Hello once again, as we take a look at WWF matches and angles from June, July, and August. A lot of stuff goes on here, and I’m going to jam it all into one article. In addition, there will be a bunch of video posts. Let’s get to it!
– June 14th, 1986, from Madison Square Garden, in New York City, New York
Bruno Sammartino & Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage (IC Champ) & Adrian Adonis (w/Miss Elizabeth & Jimmy Hart)
Pre-Match Thoughts: Coming off last month’s match between Santana and Savage where Adonis ran in to attack Bruno and Santana, this was the natural conclusion. If it’s actually the conclusion remains to be seen, but the people at MSG always want to see Bruno wrestle, and they get their chance here.
Before the match, Adonis and Savage cut a promo. It’s pretty good, not surprising.
Match Review: This starts with Savage and Adonis attacking their opponents, only to be thwarted and for Adonis to be whipped into the corner, and fail at flipping over the top rope. Tito throws Savage over the top rope, which completely clears the ring, and the crowd is on fire now. Savage throws in a chair for no apparent reason, and tries to set up an Adonis sneak attack, but Adonis gets whipped into the ring-post by Santana while Savage is using Elizabeth as a shield from Bruno. Adonis replies by slamming Santana on the floor, and takes a breather before resuming regular activity. For the first time in the match, things do become normal, about 3 minutes in. It’s going to be Savage and Bruno, and the former WWF champion is going crazy on Savage, who pinballs around taking bumps from both his opponents. Santana tags in, and clotheslines Savage in the chest. He rushes over to punch Adonis, and comes back to ram Savage into the canvas repeatedly. Bruno rams Savage into the turnbuckle without tagging in, and then tags in. Savage also finally makes a tag, and Adonis enters the ring to HUGE heat. Bruno takes him down with a few arm drags, and Adonis takes punishment in the corner from he and Santana. Santana tags in now, and gives Adonis a bodypress for 2. Adonis replies with a back suplex to Santana, then both men make a tag. Bruno knocks Savage down with a kick to the gut, and Adonis has to pull Savage out of the ring to save him. Savage gets back in fairly quickly, and Santana hits him with a chair. Isn’t that, you know, illegal? Santana and Adonis then tag in, and Adonis gives Tito a slam. Adonis heads up to the top rope after that, and his splash gets blocked. Savage comes in off the top without a tag by giving Santana a double axehandle, then exists the ring, and Adonis misses an elbow drop.
Bruno tags in now, and both teams start brawling on the outside of the ring. Santana tried to beat up Jimmy Hart, but that didn’t work out. Savage decides to fly down to the floor with his double axehandle, then Adonis and Savage roll into the ring…and win by count-out at 9:40. Santana and Bruno try to climb in to get at their opponents, but the two heels leave quickly, preventing that.
My Thoughts: This was an interesting, wild match. Obviously, once it started, it became obvious that it wasn’t going to be the conclusion of the feud. I’m happy with that, and will be watching the cage match conclusion. Oh wait, I just dropped that in there. Yes, they have a cage match to finish off the feud. I’m looking forward to that. The match never really settled down into a formula or something resembling coherence, but it was a good watch. **1/2.
– July 12th, 1986, from Madison Square Garden, in New York City, New York
$50,000 22 Man BATTLE ROYAL
Pre-Match Thoughts: Our participants are SD Jones, Johnny V, Big John Studd, Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith, Greg Valentine, Tony Garea, King Tonga, Iron Mike Sharpe, Lanny Poffo, Bobby Heenan, Brutus Beefcake, Junkyard Dog, Harley Race, Billy Jack Haynes, Sivi Afi, King Kong Bundy, Jimmy Hart, Tony Atlas, Pedro Morales, Moondog Rex, and Moondog Spot.
