Rock Star Gary reflects on…WWF The Big Event!

Live from Toronto, ON

Airdate: August 28, 1986

Attendance:  74,000

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon, “Luscious” Johnny Valiant, and the “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd

This event is sponsored by Chex Mix. Thanks, WWE Network!

Before I get started…

LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT CROWD. Wow! This show took place at the Canadian National Exhibition Stadium, former home to the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball and the Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. The numerous camera angles during the show made the crowd look tremendous.

Match 1: Hoss & Jimmy Jack Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the Killer Bees

Highlights:

  • Blair delivered a hip toss to Hoss then slammed him.
  • Jimmy Jack came in and received a slam as well.
  • Blair then gave each another one for good measure. After all, a slam a day keeps your chiropractor happy.
  • Next, he got stuck in the heel corner but fought out with a double noggin knocker.
  • Leap frog by Brunzell was followed by a slam of Jimmy Jack.
  • Hoss missed a chop, but Brunzell hit a cross body block for 2.
  • Sleeper by Brunzell to Jimmy Jack, but Hoss nailed him as Blair distracted the referee.
  • After Hoss tossed Brunzell outside the ring and distracted the referee, Jimmy Jack slammed Brunzell on the blue mats. We have our first sign of protective covering, ladies and gentlemen.
  • Next, we fast-forward to where the Bees were hiding on one side of the ring while putting their masks on.
  • Blair whipped Jimmy Jack into Hoss then gave Hoss an atomic drop.
  • He then followed by delivering clotheslines to both Hoss and Jimmy Jack.
  • Abdominal stretch to Hoss by Blair, but Jimmy Jack broke it up.
  • SWITCHEROO by the Bees!
  • Brunzell rolled in, hooked the inside cradle on Jimmy Jack, and got the pin. SNEAKY!

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Creative finish used by a babyface team that was usually reserved for heels.

Match 2: “Magnificent” Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji) versus King Tonga Haku

Highlights:

  • Pair of hip tosses by Haku was followed by a slam.
  • Standing dropkick by Haku sent Muraco over the top rope to the platform.
  • Monkey flip by Muraco, but he couldn’t escape an arm bar.
  • Fuji tripped Haku as he came off the ropes. How dastardly!
  • Knee lift by Muraco who then tossed Haku outside the ring.
  • Fuji then nailed Haku with his cane.
  • As Muraco continued to distract the referee, Fuji nailed Haku with the cane again. It’s no wonder Haku has such a mean streak because he took a lot of punishment as a newcomer to the WWF.
  • Muraco then powerslammed Haku back into the ring.
  • Dropkick by Haku who then gave Muraco a cross-corner whip.
  • Unfortunately, Haku came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Muraco then exited the ring and rammed Haku’s left leg into the ring post twice.
  • Knee crusher by Muraco followed by a spinning toe hold.
  • Head butt to the abdomen by Muraco preceded a figure-four leg lock.
  • Will Haku submit?
  • No, Haku grabbed the bottom rope.
  • Slowly, Muraco mounted the top turnbuckle…and got caught.
  • Haku then brought him down the hard way.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the flying body press, but the bell rang.
  • Time-limit draw.

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Having watched a lot of matches where Haku was the heel, it was fascinating yet odd to see his playing babyface here. Regrettably, it wasn’t that good so I understand his heel proficiency.

Match 3: Ted Arcidi versus Tony Garea

Highlights:

  • Garea was substituting for Tony Atlas here.
  • Cross-corner whip by Arcidi was followed by a back elbow.
  • Since Garea was unable to take Arcidi off his feet with shoulder blocks, he delivered a dropkick knocking Arcidi down finally.
  • After a leap frog by Garea, Arcidi applied a bear hug.
  • Garea submitted.

Rating:  DUD

Summary:  Very quick concession stand break match.

Speaking of concession stand, “Mean” Gene Okerlund mentioned he was in the midst of having a hot dog prior to interviewing Jimmy Hart. You are what you eat, Gene.

