The Ronnie Garvin Dilemma

Thanks to Scott’s awesome Observer recaps, there has been a lot of talk on the Blog of Doom about the bewildering decision by the NWA to put the title on Ronnie Garvin in 1987. I thought a historical perspective might shed some light on the state of Jim Crockett Promotions at the time, why this was such an atrocious idea, and what the WWE should learn from it.

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Southeastern legends reflect on Continental Championship Wrestling

Hey Scott, longtime poster on the blog. I was hoping you could give some exposure to this feature story I wrote for my newspaper, talking with several legends of Southeastern Championship/Continental Championship Wrestling about their time in Dothan, Ala.
​Have you sent this to Karl Stern yet?  I'll pass it along for you on Twitter because this is right up his alley.  ​

Hulk Hogan Disgraces The WWF Championship

What was the story here?! How did McMahon let Hogan insult his belt like that?

Plus, how awesome is that HULK HOGAN is ripping on other wrestlers for not leaving and returning to wrestling?

​Yeah, Vince definitely didn't sign off on it, and it was a bone of contention between them for a while to say the least.  I think I can KIND of understand where Hulk was coming from with the promo, because he was trying to make the IWGP belt sound like a big deal and he just didn't think about what he was saying, but it just comes off as a really bad idea.  ​

The SmarK Rant for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling–08.01.84

The SmarK Rant for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – 08.01.84 Might as well bang out some of these Black History Month specials before we have to go back to forgetting about all the black people of the world again for the other 11 months of the year. Your host is Bob Caudle. Brian Adidas v. Paul Kelly Some REALLY impressive video quality on this one, actually, which probably stems from the filmed look. At what point did “Adidas” become shortened to “Adias”, I wonder? Adidas is kind of looking like Dave Meltzer at this point, actually. He finishes the jobber with an airplane spin at 2:30. Assassin #1 v. Brett Hart That’s Barry Horowitz, not the more famous Bret Hart. The Assassin (Jody Hamilton, father of Nick Patrick) controls with a headlock, but Hart works the arm while Paul Jones claims that Assassin has never lost a taped fist match before. Yeah, back in 1984 that used to be an extreme stipulation. Hart continues working the arm, but the TAPED FIST OF DOOM finishes for Assassin at 4:00. Meanwhile, the always electrifying Jim Crockett Jr. announces the signing of Barry Windham to the most lucrative deal ever signed by a pro athlete, complete with a Z28 convertible thrown in. He’s looking forward to Starrcade ’84! Yeah, in fact he wasn’t even on that show. We go to the tape of Windham upsetting Harley Race on TV to really build him up. Jimmy Valient v. Gary Royal As usual, Valient’s music gets scrubbed. Valient with his usual punching and choking (and he’s the babyface!) before finishing with a sleeper at 1:40. This was a virtual marathon compared to how fast he would usually finish jobbers around this time. Meanwhile, Rufus R. Jones is also looking forward to Starrcade ’84. Apparently he was the King of Wrestling at this point. Ivan Koloff & Don Kernodle v. Rufus R. Jones & Pistol Pez Whatley Koloff and Kernodle were the tag champs at this point, as Kernodle was a turncoat, albeit one who didn’t go full Russian like Barry Darsow did. Whatley quickly drops Kernodle with a headbutt for two and Jones comes in with a cradle for two. They work the arm and Koloff comes in, only to get double-teamed as well. Jones slowly works the armbar and Whatley comes in to pick up the pace, only to get nailed in the heel corner. Kernodle with a powerslam for two. Back to Jones, who hits Koloff with shoulderblocks, but misses a blind charge. He quickly tags out to Pez again and he’s a house of fire, but goes with an abdominal stretch as his big finish of choice and gets nailed by a flying Kernodle as a result. Koloff gets the pin at 7:30 off that. Rufus was just awful and even Koloff bumping all over for him couldn’t save this. * So…I guess this was WWE honoring black history? Meanwhile, Tully Blanchard might defend the TV title again sometime if Crockett can come up with the money. Maybe. Meanwhile, Bob Caudle accuses the Assassin of NOT ACTUALLY HAVING AN INJURED HAND! Paul Jones admits that, yeah, he’s just taping his fist so that he can punch Jimmy Valient in the face. Meanwhile, Ric Flair meets up with Blackjack Mulligan and Dusty Rhodes out in the backwoods somewhere while they’re all drinking and shooting. Flair of course is still rocking a $4000 suit, but rips off his shirt to show that he means well and needs help against Wahoo McDaniel and Tully Blanchard. They agree to have a beer and shoot some stuff in celebration of their newfound alliance. The Renegade v. Jeff Sword Renegade is Jay Youngblood, who for some reason is not being referred to by that name, even with Mark Youngblood at ringside. He works a very extended headlock and puts Sword down with a chop, and finishes with a clothesline and flying chop at 3:25. Not sure what that rebranding was about. Meanwhile, The Russians feel like all Americans are weak and unworthy of their titles. Nikita was still working on the Russian accent at this point, but he typically didn’t say much anyway. Wahoo McDaniel & Tully Blanchard v. Sam Houston & Vinny Valentino Dusty Rhodes is on commentary and he’s looking for the UPSET, baby. The jobbers manage to avoid Wahoo’s chops, but Vinny gets caught in the heel corner and beat up. Over to Houston and Tully cuts him off immediately, then slingshots him into a Wahoo chop. Slingshot suplex finishes at 2:30. Well, no upset there, sorry Dusty. The Pulse Glad to see this stuff start trickling in now, even lacking in context like it is.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Title that totally isn’t a “belt”


Thumbs up or thumbs down on the design of the WWE title? I know it's basically the previous title with the new logo slapped on it, but after a couple of days of seeing photos of it, I'm loving it. The logo is sharp and the belt just looks like something you'd want to have, which is what a title should be. I kind of wish it had a nameplate, but the personalized side plates are kind of a cool touch. Your thoughts?

​I'm a fan.  I never liked nameplates in the first place so that's no big loss.  It's blingy without being gaudy like the spinner belt was, and it's distinctly WWE, unlike generic belts like TNA or ROH where you can't tell from a distance what title it is.  You look at the WWE title and this, clearly, is someone who is the champion of the entire WWE.  For me it's a winner.  ​

WWF Championship Wrestling August 30th, 1986

August 30, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

This would be the final episode of “Championship Wrestling” as the show would be renamed “Superstars of Wrestling” and film on the road instead of the dreary Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. The improved production values are quite noitceable too on the first show.

In action tonight will be Paul Orndorff, Randy Savage, and Dick Slater will take on Jimmy Jack Funk. Plus, a special coronation ceremony involving Harley Race and much more.

Mario Mancini vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/ Elizabeth

Savage attacks Mancini before the bell then we get an insert promo from George Steele, who is holding a photo of Elizabeth and repeating the word “nice.” Savage hits a gutwrench suplex and a slam before heading up top and finishing off Mancini with the flying elbow smash (2:38).

Thoughts: Your typical squash match from Savage as they are going back to his feud with Steele, who is obsessed with Elizabeth.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s subject is Billy Jack Haynes, who cuts a promo about how he is in the best shape of his life and in the WWF to face the top competition. Okerlund puts over his finisher, the full nelson, at the end of the segment.

The Gladiator & Mr. X vs. Junkyard Dog & George “The Animal” Steele

Match starts with Steele chasing the Gladiator out of the ring. Mr. X tags and Steele lifts him up in a choke then tosses him down. He then bites open the turnbuckle and puts the stuffing in the face of Mr. X and the referee. JYD tags as we get an insert promo from the Honky Tonk Man, who says that he is coming to the WWF real soon. Before he finishes, JYD gets the win after hitting The Gladiator with a powerslam (2:18). JYD then grabs the mic and welcomes us to the Honky Tonk Man as the crowd couldn’t care less. AS Honky grabs the mic, they cut away to Ken Resnick for an interview.

Thoughts: They sure did cut away very quickly when the Honky Tonk Man grabbed the mic. The crowd did not care for him at all. The match was the same thing you get with Steele & JYD whenever they appear on TV.

Ken Resnick is with Randy Savage, who says that he is going to embarrass George Steele at the Boston Garden on Sept 6th. Savage cut a good promo here.

Tommy Sharpe vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff w/ Bobby Heenan

Orndorff continues to come out to Hogan’s “Real American” theme song. The crowd is all over Orndorff as Sharpe surprises him with an armdrag. The crowd is screaming for Hogan as Orndorff regroups with Heenan. Poffo recites a poem in an insert promo about Orndorff an how Hogan will end up winning their war. Orndorff catches Sharpe with a knee then beats him down for a bit. Orndorff hits a clothesline then mocks one of Hogan’s poses before getting the win with a piledriver (2:41).

Thoughts: The crowd fucking hated Orndorff with a passion. Orndorff did a good job pissing off the crowd too and really was a good heel wrestler. He knew how to get the crowd into his matches.

Resnick is with Bobby Heenan, who says that the Machines are Andre the Giant and some other American. He then promises that Studd and Bundy will expose the Machines for the frauds that they are when rip off their masks.

Jimmy Jack Funk w/ Jimmy Hart & Hoss Funk vs. “The Rebel” Dick Slater

Slater comes out to a faster version of “I wish I was in Dixie Land.” Jimmy Jack attacks Slater from behind outside of the ring after he got distracted by Hoss. Back inside, Slater hits an atomic drop then gets a nearfall with a suplex. Jimmy Jack regains control and hammers away as we get another Superstar Billy Graham insert promo speaking about his return. Slater takes down Jimmy Jack with a Russian leg sweep then hits an elbow smash from the top rope. He goes to bounce off of the ropes but Hoss trips him up as the referee rules the match a disqualification (2:17). Hoss goes into the ring and beats on Slater and attempts to tie him up with his rope but Slater fights back and grabs the rope as the Funk’s and Jimmy Hart flee.

Thoughts: This was the last TV appearance by Hoss Funk, meaning this feud did not continue. Slater got some cheers at least but Jimmy Jack Funk was worthless on his own and would soon become a TV jobber until he left the company.

The Flower Shop with guests Capt. Lou Albano and Bobby Heenan, who wants the Machines to come out so he can inspect them personally. He tells Super Machine that he knows him from somewhere as Adonis thinks he might be the “Nightstalker.” He thinks asks for the Giant Machine and instead another Machine comes out (Big Machine) then he gets sent back and Heenan asks for him to come out again and Giant Machine comes out as Heenan is confused then gets pissed as the segment ends. The Machines gimmick has already run it’s course and with Andre not wrestling, there was really no reason to care about the Super Machine or the new Machine either.

Heenan is now in the ring with the other heel managers and their clients. In the ring is a throne then Heenan brings out Harley Race, who comes out behind a midget that is holding his crown on a pillow. Heenan then reads from a scroll and declares from now on, Race will be known as the “King of Professional Wrestling.” Everyone in the ring cheers then Studd & Bundy put Race on their shoulders and carry him around the ring then up the aisle. Race did not look comfortable at all on their shoulders and this segment did not get that much heel heat to be honest.

Gino Carabello & Steve Lombardi vs. The American Express

Carabello grabs a side headlock to start. Rotundo hiptosses Carabello then hits a slam. They have some major miscommunication with an elbow drop spot then Spivey tags into the match and works the arm. Lombardi tags as Spivey overpowers him but more importantly, Roddy Piper is shown in an insert promo saying that he has been granted permission to appear on the Flower Shop. Carabello gets hit with a double dropkick and shortly after that, Spivey gets the win with a bulldog (4:35).

