WWF World Championship Wrestling
by Scrooge McSuck
January 5, 1985
- One of the more notorious moments of Vince McMahon's expansion with the World Wrestling Federation was buying the timeslot to Georgia Championship Wrestling under the nose of Ole Anderson and tanking in the ratings in a market that wanted their "Gordon Solie Wrestling". The way history is painted, you'd think the relationship was immediately abandoned when McMahon sold the slot to Jim Crockett, but no, the WWF remained on the TBS timeslot for nearly 9 MONTHS before finally throwing in the towel, with the last episode televised the week of WrestleMania. You could say it was this move that sparked Vince McMahon's rivalry with Ted Turner, years before Turner purchased what would be known as World Championship Wrestling from Jim Crockett, who fell into the red due to poor business decisions and plenty of unwise spending (jets, offices, and purchasing other territories like Bill Watts' Mid-South/UWF).
- Freddie Miller is handling hosting duties from the WCW studio. I don't care how many times I see it, watching that opening video lead into WWF action is surreal. Most matches were taped from the London Gardens on December 16th, 1984, unless otherwise noted.
Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Classie Fred Blassie) vs. Bob Marcus
That's a low-rent jobber right there. Volkoff was a spry 38-years old at this point with years of experience in the then WWWF spanning different gimmicks throughout the 70's. Volkoff sings the Soviet Anthem for the easy heat. My question is... did Volkoff learn the song, or is he just mumbling to the basic tune? WE NEED ANSWERS, DAMMIT! We get the extended cut here, and this will probably be longer than the match itself. Jack Reynolds and Angelo Mosca are calling the action. Volkoff quickly goes to work with clubbering blows and drops Marcus across the top rope. Marcus throws a flurry of rights, but the comeback is cut short. Referee John Bonello would years later be convicted of setting up a hit on his wife. Volkoff with the gorilla press into the back breaker for three at 1:18. Thank God.
- I was going to list all the upcoming stops for the WWF, but they literally list nearly TWO DOZEN SHOWS in the span of 14 days! I'm not wasting my time copying all of that!
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is standing by for an interview with Classy Fred Blassie and former WWF Champion, the Iron Sheik, EXCLUSIVE to the SuperStation! They have not-so-kind words for Blackjack Mulligan. He couldn't have hung around for too long. Sheik says nothing of Mulligan, NOT EVEN HIS HORSE, impresses him.
Blackjack Mulligan vs. Ted Grizzly
Please God, be short. Grizzly is Canadian born, introduced from Arkansas. With a little research, I discovered that Grizzly passed away in 2009 from complications from diabetes. I only mention that here since I doubt I'll be covering much of him as enhancement talent. To keep tabs on ages of pushed talent, Mulligan was a young 42 at this point. Lockup and they manage to botch an arm drag. THE FIRST SPOT OF THE MATCH. The referee almost gets hit and Mulligan drops Grizzly with a boot, who then proceeds to start corpsing. Mulligan shows no mercy. This guy can't even take a whip to the corner properly. Grizzly with some token jobber offense. Mulligan no-sells and hits a diving elbow for three at 2:49. This SUCKED. I'd rather give myself a colon examination than sit through this again.
Andre The Giant & "Special" Delivery Jones vs. Big John Studd & Ken Patera (w/ Bobby Heenan)
Taped from Poughkeepsie, NY on November 13th. Did I mention that they used the TBS timeslot as basically a recap show? I know Andre was hard to get along with at this point, but he had to have enough friends to not have to settle for S.D. JONES as a partner. Jones and Patera start. Jones counters a shoulder tackle with an arm drag. I can't say I've seen that done that way before. Andre tags in and manhandles Patera. Jones tags back in, and lady luck already gave up. Meanwhile, there's a large man in overalls yelling at ringside at Heenan. I'm sure he's of no importance (that was sarcasm, it's Hillbilly Jim). Jones takes a big bump to the floor, but Andre is a one-man wrecking crew, crushing Patera in the corner. Patera with an elbow from the top of the rope to stagger the Giant. Studd comes in for some double clubbering and a slam. The chaos continues and might as well call it a No Contest at 4:00. Patera and Studd continue the beating, then do the unthinkable: cut the hair of Andre the Giant. Or, as Vince McMahon says, "RAPE HIM OF HIS DIGNITY." It's a haircut, they aren't sexually assaulting his mother. Jones tries to save, but Heenan keeps him out of the ring. What a scrub. Pretty big deal at the time, as the crowd litters the ring with trash. I hope no one buying the LJN action figure is upset that Andre is now afro-less.
