Written By: Matt Peddycord
WWF’s The Wrestling Classic
November 7, 1985
The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Hulk Hogan (1/23/1984)
Intercontinental Champion: Tito Santana (7/5/1985)
World Tag Team Champions: Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (8/24/1985)
Women’s Champion: Wendi Richter (3/31/1985)
This is THE first-ever wrestling PPV. I’m not actually sure they announced what the winner of the tournament actually wins. I just kept hearing Gorilla say that the winner will be able to “write his own ticket.” Whatever that means. Okay, let’s get started!
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura!
First Round Matches – 10-minute time limit
Adrian Adonis (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Corporal Kirschner
Adonis doesn’t look too repulsively obese here as he would gain about thirty pounds in the next year. Kirschner puts Adonis down with a pair of armdrags and then hooks on a headlock. Adonis counters out with a back suplex and takes over with some elbows. Kirschner elbows out of a rear chinlock and tries a suplex, but Adonis counters into a DDT! Adonis covers and gets the three-count. (3:22) Nice finish for an otherwise pedestrian match. ½*
Dynamite Kid vs. Nikolai Volkoff
Right as Volkoff finishes the Russian national anthem, Dynamite surprises him with a missile dropkick for the quick win. (:10) Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Volkoff. No rating.
Randy Savage (w/Miss Elizabeth) vs. Ivan Putski
Savage received the modern day post-Wrestlemania debut push (ex. Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Umaga to name a few…) and quickly became the hardest working heel in the promotion at the time, outworking the 300+ pound main event heels like Bundy and Studd. Of course the push was a lot more drawn out back then, people knew who Savage was by the end of ’85 and they hated him. On an unrelated sidenote, I love how they always go to the camera on the ring apron that always gets a great shot of Liz’s cleavage as she circles the ring. Savage spits in Putski’s face to start and then stalls to kill time. Putski returns the favor and Savage bails out once again. Back in, Putski no-sells a shoulderblock and takes Savage’s head to the buckle after some pose down time. Savage goes to the eyes but then Putski no-sells some punches and hammers back. Putski whips Savage into the farside corner and stomps away, but then Savage trips him up and uses the ropes to get the quick pin. (2:47) Not a whole lot to it. CRAP
Ricky Steamboat vs. Davey Boy Smith
In a rare occasion, it’s face vs. face. They shake hands to let the crowd know they’re going to see a fair fight. Nice series of counter-moves by these two which ends with Davey Boy delivering a press slam for two. I mean, Steamboat was able to LEAPFROG over Davey Boy who was coming off the ropes just after being on his back! Davey Boy goes to a front facelock while Ventura and Monsoon discuss just how evenly matched these two really were at the time. Steamboat tries to counter out with a suplex, but Davey Boy gets in another beautiful press slam for 1, 2, NO! Davey Boy returns to the front facelock and tries another hourglass suplex, but Steamboat counters that into one of his own. Steamboat tries for a running splash, but Davey Boy gets his knees up to block. A pair of dropkicks puts Steamboat up against the ropes. Davey Boy charges, but Steamboat avoids and Davey gets crotched on the ropes. Davey Boy can’t continue, so the ref calls for the bell. (2:53) As the ref goes to raise Steamboat’s arm in victory, Ricky ignores him to go and make sure Davey Boy Smith is going to make it. A wonderful example of just why Ricky Steamboat is the greatest babyface of all-time. This was probably as good a match as you’ll see in under three minutes. *½
Iron Sheik vs. Junkyard Dog
Wonder where Blassie was for this show? He didn’t come out for Volkoff either. Sheik attacks before the bell and chokes on JYD. JYD begins to no-sell and headbutts Sheik to send him walking. Back in, Sheik applies a full-nelson but JYD powers out and hits an odd-looking clothesline for 1, 2, NO! Sheik avoids JYD’s falling headbutt and applies the CAMEL CLUTCH! JYD limps down to the mat and Sheik gives up on the hold and starts stomping. While Sheik has JYD in the corner, the ref tries to pull him out of there and gets thrown to the side. Then Sheik turns around into a headbutt from JYD for the three-count. (3:28) No more than a glorified squash for the JYD. ½*
Terry Funk is in the back talking about taking Orndorff out of wrestling to get the $50,000 bounty funded by Bobby Heenan AND he wants to beat the WWF Champion Roddy Piper to win that belt all just to prove how smart a man he is! Wow, those are SOME goals! Before he goes, he spits a big wad of tobacco at the camera lens! The man is NUTZ!
