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WWF at Philadelphia Spectrum
by Scrooge McSuck
February 8, 1986
- Originally presented on PRISM, hosted by Dick Graham and Lord Alfred Hayes. *Sigh* I really don't want to cover this show, especially knowing how good the Boston Garden card from the same day was, including Randy Savage winning the Intercontinental Championship from Tito Santana, and this lineup looking like the drizzling poop, but alas, I'm pushing on and suffering through an alcoholic on commentary butchering everything possible for the sake of piecing together as much as I can as we lead into WrestleMania 2.
George Skaaland vs. Ron Shaw:
This is our opening match? THIS? Arnold Skaaland's dumpy son in prelim hell against Mr. Personality Ron Shaw? Wow, suddenly listening to Dick Graham on commentary isn't nearly the worst thing in world. I wish I had more to say about Mr. Skaaland other than being the son of Arnold, but there's literally no information out there on the guy. The ring announcer isn't even sure of his weight or name, which is always a good sign we're in for a long night. Once again, I must point out the quality of the camera and lighting makes this look like a show from 1980. They shake hands before the bell. To my surprise, Graham and Alfred acknowledge he's the son of Arnold. Lockup goes nowhere. Shaw with a drop toe hold into a hammerlock. They take turns throwing each other around with arm drags until Skaaland hooks an arm bar. Skaaland getting work here is total nepotism. He looks bad and appears to be in less-than-ideal physical condition (he's fat). Lockup to the ropes and Shaw slaps him across the face. Skaaland catches him off the ropes with a slam and throws the wussiest slap in the history of wrestling. If slow-motion arm drags are your favorite moves, this is your match. Skaaland must've learned how to bump from the school of Nikolai Volkoff, as he seems to have a hard time taking a flat back bump. Shaw with a snap mare into a series of short rights. Skaaland teases a comeback but gets tossed out of the ring running the ropes slower than Uncle Elmer. If you think I'm being harsh, track the show down and watch the match. Skaaland is that bad/inexperienced. Skaaland comes back in with shoulders to the midsection. Everything. LOOKS. BAD. Graham dumps on Skaaland constantly doing the same stuff. DICK GRAHAM IS DUMPING ON SOMEONE'S WORK. Whip to the ropes and Skaaland with a sunset flip for three at 8:58. Good, it's over. Skaaland appears to be winded from a low-energy 9-minute prelim match. This sucked. Next. -*
Pedro Morales vs. Rene Goulet:
Usually this would make me wish death on myself, but it can't be worse than the turd we just sat through. Goulet is the self-proclaimed #1 French wrestler in the world. Morales taunts Goulet with a "Wimp" sign and chases him out of the ring. Lockup and Morales shoves Goulet across the ring. Morales with a shoulder tackle and side headlock takeover. Both men's prime was at least a decade earlier, so no surprise they're working the match like it's 1975. Morales takes Goulet over with a hip toss and goes back to the headlock. Crisscross and Goulet tosses Morales over the top rope. Finally, a bump worth mentioning. Goulet teases a dive from the top rope, but that's never going to happen. Back inside, Goulet sends Morales shoulder-first into the post and boots him back to the concrete floor. Morales blocks a slam and lands on top of Goulet for two. Goulet with a forearm from the middle rope and a knee drop for two. We kick the excitement to the next level (Level 2) with the dreaded CLAW. Morales counters with an inverted atomic drop (Alfred calls it a "reverse piledriver") and lays into Goulet with left hands. Whip to the ropes and Morales with a back body-drop for two. Atomic drop for two. Whip to the corner, Goulet flips to the apron and dives off the top, only to get nailed in the midsection and rolled up for three at 12:06. This was such a dated style it's unbelievable. ½*
Scott McGhee vs. Hercules Hernandez:
