Through the Years: WWF The Big Event


It’s time for another review, this one being of The Big Event! Unfortunately, the full version of this card has been pulled off YouTube, so I will watch it on WWE Network, as I’d prefer to do in any case. It is the clipped for Coliseum Video version. This was a stacked card, spurred on by Paul Orndorff turning on Hulk Hogan. Great angles draw great crowds. No shocker there! Holding the event in Toronto was a master stroke. They taped TV out of Ontario, and had a huge fanbase to draw off of. They also had a huge outdoor baseball stadium to have a card in, during the summer months. There are a few omissions from the card, but there was a B touring circuit to maintain, after all! It’s a bit crazy to me to have such a big show without having any days around it for the wrestlers to take breaks. There were two, very long TV tapings on the two days before this, and the touring circuit resumed the next day. That seems extreme to say the least, but let’s get on with the review!

August 28th, 1986, from Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, Ontario

Our opening with Gene Okerlund takes quite a bit of time, and doesn’t have any of the snazzy entrance music one would expect from the WWF. Maybe a licensed song has been edited out? Supposedly there were 64,000 people at this place. That’s an enormous number, and now here comes the snazzy music! Gorilla Monsoon, Johnny Valiant, and Ernie Ladd are on commentary.


The Killer Bees vs. Jimmy Jack Funk & Dory Funk Jr. (w/Jimmy Hart)

Pre-Match Thoughts: I’m not super interested in this match, but I think it’s more than a little sad that Dory is in a tag team that jobs all the time. I don’t often say that something is beneath a wrestler, but this is beneath him. I’m still not, and never will call him Hoss Funk.

Match Review: Dory and Blair will start the match, and Dory lands a shoulderblock, only to be given a hip-toss. Then the Funks get slammed repeatedly as they often do, and that’s the ring cleared by Brian Blair. Dory comes back in and drives Blair over to his team’s corner, only for Blair to clear the ring yet again. The camera shot pans to some guy who looks like Artie Bucco, and after that, Brunzell gives Jimmy Jack a slam and shoulderblock which knocks him out of the ring. Dory comes in and subsequently is given a cross-body for 2. An arm drag follows, and Blair tags in, taking Dory down and putting him into an armbar. Dory winds up slamming Blair, and then is given one, and taken back down into an armbar. Brunzell tags in, and puts the armbar back on, and everyone switches spots so that it’s Blair and Jimmy Jack doing the same stuff. Brunzell shortly puts Jimmy Jack in a sleeper, which Dory breaks up when the official gets distracted. Dory tosses Brunzell down to the floor, and Jimmy Jack slams the former AWA Tag Team Champion.

We clip, and I don’t think it was a very large clip at all, to the Bees putting their masks on. Oh God. What a stupid gimmick this is. Pretty sure it’s Blair who rolls into the ring, and he rams the Funks into each other. He gives Dory an atomic drop now, and a clothesline to both of them. Into the ropes Dory goes, and Blair puts him in an abdominal stretch only for Jimmy Jack to give him a clothesline. The Bees switch again, Brunzell is the fresh guy, and he gives Jimmy Jack a small package for the pinfall victory at 6:53.

My Thoughts: I absolutely detest that mask-switch gimmick. It’s so stupid, and I can’t believe that anyone ever liked it. This was also one of Dory’s last matches in the WWF. Maybe he got tired of jobbing and his position on the card? Thought he had enough money? I don’t really know. In any case, this was a nothing match, between one team who has a gimmick that I strongly dislike, and one who never has any chance of ever winning a match. *.


Don Muraco (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. King Tonga

Pre-Match Thoughts: I already saw one match between these two and was hoping that number would stay at one. I knew otherwise, but that’s unfortunate. This match is kind of the stuff of nightmares for me. I like Haku/Tonga/Meng’s work, so that’s not the problem. I really don’t like Muraco’s work, and paired with an opponent who doesn’t fly everywhere to make him look like a million bucks, this could be a poor match.

