WWF Championship Wrestling- January 5, 1985
by Scrooge McSuck
Taped from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY on December 17th, 1984. I'm not too familiar with the week-to-week WWF programming (that's an understatement. I'm practically blind with the mid 80's. 1987 is when things start coming together for me, which happens to be when the main programs were Superstars and Wrestling Challenge). Since we're in the pre-PPV era, the entire purpose of each show is to sell tickets to the live events. Yes, that could still be considered accurate as years went by, but there was more focus on pushing TV, too.
- So much for respecting the trademarks of others, as they blatantly use Michael Jackson's "Thriller" for the opening video (just the instrumental, but it's one of the most identifiable beats in music history, so... yeah, blatantly stolen).
- Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino are calling the action, unless otherwise noted.
Mike Rotundo & Barry Windham vs. Rusty Brooks & Charlie Fulton
Those two names might as well be the Barry Horowitz and Reno Riggins of the mid 80's. Vince McMahon puts over the duo of Rotundo and Windham as undefeated in the WWF. Brooks is an obese jobber that wouldn't have a prayer in hell of making it without a gimmick these days. Rotundo starts with Fulton, cradling him to counter a side headlock. The Fink cuts in almost immediately to promote a show at the local High School with JYD on the card. Windham in for a double dropkick. Windham hits Brooks with a dropkick, followed by a slam. Rotundo with a fireman's carry into the arm-bar. Brooks gets a brief offensive flurry in (a slam and knee drop) before tagging out. Fulton can't keep the pressure on, so Brooks tags back in, only to get sent to the corner, and Windham finishes with the running Bulldog at 3:15. It's not hard to imagine Windham and Rotundo being in the top 10 of in-ring performers on the roster, maybe Top 5 if you really dig deep. Rotundo and Windham exit to Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA", but the name "US Express" isn't used once during the match.
- Lord Alfred Hayes is standing by with an Update from Studio 54. An award is being presented to music sensation Cyndi Lauper and WWF Managing Star, Captain Lou Albano. The Rock n' Wrestling Connection is going full speed ahead. After so many years as one of the top heel managers, it must've taken time for fans at the time to accept him as a babyface.
- Advertisement for the WWF coming to the Boston Garden on January 5th with an 8:00 pm start time. Greg Valentine defends the Intercontinental Title against Tito Santana in a rematch that is three months in the making. Andre the Giant & Junkyard Dog take on Big John Studd & Ken Patera in a Special Attraction Tag Team Event.
- Hulk Hogan is standing by on location with Hillbilly Jim, making him breakfast. Jim isn't used to getting up early, and whines about wanting some eggs, pancake, and grits, but Hogan gives him a protein shake (did he use Python Powder?). Jim reluctantly drinks it, but Hogan downs it like a Champion. "Out of the can, and into the man." They take it to the gym (with Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" playing, of course), and Hillbilly Jim has trouble doing the basic bench presses and squats and annoys Hogan by always wearing his hat. Now they're in the ring for some training, and I'm wondering if Hogan constantly referring to him simply as "Hillbilly" is a demeaning term. Jim runs the ropes as awful as you can imagine, but he's still better at it than Kelly Kelly. This, along with other training segments, were featured on the Coliseum Video "Wrestling's Country Boys." When HILLBILLY JIM is the best character that the stereotype produces, you must be afraid to ask who's worse.
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is standing by to continue promoting the card at the Boston Garden. To go along with the top two matches, he runs down the rest of the show... Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch defend the Tag Titles against Jack and Jerry Brisco... Blackjack Mulligan takes on Dr. D, David Schultz... S.D. Jones meets the returning Magnificent Muraco... Swede Hansen goes one-on-one with Brutus Beefcake... Mr. Fuji takes on Brett Hart. Just for the record, the WWF didn't start televising cards from the Boston Garden until the Spring of '85.
The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Classie Fred Blassie) vs. Mario Mancini & Steve Lombardi
Good to hear Lombardi, even in 1985, being introduced from Brooklyn, NY. Volkoff sings the Soviet Anthem for the easy heel heat. One fan has a primitive "Fred Blassie should be deported sign." Must be a future Trump supporter. This team would be the equivalent of Jinder Mahal and Rusev teaming up today... what do you mean that happened?! Sheik out-wrestles Lombardi to start. That's something he has in common with a paper bag. Lombardi from out of nowhere with a sunset flip for two. Mancini runs into a double thrust like a geek and gets taken down with a drifting back suplex. Volkoff with a gorilla press into a back breaker for three at 1:46. Lombardi checks on his partner and gets nailed for it. Iron Sheik fell off the rails quickly, but he could still go in 1985. Volkoff didn't do anything but the finishing spot.
