The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – Boston Garden 08.09.86
This one actually popped up on the Network yesterday, after people were saying it was lost and never released anywhere. THAT IS THE AWESOME POWER I WIELD. FEAR ME.
Taped from Boston.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Lord Alfred Hayes
Cowboy Bob Orton v. Tito Santana
Well here’s a telegraphed 15 minute draw to start the show, foreshadowing the main event of any AWF event in the country 10 years later. But we’ll let it play out and see where it goes. At least it’s not Jose Luis Rivera or Duke Doherty in the opener like they usually throw out there. Orton is transitioning into Adrian Adonis’ new bodyguard at this point and wearing the pink cowboy hat to go along with it, which is easy heat and yet still hilarious. They trade armdrags to start and Tito goes for the wristlock, but Orton cries foul due to his longtime forearm injury and hides in the ropes. And then punches Tito in the face behind the ref’s back. Tito comes back with a clothesline out of the corner for two and goes back to the arm again. Orton bails again and they do a nice little hammerlock reversal back in the ring as Gorilla waxes nostalgic about how Orton was “the scourge of all the Orient” in his day. Wasn’t that, like, a 40s comic book villain? Tito works the arm and Orton tries to run him into the turnbuckle, but Tito blocks and runs the forearm into the turnbuckle instead. What a great little spot. Then Orton takes him down with a fireman’s carry, but Tito hangs onto the wristlock while rolling through it. Hot take: These two are GREAT professional wrestlers. Orton finally puts one foot on the ropes to force the break because he’s a coward while Gorilla and Hayes do a whole bit about Terry Garvin for some reason.
Orton gets a biel and follows with a FLYING HEADSCISSORS to take over. Holy cow, Bob. Gorilla posits that his new position with Adonis is really perking him up. Cowboy controls with the headscissors on the mat and as usual Gorilla is like “Welp, he’s in no danger of being pinned.” Bob drops a knee for two and follows with another biel as Tito just HURLS himself across the ring, but the headscissors misses this time and Bob crotches himself on the top rope in a nice bit, then goes flying out of the ring and into the crowd. Damn, Orton’s got his BOOTS on tonight. Tito immediately hurls him back in and makes the comeback with a jackknife for two. He goes back to the armbar for some reason and they slug it out, which Orton wins. Tito catches him with a backslide for two and takes him down for the armbar again. Orton breaks with an atomic drop, but misses a blind charge and Tito continues pounding the arm. Bob leverages him out of the ring and sends him into the railing, giving us our first Excedrin Headache of the evening. Back in, Bob works him over and gets two, then goes to the chinlock, but Tito fights out and Bob puts him down with a big boot for two. Bob back to the chinlock as they’re maintaining great heat, but Tito fights out with a jawbreaker. He’s busy selling, so Bob wraps him up with another chinlock as Gorilla notes that the “championship committee” is watching the match for a future title shot against Randy Savage. I’d be curious to sit in on one of those meetings these days. “Well, he lost his last 150 matches on TV, but won a four-way, so he gets the shot.”
Tito makes the comeback and works on the leg, setting up the figure-four, but Orton quickly makes the ropes. Tito goes back to the leg again as the announcers are confused what his strategy here is, working the leg instead of trying the move again. This backfires on Tito as Orton gets a cheapshot to escape and slugs away on Tito. Bob drops an elbow, but sells the knee because he lands on it while delivering the move. What a great touch. They slug it out on the mat and Tito makes the big comeback until the bell rings for the draw at 28:49, so it wasn’t a 15 minute draw, it was a 30:00 draw! The guys are so hot that the poor ref gets beat up while trying to split them. Have I mentioned that these guys are terrific lately? What an entertaining match! **** Tito calls for another 5:00 and Orton accepts, but then points out that his leg is injured and leaves instead.
Leaping Lanny Poffo v. Mr. X
Hopefully this one isn’t a 30:00 draw. Mr. X appears to be Danny Davis as usual. X works a headlock and Poffo does a nice bridge out of it, into a hammerlock, so X runs away while the announcers discuss the rise and fall of Mr. X since his debut. Apparently he accumulated quite a winning record to start but has fallen on hard times as of late. Lanny takes him down with a headstand into a headscissors in the corner and goes to work on the arm as we’re already past the point where I can tolerate this match. Poffo takes him down with another headscissors and JBL would be telling stories about Antonino Rocca and Ricky Starr by this point. X misses a springboard out of the corner and Poffo goes for the mask, but X slugs away on him as we’re really cranking up the intensity here. Poffo with a powerslam to come back, and he goes up with a swanton to finish at 7:17. As usual Poffo was ahead of his time, but he had nothing to work with here. *
Pete Doherty v. THE REBEL Dick Slater
Yes, put the babyface who literally has a confederate flag wrapped around his neck into BOSTON. Talk about not knowing your audience. That character was so misguided in so many ways. Slater elbows Duke down, but Doherty kind of holds him down with a rollup for a bit before Slater sends him to the floor. Atomic drop on the floor and Doherty does a ridiculous Terry Funk-style sell out there. Gorilla recaps Doherty’s record to this point: 957 losses and no wins, and the first time he wins a match he’ll retire from the business forever. Doherty works on the arm, but misses a blind charge and Slater puts him down with a neckbreaker for two. Doherty comes back with a terrible clothesline and hits the chinlock as this simple squash has somehow managed to go off a cliff. Slater drops an elbow, but Doherty goes AERIAL and Slater slams him off and finishes with the flying elbow at 6:42. If this was supposed to get Slater over, it FAILED. DUD
The Hart Foundation v. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
Ooo, intriguing! This was still well into the heel run for the Harts, but clearly they’re gonna be the babyfaces tonight. I vaguely recall seeing this one on a Coliseum video or something, but I could be wrong. Volkoff tries the extended anthem, so the Harts attack and chase them from the ring, because they might be heels but they’re AMERICAN heels. Except Bret. But either way, they’re not gonna stand for foreigners expressing their own cultural viewpoint in their ring. Volkoff overpowers Bret to start, but gets dropkicked and it’s over to Sheiky Baby. He quickly goes flying out of the ring and stops for some advice from Slick. That advice: “I’ve got two words for you: Get a Twitter account.” Back in, Bret goes to work on Sheik with a backbreaker and middle rope elbow to an enthusiastic crowd reaction, but Volkoff comes in for a double-team and the heels take over. Bret gets worked over in the corner, but comes back with a sunset flip on Volkoff for two. Sheik with the abdominal stretch and gut wrench to set up the camel clutch, but Anvil breaks it up as the crowd is going NUTS for the Harts. Hot tag Anvil and he cleans house on Volkoff and elbows him down for two. Powerslam, but Sheik hooks the legs from outside and Volkoff falls on top for the pin at 7:40. It’s a MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE. Fun match, though, with Bret Hart managing to work for all four guys and stealing the show. ***
SPECIAL MIDGET ATTRACTION! Lord Littlebrook v. Cowboy Lang
Afred shatters kayfabe, noting that Littlebrook is not actually from Manchester, but in fact is from North London. Now I don’t believe in nothin’ anymore, man. Usual midget shenanigans to start, like the “ref catches one guy on the kickout and puts him back on top” stuff and people getting bitten. Lang rolls Littlebrook around the ring with a rollup and pins him at 7:50. Usual stuff here.