Match 4: “Adorable” Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Junkyard Dog

Highlights:

  • Very early in the card for this match.
  • For those interested, Adonis was not wearing a dress tonight. I’ll understand if you need a palette cleanser right about now.
  • As the match began, JYD nailed Adonis with the chain before referee Terry Yorkston removed it.
  • Cross-corner whip by JYD resulted in an Adonis flip sending the effeminate one down to the platform.
  • Yorkston tried to stop JYD from manhandling Adonis on the apron. It earned him a big shove from JYD.
  • Hart got up on the apron and sprayed perfume in JYD’s eyes.
  • Clothesline by Adonis preceded a knee drop.
  • Adonis then mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a forearm for 2.
  • After Adonis tossed JYD outside the ring, Hart hit him with the perfume container to no avail.
  • With Hart on the apron, JYD tossed Adonis over the top rope. Hart got SQUISHED!
  • JYD won by countout.

Rating: *

Summary:  Lots of heat for a disjointed match. I now see why it was so early in the program.

Match 5: “The Rebel” Dick Slater versus “Iron” Mike Sharpe

Highlights:

  • When last we saw Slater, he was jobbing lost to Duggan at the Crockett Cup.
  • A quite vociferous Sharpe reversed an Irish whip but succumbed to a swinging neckbreaker.
  • Slater missed an elbow drop, avoided a slam, and applied a Russian leg sweep.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle, delivered an elbow to Sharpe’s head, and then pinned him with a somersault rollup.

Rating: ½*

Summary:  Slater was a newcomer and played a babyface Southerner to a Canadian audience. Consequently, the math didn’t add up.

Prior to the next match, Okerlund interviews Heenan who goads the audience into calling him “weasel.”

Match 6: Super & Big Machines (w/ Capt. Lou Albano & Giant Machine) versus King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, André the Giant needed time off to participate in the film The Princess Bride. To explain his absence, WWF President Jack Tunney suspended André after missing a match. In the interim, Super Machine (played by Bill Eadie formerly the Masked Superstar) and Big Machine (played by Blackjack Mulligan formerly of CWF) teamed up with Giant Machine (initially suspected to be Giant Baba but it became obvious that it was André.) Due to this supposed breach, Heenan wanted André to be suspended indefinitely. Let’s see what transpired.
  • Not one, not two, but three clotheslines by Super Machine took Studd off his feet.
  • Bundy reversed a cross-corner whip but missed the avalanche.
  • Forearm by Big Machine knocked Bundy down.
  • After Studd worked over Big Machine, Heenan tagged in, tried to remove the mask, but got clobbered by Super Machine. He subsequently tagged out.
  • Cross-corner whip by Super Machine to Studd was followed by a back elbow.
  • Upon attacking an incoming Bundy, Super Machine ate a back elbow from Studd.
  • After Studd put a knee in Super Machine’s back, Bundy got a 2 count thanks to a save by Big Machine.
  • Heenan tagged back in so Albano tagged in to a big response.
  • Cross-corner whip by Albano resulted in a Heenan flip that tied him to the Tree of Woe.
  • While Bundy and Heenan worked over Albano in the corner, Studd went after the Machines.
  • Suddenly, Giant Machine had enough of the heel shenanigans, stepped over the top rope into the ring, and attacked Studd.
  • Heenan & co. won by DQ.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  This angle was far from over so the DQ finish left room for subsequent rematches.

After the match, Giant gives Bundy a head butt then rams both Heenan’s and Studd’s heads together. Afterwards, Heenan gets pinballed between Machines until a Giant Machine head butt sent him over the top rope to the platform.

Match 7 (snake pit): Jake “The Snake” Roberts versus Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Highlights:

  • Snake Pit rules = no disqualification.
  • Sirius” by Alan Parsons Project brought Steamboat to the ring.
  • After an Irish whip, Steamboat gave Roberts a back drop.
  • Chop by Steamboat got a 2 count.
  • Spinning thrust kick by Steamboat sent Roberts to the platform to regroup.
  • Outside the ring, Roberts slammed Steamboat then gave him a knee drop on the platform.
  • Roberts tried to grab a chair, but Steamboat nailed him.
  • Steamboat grabbed said chair, rammed Roberts in the midsection with it, and then WALLOPED him in the head.
  • After tossing Roberts back into the ring, Steamboat mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • Flying chop got 2.
  • Ten-chop count-along by Steamboat, but Roberts reversed a cross-corner whip sending Steamboat over the top rope down to the platform.
  • Roberts joined then catapulted him into the ring post.
  • He then made Steamboat taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the pulled pork ravioli at Richmond Station.
  • Next, he rammed Steamboat face-first into the platform.
  • As you would expect, Steamboat was BUSTED OPEN!
  • Short-arm clothesline by Roberts set up the DDT, but Steamboat blocked it by pushing him into the corner.
  • Inverted atomic drop by Roberts was followed by a gutbuster.
  • Arrogant cover by Roberts reversed by Steamboat for the pin.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Good brawl that helped to pay off the DDT on the concrete angle from SNME.

