Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon call the action.
Bob Bradley vs. Rene Goulet
Bradley looks like he has been taking his “supplements” and even Monsoon mentions his improved physique. Bradley is returning after missing several months with a knee injury. Goulet uses the standard cheap heat tactics of stalling and complaining about phantom hair pulls. Bradley controls things early on with arm drags and arm locks. They blow a spot when Goulet fails to go down for a snap mare and the men convene in a corner to reset things. Goulet uses some fists to help set up Bradley becoming trapped on the ground. Bradley takes a fantastic backdrop – elevating high into the air. Goulet chucks him to the floor and teases leaping after him. A fan tries to help Bradley stand up and gets shoved off. Bradley tries to fire up but Goulet manages to snag the claw and scores what I’d consider an upset at 11:17. Solid enough opener, with nothing flashy, but nothing particularly compelling either.
Steve Lombardi vs. Ron Shaw
A main event anywhere in the world. The fans boo Lombardi despite being the “face”. Shaw is from Philly and gets booed anyway. Monsoon admits the fans don’t give a shit about this match. The crowd starts the “boring” chants before they can even get going. Monsoon explains the WWF hierarchy and why jabroni matches like these matter. They trade some basic stuff, with Lombardi controlling with a hammerlock and an arm drag. Lombardi keeps up the exciting action with a lengthy armbar. Lombardi is cut off and tossed to the floor. Shaw follows up by slamming him on the cement. The future Brawler shows some fire and fights back, punching Shaw and then posting him.
Lombardi continues his assault but ends up showing his inexperience by running into the steel ring post during a charge. Shaw opens himself up by ducking for a backdrop and Lombardi is able to mount a quick comeback that ends with Shaw cradling him for a sudden win at 9:38. They worked a pretty basic match, nothing that you might not see by young workers breaking in today. The fans did not care, and the guys did not give them too many reasons to.
Dave Barbie vs. Moondog Rex
Rex messes with his bone, and wastes too much time, allowing Barbie a chance to pounce him from behind. Rex digs his fingers into Barbie’s eyes to set himself up to batter Barbie with forearms. Rex dumps him throat first on the ropes and drops the elbow for a quick win at 3:30. Just a squash, which is a little surprising given Barbie’s impressive muscles.
David Sammartino vs. Moondog Spot
The crowd approves of Bruno’s kid. Sammartino scores an early atomic drop, then weathers some shots from Spot before rebounding by press slamming the corpulent Moondog. The crowd applauds that impressive feat. Sammartino tries to take Spot’s arm home as a souvenir by whipping him around by the limb. Spot pounds on David and manages to ground him with a headlock. Sammartino takes abuse for several minutes before firing up and unloading with a series of punches. A standard suplex earns him a big response. The crowd really wants to root for this kid. Spot misses an elbow and is cradled for a pin at 11:34. The audience goes pretty wild for this turn of events. Seeing this would make you think a star had been born.
Technically, this did not feature any more action than the previous matches, but the intrigue of seeing the son of a legend try and start his own career in the big leagues helped make this one a lot more watchable.
Junkyard Dog and Sgt. Slaughter vs. Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik
Ring announcer Mel Phillips may have screwed up as he announced the babyface team before the Russian National Anthem. Then we have a pause, as the good guys are nowhere to be found. After a bit, the crowd goes MOLTEN for JYD and Slaughter coming down to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”. JYD has an army hat on and is carrying the American Flag. I have to admit I am marking out hard for the babyfaces – both are high on my favorites list.
The American heroes charge the ring and batter the evil doers with forearms and fists and send them into retreat. Sarge and Volkoff start things off once we get things under control. Sarge tells Volkoff to piss off with hand signals, and then batters him with fists. JYD tags in and bites Volkoff. Sheik tries to sneak in and the fan favorites double up on him and send Sheik fleeing.
Sheik next tries attacking JYD’s head, which works as well as expected. JYD rocks him with punches, then does a little juking and jiving. Slaughter tags in and bites the Sheik before stomping his bread basket. A stomach buster further tatters Sheik’s tummy. JYD joins in the fun by headbutting Sheik’s belly and then chasing him on all fours while smacking heads.
Sarge tags in but quickly gets caught with a kick. This allows Volkoff to tag in and he proceeds to chuck Slaughter from pillar to post. Sarge comes up bloody from that, which gives Sheik a target to abuse when he tags back in. The crimson covered Slaughter is suplexed by Sheik and battered by Volkoff. The JYD freaks out as Sarge plays the face in peril, desperately trying to make a tag. The heels plot to distract the ref as Slaughter comes close to making the switch off. Sarge does another great fake out as he stumbles into his corner and flops inches from JYD’s hand. Finally Slaughter sling shots Sheik and waddles over to tag in the JYD. The crowd explodes!
