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Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night Ceremony At Madison Square Garden – Video

February 28, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE and Madison Square Garden paid tribute on Friday night to the legendary Hulk Hogan. Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Jimmy Hart, and Triple H rolled out the red carpet for Hulk and while WWE cameras were not in attendance, plenty of smartphones were.

Thanks to all of the great fans who attended the big event on Friday night, there are plenty of videos floating around YouTube of the ceremony. The ceremony is awesome and the only disappointment in the video is that it didn’t capture what was reported to be a fantastic video tribute of Hogan that played during the ceremony.

It amazes me that the WWE didn’t capture any of this footage for the WWE Network. One of the ideas I proposed a year ago was the Network showing WWE house shows. I think in this case the WWE missed a golden opportunity to either simulcast the event or air it post-produced later on the Network. I think original, special content like that would really help in marketing the network.

Regardless, check out the entire ceremony here below. It’s long overdue and a real classy tribute to a man that sold out many Garden shows in his prime.

WWE: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions DVD Review

February 18, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Despite always being given away on free TV, there was a time when Clash of the Champions was considered one of the biggest wrestling events in the world, on par with big shows like Wrestlemania. The shows featured a little bit of everything, from title matches, to great undercard bouts, to main events that were pay-per-view quality.

In existence for thirteen years, the show was seen twice a year or more, clocking in at thirty-five total installments. Currently, it has more installments than any other major wrestling show in U.S. history, a record WrestleMania won’t break for another eight years. The first show went head-to-head with WrestleMania IV in 1988, and was a huge success, main evented by Ric Flair defending the NWA World title against Sting in a classic 45-minute draw, considered by many one of the greatest matches of all time.

From there, the show continued to put on major events several times a year, often featuring World title matches, or at the very least a main event starring the World Champion. Even as it got on in years and WCW’s quality began to dwindle at the end of the company’s existence, you could still count on Clash to be a fun, big time show that would cost you absolutely zero to watch. Even the worst editions of the event still featured one or two excellent matches, matches you could easily see yourself paying for.

This DVD set claims to be the “Best of” and it’s hard to argue with the claim. While some of your favorites may not have made the cut, it’s overall a very good collection of 24 matches spanning the show’s history. Hosting the set is WWE Hall of Famer “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, which adds a nice touch to the set. However, for some reason, his appearances on the set are very, very limited. Despite the number of matches, Dusty only appears on the set seven times, and the appearances are very short at that. It would have been nice to maybe have him introduce each match, as the WWE has done in previous sets, as Dusty is still very entertaining to listen to, and about as good of a WCW expert as you could hope for.

Nevertheless, the collection has some really great moments on it. We get the aforementioned Sting/Flair classic from the first show, and also from that show, a great tag team match pitting the NWA World Tag Team Champions, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, against Lex Luger and Barry Windham. It’s matches like this that make you realize how good Luger really could be in the early years of his career.

Luger gets a second chance to shine later in the set, as he defends the NWA United States Championship against Ric Flair in another great one. The ending, which saw Stan Hansen interfere and cause a DQ win for Luger, takes the match down a little bit, but it’s still very good overall, and Luger more than held his own against “The Nature Boy”. There’s also some rare gems like Ricky Morton vs. Ivan Koloff in a Russian Chain Match, and an NWA U.S. Tag Team Title Match between the legendary teams of The Midnight Express (the Lane/Eaton version) and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express.

A Clash set wouldn’t be complete without some great heavyweight championship matches, and this set delivers. We get Sting/Flair from 1988, an awesome “I Quit” Match between Flair and Terry Funk in 1989, and a title unification bout from 1994 as Flair and Sting went at it once more. Aside from those, there are numerous undercard title matches, including a pair of great Cruiserweight title matches and a surprisingly good TV title match between Dustin Rhodes and Lord Steven Regal. You also get one of Ricky Steamboat’s last matches as he took on WCW United States Champion “Stunning” Steve Austin in an excellent title bout that ended the outstanding series those two had.

Of course, even great sets like this are going to feature some duds, and this one’s got a few. For starters, we get a match between Cactus Jack Manson (Mick Foley) and Mil Mascaras that is beyond suck. Foley has stated in the past that Mascaras was very unprofessional to work with and that he absolutely hated this match, and it shows. It lasts a little over five minutes, and I am not kidding when I say that Manson got absolutely zero offense in.

The only highlight (if you can call it that) was seeing Foley take a horrendous back bump on the concrete outside of the ring, resulting in just a cringe-worthy “thud”. There’s also a really boring 15-man “Georgia Brawl” battle royal featuring mostly mid-carders no one cared about, and a quick and pointless six-man between the Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes and Brad Armstrong as horrible gimmick #1,372, “Badstreet”) vs. Tom “Z-Man” Zenk and the Young Pistols (Steve Armstrong and Tracy Smothers).

Capping off the major duds is a match between DDP and Eddy Guerrero. While the match itself is pretty decent, the idea behind the match was completely ridiculous. These two were fighting over DDP’s “Battle Bowl” ring. Yes, a ring. The ring was originally supposed to represent the top contender to the belt, but it became worthless in short order as A) it was a standard ring, so you could barely even see it, and B) DDP, as “Champion”, often defended it against scrubs like Marcus Bagwell and Jim Powers.

Still, the good far outweighs the bad here, and is a great representation of how awesome Clash of the Champions could be. I would have liked to have seen maybe at least a match from each installment of the show, but that might have made the set too long. Oh, well. This is still a great set overall. While some improvements could be made, they don’t take away from the overall quality, which is pretty excellent.

Watching this set, I can give it a pretty high recommendation, especially to old school fans and DVD collectors. The amount of legends featured on this set is incredible, and shows you why they were some of the best of all time. Newer fans may not get into as much if they don’t recognize a lot of the names and faces, but I still encourage them to check out some of the all-time greats that helped pave the way for a lot of today’s current wrestlers. Definitely a thumb’s up on this one.

DISC 1

The Real Story

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Sting
Clash of the Champions – 27th March, 1988

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Lex Luger & Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions – 27th March, 1988

Why Wait a Whole Year?

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes
Clash of the Champions II – 8th June, 1988

Russian Chain Match
Ricky Morton vs. Ivan Koloff
Clash of the Champions III – 7th September, 1988

“I Quit” Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk
Clash of the Champions IX – 15th November, 1989

Mil Mascaras vs. Cactus Jack Manson
Clash of the Champions X – 6th February, 1990

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Midnight Express vs. Rock & Roll Express
Clash of the Champions XI – 13th June, 1990

DISC 2

To Be The Man, You Gotta Beat The Man

NWA United States Championship Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
Clash of the Champions XII – 5th September, 1990

The Young Pistols & Z-Man vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
Clash of the Champions XV – 12th June, 1991

15-Man Battle Royal
Clash of the Champions XVI – 5th September, 1991

WCW United States Championship Match
Sting vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude
Clash of the Champions XVII – 19th November, 1991

Other Stars On The Rise

2 out of 3 Falls Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs. The Hollywood Blonds
Clash of the Champions XXIII – 17th June, 1993

Brian Pillman vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XXV – 10th November, 1993

WCW Television Title Match
Lord Steven Regal vs. Dustin Rhodes
Clash of the Champions XXVI – 27th January, 1994

Elimination Tag Team Match
Sting & `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude & Vader
Clash of the Champions XXVI – 27th January, 1994

DISC 3

Here we are Again

Championship Unification Match
Sting vs. `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Clash of the Champions XXVII – 23rd June, 1994

WCW United States Championship Match
“Stunning” Steve Austin vs. Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat
Clash of the Champions XXVIII – 24th August, 1994

Hulk Hogan & `Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs. `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & The Giant
Clash of the Champions XXXII – 23rd January, 1996

Medusa vs. Bull Nakano
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

Match for the BattleBowl Ring
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eddie Guerrero
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

I’m gonna watch this

WCW World Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
Harlem Heat vs. The Steiner Brothers vs. Sting & Lex Luger
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Ultimo Dragon vs. Dean Malenko
Clash of the Champions XXXIV – 21st January, 1997

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero
Clash of the Champions XXXV – 21st August, 1997

Diamond Dallas Page & Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall & `Macho Man’ Randy Savage
Clash of the Champions XXXV – 21st August, 1997

35th and Final Clash

BLU-RAY EXTRAS

`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair and Barry Windham vs. Midnight Express
Clash of the Champions IV – 7th December, 1988

Sting and Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude and Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XVIII – 21st January, 1992

Thunder Cage Match
Dustin Rhodes & Sting vs. Big Van Vader, Paul Orndorff and Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions XXII – 13th January, 1993
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Listing March 5, 2012
By A. Pierre
Format:Blu-ray
The Real Story

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Sting
Clash of the Champions – 27th March, 1988

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Lex Luger & Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions – 27th March, 1988

Why Wait a Whole Year?

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes
Clash of the Champions II – 8th June, 1988

Russian Chain Match
Ricky Morton vs. Ivan Koloff
Clash of the Champions III – 7th September, 1988

“I Quit” Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk
Clash of the Champions IX – 15th November, 1989

Mil Mascaras vs. Cactus Jack Manson
Clash of the Champions X – 6th February, 1990

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Midnight Express vs. Rock & Roll Express
Clash of the Champions XI – 13th June, 1990

To Be The Man, You Gotta Beat The Man

NWA United States Championship Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
Clash of the Champions XII – 5th September, 1990

The Young Pistols & Z-Man vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
Clash of the Champions XV – 12th June, 1991

15-Man Battle Royal
Clash of the Champions XVI – 5th September, 1991

WCW United States Championship Match
Sting vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude
Clash of the Champions XVII – 19th November, 1991

Other Stars On The Rise

2 out of 3 Falls Match
`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs. The Hollywood Blonds
Clash of the Champions XXIII – 17th June, 1993

Brian Pillman vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XXV – 10th November, 1993

WCW Television Title Match
Lord Steven Regal vs. Dustin Rhodes
Clash of the Champions XXVI – 27th January, 1994

Elimination Tag Team Match
Sting & `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude & Vader
Clash of the Champions XXVI – 27th January, 1994

Here we are Again

Championship Unification Match
Sting vs. `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Clash of the Champions XXVII – 23rd June, 1994

WCW United States Championship Match
“Stunning” Steve Austin vs. Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat
Clash of the Champions XXVIII – 24th August, 1994

Hulk Hogan & `Macho Man’ Randy Savage vs. `Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & The Giant
Clash of the Champions XXXII – 23rd January, 1996

Madusa vs. Bull Nakano
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

Match for the BattleBowl Ring
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eddie Guerrero
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

I’m gonna watch this

WCW World Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
Harlem Heat vs. The Steiner Brothers vs. Sting & Lex Luger
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – 15th August, 1996

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Ultimo Dragon vs. Dean Malenko
Clash of the Champions XXXIV – 21st January, 1997

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero
Clash of the Champions XXXV – 21st August, 1997

Diamond Dallas Page & Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall & `Macho Man’ Randy Savage
Clash of the Champions XXXV – 21st August, 1997

35th and Final Clash

Blu-ray Exclusive Content

‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair and Barry Windham vs. Midnight Express
Clash of the Champions IV – 7th December, 1988

Sting and Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude and Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XVIII – 21st January, 1992

Thunder Cage Match
Dustin Rhodes & Sting vs. Big Van Vader, Paul Orndorff and Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions XXII – 13th January, 1993

BLU-RAY EXTRAS

`Nature Boy’ Ric Flair and Barry Windham vs. Midnight Express
Clash of the Champions IV – 7th December, 1988

Sting and Ricky `The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. `Ravishing’ Rick Rude and Steve Austin
Clash of the Champions XVIII – 21st January, 1992

Thunder Cage Match
Dustin Rhodes & Sting vs. Big Van Vader, Paul Orndorff and Barry Windham
Clash of the Champions XXII – 13th January, 1993

As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XDustinEFLX, and if you like Married…With Children, you can follow my Al Bundy parody account at http://www.twitter.com/bundyisms. Also follow my personal blog at http://nerdslikeme.blogspot.com (feedback is welcome). Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out my mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

Gerri Davis Banner, NPC National Level Heavyweight and Masters Female Bodybuilder

-Dustin

WWE: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions (DVD)

WWE: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions [Blu-ray]

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WWE: Macho Madness – The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection DVD Review

February 17, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Randy Savage may be gone, but his legacy will live forever thanks to the World Wrestling Entertainment. The WWE 3-disc DVD tribute to the former WWE and WCW wrestling world champion, the WWE: Macho Madness – The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection certainly does the job.

The words legend and pioneer are used loosely in pro wrestling. However, both words apply when speaking about Randy Savage. This is why I got so excited when I received the WWE 3-disc DVD Macho Madness: The Randy Savage Collection.

I can’t say enough great things about this DVD. I was a big Randy Savage fan growing up. I noticed something different about Savage the second he debuted in the WWF. Savage was quick, charismatic, athletic, and often had the best matches on the cards. Savage was definitely a notch above his peers, playing second only to Hulk Hogan.

This DVD captures all of Savage’s great moments in his WWF career. The DVD chronicles some of Savage’s greatest rivalries and legendary matches from the 80s and 90s. Savage’s WCW career is also covered as well to close out the video. This DVD is a must for anyone that grew up on the Macho Man or heard the legendary tales of WrestleMania III, the crazy angles, and Savage’s legendary promos.

