Wrasslin’ Back in the Day: WWF @ the Meadowlands 12/10/1984

The Hulkster headlines, but a trip to “Piper’s Pit” steals the show!

Gorilla Monsoon and Howard Finkel (!?!) call the action. This could be interesting.

Jose Luis Rivera vs. “Playboy” Buddy Rose

Gary Michael Capetta is handling the announcer duties with Finkel in the booth. Rose is still in shape here, with his announced weight being 256 pounds instead of his later balloonish 300+. Of course Rose declares his real weight to be 235 (Not 217??) Buddy shakes his bottom as he teases taking off his robe. After milking that for heat, he leaves the ring and finds a lady in the crowd to disrobe and kiss him.

Once things get going, Rose scores a pair of slams – each followed by a flabby muscle pose and a some strutting. Rose then yells at the announcers and does some one-arm push ups. Rose absorbs a pair of slams from Rivera, who then mock poses at Rose. Rose bails out and stalls for cheap heat after that.

Rivera messes up Rose’s hair, and that sends the Playboy to ringside looking for the same woman who disrobed him. She takes a comb from her purse and fixes his hair. They exchange words, which I’d wager was Rose telling her which bar or hotel to meet him at after the card.

Rivera controls the next few minutes with an armlock, keeping it on to the point of the crowd chanting “boring”. Rose gains control back, but spends to much time trying to be cute with kip-ups and sending Rivera into each corner head first into the buckle. Monsoon complains that the ref is admonishing Rose’s illegal tactics instead of executing a 5-count. Rivera reverses things on Buddy briefly before Rose decides he’s played around enough and scores the pin with a DDT at 11:45.

I enjoyed the match, as Rose’s cheap heat tactics work equally well against a jabroni as it would against a top guy.

Steve Lombardi vs. Johnny Valiant

The veteran Valiant controls Lombardi with his rough house tactics. Punches lead to Valiant tossing Lombardi to the floor, then slamming Steve and posting him. Valiant slams Lombardi on the cement again, then boots him to keep him on the floor. Back in Valiant simply slams him and drops a standard elbow for the win at about the 7-minute mark. A total squash and a dull one at that.

George Wells vs. Charlie Fulton

Wells was one of Bill Watts’ top guys only a few weeks earlier, feuding with the Midnight Express and other top heels as “Master Gee”. Finkel admits Wells has been traveling the states for 9 years as a wrestler and has finally broken into the WWF.

Wells controls with an arm bar early on. Since the last match stunk, and the crowd has no idea who Wells is, they quickly chant “Boring!” This does not entice him to change things up, as he sticks with the arm bars in between hitting some nice looking flashy moves such as a flying head scissors, and deep arm drags. Fulton works a headlock to make sure the crowd remains bored.

A fan is shown with large mutton chops on each side of his face. That marks the highlight of the match so far. They replay the armdrag and head scissors to relieve us of some of our boredom. Finally Wells hits a series of football tackles and earns the duke at 13:07.   Insomnia inducing up until the last 45 seconds.

Jim Powers vs. Ken Patera

Powers is very green and a pure jobber here. He has huge arms, which makes me wonder how he wasn’t being pushed elsewhere in the wrestling world. Patera stalls to start and the ref threatens to award Powers the match if Ken doesn’t get to work.

Monsoon explains why jobbers keep signing up to get killed by guys like Patera. In short, they could win in a fluke and become famous overnight. Patera chucks Powers across the ring with ease. Powers gets beat up for the first few minutes before getting in the briefest of token offense, throwing terrible looking kicks into Patera until Ken drops him. Patera methodically continues to abuse Powers with slams, suplexes and chokes. A swinging full-nelson ends things at 8:08.

This was just a squash match. The only notable thing about this bout is that the clip from the spinning full-nelson was used prominently in the Coliseum Home Video opening for the early WWF VHS releases.

They play up Patera’s dangerous power, having Jim sell a serious neck injury after the match, as doctors and refs help him.

Special Delivery Jones vs. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Jones was Andre’s partner when Heenan, Patera and Big John Studd cut the Giant’s hair, so Jones is here for some revenge. Heenan tries to sucker him into letting down his guard, but Jones is able to sidestep the Brain’s sneak attack. Heenan is whipped across the ring, taking big bump in two turnbuckles, Bobby is then flung into the ringpost. Jones throws punches until Heenan manages to rake his eyes.