This might be slightly better than the first two matches. I guess Fred Blassie doesn't travel with Hercules. It's a shame Hercules dropped the Gladiator gear, it was a decent look, even if it was only entrance gear. Lockup and Hercules throws McGhee to the canvas. Hercules does it again and casually plants him with a slam. I think Hercules might have the strength advantage. McGhee gives Hercules a slam of his own and fires off a pair of dropkicks. Whip to the ropes and McGhee catches a leapfrog with an inverted atomic drop. Charge to the corner misses and McGhee smacks his shoulder on the post. Alfred and Graham talk about the ruling coming from Jack Tunney that bans wrestlers competing while wearing a cast. Hercules with a short clothesline for two. Whip and Hercules grabs a bearhug. McGhee smacks the ears to escape but collapses under a slam attempt. Hercules with a delayed suplex for two. Alfred says Tampa, FL is becoming a hot bed for professional wrestlers (Hercules, Spivey, and Blair all addressed). Hercules continues working the back with clobbering blows and bearhugs. McGhee with the comeback, hitting Hercules with a dropkick and taking him over with a suplex. Hercules with a handful of tights, throwing McGhee out of the ring. McGhee picks the leg and wraps Hercules ankle around the post. Back inside, McGhee with right hands and a slam. He goes to the top rope and hits a diving headbutt for two. McGhee with a shoulder tackle. He tries again but Hercules counters with a back breaker for the three-count at 8:44. Not very good, but best match so far. *1/2
Corporal Kirchner vs. The Iron Sheik:
As much as it would make sense for this to be Kirchner vs. Volkoff, I'm glad we're getting Sheiky-Baby instead. Sheik is without Blassie and Volkoff. Kirchner asks Sheik if he hates the USA so much, why not go back to where he comes from. Sheik attacks from behind and chokes Kirchner with the microphone cable. That's what he gets for his xenophobia. Whip to the ropes and Sheik connects with a clothesline. Sheik with more choking, this time with his head garb. Kirchner comes back with a slam and returns fire with the choke hold. Kirchner doesn't fall for the mercy begging and sends the Sheik to the canvas with an atomic drop. Whip and Kirchner hits nothing but air with a dropkick. Sheik with a whip and back body-drop before tossing Kirchner to the arena floor. Sheik with a gratuitous amount of posing. Back inside, Sheik with the abdominal stretch, and in the middle of the ring, too. I guess Mike Rotundo didn't invent the "grabbing the ropes" spot yet. Kirchner counters but misses a follow-up elbow drop. Sheik covers, but picks Kirchner up at two. YOU'LL PAY FOR THAT! Sheik with a belly-to-belly suplex and another pull-up at two. Sheik with a tilted back suplex and the Camel Clutch, but Kirchner gets to the ropes to force the break. Sheik hits Kirchner with a seated splash and pulls him up AGAIN. Kirchner blocks a suplex and counters with a small package for three at 7:48. Post-match, Sheik with a brief attack before bailing. Well, Sheik took most of the match and only lost due to his own arrogance, but this was a solid match overall. **1/2
George Wells vs. "Adorable" Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Wells is introduced as "The Pride of Oakland, CA." Is he wearing an authentic Raiders jersey, or a mock-up version? Adonis is now wearing leg warmers along with the rest of his new gear. A young fan has a "G@y-drian" sign. There's a slight edit there from me to avoid issues. Lockup to the corner and Adonis with a clean break. Wells gets the better of a hammerlock exchange and messes with Adonis' hair, causing a short break for Hart to brush it back in place. Another lockup and this time Adonis with knees to the midsection. Whip is reversed and Wells takes Adonis over with a body-drop. Wells with three slams and deep arm drag into the arm bar. Two women in the crowd taunt Adonis with a bra. Honestly, it's more tasteful than some of the signs and chants. Adonis hits the ropes and gets dumped over the top rope. Wells follows and gives Adonis and Hart a double noggin knocker. Wells drags Adonis back in, as well as Hart, who holds on to Adonis's arm for dear life. Wells is finally cut off with Hart tripping him up near the ropes, allowing Adonis to come crashing down with an elbow for two. Adonis with a powerslam for two. Wells gets dumped out, and dang if I've never noticed how close the ring was to the guardrails at the Spectrum. Adonis brings Wells back in with a snap mare over the top rope and drops another elbow for two. Whip and Wells surprises Adonis with a sunset flip for two. Adonis quickly regains control, putting the boots to the pride of Oakland. He makes a trip to the top rope, only to get slammed down. Wells with a jumping head-scissors and dropkick, trapping Adonis in the ropes. Wells is not above taking a cheap shot in this situation. Whip to the corner, Wells misses a dive into the corner, and Adonis finishes with the DDT at 10:22. Surprisingly decent (due to Adonis going over-the-top at times with the gimmick, and Wells being a sub-par worker). **
