Written by: Scrooge McSuck from Dawrestlingsite.com
– We’re on the road to WrestleMania III, and it’s time to spend Valentine’s Day at the old Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA. Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon are calling all the action. Out of all the possible choices, I think Graham is easily my least favorite of broadcasters the WWF went with back in the day. He’s basically doing a watered-down Monsoon act without any charm, while Monsoon has to play second fiddle.
Paul Roma vs. Steve Lombardi:
You gotta’ love the “preliminary” matches, or as I would call them, the Battle of the Jobbers. Both men are from New York and both are wearing red… yeah, I’ve got nothing. Lombardi attacks before the bell, but Roma quickly sends him running with an arm drag and dropkick. Back in the ring with Roma working the arm, and Monsoon mocking the prelim’s ring announcer for his lethargic introductions. Lombardi breaks free, but Roma is quickly back to work on the arm. Graham runs down everyone that is “here” while nothing happens. Lombardi fights out again and stomps Roma’s face on a monkey-flip attempt. Lombardi with a back breaker for a two count, and it’s chinlock time. If not for the Brawler gimmick, he could easily be packaged as Bluto from Popeye with the greasy appearance and unkept beard. Yeah, that WAS pretty random. Roma fights back to his feet, but a yank of the hair brings him back to the canvas. Lombardi with a clothesline for a two count, then some face rearrangement for another two count. Lombardi with a snapmare, and another chinlock. Roma escapes with elbows, but gets tossed from ringside, coming off the ropes. Lombardi with BLATANT choking, then some raking of the eyes to fill his cheat-meter a bit more. Roma gets dumped again. Roma surprises Lombardi with a sunset flip for a two count, but Lombardi remains in control nwith biting. Roma blocks a suplex and counters with his own. Whip to the corner, and Roma completes the monkey flip. Irish whip, and Roma whipes Lombardi out with a clothesline. Roma with a slam, and he comes off the second rope with a fist drop for a two count. Lombardi sweeps the legs from under Roma and drops an elbow across the knee. This one just won’t end… Lombardi with a shitty clothesline for a two count, and it’s time for yet another chinlock. Roma fights free, and Lombardi with a small package for another two count. Slam for a two count. Roma blocks a boot and sends Lombardi to the corner with an atomic drop. Roma eats boot on a charge, and a snapmare gets one. Roma with comeback #65, and he connects with a dropkick. Roma drops an elbow for a two count, and the crowd boos the match NOT ending. The bell finally rings at 18:45… for a Time Limit Draw? Roma wants five more minutes… please, no. Lombardi attacks from behind and pounds away. Roma recovers and chases Lombardi away. Long and boring, and it was clearly obvious Lombardi couldn’t carry a 20-minute match to watchable. Good hint for someone being Jobber For Life.
Pedro Morales vs. Dino Bravo:
I don’t know if this is any better… Bravo is practically “new” to the WWF (or return, whatever) and is still sporting his natural dark locks. Lockup, and Morales applies a hammerlock. Graham practically breaks kayfabe during a conversation about Stan Stasiak. Bravo offers a handshake, but Morales is a douche. Morales with a side headlock, followed by an atomic drop. Bravo offers a handshake, shakes the referee’s hand, and Morales FINALLY agrees… and we get a clean handshake. Lockup to the corner, and Bravo with a sucker blow, followed by knees to the chest. That was pretty awesome, I have to admit. Morales grabs a chair and smacks the ring apron with it. Back inside, and Bravo tosses Morales OVER the top rope. Too bad this isn’t a Battle Royal Rules Match… Monsoon: I’m the only guy who retired and STAYED retired. If that isn’t the truth, I don’t know what is. Bravo with a delayed suplex for a long two count. Bravo with a scoop slam and leg drop for another two count. Bravo slaps on a sleeper hold, and the arm drops three times… but the referee allows it to continue and drops the arm THREE MORE TIMES. Um… hello? Match should be over! Morales eventually wakes up and thumbs the eyes to escape. Irish whip, and Morales with a back drop for a two count. Whip is reversed, and Morales with a small package for another two count. Morales misses a charge to the corner, and Bravo finishes him off with the side suplex at 8:41. Morales had his foot on the rope, but no one cares except for Monsoon. Match was more watchable than the previous, at least. Monsoon takes delight in pointing out the bad officiating performance.