The DVD is hosted by Matt Stryker and Maria. Stryker and Maria get a little corny at times, but overall do a tremendous job. Stryker used to do a Macho Man imitation on the indys pre-WWE and is a noted big Savage fan. Neither says anything embarrassing or as some like to say, pull a Todd Grisham on the DVD.

Stryker and Maria transition the DVD like a documentary. Both discuss angles and history behind the matches and feuds. Viewers are treated to clips of those angles and moments as Stryker and Maria voice them over. The DVD does as great a job as possible at telling Savage’s story without comments from Savage himself.

All in all, the DVD is fantastic. They do a great job of covering just about everything in Savage’s WWE run. The WWE also did a great job of mixing the well-known matches with some gems. My only criticism would be the selection of Savage’s WCW matches. Only four matches are selected, two being matches with Ric Flair. Ironically it came off a bit lazy to me as only one of the four is something that I would consider worthy of this collection.

The third disc features a ton of classic Savage promos and some great rarities. Only two WCW promos are featured in the collection. There is a segment from T.N.T. shown here which is just absolutely hilarious. The segment features on a couch getting evaluated from a psychologist. A great house show promo from Madison Square Garden is also included from the Macho King era.

Some notes about the matches: My favorite of the 3-discs by far is the first DVD. The first DVD features Savage’s run from 1985 to just shortly after he won his first WWE title in 1988. I just want to make a couple of quick notes about some things that stuck out to me during these matches.

WWE Prime Time Wrestling Debut July 9, 1985
Randy Savage vs. Rick McGraw
– This match was also Savage’s Madison Square Garden debut. I noticed right away the tremendous amount of charisma that Savage had. Remember, this was his debut. Savage had the fans going crazy within the first few minutes of the match. Proof of this was Savage getting doused with a soda by a fan. I also thought it was interesting that the replay featured Savage’s patented double-axe to the outside rather than the finishing move itself.

Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
Boston Garden December 7, 1985
– This is one of the gems of the collection. This match is over two years before their WrestleMania III classic, and before Savage won the WWF Intercontinental title. The match doesn’t feature the crazy false-finishes like their WrestleMania III match. It was different, but a great match nonetheless. The finish of the match is what stuck out to me. The finish was the exact same finish Savage used to win the Intercontinental title from Tito Santana in the same building with the brass knux. I don’t know if this was done purposely or if someone referenced this when looking for a finish in the Savage-Santana match. The Santana match is featured later in the DVD. When going for the brass knux, the Steamboat match isn’t referenced. Nonetheless, a great match to add to your Savage-Steamboat collection.

WWE Championship Match Madison Square Garden December 30, 1985
Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
– Immediately you can’t help but notice the buzz among the crowd for this match. There is a brief moment before the wrestlers enter when it is announced that the next match is for the title. The fans go nuts before either one of the guys enter the ring area. The buzz continues and the fan atmosphere is just awesome for this one throughout the match. This one also had a very unique finish with Savage winning on a count out.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match Boston Garden January 3, 1987
Randy Savage vs. Bruno Sammartino
– There are a lot of matches from the old Boston Garden on this collection. What stood out to me here was how incredibly over Bruno was in 1987. Bruno had a lot of great matches in the Garden during his previous runs. The crowd chanted “Bruno” like crazy several times during the match. A fun match, but more of a brawl than most of Savage’s other matches on the DVD.

WWE Championship Match WrestleMania VIII April 5, 1992
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
– In my opinion, one of the most underrated WrestleMania matches of all-time. It is interesting to note that Savage was coming back from a long layoff here. I thought the match was great, and one of Flair’s best in his early WWF run. The match is just non-stop action with lots of blood for the hardcore fans.

WWE Championship Match European Rampage April 19, 1992
Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels
– This one has been a favorite among tape traders for years. A rare match between these two as HBK was just starting to hit he main-events as a singles wrestler. The match is a little slower than you’d expect throughout the match. However, the speed picks up big-time towards the end of the match. The final minutes of the match are fantastic. Elizabeth and Sherri Martel both get involved. I think these two would have had killer matches if they had gotten more time in the States to develop a feud.

Worcester, MA July 22, 1992
Randy Savage & Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels
– This is probably the rarest match of the collection on the set. This was a dark match main-event at a set of television tapings. I was a bit disappointed quite honestly. The finish of the match comes quick, which prevents the guys from taking it up a notch. This was a good match for the collectors, but disappointing nonetheless.

Falls Count Anywhere Match Great American Bash June 15, 1997
Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page
– This is one of the most underrated matches in WCW history. This was just a phenomenal match that featured the best of both men and get ready for this…great WCW booking. The match features a ton of false finishes that have the fans going crazy by the end of the contest. Savage is just a maniac, going crazy and attacking everyone from referees to photographers. I think this one is going to surprise anyone who hasn’t seen the match.

The entire match listing is as follows:

Disc 1

WWE Debut
Randy Savage vs. Rick McGraw
Prime Time Wrestling July 9, 1985

Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
Boston Garden December 7, 1985

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
Madison Square Garden December 30, 1985

WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship
Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana
Boston Garden February 8, 1986

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Bruno Sammartino
Boston Garden January 3, 1987

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
WrestleMania III March 29, 1987

Randy Savage vs. Honky Tonk Man
The Main Event February 5, 1988

WWE Championship Tournament Final
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
WrestleMania IV March 27, 1988

Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
Madison Square Garden June 25, 1988

Disc 2

Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant & Ted DiBiase
SummerSlam August 29, 1988

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
WrestleMania V April 2, 1989

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan
The Main Event March 22, 1990

Randy Savage / Sherri vs. Dusty Rhodes / Sapphire
WrestleMania VI April 1, 1990

Retirement Match
Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior
WrestleMania VII March 24, 1991

Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts
This Tuesday in Texas December 3, 1991

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
WrestleMania VIII April 5, 1992

Disc 3

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels
European Rampage April 19, 1992

Randy Savage & Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels
Worcester, MA July 22, 1992

WWE Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Yokozuna
RAW February 28, 1994

Lifeguard Match
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
Bash at the Beach July 16, 1995

WCW Championship Match
Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
Nitro January 22, 1996

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Great American Bash June 15, 1997

WCW Championship Match
Randy Savage & Sid Vicious vs. Kevin Nash & Sting
Bash at the Beach July 11, 1999

WWE: Macho Madness – The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection

WWE All-Stars Video Game for Xbox 360 and PS3

See some of Randy Savage’s classic Memphis matches on the Classic Memphis Wrestling – All Roads Lead to Memphis DVD

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Bret Hart Talks Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon, and John Cena

February 12, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Bret Hart is not one to mince words. While the Hit Man may have forgiven some of his former enemies for past indiscretions, he remains willing to talk about those issues, continuing to deliver sound bites bloggers like me love to write about.

Bret Hart is a fascinating man. Hart has buried several hatchets in recent years yet he is not shy to remind fans and media of the past. You have to give him credit in a sense in that Hart remains consistent with his opinions and commentary, regardless of the political ramifications. Even if it means taking shots at the head of the WWE, Vince McMahon.

Hart was recently interviewed by Sports Vision and discussed a variety of topics, offering interesting insight and a little controversy with various questions. It may be almost twenty-years, but Hart still takes solace in delivering a punch to the Chairman of the Board. Asked about his proudest moment, it wasn’t winning a title or headlining a WrestleMania, it was about the Montreal punch.

“When I stood up for myself in Montreal, and knocked out Vince McMahon for cheating me in that match. I think it’s still defines me as a wrestler, and as an artist, and a talent, and somebody that was betrayed. I’ve always been really proud of how I reacted, and how I carried myself that day. And in the end, I think I proved I was right.”

I will say this. Vince gets a lot of criticism for continuously bringing up the Montreal Screw Job in promos and angles over the last seventeen years. So I have no problem with Bret talking so openly about it. That said, I also have no problem with Vince’s periodic references because if the topic is on the table for one, it should be on the table for two.

Bret was also asked about Hulk Hogan. Bret and Hulk have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. Generally it is Bret who continues to be critical of Hulk and take shots while Hulk seems to give more politically correct answers.

“There’s a lot of wrestlers I worked with in those days that still stop me and tell me that the greatest match they ever had was with me… I take pride in that… I wish guys like Hulk Hogan might’ve had the courage to get in the ring with me, because I maybe could’ve given him his best match that he ever had, also.

“I just think that as wrestling moves into the future, everyday it goes further and further from my day, I look at the wrestlers today and I realize that they’re carrying the torch of my style. It’s not about strongman spots and Hulk Hogan, and putting one hand behind your ear and working the crowd, and stuff like that. It’s about guys that are out there suplexing each other, and doing a lot of complex wrestling moves, and a lot of action. That’s the kind of wrestling that I brought to the game.”

Well maybe I shouldn’t bring this up but Hulk did have the “courage” to get in the ring with Bret several times in WCW and guess what? The matches weren’t that good. Now both guys were in different places in their careers but that answer is a little disingenuous considering that they have wrestled.

I will also say this. Hulk Hogan has drawn a lot more money in his career than Bret and if you look at the biggest draws in wrestling history, there aren’t many Bret Harts on that list. It is a list of guys comprised with a few move sets and not a full arsenal. Also, as someone that grew up watching Bret I think he needs a little more self-awareness. I remember many fans saying during his big WWE run, “You’ve seen one Bret Hart match you’ve seen them all.” Now his matches with Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin are some of the best I have ever seen, but generally Bret delivered a fairly predictable match during his big run. And speaking of guys with limited move sets…

“I have nothing but respect for John Cena and his work rate. He’s one of the hardest working wrestlers there ever was. He’s been a great champion, an inspiring role model. It’s not easy being John Cena and carrying all the weight of the company on your back all the time. What he’s done with Make-A-Wish kids, and kids in general, kids in general around the world. People don’t understand sometimes what it’s like to be John Cena, to understand how much pressure is on him everyday to do the right things and to always be the class champion that he’s been. He’s a tireless champion that gives 100% every night… He could do a little bit better with some of his technical moves sometimes, but I think in the long and short of it, I think John Cena’s established himself to be maybe one of the greatest wrestlers that ever lived. I think he’s an amazing wrestler.”

All in all it is a great interview and I’d recommend checking the whole thing out.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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WWE Review: Madison Square Garden Wrestling August 25,1984

February 09, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Roddy Piper Jimmy SnukaThe night is August 25 1984 and the place is the “Mecca” of professional wrestling Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tonight the WWF will be presenting a loaded show featuring one of my favorite feuds of all-time in the main event, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka.

Before I get into the show keep in mind as we are going along that this isn’t just any other WWF house show. This is Madison Square Garden. To put it in perspective, this is probably would have been broadcast on pay per view if the WWE were producing pay per view events at this point in history.

Looking back at WWF results from this day, Hulk Hogan was busy wrestling in the Atlanta Omni defending his WWF championship against David Schultz. So yes, the WWF was running two of arguably the most historic pro wrestling arena in the United States on the same day in 1984. The video incidentally comes via WWE Classics on Demand.

So with no Hogan on the card, the WWF beefed up the show with several matches between headliners. Quite frankly, the New York crowd got a much better “B” show in return for Hogan not appearing on the card. MSG got two WWF title matches, a rematch of a classic series, and arguably the hottest pro wrestling feud in the country during that time period. Not too shabby for a “B” show.

Finally, nothing on the past Madison Square Garden pro wrestling show bled into this card. These were all fresh matches for New York City. The previous event had Hulk Hogan drop the leg on Greg Valentine in the main-event while Tito Santana and Cowboy Bob Orton drew in the semi. And in comparisons to the last show, this event was a huge improvement on paper for MSG.

Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes will handle the announcing duties this evening. Gorilla points out that the building is sold out in addition to a closed circuit telecast in the Felt Forum. Yep, that is how red hot Roddy Piper vs. Jimmy Snuka was in 1984.

On a side note (I am sure there will be plenty more) with all due respect to the dead, I don’t think there was an announcer I couldn’t stand more as a kid than Lord Alfred Hayes. Nothing’s changed over 25 years later.

Kamala vs. former WWF tag team champion Chief Jay Strongbow will open the show. Not a bad opener on paper when you look at the usual curtain jerkers back in 1984. I was always a big Kamala fan. As a kid reading the Apter magazines and seeing all of those pictures of this crazy warrior, I got excited to see him finally come to the WWF. Many years later, I still don’t mind watching him, so believe it or not, I am actually a little excited about this opener.

“Classy” Freddie Blassie makes what has to be one of his last appearances as a WWF manager. Blassie and Friday lead Kamala to the ring. The crowd is still piling in so the reaction is very minimal to the site of the Ugandan Warrior. Gorilla on Kamala’s weight, “if he weighs 400 pounds, I weigh 190.”

The crowd does react to Kamala slapping the belly before the match. Yes, a heel could get a reaction from simply slapping his belly in 1984. I miss those days. Lord Al is a little too obsessed with Kamala’s feet at this point. Maybe he should continue the conversation in the back with Mel Phillips.