Match Review: Jimmy Hart quickly runs out of the ring at the start of the match, and all the other wrestlers decide they want to eliminate Studd and Bundy. That was smart! Out they go, and out goes Bobby Heenan too. Bobby jumps on commentary to complain, and I laugh. Jimmy is still hiding under the ring, and shortly after that camera shot, SD Jones gets tossed out. Harley Race wearing pinstriped trunks isn’t a great look, but while noticing that, Mike Sharpe gets eliminated, as does Tony Atlas. Morales shortly eliminates Johnny V, and Valentine throws out Garea a minute or so after that. Sivi Afi looks too much like Jimmy Snuka, by the way. Harley Race gets eliminated by Morales, and Afi goes out as well. This is a bit boring really, which is no surprise for most battle royals, but the British Bulldogs brighten things up by doing a great dropkick spot where they eliminate the Moondogs. Very cool. Billy Jack Haynes and JYD go to battle for a bit, but while that’s going on, Beefcake walks over to Dynamite and tosses him over the top rope. Aw. This thing starts to fall apart a bit here, as nobody really does anything for a bit, but Valentine then punches Morales repeatedly until he falls over the top rope. Beefcake gets thrown out by a host of wrestlers, and it’s 5 babyfaces against 1 heel. Valentine’s response to realizing that is to throw out Haynes, and King Tonga right after. WHAT A BEAST. Jimmy Hart is shown once again on camera, and Davey gets launched over the top rope by Valentine right after. So does Poffo, and now it’s just Valentine and JYD in the ring. The crowd probably forgot all about Hart. JYD and Valentine battle it out, but when Valentine goes to throw out JYD, JYD goes out under the top rope. They now realize that Hart is part of the match, JYD pulls him out from under the ring, and Jimmy is jumping around like a clown behind their fighting. Valentine hooks up JYD so that Hart can beat him up, and then Valentine goes to dump him out…but JYD head-scissors Valentine simultaneously, and they both go out at 12:53. HAHAHAHA. Jimmy Hart wins! The fans can’t even boo that much, it’s hilarious. Great celebration too.
My Thoughts: This was a very crappy match, but the finish was amusing. That’s nearly all that can be asked for when it comes to a battle royal, but the bits before that shouldn’t be so awful. I’ll give it * for the finish alone, but it wasn’t very good. Still, nice to see Jimmy Hart win a battle royal. That wasn’t expected.
Tito Santana & Bruno Sammartino vs. Randy Savage & Adrian Adonis in a STEEL CAGE MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: Coming off last month’s big brawl at MSG, this is what the people want to see. A match with a clear winner, and nowhere to run. This is with the steel fence, not the blue bar cage, which I believe was only used for TV. Although I do not know.
Match Review: Savage and Adonis attack very early on, and this being a tornado tag style escape match, it will be difficult to keep up at times. Bruno beats Savage up quite a lot, but simultaneously, Santana is getting beaten up by Adonis. Adonis then is thrown into the steel fence by Santana, and goes for the door, only to get blocked from making his exit. Savage shortly tries to make an exit of his own over the top, and Adonis tries to do so through the door, but they can’t. Tito tries to make his break, and gets knocked back. Sometimes this style of cage match (escape) can be pretty grueling for the viewer, especially when you already know the result. Bruno tosses Savage into the corner and upside down so he can stomp on him, and Adonis gives Santana a suplex. Adonis is on top of the cage now, and Savage is nearly out the door, but their opponents hold on for dear life. Adonis gets crotched on the top rope all the way from up there, and that REALLY had to hurt. Savage catapults Santana into the cage a minute or so later, and that busts him open. Savage then tries to do the same to Bruno, and they struggle over who will do so, only for nobody to do it at all. Adonis rakes Santana’s face into the cage in the background, and it looks like Adrian is busted open too. Bruno throws him into the cage, and Santana makes his charge back too. He launches Savage into the steel fence twice, busting him open, and surprisingly the crowd has not been that loud as of yet. Adonis tries a stupid splash from the top of the cage which Bruno moved away from, and to be honest I’m rapidly becoming bored. Savage gets knocked down from the top of the cage by Santana, Bruno runs for the door, Santana climbs over the top, and they win the match at 9:51.
My Thoughts: That finish was not built towards at ALL. That’s one of the multiple problems I have with this match. First is that they didn’t do anything to keep the crowd interested in it. Second is that it wasn’t structured well to maintain crowd interest. It was just spots, and not spectacular ones at that. *1/4 for me, I have no idea if other people like this match, but it wasn’t very good to me. Nowhere near as good as the Piper/Orton vs. Sammartino/Orndorff cage match from the year before.
