The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Old School – Maple Leaf Gardens 11.10.85
Okey doke, let’s finish off the Maple Leaf shows available on the Network as we journey to the end of ’85.
Taped from Toronto, ON
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura
Andre the Giant & Hillbilly Jim v. King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd
The difference between Andre here and the last time we saw him in Toronto a year prior is pretty stunning. He’s way heavier and moving like a glacier. Andre chases Studd out right away and chokes him out in the corner when he heads back in, but Studd fires back with clubbing forearms. Over to Bundy for more of that, but he tries the Avalanche and runs into Andre’s boot. Back to Studd, but Andre grabs him in a bearhug and they stand there in the corner for a while like that. Studd breaks free, so Andre slams him to earn himself $15,000 and that gets two. Bundy breaks it up and beats Andre down for two before going to a facelock on the mat. Finally Andre manages to tag Hillbilly, and he runs wild on Bundy for a bit before running into a boot. But then he takes Bundy down and works him over, and it’s over to Studd. Bobby Heenan is claiming that Andre pulled the trunks and thus the previous slam wasn’t valid, by the way. Jim goes to a chinlock and brings Andre back in, but Studd boots him down again. We get more clubbing forearms and choking from Bundy, and Studd adds more of the same. “What a classic this is!” declares Gorilla. Yeah, carnies gonna carny. Jim can take no more and PANDEMONIUM HAS BROKEN LOOSE, as Studd deadlifts the oak ringside table and smashes it into Andre’s head for the DQ at 11:00. Well that was quite the feat of strength, I’ll give him that. Match was total garbage, though. ¼* Andre is out cold on the floor and good luck getting him carried back to the dressing room.
Well, they try to carry him back, and this eats up a TON of time. You’re gonna edit this show down to less than an hour and this stuff gets left in?
Cousin Junior v. Moondog Spot
Although both guys are basically dressed like Moondogs at this point, Junior would later become a Moondog himself as Cujo. For the moment he’s the absolute bottom of the barrel of this Hillbilly family gimmick, and that’s including Uncle Elmer. Junior slugs away in the corner and works the arm, but then Spot slugs him down and gets a chinlock. Junior fights out and Spot gets a backbreaker, chasing Junior to the ramp. Junior comes back in with a sunset flip for two and gets a flopping cross body for two. Spot chokes him down again and goes to another chinlock. Yeah! That’s what this match needed! Junior boots him down for two, but Spot stomps him off the middle rope and, YES, YES, goes back to the chinlock. Holy shit what a barnburner! As in this should be headlining a show in a barn and I’d like to burn it down. Junior makes the comeback, but Spot hits him with a kneelift and tries a slam, which Junior reverses into a cradle for the pin at 10:43. Well at least it wasn’t a Dino Bravo match. -*
Canadian Heavyweight title: Dino Bravo v. Nikolai Volkoff
FUCK! Dino was still a babyface at this point, wearing a “Dudley Do Right” jacket to the ring with a “WWF” patch on the shoulder for maximum dorkiness. He’s also getting noticeably more ICOPRO’d compared to his glory years in Montreal. Volkoff quickly takes him down for two and goes to a chinlock, but Bravo powers up and Volkoff takes him down by the hair again. Bravo escapes that and tries to work the arm, but Volkoff rakes the eyes and hits a corner splash. Another try misses and Bravo works the arm now as Gorilla reminds us that Bravo was in fact a former co-holder of the WWF tag team title, which pretty much renders that title meaningless for everyone else that followed. Volkoff stomps him down, but misses a blind charge and Bravo comes back with a kneelift and a punch to the gut. This is definitely not the high-flying Bravo of even a few years prior. Volkoff goes low behind the ref’s back, but Dino’s testicles are probably shrunken to the size of wasabi peas from all the “working out” he was doing anyway. Volkoff goes to the bearhug and stomps away, then goes up with the extra special clubbing forearm from the middle rope, for two. Volkoff goes up again, stands there forever, and then finally just hits another forearm for two. Did they forget the complex series of spots they had worked out or something? Volkoff misses a clothesline and Bravo gets a sunset flip for two, but Volkoff pounds him down again. Dino makes the comeback FOR CANADA and follows with an atomic drop, but he misses a legdrop and Volkoff hits the press slam/backbreaker for two. So Volkoff goes to a rolling cradle instead, but Bravo lifts his shoulder and gets the fluke win at 8:25 to retain. So basically he won because Volkoff was too stupid and pinned himself. Tremendous. -**
So this was pretty much one of the worst shows available on the WWE Network and should not be watched by anyone. Four words: Dino Bravo Main Event.