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WWF At Philadelphia Spectrum
by Scrooge McSuck
February 16, 1985
- Presented on the PRISM Network, with Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon calling the action, unless otherwise noted. This is the original broadcast, so we'll see what licensed music pops in. We all know Graham is one of the worst play-by-play men in history, so we'll try to ignore most of what he says, unless it's a real whopper.
Tony Garea vs. Moondog Rex:
Oh boy, TONY GAREA gets to open the show. If I drank alcoholic beverages any more, now would be the time to go to the cooler. Lockup and Garea slips out of it, sending Rex crashing into the turnbuckle. Rex grabs a full nelson, but Garea escapes, knocks Rex back with a mule kick, and goes to work on the arm. Rex with a slam, but Garea holds on to the arm-bar. Garea with a dropkick before going back to the arm. Whip to the corner and Garea with an arm drag. Garea has taken almost the entire match so far. Rex thumbs the eyes and unloads with right hands. Whip and Rex with an elbow. Rex with a back breaker for two. Whip and a knee into the solar-plexus for two. Garea fights out of a bear-hug with right hands and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Rex quickly regains control, taking Garea over with a back drop and dropping an elbow across the back of the head for two. Garea blocks and atomic drop and takes Rex down with a sloppy back suplex. Rex recovers first and meets the knees going for a splash. Garea with a flurry of rights, whip to the ropes, and a back drop for two. Diving body press for two. Sunset flip for two. Whip to the corner and Garea with a slam, but Rex uses the momentum to turn it into a cradle, and that gets three at 10:39, despite Gorilla claiming Garea had a shoulder off the canvas. For the era, a perfectly acceptable prelim match. **
Jim Powers vs. A.J. Petrucci:
This is scheduled for a 15-minute time limit, and my god, who is this ring announcer? He's awful. It sounds like he should be doing intros for Rocky Balboa vs. Spider Rico in front of 12 people at the local bar. Gorilla notes that Powers is a good-looking young man. Lockup and Petrucci grabs a full nelson. Are the fingers locked? He quickly transitions to a snap mare takeover and rakes the eyes. Powers fights back with rights and hits Petrucci coming off the ropes with an elbow. Powers with a slam and elbow drop for two. Petrucci with an arm drag into the arm-bar. Whip to the ropes, Powers with a hip toss and a dropkick. Crisscross and Powers with… a side headlock takeover. I guess that counts as a high-spot in the WWF in 1985. Crowd wastes no time chanting "boring" even though they are doing more than Garea/Rex in the first few minutes. As I type that, Petrucci hits a swinging neck breaker for three at 3:17. That literally came out of nowhere. *
"The Barbarian" Dave Barbie vs. Carl Fury:
What is with these geek prelim matches?! Another 15-minute time limit, and Monsoon is confused by Barbie's new nickname. He attacks Fury from behind and chokes him in the ropes. WHAT A BARBARIAN! Barbie drops Fury across the top rope and an elbow across the back of the head. Barbie no-sells Fury's attempts at offense. Whip to the ropes and Fury's one-foot dropkick has little effect. Barbie with a slam and elbow drop for two. Barbie is in complete no-sell mode. Too bad his name is BARBIE. He finally finishes with a press slam and elbow drop at 3:26. No, Dave Barbie is not Sione Valiahi, the well-known Barbarian, and no, this wasn't a good match. DUD
Swede Hansen vs. Charlie Fulton:
I'm begging for a star at this point. I'll even take Brutus Beefcake. Only in the WWF will a guy be pushed in the Northeast as a babyface carrying THE CONFEDERATE FLAG. They fight for a waist-lock and neither man gains the advantage. Hansen goes to work on the arm, settling on a hammer-lock. Swede picks the leg as Monsoon hypes Tony Atlas' new haircut, "bald as a cue-ball." Ditto George Wells. You know a match is trash when THIS IS THE TALKING POINTS. They take it into the corner, doing nothing of note. Fulton with a flurry of rights in the corner. Swede fights back with his own right hands. Whip to the ropes, Fulton gets nailed with a boot, and Swede finishes with a splash at 3:27. Next. DUD
George Wells vs. Nikolai Volkoff:
At least Volkoff is a pushed talent, but this won't break the streak of uninteresting prelim matches. Oh no, it's scheduled for 20-minutes! Hopefully it lasts less than half of that. One fan has a sign at ringside that reads "Volkoff should enter into a hog calling contest." BRING THAT SNARK! Wells, like Atlas, has a freshly shaved head, and his jersey is #69. Lockup and Volkoff with a gentle nudge. I didn't see it, but I think a fan tried hopping the rail and was being escorted away off camera, drawing the attention of Graham and Monsoon (based on their commentary). Whip and Wells surprises Volkoff with a knee lift. Wells grabs a side headlock and takes Volkoff to the canvas. Volkoff escapes and pounds away on the back. Wells rolls under a clothesline and hits Volkoff with a Super-Kick. WHA?!?! He unloads with rights and a headbutt to pop the crowd (that's how much people were into hating the evil Russian). Snap mare into a cover for two. Volkoff cuts Wells off, thumbing the throat. He chokes Wells across the rope and drops him across the top rope throat-first. Wells no-sells a hip toss and clips Volkoff with football stance shoulder blocks. Whip to the corner and Wells dives in like a missile. He misses another attempt in the corner and Volkoff covers for three at 6:12. Spirited little finish, otherwise it wasn't awful. *
- Kal Rudman is standing by for an interview with Barry Windham. He's as awful as Dick Graham.