A few days after this, Harley Race won the King of the Ring tournament at a house show in Foxboro, MA. I know that goes somewhere…
– Taped to air July 19th, 1986, on Championship Wrestling from Poughkeepsie, New York
King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Paul Orndorff and Hulk Hogan (WWF Champion)
Pre-Match Thoughts: Over the last few weeks on TV, there has been some interesting interactions between these two. The week before this, Orndorff and Hogan faced the Moondogs. During that match, Hogan was never tagged in. The friction between these two has been building. Before the match, there was a skit with the two involved, and they were arguing about a lack of communication. Orndorff seemed pretty angry about Hogan not answering the phone while Hogan was in the gym. That’s funny. This is a pretty big match for television.
Match Review: It’s easy to see that something’s up with how slow and listless Orndorff looks while walking to the ring. Orndorff locks up with Studd, and punches him a couple times. He takes Studd down with a sunset-flip for a 1 count, and hip-tosses the big man. Bundy tags in and gives Orndorff a back elbow, but he misses a splash and an avalanche, only to be driven back to his corner by Orndorff. Studd tags in now, and Orndorff tries to slam him, but of course he can’t. He dropkicks Studd out of the ring, and does the same to Bundy to big cheers. The guy was really over as a babyface, no doubt about that. Hogan tags in now, and gives Studd a REAL AMERICAN BODYSLAM to huge cheers. I think Orndorff is a bit jealous.
After the commercial, it’s going to be Studd and Hogan facing off again. Hogan gives Studd an atomic drop, and follows him into the corner with a clothesline. Studd catches Hogan with a clothesline of his own, and Bundy prevents Hogan from making the tag. Studd and Bundy give Hogan a double clothesline now, and Bundy slams the champion. Hogan had a chance to tag out, but is pushed into Orndorff by Studd. Well now. They beat the brakes off Hogan as Orndorff cannot help, then push the referee out of the ring, which leads to a disqualification of Bundy and Studd at 6:04.
Orndorff still isn’t getting in the ring, which is a bit strange at this point. Well, now he gets in the ring, and clears it, so it’s just he and Hogan in the ring. He picks his buddy up, raises his hand high…and CLOTHESLINES THE FUCKER. The crowd is completely shocked. He picks Hogan up, and PILEDRIVES HIM. DAMN SON. Hogan’s seizure sell really rules, too. The babyface job squad of King Tonga, Sivi Afi, Dan Spivey, and Mike Rotunda enters the ring to help Hogan, but he just got turned on. Plain and simple. Orndorff leaves with the Heenan Family, and that had to be extremely hard to believe for fans at the time. Adonis greets Orndorff in the back, and Hogan gets carried to the back. I guess Orndorff had no problem with Adrian’s, er…actions towards him on Saturday Night’s Main Event.
My Thoughts: Well, wow. Finally another angle that matches up with those on JCP TV. So far, there has really only been two of them this year. The first one being Roberts giving Steamboat that DDT, and now this. I’m quite pleased with what I just saw. While Orndorff was really over, they weren’t having him feud for the IC belt as I suppose he was a level above that. In the WWF at this point, if you’re above IC belt level and you’re on the same side of the equation as the champion, it’s possible to get stalled. Orndorff was beginning to stall. This freshens him up for a lengthy, drawing feud against Hogan, and when he finishes up with that he should be able to feud with some of the other guys on the card. In theory. It was a good idea, and it was a good idea to pair him with Heenan too. *1/2 and recommended. Watch the video above.
– July 23rd, 1986, on Tuesday Night Titans
Not much need for commentary here, check out the video. The only explanation needed is that for the actual angle. So here goes. Andre “no-showed” a match, and got suspended by Jack Tunney. So, these vignettes with The Machines started playing every week. Heenan, Bundy, and Studd repeatedly kept saying that one of the men under the masks was Andre the Giant. Vince and Bruno suggested that one of them was Giant Baba. The smaller one claims that both of them were educated in Tokyo. Yep. Sure. It is announced that Lou Albano will manage them, too.
– July 26th, 1986, from The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Adrian Adonis (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: To my knowledge, there is not a big Adonis vs. Hogan series out there. In fact I’m sure there wasn’t one. So, with this being a unique matchup, it’s perfect to watch and review. I have no idea how Hogan is going to act towards Adonis, but I have a general idea! Adonis is sporting pink hair here. Hm. Adonis has really started to get fat now, by the way. Wasn’t so bad before, but very noticeable now.