Thoughts: Spivey & Rotundo were getting better as a team but there was too much depth in the tag division so they did not stick out enough to get a push.  

Resnick is with Big & Super Machine as they talk about their match in Boston against Studd & Bundy. Half of this show revolved around the Machines.

Adonis interrupts Bruno and Vince, saying that the Flower Shop is his show and he does what he wants as he is pissed that Piper will be appearing on his show next week.

Final Thoughts: This show was heavily dominated by the Machines/Heenan feud and by the end, it was tiresome. The angle was DOA when Andre was too hurt to compete. Besides that, the Piper/Adonis confrontation for next week was the only newsworthy event to happen. They started to make a feud between Slater and the Funk’s but Dory would leave the company before that got going. Really not much of a show to be honest.

Here is my schedule for the next seven days:

Saturday: RoH Unscripted 9/21/02
Sunday: WWF Superstars 9/6/86 (Debut Episode)
Tuesday: WWF Challenge 9/7/86 (Debut Episode)
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Bret Hart, Volume 1
Friday: WWF Superstars 9/13/86

All feedback can be sent to [email protected]

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WWF Championship Wrestling August 23rd, 1986

August 23, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

In action tonight are the British Bulldogs, Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy, Rougeau Brothers, Pedro Morales & Tito Santana and the in-ring return of Roddy Piper.

The Gladiator & Iron Mike Sharpe vs. British Bulldogs w/ Capt. Lou Albano

Match starts with a long criss-cross sequence between Davey and Sharpe that ends with Sharpe missing a dropkick. Davey hits an atomic drop then tags Dynamite as the Bulldogs work the arm of Sharpe. An insert promo of the Dream Team are shown as they refer to themselves as the “uncrowned” Tag Team Champions and say they will get the titles back. The Bulldogs take turns beating on the Gladiator until he sneaks away and makes the tag to Sharpe. Gladiator tags back into the match and Davey hits him with a running powerslam for the win (3:26).

Thoughts: Not much of a match but the Bulldogs dominated as they continued to show the depth of the tag team division.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week is about The Machines as we are shown a video of the Machines in Japan then Heenan and Okerlund from “Tuesday Night Titans” in which an infuriated Heenan rants about how Giant Machine is Andre the Giant.

Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Jimmy Jackson & Tony Garea

Studd starts off by overpowering Garea. Bundy tags and misses an elbow drop as Garea crawls over to his partner and makes the tag. Bundy brushes off two dropkick attempts by Jackson then hammers away. We are shown an insert promo from Superstar Billy Graham who will be back in the WWF very soon and is coming after Big John Studd. The heels take turns beating on Jackson as the crowd loudly chants “weasel” at Heenan. Bundy tags and hits the Avalanche then follows that for the win (2:44).

Thoughts: Besides pissing off Heenan, the crowd was not responding much to Studd & Bundy, who were very stale at this point. They have been feuding with either Hulk or Andre for about a year now.

Ken Resnick is with Capt. Lou Albano, who cuts a promo on Heenan and tells him that if he is man enough to yank the mask off of Giant Machine to prove that he is Andre the Giant, then prove it. Albano was good here.

Mr. X & Les Thornton vs. Rougeau Brothers

Ramon hits Mr. X with a crossbody and a dropkick to start. Thornton tags in and he gets met with a dropkick. Raymond works the arm then tags Jacques, who slingshots in with a sunset flip that gets two. Victory roll gets two. Jacques gets choked out behind the referee’s back then Mr. X takes control as the crowd chants “Rougeau.” Thornton tags and gets two with a knee drop. Mr. X tags but Jacques gets his knees up on a springboard splash attempt and makes the hot-tag. Raymond beats on Mr X then catches him with a powerslam. Tag to Jacques, who climbs up top and has Raymond pull him down for a senton and that gets the win (3:34).

Thoughts: The Rougeau’s looked good and were very over with this crowd too. Although very solid techincally, they lacked charisma as faces. They were like the Killer Bees but further down on the depth chart.

Resnick is with the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff who will be facing the British Bulldogs on September 6th for the Tag Team Titles in Boston. Sheik says that all of the intelligent American kids will be back in school and that he will win the belts for his “Italian Paisans” and Iranian people. Once again, Sheik seemed fucked up but he was very entertaining.

A.J. Petruzzi vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

Piper gets a standing ovation from the crowd but looks pissed off and focused as he makes his way down the aisle. Petruzzi hits Piper in the face a few times and he just slowly backs up. He then puts his hand behind his back and into his tights as he begs Petruzzi to hit him again. Piper ducks a punch then knocks Petruzzi down. He is now stomping away then slams his head off of the mat all with his hand behind his back. The crowd is screaming for Piper as he beats the shit out of Petruzzi. He knees Petruzzi right in the face before blowing snots on him. Piper roughs him up some more then takes his hand behind his back and whips Petruzzi against the ropes and hits him with a double axe handle then covers him with his foot on Petruzzi’s face for the win (2:25).

Thoughts: Crazy stuff from Piper, who beat the absolute shit out of Petruzzi. The crowd was crazy for Piper, who was not acting like a face and has yet to officially turn. One of the most memorable squash matches in WWF history.

The Flower Shop with host Adrian Adonis. This week’s guests are Freddie Blassie, Slick, Hercules and Sheik & Volkoff. However, Piper interrupts, calling Adonis “Fluffy,” then proceeds to insult Adonis’ guests. He tells Slick that is lips look like “bicycle pedals” before leaving then Slick yells about Piper and threatens to slap him. More continuation of the Piper/Adonis beef.

Pedro Morales & Tito Santana vs. The Moondogs

Pedro gets the better of Rex then hits a backdrop. Tito tags in and dropkicks Rex after he dodged an attack. We get an insert promo from the Honky Tonk Man who tells us he is ready for the WWF as Pedro is in trouble. He comes back with a neckbreaker and tags Tito, who puts Rex in the figure four but Spot breaks it up and the match breaks down for a bit until Tito puts away Rex with the flying forearm  (3:06).

Thoughts: The match was meaningless but Honky’s insert promo was incredibly annoying for someone who was supposed to be a babyface.

Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Bob Bradley

Bradley starts the match by grabbing a side headlock that Muraco struggled to escape from. Muraco knees Bradley then takes control of the match. He tosses Bradley outside as we get an insert promo from Heenan who says that he will personally inspect the Machines next week in “The Flower Shop” so he can finally reveal that one of them is in fact Andre the Giant. Muraco stops a comeback attempt from Bradley with a knee to the mid-section then drives his knee into Bradley’s chest. Muraco hits a shoulderbreaker and a powerslam then softens him up some more until putting Bradley away with the tombstone (4:52).

Thoughts: Just a backdrop for Heenan to go off about the Machines. Muraco was being put on the backburner and no longer part of any top feuds.

Resnick is with Savage, who wants to let everyone know that all of the chicks will have “Macho Madness” when he comes to town then runs down George Steele to hype their upcoming match. Savage was pretty funny here.

Next week, Paul Orndorff, Junkyard Dog & George Steele will be in action. Also, a special announcement about Harley Race and Dick Slater vs. Jimmy Jack Funk.

Final Thoughts: The Piper match was memorable but everything else was skippable. Superstar Graham coming back was some big news I guess but that stopped being the case after he made his debut. They pushed the Machines angle hard but that has not been clicking.

Here is my schedule for the upcoming week:

Tuesday: WWF The Big Event 8/28/86
Thursday: 1992 WWE Timeline with Bret Hart
Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/30/86 (Final Episode)
Saturday: RoH Unscripted 9/21/02
Sunday: WWF Superstars 9/6/86 (Debut Episode)

Send all feedback to [email protected]

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WWF Championship Wrestling August 16th,1986

August 16th, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

Tonight, the Machines will make their WWF debut. Also in action are the Killer Bees, Hart Foundation, and Tony Atlas vs. Hercules Hernandez.

Steve Lombardi & Rusty Brooks vs. Killer Bees

The Bees have on their masks for the entrance but no theme music this time. Blair and Lombardi trade hammerlocks until Blair escapes and hits an armdrag. Brunzell tags and they get a nearfall with a double elbow smash. Brunzell works the arm for a bit then Brooks tags and the Bees hit him with a double backdrop as Vince keeps mentioning how Brooks is fat. The Bees use quick tags as they neutralize Brooks until Brunzell puts him away with a dropkick (3:04). Brooks oversell of the dropkick was kinda funny.

Thoughts: The match was fine. The WWF continued to present several teams, with the Bees being one of them, as legitimate threats to the Tag Team Titles. They were doing a really strong job as promoting the division as a whole too.

Vince talks about how he will be hearing from Superstar Billy Graham and newcomer, the Honky Tonk Man, later on tonight.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s subject is the feud between Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff. We are shown a clip of Hogan calling Orndorff a sellout while cutting a passionate interview. This feud continues to heat up and they have been holding off on these two confronting each other on television, which makes you really want to see them when they actually do wrestle each other.

Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Terry Morgan & Jim Powers

Powers leapfrogs Brett twice then takes him down with an armdrag. He works the arm for a bit as we get an insert promo from Superstar Billy Graham, who says that he is coming back to the WWF and going after the Iron Sheik. Morgan tags and the Hart Foundation destroy him until finally putting him away with the Hart Attack (3:05).

Thoughts: Another showcase for the Hart Foundation, who are really clicking as a team right now. I also forgot to mention that last week, they debuted the pink stripe look in their tights. The stripe was really thin but different than the red and blue they usually sported. The WWF tag-team division was really strong at this point.

Ken Resnick is with Capt. Lou Albano, who talks about how Bobby Heenan is upset about the Machines coming into the WWF. Pretty subdued for an Albano promo, actually.

Ivan MacDonald vs. Super Machine w/ Capt. Lou Albano & Giant Machine

The crowd popped a bit for the entrance of the Machines. Vince says that he is not sure if Giant Machine is in fact Andre the Giant. MacDonald bounces off of Super Machine twice before he gets beaten down. Super Machine puts on a chinlock as Bobby Heenan is shown in the aisle taking photos of the Giant Machine. Also, there is one fan who has been screaming the entire time while everyone else has been quiet. Albano sees Heenan and chases him away. MacDonald completely botches a clothesline spot as he fell before the move was performed so Super Machine really hit him hard when he got up then put him away with a swinging neckbreaker (2:45).

Thoughts: This whole segment flopped. First, no one cares about the Super Machine to begin with. Andre is the selling point of the angle and having this as their first TV appearance was a horrible way to start off the angle. Even with that being said, the whole mystique as to who was under the mask was non-existent and yes the fans did want to see Andre and for him to get his revenge on Heenan and his guys but the whole Machines gimmick was so ridiculous that no one was buying it at all.

Resnick is with Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff, who will be facing the British Bulldogs after beating the Hart Foundation in Boston to get a Tag Team title shot. Sheiky Baby was zonked out of his mind as he went on his usual tangent about how Volkoff, Iran, and himself are all number one.

Dream Team w/ Johnny Valiant vs. Mario Mancini & Jose Luis Rivera

The Dream Team take turns destroying Rivera to start the match. Rivera fights back and is able to tag Mancini, who immediately gets pummeled by Beefcake. Valentine tags and hits a shoulderbreaker before Beefcake tags and hits his flying knee smash but Beefcake pulls up Mancini before the three count and tags Valentine, who gets the win via submission with the figure four (2:51).

Thoughts: It seems like the Dream Team wrestle every week on these shows. They usually have fun squash matches. However, since their feud with the British Bulldogs ended, they have been put on the backburner as far as the top heel teams are concerned.

