WWF Primetime Wrestling: January 1st, 1985

January 1, 1985

 

This
is the debut episode of Primetime Wrestling. For those who are not familiar
with this show, it featured a lot of house show matches, especially for the
first few months. Over time, they incorporated studio interviews and even
filmed exclusive matches at the television tapings. Although Gorilla Monsoon
and Bobby Heenan are remembered the most, they were not the original hosts.
That honor belongs to Jack Reynolds and Jesse Ventura. Anyway, I will
occasionally review this show over time.

 

Your
hosts are Jesse Ventura and Jack Reynolds

 

The
show starts with Reynolds and Ventura welcoming the viewers. Reynolds seems
really uncomfortable and glued to the cue cards. Ventura informs us that TNT
has been moved to Friday nights. He also says that despite having blood clots a
few months ago, he is training and promises that 1985 will be his year. Not a
lot of chemistry at all between these two.

 

Just
to let everyone know, all of the matches and interviews on this show were from
the 10/22/84 house show at MSG.
 

 

 

Salvatore Bellomo vs. “Dr. D” David
Schultz

Bellomo
starts with a few arm wringers but Schultz is able to duck between the ropes.
Bellomo grabs a hammerlock and Schultz ducks out again as the crowd boos.
Bellomo grounds him with a headscissors for a bit. Schultz escapes and knees
Bellomo, then goes to work. He catches him with a back elbow smash then chokes
him out in the corner. Schultz gets a slam then drops the elbow from the second
rope but Bellomo kicks out. Schultz is pissed then roughs him up in the corner
before putting him away with a suplex (4:02) *.

Thoughts:
I have no idea why Bellomo kicked out of Schultz’s finishing move. The guy was
a scrub. Pretty much a squash for Schultz, which it should have been.

 

After
the match, the hosts give their thoughts. They put over Bellomo as being a
fighter but state he was no match for Schultz.

 

 

Ventura
puts down the Samoans, saying they should not be able to wrestle as they cannot
read or write, which he states should be a prerequisite.

 

 

Afa vs. Dick Murdoch

This
match is joined in progress with Afa chopping Murdoch. Afa no sells a
turnbuckle smash then and does the same to Murdoch, who comically oversells the
move by stumbing all over the place before falling through the ropes. Afa works
the arm, using headbutts, then knocks Murdoch down. Afa goes for a chinlock but
Murdoch rakes the eyes then tries to one-up Afa by ramming his own head into
the turnbuckle repeatedly but just stumbles around and falls over. The crowd is
eating up the comical overselling from Murdoch. Afa covers and gets two as
Murdoch struggles to get up. The Hillbilly is shown at ringside as Murdoch
knocks Afa to the floor. He goes out and chokes Afa with a cord. Murdoch kicks
him from the apron then chokes him by using the ropes. He unties the tag rope
and chokes out Afa but the ref is able to intervene. Afa finally makes it back
into the ring and no sells a ton of shots to the head. Afa fights back and
catches him with a chop. He bites Murdoch then hits him with a pair of atomic
drops. Falling headbutt gets two. Mrudoch oversells everything as Afa gets a
few nearfalls. Murdoch goes outside then puls out a paperbag that appears to
have a bottle inside and hits Afa. He drops a few elbows to the throat of Afa,
who is laying underneath the ropes. Murdoch goes to work but both men collide
and are down. Afa headbutts Murdoch down from his knees and gets two. Murdoch
tries a slam but Afa falls on top and gets two. Afa slams Mrudoch down on the
mat. Afa plays to the crowd then hits another headbutt and goes for the cover
but the bell rings, signaling they reached the twenty minute time limit. About
twelve minutes of this was shown. After the match, Murdoch challenges Afa for
five more minutes but gets destroyed shortly afterwards.

Thoughts:
Fine for what it was. Afa was in a ton of pain at this time and couldn’t do
much and they worked around that by having Murdoch do a lot of comedy spots.