Match 8: Hercules Hernandez versus Billy Jack Haynes

Highlights:

  • When last we saw Haynes, he was a member of the NWA US tag team champions with Wahoo McDaniel at Starrcade ’85.
  • According to Monsoon, Slick took over for “Classy” Freddie Blassie as the manager of Hercules along with Sheik/Volkoff and “Hacksaw” Butch Reed. Unfortunately, Slick was not present here.
  • After each competitor performed a leap frog, Hernandez clotheslined Haynes.
  • Bear hug by Hernandez, but Haynes rang his bell to escape.
  • After a series of elbow drops, Hernandez got 2.
  • Haynes reversed a cross-corner whip but accidentally rammed his head into the head of Hernandez.
  • Back elbow by Haynes preceded a backbreaker.
  • He then mounted the second turnbuckle, nailed the forearm shot, but only got 2.
  • Full nelson attempted by Haynes, but Hernandez blocked rather low. Perhaps near Sault Ste. Marie.
  • Hernandez tossed Haynes outside the ring then nailed him while Haynes was on the apron.
  • Next, Hernandez delivered a vertical suplex for 2.
  • Clothesline by Hernandez only got 2 thanks to a foot on the ropes.
  • While Hernandez prematurely celebrated, Haynes rolled him up for 2.
  • Haynes countered a neckbreaker with a backslide for the pin.

Rating: **

Summary:  While not altogether terrible, this match-up could use some better chemistry. Considering Monsoon was alone on commentary solely for this match, I imagine the previous commentary wasn’t up to snuff.

Match 9: The Dream Team (w/o “Luscious” Johnny Valiant) versus the Rougeaus

Highlights:

  • Valiant stayed in the booth rather than join his men at ringside.
  • With all four men in the ring at the onset, Beefcake delivered an inverted atomic drop to Jacques.
  • After a shot to the midsection by Raymond, Jacques gave Valentine a sunset flip that almost got the pin.
  • Knee drop by Jacques was followed by a savate kick by Raymond.
  • Jacques tagged in and hit Valentine with a flying elbow.
  • Abdominal stretch by Jacques to Valentine, but the “Hammer” escaped with a hip toss.
  • Powerslam by Beefcake got 2 on Jacques.
  • Jumping senton by Raymond got only 1 on Beefcake.
  • Valentine tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Raymond.
  • Slam got 2 for Valentine.
  • Cross body block got 2 for Raymond.
  • Double dropkick by the Rougeaus followed by a somersault rollup only got 2.
  • Atomic drop by Valentine to Jacques preceded a Beefcake stomp to the midsection.
  • Jacques fought his way out of the heel corner.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • The Dream Team tried to ram the Rougeaus’ heads together but ran into one another instead.
  • After Jacques slammed Beefcake, the Rougeaus planted him with the Rougeau bomb.
  • However, Jacques missed a dropkick to Valentine allowing him to save the pinfall.
  • Both Rougeaus were thrown outside the ring. While there, Valentine rammed Raymond’s back into the apron. In the meantime, Beefcake distracted the referee.
  • Military press into a backbreaker by Beefcake only got 2 on Raymond.
  • Inverted atomic drop by Valentine led to a pair of Beefcake stomps.
  • Vertical suplex by Beefcake got another 2 count.
  • Bear hug by Valentine, but Raymond broke the hold with a pair of right hands.
  • Bear hug #2 by Valentine, and as Jacques distracted the referee, Beefcake mounted the second turnbuckle and hammered Raymond in the back.
  • Valentine missed a pair of elbow drops, so Raymond made the hot tag.
  • Jacques delivered four dropkicks to the Dream Team then slammed both.
  • Next, he ducked a double clothesline then dropkicked both simultaneously.
  • He then mounted the second turnbuckle but missed.
  • Valentine attempted the figure-four leg lock but was thwarted.
  • A second attempt was applied, but Raymond broke it up.
  • A third attempt was countered by a sunset flip by Raymond for the pin.
  • Valiant was apoplectic over the loss in the broadcast booth.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Great match between these teams although I don’t believe Raymond was the legal man.

