January 2, 2009
Alexander Settee

Championship Wrestling
July 19, 1986, Taped June 24, 1986, Mid Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Bruno Sammartino

We’re going to take a look back at the show that featured one of the hottest heel turns in the history of the company.

Opening Match: Macho Man Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Eric Cooper

Savage is still supposed to be a heel here, but you’d never know that from the huge positive reaction he gets. I don’t get why it took them so long to turn him. Cooper tries a side headlock, but Savage cheap shots him on the break and hangs him in the Tree of Woe. Savage works him over there for a bit then gets him out and nails a suplex. He covers, but pulls Cooper up as he’s not done with him. Cooper gets tossed to the floor, and Savage comes down with the double ax off the top. Back in, Savage nails another double ax, followed by a bodyslam and the flying elbow to finish at 2:37. Savage was always entertaining, even in quick TV matches. ½*

Update with Mean Gene Okerlund. He talks a bit about the Machines and shows some footage of them wrestling in Japan. As he’s talking, someone in a mask comes in and bangs his head on Gene’s desk.

The American Express vs. Al Navarro & Gino Carabello

Here we have Dan Spivey and Mike Rotundo billed as “The American Express” before presumably copyright issues forced a change to “The US Express”. Spivey and Carabello are in first, with Spivey getting fired off and nailing a shoulderblock. Between these four shows I’ve now seen that spot enough for a lifetime. Spivey then gets a backdrop and tags Rotundo who hits a flying headscissors. Carabello catches a boot, but then takes an ensiguiri. He gets the tag to Navarro anyways who hammers away but gets taken down for 1. Tag to Spivey, who comes in with an elbow from the top as Rotundo holds. He then tags back and lets Rotundo come off the top as he holds Navarro. Tag back to Spivey, who hits an elbow off an Irish whip. He tags again and sends Navarro off into a Rotundo dropkick. Rotundo tags and sends Navarro off into a Spivey bodypress for 1. One more tag back to Rotundo, and he uses an airplane spin and that gets the 3 count at 2:47. ½*

The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff vs. Jimmy Jackson & Don Driggers

Driggers and Sheik go first with Driggers coming off with a shoulderblock (sigh!) but then running into a clothesline on the second attempt. Sheik gets a backdrop and tags Volkoff who nails a kneelift and rams Driggers into Sheik’s boot. Couple more quick tags by Sheik and Volkoff before Driggers also gets over and tags. Jackson gets some shots in on Volkoff to no effect. He then takes a spinkick and Volkoff presses him into a backbreaker. Tag to Sheik who nails a back suplex and hooks the Camel Clutch for the submission at 3:07. DUD

Sivi Afi & King Tonga vs. Lane Anderson & Gary Semones

Tonga and Semones start out. Semones gets in a few shots, but Tonga counters a hiptoss to one of his own. He hits a slam, and then gives one to Anderson as well. Anderson gets the tag, but comes right into a hiptoss. Tag to Afi, who gets sent off, but hits a shoulderblock. Next he gets a drop toehold and a slam followed by a dropkick. Tag to Tonga, who nails a kick and then tags right back. They do a spot where Tonga hiptosses Afi onto Anderson just like the Invaders did back in the 83 episode. Afi hits a slam and tags again. Tonga forces Anderson to the corner to tag his partner, so now he works over Semones a bit. He then forces another tag and whips Anderson back to his own corner. Tag to Afi, who tags right back without actually doing anything. Afi sends Anderson off the ropes into a Tonga crescent kick. Splash then finishes Anderson off at 2:50. Nice fast pace to the match with some good moves by Tonga and Afi thrown in. *

Hercules Hernandez is the special guest on the Flower Shop today. Pretty ridiculous interview as he talks about how he’s the real Hercules from like 2000 years ago and all the Greek gods he’s been hanging out with lately.

Main Event: King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff & Hulk Hogan

Oh yeah, big angle coming up here. Before the match we see Hogan and Orndorff backstage discussing some of the recent issues between them, but they’re ready for the match. Hogan noticeably jumps out in front of Orndorff during the entrances. One we get in the ring, Orndorff tells Hogan that he’s gonna start and indeed he does with Studd. Orndorff blocks a shot and knocks Studd back. Stud goes for a slam, but Orndorff slips out and gets a sunset flip for 1. Orndorff reverses a hiptoss attempt and gets one of his own. Studd tags Bundy, who comes in and hammers Orndorff. He hits an elbow off an Irish whip, but a splash misses as does at attempted Avalanche. Tag back to Studd. Orndorff calls for a bodyslam, but can’t get it. Studd sends him off the ropes, but he comes off with a dropkick to send Studd to the floor. Bundy takes one as well to go back out and Orndorff makes the tag to Hogan. A slugfest breaks out between him and Studd, but Hogan whips him to the corner and then he gets the bodyslam. The announcers play up that Orndorff is clearly upset that he’s been upstaged by Hogan doing what he failed to do earlier. We take a commercial break, and return with seemingly nothing having happened as Hogan starts going back to work on Studd. He hits Studd with an atomic drop, followed by a clothesline in the corner. Another corner whip follows, but this time Studd comes out with a clothesline of his own. Tag to Bundy and the double team is on. He drops a knee on Hogan for 2 and then hits a slam. Hogan comes back with an eye rake. Studd is back in now and Hogan nails him with a headbutt, but he knocks himself back right into Orndorff who goes crashing to the floor. Now the double team in the ring continues on Hogan with Studd shoving the ref down, presumably for the disqualification as no official result was ever announced at 6:04 (shown). Orndorff sells the shot he took rather melodramatically as he makes his way back to the apron, but won’t get in the ring yet. After dragging it out for a bit, he finally gets in there and clears Studd and Bundy out. Orndorff helps Hogan to his feet….. and then takes him down with a clothesline. Piledriver follows and puts Hogan down for good. He calls Studd and Bundy back in for more action, but Rotundo, Spivey, Tonga, and Afi run in to prevent any further attacks. In the back we see the Heenan Family congratulating and singing the praises of his newest member as Hogan needs to be helped out of the ring. Great angle, and even though we only see the culmination of it here there was plenty of other good stuff in the weeks and months leading up to it to build up to it. And also, it set up one of the biggest box office drawing feuds in history, including a show a month later at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto that set the record for the largest wrestling crowd ever up to that point. All in all it has to be considered a ***** angle, but if I were to just rate the match here itself I will go *1/2

Well, what do you think this show gets? One of the biggest angles ever on its own is good enough for a big thumbs up, but we also got a few reasonably good squashes to go along with it. Great stuff, and thumbs way up.

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