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Turn Heel Retro: Saturday Night's Main Event Ep. 03 - Halloween Special
(WWE Network)

Turn Heel Retro

Turn Heel Retro: Saturday Night’s Main Event Ep. 3 Halloween Special

Date: Taped Oct 31st 1985 Aired Nov 2nd
Location: Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 8,000
Commentators: Vince McMahon & Jesse “the Body” Ventura

Only four weeks have passed since the hillbilly wedding episode so what we have here is its sequel. Our main event is Andre/Hogan vs. Studd/Bundy, which headlined many house shows around this time.

We kick off this Halloween special with Bobby Heenan dressed as Davy Crockett (with weasel skin hat) bobbing for pumpkins. The Brain crushes two pumpkins together and tells Mean Gene that’s what going to happen to Hogan and Andre tonight. Quick promo with Hogan and Andre who say they’re ready to fight. Jesse is with ‘Super Piper’ who says he can’t wait to humiliate the hillbillies again. Jimmy Hart’s latest protégé Terry Funk tells Gene he’s going to house train the Junkyard Dog tonight in their blow off match. Vince says a win by Funk could lead to a title shot with Hogan.

Opening theme: Vince and Jesse (wearing a peacock on his head) run down the card. Jesse is still insulting the hillbillies over Uncle Elmer’s wedding. We get footage of Terry Funk assaulting a ring attendant and another clip of Funk attacking JYD with a branding iron in MSG. The dog tells Gene today is his day.

MATCH #1 JUNKYARD DOG VS. TERRY FUNK (with “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart)

The Dog means business and attacks Funk before the bell. Funk takes a ballbuster on the top rope while Jimmy hides under the ring. Strange seeing Funk here in the WWF isn’t it? Things settle down a bit and Funk can finally take his chaps off. A slam and a headbutt by JYD and the Funkster sells like a madman. Crowd is chanting JYD. The Dog backdrops Funk outside in a classic Terry Funk spot. Back in the ring, Funk hits some right hands to take over and applies the sleeper hold. Dog escapes and grabs a sleeper of his own. JYD throws Hart in the ring but Funk gets up and nails Dog with Hart’s megaphone for the win. JYD fights off a branding attempt and plants Hart with a right hand. Dog pulls Jimmy’s pants down and drives the branding iron into Jimmy Hart’s ass.

VERDICT:  – As you can probably tell by now, Saturday Night’s Main Event isn’t so much about quality wrestling as it is about entertainment and advancing storylines. The object of this match was to present Terry Funk as a credible threat to Hulk Hogan and pretty much did that. Dog would soon go on to win The Wrestling Classic but was way past his prime by this point. JYD has to be the most over wrestler in WWF history to never win a championship with the company.

Back at the party, we get the first round of the Halloween games competition with Capt. Lou Albano (dressed as Julius Caesar) defeating King Kong Bundy (Abraham Lincoln) in a pie eating contest. Hilarious to see Sheik and Volkoff dressed as Batman and Robin. Good stuff.

Flashback to last episode’s hillbilly wedding, and it’s time now for the hillbilly clan to confront Rowdy Roddy Piper in Piper’s Pit. Roddy asks Uncle Elmer what went on during the wedding night and Uncle Elmer tells Piper “it’s none of yo damn business.” Hillbilly Jim gets in Piper’s face but Roddy blames everything on Jesse Ventura. Jesse is called to the ring and tells the hillbillies he “calls it like he sees it.” A brawl breaks out setting up a showdown for a future episode.

Back at the Halloween competition, we have Bobby Heenan facing Cousin Junior in “the great pumpkin dunk” contest. Best thing about this segment is seeing the Junkyard Dog in a Mummy costume.

Pre-match promo with King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd. The giants call themselves the un-slammable dream team. Hogan and Andre (with one-night-only manager Capt. Lou) say their upcoming match is the real competition tonight.

MATCH #2 HULK HOGAN and ANDRE THE GIANT (with Capt. Lou Albano) vs. KING KONG BUNDY AND BIG JOHN STUDD (with Bobby “the Brain” Heenan)

Unlike having separate entrances like today, the face team comes out to the ring together, as it should be. Vince McMahon calls this matchup the “battle of the beef.” Bundy and Hogan start the action. After a high knee from Hogan, he tries to pick Bundy up for a body slam but fails. Tag to Andre whom Vince calls “the big boss man” multiple times throughout the match. Andre goes for his favorite singlet choke hold on Bundy and Jesse is rightfully furious at the referee for allowing it. Tag back to Hogan who delivers a double axe handle off the second rope. The heels get the Hulkster in the corner and Studd puts the stomp down on the champion. After a botched atomic slam of some sort, Hogan makes the tag to Andre who cleans house with a series of chops, only to accidentally take out the referee in the process. Another ref takes over and we’re off for a commercial break.

