Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. 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?
WWF House Show
Date: June 27, 1986
Location: Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund
Welcome to “I feel like watching some 80s wrestling”, as we have a house show from almost three months after Wrestlemania II. This is a bit of a strange time for the WWF, as Hulk Hogan is ruling the world and there are good feuds beneath him, but he is going to need a big challenger to come after the title. That might be taken care of tonight. Let’s get to it.
Gorilla and Gene welcome us to the show and run down the top of the card.
Based on cards I can find, this show is not in the same order that it aired, but I can’t imagine it makes that much of a difference.
Les Thornton/Tiger Chung Lee vs. US Express
Unfortunately this is the Dan Spivey version of the Express. Thornton and Rotundo start things off and Thornton drops him with a running shoulder. Rotundo pulls him down into a headscissors as Gene talks about a recent golf outing. With that broken up, it’s off to Spivey to headlock Lee over. Spivey grinds away a bit but Lee gets in a shot of his own, allowing Thornton to come back in. The chinlock goes on for a bit until Spivey powers up, only to get caught in a front facelock.
Commentary talks about some of the great teams at the moment, including Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff and George Steele/Junkyard Dog. I question commentary’s definition of “great” as Spivey gets taken down again. Lee comes in for a slam, only to get slammed off the top for his efforts. Rotundo comes in to finally pick up the pace, including a legdrop between Lee’s legs.
We lose the camera feed for a bit before coming back to Lee driving Rotundo into the corner so things can slow right back down. Thornton grabs a chinlock until Rotunda fights up, only to have Lee offer a distraction so the tag doesn’t count. Rotundo finally kicks him away and brings in Spivey for the house cleaning. A backdrop into a jumping elbow gets two but Lee gets dropkicked out to the floor. Back in and it’s Rotundo getting caught in the corner AGAIN as this match just won’t end. This beating doesn’t last as long as it’s back to Spivey for the bulldog to finish Thornton at 12:17.
Rating: D. Oh sweet goodness this was boring and I have no idea why it went on this long. It’s a match where you could cut the time in half and do the same thing that much better. The Spivey version of the Express didn’t work out very well and you could tell that the team was on the downside here. The action was slow and uninteresting and I was begging for it to end, making the last five minutes rather awful. Terrible choice for an opener.
Tony Atlas vs. Harley Race
Race has only been around here full time for about a month and a half now. They trade headlocks to start, with Atlas grinding him down to his knees. Back up and Race tries a headbutt but goes down to the power of racial stereotypes. We’re right back to the headlock but this time they fall outside, with Atlas being knocked over the barricade.
Atlas takes his sweet time coming back inside so Race suplexes him back in for two. Back up and Atlas grabs a suplex of his own, only to miss an elbow. Race puts him down with a swinging neckbreaker and drops some elbows. A dropkick gets Atlas out of trouble and a middle rope headbutt puts Race down again. The splash hits knees though and a sunset flip finishes for Race at 8:27.
Rating: C-. Well, it was better than the opener, at least partially because it was a bit shorter. Atlas came off as confused more than anything else, as he spent a lot of time standing around, allowing Race to either move or block it. Race is of course able to have a good match with just about anyone and he was holding it together until they finally just stopped.
King Tonga vs. Pete Doherty
Tonga is the future Haku/Meng and is currently owed $50,000 for slamming Big John Studd, which he does not seem likely to collect. Doherty is a local heel who was a bit of a mainstay around Boston and even did commentary on some of these shows. Tonga powers him around to start and Doherty is complaining about a non-existent hair pull.
Back up and Tonga kicks him away before glaring Doherty off for trying a ram into the buckle. Doherty has a breather on the floor before coming back inside to miss a charge in the corner. Tonga hammers away and hits a dropkick, followed by a superkick. A flying headbutt finishes Doherty at 4:20.
Rating: C. This was little more than a squash as Tonga ran over him and Doherty got in a grand total of nothing. That being said, that’s kind of the point of someone like Doherty, who was never going to be any kind of a threat to anyone. Tonga was at least a more interesting star and someone who moved around better than almost anyone else on the show so far, though that isn’t a high bar to clear.
Moondog Spot vs. Pedro Morales
They lock up as Gorilla talks about his matches with Bruno Sammartino here in the Garden. Morales starts fast with some backdrops and Spot needs a breather. We pause for Spot to yell at the fans before he grabs a not exactly cranked on headlock. Morales breaks that up without much effort and they stare at each other a bit more.