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is standing by for an interview with Blackjack Mulligan. Yes, I'm a bit surprised he's still on the roster at this point. He turns the interview into a comedy routine, talking about eating too much Turkey for Christmas and asking Gene about getting good presents. He calls Schultz a bigoted man who hasn't come to terms with himself. This could've been either a decent brawl or a complete dumpster fire.
Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch (Tag Team Champions) vs. Paul Roma & Salvatore Bellomo
We're getting a bunch of the mainstay enhancement talent this week. Yes, Roma really was around for nearly SEVEN YEARS, and Power & Glory was the peak of that span. Non-Title Match, of course. Murdoch doesn't waste time taking Roma over with a side headlock. Adonis drops an elbow across the exposed ribs like a savage. Bellomo tags in and makes me hate my Italian heritage. He showboats taking Murdoch over with a hip toss. Even Sammartino gets on him for not following up on it. Adonis catches him on the jaw with an elbow and they hit a combination back breaker and flying knee drop for the easy victory at 2:24. What gives, we're getting all the better wrestlers in these squash matches (and Nikolai Volkoff).
- Piper's Pit with guests Big John Studd, Ken Patera, and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. McMahon makes sure to give us a disclaimer that Piper's views aren't shared by the rest of the World Wrestling Federation. Heenan admits the recent attack on Andre the Giant was planned, and Studd is holding on to a bag filled with his hair. Patera says it was easier to accomplish than they anticipated. Piper calls Studd the REAL Giant of the WWF as he shows off his trophy. He offers Piper a lock of hair as a souvenir ("It's got fleas in it!").
"Dr. D" David Schultz vs. Jim Young
This should be quick. I have no smart-ass remarks for this one. Schultz gives a surprisingly clean hand shake before locking up. Young counters a headlock with a head scissors before returning to a neutral stance. The Fink interrupts the commentary again to hype an upcoming show at the local High School. Schultz hooks the arm, trapping it in a headlock not unlike what Braun Strowman used as his first finisher. Schultz lays into him with a stiff forearm, plants Young with a slam, and finishes with a flying elbow drop at 2:32. I honestly expected more dirty tactics from Schultz.
- The Magnificent Muraco is on location on the beaches of Hawaii, getting oil rubbed on his body from three women, throwing shade at Hulk Hogan for being a phony.
Jack & Jerry Brisco vs. Gino Garabello & Dave Barbie
What is this, the Tag Team Edition? The Brisco Brothers were not around too long. Jack quickly goes to work on Barbie, controlling with a side headlock. Jerry tags in, and yes, that would be Mr. McMahon's Stooge Brisco during the Attitude Era. They do a sloppy crisscross that leads into a botch. Jerry no-sells it and picks the leg. I feel like I'm watching a Crockett squash match rather than a WWF squash. Garabello comes in for some double team efforts. The Job Squad connect with a double elbow, but that's all they're going to get. Jack with a snap mare and knee drop across the chest. Jerry with a snap mare and rolling neck snap, followed by a drifting back suplex. Jack with an inside cradle for two. Jerry with a rolling cradle. Butterfly Suplex for two. Jack with a dropkick, they connect with a double shoulder tackle, and Jerry finishes with the Figure-Four at 4:27. Outside the final sequence, just a lot of chin-locks.
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is standing by for an interview with Adrian Adonis to hype their title defense against Jack and Jerry Brisco. Gene reminds us that the Briscos have a non-title victory over Adonis and Dick Murdoch. Adonis says Murdoch isn't here because he's up to his ears in pencils doing their taxes. They had double pneumonia and a 102 fever the day they lost to them, then accuses the Briscos of kissing up to the promoters for favors. Junkyard Dog enters the scene to push his match teaming with Andre the Giant against Studd and Patera. JYD has no business in the match, so he just rambles about whatever comes to mind rather than push any rivalries.
- Vince McMahon wanted to show us footage from a recent visit to Madison Square Garden, an award presentation for Captain Lou and Cyndi Lauper, but something went down and the tape has been sequestered, and maybe we will see the footage next week, but no promises. Speaking of next week, Tito Santana will be in action, as well as reigning Intercontinental Champion, Greg Valentine, the tag teams of Rotundo and Windham, and Studd and Patera, and Piper's Pit with the Tag Team Champions, Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis.
Final Thoughts: As a stand-alone show, this was a good showcase for the WWF's Tag Team Division, highlighting the Champions, Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis, as well as three of the other top teams in the company: Jack and Jerry Brisco, Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham, and The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. WWF Champion Hulk Hogan's main presence is mentoring "Hillbilly" Jim, but also has a returning Magnificent Muraco breathing down his neck. Thanks to Piper's Pit, we know that Andre is in a blood feud with the Heenan Family over being raped of his dignity. Even though I will not cover every week of TV, I will pop in as much as I can, and based on this episode, 1985 is starting off on the right foot.
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