Barry Windham vs. Dick Murdoch:
Windham, along with Mike Rotundo (as the U.S. Express) won the Tag Team Titles from Murdoch and Adrian Adonis on January 21st in Hartford. This has potential, but I'm surprised it's not a Tag Team Match. We have a new ring announcer, and he's almost as bad as the first one! What is with the Spectrum shows having such terrible personnel?! Lockup into the corner and a break. They go face-to-face, but don't come to blows. Another lockup and they get into a shoving match. Windham avoids a cheap-shot in the ropes and decks Murdoch with a right hand. Murdoch with a knee lift and elbow across the back of the head. He keeps Windham grounded with kicks and drops the elbow for two. Whip to the ropes and Windham surprises him with a sunset flip for two. Murdoch regains control, working the arm. Windham decks Murdoch with short rights and counters, taking Murdoch to the canvas and hooking an arm-bar. Murdoch escapes with the same method and comes off the ropes with a shoulder. Windham nails him on the second try with a back elbow, but hits nothing but canvas going for an elbow drop. Whip, Windham ducks an elbow and hooks an abdominal stretch. Murdoch muscles over to the ropes and hip throws Windham over the top, to the floor. Murdoch follows, slamming Windham face-first into the guardrail. Murdoch pounds away on Windham as he tries to re-enter the ring. Windham eventually picks the leg and returns fire. He lays into Murdoch with a flurry of short rights and sends him into the post, choking him across the turnbuckle support bar. Back inside, Windham with a snap mare and more rights. Murdoch begs for mercy, but he doesn't get it, as Windham punishes him further in the corner. Windham climbs the ropes and misses a splash. Murdoch peppers Windham with lefts, sending him backwards over the top rope. Murdoch STELS THE CRUTCH FROM SOMEONE AT RINGSIDE AND REPEATEDLY LAYS INTO WINDHAM WITH IT IN FULL VIEW OF THE REFEREE. He Murdoch tries to bring him back in with a slam, but Windham counters with a cradle for three at 13:38. Post-match, Murdoch whacks Windham with the microphone and boots him out of the ring. This was a fight, and a highly entertaining one at that. ***1/2
Bruno & David Sammartino vs. Paul Orndorff & Bobby Heenan:
According to certain sources, this is Bruno's return to the ring after 3+ years away. Poor David, always getting second billing behind his father. Even at 49 years old and looking like your dad who grew up in the old country, Bruno gets the best pop so far. I never really look for it, but I noticed the referee here is a very young Joey Marella. Up until this point, it was a bunch of guys who I never bothered to learn the names of. Orndorff attacks and Bruno makes him pay for it. Oh, and David works over Heenan in the corner. Bruno with arm drags on Heenan before hooking the arm-bar. Whip to the ropes and Heenan surprises Bruno with a boot. Orndorff and David tag in to less enthusiasm (BECAUSE BRUNO'S THE STAR). Whip and David with a shoulder tackle, followed by a body press for two. David with the arm drag into an arm-bar. Whip and Orndorff with a knee to the midsection, but he misses the elbow drop. David and Bruno take turns working the arm. Whip and Orndorff catches Bruno with a slam. Heenan tags in to sell for David. Whip to the corner and David with a back-drop. David with a high knee, sending Heenan into the ring post. Heenan with a cheap shot to the throat and tags in Orndorff. He gives David snake eyes and drops an elbow. Heenan with some illegal tactics behind the back of Marella. Orndorff with a drifting back suplex. Heenan gets his lick in now that David is incapacitated. Orndorff with a high knee, accidentally knocking David into the corner to tag his father. Bruno unloads on Orndorff in the corner. Whip and Bruno with a boot to the chest. Heenan in and Bruno catches him in a bear-hug… then they just buckle. Whip and THEY REPEAT THE SPOT. Orndorff saves with a stool, drawing the Disqualification at 11:39. Post-match, Orndorff continues to abuse Bruno until David makes the save. This was a very basic formula match centered around Bruno as a special attraction, but the crowd was hot for most of it. *1/2
Mike Rotundo vs. Mr. X:
X is a replacement for Adrian Adonis, robbing us of what could've been a decent match. We've finally got a WWF employee doing introductions (Mel Phillips), now we just need one that isn't scum. I have no proof, since masked men are a dime a dozen and anyone could be under a random hood, but the usual "Mr. X" in the WWF in the mid 80's was Danny Davis, who also started working as a referee. Lockup and X immediately grabs a side headlock. Crisscross and X hangs back to avoid structural damage. Rotundo with an arm drag into an over-hand wrist-lock. Rotundo works the leg as the crowd collectively sits on their hands. Whip and an elbow (called a KARATE CHOP by Graham's drunk ass). Rotundo with a power slam for two. They jockey for position and still nobody cares. The commentary literally focuses on Graham's son doing amateur wrestling in college. Whip and Rotundo with a big forearm, then finishes with the Airplane Spin at 5:36. If you couldn't tell this was a nothing-match to fill the card, I just told you here. ½*