Moondog Spot vs. Terry Funk (w/Jimmy Hart)
Funk gets on the mic and tells Moondog Spot that he doesn’t want to wrestle him and he doesn’t want to wrestle Funk, so he tries to settle for a draw by just leaving and going back to the dressing room. As they start to walk to the back, Funk nails Spot from behind and tries to run back into the ring. Spot pulls Funk back out to the floor and they brawl until Spot gets sent into the ring just before the ten-count. Moondog Spot wins! (:26) Well, that was silly. It was also kind of odd considering JYD and Funk were feuding at the time and could’ve faced each other in the quarterfinals. Although you’d never know it from that promo he spouted out earlier. CRAP
WWF Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana vs. Don Muraco (w/Mr. Fuji) – non-title match
Muraco pounds on Santana all over the ring to start until the champ ducks a clothesline and puts Muraco down with a crossbody block for two. Santana gets a sunset flip and then a backslide for a pair of twos. Muraco cowers away in the corner, allowing Tito to get some revenge. Santana whips Muraco in the opposite corner for Muraco to try the Flair Flip, but he just flips back down onto the mat instead of landing on the apron. Santana unloads with more stomps and then puts on a wristlock. Muraco tries to escape using his power, but Tito brings him down to the mat and hooks on an armbar. Muraco uses his power to his advantage once again and is this time successful as he escapes the armbar with a hotshot. Muraco brings Santana to his feet and clothesline him back down. A big elbow and a knee drop later gets 1, 2, NO! Muraco hits a powerslam near the ropes and covers as the ref counts three. Immediately the ref sees that Tito has his foot on the bottom rope, and says that the match continues to seemingly the invisible man in the ring. Santana sneaks over to Muraco and cradles him up for the three-count. (4:17) Not a bad match up until the finish. *
Bob Orton Jr. (w/cast) vs. Paul Orndorff
What a coincidence that these two would face off, especially considering the names were picked by a “random drawing”! Right out of the tie-up, Orndorff starts wrenching on the “injured” arm of Cowboy Bob. Orton misses a clothesline so Orndorff gives him an atomic drop which sends him right into the steel ringpost. Orndorff slams the arm onto the top of the ringpost and then starts wrenching on it again. Orton fights out which leads to a headlock sequence, but then Orndorff regains control and returns to the arm. Ventura is sure that Orndorff’s old cheating ways will shine through at some point in this match. Orton finally gets away and begs in the corner. Orndorff whips Orton into the farside corner, but then runs into a knee. Orton delivers a few elbows to the throat and follows up with a hotshot. Orton stays on top of Orndorff with rights down in the corner. Orton ducks low off a whip, allowing Orndorff to come back with a sunset flip. Orndorff can’t get him down, so he yanks on the tights to bring him down for 1, 2, NO! Ventura called it! He said Orndorff would break the rules and he just did by pulling the tights! Orton quickly drops an elbow on Orndorff to regain control for two. Orton goes from a chinlock to a headscissors in a nice transition. Orndorff flips over on top of Orton, but Orton bridges up for the backslide for 1, 2, NO! Orton connects with a nice hip toss, but then charges in the corner and hits turnbuckle. HERE COMES ORNDORFF! He fires back and hits a pair of elbows as the crowd goes insane! Orton gets back to his feet, but then gets knocked out to the floor. Orndorff goes out and throws Orton back in who just rolls over to the apron. Ref Dave Hebner backs Orndorff away long enough for Orton to adjust his cast and nail Orndorff in the face with it in plain sight of Hebner for the DQ. (6:30) Ha, Orton hops back in the ring and goes for the pin as though nothing had happened. Once Orndorff gets up, he chases Orton out of the ring. I’m guessing Orton thought that maybe if he KO’ed Orndorff with the cast, that he might leave wrestling and he would cash in on the $50,000 bounty from Heenan. Or maybe he just didn’t think about what he did at all. Yeah, probably the latter. **½
Quarterfinals – 15-minute time limit
Adrian Adonis (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Dynamite Kid
