WWF @ Maple Leaf Gardens 12/15/1985

The Hulkster fends off the crazed Texan from Amarillo!!

Back to my pile of DVDs, the life line of my one man tour of mid-80s Wrasslin’!

Maple Leaf Gardens 12/15/85

Tony Parisi vs. Johnny K-9  

Jesse the Body and Gorilla Monsoon are (thankfully) on the call!  Monsoon declares this a tremendous match up.  Hmmmm….

They put over Jack Tunney for selling out MLG yet again. The pair claim 10 blocks of traffic were backed up to get in the building.

I head to Wikipedia for some Johnny K-9 fun facts and find myself TRIGGERED by his page stating that he worked for the AWA in 1985. Factually, he was in Memphis, which was using the AWA as a sanctioning body.  TECHNICALLY.   I perhaps should not drink a pot of coffee before trying to enjoy the sport of kings.

K-9 is future Smoky Mountain heel Bruiser Bedlam.  Also, he was a real life biker gang member, anarchist, drug pusher, murderer, etc etc.  He may prove to not even be the scummiest person I see tonight. “Johnny” is kayfabe from Romania, where his name would traditionally be “Ion”, which is K-9’s legit real name. Parisi was 43 here, but looks 50.  Wrestlers really do age different these days.

Parisi out grapples K-9, frustrating the heel.  K-9 takes a walk to regroup and comes back in with a more aggressive approach.  K-9 blows his heat by missing a top rope knee drop.

 The men have a few awkward exchanges when they try moves when one is charging at the other.  K-9 kicked Parisi in what looked like the shins one time, and another exchange saw K-9 and Parisi bump together weakly, leading to Parisi going for a double leg takedown attempt to cover for the ugly looking moment.  The announcers get on Parisi several times for his “lethargic” work rate.  I think K-9 is just too green to work fluidly and Parisi is doing what he can. Parisi hits a top rope butt splash to earn the duke.  The vet gets a big pop for the win, despite the fans not making much of a peep during the match.

Bob Marcus vs. Hercules

Hercules is channeling Bruiser Brody pre-match, doing the stomps to invoke his wild side. Marcus is a brave jobber and gets right in Hercules grill.  The announcers amuse themselves by making jokes about how Fred Blaisse and Jack Tunney are tightwads.  Some fans chant “faggot” at Hercules.  Did the kids know what a muscle bear was back then?  Herc would be the ultimate power bottom I suppose.

Herc casually hits slams, suplexes and other power moves as he batters the bum.  Herc secures the win with a back breaker.  The fans boo loudly for Herc’s win.  Nothing to see here.

Ron Shaw vs. Rene Goulet

WHAT?! Why? Ugh!   The announcers put over Shaw’s size and recent victories. Shaw was slightly balding and a little chunky.  Maybe he should have donned a mask and used his large frame for a heel run? As I type that Ventura implies that Shaw usually works as a heel.  The same fans as earlier try another “faggot” chant.  I’m sure they grew up into well adjusted adults.

Shaw works a headlock, leading to the fans letting him know this is dull stuff.  Goulet tries his claw hold finish, but Shaw fights out.  I lose interest in this clash and find myself on Facebook arguing about Covid 19.  Shaw wins via a sunset flip.  And the sun will come up tomorrow….

Dino Bravo vs. Tiger Chung Lee

Bravo is still rocking the mountie jacket.  The WWF continues here to try to convince Toronto to care about Montreal mega star Bravo.  4 months into his current WWF run as “Canadian champion” and Bravo still does not have a title belt.  Perhaps if he had a physical belt and some non-jabroni challengers, the fans may have taken to him better.  His in ring work is neither here nor there in WWF-land, but his promos would be a deterrent.  His cocky French heel gimmick was a much better fit.  This babyface Bravo was a round peg that only fit in the Montreal hole.

The men take turns with wear down holds. They are both beefy, so the pace might make you think the DVD is playing in slow motion. Bravo finally hits a few quick moves, culminating with a victory via a back suplex.  The indifferent crowd again pops for the finish, despite not making much noise for the “action”.

