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WWF Saturday Night's Main Event - March 1, 1986

by Scrooge McSuck

Hulk Hogan

- Taped on February 15th from the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ. Vince McMahon and Jesse "The Body" Ventura are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. In matches that weren't taped for the special, Pedro Morales def. Bret(t) Hart, "Superfly" Afi def. Rene Goulet, Terry Funk def. Jose Luis Rivera, and Hercules Hernandez def. S.D. Jones.

We're only 5 weeks (and change) away from WrestleMania 2, so we should expect some happenings here to help pave our way down that road. Vince and Jesse run down the card, including the Bulldogs challenging for the Tag Team Titles, Hulk Hogan defending the WWF Title against the Magnificent Muraco, King Kong Bundy vs. Steve Gatorwolf, The Junkyard Dog vs. Adrian Adonis, and Mr. T taking on Bob Orton with the Boxing gloves on. Oh, and the debut of Hogan's music video for "Real American."

Boxing Match: Mr. T vs. "Battling" Bob Orton:

Before we get to the match, we see the flashback to Piper's Pit where Hulk Hogan put Mr. T's name on the open contract for Orton's challenge. McMahon claims this is scheduled for "10 Rounds." Correction from the March 1st episode of Championship Wrestling: It sounds like they're sticking with "Battling Bob". Maybe calling him "Boxing Bob" got people worked up. Piper cuts a pre-match promo making fun of Mr. T's haircut. Also, before the match, we see Mr. T take liberties with his sparring partner. PURE BABYFACE, AM I RIGHT? In a bizarre exchange, Mr. T says; "Rocky III was just a movie", and in the same breath, says he took a dive because the other guy needed the money. OH MY GOD, MR. T IS TERRIBLE. Round 1: I love that Orton is wearing his knee pads in a BOXING MATCH. Orton attacks from behind before the bell, but it doesn't lead to any advantage. Within 30-seconds, at least T is trying to make it look like a boxing match, unlike the steaming turd Orton had with Jose Luis Rivera. That's not to say its GOOD, just not as awful. Orton manages to work in a thumb-to-the-eye spot, grinding the "action" to a halt. Mr. T's selling that eye poke harder than the discount long distance phone services in the late 90's. This has been a LONG 3:00, and finally the bell rings after a flurry in the ropes. Orton with a cheap shot over the referee's shoulder. I'm not an expert on Boxing, but that seems like grounds for automatic Disqualification. Round 2: Orton showboats to comical levels. Mr. T has so much grease over his eye its ridiculous. Orton with ANOTHER cheap shot. Piper whiffs on a shot from the apron and T knocks Orton over the top rope, and he's counted out at 1:00 of Round 2. Post-match, Piper spits at Piper and challenges him to a fight. Orton from behind with a knee to the back of the head. He pops up way too soon, so they knock him back down, putting him in position to be whipped repeatedly across the back by Piper. Ventura says it looks like "Roots 2." WOW. The match was trash, but we got a decent post-match, even though I'm not too excited about a retread of what brought us to the 1st WrestleMania.

- We come back from commercial, with Mr. T steaming mad. He says he hasn't been whipped since his momma did it to him when he was six years old. Mr. T wants Piper, and yells at Okerlund about their dastardly double-teaming.

Steve Gatorwolf vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby Heenan):

If you're following these 1986 flashbacks, then you'll notice Bundy is facing Gatorwolf for the second time on a program broadcast on March 1st. Gatorwolf's name was never mentioned as Bundy's opponent on Championship Wrestling, so you can tell how far down the depth chart he was (hint: beneath guys like S.D. Jones). Bundy quickly goes to work with a knee to the midsection and clubbing blows. Whip to the corner, Bundy crushes Gatorwolf with the Atlantic City Avalanche™, and that's enough for the FIVE count at 0:43. Post-match, Bundy grabs the microphone and yells that he wants Hogan right here, right now. If you're putting Bundy over super-strong, at least use someone with a little value to their name.