Heenan controls things with basic kicks and punches for the next several minutes. Bobby really shines again once Jones catches him with a shoulder block, as it allows Heenan to take another wild bump into the turnbuckle face first. He manages to remain in control in spite of this set back. Heenan works a headlock. It makes sense for Bobby to have a limited moveset since he’s not a “wrestler”, but it creates a situation where a match like this can become tedious when the Brain is not showing off his bumping.

Jones makes his comeback after Heenan tries to use head-based offense, which won’t work on a minority according to Wrestling 101. They totally botch what may have been the finish as Jones runs into Heenan, who was ducking down for a back drop. Jones grabs Heenan around the waist and they just kind of fall over -then Heenan flips on top of Jones. Despite Jones’ shoulders being down, the ref stands there and stares at them. The men reset and Jones hits a crossbody, which Heenan reverses into a pin of his own at 11:26. This has to be the worst Bobby Heenan match I’ve seen, with the Weasel getting too much offense and the finish being blown all to hell.

WWF Ladies tag champions Desiree Peterson and Velvet McIntyre vs. Penny Mitchell and Peggy Patterson

The heels stall by arguing with the ref over being patted down for weapons. Finkel and Monsoon make a veiled comment on Pat Patterson being gay while noting Peggy shares his last name. The champs control both of the heels with arm work and quick tags. The heels then establish control with headlocks, tossing in some chokes and hair pulls to show that they are villains. Finkel comments on how the match is boring as fuck, and five minutes or so in, he is not lying. Monsoon talks about Patterson being fat, and then laughs at his own observation. The announcers are ignoring the match because the headlocks WON’T END. Finkel and Monsoon turn to talking about how the WWF babyfaces visit charities and hospitals whenever possible.

Mitchell brings the excitement with a chinlock. The heels switch spots without a tag and pull some hair to continue to establish their evil nature. An extended armbar comes next as the painful boredom continues. Monsoon continues to mock Patterson’s weight.

The babyfaces finally tag, but Velvet is quickly downed with hair pulls and choking. The heels keep the heat up through another “hot” tag which puts Peterson back in. Desiree ends up being beaten down AGAIN as this thing drags on with little happening. Finally, McIntyre gets another “hot” tag and the match gets out of control for the final minute as all four women tangle. A cradle looks to end it, but McIntyre’s pin is broken up. Peterson may have missed her mark there as Desiree goes right back to a roll-up to snag the victory at 17:17. This was a brutally dull match, with rest holds dominating the inaction.

Kal Rudman (looking like he dropped right out of 1974) interviews George Wells. Wells claims he scored 28 sacks in one season for the CFL, and that he chose to play there instead of the NFL after the Niners drafted him. Wells also claims to have played Joe Theismann in Canada, with his team hitting Joe 20 times in one game, which sent him fleeing to the Redskins. I had to look up his stats after that, and the CFL did not record sacks during his career, so that can’t be verified. Wells did make the all-pro team four times. I’m surprised to see Wells was 37 here as he looks great physically.

Johnny Valiant cuts a silly promo on how all the greyhound stations, upper crust people of society, and even Saudi Arabian Sheiks are talking about Brutus Beefcake. I can’t do his rapid delivery justice in the written form. Valiant assures us that Beefcake is not the son of some insurance agent from Delaware, and he’s the “boarding house toast from coast to coast”. Rudman cuts him off in the middle of his rap. Beefcake grins like he’s about to break out laughing.

Next up is Big John Studd and Heenan. Rudman suggest Studd’s career was going nowhere before aligning with Heenan. Both Studd and Heenan stop him to correct Rudman on what a big star Studd was/is. The interview goes nowhere as they go back to the arena after only 30 seconds or so.

Junkyard Dog vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff

Heenan makes sure to note on the house mic that Orndorff’s name is PAUL not Paula, assuring the fans chant “Paula” at him. JYD gets a huge response. Mr. Wonderful shoves Finkel, causing Monsoon to stand up and scare him off. JYD runs around the ring flapping his arms like a chicken to rile Orndorff up. Paul stalls for nearly 5 minutes, but because both men are playing off one another, it isn’t just wasting time. Wonderful screams at the fans, the announcers, the ref and JYD, anything he can do to avoid tying up with the JYD.

Once they finally start wrestling, JYD out muscles Orndorff in a test of strength and leverage, then knocks him over with a shoulder tackle. JYD is still in shape here, so he’s moving around much more than only a year or two after this. After regrouping, Mr. Wonderful takes control by simply out punching JYD. His wrestling IQ comes into question when he follows that up by ramming JYD into the turnbuckle. JYD no-sells that and drives Orndorff from the ring with headbutts.

