Written by: Scrooge McSuck from Dawrestlingsite.com
– WWE Classics On Demand is once again supplying me with some fresh material for Da’ Site. I almost always tend to ignore trying to recap arena shows from before 1987. While the main matches featured are typically something to look forward to, the undercard were filled with plenty of junk, as well. I just can’t imagine the days of the WWF running 3 different lineups at a time, spreading the talent so thin to make such a task a reality.
– Originally broadcasted on NESN, on May 18th, 1985, from the Boston Garden in Boston, MA. In fact, this was the first card ever televised on NESN. Gorilla Monsoon and “Mean” Gene Okerlund are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. I was never a fan of face/face broadcast teams in the 80’s, and not really a fan of Okerlund calling matches, either. I can think of worse combinations, though. Anything from the Spectrum with Dick Graham.
Opening Match: Salvatore Bellomo vs. Moondog Spot:
The Boston crowd boos babyface Bellomo out of the arena for sucking too much. I’m not the biggest fan of Boston crowds, but if they didn’t like someone, they really let them know it, and Bellomo was always a target for their hate during the Mid 80’s, thus making his matches more watchable. Just to spite him, the crowd CHEERS for the Moondog. Spot with a headlock, and Bellomo counters with an overhead wristlock. The crowd voices disapproval of the extended armbar. Bellomo off the ropes with a body press for two. Bellomo with another armbar, triggering “boring” chants. At least Gene and Gorilla will openly admit the crowd doesn’t react to things as they’re supposed to, instead of lying to us. Spot escapes a headlock with a back breaker to take control. Highspot of the Match: Spot from the second rope with a fist drop, and the crowd actually pops for it. Did Bellomo spit on Wade Boggs or something? Bellomo gets thrown over the rail, into the front row… dammit Spot, stop getting over as a face! Back inside, Spot grabs a chinlock, so I head to the kitchen to heat the oven… that’s not a weird joke, I really need to heat the oven for dinner. Okay, so maybe I did make it kind of a joke, now. Bellomo mounts his comeback with headbutts and a dropkick. He comes off the ropes, gets caught in a slam position, and Spot finishes him with a shoulder breaker at 7:45. Spot WON?! The crowd response makes it sound like Ricky Steamboat winning the IC Title at WrestleMania III. Match was OK, but the crowd backlash is always entertaining.
Swede Hansen vs. Steve Lombardi:
Well, this is guaranteed to stink, but our opening match with Jobbers was fine, so I’m cool with not like this one. At least it’s not Powers vs. Sharpe. A little too early for that to be a possibility. Lombardi with plenty of stalling to kick things off. Lockup, and they dare do the headlock and head scissors routine. Hansen grabs an armbar, taking Lombardi to the canvas. Hansen continues to control by working the arm until Lombardi grabs the ropes. Hanson with a front facelock, dropping Lombardi on his face. Lombardi goes to the eyes to finally get some offense in. If you don’t know Lombardi, here’s his arsenal: punch, kick, choke, eye rake, chinlock. It may be switched around in the order at times, but it’s the formula he typical runs with. He throws an elbow just to dick with my theory, and covers for two, then goes to the chinlock, bringing my spirits right back up. This chinlock is pissing off not only the Boston crowd, but myself as well. Hansen starts no-selling, which means the end is near. He connects with headbutts and a big slam. The splash out of the corner makes contact, and Lombardi is done for at 9:42. Pretty terrible, but then again, I’m not too keen on Lombardi, so maybe I’m a bit bias.
Rocky Johnson vs. Big John Studd (w/ Bobby Heenan):
This has to be near the end of Johnson’s WWF run. He was definitely gone by 1986, but I’m pretty sure that he wasn’t around by Mid-Summer, either. After a quick search, he worked a couple of more shows in New York, and was gone a couple of weeks later. I’m going to guess most of the match will be Johnson trying to slam Studd, and Studd grabbing the ropes. Johnson starts hot, coming off the ropes with a body pressfor two, but a slam attempt fails, and Studd clubs him down to the canvas. Studd grabs a test-of-strength against Johnson’s will, spitting in the face of all decency. Johnson climbs the ropes to finally gain the advantage, and brings Studd to his knees. Johnson puts his head down too soon for a back drop, and takes a forearm across the back for it. Studd with more clubberin’ before grabbing a bearhug. Johnson fights free and it’s time for a slugfest, won by Johnson. He goes for another slam, but Studd grabs the ropes and lands on top of Johnson for the three count at 4:14… what the shit was that?! Terrible finish to a match that ended too abruptly. Not like it was going to be good, but how dare a match with this much name value get half the time of Steve fucking Lombardi?!