The match starts off much faster than you’d expect for two guys with big guts in the ring. Strongbow hits all four sides of the ring for momentum and goes for a shoulder tackle. Kamala wobbles. The two trade chops with the crowd going pretty nuts for the action. Strongbow then sends Kamala to the turnbuckle and snatches on his signature sleeper hold which turns into nothing more than a glorified piggy back ride.

Kamala works over the Chief, who lands on the ringside floor. Back in the ring Kamala continues to pound on Strongbow but wait a minute. I smell a war dance! Strongbow starts to come alive as the big man chops the back and the crowd loves it!

The Chief’s war dance this night is pretty pathetic. He doesn’t have a lot effort behind the usual rabid chops and kicks. Kamala comes close to taking his first bump of the night after Chief nails a knee lift. Instead old Sugar Bear falls into the corner and counters a running Strongbow with a big kick to the face.

Strongbow falls forward and he is out cold…from a kick to the face. Now we know where Steven Segal learned that kick he taught Anderson Silva. Kamala hits the ropes and splashes Strongbow, who is laying down belly to mat. It’s over in less than three minutes. As Gorilla says, “you could have counted to fifty.”

Now this is how you get a future main-event WWE superstar over. Kamala would of course go on to challenge Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant in main-events around the country. Call me crazy but my hunch is that they probably wouldn’t have drawn so well if Kamala lost to Tito Santana and Ivan Putski in the next two weeks. It really is that easy Vince.

That may be the hottest house show opener I can remember seeing for that time period. Most of the time you’d get a 20 minute snoozer between Rene Goulet and S.D. Jones or Butcher Vachon and Terry Gibbs. Great start so far!

Iron Mike Sharpe vs. B. Brian Blair is our next match of the night. During ring introductions Iron Mike interrupts my former wedding party announcer Howard Finkel and yells into the microphone, “20 inches of power and steel.” He was pointing to his biceps for the record. B. Brian gets a really big reaction which could only be explained because the crowd is so hot coming off that opener.

A lot of comedy spots early on courtesy of Iron Mike. The guy was really a master of psychology in terms of getting heat. Sharpe is dropkicked out of the ring but winds up getting “caught” in the ropes. Iron Mike now returns to the ring with a chair in hand. This is anything but an expected snoozer so far thanks to the genius of Sharpe.

I didn’t expect to write this but this match is AWESOME! Iron Mike gets some heat on Blair with forearms and kicks. Blair fights back and catches Sharpe with a monkey flip. Blair then gets a flying head scissors on Sharpe and the crowd is going crazy. Sharpe then slides under the ropes and starts to leave THROUGH THE CROWD. The heat for this is tremendous and I think every aspiring pro wrestler should watch this match and study the greatness of Sharpe.

I feel like I am watching a Terry Funk match. Either Terry Funk took a lot from Iron Mike or Sharpe studied Terry but there are way too many similarities here for this to be coincidence.

Gorilla says that a win over Iron Mike would be a “feather in Blair’s cap.” Considering the fact that everyone was beating Sharpe at this time, I think Gorilla may be stretching the truth just…..a tad.

Iron Mike tries to shake hands with Blair who counters with a right hand. Who’s the heel? Well the crowd loves it. Sharpe takes a huge bump off of a punch to the mid section. With Sharpe on his back, Blair starts going to work on Sharpe’s hamstrings. Sharpe counters with a vicious eye rake!

Sharpe holds Blair in a back breaker. Blair eye rakes his way out of it. Gorilla called Sharpe a cheater for using the eye rake earlier, now praises Blair for the same thing. What a homer!

Blair hits his comeback and picks Sharpe up for the slam. But guess what? He falls backwards because you see (John Cena), Sharpe held Blair in a back breaker just a few minutes ago. So Blair’s back is “hurt” and Blair is now “selling” that punishment. A certain WWE superstar who I won’t mention in this sentence could learn a lot about psychology here.

Sharpe and Blair exchange punches, Sharpe gets the better of it by throwing Blair through the ropes to the mat-less floor. Ouch! I should mention that these guys are going at a heck of a pace. The action has been back and forth for the most part throughout the entire match. Talk about two guys earning their money tonight.

Sharpe pounds on Blair every time B. Brian tries to get into the ring. Sharpe now plays to the crowd but wait a second. Blair disappears under the ring. Did the Ultimate Warrior kidnap him? Nope! Blair slides through the other side of the ring and unloads on Sharpe with rights. Again, Sharpe takes the big bump off of the midsection punch. Blair then goes up to the second rope to drop a big elbow to the head. The impact sends Iron Mike to the floor.

Blair follows Iron Mike to the floor and drops another elbow, this time from the apron to the ground on Sharpe. Blair now rams Sharpe’s head repeatedly into the apron. Blair tries to roll in but Sharpe pulls him back out. The bell rings, it is a double count out! Wow, I didn’t see this one coming.

This was a heck of a match. These two guys had the crowd eating out of their hands by the end of the match. Both men wrestled at a real high pace and just laid out a text book match in terms of ring psychology. Sign me up for the rematch!

Magnificent Muraco, wait no it’s Salvatore Bellomo. Sal Bellomo vs. Rick McGraw is up next. Bellomo is a sub for Muraco according to old records. No way!

I apologize but there is no way I am sitting through this one. According to historic results these two guys fought to a time limit draw. I like Rick McGraw but I just have no interest in watching him in a babyface vs. babyface match for 20 minutes with Sal. Sorry readers.

Now to the good stuff. Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch defend the WWF tag team championship against former champions the Wild Samoans WITH special referee Captain Lou Albano (the former manager of the Samoans). The Samoans walk through the corridor and I have to be honest, they don’t look as intimidating as babyfaces. Gorilla proclaims them, “the favorites in this matchup.”

It is a weird deal to watch this now and see the Samoans as babyfaces. They play to the crowd by waiving their fists and acknowledging the cheers, etc. Yet it is just kind of odd with their gimmick to see them playing up the crowd that way. The crowd does love them, although Sika trips and almost falls on his face entering the ring.

Next, we are treated first to a Murdoch and Adonis promo. You’ll get no complaints out of me. Adonis says the cards are stacked against them and he knows that Lou Albano will be in their corner. Good promo, pretty standard stuff, but the idea is there that Adonis and Murdoch feel that they are at a disadvantage with Albano as referee.

Wait a second! Albano is shown talking to Adonis and Murdoch in the corridor. I smell a conspiracy! Albano enters to a chorus of boos. Monsoon alleges that Albano didn’t know the camera was on and ran out in a hurry once he saw the red light. “Like a rat caught in a trap!”

By the way we are in classic Lou mode here, rubber bands, sleeveless vest, and all!

Albano gets a bigger reaction than the challengers or the champions. This has the potential to be a really fun match with Captain Lou refereeing. Albano is already arguing with fans at ringside.

I should also point out that while nothing from the previous MSG show bled over into this one, Adonis and Murdoch did wrestle the Wild Samoans back on June 16 in the Garden in a 2 out of 3 falls match that ended in a draw. During the match Albano reportedly came to ringside and offered his help to the champions after they won the first fall and then the challengers after they won the second, which explains Albano’s storyline here. By the way, that is a great manager gimmick for a 2 of 3 falls match!

Albano is giving out the instructions to all four men. Great stuff as Albano is doing his usual comedy here. Albano tells them that he will call the match down the middle. Hayes and Monsoon debate as to which team that Albano will favor. Monsoon is aghast that the commission would even sanction Albano as a referee.

The action starts out fast with the Samoans cleaning house on Adonis and Murdoch. Murdoch hits the floor as the Samoans go to town on Adonis. Albano just stands there waiving his hands. Adonis now hits the floor and Captain Lou begins a count or as Gorilla says, “Albano just paraded around”.

Adonis tags Murdoch in, who enters slowly. The crowd is just going ape poop for this match! They are stomping their feet and clapping their hands like it is a Game 7 of the World Series.

Great psychology here as Murdoch gets an advantage with kicks and punches but winds up selling an elbow to Sika’s head. The story being here is that the Samoans are known for their hard heads and their head butts. Murdoch loads up and blasts another elbow to Sika’s head and is selling it like a child would a needle. Adonis comes in and now they attempt a double elbow with the same result. Sika grabs both of their heads, smashes them together, and Adonis goes flying.

A brawl breaks out once again the center of the ring between both teams. Adonis flies over the top rope courtesy of an Afa head butt. Adonis flies back in the ring after the Samoans slingshot him in via the top rope. You know, it is a real shame that Adrian put on all of that weight a few years later because he was a bumping machine here. The crowd is just eating out of their hands.

Adonis and Murdoch finally gain a brief advantage. Adonis sinks in “Goodnight Irene”, his signature sleeper hold. Albano checks Afa’s hand but Afa waives his one finger in the air to tell the fans he is okay. Afa-mania is running wild! Afa finally gets out of the hold by sending Adonis into the turnbuckle. Adonis tags out, well actually walks out and Murdoch walks in.

Albano continues walking around the ring throughout the match waiving his fingers at both teams. Murdoch drops an elbow, goes for a cover, and Monsoon points out, “Albano goes down for the count and completely blocks both wrestlers off of our video screens.”

Adonis has Afa down and goes to the top rope. Afa pops up and punches Adonis who crotches himself on the top rope. It is easy to see watching this match how Adonis was able to make so much money selling for babyfaces in his prime. The guy is just great! Adonis hits the floor, leaving Murdoch in the ring with both Samoans.

The Samoans double-team Murdoch, Afa (who is not the legal man) drops a flying head butt on Murdoch, and Albano is out of position to count the cover. Albano takes his sweet time to count the cover, finally drops to one knee, counts super slow, and after two yells stops to yell at Sika for not holding on to the tag rope.

The crowd is going crazy and the Samoans now corner Albano. Afa pushes Albano who calls for the disqualification. Monsoon points out that Murdoch is still out cold in the center of the ring. Albano raises the champ’s hands. The Samoans get ready to attack Albano and are jumped from behind by the champions. Albano punches Sika who is being held by the champions. The Samoans clean house and hold the belts to a standing ovation from the crowd. The Samoans lay the belts down and call back the champions.

Guess what? They actually come back! I don’t recall many heels getting back in the ring with the babyface after a match. The champions come back and another brawl breaks out. Each team has a belt and is using it on the other. People are jumping up and down in the crowd. The champions get their belts and leave for good.

This match was a lot of fun. The Samoans dominated the match, but the underlying storyline of Albano as referee was just great. The crowd was super into this one, which made it seem like a classic. I loved it. For a WWF fan in 1984 it doesn’t get much better than this.

I should point out that these teams would come back to MSG in a six-man tag team match with Albano, Murdoch, and Adonis wrestling the Samoans and Sgt. Slaughter (Adonis and Murdoch beat Slaughter and Terry Daniels the previous month) in September.

Here is an odd match for you. Ken Patera vs. Pat Patterson which wouldn’t be so odd if Patterson wasn’t a commentator at the time, and Patera just came back after a four year absence. I presume that the booking here played off of their previous MSG series four or five years ago. Otherwise it really didn’t make a lot of sense.

Ken Patera is slowly takes off his warm up suit to the sarcastic whistles of the sold out Madison Square Garden crowd. This is actually pretty funny.

Patterson gets an arm bar early on Patera. Patera breaks on the ropes and hits Patterson with a forearm. Patera shoots him to the ropes, Patterson comes back with a flying bodypress, and Patera kicks out of a close call.

They exchange punches in the ring and Patterson gets the advantage. The crowd appears to be having a rough time coming back from the tag team title match. Patera falls into the ropes and is tied up. Monsoon says, “he’s at your mercy now Pat.” Insert joke here.

The action goes back and forth but finally slows down with Patera grabbing a chin lock. The announcers point out Patera’s Pan America Games’ accomplishments. Patera nails Patterson with some kicks and forearms but again goes back to a chin lock. These guys are working this match like it’s an intercontinental title match, but the crowd isn’t buying it.

Patterson makes a fiery comeback. Patterson climbs to the top rope but Patera moves out of the way. Patterson hits the ropes, Patera scoops him up (almost tripping), and drops him throat first along the top rope. Patera is signaling for the full nelson. He’s got it! Patterson fights valiantly to get out of it but winds up succumbing to the submission after about a minute.

This was a great way to re-introduce Patera back to the Madison Square Garden crowd. It seems kind of silly to book someone like him against a guy like Rick McGraw or Sal Bellomo in an opener. Instead they give the old school fans a wink and a nod with this one, yet give Patera a glorified squash win. I like it.

Monsoon sends it to the back for a Jesse “The Body” Ventura promo. Ventura calls Ivan “Puduski” a little wart and tells him that after tonight, Hulk Hogan will be next. They were setting up Hogan vs. Ventura for the September show. Unfortunately the match never happened due to Ventura’s career ending illness he incurred at the time. Hogan got lucky!

Jesse Ventura vs. Ivan Putski in a “clash of the titans” as Gorilla Monsoon calls it. The crowd pops huge for Putski’s appearance. Ventura attacks Putski as he enters the ring. Putski fights back with a shoulder block which sends Ventura to the middle of the ring. Ventura then walks into a bodyslam and an onslaught of punches. Putski sends Ventura to the ropes and nails him with a right hand. Ventura takes one of the most awkward looking bumps I have ever seen and heads to the floor to regroup. We got a barn burner here!

