WWF @ the Maple Leaf Gardens 8/18/1985

Andre the Giant meets his match as the Heenan Family delivers a hellacious beating to the Boss.

Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse the Body call the matches.

Lanny Poffo vs. Adrian Adonis

Adonis has yet to become “adorable” and is still wearing the leathers. Monsoon rips on Adonis’ recent weight gain, and Ventura is tongue tied in trying to defend him.

The men work some reversals early on as they feel one another out. Adonis bumps around to show that his weight has not affected his ability to move. The crowd gets a bit anxious as the men trade arm work, so Adonis starts to get aggressive in order to rile them up. Poffo winds up tossed to the floor.

Poffo reverses an abdominal stretch to take command back. Adonis is tossed around and about the ring as he sells Poffo’s blows with much gusto. Lanny lowers his head at the wrong moment and eats a DDT (or “neck driver” if you are Monsoon) for the loss at 6:55. Good Opener.

Dino Bravo vs. Richard Charland

The WWF had recently overtaken the Montreal area from the AWA and the local promotion, so these two stars from the area are now a part of the WWF machine. Bravo is a black haired babyface at this point.

The men have a fairly balanced back and forth opening segment before Charland hits a near low blow to signal he is undoubtedly a heel. Bravo absorbs some token offense before roaring back and ending things with a backdrop at 3:41. And with that Charland perhaps realized his brush with relevancy was over.  This was thankfully short, not allowing Bravo to make my eyes bleed from boredom.

Bob Marcus vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Savage gets a babyface reaction from the fans, and even the announcers have to admit the fans are cheering this villian. Best I can tell from a quick google search is that Marcus was a low card journeyman who had stints in Mid-Atlantic, Japan, Mid-South and other places over the prior seven years and was now a WWF jabroni.

Savage plays to the crowd, trying to get heat, but they root him on. Marcus holds his own early, causing Savage to take a breather. Savage drives an elbow into Marcus, then tosses him to the cement and drops his famous double axe handle down upon his opponent. Savage nails a powerslam and delivers a beauty of a big elbow to score the easy win at 3:38. The crowd shows Macho Man their love. This was just a squash.

Jose Luis Rivera vs. King Kong Bundy

Bundy casually smashes Rivera as the crowd amuses themselves by chanting “Porky! Porky!” at him. Bundy splashes him for the win in short order at 3:22. Another squash.

Cousin Junior vs. Tito Cenza

Cenza looks like Buddy Landell after six months with Adrian Adonis’ dietician. Junior dances to mystify his opponent. The jobber delivers some kicks, forcing Junior to answer back with some mule kicks. Junior hits another mule kick to win at 3:59. Bleh.

Andre the Giant vs. “Big” John Studd

Even months after Wrestlemania these two are still going at it. They have been feuding for almost two years on and off at this point and the feud will go on and on into 1986…

Andre blocks Studd’s opening attack, then corners him and grabs his throat. A not so subtle sign of who the “Boss” is. Andre chops and headbutts Studd as the fans roar.

The Giant chops, chokes and bear hugs Studd as Andre totally dominates him with ease. Studd tries to escape, so Andre grabs his hair in the back and yanks on his beard. The Giant shakes his opponent’s head and then just throttles Studd. Studd bails out for the sake of self preservation.

Studd rams his shoulder into Andre a number of times, finally taking Andre to his knees. Studd tries to control things with an armbar, but Andre does his best to fight Studd off. I wasn’t expecting two giants to work an extended armbar sequence.

Andre is downed with a kick.  Heenan gives Studd scissors to give Andre another trim. Andre blocks that plan by biting Studd’s arm. Andre belts Heenan for good measure. Studd is then slammed for a big pop.

The Giant grabs the scissors and prepares to snip some of Studd’s locks. The crowd is losing their minds over all this. The massive back of King Kong Bundy appears on camera as he waddles to the ring and wallops Andre. That’s a DQ at 13:01.  Studd takes the Giant down with a double leg. Bundy then hits five straights splashes before the mid-card babyface geeks can rush the ring and save the day. Andre sells the beating for several minutes as he lies on the mat in pain.

This was a semi-famous angle, done to invigorate the Andre/Studd issue, and transfer the Ken Patera role to Bundy now that Patera is behind bars. The match was not really “good”, but it had great heat and was a spectacle to see.

Rick McGraw vs. Ted Grizzly

This is very much a cool down match after the hot angle.Grizzly is just a chubby Canadian jobber. I am surprised the WWF allowed Grizzly to appear in bib overalls and a beard, basically working the same gimmick as the Hillbilly clan. McGraw wins in short order at 2:03 in a match I barely looked up at as I was Googling Grizzly’s history and suddenly the match was done.

