The 5th Saturday Night’s Main Event show took place about 5 weeks before Wrestlemania 2 and was used to build angles leading up to the big show. Not much to this show: Mr. T faces Bob Orton in a boxing match, Hulk Hogan defends the world title against the Magnificent Muraco, and the British Bulldog challenge the Dream Team for the tag team titles. The sit was Phoenix, AZ with hosts Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura.
The show opens with Mr. T working the heavy bag and I must say there is a huge difference between him in 1985 and 1986. It just seemed like his time had past and going back to that well wasn’t going to work quite so well. His feud with Roddy Piper would continue, with Bob Orton serving as proxy here. Even though Hogan was shown to have set up this match, he is not with T for the bout probably to keep him away from Piper since that had run its course for now. Hint hint. This is every boxing match in the wrestling world you’ve ever seen, with Piper taunting between rounds and T getting in some big shots. T wins by countout, which doesn’t seem like a valid boxing finish. Orton sneaks up on T with a knee as Piper was jawing and the beatdown continues with a whipping. Crowd is looking for a save, but Hogan’s apparently too busy. Oh well.
King Kong Bundy is with his manager Bobby Heenan and shows why he needed a manager to talk for him. His “I want Hogan” just struck me as kind of funny.
King Kong Bundy vs Steve Gatorwolf: Total squash match, and this was during the time when Bundy insisted on a 5 count to spike the ball. Ventura says Bundy wants it just to avoid controversy. If you recognize Gatorwolf from somewhere, you may know him from such trials as his child sexual assault case from 2015 and subsequent conviction.
Magnificent Muraco is with Gene Okerlund and looks like an extremely bloasted Bobby Moynihan character. Mr. Fuji isn’t with him because he has the flu and they humorously show Fuji laid out backstage. We need more footage of heels being sick. Bobby Heenan will be with Muraco because he is the main foil for Hogan, same as it ever was. Hogan gives his usual promo, and today is wearing the ultra rare combo of yellow trunks with white knee pads.
Hulk Hogan vs Magnificent Muraco: Hogan has control early, but Muraco gets his offense in and eventually scores with the Asiatic spike. After some more offense but not his tombstone piledriver, we see the Hulk up. Big boot, and the leg drop but Heenan is in for the DQ and gets choked out in response. Bundy waddles in and now Hogan’s in trouble and no one will save him. Muraco holds him in the corner for some Bundy avalanches, then some splashes with Muraco pushing Bundy on the way down for added force. I remember seeing a tape of this when I was 9 and thought it was pretty effective. Fans are throwing stuff in the ring, very unusual for WWF in this era. They say Hogan is headed for the hospital, which is language they don’t use anymore because they don’t want fans calling.
British Bulldogs vs Dream Team for tag titles: The Bulldogs won a non-title match previously so the chase is truly on now. They have Capt. Lou Albano to counter Luscious Johnny Valiant on the other side. They beat the living crap out of Valentine for a while and trust me when I say that pre-injury to Dynamite Kid, the Bulldogs are probably the most fun team to watch ever. The Hammer gets a tag to Brutus Beefcake after hitting an inverted atomic drop. Brutus does his strut that he would do as the barber but fans hate it now. Albano and Valiant face off outside as they throw to commercial on the broadcast.
When they come back, Beefcake is in trouble and Davey Boy hits a missile dropkick. Ventura points out that “the champs are just not on tonight” which is true, they haven’t had much offense. Valentine is in and gets a figure four on Smith, but Dynamite comes in and leg drops Hammer. Loved that. Valentine takes back control with the strangest looking 2nd rope elbow ever, then a shoulderbreaker. Figure four try is kicked off this time, then Hammer goes up top but is slammed off. Tag and Dynamite explodes with a missile dropkick of his own, landing flat on his back too. Jeez, no wonder why he wore down. Then the beautiful snap suplex that Chris Benoit would also use. Things break down for a second, then Hammer and Dyanmite run the ropes and collide head on head, with Valentine landing on top and scoring a fluke 1-2-3. Pretty good match, was a fluke win that foreshadowed the finish at Wrestlemania 2 which was billed as the Bulldogs last shot at the titles.
Okerlund tells us he has no info from the “emergency trauma center” in a change of verbiage. They throw to the debut of the Real American video and holy nostalgia. Yes, this is includes the part where the kids rush Hogan when he’s parking his motorcycle. Personally I love two parts: when Hulk is chroma-keyed over historical places like the Liberty Bell and Statue of Liberty, and when he crumples up the picture of Khadafy. The missile launch is also a bit much.
Junkyard Dog vs Adrian Adonis: The Dog is a regular on the early SNMEs and Vince says “Yeah! Get down with the Dog!” as only he can. This is a matchup of two guys whose weight ballooned in the mid-80s, and both guys tragically died young in auto accidents. Vince compares Jesse to Adonis in term of attire, to which Ventura takes offense. I guess the East-West Connection is dead. Adonis would always bump like crazy, getting tied in the ropes, etc. JYD does some gay baiting which doesn’t quite hold up 30 years later. JYD hits Jimmy Hart and Ventura says the Dog is a bully and I concur. Dog misses a headbutt and Hart ties JYD’s leg to the bottom rope. An Adonis choke is stopped by referee Dave Hebner, who GRABS ADONIS’ HAIR. What in hell? Karma steps in when Hebner gets hit by JYD’s feet on an Adonis piledriver try. Jimmy Hart holds up the megaphone on the apron, but Adonis gets thrown into it. JYD covers for 1-2-3 but Adonis literally kicks out at 2.95. Very strange finish.
They wrap up with a doctor telling us Hogan has rib, lower back, and neck injuries and he will be going for X-rays. Jeez that was fast. Health care was different in 1986. That would be the story for the Hogan-Bundy Mania 2 match, which is actually better than most people remember. I liked it because it was a rare chance for Jesse Ventura on play by play with a very game Elvira on color.
Summary: A lot of stuff happened here, but I just wasn’t feeling it outside of the Bulldogs match, and even then their Mania 2 match is probably better. Pass on this one and just go look up British Bulldogs matches from the 1984-86 era on YouTube.