 

Gorilla
Monsoon interviews Mad Dog Vachon in the locker room. Mad Dog says no one will
stop him. That was basically all he said.

 

 

Rick McGraw vs. Mad Dog Vachon

This
is also from the October show at MSG.  Vachon
backs McGraw into the ropes and breaks cleanly. He takes McGraw down with an
armdrag and puts on a headlock as Okerlund makes a joke about losing his dog
this weekend. McGraw eventually escapes and manages to ground Vachon with a
headlock of his own. Vachon escapes then bites McGraw. He rakes the back and
chokes him out, then goes back to biting. McGraw fights back and gets two off a
snapmare. Vachon chokes out McGraw but gets dropkicked. Vachon misses a charge
in the corner and McGraw covers for two. Dropkick gets two. Scoop slam gets
two. Vachon dodges a dropkick and chokes out McGraw with the ropes then hits a
terrible looking piledriver for the win (7:04) DUD.

Thoughts:
Vachon was of no use to this company. His antics did not fit in with the WWF at
this time. He fit in a decade earlier. McGraw was alright but these two did not
work well together.

 

 

Reynolds
promises that David Sammartino will be a superstar as Jesse calls him a
“beer-bellied punk.” They show Monsoon interviewing him at MSG. He is vanilla
and they were calling him David Bruno Sammartino at this time, which was an
attempt to get him over. The poor guy tried but didn’t have any star qualities
about him.

 

 

Moondog Spot vs. David Sammartino

This
is joined in progress. Sammartino catches Spot with a shoulder block and goes
to work on the arm. Sammartino ducks a clothesline and knocks Spot down. He
catches him with an armdrag and goes back to the arm. Sammartino charges but
runs into a superkick. Spot kicks him again then rams him into the corner. Slam
gets two. Spot sends him down with a kneelift as Sammartino eggs him on. He
fights back but Spot gets an eye rake. Sammartino gets two off a sunset flip but
Spot hits him with a forearm smash from the second rope. He grabs a chinlock
but Sammartino escapes. He sends Spot down with a shoulder block but misses an
elbow drop. Spot gets two off a backbreaker the fires away. Sammartino fights
back as Spot begs for mercy. They trade shots and Sammartino tries to fire up
the crowd. Kneedrop gets two. Suplex gets two. Spot catches him with a knee on
a backdrop attempt then picks him up for a 
slam but Sammartino countered with a small package, which looked
terrible, for the win.  About eight
minutes shown of this match, which went 12:23. After the match Spot jumps
Sammartino then grabs the bone but Sammartino fights back and the bone falls.
He grabs the bone from the ref, and the crowd goes nuts. Spot bails afterwards.

Thoughts:
Good action. The Sammartino push did not work as he lacked charisma and looked
like a bloated Rick McGraw but he really wasn’t that bad in the ring. Spot, who
was underrated, did a fine job.

 

 

The
hosts talk about Tito Santana, with Jesse referring to him as “Chico,” for what
I believe was the first time. He says that being the Intercontinental Champ was
a big jump from him selling tacos in Tijuana.

 

 

Monsoon
interviews Tito. He promises to get the IC belt back from Greg Valentine and
says that he will make him pay for every night he spent thinking about him. A
good, intense promo from Tito.

 

 

Intercontinental Title Match

Greg Valentine (Champion) w/Capt. Lou
Albano vs. Tito Santana

The
crowd goes nuts for Tito. He goes right after Valentine, who is still wearing
the belt. He takes it off and tries to use it but Tito knocks him down. He
continues his assault as the crowd is going nuts. Valentine grabs a hold of
Tito’s leg but gets knocked back down. Valentine fight back then they trade
shots. Tito knocks Valentine to the floor with a forearm smash. Back in the
ring, they trade shots with Valentine winning that battle. He punches Tito, who
turns him around and starts hammering away. Valentine hits a few forearms then
an atomic drop. Tito fights back but Valentine rakes the eyes. He kicks Tito
the floor and gets booted by Albano. Tito drags Valentine out of the ring and
they fire away. Valentine gets an eye rake and grabs a chair but Tito ducks and
fires away. In the ring, Tito whacks Valentine with a chair and Tito fires
away. Valentine is busted open and Tito opens him up some more. The ref tries
to intervene but Tito shoves him away and the ref rings the bell for the DQ (5:52)
***. Albano runs in the ring but Tito knocks him down and he and Valentine
leave ringside.

