April 8, 2012
WWF At The Philadelphia Spectrum, August 23, 1980
Commentators: Dick Graham and Kal Rudman
The Spectrum plays host to the end of a Hall Of Famerís career plus more!
Note: Matches that were held on this card but are not on this release include:
Baron Mikel Scicluna over Johnny Rodz via pinfall at 8:46
Rick McGraw over Jose Estrada via pinfall at 13:18
Match 1: Dominic DeNucci vs The Hangman
Setup: DeNucci continues to hack it long past his prime against the definition of a never will be.
Match: For a guy whom nobody has any idea who he was, Hangman sure was a big bastard, and seemed pretty strong too, pushing DeNucci around and having his way with him. DeNucci gets some working class rage going at a couple of points, but screws up royally when he tries a charge in the corner and gets two knees in the face from Hangman, falling back and handily getting pinned for a minor upset.
Result: Hangman via pinfall at 8:46
Score: 1 (Okay) In many ways the definition of an opening match.
Match 2: Larry Zbyszko vs Ivan Putski (Texas Death Match)
Setup: Larry had pissed Putski off to no end in their last bout in the Spectrum, and now it was No Holds Barred.
Match: When you look at the massive crowd heat generated by Zbyszko, you realize just how huge a heel superstar he could have been in the WWF, even without Bruno. Putski attacks before the bell, and this is certainly the most violent Iíve ever seen Putski as he brawls like a madman. Indeed, this was a brutal, brutal match, which featured some original bits like Putski smothering Larry with the canvas that adorns the side of the ring, and even better when Zbyszko is being choked out, he grabs the ropes looking for the break and referee Dick Woherle (unlike so many other refs in No DQ matches) acknowledges that there is nothing he can do and just shrugs. Larry gets some respite with a shot to the Polish nuts of Ivan, and gets his licks in before Ivan kicks him in the balls as well. Soon Zbyszko is busted open, but the real story here is the crowd: they are going NUTS at seeing someone they hate as much as Larry getting the snot kicked out of him. Itís all for naught though as Zbyszko trips up Putski in the corner and pins him using his legs on the ropes for leverage. Given the earlier example, this constitutes a clean win.
Result: Zbyszko via pinfall at 10:48
Score: 3 (Great) Did an awesome job at showing the potential of what might have been with Larry as a WWF heel if he hadnít fallen out with the McMahons.
Match 3: Andre The Giant and Pedro Morales vs Capt. Lou Albano and Afa
Setup: Albano pisses EVERYONE off, and here they got him in the ring with Pedro and Andre.
Match: No surprise that Afa carries most of this match, with Albano only tagging in for cheap shots and tagging out as soon as heís in trouble. Morales gets beaten down for a while until he gets the hot tag to Andre, who unleashes a barrage of headbutts and other raging moves and even succeeds to get Albano split open and bleeding like a stuck pig. Albano can take no more once he sees his own blood, and is soon running out of the ring and back to the locker room like a scalded dog, leaving Afa in there by himself. Pedro tags in and wastes little time whipping Afa into Andreís outstretched boot, knocking him out for the pin.
Result: Andre and Morales via pinfall at 9:22
Score: 2 (Good) I liked this. THIS entertained me.
Match 4: Ken Patera vs Gorilla Monsoon (IC Title vs Career Match)
Setup: The Gorilla has vowed to retire if he canít beat Patera and take his Intercontinental Title! Will he keep to his word?
Match: I had mixed feelings watching this one. I was happy to see a Monsoon match that wasnít a typical squash in his favor and really saw him battling his heart out there, but at the same time, the way the match ultimately turned out, with Gorilla getting beaten bloody and finally knocked out for the pin with brass knucks is also kind of heartbreaking, especially with the added humiliation of Patera grabbing the mic after the match and mercilessly taunting him, saying ďYou got your ass kicked! Your career is over!Ē However, Iím sure this is the way a warrior like Monsoon wanted to go out, and like an oldschool guy he DID retire as stipulated after this match (except for 2 or 3 comeback appearances in later years) and went on to have an exemplary career as the best play by play wrestling announcer of all time.
Result: Patera via pinfall at 11:54 (Retains Title; Monsoon forced to retire)
Score: 2 (Good) A notable, if sad, piece of history in the making.
Match 5: Hulk Hogan vs Rene Goulet
Setup: After getting his ass kicked by Hogan in MSG, the Fancy Frenchman gets a rematch in the Spec!
Match: Goulet must have complained about not getting any offense on Hogan in the NYC bout, as here Hogan allows him to get quite a few moves off, and Goulet even moves out of the way of the legdrop of doom to continue his edge. Soon Hulkster tires of this and puts a foreign object in his elbow pad (just like against Andre at Shea) and clothslines Gouletís head off for the finish.
Result: Hogan via pinfall at 5:36
Score: 1 (Okay) Kinda laughable that Hogan would have any trouble with this guy.
Match 6: Pat Patterson vs Tor Kamata
Setup: A rematch from Shea Stadium that the fans werenít exactly clamoring to see.
Match: Kamata tries to Pearl Harbor Patty Pat but Patterson is ready, landing a series of punches which knock Tor to the canvas, then climbing to the top rope and hitting a kneedrop for a very quick finish without even taking his pretty purple jacket off.
Result: Patterson via pinfall at :21
Score: 0 (Shit) Hard to believe that Patterson could squash a 300-lb opponent so quickly, but then again he obviously had heavy locker room influence.
Overall Score: 1.5 Worth watching more than anything for Gorillaís final match, but the Zbyszko-Putski bout can almost be considered a Lost Classic, and if you too want to experience it, be sure to order it from your most trusted online retailer.