Jesse “the Body” Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon call the action.
Steve Lombardi vs. “Luscious” Johnny Valiant
Lombardi is the alleged babyface here, but he is in full cheap heat pink jacket, combined with a beard that only Pat Patterson could love. Valiant cheats like crazy, choking Lombardi with a camera cable while Steve is laying in the ring. The ref is ok with this. He sends Lombardi into the table at ringside, as well as the ring barrier. He finishes by slamming Lombardi on the concrete. The crowd is pretty hot for all of this.
Lombardi avenges the attack by slamming Valiant on the cement. He follows that up by getting more offense in back in the ring. Valiant cuts him off with a clothesline and ends things abruptly with an elbow drop at 5:04. A spirited opening. It is surprising to see them work such a “hardcore” style instead of saving such spots for the headliners.
Cousin Junior vs. Moondog Spot
This is an early appearance for Junior, who Jim is managing as part of his clan. Given how over Jim was upon his debut, it made sense to bring others in to capitalize (Uncle Elmer had also recently arrived in the WWF). However, it may also have proven to water down the gimmick.
Minus the overalls, Junior has a look that would have otherwise made him a jobber as he is chubby and short. The crowd gets on these guys early with “boring!” cat calls as they stall a bit. Spot tries to figure out who this dancing weirdo is.
After Spot avoids the action for several minutes, he finally lures Junior in for a cheap shot to take control. He drives Junior into the railing and whacks him with a chair to down the hillbilly. Spot continues his offensive with rest holds and basic brawling. This goes on for what feels like forever. Jim finally distracts Spot, allowing Junior to hit a mule kick for the win at 12:46. Junior is supposed to be useful in fighting Piper and others, and can barely handle Spot? DUD.
Tony Garea vs. Adrian Adonis
Adonis is still a bit away from being “adorable” here. This might be good!
Adonis gets some cheat heat by slowly removing his leathers and studded gear as the ref and crowd scold him. Monsoon makes fun of Adonis’ blubber. Ventura reveals Adonis’ hero is Dr. Jerry Graham, who of course went from vicious heel to incredibly fat drunk guy.
Adonis stooges a bit early on for Garea, bumping from some early exchanges. Adonis manages to dump Garea to the floor as the fans mock him with calls of “You fat pig!” Ventura explains Adonis’ fat can make his punches more effective as he has more tonnage to use for momentum.
Garea fights his way back in as Adonis bumps like a mad man for Garea’s comeback. Adonis catches him with a “reverse bulldog” aka a DDT for the sudden win at 9:57.
I didn’t add much play by play, but this was a fun little match, with the crowd heat making everything all the more enjoyable to view.
Sal Bellomo vs. Terry Funk
Funk goes for all the easy heat he can as he jumps into the crowd to challenge them to fight. He also lays the bad mouth and spits at the ringside attendant who picks up his clothes. The attendant seemed a bit annoyed, as he may have been just a gopher from the arena, and not someone who was willing to be part of the circus.
Funk gives Bellemo the early portion of the match as he bumps and flops about for Bellemo’s punches and throws. Funk falls on the announce desk, leading to Ventura bailing out and Monsoon tearing off his glasses and standing up to Funk’s verbal assault.
Bellomo sends Funk into the ringpost, then works over the Funker’s arm back in the ring. Funk reaches for the ropes, but ref Dave Hebner pulls the ropes away from him. Bellomo drapes Funk’s arm over the ropes, which Funk sells with such gusto that he leaps onto the ropes with his legs and bounces.
Funk finally gets control of things and trolls the announcers by tossing Bellomo onto their table. Ventura admits he is getting annoyed by having to watch for flying bodies coming at him.
Bellomo faces abuse for several minutes before Funk puts Bellomo in a sleeper. Bellomo escapes and gets several quick pin fall attempts in before Funk is able to snap the sleeper back on. Bellomo goes to sleep this time at 10:47.
Funk did what he had to do to make this a fun battle, trusting himself to play the fool and still come out looking dangerous.
Ricky Steamboat and JYD vs. Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji
The already hot crowd goes bonkers for the faces. Fat Albert and his twin brother lead the good guys to the ring. It may have just been two fat security guys.
