The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School: Boston Garden 02.08.86

– How could I pass THIS one up? On the other hand, remember when titles actually meant enough that you could just say “Remember what title changed hands in the Boston Garden in 1986?” and have people know what you’re talking about?

– Taped from Boston, MA.

– Your hosts are Gorilla & Jesse

Paul Christie v. Leaping Lanny Poffo

Poffo pounces on Piper’s Pit in his poem. Christie takes him down and works the arm to start, controlling by pulling the hair at opportune times. Crowd gets really bored of that and Poffo finally escapes, and they criss-cross into an armbar by Poffo now. Yippee. Poffo turns it into a hammerlock and that goes on forever as well. Christie breaks with a cheapshot on the ropes and boots Poffo to the floor, then keeps kicking him off the apron to keep him there. He adds a couple of shots to the turnbuckle, but Lanny comes back with a necksnap and slugs away in the corner. Christie tries running away, but Poffo brings him out of the corner with a hiptoss, and Christie bails. Poffo follows with an axehandle off the apron, and that gets two back in the ring. Dropkick and moonsault finish at 9:53. So hey, it’s a good night for the Poffo brothers all around. Dull match. *

Siva Afi v. Barry O.

Truly a main event in any armory in the country. Afi flips out of a hammerlock attempt by Barry and takes him down with a wristlock, then controls with a dropkick and armbar. Afi controls the arm as Jesse starts comparing him to Jimmy Snuka in a fashion that’s about as subtle as his ring attire. Barry takes over with a slam and goes up, but then changes his mind and comes down for no adequately explored reason. Powerslam gets two, and he hits the chinlock. Afi tries to come back, so Barry dumps him and does his goofy pose. Well we can see where Randy got that from. Afi gets up onto the apron and Barry tries to ram him into the turnbuckle, but his head is too hard. But an eyepoke works, which actually made me laugh out loud. And the crowd too, as it gets a good reaction. Afi tries a sunset flip back in, but Barry blocks. Afi chops him down and makes the comeback, but a slam hits the knees. Barry goes up to finish, but Afi slams him off and finishes with the high cross at 7:39. He’s just like Jimmy Snuka, you know! Harmless stuff. *1/2

George “The Animal” Steele v. Tiger Chung Lee.

George wrecks Lee’s kendo stick, which is pretty rude on his part. Jesse feels that this is now a grudge match based on that. Tiger wisely runs away and then runs Steele into the turnbuckle off a headlock. Steele gets all worked up and rips the wooden barricade from ringside, but Lee rams him into it. Animal comes back with a foreign object, which he expertly hides from the ref, then he grabs one of Lee’s sandals and beats on him with it. He goes to work on a turnbuckle, but Lee attacks from behind, which only upsets the Animal and earns Lee a beatdown. George goes back to his turnbuckle, but Lee attacks again, so George rams him into the exposed steel and pins him at 5:40. Well, he asked for it. Gorilla points out that Steele isn’t as dumb as he acts. This was a total trainwreck but it actually had a logical finish so you gotta like that. 1/2*

Hillbilly Jim v. Big John Studd

Studd tries pounding him in the corner to start, but Jim slugs out of there and tries a slam. Studd grabs the ropes to block and bails. Back in, Studd starts working on the arm to really pick up the pace, and they might as well have run a still photo for about two minutes. Jim slugs back to escape, but Studd uses the clubbing forearms to put him down again and adds a slam. Does that mean Jim owes Studd $15,000 now? Studd works him over in the corner and now it’s time for the bearhug. Jim slugs out and tries another slam, but Studd grabs the ropes again and they hit the floor. Jim beats the count at 7:25. 1/2*

Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. Randy Savage

Big star reaction for the Macho Man here. They fight over the lockup to start and Savage hides in the ropes and bails. Back in, Macho grabs a headlock and Tito reverses out of it. Savage hits him with a cheapshot and then runs away again when Tito gets fired up, so Tito chases him to the floor and they brawl. Savage wins that and brings him in for the double axehandle, but Tito catches him coming down and slugs away. He goes for the flying forearm, but Savage rolls out to escape, and catches Tito on the way back in. Tito gets an atomic drop for two. Savage goes to the eyes again and apologizes to the ref, then pounds Tito down with a running axehandle for two. Clothesline gets two. To the top for a double axehandle from WAY across the ring, and that gets two. Tito slugs back, but Savage goes to the eyes and again begs for forgiveness from the ref. Then he turns around and dumps Tito, following with the double axehandle to the floor. Tito fights back on the apron and beats on Savage in the ring, then adds an elbow off the middle rope for two. Tito makes the blind run at Savage in the corner and runs into a knee, and Savage gets two off that. Danny Davis gets bumped off that, but recovers as Tito gets a small package for two. Savage uses another cheapshot, but misses a kneedrop and he’s limping. Tito is all over it and it’s the figure-four as the crowd goes crazy. Savage quickly makes the ropes and goes to the apron, but Tito suplexes him back in. Another figure-four, but Savage kicks him off and goes to the apron again. He finds the historic object in his tights, nails Santana to block a suplex, and wins the title at 10:28, drawing a HUGE face pop. These guys had crazy chemistry together. ***1/2

– Back in the dressing room, Gorilla and Jesse interview the new champ, who is immediately throwing out threats to Hulk Hogan.