Putski follows him out and rams Ventura’s head into the apron. Putski chases Ventura in and out of the ring. Keep in mind that the WWF shot an angle a few weeks prior to the match where Ventura attacked Putski in the midst of an arm wrestling contest. The crowd is back and stomping away!

They finally lock up. Putski grabs a side headlock. Putski punches Ventura a few times in the headlock and sends Ventura to the mat. Putski is now kicking away at the “The Body.” Ventura slides out of the ring once again. Putski plays to the crowd and they reciprocate. It’s a conspiracy Jesse!

Awesome spot here as Putski grabs a headlock, Ventura goes to shoot him off, but instead Putski hangs on to Ventura’s long beard. Putski releases a number of rapid punches to Ventura’s head. Putski follows up with a series of sledgehammer forearms before Jesse hits the floor once again.

Ventura finally gets his first offense of the match with a standing wristlock. It doesn’t last long. Putski begins to reverse, but Jesse pulls Putski’s hair, and they call to the mat. They both work for the wristlock on the mat. Putski is close to cinching it in before Ventura pulls his hair once again. They go back and forth with this for a few minutes thanks to the ignorance of Dick Kroll. Putski finally reverses and pummels Ventura with punches. Putski is like Stone Cold Steve Austin during this match.

Ventura now unravels his wrist tape to use as a weapon. Ventura now chokes Puduski with it. Ventura puts it in his mouth when Dick Kroll checks to see what he has. Ventura continues to choke Putski with the rope. Referee Kroll knows he has something but can’t find it. Al Hayes says this is Jesse at his worst. Too bad he never got to see that Opie and Anthony appearance.

Putski now has the tape, sends Ventura to the ropes, and clotheslines Ventura with it. The referee sees the tape and is practically begging Putski to give it up. Putski now has Ventura in the corner and is punching him, which Ventura is selling by spinning around 360 degrees with each punch.

Both guys are fighting on the apron. Ventura looks like he is trying to tie his tights but instead grabs a foreign object out of there. It looks like a taped up Popsicle stick. Putski falls to the floor, Ventura falls back into the ring, the referee signals for the bell, and Putski is officially counted out.

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This was a hot match but at this point you have screw finishes in both of the top matches. The tag team title match ended on a disqualification and this one ends on a count out. This is kind of weak if you ask me, especially if the idea was to bring Ventura back as a WWF championship challenger next month. However, in all fairness the crowd loves every minute of it and doesn’t appear to be turned off by the non-finishes.

The Fabulous Freebirds make a very rare WWF appearance. The Freebirds are managed by Cyndi Lauper’s manager David Wolff to play off of the Rock and Roll Wrestling Connection. Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts take on the ultimate WWF 1980s jobber team of Butcher Vachon, Ron Shaw, and Pete Doherty in a 2 out of 3 falls match. Are three falls really necessary here?

Michael Hayes starts off the match with a combination chicken and moon walk. That’s a future WWE V.P. right there! Butcher Vachon takes exception to Hayes’ gyrations and refuses to lock up. I can’t say that I blame him. Vachon tags out and in comes Ron Shaw who doesn’t fair much better.

Hayes is really trying to get the crowd going but they aren’t quite ready to welcome him into the WWF family just yet. Something tells me that a guy with long blonde haired gyrating his hips in a pro wrestling match is not going to be too well received as a babyface in New York City.

Buddy Roberts tags in briefly before tagging in the future Executioner. Gordy launches Shaw over his head to the mat. The Duke of Dorchester is in. Yes! Gordy just unloads with his trademark punches on the Duke. Buddy tags back in and the Freebirds are just double and triple teaming everyone at this point.

The butcher tags in and finally gets a brief advantage on Buddy Jack before being sent to the mat with a shoulder tackle. Michael P.S. tags back in but winds up as Gorilla would say, “on the wrong side of town” being triple teamed in the corner. Hayes finally tags in “Bam Bam” who Gorilla calls, “Terry Brody.” Gordy unloads once again on the butcher. Gordy catches Vachon with a flying bodypress and gets a three count. Gorilla reminds the audience that it is a best two of three.

Howard Finkel actually gets back inside the ring to announce the first fall in between falls. Remember, this was before the wireless ringside microphone.

Gordy and Vachon are back at it. Gordy picks up Vachon for a huge bodyslam as Michael Hayes dances on the ring apron outside of the ring. And who is this “Terry Brody” that Gorilla keeps referring to? Is that the hybrid wrestler of Bruiser Brody and Terry Gordy? I wish.

Buddy Roberts tags in and I must say, that Buddy looks like he’d fit in better with a Swing & Wrestling tag team as opposed to a Rock & Wrestling team. Buddy Jack is caught in the heel corner. Pete Doherty is in the ring now, but loses Buddy as he makes a hot tag to Hayes.

Hayes comes in like a house of fire. He nails a big clothesline on Doherty, dances around a bit, and starts punching away at the Duke. Hayes is trying really hard to get a reaction but the crowd still isn’t buying into the birds. Now that I think about it, it probably has a lot to do with the Apter magazines and all of the stories about the Freebirds’ dastardly deeds in World Class. Or they just don’t like Michael Hayes.

A pier six brawl breaks out as everyone is in the ring. Shaw slams Gordy’s head into the turnbuckle, yet Gordy continues to ram his own heard into the turnbuckle. The crowd likes that. Shaw looks at him and says “he’s crazy!” I heard plenty of Gordy stories to corroborate that.

The Freebirds send Doherty into the ropes with the idea of Hayes and Roberts double backdropping Doherty into Gordy who would then powerslam. Well, that was the idea. Instead, Doherty just rolls off their backs and hits the canvas before Gordy has a chance to grab him. Oh man this is ugly and the crowd lets them know it with awkward silence. Roberts immediately drops an elbow to end this massacre.

I don’t think anyone watching this would ever guess that the ring leader of all of this would later go on to become a WWE Vice President. It should also be of no surprise to anyone that The Freebirds were gone right after this match.

Time for the main-event! I will be completely honest and tell you that I am really excited for this match. I have seen in before, but not in years. However, I just loved this feud as a kid. Anytime Snuka and Piper wrestled it was just magic. Let the tricks begin!

Once the crowd notices Jimmy Snuka coming to the ring they give him a standing ovation. Fans are literally screaming for the Superfly. Not so much for Roddy Piper.

Piper walks slowly to the ring and is showered with a chorus of boos by the New York crowd. Snuka stares down Piper with a look of death from the ring. Piper is seething outside of the ring. Snuka goes after him but is held back by referee Dick Kroll.

Piper takes his time getting in the ring and appears to be psyching himself up. Snuka continues to stare at him with eyes of death. If you weren’t aware of their angle at the time and watched this match today, you’d know immediately that this was a huge grudge match. Both guys are treating this as if they are ready to fight as opposed to wrestle. The intensity is tremendous!

Piper finally gets in the ring and the two just stare at each other without saying a word from across the ring. What I love about this is that Piper is acting as if he wants Snuka as bad as Snuka wants him as opposed to the usual heel tactics which see the villain run scared from the babyface. In other words, Piper is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin long before the Rattlesnake did the same thing decades later.

Gorilla says the crowd is on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the explosion they are about to see. Wow, that was actually pretty good and accurate. Piper and Snuka now circle each other like animals. They finally charge each other with Snuka going to town on Piper with punches and karate shots. Snuka sends Piper to the mat quickly as the Rowdy one tries to call a timeout.

They go at it once again in the center of the ring. Piper tries a head butt to no avail. However, Piper does gain a momentary advantage with a poke to the eye. Piper now follows up with punches. Piper takes Snuka down and goes nuts with punches.

Snuka fights back and chops Piper, who falls over the top rope to the floor. Snuka follows up and rams Piper’s head into the apron. Piper is clotheslined on the rope and falls into the ring. Snuka sends Piper to the ropes and catches him with a sleeper, which would ironically go on to be Piper’s finisher. Piper slides out of the ring with Jimmy holding on to him. Piper finally breaks it by ramming Snuka’s back into the ring apron.

Snuka sends Piper’s head into the steel ring post. Piper is now on all fours crawling away from Snuka. Piper grabs a chair but instead it is Jimmy who rams Piper’s head into the chair. Piper is now busted wide open from either the post or the chair. Gorilla thinks it was the post.

Snuka sees Piper all bloody and goes crazy as Piper begs off. Snuka drops down and punches Roddy’s cut, trying to open up the Scotsman even more. Snuka then drops a flying headbutt onto Piper. Snuka goes up top, Piper is on his feet, catches Snuka, and drops him awkwardly on the top rope. Snuka crashes hard to the floor. The referee counts, raises Piper’s hand, and the bell rings. Really?

Piper now grabs a chair and rams the back of the chair into Snuka’s neck on the floor. Monsoon says, “That’s ridiculous.” So is seven minutes and a bogus finish for a main-event! A bloody Piper continues to ram the chair into Snuka. Piper raises the “I love you” sign and walks back to the locker room. Paramedics are now entering the area with a stretcher.

Paramedics wheel Snuka through the back past Professor Tito Santana. Well he looks like a professor standing there in his glasses. Snuka continues selling it for the cameras and isn’t moving an inch.

Terry Daniels vs. Fred Marzino is up next. What a fall for poor Daniels. Last month he was challenging for the WWF tag team championship, now he is wrestling Fred Marzino who looks more like a 70’s porn star than a WWF wrestler.

The cameras go back to the doctor’s office and show the docs working on Snuka as Pat Patterson looks on. Snuka is barely moving. Poor Terry, they won’t even show his match on the MSG network. This is all about the Superfly.

The cameras go back to the ring just long enough to catch the finish. Daniels gets the win with a pretty cool looking sunset flip cover. Okay, back to the Superfly.

Snuka now has an oxygen mask on. Gorilla speculates that the doctor’s are about to give him an I.V. No wonder everyone hated Piper, he practically killed his arch rival.

Lord Al Hayes is now reporting from the locker room before the WWF intercontinental championship match starts. The doctor gives a statement which you can’t hear at all. The audio finally become clear and it appears that Snuka has a concussion. Kind of weird since most of the punishment came from damage to Snuka’s neck, but hey who am I to argue.

Back to the ring, Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine for the I-C strap closes the show. These guys had some tremendous matches during this time period, hope this is one of them. They start quickly with some chain wrestling. The champion grabs Valentine in a side headlock. Santana then delivers an atomic drop and the Hammer begs off.

I kind of feel sorry for these guys. The crowd has their minds on Jimmy Snuka and really don’t seem to into the match. The guys are trading punches and nobody appears to care. Remember, this is the same crowd that went wild for an Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Brian Blair match earlier in the night.

Valentine catches Santana with an elbow and the tide is turned. Valentine hammers away with punches and elbows. Valentine drops Santana into a shoulder breaker. He now winds up and drops a forearm. Ironically the crowd really appears to be into Valentine. That would make him the first heel cheered all night which is kind of odd.

Santana and Valentine now trading punches and trying to get the fans back into the match…but wait! The cameras shoot to the back again and show Snuka being taken out with a stretcher. Wow, not even the intercontinental championship match can steal time away from this one.

Valentine now has a Sugar Hold on Santana. Oops wait, back to Snuka. Valentine punches away at Santana and drops an elbow onto Tito’s neck from the apron to the floor. Maybe the crowd isn’t so much into Valentine as just hoping to see a decisive finish in one of the main-events they paid $20 to see?

Both guys trade punches back and forth once again, Santana hits the ropes, leap frogs Valentine, and crashes right into the referee. Nope, no clean finishes tonight in the main-events. Valentine knees Santana from behind. Valentine sends Santana into the ropes, Santana ducks, flying forearm! A slow moving Kroll counts the fall but Valentine drapes his leg on the bottom rope.

Valentine pops right back up, smashes Santana from behind, and applies the figure four leg lock in the center of the ring. Sorry Hammer but the match is over. Dick Kroll tells Valentine that the match is over, Santana is screaming in pain, and Valentine finally breaks the hold. So now both of the night’s big babyfaces are leaving injured.

Santana is officially announced as the winner. Kroll never saw the foot on the ropes. Okay, so you get one kind of, sort of decisive finish in the co-headliner. Santana lips badly to the back selling the leg lock, as Valentine celebrates in the center of the ring with the title. The fans react by showering Valentine with garbage but to Greg’s credit, he continues to instigate them and stand in the center of the ring.

The main-events were good, but just way too short. Seven minutes for Snuka vs. Piper with such a ridiculous finish is a real killer. The WWF tag team title match was probably my second favorite of the night thanks to Captain Lou’s antics and Adonis’ bumping. Santana vs. Valentine had a ton of potential but again, it was just way too short.

Overall I really liked this show. The crowd was super hot for most of the night which really added to the excitement of most matches. I have to be honest and I never thought I’d say this, but Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Brian Blair was probably my favorite match of the night. I never would have expected it, but it was a lot of fun.