Thoughts:
Great stuff. Although short, this was all action and these guys really laid
into each other. I loved this feud, as these two just hated each other.

 

 

Back
in the studio, Jesse calls Tito a disgrace to wrestling as he cheated the
entire match.

 

 

Sika vs. Adrian Adonis

Sika
works the arm for a bit until Adonis bails. Back in the ring, Sika goes back to
the arm for a long time. Adonis eludes Sika with a cartwheel but gets caught
with a slam. Sika works a nerve hold for a bit. Adonis manages to catch Sika
with a clothesline then takes control. Adonis climbs up top but Sika knocks him
down then hammers away. Adonis reaches into his tights for a glove but Sika
moves and he accidentally hits the ref, who calls for the bell (9:29) ¼*. Sika
grabs the glove but Adonis is able to escape. Howard Finkel informs us that
Sika has won by DQ.

Thoughts:
Bad match with a shitty finish.  The tag
team division really stunk at this time. Luckily, 1985 brought some new tag-teams
to the WWF.

 

 

Tony Garea vs. Brutus Beefcake
w/Luscious Johnny Valiant

Beefcake
starts things off by strutting around. Garea ducks under Beefcake but gets
trapped in the corner. Garea reverses a whip in the corner then takes him down
with a side headlock. He does it again as the crowd doesn’t care. He gets two
off a crossbody then takes him down with yet another side headlock. Beefcake
takes control and connects on several forearm smashes. He chokes him out in the
corner but misses an elbow smash. Garea punches away then dropkicks Beefcake to
the floor. He chases him around and gets two off a reverse rollup. They do an
Irish whip spot and Beefcake connects with a jumping knee smash for the win
(5:20) ½*.

Thoughts:
Another dull match, which is no surprise with these two. Garea is one of my
least favorite wrestlers of all-time. He is awful in the ring and on the mic.
Beefcake still cannot get over, despite his push and new manager.

 

 

World Heavyweight Title Match

Big John Studd w/Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk
Hogan (Champion)

Studd
ducks outside and when he comes back in, Hogan spits at him. Hogan fires away
and Studd ducks out again but Hogan chases after him. Studd fights back and
sends Hogan into the post. Back in the ring, Studd hits Hogan with an elbow
smash. He grabs a chinlock and Hogan tries to escape but Studd knees him down.
He hits Hogan with a forearm smash from the second rope then grabs another
chinlock. Studd knees him down again then drops him throat-first on the top
rope. Studd roughs up Hogan outside of the ring, who barely makes it in before
the ten count. Hogan blocks a slam attempt and fires away. Hogan then ducks an
attack and hits Studd with a lariat for the win (7:38) *1/4.

Thoughts:
Decent enough, considering Studd was in the match. It was pretty cool to see a
World Title match on TV, even if it was over two months old.

 

 

Jesse
refuses to comment on the Hogan match when asked by Reynolds. When they come
back from break, Jesse rips off his jacket and flexes while yelling about
Hogan. Reynolds runs down next week’s show, which features the Tonga Kid vs.
Roddy Piper match from the November MSG show.

 

 

Final Thoughts: Although some of these matches sucked, it was rare to
see not only an Intercontinental Title match, but a Heavyweight Title Match on
television. The show was long and the hosts had no chemistry but it was a new
format that featured competitive matches, which was uncommon at that time. It
was especially cool to see footage from house shows that most across the
country were not able to see. The debut show was okay but some felt at that
time that it was overexposure on the WWF’s part as they had several other
weekly shows at this time.