WWF The Big Event August 28th, 1986

August 28, 1986

From CNE Stadium in Toronto, Ontario

Your hosts are Johnny Valiant, Ernie Ladd, and Gorilla Monsoon

This show was billed at the time for having the largest attendance of any wrestling event. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter wrote that the WWF might have actually underestimated the attendace number in order to not get into trouble as the Bruce Springsteen show in the same building the year prior had 69,000 fans and the fire marshall reportedly had a fit. Meltzer reported that the crowd might have been closer to 72,000 here instead of the 64,000 reported.

Hoss & Jimmy Jack Funk w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Killer Bees

Hoss and Blair work a sequence that ends with Blair getting a hiptoss. He then slams both Hoss and Jimmy Jack twice and they duck outside for a breather. Back inside, Blair is backed into the opposing corner but Blair fights out as the Funk’s once again take a breather. Jimmy Jack and Brunzell are now in the ring as Brunzell gets the best of him then tags Hoss, who lays into Brunzell with European uppercuts. Brunzell comes back with a crossbody then the Bees take turns working the arm of Hoss. Jimmy Jack tags back in and the Bees work the arm of him as well. Brunzell catches Jimmy Jack with a sleeper but Hoss breaks it up behind the referee’s back. Hoss tags and tosses Brunzell to the floor then distracts the ref, allowing Jimmy Jack to beat him up. Hoss hits Brunzell with a suplex for a nearfall but Brunzell fights back and takes Hoss down with a dropkick. Brunzell makes the tag but the ref did not see it take place and Hoss sends both of the Bees to the floor. We now see the Bees put on their masks as they confuse the Funk’s. Blair hits a few clotheslines and catches Hoss in an abdominal strecth that Jimmy Jack breaks up. As the ref orders Jimmy Jack to the apron, Brunzell rolls into the ring in place of Blair. Jimmy Jack tags in and picks him up but Brunzell small packages him for the win (6:52) *1/2.

Thoughts: Basic match. This was one of Hoss’ last match in the WWF too as he closed out a less than memorable run with the company. The Bees were over a bit but the mask gimmick was not going to get them to the top and their personalities were bland so they were not going to get a real push in the division.

Gene Okerlund is with Mr. Fuji, who says that King Tonga will pay his dues tonight.

King Tonga vs. Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji

Tonga gets a pair of hiptosses and a slam after an Irish whip sequence that has Muraco ducking outside for a breather. Back inside, they slug it out then Tonga sends him out of the ring with a standing dropkick. Gorilla mentions how Tonga wants to be called “Haku” as Valiant does not care for that. Tonga works the arm of Muraco in the middle of the ring, even maintaining the hold after a monkey flip and this goes on for almost five minutes. Fuji trips up Tonga and that allows Muraco to take control. Tonga is sent outside as Fuji whacks him with a cane. In the ring, Muraco powerslams Tonga then works a nerve hold for what seems like an eternity as this match is dying a slow death. Muraco takes his time as he beats on Tonga as the crowd does not even care to respond to his antics. This match might be the cure for insomnia. They slug it out again and Tonga comes back with a dropkick but misses a charge in the corner. Muraco rams Tonga’s leg against the ringpost then hits him with a shinbreaker. He continues to work the leg and even puts Tonga in the figure-four leg lock. Muraco takes his time heading up top and Tonga is able to get up and slam him off. He fires back with chops as the crowd remains silent. Tonga now heads up top and hits a crossbody but the 20 minute time limt has been reached before he could get a three count (20:00) 1/2*.

Thoughts: Muraco was unbelievably lazy here and this match quieted the crowd in a big way. If you love long resthold spots, this is the match for you as half of the match consisted of just that.  The finish protected each guy but no way should this have gone 20 minutes. The WWE Network version clips this match and it makes it a lot more watchable by cutting out all of the long resthold spots but even still it is dull.

Okerlund is with Bobby Heenan and says that if it wasn’t for himself and Mr. Orndorff, this huge crowd would not be here tonight. He also says that the crowd is here to see him reveal Andre the Giant as one of the Machines. Okerlund then tells Heenan that he thought he would weasel out of the interview and this leads to a funny segment for the crowd to start a “weasel: chant. Good stuff and an easy way to get the crowd chanting.

