Wrasslin’ Back in the Day: WWF @ Philadelphia Spectrum 9-1-84

Can Andre’s giant fist finally close Roddy’s big mouth?

Dick Graham is joined by…LORD ALFRED HAYES! Oh this commentary might be a train wreck. 6,800 fans are in attendance.

Steve Lombardi vs. “Iron” Mike Sharpe

There are huge swaths of visible empty seats. This match should be a blockbuster. Sharpe plays to the crowd on all four sides of the ring- flexing and screaming to illicit heat. Lombardi is sporting the pink jacket he wore during his early babyface run. In a less PC time, I don’t think a face was going to have a chance wearing those colors.Sharpe stalls, then heads down the aisle to scream at the fans.

Lombardi scores an armbar when things finally get started, he makes “mean” faces to try and sell his effort. The slow start has me terrified that they are going to a twenty-minute draw. Sharpe manages to get himself tied up in the ropes and Lombardi gets in some free shots. Sharpe screams and runs away as the ref frees him. He’s really trying to make this a one-man show to avoid boring the crowd.

Sharpe hacks away at Lombardi, but finds himself trapped in a full nelson. He escapes and defiantly screams in celebration. Lombardi gets locked in a full nelson of his own, but drops out of it and kicks Sharpe in the face, apparently busting him open hard way in the process. I rewound the DVD, but I could not really see how this could have happened. Sharpe hammers away on Lombardi in retaliation. The future Brawler from Brooklyn is chucked to the floor and thrown into the railing. Lombardi responds by posting Sharpe, and Iron Mike falls into Hayes at ringside, breaking his audio equipment.

Sharpe avoids a charge back in the ring and loads his arm brace. One good shot from that ends things at 11:39. Match had plenty of unintentional comedy. Sharpe can be credited with keeping things interesting with his antics at least.

AJ Petrucci vs. David Schultz

AJ looks like Billy Jack Haynes, had Haynes never touched a weight or steroid. He’s just a jobber. He has a good frame though. Schultz treats this like it’s an MMA fight and tries to take his opponents back, then works his way for side control. Schultz locks his victim in a front facelock, and Graham all but says the move is a rest hold. Petrucci tries to escape but Schultz hangs on while insulting the audience’s mothers. AJ is freed and tries to shoot a single-leg, but gets himself caught back in the front facelock. Hayes’ mic is broke, so Graham is having a one-sided conversation.

The crowd chants “boring” as Schultz keeps up the face lock. AJ escapes and locks on an armbar, but Schultz no sells it, looking bored while staring at the audience. Schultz sends him off the ropes, hits a sloppy dropkick and scores the abrupt pin at 5:12. Wow…this was a strange match, with Schultz apparently in a foul mood, and not wanting to give Petrucci any shine whatsoever. I’d love to know if there was a back story to Schultz’ behavior.

WWF Women’s tag champions: Princess Victoria and Velvet McIntyre vs. Leilani Kai & Despina Montages

Announcer Mel Phillips is on point and announces McIntyre twice instead of Princess Victoria. The Philly staff shows their level of caring by just spelling Kai’s name phonetically and not correctly on the on-screen graphic. Montages shows her class by telling a fan to “fuck off”. The champs won the titles in May of 1983, but at that point it was the NWA’s Women tag belts. The WWF bought the rights to the titles instead of creating their own for some reason.

Kai scores an early takedown, but runs when McIntyre shows some fire. The champs take turns on Kai and she wisely tags off. Montages tags in and Victoria gives her a whooping too. Victoria gets a shot in the throat and Graham calls it a shot to the Adam’s apple, then realizes his error. The heels continue struggling to do anything with the champs and both are worked over. Some fans chant for Wendi Richter.

McIntyre scores a head scissors as the cameraman shows several shots of large men in the crowd gawking at the ladies. Victoria comes in all fired up and delivers some flying chops to send Kai bailing out. The heels finally get some control as they double up on the Princess. Hayes’ mic is at last fixed after nearly a half-hour of solo commentary from Graham.

Victoria takes a long beatdown, before Velvet tags in. This leads to all four ladies getting involved and the babyfaces score a double pin at 13:47. Match was standard stuff at best. Victoria suffered a career ending neck injury somehow during the match. It must not have been too severe as she took part in the whole match and took some good bumps. Desiree Peterson would take her place on the team.

Victoria is currently part of a lawsuit against the WWE revolving around her concussions suffered while working for them and how the WWF failed to alert her of workplace dangers.

Ivan Putski vs. Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Putski races towards the ring and jumps Ventura. Ventura runs but eats blows anyway. Ventura stalls on the floor to irritate the fans. Graham shits on kayfabe and talks about how Ventura is a good guy to talk to outside of the ring. Ventura enters the ring, then bails out again. Putski plays the “boo” – “yay!” pointing game with the fans as Ventura chills.

