November 3, 2012
WWF At The Philadelphia Spectrum, January 16, 1982
Commentators: Dick Graham and Kal Rudman
A not so great night at the Spectrum topped off by a big World Title Cage Match!
Note: During a (currently unavailable) card at MSG on November 21, 1981, Pedro Morales had pinned The Magnificent Muraco in a Texas Death Match to regain the WWF Intercontinental Title. So Pedro has that going for him now, which is nice.
Match 1: Tony Altimore vs Charlie Fulton
Setup: A perennial jobber of the 80s takes on a guy that resembles Super Mario’s Granddad.
Match: I’m already starting to think that some of the real stars couldn’t make it on this night, as here we have Fulton with long hair and no personality taking on a 50-something Italian guy with your classic too-much-pizza-and-beer gut. Some lame excuses for what might be termed wrestling until Altimore charges the corner aganst Fulton and gets a knee to the head. Altimore falls down holding his stomach, and Fulton hits a not so scintillating legdrop for the finish.
Result: Fulton via pinfall
Score: 0 (Shit) If this is any indication of what we’re in for, it’s gonna be a long night.
Match 2: Bulldog Brower vs Baron Mikel Scicluna
Setup: Two way past their prime heels battle to be on the bottom of the food chain.
Match: Just WHO was this match booked for?? Oh wait, Brower is getting some light cheers, so he must now be “over”. Lots of punching and kicking until both guys go outside and punch and kick some more. Brower gets the better of it and goes back inside while The Baron fails to catch his breath in time and gets counted out.
Result: Brower via Countout
Score: 0 (Shit) When two guys who can’t go anymore have at it, it’s a painful sight.
Match 3: Johnny Rodz vs Davey O’Hannon
Setup: The cocky cherub returns to the Spectrum to face The Unpredictable Jobber.
Match: I guess Rodz is somehow a babyface now, while O’Hannon’s face is now so chubby he looks borderline Parkinson’s. Rodz carries the action well, never really slowing down, so at least there’s some movement in the ring here. Finish comes when Rodz puts his head down for a backdrop, and O’Hannon kicks him in the throat to get a shock pin.
Result: O’Hannon via pinfall
Score: 1 (Okay) You know the Earth wouldn’t have moved if Rodz had just finally gotten a win here, but oh well.
Match 4: Jesse Ventura vs Jeff Craney
Setup: Finally! Something we can sink our teeth into as The Body makes his Spectrum debut in a rematch against a jobber he had beaten on TV just days earlier.
Match: You can really tell that Ventura had “It” at this time, but Craney is another story: bland, nonmuscular sissy boy whom even the announcers start openly making fun of in his lame attempts to wrestle. Obviously Jesse makes no effort at all to even sell any of his weak punches, and essentially takes his time destroying the guy while enjoying every second of it. Finish comes with Ventura’s over the shoulder backbreaker which forces Craney to squeak out a submission.
Result: Ventura via submission
Score: 1 (Okay) Great to now see Jesse in the mix.
Match 5: Pedro Morales vs Killer Khan (WWF Intercontinental Title Match)
Setup: With Muraco taking a bit of a break, Pedro defends the belt against the next guy in line.
Match: Wow, Pedro really loves to punch and kick, and Khan obliges him in kind, soon getting the better of it and knocking Morales outside for an extended time, during which Killer takes some cheap shots before Pedro gets MAD, using a steel chair and the railing to stun Khan before tossing him back in and taking advantage of his dazed state by hitting him with a sunset flip for the pin and title retention.
Result: Morales via pinfall (Retains Title)
Score: 2 (Good) Gets the extra point for the clean pinfall finish.
Match 6: Bob Backlund vs Greg Valentine (Steel Cage Match For The WWF World Title)
Setup: After their controversial battles at MSG, Backlund and The Hammer step into the cage to settle it once and for all.
Match: Well, it looks like another unsung classic Philly match for Backlund. Both men do pre match interviews, and Valentine actually comes off as more normal and articulate than Backlund does! In the cage itself, we have quite a bit of brutality with both men trying to constantly climb over the top, and Valentine quite nearly getting all the way out the door on two occasions. Soon the figure four comes into play, with Backlund suffering for a couple of minutes before reversing it and Valentine then suffers. Backlund throws him into the cage a couple more times and finally Valentine is busted wide open. Bob smells blood like a shark at this point, hitting a beautiful piledriver and then strolling out of the cage as the fans go crazy.
Result: Backlund via Leaving The Cage (Retains Title)
Score: 3 (Great) The major highlight of this card that sees two legends giving it their all.
Match 7: Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito vs Rick Martel & Tony Garea (WWF World Tag Team Title Match With Special Guest Referee Tony Atlas)
Setup: Fuji and Saito meet the pretty boy former champs for hopefully the last time, since it’s probably time to give other teams a chance.
Match: Kind of a shame the way tag wrestling was in the WWF at this time, since basically you just had the champs and the top contending team and that’s IT, unlike the rock and wrestling era where at any given time you had at least 10 quality teams on the roster and thus the titles actually MEANT something. As for Atlas, he does a commendable enough job as referee, not getting into being too bias unlike some babyface guest referees. Martel and Garea’s act is extremely stale, however, and the match goes on until Garea and his perm are thrown outside, and Fuge and Saito doubleteam Martel mercilessly until a flustered Atlas calls for the DQ, which suits the Japanese Champs just fine. Afterwards, they also attack Tony and give him a beatdown.
Result: Martel and Garea via DQ (Fuji and Saito Retain Titles)
Score: 2 (Good) Fun to watch for Fuji’s antics and some quality action.
Match 8: Adrian Adonis vs Dominic DeNucci
Setup: The future Adorable One makes his Spectrum debut against another guy with no gas in the tank.
Match: Adonis seems to love using the armbar against DeNucci, and Dominic doesn’t seem to mind because it can allow him to have a nice long rest. Eventually DeNucci gets the working class rage going because he has “had enough”, but Adrian outsmarts him regardless, getting him down and setting him up for a flying elbow off the top rope ala Macho Man.
Result: Adonis via pinfall
Score: 1 (Okay) It was obvious Dominic knew his role by this point in his career.
Match 9: Larry Sharpe vs Jose Estrada
Setup: It’s getting late in Philly, so these two are sent out to clear the crowd so they can set up for the next sporting event.
Match: Generally the most entertaining thing about Larry Sharpe matches are the whistling and nonstop homophobic taunts he receives from the crowd, as opposed to his actual wrestling skills, while Estrada has the look of a star, but only in his own mind. Some fumbling here and there until Jose stuns Larry with a dropkick. Naturally, he goes for another, but Sharpe avoids and Estrada lands on his head while Larry gets the quick pin.
Result: Sharpe via pinfall
Score: 1 (Okay) A rare Sharpe win that probably won’t land him a title shot.
Match 10: Steve Travis vs Hans Schroeder
Setup: There are still some unwanted fans milling about, so they send out the dregs of the roster to really clear them out.
Match: Travis was about as charisma-free a “star” as you’ll ever see, while Schroeder appears to be little more than a fat German heel. Amazingly, the tactic works, as the fans literally start running for the exits rather than endure the torture of this superbout. Travis scores the pin with a sunset flip, and you can hear the crickets in the rafters.
Result: Travis via pinfall
Score: 0 (Shit) Note to promoter: Probably best not to end the show with an opening match.
Overall Score: 1 (Okay) Some absolutely terrible booking and matchmaking, but if you’re a fan of The Hammer and / or cage matches, be sure to order this from your most trusted online retailer.