February 20, 2008
April 27, 1985
We are just 28 days after the beginning of time for this event. Of course I mean WrestleMania, but rarely these days do we hear about anything before then unless it’s to put over how phenomenal of a worker Sgt. Slaughter was. But anyway tonight, on PRISM, we get a WWF Title match, and tag team action leading up to a $50,000 20-man tag team battle royal. Excited? A little? Well, as a big fan of tag team wrestling, I think this could be fun. However I can’t think of 10 regular tag teams from April 1985 and I would imagine some of their main ones might be in other towns so we have the potential for some terrible teams. We’ll see.
Our hosts are Dick Graham (who must live in the Spectrum ‘cause he’s rarely seen elsewhere) and Gorilla Monsoon. It’ll be interesting how two normal play-by-play guys mesh. They’re wearing headsets that look like they were used on the Apollo missions. We are sent to the ring to be welcomed by legendary ring announcer…Hank Kropinski. He of course lets us know that the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission in fact sanctions this event. I wonder if they actually do. Dr. Ernest Williams is the doctor in attendance should any injuries occur. Jimmy Meano is the timekeeper. The referee is the esteemed Dusty Bellbomber, who gets a good booing from the Philadelphia crowd, presumably due to their soft spot for the Liberty Bell and they are against violence against bells. Or maybe because it’s Philly and they hate Santa Claus. Who knows?
Finally Mr. Kropinski announces our first contest and it’s a good one.
Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid)
Well that was worth the wait. This is supposedly the first meeting between the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs in the WWF. Bret starts with Dynamite. The two exchange some nice technical moves until Dynamite has had enough and clocks the Hitman with a forearm. Tag to Davey Boy. Davey Boy is able to reverse a hammerlock and send Bret outside. The floor around the ring looks like it’s made of woodchips. Back in, Davey wins an exchange and gets a two count with a roll up. Tag to the Anvil. He and Davey exchange power moves with Davey coming out on the winning end. Tags to Bret and Dynamite. Dynamite catches Bret with an incredibly stiff enzuigiri. Dynamite follows with a snap suplex for 2. Bret and Dynamite knee each other, but Bret’s gets the better end to put the Harts on the offensive. Dynamite is now your face in peril. I wonder if he and Bellbomber are related. Bret works Dynamite over pretty stiffly as you would expect from these two. The Harts work on Dynamite’s back. Bret hits a big slam on the “concrete” as Gorilla says. I don’t know what concrete he uses. Dynamite counters a Bret backbreaker attempt with one of his own and makes the hot tag to Davey Boy. Davey dropkicks Jimmy and whips Bret for his contractually obligated sternum first bump into the turnbuckle. He’s a one-man band as Dick Graham says. Davey is slowed by a Pearl Harbor job from the Anvil. The Harts now have Davey in peril. They work over his torso. Dick and Gorilla (that’s a weird sounding combo) talk about how inseparable the Bulldogs are. They work out together, travel together, crap in gym bags together. Perhaps I heard that wrong. Bret slaps on a nerve hold, which lowers the rating by a full star rating because of the use of the MOST BORING HOLD in wrestling. Davey gets out of trouble with a really rough atomic drop followed by a double KO spot. You gotta love Microsoft Word, but isn’t built to review wrestling matches. It suggests the previous sentence should read, “A double KO spot out of trouble with a really rough atomic drop follows Davey.” Anyway Anvil prevents the tag and they keep beating on Smith. Outside Davey destroys Bret into the guardrail. That looked painful. But Anvil controls him back inside. Davey finally makes the hot tag to Dynamite after a top rope missile dropkick to Bret. Dynamite gives Bret another sternum shot into the corner and a snap suplex. Dynamite hits a tombstone piledriver. Anvil breaks up the pin attempt. Davey back in already and hits the running powerslam but doesn’t cover. Tag to Dynamite who destroys Bret with a clothesline. Tag to Davey who covers but Anvil breaks it up again. Anvil and Bret try to pull the ol’ heel no tag switch-a-roo but Bellbomber is too smart for that. He may be Dusty and hate loud ringing noises on the hour, but he respects the rules of pro