Written by: Jim
Maple Leaf Gardens
October 8, 1989
Boris Zhukov vs Paul Roma
I feel as if I did something truly horrible in a past life whenever I watch a show with a Boris Zhukov match. Within the first ten seconds, a guy is already screaming “Boring!” Roma controls the early going with a side headlock and keeping Boris at bay by pulling at the Russian’s beard. Roma works over the head with punches and ramming Boris head first into the turnbuckle. Zhukov takes over and things slow to a mind numbing pace. Long periods of a bear hug and a side headlock. Boring stuff. Things finally pick up when Roma makes his comeback. Roma jumps from the top rope with a crossbody, but Zhukov rolls through to get a two count. Whipped into the ropes, Zhukov eats a power slam to lose the match. The portions with Roma in control was perfectly fine. Roma could be deemed as an underrated talent because he was actually a fairly good worker. For this match, he brought speed to an otherwise incredibly slow opponent. Still, Zhukov worked his magic to cause me to be nearly fall asleep as he does in most of his matches. At around fifteen minutes, too long of a match. Poor opener. 1 1/2 Stars.
Greg Valentine vs Ron Garvin
No Jimmy Hart, so I’m guessing he’s with the Honky Tonk Man in another city. Oh yeah, this will put hair on your chest. An epic test of strength using their full bodies begins the match. When that doesn’t result in a winner, they change directions by having a boxing match. Garvin just murders Valentine. Valentine comes back with some awesome chops that looks as if they could knock Garvin’s head off. Garvin keeps control for most of the match. Garvin attempts his Sharpshooter, but each time he tries to lock it in, Valentine goes for the eyes. Valentine works over Garvin’s knee to set him up for the Figure Four. Using his shin guard, the heartbreaker, Valentine really lays in the damage, but Garvin reaches the ropes to break up the Figure Four. Finally, Garvin manages to rip the heartbreaker off, but while the referee is restraining him from hitting Valentine with it, The Hammer sneaks behind and rolls Garvin up. With a fistful of tights, Valentine picks up the cheap win. You really can’t go wrong with Valentine/Garvin. It’s such a battle of “Who’s the real man?” that I’m glued to the screen whenever they wrestled. The finish was a little underwhelming, but it played up to Valentine’s heelish ways to keep the program going. 3 1/4 Stars.
The Powers of Pain w/Mr. Fuji vs The Bushwackers
Well, at least this is a battle between two legitimate tag teams. When Luke is first tagged in against The Warlord, there’s this great moment where he’s tilting his head from side to side. It’s as if he’s trying to size up The Warlord, but can’t quite believe what he’s seeing. Those great facial expressions was the highlight of the match. A long face-in-peril segment from Butch that just slowed down the match. Hot tag to Luke and the Bushwackers clear house. Behind the ref’s back, Mr. Fuji comes in to nail a Bushwacker with his cane, but the ref turns around just in time to catch Fuji. Bushwackers win by DQ. It was what it was. When it comes to these two teams, you never go into the match expecting anything good. Whenever the Bushwackers were in control, it was fun. Otherwise, it was just watchable. If nothing else, it wasn’t as boring as the first match whenever Zhukov was on offense. 1 3/4 Stars.
Canadian wrestling legend, Billy Red Lyons, calls out Bobby Heenan. Heenan gets some cheap heat by informing the Toronto fans that the Blue Jays were losing 5-3 against Oakland at the nearby baseball game. Just a correction, but looking up the score to see if Oakland ended up winning or not, they actually won 4-3, so the Brain’s sources were slightly incorrect. Anyways, Heenan adds a little more heat to the upcoming Rick Rude/Roddy Piper match. That match is still to come.
Randy Savage w/Sherri vs Jimmy Snuka
These two would have a Saturday Night Main Event match in a week’s time that wasn’t too terribly bad. If I recall correctly, Snuka was wearing his alternate zebra trunks that instantly makes him more entertaining. Sadly, he’s back to wearing his normal tights here. Despite starting off looking good, Snuka loses control thanks to Sherri interfering as often as possible. Behind the ref’s back, she nails Snuka with her boot. Savage controls the match for awhile, all with Sherri’s help, until he accidentally rams Snuka into the referee. Snuka makes his comeback and has Savage pinned. With the ref still down, there’s a great little back and forth battle, highlighted by Snuka chopping Savage while Savage is tied up in the ropes. After having Savage pinned again, Snuka is nailed in the back of the head by Sherri’s purse. Pulling Savage on top of Snuka and reviving the ref, Sherri ensures that Savage picks up the win. After the match, Savage’s plan of hitting the top rope elbow smash is thwarted by Jim Duggan making the save. Snuka sucked at this point in his career, but Savage was such a magician that he could pull him to a good match. This bout worked thanks to keeping a fast pace, having Sherri interfere a lot and not letting it get bogged down with rest holds. Savage’s abilities never cease to amaze me. Good little brawl. 3 Stars.