Full WWF New York, NY 08/25/85 results…
Kamala (w/ Freddie Blassie & Friday) pinned Chief Jay Strongbow
B. Brian Blair fought Iron Mike Sharpe to a double count-out
Rick McGraw (sub. for Don Muraco) fought Salvatore Bellomo to a time-limit draw
WWF Tag Team Champions Dick Murdoch & Adrian Adonis defeated the Wild Samoans via disqualification with guest referee Capt. Lou Albano
Ken Patera defeated Pat Patterson
Jesse Ventura defeated Ivan Putski via count-out
Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, & Buddy Roberts (w/ David Wolff) defeated Butcher Vachon, Ron Shaw, & Pete Doherty in a Best 2 out of 3 falls match
Roddy Piper defeated Jimmy Snuka via count-out
Terry Daniels pinned Fred Marzino
WWF IC Champion Tito Santana pinned Greg Valentine

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Happy Anniversary WWE The Main Event 88

February 05, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

HaTed DiBiase WWE Main Event 88ppy 27th anniversary to the biggest U.S. pro wrestling television broadcast of all-time. 27 years ago today, 33 million people tuned in to watch the evil Hebner twins collude with Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant to screw Hulk Hogan out of the WWE championship.

This event often gets overlooked for its impact on pro wrestling history. Generally WrestleMania 3 is regarded as the most historic WWE event ever, yet I think that the Main Event is not too far off. The event shattered records and drew an unimaginable 33 million people to watch the broadcast. It also marked an end to one of the most historic WWE title reigns in promotion history.

I don’t want to get too much into a review of the actual event. I covered that in a blog a few months back after re-watching it on the WWE Network. I want to focus more on the history and the circumstances surrounding the event. There is just as much legend to the backstage stories leading up to the show as there are to the memorable angle.

If we were to play a game of “what if”, we would all ask the question “what if” Randy Savage won the WWE intercontinental title as planned. The story here is that Savage was booked to win the title from the Honkytonk Man. Unfortunately for Savage, yet fortunately for pro wrestling history the Honkytonk Man refused to do the j-o-b. Honky refused to lose the match and for whatever reason, Vince McMahon buckled to Honky and booked Honky to retain the title. This controversy had a big ripple effect on the next several years of WWE wrestling.

Ted DiBiase was originally planned to win the WWE championship in a few months at the WrestleMania IV tournament with Savage chasing him through the summer on house shows. Honky’s refusal to do the favor caused the company to shuffle the deck and change plans. Whether it was to acquiesce to Savage or because Vince had an epiphany, Savage wound up winning the tournament and the title as a set up to one of the biggest feuds in WWE history. It is always conceivable that Savage would have wound up winning as the intercontinental champion won the WWE title two Manias later. Yet we will never know thanks to the Honkytonk Man.

Savage winning the tournament, kicked off the start of what may have been the best slow build angle in company history. Savage’s glare at Hogan as the Hulkster put Miss Elizabeth on his shoulders planted the seed that would sprout a year later at WrestleMania V. Savage and Hogan would go on to have a classic Mania main-event and arguably Hogan’s greatest feud during his 1980s run. Whether the angle would have happened or not we’ll never know. We do know that it would not have had that same slow burn with DiBiase winning the title and Savage getting it later down the line.

Unfortunately Honky’s luck would eventually run out in several months at SummerSlam. A new shining star in the Ultimate Warrior would defeat the Honkytonk Man in under a minute to win the intercontinental title. Ending Honky’s long reign in such convincing fashion immediately made the Warrior a superstar and set him up for an eventual Mania classic against Hulk Hogan.

It was also the crescendo on a legendary career for Andre the Giant. Booked as the greatest special attraction in pro wrestling history, Andre had never tasted gold during his WWE years (although he would in other territories). Andre’s title reign would last mere minutes before surrendering the title to Ted DiBiase. Regardless, this was the peak for Andre’s career as he was never booked as strong following the event.

Hogan stepped aside for the first time since returning to the WWE in 1984. Hogan was the focus of everything in the WWE from the second he returned. Hogan would begin a graceful exit here to do movies, allowing the WWE to focus on someone else for the first time in four years. It was a true changing guard and for fans like me, a welcome change to a stagnant run.

So much history was made in one fast hour of WWE television. Imagine any hour of WWE television having that kind of impact today? Imagine 33 million people watching the WWE on live television today? Imagine the shock and surprise of the WWE title finish taking place in today’s predictable and processed WWE world. It was a different time, a different era, and a moment in history that should never be forgotten.

Happy Anniversary!

Watch the Main Event 88 on the WWE Network (with subscription)

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WWE Network Review: The Main Event 88

February 05, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Hulk Hogan WWE Main Event 88The WWE Network has recently added the majority of the Saturday Night’s Main Event collection. What better show to start with than the one that featured the most watched televised show in World Wrestling Entertainment history!

Episode 37 of SNME is not technically SNME as it was branded the “Main Event”. The Main Event aired on a Friday night in prime time on February 5, 1988. The show featured without question the biggest rematch in WWE history pitting Hulk Hogan against Andre the Giant in a singles match for the first time since their historic WrestleMania 3 bout. The three-match card only ran an hour yet those 60-minutes were record breaking. It was also newsworthy for what down inside of the ring and out.

You won’t find a bigger event by the numbers. The live broadcast remains the most watched wrestling program in American television history bringing in a whopping 33 million viewers with a 15.2 rating. Let those numbers resonate for a minute to grasp the magnitude of this show. The WWE truly peaked on this night and has not come close to bringing in that amount of viewers since.

The show opens with a classic assortment of promos by some of the best in the history of the company. Randy Savage promises to send the Honkytonk Man back to Graceland with a one-way ticket, the Honkytonk Man claims Savage can’t Elizabeth satisfied, Ted DiBiase predicts that the WWE championship will fit around Andre the Giant’s waist as easily as the Giant’s hands fit around Hogan’s neck, and the Hulkster brings it home with an awesome promo telling Andre that Hulkamania will never die. Over 25 years later and these promos still get me hyped for the event!

Vince McMahon opens up the show with Jesse Ventura. Vince brags about the record for the largest television audience set by the show. Jesse runs down the facts and predicts that Andre is going to win the WWE title after waiting almost one year for the rematch. Jesse boldly predicts a clean sweep by the heels and Vince seems shocked by the Body’s remarks regarding the Honky and Miss Elizabeth.

A vignette airs of Hogan training for his match with Andre the Giant. Hogan is enormous here and bench pressing a ungodly amount of weight. Fun fact: Jake the Snake Roberts’ theme plays throughout the video which is weird in hindsight. I’d love to see them make a video like this for Cesaro who is one of the strongest guys in the WWE but that’s another topic for another blog. My hunch is that Andre’s training was not quite as extensive.

Mean Gene interviews Jimmy Hart and Honky. Honky and Hart claim Elizabeth is head over heels for the champ. Gene is upset and wants Honky to be more specific when he says he is going to oblige Liz. Honky proceeds to quote several Elvis songs when he asked about where he is going to take her which is beyond tremendous. Gene hopes the real Elvis doesn’t hear that. As a pro wrestling fan I am sure Elvis would have loved it.

Gene talks to Savage and Liz. Gene repeats the news and tells Savage he will be competing in front of the largest audience in WWE history. I don’t know if it was a snafu or not but Honky’s music plays loudly in the background making it hard to hear the promo. Savage tells Honky that vengeance is his as a concerned Liz looks on.

The match itself was a lot better than you’d expect given most Honky matches weren’t all that great.. Jesse accuses Liz of smiling at Honky. Savage attacks Honky on the floor and is on fire. Honky uses the megaphone early which Jesse thinks is justified Honky works over Savage early on. Honky points to Liz throughout the match motioning as if he is coming for her. This is where the action turned in Savage’s favor as Savage nails Honky from behind. Savage brings Hart in the ring who winds up eating a knee from Honky as the place goes crazy. At this point I remember watching this at home thinking that I was going to see a new champion…and I may have if the match went as planned but more on that in a minute. Honky is fading to Savage’s sleeper as Peggy Sue (Sherri Martel) approaches Liz. Savage drops Honky to help Liz outside of the ring. Honky sneaks up on Savage but is countered and thrown into the ring post. Honky is counted out and the place goes crazy. Jesse is quick to point out that the belt does not change hands. Honky then grabs his guitar and gets back into the ring. Honky corners Savage. Hart nails Savage with the megaphone from behind. Liz sits in front of Savage and begs Honky not to hit him with the guitar. Savage pops up, grabs the guitar, and chases Honky off. Savage puts Liz on his shoulder to a big pop. Jesse says he’s lost all respect for the Macho Man. Great opener!

Fun fact: Savage was booked to regain the intercontinental title from Honky. Honky refused to drop the belt that night. “This particular television show had 35 million people watching. That particular Main Event had 35 million people. You got to remember; Turner had a lot of money and Turner was trying to make a run at Vince. I said, ‘No. I’m not going to do this on television. You want to do it, I’ll do it anywhere else. I’m not doing it in front of 35 million people’,” said Honkytonk Man. It would eventually work out for Savage who wound up getting a run with the WWE title at WrestleMania 4 yet it was Ted DiBiase who lost out. DiBiase was booked to win the WWE title at WM 4 and wound up as the odd man out. What is kind of odd is how the finish of this match played into the psychology of the Hogan-Andre match. If you didn’t know the story you would think that the CO finish made perfect sense setting up for the next match yet that was reportedly not the plan.

Vince predicts that we will have the greatest rematch in World Wrestling Federation history. Jesse and Vince recap the WrestleMania 3 match which Jesse says was very disputed. The questionable moment in the match is shown where Joey Marella may or may not have counted to three. Andre’s attack on Hulk from the last SNME where he choked Hogan out is shown next as is the contract signing. Hogan’s attire is 80s awesome. The match certainly has a “big match” feel to it to say the least.

The Million Dollar Man says Andre is already champion due to the questionable referee and says Virgil will keep an eye on the referee. DiBiase says Andre has had the best training that money can buy. DiBiase calls Hogan “small change” and says his account is overdrawn and Andre is going to close it. Andre says he will never stop if he gets his hands on Hulk’s neck.

Hulk cuts a crazed promo and claims that Andre and DiBiase’s claims about the ref’s three count are bogus. Hogan says he has no problem with them watching the referee. Hulk predicts victory in an absolutely classic Hulk promo from the Hulkamania era. It was arguably one of his best!

It’s time for the biggest rematch in WWE history. Hogan comes out with a drenched shirt to a thunderous ovation. Even Jesse gives Hogan props on being in the best shape of his life. Hogan goes right for Andre and is held back by referee Dave Hebner. Andre is completely stoic and not phased at all about Hogan’s threatened attack. Hogan reminds Andre, DiBiase, and Virgil of the bodyslam at Mania 3. Andre’s silence is tremendous and something you won’t see by a big time heel in 2014.

The biggest rematch in WWE history lasts just under ten minutes. No big stare down like their Mania match. The match starts off with Hogan cleaning house, taking out Virgil and DiBiase. Hogan turns his attention to Andre and goes to town with a series of punches. The strategy is clear. Hogan is trying to get Andre off of his feet so he can drop the leg. Andre is wobbly and misses one of the slowest punches in history. Hogan bounces off of the ropes and nails another big punch. Fans are literally jumping up and down. Hogan tries to chop at Andre and he still can’t knock him off of his feet. Jesse points out that Andre is taking everything from Hogan and still won’t go down. Hogan rams Andre’s head into the turnbuckle twice. Andre is groggy. Hogan bounces off the ropes and hits an elbow on Andre. Andre still on his feet. Andre still on his feet after Hogan hits a clothesline off of the ropes. Hogan now turns his attention to DiBiase and Virgil. A Hogan punch sends Virgil to the floor. Hogan stomps on DiBiase’s hand and Ted sells it like he’s been hit by a baseball bat and drops his money. Hogan still punching Andre who is still standing. Jesse points out that Andre has shown no offense. Hogan rakes Andre’s eyes and runs across the ring to deliver another clothesline. If you have never seen the match it probably doesn’t read as anything special. Yet once you watch the match and experience it with the hot crowd and the announcers, you get a much different appreciation for it. Andre is wobbly again and bent over. Hogan winds up and hits a big punch. Andre still rocking and reeling but won’t go down. Hogan goes to the top rope for what has to be one of only a handful times in his career. Bad move Hulk. Hogan is too slow and Andre catches him by the throat. Andre slams him off of the top which has to be one of the biggest bumps Hogan ever took during his career. Hogan is selling it like he got dumped off of a 15-foot high steel cage to the floor. Andre seemingly falls to the ground in a very awkward moment. Vince points out that Andre missed a head butt. Maybe he did but the director completely missed it and it just looked like Andre collapsing. Hogan is the first to get up. He sees the Giant down and goes for a cover. Andre catches him by the throat. The referee breaks up the blatant choke hold. Andre goes back to the choke. The referee keeps breaking it up and Andre goes right back to it. Andre hits a big right hand on Hogan. Andre whips Hogan into the turnbuckle. Hogan bounces off and goes down. Vince points out that this more punishment to Hogan’s back. Andre stomps on Hogan’s hand. Andre body slams Hogan. Andre kicking at Hogan. He picks Hogan back up and delivers a head butt and a chop. Hogan grabs Andre’s leg but the Giant thwarts the attempt. Hogan is down once again after another head butt. Andre hits a big boot on Hogan. Andre falls and Hogan rolls outside of the ring. Virgil rolls Hogan back in. Jesse brilliantly points out the earlier result between Savage and Honky and reminds fans that they learned from earlier and don’t want a count out which results in no title switch. Talk about thinking quick! Andre takes the strap from his tights and wraps it around Hogan’s throat. Andre clubs Hogan to the back. Andre back to the choke. Hogan starts shaking his head and working his way back to his feet. Hogan removes Andre’s hands from his throat and hits a knee and a chop. The fans are going crazy. Hogan pounds on Andre in the corner. Hogan going to the second rope…this has to be a record. Hogan hits a clothesline off of the second rope which finally takes Andre off of his feet. Hogan points to Andre and looks at the fans who are jumping up and down once again. Hogan goes for the leg drop but Virgil grabs Hogan’s leg. Hogan hits the ropes from the other side and drops the leg. The referee is busy yelling at Virgil and doesn’t count. Vince counts to five to make sure everyone at home knows that not only could Hogan beat him, but he could have gotten a five count. Hogan is upset and starts yelling at Hebner. Andre grabs Hogan from behind, delivers two head butts to the back of Hogan’s head, and takes him down with one of the worst suplexes you will ever see. The referee counts to one and a half, Hogan gets his shoulder up, yet the referee drops for a second and third time to give Andre the win. The fans are going bananas at this point. Jesse and Vince are arguing over the result. Hogan is on his feet and holds up one finger. Hogan is yelling at Hebner and telling him to ask the fans. Hebner tells Hogan “no way” and tells Hogan he was down. Vince calls it a “stupid mistake.” The referee presents the belt to Andre. Mean Gene hits the ring to talk to the new champion. Hogan is confused.