wrestling. With that the bell rings out of nowhere. (20:00) Dusty must’ve missed one. The crowd dislikes the finish. Gorilla calls it a moral victory for the Bulldogs. Despite the fact the future Hart Foundation owned most of the match. Guys I know you can do better than that. They wrestled the entire match like the object of the match was to fight for 20 minutes. It looked like a tape instructing on how to wrestle. The moves were very crisp from all four guys, but if I counted right there were only 5 pinning attempts in this match. Aren’t you supposed to try and win? The psychology was a little sloppy too with the Harts seemingly just beating on random parts of the Bulldogs. Don’t worry boys, if you didn’t get it how you wanted tonight, you can in one of the next 8 million matches you’re gonna have against each other in the next 3 years. ***
Brutus Beefcake & Intercontinental Champion Greg “the Hammer” Valentine (w/Luscious Johnny Valiant) vs. David Sammartino & Tito Santana
This has got to be one of the first pairings Beefcake and Valentine. The Dream Team is just a dream here. Brutus is still from Parts Unknown at this point. Valentine is in phenomenal shape here. He actually has abs! Tito and Valentine are in the middle of a heated rivalry over the IC belt. Tito would take the title in time, but tonight he’ll tangle with the two men from tinsel town. Ok, so they’re not from there, but did you see the string of t’s I had in that last sentence? What do you mean you’re not impressed? David is still on the bacon and eggs diet here. He’d switch to a more…um…nutritional one soon. By 1988 you can’t even tell it’s the same guy. At this point though I’d be afraid of David if I was Brutus because he’s a huge fan of both beef and cake. David starts with Brutus to renew their rivalry from WrestleMania. It’s just what the world’s been waiting for. David dominates both opponents to start. He tags in Tito with Valentine in. Valentine catches a case of the ol’ limber tail. Tags to David and Brutus. The crowd does not like it. For everyone who only remembers jobber to the stars Tito who wore his Strike Force tights for 2 YEARS after the team broke up, jobbing to every new mid-card hoss, Tito used to be a complete badass that was SUPER over. Now David is back in with a body slam, probably the 4th one he’s done in this match. The match turns when Brutus throws David hard into the turnbuckle. The Dream Team works over David’s back. David finally is able to wiggle (jiggle?) away from Valentine in a really nice amateur exchange to make the tag to Tito. It’s Santana and Valentine! Tito is on a tear. He tries a splash but Valentine gets the knees up. Valentine signals for the figure four and tries to slap it on but Tito kicks him off into Brutus. As the Dream Team argues, Santana rolls up Valentine for the win. (11:04) In some of ways I liked this match better than the opener. I wish it would’ve gone on a little longer so we could’ve gotten more Tito and Valentine **1/4
Rowdy Roddy Piper & Cowboy Bob Orton vs. SD Jones & George Wells
I love Hot Rod, but this ain’t gonna be pretty. Say what you will about Jones and Wells, but they are both WrestleMania legends. One for getting beat down by King Kong Bundy in “9 seconds” (nice try Vince, but I can count too you know) and the other latest at WrestleMania 2 for getting strangled by Damien and foaming at the mouth. Gorilla can’t believe the people of Philly would boo SD Jones. Who wouldn’t? Dick says he’s not surprised because they booed the Easter Bunny at a Phillies game. No doubt he heard it echo through the Spectrum from his room in the basement that Vince locks him in when they’re elsewhere. A young Joey Marella is the ref, sporting a Pa Ingalls hairstyle. The heels attack but the faces are ready. A brawl ensues. As Marella tries to get Wells out the ring, Orton nails SD with the cast off the top rope. Piper quickly covers for the win. (0:55) They rang the bell a good 90 seconds before they actually started the match, so I clocked from the first blow. Gorilla thinks that might be a record. I was waiting for Krontraski or whatever the ring announcers name was to say the match was won in 13 seconds by Orton and Piper, but luckily for SD he actually is allowed to keep his impressive feat of lasting almost an entire minute without getting pinned. Maybe Gorilla meant it was a record for him. Way too short for me to rate properly. Just like I was hoping it would be. But I’ll give it a DUD anyway.