Akeem vs Jim Duggan
Akeem comes out to “Jive Soul Bro”, but sadly the Slickster is in Iowa where The Big Boss Man was working a match against Dusty Rhodes. Akeem tries to Pearl Harbor Duggan, but he fails miserably. Duggan pounds away on the big man. In an exact rip-off of the first match, they run the spot where the babyface rams the head of the heel in the turnbuckle over and over. Even when the face lets go of the head, the heel still rams his head in the turnbuckle. Fun spot, but do we need to see it twice. Just like in the opening match, the heel takes over with a long bear hug. Suddenly, there’s a video glitch and for ten seconds, we’re shown action from Zhukov/Roma! NOOOOOOO~! Luckily, the video fixes itself and we return to see Duggan making his comeback. Akeem misses a charge in the corner and falls, tripping over Duggan. Duggan wins with a simple school boy. They managed to run a very similar match as the first bout of the night, but this was a lot more enjoyable. The big reason is that the match only lasted six or so minutes compared to the fifteen minutes that the opener had. Duggan seemed like he was having fun and tried to keep a fast pace when he was in charge. Not horrible. 1 3/4 Stars.
The Genius vs Hillbilly Jim
The Genius attempts to read a poem, but the ring announcer turned off the mic. Sadly, we don’t get a “You f’d up!” chant. Hillbilly Jim starts off the match with such high impact moves as kissing the Genius on the cheek. That irritates the Genius, but allows Jim to remain in control after he slingshots The Genius back in the ring. The Genius takes over with a cheap punch while the referee was trying to separate the two in the corner. A whole lot of nothing happens until Hillbilly Jim chases The Genius around the ring. The Genius makes it back in time before the sudden ten count by the ref. The Genius wins by count-out. Huh? I was mildly enjoying the match, but that finish doesn’t work at all. It felt like the match was still in the early stages when the count-out occurred. Bad finish aside, I’m incapable of not finding fun in a Genius match. 1 3/4 Stars.
Barry Horowitz vs Richard Charland
Charland is a Canadian wrestler that has become a hidden gem for me on these old Toronto house shows. It was just back in May at the Copps Coliseum that he carried The Red Rooster to his best WWE match. The first half is painfully dull. All Horowitz does is waste time and yell at the fans. Charland wasn’t much better sitting on rest holds. Things turn around in a big way once Horowitz begins his time on offense. While jawjacking with the fans, he works over Charland’s arm while keeping a faster pace. Charland fights back to use his strength to ensure he isn’t beat by the heel. An airplane spin later, Charland shockingly picks up the win. Humorously, Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes rips Charland apart after he won the match due to his laziness. Charland has definitely looked better in the other matches of his I’ve seen. When he’s not killing time, Horowitz was an amazing heel and really comes off as someone who would have excelled in the indies this past decade. Great smarmy attitude that is perfect for the indies. The first half sucked, but the second half turned this match into a pretty decent affair. 2 1/4 Stars.
Rick Rude w/Bobby Heenan vs Roddy Piper
Before Piper can even make his entrance, Bobby Heenan drops a pair of brass knuckles right in front of the ref. The referee orders Heenan to the back to ensure a fair contest. Match starts off with some comedy. Piper makes the mistake of taking Rude too lightly and pays for it with Rude roughly taking over with a serious of forearms to a ground Piper. Rude works over the back of Piper with a seated chin lock and then jumping up and landing on Rude’s lumbar region. Rude attempts this one too many times as Piper moves out of the way, causing Rude to land on his ass hard. Piper brings the heat, even ripping off the top turnbuckle and ramming Rude into the steel. No DQ though. While attempting to roll Rude up, Piper shoves Rude into the corner, knocking the referee out cold. After Rude and Piper recover from a double noggin knocker, Piper has the match won, but the ref is still out. Kicking the ref some, Piper manages to revive him. Rude receives a high knee, sending him over the top rope and to the floor. Grabbing the ref’s arm, Piper counts to ten, seemingly counting Rude out of the match. The bell rings and and Roddy Piper is…disqualified?! WTF? Even the commentators aren’t exactly sure why Piper is DQ’d. Is it because he was the one who rammed Rude into the ref? Maybe those kicks to revive the ref? Perhaps the ref didn’t like Piper forcing him to count Rude out. In any case, it’s a mind blowing finish. The actual match was fine though. It’s a major step below their MSG battles, but these two always delivers the goods. I’m a little disappointed, but I had my hopes up pretty high. 3 1/4 stars.
I came into this just expecting a great Rude/Piper match and I was able to get yet another Valentine/Garvin and a surprisingly good Jimmy Snuka match to boot. Half of the matches are pretty horrid, but you have to expect that from a show with The Bushwackers, Boris Zhukov and Hillbilly Jim. The matches that I was expecting to deliver, did, even if not to the degree I was hoping for. A good deal of the matches found success by keeping a fast pace and the worst matches suffered from sluggish wrestlers who were overly reliant of restholds. The show could have really benefited from the addition of another top notch wrestler such as Mr. Perfect, The Rockers, The Hart Foundation or The Brainbusters. That’s what happens when the WWE runs three different shows in one day.
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.