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WWF The Big Event - August 28, 1986
by Scrooge McSuck
- Originally taped on August 28th, 1986 from the CNE Stadium in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Think of it as a plus-sized house show match that somehow drew over 65,000 fans, and the WWF was on hand with a film crew to capture it and put it on tape for a Coliseum Video release. I'm not a big fan of the introduction from Mean Gene Okerlund, with clips of all the matches spliced in... I know none of them give anything away result wise, but I don't like seeing parts of matches before I see the match. Despite having the master copy of this show hanging around, I've never really had much interest in watching it, but it's something fresh for me, so here we go...
- Gorilla Monsoon, Lucious Johnny Valiant, and Ernie Ladd are calling all the action... After listening through a few matches, Ladd was actually more tolerable than I remembered, so I removed a snide remark about Monsoon having to carry this threesome.
- Opening Match: The Killer Bees vs. Hoss & Jimmy Jack Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart):
I know to the WWF Universe, Dory Funk was nothing more than the brother of Terry Funk who looked more like his grandfather, but it's still pretty lame to see him jerking a curtain with his kayfabe brother "Jimmy Jack", and you know, by this point, it's nothing but Job Duty. The Bees are B. Brian Blair and Jumping Jim Brunzell, for those who have a terrible memory. Blair starts with "Hoss"... Hoss with a side headlock and shoulder block. Blair comes back with a hip toss, followed by a pair of slams on both Funk's, clearing the ring in the process. Back inside, and Blair continues to fight off both opponents, while Brunzell hangs around on the apron. Jimmy Jack with a headlock on Brunzell. Criss-cross, and Brunzell with a slam and forearm, knocking Funk out of the ring, again. Brunzell with a cross body on Hoss for a two count, and the Bees take turns working over the arm. Funk puts Blair down with a slam, but the Bees won't be denied tonight. Jimmy Jack tags in, and gets worked over with wristlocks and armbars. Irish whip, and Brunzell slaps on a sleeper hold. Hoss nails Brunzell from behind to FINALLY give the heels some offense. Brunzell gets dumped outside, and Jimmy Jack slams him on the padded gym mats. CLIP JOB, as the Bees do their mask switch routine. Whatever Bee is in the ring unloads on both Funks. Bee #1 with an atomic drop and clothesline to Hoss, then another to Jimmy Jack. Abdominal stretch is applied, but Jimmy Jack breaks it. The Bees switch again, and Bee #2, the original legal bee probably, cradles Jimmy Jack for the three count at an edited 6:45. Goes to show you that a crowd will cheer the babyfaces switching spots like they were heels... the edited version (probably edited by 30-seconds, but still) comes across as a total squash for the Bees, with the Funk's barely getting any offense. I'm not 100% sure, but this might've been one of Dory "Hoss" Funk's last appearances... until a one-shot appearance at the 1996 Royal Rumble Match.
- King Tonga vs. The Magnificent Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji):
Was there something going on here that seems to have slipped my mind? Muraco has gradually been slipping down the card, but I still wouldn't say he was low enough on the card for a meaningless match with a newbie like King Tonga, a.k.a Haku. We do a quick clip job to the two locking up. Muraco slaps on a side headlock, but Tonga takes him over with a pair of hip tosses, then sends Muraco running following a slam. Back inside, and Haku sends Muraco right back out with a dropkick. Since I obviously can't help calling him Haku, I'll just call him Haku. He went under a name change about three weeks later, anyway. Heck, Ernie Ladd actually says he (Tonga/Haku) prefers being called Haku now... Haku works a wristlock, and we clip to Haku still working a wristlock. Okay? Muraco attempts an escape with a monkey flip, but Haku hangs on. Irish whip, and Fuji trips up Haku, allowing Muraco to take control. Muraco dumps Haku out in front of Fuji, and you can only guess what Fuji does with his cane. Fuji must be famished, because he goes back for seconds. Muraco brings Haku back in with a powerslam, then slaps on the Hawaiian Nerve Pinch. Haku escapes with chops and slaps. Irish whip, and Haku connects with a dropkick. Whip to the corner, and Haku misses a charge. Muraco puts the boots to him, then wraps the leg around the ring post. Muraco with an atomic drop to the knee, a page right out of the Ric Flair playbook. Muraco continues to target the leg, and applies a Figure-Four!? Why is Muraco busting out the moveset for such a low profile match? Haku is too close to the ropes, though, forcing a break. Muraco keeps working the leg, but makes the mistake of heading to the top rope, and gets slammed off for his troubles. Haku with chops and rights, then comes off the top rope with a cross body press for a two count, as the bell rings at 11:32, and it's a 20-Minute Time Limit Draw... yeah, they REALLY clipped out a ton of resting, didn't they? Even in short form, it's not an awful match, but incredibly dull. You would have more fun watching grass grow, probably.