Match Review: This is clipped right from the beginning, which THANK GOD. Tonga gives Muraco two hip-tosses and a bodyslam, then they trade punches until Tonga dropkicks Muraco over the top rope. After another clip, which started when Tonga had Muraco in an armbar, he’s still in an armbar! Muraco gives Tonga a monkey flip, but it doesn’t matter, as Tonga maintains the hold. Fuji smartly trips Tonga as he runs the ropes, then Muraco tosses him to the outside so Fuji can whack him with his cane. Haha. I love Mr. Fuji. Muraco gives Tonga a powerslam, and goes to the DREADED NERVE HOLD.

After another clip, with the nerve hold still going, Haku shortly fights out of it, and dropkicks Muraco. He whips Muraco into the corner now, and misses a charge. Muraco rams Tonga’s knee into the post a few times, and comes back in the ring to give Tonga a shin breaker. Muraco tries a figure-four or something and gets kicked in the face, but that doesn’t stop him at all, as he continues to give punishment to his opponent. He headbutts him in the groin to Mr. Fuji’s delight, then applies a figure-four leglock. Tonga grabs the ropes, but Muraco continues to work that left knee over anyway. Up to the top Muraco goes, and Tonga slams him all the way down to a big cheer. Tonga goes up now, and tries a bodypress. I didn’t even know he could do that! He goes for the cover, but the bell rings due to a time-limit draw.

My Thoughts: This match was clipped from a likely agonizing, long 20 minute draw, into a decent 7 minute match. Kudos! I had no idea that Haku could ever fly like that at any point. I also very much enjoyed Mr. Fuji’s involvement. It is nice to see in small doses. **.


Tony Garea vs. Ted Arcidi

Pre-Match Thoughts: Gee. Who’s going to win here? The nearly 40 former Tag Team Champion, or the super powered bodybuilder? Such questions need to be answered on WWF pay-per-view.

Match Review: They lock up, and Arcidi gets a few chances to show his power by pushing Garea back into the ropes. He pushes Garea down as well, and then slams him. After a back elbow by Arcidi, he flexes. What a goof. As the crowd looks at something else going on in the crowd, Garea dropkicks Arcidi to knock him down. The second time of trying something, Arcidi puts Garea in a BEARHUG and gets the submission win at 2:41.

My Thoughts: Haha, what a finisher. A BEARHUG. Joke of a match with a joke winning it. DUD. What else is there to say, really? Arcidi is awful.


Adrian Adonis (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Junkyard Dog

Pre-Match Thoughts: I know what to expect here. A lot of homophobia! Before the match, Jimmy Hart cuts a promo, which Adonis has to pull him away from to get this thing going. You know, what Adonis really needs is to be billed from San Francisco. I think that would have finally made people understand that Adonis was supposed to be gay.

Match Review: We clip to the start where JYD knocks Adonis down and hits him with his chain before the bell rings, and after some headbutts, Adonis cowers in the corner. JYD throws Adonis into another corner, which sends him over the top, and headbutts him again. It takes JYD like 20 minutes to pull Adonis into the ring, but instead of doing that he pushes the referee. That gives Hart a chance to spray some of Adrian’s perfume into JYD’s eyes, blinding him. Adonis clotheslines JYD, and drops a few fists on him, before heading up to the second rope. Down he comes with another forearm, and it gets 2. Adonis throws JYD out of the ring now, but back in the ring things go quickly, only for Hart to try hitting JYD when he falls out of the ring again. The referee is down in the ring, and JYD pulls Adonis out to beat him up. They fight and fight, until they get back in the ring and Adonis gets pulled out of the ring again. For some inexplicable reason, the referee rings the bell, and JYD wins by countout at 4:15.

My Thoughts: WHAT? That finish made no sense at all. The match was nothing, but after that finish, I’m kind of mindblown. I like Adrian’s bumping, and he did a good job of that here. So *1/2. The finish makes a negative amount of sense. Less than sense. I hope never to see something so silly again.