We’re in the back with Dick Graham’s Spectrum co-prisoner Kal Rudman. He’s with the WWF Tag Team Champions Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik. They cut a promo on the US of course. Nikolai says when he and Iron Sheik win the money he will put it in the bank in Russia because the prices don’t go up like in the USA. Iron Sheik says he is from the richest country in the world. Iran? Not in the last 500 years buddy. They’re rich with “the oil and pistachio”. Sheik doesn’t care about the money. He just wants to beat up “amerikchans”. That’s classic.
WWF Tag Team Champions Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Shiek vs. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo- Non Title Match
Sheik and “Nicholas” Volkoff (as Kropinski said) try to sing their national anthems, but Windham and Rotundo come out early and put an end to that. This is a rematch from WrestleMania where Sheik and Volkoff won the titles. Who am I telling? All 3 of you reading this probably know that. Barry Windham is one of my all time favorites. Windham and Rotundo start by beating on the Sheik for a while. It’s weird seeing Rotundo work as a face. Windham gets caught in the wrong part of town. Nick sets him up but Barry moves and Nick eats a dropkick from the pointy boots of the Iron Sheik. Luckily he didn’t tap them on the mat first so they weren’t LETHAL yet. BW hits an atomic drop. Tag in to “Nicky Baby” as Dick Graham put it. I don’t know about that guy sometimes, but he only gets out 3 hours a month, so who am I to judge? The US Express works on the arm of Nick. Barry missed a knee drop aimed at the arm allowing the champs to work over BW’s leg. Sheik tags in and hits a nice backdrop. Sheik applies an abdominal stretch. Gorilla buries it by saying Sheik’s way too short to do that to Windham. You gotta love Gorilla. He tells it like it is. If Brock Lesnar piledrives himself off the top rope, don’t tell me Angle moved. Tell me Brock screwed up. It’s not like they tell you the goalie deflected the puck when a guy shoots a poor shot that misses the net. Realism, baby. Anyway, Windham counters out with a hip toss like Gorilla said he would but misses and elbow. Sheik hits a gutwrench suplex for two. He tries a suplex, but Windham counters with one of his own. A double KO spot leads to tags. Rotundo’s in and he takes Nasty Nick to school. He hits a powerslam for a two count. Mike tries a slam but he can’t hold him up and gets crushed. He’s able to regain the offensive with a sleeper hold on Nicky. Volkoff rams him into the turnbuckle headfirst. Volkoff controls Captain Mike but Mike won’t quit. He hits a back elbow smash and elbow drop and tries a cover but the Sheik breaks it up. Barry comes in and starts brawling with the Sheik. Inside Nasty Nicky Baby tries a flying knee into the corner, but Mike moves and rolls him up for the win. (14:07) That match was better than their WrestleMania match. I like Rotundo as a babyface. It makes his offense seem less “methodical” or as it’s called in other fields “boring”. Fun match. **1/2
Up next is the brand new video called “rock ‘n roll and wrestling connection”. Kal Rudman introduces us to it because he says; “now we’re in the business that I’m really in”. Really? What do you do exactly in this business? If you had anything to do with this video, I wouldn’t be telling people. It’s highlights of old Spectrum shows with a rock/pop sounding song with lyrics like “The Rowdy Roddy, you think you’re really cool. But let me tell ya you’re the biggest fool. There’s no way you’re gonna pull us down. If you do we’re gonna rock you outta the town. Rock ‘n roll and wrestling connection. It’s the thing to do and the place to be. Rock ‘n roll and wrestling. We’re loud and strong, loose, wild and free.” We get a shot of the Freebirds hanging out with Cindy Lauper in the ring. The vocals are by the great Blair Rumsey. They do a credits roll on it as it winds down, just to make sure all of the people involved get blackballed from both rock and wrestling FOREVER.