Back in action, Andre throws Studd into a big Hogan boot. Massive chops from Andre, and we see the giant deliver a big boot of his own. Bundy hits Andre from behind, causing the giant to get stuck in the ropes (a spot Andre would do time and time again in his later years). With the giant helpless, the heels go to work on the champion. Studd holds Hogan’s legs while Bundy delivers his splash. Studd gives Andre the Sheamus “ten beats of the bowery” and the referee calls for the DQ.

VERDICT: – As frequently the case with SNME, there would be no clean winner as this match was designed to sell tickets for their run of house shows. The tremendous heat between these foes makes it all worthwhile.

Post match we get the world premiere of the “Land of a Thousand Dances” music video. If you’ve never seen this before, do yourself a favor and do so right now.

Mean Gene is with Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. Gene asks Macho, “Why a woman manager?” and Savage responds, “Only a blind man or a stupid man would ask a question like that,” and I have to agree, dumb question.

MATCH #3 INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION TITO SANTANA VS. RANDY “MACHO MAN” SAVAGE (with Miss Elizabeth)

IC Champion Tito Santana gets the jobber entrance. Jesse Ventura calls Tito “Cheeko” about a hundred times before the match even starts. Savage does his patented stalling routine that he mastered down south. This is a great heat generating tactic that nobody did better than Macho. Second rope elbow by Savage is followed by a double ax off the top but Santana is able to counter with a flying jalapeno. To demonstrate how truly savage he is, Macho attempts to piledrive Cheeko’s head into the concrete floor. The Hersheypark Arena is behind the champion 100% but it all ends in a double count out.

VERDICT: – Fun while it lasted but these non-finishes are starting to become annoying. Savage and Santana would go on to have some excellent matches as Macho is gunning for his IC title.

Post match we get Mr. Fuji and Ricky Steamboat preparing for their Kung-Fu challenge.

Vinnie Mac is on location at Piper Manor. The rowdy one is preparing candy for visiting trick-or-treaters. We get a glimpse of the domestic side of Mr. Piper and it’s not a pretty one. Chocolate bars made out of bricks and bowling balls wrapped to look like oversized candy apples further the impression that Piper is a sadist. The doorbell rings and Piper invites some kids in for candy. One of the kids is dressed as Hulk Hogan (complete with Hulkster tan) and Piper proceeds to ruin their candy bags with his “treats.” The kids have the last laugh when it’s revealed that the candy the kids gave Piper was actually chocolate covered red peppers. This segment was completely OTT and Piper hammed it up as the original “Candyman”.

Back at the Halloween party, Hogan says those kids were great.

Gene is with Don Muraco & Mr. Fuji, who is still preparing for the Kung Fu challenge by breaking bricks with his hands and boards with his head

Okerlund with Steamboat and we get footage of Muraco and Fuji hanging Steamboat from the ring ropes. Steamer says tonight Mr. Fuji will “Fear the dragon.”

MATCH #4 KUNG FU CHALLENGE: RICKY STEAMBOAT VS. MR. FUJI (with Don Muraco)

I remember watching this Halloween special back in the day but must have fallen asleep before this Kung Fu challenge as I remember none of this. Chop and kick fest to start and Jesse says he has “no idea if this is even good Kung Fu form or not.” Headbutt and a big chop by Fuji. Steamboat makes a comeback and…a suplex? Ok, the Kung Fu is thrown out the window and a missile dropkick from Steamer gets the win. Muraco throws salt in Steamboat’s eyes and the heels deliver a post match beat down. Jesse says, “It’s not how you play the game; it’s if you win or lose.”

VERDICT: – Not quite the embarrassment I was expecting and they were smart to keep it nice and short.

The final event in the Halloween games is the pumpkin pass. The face team gets the win and Macho freaks out at Liz. Ventura calls Capt. Lou a “big fat sloppy pig” and wants to fight the hillbillies on the next episode.

Vince and Jesse recap the evening to the tune of Monster Mash.

FINAL THOUGHTS: As a wrestling show, this episode was not great. It would still be awhile yet before they would find the right mix of wrestling and entertainment. As of now it’s still an entertainment show with some wrestling on the side.

DISCLAIMER: These reviews are just my opinion. Feel free to disagree with me and point out any mistakes I may have made. My goal is to spark a bit of nostalgia for us older fans and maybe generate some interest from younger fans to check out these classic shows on the WWE Network.

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