They finally lock up and Putski out muscles Ventura. The Body is willing to cheat, so he does so, then takes over with a lateral wrist lock. Putski fights his way out of it, and then drills Ventura with shots to the head. Ventura runs for lower ground. He suckers the Pollock close and cracks Ivan in the throat. Ventura uses tape to choke Putski. Putski gets the tape away from him and uses it to clothesline The Body, then chokes him. Ventura uses a shot to the throat to drop Putski and scores the pin at 14:07. Putski gets on the house mic and calls Ventura a “chicken shit”. The match, as you’d guess, what largely garbage as both men would be far closer to home at a weightlifting competition than in a grappling contest. Way too long for such limited workers.

Rocky Johnson vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine

Johnson looks chiseled from stone. Valentine slaps the Soulman but this only served to rile Johnson up. Johnson fires away at the Hammer in the corner, making sure to add in a slap of his own for good measure. Johnson uses an armbar to control Valentine. Valentine works on Johnson and downs him with a shoulder breaker. The Hammer then focuses his attack on Johnson’s shoulder and elbow. Methodically…

Johnson comes back with armbars. This has been really slow paced so far. The crowd agrees. A few well placed punches put Valentine on the mat face first. Johnson uses a front facelock, but Valentine escapes it with a reverse atomic drop that pretty clearly missed it’s target. An attempt at a figure-four is ended with a kick to the Hammer’s bum. Valentine tries to lock it in again, but the bell rings at 18:50 for a time-limit draw. This was just too slow paced, and I was legit nodding off. Nothing really more for me to add.

Andre the Giant vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

Andre attacks Piper before the bell. Piper tries to run and Andre rips his shirt off and chops him. Piper runs for a weapon and finds his belt. Andre grabs it from him and cracks Piper with several lashes. Piper bails to the floor for a time-out.

Piper has his arms grabbed and Andre yanks them, causing Piper to have his body pressed into the ring post. Hot Rod is then dragged in the ring and sat on in the corner. Piper tries to use some wrist tape to choke Andre, but the Giant is able to grab it away and choke Piper with it. Andre no sells some punches from Piper, gives him a big boot and Roddy runs away. The Rowdy One is counted out at 4:44. Roddy took a massive, albeit brief one sided ass whooping. The crowd ate it up, but it was over fast.

Rick McGraw vs. Nikolai Volkoff

The Russian national anthem causes a huge reaction from the crowd and the ring is covered in dozens and dozens pieces of trash. McGraw has a pro-America retort and then attacks Volkoff. The announcers actually give the fans the business for throwing trash while a country is being honored. Hayes is sort of a heel, so that’s excusable – Graham is just a putz.

McGraw gets smashed and sent to the floor once things get rolling. Volkoff keeps up the punches and boots on his smaller foe before McGraw goes low for a very brief offensive spurt. The crowd is ready to explode anytime the Commie shows some weakness. This match, however, provides few of them. McGraw is trapped in a nerve hold to eat up some time.

McGraw, all 5’9 or so of him, hits a few dropkicks. Volkoff runs into him with a shoulder block, then tried to dump McGraw throat first on the ropes, but the delivery was sloppy. A backbreaker finishes it at 7:19. With the great heat Volkoff got, it’s kind of surprising Vince didn’t sign more jingoistic heels. This was mainly a squash, but one that makes me excited to see Volkoff get his down the road when he meets up with some American stud who can match up size with him.

A bored fan can be heard screaming “I wanna see more Andre and Piper!” Amen brother!

WWF tag champions Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis vs. Afa and Sika

Graham plays the wrong angle again and talks about what a nice young man Adonis is away from the ring. Graham, he’s a pompous asshole! C’mon man! This is why Vince has to micromanage commentary today.

Afa out muscles Adonis and the heel willfully stooges on a missed clothesline and takes a big bump from Afa’s free shot. Both heels take slams as Afa has no issue with a two on one situation. Murdoch tries to use an elbow and Afa no sells. Another one sees the same response. Adonis comes in and they try a double elbow. Afa no sells and knocks their heads together. The heels flop to the mat. Murdoch attempts to knock the Samoans heads together, this fails to hurt them and they both stalk Murdoch back to the corner.

Sika finally shows some vulnerability as both heels take turns working on his arm. This goes on for a bit before the Samoans start to double-team both champions. The heels are rocked with double headbutts and then thrown together. Adonis tries a top rope attack and crotches himself. All four men pour in the ring to brawl. Murdoch throws down the ref to earn the DQ at 11:01. The Samoans chase the champs to the locker room. The Samoans then return for a victory lap. The heels made this fun, but the Samoans were not interested in anything resembling effort.

Dick Graham announces Sgt. Slaughter and JYD facing Volkoff and Iron Sheik next month plus Hogan facing Jesse Ventura. Hopefully I have that DVD, even though the Hogan match won’t come to pass as advertised.

Final thoughts: Four matches had some actual story behind them, with the rest being filler, so I can’t hate on the WWF for that. When your work horse (Valentine) has a long stinker though, the quality of the actual product suffers.

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

Leave a Reply