Match Review: Of course Hogan starts with the limp wristed stuff. I laughed, even though I shouldn’t have. After Adonis slaps Hogan with one of his scarves, Hogan chucks him into the corner, and chokes him with those scarves. What an evil man. With the referee distracted, Hart shoots some of Adrian’s perfume at Hogan, blinding him. Adonis drops a knee, and heads up to the second rope, but misses a splash. Hogan comes back by shooting Adonis into the turnbuckle, and he does a great flip to the outside in that corner. Don’t know how someone so big can do that. Hogan pulls Adonis and Hart into the ring now, and rams them head-first into each other. Then Hogan whips Hart into Adonis, which gets Adonis tied in the ropes. And Hogan gives Hart an atomic drop, sending him over the top rope and out. Adonis then sneakily hits Hogan with the megaphone, but Hogan puts his foot on the rope during the cover. Aw. Adonis then throws Hogan out of the ring, and follows him out to hit him with a chair. How are these never disqualifications on these house show matches? Back in the ring, Adonis gives Hogan a suplex. And another one as well, getting a 2 count. Adonis then puts the SLEEPER on the champion, and Adonis drops it once he thinks Hogan is asleep. He then tries a huge splash from the top rope, and it gets blocked. Wouldn’t that hurt? So, now Hogan fights back, lands the big three punch combo, big boot, and here comes Jimmy Hart into the ring. Hogan throws him onto Adonis, drops the leg on Adonis, and it’s over via pinfall at 9:13. After the match, Adonis knocks out Mel Phillips. Good!
My Thoughts: That was a fun finish, and the stuff with Jimmy Hart was cool too. Otherwise, this was a very formulaic Hogan match. **, I bet a TV match between these two would have been really fun. Or really homophobic. Either way, would have been interesting to watch.
– Taped to air August 9th, 1986, on Championship Wrestling
Freddie Blassie has an announcement…
Before Corporal Kirchner & Tony Garea vs. Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik, Blassie says he has news. The news is that he’s sold half of Volkoff and Sheik’s contracts to…SLICK. Yes, it’s SLICK! Volkoff and Sheik win the match, but who cares about that. There’s some real talent in the managerial ranks now.
– Taped to air August 16th, 1986, on Championship Wrestling
The Flower Shop with Don Muraco
Well, it turns out that Roddy Piper is here to take his show back! HE RETURNS. He has a problem with all these flowers. Look at Bob Orton showing up on Adrian’s side. Adrian calls Orton “Acey”. HAHAAHAHA. And Orton is wearing a pink hat. Wow. Piper says that he’s taking his show back, and goes a bit crazy, but Orton isn’t coming with him. Piper’s return match is below. He gets cheered!
– August 25th, 1986, from Madison Square Garden, in New York City, New York
There was a match here between Hercules and Billy Jack Haynes that went 20 minutes. There is no fucking way I’m watching that.
THE MACHINES (w/Giant Machine) vs. King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd (w/Bobby Heenan)
Pre-Match Thoughts: Yes, that’s right. The angle engineered to give Andre time off, then have him come back, really doesn’t have him wrestling at all during it. So it’s an extremely fraudulent case of advertising, although they never actually admitted that Giant Machine was Andre. But who’s really stupid enough to be unable to figure it out? They sold out MSG only for him to not be wrestling. Instead, Blackjack Mulligan takes his place in the team, as Big Machine. I think the problem is that they started the angle much too soon, before his back was in a state where he could wrestle again. Arguably it was never in a state fit for him to wrestle, so I feel a bit bad for fans here. Anyway, let’s see if this is any good, which is quite doubtful.
Match Review: I can’t tell which Machine is which. I think this is Super Machine wrestling with Studd at the beginning of the match. Super Machine tries to slam Studd, but can’t do that. Studd shoulderblocks him shortly after, and they collide with each other a few times, until Super Machine knocks Studd down with a clothesline. Giant Machine then tosses Studd back in the ring, and Big Machine nearly slams Studd, only for it to be blocked. Bundy tags in as well, and they collide with each other as well, nobody going down. Bundy misses a charge to the corner then, and gets knocked down with a back elbow. Studd and Bundy come back by double teaming Big in the corner, but Big makes the tag, and Super gets hit with a back elbow by Studd. A cover by Bundy gets 2, and they try a double team, but Bundy runs into Studd instead. They argue now, until Heenan calms them both down. The Machines try a double team too, but instead of running into each other, Super Machine stops…only to try running the ropes again and get kicked by Studd. Studd and Bundy exchange tags for a while, beating up their smaller, yet more super opponent, but Bundy misses an elbow drop.
