Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Date: July 14, 1984
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Tony Garea, Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund
Host: Vince McMahon
Ok so this one DEFINITELY needs backstory. What we’re seeing is actually an episode of World Championship Wrestling (the name of the NWA TV show, not the actual company which is a little confusing) which was broadcast out of Atlanta every Saturday. Back in the early to mid 80s, Vince was buying up a bunch of territories, with the crowning jewel being GCW: Georgia Championship Wrestling.
This was the big dog of the NWA back then, so Vince getting that was a huge victory. So one Saturday with no warning, Vince McMahon appeared on Atlanta TV and presented World Wrestling Federation action. To say this was a disaster is like saying Austin liked beer. Ratings were through the floor and Vince got out almost immediately, blaming Turner for it somehow. He sold the slot to a man named Jim Crockett, and the war was officially on. This is historical to say the least, so let’s get to it.
Vince opens us with the old host of WCW, Freddie Miller, and then lists off who will be here this week. It’s a bunch of familiar names but to NWA fans, this was maddening. It would be like the ECW guys doing an invasion of Raw, but rather than an invasion it was just their show now. The other guys were just gone with no resolution to angles or anything like that. Think about what that would be like for a minute. How annoying would that be to just have a completely different style pop up and you had no idea it was coming?
Adrian Adonis/Dick Murdoch vs. SD Jones/Nick DeCarlo
Adonis and Murdoch are the tag champions here and Jones/DeCarlo are teaming for the first time ever. Yep it’s a squash match for the first match in the history of this show. Clearly this is going to be better than the Andersons and Flair. This isn’t from Atlanta, which was a big deal also. Vince promised a lot of stuff would be taped in Atlanta, but nothing was for the most part.
Adonis is mostly average sized here and a biker and completely heterosexual for all intents and purposes. This was aired already on WWF’s regular show, so this isn’t even new stuff. It appears to be from Philly but I’m not sure. Jones, the career jobber, gets in his standard jobber offense which is highlighted by a headbutt of all things.
This is a really boring tag match that is going on WAY too long. Hot tag to Jones (what kind of a name is Special Delivery?) and he cleans some house. We must be in Philly as he gets a big chant. The faces are tagging a lot here. DeCarlo walks into an elbow and a combination belly to back suplex and clothesline to end him.
Rating: D. Awful match that went on far too long. It was a glorified squash but just went on far too long. If this was supposed to be the first match we see, then there’s no way this should be any good. We know nothing about the characters at all other than they’re a good team, which is apparently all we’re getting about him. This went nowhere at all.
We go to Mean Gene, who looks horrible but still has something resembling hair, with Mr. Fuji and his latest talent: George the Animal Steele. Fuji says only he can talk to Steele and talks about how awesome he is. Steele says FUJI and we go to a break.
Jesse Ventura vs. Chris Curtis
We’re in Minneapolis here but Jesse is billed from San Diego. He gets a roar anyway as you would expect. Gene and Gorilla are the commentators. The electronic scoreboard says that there’s a car with its lights on. That’s like something out of a joke for some reason. Jesse yells at a Minnesota Viking in the front row.
We start the match and Jesse wastes time. This was his trademark at the time along with all kinds of colors. Jesse keeps yelling at the football player. Again we know nothing about Jesse other than he wears a lot of colorful stuff. Jesse’s offense is very generic to put it nicely. Curtis gets some offense in but runs into a knee in the corner to end that completely. Body Vice (over the shoulder back breaker submission) is the academic win. Another squash.
Rating: N/A. Just a long squash with no context or anything at all like that. Jesse of course dominated and there was no rhyme or reason to it. Jesse is just some dude that beat up a jobber and we know nothing about what he’s done or currently is doing or anything like that. That seems to be a theme here.
Gene is with B. Brian Blair who is new around here. Okerlund also slips in Ron Trongard’s Coast to Coast and Border to Border line from the AWA for no apparent reason other than he’s a thief. Blair rambles on for a long time and mentions the champions here at the moment, including Hulk Hogan. That’s the first reference to him on this whole show.
Alexis Smirnoff is with Gene also. He’s a Russian villain but he speaks like a parody of a Russian accent.
Ad for WWF Magazine, which has a story about Hulk Hogan on Johnny Carson. Gee wouldn’t it be nice to know WHY he’s on the Tonight Show or who he is?
Vince introduces an Iron Sheik match and mentions that he recently lost the world title to Hulk Hogan. This is the greatest exposure we’ve had to him so far.
Ron Hutchinson vs. Iron Sheik
This appears to be in Toronto. The referee is in blue pants and the mat is almost black. Freddie Blassie as an Arab Sheik is always funny. Lour Iran Sucks chant. The fans want Slaughter, who was in a huge blood feud with Sheik. Camel clutch ends this demonstration in about two minutes. ANOTHER squash.
Bobo Brazil is said to be one of the best black wrestlers of all time and is on the comeback trail here. He’s a spry 61 here so nothing could go wrong right?
Bobo Brazil vs. Big John Studd
This is in Philadelphia if it matters. Bobo’s punches are very bad so Studd is going to be the one to carry this. Do you get why this is going to suck? We hit a bearhug to waste some time. Without much movement we switch places and Bobo has the hold on Studd. Studd hits the floor to waste some time.
This is the main event mind you and it’s by far worse than the other squash matches we’ve seen. A Philadelphia crowd is DEAD for this by the way. Bobo’s finishing move gets some polite applause but it (a headbutt) doesn’t even put Studd down. Bobo misses a legdrop and an elbow drop from Studd ends it.
Rating: F. This was awful. John Studd was the best guy out there. Let that sink in.
Same magazine ad from earlier.
Vince recaps the show and talks about Hogan being here next week. Again, WHY WASN’T HE HERE THIS WEEK? No Hogan, no Santana, no Andre, no Slaughter, and the biggest star was I guess John Studd? Wow.
Overall Rating: F. This is the walking epitome of a failure. Not only was this out of nowhere but the show was HORRIBLE. You had three squashes and then a “main event” of a 61 year old man and a dude that couldn’t have a good match with HULK FREAKING HOGAN. There are no stars on this show unless you count the totally forgettable tag champions. You couldn’t throw a Valentine/Santana match out there? Those were guaranteed to be good.
This was the debut also and the introduction to WWF for the NWA audience. This was supposed to replace Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes and the Briscos and Piper and all those people. It lasted 7 weeks and was sold away, which Vince says was because Turner balked. This was awful and I can see why it’s considered a horrible day in WWF history. Certainly worth checking out though, if nothing else to see the total failure. Just keep the context in mind though.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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