- BREAKING NEWS: Mr. Fuji will not be at ringside with his protégé, the Magnificent Muraco, on account of having the flu. We all know that Hulk Hogan was behind it, but it doesn't matter, because BOBBY HEENAN is subbing in to be Muraco's manager with Fuji nursing his illness. Hmm… Bundy wants the WWF Title, Heenan manages Bundy. You don't think... nah.

WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. The Magnificent Muraco (w/ Bobby Heenan):

Muraco is repeatedly addressed as the #1 Contender, though his stock has fallen greatly since returning in the Spring of '85, where he was used as a new challenger for Hogan before engaging in a lengthy feud with Ricky Steamboat. In the last two months, Muraco's focus on TV has been mostly on TNT doing sketch comedy rather than being presented as a serious threat to the Heavyweight Champion. This is the first time Hogan comes to the ring to "Real American", for those who have trouble keeping track of video edits made by WWE predating this show. Muraco forgoes a lockup by pounding at the midsection of the Hulk. Hogan reverses a whip and takes Muraco over with a back body-drop. He returns fire, scratching the back of Muraco, then taking a shot at Heenan on the apron. Whip to the corner and Hogan follows in with a clothesline. Hogan connects with an atomic drop, sending Muraco over the top rope. Hogan follows, giving Muraco a taste of the ring apron. Back inside, Hogan gets the better of a slugfest, with theatrics added into it. I hope Jim Cornette approves of Hogan's jazz hands, we don't want him to kill the business or something. Whip to the ropes and Hogan hooks a bearhug. That seems more like a heel spot, but whatever. Muraco escapes with a well-placed headbutt between the eyes. Muraco with knees, an elbow drop, and headbutt to the lower abdomen. He takes Hogan down with a Russian leg sweep and comes off the middle rope with the Asian spike. Hogan kicks out with authority and it's HULK UP TIME™. He no-sells Muraco's strikes and fires back with right hands. Whip to the corner and Hogan follows with an elbow. Whip, big boot, and leg drop, but Heenan rushes in for the Disqualification at 6:54. Hogan goes for Heenan, but King Kong Bundy shows up from out of nowhere and attacks Hogan. Muraco holds Hogan in place, allowing Bundy to crush him with repeated Avalanches. Bundy continues the assault, hitting the fallen Champion with multiple splashes until the British Bulldogs and Pedro Morales come to Hogan's aid. Hogan sells the beating by being taken out on a stretcher. Match was decent, but this was all about the post-match attack, with Hogan taking the worst beating he's received since becoming the WWF Champion. **1/2

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (c) (w Johnny Valiant) vs. The British Bulldogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano):

We're reminded that the Bulldogs own a non-title victory over the Champions, years before it became a standard crutch in WWE storytelling. The more I see of him, the less I care for Valiant's work as a manager. In a pre-match promo, Valiant climbs the loss meant nothing, as the purpose was to scout the Bulldogs for when the match mattered. Davey Boy and Valentine start. Lockup and Davey Boy shoves Valentine into the corner. He catches a boot and hits the Hammer with an atomic drop. He gets knocked by a pair of headbutts but ends up in the ropes. Davey Boy brings him in from the apron with a suplex for two. Whip and the Bulldogs with a double shoulder tackle for two. Beefcake gets the blind tag but Dynamite still manages to fend him off without skipping a beat. Davey Boy back in to work the arm. Whip and Davey Boy with an elbow. Valentine in and he's immediately hit with a press slam for a near-fall. Dynamite with a headbutt and knee across the face, followed by a back suplex for another two-count. Flying knee drop across the chest. Valentine and Davey Boy trade blows until Davey Boy nails him with a dropkick and cradles him for a two-count. There are some tempters flaring at ringside between Albano and Valiant as we take a break. We return with the action in the ring. Davey Boy with a missile dropkick on Beefcake for two. Beefcake pounds away and Valentine quickly applies the Figure-Four, only for Dynamite to break the hold with a leg drop. Valentine hits Dynamite low and comes off the ropes with an elbow for two. Shoulder breaker for two. Dynamite gets trapped in the corner and worked over by both Beefcake and Valentine. Valentine winds up and drops a forearm across the chest for two. He signals for the Figure-Four but Dynamite kicks him off into the corner. Valentine climbs the ropes and gets slammed down. Dynamite climbs now and hits a missile dropkick for two. Whip and Dynamite with a hooking clothesline for two. Dynamite with a snap suplex but Beefcake saves. Whip to the ropes and they smack heads, with Valentine falling on top of Dynamite for the three-count at 9:35. Great action with a finish that leaves room for a rematch.

