The Big Event
|The Big Event|
The cover of the Coliseum Video release featuring Hulk Hogan
|Tagline(s)||The Biggest Event of All Time|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||August 28, 1986|
The Big Event was an event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) on August 28, 1986, at the Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, Ontario. It drew a crowd of 74,000 fans, which was an outdoor attendance record at the time. This stood as an attendance record for a wrestling show until WrestleMania III. A VHS tape of the event was released later by Coliseum Home Video, with commentary by Gorilla Monsoon, Johnny Valiant and Ernie Ladd.
The main event heading into the event was between WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff for the WWF Championship. Hogan and Orndorff's friendship became emphasized on the WWF's syndicated television programs throughout the summer, and eventually Adrian Adonis – host of the talk show segment The Flower Shop – began stirring up trouble between the two when he planted a suggestion that Orndorff was living in Hogan's shadow, calling him "Hulk Jr." and that he had gone soft by teaming with Hogan. With a series of seemingly minor incidents involving Hogan irritating Orndorff, the two eventually accepted a challenge match with Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy, where Orndorff allowed Studd and Bundy to illegally double-team Hogan for an extended period of time before finally clearing them from the ring; Orndorff helped Hogan to his feet, only for Orndorff to finish off Hogan with a clothesline and a piledriver. Shortly afterward, Orndorff announced he had re-hired former manager Bobby Heenan and demanded a title shot against Hogan.
The Hogan-Orndorff feud continued to rage into the fall of 1986, with Orndorff – as he did at The Big Event – using Hogan's entrance theme "Real American" as his own theme. Eventually, the two settled their differences in a series of steel cage matches. The most highly publicized cage match took place in December 1986, and aired on Saturday Night's Main Event, where at one point Hogan and Orndorff both simultaneously exited the cage and their feet hit the floor (a condition of winning the match); when video replays proved inconclusive, the match was restarted, with Hogan eventually getting a decisive victory. The Hogan-Orndorff feud would be named Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine's Feud of the Year for 1986, by a vote of the magazine's readers.
The Machines continued to feud with the Studd-Bundy tag team, with Heenan's wrestlers never able to unmask the Giant Machine. Eventually, the Machines disappeared and André the Giant's suspension (which had resulted from an earlier "no-show" for a tag team match with Studd and Bundy) was lifted, to the unexplained approval of Heenan. In real life behind the scenes, the storyline for André's eventual heel turn and demand to face Hogan at WrestleMania III for the WWF Heavyweight Championship was being written, and André was beginning to suffer the effects of acromegaly, a health condition that resulted in his gigantism and eventually led to his death in 1993. The Hogan-André storyline would begin playing out in January 1987, while the other two members of the Machines team – Blackjack Mulligan and Bill Eadie – would adopt new gimmicks. Mulligan reverted to his normal brawler gimmick as a face, while Eadie would begin competing as Ax in a new tag team known as Demolition, a Road Warriors-inspired team of power brawlers with Kiss-type face paint.
Downplayed at this supecard, but soon getting more and more hyped, was the feud between Hercules Hernandez and Billy Jack Haynes, two wrestlers who had feuded in several other organizations they had competed in at the same time. The feud began heating up in earnest in the late fall of 1986, culminating in a "Full Nelson Challenge" at WrestleMania III.
- Canoe – Slam! Wrestling – the Big Event 20 years later
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- Cawthon, Graham (1986-08-28). "WWF Show results: 1986". thehistoryofww.com. Retrieved 2007-08-06. "The Big Event - Toronto, Ontario - CNE Stadium - August 28, 1986 (64,000; 61,470 paid; sell out)"
- "WWF Stadium / Dome Shows". prowrestlinghistory. 1986-08-28. Retrieved 2007-08-06. "WF028 drawing 64,100 ($800,000)"
- Brian Shields (2006). Main event – WWE in the raging 80s (4th ed.). Pocket Books. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-4165-3257-6. "The Big Event emanates from Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium. Over 74,000 fans set an outdoor attendance record"
- Cohen, Eric. "WrestleMania VI". about.com. Retrieved 2007-08-06. "In 1986, the WWF held an event at the CNE Stadium that became the largest attended wrestling event (eventually eclipsed by WM III)."
- prowrestlinghistory.com (1986-08-28). "Coliseum Video listing". Retrieved 2007-08-06. "WF028 The Big Event"
- Cawthon, Graham (1986-08-28). "WWF Show results: 1986". thehistoryofww.com. Retrieved 2007-08-06. "Included Gorilla Monsoon, Johnny Valiant, & Ernie Ladd on commentary"