Wrasslin’: WWF at the Philly Spectrum 5/5/1984

WWF Philadelphia Spectrum
May 5th 1984
Lord Al Hayes calls the action with Dick Graham. Gorilla Monsoon is in St. Louis for other business.

Akira Maeda vs. Rene Goulet
Goulet is nearly 52 here. Graham is clueless about Japanese wrestling and he thinks they all study sumo. Considering Maeda is headlining a new promotion that specializes in a pseudo MMA style at this time… ugh. Maeda plays nice here and works a slower style for the older Goulet. Lots of arm bars and headlocks early on. Maeda uses an Indian death lock and then delivers a series of soft thrust kicks. Had this been happening in Japan all those shots would have been laid in. Goulet dumps him to the floor and stuns me by pinning Maeda with a suplex at 8:06. Interesting that Maeda came to the US to do a bunch of  jobs while being so heavily pushed by his own home promotion. Match was nothing remarkable in the least.

Brian Blair vs. Ron Shaw
Blair puts on a good show early on by transitioning smoothly from arm bars, hammerlocks and arm drags. Shaw works headlocks like a proper jobber. Blair works his way out of them by controlling the leverage. Eventually Blair snags the win by turning a abdominal stretch into a cradle at 9:55. Nothing special here but Blair’s technical grace was fun to watch.

Sal Bellemo vs. Afa
Ugh. This is straight out of the WWF’s line ups from a year earlier. Afa attacks Bellemo before the bell and chokes him out with his Samoan dress. The savage then hacks Sal to the floor. Graham marks out for Bellemo managing to deliver a kick. Afa’s head is too hard and Sal hurts his hand when he tries to punch. Bellemo sends Afa bouncing across the ring with a backwards dropkick. Afa goes back to choking. Afa locks on a sitting chin lock to waste time. The announcers are bored so they discuss Hulk Hogan’s tan. Afa mercifully drops a head butt to finish this boredom at 9:15. Bleh.

We get a kayfabe breaking moment as the camera goes to the locker room aisle way and we see Slaughter walk by his sworn enemy the Iron Sheik.  He gives him a few playful whacks from his swagger stick as they pass.

Sgt. Slaughter vs. David Schultz
Both men are shit talking right away and the crowd is rabid. Once the action formally starts Schultz is slugged into retreat. Slaughter chases him to the floor and chucks him into a table. A second ref comes on the scene to get things under control. Well, actually it seems both refs must have been assigned to this match. Sarge misses a charge and hurts his shoulder, which allows Schultz to start on his offensive. Schultz pounds away with fists and forearms, then delivers his finisher-a flying elbow. He tries a second elbow and this time Sarge gets out of the way. Sarge hits a clothesline and that’s enough to snag the win at 10:08. Fun brawl between these two.

Jose Luis Rivera vs. Tiger Chung Lee
They trade headlocks. The crowd chants “boring”. Lee delivers some slow motion chop thrusts. Rivera fires back with a plethora of punches. The crowd is dead. Lee reverses a flying cross body into a pin for himself at 11:29. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ….

Tonga Kid vs. “Bulldog” Buzz Sawyer
Capt. Lou is managing Sawyer. Sawyer runs around ringside acting erratically and howling. Sawyer pounces on Kid and tosses him to the cement immediately. Sawyer chews on the Kid’s face and then chokes away on him. Sawyer destroys Kid for several minutes before delivering a bulldog for the pin at just after the five minute mark. Very effective debut for Buzz. Capt Lou delivers a wacky promo on behalf on his charge and Lord Al prophetically says, “Buzz Sawyer won’t last long in the WWF”.

World Champion Hulk Hogan vs. The Iron Sheik
The fans go GONZO for the Hulkster. Sheik attacks him as soon as he enters the ring and brings him to the mat by choking the Hulk with his Arabian garb. Sheik hammers away at Hogan’s neck and chokes him with his hands. Hulk fires back with a big boot and gets revenge by choking Sheik with his T-shirt. Hogan delivers a low blow and plays to the crowd. Sheik eats another big boot before finally curtailing Hogan’s rampage by kicking the champ’s throat with his pointed boot. Hogan blades as Sheik pounds on him but a “Hulk Up” puts an end to that. A leg drop comes soon after, but Hogan wants to make the foreign scum pay and Hulk works at taking off Sheik’s boot. Sheik takes a few cracks from his own footwear and now Sheik is bleeding. Hogan cracks him with it several more times before chewing on Sheik’s bloody scalp. A slew of jobbers charge the ring to prevent Hogan from murdering Sheiky Baby. The match is declared a double count-out after 14:10. Hogan gladly poses for the crowd afterward. Hulk adds the Ali shuffle to his celebration. Good stuff here as we got a wild brawl, full of hatred, blood and jingoism.

Intercontinental champion Tito Santana vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
They feel one another out for a few minutes before the Hammer starts to work over Tito’s legs with elbows and knee drops. Hammer hacks away at Santana’s back and neck. He then begins choking the champ and drops a few powerful elbows down unto Santana’s windpipe.

Tito fires back with punches and kicks before running right into a knee from the Hammer. Valentine attempts to lock on the figure-four but Tito is able to fend him off. The Hammer continues his focus on Santana’s wheels, but Tito gives himself a big chance at relief when he manages to connect with a desperation flying forearm. Santana’s luck doesn’t last long though as Tito charges at Valentine and ends up flung to the cement floor. The two men trade shots on the ring apron before Valentine hoists Tito up and dumps him groin first over the top rope. This earns the champ a DQ win at just past the twelve-minute mark. Solid, hard-hitting match between two of the best pure workers the WWF had employed at the time.

Terry Daniels vs. Rene Goulet
Somebody must have no showed as Goulet pulls double duty here. Goulet attacks the youngster to start. Daniels makes a frantic comeback, rushing through several moves without giving Goulet a chance to sell. Daniels broke in the business by winning a shoot match challenge in Texas. He looks real young here and if I correctly remember his Tuesday Night Titans interview, he didn’t have charisma. Things meander about for a bit before Daniels reverses a slam into a roll up for the pin at 7:35. I lost interest in their basic fare.

Wendi Richter and Peggy Lee vs. Donna Christianello and Susan Starr
The announcers are putting over Richter hard here. Her looks and status as a former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader are used to try and build up her status as more than just another lady wrestler. Each time she takes a bump from the heels Graham is moaning over how such a wonderful lady has to endure this abuse. “There’s no stopping Wendi!” “Don’t damage Wendi’s face!” “Leave her teeth alone” “Wendi is a dazzler!” Richter begs off when faced with a fist in the air by her opponent, which is a heel action psychologically. Richter accidentally hits her partner and Starr steals the win at 6:31. The ref kicks Richter in the butt after the match and gets chased out of the ring. I’m confused because it sure seemed like Richter was a baby face based on the commentary, but her cowardly actions during the match, as well as the “heel miscommunication” finish sure makes it seem like she was suppose to be a heel. The announcers putting her over told a different story. Richter would be given a rocket push to the top only a few weeks after this.

Rocky Johnson vs. Samu
Johnson is roided to the gills here and they use his massive muscles to put together the early match structure as Samu is foiled several times by Johnson’s pure strength. Samu uses a nerve hold, lest things get too interesting. This goes on for several minutes. Johnson escapes and almost right away scores a sunset flip for the win at 7:27. Horrible end to the show!

Final thoughts: The Hogan and Santana matches were entertaining enough to not make this a total waste of time. There’s really not much more to say about a nothing card like this one was.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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