Moondog Spot & Charlie Fulton vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka & Ricky Steamboat
Couldn’t we just have gotten the Moondogs? Charlie Fulton looks like an evil prince or something from a cartoon. Or the dad from Family Ties on roids. Steamboat and Superfly are dubbed the “South Pacific Connection”. I didn’t know North Carolina was in the South Pacific. That North Carolina is probably somewhere around Bombay, MI I’d guess. Steamboat starts with Spot. Steamboat dominates to start. Fulton is in now. He’s actually a pretty big guy. Steamboat controls with karate shots and brings in Snuka. Spot gets tagged in. Apparently Rex is injured. Gorilla says he’s on the “Injured Disabled List” you know, as opposed to the completely healthy disabled people. Charlie’s back it. He and Snuka do the basic Snuka leapfrog spots. Ricky tags in and works the arm imagine that. Dick Graham calls Steamboat “a nice boy”. Fulton and Steamboat do a criss cross. Steamboat gets out of it and tags out while Fulton keeps running back and forth right into an armdrag. Fulton finally gets a move in and knees Snuka. He botches an elbow or something and lands ass first on Snuka’s head. Snuka takes the offense back after that in an un-Perry Saturn like way. Snuka helps Steamboat in with a slingshot splash for a 2. Fulton hits Steamboat with the worst inverted atomic drop ever which Gorilla points out. Spot gets in and gives Steamboat a good one and takes control. Fulton’s in with a nice backdrop for a two count. Spot back in with a gut buster for 2. Fulton in again and applies the dreaded reverse chinlock. In other words, he’s exhausted his move set. Steamboat fights up but Fulton makes the tag to Spot. This leads to…wait for it…the DOUBLE KO SPOT!! Spot runs into Steamboat. Ricky counters a suplex attempt, but can’t make the tag. Fulton and Spot try to double team Ricky in the corner, but the Steamer fights out with karate shots and rolls to finally tag Snuka. He’s got headbutts for everyone. Fulton ducks a punch and tries an atomic drop. While up in the air, Snuka tags Steamboat. Fulton turns around and gets nailed with a top rope crossbody from Ricky for the 3 count (15:10) the tiny South Pacific Island of North Carolina is rejoicing. That match was way more entertaining then I thought it would be. Especially considering they were the 5th consecutive tag team match. **1/4
Kal Rudman is with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. He can’t believe that Hogan was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Few can. Hogan says next he’s taking over the Rolling Stone and then the world. Hogan says he’s gonna humiliate Mr. Wonderful in front of all of Philadelphia just like he did in front of the world at WrestleMania. Hogan says he’ll be fine because “Killer Kal” is on his side. Yeah I’m sure he’ll be a big help.
WWF Championship Match
Champion Hulk Hogan vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
We have a new ring announcer. It’s Mel Phillips, the black guy that usually does Wrestling Challenge. And I’m not racist it’s just the easiest way to distinguish him from all other ring announcers in the Fed. Hogan still has “Eye of the Tiger” as his entrance theme. I almost like it better than “Real American”. He’s sporting the white trunks and boots as well. This is kind of a weird transition phase for Mr. Wonderful. He was kind of a tweener here. He’s no longer with Piper and Orton, but he’s feuding with Hogan still. Strong tie up to start. Orndorff controls with a forearm to the back of the head and rakes Hogan’s face across the top rope. Hogan blocks a turnbuckle smash and smashes Orndorff in the buckle 8 times followed by a big running elbow. Mr. Wonderful takes a powder and stalls for a while. Back in Hogan slaps on a tremendous…side headlock. He follows it up with an amazing…shoulderblock and caps it off with a beautiful…awkward back suplex. Hogan continues to dominate with a clothesline in the corner and backbreaker for a two count. Hogan is totally controlling the pace of this match. Hogan slaps on a reverse chinlock. Orndorff tries to power out with an overhead wristlock but Hogan powers him down into an armbar. Paul regains control with a knee to the gut followed by stomps to the head and a suplex. A kneedrop gets a 2 count for Orndorff. Hulk starts to Hulk up already. Punches and big boot but Paul doesn’t go down. He actually reverses a whip into the corner, but Hogan dodges a charge and Paul eats the buckle (figuratively, he’s not George Steele). That sets up a solid looking Leg Drop for the win. (9:40) After the match, Orndorff offers a handshake. The crowd wants him to do it. Hogan reluctantly accepts. It’s genuine and it gets THE BIGGEST POP OF THE NIGHT! Wow. Paul probably did this in every town until he got cheered. Hogan stays after for the gun show. Hogan owned in that match. This was a very uninspired performance from both men, but the crowd liked it so I’m sure it doesn’t matter to them. *
Mr. Phillips is back plugging the next “all star card of World Wrestling Federation action”. It’s on May 25th. Ace Cowboy Bob Orton and George “the Animal” Steele will face “suitable opponents”. I took a peak at the hideously, obscenely, objectionably extensive ring results section of thehistoryofwwe.com to see that Orton fought Orndorff and Steele fought Barry O. Didn’t he say “suitable”? Too bad I’m gonna miss that one. Other matches signed already are Charlie Fulton vs. Swede Hansan, Bob Bradley vs. Johnny Rodz, The Spoiler vs. Salvatore Bellomo, Big John Studd vs. Rocky Johnson, Nick Volkoff & Iron Sheik defend the titles against Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo, and Hulk Hogan defends his title against Ken Patera. Needless to say, I’m under whelmed. Gorilla puts over the card and says Hogan resents the fact that Ken Patera is widely considered the “World’s Strongest Human Being”. Perhaps they should see who can throw the biggest boulder through a McDonalds window. That’d settle it once and for all.