Andre tells Gene that this is not a surprise and he predicted it. Andre then tells Gene that he is surrendering the belt to Ted DiBiase. DiBiase celebrates with the belt which Vince calls ridiculous. Hogan moves the referee and goes after Andre and DiBiase. The heels are on the ground while Hogan is on the second turnbuckle yelling at them. Jesse questions whether Andre can just give the title away.

Back in the ring both Hebner brothers are arguing. Hogan confronts them and is trying to figure it all out. Hogan grabs them both by the throats and interrogates them. Hogan releases his grip and can’t believe it. The Hebner brothers are arguing and Earl drops Dave with a punch. Vince says that he must have taken the money and was in cahoots with the Million Dollar Man. See I would have guessed that the one throwing the punch was the one that was set up, not the corrupt ref. Dave Hebner drops to his knees and begs Hogan for mercy. Hogan presses the referee over his head and throws over the top rope onto the heels. Unfortunately for the referee the heels misjudged Hogan’s strength and Hogan overthrew him. Oops! Hogan continues to plead his case with the fans.

Back from the break and Strikeforce are making their way to the ring for a WWE tag team championship match with the Hart Foundation. Hogan is standing by in the back with Mean Gene. Vince says “Mean Gene Okerlund is standing by with Mean Gene”. Gene says there will be a thorough investigation. Hogan is in tears and hysterical. Hogan accuses the referees of plastic surgery, he says he had all bases covered, never in his wildest dreams did he think he’d be ripped off by a crooked referee. Hogan says that when he turned around the referees were identical. Hogan is screaming to the Hulkamaniacs.

Say what you will about Hogan but this is exactly what is missing in today’s WWE. When is the last time you saw a guy in tears after he was screwed out of the WWE title? John Cena laughs it off or makes corny jokes while you had this guy in tears over losing the WWE title. It was an incredibly powerful promo.

The show goes off of the air in the middle of the WWE tag team title. Vince and Jesse talk about an impending investigation. Vince signs off.

This was a great show! The 49:00 (commercials cut out on the Network) flew by and while you only had about 18 minutes of wrestling, the show had a fantastic flow from start to finish. If you are new to the Saturday Night’s Main Events and checking them out on the Network, I can’t think of a better one to start out with than this gem.

Watch Episode 37 of SNME on the WWE Network (with subscription)

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10 Wrestling Angles That Started Hot & Ended Flat

February 04, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The intrigue of how a hot pro wrestling angle ends is more exciting than the matches for most of us. Yet you don’t have to go back further than Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for examples of pro wrestling angles that started off as hot and ended flatter than a pancake. It doesn’t get much disappointing than that.

It is important to keep in mind that more times than not, pro wrestling bookers tend to over-think these things and get all caught up in trying to fool fans as opposed to doing what is best for business. Even when it seems so easy, they routinely miss the mark. Remember how great the Summer of Punk started and how badly it ended?

So off the top of my head here are ten pro wrestling angles that I thought started out hot and ended flat, disappointing wrestling fans. These aren’t in any particular order of importance. These angles are moments I remember watching live thinking how great they were that failed to live up to expectations for a variety of reasons, generally the fault of the bookers or writers.

The WCW Invasion, 2001 - We have been down this road many times. WCW invading the WWE after the sale in 2001 should have been the biggest angle in pro wrestling history. Instead, most point to this angle as the biggest booking blunder of the 21st century for Team McMahon.

Let’s face it. This one doesn’t take a whole lot of rocket science to book. Yet Vince McMahon got cute and due to ego and bad business, never gave this angle the tools it needed to succeed. Instead of picking up the big WCW stars, the WCW invasion was originally led by Shane McMahon, Booker T, and Buff Bagwell. You can figure out how this thing ended without even reading on.

All of the WWE vs. WCW matches ended with the WWE crew coming out on top with none of the WCW originals looking strong. The underlying theme here was obvious. WWE is and always was better than WCW. That is how this thing started and that is how it ended.

The irony here is that Vince McMahon later signed the bigger WCW superstars like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Bill Goldberg, and Scott Steiner. Unfortunately those signings came after the invasion, thus costing the company millions of dollars and some potentially historic moments of pro wrestling fans.

Lita, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy defeat Triple H, Steve Austin, & Stephanie McMahon on RAW, 2001 - Do you remember the night that the Hardy brothers and Lita defeated Austin, Triple H, and Stephanie on RAW? You probably don’t, but if you did you remember one of the most exciting moments in RAW history at the time of the match.

The Hardy brothers and Lita had become a hit around this time with the younger WWE audience. It was time to bump the trio up from their feud with Edge, Christian, and Kurt Angle to the Two Man Power Trip. This match resulted out of a brief meeting earlier in the show between Lita and Linda where Lita showed her support for Linda in the middle of a “divorce” with Vince. The punishment, a match with the WWE champion Stone Cold Steve Austin, the WWE intercontinental champion Triple H, and Stephanie.

The match was exciting, full of action, and told a fantastic story of the underdogs finally getting their opportunity. The match ended with Lita pinning Stephanie. Austin and Hunter obliterated the Hardy boys and even Lita in an absolutely tremendous RAW moment. It appeared that the Hardy brothers were in full feud mode now with the McMahon alliance.

Sadly that feud lasted all of about a week. Jeff Hardy defeated Triple H on the next edition of SmackDown to win the intercontinental title, only to drop it back to Hunter four days later on RAW. The Hardys and Lita had one more match against the pair as part of an eight-man tag team match but fell out of the main-event picture in the blink of an eye.

This had the potential to be a really exciting feud that never went anywhere when all was said and done.

Nexus Forms, 2010 - Up until CM Punk’s promo on RAW Roulette, this was the most memorable moment of the decade in the WWE. The night without warning that several WWE rookies jumped John Cena and CM Punk in what many described as an “n.W.o. moment.” Unfortunately that great moment never materialized the way most fans had hoped that it would.

Daniel Bryan was immediately fired from the company which took the best worker of Nexus out of the mix. So for the next several weeks Wade Barrett carried the crew with some of the best promos of the year in the WWE. Nexus destroyed everyone in their paths for about a month including several WWE legends. It appeared that nobody was stopping Nexus.

Sadly, everyone stopped Nexus. The first big WWE vs. Nexus match took place at SummerSlam 2010. This was the turning point for the angle because from here on out, Nexus were never able to regain the momentum they had when they jumped Punk and Cena back in June. Cena standing tall as sole survivor of the match completely brought this angle to a screeching halt.

Yes I know, Wade Barrett defeated John Cena at Hell in a Cell and got him in Nexus. However, Barrett and Nexus were made to look like fools and Cena never took the stips or the loss seriously. One year later Barrett is far removed from where you would have expected him to be at this point and most of Nexus are just bouncing around. I hate to say it but I have little faith that the same guys that dropped the ball on Nexus will be writing the CM Punk-Money in the Bank storyline at Money in the Bank.

Tazz debuts in the WWE, 2001 - Taz as he was known in Extreme Championship Wrestling was the franchise player of the company in 2000. That is why many were surprised, yet excited when they heard Taz (now Tazz) had signed with the WWE.

Tazz came into the company with a ton of promotion. He had several articles written about him on the website and a ton of vignettes before his debut. Tazz debuted at the Royal Rumble in New York as Kurt Angle’s mystery opponent. Tazz ended the winning streak of Kurt Angle to a huge reaction in just slightly over three minutes of dominance.

You would have expected big things for Tazz after debuting with such fanfare in the WWE. Unfortunately that never happened. Chalk it up to politics, but the Tazz was never fully followed through. The writing was on the wall when Tazz as ECW champion lost to Triple H on SmackDown for no apparent reason other than spite. From there, Tazz wound up in the intercontinental title mix and was one of only a few not to get a run with the belt during that time period. Tazz would wind up disappearing due to injury and returning months later.

Unfortunately the WWE never pushed Tazz as hard as they did before he arrived as they did when he showed up in the WWE disappointing a lot of fans who hoped to see Tazz suplex and choke his way to the WWE main-event picture.

The Radicalz invade the WWE, 2000 - If you read the wrestling newsletters or called hotlines back in 1999 and 2000 you knew what was coming. After years of being held down by politics and petty booking in WCW, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Eddie Guerrero (along with Perry Saturn) were going to get their shots in the WWE.

It all started off fantastic. All four guys appeared at ringside without warning on the January 31, 2000 edition of WWE RAW is War. The fans went crazy and immediately recognized the men and the N.W.O. moment that the WWE injected back into the Monday Night Wars. The Radicalz as they were called were “invited” guests of Mick Foley.

The Radicalz made their presence known by the end of the night. A cheap shot by the Road Dog resulted in the Radicalz jumping the guard rail and beating down the New Age Outlaws. They were instant stars in the WWE, something they had to work for in WCW over the course of a few years. Unfortunately the parade would soon come to an end.

A few days later Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko, and Saturn were offered a chance to “win contracts” if they could win three matches on SmackDown against Degeneration-X members; Triple H, X Pac, and the Outlaws. Can you guess what happened next? The Radicalz lost all three matches, including Triple H pinning Benoit who left WCW as the world champion. The air was taken out of the balloon in less than a week.

Benoit and Guerrero eventually fought their way to the top but Saturn and Malenko struggled. It took the WWE months to ruin the Nexus angle in 2010. It only took them a few days to ruin the Radicalz angle in 2000.

ECW invades the WWE, 1996 - Yes before ECW One Night Stand there was WWF Mind Games in Philadelphia, PA. The WWF was struggling to find its way while ECW became something of an underground sensation with a teenage market that the WWF couldn’t reach. In order to reach that market, the WWF partnered with ECW, giving ECW an opportunity to expose its product to a national audience. And oh yeah, WCW was kicking the WWF’s behind at this time with the start of the n.W.o. angle.

It all started in ECW when threats were issued towards the WWF for coming into ECW’s home base, Philadelphia, PA with Mind Games. A few weeks later ECW (& future WWE) stars the Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Taz, and Paul Heyman were in the front row of the Mind Games pay per view to enjoy the show and cause a little trouble.

It didn’t take long for the fans to notice and “ECW” chants quickly broke out live in pay per view. In the pay per view opener, Savio Vega wound up outside the ring in front of the ECW crew. Sandman threw beer on Vega and a pull-apart erupted between all parties at ringside. Vince McMahon on the announce team dismissed the ECW crew as a “local, up and coming promotion.”

This should have been the start of something great. The WWF had their own invasion angle right in front of them but nothing of real relevance materialized. The ECW crew were given matches on one episode of RAW and appeared from time to time to cause trouble but that was it. A memorable debate between Jerry Lawler and Paul Heyman that resulted in nothing else is about the only real highlight here.

Ironically it was ECW that really capitalized off of this angle. ECW booked Jerry Lawler and Lawler immediately became one of the biggest heels in the company. Yet Vince McMahon and the WWE never pulled the trigger on an all-out invasion between companies. In retrospect it is interesting to think what could have happened if he did.

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The Ultimate Warrior confronts Hulk Hogan in WCW, 1998 - How could I write a blog like this without bringing up this nugget? Eight years after giving pro wrestling one of the most memorable matches in WWE history, Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior attempted to rewrite history in WCW. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t Vince McMahon holding the pencil and writing what would become a bomb of a program.

Warrior’s debut was great. Some fans were surprised, some expected it, but all went crazy when the lights went out and returned with the Warrior in a WCW ring. Warrior cut a great (but lengthy) promo on Hogan and Bischoff. It was certainly an electric moment but sadly for Warrior fans, someone turned the power off pretty quickly on this memorable moment.