The Hart Foundation v. The Killer Bees

Blair starts with Bret and they do a slow start as a fight breaks out on the floor. They trade hammerlocks and Blair sends him to the floor off thatBack in, the Bees switch off and work the arm with some nice stuff. Anvil gives it a go and puts Blair down with a knee to the gut, then distracts the ref while Bret beats on Blair in the corner. Then they do the no-tag and Bret drops a leg for two. More cheating in the corner, which Jesse approves of, and Neidhart puts Blair in the bearhug to cut off the ring. They switch off for more punishment, but Anvil misses a dropkick and Brunzell comes in with an atomic drop. He starts to work on the arm, but runs into the knee of Bret Hart and he’s YOUR Bee-in-peril. Demolition elbow in the corner, but Bret stops to gloat rather than pinning him. Neidhart pulls Brunzell over and they slam him on the floor, which draws Blair over for a quick brawl. And that doesn’t help, merely allowing Bret the chance to inflict more damage. Back in, Neidhart takes him down with a facelock to cut the ring in half, and they do the double-whip spot in the corner. Bret gets a dropkick for two, but Brunzell gets his own. Bret still gets two regardless. Brunzell comes back with a sunset flip for two, but Bret uses the facelock to cut off the ring again. They do the double-whip again, but Bret goes into the corner and it’s hot tag Blair. He whips Neidhart into Bret to knock him off the apron and gets the sleeper on the Anvil, but Bret recovers and breaks it up. Blair and Neidhart collide, and Bret sneaks in with the middle rope elbow to finish at 15:38, despite not being legal. Minor details. ***1/4

Martial arts match: Ricky Steamboat v. Magnificent Muraco

As usual, Muraco makes sure to dedicate the upcoming piledriver to Jesse Ventura. Both guys are wearing a gi for some reason. Muraco takes a swing and Steamboat hits him with the enzuigiri to put him on the floor. Muraco stalls for a bit, and then Steamboat gets another enzuigiri to send Muraco running again. Steamboat throws chops, but Muraco takes him down by the hair and then bails again to consult with Mr. Fuji. Back in, Muraco gets a hiptoss and Steamboat responds with a headlock, then chops Muraco down off a criss-cross. He adds a pair of slams as all pretext of a “martial arts match” goes right out the window. Steamboat takes him down with another headlock, but Fuji trips him up . Steamboat goes right back to the side headlock, then works a facelock. Muraco finally escapes and they hit the floor, where Muraco catapults him into a chair held by Fuji. Steamboat starts bleeding as Muraco rams him into the post. Back in, Muraco chokes him with the gi belt and whips him with it, as Steamboat does the overblown selling to draw babyface heat. Steamboat goes to the eyes to escape a choke with the belt, but Muraco goes back to it again, then puts Steamboat down with a clothesline. He tells Jesse that it’s time for his piledriver, but Steamboat rams his feet together to escape. Steamboat fights back and goes up with the flying chop, but Muraco tosses him. Ricky skins the cat back in and reveres a suplex into a rollup to finish at 17:16. Muraco just brutalizes him with the cane afterwards. Started slow, but Steamboat just kept selling until it got over, which is why I love him. ***1/4

Cage match: Bruno Sammartino v. Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Bruno rams Piper into all four walls right away and Piper is bleeding, so Bruno rips the shirt off and chokes him out with it. And spits on him. Piper used to have that effect on people. Bruno goes for the door, but Piper hits him low to stop him. Piper stomps away and blatantly drops an elbow on his junk, then returns the choking with the shirt. He goes for the door, but Bruno hooks his leg, so Piper rams him into the cage and tries again, and Bruno stops him again. Piper climbs now, but Bruno hauls him back down and they slug it out, with Piper going flying into the cage off that. They fight for the door, resulting in Piper showing his ass yet again, and Bruno beats him into the corner and sends him into the cage. Piper prevents him from leaving and chokes him down, then stops to mock Bruno and climbs. Bruno hits him in the nuts to bring him down, and then grabs a chair from the floor and nails Piper with it before exiting the cage at 8:40. Good, violent, fun match to end the show. ***

Totally worth the watch, and not just for Savage’s historic title win. Definitely check this one out.