The Big Event

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The Big Event
The cover of the Coliseum Video release featuring Hulk Hogan
PromotionWorld Wrestling Federation
DateAugust 28, 1986[1]
CityToronto, Ontario[1]
VenueExhibition Stadium[1]

The Big Event was a professional wrestling special house show event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) on August 28, 1986, at the Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, Ontario.[2] It drew a crowd of over 74,000 fans, which was an outdoor attendance record at the time.[3][4][5] A VHS tape of the event was released later by Coliseum Home Video,[6] with commentary by Gorilla Monsoon, Johnny Valiant, and Ernie Ladd.[7] This 115 Minute tape featured edits to a number of the matches. In 2014, WWE Network made the same version of the event available on demand in the pay-per-view section (although the event was not originally broadcast via pay-per-view).


The main event heading into the event was between WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff for the WWF World Heavyweight 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 (who were managed by Orndorff's former manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan), 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 then helped Hogan to his feet, only to finish off Hogan with a clothesline and his finishing move, a piledriver. Shortly afterward, Orndorff announced he had re-hired former manager Bobby Heenan and demanded a title shot against Hogan. In the weeks leading up to the event, to help sell Orndorff's new heel character, he began using Hogan's entrance theme "Real American" and mocking him by mimicking several of Hogan's in-ring routines, such as cupping his ear to get fan reaction and flexing his muscles.

Among the other top feuds going at the time was Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat and Jake "the Snake" Roberts. Roberts' first high-profile feud since entering the WWF earlier that year, the feud began when he attacked Steamboat before their match on Saturday Night's Main Event, finishing him off by hitting his finishing move, the DDT, onto the concrete floor, before resting his snake, Damien, on top of an unconscious Steamboat, all as Steamboat's wife, Bonnie, watched in horror. Steamboat later began bringing a "Komodo dragon" as his "pet" to combat the psychological effects of Roberts' snake. While Steamboat won most of their matches, the feud ratched to a point where a "Snake Pit" match (a no-disqualification match) was commissioned.

Another top feud ongoing was The Machines vs. the Bobby Heenan-led team of Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy. The feud's main fuel was Heenan's repeated claim that one of the Machines, the Giant Machine, was André the Giant attempting to circumvent a suspension for earlier no-showing for a tag-team match against Bundy and Studd, both of whom André had been embroiled in a bitter feud. At the time, André had been suffering from the effects of a legitimate back injury and was beginning to suffer the effects of acromegaly, a health condition that resulted in his gigantism and eventually led to his death in 1993; his "suspension" also allowed him to take time off to film The Princess Bride, which would be released a year later.


No. Results Stipulations Times
1 The Killer Bees (Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair) defeated Jimmy Jack Funk and Hoss Funk (with Jimmy Hart) Tag team match 6:53
2 The Magnificent Muraco (with Mr. Fuji) fought King Tonga to a time-limit draw Singles match 20:00
3 Ted Arcidi defeated Tony Garea via submission Singles match 2:41
4 Junkyard Dog defeated Adrian Adonis (with Jimmy Hart) via count out Singles match 4:15
5 Dick Slater defeated Iron Mike Sharpe Singles match 6:24
6 Bobby Heenan, King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd defeated The Machines (Super Machine and Big Machine) and Lou Albano (with Giant Machine) via disqualifiction Six-man tag team match 7:49
7 Ricky Steamboat defeated Jake Roberts Snake Pit Match 10:17
8 Billy Jack Haynes defeated Hercules Hernandez Singles match 6:08
9 The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques and Raymond) defeated The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) Tag team match 14:51
10 Harley Race defeated Pedro Morales Singles match 3:23
11 Hulk Hogan (c) defeated Paul Orndorff (with Bobby Heenan) via disqualification Singles match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship 11:05
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match


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 and prove that he was really André the Giant who was supposed to be under suspension. Eventually, the Machines disappeared and André's suspension 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 World Heavyweight Championship was being planned, and André's health was steadily continuing to worsen. 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 Blackjack gimmick as a face, while Eadie would begin competing successfully as "Ax", one half of a new tag team known as Demolition with "Smash", a Road Warriors-inspired team of power brawlers with Kiss-type face paint. While Mulligan would fade from the WWF in early 1987, as Ax of Demolition Eadie would go on to win the WWF Tag Team Championship on three occasions between 1988 and 1990.

Downplayed at this supercard, 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Canoe – Slam! Wrestling – the Big Event 21 years later
  2. ^ Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
  3. ^ Cawthon, Graham (August 28, 1986). "WWF Show results: 1986". Retrieved August 6, 2007. The Big Event - Toronto, Ontario - CNE Stadium - August 28, 1986 (64,000; 61,470 paid; sell out)
  4. ^ "WWF Stadium / Dome Shows". prowrestlinghistory. August 28, 1986. Retrieved August 6, 2007. WF028 drawing 64,100 ($800,000)
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ (August 28, 1986). "Coliseum Video listing". Retrieved August 6, 2007. WF028 The Big Event
  7. ^ Cawthon, Graham (August 28, 1986). "WWF Show results: 1986". Retrieved August 6, 2007. Included Gorilla Monsoon, Johnny Valiant, & Ernie Ladd on commentary