October 19, 1986
Your hosts are Ken Resnick and Gorilla Monsoon
This show is headlined by Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff and the $50,000 Tag Team Battle Royal.
The copy of the show that I have was from WWE Classics on Demand and it omitted the Bret Hart vs. Raymond Rougeau match for some reason.
Jim Brunzell vs. Mike Rotundo
The announcers talk about how this will be a scientific matchup, which is what was said when two babyfaces faced off against each other. These two go back and forth on the mat as the announcers talk about how Danny Spivey will be coming back soon from knee surgery. Brunzell hits a shoulderblock then applies a front facelock but Rotundo reaches the ropes. Brunzell takes him back down with a headscissors and retains the hold while on the mat. Rotundo escapes and takes Brunzell down with a side headlock and they trade hammerlocks until the ref breaks them up in the corner and warns Rotundo, who gets pissed. Things now get chippy as they shove each other, with Rotundo acting a little bit heelish. The announcers are telling a story that friendships are off of the table tonight due to the $50,000 prize. Makes sense at least. The crowd applauds when Brunzell takes Rotundo down with a hip toss but Rotundo knocks him down with an European Uppercut in the corner. He slams Brunzell but misses an elbow as it is clear that they have made Rotundo the “heel” in this match.Rotundo targets the knee then works a stepover toehold for a bit. Brunzell ducks outside to regroup as he sells his leg then comes back in and takes Rotundo down. He drops the leg but fails on a slam attempt as Rotunod goes back to work on the leg. The announcers kill time by talking about Danny Davis. Brunzell ends up hitting Rotundo with a monkey flip then starts working the leg of Rotundo. They roll around a fight on the mat until they are tied up in the ropes. Rotundo takes him down with a small package as the bell sounds as this match is ruled a 20 minute time-limit draw, although it was a lot shorter than that (13:55) **1/4. After the match these two shove each other and fight against the ropes as Brunzell leaves all pissed off.
Thoughts: Match was decent, especially for two babyface wrestlers going against each other. The story of everyone wanting the battle royal money thus acting ultra-aggressive worked here. The first five minutes were really dull though but it picked up after the shoving match.
S.D. Jones vs. Brutus Beefcake
Brutus taunts S.D. with his strut but S.D. mocks him then catches Brutus with an atomic drop that sends him to the floor. Back inside, Brutus knocks down S.D. after a break then stomps away. Brutus stays on the attack and slams S.D. then drops a forearm for two. S.D. comes back with a headbutt then punches away but misses a charge in the corner. Brutus goes to the second rope and drops an elbow for two but argues with the ref and that allows S.D. to fight back. Brutus begs for mercy but S.D. hits him with more punches. S.D. then ducks a clothesline but runs into the high knee as Brutus gets the win (5:35) 1/2*.
Thoughts: This was pretty bad. S.D was subbing for Danny Spivey here and his offense at the time consisted of three moves: punch, headbutt, and a bodyslam. Beefcake was also unable to carry guys in the ring and someone as deteriorated as S.D. needed a lot of help out there.
Big John Studd vs. Big Machine
Before the match, Studd talks about how no one can slam him. Big Machines tries but Studd stops him. Big Machine fights back and hits a back elbow smash then gets him up for the slam as the crowd goes nuts. The storyline about getting $15,000 for slamming him was still very much in play. Studd takes a breather outside then gets “rammed” into the steel post in an awful looking spot. Back inside, Big Machine knocks down Studd and works him over in the corner. Studd clotheslines a charging Big Machine then drops the elbow for two as Big Machine forgot to kick out with the announcers covering it up by saying his foot was underneath the ropes. Just a pitiful sequence from guys who have been wrestling for years. Big Machine is gassed and tries to slam Studd but fails and Studd falls on top for the win (2:57) -*.
Thoughts: Horrible match. The last minute was embarrassing and Big Machine (Blackjack Mulligan) was gassed right after the match begun. This was also one of Studd’s last appearances in the WWF until his brief return in 1989. Studd would be gone from the company a week later.