The Junkyard Dog vs. Terry Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Mel Phillips has taken over ring introductions, so we must be in the important part of the card. Funk goes after Phillips but JYD makes the save, sending Funk to the outside. There's a sign in the crowd that I recognize from the recent Championship Wrestling tapings (it has a pair of red undies poking fun at Hart). LAZY BUM. JYD with headbutts, sending Funk on another retreat. Lockup to the ropes and JYD gives a clean break. We get a close look at Hart's megaphone, and it looks rough. Crisscross and JYD puts on the breaks while Funk keeps running, sending Alfred into hysterical laughter. JYD no-sells Funk's strikes and throws him into the corner, flipping him upside down and eventually straddling the ropes for some see-saw selling. There's a distraction off-camera in the crowd as the Dog rams Funk face-first into the turnbuckle (guess the amount, and no, it's not 10). Funk is doing everything he can to try and have a good match. Keyword: TRY. The Dog refuses to break a sweat, hooking a chin-lock. Funk with a low blow to finally get JYD to sell something. Funk tosses JYD out of the ring and whacks him with the branding iron. Back inside, Funk chokes the Dog with his wrist tape. Is that considered animal cruelty? Expect me to recycle that joke for any George Steele matches, by the way. Dog with a back suplex to break a sleeper hold and cradles Funk for a near fall. Funk with a sloppy piledriver but JYD gets a foot on the ropes. He sets up for another but JYD dumps him over the top rope. Funk gets sent to the post and flops to the concrete floor. JYD gives chase and grabs another choke. He goes after Hart but Funk intercepts, only to get laid out by a headbutt. The chase resumes, JYD ducks being hit with the branding iron, and a small package gets a fast three-count at 13:08. Post-match, Funk saves Hart and brands the Dog to get his heat back. Funk worked as hard as possible to get a bad match out of the JYD. *
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (c) (w/ Johnny Valiant) vs. The British Bulldogs:
Last month at the Spectrum, the Bulldogs walked away with a Disqualification victory, and since then, defeated the Champions in Non-Title action on Championship Wrestling. No Albano at ringside with the Challengers. Dynamite and Valentine start, with DK getting the better of a chain sequence. Dynamite blocks a boot and sends Valentine into the corner with an atomic drop. Davey Boy in, wasting no time taking Valentine over with the delayed suplex for a near-fall. Davey Boy avoids a sneak attack and takes control on Beefcake. The Bulldogs take turns working the arm, and this is a much more methodical pace than we've seen from the Bulldogs in my recent flashbacks of 1986. Whip to the ropes and Beefcake nails Davey Boy with a high knee. Valentine in with an elbow drop but Dynamite saves. Valentine with a slam, but a trip to the top rope is cut short with Davey Boy slamming him down for a two-count. Small package for two. Whip and the Bulldogs with a double shoulder tackle for two. Dynamite drops a headbutt and leg across the back of the head for two. Beefcake tags back in and gets pummeled by Dynamite with rights and headbutts. Davey Boy scoops up Brutus and hits the running powerslam but now Valentine saves. Whip and Beefcake with a back body-drop. Valentine with a leg drop, shoulder breaker, and elbow from the middle rope for two. Beefcake with clobbering blows. Alfred constantly calls the Bulldogs "The English Boys". Valentine with knees to the leg but Davey Boy fights off the Figure-Four attempt. Valentine rebounds, coming off the ropes with an elbow. Davey Boy avoids a second and throws a pair of rights, but Valentine picks the leg and hooks the Figure-Four, only for Dynamite to come in and break it with a leg drop. Dynamite gets the hot tag and lays into both Valentine and Beefcake. DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER and a back breaker on Beefcake for two. Whip and hooking clothesline for two. Snap suplex but Valentine prevents a pin attempt. Davey Boy tackles Valentine into the corner for a slugfest. Meanwhile, Dynamite charges at Beefcake and takes a spill to the concrete floor. Valentine distracts the referee, allowing Valiant to throw Dynamite into the post. Beefcake brings him back in with a suplex and sells landing on the back of his head. Dynamite with a small package, but Valentine rolls it over, and Beefcake gets the three-count to retain at 15:37. I don't care what year it is; I HATE THAT FINISH. Started slow but picked up nicely before the weak finish. ***1/4