The Flower Shop with Adrian Adonis. He says that Don Muraco will be his guest but instead Roddy Piper comes out, who says that he is here to take his show back after thanking Adonis for filling in for him. Adonis tells Piper that he is here to stay and that it is not 1985 then brings out Bob Orton, who is wearing a pink cowboy hat. Orton tells Piper that he was getting paid peanuts before as Piper offers Orton a choice of staying or leaving with him. Piper then puts a flower in Orton’s hat and says that if he does stay with Adonis, we will have a case of “birds of a feather, flock together.” The fans cheered Piper a bit as he walked away.
The surprise return of Piper did not get much of an initial reaction, as I think they were in complete shock to be honest, but this was when they first planted the seeds of a Piper face turn and the segment itself was well done.

George Leech & Joe Mirto & Terry Gibbs vs. Sivi Afi & King Tonga & Tonga Kid

The Tonga Kid got a pretty good reaction in his return to the WWF. This guy should have been a star as he had everything it took. He also has 100x more charisma than Afi & King Tonga combined. King Tonga starts by overpowering Leech then tags the Tonga Kid, who does Snuka’s double leapfrog spot with Gibbs and tags Afi then plays to the crowd. Poffo is shown in an insert promo putting over the babyface team as King Tonga beats on Leech. He slams him then tags the Tonga Kid, who puts him away with a splash off of the top rope (2:32).

Thoughts: The Tonga Kid really got the crowd into this match and it was a decent six-man. His presence in the ring was huge, especially considering King Tonga and Afi lacked that in a big way.

Hercules Hernandez w/ Slick vs. Tony Atlas

Vince tells us that Slick bought half of Hercules’ contract too. Atlas takes down Hercules with an armdrag then slams him down as we are shown an insert promo from the Honky Tonk Man, wearing a gold suit, talking about how Hogan called him up and asked if he could come to the WWF to restore order. He closed by saying “woo mercy.” What an awful idea for a babyface character. Back to the match as Hercules hits Atlas with an inverted atomic drop. Atlas powers up soon after and uses some truly terrible offense consisting of headbutts and punches. He sends Hercules to the floor then tries to bring him back into the ring with a suplex but Slick whacks Atlas in the knee then Hercules covers for the win (3:36). After the match, Atlas chases Hercules out of the ring.

Thoughts: This might have been the last TV appearance of Atlas in the WWF until he returned as Saba Simba in the early 1990’s. Speaking of Atlas, he looked horrible in the ring and was rumored to be heavy into drug use too. The match also did not do a whole lot to elevate Hercules, either.

Ken Resnick runs down the September 6th show at the Boston Garden. He brings out Bobby Heenan, who will have his men, John Studd & King Kong Bundy face the Machines. Heenan says that he will prove that Andre is under the mask then wonders who is partner could be, joking that it could be Red Sox pitcher Oil Can Boyd or former Celtic Dave Cowens. Studd & Bundy come out and reference when they cut his hair almost a year and a half ago before promising victory in Boston.

Bruno and Vince run down the show and say that next week, Roddy Piper will be in action. Also, in action will be the British Bulldogs, King Kong Bundy & John Studd, Rougeau Brothers, Don Muraco, and Tito Santana & Pedro Morales.

Final Thoughts: A memoralbe show for sure. The return of Piper was a huge surprise this week as they set up a feud for him with Adonis. A basic, logical feud that features two capable performers can go a long way you know. However, the heaviest promoted segment of the past week was the debut of the Machines and that ended up flopping.  Besides that, most of the show featured the tag team division and they kept the Orndorff/Hogan program hot with the WWF Update segment. We also got word that Superstar Billy Graham was returning and saw our first glimpse of the Honky Tonk Man as well. It is nice to see that the WWF has started to develop new feuds and introduce new characters, even if they all didnt work out, as the promotion had been getting stale after WrestleMania 2.

Here is the schedule of my reviews for the next week

Saturday: RoH Honor Invades Boston (8/24/02)
Sunday: WWF Championship Wrestling (8/23/02)
Tuesday: WWF The Big Event (8/28/86)
Thursday:1992 WWE Timeline as told by Bret Hart
Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling (8/30/86, Final Episode)

Any feedback can be sent to [email protected]

Follow me on Twitter at

WWF Championship Wrestling August 9th, 1986

August 9, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

In action tonight will be Paul Orndorff, The Dream Team, Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff, and more

Mario Mancini vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff w/ Bobby Heenan

Orndorff comes out to Hogan’s “Real American” theme song, which pisses of Vince. Orndorff then mocks Hogan’s poses before attacking Mancini. He continues to beat the shit out of him as the crowd starts a “Paula” chant. He picks up Mancini for the piledriver then just puts him down and yells for him to get up. Heenan tells Orndorff to let Mancini “feel his sweat” as Orndorff goes back to beating the piss out of him. The fans now chant for Hogan as Orndorff tosses Mancini outside and slams him on the floor then he hits him with a piledriver before rolling back into the ring and getting the win via countout (3:30). The crowd screams for Hogan after the match as Heenan yells at them about how they want Hogan too.

Thoughts: They really went all out to make Orndorff has unlikable as possible. I always loved when he came out to Hogan’s music too. It’s such an easy way to get heel heat.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s focus is on a WWF Magazine article about martial arts and should it be used in the WWF. Steamboat is shown saying that they should be used as long as they stay within the WWF guidelines. A staffer then tries a martial arts pose behind Okerlund. A nothing segment.

Tito Santana & Pedro Morales vs. Terry Gibbs & Dave Barbie

An insert promo of Johnny Valiant is shown with him telling Tito & Pedro they are Ford Fairlane’s while the Dream Team are Rolls Royce’s. Gibbs and Santana start out with a nice little sequence that Tito wins. Barbie tags and lands a few shots but Tito makes the tag and Pedro cleans house then gets the win with a reverse rollup (2:42).

Thoughts: Not much of a match at all. Tito is floundering in this role and being teamed with a sluggish Pedro Morales isnt helping him out either.

Ken Resnick is with Adrian Adonis, Randy Savage, and Jimmy Hart as they hype their match against Hogan and George Steele tonight in Boston. Not much of note other than Adonis calling Steele a “retard” again.

Mark Faban vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/ Elizabeth

Vince fawns all over Elizabeth here, stating that you can watch her all match long instead of Savage. Vince even works in a joke, calling Mark “Kay” then when corrected, says that he heard he might have a brother named Kay. The crowd chants for JYD as Savage beats on Faban while wearing his bandana. Savage then slams Faban then hits the flying elbow smash for the win (2:04). After the match, Savage continues to beat the shit out of Faban as Vince accuses referee Danny Davis of letting this happen on purpose.

Thoughts: This is the first time on TV that Vince called out Danny Davis for acting corrupt. The match itself was unmemorable but the announcers had some fun cracking kayfabe jokes.

Resnick is with Jake Roberts, who will be facing Ricky Steamboat tonight in Boston. Jake tells Steamboat that he should have second thoughts about stepping into the ring with him. He then puts over the fact that he has been 86-0 since entering the WWF and even adds that he has been arrested three times for beating up some of his opponents so badly the cops had to drag him away.

The Dream Team w/ Johnny Valiant vs. Rick Hunter & Paul Roma

The Killer Bees are shown in an insert promo putting over the Dream Team and that they will use them as a stepping stone to climb the ladder of success. Boring stuff from the Bees. The crowd cheers for Roma when he tags in but Beefcake hammers away on him in the corner. A “fruitcake” chant breaks out as Valentine tags in and works the arm. Vince breaks news that next week, the Machines will be in action. Hunter tags and lands a few shots on Valentine but runs into an elbow smash. Valentine hits a shoulderbreaker and an elbow drop before making him submit to the Figure Four (3:03).

Thoughts: The WWF was really starting to push their tag team division, positioning several teams as title threats. The Dream Team did well together too and I felt they were underrated.

The Flower Shop with Adrian Adonis. He talks about how he was disgusted about JYD attacking him last week and has laid out a ton of money for the top bodyguard in wrestling then brings out “Cowboy” Bob Orton, who puts over Adonis for being a great interviewer and taking subtle digs and Piper by saying how he was paid less before.

Jim Haley & Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Junkyard Dog & George “The Animal” Steele w/ Capt. Lou Albano

Steele bites Sharpe, who then tags Haley. Steele rams him in the corner then tags JYD who his a powerslam for the win (1:20). After the match, the faces dance in the ring with a bunch of kids.

Thoughts: Quick and inoffensive. Really not much else to say about this.

Freddie Blassie is in the ring with the Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff. He then tells everyone how he now has more money in the bank than anyone in wrestling thanks to the new co-manager of his team. He then introduces him to the crowd as it is revealed as Slick, making his WWF debut here. Slick came out to no crowd reaction but did use his cane and did his pimp walk the whole time.

Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff vs. Corporal Kirchner & Tony Garea

Kirchner & Garea clear the ring of the evil foreigners as the crowd starts a “U-S-A” chant. Kirchner slams Sheik but misses an elbow drop. Sheik hits a clothesline then Blassie holds Kirchner in place for the Sheik so he can jump on op of his back. Volkoff tags and drops Kirchner across the top rope. Sheik tags back inside but Kirchner leapfrogs him and makes the hot tag to Garea! The pride of Auckland hits a terrible looking dropkick and a slam before putting Sheik in a small package but Volkoff runs in and reverses the move and the ref is distracted with Kirchner and turns around and sees Sheik on top and counts to three for the win (2:52).

Thoughts: The finish looked ridiculous and I always found it sad that they had to protect Garea by always having him lose in some fluky fashion.

Resnick is with Hogan, who says that all of the Hulkamaniacs in Boston have pulled him out of the trenches and with his attitude problem and George Steele in his corner. Steele comes out and keeps on saying “hurt.”

Slick interrupts Bruno and Vince as they preview next week’s show to tell them that Sheik & Volkoff will put more people in the hospital than cancer and high blood pressure combined. Vince then says that the Machines will be here next week and we can judge for ourselves if the Giant Machine is in fact Andre the Giant.

Final Thoughts: Not a whole lot happened on this show. The debut of Slick and the seeds being planted for the evil referee angle by Danny Davis happened but not much else. The Orndorff/Hogan feud was not showcased as much and the rest of the feuds are not all that hot right now, besides Jake and Steamboat.

Here is a schedule of my upcoming reviews:

Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Shawn Daivari
Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/16/86
Saturday: RoH Honor Invades Boston 8/24/02
Sunday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/23/86
Tuesday: WWF The Big Event 8/28/86

Email me at [email protected] with any questions or feedback

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WWF Championship Wrestling August 2nd, 1986

August 2, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

Tonight, we will have a special interview with Hulk Hogan. Plus, the American Express, King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd are in action. Also, Harley Race and Billy Jack Haynes are in action too.

Roger Kirby & Steve Lombardi vs. American Express

The American Express no longer have “Born in the USA” as a theme song, with “Stars and Stripes Forever” replacing that. The American Express take turns beating on Lombardi until Rotundo missed an elbow drop. Kirby tags in and lands a few shots but Rotundo ducks a chop and comes back with a crossbody. Spivey tags and they hit a double dropkick. Spivey then gets trapped in the opposing corner but he fights back then tags Rotundo, who catches Kirby in an airplane spin for the win (3:26).

Thoughts: Without “Born in the USA” as their theme song, the entrance for the American Express fell flat. Match was nothing special and the crowd was not into Spivey.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s topic is Jake Roberts and how devastating his DDT is and how fast he is rising in the WWF ranks. They show a clip of Jake saying that he plays by his own rules and that he puts the snake on people’s bodies after he beats them because he gets off on it, then asks Gene if he does.

Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Tony Garea & Jose Luis Rivera

Garea hits Brett with a crossbody after an Irish whip sequence. He then holds on to Brett’s arm after he picked him up for a slam then tags Rivera. The Anvil tags as Vince talks about Brett’s greasy hair and Rivera takes him down. Rivera trips up Brett then the Anvil goes to work as we are shown an insert promo from Jimmy Hart putting over the Hart Foundation and how they will be the next Tag Team Champions. The Anvil knocks Rivera through the ropes and Brett rolls him back into the ring and shortly after that, they put him away with the Hart Attack (2:33).

Thoughts: They were pushing the Hart Foundation as a top team here and it was a dominant performance.

Ken Resnick runs down the card for next week’s Boston Garden show and brings out Hulk Hogan. Hulk first apologizes to the Galaxy Gym for bringing in George Steele, who messed up the gym. He then says that Adrian Adonis & Randy Savage “stink” and that Steele and himself with beat them in Boston.

Jim Haley vs. Billy Jack Haynes

Billy knocks down Haley to start and Haley fucks up the next spot as Billy bounced off of the ropes but instead of getting up to take the next move, he just rolled on his back and Billy hit him with an elbow drop. Billy grabs a chinlock as the announcers talk about Billy’s physique and strength. Billy hits a dropkick then goes back to the chinlock. Haley gets in a bit of offense but Billy nearly rips his head off with a clothesline then makes Haley submit to the full nelson (3:29).

Thoughts: Not much of a match and Haley is one of the worst jobbers ever. I saw him have a horrible squash match with Ricky Steamboat the year prior. Anyway, the fans were not that into Billy Jack tonight, despite a few signs being shown in the crowd.

Resnick is with Ricky Steamboat, who says that Jake does not cherish life and promises to get revenge at the Boston Garden.

“Handsome” Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Chris Duffy

Heenan makes Finkle refer to Race as the “King of Wrestling” which was due to Race winning the “King of the Ring” tournament. Race slams Duffy then puts on a chinlock. Race catches Duffy with a dropkick then piledrives him before roughing him up in the corner. Race hits a powerslam then tosses Duffy into the corner and after that he finishes him with a cradle suplex (2:53).

Thoughts: Race was slow and methodical in the ring and maybe too old to fit into the WWF at this time. He at least acclimated better than Dory Funk. Duffy was actually the guy who played the Santa Claus on RAW that Steve Austin stunned. Sadly, Duffy passed away in 2000 at the age of 36.

The Flower Shop with guest Junkyard Dog. JYD rambles on and is difficult to understand as he calls Adonis and woman then yells at Hart. Adonis cracks some lame dog jokes at the expense of JYD then tries to have Hart spray him but JYD swats him away. Hart then tries to attack JYD from behind but that fails and Adonis gets shoved down as JYD prances away with a rose in his mouth. This was quite terrible.

We are at the gym with Vince, wearing a track suit, interviewing Hogan about what happened with Paul Orndorff. Hogan talks about how they used to train together and how their families broke bread together at Thanksgiving. They show clips of all the events that led to Orndorff turning on Hogan. Back to Hogan, he said that Orndorff sounded unreasonable when he called him at the gym then they show more of the events that led to the turn, with Hogan calling Orndorff a “one-man ego trip” when he refused to tag out in their match against the Moondogs. He then said that Orndorff only left him a note and had not seen him for three days before their match against Studd & Bundy, calling himself a fool for not seeing what was happening. Hogan then says that Orndorff was on the verge of greatness but sold out instead. Hogan then says that Orndorff will never beat Hulkamania and that he does not take shortcuts and will take him out for good. Hogan did a great job and this was a superb piece overall.

Brickhouse Brown & Buddy Ryder vs. King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd

The match starts with Bundy taking control of Ryder as an insert promo of Lanny Poffo talking about Studd & Bundy and the Machines is shown. Poffo refers to Heenan as a “pompous ass” and says he calls him “Bobby the Butt.” Studd beats on Duffy then tags Bundy, who knocks Brickhouse off of the apron then they double team Ryder until Bundy hits the Avalanche then a splash for the win. About two minutes shown.

Thoughts: Just a match for Bundy & Studd to look strong going into their feud against the Machines.

Resnick is with Jimmy Hart, who comes out with Randy Savage and Adonis. Savage talks about how he and Adonis will beat Steele & Hogan as Adonis pokes fun at the Red Sox for slipping in the standings. Adonis then calls Steele a “retard” and they both guarantee victory in Boston.

Just as they recap the show, Freddie Blassie interrupts Bruno and Vince to say that he has found someone to buy half of the contracts that belong to the Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff.

Next week in action are Tito Santana & Pedro Morales, The Dream Team, and Randy Savage.

Final Thoughts: Good show. The whole Orndorff/Hogan recap was a masterpiece. They did a great job presenting everything that led to the turn. They made you want to see Hogan seek revenge on Orndorff. They did not have the Machines appear this week and only a brief mention of them happened in the Studd & Bundy match. “The Flower Shop” also started another feud, this time between JYD and Adonis, which ended up being far from memorable. Everything else was really just filler but the Hogan/Orndorff stuff was phenomenal.

Here is a schedule of my upcoming reviews:

Tuesday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/9/86
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Shawn Daivari
Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/16/86
Saturday: RoH Honor Invades Boston 8/24/02
Sunday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/23/86

Email me at [email protected] with any questions or feedback

Follow me on Twitter at

WWF Championship Wrestling July 26th, 1986

July 26, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

Tonight, we will see the Championship Wrestling debuts of The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers and “The Rebel” Dick Slater. Plus, “The Flower Shop” with guest Paul Orndorff and much more.

Tiger Chung Lee & A.J. Petruzzi vs. British Bulldogs w/ Capt. Lou Albano

The Bulldogs come out to theme music for the first time on television. Davey and Lee start things off by trading moves until Davey takes him down with an armdrag. He then dropkicks Lee to the floor and slingshots him back into the ring. Lee catches Davey with a punch after he knocked Petruzzi off of the apron. Petruzzi tags and roughs up Davey as Bruno talks about last week when Orndorff turned on Hogan due to jealousy. Dynamite tags and hits a snap suplex and a backbreaker. Davey tags and powerslams Petruzzi then catches Lee on his shoulders as he tried to break up the pin. He tags Dynamite who climbs up top and jumps of the back of Lee to hit the diving headbutt for the win (2:38).

Thoughts: Not much to this match but on commentary they kept pushing the depth of the tag team division.

Ken Resnick is with WWF President Jack Tunney, who says that suspending Andre the Giant was one of the toughest things he has done. Bobby Heenan interrupts and thanks Tunney then talks about how he has warned him about Andre. He then said that everyone knows that Giant Machine is Andre the Giant as Tunney tells him if he can prove that is in fact Andre, he will suspend Andre for life.

Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Mario Mancini

Muraco beats on Mancini as we are shown an insert promo from Lanny Poffo, reading a poem about Muraco rising to power with Mr. Fuji. Muraco tosses Mancini outside and drops him across the guardrail as the crowd starts a “beach bum” chant. Back in the ring, Muraco clotheslines Mancini before hitting him with the tombstone piledriver for the win (3:02).

Thoughts: They were trying to establish Muraco as a top threat again to the Heavyweight Championship. This did not last too long at all.

Resnick runs down the card of the August Boston Garden show then shows us a promo by Jake Roberts. He tells Steamboat that he has mastered the power of perception and that while Damien will take care of his flesh, he will take his soul. Really good stuff by Jake.

The Gladiator vs. “Rebel” Dick Slater

Slater runs down to the ring holding up the Confederate Flag as his theme song is in fact the Confederate Anthem. He also comes out to a scattering of boos. The match starts with both guys taking it to the mat in a nice little sequence. They trade shots in the corner and Slater gets the best of that then grabs a front facelock. Slater reverses an Irish whip that sends the Gladiator into the corner then come off the top with a forearm smash before getting the win with a side Russian legsweep (2:13). The crowd boos Slater after the match.

Thoughts: I have no idea why you would have Dick Slater as a babyface holding the Confederate Flag and think that it would get over in front of a card in upstate New York. Slater’s debut as a face was a disaster. The character was doomed as soon as he made his entrance. As a heel, this might have worked well but not at all as a face.

Resnick is with the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, who will be facing the Hart Foundation in a number one contender’s match for the Tag Team Championship. No Blassie again this week. They say that while the Hart Foundation and Jimmy Hart are talented, they better get out of their way. Sheik then goes off on a tangent about not being responsible for the Iran hostage situation.

The Moondogs vs. Fabulous Rougeau Brothers

This match is joined in progress. The Rougeau’s clear the ring of the Moondogs with some nice double-team moves. The crowd gets into the Rougeau’s as they work over the arm of Rex. Spot cheapshots Ramon and they double-team him in the corner. Spot tags as the crowd rallies behind Ramon as Spot has him in a sleeper hold. Ramon escapes and hits a crossbody then tags Jacques as the places goes nuts. Seriously, I have ever seen a WWF crowd go this nuts for the Rougeau’s before. Jacques dropkicks both guys then the match breaks down. The Moondogs try a double noggin knocker but Ramon ducks and Jacques hits Spot with a crossbody for the win (3:27). Man, the crowd popped huge for the win.

Thoughts: It’s almost unreal how over the Rogeau’s were in this match. Hell, if they stayed taping in New York instead of going on the road, they might have gotten more of a push.

The Flower Shop with Adrian Adonis. His guest is Paul Orndorff, who comes out looking pissed off. He tells the crowd to shut up then slams down his robe. He then introduces us to his new manager, Bobby Heenan, who tells us that Mr. Wonderful will be the next Heavyweight Champion of the World. Orndorff then accuses the crowd of being just like Hulk Hogan because they do not listen.

Tom Tatri vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Roberts decks Tatri with a right hand. He slams him three times as the crowd chants for Steamboat. Roberts then takes Tatri down with a kneelift and roughs him up for a bit. Tatri reverses an Irish whip but Roberts comes back with a clothesline then finishes him off with a DDT (1:52). Roberts then dumps Damian on top of Tatri and lets it slither out of the ring, with the camera zooming in on the snake, before picking him up.

Thoughts: Roberts gets a bit of a face reaction when he wins as some fans want to see the snake. Speaking of Roberts, he looked good in the ring tonight.

Resnick is now with the Machines and Capt. Lou Albano. Resnick asks Giant Machine if he is Andre. Giant
Machine says that he is not. Super Machine talks about all of their training and how mind controls all.

Steve Lombardi & Mr. X & Rusty Brooks vs. Ricky Steamboat & King Tonga & Sivi Afi

Steamboat looks absolutely ridiculous carrying the cage and Afi does some tricks with fire that goes on for too long and is not particularly good. Vince lets us know that next week, we will hear from Hulk Hogan. Steamboat starts off the match with Lombardi and the face team makes quick tags, using a lot of body slams. Freddie Blassie joins the announcers and talks about the stock market and how he is selling half of the Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff’s contracts. Steamboat gets trapped in the opposing corner but he eventually breaks free and tags Afi, to absolutely no reaction at all. He runs wild on Brooks then tags Tonga, who hits a dropkick. Steamboat tags and finishes off Brooks with a flying body press (3:30).

Thoughts: This was just a backdrop for other angles that were going on in the company. It was also remarkable to see how little Sivi Afi was over with the crowd.