Steve Gatorwolf vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Gatorwolf would occasionally team up with Strongbow at house shows during this time. Valentine shoves Gatorwolf after a break then takes him down as they go back and forth on the mat. Valentine chops Gatorwolf then drops an elbow for two. Valentine now works on the arm for a while. He was still a very good worker at this point so it all looked good. Valentine chops Gatorwolf off of the apron but Gatorwolf comes back in and powers up. Someone in the crowd yells as he is on offense and hits a bunch of chops and gets nearfall with a slam. Valentine takes a breather outside then trips up Gatorwolf and drags him outside where they fight. Gatorwolf chases Valentine around but gets stomped while entering the ring then put in the figure four leg lock. Gatorwolf is able to reach the ropes then Valentine slams him down. Valentine misses an elbow from the second rope then Gatorwolf chops away. Valentine reverses an Irish whip in the corner then hits a few chops before putting Gatorwolf away with a suplex (8:30) *1/2.
Thoughts: Match was only decent when Valentine was on offense. Gatorwolf was a bad wrestler but a much, much worse human being. Gatorwolf, real name Stephen Ketcher, was charged with raping a 14 year old girl several times this past May. He had also served prison time for aggravated assault and violation of a protection order in the past.
Iron Sheik w/ Nikolai Volkoff vs. Davey Boy Smith
Sheik jumps Davey from behind then hammers away. He tosses Davey through the ropes then taunts the fans. Volkoff screams on commentary as Davey slams the Sheik then works the arm. Davey catches the Sheik’s leg and hits an atomic drop for two. Sheik boots Davey as he ducked his head then spits on him and taunts the crowd. Sheik hits a clothesline then gets two with a backdrop. Davey counters a suplex with a small package for a nearfall but Sheik gets up an puts Davey in an abdominal stretch. Davey blocks a suplex and hits one of his own and gets two as the crowd starts a “USA” chant. Davey catches Sheik with a sleeper. Sheik escapes and is able to put Davey in the Camel Clutch. Davey reaches the ropes and shortly after that, Davey catches him with a powerslam. Davey bounces off of the ropes but Volkoff trips him up and the ref rings the bell for the DQ (6:04) *3/4. Sheik & Volkoff attack Davey until the Dynamite Kid runs out for the save.
Thoughts: Not bad but too short to really amount to much. The fact that Dynamite was not out there with Davey pretty much telegraphed the finish. At the time, Sheik & Volkoff were being groomed for the tag titles but Dynamite Kid, according to Bret Hart and others, told Vince that the only team he would drop them too were the Hart Foundation so that was scrapped.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan
With Orndorff coming out to “Real American,” the song never stopped playing until the match began. The stipulation here was that if Hogan lost by DQ, he would also lose the title. Hogan was wearing a blue “Hulkamania” shirt and headband with a different style of lettering than usual. Heenan throws Orndorff’s robe right at Hogan’s face, allowing Orndorff to attack him before the bell. Orndorff chokes out Hogan with his headband then drops an elbow. Orndorff poses with the belt then misses an elbow drop as Hogan fires away. Hogan knocks Heenan off of the apron then hammers away on Orndorff, who comes back with a throat thrust. Heenan slides a chair into the ring near Hogan, who almost hits Orndorff but the ref warns him and he stops himself as he would have lost if he hit him. Heenan distracts Hogan so Orndorff can hit him with a running knee smash then Hogan gets sent to the floor. Back inside, Orndorff stomps away and chokes out Hogan with his knee. Backbreaker gets two then Hogan hulks up as Heenan is complaining about the officiating on commentary. Hogan knocks down Orndorff and slams him down then drops the leg but neglects to cover and tosses him outside instead and grabs the chair but the ref warns him again and he stops and rolls Orndorff back inside. Hogan then outsmarts Heenan by chasing him into the ring so the ref can stop him and that allows Hogan to sneak around and hit Orndorff with a chair then roll back inside and bet the ten count for the win (6:05) *1/2. The chairshot looked very, very weak too.
Thoughts: At the time, the WWF was using these stipulations for the Hogan/Orndorff matches at house shows across the country. I don’t know exactly when Orndorff hurt his arm but in this match, one of his arms appeared to be almost limp and he barely used it when on offense as he relied mostly on stomps and knee smashes. The end with Hogan outsmarting Heenan was good as the fans popped for that.
