Snuka and Muraco’s Philly Bloodbath – 10/23/83

As I mentioned last time, due to having two October shows to review, I split up the news bits into two parts. The following took place from October 17th onward:

Jim Crockett Promotions
Much like the past several months, fans of JCP witnessed matches with US Champ Greg Valentine fending off Roddy Piper, Jimmy Valiant battling Kabuki, and the Brisco Brothers hounding Jay Youngblood and Ricky Steamboat over the NWA World tag titles. The Briscos ended up regaining the tag titles only a few weeks after losing them as they bested Youngblood and Steambat on October 21st.

With Harley Race in Japan, Ric Flair continued to seek revenge against Bob Orton Jr. and Dick Slater, taking on Wahoo McDaniels and Roddy Piper as his partners in his quest for vengeance.

Meanwhile in Japan, Race was defending his NWA World title successfully against Jumbo Tsuruta several times as well as Ted Dibiase.

Over in the WWF, Bob Backlund defended his title against the Masked Superstar, Mr. Fuji and “Iron” Mike Sharpe to close out the month.

The WWF taped vignettes of Eddie Gilbert and Backlund training together as Gilbert attempted to recover from his neck injury the Masked Superstar gave him.

Steve Lombardi made his WWF debut as a jobber. No one could have guessed he would be on the WWF(E) payroll until 2016.

AWA
Nick Bockwinkel traveled to Montreal to accept the challenge of Billy Robinson for the AWA World title. Richard Charland and Tony Parisi also received title matches in that city during the last half of October.

Andre the Giant was brought in to face off with Ken Patera and Jerry Blackwell, as well as participate in several battle royals.

Hulk Hogan continued to battle Mr. Saito and David Schultz around the horn.

Bobby Heenan faced his former charge Blackjack Lanza in tag team and singles matches nightly.

Mid-South
As I mentioned last time, Magnum T.A. had become the North American champ after JYD’s bias officiating cost Butch Reed the title. Magnum was not the champ for long as he suffered defeat at the hands of Nikolai Volkoff. Then in another twist, Volkoff was stripped of the title as Mid-South officials determined that Magnum should never have been granted the title match since Reed made the match, not the Mid-South officials. This nullified the switch and the title reverted back to Reed. Then JYD turned around and beat Reed for the title only two days after he had been declared champ again!

Magnum’s bad month continued as he and Jim Duggan lost the Mid-South tag belts to Reed and Jim Neidhart.

GCW
Georgia presented what may be their most famous match ever as 10,600 fans came to see Tommy Rich face Buzz Sawyer in the Omni in a bout dubbed “The Last Battle of Atlanta”. The encounter took place in an enclosed steel cage, with Sawyer’s manager Paul Ellering being stuck in a smaller cage above the men.

Rich won the match to unofficially end the feud that had stretched out for 18 months and been contested in 142 matches, as far as the records show.

On the undercard the National tag champions the Road Warriors beat Pez Whatley and Jimmy Valiant, The Great Kabuki stunned Ron Garvin, Mr. Wrestling II beat Bob Roop who was subbing for the injured Mr. Wrestling I. As a result of II winning, Mr. Wrestling 1 had to unmask and was revealed to be Jesse Barr. Brett Sawyer drew Jake Roberts, Les Thornton and David Sammartino took part in prelim action and Ole Anderson closed the show by beating Paul Ellering in a cage match that occurring thanks to Rich winning.

Prior to that big match Buzz Sawyer was tasked with facing Ole Anderson and Dusty Rhodes in hard hitting main events leading up to that night.

The National tag champion Road Warriors defended their titles against veteran duos like Tommy Rich and Ron Garvin and Rich and Mr. Wrestling II during the latter part of the month as well.

World Class
The simmering heat between Chris Adams and Jimmy Garvin that started in late August came to a boil in October. Jimmy Garvin was scheduled to face a prelim bum named “The Masked Avenger”. Soon after the match began, it became obvious the Avenger was a real pro and Garvin was super kicked and pinned. The Avenger then unmasked and revealed himself to be Chris Adams.