Tony Garea vs. Ted Arcidi
Gorilla notes that Arcidi received a mixed reception as Ladd brings up a change in attitude for him. Throughout Arcidi’s run, they never bothered to establish him as a face or heel so the crowd never reacted to anything he did. Garea tries to match strength and gets tossed around. He bounces off Arcidi a few times then gets shoved down after the referee was trying to break the hold. Arcidi slams Garea then flexes as the crowd doesn’t care. Garea comes back with some basic offense and takes him down with a dropkick but ends up getting caught with a bearhug and quickly submits (2:41) DUD. Ladd said that Garea submitted because he was worried about his career.

Thoughts: Match was bad and this was, to the best of my knowledge, the last televised match for Arcidi in the WWF.

Okerlund interviews Jimmy Hart, who says that tonight he and Adrian Adonis will humiliate the Junkyard Dog.

Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Junkyard Dog

JYD fires away with his chain as Adonis is comically overselling everything. Gorilla notes that Adonis is at his heaviest. JYD fires away from the apron then shoves away the referee when he tried to intervene but that allows Hart to spray liquid into JYD’s eyes. Adonis hits a clothesline in a sad-looking sequence then gets a few nearfalls before tossing him to the floor, where he backs away Hart. JYD get sent back outside as fans are nailing him with trash then he goes after Hart with Adonis getting involved in a truly awful sequence of moves. JYD slides back into the ring as Adrian raises his hands but JYD knocks him into Hart, who was on the apron, and they both fall outside as the ref rings the bell as JYD won by countout (4:15) -**.

Thoughts: The match was an embarassment and the finish looked pathetic as Adonis crawled into the ring before JYD, yet lost the match by countout. JYD was really useless at this point and Adonis was at his fattest but could still manage to work a bit in the ring.

Iron Mike Sharpe vs. “The Rebel” Dick Slater

Sharpe comes to the ring holding a sign that reads “Sharpe for Prime Minister.” Slater works a hammerlock until Sharpe reaches the ropes. Slater kicks him down after a test of strength then stomps Sharpe’s fingers. Sharpe comes back in after a breather and punches Slater off of a side headlock. Back inside, Slater catches Sharpe with a few armdrags then takes him down and tries a figure-four but Sharpe rakes the eyes. Sharpe chops Slater against the ropes but Slater fights back and ties Sharpe in the ropes. He catches him with a back elbow smash then rakes Sharpe’s eyes with his boots. Sharpe comes back and clotheslines Slater against the ropes then rams him into the corner. Slater no-sells a turnbuckle smash then suplexes Sharpe for a nearfall. Sharpe catches Slater with a forearm then a shot in the mid-section. Slater backs Sharpe into the corner and hammers away. Slater catches Sharpe’s foot and spins him around before hitting a swinging neckbreaker. He uses a Russian leg sweep then hits an elbow smash from the top then bridges him for the win (6:24) **.

Thoughts: Not bad but the crowd did not react at all to Slater, who had only been on TV for about a month at this point. Then again, babyface Dick Slater as a Southern Rebel was not a gimmick that was going to draw in the WWF. Sharpe’s offense always looks too goofy to be taken seriously.

Big Machine & Super Machine & Capt Lou Albano w/ Giant Machine vs. Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy & Bobby Heenan

Lots of confusion as to who will be competing in this match. For those who do not know, Big Machine is Blackjack Mulligan. Super Machine hammers away on Studd then tries a slam but that gets blocked. The crowd starts a “weasel” chant as Studd takes down Super Machine with a shoulder block. Super Machine takes him down with a pair of clotheslines then Studd rolls outside and gets roughed up by the Giant Machine. Bundy tags as does Big Machine and Big wins a slugfest. Bundy misses a charge and Big Machine takes him down with a forearm smash. Studd tags and hammers away on Big then tags Heena who tries to remove his mask but gets shoved away and tags Studd. Big come back with a knee smash and tags Super who goes after both Studd and Bundy until Studd catches him with a back elbow smash. Bundy tags and yells at Albano until he accidentally runs into Studd. Super tries to come back but Studd catches him with a knee to the back. Heenan tags but so does Albno as the crowd goes nuts. Heenan gets whipped upside down in the corner after he slapped Albano but Heenan fights back and is able to tag Studd. Albano is getting worked over by Heenan and Bundy in the corner and that brings in the Giant Machine who comes in and cleans house for the DQ (7:49) *1/4.

Thoughts: The match itself wasn’t much and the Machines gimmick was not working with Andre watching the matches from ringside.