The faces charge the ring and attack the heels. The villains are tossed together, allowing Steamboat to choke Fuji with his Gi belt as revenge for Muraco and Fuji recently hanging him on TV. The JYD whoops Muraco to keep him from saving his manager.
The faces switch places, with Steamboat choking Muraco and JYD assaulting Fuji. Muraco and Steamboat take their fight into the crowd, as Fuji endures headbutts from the dog. Steamboat is FEELING the pissed off babyface role, as he batters Muraco with a chair, then hops in the ring, runs across it and leaps over the top rope in order to batter Fuji. JYD, not one for high flying, looks on, then casually grabs Muraco and tosses him in the ring for Steamboat to beat on.
The faces take turns abusing Muraco. This leads to one of the faker spots I have seen in a while as Muraco sells a flying chop by slowly leaning towards the ropes, then jumping over and twisting the ropes around his own neck.
Steamboat finds himself in the wrong corner soon after and winds up as the face in peril. Steamboat spends several minutes at the mercy of the bad boys, missing several chances to save himself with a tag, teasing each time that hope is only inches away. JYD finally gets tagged in, going after both heels. Fuji stops the momentum with a cheap shot that downs the Dog.
Steamboat makes a tag back in and unloads on Muraco. Fuji tries to sneak in with salt, but the Dragon knocks the heels together and scores the pin on Muraco at 13:33! The crowd goes bonkers! The heels attack Steamboat to make sure we get another round of matches out of this feud. JYD chases the neverdowells off with his chain and the fans celebrate their triumph. Fun stuff.
Swede Hanson and “Leaping” Lanny Poffo vs. The Hart Foundation
The babyface combo is quite a styles contrast, but they match up well with the Hart’s size and speed combo. Neidhart tries to bully Poffo, so Lanny uses science to outsmart the big man and takes him down with inertia.
Hart and Poffo have a go of it, with the Hitman getting the worse end of it, making sure to complain about phantom hair pulls to garner heat. The Harts finally get their act together and began to wear down Poffo with double teaming and rough house tactics. Poffo gets worked over for minutes and minutes on end. There is nothing wrong with the action, but also nothing notable.
Poffo finally scores a hot tag. Hanson begins to assault Neidhart, drawing the Hitman in. The ref is distracted by Poffo, so Neidhart is able to get a cheap shot in on Hanson. This allows Hart to score the pin at 10:37. Perfectly acceptable wrestling, if a bit formulaically dull.
Rick McGraw vs. Randy Savage
McGraw gets in Savage’s face, so Savage assaults him for his temerity. McGraw shows his spunk by slapping Savage, leading to another brief struggle for control of the match. Savage tries to wear McGraw down, but misses a knee drop, opening himself up to McGraw attacking his knee.
The match swings back and forth several times as the men struggle in the ring and on the floor. McGraw finally misses a flying attack, setting up Savage to deliver a big elbow for the win at 9:16. A solid effort by both men as McGraw played the gutsy underdog role well.
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Brutus Beefcake
The crowd’s euphoria peaks as Hogan marches to battle. Hogan fighting through the crowd as security struggles around him to hold back the fans is a great visual.
Beefcake poses and struts to avoid locking up. Hogan mocks Beefcake’s strut, causing Beefcake to charge him and eat punches.
After a time out, Beefcake downs Hogan with fists. Hogan rallies by blocking a turnbuckle head shot, causing the crowd to squeal in glee. Hogan gets his licks in for a bit before Beefcake finds an opening to resume his beatdown of punches, kicks and forearms.
Hogan once again gets in a hope spot as he yanks Beefcake to the floor and batters him with punches. Beefcake cuts him off by shoving the champ into the corner post. Beefcake lays in the forearms when they return to the ring and Hogan barely kicks out. Beefcake uses a powerslam and bear hug to wear at the champ.
Hogan escapes the bear hug and treats that as his moment to Hulk up. Hogan drops Beefcake and delivers the leg drop. Johnny V gets on the ropes to distract the ref and Hogan. Beefcake charges, but Hogan dodges, causing Beefcake to hit his manager with a flying knee. Beefcake is rolled up for the 1-2-3 at 12:47.
This was the typical fun Hogan match, with a slight twist on his usual formula.
Final thoughts: Overall, the hot crowd and a card loaded with stars made for an entertaining viewing.