Resnick is with Hulk Hogan, who says that he has been bending bars at the gym. He will be teaming with George Steele to face Adrian Adonis & Randy Savage in Boston. We are then shown Capt. Lou Albano with Steele as they cut a promo that is pretty funny. Those two had great chemistry and Albano was as insane as he usually was, probably due to him being drunk. They cut back to Hogan who says that Boston is going to get “Hulkarized” as Hulkamania runs wild on Adonis & Savage.

Bruno and Vince recap the show. Next week, Hulk Hogan will be here. Also, King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd, American Express, Hart Foundation, Billy Jack Haynes, and Harley Race.

Final Thoughts: Not a whole lot happened here tonight. The Rougeau’s got over big in their debut. The same cannot be said for Dick Slater. The Flower Shop wasn’t much as it was already a given that Orndorff was aligning with Heenan. The big news here was that Hogan would be appearing next week to address what Orndorff did to him last week. Another thing to note was change in the production values. All of the babyfaces came out to theme music, which wasnt always the case at this point. At the time, the WWF was losing it’s timeslot on some stations so Vince and the WWF made the call to amp up the production values in order to lure in the TV stations.

Here is a schedule of my upcoming reviews:

Saturday: RoH Crowning a Champion 7/27/02
Sunday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/2/86
Tuesday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/9/86
Thursday: TBD
Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/16/86

Email me at [email protected] with any questions or feedback

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WWF Championship Wrestling July 19th, 1986

July 19, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

This week, King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd will take on Paul Orndorff & Hulk Hogan in the main event.

Eric Cooper vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/ Elizabeth

Savage starts by taunting the crowd then cheapshots Cooper against the ropes after refusing to break cleanly. He then puts Cooper in the tree-of-woe position and brutalizes him for a minute as we see an insert promo from Capt. Lou Albano on the behalf of George “The Animal” Steele and how he has detected a weakness and will make him pay because he is abusive towards Elizabeth. Savage then slams Cooper before putting him away with the flying elbow drop (2:35).

Thoughts: It looks like Savage is back to feuding with Steele based on Albano’s promo. The feud also made a star out of Elizabeth so it worked out.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. Once again, this week’s focus is on the Machines. We are shown a clip of the Machines wrestling in Japan as Okerlund says that the Machines are here to stay.

Al Navarro & Gino Carabello vs. The American Express

Yes, this is what they called the team of Dan Spivey and Mike Rotundo tonight. Spivey and Carabello start with an Irish whip sequence that ends with Spivey hitting a backdrop. Rotundo tags and uses a flying headscissors on Carabello then works a side headlock on the mat. Carabello tries to get something going but Rotundo takes him down with an enziguiri. Navarro tags and the American Express use quick tags to isolate him until Rotundo gets the win with an airplane spin (2:47).

Thoughts: With the matching tights and going on and slapping the fans hands, looks like Spivey and Rotundo are getting a push. The Mid-Hudson Civic Center crowd digs them (Rotundo did go to school in Syracuse) but the rest of the country wasn’t so hot for the team.

Ken Resnick is running down the August 9th show at the Boston Garden. He brings out Adrian Adonis & Randy Savage, who will be facing Hulk Hogan and his hand-picked partner, George “The Animal” Steele. Interesting that they would announce Hogan picking Steele instead of his friend Orndorff before their match against Studd & Bundy.

Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff vs. Jimmy Jackson & Don Driggers

The heels take turns beating on Driggers then we see an insert promo by Corporal Kirchner, who looks as crazy as ever. Jackson tags but Nikolai beats him up for a minute. He hits a backbreaker then tags the Sheik who suplexes to set up the Camel Clutch and the win (3:02).

Thoughts: Odd not seeing Blassie out there this week but he was nearing the end of his managerial career and would be gone within the year.

Resnick is with Jimmy Hart and Freddie Blassie. They will have their teams face off in a number one contender’s match as the Hart Foundation will face off against Sheik & Volkoff at the next Boston Garden show. They go back and forth about who has the better team with Blassie tripping all over his lines. This would be the beginning of the Hart Foundation push.

Lane Anderson & Gary Semones vs. Sivi Afi & King Tonga

Tonga starts off the match and ends up clearing both men from the ring. Afi tags and catches Anderson with a drop toehold and a slam. He tags after hitting a dropkick and Tonga takes control. They take turns beating on Anderson then Tonga pushes him towards his partner and ends up hitting Semones with a thrust kick before getting the win with a splash (2:50).

Thoughts: Poor Tonga. He went from having a potential feud with Studd to stuck tagging with Sivi Afi in the span of less than a month. Afi was never seen as anything more than a cheap Jimmy Snuka knock off which was unfortunate as he was not that bad in the ring.

The Flower Shop with guest Hercules Hernandez. Adonis asks him if he is in fact the real Hercules and if Blassie found him in Mount Olympus. Adonis takes this further by asking if he parties with Zeus and brings up some other mythical stuff as Hercules plays along as if he actually is the character. Odd stuff that ends with Hercules telling Hulk Hogan to watch out.

As Bobby Heenan, Studd, and Bundy are waiting in the ring, the camera cuts backstage to Orndorff and Hogan. Orndorff paces back and forth, still angry over Hulk not picking up the phone at the gym, as Hulk said that he was at the squat rack and after the fourth ring, he went over to get the phone and no one was there. Hulk then tells Orndorff to forget about the phone call and take care of business in the ring.

Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy w/ Bobby Heenan vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff & Hulk Hogan

The crowd is amped for this match. Orndorff and Studd start of the match. Studd goes to slam Orndorff, who floats over then takes down Studd with a sunset flip after pulling him down by the tights and that gets two. Orndorff takes down Studd with a hiptoss then Bundy tags into the match. Bundy takes down Orndorff with an elbow smash but misses the splash then a charge in the corner and Orndorff hammers away. Studd tags as Orndorff signals that he is going to slam him but fails. Orndorff takes down Studd then Bundy with a dropkicks, who then regroup outside with Heenan. Hogan reaches out for a tag and Orndorff finally tags him. Studd and Hogan trade punches then Hogan catches Studd with a slam that has the crowd going nuts. Orndorff is shown looking upset on the apron as we go to a commercial. Back from break, Hogan hits Studd with an atomic drop then chops him in the corner. Hogan whips Studd into the corner but ends up getting clotheslined. Bundy tags as he and Studd double team Hogan. Bundy slams Hogan then Studd comes in but Hogan headbutts him then get pushed backwards and ends up inadvertently knocking Orndorff to the floor and sells that he got hit in the ear. Hogan gets double-teamed as the announcers state how the match has been ruled a DQ, despite us not hearing a bell, then Orndorff finally comes in and clears Studd & Bundy from the ring (6:04). Orndorff helps Hogan get up and raises his hand then takes him down with a clothesline!!! The crowd is completely stunned as Orndorff then hits him with a piledriver and even mocks Hogan’s hand to his ear pose. He then waves in Studd and Bundy but Spivey, Rotundo, Sivi Afi, and King Tonga come out for the save as Orndorff leaves with the heels.

Thoughts: This was of the most memorable moments ever in WWF history. It started the Orndorff/Hogan feud which lasted through the Summer, leading up to a huge show in Toronto, “The Big Event.” One of the biggest moments in WWF history.

The camera follows Orndorff to the locker room as he is congratulated by Adrian Adonis. Heenan comes in the locker room and yells “Wonderful” as the camera shows Hogan being carried out as the crowd loudly chants his name.

Ken Resnick comments on what we just saw then bring out Tito Santana, who also is shocked by what Orndorff did and mentions how he became close friends with Orndorff who has not been returning his calls lately. He will be facing Bob Orton at the August Boston Garden show. He leaves then Ricky Steamboat enters and says that he likes watching the Boston Celtics play as much as he likes beating on Jake Roberts. He then says that he will play mind games with Jake in Boston.

Bruno and Vince comment on the main event then show a replay of the finish, providing commentary.

Final Thoughts: The main event made this a must-see show. Just wonderfully done and it gave Hogan a feud, which he had been lacking. With Studd, Bundy, and now Orndorff joining Heenan, the WWF has an impressive heel stable to work with. The rest of the show wasn’t much, other than a segment in which we learned that the winner of the Hart Foundation vs. Sheik & Volkoff match in Boston will become the #1 contender for the Tag Team Championship. If you have not seen the main event, do so immediately.

And just a quick programming note, I have now made a schedule for when and what I will be posting my reviews. Here is the schedule and give or take about 30 minutes for the times.

Tuesday: 80’s WWF 8:00pm
Thursday: Shoot Interview Recap 12:30pm (If a two-disc shoot, the second disc will be posted on Friday at the same time)
Friday: 80’s WWF 3:00pm
Saturday: RoH Shows 8:00pm (starting from the company’s debut in 2002 going in order.)
Sunday: 80’s WWF 8:00pm (unless their is a WWE PPV)

Any feedback is welcome at [email protected]

WWF Championship Wrestling July 12th, 1986

July 12, 1986
Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon.
Tonight, Hulk Hogan & Paul Orndorff will team up to face the Moondogs. Also in action will be Ricky Steamboat, Tito Santana & Pedro Morales, and Harley Race.

