The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – Boston Garden 06.27.86
The Network dumped a WICKED AWESOME series of Boston shows on the Network, so the least I can do is start reviewing them. And since this one features a main event that’s like catnip to me, we’ll start here.
Taped from Boston.
Your hosts are Mean Gene & Gorilla Monsoon
Special Tag Team Attraction! Tiger Chung Lee & Les Thornton v. Danny Spivey & Mike Rotundo
Kudos to the production department for the horrible overdub of “Born in the USA” here. Mean Gene is immediately bragging about playing golf with Kevin McHale while Rotundo trades headscissors with Thornton on the mat and he’s ALREADY sweating! Thankfully Bray Wyatt didn’t inherit those glandular issues. Spivey works a headlock on Tiger while Gorilla complains about Spivey’s furry boots from his debut. What an odd thing to focus on. Spivey keeps control of Lee with basic stuff, but Thornton switches in and goes to a chinlock. Gene notes that Tiger Chung Lee and Les Thornton are “masters of double-teaming when given the chance”. Have they even TEAMED before? Thornton pounds away on Spivey while Gene talks about the heel team’s quick tags and teamwork, and then Les goes to a chinlock. TEAMWORK! Lee comes in and goes to the top, but gets slammed off and it’s lukewarm tag Rotundo. We get some technical difficulties, perhaps Brian Pillman in the crowd calling someone a homophobic slur, and return with Thorton pounding on Sweaty McPitstains and going to another chinlock. Spivey gets sucked in for a false tag and the heels pound on Rotundo while Gorilla is basically like “Spivey’s an idiot now, but he’ll get smarter with experience.” Like he’s a raw rookie or something. Hot tag Spivey again and he drops a bad elbow and dropkicks Lee out of the ring. Whoever told Spivey to just wrestle like a giant was a very smart man. Rotundo drops an elbow on Lee for two and Gorilla’s like “You’re not gonna beat him like that!” Way to kill the near-falls, Gorilla! Thornton misses a blind charge and Spivey comes back and finishes him with the bulldog at 12:15. Watching Spivey try to imitate Barry Windham was a trainwreck. *
Tony Atlas v. Handsome Harley Race
Pre-King for Harley at this point. Thankfully Gorilla admits that although Race is new to the WWF, he’s not new to wrestling, thus assuming we’re not COMPLETE morons. Atlas catches him with a slam to start and works a headlock. If Atlas is “Mr. USA”, then why is Race the one wearing red white and blue striped tights? Plus Atlas seems more handsome than Race. This must have been a confusing match for newer fans to watch. Tony grinds on the headlock, but Race dumps him and runs him into the railing to take over, as Atlas takes a terrible half-assed bump and basically pushes the railing over. Tony wanders around the ring forever and Race keeps necksnapping him to prevent him from coming in. Suplex back into the ring gets two and Atlas throws him off in impressive fashion and comes back with a suplex. Race drops a knee on him for two and a neckbreaker gets two. Race slowly drops elbows for two and tries a headbutt, but the rules of wrestling state that Atlas has a harder head, so that doesn’t work. Atlas comes back and gets a dropkick for some reason, then goes up with a headbutt off the middle rope that somehow misses because Atlas is terrible. Atlas tries a splash and hits knee, in the sense that he was supposed to hit the knees but in fact just did a forward roll without ever making contact, and Race pins him with a sunset flip at 8:30. This sucked. DUD
King Tonga v. Pete Doherty
The Duke makes the mistake of attacking and Tonga lays him out and gets a full-nelson. Doherty puts his feet on the top rope to break, so Tonga just drops him on his head. Well, he did break the hold. Doherty tries to work the leg, but Tonga casually boots him off and gets a backdrop suplex. Doherty tries a headbutt and that fails, so Doherty bails. So is just everyone from the South Pacific that has hard heads, then? That seems like a large cross-section of the population. Tonga gets some armdrags and finishes with the superkick and headbutt at 4:17. I’m so used to seeing Haku treated like an insane monster that it’s kind of jarring to watch him wrestle a normal match and make comebacks. Match was fine for a squash. *1/2
Pedro Morales v. Moondog Spot
OK, really picking up the star power now. Spot attacks and gets backdropped to start, and then tries a headlock and gets slammed. Finally he gets his own slam to take over and goes to a chinlock. Gorilla and Gene are freaking out about how Morales “came down on the back of his head” and nearly got beat. From a slam? And yet Gorilla was yelling at Rotundo earlier for trying a pin off an elbowdrop? Spot with a chinlock and he slugs away in the corner, but Morales with a sunset flip out of the corner for two. They slug it out and Spot gets another slam for two. Pedro with a small package for two, and a rollup finishes at 7:26. “Fast and furious action!” notes Gorilla. Literally none of that sentence is true. ½*
Jake Roberts v. Ricky Steamboat
They immediately brawl on the floor to wake up the crowd, and Jake catches him with a kneelift on the way into the ring as Dragon does a dramatic sell off it. Jake sets for the DDT early, but Steamboat slugs out with chops and a belly to belly, pounding him on the mat until the ref pulls him off. Steamboat puts him down with chops and various martial arts until Jake falls back into the ropes and gets tied up. Steamboat throws chops on him while the narc ref pulls him off again, but Jake catches him with a cheapshot and Steamboat goes flying off it because he’s a GREAT babyface. Jake with an atomic drop and a clothesline and Steamboat just sells the shit out of everything. Short-arm clothesline and Jake slugs away on him while Steamboat flails helplessly, and Jake tosses him over the top like a ragdoll physics model. Back in, Jake with a sleeper that turns into a choke, and Jake of course uses the ropes for leverage while Gorilla rages against the gross incompetence of the refereeing tonight. Ricky fights out with an atomic drop, but Jake lays him out again and tries to pull out his snake. He can’t untie the knot, so he charges and gets sent into the corner, and Steamboat makes the comeback. Steamboat with a neckbreaker, but he misses a splash and both guys are out. Jake with the kneelift to put Ricky on the floor and they head out for another brawl, but Ricky tosses Jake back in and gets counted out accidentally at 13:33. This referee is a MORON. They were having a GREAT match up until the terrible finish, though. ***3/4 The brawl continues outside and Snake gets busted open while Dragon beats the hell out of him. He’s about to beat up the ref too and Gorilla is like “It’s about time!”