$50,000 Tag Team Battle Royal
All 10 teams that competed tonight are in this match. The odds-on favorites are definitely Fulton & Spot for sure. If you are eliminated, you’re partner must leave as well. Nick and Iron start brawling with Windham and Rotundo outside of the ring during intros. The referee eliminates all four of them. That’s crap. Obviously it’s impossible and incredibly boring to play by play a battle royal. It’s fun to see some interesting pairings get together; Piper and Dynamite, Steamboat and Hart, Sammartino and Spot. Valentine and Piper mix it up for a while, believe it or not only 17 months after their Starrcade 1983 Dog Collar Match. Santana is backdropped out by Beefcake to eliminate him and Sammartino. That’s a little bit of a surprise. Piper and Snuka go at it too to a decent pop. Props to Piper for the nod to continuity. Orton clobbers Snuka with the cast. Beefcake is backdropped by Snuka to eliminate him and Valentine. Davey Boy Smith backdrops Bret out to eliminate the Hart Foundation. Can’t these guys think of any other Battle Royal finishes? Piper eliminates the Dynamite Kid with a damn backdrop to send the Bulldogs packing. Snuka tosses Spot out to eliminate he and Fulton. That’s a stunner. So we’re left with the 3 best teams in the WWF; Orton and Piper, Steamboat and Snuka, and frickin’ SD Jones and George Wells. Orton thankfully tosses out SD to send he and Wells home. By what means you ask? Why a backdrop of course. At least they’ll have their eventual WrestleMania legacies to ease the blow of not winning the fifty grand. We’re left with Piper and Orton vs. Steamboat and Snuka. Orton sends Steamboat through the ropes to the outside where Spot and Fulton administer a beat down on the way out leaving Snuka by himself until SD Jones comes back and noggin knocks Spot and Fulton. Orton and Piper are just about to toss Snuka when Steamboat recovers and levels Orton with a top rope chop. The SPC takes control. Steamboat hits Piper with an atomic drop. The SPC tries to toss Orton. Piper charges at them, but Snuka turns and BACKDROPS him out to win the $50,000. (8:37) Backdrop = Death. Steamboat is now the richest man on the tiny pacific island of North Carolina. Of course they bill Steamboat from Hawaii. I’m just having fun. After the match Piper ran up to the timekeeper, grabbed that money and took off. That’s awesome. Gorilla says he’ll never get out of the building with the cash. Snuka and Steamboat are all smiles anyway. *
Final Analysis: This was a pretty decent house show. None of the matches are completely terrible and the ones that are close at least have people you care about in them. Some of these 80’s WWF house shows have some matches between jobbers that are terrible and last for 15 minutes or more. This one spares us of that. The tag matches were interesting, although it started to get old seeing the same tag spots as the show progressed. The title match was a disappointment, but again at this stage nobody cared as long as Hogan won. And the crowd loved to see Orndorff face out. The battle royal was fun even if it was rushed. Even the “rock n’ roll and wrestling connection” video was fun for the ridiculousness. It’s right up there with the Scott Hall “Gator” music video set to Billy Ocean music as far as the strain it puts on your mind on how that was supposed to get the product over. The lyrics are hilarious. Not to mention the legendary vocals provided by the great Blair Rumsey. As a whole this was a fun show and worth a look if you have a couple of hours to kill.