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WWF @ Philadelphia Spectrum
by Scrooge McSuck
October 13, 1984
- Originally presented on the PRISM Network, with Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon sitting at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. With the exception of Billy Graham circa 1988, I'd have to say that Dick Graham is easily one of my least favorite PBP men in WWF history. That covers a lot of ground, and matching his style with Gorilla Monsoon is just asking for trouble. I would've followed through with the MSG card held on October 22nd, but the premiere episode of Prime Time Wrestling features almost the entire show and has been covered in detail, so we won't be revisiting that again.
Bob Bradley vs. Rene Goulet:
Bradley would pop up from time to time on WWF television through the 80's and early 90's, mostly working as enhancement talent, but at times would get spots working preliminary matches on the house show circuit and had the "honor" of dressing up as Battle Kat when the role was vacated by Brady Boone. He's also introduced from Sioux City, IA, possibly the only time that hometown has been used in the WWF. Goulet really milks things before the action can begin. Lockup into the corner and Goulet complains about a hair pull. Into the corner again, and Goulet continues to insist on wrong-doing from Bradley. Whip to the ropes and Bradley with a shoulder tackle. Goulet with a hip toss, but Bradley follows through and hangs on with an arm-bar. Goulet grabs a side headlock, and Bradley counters with a head scissors. Bradley with a dropkick, sending Goulet to the floor for another powder. Goulet takes over with shots between the eyes and biting. Snap mare and Goulet hooks a chin-lock. Whip to the ropes and Goulet with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and he lays Bradley out with a clothesline for a two count. Bradley comes off the ropes with shoulders, but runs into a knee on the third attempt. Whip to the ropes and Goulet with a back drop for two. He tosses Bradley over the top rope and teases a big leap from the top, but you sure as hell know that isn't happening. Back inside, Goulet with a gut-wrench suplex for two. Bradley meets a knee on a charge, and Goulet finishes with the Claw at 11:19. *1/2 Not an awful opener. Goulet's offense at times was fine, but at 52 years old he physically looked like he didn't belong in the ring, especially with a man half his age.
Ron Shaw vs. Steve Lombardi:
Nothing like a preliminary match between two guys who typically worked heel. Did I mention that Lombardi somehow remained employed for a whopping 33 years? I guess Shaw should be the face since he's from Philadelphia, but the crowd boos him anyway. Lockup into the corner and Shaw gives a clean break. Lombardi with a side headlock takeover and Shaw counters with a head scissors. They do it again, roles switched. They take turns hooking hammer-locks. Shaw comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Lombardi catches him in another hammer-lock. Shaw escapes, but Lombardi takes him over with a hip toss and slaps on an arm-bar. Shaw with a slam, but Lombardi holds onto the arm. Whip to the ropes and Lombardi with a shoulder tackle. They fluff an arm drag spot as we go back to the arm-bar. Crisscross and Shaw catches Lombardi with a knee to the midsection. Shaw tosses him to the floor and plants him with a slam for good measure. Lombardi pulls Shaw back out of the ring and sends him to the post. It's always fun looking for specific reactions from ringside fans, and most of them aren't giving much thought to it. Lombardi meets the post on a charge attempt. They have a lame slugfest until Shaw gets trapped in the ropes. Whip to the ropes and back drop. Lombardi drops an elbow for two. Shaw comes off the ropes with a sunset flip, and that gets three at 9:39. ¾* Heel vs. Heel matches almost never work, and this was no exception. It was OK, but at times clumsy and neither man could make up their mind who was going to work as the face.
Dave Barbee vs. Moondog Rex:
I'm not very familiar with Barbee. He worked preliminaries, but was never regularly featured in the WWF (Editor's Note: supposedly, he was a traveling buddy/handler of Andre the Giant)
. He's introduced from King of Prussia, PA, another hometown no one is ever using again. We waste time with Rex refusing to give up his bone. Barbee attacks from behind in a total babyface move (sarcasm) and grabs a headlock. Rex counters with an atomic drop. He slams Barbee face-first to the canvas and rakes the eyes. Rex with a back breaker, followed by a knee across the back. Whip to the ropes and Barbee comes back with a boot to the chest. He grabs another headlock, but Rex fights out of it and drops him throat-first across the top rope in a rather clumsy spot. He drops an elbow across the chest and that gets three at 3:30. DUD Not much to this one. Barbee did nothing but grab headlocks and the work was generally sloppy.