Tito Santana vs. Brutus Beefcake (w/ Johnny Valiant):
This could be interesting. Beefcake was barely a notch about garbage at this point, but Santana had some miracle powers in his arsenal to get good matches out of anyone. Santana was also in the middle of his hottest WWF program (with Valentine over the IC Title), so he’s probably extra motivated, too. Okerlund and Monsoon make a big deal out of Beefcake being from San Francisco, CA. Lockup to the corner, and Santana gives a clean break. Santana goes for a waistlock, but Beefcake is in the ropes to force a break. Santana counters a headlock, taking Beefcake to the canvas with an armbar. Beefcake tries to slam Santana to escape, but he holds onto the arm on the way down. Santana sweeps the leg and slaps on a side headlock. He almost made that look too easy. Beefcake with a cheap shot in the corner, and Santana responds with a forearm of his own. I always loved that Santana was willing to fight a little dirty at times. He brings Beefcake to the canvas, working the arm. He grabs another front facelock, but an inverted atomic drop turns the tide.
Beefcake with a slam, followed by a forearm across the throat for two. So far this is playing out like a Beefcake quality match than a Santana quality. He sends Santana to the ropes, and takes him over with a back drop. Santana with boots to the midsection, but Beefcake remains in control, doing very, very little of note. Almost everything is punchy-kicky from him. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a resthold, yet. Beefcake with a forearm from the second rope for two. Santana offes another comeback, but misses a charge to the corner, but without dramatically over-selling it (see: Koko B. Ware). Santana surprises Beefcake with a sunset flip, but it only gets two, and Beefcake is back in control. Beefcake’s crappy splash attempt meets the knees. Santana with another flurry of rights and lefts to make Beefcake beg for mercy. He rams him face first into the canvas and comes off the top with an elbow to the back of the head. Figure-Four is applied, but Valiant creates a distraction. Beefcake knocks him to the floor, where Valiant gets his shots in. Santana fights him off until Beefcake makes the save. They slug it out until Santana slips back into the ring to bat the count, picking up the cheap victory at 12:38. Santana seems to have bladed for whatever reasons, but blood won’t matter: Beefcake dragged this dog down pretty hard, despite Santana’s efforts.
Tony Garea vs. Ken Patera (w/ Bobby Heenan):
Okay, I’m starting to have second thoughts about this show. Garea is a face and performer of a different generation, and Patera always sucked. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t too long from this point that he was finally sentenced to serve time for the McDonald’s incident. Before the match, Garea gets on the house mic’ and taunt him about Paul Orndorff. Monsoon constantly refering to Patera retiring him makes me want to look up the match. Lockup, and Patera easily overpowers Outback Jack’s long-lost Uncle. Patera celebrates abut his shoulder strength, allowing Garea to hit him with a dropkick. Patera has a moment of roid rage because of it, but Garea keeps him at bay. The offensive outburst is short-lived, as Patera chokes him down. Snapmare and chinlock, as I look forward to the next match. I don’t care what it is. Patera finally lets go and dumps Garea to the floor. Garea offers a comeback by working slowly on the left knee. Go back to 1971, Garea. You’re offense and style is way past it’s experation date. Sunset flip from the apron gets two. Patera regains control, sends Garea chest first into the buckle, and drops an elbow for three at 7:59. Monsoon complains about a handful of tights, but video replay clearly shows a handful of balls. Speaking of balls, that would best describe this snoozer.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine © (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Junkyard Dog:
It’s a WrestleMania I ReMatch! No introductions, probably so they didn’t have to poorly over-dub Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” Another contrast in styles: Valentine, a straight wrestler, and JYD, who got really lazy once he went to the WWF and just played to the crowd for entire matches. They exchange blows, with JYD’s having much more effects. Back in the ring, JYD goes to work on the arm. He holds onto the armbar for quite a while before being forced to release the hold. Valentine drops JYD and connects with a pair of elbows for two. JYD’s idea of selling means being in diabetic shock, I guess. Now it’s Valentine’s turn to work the arm. Why couldn’t we have gotten Santana/Valentine, and made one big stinker with JYD/Beefcake, instead of bringing down two talented workers in seperate matches. JYD mounts a comeback, and chokes Valentine down in a very non-babyface style. I’m not slagging off on PBP, this is blow for blow the entire match. JYD with his signature headbutts, so you know the match is almost over. JYD misses a big headbutt, allowing Valentine to go for the leg. JYD kicks off a Figure-Four attempt, knocking Hart off the apron in the process. He tries to Thump Slam Valentine back in from the apron, but Valentine cradles him for the three count at 10:37. Sportsman of the Year JYD gets some post-match shots in for the hell of it. Decent finish to a lackluster match. Again, they should’ve just went with Valentine vs. Santana. That 450 times is better than either match both were put in on this card.
