WWE Old School presents a classic card from the Philadelphia Spectrum headlined by Randy Savage challenging the Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental Title. Plus, Strike Force defends the Tag Team Title against the Islanders, Bam Bam Bigelow battles Killer Khan, and Demolition leaves a mark on Ken Patera & Billy Jack Haynes!
The Chrononaut Chronicles – WWE Old School: Philadelphia Spectrum – Saturday, November 7, 1987
– Our hosts for Spectrum Wrestling on PRISM are my newest contenders for the title of Worst Announce Team Ever, Dick Graham & Craig DeGeorge.
– Brady Boone vs. Dino Bravo (w/Johnny V)
The late Brady Boone was the storyline “cousin” of Billy Jack Haynes, but would go on to a semi-push a couple of years later as the masked “Battle Kat” (Vince’s answer to Tiger Mask, I guess, as Bob Bradley assumed the role when Brady left the WWF) and also worked as a referee in WCW at the time of his death in a car accident; Rob Van Dam cited Boone as one of his biggest influences since he utilized a high-flying style. Dino Bravo is managed here by Luscious Johnny V as one-half of Dream Team Version 2.0 (with Greg Valentine) while DeGeorge explains that Haynes had saved his “cousin” Boone from Demolition a couple of weeks ago to set up a tag team match we’ll see later tonight. Wrestling has a long history of fictional cousins: the Andersons & Ric Flair, Haynes & Boone, Lance Von Erich, the list goes on and on. Bravo relies on his size and power while Boone responds with his superior speed and works over the arm, but Bravo plants him with a piledriver and dumps him to the floor, where Johnny V sneaks in a cheapshot. Back inside, Bravo squeezes Boone in a bearhug and sideslams him, but he misses an elbowdrop and Brady mounts a comeback. However, Bravo dodges a charge in the corner and back-suplexes Boone for the un-deux-trois at 6:31. 1/2* Really just a competitive squash for the World’s Strongest Man.
– The Bolsheviks vs. The Young Stallions
Nikolai Volkoff sings the Soviet national anthem before the match, while the Young Stallions come out to “Turn It Up” off the Piledriver album. The Stallions get Pearl-Harbored when they hit the ring, but Paul Roma & Jim Powers clean house and Nikolai & Boris Zhukov regroup at ringside. The Stallions control Boris by tagging in-and-out and working a headlock, but Zhukov finally manages to make the tag and Volkoff accidentally kicks his fellow Russian. The Stallions use the same strategy against Nikolai as they exchange tags and work the headlock, but Boris cheapshots Roma with a knee to the back from the apron and the Bolsheviks work over the lower back with bearhugs. Roma and Volkoff end up cracking heads and Roma makes the hot tag, as Powers unloads on both Bolsheviks until the Russians double-clothesline him and Zhukov adds a running headbutt to pin Powers at 12:43. * Too long, but basic inoffensive tag team stuff.
– Killer Khan (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Sir Oliver Humperdink)
Mr. Fuji is with Killer Khan, who is best known for “breaking” Andre the Giant’s ankle a few years earlier, while Bam Bam is managed by Sir Oliver Humperdink. I know it’s been said before, but I still can’t figure out why the WWF would stick an oddity like Humperdink with Bigelow when Bam Bam was already getting over on his own and still got a pretty big pop here. I have to wonder if a certain red-and-yellow person got slightly jealous and used his stroke to cut Bam Bam’s legs out by pairing him with this red-headed mutant toad wearing an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I guess we’ll never know for sure, but you deserved better, Bam Bam. Khan does his Buddhist prayer bit and Bigelow pops the crowd with a cartwheel before they lock up and trade slaps to the face. Khan takes control with a cheapshot and the managers almost come to blows after Fuji chokes Bigelow with his cane, but they simmer down and Khan works over Bigelow’s throat with chops and a legdrop for a two-count. Bam Bam avoids a charge in the corner and comes back with diving headbutts, but Khan goes back to the throat and Bam Bam ducks when Killer tries to spew the Mongolian mist in his face. After snapping off an amazing standing dropkick, Bigelow splashes Khan for the three-count at 7:26. *1/2 It’s sad how much potential Bam Bam had to be a major star as he had a great look, could cut a solid promo, and was incredibly agile for such a big guy. RIP, Beast From The East.