Dick Slater vs. Iron Mike Sharpe

Pre-Match Thoughts: DIRTY DICK SLATER against Canada’s Greatest Athlete! I can’t believe that anyone sporting a Confederate flag in Canada would garner any level of support. I also can’t believe Vince would even hire someone who does that.

Match Review: Slater puts Sharpe in a hammerlock, and Sharpe bails out of the ring quickly. After stamping on Sharpe’s fingers, Sharpe leaves the ring again. This gets clipped, and we come back to Slater beating up Sharpe in the corner. Slater gives Sharpe a swinging neckbreaker, but misses an elbow drop. Slater follows with a Russian leg sweep, and heads up top. He comes down with an elbow from the top rope, and gets the pinfall victory at a supposed 6:24.

My Thoughts: This was clipped down into nothing. No chance to get an impression, watch a match, rate it, etc. So, no comments here. Sorry!


King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd, & Bobby Heenan vs. The Machines & Captain Lou Albano (w/Giant Machine)

Pre-Match Thoughts: Wow, this sounds even worse than the last time I watched a match between these four. Albano is terrible. Heenan is good in some ways, but I don’t see him doing a whole lot in this. So, I’m pretty bummed out. Before the match, Heenan cuts a promo. He says that Giant Machine will be in this match, but that’s not true. It’s Super Machine and Big Machine. False advertising to the maximum.

Match Review: Studd and Super Machine start the match off, and Super Machine tries to slam him, which of course fails. Studd takes him down with a shoulderblock, and subsequently gets clotheslined until he falls down. The crowd seems to not care until Giant Machine puts Studd back in the ring. Super Machine tries another slam, but Studd gets away and tags Bundy. Bundy locks up with Big Machine, and they do the absolute same shoulderblock spot that they did at MSG. Bundy misses an avalanche to the corner, and gets clocked by Big Machine. Bundy clobbers Big back, and tags in Studd who does the same. Heenan tags in after his boys have beaten up these huge men, but Super Machine comes in and makes him leave the ring. Super now makes a real tag in, and gets hit with a back elbow by Studd. Bundy runs into Studd on accident, Super Machine gets kneed in the back. Like I said. This is the exact same match as the MSG match, with minimal involvement from the other two new participants. That may change! Heenan tags in and so does Albano, which finally gets the crowd interested! Albano tosses Heenan into the corner and upside down, so that Captain Lou can kick him a whole bunch. Studd tags in after Heenan catches Albano in the eyes, then Bundy and Heenan decide to choke Albano over in the corner. That draws in the Giant Machine, because somebody has to deal with Studd. Here comes Andre, and he stops this choking, and beats up all the heels, but that gets the Machines disqualified at 7:49.

My Thoughts: This was nothing special, but the interaction between Albano and Heenan was nice. 1/4*. Would prefer to only see two of these six wrestlers involved again. Those being Heenan and Super Machine (Bill Eadie). I wouldn’t have missed anything if I had skipped the match, which I wouldn’t have done, but perhaps this should be a lesson for the matches that I choose to watch in reviewing other articles.


Ricky Steamboat vs. Jake Roberts in a SNAKE PIT MATCH

Pre-Match Thoughts: Contrary to the description, the ring is not surrounded by snakes. That’s too bad. The first time I watched this, I was kind of hoping for that. Morbid and disgusting as that would have been. If only. This has been a very good feud, and this is the end of it.

Match Review: Jake attacks from the beginning, but misses a clothesline and gets beaten up, as well as given a backdrop by the Dragon. Jake slithers back into the ring only to get chopped and knocked down for 2. Steamboat applies a wristlock, but gives Jake another chop for two instead. Back to the arm now, until Steamboat knocks Jake out of the ring, that is. Jake gives him a kind of spear, and slams Steamboat on the floor. Jake grabs a chair after getting chopped, but Steamboat gets the chair and whacks Jake in the head with it. Nicely done! Up top Steamboat goes, and down he comes with a flying chop for 2. The audience is very much into this match. Steamboat goes back to the arm for a short bit, and winds up giving Roberts a punch combo in the corner. But because it’s Steamboat, they’re chops! Jake sends Steamboat into the corner and over the top rope to the outside, then follows him out there to beat him up. Jake catapults Steamboat into the ring post, and I expect BLOOD now. Is there blood…yes, a little bit! Jake rams him into the barricade and the platform that supports the weight of the ring, and now the blood is starting to pour. Jake works Steamboat over with punches, and gives him the short clothesline. He goes for the DDT now, and gets driven into the turnbuckles by Steamboat. The Dragon fights back, until being given an inverted atomic drop and a stomach breaker. Nice moveset from Roberts here. Unfortunately, like an idiot, Roberts celebrates while covering Steamboat, and Steamboat turns that into a pin for himself, garnering the pinfall victory at 10:17!