Ivan Putski vs. Barry O:
Just make it quick. I wonder why WWE never references Barry Orton as the Uncle of Randy. Remember when I refered to Garea as someone from a different generation? Throw Putski into that boat, too, before setting it on fire. Orton tries to grab an overhand wristlock, but just guess who’s too strong to over-power. Full nelson attempt has the same results, and to add insult to insult, Putski traps the arms under his pits. Whip to the ropes, and there’s a spot that Putski somehow blows. Whip to the ropes, and Orton grabs a sleeper hold. Putski uses his forward momentum to ram Orton into the turnbuckle. He catches a boot, twirls him around, and connects with an atomic drop. Putski signals for the end, and indeed, the Polish Hammer finishes at 3:55. Just a squash match for Putski, with some token offense from Barry O. There’s a move that definitely had to inspire the Big Show’s Knockout Punch™. It’s simple, yet very effective.
“Duke of Dorchester” Pete Doherty vs. Mario Mancini:
What the shit is this?! Mancini is barely a weekend scrub for those marathon tapings. He makes Pete Doherty look like Hulk Hogan in comparison. They fight over a wristlock until Doherty grabs a front facelock. He pounds Mancini down to the canvas with axehandles across the back. He tosses Mancini to the floor, and follows him out with an axehandle off the apron. Back in the ring, Doherty takes him over with a snapmare. Whip to the ropes, and he connects with a knee to the midsection. He plants Mancini with a slam, drops a leg across the chest, followed by an elbow drop, and that’s enough for the three count at 2:13. Pete Doherty won a match, but it’s against a ham n’ egger, so who cares. Really, what was the point of putting this out there? Did Doherty have compromising pictures of Vince McMahon, or something?
Hulk Hogan (WWF Champion) & Jimmy Snuka vs. Bob Orton & The Magnificent Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji):
It’s time for the Main Event of the evening, and coincidentally, it’s going on last. I always forget that Hogan worked a several month long program with Muraco following WrestleMania, and I seem to recall their matches being pretty good. Jimmy Snuka is yet another Superstar who was making one of his last appearances on this show, disappearing from WWF television until WrestleMania V. The heels try for a sneak attack, but Hogan and Snuka clear them from the ring. Snuka takes Orton over with a snapmare and goes to work on the arm. Whip to the ropes, Snuka with an arm drag, and it’s back to the armbar. Hogan comes in with a blow from the top rope and continues working on Orton’s arm. Hogan remains in control, using the tired and true babyface offense of eye raking, back scratching, and spitting. Snuka with a headbutt from the top rope, and back to the arm. Orton surprises Hogan with a knee to the midsection, but he practically no-sells it and sends him to the corner with an atomic drop.
Orton trips Hogan up and tags out to Muraco, who finally gets some offense in on the bastard. Orton with a delayed vertical suplex for two. Whip to the ropes, and they lay Hogan out with a double elbow. Muraco with clubbering blows, but a whip to the corner is reversed and Hogan follows in with a clothesline. Snuka gets the tag and unloads with chops. We even get a double noggin-knocker. Snuka to the top rope for a cross body, but Orton whacks him across the face with the cast. Snuka blades, and leaves a good puddle on the canvas almost immediately. Orton hits him again for good luck, then shows off the blood stained cast. Damn Snuka, try not to kill yourself out there. Snuka takes a short beating, Hogan gets the hot tag and beats the crap out of everything. Hogan works over Muraco until Orton uses the cast on him, and suddenly the bell rings at 9:43. Apparently the referee is Disqualifying Muraco and Orton. Hogan and Snuka clean house to send the crowd home happy. Decent match, but nothing spectacular. Seemed like everyone was just going in second gear for this one.
Final Thoughts: Well, to the surprise of no one, there’s not a whole lot of quality matches to see here. We recieved some top caliber matches in the form of the Main Event, JYD/Valentine, Santana/Beefcake, and to a lesser extent, Johnson/Studd. However, only the tag match was of considerable quality, and only barely at that. The other three ranged from pretty boring to a waste of time. The rest of the card being filled out by some piss-poor talent enhancers like Barry O, MARIO MANCINI, Steve Lombardi, and Salvatore Bellomo doesn’t give much hope, either. Take a pass on this one, even if you’re a fan of the era. There’s much better shows from the same period.