Spot gets in a shot of his own though and the chinlock goes on. Said chinlock is about as lazy as you can imagine but it stays on for a good while. Morales fights up and gets a sunset out of the corner for no count, allowing Spot to punch him in the face. Not that it matters as Morales small packages him for two, followed by an O’Connor roll for the pin on Spot at 7:27.
Rating: D. Is the WWF mad at Boston for some reason? There have been four matches so far and the best one has been ok at best. Morales is a legend and the fans are going to respond to him, but how interested can you get in a few punches and some rollups? Spot was even worse though, making this another lame match in a show long series of them so far.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Jake Roberts
Ok this HAS to be better. Steamboat chases him to the floor and the fight starts out there as they don’t quite like each other. They get back inside with Steamboat being sent inside but easily blocking a DDT attempt. With Roberts on the floor again, the referee almost hits Steamboat, with commentary NOT being happy with such an action.
Back in and Steamboat sends Roberts into the corner and is rather fired up. Roberts gets tied up in the ropes and hammered some more, only to break free and drop Steamboat with a hard right hand. A clothesline and a heck of a whip into the corner have Steamboat down and Roberts says hit him. Not one to be rude, Steamboat slugs away but gets punched down again as Roberts wants to box.
Steamboat is knocked through the ropes and barely hangs on from crashing out to the floor. Back in and Roberts grabs the sleeper, which he switches into a chinlock to avoid drowsiness. With Steamboat fighting up, Roberts slams him down and hammers away some more. The referee breaks that up as well and commentary still isn’t pleased.
It’s time for the snake but it takes too long, meaning Roberts has to try/miss a running knee lift. A neckbreaker drops Roberts again and Steamboat does it a second time for a bonus. Back up and Roberts hits the knee lift, sending Steamboat outside again. Roberts follows him out but gets posted and sent inside….as Steamboat is counted out at 13:28.
Rating: B. I’m not sure if it was the anger between the two of them or the fact that the show has been so dull until now but this was a rather good match. They were beating each other up and Roberts felt like he was tormenting Steamboat and trying to hurt him at the same time. On the other hand you have Steamboat getting ticked off and fighting back, which is something he does rather well in his own right. Rather strong stuff here, as most of their feud wound up being.
Post match Steamboat stays on him, even sending Roberts into the barricade to bust him open. Back in and the referee has to drag Steamboat off so Roberts can escape.
WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
Hogan is defending and Savage’s (with Miss Elizabeth) Intercontinental Title (which he isn’t carrying) isn’t on the line. Savage jumps Hogan from behind and gets in a belt shot to the back to start rather fast. The top rope ax handle has Hogan in more trouble but Liz gets up on the apron for some reason, allowing Hogan to pop up and start throwing the right hands.
Hogan even takes Savage’s sunglasses and hammers away while wearing stolen property. Savage is sent outside and rammed shoulder first into the post to keep him in trouble. Back in and Hogan drops him again as the fans are rather pleased with these happenings. Liz runs to the back for some reason as Hogan chokes Savage in the air to make it worse.
Hogan hits a suplex and Savage’s arm gets tied in the ropes. That’s fine with Hogan, who bites away (what a monster), only to get sent outside. Savage comes off the top with an ax handle to the floor, allowing Hogan to adjust his trunks a bit. Back in and Savage hits the top rope elbow (to no reaction from commentary) for two, as it’s Hulk Up time. All of the usual sets up the legdrop to retain the title at 7:13.
Rating: C+. Stolen property and attempted cannibalism aside, this wasn’t exactly a classic but Hogan vs. Savage is always worth a look. The most telling part though was the non-reaction to the top rope elbow, as the Intercontinental Champion hitting his finisher had almost no chance of beating Hogan. That’s how big Hogan was at this point and it was rather telling for what was going to be the reality of this feud for, well, ever.
Post match Adrian Adonis comes in to beat on Hogan, who fights off both villains (Adonis’ bra is exposed). Hogan even takes Adonis’ wig as the parade of thefts continues. A lot of posing ensues.
