The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – Boston Garden 12.07.85
Didn’t wanna watch that NWA Carnyland thing and AEW Dark was literally NINETY MINUTES of squash matches. So instead, I’m just scrolling through the Network looking for stuff I haven’t reviewed before. And this is as good as anything!
Taped from Boston, MA
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura
Pedro Morales v. Cowboy Bob Orton
Pedro is really fired up for some reason and chases Orton around the ring, while Gorilla once again CASTS aspersions on Bob’s arm cast. See what I did there? Orton slides in and out of the ring and then pulls Pedro out and RAMS him into the barricade, taking it down in the process. That’s like the 80s equivalent of someone spearing the timekeeper wall. Orton slams him on the floor, probably re-injuring that fractured arm in the process, but he continues on because he’s a trooper. Orton drops a forearm off the apron while, ironically, Danny Davis demands law and order. So Orton tries a suplex on the floor this time, but Pedro reverses to his own as this is getting pretty intense for an opening match in 1985. Back in, Pedro slugs away and Orton takes a crazy bump into the turnbuckle and then out to the floor. FROM ONE PUNCH! To be fair, Pedro did wind it up like Popeye beforehand, which has been scientifically proven to add more torque to the blow. Orton freaks out and pulls the barricade apart, trying to get the giant piece of wood into the ring, so Pedro intercepts it and runs it into Bob’s head. Back in, they slug it out and now Pedro resorts to BITING the man! Pedro beats on him some more while Orton sells like crazy, and an O’Connor roll out of the corner gets two. Orton pokes the eye and takes a swing with the cast, but Pedro rolls him up for the pin at 6:48. Orton, unhappy with this turn of events, lays him out with the cast for good measure. Hell of an opener for what it was. ***1/2 Orton’s selling was tremendous here, the kind of stuff you never see Randy doing.
Randy Savage v. Ricky Steamboat
This is actually one of their first meetings, not counting the nothing quickie they had at the Wrestling Classic. Tremendous opening as Savage gets a cheapshot at the bell, then hides behind Elizabeth before diving out from behind her and laying out Steamboat again. Now that’s strategy. Steamboat pulls him to the floor and runs him into the post in retaliation and then goes to work on the arm with KARATE. He goes to a standing armbar, really cranking it on, and he does the cool lift where he throws Savage in the air and then brings him down on the arm. Savage hides in the ropes, so Steamboat pulls him back in by the arm and Gorilla rightly points out how illegal this is. So Steamboat goes back with the armdrags and Savage wisely runs away, but walks into another armdrag and hammerlock. Steamboat works the arm on the mat and Savage gets to the outside again to escape, but then walks into another armdrag and Steamboat goes to work on it again. Savage finally tosses him, but Steamboat skins the cat back in, and then Savage absolutely CLOBBERS him on the rebound and follows with a double axehandle to the floor. And then he tosses Ricky into the front row, which Jesse notes is “Turnabout is fair play”. I’m surprised Gorilla didn’t counter with “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Savage beats on him outside while still selling the arm, and slingshots him back into the ring. Flying elbow misses, however, and Steamboat makes the comeback with a pretty epic atomic drop. To the top, but Savage catches him with a slam to bring him down and he goes up, but Steamboat is ahead of HIM and catches him with a shot on the way down. Steamboat with a suplex for two off that. They slug it out and Savage hides in the ropes again, and pulls out the foreign object, and then hits Steamboat with it to block a suplex and gets the pin at 11:15. He was pretty fond of that particular trick, wasn’t he? Two months later and Chico Santana would wish that he had paid better attention to this match. In the same building, too! This was another banger from them. ***1/4
Bruno Sammartino v. Rowdy Roddy Piper
Oh baby! I’ve seen the cage match blowoff but never this one, which was the initial match after Piper started some shit on Piper’s Pit. Bruno is good and pissed off and immediately attacks Piper on the apron, ramming him into the post and then into a chair at ringside to bust him open. Back in the ring, Bruno just unloads with a boot and slugs away in the corner. He gets so worked up that he shoves the ref, but while he’s apologizing, Piper hits him right in the meatballs and gets two. They fight back to the floor again and Piper runs him into the barricade. Back in, Bruno unloads on him again and boots him out of the ring, so Piper decides to retreat and Bruno hauls him back in for more abuse. Piper runs away to the back AGAIN and Bruno follows AGAIN and tosses him back in for the big comeback. So Piper runs away AGAIN but Bruno grabs him by the trunks this time and beats on him, but Piper finally just goes with a cheapshot and gets some axehandles. But then Bruno hits him in the gut and Piper fakes like it’s a low blow. Bruno is having none of that and continues beating the shit out of Piper, until finally Bob Orton runs in for the DQ at 5:07. Bruno just beats on him too, and actually rips off the cast because he’s so badass, but then goes back to beating on Piper and turns his back on Orton. And the beatdown commences! This is like the exact opposite of those lame feud matches these days where guys talk scripted shit for weeks and then do a lockup to start the match. Piper called Bruno AN OLD MAN to start the feud, and Bruno came out and kicked his ass and put the beats to him until Orton had to run in and save him. ***
Boy I’m enjoying this show. What a great choice this was.
Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. Jesse Ventura
They actually had another match in Toronto that was pretty interesting, so hopefully this one follows suit. So yeah, Jesse actually leaves the commentary table to challenge for the title, which is something you don’t see every day. Jesse of course makes a big show of taking off all the gear, as Gorilla notes that it’ll be five minutes before they make contact. Still better than a Zbyszko match. Jesse gets a cheapshot off the lockup but then runs to the floor when Tito fires back. Back in, Tito goes to the work on the arm, but Jesse goes with the ol’ thumb to the eye to break and rakes the face along the top rope. Jesse gives him the boot laces for two and follows with a backbreaker for two, complaining about the count before stomping down the back. This sets up the bearhug, but Tito punches him in the nose to break and makes the comeback, slugging Jesse down. So he adds his own face rakes on the top rope and boots Jesse onto the top rope, then brings him down for the figure-four. Jesse is actually incredibly tall and reaches the ropes easily to break, then he throws Tito out to the floor to buy time. Tito slingshots back in, but apparently he took too long and got counted out at 8:11. Jesse of course celebrates and grabs the belt, but the ref quickly corrects him. Well, couldn’t hurt to try. Not much of a match, but it was super simple and fine. ** Tito is actually pretty awesome, putting the belt on the mat and daring him to come get it. So Jesse makes a move for it, and Tito kicks his ass and chases him out of the ring for the moral victory.
WWF World tag team title: The Dream Team v. The Killer Bees
Huh, this is a combination we didn’t get very often for some reason. So for those who made fun of the lameness of the Killer Bees, just remember that now we have MURDER HORNETS. What the fuck, 2020? Jesse returns to the commentary table after getting cleaned up, and rails against the countout rule saving champions. Hammer takes Blair down for a hammerlock, but Brian counters with a headscissors and they’re at a stalemate. Blair slams both heels and runs them together and chase them out of the ring, and they convene on the floor to regroup. Sadly, Johnny V is absent tonight so I have no advice joke to make. Back in, Blair gets a back suplex for two. Brunzell comes in off a double elbow and gets two, and he’s sporting a BEARD! Where the hell did THAT come from? “Maybe he got tired of looking 16 years old?” asks Jesse. I can sympathize. Of course then my facial hair is tinged with grey all over, so there’s not really a happy medium. Blair gets caught in the corner and Beefcake gets some forearms, and it’s over to Valentine as he drops the hammer for two. The Dream Team work him over in the corner for a bit and then toss him over the top while Brunzell argues with the ref. Back in, Hammer drops an elbow and then goes to work on the leg. Blair tries a slam and Valentine falls on him for two. Greg takes him down again with a gutbuster and Beefcake comes in for more lame offense as he’s barely got it in first gear tonight. Hot tag Brunzell and he hits Brutus with the dropkick for two and gets the sleeper, at which point Valentine clobbers him from behind and Brutus falls on top at 9:55 to retain. Lame finish to a great show, as they seemed to decide well in advance that they were having a house show match and literally nothing more. *1/2
Despite a subpar main event, this was a really cool hour of television and exactly the kind of nostalgic rush I was in the mood for tonight. Check this one out!