A couple of armdrags from Dynamite send Adonis scurrying out to the floor. Adonis comes back in and puts Dynamite down with an elbow to the head. He follows that up with a catapult in the corner and then slams Dynamite to the mat for two. Adonis connects with a suplex for another two, and then hooks on a chinlock. Dynamite gets to his feet and gives Adonis a back suplex to break the hold. Dynamite goes for the FALLING HEADBUTT, but Adonis moves out of the way. Adonis begins to work on Dynamite’s left leg and applies a Sharpshooter? Oh wow. Dynamite quickly inches underneath to call for the break. Adonis kicks on the left leg in the corner and then whips Dynamite in the opposite corner. Adonis charges, but Dynamite leaps out of the way and delivers the Jack Brisco rollup for a close near-fall. Adonis kicks Dynamite’s feet out from under him and attacks the left leg again. Adonis goes for a running bulldog, but Dynamite shoves him off into the steel ringpost. Dynamite comes back with a double-arm clothesline and goes up top and delivers a knee drop for 1, 2, NO! SNAP SUPLEX sets up the FALLING HEADBUTT, but Jimmy Hart gets up on the apron to prevent a pin attempt. Adonis comes up from behind with a rollup for two, and then gets shoved off into Jimmy Hart’s megaphone. Dynamite covers for the win. (5:29) Adonis had his foot on the middle rope at the two-count and even long after the match is over, but everyone just seems to ignore it. Dynamite sells the hurt leg all the way back to the dressing room. **
Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage (w/Miss Elizabeth)
You gotta love the cleavage shot. This is sixteen months away from when this confrontation really mattered. Savage attacks from behind, but then Steamboat ducks an elbow off a whip and chops Savage out to the floor. Steamboat makes the very rare mistake of going out after his opponent to fight so he gets beaten up around ringside. Savage tosses Steamboat in the ring and pounds him in the corner. Referee Dave Hebner pulls Savage out of Steamboat, allowing the Dragon to regroup and give Savage a headscissors back out to the floor. Steamboat goes out after Savage again, but this time is able to control and chop the crap out of Savage. He gives Savage a stalling atomic drop and tosses him back in the ring. Savage runs the ropes and runs right into a double-chop. Steamboat tries another chop off the ropes, but Savage ducks and comes up from behind with a nice back suplex. Savage comes off the top for a double-ax handle, but Steamboat pops him on the way down. Steamboat unloads a few fist drops while Savage rolls underneath the ropes out onto the apron. He gives Savage a suplex back in and goes up top for the FLYING CROSSBODY for 1, 2, NO! Steamboat chops Savage out onto the apron, so Hebner pulls Steamboat back while Savage reaches in his tights for the taped foreign object. He swings and misses! As Steamboat tries to back suplex Savage back in, he gets nailed with the foreign object on the way down. Savage covers for the three-count. (3:18) It’s a shame they gave this match so little time when you consider the rest of the card. **
Junkyard Dog vs. Moondog Spot
Hang on a second, there’s no referee for this match! Spot attacks early and attempts something off the top rope, but completely misses. JYD hits a couple headbutts and counts his own pinfall. (:30) CRAP
WWF Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana vs. Paul Orndorff – non-title match
Tito’s left thigh is bandaged up for this match. Santana works a headlock, allowing Orndorff a couple two-counts. Orndorff is able to power out with an overhead wristlock, but then gets caught in a headscissors. Orndorff rolls over into a bridge for 1, 2, NO! Both men back up to a stalemate. Orndorff works a hammerlock, and then gets it reversed by Santana. Orndorff gets to the ropes and they return to another stalemate. Jesse looks on with glee as Orndorff cocks back like he’s going to fight dirty. Santana reverts back to the headlock, but Orndorff escapes with an atomic drop on the taped leg. While Tito is down on the mat, Orndorff seems to be fighting with himself on whether or not to kick Santana while he’s down and hurt. Once Santana is back up, Orndorff delivers a drop toe hold and works the hurt leg. A crowd who was once 100% for Orndorff begins to boo at him. Orndorff tries for a figure-four, but Santana kicks him off into the corner. Orndorff lets Santana get back to his feet to lockup, but then he clobbers Tito with a forearm shot that sends him out to the floor. They brawl out on the outside for the double-countout finish. (8:06) As you can plainly see, this match was a sign of things to come for Orndorff’s eventual heel turn which made him the most hated wrestler of 1986. Pretty good match, by the way. Because of the finish though, both men are eliminated and JYD gets a bye all the way to the finals. **½
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper
This is the money match of 1985. They start off brawling out on the floor. Once they return to the ring, Piper is all over Hulk with eye pokes and throat thrusts. Hogan reverses a whip into the corner and follows in for a clothesline to regain control. Hogan follows up with a back suplex and a pair of elbow drops. He keeps the heat on Piper by hammering on him in the corner. The ref gets in the way, however, and Piper takes advantage with another eye poke. Piper kicks Hulk on the mat and goes up top, but gets caught in mid-air for a bearhug. Piper quickly escapes that with yet another eye poke. Piper pounds and covers for 1, 2, NO! Piper gets another two and then hooks on the SLEEPER HOLD. Hogan slowly drops down to the mat in a horizontal position. Just as Jesse calls Piper the new champion, Hogan shakes his finger at the crowd and stands up with Piper on his back. They both tumble out to the floor as the hold is finally broken. Back in they go as they get into a slugfest. Hogan wins that and whips Piper into the ropes and hits the big boot, but Piper won’t go down. Hogan delivers an atomic drop and tries the big boot again, but Piper reverses and knocks Hogan into the referee. Piper goes out to the floor and brings in a chair as the crowd stands to their feet. He nails Hogan in the back with it and then tries to ram it into Hulk’s throat, but Hulk blocks it and stands to his feet. Hulk hits him with it and then locks on a sleeper hold, which is Bob Orton’s cue to run in for the DQ. (7:14) Fairly watchable Hogan match with a bad finish. Paul Orndorff comes in to save Hogan from a double-team beatdown to re-emphasize the ILLUSION that he’s still a great guy no matter how much he can’t seem to get along with Mexicans. You can take a look at this match on the “Hulk Still Rules” DVD if you can’t find this show. *
Semifinals – 15-Minute Time Limit
Dynamite Kid vs. Randy Savage (w/Miss Elizabeth)
Can you just imagine what these two could be capable of in 1985 if they were given 20 minutes? They go through a stiff series of tie-ups to start with neither man really gaining any kind of control. They go to the mat and both men come up to a stalemate. Savage slaps Dynamite and runs out to ringside to stall for time. Back in, they roll all over the ropes in another stiff tie-up. Once the ref catches up with them and tries to get them off the ropes, Savage pops Dynamite in the face. Dynamite comes back with a chop and then connects with a super fast shoulderblock. He follows that up with a back drop and a crossbody block for two. Dynamite attempts a sunset flip, but Savage sits down on his chest. Double-KO, Savage uses the ropes to get back to his feet. Savage goes up top, but Dynamite crotches him and hits the SUPERPLEX from the VERY TOP ROPE! Monsoon, Ventura, and the crowd all go nuts for it. Savage cradles Dynamite out of that and gets the 1-2-3 to advance to the finals. (4:52) This was a very good, fast-paced match. Match of the Night honors. **¾
The Wrestling Classic Tournament Finals – No Time Limit
Randy Savage (w/Miss Elizabeth) vs. Junkyard Dog
Savage pulls Elizabeth in front of him so he can climb back out of the ring and stall for time. He gets up on the ring apron and throws a chair at JYD, but JYD catches it and starts hitting himself in the face with it! Because he’s black, you see. Savage slides in and out of the ring to go jaw with the crowd. Finally they lock up, and it’s JYD winning a shoving contest. Savage tries a slam, but JYD no-sells and comes back with a headbutt. JYD delivers an atomic drop and hooks on a bearhug. Savage goes to the eyes to break loose, but JYD diligently returns to working on the back. What? Okerlund has now joined Jesse and Gorilla at the commentary table for some reason. Savage gets hooked up in the ropes, so JYD helps Savage out by stomping and choking him. JYD whips Savage into the farside corner, but he comes out of the corner and clotheslines JYD to the mat for 1, 2, NO! Savage dumps JYD and comes off the top with a double-ax. As JYD tries to get back in the ring to beat the count, Savage sneaks around and posts JYD to put him back down. Savage goes up and hits another double-ax to the floor. JYD gets to his feet again before the ten-count, so Savage grabs a chair and nails JYD in the back with it in PLAIN sight of the ref. Umm, DQ? We get another sneak attack from Savage to try and keep JYD down for the count, but he just will not stay down! Savage finally gives up and throws JYD back in the ring. Savage comes off the top and gets caught in the gut. JYD comes back with headbutts. Savage falls back in between the ropes again, but comes out with an eye gouge. JYD ducks low off a whip, but then is able to back drop Savage out to the floor for the countout victory. (9:45) Just another example of why Randy Savage was better than everyone else on the roster. He could go, but there was only a select few who could keep up with him. OK match with another bad finish. Winning a tournament on a countout is just lame. This match is on the “Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s” DVD. *
Final Thoughts: For the most part, this show consists of some solid, albeit short matches. Some the upsides to it is if you’re like me and you don’t get to see a lot of Dynamite Kid and you want some Dynamite Kid, this show has three matches of him. Plus, seeing Randy Savage before he had to slow down for the rest of the WWE guys is a great thing to behold. Since nothing on the show necessarily insults your intelligence and the good is there, I’ll give it a solid recommendation if you can find it anywhere. But if you can’t find it, don’t feel like you’ve missed anything tremendously groundbreaking.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.