Vince McMahon introduces us to “Superstars of Wrestling”. 6,500 fans are in attendance.
Brian Madden vs. “The Magnificent” Don Muraco
Vince is doing solo commentary I guess. He gently calls Muraco fat, but that was part of Muraco’s beach bum appeal. Madden has a decent body, but is clearly small. Muraco is not interested in trying and spends several minutes working a headlock. The jobber starts reversing out of the headlock by transferring Muraco into a hammerlock. Muraco tries to slam him but Madden hangs onto his arm and continues control. Muraco next tries to shake him off and ends up in an arm wringer. The Magnificent One finally tires of this and pokes Madden’s eye and promptly tombstones him for the win at 5:15. Nothing exciting as the match was all rest holds, but it was nice to see Muraco give the jabroni some shine.
Junkyard Dog vs. Max Blue
This is JYD’s WWF debut. Blue is short, chubby and has a terrible haircut – in other words, an ideal jobber. Blue tries to strike JYD at the start but Dog is not affected by this. He slugs away as Blue does a good job flying around the ring for every big blow JYD delivers. Blue’s only chances come from him raking JYD’s eyes. This eventually annoys the Dog enough that he chucks Blue across the ring.
Blue takes an awkward bump off a Russian leg sweep. JYD is choked briefly before he powerslams Blue in the middle for the three count at 4:17. Fairly average squash here.
John Phillips vs. Nikolai Volkoff
Phillips is pasty and lanky, with no muscle tone – another wonderful slub to be slaughtered. A woman at ringside makes a face made for a meme when Volkoff starts the Russian national anthem. Her eyes roll as she makes a pouty face with her mouth. Another fan douses Volkoff with a soda, which Volkoff responds to by having security go after him.
Volkoff stomps and chokes away. Volkoff misses a kick, Vince acknowledges it, and the jobber sells the blow anyway. More choking and stomping. Volkoff finishes Phillips with a big backbreaker across his knee at 3:15. Volkoff looked like a beast, so mission accomplished.
WWF Champion Hulk Hogan vs. George “The Animal” Steele
Steele gnaws at the turnbuckle for comfort as Hogan comes to ringside. Vince suggests Steele may dismember Hogan before ever thinking about actually winning the title. The Animal flails his arms wildly at Hogan. Hulk responds by flexing, which is enough to scare Steele off. Hogan follows him to the floor and downs him on the concrete with an atomic drop.
Steele backs away from Hogan and screams “YOU!” and “HEY!” at the champ. Steele lures Hogan close and then jabs his eyes. He tears at Hogan’s face and chews on his head. Steele rips the stuffing out of a turnbuckle. Hogan’s eye has a finger rammed into it as Steele attempts to rip it out of the socket. Hulk fires up and bites Steele, but a foreign object is jammed into Hogan’s throat to stop that attack. Hogan lands on the mat in agony as the ref and the Animal play “hide the object” in the corner. Steele gets several more jabs at Hogan with the object, before stomping away on the champion.
Hulk tries to Hulk up but Steele doesn’t take the bait and walks away from Hogan. Steele chokes away and now Hogan Hulks up for real and starts to drive fists into Steele’s oversized cranium. A big boot leads to a backbreaker. The leg drop is interrupted by Fuji and the crowd is livid. Hogan attacks Fuji, allowing Steele to jump him from behind. While the ref is busy trying to control the challenger, Fuji chucks a handful of salt in Hogan’s eyes. Hogan stumbles to the floor and the fans are shocked as Steele earns a count-out victory at 9:17. The crowd litters the ring with trash. Pretty good match, when you consider the participants. Nobody was exactly expecting Flair vs. Steamboat here. Steele was a good choice for a feud with Hogan, if the champ had to work with anyone on TV. It saves the credibility of the other top heels who could draw at the arenas. Steele’s best days were behind him.
Tony Garea vs. Ken Patera
Vince decries Patera’s choice of being a heel while ignoring his chance to use his Olympic past to inspire the youth of today. Patera controls the onset with roughhouse punches and kicks. Garea uses his speed to deliver a series of punches, which drives Patera to the floor. Patera snags a nice double underhook takedown, then traps Garea in a headlock. Patera wears away on Garea before snagging him in a full nelson for the submission at 6:22. That was an impressive smashing of an established veteran by Patera.
Billy Joe Travis vs. National Champion The Spoiler
Travis would get a bit of a push in the south a few years after this, but he’s a job guy here. Spoiler wraps Travis in the ropes and delivers several boots to him. We next get a beta version of the “Old School” ropewalk/forearm that the Spoiler’s student The Undertaker would later make famous. Spoiler crawls back to the top rope-then drops down to the second rope and springs a forearm into Travis. The Spoiler next dumps Travis to the floor and teases leaping from the top rope to the floor.
