December 19, 2010
WWF House Show, September 24, 1983, Philadelphia Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
Announcers: Dick Graham & Gorilla Monsoon
A mainstay venue on the (W)WWF circuit for many years, the Philadelphia Spectrum, was torn down a few weeks ago. To commemorate it, hereís a look back at one of the many shows held there over the years, this one being from the fall of 1983. By the way, this is from 24/7, so while the matches themselves appear to be complete, nearly everything in between them has been cut out.
Opening Match: ďThe Montreal ExpressĒ Butcher Vachon vs. Salvatore Bellomo
The Setup: Standard house show prelim bout.
The Action: Vachon controls him with all the standard cheap heel tactics of the day like biting, eye gouging, and hair pulling. Bellomo doesnít get much going until he leapfrogs him on an Irish whip and then hits him with his big finisher, the double mule kick, for the 3 count at 4:17.
The Verdict: Nothing much can be said about this one really. DUD
Israel Matia vs. Don Kernodle
The Setup: Another prelim match, but this time itís heel against heel.
The Action: Kernodle is the one who plays heel though, by stalling and jawing with the ringsiders, so the fans kind of end up getting behind Matia. Kernodle also does the shoving match with the referee bit. Matia takes advantage and hits a backdrop for 2, but then misses a charge to the corner, goes down, and takes a fistdrop for the pin at 6:38.
The Verdict: They were a little more entertaining than the opener, but thatís about it. DUD
Iron Mike Sharpe & Swede Hanson vs. The Invaders
The Setup: The Invaders, from Puerto Rico, were getting a small push as a fast paced duo and they face the odd, to say the least, team of Sharpe & Hanson.
The Action: Hanson is actually the most popular guy in the match, in spite of teaming with Sharpe. The Invaders control early, including a bit with Sharpe where they switch off on an arm wringer like a dozen times by making quick tags. The story quickly turns into Sharpe and Hanson being unable to get along as Sharpe uses the loaded forearm to gain the advantage, but Hanson wonít follow up. The miscommunication then continues as Sharpe accidentally nails Hanson while trying for the save on a pin. Sharpe continues playing the buffoon as he then does a deal where he easily breaks a full nelson, so he turns his back and challenges the Invader to put it on again, but they just hit a double dropkick instead for a 2 count. The end sees Hanson controlling one of the Invaders while Sharpe comes in for a cheap shot, but he ends up nailing his partner again. Hanson goes to confront him, but Sharpe has had enough and just bails on him. While heís distracted, the Invaders dropkick him to the floor and heís counted out at 13:03. The crowd actually boos the babyface Invaders for the cheap win, but then they do an about face after they show good sportsmanship by helping Hanson to his feet.
The Verdict: This was more about developing something between Hanson and Sharpe than anything else, but that part of it was fine, and the Invaders worked a good pace and it never felt like it dragged or anything. *
Intercontinental Championship Match: Magnificent Muraco vs. Chief Jay Strongbow
The Setup: I donít know why theyíre having this match. According to the results section, at the last Spectrum show, Muraco walked for a countout against Jimmy Snuka, which theoretically should have given Snuka a rematch here, but doesnít. And Strongbow lost to Big John Studd, so who knows how he was deemed the top contender.
The Action: The 24/7 folks fast forward us from the intros to the start of the match, presumably cutting an extended stall session by Muraco. Strongbow gets the belt and starts swinging it, which sends Muraco to the floor. The champ continues running for a bit before finally getting tied in the ropes for a few shots. The crowd chants ďwe want SnukaĒ, but that just pisses Muraco off and now he gets a hold of Strongbow and takes it out on him for a bit. Strongbow then fires up and drags Muraco to the floor where he nails him with the belt a couple of times. Back in the ring, he hooks the sleeper, but Muraco escapes and comes off the ropes with a clothesline for the pin to retain at 7:10.
The Verdict: This wasnít that good, but it had heat as the crowd hated Muraco. Ĺ* The did announce later in the show that Muraco would take on Snuka next month in a strap match, so I guess they just wanted that issue to simmer for a month for whatever reason.
Main Event, WWF Championship Texas Death Match: Bob Backlund (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Sgt. Slaughter
The Setup: This is a rematch from last month where Backlund beat Slaughter by countout, but this time as a Texas Death match to ensure a decisive winner. Tony Garea is the guest referee, and Gorilla even questions the point of him being here as there arenít really any rules to enforce anyways.
The Action: They go to the floor right away where Backlund gets sent over the rail. Sarge drops an elbow from the apron and continues the beating for a bit until Backlund sends him to the post to buy some time. Back in the ring, Backlund controls, slinging him to the buckle and ringing his bell. Sarge tries to escape, but Backlund just kicks him from the apron. Sarge posts him and put him in, but when he goes up top, he gets slammed off for 2. Sarge regains control by loading the boot and kicking Backlund out of the ring. He then suplexes him back in and hits a dropkick for 2. Backlund avoids the Cobra Clutch and hits a suplex for 2. A collision then puts them both down. Sarge recovers first and drops a knee off the 2nd rope for 2. Backlund then ducks an Irish whip and comes back off with a crossbody for 3 at 14:07, but Garea missed Sargeís foot on the ropes, which results in Sarge attacking him until Backlund runs him off with a chair.