JYD goes gonzo on the Sheik until he misses a head butt. Sarge is so out of it that he falls off the apron. Volkoff traps JYD in a nerve pinch. An exhausted Sarge pleas with the audience to clap along with him and energize JYD. Sheik batters JYD and locks on the Camel Clutch, and that draws in the Sarge. The ref takes a bump as all four men brawl. The heels are repelled to the floor. The ref calls for a double-DQ at 16:13. This was a excellent brawl, with Slaughter especially playing his role to perfection. He bled a gusher, got all kinds of heat for the heels, made a few dramatic close tags, and showed great fire when needed. This bout is probably worth seeking out online.
Sal Bellomo vs. Brutus Beefcake
I approve of Johnny V’s garish yellow outfit, complete with bright yellow cowboy hat. Graham talks about Beefcake’s muscles and Sal’s flabby gut. Things start out slow as Bellomo uses a headlock and Beefcake locks in a chin lock. Monsoon laments about the kids these days with their flashy ring gear. Beefcake kicks and forearms Sal into a puddle of pasta on the mat. Graham calls him “Beef steak” by accident. This leads to Monsoon discussing his dinner plans, which is more interesting than this match. Monsoon hints that Beefcake may be gay. Brutus chokes and slugs away at Bellomo. A snail would outpace everyone in this match so far. Beefcake catches him with a flying knee to end this at 10:40. The crowd dead, and I was bored to tears.
Tony Garea vs. Ken Patera
Graham actually questions if Patera is stronger than Garea. Monsoon quickly explains all the feats of great strength Patera has done in the recent past. Garea tries to use speed to counter his larger foe. Patera is content with trapping Garea on the mat with a headlock. Patera is locked in an armbar, and even Graham assumes he’ll easily escape. The announcers talk about Garea gaining weight in his belly, just burying their buddy. Patera pounds Garea with forearms and locks him in a bearhug. Garea escapes but Patera grabs a handful of tights and rolls him up for the easy win at 6:33. Not much happening here, to the degree that I can’t really offer any comments of note. Patera seems to be coasting in all these mid-card nothing matches I’ve seen him in.
Special Delivery Jones vs. Intercontinental Champion Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Since this match was signed before Valentine won the IC title, the Hammer refuses to put the title on the line for this match. Jones gets grinded down early on, but Valentine tries to hurt Jones’ head, which leads to the vintage minority no-selling spot and a quick assault being put on the champ. Valentine works Jones to the mat, and stuns me by pinning Jones out of nowhere after a back suplex at 4:44. The Hammer was technically and psychologically sound for his part here. I’d wager the show was running long and they had to beat curfew, thus the sudden finish.
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan vs. “Big” John Studd
Studd is replacing Jesse Ventura here according to online sources, but the announcers do not say as much. Graham again insists on calling Hogan the “Hulker”. Can somebody please correct him already or is this some sort of rib to annoy me? The crowd goes bonkers for the Hulk (of course). Studd stymies the action immediately by trapping Hogan in a standing rear chin lock. Hulk escapes and fires blows into Studd’s head. The challenger escapes to the floor and the ever clean-cut Hogan tosses Studd into the ring post, busting open a forehead that is already zig zagged from nightly blading. Hogan gnaws at the wound.
Studd is able to club Hogan and take control. The champ is stomped and his lower back rocked against the turnbuckle. Studd clamps on a bear hug to take advantage of the Hulkster’s weakened state. Hogan blocks a slam, but suffers the indignity of having Studd just scoop him up anyway. Studd poses like an idiot and waits to go for the pin. Hogan “Hulks Up” and rocks Studd with a clothesline to score a sudden victory.
Hogan gets on the mic and smack talks Studd, reigniting the fight and the men spill out to the floor. Hogan starts to shake and he knocks Studd down. The men trade more words on the mic, and a rematch is set up, with the tease that Hogan had yet to slam the giant. This was not a particularly inspired effort by these guys. Studd of course was extremely limited, and Hogan didn’t do much on his end either.
Final thoughts: I’m a bit indifferent given that main event finish. I was not strongly compelled to want to see another Studd/Hogan main event since Hogan won fairly cleanly. However the wild tag match set up a rematch for the following month, and I’d be hard pressed not to want to see that action again. Most of the other bouts were trash however.