Nikolai Volkoff vs. Tama
Gorilla corrects the ring announcer after he referred to Tama as his old name, the “Tonga Kid.” Volkoff attacks Tama from behind to start. Tama fights right back but Volkoff catches him with a knee then tosses him through the ropes. Volkoff boots Tama off of the apron then gets dragged outside. Tama rolls Volkoff inside then takes him down. Tama applies a chinlock but Volkoff breaks that and dumps Tama outside. Volkoff works a bearhug in the ring for a bit. Tama escapes but gets caught with a spin kick. Tama comes back with a sunset flip and a small package for nearfalls. Tama catches Volkoff with an atomic drop then chops away. Volkoff reverses an Irish whip and sends Tama into the corner. He then catches Tama with a double axe handle off of the second rope then rolls him up with his foot on the ropes and gets the win (5:52) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Another bad match. Volkoff also appeared to be gassed early on and most of this was restholds. These matches tonight have been lackluster to say the least.
Moondog Rex vs. Dynamite Kid
Dynamite knocks down Rex after three shoulderblocks. Dynamite then hits a slam and a dropkick that sends Rex to the floor. Back inside, Dynamite uses turnbuckle smashes on Rex then whips him into the corner. Dynamite hits a snap suplex then applies a chinlock. Sunset flip gets two then Rex stomps away. Rex hits a clothesline then drops an elbow for two. Rex works a chinlock before beating on Dynamite in the corner. Dynamite fights back but gets tossed to the floor. Rex bites Dynamite on the apron then knocks him back to the floor. Back inside, Rex gets two with a powerslam then applies a bearhug. He rams Dynamite in the corner then gets two with a backbreaker. Rex catches Dynamite with another bearhug but Dynamite breaks that up with a bell clap then they slug it out until Dynamite takes Rex down with a crucifix for the win (8:15) **1/4.
Thoughts: Decent match, thanks to Dynamite. He always went all out in his matches which partly explains why he is in the condition he is in today. Rex was the least talented Moondog but did a passable job here.
$50,000 Tag Team Battle Royal
The Moondogs, Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff, The Dream Team, King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd, Hart Foundation, The Machines, Rougeau Brothers, Killer Bees, S.D. Jones & Mike Rotundo, Islanders, Steve Gatorwolf & Chief Jay Strongbow, and the British Bulldogs.
The rules here are that if one member of the team is eliminated his partner is gone too. Studd immediately gets tossed out by several guys immediately after the bell. There are too many guys in the ring to tell what is going on at this point. Haku eliminates S.D. Jones then the Rougeau’s attempt to eliminate Neidhart but fail. Volkoff tosses Gatorwolf and shortly after that Raymond Rougeau and Hart eliminate each other. The Rougeau’s and Hart Foundation start brawling outside. The Moondogs dump big Machine then the Sheik runs from behind and tosses out both Moondog Rex and Jim Brunzell as we are down to just four teams: The Islanders, Dream Team, Sheik & Volkoff, and the British Bulldogs. The Islanders eliminate Beefcake with a double back drop. Davey and Haku trade punches until Dynamite tosses Tama. The Bulldogs and Sheik & Volkoff both regroup then the Sheik works on Davey as Dynamite hammers away on Volkoff. The Bulldogs now appear in control then Davey tries to dump the Sheik as he has him on the ropes but Volkoff hits him from behind and Sheik managed to hold onto the ropes as he pulled them down as Davey spills over the top and on to the floor as Sheik & Volkoff win the battle royal (9:10) *1/4.
Thoughts: This was dull until the last minute and even that was not all that exciting. At the time, they were doing these Tag Team Battle Royal matches across the country. The Islanders won it the following night at Madison Square Garden.
Final Thoughts: This was not a good show. The title match was big but everything else was filler leading into a battle royal. At the time, the WWF was on a grueling schedule and the travel that this crew had to endure was brutal. A quick look at thehistoryofwwe.com shows that in seven days, they went from Sacramento to Tacoma, then to Phoenix and Tuscon, then to Los Angeles, Denver, and Houston before wrestling the next night in New York City. That could have very well been partly why these matches relied on restholds. The older guys seemed to struggle the most. But this was a poor show and I would not even recommend the abbreviated version on the Network. The best thing I can say was that this show was a little over 90 minutes to watch.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 10/25/86
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Sabu, Volume 1
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 10/26/86
Saturday: RoH Revenge on the Prophecy 1/11/03
Sunday: (No review due to Night of the Champions)