The Killer Bees vs. The Hart Foundation

The Harts jump the Bees before the bell, but the Bees reverse things and toss the Harts into one another.

Brunzell starts things with Hart, getting all fired up as he attacks. He kicks his knees into the air to celebrate his own assault. Neidhart runs interference to cause Brunzell to miss a dropkick, quickly sending him into the face in peril role.

A fan keeps chanting “faggot” at Hart. This gets old fast for more than one reason. The Harts batter Brunzell, who does his role well as he fights from underneath, keeping the fan’s faith alive. Brian Blair does his best to act fired up as he paces and jumps around in the face corner.

They work the traditional tag spots as the ref misses Brunzell’s hot tag, allowing the heels to switch places without tagging as the ref argues with Blair. Blair does finally gets the tag and he unleashes on both Harts. The Hitman is sent to the floor as the Anvil is trapped in a sleeper. Hart tries to sneak in, prompting Brunzell to go at him. The ref cuts Jumpin’ Jim off, allowing Hart to whack Blair with a foreign object, giving Neidhart the pin at 9:05.

This was formulaic, but it’s a good formula with workers who knew how to get the most out of what they did. The match was a bit rushed if anything. I guess we needed more time for squash matches.

JYD vs. Terry Funk

I wasn’t expecting Funk to be facing JYD here, as Funk worked enhancement matches in the other arena cards I reviewed this month. Dog is attacked before the bell and choked with his own dog chain. JYD fights his way to his feet, then scoops Funk up and tosses him over the top rope and down onto the cement.

Funk sells his knee and back big time as he tries to walk around on the floor. The men briefly fight in the ring, but Funk ends up ass over tea kettle as he flies over the top rope again.

Back in the ring once again, Funk ramps up the comedy as he sells the JYD’s attack by flopping around to three corners, and then falls to the floor. Funk gets back in the ring and finds himself tossed back over the top once again. Funk is wrestling himself here, putting on a show to put the JYD over as much as possible.

Funk finally takes control with a low blow, which the JYD sells with a delayed back bump. He then squirms on the mat, never bothering to mime pain in his groin. JYD is tossed to the cement in a small bit of revenge.

Funk goes back to comedy, as he head butts JYD 5 times, selling the blow instead of JYD. JYD then hits one of his own that obviously was fake and yet Funk flops from it.

JYD winds up in a sleeper, but fights out of it, sending Funk bouncing around the ring, then over the ropes and on to a table. The table no sells Funk and stays upright. JYD follows Funk out and both men end up counted out as they brawl at 9:28. Funk takes a backdrop on the entry ramp as a crescendo to their fight.

I will probably see a lot more from these two as they feud at least into the following April and perhaps beyond.

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. “the Magnificent” Don Muraco

Steamboat charges the ring as he is out for blood. He laces chops into Muraco as the Magnificent one tries to find an exit. Steamboat bounces off the ropes and launches a chop down on Muraco on the ramp. Steamboat then takes his GI belt off and chokes Muraco with it in the ring. He whips Muraco with it for good measure.

An enziguri downs Muraco, allowing Steamboat the chance to unleash chops to Muraco’s head and throat from a standing position. Muraco is knocked to the apron, but Steamboat chases him down and unleashes more chops into the beefy heel’s chest.

Muraco is suplexed into the ring. Steamboat is suddenly selling. The announcers missed what happened and so did I. Muraco goes low and Fuji adds a cane shot for good measure.  Muraco uses his taped thumb to administer pain.

Steamboat is tossed over the top, but instead of taking a standard bump to the floor, he crashes back first into the edge of the ring with a splat. Ventura audibly expresses pain from that bump as he knows first hand how that is the hardest part of the ring.

The Dragon avoids a Tombstone, but then takes another nasty bump to the cement as he half catches himself before crashing to the floor.

Steamboat fires up and begins to unleash on Muraco once more. The crimson flows from Muraco’s head as Steamboat unloads chop after chop to Muraco’s wound. Fuji gets on the ropes, but Steamboat tosses Muraco into him. Steamboat looks to end it with the flying crossbody, but Fuji uses a handful of salt (“40 pounds of salt!” – Monsoon) to blind Steamboat for the DQ at 13:04. The heels attack the Dragon afterwards to surely set up a tag team rematch the following month.

Final thoughts: The WWF booked 3 hot feuds to bring in the crowd and it worked wonders. All the squashes at least were short, not dragging on for the sake of prolonging the show. Plus we got a hot angle. This is almost all one can ask for in a house show.

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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