From the WWE Network: Grudge Match’86

Further proof that Terry Funk is one of the best ever, plus more blood, brawls and bodyslams~!

Courtesy of the WWE Network

There are several talents in the “gladiator” intro that were no longer in the WWF by the time this tape was originally released. I’m surprised they didn’t edit it quicker back then.

WWF Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Don Muraco

This is from MSG, and I believe this is the rematch from when Muraco beat Hogan by count-out a few weeks earlier in this same building.

Muraco jumps Hogan before the bell. This is “Earth 2” Hogan, in his all white garb. (Credit to the Death Valley Driver message board for that joke).  Hogan rallies and knocks Muraco to the floor. AX BOMBAH!!! That is followed by Hogan choking Muraco with his shirt. Hogan peppers him with fists back in the ring and Muraco crawls to the floor for relief. Muraco finds a chair and jabs Hogan with it to stop the momentum. Hogan is enraged by this and cracks Muraco with the chair. Hogan drives Muraco into the post and suplexes the Magnificent One back in the ring.

Hogan dumps the leg drop down on Muraco, but Fuji puts his leg on the ropes. Fuji then sneaks Muraco a salt packet, but he is caught throwing it in Hogan’s eyes and is disqualified. That was a fast paced brawl, with a hot crowd. I’d assume this set up some sort of tag team match blow off, since Hogan pretty much dominated here up until the DQ.

JYD vs. Terry Funk

Funk jumps JYD before the bell and dumps him to the floor. JYD fights back, slamming Funk and headbutting him into retreat. JYD takes him to three different corners to ram Funk’s head into the turnbuckles 25 times in total. Jimmy Hart distracts JYD to save his charge. Funk is tied in the ropes, and Hart takes a bump for JYD. JYD then “brands” Funk with his branding iron, until an insurance salesman comes in the ring and attacks JYD with a boot. It’s actually Dory Funk Jr. in a suit. The Funks and Hart beat JYD down until a slew of babyfaces charge the ring for the save. Funk bumped all over the place and made JYD look amazing. I enjoyed the hell out of this.

JYD vs. Terry Funk

This is from Saturday Night’s Main Event. Funk is flipped in the ring by JYD and is battered. Funk gets caught on the ropes and crotched. JYD then slams Funk to the cement floor from inside the ring. That was a huge bump by the Funker!  Funk and Jimmy Hart roll around the floor in an embrace. Funk is rocked when he returns to the ring, and seeks refuge back on the floor.

JYD chases after Hart, which allows Funk to try to get the jump on the JYD, but he is back dropped on the cement instead. Funk uses his fists to gain control before the men trade sleepers. JYD goes after Hart again, which allows Funk to smack JYD with Hart’s mega phone to steal the win. Funk tries to brand JYD after the match, but JYD snags the iron and whacks Funk with it. Hart is then stripped to his underwear and branded on his butt.

Funk put on a big time show for the national crowd, bumping like a maniac. JYD looked like a star and the ending with Hart was a memorable bit of fun.

Bruno Sammartino vs. Ivan Koloff

We are joined in progress, with Koloff knocking Bruno to the cement floor. Bruno knocks the Commie to the mat and downs him with boots. We skip ahead to a test of strength, which is followed by the men trading fists. Koloff is beaten down into a lump in the corner. Bruno locks Koloff in a bear hug. We skip ahead to Koloff escaping. Ivan batters Sammartino with blows and he comes up bloody. Monsoon is doing commentary as if Koloff is the World champ, but a glance at the records indicate Bruno never received a rematch during Ivan’s brief WWWF title reign. The ref is bumped and suddenly the ring fills with Gorilla Monsoon, the Blackjacks and many others to keep the men apart. This was kind of meh to me, which I feel a little dirty to admit.

Intercontinental champion Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine

Valentine attacks Santana’s leg before the match. We skip ahead in the bout to Santana having his knee battered. Santana catches Valentine with a flying forearm and scores a 3-count… BUT Valentine’s leg was on the ropes, so Valentine smashes the celebrating Santana from behind and scores the 3-count. Lou Albano marches around the ring with the gold like a proper prick.

Valentine briefly locked Santana in the figure-four during the aftermath. That was a weak finish, and the post match attack didn’t really put over an injury that would require the very real surgery Santana required in real life. That ending was begging for Valentine to work over the knee with a chair to set up Santana’s knee giving out during a slam or something, not what we ended up with.

We see clips of Santana’s surgery and we even get a promo with a doped up Santana in the hospital recovery room.

Tito Santana vs. Intercontinental champion Greg Valentine

This is taking place in a cage. The men have fought for endless months prior to this match. Valentine tries to bail out several times early on, but Santana is having none of that. Valentine elbows Santana to the mat. Santana manages to chase Valentine up the cage as they fight on the steel. I always love when guys are trading blows while perched up high.

The men take turns struggling for the door. Valentine is downed with a flying forearm but both men are spent from the struggle. Valentine drives Santana into the steel several times. The combatants again tangle by the door, with Santana clinging to the champ’s leg as Valentine tries to escape.

Valentine tastes the steel, setting up Santana attempt to scale the cage. The Hammer tries to stop him, but is knocked to the mat. Valentine then realizes he’s next to the door, so he tries escaping, only for Santana to kick the door in his face, before dropping to the floor in victory. Valentine has a melt down and tries to destroy the title. Santana chases him off and celebrates with his jubilant fans. These two have a ton of hard hitting bouts out there, and this was certainly worth checking out, especially for the famous ending sequence.

WWWF champ “Superstar” Billy Graham vs. Bruno Sammartino

Gorilla Monsoon is the special ref. The men began to brawl before Monsoon can even call for the bell. Graham takes a big bump off of a back drop and is then slugged to the floor. Bruno keeps up the heat, kicking and slugging Graham as the champ begs for relief.

Graham finds some rope under the ring and drags it in the ring. Bruno wrests it from him and chokes him with it. This does not warrant a DQ. Graham is trapped in the ropes and assaulted with boots. We fast forward to Sammartino still battering Graham. Graham finally goes low to stop Sammartino’s onslaught. Graham scales the ropes but leaps off onto nothing.

Graham spills out to the floor and grabs his title, which he then smacks Sammartino in the head with. That is also not enough for a DQ. Bruno comes up bloody. Sammartino starts to make a comeback, so Graham takes a walk. Monsoon chases him down, scoops him up in a fireman’s carry and launches him back in the ring to a huge pop!

Sammartino continues his attack and Graham winds up bloody. Sammartino locks in a bear hug. Graham smacks Monsoon. Monsoon’s white shirt is stained with a large bloody splotch. Both combatants trade blows to the other’s bloody heads. Monsoon calls the match off, but Sammartino continues to attack the champ. The official finish is both men were too bloody to safely continue. This was a good brawl. Graham impressed me with his bumping, but the ending was unappealing.

We finish the tape with the Wrestlemania 1 main event, which I already reviewed here:


Wrasslin’ Back in the Day: Wrestlemania 1

FInal thoughts: A nice collection of hard hitting brawls, edited down to a crisp 90 minutes of fun!



Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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