Match 10: “Handsome” Harley Race versus Pedro Morales

Highlights:

  • Former eight-time NWA champion (last won in ’85) versus former WWWF champion (won in ’71) here.
  • Right hand by Morales sent Race through the ropes to the platform to regroup.
  • Race then dropped a pair of elbows with Morales on the apron.
  • Next, he rammed Morales head-first into the timekeeper’s table.
  • Race then hit a diving head butt on the platform.
  • Following that, he rammed Morales head-first into the ring post.
  • Back in the ring, Race attempted a vertical suplex but was blocked.
  • Morales hit one of his own then hooked an inside cradle for 2.
  • Race reversed a cross-corner whip but succumbed to a sunset flip for 2.
  • Morales nailed Race a couple of times in the corner but was taken down.
  • Race then pinned him with both feet on the ropes.

Rating: *

Summary:  With both competitors past their prime, this match would have been better fifteen years ago. On another note, Monsoon referred to the decision as a “miscarriage of justice.”

Match 11 for the WWF title: Hulk Hogan (champion) versus “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)

Highlights:

  • In a match on Championship Wrestling (taped 6/24, aired 7/29), Hogan & Orndorff competed in a tag match against Bundy & Studd. What happened afterwards? See for yourself.
  • Orndorff clotheslined Hogan at the onset.
  • Big right hand by Hogan sent Orndorff down to the platform to regroup.
  • Back elbow by Hogan sent Orndorff outside the ring again.
  • Orndorff dragged Hogan outside the ring then rammed him face-first into the apron.
  • Hogan blocked a second attempt then gave him a taste of his own medicine.
  • Clothesline was followed by an elbow drop by Hogan.
  • After giving Orndorff a cross-corner whip, Hogan leveled him with another clothesline.
  • Atomic drop by Hogan who then chased after Heenan.
  • Orndorff nailed Hogan sending him down to the platform.
  • He then gave Hogan a vertical suplex on the platform.
  • Series of elbows from Orndorff to Hogan as he was draped across the apron.
  • He then leaped from the apron to the platform and delivered another elbow.
  • LOUD “Hogan” chant emanated from the Toronto faithful.
  • Pinfall attempt by Orndorff only got 2.
  • Slam by Orndorff followed by the shaky-shaky elbow drop which earned him another 2 count.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle, nailed Hogan in the sternum, and signaled for the piledriver.
  • However, Hogan reversed said piledriver with a back drop.
  • Perhaps being unhappy with the food here in Toronto, Orndorff bit Hogan in the face.
  • Next, he gave Hogan a belly-to-back suplex.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • While Orndorff celebrated prematurely, Hogan rose to his feet.
  • The champion then put a knee into Orndorff’s back sending both he and the referee down.
  • With the referee OUT COLD, Hogan raised Orndorff’s arm then clotheslined him as payback.
  • Hogan attempted a piledriver, but Heenan entered the ring and flattened Hogan with a wooden stool.
  • Orndorff got the false pin as the referee began to stir.
  • Instead of making the count, the referee patted Orndorff on the back.
  • What does this mean? Again I ask, do we have a new champion?
  • Heenan grabbed the belt and wrapped it around Orndorff’s waist.
  • Much to Heenan’s and Orndorff’s chagrin, ring announcer Howard Finkel announced that Hogan won by DQ.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Without a doubt, this was THE feud of the year in 1986. Since Hogan was the face of the WWF, there was no way Orndorff was winning here, but this feud will continue. Stay tuned.

While wearing the belt, Orndorff puts the boots to Hogan. He then tries to nail him with the belt, but Hogan blocks it. An axe bomber and clothesline by Hogan put Orndorff down. Hogan then gives him the big boot. Not to be outdone, Orndorff gets one last lick in before being chased off.

Conclusion:  While the Parade of Champions showed that WCCW could compete with the big boys, The Big Event proved that the WWF was mainstream entertainment that could draw a HUGE crowd. If you’ve never seen this show, it’s worth a look. While nothing historical (other than the record-breaking crowd) took place, it’s still a fun show.

Buyrate: NONE

Stay tuned for CWF Battle of the Belts III!

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