Badseed's Bottomline #360:
Oh, The Memories
Hey yo! I remember when I was a kid and discovered wrestling. I needed to quench my thirst for wrestling in every possible way. Saturdays were my favorite days of the week. I had Wrestling Superstars in the morning, Wrestling Challenge in the afternoon and Wrestling Spotlight at night. Peppered in the day were WCW Wrestling, GLOW and UWF. But every few months, Saturday became a little more interesting, because on those Saturdays, NBC threw out Saturday Night Live for a day and presented us with our free PPV-like events; Saturday Night’s Main Event.
During the day, Wrestling Superstars and Wrestling Challenge may have given us one good match, and even title changes at times, along with great interview segments and Wrestling Spotlight at night presented us with some great arena show highlights that were fun to watch, but Saturday Night’s Main Event was an hour and a half of great matches that could have easily been on a PPV today.
I would count down the hours and I was never disappointed. Whether it would be The British Bulldogs getting screwed out of winning the titles from The Dream Team leading to their classic Wrestlemania II rematch or watching Hulk Hogan get branded by Terry Funk leading to a singles rematch and then another battle where Junkyard Dog teamed with Hogan to take on The Funk Brothers, Saturday Night’s Main Event presented classic moments every three months. Here is a list of some of my favorites:
Prior to Wrestlemania II, Hulk Hogan took on Don Muraco who was using Bobby Heenan as his manager for that one night. During the match, King Kong Bundy attacked Hogan, squashing him several times and possibly injuring him to the point where he could possible lose the belt in their cage match main event at Wrestlemania. On the same show, Mr. T boxed Bob Orton, Jr. resulting in Roddy Piper viciously attacking Mr. T before they would have a boxing match at Wrestlemania II. That one particular Saturday Night’s Main Event was one awesome show.
On another show, Jake “The Snake” Roberts attacked Ricky Steamboat and DDT’ed him on the concrete floor leading to Steamboat vs. Roberts in a Snake Pit Match, which saw Steamboat bring out a Kimono Dragon to battle Snake’s pet Damian. Jake Roberts would also fight Randy Savage on another episode just as Roberts was about to turn face. It was the first time I saw to heels battle one another. Really cool.
Savage would officially make a mega-face turn on Saturday Night’s Main Event when he battled The Honky Tonk Man and ended up being attacked by HTM and The Hart Foundation. Elizabeth ran to the back and brought out Hulk Hogan to make the save, leading to a handshake and the formation of the Mega Powers. On the next show, three months later, Savage would go on to fight Bret Hart for a little revenge. The match would go down as a classic battle that truly demonstrated Hart’s singles wrestling skills and featured some of the best storytelling I have ever witnessed in a match.
On another show, Hulk Hogan would battle Paul Orndorff in a cage match that saw them both escape the cage at the same time leading to the first ever restart. Danny Davis, the evil ref, tried to cheat for Orndorff, but Hogan was able to get the victory over his former friend, turned arch enemy. Hogan would make a lot of Saturday Night’s Main Event appearances and fought the Big Bossman in another cage battle that featured Hogan superplexing Bossman from the top of the cage in what was the Holy Shit moment of that generation. Strangely, another memorable Hogan appearance occurred against “The Genius” Lanny Poffo that led to Mr. Perfect destroying Hogan’s belt with a hammer. Hogan also showed up on Saturday Night’s Main Event to save Piper from a beating at the hands of Adrian Adonis and Bob Orton, Jr., which was surreal at the time, because Hogan and Piper had been such heated rivals.
Other great matches saw Demolition battle the Brainbusters, the Ultimate Warrior and the Legion of Doom battle Demolition and The Rockers, Hart Foundation and Demolition; three face teams at the time, getting into an altercation during a Hart Foundation vs. Rockers match. This particular incident occurred during a time when triple threat matches had not yet been born, making it even more cool to witness. Hercules vs. Hogan was a fun match in its time. The Ultimate Maniacs battled Money Inc. in an interesting altercation, HBK beat Davey Boy Smith for the IC title in a great match, Sid Justice turned on Hogan leading to their big Wrestlemania VIII main event and Randy Savage beat Jake Roberts leading to the Undertaker turning face and saving Elizabeth from a brutal attack at Roberts’ hands.
Saturday Night’s Main Event spawned some Friday Night Prime Time Main Event shows, which featured Hogan losing his world title to Andre The Giant when Dibiase paid for an evil twin referee to screw Hogan out of the belt. It would be the end of Hogan’s four-plus year reign and lead to a tournament at Wrestlemania IV for a belt that ended up vacated when The Giant gave his title to Dibiase. The Primetime Specials also led to the split up between The Mega Powers resulting in the Wrestlemania V main event that saw Hogan regain that belt from Savage, who had won it the previous year in the tournament. Another special saw Buster Douglas knock out Savage after he lost to Hulk Hogan in a rematch. Mike Tyson was supposed to be the ref and ended up replaying that role in a Wrestlemania match between HBK and Stone Cold Steve Austin.Saturday Night’s Main Event came to an end because of the steroid scandal that saw NBC pull out of supporting the company. FOX showed some support by including the show every once in awhile, but that soon fizzled. And now it will return on NBC in March. Will it be the same? With Monday Night Raw and Smackdown featuring Main Event style matches every week and PPV’s being shown each month, as opposed to one, then two, then three, then finally four times each year back in the show’s heyday, can it still be special. I don’t know, but there is still excitement thinking about it. More wrestling to watch. I feel like a kid again.
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