Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wayback WhensDay: Saturday Night's Main Event

Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm excited that WWE has added Saturday Night's Main Event to its Network.  I loved watching the show as a kid, wishing it was a regular part of the NBC lineup.  I remember when the first episode aired back in May 1985, I just happened to see an ad for it in the TV Guide (yes, I just dated myself with that reference).

At that point, all we had in terms of big wrestling shows was Wrestlemania and the two events that MTV had aired.  There was also Starrcade for NWA fans.  Otherwise, the weekly programming was mostly made up of squash matches.  We'd get a few marquee matches on Superstars or Prime Time Wrestling.  But SNME almost always featured a WWF championship match or at least a match with the champ involved.  

It was something special for sure, and in hindsight, I'm glad it didn't become a weekly or even monthly thing.  I've heard before that the show garnered great ratings for NBC in that late night time slot, even doing better than the show it replaced Saturday Night Live.

I have not had a chance to watch any of the episodes on the Network yet, but going from memory, here a few of my favorite moments...

The Battle Royal
Photo courtesy: WWE
The Battle Royal from the episode leading to Wrestlemania III.  Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant were weeks away from battling each other at the Silver Dome, but before that match up, the two ended up in the same ring on SNME.  The two started to battle through 18 other men, as they tried to get to one another.  I had just turned 14 and bled red and yellow.  I was shocked after the champ threw Paul Orndorff over the top rope, only to be grabbed by the Giant, headbutted, and the easily tossed over the top rope.  

Hogan & Orndorff in a cage
Photo courtesy: WWE
A few months before that, Hogan had defended the world title against Orndorff inside a steel cage. I thought this was the biggest threat to Hogan's title up to that point.  The two competitors climbed either side of the cage and each hit the arena floor at the same exact moment.  Orndorff claimed he won the match, but the referee saw it definitely and forced both men back into the cage.  Moments later, Hulkamania was running wild again.

A new union
Photo courtesy: WWE
There was also the night that Hogan came out thanks to Elizabeth to save "Macho Man" Randy Savage from being attacked by the Honky Tonk Man and Hart Foundation.  It was an unlikely union, but one that fans came to quickly love.  Another strange moment involved Hogan befriending "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.  Hot Rod came out after Hogan was being double teamed by Orndorff and Adrian Adonis.  This completed the Piper face turn in 1986.  I also enjoyed Uncle Elmer's wedding and Piper interrupting things. 

What are some of your favorite moments from this memorable wrestling program?  Share them here and be sure check out the archive here!

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't allowed to stay up that late in 85', but my mother taped it for me and I watched it the next morning with a bowl of Smurf Berry Crunch, the best cereal of all time!