Tito Santana vs. Bobby Bass
These Canadian scrubs make me long for Steve Lombardi and Paul Roma. Santana is one of the few people with real direction on this episode, as he's chasing Greg Valentine, the man who stole the Intercontinental Title from him in the Summer of '84 and sidelined him with a knee injury. Lockup and Santana gives a clean break. Bass isn't quite the same level of sportsman, but Santana easily blocks the cheap shot and decks him. Santana with a dropkick, hip toss, and slam. Bass wants a timeout, but this isn't the NFL sayeth Mosca. Here's a question: How many more people are dumb enough to claim the NFL is rigged compared to those who respond to WWE as legitimate sport that isn't predetermined? Bass with the token offense, but he misses double knees from the middle rope, and Santana finishes with the Figure-Four at 4:34. Jesus, Santana can make even bad jobbers look decent.
Hulk Hogan (WWF Champion) vs. Terry Gibbs
Woah, HOGAN is working enhancement matches on WWF television? Must be Christmas week. Hogan comes out to "Eye of the Tiger", in case you were wondering. Non-Title Match, of course. Lockup to the ropes, Hogan blocks a cheap shot and responds with a right hand of his own. Brutus Beefcake and Johnny Valiant make their way to ringside as Hogan works a side headlock. Hogan sweeps Gibbs out of the corner and goes back to the hold. Gibbs with some right hands, and I'm sure his offensive won't consist of much more than that. Hogan takes a few elbows and begins his Hulk-Up routine. He lays in with rights and lefts, follows Gibbs into the corner with an elbow, and finishes with the slam and leg drop at 3:01. Nothing came of the audience at ringside, and I don't think they even worked the house show loop at the time.
The Moondogs vs. Jim Powers & Mohammed Saad
Look at that odd couple enhancement team. Jim Powers somehow stuck around for the better part of a DECADE, mostly as a JTTS. Rex and Powers start. Crisscross and Rex catches a body press ("like catching a baby in his arms"). Spot in with a stomach buster. He plants Powers with a slam and comes off the middle rope with a splash. Young continues to get worked over. Rex with a slam and jumping elbow drop. Spot with a shoulder breaker but pulls the shoulder up at two. Saad gets the tag, but the referee misses it. Powers gets tossed across the ring, and this time the referee sees the tag. Saad's offensive lasts about 3-seconds as he gets planted with a powerslam. Spot in with the Decapitation Elbow for three at 3:47. Entertaining if you dislike Powers, I guess. Moondogs weren't bad to watch, but they were clearly not at the top of the heel depth chart.
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is standing by for an interview with Tito Santana, hyping an upcoming match against Greg Valentine at the Omni on January 11th. Yes, the WWF is on TBS, and they're running a show in Atlanta's Omni. Speaking of, here's the card promoted during the commercial break: Andre the Giant & Junkyard Dog vs. Big John Studd & Ken Patera... Greg Valentine vs. Tito Santana... Blackjack Mulligan vs. The Iron Sheik in a Texas Death Match... Barry Windham vs. Mr. Fuji... Mike Rotundo vs. Rene Goulet... S.D. Jones vs. Nikolai Volkoff... Mr. Wrestling II vs. Terry Gibbs... Finally, 1 more exciting match! Spoilers: No extra match is listed on the usual website used for checking these results.
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (Intercontinental Champion) vs. Ronnie Hutchinson
Non-Title Match, obviously. Hutchinson looks like a knockoff of Richard Simmons. Valentine quickly plants him with a slam. Valentine drops an elbow across the midsection and hooks an arm-bar. Hutchinson gets dumped out of the ring like a bag of garbage. Crowd chants "Tito" to annoy Valentine. Back inside, Valentine with a butterfly suplex and the wind-up elbow drops. The Figure-Four finishes at 2:48. Not much to this one. Valentine is a solid wrestler, but enhancement matches don't really give him much to work with.
- Next week in action will be Blackjack Mulligan, Tag Team Champions Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis, Tito Santana, and the team of Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham.
Final Thoughts: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see this timeslot used for the scrap-heap matches left-over from various TV tapings. The only match of significance was taped almost two months earlier and featured on TV five weeks earlier. Santana vs. Valentine is clearly an angle to keep an eye on, but there's not much else this show does to promote the long-term booking. Hogan/Beefcake doesn't go anywhere, and I have a hard time believing much time was devoted to a program between Mulligan/Sheik. Don't expect much more of these World Championship Wrestling episodes, but that doesn't mean this will be the last one (I know, I've clearly lost my sanity).
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