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules:
I have seen more than my fair share of matches between these two guys than I would like to remember, but here we go… the Battle of the Full Nelson. This program somehow kept dragging until the Summer. Danny Davis shows up for whatever reason, only to get thrown out of the ring by some dude. I guess they wanted to do that at every arena incase fans didn’t know? These introductions are TAKING FOREVER. Lockup, and no one gets an advantage from it. Slugfest, won by Haynes. Hercules grabs a headlock, and comes off the ropes with a shoulder block. Haynes retaliates with a clothesline, but Hercules escapes a Full Nelson attempt. Back inside, and Haynes pounds away. Hercules with his own clothesline to wipe Haynes out. Irish whip, and Hercules with another clothesline for a two count. Hercules shrugs off any kind of comeback, and brings Haynes over with a delayed suplex for a two count. Whip to the corner, with authority! Hercules with 75% of the press slam, and it’s Full Nelson time… he doesn’t have the fingers locked! Haynes comes off the ropes and a double clothesline puts both men down. Haynes with a series of rights. Irish whip, and Haynes with a series of knees to the midsection. Haynes with a complete version of a press slam, and he goes for the Full Nelson, but Hercules hooks the ropes. The action spills outside, and they slug it out until we get a Double Count-Out at 8:00. They climb back into the ring, with Haynes getting the upperhand. Nothing match, but it was kept reasonably short.
The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Islanders:
(Jacques & Raymond Rougeau vs. Haku & Tama)
I’m not 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure both teams are babyfaces. The Islanders would turn heel soon enough though, adopting Bobby Heenan as their manager. both teams give handshakes before the match starts. Haku and Raymond start. Raymond quickly comes off the ropes with a Thesz Press for a two count, then works the arm. Tama tags in, as does Jacques. Lockup, and Tama grabs a headlock. Criss-cross ends with a monkey flip from Jacques. Tama with a fireman’s carry, and he works the arm. Haku tags in to pick up where Tama left off. Jacques escapes, but misses a dropkick. Haku misses an elbow drop, and Jacques goes back to the arm. Tama in with a snapmare and chinlock on Jacques. Jacques escapes, but misses a cross body press. Tama repeats Haku’s mistake, and the Rougeaus are back in control. Raymond with a seated splash, and snapmare, and body vice on Tama. Raymond with an overhead takedown and knee drop for a two count. The Islanders with a double chop on Jacques. Haku with a slam, but he meets the knees on a splash attempt. Raymond with a slam of his own, followed by a dropkick, knocking Haku out of the ring. Back inside, and Haku shrugs off a sleeper hold attempt. Haku with a back breaker, and Tama comes off the top with an elbow drop for a two count. That was almost the Demolition finisher. Raymond comes back with a sleeper on Haku, but Tama nails him from behind, then cradles him, and Jacques comes in to break it. Jacques tags in and slaps on the abdominal stretch, but Haku breaks that. Raymond in for a shoving match with Haku, and the same between Jacaues and Tama. Suddenly, Tama surprises Jacques for the FASTEST three count ever at 7:53, and they continue arguing and shoving each other. SLUGFEST! The Rougeaus clear the ring with dropkicks. Outside of the screwjob finish, a solid face-vs-face tag team match, and the Islanders were definitely looking more aggressive at this point.
WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan (Champion) vs. Kamala (w/ The Wizard & Kimchee):
Mel Phillips has taken over introductions (thank God), and it’s the main event of the card. I won’t get into it in major detail, but again: the main event is NOT the last match on the show, but the most prominent in advertisement. When it comes to Kamala, one can only pray it’ll be short. We start things with a shoulder block challenge, and no one gets the upperhand. Kamala with a leap frog, and a third shoulder puts Hogan down. The crowd chants for Hogan, annoying Kamala. Hogan goes for a slam, but Kamala easily fights it off with chops across the back of the neck. Hogan rolls out of the way of some falling chops, then unloads on Kamala with rights. Hogan with a clothesline and atomic drop to finally take Kamala off his feet. Hogan takes a shot at the Wizard, allowing Kamala to attack from behind and choke away on the Champion. Kamala with a slam and a big splash, but Hogan kicks out at two. Kamala heads to the top rope, but Hogan slithers away, forcing Kamala to come down. Kamala with another slam, but the splash misses this time. Hogan with an alternate version of the Hulk Up! Hogan with double chops to the neck, followed by rights. Hogan sends Kamala from corner to corner, then follows in with a clothesline. Hogan pats his own belly, then scoops up and slams Kamala. Hogan comes off the ropes with a leg drop, but Kimchee runs in to draw the Disqualification at 6:23. Kimchee wth a piledriver on Hogan, and he unmasks himself and it’s Paul Orndorff! Orndorff and Kamala continue the beating until the Islanders and Billy Jack Haynes come in and stand around. That scared them! It was a Kamala match, but it was short, and the crowd was way into it. Hogan’s program with Kamala might be my least favorite of his as WWF Champion (first run, of course), except for Big John Studd.
S.D. Jones vs. Sika:
I don’t know who has it tougher on these old school shows… the opening match jobbers that have to work a terrible 20-minute match, or the two jobbers who have to be the match to “kill” the crowd for the other big matches later in the card. Lockup, and Sika shoves Jones back a couple of times. Lockup into the corner, and Sika with a pair of knees into the midsection. Sika lays Jones out with a right and starts choking away. Sika pounds away as Monsoon talks about the main event of WrestleMania III between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant being signed. Sika with a chinlock. Jones escapes with elbows, but Sika regains control and goes back to the chinlock. Jones fights free and stupidly goes for a headbutt. Sika with chops and stompin’, then another chinlock. Jones with elbows and rights. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Sika with the Samoan Drop for the three count at 3:44. Nothing more than “go out there and cool the crowd off” match that was borderline a squash.
Koko B. Ware vs. The Honkytonk Man:
Honky is pretty “freshly” turned heel at this point. Some could argue it wasn’t much of a turn, as the whole point since his debut was to have him be a heel, but play a babyface and “make” the crowd turn on him in the process. Neither man has their traditional music, as the Piledriver Album was yet to be released. Koko is new enough to the WWF not to be a total scrub yet. The crowd with a chant of “grease ball” at Honky. Lockup, and we get a clean break. Koko works the arm, but Honky fights out with roundhouse rights. Koko ducks a punch, connects with an atomic drop, and puts Honky down with a pair of slams. Koko with a side headlock, followed by a diving shoulder tackle. Honky randomly grabs a headlock, and I say randomly because Koko had been in control for the past couple of minutes. Honky with knees to the midsection, then some good old fashion stomping. Honky with a scoop slam, but he misses a fist drop that was clearly too far of a leap. Koko misses that diving attack that always misses, and the Shake Rattle N’ Roll finishes Koko off at 5:19. I think 90% of Koko’s losses came with him missing that dive and taking the opponents finisher. Honky does some AWFUL dancing until Koko recovers, lays into him with rights, and nails the missile dropkick to send Honky out of the ring. Another short match that probably would be compared to a “feature” on the syndicated programs. Koko shakes the ropes to simulate Frankie dancing… as much as people badmouth Koko for always being a scrub, he still was a crowd pleaser, even with a record somewhere along the pattern of Glass Joe from Punch-Out.