– Hercules vs. Junkyard Dog
This was during Hercules’ heel run as a member of the Heenan Family, but the Brain isn’t with him tonight. Both guys leave their chains in their respective corners and JYD overpowers Hercules to start as the Mighty One bails out after a headbutt, but he comes back in and they slug it out until the Dog headbutts him again and Herc bails out again. A “JYD” chant breaks out and hey, there’s Hat Guy of ECW fame in the audience as JYD unloads on Herc with headbutts, but Herc cheapshots him to turn the tide. JYD no-sells some shots to the head and they slug it out until Hercules goes to the midsection instead, but JYD fights out of a full nelson attempt and drops Herc with a Russian legsweep (!) for a two-count. Rollup and back-suplex each get two for the Dog and he headbutts Herc near the ropes, but Hercules double-legs JYD and uses the ropes to pin him in 7:57. Afterwards, JYD clears Hercules from the ring. 1/4* Pretty sloppy match, but if this were the NWA I’d think it would build to a bloody Chain Match to settle the score.
– WWF Tag Team Title: The Islanders vs. Strike Force ©
Tito Santana & Rick Martel are the new WWF Tag Team Champions, having just won the belts from the Hart Foundation about 10 days earlier, as they come out to that old classic “Girls In Cars” off the Piledriver album and get a good reaction from the Philadelphia crowd, which is surprising. For some reason, there is a second referee at ringside as Strike Force takes the early advantage until Tito goes after Haku on the apron and Tama blindsides him. The Islanders stomp the hell out of Santana and control him in their half of the ring with illegal tactics and double-teams as Martel keeps running in to save his partner, allowing the Islanders to switch behind the in-ring ref’s back while all the ringside ref can do is pound the mat and yell. So what’s the point of having a second referee? It’s almost like he’s just acting as a manager for the first referee. Actually, I just realized these refs are twin brothers (not the Hebners) so maybe that’s the angle here, that they are inseparable and can’t do anything without the other. The heel double-teaming finally backfires when Haku accidentally superkicks Tama and Santana makes the hot tag to Martel, who unloads on Haku and catapults him into Tama before Tito tags back in and nails Haku with the flying forearm off the ropes for a near-fall as Tama makes the save. All four guys slug it out and both referees get shoved down, so the refs call for the bell at 9:41 and disqualify both teams. Afterwards, the Islanders pound Santana until Martel drives them off with a chair. *** This was a pretty good match and it was interesting to see the Islanders protected (i.e. not doing the job to the new champs) even though they never really did much of note together other than feud with the British Bulldogs and steal Matilda.
– Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs. Virgil (w/Ted DiBiase)
Bruti gets a good pop and I have to admit that he was my #1 favorite wrestler as a kid, but that could have been because my 5th-grade girlfriend at the time loved him too. STRUTTIN’ AND CUTTIN’, BABY! This was originally supposed to be Brutus vs. Ted DiBiase, but the Million Dollar Man hobbles out on crutches and announces that Philadelphia won’t get the privilege of seeing him wrestle tonight because he’s injured, so he sends Virgil in to “pick up [his] slack” as the bodyguard blindsides Brutus while he’s yelling at DiBiase. Virgil chokes away and DiBiase interferes liberally behind the referee’s back, but Brutus catches Virgil with a punch to the gut as he dives off the top turnbuckle and unloads on the muscular manservant. Beefcake nails Virgil with a flying kneelift off the ropes to finish him off in 2:57. Afterwards, the Barber spraypaints Virgil’s chest for some reason (I thought it was going to be shaving cream… I guess we know where the nWo got their spraypainting gimmick!) until DiBiase attacks Beefcake with a crutch and limps off with Virgil. * Short and to the point, like most of the time when Virgil substituted for DiBiase, which I never understood as a kid. I remember thinking, why would a multi-millionaire like DiBiase hire such an “all-show no-go” bodyguard who gets his ass kicked every single time? I’m sure a rich man could have hired a better bodyguard, so there must have been some other reason Virgil kept his job. This may have been when I started to notice the homosexual undertones, other than guys fighting in Speedos, of Our Great Sport.
– Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Ken Patera & Billy Jack Haynes
Mr. Fuji leads Demolition out as the commentators hammer home the reason for this match yet again (Demolition attacked Billy Jack’s “cousin” Brady Boone and tried to break Patera’s arm, did you forget already?). The Demos pounce on Patera & Haynes as soon as they step through the ropes, but the babyfaces fight back and whip Ax & Smash into each other. Patera has a huge brace covering his right arm, like a neon sign saying, “Hit me here!” The faces control Smash until Fuji trips Haynes with the cane and Demolition proceed to pound him with frequent tags and double-teams. Haynes finally avoids an elbowdrop and tags Patera, who slams Ax with a backbreaker and performs the Garvin Stomp, but runs into Ax’s boots when he charges in the corner. Demolition go all Anderson on Patera as they mercilessly ravage his injured arm while Fuji barks at them to break it. Patera eventually manages to clothesline Smash with the bad arm and tags Billy Jack, who unloads on both Demos and locks Smash (whom Graham keeps calling “Crash”) in the full nelson. However, while the referee is busy trying to separate Patera and Ax, Fuji cracks Haynes with the cane and Smash scores the pinfall at 8:02. Afterwards, Patera goes after Fuji, but Demolition saves their manager and Haynes & Patera end up cleaning house. **3/4 As any of my regular readers know, I’m a huge Demolition mark and I loved the Anderson-style arm work on Patera.
– Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/Johnny V) vs. Ivan Putski
Polish Power is in unnaturally phenomenal shape for a 46-year-old man; eat your heart out, Vince! Valentine shadowboxes with Johnny V in the corner to warm up, so Putski unfurls a flurry of fists and flexes his bulbous muscles as the crowd goes crazy for the old man. Putski works a headlock and Valentine breaks it with a back-suplex, but Putski quickly regains control until Valentine snaps his throat across the top rope and drops a double-axhandle off the middle turnbuckle. Putski battles back again and knocks Valentine through the ropes with the Polish Hammer, but Valentine grabs Putski’s legs from ringside and wraps his knee around the ringpost a few times before continuing the punishment to the leg back in the squared circle. In a scene almost reminiscent of the 1997 Survivor Series, Valentine applies the figure-four leglock on Putski and the ref quickly calls for the bell at 7:37, even though Putski didn’t submit and he protests the decision while even the commentators are confused. That was weird, I wonder what that was all about. Afterwards, the Hammer & Johnny V flee the scene when Ivan threatens them with a chair. 3/4*
– WWF Intercontinental Title: Honky Tonk Man © (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage (w/Miss Elizabeth)
I think we all know the story behind this, as these two had a hot feud that gave birth to the Mega Powers when the Honky Tonk Man smashed Savage with his guitar and shoved Elizabeth the previous month on Saturday Night’s Main Event before Hulk Hogan made the save. Honky Tonk is accompanied by Colonel Jimmy Hart and gets on the mic to assure his fans that he will be in concert after the match. Miss Elizabeth escorts the Macho Man to the ring and Honky Tonk makes a move toward her, so Savage chases him out of the ring and around ringside while “Pomp & Circumstance” is still playing. Savage abuses Honky on the floor and rolls him back in, but Jimmy Hart grabs Savage’s leg to distract him long enough for Honky to strike. Savage battles back and Hart tries to trip him, but the Macho Man will have none of it and chases the Colonel around ringside and into the ring. While the referee is busy with Jimmy, Savage leaps off the top turnbuckle and Honky clobbers him in the midsection with the megaphone for a two-count to take control, as he cuts off a Savage comeback and ties the Macho Man in the ropes Andre-style.
Honky keeps pounding away and distracting the ref, allowing the Mouth Of The South to sneak in some cheapshots while Elizabeth can only watch helplessly because she’s a woman. The ref finally frees Savage from the ropes and Honky levels him with a back-elbow before going out after Elizabeth, but this only serves to awaken the Macho Man, who attacks Honky at ringside and continues the ass-kicking back in the ring. Hart tries to interfere again as he hops up on the apron to hold Savage, but Savage moves and Honky inadvertently knocks the Colonel to the floor. Savage unloads on Honky with a running elbowsmash and the flying double-axhandle off the top turnbuckle, but they end up cracking heads and Savage rolls out to the floor. Hart jumps on his back for an impromptu piggyback ride, but the Macho Man crushes him against the ringpost and rams his head against Honky’s. Savage grabs the megaphone and whacks Honky as the champ climbs back into the ring, but the bell rings and Honky Tonk wins via countout to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship in 8:18. Savage gets a measure of revenge afterwards as he throws Hart into Honky and atomic-drops the Elvis impersonator. *** Great chemistry between these two bitter rivals as both men played their parts perfectly. Savage & Elizabeth celebrate with the Intercontinental belt to close the show.
Afterthoughts: Pretty entertaining show, as Savage/Honky was always money and we got a good Tag Team Title bout, as well as Demolition continuing to work their way up the tag team ladder, Bam Bam doing his thing, and everything else was solid too. Imagine that, THREE tag matches on one card. Ahh, those were the days…
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