We have an hour left on this show, so business HAS to pick up….

Hillbilly Jim and Uncle Elmer vs. the Hart Foundation

The Harts are in red and black tonight, signaling their alliance with the NWO Wolf Pack. The Harts protest the country boys having cowbells. You can appreciate the girth of Hillbilly Jim here as he and Neidhart square off. Neidhart is no small man and Jim towers over him and looks broad across.  Jim takes control with a head lock, then lets Elmer in for some headlockery of his own.  Elmer tries some muscle poses, then tags out before he can be exposed by having to take bumps.

A blind tag by Neidhart sets Hillbilly Jim up as the face in peril. The Harts take turns stomping, slugging and choking Jim as Elmer begs the ref to stop their tactics. Of course, this only allows the Harts to get in more cheap shots as the ref is tied up with the giant hillbilly.  Jim tries a little babyface fire, but throws punches so ugly that Monsoon has to cover for them.

The ringside fans again go to the “faggot” chant, this time towards Jimmy Hart.  Can we get them a Don Rickles tape so they can find a new insult?

We get a false tag for the faces as the tag team formula goes into full gear.  The Harts miscommunicate as the Hitman smacks the Anvil to a big pop. Elmer tags in and the place explodes.  Elmer tosses Anvil into Bret, who takes a bump off the apron and into the railing to a HUGE reaction. Elmer squashes Neidhart in the corner, but Bret manages to trip him up from the floor.  Elmer is apparently King Hippo as once he goes down, he stays down for a 3 count.

Things get weird then as the heels flee with their stolen victory, but the ref then counts them out.  The announcers are baffled, and determine the ref audibled his count due to seeing the trip. But the ref saw it happen and counted anyway???? The heels return to the ring, only to be wrecked by the faces and sent scurrying. This was a fun, formulaic match with a messy ending. Ultimately the ref was said to have noticed the Hitman hanging onto Elmer’s foot during the pin.

King Tonga vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton

I guess the WWF wanted Haku to try to be the replacement Tonga Kid/Jimmy Snuka, but his push up the card here and into 1986 didn’t really click.  Orton tries to out wrestle Tonga, but the King is too strong. Orton stooges and bumps for Tonga. Haku dances in order to show some babyface fire. The Cowboy unwinds his omnipresent cast a bit and uses the tape to choke Tonga.  This weakens Tonga enough that Orton is able to wail on him with boots and forearms. Orton gets lackadaisical with a piledriver attempt and winds up being flipped overhead.

Tonga roars back, exchanging blows with Orton. Orton smacks Tonga with the cast and tries a cover, but the ref waves it off and declares a DQ win for the King.  Orton smugly celebrating before the DQ was revealed was pretty awesome. Orton, outraged by the DQ, tries to charge the ring but flops on his face like a proper stooging heel. This allows Tonga to chase him to the back.   The finish was a half hearted attempt to actually get Haku over, as he didn’t actually “earn” the win in any way.

“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs. Ted Grizzly

Orndorff is wearing a cast to annoy Orton and Roddy Piper.  Orndorff blitzes Grizzly at the bell and hits the piledriver for the win. I didn’t even get a chance to opine on how Grizzly was dressed like a Moondog/Hillbilly.

WWF World Champ Hulk Hogan vs. Terry Funk

Well, I now understand why the card was sort of wretched so far, as the sellout was guaranteed by this one match. This starts off awesome as Funk rushes the ramp to confront Hogan as the fans go bonkers.  Funk returns to the ring to rile up the fans, so Hogan steals his hat and puts it on.  The champ taps Funk on the shoulder, Funk turns and freaks out. Funk’s anger ends quick as Hogan delivers him a punch in the face.  As Funk recoups on the floor, Hogan drops elbows on the cowboy hat like he’s Ric Flair coming down from a cocaine binge.