- Gene Okerlund is hanging around outside the local medical facility and hopes to have an update on Hulk Hogan's medical condition. Hearing Vince McMahon use the word "hospital" sounds dirty.

- "Real American" Music Video premieres. It's typical WWF cheese, mixing action and public domain footage with Hogan rocking out in front of a blue screen and playing a star-spangled guitar. The first time I saw this was as a hidden bonus feature on the "Hulk Still Rules" DVD set released in 2002 and boy did it seem extra cheesy to me at that time.

The Junkyard Dog vs. "Adorable" Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart):

When it comes to the JYD, I just hope they keep things short. This is Adonis' first appearance on SNME since his makeover, and boy is he glamming it up here. Adonis cuts an anti-dog promo and thankfully doesn't call him Black Lassie like he did on Championship Wrestling. Vince declares we "GET DOWN WITH THE DOG". There's a VERY inappropriate sign facing the hard camera regarding Adonis. JYD throws Adonis, using the streamers tied around his neck for leverage. Whip to the corner and Adonis meets the post. The Dog continues to punish Adonis, trapping him in the ropes. JYD brings him in from the apron via slingshot and rakes the eyes. Whip to the ropes and JYD with a soft clothesline that Adonis over-sells like crazy. Adonis fights back from his knees with strikes to the throat. JYD doesn't appreciate being slapped and sends Adonis flying over the top rope and to the floor. He drags Adonis back in, dragging Hart in along with him. JYD sends Adonis flying with a headbutt and tosses Hart into his arms, causing the pair to take a tumble out of the ring. We come back from commercial, with Adonis still licking his wounds at ringside. Hart sweeps the legs of the Dog, causing him to miss his headbutt. Adonis traps referee Dave Hebner in the corner, allowing Hart to use one of Adonis' streamers to tie the Dog's leg to the bottom rope. Hart is suddenly the toughest man alive with the Dog incapacitated. Hebner grabs Adonis by the hair to force a break, with more dramatics from the Adorable one. KILLING THE BUSINESS! Adonis goes for a piledriver, knocking the referee down by accident. Adonis calls for Hart to use the megaphone, but Adonis ends up getting whacked with it and JYD gets the three-count at 6:20. Post-match, Adonis quickly lays out the Dog with the megaphone so that the pin-fall means nothing and the winner looks like the loser. Surprisingly good, thanks to Adonis still being in decent enough shape to bump around like a pinball. **1/2

- "Mean" Gene is standing by with Dr. Panovich for an update on Hulk Hogan's condition. BREAKING NEWS: Hogan has sustained injuries to his lower back, ribs and neck. The good news is there is no internal bleeding, but there's the possibility of a fracture and he's being prepped for X-rays.

- Recap of the incidents involving Roddy Piper/Mr. T and Hulk Hogan/King Kong Bundy to wrap things up for this edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. BREAKING NEWS: Nothing will keep the Hulkster down. Hogan is the source of that, so it's bias reporting. Saturday Night's Main Event returns on May 3rd, BUT WHAT ABOUT WRESTLEMANIA 2?!

Final Thoughts: With two hot angles featuring several of the company's biggest stars, you could say the road to WrestleMania 2 is looking a little clearer with Bundy being presented as Hogan's next challenger. Considering he's credited with taking Andre the Giant out of action, on top of this angle with Hogan, it's clear they had to do something to create buzz for a big title defense. I'm a bit surprised to see they gave a clean finish to the Bulldog and Valentine/Beefcake, though it does leave the door open for a rematch. Though meaningless when it comes to upcoming plans, even JYD vs. Adonis was surprisingly fun. Overall, a very good episode on its own, but highlighted more when watching it along in a style that follows the week-to-week production.

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