-Jake chases Elizabeth around the ring with Damien. Randy actually tries to defend her honor briefly, but when Jake waves the snake at him, Randy runs away and hides behind Elizabeth. They finally get the snake back in the bag and the match starts. \

-Jake tries to work the arm, but Savage pulls hair, and Jake pulls hair in return. Armdrag by Jake and Savage backs off until he nearly steps on Damien and freaks out. Side headlock by Jake into a snapmare, and both men start yanking again. Start yanking HAIR again. Great spot there, it’s just metabolically in both guys to cheat, so neither one of them could gain an advantage.

-Jake suddenly goes for the DDT and Savage bolts out of the ring. Jake chases him back in and boots him. Savage backs him in the corner and throws punches. Jake reverses an Irish whip and gets a boot to the face on the charge, and Savage gets two. He rams Jake’s face in the mat and goes for another pin, just wanting to get the hell away from the Snake.

-Savage tries another pin for two. Kneedrop gets another two. Punches are exchanged and Savage drops a forearm on Jake’s head (which Vince calls a “brainbuster”). Savage keeps going for the pin and keeps getting two counts. Jake starts mounting a comeback, so Savage ties his arms in the ropes, then grabs Damien’s bag and hides it under the ring, and we’ll be right back!

-Back from commercial, Jake is still tied in the ropes and Savage is still hiding Damien under the ring. In other words, we didn’t miss two minutes’ worth of action.

-Savage gets back in the ring and Jake unties himself and kicks Savage in the face as soon as he returns. Jake goes under the apron and retrieves Damien. He goes back to Savage takes him down with a short clothesline for two. Gourdbuster gets two. And another two. Jake keeps throwing punches and the crowd is going nuts for him. Hard kick by Savage, but Jake punches him down. Jake goes for the DDT again and Savage gets to the ropes and dives out of the ring. Jake follows him out and Savage hides behind Elizabeth. Jake goes to get Damien and Savage sneaks up behind him with a knee to the back. Top rope axehandle on the floor by Savage, and he sends Jake in the ring for another top rope axehandle for two. He up top again and Jake is ready for him with a punch. More punches and kicks are exchanged and Savage sends him out to the floor with a shot to the ribs. Fistfight on the floor and both men go back into the ring to keep it going. Both men lose their temper and shove the referee across the ring (with a GREAT sell by Hebner) and that triggers a double-DQ. With nothing to lose now, Jake grabs Damien and sends Randy Savage running. I’m out of breath. 1 for 1.

-By the way, even though Howard Finkel is ring announcer as always, it should be noted that Lee Marshall is at ringside for some reason tonight.

-We look at Bobby Heenan buying Hercules’ contract from Slick, in exchange for a ridonkulous stack of bills.

-We go to Hulk Hogan cutting the most batshit promo of his life. Hercules Hernandez “looks like the real Hercules!” He’s been hanging out in the Garden of Eden with his main squeeze Eve, he dove 20,000 leagues under the sea and hung & bung on the Titanic to train for tonight’s match, and (points to his hand) THIS IS WHERE THE POWER LIES! He says it again and mugs at the camera for good measure. Back to ringside, even Vince & Jesse admit that they don’t know what the hell Hogan was talking about.

WORLD TITLE: HULK HOGAN (Champion) vs. HERCULES HERNANDEZ (with Bobby Heenan)
-Test of strength to start, and Hercules actually wins that, until Hulk gets fired up, looking right into the camera and bugging out. Hercules sees the comeback coming and picks Hogan up in a bearhug, then rams him into the corner. Series of forearms and elbows by Hercules, but Hogan reverses an Irish whip and gets a clothesline. Series of punches and a high knee by Hogan, and he takes time out to chase Bobby Heenan around the ring, into the ring, and out of the ring. Bodyslam by Hogan, but an elbow misses and Hercules drops a knee. Irish whip and Hogan is writhing.

-Jesse throws a fit about Dave Hebner officiating again after the bump he took in the last match, suggesting that he’s not fit to be a referee right now. Hercules with a bearhug and (after what appears to be an edit) a backbreaker. Torture rack by Hercules, and he suddenly drops Hogan and raises his arms, thinking Hogan submitted. Jesse agrees, but the disoriented Hebner insists he didn’t. Hercules goes for the pin, and you probably know what happens next. Ooooh, Hulk actually mixes it up tonight, with an axe bomber and turnbuckle shots. Chop, boot to the face, and a legdrop, and the Hulkster retains. 2 for 2. Very typical Hogan match, but he made Hercules look good and actually kind of elevated him (and dammit, isn’t that what a champion should do?), and both men kept it moving. Post-match, Jesse says, “I know what Hogan means by ‘This is where the power lies!’ He has that referee in the palm of his hand to save his title!”

-Jesse Ventura, on location at his favorite restaurant, interviews a shirtless Bob Orton. They briefly discuss the gas that burritos give them before Bob Orton tells Piper that he has no chance with no one to hide behind.

-We cut to a music video, set to “You’re a Friend of Mine” by Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne (I’m watching this from original broadcast), highlighting the Piper/Orton friendship. They use a heart outline to transition from the arena to the video, but what makes this truly funny is that they were heels together, so as we’re listening to this song about what friendship means and how much friends care about each other, we’re watching these guys whip Mr. T with a belt. They also actually manage to find two different clips of Piper kissing Orton, which adds a new layer of weird to this feud.