Les Thornton vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Steamboat holds a cage containing a lizard on his way to the ring. He starts off the match by showcasing his agility but gets caught with a backbreaker. Thornton beats on Steamboat as we get an insert promo from Jake Roberts about Steamboat. Thornton falls on top of Steamboat on a slam attempt and that gets two. Steamboat comes back with an atomic drop and then a dropkick that sends Thornton to the floor. He suplexes Thornton back inside from the apron then puts him away with the flying body press (3:00).
Thoughts: Steamboat looked ridiculous when holding the giant cage containing the lizard down to the ring. Its like he was the WWF’s version of Joan Embery walking down to the ring. But more importantly, his feud with Jake Roberts was getting him over big with the audience.
WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week, Okerlund is on location at the Boston Garden and talks about the Hart Foundation and how they could be the ones to win the belt from the British Bulldogs. This would be the start of the Hart Foundation push.
Dream Team w/ Johnny Valiant vs. Serge Jodoin & Rick Hunter
Hunter starts by shoving Valentine then grabs a side headlock. Hunter lands on his feet after a backdrop, although he nearly fell, then hits a pair of armdrags. Valentine is shocked but ends up backing Hunter into the corner then laying into him with forearm smashes. Beefcake tags and backs Hunter into the corner. Jodoin tags and Brutus suplexes him before catching him with a knee. He then hits a running powerslam and works a neck vise. Valentine tags and finishes off Jodoin with a figure-four leg lock (3:04).
Thoughts: The Dream Team would soon be finished with their feud against the Bulldogs and would soon be replaced by the Hart Foundation as the number #1 contender’s for the Tag Team Titles. The Dream Team would then kick around until breaking up at WrestleMania III.
Ken Resnick is with the British Bulldogs and Capt. Lou Albano, who will be defending their tag team titles against the Dream Team at the King of the Ring show. Not much new from these three.
Roger Kirby & Terry Gibbs vs. Pedro Morales & Tito Santana
Morales tries for a backslide but Kirby breaks up the pin. Kirby enters on a blind tag but Pedro catches him with a small package that Gibbs breaks up. Tag to Tito and cleans house. The faces use quick tags until Kirby beats on Tito in the corner but Tito makes the tag and Pedro hammers away then finishes him off with a backbreaker (3:15).
Thoughts: The Santana & Morales pairing was unmemorable and really only used on TV. Thank god for Tito that they broke him away from Morales shortly after this.
Resnick is with Paul Orndorff, who will face the Junkyard Dog in the first round of the “King of the Ring” tournament. He says that he will win by any means necessary while wearing a hat that reads “Mr. Wonderful #1” then closes the interview by flexing his muscles. Orndorff was cockier and more arrogant than usual here.
Harley Race w/Bobby Heenan vs. Steve Johnson
Johnson is a big dude. He starts by slamming Race, who rolls outside. They repeat the same spot again. Race then dropkicks Johnson and follows that with an elbow drop as we are shown an insert promo of Lanny Poffo reciting a poem about Race. Race tosses Johnson outside then follows him out and roughs him up then back inside, Race puts away Johnson with a cradle suplex (3:33).
Thoughts: The fans barely reacted to the match except for some mild booing at the end. Race could still go in the ring at this point and looked solid but at the same time, just did not fit in with what the WWF was going for at this time.  
The Flower Shop with guests Capt. Lou Albano and the British Bulldogs. Adonis taunts Albano by calling him “rubber band man” then calls the Bulldogs “puppies” as Albano closes the segment by hinting that the Bulldogs will mistake Adonis for a fire hydrant. Terrible segment.
Vince is with Bobby Heenan, King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd before he introduces us to another segment involving Gene Okerlund and the Machines. The Giant Machine tells Gene that he is not Andre the Giant and that he will be coming to the United States and will be managed by Capt. Lou Albano. This segment really dragged and Bill Eadie pretending to be Japanese is so bad. I get that it made sense for Andre but for the Masked Superstar? No one cared about him when he left in 1984.
The Moondogs vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff & Hulk Hogan
Orndorff seems to be avoiding Hogan as they make their entrance. Hogan slams the Moondogs then tags Orndorff. He floats over on a slam then nails Rex with a forearm smash. Orndorff hits a few armdrags on Spot, who tags out. Orndorff stomps on Rex and has no interest in tagging out of the match. Orndorff fights off the Moondogs as the crowd starts a “we want Hulk” chant. Rex suplexes Onrdorff as the Moondogs are now using quick tags. Spot holds up Orndorff for Rex but he ends up hitting his partner instead then Orndorff gets the win with a piledriver (3:48). After the match, Orndorff poses as does Hogan, but Orndorff continues to avoid Hogan.  
Thoughts: The rift between Orndorff and Hogan grew bigger in this match as Orndorff refused to tag out, winning the match by himself and basking in the glory after the finish. Hogan played it cool and praised Orndorff, who didn’t seem to care.
Resnick is with Harley Race, who will be facing George Steele in the first round of the “King of the Ring” tournament. Race cuts a pretty bad promo but declares that he is the “king.” And Race did end up winning the tournament and went by the “King” nickname after that in the WWF. After that, the Dream Team come out behind the steel fence and cut a brief promo on the Bulldogs.
Heenan interrupts Bruno and Vince, who hypes next week’s main event of Hogan & Orndorff vs. Studd & Bundy. He claims that both men are afraid of his team.
Final Thoughts: The Orndorff/Hogan stuff was great and they continued the Machines angle but besides that, nothing else was really going on during this show. Then again, next week’s show was being built up strong and for good reason as it featured a huge main event. Speaking of next week’s show, it was one of the most memorable in WWE history.

WWF Championship Wrestling July 5th, 1986

July 5, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

This week, Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff will be guests in the “Flower Shop” and Gene Okerlund will have a special report from Japan.

Gino Carabello & Steve Lombardi vs. Junkyard Dog & George “The Animal” Steele w/ Capt. Lou Albano

Steele clears the ring before the match. Lombardi bounces off of JYD then gets backdropped. He slams Lombardi then uses the crawling headbutts. Carabello comes in and JYD knocks him to the floor. Steele tags and tosses Carabello outside a few times as the crowd is loving this. Steele smushes the turnbuckle stuffing in Carabello’s face then tags JYD who catches him with a powerslam for the win (3:33). After the match, JYD grabs some kids to dance with him as Vince yells for them to “GIT DOWN.” Steele then tells one of the kids to bite the turnbuckle open.

Thoughts: The crowd was red-hot for Steele & JYD here. This could have been because it was the first match of the taping but these two were over and JYD had been gone for several weeks and the pop might have been for that. But both guys were not doing a whole lot here as Steele’s program with Savage has been put on the backburner and JYD was rapidly deteriorating.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s topic is Randy Savage as they show him cut a promo on Hulk Hogan.

Mario Mancini & S.D. Jones & Don Driggers vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton & Hoss Funk & Jimmy Jack Funk w/ Jimmy Hart

Match starts with S.D. getting the better of Hoss. Jimmy Jack gets slammed as he runs in then Orton comes in only to back off as the heels regroup. Mancini tags and Hoss takes him down with a back suplex and the heels take turns tossing Mancini around. Hoss tosses Mancini to the floor, where Jimmy Jack sends him into the guardrail. The crowd chants for JYD as Driggers tags into the match. Jimmy Jack tags and pins Driggers with a powerslam (2:30). After the match, the Funk’s hogtie Driggers then drag him around the ring as the fans continue to chant for JYD.

Thoughts: The team of Hoss & Jimmy Jack actually got some heat, which is a sign that this is indeed a rabid crowd. Poor Orton was stuck in limbo when Piper left for Hollywood as teaming with these two is considered a step down.

Ken Resnick plugs the “King of the Ring” tournament in Foxboro, MA is with Bruno Sammartino, who talks about Boston area sports radio personality, Eddie Andelman. This was a “feud” to promote the local show as Andelman promised to have a wrestler to take care of Bruno.

Rusty Brooks vs. Billy Jack Haynes

Haynes sends Brooks outside with a kneelift but falls for a cheapshot when he re-enters the ring. We get an insert promo from Muraco in which he wonders who is Billy Jack Haynes. Muraco was pretty funny here. Back to the match as Billy Jack regains control as Vince makes fun of Brooks for being fat. Billy Jack uses another kneelift then hits an inverted atomic drop, setting him up for the full nelson and the win (3:12).

Thoughts: Crowd cooled off during this match except when they taunted Brooks. I never realized how bad Billy Jack was in the ring until I started watching the beginning of his WWF run. He was pretty bad.

Resnick is with Don Muraco as the King of the Ring trophy stands in the background. He asks Muraco about his match against Roddy Piper at the tournament. Muraco said it is a conspiracy that they have to face each other but says that he is the King of the Ring and in the ring, all of the past will be behind them. Piper has yet to be re-introduced on television and has been away for the past two months. Muraco did a good job here.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Eric Cooper

Cooper was a job guy in the Texas territories throughout the 80’s. Jake was getting some cheers here but mostly boos from the crowd. He takes down Cooper with a pair of armdrags but ends up walking into a slam after not paying attention. The crowd chants for Steamboat as Jake beats on Cooper in the corner. He hits a gutbuster as Lanny Poffo is shown in an insert promo reciting a promo about Jake. After a few slams, Jake slaps around Cooper but ducks his head and gets kicked. Cooper fights back but runs into a clothesline then gets hit with a DDT as Jake scores the win (3:06). After the match, Jake dumps the snake on top of Cooper

Thoughts: The snake spot is getting over big right now, with fans either gasping or cheering when it happened. Jake was really awesome in 1986.

The Flower Shop with guests Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff. They appear to respond to Bobby Heenan’s challenge to face King Kong Bundy and John Studd. Adonis grills Hogan about not picking up Orndorff’s phone call as Hogan tells him not to stir up any trouble. Hogan accepts the challenge but Orndorff cuts him off and said that they will face Studd & Bundy in two weeks but next week, they will face the Moondogs to show everyone how they can work together as a team. Hogan says he likes that idea as Orndorff says he will show everyone what Mr. Wonderful is all about. Great stuff and the whole angle was a masterpiece.

Vince is Bobby Heenan, who gloats about having Andre the Giant suspended from wrestling then makes fun of Albano for saying that he will take it up with the courts. Vince then introduces us to a video of Okerlund in Japan as he is with the Super Machine and the Giant Machine. its very obvious that the Giant Machine is Andre the Giant. Super Machine is the Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie) who talks about how it is an honor that they will be coming to America. Super Machine says that their advisor in Japan has spoken with Capt. Lou Albano and he will take care of them. Gene points out that Giant Machine’s voice sounds familiar. This was an unbelievably corny segment. When they come back from the video, Heenan is enraged and yells that is Andre the Giant and how he is not an idiot and will not be made to look like a fool. That was an attempt to salvage the segment but the whole presentation of the Machines, like Eadie pretending to speak English like he was a foreigner, came off terribly and it was obvious to everyone that was Andre the Giant.

Jack Kruger & Roger Kirby vs. Killer Bees

The Bees have new music but do not come out wearing the masks. Brunzell starts out with Kruger and counters a monkey flip attempt with a bridge then works the arm. Vince says that next week the Moondogs will face Orndorff & Hogan and notes how Hogan seemed surprised by Orndorff’s actions. Blair monkey flips Kirby out from the corner and the Bees take turns working on Kirby as the announcers talk about how Andre the Giant seemed like he was the Giant Machine. Kruger tags and takes down Blair with a dropkick. Kriby tags back into the match and ends up sending Blair to the floor. Kruger boots Blair from the apron then the Bees duck underneath the ring and put on masks as their opponents are confused. All four men are in the ring and the Bees put Kirby away with a dropkick after an atomic drop (5:14).

Thoughts: Long but solid match but more of a backdrop for the announcers to put over the Machines and Hogan/Orndorff angles. The “masked confusion” gimmick by the Bees got over a bit and the fact that they had similar builds helped. As far as jobbers are concerned, Kruger was a solid worker. In fact, both Kruger and Kirby used to team as “The Sheiks” in the Central States territory and even held the belts on a few occasions. Kruger would go on to become a referee in the WWF and I believe after that he drove the truck’s for the company until leaving.

Resnick is with the Dream Team who cut a promo behind a steel fence to hype their steel cage match against the British Bulldogs at the “King of the Ring” show. Beefcake demonstrates what he will do to the Bulldogs by grinding a cabbage head against the fence.

Next week, Hogan & Orndorff will face the Moondogs. Also, Okerlund will have another special report from Japan as the announcers speculate that the Giant Machine could be Giant Baba (yeah, right).

Final Thoughts: This was one of the most eventful editions in the history of Champion Wrestling. The Flower Shop segment was classic and even though the Machines angle ended up flopping, it was still big news at the time. We got to see Jake Roberts and the return of JYD too, which depending on your taste, is either a good or a bad thing. The fans who got to sit through this taping, which was this show and the next two, got to witness one of the better heel turns in wrestling history.

MeekinOnMoviesOnGames On…..Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition

Game: Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition
Platform: XBox One, PS4, X360 and WiiU – Currently FREE on Xbox One with Xbox Live Gold
Did I pay for it: No.

“Wrestling is ballet with violence.”  – Jesse Ventura
If the United States of America is the world’s melting pot, Canada is its creativity blender. Between Barenaked Ladies, Rush, Alanis Morrisette, Jim Carey, William
Shatner,  Chris Jericho, and Bret Hart, it seems
whatever they put in the water up there results in creative people doing
familiar things in a special way. No one really sounds like Barenaked Ladies or Rush, there aren’t actors
who do it quite the same way as Shatner or Jim Carey, and lets face it –
if a pro wrestler comes out of Canada you expect something unique.

So, of course leave it to Canadian developers DrinkBox Studios to
bestow upon the world Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition, which blends together the best of Super Metroid and Double Dragon with authentic Mexican flair and Lucha Libre goodness, and feels completely fresh at the same time.