Funk gets into it with Monsoon at ringside to provoke chaos a little more.  Funk enters the ring, and exits the opposite side, leaping over the barricade to chase fans. Back in the ring, Hogan dominates as things almost start for real. Funk flees. Hogan mocks him by miming riding a bucking bronco.  This match has earned 25 stars from me and we have yet to see a hold applied!

Funk and Hogan almost start again, but Funk runs into the ropes and winds up flopping halfway over them.  Hogan hits a clothesline, but Funk can’t quite bump up and over for it.  Funk ends up nearly landing on Monsoon again as he bounces on the ropes from Hogan’s punches.  The challenger staggers into the ring and tosses punches at shadow warriors that only he can see. Hogan continues battering Funk before the Texan goes low to down the champ.

Funk tosses Hogan to the floor.  Funk uses the announcer’s desk to launch down onto his opponent. Funk takes his wrist tape and chokes the Hulkster in the middle of the ring. Funk piledrives Hogan.  Oddly, when Funk tries to cover Hogan, the champ wraps his arms around Funk and they lay in embrace for a few seconds.  Funk chucks Hogan to the ramp.   Hogan fires up from that and unloads on Funk on the ramp, then tosses him back into the ring. Funk bumps around for Hogan before eating a big boot.  Funk falls to the apron to save himself.  Hogan tries a suplex, but Funk grabs the rope and collapses on top of Hogan.  Hogan saves his title by getting his leg on the rope.

Jimmy Hart tries to get Funk his boot, but Hogan punches Hart and steals it from him.  The champ whacks Funk with the boot (right in front of the ref) and instead of a DQ, Hogan gets the pin.  Hogan hides the boot, but then keeps it when the ref raises his hand.  Funk attacks afterward, leading to Hogan getting a chair to fend him off.  The men square down and stare down to set up a rematch down the road. This was some high level entertainment here, especially when compared with the slog that was the first hour of this show.

WWF World tag champions Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine vs. the British Bulldogs

Johnny V is dressed like Ricky Steamboat here, with a black headband and black outfit.  The faces thrill the fans early as the heels are dominated with a series of slams.  It’s always nice to see big reactions from simple moves.  The challengers take turns out wrestling Beefcake, which is not that hard to do I would guess. Valentine comes in and fares just as poorly.

Davey Boy Smith falls into peril as the momentum swings.  Beefcake locks on a sleeper, but that is not quite his finisher yet, so Smith is able to survive. The Hammer comes in and locks on a sleeper of his own.  The Kid grows weary of his partner’s struggle and enters the fray to smack Valentine. The heels maintain the advantage nonetheless.

Beefcake locks on the spinning toe hold, perhaps in honor of Bob Armstrong’s recent passing. Valentine sees the injured limb and attacks like a shark with blood in the water.  Smith manages to survive and tag out, but Dynamite’s fire is put out fast as he finds himself ground to the mat.  The ring announcer mentions the time left before curfew and the crowd groans as they sense a lame ending coming.

Smith tags in and downs Beefcake with a powerslam.  Valentine rushes in and Smith lifts him in a fireman’s carry.  The Kid leaps off Valentine’s back and delivers a head butt to Beefcake.  Instead of going for the win, we get an awkward pause as Valentine stays up on Smith’s back and the Kid climbs the ropes again.  Kid tells Smith to slam the Hammer down, but after doing so Smith pulls him up so the Kid can hit a dropkick.  Dynamite makes the cover and gets the 3, but the ref then sees Valentine’s leg on the ropes.  Another screwy false finish tonight….

Beefcake tags in and hits his flying knee finisher, but that fails to end Smith’s night.   The Bulldogs double up on the Beefer and spike piledrive him. The time limit expires before we can get a finish.  Only 4 more months of rematches to come for these two teams. In kayfabe why would a high profile title match be put in a position to end indecisively?

The fans chant “faggot” at Johnny V, which seems par for the course given their behavior at ringside tonight.  And as the lights come up in the crowd we move on…


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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