David Sammartino vs. Moondog Spot:
Sammartino is greeted with a decent reaction, but nothing that will blow your mind. If only he were introduced as David Bruno Sammartino. David looks even more bloated than Rick McGraw. Lockup into the ropes and a clean break. David with a side headlock and a shoulder tackle. Sunset flip gets a two count. Spot with forearms to the side of the head. David reverses a whip to the corner and actually gives Spot a press slam! Crowd appreciated that one. David with an arm drag into the arm-bar. Whip to the ropes, Sammartino with a shoulder tackle, then back to work on the arm. Whip to the ropes and this time Spot catches David with a boot to the throat. Spot with kicks to the chest. He takes David over with a snap mare and hooks a chin-lock. Sammartino with elbows to the midsection, so Spot rakes the eyes and sends him hard into the corner. Spot with more kicks, sending Sammartino to the floor. Whip to the ropes and Sammartino with a sunset flip. He quickly recovers, sending David into the turnbuckle. Sammartino mounts a comeback, taking Spot down with a headbutt to the midsection. David with a double boot to the face, and now Spot is on his knees, begging for mercy. David cuts off his bum rush with a flurry of rights and lefts. Whip to the corner and he takes Spot over with a back drop. Knee drop across the chest gets two. David with a delayed suplex for another two count. Spot misses an elbow drop, and Sammartino cradles him for three at 11:35. *1/2 Okay at times, but there was a lot of dead ring time between spots (no pun intended).
Sgt. Slaughter & The Junkyard Dog vs. Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik:
It's the birth of a tag team Super-Power. The combined forces of Russia and Iran. What, you thought I meant G.I. Joe and the Twinkie King? JYD comes out to "Bad to the Bone" this time around. Is he the latest graduate of the Cobra Corps? It's a donnybrook before the bell, with Slaughter and JYD clearing the ring. Sheik and Slaughter start, officially. They take turns spitting at each other. Slaughter takes a shot at Volkoff and grabs a side headlock. Sheik gets knocked back and forth between Slaughter and the Dog. Volkoff and Sheik try the same but have a miscommunication. Slaughter with some unkind gestures for Volkoff. JYD in with biting. Whip to the ropes and JYD with a sorry excuse for a clothesline. Slaughter with a back breaker, followed by a pair of stomach busters for two. Slaughter with a snap mare and JYD drops a headbutt. Volkoff sends Slaughter into the corner for a big chest first bump. Slaughter's bladed and I guess that's supposed to make me think this is a good match. Sheik sends him to the post again. Whip to the ropes and Sheik takes him over with a back drop for two. Gut-wrench suplex for two. Volkoff cuts the tag off with a double chicken wing. Slaughter blocks a suplex and takes Sheik over with his own. Slaughter collapses just inches away from making the tag. He fights Sheik off again and slingshots him into the corner. JYD finally with the hot tag. He pounds on the Sheik and takes him over with a back drop. Snap mare into a cover for two. Headbutt for two. He misses a second headbutt and now Volkoff has him in a nerve hold for what feels like an hour. Slaughter eventually has enough of that and nails the referee while fighting both men. Then Volkoff hits the referee, and it's a cheap Double Disqualification at 16:12. * This was just long for the sake of being long. The first half of the match was mostly pandering and the heels looking like goofs. Things picked up slightly when Slaughter was taking a beating, but the combined suck of Volkoff and JYD brought it back down.
Salvatore Bellomo vs. Brutus Beefcake (w/ Johnny Valiant):
It's a rematch from Madison Square Garden, except Beefcake is now managed by Luscious Johnny Valiant, possibly one of the worst managers in the mid 80's. After that last match, I'm actually glad to see this. In ten minutes, I'm sure to be taking that comment back. Lockup and Beefcake shoves him into the corner. Bellomo grabs an over-head wrist-lock, but Beefcake powers out with ease. Bellomo with a side headlock takeover. Beefcake with a pull of the hair and head scissors, possibly the laziest, most effortless counter I've ever seen in that particular sequence. Bellomo reapplies the headlock, but Beefcake escapes with a knee to the midsection. Snap mare and Beefcake with a chin-lock. Beefcake with clobbering and choking. I'd go into more detail, but there's so little going on. Bellomo sweeps the legs and splashes across the thighs. Beefcake gives him about 5-seconds worth of offense before regaining control. Bellomo has literally spent most of the match on his ass. Beefcake with a gorilla press into a power slam. Bellomo teases another comeback with forearms and a standing dropkick. Bellomo fights dirty, raking the eyes and stomping the hand. Beefcake catches him off the ropes with a high knee, and it's over at 10:42. ½* And there's another bad match in a long line of them on this show.