-Speaking of new layers of weird, here’s Rowdy Roddy talking about all the trouble he once went to talking a prostitute into going out with Orton. Orton’s only talking tough because he knows that “Fat Albert” Muraco is in his corner.

ROWDY RODDY PIPER vs. COWBOY BOB ORTON (with Jimmy Hart & Magnificent Muraco)
-Muraco & Orton are in kilts again. Vince wonders if Piper is in any condition to wrestle after being attacked by Adrian Adonis on “Superstars of Wrestling” earlier that day. Muraco wastes no time trying to interfere, so Dave Hebner makes him leave. Slugfest erupts in the ring and naturally Piper wins that. Bulldog by Piper and Orton backs off into the corner. Piper follows him into the corner and bites him. Irish whip and Orton Flair-flips. Eyepoke and an uppercut by Piper, followed by a knee for two. Orton comes back with an uppercut and an elbow. Stomachbreaker and a fistdrop get two. Elbow gets two. Another elbow misses. Jimmy Hart grabs Piper from the apron to attempt some double-teaming, but Piper breaks free, rams Orton into Hart, and rolls Orton up for a three-count. Disappointing, actually. And when the biggest Piper mark ever says that, you can believe it. 2 for 3.

-Mean Gene talks to the Hart Foundation, and it’s a historic night, as the Harts debut the pink tights. Bret’s account was they walked into catering wearing the new gear and Vince’s eyes popped out, with the boss declaring on the spot that a trademark look was the one element that the team lacked, and ordering them to always wear pink from now on. Gene suspects that the Harts’ plan is to win the match so they can become the top contenders for the Tag Team Titles. That’s why you’re a journalist, Gene.

KILLER BEES vs. HART FOUNDATION (with Jimmy Hart)
-Bret throws punches at Brunzell but gets caught with a high knee and the Bees work the arm. We cut to a pre-taped interview where Gene gets into an argument with the masked Bees about which one is Brian. Jesse blames NBC executive Dick Ebersol for the confusion. Thanks, Jesse.

-Back to the match, Bret catches Brunzell with a knee to the back and Brunzell is caught in the wrong corner. Decapitator gets a two-count…What the hell, it’s STILL Hebner acting as referee! Chinlock by Anvil as Vince notes the Harts’ new look (the pink tights). Bret & Anvil take turns choking Brunzell. Backbreaker by Bret, but an elbow misses. Bret gets frustrated at being unable to finish him off and sends Brunzell to the floor, which is just about the worst thing you can do when you’re wrestling the Killer Bees. We’ll be right back!

-Buy beer!

-Back to the show, Brunzell sunset flips back in and nearly gets a three-count. Bret quickly tags in Anvil. Anvil ties up Brunzell with a front facelock. Bret returns and gets caught in a backslide for two. Five-star dropkick from Brunzell and Anvil tags back in. Tag behind the referee’s back, referee won’t allow it, and the Harts clear the ring. The Bees whip out the masks. One of the Bees (obviously Blair, actually) re-enters and cleans house. Sleeperhold nearly finishes, but Bret breaks it with a double axehandle. The Bees switch out and Bret gets caught immediately in a cradle for three. 3 for 4. As a rule, these guys never had a bad match together…but what was with Bret being made to look totally inept throughout?

-Koko B. Ware, the only wrestler who ever has to look up at Gene Okerlund, talks to Frankie about traveling all over the world. Koko looks into the camera and blows really hard for some reason. Then he does it again. And again.

-Slick says Koko had better beware! He must have spent hours trying to think of that.

KOKO B. WARE vs. NIKOLAI VOLKOFF (with Slick)
-Slick distracts Koko long enough for Volkoff to attack. Koko starts throwing punches. Weird-looking monkeyflip by Koko (Volkoff sells it, but it actually ends up looking like it should have killed Koko). Volkoff comes back with a throat-first press slam on the top rope. Kneedrop misses and Koko connects with a missile dropkick for two. Volkoff gets a backbreaker but picks Koko up at two. Slick calls Volkoff over to tell him something, and Koko gets up and rolls Nikolai up for the win. 3 for 5. Seriously, THAT was the best finish they could think off?

-Steven Bochco, Brandon Tartikoff, and Dick Ebersol are enjoying the show at ringside.

-Hulk Hogan says he won’t be around forever. Care to put money on that, Hulk?

-And now, a Wrestlecrap favorite, Mr. Fuji sings “Dixie.”

DICK “The Rebel” SLATER vs. MAGNIFICENT MURACO (with Mr. Fuji)
-Muraco attacks quickly, but Slater escapes an airplane spin and rolls up Muraco for two. Right hands by Slater, followed by an elbow. Elbow off the top rope get two when Fuji puts Muraco’s foot on the rope for him. Slater goes off the ropes and Fuji hooks the foot to trip him up. Clothesline by Muraco and he pins Slater, poetically with his own foot on the rope for leverage. Nothing special. 3 for 6.

-End of show. Oh, and a woman is going to discover the secret to growing large pumpkins…but what else she learns will shock you. Tune in to “Amazing Stories,” Monday!

5.5
The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
For those of you who watched this in 1986 and went to bed right after the IC Title match, you didn't miss anything. Those promos are something special, though...
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Adam Nedeff