Largely played for laughs, Guacamelee’s story feels sort of like a kid-friendly, Mexican-infused version of ‘The Crow’, with a bit of Disney Flair. You are Juan, a shy farmer, who through a series of circumstances is killed, has his love interest  kidnapped, and is resurrected as a Luchadore superhero known as Guacamelee. It’s up to you to stop the man responsible, Carlos, rid the world of evil, and save your girlfriend via the awesome power of professional wrestling and your ability to leap between the world of the living and the world of the dead.  
The plot isn’t the main draw, but NPCs spout dialog that ranges from silly to informative to even a little risque in that “for all ages” kind of way that will keep adults entertained and kids in the dark about the second meaning of a given entendre.You run into zany folks who make Goat puns, a vixen who seems to puncuiate every pun with a swing of her hips and a bat of an eyelash, a man who needs you to find and secure all his chickens, and so on. If you’re a fan of zany with a side of ribald, you may enjoy the game’s story more than you’d expect.

Of course it’s easy to like everything about this game considering the wonderful first impression it makes. Guacamelee is bright and colorful, where the Latin influence is omnipresent in the design of the towns, characters, buildings, culture, and music. Especially the music, which is consistently enthusiastic and never dull. 

The entirety of the A/V presentation has a vibe that feels like a Carlos Santana song brought to life. The soundtrack making the experience a carnival that’s gone off the rails, and the visuals treating your eyeballs to colors to vibrant you’ll never look at somber indie games like Braid, or ‘realistic’ first person shooters the same way again.

The animation is precise and crisp, looking a lot like a late 90s cartoon, especially Disney’s Hercules and
The Emperor’s New Groove, where movements are lightning fast, faces are
exaggerated, and literally anything was possible if it resulted in a
good laugh. It also seems to be borrowing a page out of Family Guy’s handbook in that it’ll often skip a frame or two of animation during a punch, kick, throw, or emote to give the action a real impact.

Speaking of impact, unlike *real* pro wrestlers, Guacamelee is actually hitting people,  and combat is a real treat; combining traditional combo-mechanics with
wrestling style grapples and the ability to throw enemies into each
other. X serves as your punch button, Y provides your grapple, and B is
your special ability which varies depending on what your current
situation is. Combining these three buttons results in suplexes, tosses,
power bombs, and other assorted throws. There’s nothing like heading
into a room full of bad guys, getting a hold of one, stunning them,
grappling them, then chucking them at the bad guys just waiting for
their turn to tussle.

To have success at combat,
you’ll need to be aware of when to dodge enemies attacks, how to damage
them enough to grapple, and have the presence of mind to jump between
the light and dark worlds at the right time, as some enemies will be
bathed in shadow and impossible to hit unless you jump into a portal
that brings them into the light. It’s a real
blast, as dealing good combos isn’t too hard, but dealing a great one is
wonderfully rewarding and something you’ll strive to achieve every
time. When you toss in the wrestling-related grapples and details, it’s a
whole lot of fun, and you’ll cackle with glee every time you pull off some combination of moves and attacks that leaves your enemies dead quicker than you thought possible.

But you’ll stop laughing as you ascend the turnbuckle that is Guacamelee’s escalating difficulty. The game starts you off easy, as you learn basic combos and moves like a fire punch and combat roll that lets you get through thorny vines and dodge enemy attacks, but once you best the game’s first boss, prepare for a game that challenges your platforming strategy in the best kind of frustrating way. It’s not uncommon for a given puzzle to involve jumping from one pillar
to another, dropping down in a specific way to hit a special switch that
alternates what platforms are visible, then while free-falling, using
your dragon-punch-uppercut-thingy to make it onto the next ledge.
Thankfully, the game is forgiving in this regard, and you’ll rarely need
to re-do old areas to reach the one you screwed up on.

Aside from the punishing platforming, the over-all design of the game has its heart in Zelda II or Castlevania: Symphony of The Night. Guacamelee combines 2D action with RPG elements, NPC villages, ability upgrades, and interconnected paths. Progressing through the game unlocks special uppercuts, headbutts, wrestling moves, and other assorted abilities that help you sleigh your enemies, but also allow you explore more of the world.

It’s not unlike how in Super Mario World you’d stomp on that big yellow “!” block, and suddenly all the levels you previously visited had new and interesting paths to explore. Here, unlocking a headbutt means you can get past specific boulders, and a wall jump allows you to scale narrow walls without the need for platforms. You’ll do a lot of this path opening after beating a boss, and it’s a great feeling to return to town, smashing and breaking all the road blocks that were once in your way in order to secure all kinds of sweet loot that includes health upgrades, ability upgrades, and silver you can use to purchase new outfits with special bonuses.

If you have fond memories of Double Dragon, or Metroid, or Zelda II, or Castlevania, or Ultimate Muscle for some reason, Guacamelee is the ultimate homage to what made those games special, with a few direct references for garnish. Playing through this game is exciting, fun, frustrating, and most importantly, exciting. It’s a real roller coaster of fighting, platforming, exploration, and Mariachi. While we’ve seen countless 2D games with RPG and open world elements, very few are this stark and this confident and this pleasant to behold.

I blame Canada.

—— The “Super Turbo Championship Edition” of this game features a longer storyline, new enemies, and is clearly the best version of the game to get.——-

WWE Linear Championship

"What would happen in the professional wrestling world if non-title matches did not exist? What would happen if every time a Champion stepped into the ring in a one on one match, the WWE Championship was on the line?"

Spoiler alert: Kofi Kingston is the current WWE champion

​Yeah, I've actually been following this riveting saga since Dave and Bryan mentioned it a few months ago on the radio show.  It's actually a wonderfully geeky endeavor that redeems the internet somewhat after the potato salad Kickstarter made me lose faith in it.  Way to go, internet!  ​

WWF Championship Wrestling June 28th, 1986

June 28th, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

In action tonight are Paul Orndorff, Don Muraco, Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana & Pedro Morales, and the British Bulldogs

The Gladiator & Tiger Chung Lee vs. “Golden Boy” Danny Spivey & Mike Rotundo

Spivey & Rotundo come out to “Born in the USA” and holding the American flag and wearing shirts that read “USA” but were not yet referred to as the “U.S. Express.” Rotundo gets the better of The Gladiator to start. Spivey tags and ends up sending Lee through the ropes with a dropkick after a criss-cross spot. The heels trap Rotundo in the corner as we get an insert promo from the Dream Team and Johnny Valiant talking about how Spivey & Rotundo will have to go through them in order to get a shot at the gold. Rotundo fights out as the crowd starts up a “U-S-A” chant. He tags Spivey and they hit The Gladiator with a double dropkick then Spivey overpowers the Gladiator for a bit. Lee tags and works over Rotundo for a bit but misses a charge then Spivey tags and puts Lee away with the bulldog (3:26).

Thoughts: The crowd was actually jacked up for Rotundo & Spivey and popped huge for the finish, which was a first. Having Spivey essentially act as a Barry Windham ripoff was not going to get him over though.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week, the subject is Randy Savage and how he has stiff competition for his Intercontinental Title with the likes of the Junkyard Dog, George Steele and Paul Orndorff. Gene then jokes about Steele and Elizabeth’s chidren looking like either the Fabulous Moolah with a beard or Gorilla Monsoon with a tutu.

Bob Boyer vs. Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji

Muraco beats the piss out of Boyer as the announcers talk about Muraco trying to re-enter the title picture. He then tosses Boyer outside as Fuji hits him with the cane as the referee’s back was turned. Back inside, Muraco targets the neck as Vince talks about Andre’s suspension and that he thinks they have found Andre outside of the country and will give a report next week as Muraco finishes off Boyer with the tombstone (3:27).

Thoughts: Not much happening here. Muraco was continuing his slide down the card and the main thing that happened here was the news of Andre the Giant’s whereabouts.

Ken Resnick talks about the 2nd Annual “King of the Ring” tournament at Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, MA. He brings out Johnny Valiant and the Dream Team who will be facing the British Bulldogs for the Tag Team Titles inside of a steel cage. This promo actually takes place with the guys behind a chain link fence. Beefcake attempting a British accent to mock the Bulldogs was pretty funny.

Lane Anderson & Al Navarro vs. Tito Santana & Pedro Morales

Pedro starts by working the arm of Navarro then hits a slam. Tito tags and works the arm of Navarro as Bruno talks about what it takes to be a good tag team. Anderson tags as Tito works his arm. Pedro tags and slams Anderson then works on his arm as this match is boring. Tito tags and Anderson then they double team Tito for a bit but he is able to tag Pedro then shortly after that, Tito tags back into the match and puts away Anderson with the flying forearm (3:11).

Thoughts: The crowd popped for the finish but were quiet for a majority of the match. Pedro was really old news at this point and no one really cared about him anymore. His workrate was less than inspired too.

Resnick is with Capt. Lou and the British Bulldogs, who are behind the chain link fence for their promo. No wonder the WWF got Albano to talk for them as Davey Boy was really bad on the mic and Dynamite was twice as bad as him.

Max Blue vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff

Orndorff poses to cheers then does some of Hogan’s taunts. He attacks Blue from behind to start then sends him to the floor. He slams Blue to the floor then rolls him back inside where he flattens him with a clothesline then gets the win with a piledriver (1:36). After the match, Orndorff makes Howard Finkel refer to him as the “Old Mr. Wonderful.” Bruno also says that he was shocked at the tactics that Orndorff used in this match

Thoughts: Orndorff was ultra aggressive and arrogant here, foreshawdowing his heel turn. Even Bruno spent the whole match talking about how he did not like Orndorff’s behaviors.

The Flower Shop with guest Bobby Heenan. Orndorff interrupts as Heenan calls him “Hulk Jr.” and says that he looks tough beating up on a nobody then tells him to sign for a tag match against Studd & Bundy with Hulk Hogan as his partner. Orndorff says that all he has to do is to call up Hogan and he will be here right by his side. Orndorff then leaves and says he is going to call Hogan now as Adonis refers to Orndorff a second-rate guy as Heenan says that Hogan is probably too busy or tired to talk to Orndorff as the crowd starts up a “faggot” chant aimed at Adonis. Great segment as the heels were making Orndorff go out of his mind by calling him a second-rate Hogan.

Ken Resnick is with WWF President Jack Tunney, who is pulling out two names at random that will receive first-round bye’s in the King of the Ring Tournament. The two bye’s will go to Hercules Hernandez and Mike Rotundo. Tunney then draws the 1st round matchups which include:

Pedro Morales vs. Bob Orton (Winner faces Mike Rotundo)
Nikolai Volkoff vs. Danny Spivey
Junkyard Dog vs. Paul Orndorff
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Iron Sheik (Winner faces Hercules Hernandez)
George Steele vs. Harley Race
Don Muraco vs. Roddy Piper

The Menace & Jack Kruger vs. British Bulldogs

No Albano this week. Vince tells us that Orndorff is in the process of calling Hogan right now. Kruger hits Dynamite with a neckbreaker then drops an elbow for two. Dynamite comes back with a snap suplex then a double underhook suplex as we are shown an insert of Orndorff calling up Hogan, screaming at the person on the other end to get Hogan now then ripping the cord out as he was unable to get a hold of Hogan. Vince said it sounded like Hogan was at the gym and could not be reached. Back to the match as the Menace ducks outside as Davey tried to unmask him but the announcers continue to talk about Orndorff and Hogan. Davey places the Menace on the top rope then tags Dynamite, who finishes him off with a super back suplex (3:11).

Thoughts: Dynamite hit a few vicious suplexes but the main focus was the continuation of the Orndorff/Hogan angle as Mr. Wonderful was going out of his mind as he could not reach Hogan at the gym. This was all great stuff.