My Thoughts: Really good match. No overbooking, just solid wrestling, and a great end to the feud that kept Roberts a strong heel. As we know, he turns, but if they had planned for him to program with Hogan, that’s pretty much how you do it. Heels never win feuds in this WWF, so no surprise about the result. ***1/2 and recommended.


Hercules Hernandez vs. Billy Jack Haynes

Pre-Match Thoughts: Billy Jerk Haynes! His jacket is pretty outrageous. It’s gold. I believe he and Harley Race are the first two people I’ve seen in both Crockett and the WWF during this review series. I’ll have to check to make sure, but I’m pretty sure that’s the case. Hercules is still a very bland big man, still has that long curly hair look.

Match Review: Johnny V and Ernie Ladd left during this match, and the two big units lock up. This is the first case of a true roid beast feud over the last year and a half. Haynes takes Hercules down with a shoulderblock, and Hercules lands a clothesline in response. We clip quickly, and Hercules has Haynes in a bear hug. I have no problem with that clipping. Hercules drops a few elbows on Haynes, and rams him into the top turnbuckle while a few people chant boring. I don’t really agree, but after a shoulderblock by Haynes, both men are down. The Oregon native begins to fight back, and gives Hercules a back elbow. A backbreaker follows, and Haynes goes to the second turnbuckle for an elbow. He covers for 2, and I think we’re getting close to the finish. Haynes goes for the FULL NELSON, and Hercules kicks him in the nuts as the referee can’t see. Monsoon never saw that. Hercules tosses Haynes out of the ring so he can pose, then goes for a suplex to bring him back in, which works. A cover gets 2 to Herc’s displeasure, so he clotheslines Haynes. That also got a 2 count, and Haynes goes for a roll-up, which gets 2. This match has no heat whatsoever, and Hercules goes for a neckbreaker, but Haynes locks him up in a backslide, and gets the pinfall victory at 6:08.

My Thoughts: This was decent enough, but it had no heat, and I don’t know what was clipped. Even considering that it was clipped, I have a hard time giving good ratings to matches that don’t have heat. So, *1/4 here. I’ve seen worse on this card, that’s for sure.


The Dream Team vs. The Rougeau Brothers

Pre-Match Thoughts: Now this should be good. Exactly what I want to see too, two teams with a reputation for strong work, going after it and trying to put on a show. Johnny V is up in the booth, so he will not be managing his charges in this match. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to watch the Rougeaus in a few years.