Snakepit Match
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

The “Snake Pit” stipulation means that there are no disqualifications. Jake attacks Steamboat as he gets into the ring but Steamboat quickly turns the tables as both men are still wearing their robes. Steamboat chops Jake down and covers for two. Steamboat works the arm as Valiant goes off on a tangent about female dragons. Steamboat now uses his “martial arts” to attack Jake then they take the action outside. Jake cheapshots Steamboat then slams him on the floor. Jake tries to use a chair but Steamboat fights back and whacks Jake on the head. Back inside, Steamboat gets two with a chop from the top rope then works the arm. Steamboat fires away in the corner with mounted punches but Jake comes back with an Irish whip that sends Steamboat to the floor in a goofy looking spot. Jake slides out and slingshots Steamboat into the post then hammers away as Steamboat us busted open. Back inside, Jake yells for Steamboat to get up then taunts the crowd, drawing a few cheers in the process. Jake knocks Steamboat down but gets backed into the corner when attempting the DDT. Jake stops a brief comeback short with an inverted atomic drop then teases another DDT before hitting a gutbuster. Jake stalls for a bit then covers Ricky in a cocky manner but it gets turned into a rollup and Steamboat get the win (10:17) ***1/2

Thoughts: Really good stuff. I loved the psychology too as a cocky Roberts who thought he had Steamboat put away lost because he was f------ around. Both guys worked well together in the ring. The “Snake Pit” stipulations did not play a huge factor in this match though and I am a bit shocked that they did not have Jake try to DDT Steamboat outside of the ring again.

Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez 

These two start by battling over a lockup. They work an Irish whip sequence that ends with a clothesline by Hercules. Some kid in ther crowd yells at Hercules to get a haircut as we get the “audio difficulties” message on the screen as we go without commentary and can hear all of the fans. Billy fights back and hits Hercules with a press slam then rams him into the corner. Billy hits a dropkick then works a headlock and Hercules to break it up with a back suplex but Billy maintains the hold as a guy in the crowd asks the guys to start delivering some action. Hercules uses Billy’s momentum to send him outside then hits him with a double axe handle. Hercules works the back as we hear Gorilla, which was dubbed in studio, as he tells us that he is solo right now. Both guys collide with each other then Billy starts to kick Hercules repeatedly. Billy then uses a backbreaker and follows that with an elbow drop that gets two. He tries the full nelson but Hercules breaks it up then hammers away. He suplexes him from the apron for a nearfall before taking him down with a clothesline. Hercules thinks he won after getting a two count with a clothesline but Billy Jack rolls him up for a nearfall. Hercules then tries a neckbreaker but Billy counters that with a backslide and gets the win (6:08) **1/2.

Thoughts: Decent match. These two have not feuded yet on TV but that would happen shortly. Crowd did not care much but both guys did a good job.

Okerlund is with Jack Tunney who says he is happy that this show is in Canada. Not a whole lot of personality on Tunney, that’s for sure. I think that Kevin Nash said it best when he referred to Tunney as having the demeanor of a school principal.

The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Dream Team

Vailant remains on commentary for this match. All four men brawl to start. Jacques slingshots in and gets a sunset flip on Valentine that gets two. The Rougeau’s use quick tags to isolate Valentine. Beefcake tags and Raymond works him over for a bit until he gets backed into the corner. Valentine tags and beats on Raymond, who comes back with a crossbody. Jacques tags and they hit Valentine with a double dropkick. Valentine backs Jacuqes into the corner and the Dream Team go to work. Valentine hits an atomic drop then tags Beefcake who stomps Jacques, who tries to fight out of the corner. Raymond runs in and they get the Dream Team with a double noggin-knocker. Rougeau’s hit an assisted flipping senton on Beefcake but Valentine breaks up the count. Valentine then is able to cheapshot Raymond behind the ref;s back, targeting the back. The Dream Team work over the back of Raymond, who barely kicked out of several pin attempts. Raymond rolls away from a pair of elbow drops by Valentine and makes the tag to Jacques who takes down the Dream Team with dropkicks and slams. Valentine attacks Jacques from behind, who ducks a double clothesline and comes back with a dropkick on both guys. Valentine locks on a figure-four after a second attempt but Raymond breaks that up. The Dream Team toss Raymond as Valentine works the leg of Jacques. He goes for a second figure-four attempt but Raymond sneaks back in and hits Valentine with a sunset flip and gets the win (14:51) ***3/4.

Thoughts: Awesome stuff. I forgot just how good the Rougeau’s were as a team until they basically became a comedy act. These two could work a fast-pace and were almost ahead of their time in the ring. Valiant on commentary flipping out wasnt that bad as he at least made sense here unlike the rest of his tangents.