Resnick is with the Junkyard Dog, who cuts a rambling promo with his jaw grinding all over the place. This guy was coked up to the gills here. When your jaw is grinding like that, you are high. Albano comes out and brings out George Steele who says that Harley Race is “slow.”

As Bruno and Vince wrap up the show, Orndorff interrupts and screams about how Hogan was too busy to come to the phone because he was working out and that their match will not take place as a result.

Final Thoughts: What a tremendous show, all thanks to the Orndorff/Hogan stuff. Even though it was obvious that Orndorff was going to turn on Hogan at some point, everything else tonight was performed to perfection. The heels having Orndorff go out of his mind was great stuff. None of the other feuds were focused on tonight besides the Dream Team/Bulldogs and they drew the lineups for the King of the Ring Show. The next few weeks of TV will be very interesting and I will be back on Friday with a review of the June 28th Philadelphia Spectrum show.

WWF Championship Wrestling June 21st, 1986

June 21, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

In action tonight are the Killer Bees, Hart Foundation, and the debut of Billy Jack Haynes

Killer Bees vs. Steve Lombardi & Terry Gibbs

The Bees start by working the arm of Lombardi. We see an insert promo from the Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff talking about how the Bees confused them by putting on masks in their match, causing them to lose by countout. Blair hits a crossbody on Gibbs then the Bees hit him with a double elbow smash. Lombardi tags but Brunzell gets the best of him. Blair tags and Brunzell hits Lombardi with an atomic drop then Blair hits him with a clothesline from the second rope for the win (3:24).

Thoughts: They are trying to get over the mask gimmick with the Bees, who would take them off before the match then put them on in order to confuse their opponents during the match.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. He reads a page from the WWF Magazine that is about Jimmy Hart as they show a clip of the Junkyard Dog yanking off Hart’s pants during his match at WrestleMania 2.

Tony Park & Jerry Monti vs. Hercules Hernandez & “Cowboy” Bob Orton

The heels take turns destroying Monti. Hercules then takes Monti and drops him across the top rope. Park tags and Hercules clotheslines him down. Orton tags and hits a dropkick and a backbreaker then Hercules puts him away with his backbreaker (2:54). Bobby Heenan joins the booth and gloats about Andre the Giant being suspended as Vince questions what actually happened to Andre.

Thoughts: The match was really a backdrop for the Heenan/Andre feud. Both Orton and Hercules got a chance to show off their offense but that was all. Orton has been doing nothing of note since Piper left for film roles as Hercules still has yet to get over as a heel.

Ken Resnick is with Hulk Hogan, who will be facing Randy Savage in Boston on June 27th. He cuts a promo about the Hulkamaniacs and how his mother is in the kitchen mixing up protein.

Jimmy Kent vs. Billy Jack Haynes

Haynes beats on Kent to start. He then hits a suplex and a press slam as the announcers talk about his physique. Haynes no-sells some kicks and chops then takes Kent down with a bell clap. Kent bounces off of Haynes, which causes Vince to laugh, then gets caught with a backbreaker before Haynes puts him away with a full nelson (3:01).

Thoughts: Haynes looked alright in his debut. However, he moved around the ring and wrestled as a heel, when he was supposed to be a face. He would have been a good, aggressive heel for the WWF if they let him.

Ken Resnick is with Don Muraco, who will be facing Paul Orndorff in Boston. Muraco calls Orndorff a backstabber then tells Orndorff that he is the number one contender. Muraco also brought up last week’s “Flower Shop” appearance by Orndorff in which Adonis  reminded him how Hogan was more popular.

George Wells & Rudy Diamond vs. Hoss & Jimmy Jack Funk w/ Jimmy Hart

The Funk’s attack their opponents before the bell. Wells, who has gained a lot of weight since WrestleMania 2, fights back and clears the Funk’s from the ring. Back inside, Wells misses a charge and Hoss takes control. Diamond tags as Hoss hits a back suplex. Jimmy Jack tags as we see an insert promo from Mike Rotundo & Danny Spivey about how they want to challenge the Funk’s to get through the top of the tag division. Wells tags and hits a few slams but Hoss gets his legs up. Wells makes the tag but Diamond gets destroyed then Hoss puts on the Texas Cloverleaf for the win (3:29). After the match, the Funk’s tie up Diamond until Wells makes the save.

The Flower Shop with guest Bobby Heenan, who talks about how Andre the Giant is gone from the WWF. Hulk Hogan interrupts and tells Heenan to hit the road then yells at Adonis for trying to cause friction between him and Paul Orndorff, putting over how they are like blood brothers and that with a friend like Orndorff, you ever have to look over your back. The fans went nuts for Hogan here.

Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Mario Mancini & Bob Boyer

Boyer looks to be at least 50 years old. The Anvil pushes him around to start. Mancini tags and the Anvil hip tosses him out from the corner. Brett tags and hits a backbreaker then places Mancini in a tree-of-woe, allowing the Anvil to beat on him. Anvil tags then right after that they put away Mancini with the Hart Attack (2:21).

Thoughts: Another impressive showing from the Hart Foundation. They are frequently showcased on television winning matches, which gets you over.

The Killer Bees give us a PSA about making sure to swim with a buddy and not by yourself.

Les Thornton & The Moondogs vs. David Sammartino & King Tonga & “Leaping” Lanny Poffo

Poffo’s pre-match promo is about the David Sammartino and how he deserves a break about being compared to his father, Bruno. Easier said that done. Moondog Rex and Tonga start things off. Tonga gets the better of that battle then slams all of his opponents. David tags and pushes around Moondog Spot until he tags Lanny. Poffo shows off his agility until Rex knees him from the apron. Thornton tags and beats on Poffo. After some quick tags, Poffo fights back and tags Tonga. He dropkicks Thornton then takes care of the Moondogs before putting Thornton away with a side kick (3:49).

Thoughts: Most of this was to showcase Tonga, who they are pushing after he slammed Big John Studd last week. Sammartino barely did anything and his return did not last long at all, as he was gone by the beginning of July.

Next week, Paul Orndorff will be in action. Also, Danny Spivey & Mike Rotundo, Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana & Pedro Morales, and the British Bulldogs.

Final Thoughts: Not a whole lot happened this week besides Hogan’s appearance in the “Flower Shop.” Billy Jack Haynes debut was alright and no one seemed to care about David Sammartino’s return to the company. There was a lot of filler too, with the Funk Brothers and Orton & Hercules tag matches.

WWF Championship Wrestling June 14, 1986

June 14, 1986

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

Ricky Steamboat interrupts Bruno and Vince as they preview the show for us and is carrying something that is covered, stating it is a present for Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

Les Thornton & Max Blue vs. George “The Animal” Steele & Corporal Kirchner

Steele & Kirchner chase their opponents out of the ring. The match starts with Steele ramming Blue into the corner a few times. Thornton tags and works on Kirchner briefly until he gets taken over with a sunset flip. Kirchner slams Thornton but misses an elbow drop and Blue tags. Steele comes in and rips open the turnbuckle, throwing the stuffing in Blue’s face. Kirchner beats on Blue then tags Steele, who throws stuffing at his opponents, before tagging Kirchner who finishes the match with a Samoan drop (3:47).

Thoughts: I believe that Kirchner was the replacement for the previously advertised JYD, who I am pretty sure was in rehab. Not much to see here.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s focus is on Andre the Giant and how his match at WrestleMania 2 was his last appearance in the WWF. After the clip of Andre is shown, the camera cuts back to Gene about to give a message to the WWF about Andre’s suspension as a rubber chicken on a string drops from the ceiling, prompting Gene to say that he wants to “choke this chicken.”

Jerry Monti vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/ Elizabeth

Bruno and Vince note of Elizabeth looks like a movie star as Savage takes down Monti with an armdrag. Monti returns the favor but ends up running into a clothesline. We are shown an insert promo from Tito Santana talking about Savage, who scores the pin with a flying elbow smash (1:23). The crowd chants for Tito after the match.

Thoughts: The announcers spent the match talking about Savage and if the Intercontinental Title was holding him back from being a world champion.

Ken Resnick is with Don Muraco, who cuts a promo on Paul Orndorff to hype their match on June 27th in Boston. Solid promo by Muraco, who was underrated on the mic.

Jack Kruger vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Steamboat brings his bag to the ring with him. Kruger starts off the match in control. He clotheslines Steamboat and drops the knee and follows that with a slam. Kruger hits a fist drop off of the top rope for one. He climbs up top again but Steamboat slams him off the top then tosses him outside. Kruger is afraid of the bag then climbs inside where Steamboat hits an atomic drop. He catches Kruger with a belly-to-belly suplex then gets the win with a flying body press (2:36).

Thoughts: Steamboat looked awesome, as usual, as his feud with Jake was the hottest on WWF TV at this time.

Ken Resnick is with Hulk Hogan, who talks about the gyms and long-legged women in Boston, were he will be facing Randy Savage. The promo was fine.

Ricky Thompson & Mike Lucca vs. Dream Team w/ Johnny Valiant

The heels take turns beating on Thompson to start the match. We are shown an insert promo of the British Bulldogs, without Albano, talking about how the Dream Team are desperate and will do anything to win the titles back in an awful promo. Beefcake then hits Thompson with a flying knee smash for the win (2:51).

Thoughts: The Dream Team was ultra aggressive here as the story with them are that they have been angry and desperate since dropping the titles to the British Bulldogs at WrestleMania 2.

The Flower Shop with guest Paul Orndorff. Adonis tells Orndorff that he is taking a back seat to Hulk Hogan. Adonis then talks about how Hogan gets more cheers and sells more dolls than him as Orndorff screams how he does not care if Adonis is right because all that matters is that he and Hogan are friends then accuses him of trying to cause trouble. Easily the best edition of the “Flower Shop” and even more important in hindsight as this planted the seed for Orndorff’s turn on Hogan.

Don Driggers vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Driggers starts by dropkicking Jake after a leap frog. Jake then backs Driggers into the corner and hammers away. He slams him then takes Driggers head off with a short-armed clothesline before finishing him off with the DDT (2:12). After the match, Steamboat runs in with his bag and clotheslines Jake. He then pulls a giant lizard out of the back that scares the shit out of Jake, who retreats backstage.

Thoughts: The crowd loved seeing Steamboat get his revenge against Jake. Having another animal in the WWF was something else too but this feud was really, really good.

Lanny Poffo delivers a PSA for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

Handicapped Match
Jim Powers & Rick Hunter vs. Big John Studd w/ Bobby Heenan

Before the match, Heenan offers up $15,000 to either guy if they can slam Studd but King Tonga runs into the ring for a chance to slam Studd, who tells Tonga that he only does “two a night.” Match starts with each guy failing to slam Studd, who shoves them both away. Powers stuns Studd with a dropkick but gets tossed to the floor afterwards then Studd slams Hunter for the win (2:17). After the match, Tonga runs in for the save then slams Studd, which causes the crowd to go nuts. Tonga celebrates by dancing

Thoughts: They went all out in an effort to push Tonga with him slamming Studd. The crowd was into the angle big time but they could not sustain that push for Tonga going forward. Watching Tonga perform a celebratory dance was a sight to see.

We are then shown the same Savage promo from last week where he slams down and spits on the Intercontinental Title.

Next week in action are the Killer Bees, Junkyard Dog (who was not there), Bob Orton and the Championship Wrestling debut of Billy Jack Haynes.

Final Thoughts: A fun show. They are building towards solid feuds and had a very interesting edition of the “Flower Shop.” The WWF was going through a transition as booker George Scott would be removed very shortly as Vince would take over the book.