See the fun part about the Warrior is watching him talk but unfortunately at some point he is going to have to wrestle. He did and his long awaited singles match with Hogan is regarded by many as one of the worst WCW main-events in history and boy does that say a lot.

Warrior only resurfaced one more time in WCW after the Halloween Havoc disaster. Depending upon who you believe either the Warrior held out for more money after the match or WCW simply stopped calling him. Either way, WCW finally moved on and spared their fans of another Warrior vs. Hogan match.

The Four Horsemen turn on Ole Anderson, 1987 - I remember watching this as a kid and getting excited seeing Ole Anderson slap J.J. Dillon moments after Dillon made fun of Anderson’s kid. Ole was always something of a bully and a bad-a$* so seeing Ole get his revenge on the Four Horsemen was a moment I was ready to pay $20 to see.

Instead, Ole wound up in a bunch of tag team matches and singles matches against Arn that never went anywhere. The angle fell completely flat and Ole bombed as a babyface. Maybe he was just too good of a heel that even when fighting the Horsemen, nobody wanted to cheer Ole? Whatever the reasons were, Ole retired less than a year later and the angle became a forgotten moment after an intense start.

Ronnie Garvin turns heel, 1988 - Ronnie Garvin never particularly clicked as a babyface to justify the push he received by Dusty Rhodes in 1987. However, Garvin was always seen as a gritty, tough guy and a pro wrestler that could hold his own against anyone. That is why I, like many were surprised when he helped the Four Horsemen at the expense of Dusty Rhodes.

The start of this angle was fantastic. Garvin entered the ring during a match at the Great American Bash 1988 featuring Dusty Rhodes vs. Barry Windham. The referee was knocked out, J.J. got up on the apron, and Garvin appeared to even the odd for Dusty. Instead, Garvin clocked the son of a plumber with his famous right hand to a huge reaction from the Baltimore crowd. The feud was on…and off.

Garvin quickly left the promotion for the WWE after the turn. Garvin vs. Dusty never got off the ground, failing to deliver on what was one of the most exciting moments in wrestling at the time.

Randy Orton is kicked out of Evolution, 2004 - This certainly won’t go down in history as the greatest angle of all time but at the time this was huge. After running around with Triple H, Batista, and Ric Flair, Randy Orton for two years, Orton was kicked out of Evolution. The thumbs up/thumbs down was a WWE moment for the ages. Unfortunately the excitement ended there for Orton.

Orton lost all of his singles matches with Triple H, thus taking steam right off of the kid who was touted to be the next big babyface of the WWE. Instead, Orton turned heel a couple of months after his final match with Triple H at the Royal Rumble, completely abandoning his big push to be the next WWE hero.

In other words, the WWE wasted an entire year building Orton’s turn just to squash Orton, and turn him heel again a few months later.

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WWE Flashback: WWF Spectrum Wrestling June 28, 1986 Review

February 01, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

We are going back in time today and taking a look at WWF 1980s wrestling from the Philadelphia Spectrum. Hulk Hogan headlines a stacked show with a WrestleMania 2 rematch against King Kong Bundy while “Macho Man” Randy Savage provides the support with an intercontinental title defense against Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff.

Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon open up the show talking about how big tonight’s show. Graham praises Gorilla for putting together such a great show while Gorilla corrects him and says it was the WWF, not him. Gorilla says that Randy Savage’s reign may be over because Mr. Wonderful doesn’t take a backseat to anyone and that King Kong Bundy is looking for the Hulkster. Dick says that something is going to be decided one way or the other. Talk about going out on a limb.

Hank Kropinski welcomes us to the Spectrum. I either watched or attended every WWF show in Philly during this time and I can’t ever recall seeing this guy before.

Brickhouse Brown vs. Moondog Rex opens the show. Yes, the same Brickhouse from Memphis. I completely forgot he was in the WWF. Gorilla points out his terrific amateur background and puts Brick over as “one of the best male dancers in south Florida”, comparing him to the Chippendales. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Gorilla talks about the Moondogs returning to the WWF and all of the tremendous tag team competition which is a bit ironic since Rex is competing in a singles match.

Now I know why Brickhouse didn’t last very long. Brick takes a shoulder tackle and then does a delayed bump of about ten seconds. Who said wrestling was better back in the 80s? So far we are off to a great start in Philadelphia.

Gorilla puts over what a killer Rex is. Wasn’t he squashed on television every week? Brick catches Rex’s leg and just holds it for about 30 seconds, spins him around, and picks Rex up about two feet off the ground for an atomic drop. Let’s just say that these guys aren’t exactly working real well together.

Graham starts to talk about the card, running down the matches of a card that sounds a hundred times better than WrestleMania 2. In other words, “Yes this sucks, but stick around, it gets better.”

Gorilla compares Brickhouse to a smaller version of Tony Atlas. In 2011 he’d have to apologize for a comment like that. Both guys keep putting over his body, which with the dancing references is making me question the agenda of our announcers for the night.

Brickhouse is just terrible. Everything he sells is on a delay. Now you know why a pro wrestler with a million dollar body in 1987 was working in Memphis. It just looks awkward. Combine that with someone as slow as Rex and you have the makings of the next Botchamania video.

Gimmick infringement! Brickhouse Brown blatantly is ripping off Rocky Johnson with his comeback of punches. Watching that with the Tony Atlas references makes me wonder if the plans were for him and Mr. USA to tag up.

Brick gets the win with a reverse flying cross body press off the second rope. Gorilla puts over the win saying how tough Rex is, yes the same Rex who loses every week on television. The crowd pops big for the win.

A rather odd pairing of Tiger Chung Lee and Hercules Hernandez teams up next to take on Hercules is barking like Bruiser Brody. “Born in the USA” is blasting and Gorilla says, “You know who’s coming.” Dr. Death Steve Williams? Nope, it is Dan Spivey and Mike Rotunda.

It is pretty interesting to see someone like Hercules in such an obvious squash match. Especially when he just came from the Mid South where he was headlining shows weekly for Bill Watts. Not to mention he was also managed by Freddie Blassie at the time and getting a semi decent push on television.

One thing that is getting a bit annoying is Gorilla putting over all of these jobbers like they are on the level of King Kong Bundy. Rex is dangerous, Tiger Chung Lee is tough, it’s like he never watched a Saturday morning All Star Wrestling show.

Watching Mike Rotunda work after watching Brickhouse Brown makes you appreciate how great of a worker Rotunda was. He never did anything exciting, but everything was just so tight.

After telling us how dangerous the combination of Hernandez and Lee were, Gorilla now tells us that he doesn’t think they have the right kind of chemistry. Talk about a bandwagon jumper.

I watch Spivey and think that this guy just came along at the wrong time. He looked too much like Hulk Hogan but at another time, he would have gotten a huge babyface push. It is also amazing to see him here as the clean, cut all-American knowing years later he’d return as Waylon Mercy.

Dick Graham points out that Dan Spivey has “all the equipment” to which Gorilla responds, “I guarantee you that he doesn’t have a problem getting a date for Saturday night.” These guys need a cold shower.

Hercules finally gets into the match about 8 minutes in and is barking up a storm. Hey, if you can’t get Brody and you can’t get Nord, they’ll take Hernandez. Hercules is awesome! I can’t do it justice but the way he throws off Spivey and runs the ropes is just great. The guy is just constantly going.

Rotunda misses a dropkick giving the heels their first real advantage. Herc and Lee start tagging in and out and double teaming Rotunda. Herc steps up to the top rope and the ropes look like they are about to fall apart. I hope they tighten them before the Macho Man hits the ring. Herc comes off with a sledgehammer and the heels continue working over Rotunda’s back.

Wow! A fan just hit the ring. A fan gets to the apron and is tackled by about 8 Spectrum security guards. You know you have a hot crowd when Hercules and Tiger Chung Lee are getting fans that crazy. Gorilla says the fan would have gotten killed if he hit the ring.

This match actually had a pretty cool finish. Tiger Chung Lee shoots Spivey to the ropes and sets up as if he is about to shoot him again but instead, Spivey flies and catches him with a bulldog in mid-air. Very cool spot! The finish comes at 12:26 which was about 10:26 too long. This was a solid match but nothing real exciting until the end.

Magnificent Muraco vs. Junkyard Dog is up next. Muraco was drinking a lot of the “apple” juice at the time if you get my drift and is just huge. I don’t know but there is something about Muraco’s appeal that got lost to me when he jacked up. I liked him better as the out of shape beach bum.

JYD is super over as you would expect. Mr. Fuji is with Muraco. We are a few minutes in and the Dog hasn’t sold a thing for Muraco. Man, JYD is something else. He is just clumsy and delayed with everything, yet the fans are popping for everything.

Muraco turns things around with an eye rake. Muraco is now going to town with elbows and stomps on JYD. Muraco then slams the Dog’s head into the turnbuckle and the Dog just turns around and smiles. Dick Graham is getting excited like he just won the lottery.

You know I never realized how awful the Junkyard Dog was until now. His punches are horrendous and his clothesline makes Brickhouse Brown look like the Dynamite Kid. How did he work for Bill Watts and not know how to throw a punch?

Fuji gets on the apron and throws the cane to Muraco. Muraco breaks it in half over JYD’s head, and the ref calls for the bell. Muraco is continuing to pound on the Dog as the ref just stands there looking. Graham then ponders, “Maybe the ref didn’t hear the bell?” Gorilla responds by yelling at Dick, “The ref called for the bell!” Dick keeps going with this ridiculous theory and Gorilla goes silent. I thought a fight was going to break out at the announcer’s table.

Gilberto Roman continues to just watch as Muraco kicks JYD in the head after the bell. I was waiting for him to pull out his own cane and reveal himself as an associate of Fuji and Muraco. The announcers are all over Roman for doing nothing. JYD is now busted open. “What is this madness I thought this was over” screams Graham!

Gorilla is awesome here! JYD makes the superman comeback and grabs the cake. Roman tries to stop him and Gorilla yells, “Gimme a break Roman!” JYD continues to pound on Muraco’s head with the broken half of the cane. This is would be great stuff if the Dog’s shots weren’t going at a blitzing rate of 5mph.

JYD finally turns around and nails Roman with the cane. Gilberto does his best impersonation of the Ric Flair face-forward bump. The match ended in a little over six minutes yet the aftermath went for another ten. Muraco was a one-man show in this one. Gorilla says, “That’ll cost him a few dollars. Not that he didn’t deserve it.”

Kal Rudman interviews King Kong Bundy. Bundy brings the real Miss America into the promo who is cutting a heel promo with Bundy. Bundy is great. He asks Kal if they would have beautiful children together. Miss America whispers, “It’s over, it’s over.”

King Kong Bundy vs. Hulk Hogan is up next for the WWF title. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan is out with Bundy. There is a crowd shot here as Bundy is introduced and the place looks sold out to the rafters. Bundy actually gets a few cheers beings that he is something of a hometown guy from Atlantic City, NJ. I am surprised he didn’t bring Miss America out with him.

The place just goes absolutely wild for Hogan. I am sorry but there has been nothing even remotely close in pro wrestling to this in many years. Fans are screaming at the top of their lungs for Hogan. I can barely hear Monsoon and Graham. It’s insanity!

This one really has a big match feel to it and it’s just a house show. Bundy shoves Hogan off from a lock up a few times to start the match. Bundy kicks him and throws him into the corner and goes for the avalanche (wow that’s early), and Hogan moves. Hogan goes to town with punches on Bundy. Heenan gets on the apron and is on the receiving end of a Hogan punch and the place has come unglued.

Hogan tries to take Bundy off of his feet with clotheslines to no avail. Hogan throws Bundy outside to the floor. Bundy takes an awesome bump from the ring, especially for someone his size. Hogan follows him out and goes on the attack. Hogan is wrestling this one like a real grudge match. So far this match is great!

Hogan pounds Bundy on the floor and the crowd gets even louder. Hogan then uses Bundy’s shoulder strap to choke him. Hogan slides in to break the count and then slides right out to continue more of the beating on Bundy. He is like Stone Cold Steve Austin!

Hogan now takes Bundy and rams his head into the timekeeper’s chair at ringside. Hogan chokes Bundy with the bottom of the chair. I feel like I am watching a match from Memphis or the Mid South territories, but nope this is WWF wrestling. Every single person in the building appears to be on their feet, most of them jumping up and down.

The action finally moves back inside the ring. Hogan continues punching away on Bundy. Hogan picks him up for a bodyslam and Heenan jumps on the apron and pushes Bundy on the back. Bundy falls on top of Hogan, but Joe Marella is no fool! Referee Marella saw it and now sends Heenan to the dressing room to the delight of 24,000 fans. This was a short night’s work for the Brain.

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Hogan is stunned from the drop which gives Bundy time to recover. WWE wrestlers today need to watch this match. Bundy goes on the offensive, yet continues to sell the beating he just absorbed. If this was WWE 2011 Bundy would have immediately jumped on the offense completely ignoring the fact that he just got his butt kicked for 8 minutes.

