Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
Here we are, less than six weeks away from the return of a staple of my youth: Saturday Night's Main Event. In fact, tickets go on sale this Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Cobo Arena box office. If you live in Detroit Rock City or the surrounding area, I urge you to go. BE A PART OF HISTORY!
You remember when you were a kid, and your parents always wanted you in bed by a certain time? Mine were like that, but when it came to wrestling, they'd always let me stay up late on Monday nights to watch Prime Time Wrestling on USA. And when they came around, they'd let me stay up late to watch Saturday Night's Main Event too. To me, nothing was more exciting than that. I'd usually fall asleep somewhere shortly after midnight anyway, so I'd have to watch the end of the show the next morning on tape.
I even got to go to a Saturday Night's Main Event once; my parents bought me tickets to an SNME taping in Hartford as a Christmas present in 1986. That was the night Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff fought for the WWE Championship in a Steel Cage Match. On that same SNME, Adrian Adonis fought Roddy Piper, Randy Savage took on George Steele and Junkyard Dog faced Harley Race; some of the events of that night ended up in the video history packages before their matches at WrestleMania III, and since that's one of my favorite shows of all-time, I still pop today when I watch it.
Saturday Night's Main Event has a rich history of big moments. Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson ended Demolition's near 18-month reign as World Tag Team Champions in 1989, and HBK won the Intercontinental Championship from British Bulldog on the last SNME back in November 1992. Uncle Elmer got married on one of the early episodes of SNME, and of course, no one who was a fan in the 1980s will ever forget the first time Hogan and Randy Savage formed an alliance, thanks to the Honky Tonk Man nearly taking out Elizabeth with a guitar shot.
As the return of SNME gets closer, there will be even more good stuff from the past showing up here on WWE.com. Right now, you can take a look back at the full results history, and there will be some more videos of great SNME moments that the crack staff is putting together. I figured, however, that since you all love my list so much, I'd run through a few of my favorite SNME moments. Since I can't really rank them, I'll just chose a handful and put them in chronological order.
December 19, 1985: Hulk Hogan defeats Terry Funk to retain the WWE Championship. I was a huge Hulkamaniac, and I'll admit it; watching "The Brawl to End it All" on MTV with my cousin is what got me into WWE in the first place. Over the years, Terry Funk ended up becoming one of my favorite wrestlers. I guess, sadly, that I liked him so much in 1985 because he had a cool action figure that came with a branding iron. Of course, I didn't know that he was a former NWA Champion, nor did anyone know he'd end up winning the World Tag Team Championship a dozen years later with Mick Foley. Still, the term "dream match" always gets thrown about, and these are two names that are usually in the middle of those conversations. I had the pleasure of meeting Terry recently, and I told him that I had a special place for this dream match in my wrestling heart. Terry's response was a less than subtle "Damn kid, of all the matches I wrestled, you remember that?" Hey, he's middle aged and crazy, I forgive him. I just wonder what Terry's good friend Dennis Stamp thinks about it.
November 28, 1987: Randy Savage vs. Bret Hart. Again, the words "dream match", "little did we know", and the names Savage and Hart come to mind. Back then, Savage had just become friends with Hulk Hogan and was still about six months away from becoming WWE Champion. Meanwhile, Bret was "just a tag-team wrestler," and he and Jim Neidhart had just lost the World Tag Team Championship to Strike Force about a month before. Bret and Savage have also always been two of my favorites, and I LOVED the Hart Foundation as a kid. This match was incredible, and Savage got the win with a small package.
July 29, 1989: The Brain Busters win the World Tag Team Championship from Demolition. As I said earlier, this is one of only two title changes to ever happen on SNME…and this one infuriated me to no end. Demolition, who may be tied with the Hart Foundation for the slot as my favorite tag team ever, had been champs since WrestleMania IV the previous April. All of a sudden, here came Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson, a thinking man's tag team fresh out of the NWA. They beat Demolition by DQ on the previous SNME, and this time, they got a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match with the DQ rule waived. Sure enough, Demolition got disqualified in the second fall, thanks to Smash beating up Bobby Heenan. Then, in what may be the biggest miscarriage of justice ever, Andre the Giant came out and gave Tully a chair; Tully then nailed Smash in the head with it to get the pin, winning the third fall and the gold. Of course, Demolition would make all right in the world again a few months later, so it turned out okay. Wow, I'm amazed I could work in so much Gorilla Monsoon in this paragraph.
And finally, my all-time favorite SNME moment: Every show opening from 1985-1989 or so. Oh come on, you can't tell me you didn't get pumped up listening to that! The song was "Obsession" by a group called Animotion, but my friends and I never knew the name until much later, and of course, we didn't care. All we could remember were the opening notes…DA! DA-DA DADA! DA DADADADA, DADADADADA DA! SNME was never the same after they changed that song. Not surprisingly, I have both versions sitting in my iPod. I can only hope that the new Saturday Night's Main Event begins with a montage of Superstar promos and a catchy theme song.
I won't spoil anything you might see later on WWE.com, so that you can watch the video in your own context. Still, was that a good trip down memory lane or what? Just think, in only a few weeks, people will be tuning in for the return of a great thing. Only now, Saturday Night's Main Event is moving to primetime, so this generation won't get to hear the words Don Pardo made famous: "Saturday Night Live will not be seen this week, so that we can bring you this special broadcast." Man, I'm pumped already.