Match Review: The Dream Team attacks immediately, but this kinda stinks because the Rougeaus are both wearing the same colored trunks, and they happen to be the same as Valentine’s. Eventually the Rougeaus clear the ring, and Jacques tries to get a pinfall on Valentine after a sunset flip, but it only gets 2. Jacques tags out to Raymond, who kicks Valentine in the gut a couple times for a 1 count. Jacques comes back in and lands a back elbow for a count of like, none…and Jacques puts Valentine in an abdominal stretch now. Somehow, with the camera not focused on the ring, Beefcake wound up in the ring and slammed Jacques. Raymond tagged in anyway, and gave the future wrestling barber a sitdown splash for 1. This referee counts really slowly. Valentine tags in now, and comes off the top rope with a blow to Raymond’s head, and gives him another one for 2. A Valentine slam follows for 2, but Raymond tries a cross-body, which gets 1. The referee is REALLY annoying me. The Rougeaus then do a double dropkick, and Jacques covers for 2. THIS REFEREE. SO SLOW. The Dream Team shortly swaps in and out, but Valentine gives Jacques an atomic drop anyway. Oh man, Jacques hilariously grunts whenever getting hit. Great selling. Jacques fights his way out of the heel corner, but then Raymond runs into the ring and they all brawl. Valentine and Beefcake then get thrown into each other, and Jacques gives Beefcake a slam, which leads Raymond in to follow with a CANNONBALL. Damn, that only got 2. Unfortunately, the Rougeaus get beaten up after that, and Raymond gets rammed into the lip of the ring apron by Valentine. The Dream Team does that again, and Beefcake then gives Raymond a backbreaker for 2. Damn, this referee really sucks. These are such long counts. Jacques is doing his best to get the crowd involved from the apron, but Raymond is given an inverted atomic drop. Beefcake also gives him a suplex, and covers for 2. The Hammer puts a bear hug on Raymond, and keeps him from making the tag. Valentine then misses a few elbow drops, and Raymond finally makes the tag.

Jacques has dropkicks for everyone, and a slam for Valentine. He also has one for Beefcake, but Valentine confronts him and they trade shots. He then gives both men a dropkick at the same time, and heads up top for a knee drop against Valentine, but he misses. Valentine goes for a figure-four, but he can’t lock it in. The match has become a story of preventing people to do anything, but finally Valentine locks it in. That took a while! Raymond comes in to break up the hold, and starts beating up Beefcake over in another corner, until he tosses him out. Valentine goes for yet another figure-four leglock attempt, and Raymond gets ignored by the referee during it, so he gives Valentine a sunset flip while the hold is being applied, and he gets the pinfall victory for the Rougeaus at 14:51. Johnny V goes crazy in the announce booth after that, and it was pretty funny.

My Thoughts: This was another solid match. It feels like its been a while since the last one, but it really hasn’t been. I appreciated the tag work, and the finish was really nice. **3/4. If Beefcake had been less involved, it could have been even better!


Harley Race vs. Pedro Morales

Pre-Match Thoughts: Former WWF Champion vs. former NWA Champion! That’s about all there is to say about Morales at this point. He needs to retire, and Harley isn’t far off from doing so himself, although his performances at this stage are far better.

Match Review: This is joined in progress, and it looks suspiciously like two old men beating each other up. Morales knocks Harley through the ropes down to the floor, but that doesn’t really hinder Harley from doing anything. He pulls Morales down to the floor and rams him into a table with the ring bell on it, then gives Morales a falling headbutt on the floor. Harley follows up by throwing Morales into the ring post, but then back in the ring, Morales gives him a suplex. He continues with a small package for 2 and the crappy referee counts like shit once again. Harley misses a charge to the corner and is given a sunset flip for 2, then when Morales pushes the referee out of the way, Harley goes for a quick pin, puts his feet on the ropes, and gets the win. Ha. I don’t have a time, but it was pretty short.

My Thoughts: Man, this really was like watching two old men go at it. It was extremely slow, but it had a fitting finish. I think that’s all that can be asked of this. I wonder if Vince was merely curious to see if Harley had anything left to give, and put him in matches like this, with that gimmick. Obviously, he had something left to give, and was rewarded with better placement on the card. That was not on display here. DUD.


Paul Orndorff (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is quite obviously the match that got people in the building. Is it the blowoff match? Well, we’ll find that out soon. The feud reignited a stagnating title picture, and in my opinion, Orndorff’s impact on the WWF’s boom period is far greater than he has ever been given credit for. He just wasn’t there through all of it, and therefore isn’t given the reverence that other wrestlers are given. That’s too bad. I think Orndorff certainly belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame. He was so much better as a heel, that is for certain. I love that Orndorff enters to “Real American”.