"Mr. USA" Tony Atlas vs. Moondog Spot:
Oh God, please be short. For some reason, having a shaved head is open for ridicule from Monsoon and Graham. Both probably would've hated "The Baldies" in "The Wanderers" had they seen the film at some point after it's release in 1979. Spot takes forever coming to the ring, so Atlas leads the crowd in a mild chant of "we want the dog." I'm chanting "I want the match to end" before it begins. Lockup into the ropes and Atlas gives a clean break. Spot grabs a headlock, but Atlas easily slips free, rubbing his head with glee. They do a slow-motion crisscross with Atlas hitting Spot with a jumping headbutt. Spot takes control with clubbering and grabs a rear chin-lock. It's not only the match that's bad, but the commentary is putting me to sleep. Atlas fights for a sunset flip but Spot counters. We get another 2-minutes wasted by the chin-lock. Atlas makes his comeback with more clubbering ("WHAM-O!"). He sends Spot into all four turnbuckles and finishes with a press slam at 7:40. Too many garbage matches tonight. DUD
Hillbilly Jim vs. Rene Goulet:
How many more matches will I have to suffer through?! One of Jim's earliest matches in the WWF, where he's portrayed as a goof that was an overzealous fan and has received minimal training from Hulk Hogan, complete with whacky training videos. Goulet stalls, milking the removal of his rhinestone glove. Goulet looks every bit the age of someone over 50. They finally lockup and Jim tosses Goulet down with BRUTE STRENGTH™. Goulet grabs a headlock, but Jim sends him to the ropes and knocks him down with a shoulder tackle. Jim celebrates with a pose and some dancing. Jim grabs a side headlock, drops Goulet on his face, and cartwheels. Whip to the corner, flipping Goulet to the apron. He climbs the ropes and gets caught in the bearhug, and that finishes at 5:18. Thank you, next. At least Jim's over, I guess. DUD
WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Brutus Beefcake (w/ Johnny Valiant):
We've FINALLY reached the end of the line. I don't expect much, but I've been surprised before. Graham keeps calling him "The Hulker." I refuse to add that as a real word in my app, I'll deal with seeing the squiggly red line. Hogan comes out to "Eye of the Tiger", and the commentators DON'T talk over it. That's a lesson that should be learned for the modern era. One clever fan has a "Fruit Cake" sign. Just wait until Beefcake is introduced from San Francisco as a rib. Hogan attacks as Beefcake disrobes and sends him into the corner with an atomic drop. Lockup and BEEFCAKE sends Hogan into the corner in the test-of-strength. Beefcake struts to avoid another lockup. Hogan mocks him afterwards and unloads with some goofy strikes, complete with ridiculous selling. Whip to the corner and Hogan follows with an elbow. Whip and Hogan with the clothesline (AXE-BOMBER!), followed by an elbow drop. Beefcake takes control with rights and comes off the ropes with a double axe-handle. Hogan blocks being sent to the corner and gives Beefcake a taste of the turnbuckle. He plants Beefcake with a slam and drops two elbows. Whip is reversed and Beefcake hits a clothesline in the corner. Beefcake with a power-slam for two. He drops a series of forearms across the chest for two and it's HULK-UP TIME. Hogan with rights, a big boot, and slam. Hogan comes off the ropes with a leg drop, but Valiant hops on the apron for a distraction. Beefcake with a high knee, but it only gets two with Hogan's leg out of the ring. Beefcake celebrates prematurely and Hogan rolls him up for three at 9:45. Really, a ROLL-UP? Post-match, Hogan cleans house and poses. The usual basic stuff from Beefcake, with a hot crowd thanks to Hulk. *1/2
Final Thoughts: The Spectrum shows almost always delivered the worst product, and this show, for the most part, wasn't much different. The only match worth checking out is Barry Windham vs. Dick Murdoch. Bruno Sammartino's in-ring return might have some curiosity attached to it, but the match is your run-of-the-mill tag match with a weak finish, and the parade of crap is long (Barbie/Fury, Hansen/Fulton, Spot/Atlas, Jim/Goulet, Rotundo/X, Wells/Volkoff, and Powers/Petrucci). Hard pass.
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