- Tony Garea vs. Ted Arcidi:
Blech... I thought Arcidi was a babyface, but maybe he was doing a tweener act to try and get him over (which it didn't, obviously). Arcidi is one in the loooooooooooooong line of "World's Strongest Man" gimmicks, and he might've been the worst wrestler of anyone on that list too, with maybe Bill Kazmaier offering a decent challenge to that throne. Arcidi is so roided out, you can spot his incredible back acne from the blimp view. Arcidi over-powers Garea to start, and doesn't offer anything but a grunt following a pair of shoulder blocks. Garea with a side headlock, but they fall into the ropes for a break. Arcidi shoves Garea down, then plants him with a sloppy slam. Whip to the corner, and Arcidi nails Garea with a back elbow. To my surprise, we actually see Gorilla, Ladd, and Valiant in the broadcast booth. That might be the highlight of this match. Those are some loud ropes... Arcidi with a dropkick to take Arcidi off his feet, but he quickly gets caught in a bearhug, and Arcidi quickly wins by submission at 2:40. Thank you for keeping it short... Arcidi takes his sweet time releasing the hold, because he's suddenly a jerk who stinks in the ring, rather than a good guy who stinks in the ring.
- Junkyard Dog vs. "Adorable" Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart):
We're finally getting into the more high profile matches on the card, so naturally I am cursed to sit through a JYD match. How pissed could someone be to force Adonis to not only go through with this gimmick, but dress him in the most unflattering attire, possible? Pale pink granny panties and leg warmers? Good gravy... We clip most of JYD's entrance, to him pummeling Adonis, using his steel chain as a weapon! Where's the Disqualificaion? Adonis with his signature headbutts, then Adonis rams himself into the ring post. Whip to the corner, and Adonis lands on the outside. JYD drags Adonis back to the apron and unloads with a pair of headbutts. The referee gets thrown down, allowing Jimmy Hart to blind him with Adonis' perfume. Irish whip, and Adonis with a clothesline, followed by a jumping knee drop. Adonis with a pair of forearms across the throat for a two count. JYD gets dumped out of the ring, allowing Jimmy Hart a few cheap shots. JYD no-sells them, and somehow crotches Adonis across the top rope, while on the floor and with Jimmy on his back. JYD tosses Adonis into Jimmy Hart, and I guess JYD is awarded the match by Count-Out at 4:18. I don't understand the logic in this match at all... it was semi-watchable because of the incredibly short run time, but an overbooked clusterfuck at the same time. Vince Russo would be proud.
- "The Rebel" Dick Slater vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:
More from the preliminary matches? Okay... Slater had a pretty short and uninteresting run (Editor's Note: "short" being just over a full year :P )
, other than being a babyface wearing a rebel flag cape in a promotion widely associated with Northern America. Iron Mike Sharpe does NOT get a hometown pop, for those keeping track. Slater's reaction from the crowd is almost as negative, despite being the babyface. Lockup, and Slater quickly counters a wristlock with a hammerlock. They lock knuckles, and Slater puts the boots to Sharpe, sending him out of the ring for a breather. We get some stalling while Monsoon questions the arm brace he's been wearing for the better part of a decade. We clip to Slater hammering away on Sharpe in the corner. Irish whip is reversed, and Slater surprises Sharpe wth a sloppy neck breaker. Slater misses an elbow drop, but takes Sharpe down with a Russian leg sweep. Slater to the top rope, and a bionic elbow is enough for the three count at 2:25. Pointless filler.