Match Review: Man, the crowd finally lets their presence be known when Hogan gets in the ring. Orndorff attacks Hogan with a clothesline while the referee is checking Hogan for weapons, and he really beats up the Hulkster, brother. Hogan gets position and beats up Orndorff, until the scumbag referee grabs Hogan’s hair to pull him off the challenger. Hogan comes back with a big shot that causes Orndorff to fall out of the ring, and the crowd goes crazy. Orndorff drags Hogan to the outside now, and Hogan rams Orndorff’s face into the canvas. Back in the ring, Hogan gives Orndorff a clothesline and elbow drop. Monsoon thinks the match is about to be over, as Hogan gives Orndorff a clothesline in the corner this time. However, Heenan slaps Hogan with the official distracted, and that also allows Orndorff to try to attack Hogan from behind…only to be given an atomic drop by the champion. Hogan chases Heenan around the ring now, and then into it, which allows Orndorff to attack Hogan. Orndorff clotheslines Hogan to the outside, and follows him out there to suplex him on the mats. Hogan does a great seizure sell, and gets tossed back in the ring only to be beaten up. This is a good form of resting for a wrestler, as Hogan doesn’t really have to do anything other than lay there while the other guy works really well. Orndorff elbows him in the throat to knock Hogan out of the ring again, and Hogan crawls his way back in. Orndorff hits Hogan in the throat to lead to Hogan doing another seizure sell, and covers for 2. Orndorff slams Hogan now, and drops an elbow on the champion for another 2 count. Orndorff heads up top this time, and hits Hogan in the throat yet again. The crowd is going a bit crazy now, and Orndorff goes for the PILEDRIVER…but Hogan turns it into a backdrop! Orndorff is really angry now, so he bites Hogan. Haha. He gives Hogan a back suplex as well, and covers…but that’s just a 2 count as well, because Hogan’s foot is outside the ring. But now, HOGAN’S PISSED BROTHER. He’s FIRED UP BROTHER. He knees Orndorff in the back, which knocks him into the referee…now what’s going to happen? He gives Orndorff a hard clothesline, reminiscent of Orndorff’s turn on Hogan, and now he poses like he’s going to give Orndorff a piledriver. He has Orndorff up for it, but Heenan runs in and hits Hogan WITH A STOOL. The referee tries to get up and can’t count Orndorff’s cover, so after like a minute, he crawls over and taps Orndorff on the shoulder. The fans go a bit crazy thinking that Orndorff won, and he is getting heavily cheered by this Canadian crowd, but he has not won. Instead, Orndorff has been disqualified at 11:05! I guess Orndorff was disqualified for what Heenan did, or for being knocked into the referee. I don’t know.

After the match, Hogan blocks Orndorff’s attempt at hitting him with the title belt, and gives him a clothesline. Then lands the big boot, and Mr. Wonderful heads to the outside…only to come back in when Hogan turns his back. He hits Hogan, and gets chased out of the ring by the champion, but I think it’s really over this time.

My Thoughts: Well, this was fun. I thought it was the right finish to keep the feud going, and that both guys really put on a show for the massive crowd. I don’t understand the reason for Orndorff being disqualified, which is okay, considering he should have been disqualified anyway. The why’s do not matter! ***1/4 for a good match that doesn’t necessarily fit the Hogan formula. We never got to the point of a leg drop, so that’s a success! I think I’d recommend this match considering that there aren’t that many Hogan matches kicking around from this era that are this good.


That was a fun way to spend 2 hours (spread over a few days). I think the way to look at it is that the bad matches were kept somewhat short, or clipped into nothingness. The show started off very slow, but the second hour was full of good stuff. Steamboat/Roberts, Rougeaus/Dream Team, and Orndorff/Hogan all seemed to be shown in full. The Steamboat/Roberts match wasn’t very no disqualification like, but that isn’t a complaint, just an observation. It was the best match on the card. A few of the matches weren’t very good at all, but at least they were short. Next time, we’ll be catching up with a few months of stuff from Jim Crockett Promotions. See you guys next time!


Best: Ricky Steamboat vs. Jake Roberts

Worst: Ted Arcidi vs. Tony Garea

Card Rating: 6.5/10. Bad matches did take up nearly half the show after all.


Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.

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