Dan Spivey vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:
What is THIS doing at this stage of the show? Vince and his ridiculous "cool down matches." I guess Sharpe can wear the brace on his arm because it's "soft leather." Lockup and neither man with an advantage. Sharpe grabs a side headlock and they do a crisscross, ending with Sharpe missing a dropkick. Spivey with an atomic drop, sending Sharpe to the floor for a powder. Back inside, they fight over a test-of-strength, with Sharpe gaining control with underhanded tactics. Spivey battles to his feet and takes Sharpe over with a monkey flip. Spivey with an UGLY dropkick. He had the elevation, but the technique was one of the worst I've ever seen. Sharpe takes control with clobbering blows. Whip and Spivey surprises him with a sunset flip for two. Spivey avoids a wild right and takes Sharpe over with a series of arm drags. Sharpe messes with his brace and grinds on Spivey with a headlock. Spivey with a suplex but Sharpe ends up in the ropes. Whip and Spivey with a clothesline for two. Slam and leg drop for two. Someone should've told him to stop using that move. Whip is reversed and Spivey finishes with the bulldog at 5:33. At least it was short. *
- The World Wrestling Federation returns to South Philadelphia on March 7th. Signed to appear: Hercules Hernandez, "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas. The Hart Foundation, 2 "World Famous Ladies Wrestlers" (crowd boos), and making his area debut, JAKE "THE SNAKE" ROBERTS. In matches people might give a crap about, "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr. vs. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Nikolai Volkoff vs. Corporal Kirchner, "Adorable" Adrian Adonis vs. George "The Animal" Steele, Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and in the MAIN EVENT, Roddy Piper vs. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff.
WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby Heenan):
Final match of the night, and our MAIN EVENT. The flashbulbs are going off like crazy for the Hulkster. It's weird to think how uncommon it was for Hogan to close out a show, but without them returning with Hogan in March, there's no need to put him in the middle and announce a rematch for next time. They go face-to-face and get into a shoving match. Hogan comes off the ropes and lays him out with a high knee for two. Bundy catches Hogan with an elbow and forearms across the back. Hogan blocks being sent into the turnbuckle and sends Bundy into it instead. Heenan hops on the apron and gets decked. Whip to the corner and Hogan charges in with a clothesline. Whip and Hogan with a clothesline, followed by an elbow drop. Hogan sets up for a back body-drop, and that is easily countered. Bundy pounds him to the canvas and hooks a chin-lock. Hogan escapes with elbows and comes off the ropes with a pair of shoulder tackles. He goes to the well once too often and takes a knee to the midsection. Bundy with a knee drop across the chest for two. Bundy plants Hulk with a slam and drops an elbow for another two-count. Hogan fights out of another chin-lock but finds himself trapped in a bearhug. Hogan escapes with short rights. Bundy rakes the eyes to cut him off and crushes him in the corner with the Avalanche! Bundy wastes time, clearly frustrating Heenan at ringside. He finally covers and Hogan kicks out at two. Hogan makes his comeback, no-selling a second Avalanche. He unloads on Bundy with chops and hits him with the big boot. Hogan with the leg drop, but Heenan hops on the apron again. Hogan brings him into the ring and rips a pair of "brass knuckles" away from him, but the distraction allows Bundy to attack from behind. Heenan starts putting the boots to Hogan, and the bell finally rings at 9:17, with the match awarded to Hogan by Disqualification. Bundy lays out the referee but accidentally crushes Heenan with an Avalanche. Hogan sends Bundy running and has his celebratory posing session. A decent hoss fight, which is the best you can hope for from this pair. **1/4
Final Thoughts: Hardly a great night of wrestling, but for the most part, most of the matches were decent, especially the stuff at the top of the card. The prelim stuff early in the show is AWFUL, but thankfully things picked up quickly. I have a hard time recommending shows from the Spectrum due to a lack of quality for the wrestling and commentary, but this is one of the better ones. Yes, that's a back-handed compliment.
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