Bundy is just unloading on the champ as the crowd screams “Hogan, Hogan!” Bundy goes for another avalanche, yet the Hulkster reverses and uses Bundy’s momentum to deliver a big powerslam. Fans are literally jumping up and down. Hogan is selling his back from the slam. Bundy gets up, drops a knee, and gets a two-count. Bundy grabs a reverse chinlock, slowing the action down for the first time in the match. Not for long. It’s time for Hogan to “Hulk up!” Bundy quickly cuts him off.

The third time is the charm. Bundy finally hits the avalanche on the third attempt. Bundy pulls his straps down and is going crazy. Bundy covers him, Hogan kicks out at two, and throws Bundy off of him. Wow, talk about no selling a finisher! NOW it’s time for the “Hulk up.”

Hogan is going through convulsions as Bundy slugs him. Gorilla says, “He’s Hulking up!” Hogan then unloads with a series of right hands, big boot, leg drop, 1-2-…wait a second, it’s Adrian Adonis! Huh? Yes that Adrian Adonis.I guess that old AWA grudge will never die.

“Adorable” Adonis comes out of the crowd and hits the ring dressed like a woman (wig and all). Adonis puts the boots to Hogan. Hogan recovers, throws out Bundy, and stares down Adonis. Hogan chases Adonis around the ring, Adonis escapes leaving his wig in the ring.

Hogan puts on Adonis’ wig and starts doing his post-match act. Hogan looks hilarious with a long blonde wig on. Hogan strikes well, a stereotypical homosexual pose and the crowd goes crazy. Mel Phillips (of course he reappears when he sees a wig and dress in the ring) announces Hogan as the winner by DQ. Adonis returns to the ring and has a stare down from the apron with Hogan. Hogan lays out the wig and belt, drops to his knees, and begs his former AWA rival to get in the ring. Adonis finally leaves and Gorilla proclaims Hogan, “the greatest wrestler of all time and a fantastic individual.” Was Vince in his ear?

Okay I have a couple thoughts on this one. For one, this match was just fantastic. No it isn’t the kind of match you would have seen headline an NWA show at this time, but it was a fun match, with a great story, that had the fans going from start to finish. Honestly, these guys only slowed down for about 30 seconds. The match was just non-stop action and what you’d expect from a grudge match.

The bummer here is the non-finish. Adonis’ interference really didn’t make a ton of sense other than to set up next month’s main-event. I don’t think there would have been anything wrong with pinning Bundy after such a great match. Although to be fair, the fans didn’t seem to mind and the stare down between Hogan and Adonis was tremendous.

Hogan gets a lot of crap for not “knowing how to wrestle” but this match told a different story. No, he wasn’t going in there and trading holds with Bundy, but he put on the kind of performance you hoped to see if you were paying to see Hulk Hogan. It wasn’t Flair-Steamboat but it was a great main-event for the WWF. It was also much better than their WrestleMania 2 cage match.

Harley Race vs. George Wells follows the main-event. Wow, talk about slowing down the pace. No disrespect to Race, but he looks very old here and well that is probably because he was. The fans aren’t treating Race like a former NWA God. Quite frankly, this was the popcorn match.

Gorilla points out that Wells just returned to the WWF after a series of eye injuries. Race catches Wells early with a clothesline. Race is wrestling a very slow and deliberate pace. Gorilla is really putting over Race as something of a crippler.

Gorilla puts over Race as a world traveler. Of course no mention of Race being a former NWA champion, well yet anyway. Gorilla says “He has about four or five different moves that can put the lights out for you.” Well my lights are about to go out, this match is real slow.

Race throws Wells to the floor. Race drops a head butt on Race on the floor. If you think about that one, it really makes no sense why you’d want to drop a head butt on someone who is laying outside the ring right?

Race is back in the ring. Race poses to the crowd and nobody cares. Race goes back to the floor and rams Wells’ head into the guard rail. Someone close to the announcer’s table is screaming, “boring!” I always hated that even as a kid, but I have to agree with this guy.

Race picks up Wells and drops him via fisherman’s suplex. Unlike Mr. Perfect who bridged for the pin, Race just drops him. Race then covers him for the three count and the crowd could care less.

I know that these weren’t exactly Harley’s glory years but if you didn’t know that Harley was a former multi-time world champion and big draw for the NWA you’d never believe it watching this match.

King Tonga (Haku) vs. Les Thornton is next up. Thornton is a substitute for Big John Studd. Tonga just recently bodyslammed Studd on television so it was a big letdown not seeing the advertised match.

Thornton is a former NWA junior’s champion and known as the “Man of a Thousand Holds.” Needless to say he left about 998 of them back in the NWA because this was a total squash. Tonga hits a bodyslam and a real cool looking thrust kick for the pin. Thank goodness this one only lasted a little over 4 minutes.

Kal Rudman interviews Paul Orndorff. Orndorff says he has a surprise for Savage and brings Miss America back out. Wait a second she was with Bundy an hour ago. What a whore! Unfortunately this was a pretty tame interview from Orndorff who normally knocks them out of the park.

Kal Rudman and Michael Tearson interview the Macho Man Randy Savage next. Savage on the other hand is awesome. He calls Orndorff (known as “Mr. Wonderful), “Mr. So So.” Savage actually appears to be having some fun with Tearson and Rudman.

Randy Savage vs. Paul Orndorff for the WWF intercontinental title closes the show. I have to be honest. When I went through my old videos to find an old house show to review, I saw this match and immediately grabbed this. I don’t remember the match but these two guys were two of the best workhorses in the WWF at the time. I am expecting big things out of these guys.

Savage is out first and the fans are right back to their feet. Everyone appears to be standing up. Savage even has some fans as there is one guy dressed up like Savage and someone else holding up a big Savage sign. Remember, this was 1986.

Savage won’t let Orndorff get in the ring. Savage is kicking at him every time he tries to enter the ring. Orndorff then gets in the ring and Savage runs behind Miss Elizabeth. Savage and Orndorff are having words before the match. This is setting up to be a great match.

Savage enters the ring via the top rope. Graham points out that Savage has a few fans out there, “they like him.” Savage hits the ropes, Orndorff cocks his fist, and Savage takes a powder to the floor.

Savage is a nut. He grabs a chair from a fan at ringside and threatens Orndorff with it. Now Savage is back in and offers Orndorff a hand shake. The two instead exchange arm wringers. Savage gets a break on the ropes.

Savage hits the ropes and Orndorff catches Savage with two big arm drags. Savage hits the floor and throws another chair into the ring. Orndorff cups the ears and pulls a Hogan. Savage comes back in but refuses to lock up. Great stalling by the Macho Man.

Orndorff hits the floor and takes matters into his own hands. He sees flowers at ringside and walks over to Miss Elizabeth with them. Wasn’t this the same guy that hated women a year ago or was it just Cyndi Lauper?  Anyway, the fans are going nuts for this. Savage is incensed! He grabs the flowers and tries to rub them in Orndorff’s face. Orndorff reverses and rubs the flowers into the face of the champion.

Orndorff then goes to town on Savage. Savage reverses and catches him with a clothesline. Savage goes up top and drops a flying axe handle to the inside. The ring is covered with flowers. Savage now chokes Orndorff on the top rope.

Savage starts arguing with Joey Marella and Orndorff surprises him with a reverse rollup. The fans go crazy thinking they are about to see a title change. They don’t. Savage is back in control. Savage drops Orndorff with a big vertical suplex. Savage goes for the cover and gets two.

Savage goes for another axe handle but is caught with a punch by Orndorff. Orndorff hitting Savage with his signature punches. Savage hits the floor, Orndorff follows. Savage picks Orndorff up for a suplex on the floor but Orndorff reverses and catches Savage with an elbow. Orndorff then clotheslines Savage who is now out cold on the floor. There is certainly a lot of brawling on the floor tonight for a WWF show.

Orndorff slides back into the ring and the bell rings. Orndorff wins by count out in a little over eight minutes. Mel Phillips announces Orndorff as the winner and Orndorff pushes him out of the way so he can pose for the fans. Gorilla Monsoon calls it a “tremendous victory.” Really, a count out win in a title match is a tremendous win?

Unlike Hogan-Bundy which exceeded expectations, this was a huge disappointment. If you take the stalling out of the match by Savage, they probably only wrestled for about four minutes. I was hoping to see a lot more from two great workers like Orndorff and Savage. Sadly, this was more a night off for these guys than any kind of a great match. This was a real bummer.

Overall it was an okay show. Hogan vs. Bundy blew everything out of the water. I felt that it was near impossible to get the fans back after the Hogan match was over. Even with such a great main-event, you had both title main-events end with non-finishes. That’s pretty weak if you ask me, especially for a house show.

One thing that really stuck out to me is the pedigree of most of the talent on the show. All of the top guys were wrestlers that spent years in territories around the world perfecting their craft before they came to the WWE. It certainly makes a huge difference when you compare their backgrounds to most of the talent today that don’t have that kind of experience before joining the WWE.

Hogan, Bundy, Savage, Orndorff, Race, Muraco, Adonis, and even Hercules Hernandez toured everywhere before they came into the WWF. They were more than ready for the big show and could work all kinds of different matches thanks to their background. It really shows how much pro wrestling is lacking without the territories when you watch the main talent on this show.

I’ll be honest. I don’t know how many more of these I can do. Other than Hogan vs. Bundy, it was really hard sitting through a lot of the other matches. But who knows, check back at the Camel Clutch Blog from time to time and I may surprise you.

Full WWF Philadelphia, PA 6/28/86 results…
Brickhouse Brown (sub. for David Sammartino) pinned Moondog Rex
Dan Spivey & Mike Rotundo defeated Hercules & Tiger Chung Lee
Adrian Adonis pinned Tito Santana (note: not on the DVD to review)
Billy Jack Haynes defeated Moondog Spot (note: not on the DVD to review)
The Junkyard Dog defeated Don Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji) via disqualification
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan defeated King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby Heenan) via disqualification
Harley Race pinned George Welles
King Tonga pinned Les Thornton (sub. for Big John Studd)
Paul Orndorff defeated WWF IC Champion Randy Savage via count out

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Randy Savage and His Overlooked Greatest Matches

January 22, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Randy Savage will take his rightful place in the Hall of Fame the night before Wrestlemania 31. Although it’s hard to believe, there is a younger generation out there who may not be familiar with Savage’s work. WWE has produced 2 DVDs on the career of the Macho Man, and there is hours of content on the WWE network, but I want to take a look at some matches that often get over looked.

VS Jerry Lawler (Steel Cage match 12/12/1983)
During the early 80’s Savage’s father Angelo Poffo ran the ICW promotion and competed against the southern territories, more specifically the Memphis territory. When the promotion was in dire financial straits in , it was purchased Lawler and Jerry Jarrett of the CWA. Savage eventually showed up on Memphis TV, challenged Lawler, and thus his first major feud began. This match ended in a DQ, but was a brutal match from top to bottom. You get to see an early wild man Savage plant the seeds  of him becoming a superstar. A great match between 2 hall of famers. On a side note, Lawler’s career is vastly overlooked. Savage and Lawler would eventually rekindle their rivalry and face again in a cage when the WWF invaded the USWA in 1993.

Teaming with Lanny Poffo vs The Rock N Roll Express (6/25/84)
During the summer of 1984, Savage teamed with his brother Lanny is a series of brutal matches against the Express. This is yet another Savage match that ended in a DQ, but what was unique about this match was what happened after. Savage pile drove Ricky Morton onto the announce table. Many are on record saying that this was the first time a table was in such a matter in wrestling. The moment was so influential that Terry Funk would perform the same move years later to ignite his feud with Rick Flair.

Vs Bret Hart (Saturday Nights Main Event 11/28/1987)
This is the first time these two hall of famers ever faced each other. During this time, Hart was one half of the Hart Foundation tag team. Just from the historical standpoint of what these two have accomplished, it’s worth a look in it’s own right.

Entire Diamond Dallas Page feud in WCW
Randy Savage had only a few memorable moments in WCW, and out of those, his feud with Diamond Dallas Page stands out the most. The two face off at multiple WCW pay per views in 1997 including Spring Stampede, Halloween Havoc, and the Great American Bash. Any of these matches are well worth your time.

Vs Hulk Hogan (10/31/1985 WWF Title match)
Savage’s feuds with Hulk Hogan are well documented. However, this match was during Hogan’s first WWF title run before Hogan and Savage even teamed together. Though not the most exciting of matches, this is another match that plants the seeds of a feud that would begin years later.

Vs Genichiro Tenryu (4/13/1990)
During the early 90’s, the WWF would have superstars appear in New Japan wrestling for supershows at the Tokyo Dome or the Egg Dome. For those who are unaware, Tenryu is one of the all time Japanese wrestling greats. This is another match that while not exciting, but is interesting to see Randy Savage wrestle in front of a Japanese crowd.

Notable Mentions
I left off some of the obvious matches that many wrestling and savage fans are well aware of. If you are just digging into the career of Randy Savage, some of his classic matches include:

Wrestlemania V – vs Hulk Hogan
Wrestlemania VII – Retirement match vs the Ultimate Warrior
Wrestlemania VIII –WWF title match vs Ric Flair
The WCW World War 3 Battle Royal in 1995
Wrestlemania 3 vs Ricky the Dragon Steamboat

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