Moondog Rex vs. Billy Jack Haynes
They take their time before locking up, with Haynes grabbing a headlock to take over. Rex powers up and gets in a cheap shot in the corner, only to have the referee block another one so Haynes can take over (commentary still isn’t pleased). Haynes grabs a chinlock with a knee in the back (a rare sight from the good guy), which is broken up with a quick belly to back. A backbreaker stays on the back as Haynes starts staggering around. Rex grabs his own chinlock before missing his own elbow, allowing Haynes to slug away. A dropkick….I think misses Rex (now busted open a bit), but Haynes slaps on the full nelson for the win at 6:08.
Rating: C-. It was better than the other Moondog match, but there were a few parts there where they didn’t quite seem to be on the same page. Haynes was a decent power guy with a good full nelson but there is only so much that he could do. At least it was short, which is rarely a high compliment for any match and it isn’t here either.
King Kong Bundy vs. Junkyard Dog
Bundy bails from the threat of a chain because, you know, it’s a chain. Gorilla says we’re in for a classic, suggesting that he doesn’t know the definition of the word “classic”. They hit the stall button for over a minute before Bundy drives him into the corner for a clean break (though the referee yells at Dog for a bit). Bundy knocks him down but misses the elbow, allowing Dog to fire off the elbows to the head.
After a quick trip tot he floor, Bundy comes back in so he can win a slugout. The splash misses but so does Dog’s headbutt as we’re getting some trash thrown inside. Bundy takes him into the corner for a short form splash, plus a chain shot to the ribs as more trash is coming in. More choking ensues as the referee takes some trash to the head.
Dog slugs back, reaches for the missing chain, and then punches some more. Dog finally grabs the chain and Bundy bails, leaving the referee to yell at Dog again. The chain is put back in the corner and they lock up again. Bundy pulls the chain in but gets headbutted, leaving Dog to toss the referee with the chain for the DQ at 7:39.
Rating: D. Not only was it a bad match, but the fans completely gave up on it about halfway through. Throw in a bad ending (along with the trash) and this was just horrible. I’m not sure what was going on here but it really didn’t work in the slightest. It’s so strange to see the fans rebel against a match like that, though it’s kind of hard to argue against in this case.
Post match Dog beats up the referee again, including a Thump (powerslam). Commentary REALLY is not pleased here as the oddness continues.
Magnificent Muraco vs. Paul Orndorff
Rematch of the Wrestlemania II opener. Fuji goes over to say something the microphones can’t quite pick up on commentary as the referee gets some of the trash from the previous match out of the ring. They fight over a lockup and break it up against the ropes as this feels like they’re taking their time. Muraco shoves him away as we’re already over two minutes in.
Some knees to the head and ribs have Orndorff in trouble and a Hennig neck snap of all things makes it worse. Orndorff knocks him to the floor for a breather though and Muraco is perfectly fine with hitting the stall button again. Back in and Orndorff starts working on the arm as we hear about his football career. The arm cranking goes on for a bit as they might as well have the clock counting down to the time limit draw on one of the advertisement boards.
More trash comes in (and is kicked out much faster this time) as Orndorff keeps the armbar going. The arm cranking reaches about three straight minutes so Gene talks about people he met on a recent flight. Muraco FINALLY fights up and sends him into the corner, setting up….a nerve hold.
Back up and Muraco sends him into the corner again, setting up another nerve hold as you can hear the fans getting REALLY fed up. One piece of trash can be seen sailing in and almost hitting the camera as this is deserving all of the anger it gets. Orndorff fights up and hammers away, accidentally showing some life in this mess. A top rope elbow to the head and an elbow drop have Muraco in trouble and the slugout is on. Orndorff grabs a small package for two as the 20 minute time limit expires at 15:11.
Rating: F. Orndorff showed some fire at the end but this was two guys going out there and more or less taking the main event off after an already horrible show. This was terrible and made me want to see their already bad Wrestlemania match again, as they weren’t trying and made no secret whatsoever about it. Just dreadful
The referee says Orndorff wins and commentary goes off about how little sense that makes, even calling it a “miscarriage of justice” to show you how serious they really are.
Overall Rating: D-. When the third best match of the night is a King Tonga squash, you know you’re in serious trouble. Roberts vs. Steamboat was rather good and Hogan vs. Savage was fun enough, but that is the grand total of anything you might want to see on a show that runs almost two hours. The fans throwing so much trash into the ring that the referee can’t get rid of it fast enough tells you everything you need to know here, as this was one of the worst house shows I’ve ever seen and most of the people involved should have felt embarrassed by what they did out there. They won’t, but they should.
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