Spoiler grabs the wrist of Travis and tries to walk the ropes to deliver a forearm, but the loose ropes cause him to fall, and the crowd laughs at him. Spoiler recovers fast and locks a claw hold on Travis until Travis is unconscious at 7:07. I’m sort of disappointed that the Spoiler decided to quit the WWF in short order, as he looked good for a big man here. If nothing else they could have run a Hogan vs. Spoiler unification match in the Omni, but that would mean the National title might be seen as the equal to the WWF gold.
Pat Patterson vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton
Patterson gets zero response from the St. Louis crowd, which is surprising given his pedigree. Orton pounces on Patterson right away and drives fists into him until he crumbles in the corner. Orton slams several knees into Patterson’s skull. Patterson manages to gain control with some fisticuffs. He then wraps Orton’s leg around the ringpost. Patterson wastes little time kicking away at the leg and locking on a figure-four. Orton manages to get to the ropes. Patterson keeps up the attack with a half-crab that Orton again escapes via a rope break.
Orton takes a walk to recover, but Patterson uses a single leg takedown to go right back to work on the limb. Patterson tries another, but Orton manages to deliver an enziguri. Patterson is downed with a backbreaker, but he manages to roll up Orton, only to have Orton reverse it and pull his tights to steal the win at 6:12. These two really good hands were able to put on a nice little match. With a little heat and time behind the bout, they probably would have stolen the show.
Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts vs. Alexis Smirnoff, Max Blue and Jerry Valiant
Hayes struts his stuff before controlling Valiant to start. Buddy Roberts tags in and is double teamed by the heels for a bit. Blue allows Roberts to tag in Hayes, who turns things back to the Freebirds’ advantage quickly. Gordy is then tagged in and the heels cower in fear. This leads to a six-way brawl that ends with Roberts and Hayes clotheslining Blue off of Gordy’s shoulders for the win at 3:49. This was a brisk and high energy glorified squash.
Sal Bellomo vs. Kamala
Vince is concerned that Kamala might return to his cannibal roots here. Sal has enough extra fat to keep Kamala sated at least. Bellomo cartwheels in front of Kamala in an effort to disorient him. Kamala lays in the chops – each of which sends Bellomo reeling to the mat. Bellemo tries a forearm but Kamala no sells that, More chops down Bellomo and a splash ends this mauling at 3:18. Kamala lays on Bellomo after the match is done and Vince suggests it is because he learned from lions in the jungle to protect your prey so only you may eat it. Just a squash.
Afa, Sika, and Samula vs. Adrian Adonis, Dick Murdoch and Big John Studd
The Samoans get a really good reaction, and I’m sort of baffled as to how they won over this NWA fan base. Murdoch and Adonis stooge and bump around for Samu to the delight of the crowd. The ropes break at this point and everybody seems to stall, but the ref and ring crew do not make a move to tighten them back up it appears.
Murdoch and Adonis began to wear down Samu, the youngest and smallest member of the face side. Samu is beaten on for several minutes, with Adonis and Murdoch doing a masterful job of cutting off the ring and messing with the ref to prevent Samu from making a successful tag. Studd gets his licks in too, of course.
The Samu beatdown goes on forever before a six-way donnybrook breaks out. Samu covers Studd in the middle of it, but Adonis drops an elbow on his neck. Studd scores the pin right after that at 14:47. Somewhat of an odd match, as the tag team psychology was solid but for some reason Samu worked almost the entire match. Not to mention the rope breaking created an awkward period for the guys to work around until the ring crew could salvage the situation.
Rocky Johnson vs. “Dr.D” David Schultz
For some reason Vince does not do commentary here and Matt Striker and Josh Matthews take over 25 years later. Schultz abuses Johnson, dropping him in the corner and stomping away at him. Johnson then snags the small package out of nowhere for the quick win at 1:48. Huh? I am pretty confused on why they chose to make this clash so short. Schultz never seemed to get much love in the booking anyway – working on top but never (rarely?) getting any wins over pushed talent.
Ivan Putski vs. Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Matthews and Striker are still on commentary. Ivan is all over Ventura, driving forearms into him and sending him fleeing to the floor. Putski out muscles Ventura back in the center of the ring and Ventura bails. The men battle over a top wristlock, which goes to the mat. The announcers drop “WWE Universe” and I can’t believe that shit has been going on that long ago. They then move on to discussing how Kane would fare against the Body. Putski uses his fists to batter Ventura. Striker is amazed that the fans can be so engaged over a feud involving an arm wrestling contest and some name-calling. “RAW is action packed! Look at Ventura stalling.” AUGH. Fuck off. I’m going to jab screwdrivers in my ears.
Ventura wears away on Putski with an arm bar. Striker bambles away about how Bill Cosby and George Wendt are in attendance at the show as he tries to get cute and name drop popular stars from 1984. Putski gets fired up and drops the Polish Hammer on Ventura. Jesse runs away and accepts a count-out loss after that. The match was bad, the commentary was worse.
Final Thoughts: This was not too bad of a card, if you take into account that it was a TV taping, and not a card that was meant to give the fans any big feuds in the ring. The modern voice overs of the last two matches killed off my buzz and took me out of the moment though.