- The Machines & Lou Albano (w/ Giant Machine) vs. Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Bobby Heenan:
Just a quick backstory: Andre the Giant was suspended for whatever, suddenly these mysterious Machines show up, and one is 7'0"+ and 500 pounds... and you know the rest. Midnight Rider... Mr. America... it's all the same story. I don't understand why Giant machine is not a participant in the match. Studd and Supr Machine start, and they lockup to the corner. Super Machine pounds away, but can't get Studd over for a slam. I'm almost surprised we didn't get "Little Machine", considering the love for midgets in the WWF. Super Machine takes Studd down with a trio of clotheslines, and Andre... I mean GIANT Machine, tosses Studd back in the ring, into the waiting arms of the Big Machine. Bundy tags in, and not-so-quickly grabs a headlock. Big Machine escapes and hammers away, then knocks Bundy on his butt with a back elbow. Bundy pounds Big Machine to the canvas, and it's Studd's turn to do more of the same. Heenan tags in to get a few shots in, then goes for the mask, but Super Machine clobbers him, and he quickly tags out to Studd. Super Machine tags in and quickly gets in trouble, as well. We get heel miscommunication, but Super Machine can't take advantage, and gets worked over some more. Heenan and Albano both get tags in, and the crowd FINALLY wakes up, with Albano daring Heenan to grow a set. Next he's going to challenge him to do the Mario (I know, that was on three years later). Albano sends heenan to the corner, but falls victim to the Greco-Roman eye rake. Things get out of control until the GIANT Machine comes in and cleans house of everything that moves and that's associated with Bobby Heenan. the bell rings at 7:48, and it's a DQ victory for the Heenan Family, but Giant Machine taking on all three with ease doesn't really make them look like the winners. Heenan keeps getting tossed back into the hands of the Giant, until finally making his escape. Studd's impressive streak of being involved in lackluster/awful matches continues...
- Snake Pit Match: Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts:
Much like any match with a creative (or not) name, it's just a fancy way of saying No Disqualifications. It was a few months earlier on Saturday Night's Main Event that Roberts KO'ed Steamboat with a DDT on exposed concrete, so Steamboat has been on the revenge train. This match made it's way to the Jake Roberts: Pick Your Posion DVD, but that was a pretty poor DVD set when it came to bonus features, so maybe most people ignored it. Roberts attacks during introductions and pounds away. Steamboat ducks a short-arm clothesline, takes Roberts over with a back drop, and scares him out of the ring. Back inside, and Steamboat with a big chop for a quick two count. Steamboat works the arm, and takes Roberts down with an overhead throw, keeping the hold applied the entire time. Criss-cross, and Steamboat with a chop for another two count. Monsoon notes that neither the snake or the dragon (the animals) are at ringside for this. Steamboat continues working the arm and chopping the skin off Roberts' chest. Steamboat with a spinning heel kick to the midsection, knocking Roberts out of the ring. Roberts manages to gain control, and plants Steamboat with a slam, then drops a knee across the throat. Roberts grabs a chair, but the Dragon knocks it away, and whacks Roberts with it instead. Back inside, and Steamboat with a chop from the top rope for a two count. Steamboat with an armbar, slowing things down considerably. Steamboat with a flurry of chops in the corner, but a whip to the corner is reversed, and Steamboat goes spilling to the arena floor. Roberts follows, and slingshots Steamboat into the post (BLADE JOB!). Back in the ring, and Roberts continues to hammer on the cut. Roberts connects with the short-arm clothesline, and we know what's next. Steamboat rams Roberts into the corner to counter the DDT. Roberts remains in control, connecting with an inverted atomic drop and a stomach buster for a two count. Steamboat counters a cocky pin with a sunset flip, and THAT gets three at 10:22? Really lame finish to a failry uninteresting match. I never thought I would say that about these two, but here's the proof.
- Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez:
Haynes is fairly new to the WWF at this point, and this was before these two had an official program going. Hercules is still sporting his afro look, something he thankfully ditched by the end of 1986. Monsoon is flying solo for this one, no doubt afraid of being blinded by Hercules Casper skintone. Lockup, but no one seems to have gain control. Haynes with a side headlock and shoulder block. Criss-cross, and Hercules with his usual crappy clothesline. CLIP! Hercules slaps on a bearhug, but he's nowhere near as strong as Ted Arcidi, I guess. Haynes escapes with the Bees ear smack, but Hercules remains in control (and the crowd remains dead, too). Hercules with a series of elbow drops for a two count. It's so dead, you can hear each individual smart-ass remark. "Boring" chant breaks out, as we get a lame head collision spot. Haynes mounts a comeback with boots to the midsection. Irish whip, and Haynes with a back elbow. Haynes with a back breaker, followed by a second rope forearm for a two count. Haynes goes for the Full Nelson, but Hercules escapes and puts Haynes down with a near-low-blow. Hercules tosses Haynes out through the ropes, forgeting that's not a DQ in the WWF. Hercules brings Haynes back in with a suplex, but that only gets a two count. Hercules with another awful clothesline for a two count. Haynes surprises Hercules with a school boy for another two count. Hercules goes for a neck breaker, but Haynes counters with a back slide, and that gets the three count at 6:08. You don't see a lot of matches end on a back slide... not the worst match ever, but another in a long list of uninteresting ones from this card.
- The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Dream Team:
(Jacques & Raymond Rougeau vs. Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake)
How many more matches are there to sit through?! I know this has potential to be a decent match, but a man can only sit through so much... the Dream Team attacks during pre-match shenanigans, but the Rougeaus eventually gain the upperhand and clear the ring. Jacques with a sunset flip on Valentine for a two count. Jacques with a snapmare and knee drop, then Raymond with a series of kicks to the chest for a two count. Jacques with a diving back elbow for another two count. Irish whip and Jacques slaps on an abdominal stretch, but Valentine escapes with a hip toss. Beefcake tags in and plants Jacques with a powerslam for a two count. Raymond tags in and drops ass on Beefcake for a two count. Valentine comes in with a forearm from the top rope, and covers Raymond for a two count. Valentine with a slam for another two count. Irish whip, and Raymond comes back with a cross body for a one count. The Rougeaus with a double dropkick on Valentine, and Jacques rolls over with another two count. Jacques gets worked over in the corner with some double-team action, but he's a tenacious little monkey, with everyone getting involved in the action. The Dream Team gets rammed together, and Jacques slams Beefcake in the corner. The Tower of Quebec connects, but Valentine breaks the fall. Yes, I know that's the name the Quebecers used, but it's the same thing. Beefcake tosses both Rougeaus out, and Raymond gets rammed into the ring apron, courtesy of the Hammer. Raymond continues to take a beating, and does not get counted-outl despite being out of the ring for roughly two minutes.
Back in the ring, and Beefcake gorilla presses Raymond into a back breaker for a two count. Valentine tags in and drives a knee into the back. Valentine tries to pin the arms down, but Raymond keeps getting the shoulders up. Valentine with an inverted atomic drop, and Beefcake takes Raymond over with a suplex for a SLOW two count (why is this referee counting so slow!?). Jacques screaming from the corner is starting to get annoying, too. Valentine tags in, and applies a BEARHUG? I don't think bearhug when I think of moves likely to be used by Greg Valentine. Jaqcues tags in, but he uses the ropes for leverage to reach, so the referee disallows it. GOOD. Beefcake takes Raymond down with a snapmare, and covers for two. Raymond takes a double team pounding while Jacques continues to whine like a little girl. Valentine misses a pair of elbows, and Jacques gets the hot tag, nailing everyone with dropkicks. Jacques with a slam on Valentine, then one for Beefcake, as well. Jacques gets caught in the corner, but hits both men with one dropkick. Jacques to the second turnbuckle, and he misses whatever the fuck he was going for. Valentine goes for a Figure-Four, but Jacques kicks him off. Valentine clips the knee and gets the hold applied the second time around. Raymond breaks it with stomps to the Hammer, then gets into it with Beefcake. Valentine goes for the Figure-Four again, but Raymond sunset flips him and illegally gets the three count at 14:57. Other than the whacky finish, a pretty solid tag match, although I'm sure it could've stood to have been trimmed by a couple of minutes. Johnny Valiant goes berserk in the broadcast booth over the loss, of course.
