The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – Maple Leaf Gardens 10.21.84

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – Maple Leaf Gardens 10.21.84

Taped from Toronto, ON

Your hosts are Jack Reynolds & Billy Red Lyons.

Intercontinental title:  Greg Valentine v. SD Jones

Jack immediately notices that “there’s a number of Orientals” at ringside taking photos.  Yeah, they like to do that, I hear.  Also some Scottish representatives too.  Yeah, they also like to take “photos” of people, I’ve heard.  PERVERTS.

Oh sure, that’s what they all say.

SD immediately capitalizes on his incredibly rare title opportunity by taking Hammer down and working a wristlock, forcing Valentine to the floor with a backdrop.  Back in, SD dodges an elbow and slams Valentine, then follows with an atomic drop and some headbutts to trigger a Flair Flop.  “A little reggae from SD!” declares Reynolds. Well he’s trying. SD goes back to the wristlock and works on the back a bit, but Valentine takes him down and goes after the leg.  He holds a legbar, but SD boots out of it, so Valentine chokes him out on the ropes.  He continues beating on the knee and tries for the figure-four, but SD pulls down Valentine’s tights to escape and then headbutts him out of the ring.  SD follows and runs him into the railing, but Valentine nails him on the apron and suplexes him back into the ring for the pin at 9:00 to retain.  SD looked completely disinterested out there, even before the bell rang.  *1/2  I mean, you’re getting a TITLE SHOT, show some damn fire!

Nikolai Volkoff v. Rocky Johnson

Volkoff powers Rocky to the ropes on the lockup, but Rocky punches him to break, so Volkoff chokes him down.  At this point Reynolds relates the story of how Rocky had to choose between a career as a wrestler or a boxer early in his career and chose wrestling.  Wasn’t that boxing thing just a gimmick he did in Memphis?  I mean, kudos for storyline consistency if so.  Volkoff stomps him down, and they collide on a shoulderblock and both guys are down.  Rocky tries a slam and Volkoff falls on top for two, but Rocky gets a sunset flip for two.  Rocky tries for a crab, but Volkoff makes the ropes.  So they do a test of strength, but Volkoff kicks him in the head to break.  Blind charge misses and Volkoff retreats to the floor.  Back in, Rocky slugs him down with the Ali Shuffle, but Volkoff waits for him to turn around and clobbers him from behind.  He goes up with a double sledge from the top for two.  Rocky makes another comeback with dropkicks, but walks into a stungun and gets pinned at 8:05.  Totally competent pro wrestling match.  **1/4

The British Bulldogs v. Goldie Rogers & Bobby Bass

Damn, this is some EARLY Bulldogs.  Also Dynamite has a goddamn CAPE like he’s a superhero or something.  So Goldie Rogers was a very venerable Stampede Wrestling mainstay, a Canadian version of Rip Rogers I guess.  But fatter and far less talented.  Still, for what little he had to work with, he was a QUALITY jobber for most of his career.  Kid immediately gets a monkey flip and dropkicks him to the apron and Goldie is SHOOK.  Over to Bass, who somehow manages to look older and pudgier than Rogers, and Davey hurls him with a slam and Bass flops around like a fish to sell it.  Bass panics and tags Rogers, but Goldie wants nothing to do with this scene and tries to give his partner the ol’ short-arm treatment.  Finally he comes in, and Davey slams him as well and then hits a missile dropkick.  Kid comes in and Davey presses Kid and drops him on Goldie with a diving headbutt.  Kid hits both jobbers with headbutts and they go flying and the Bulldogs are just getting themselves over like crazy.  Kid with a snap suplex on Rogers for two, but Bass makes the save, accidentally kicking his own partner in the head as a result and freaking out about it.  Davey hits Goldie with the powerslam for two and goes to a chinlock, but Goldie finally escapes and gets some shots on Davey.  Bass goes to a nerve hold, but Davey quickly fights out of that, so Bass hits him with a knee to the gut before going back to the hold.  Dynamite gets all worked up, which allows Goldie to switch in and work on Davey for a bit, but Kid quickly gets the tag and Goldie is FUCKED.  And this time BASS returns the short-arm to his partner!  Kid gets cocky and tries a piledriver on the patented Toronto ramp, but Rogers backdrops out of it and Bass drops an elbow on him.  Bass decides to go to the top rope for god knows what reason, and there’s no water in the pool as they say.  Back to Davey and Bass pleads for mercy, but Davey piledrives him.  Goldie tries to run in, so Davey puts Rogers on his shoulders and Kid comes off the top, jumps off Rogers’ back, and drops the headbutt on Bass to finish him off at 9:18.

This was an INCREDIBLE tag team match for what it was, an absolute master-class in simple storytelling and getting something great out of what would normally be a nothing squash match.   This is the kind of stuff that they should show at the Performance Center, where you have two pasty jobbers but they know exactly what their role is and got the Bulldogs over as giant stars.  *** Stuff like this, where I was laughing at the comedy spots and then cheering for the awesome Bulldogs along with the crowd, even watching on my laptop, is why I love pro wrestling no matter how many times it burns me.

Cage Match:  Kamala v. Andre the Giant

Kamala is wisely reluctant to get in there, but Andre attacks him in the corner and beats on him there.  Kamala gets some Ugandan chops, but Andre is in NO MOOD and runs him into the cage a few times while Kamala tries to run away in terror.  But you know…cage match. So Andre delivers more punishment and Kamala runs for the door, but Friday actually tells him to stay in the cage to punish Andre.  So that doesn’t work out well for him, as Andre continues beating on him, but puts his head down and Kamala chops him down to take over.  Kamala hits him with some splashes and tries for the pin.  But you know…cage match.  Kamala finally figures out the door, but Andre pulls him back in again.  Kamala runs him into the cage and continues the chops and Andre is busted open.  I feel like this is going to end very painfully for Kamala.  Kamala goes for the door again and Andre inserts himself between Kamala and the door and what are you to supposed to do there?  So Kamala runs him into the cage again and keeps chopping, but Andre wallops him in the corner.  Kamala manages to run him into the cage again and goes for the door, but Andre yanks him back in again and once again physically imposes himself in front of the door to keep Kamala from getting out.  Kamala chops him down again, but Andre picks the ankle and keeps him from getting to the door.  So Kamala chokes him down, but Andre does the Undertaker choke from the mat and Kamala has a pretty great terrified look on his face as Andre throttles him.  Can’t blame him.  Friday keeps interfering at the cage, so Andre backhands the cage and sends Friday running.  Andre does some really serious throttling of Kamala now, choking him down and then blocking all his chops.  Andre headbutts him, slams him (a famous clip used in the Coliseum video opening for years afterwards) and then hits him with a butt splash.  But that’s not enough for this poor stupid fucker, so Andre GOES TO THE GODDAMN TOP ROPE, hits another butt splash from the top, and Kamala is left twitching in pain and may have involuntarily soiled his loincloth as Andre walks out at 13:47.  For what it was, it was tremendous entertainment.  ***3/4

HELL of an hour-long show here.  That Bulldogs match is a must-see and Andre-Kamala is pretty famous for good reason.  Definitely give this one a look.