Okerlund is back with Heenan, who guarantees that the championship belt will be around Orndorff’s waist and that Hulkamania is dead. Part of that is true at least.

“Handsome” Harley Race vs. Pedro Morales

Talk about a bathroom-break match. Harley was also introduced as the “King of Wrestling” and had the crown on the back of his tights. He has not had his coronation ceremony yet. Race smashes Pedro’s face off of the ring steps and tries a piledriver but Pedro counters with a backdrop. In the ring, Pedro hits Race a few times then backdrops him. Pedro hammers away and knocks Race to the outside. Race then takes Pedro down from the outside and yanks him out, sending him into the timekeeper’s table. Race then hits a falling headbutt as Valiant impersonates a “Puerto Rican liar” on commentary. Back inside, Pedro hits a suplex then gets a nearfall with a small package. Sunset flip gets two. The ref steps in between them and Harley takes down Pedro and puts his feet on the ropes for leverge as he rolls him up for the pin (3:31) *.

Thoughts: Boring, even for a match that lasted under four minutes. Race was soon going to be pushed as the “King” thus needed a win.

WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match
Paul Orndorff w Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan (Champion)

Orndorff clotheslines Hogan as the referee checked his boot. He then hammers away on the mat until Hogan turns the tables. They get up and Hogan wins a slugfest that sends Orndorff outside. Orndorff drags Hogan out but Hogan rams him into the apron after blocking an attempt from Orndorff. Back inside, Hogan hits a clothesline then drops an elbow. He clotheslines Orndorff in the corner as the fans go crazy. Heenan distracts Hogan who fights off Orndorff and hits an atomic drop. Hogan then chases Heenan around the ring but gets stomped by Orndorff as he goes back inside. Hogan gets clotheslined outside in a bad looking spot then Ordnorff suplexes him on the floor. Hogan tries to go back in the ring but Orndorff takes him back down with a running knee smash. Hogan is draped over the apron as Orndorff hits a few elbow smashes then takes him down with a forearm to the throat. Hogan crawls back into the ring as the ref yells at Orndorff, who comes back with a kneedrop that gets two. Orndorff yells at the ref for counting slowly before hitting a slam. Orndorff gets two with an elbow drop then heads up top and lands a forearm to the throat. Hogan backdrops Orndorff after a piledriver attempt then Orndorff tries to choke out Hogan on the mat. The ref yells at Orndorff as Hogan slowly gets up but Orndorff goes over and bites Hogan. Back suplex gets two as Hogan’s foot was hanging over the apron. Hogan gets up and powers up as the ref yells at Orndorff and hits Orndorff with a flying knee that has him collide with the referee. Hogan clotheslines Orndorff then signals for a piledriver and gets him up but Heenan comes in and whacks Hogan with a wooden stool in the back of the neck. Orndorff covers as the ref crawls over and pats Orndorff on the shoulder three times as Orndorff poses with the belt as the bell rings (11:05) ***. Howard Finkel then reveals that Hogan won by disqualification as Orndoff goes out of his mind and stomps on Hogan, with the belt around his waist. Orndorff then tries to hit Hogan with the belt but Hogan powers up and stops the attack as Gorilla tells us that the DQ was caused after Orndorff hit the referee (after he was sent into him by Hogan’s knee smash. Hogan then clotheslines Orndoff and takes him outside with a big boot. Orndoff comes back in and Hogan chases him away. Hogan then puts the belt on the mat and gets on his knees begging Orndorff to come into the ring.

Thoughts: Good match. Hogan really had a fine showing here, both in his offense and he sold like a champ all match long. This feud was far from over and this match led to a bunch of matches at house shows that called for the title to change hands during a disqualification. Man, this feud was a license to print money.

Final Thoughts: I thought that the good outweighed the bad here. You had three matches that were very good and two of them were part of hot feuds at the time. The crowd was not all that vocal except for the Hogan match. It was also a cold day as fans we wearing Winter hats and coats while sitting outside……in August. I guess that is Canada for you. The WWE Network version of this show is about 40 minutes shorter and edits out a lot of the dead weight and I think it makes for a decent viewing.

Here is my schedule for the next seven days:

Thursday: Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1992 WWE as told by Bret Hart
Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/30/86  (Final Episode)
Saturday: RoH Unscripted 9/21/02
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/6/86  (Debut Episode)
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/7/86  (Debut Episode)

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