Garvin made more trouble for himself when he hired a second valet to help Sunshine. She was called Sunshine II at first but eventually became known as Precious. The ladies battled for Garvin’s attention. Precious tried to interfere in matches for Garvin but ended up causing him to lose instead. Despite this, Garvin would blame Sunshine for the mistakes. This would eventually blow up and cause Sunshine to leave (for Adams) as Garvin took Precious on as his main valet. Precious was of course Garvin’s real wife.

The Von Eriches continued their Freebird war in the main events around the horn.

Junkyard Dog came in for a Dallas event and beat Kamala.

Portland
Harley Race successfully defended his NWA World title in a match against Buddy Rose that I’m dying to see. (It was not taped as best as anyone knows.) Billy Jack (Haynes) also received a number of title matches.

Florida

Mike Rotondo continued to defend his Southern title against “Outlaw” Ron Bass. Meanwhile Dusty Rhodes, Blackjack Mulligan and Barry Windham focused on Kareem Muhammed and Ejiah Akeem.

Memphis
The Jerry Lawler/Jesse Ventura feud lead to a mega tag match where Lawler teamed with Roughhouse Fargo, Jimmy Valiant, Austin Idol and the Fabulous Ones to face Dennis Condrey, Norvell Austin, Buddy Landell, the Assassins and Ventura in a “hospital elimination” match that the heels walked away victorious from.

Lawler and Bill Dundee also teamed up for some wild matches with the Moondogs.

And now on to our featured attraction…

10/22/83 Philadelphia Spectrum
Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon are on the call.

Tony Garea vs. Butcher Vachon
Monsoon says Garea wants to form a tag team with Eddie Gilbert. Vachon actually tries to wrestle to start things off but Garea is superior in that regard and Vachon has to resort to brawling. Graham talks up how agile Vachon is…while he has a nerve hold applied. More rest holds from Vachon. Garea mounts a comeback that Vachon cuts off before being rolled up for the win at 6:32. Nothing here to really comment on.

S.D. Jones vs. Tiger Chung Lee
Lee uses his kendo stick to keep Jones out of the ring. Lee then utilizes his martial arts chops to gain control before Jones counters with some basic grappling. Lee gains control with more chops and then turns to a headlock to eat up time. They fight in and out of more headlocks. Graham gushes over Lee’s move set, which has been nothing but chops and headlocks. Lee locks on his fourth or fifth headlock of the match as this thing keeps on going. Monsoon talks about how the ring was incorrectly put together as one of the turnbuckles is off line. After 12 minutes Lee flips a crossbody over and yanks Jones’ tights to earn the win. This was pretty dreadful.

Tito Santana vs. Sika
Sika stalls and stalls to start. After a brief exchange, we get more stalling as Sika plays “hide the weapon” with the ref. Sika wins that game and cracks Tito with the object. Santana is knocked to the floor while in a daze and Sika posts him. Santana sells on the floor for a while as Sika picks his cheap shots. Santana finally fires up and starts to unload on Sika but some blatant cheating by Sika including an eye poke and choking gives the Samoan the advantage. Tito manages to surprise Sika with a flying forearm at 9:38 and gets the pin. Sika dragged this down as far as he could, Santana’s portion –brief as it was – was fine.

Swede Hanson vs. “Iron” Mike Sharpe
This probably won’t be a classic either.   Monsoon explains that these two were partners last month “by some queer mistake” and now they have to meet and settle their differences that stem from the team imploding. Hanson delivers a full complement of punches to send Sharpe into retreat quickly. Sharpe uses his arm brace gimmick to turn the tide to his side. Sharpe then clubs and kicks Hanson into a clump in the corner. Hanson makes a comeback with a bear hug but Sharpe is able to grind his way back into control with a headlock.

They continue to exchange punches with both men reeling briefly. Hanson begins to focus on trying to tear the arm brace off and that backfires when Sharpe twists it around and smacks Hanson with it to steal the pin at 11:07. This was almost non-stop brawling, albeit sloppy brawling. They certainly out shined the rest of the matches so far, but you wouldn’t mistake this for “good”. Hanson attacks Sharpe after the match and rips his arm brace off, smacking Sharpe with it and sending him running.