Tony Atlas v. Ted Arcidi
Even though I had Arcidi’s LJN figure, I’ve literally only seen him wrestle once or twice. Both guys are allowed to wear their weightlifting belts, which has Gorilla questioning the quality of refereeing again. They fight over a wristlock and get nowhere, then move to the “Grecian Knuckle Grip” as Lord Alfred puts it. Gorilla rightly makes fun of him for that one. So the test of strength goes FOREVER and the crowd has no idea who to cheer for. Atlas headbutts him down and points to his head, as if to say that he is both the more intelligent wrestler, plus the one with the harder head. He’s a multi-faceted guy. Arcidi gets a clothesline and Atlas dropkicks him and both announcers are like “Why are these guys walking around celebrating? They both look terrible!” When even Gorilla and Alfred are pointing out how shitty the match is, you know you’re sucking. They do another test of strength and fall out of the ring for the double countout at 7:30. Amazingly, Vince not only signed Arcidi, but thought he was going to be a big deal at the time. A closeup of Arcidi’s back tells you the reason why. GROSS. I will spare you the screenshot out of basic human decency. -*** Apparently Arcidi is still around and only 49 years old. Man, he was YOUNG at the time. That can’t be right – according to Wikipedia he was born in ’68, which would only make him 18 years old at the time of this show.
Ricky Steamboat v. Jake Roberts
It’s the REMATCH. This was apparently on Steamboat’s DVD set, but I don’t recall watching it. Steamboat tries to throw down to start, but Jake throws up the forearms to block and then proceeds to pounding on Ricky. They slug it out and Jake goes for the arm, so Ricky tries to throw him over the top and Jake blocks that as well. Jake goes back to the arm and continues blocking Ricky’s attempts to escape, and then ducks away from Steamboat’s big chop to show how well he’s got the Dragon scouted here. Finally Dragon figures out the strategy and hits Jake low when he blocks high, and they fight to the floor for more abuse to Roberts. But then Ricky takes a big swing and hits the post with a chop by accident, allowing Jake to take over. And of course he goes to town on it, smashing the forearm into the railing and then twisting on a wristlock in the ring. Kind of amazing the heat they can draw with one simple spot like that. Jake goes SUPER-DICK and stomps on the hand, grinding in the boot on the mat, and Steamboat knows the exact moments to make the comebacks. They fight to the floor and Steamboat runs him into the table, and back in for the big comeback with one arm. Steamboat goes up and Jake shoves him off and into the ref, and everyone is out. Jake with a short-arm clothesline and backbreaker, but there’s no ref due to his own evil ways. Finally Jake slaps the ref around to revive him, but Steamboat gets a desperation rollup and scores the pin at 17:19. Well, Jake outsmarted himself there. But then he beats the hell out of Steamboat afterwards anyway. Another great match between these two. ****
Adrian Adonis & Randy Savage v. Hulk Hogan & George Steele
I don’t sense this one going any better for Savage than last month did. George immediately consumes a turnbuckle and Hulk joins in, then throws padding in the faces of the heels and clears the ring. I should note this is the ultra-rare white trunks and blue kneepads for Hulk tonight. Finally the ref gains control of this trainwreck and Savage starts with Steele, but runs away immediately. Hulk throws him back in and Steele beats on Savage some more, and it’s over to Hulk. Corner clothesline for Adrian and he goes over the top, allowing Hulk to crotch him on the railing. Back in for the big boot, but the dastardly heels double-team him to take over. And then Hulk just casually makes his own comeback and lets Steele in instead. Finally Steele takes a corner bump and he’s your face in peril. Adrian pounds away and goes up with a forearm for two, but Hogan gets the tag. Adrian quickly gets a suplex for two and hooks the sleeper, but he goes up and misses a splash and Hulk makes his own comeback again. It’s BONZO GONZO and Hulk drops the leg on Adonis and pins him at 10:30. Just the usual comedy tag match with Steele, with Savage and Adonis playing clown heels who bumped all over and couldn’t get out of their own way. *1/2
This was a pretty great show for the time.
Next time: Sheik and Volkoff get their title shot at the Bulldogs!