Instead of Big Machine making the tag in, the GIANT MACHINE lumbers onto the apron and tags in, then beats the crap out of Bundy. What a switcheroo. He chokes Bundy in the corner, and rams his shoulder into Studd and Bundy in the corner. Studd then holds the big man in place, but he fights out and is given a double clothesline, at which point the referee rings the bell. Damn, Andre was in such bad shape that he fell down during the clothesline spot. It turns out that the referee has disqualified the Machines at 9:07, because obviously the Giant Machine tagged in when he wasn’t part of the match.
My Thoughts: This was a crappy match. No surprise the angle failed, and the logic gap in Andre entering the ring and not getting disqualified until making a pin attempt was much too large a logic gap for me. The finish was also messed up with Andre falling down during a double clothesline. All in all, this angle is pretty dumb. DUD. I’m getting really antsy about some of these wrestlers, awaiting their departure. Studd is one of those. His work in the ring is so poor. Vince kept him around for far too long, sad to say.
Dory Funk & Jimmy Jack Funk (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The British Bulldogs (w/Captain Lou Albano) for the WWF Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: An obligatory Bulldogs defense belongs in here. As does at least one match with Jimmy Jack Funk before he leaves. It’s really unfortunate that Terry needed to go home, because he would have been perfect in a role where he’d eventually win the tag belts with Dory, feuding with the Bulldogs. Imagine Terry and Dynamite bumping for each other.
Match Review: The match starts off with Dory and Dynamite in there, and Dynamite runs him over with a couple shoulderblocks. Davey tags in and slams both of his opponents, and Dory leaves to take a breather. Back in the ring, Dory gets dropkicked after being thrown into the corner. Dynamite follows with a bodyslam for 2, and Jimmy Jack runs in like a moron. They do a spot where both Bulldogs are thrown into each other, but then Jimmy Jack accidentally clotheslines Dory over the top rope. Dynamite follows with a dropkick to send Jimmy Jack over the top as well, and that’s the ring cleared. Jimmy Jack drops Dynamite on the top rope as Gorilla buries Jimmy Jack’s attempt at doing so, then Dory tags in and gives Dynamite a double underhook suplex for 2. Dory then sends Dynamite to the floor, and Jimmy Jack rams him into the guardrail. Dynamite then comes back in and chops Dory very hard, only to be given a back suplex. Davey makes the tag in anyway, and lands a back elbow on the former NWA champion. Davey follows with a delayed vertical suplex for 2, and the RUNNING POWERSLAM. Jimmy Jack runs in to break up the cover, then all four men are in the ring, and this time when the Bulldogs are thrown into each other, they avoid contact and double dropkick the Funks. Davey picks up Dynamite now, and launches him into Jimmy Jack Funk with a bodypress, getting the pinfall victory at 5:27.
After the match, the Funks attack with a rope, and try to tie up Dynamite with it, but Davey makes the save and clears the ring. Nicely done. Now he tries to tie up Jimmy Jack, but he bails out.
My Thoughts: This was a decent little match, with a lot of action packed into 5 minutes. No complaints, but I don’t have much to add about it either. It was what it was. **.
– August 30th, 1986, on Championship Wrestling
The Coronation of the King of the WWF
Well, look at this! It’s the coronation of Harley Race! He walks to the ring with a midget, and all the heel wrestlers are on hand to congratulate him! I thought this was a great gimmick for Harley, whether it was a rib or burial of him, I don’t really care. It was better than just having him enter the WWF as himself. Bobby Heenan KISSES THE RING, and that as they say, is that!
This was a fun way to cover 3 months. The transition from 1985 into the years beyond is becoming more apparent as some of the people around at the beginning of the expansion are tapering off. On the other hand, some of them, like Orndorff, are being thrown into big feuds, to get the last little bit out of them. It’s interesting, and with TV tapings heading on the road, I wonder what will be done on those tapings to get people in each city to come to the tapings. I’m also heavily awaiting the pushes of the Hart Foundation, and some of Harley Race’s big matches against guys who are actually talented. Lots of debuts ahead as well. The non-televised Coliseum Video exclusive phenomenon is not too far away either, I hope! Next up is The Big Event!
Best: Bruno Sammartino & Tito Santana vs. Randy Savage & Adrian Adonis. There were no workrate spectaculars.
Worst: The Machines. Like, everything about them.