Brad Rheingans vs. Moondog Spot:
More matches of these undercard guys? I guess Spot is dead in the water since his former partner lasted all of two weeks as a member of Demolition, and no longer had the long, shabby hair or beard look to be a Moondog for a while. Rheingans is a former Olympic wrestler, so that’s enough character development to get him over in the WWF, I guess. They lockup, and exchange shoves… that’s after about a minute of Spot scratching his head. Rheingans with a weak fist to the midsection, and a rake of the eyes. Rheingans with an atomic drop for a two count. Spot backs off, then sucker punches Rheingans to take control. Monsoon name drops Rex as close-to-nothing goes on. Irish whip, and Spot with a clothesline (I think) for a two count. This one is ugly, and it’s only a few minutes deep. Spot chokes Rheingans across the top rope and puts the boots to him. Irish whip, and Rheingans surprises Spot with a rolling cradle for the three count at 4:04. That was an awful four minutes. I don’t know how this was supposed to make Rheingans look good.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
“Macho Man” Randy Savage © (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat:
Final match on the card, and I don’t know why, but I have a feeling this might be a good match. We all know the backstory to these two, and we’re still a ways from WrestleMania III, when they put on one of the greatest matches of the 80’s. While Steamboat would never make a good “heel”, he was a damn good “pissed off babyface.” This is the original broadcast, so Steamboat comes out to the Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius.” Lockup, and Savage with a knee to the midsection. Irish whip, and Steamboat with a deep arm drag, followed by a big chop. Savage blocks being sent to the buckle, but Steamboat nails him between the eyes. Steamboat sends Savage across the ring and introduces Savage to the buckle. Steamboat with a snapmare, and he chops Savage across the back of the neck in-between short chinlocks. Savage boots Steamboat and tosses him over the top, but Steamboat hangs on to land on the apron. Savage dumps him again, but Steamboat skins the cat. Savage sees this, and clotheslines Steamboat right back over. Cute spot. Savage follows, and rams Steamboat into the security rail. Savage drops an elbow across the throat, then snapmares Steamboat back into the ring. Savage to the top rope, and he hits the double axehandle. Savage with a running elbow and covers for a two count. Steamboat with a few shots out of desperation, but Savage dumps him and drives another elbow into the throat. Savage ambushes Steamboat with a running high knee while selling the effects of the blows to his previously injured larynx. Steamboat wins a slugfest on the apron until Savage knees him off. Steamboat blocks being rammed into the rail again, then returns the favor. Steamboat to the top rope, and he hits a big elbow to the top of the head. Steamboat with chops all over the place, to the forhead, chest, and midsection. Savage uses the tights to leverage throw Steamboat through the ropes. Steamboat keeps climbing up on the apron, but Savage knocks him off every side. Steamboat jobs around, drives a shoulder into the midsection, and re-enters with a sunset flip for a two count. Steamboat with a school boy for another two count. Steamboat sweeps the leg and rolls over for two, again. Savage counters another roll up, and a handful of tights is enough for the three count ay 7:42. I was expecting something solid, but for a match that was less than 8-minutes, this was outstanding, and a good sign for things to come at WrestleMania III. A great way to end a show that was very light in star power, too.
Final Thoughts: This is definitely a one match card, and of course, it was Steamboat vs. Savage. Hogan vs. Kamala was the main event, but it was a flat performance because of Kamala’s inability to ever have a good match, and the undercard was peppered mostly with scrub vs. scrub matches like Sika vs. Jones, Roma vs. Lombardi, and Rheingans vs. Spot. The only undercard match I actually enjoyed was the Rougeaus/Islanders tag match, but that had a terrible finish. If you can track it down, give the Steamboat/Savage match a watch, because everything else here is either not worth your time or, in cases like Hogan/Kamala, had been done for months already and it’s the same 5-minute match over and over again.