The Verdict: This was a decent match, suitably violent, and so on. Also, it was a screwjob that didnít really feel like a screwjob, as although the win was tainted and justified a rematch, it still felt like a satisfying conclusion on its own. *1/2
We then go backstage where Sarge is standing by with the man who tells it like it is, Kal Rudman. Rudman declares that Sarge was obviously robbed by a biased referee, which Sarge agrees with. He then challenges Backlund to a rematch, in what he calls a special kind of match from his days in the Marines, although he doesnít specify what that is. Later in the show it would be announced that the rematch was signed and it would be a Sicilian Stretcher Match.
Cage Match: Big John Studd vs. Andre The Giant
The Setup: These guys had been feuding for most of the year, including several matches in this building. The cage match here should settle things for good. Or at least for a year or so.
The Action: Studd attacks, but Andre fires back with headbutts and sends him to the cage over and over, busting him open right off the bat. Studd finally gets it together and takes over. He goes for the door a few times, but Andre is always there to catch him. After going through that a couple of times, Andre gets him with a bodyslam, which is worth $10,000 at this point according to Gorilla. He then goes to the top rope and comes off with a vertical splash. That finishes Studd off and Andre walks out the door for the win at 10:02.
The Verdict: Itís amazing that in just a few short years, Andre went from being able to jump off the top rope, to barely being able to move. Other than that spot though, there was really nothing special about this match as it was just a standard beat each other up and race out the door deal. Ĺ*
Tiger Chung Lee vs. Rene Goulet
The Setup: Itís back to a prelim match for some reason.
The Action: Use of Leeís kendo stick is teased early on, but nothing ends up coming of it. Goulet beats him up for a bit, but Lee thumbs him in the throat to take over and than hits an ensiguiri for the win at 4:28.
The Verdict: Just a match. DUD
Susan Starr & Penny Mitchell vs. Judy Martin & Fabulous Moolah
The Setup: Womenís matches at this point were considered a special attraction, as opposed to the bathroom break that they are today.
The Action: They play this match more for comedy than anything else as Martin and Moolah canít get on the same page early on, resulting in them being made to look like fools. The ref then gets tangled up with Moolah, which sends her off again. Finally Martin takes control on Mitchell and the heels work her over in the corner. Eventually she makes the tag to Starr and they get a double team double noggin knocker. All four keep going at it until Starr slingshots Moolah into Martin, putting them down, and then the face both pile on top of them for the 3 count at 7:05.
The Verdict: As a comedy sideshow deal, this was fine, and it definitely wasnít the worst thing on the show. Ĺ*
2/3 Fall Match: Sika, Samu, & Ivan Koloff vs. Rocky Johnson, Tito Santana, & Jimmy ďSuperflyĒ Snuka (w/Buddy Rogers)
The Setup: We close out the show with three popular babyfaces taking on The Samoans and Ivan Koloff, who is subbing for Afa here tonight.
The Action: First Fall: Rocky wins a test of strength with Samu and then works him over. Tito gets his turn as does Snuka, who is easily the most popular guy on the show tonight. He gets all three heels with a triple noggin knocker, which of course only hurts Koloff. The face keep trading off on Samu until finally Sika knees Tito from the apron to take over. That doesnít last long though as it soon breaks down into a six way during which Samu crotches Rocky on the top rope for the DQ at 10:19 to put the faces up 1-0. Second Fall: Rocky was legal in the end, so he has to start in spite of the pain heís in. He gets beaten up briefly, but soon makes the tag to Snuka who cleans house. It quickly becomes another six way, and in the melee, Snuka gets a crossbody on Samu for the 3 count at 14:26. The brawl continues and I guess that somebody thought that they werenít done or something because Snuka quickly gets Samu again with another crossbody with the ref counting 3 once more for some reason.
The Verdict: This was the best match on the show, and itís a great note to close it out on. **
Overall Thoughts: At first glance, the ratings would seem to indicate that this was a pretty poor show. I even went easy on them in some cases because it was nearly thirty years ago and itís not really fair to hold a show from 1983 to 2010 standards. Besides, the crowd was way into it and so clearly what they were doing then worked then. So with that in mind, I donít want to call it a Thumbs Down, because even though it wasnít great, I was never bored by it or anything and even in the prelims they did what they could for the most part to keep things going. But itís also not a Thumbs Up because I donít think itís anything that anyone has to run out and see and there are certainly no hidden gems or anything. So the final verdict is that itís a Thumbs in the Middle for the Philly Spectrum in September of 1983, but it youíre a fan from this time period youíll probably enjoy it.