World Champion Bob Backlund vs. Sgt. Slaughter – Anything goes Sicilian Stretcher Match
Sarge grabs the mic and says “Congratulations Baltimore” which must be some sort of sports related cheap heat. Backlund gets a decent response, but certainly not an overwhelming pop or anything. Sarge starts with forearms before producing a rope from his tights which he uses to choke Backlund. The champ is able to use leverage to dump Sarge to the cement floor. Backlund jumps on Sarge’s neck when he gets back in the ring and this sends Sarge bumping back to the floor. Backlund posts him for good measure. The men brawl around ringside. I notice they have a referee sitting at a ringside on a folding chair, why not do that full time to deter the heels from all their cheating ways?

Sarge has hurt his leg and both men are selling big time. At the ten-minute mark both guys are selling every move as if it is a finisher. Backlund locks Sarge in the cross-face chicken wing. The move renders Sarge unconscious. As the refs try and drag him out of the ring on the stretcher Sarge is dumped to the cement from the ring. Confusion reigns as to whether Backlund won or not and Sarge attacks with a Cobra Clutch. Arnold Skaaland smacks Sarge to break the hold and Backlund knocks Slaughter to the floor. Match went 12:39. They sold the idea of the match well with the through dramatic selling, however the brevity of the match lead to them pretty much over doing it and things didn’t feel organic.

Intercontinental Champion Don Muraco vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka – Strap match
Muraco is in no rush to put the strap on and be tied to the Fijian wildman. Snuka finally attacks him and the ref forces the strap on his wrist. Muraco tries to run and Snuka yanks him back in the ring to get over the stipulation. Snuka wraps the strap around the champ’s neck and chokes away at him until Muraco gets in a nut shot. Muraco then focuses on trying to blind Snuka by grinding the strap into his eyes. Snuka is then whipped before Muraco wraps his fist with the strap and unloads on Snuka’s face.

Snuka chops his way back and busts Muraco open with the strap. Snuka wraps his fist with the leather and delivers a fist drop from the second rope. Muraco is then choked with the strap as we get a great visual of Muraco’s crimson covered face straining for air. Snuka charges but Muraco puts the ref in the way. While Snuka is down Muraco takes the strap off his opponent’s wrist. When the ref awakes, he sees Snuka without the strap on and awards the match to Muraco at just after 8 minutes. Snuka hog ties Muraco with the strap and delivers the Superfly Splash for instant revenge. These two had great chemistry and their short, wild brawls have delivered each time I have seen one.

Rocky Johnson vs. Afa
Afa jumps Johnson before the bell and smacks him with the tag team title. Johnson ends up on the floor. Afa keeps him at bay on the floor before Johnson is finally able to get in the ring. Johnson is choked and hacked away at. Johnson finally gets to his feet and Afa runs to the floor. Afa is tossed into the railing and the ring post. The Samoan retrieves a crushed beer can from the floor and smacks Johnson in the throat with it.

Johnson rallies and the men start trading dirty tactics such as eye rakes before Afa hits Rocky’s johnson. The men end up brawling on the floor. Once they end up back in the ring Johnson connects with a sloppy Thesz Press and gets the pin at 10:05. Afa lays Rocky out with a series of head butts after the bout. Yuck.

The Invaders vs. Don Kernodle and Rene Goulet
You can see some of the audience leaving as this final match is announced. Kernodle now has a Confederate flag cape and he makes a big deal out of folding it up. The heels control the early portions of the match with basic kick/punch stuff. After a lengthy heel heat segment the Invaders final make a tag, which allows a brief babyface flurry. The heels take over again and I just want this thing over as putting a nothing match on last is kind of pointless. The Invaders use a slingshot move to roll up Kernodle for the pin at just after 11 minutes. Meh.

Final thoughts: A total one match show as Snuka and Muraco ruled and everything else was rather bad in it’s own way. We are now less than 8 weeks away from Hulkamania….

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin’ and true crimes.

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