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Randy Savage
Savage attacks and lays Hulk out with the belt to start, probably because he was looking at Elizabeth with LUST in his eyes. Savage with the double axehandle to Hulk, but it’s no-sold and Hulk STEALS THE GLASSES and beats on Savage. Party foul! Those are Macho Man’s sunglasses, not yours! They brawl outside and Hogan is the first one to cheat, as usual, running Macho into the post like a coward, and Hulk takes over with a clothesline back in the ring. Hulk again cheats with closed fists and an atomic drop, and he chokes out Savage until the ref forces the break. This man is a cheating menace. Hulk slaps him around in the corner and follows with a corner clothesline and a suplex. Savage gets tied in the ropes and Hulk BITES HIS HAND. Finally Savage fends off this monster and sends him to the floor to break up the barrage of rulebreaking, and follows with a double axehandle to the floor. Savage beats on him outside and back in for the flying elbow, which gets two. Hulk makes the comeback, clearly on coke or PCP or something, and hangs Savage in the corner before the big boot and legdrop finish clean at 7:12. Adrian Adonis, clearly sick of all the cheating done by Hulk, attacks from out of the crowd and they double-team Hogan to teach him a lesson about sportsmanship and following the rules. Hulk of course makes his own comeback and steals Adrian’s dress and wig. What a sore winner. Short but energetic. **1/2 Although to recap, Hogan beat up Savage for 90% of the match, sold for less than a minute on the outside, then no-sold Savage’s finisher and pinned him clean with the legdrop in under 10 minutes total. What a hero.
Moondog Rex v. Billy Jack Haynes
Well I see we’ve passed the portion of the show that will not be terrible. Rex of course went on to be the original Demolition Smash a few months after this, because Vince just couldn’t be without Randy Colley for whatever reason. Rex works a headlock and the Boston crowd immediately turns on the match, chanting “Boring” until Haynes takes him down for a “reverse double chinlock” as Gorilla puts it. Rex with a backbreaker for two. Fun fact: The late Rex King actually took his ring name as a tribute to the Moondogs. Rex drops a knee for two as thousands flock to the nacho stands and bathrooms, typically in that order. Gorilla is absolutely burying the ref again, saying that he’s so dumb he can’t even tell the difference between a chinlock and a choke. Haynes makes a comeback with an ear clap and tosses Rex, which Gene describes as “going catty-wumpus” over the top. Now there’s a phrase you don’t hear every day. We just need someone to be discombobulated now to fill the stupid term bingo card. Full nelson finishes for Billy Jack at 6:00, and fans boo the match out of spite. And I thought Philly was unforgiving. Well, they deserved it for this one. -*
Junkyard Dog v. King Kong Bundy
The musical confusion continues, as “Grab Them Cakes” is back in the rotation again for acceptable entrance music. I gave up trying to understand the legalities ages ago anyway. Major stall to start, like literally 2:00 long, as Gorilla is STILL talking about the show is “completely sold out” with “20,000 plus” and “standing room only signs early in the day.” So after 90 minutes of listening to this I went and checked the attendance, and in fact it drew an announced 14,000 people, which is nowhere near Gorilla’s claims or even a sellout. For the record, a sellout would be 16,000 people. Anyway, punch punch punch here and people actually are throwing garbage in the ring because this is so awful, and Dog grabs his chain at some indeterminate point and chases Bundy away. Back in, they fight over the chain and Danny Davis gets thrown down as a result, and it’s a DQ at 7:41. So Bundy wins by DQ, I guess. At least it’s over. -***
Magnificent Muraco v. Paul Orndorff
This is announced as a 20 minute time limit, keep in mind. The first couple of minutes are eaten up by Mr. Fuji at the announce table talking about how he can control Magnificent Muraco via mind powers. Muraco pounds away in the corner to start, deeply into his “Not giving a shit for anything” phase, but Orndorff comes back with a few slams out of the corner and Muraco bails. Back in, Orndorff works the arm, and works the arm, and works the arm. Then for a change of pace, he works the arm some more. The crowd is being shockingly patient with this, I have to say. Like, FIVE MINUTES of Orndorff holding an armbar, more or less. Finally Muraco escapes the barrage of armbars and drops a knee on Orndorff while Gene continues name-dropping, this time about a plane ride with amateur great Jeff Blatnick. In fact, Jeff went on to be the guy who basically invented the unified rules of MMA and helped to put UFC on the map. So your next resthold is Muraco holding a lengthy nerve pinch as this finish could literally not be any more telegraphed unless they wrote the result in the program and handed it out to fans on the way into the arena. Muraco with the ASIATIC SPIKE, but Orndorff kicks out and makes the comeback with a variety of elbowdrops and they slug it out aimlessly until the bell rings at 15:00. So the “20:00” time limit expires and the ref awards the match to Orndorff. Gorilla is like “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS THAT?” Even Gene is calling this referee an idiot and saying he doesn’t even know how to find the bathroom, let alone judge a winner of the match. *
There was one really good match in the middle, and I always love Hogan v. Savage, but GOOD GOD the rest of this show. And where did they find that referee? Pass on this one.