Tony Garea vs. Ken Patera:
How much more do I have to suffer through before I can wrap this one up?! I feel like this would be a better match had it taken place in 1976. Patera does his usual time wasting of slowly removing his warm-up attire. Lockup into the ropes and Garea gives a clean break. They do it again and Patera doesn't have the same courtesy. Garea sends him to the corner and unloads with forearms. Whip across the ring and Patera goes chest first into the buckle. Patera with a snap mare and a chin-lock. Garea escapes with elbows to the midsection. He takes Patera over with a hip toss and slaps on an arm-bar. Patera quickly escapes and chokes away in the corner. Patera dumps Garea to the floor and slams his face onto the timekeeper's table. Back in the ring, Patera connects with a back breaker for a two count. Patera with knees to the back. Whip to the corner and he slaps on a bear-hug. Garea reverses a whip to the corner and applies an abdominal stretch. Patera quickly counters with a sloppy hip throw. Garea with a sunset flip from the apron for two. Whip to the corner, Garea misses a charge, and Patera rolls him up for three at 6:35. ** Surprisingly watchable match, although that may be a bit generous when you compare it to most of the card up to this point.
"Special Delivery" Jones vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine:
Non-Title Match. Valentine is the reigning Intercontinental Champion, having defeated Tito Santana at the tapings at the London Gardens (London, Ontario, not London, England) on September 24th, and featured on television the same day as this event. You'd think it was some great match, but it clocked in at under three minutes, but the post-match beat-down set up several months-worth of rematches. Some fan has a "Ric Flair, The Real Heavyweight Champion" sign, probably making a young Dave Meltzer proud. Lockup and they fight over a wrist-lock. Jones avoids a cheap shot in the corner and goes back to working the arm. Valentine stomps him down in the corner, and I just sense a lack of effort tonight. Jones no-sells being sent to the buckle and comes back with a big headbutt. Valentine with a back breaker for two. They fight around ringside, with Jones in pursuit. Valentine clobbers him on the apron with forearms and brings him in with a back suplex for three at 4:44. That was abrupt. ¼* This had decent potential on paper, and another fail.
WWF Heavyweight Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan © vs. Big John Studd (w/ Bobby Heenan):
Main Event of the evening and we might as well score this as another stinker unless it's the one good John Studd match in existence. Hogan tosses ring announcer Mel Phillips aside during the introductions… and then they just stand around for a few minutes. WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THE AGGRESSION?! Studd clobbers away and hooks a chin-lock. Hogan powers his way out until Studd drives a knee to the back. Hogan comes back with rights in the corner, then charges in with an elbow. They take it to the floor, with Hogan ramming Studd to the ring post. Hogan continues to pound away and resorts to biting. Studd blades, but it's nothing compared to what Slaughter did earlier in the show. Back in the ring, Hogan unloads with rights and lefts. Whip to the corner and Studd comes back with what is generously considered a clothesline. Studd stomps away and rams Hogan into the corner. Studd comes off the middle rope with a forearm and slaps on a bear-hug. Hogan with elbows to escape, but a shoulder tackle puts him back down. Studd goes for a slam, but it's blocked. Studd slams him on the second attempt and it's Hulk Up Time™. Hogan with rights and a hooking clothesline for three at 9:13. Again, abrupt. Studd looks like he kicked out at 2.9999, probably because he didn't like doing jobs. ½* Same old stuff from these two. I swear, Studd is incapable of having a good singles match.
Final Thoughts: Pretty bad show, from beginning to end. The best matches peaked at two-stars, or in other words, an average quality wrestling match, and even that was a generous score. The Main Event was the expected low-quality typically associated with John Studd, the mid-card attraction between Slaughter/JYD and Volkoff/Sheik was a lot of lazy standing around and rest holds wrapped around poor work from Volkoff and the Dog, and there's just too much preliminary junk, including the Intercontinental Champion in a 4-minute nothing match, two separate Moondog matches, and for the love of god, Ron Shaw vs. Steve Lombardi. Just an awful two and a half hours.
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