- Pedro Morales vs. "Handsome" Harley Race:
You know it's 1986 WWF, when you have two guys who are former World Champions, on the verge of collecting social security competing in a worthless match to kill the crowd (it's coming on before HOGAN v. ORNDORFF. It's meant to kill them). Race has the little crown on his tights, but I was pretty sure he had not become "King of the WWF" just yet. Morales knocks Race out of the ring with a headbutt. Race trips Morales up and drives a pair of elbows across the throat. Morales gets rammed into a table, colapsing it in the process. Race heads back out of the ring, and drops a headbutt. Johnny Valiant with some VERY insensitive jokes regarding Puerto Ricans, something you barely could get away with then. Try doing that now... Morales drags himself back into the ring, and counters a suplex with his own. Morales with a small package for a two count. Whip to the corner is reversed, but Race misses a charge. Morales with a sunset flip, but only for another two count. The referee gets in the way of things, allowing Race to sweep the legs and use the ropes for leverage to get the three count at 3:34. Thank you for keeping that incredibly short. Is the crowd chanting "bullshit"? AT THIS GARBAGE?! They were dead the entire match. Maybe they are expressing their feelings for the overall performance.
- WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan © vs. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff (w/ Bobby Heenan):
I just finished recapping this match on Hulk STILL Rules, so here you go: This was pretty early in their program (the turn happened roughly a month earlier), so you know the crowd is jacked for it. Orndorff lays Hogan out with a clothesine before the bell, then pounds away. Hogan gains the upperhand, unloading with short rights. They continue beating the crap out of each other, with Hogan winning the slugfest. Back inside, and Hogan sends Orndorff back out with an elbow. Orndorff drags him out, but Hogan makes him pay for it with a face-first canvas slam. Hogan comes off the ropes with a clothesline, then drops an elbow. Whip to the corner, and Hogan comes in with another clothesline. Hogan with an atomic drop, then he heads outside to scare the beJesus out of Heenan. Orndorff gains the upperhand during the mayhem, putting the boots to the Champ. The action spills outside, and Orndorff takes Hogan down with a suplex on the puffy gym mats. Those things were pretty fun to land on, if memory serves correct. Orndorff drives a series of elbows into the throat of Hogan, but chooses to talk trash than follow up. The referee and Orndorff exchange words loudly until Orndorff drops a knee on Hogan for a two count. Orndorff with a scoop slam, followed by one of his signature elbow drops for another two count. Orndorff to the top rope, and he lands a jab in the throat on the way down. Orndorff signals for a piledriver, but Hogan back drops out of it. Orndorff regains control, with the age-old classic technique of biting. Orndorff with a back suplex, and he makes the most cocky pin attempt, and of course, only gets two. Hulk is up and PISSED, and a running high knee sends Orndorff into the referee. Hogan raises Orndorff's arm and lays him out with a short-arm clothesline (just like Orndorff did to him), then signals for a piledriver. Heenan interrupts things with a chair shot, KO'ing the Champion. The referee finally comes to, but he doesn't count, and instead calls for the bell at 11:06, awarding the match to HOGAN by Disqualification? Lame finish, but a solid match with a fired up crowd. You can't really ask for anything more in the early stages of a house show program.
Final Thoughts: Sitting through shows from the pre-WrestleMania III days are still too hard for me. There's way too much in terms of poor undercard matches, and there's just not a lot to keep my interest going. The main event was fine and the tag match between the Rougeaus and Dream Team was pretty good, but that leaves NINE matches that just keep me interested, including a very dull and disappointing encounter between the Dragon and the Snake. I'm all for a company patting itself on the back, filling out a stadium with very little build up compared to a major PPV/Supercard, but this show is definitely not worth tracking down.
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