Orndorff regains control with a back suplex, then uses some garbage a fan throws in the ring to rake JYD’s eyes. JYD does what he does best and lays on the mat for several minutes as Mr. Wonderful works him over. A piledriver connects, but JYD manages to roll to the floor to recover. JYD struggles to his feet but ends up being slammed on the cement. JYD struggles back to the apron, Orndorff tries to slam him back in the ring but winds up trapped in a small package for the sudden win at 17:35. Orndorff knocks JYD to the floor and posts him. He chucks JYD back in the ring and goes after him with a chair. This pretty clearly sets up a rematch. This felt like a solid effort after the last hour-plus of boredom.

Piper’s Pit:

Roddy Piper claims since he faced Andre the Giant the last time he came to New Jersey, no one wanted to face him tonight. He mocks the fans for letting New York City haul their trash to Jersey to dump it. They support the Giants, but New York owns the team. A fan beans him with trash, so Piper wonders if that fan should play for the local MLB teams so they didn’t suck so much.

A male fan is welcomed to the ring. He makes fun of Piper’s grammar. Piper dismisses him after offering him a trip out of town that the guy refuses. Piper next brings in an older woman. She declares Hulk Hogan her favorite wrestler of all-time. Piper kicks her out after that.

JYD is supposed to be Piper’s guest, but he’s now injured. Sal Bellomo comes into the ring and announces he’s the replacement. Piper questions how Sal and JYD could be friends since JYD is black. Sal says JYD is hurt and Piper flips on him and calls Bellomo a “dumb Wop” for stating the obvious. Paul Orndorff comes to the ring. Bob Orton, Piper and Mr. Wonderful share a group hug.

Orndorff talks about JYD growing up in the ghetto. The heels start to shove Bellomo around. JYD rushes in the ring with his head wrapped and his chain flying. The heels eat a shot or two and bail out for the locker room. Piper in his prime as a heel made this as fun as one would expect.

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton

Orton jumps Snuka before the bell, but Snuka quickly reverses things and unloads on Orton with chops and fists. The match spills to the floor and the ref counts both men out at 2:33. Snuka never worked long matches, but after sitting through all that garbage in the first half of the card, I’d have been pissed if a big match like this ended so quick. Orton tries to batter Snuka after the match, but Superfly fights him off. Do we get a JYD/Snuka vs. Piper’s goons next month as a payoff?

Sal Bellomo vs. Brutus Beefcake

Beefcake stalls to start. He scores a pair of slams and poses with glee. Finkel tries to claim Bellomo is an expert at Greco-Roman and catch-as-catch can wrestling. Beefcake absorbs a slam, which leads to him taking a time-out. Beefcake tries to stall, but Bellomo rocks him with a dropkick and dumps Beefcake to the floor. Bellomo gets in a bit of token offense after that, but is caught with a flying knee and pinned at 7:32. Nothing too painful, but nothing good here either.

WWF champion Hulk Hogan vs. Big John Studd

Hogan gets a huge reaction, and probably single handedly helped make all these fans forget the god awful first half of this show. The bulls run into each other to establish neither man has the power advantage. Both men then try to slam the other to no avail. Hogan connects with a series of rapid blows and a big boot. The dazed Studd is air lifted halfway up but Hogan is battered down. Studd controls briefly with forearms, but Hogan roars back and gets another near slam. The fans go nuts for every slam tease, which is a testament to working smart and controlling the narrative your audience reacts to.

Hogan goes for his fourth slam attempt and the men end up on the floor. Hogan is driven into a table and comes up bloody. Studd keeps Hogan down with forearms, with Hulk selling every blow with full body quivers as he crashes into the mat. Studd slams Hogan in the ring as Hogan is worn down. Things spill back to the floor and Hogan rocks Studd and slams him down on the concrete. Hogan slips in the ring and scores the count out victory at 10:01 to send the fans home happy. Hulk picks up referee Dick Worley in a press slam position to show off his excitement. When he drops him back to his feet, Worley crumbles to the mat and comes up favoring his knee.

Final Thoughts: A pretty horrible overall card, made worse by the fact that most of the event (minus the Hogan match) was shown on national TV on “Prime Time Wrestling” the following month, Do you really want to expose to your fans what a dull live event you put on?

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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