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The History of the WWF Tag Team Championship: Part 4
by Scrooge McSuck
Last time in our "History of the WWF Tag Team Championship", we focused on the calendar year of 1985. The U.S. Express, Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo, would be the first tag team Lou Albano guided to the Tag Team Titles after turning babyface towards the end of 1984, and would trade the belts with former WWF Champion the Iron Sheik and former WWWF Tag Team Champion Nikolai Volkoff, including the first title change in WrestleMania history. After losing the belts to the Dream Team of Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine, the U.S. Express were derailed, with Danny Spivey brought in as a shameless attempt at recapturing the interest of the fans with the sudden departure of Barry Windham, leaving the new Champions with a string of lackluster challengers on the house show loop.
As we head into 1986, we must rewind the clock a little, back to the Summer of 1984. With Vince McMahon's National expansion, other promoters were forced to compete or to sell their assets (mainly their TV timeslots) as the aggressive push would strip these smaller companies of their bigger stars, with the promise of better pay and exposure. One such company, Stampede Wrestling, operating out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, was facing hard times, as a riot during one of their shows caused a major uproar, and the result ended up being a 6-month ban from running shows in their home turf. Stu Hart, instead of pumping money into a losing fight, sold to McMahon. Whether it was true or not, the story passed around was that Stu's condition to sell included Vince picking up three specific talents: His son Bret, his soon-to-be son-in-law Davey Boy Smith, and one of the most talented technicians in North America, Tom Billington, best known by his in-ring persona, "The Dynamite Kid."
After the purchase was completed, Vince would use Bret(t), Davey Boy, and Dynamite sparingly on cards held throughout Ontario and Alberta, including appearances at their TV tapings at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. While Bret(t) would hand around the prelims for roughly 8-months as a babyface without much of a personality, Dynamite and Davey Boy were splitting time working in Japan. After nearly 5 months between appearances, the duo would become regular partners in the WWF a few weeks before WrestleMania. I say that because in their formative time with the company, they weren't always teaming together, but did team with each other often. Unlike anything else the division was offering, the duo, going by the name "The British Bulldogs", combined athleticism with incredible strength, electrifying crowds with a quicker style of wrestling almost unheard of for the territory. Though they were a card-filling team for most of the year, they were paired regularly with Bret(t) Hart and his brother-in-law Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, putting on absolute bangers across the country in both solo and tag team matches. With the U.S. Express no longer a focal point of the booking sheet, that opened the door for the Bulldogs to step in as the #1 babyface team to challenge Beefcake and Valentine.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (c) (w/ Johnny Valiant) vs. The British Bulldogs:
From the October 5th, 1985, episode of Championship Wrestling, taped on September 9th from Poughkeepsie, NY. It's easy to forget this match taking place with the Bulldogs mostly working with the Hart Foundation and Sheik and Volkoff for the remainder of the year. Dynamite and Valentine start. Lockup ends in a stalemate. Dynamite grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle, nearly knocking Valentine out of the ring. Dynamite avoids being backed into the corner of the Champions and we get a pair of tags. Davey Boy goes to work on the arm of Beefcake. He tries to break the hold with a slam, but Smith rolls through with the wristlock applied. Dynamite with a double axe-handle from the top as the Bulldogs take turns punishing the arm. Beefcake rakes the eyes of Davey Boy to break free of a hammerlock. Davey Boy continues to control though, hitting both men with dropkicks and planting Beefcake with a slam for two. Whip and the Dream Team with a double back elbow for two. Valentine with a big slam, but he misses the elbow drop. Dynamite in with a headbutt and hooking clothesline. He connects with a back breaker for two. Falling headbutt but Beefcake makes the save. Dynamite climbs the ropes, but Valiant shoves him down in clear view of the referee, drawing a Disqualification at 4:19. They didn't have much time to let it all hang out, but you can see the template being formed for their eventual run as regular opponents.
With the U.S. Express in disarray and anyone with half-a-brain knowing plugging Spivey in as a knock-off Windham wasn't going to bring them back to the top of the division, the move was made to pass Captain Lou Albano from that broken mess of a team to the newest hot commodity. With Albano handling the promos and easing the burden of their underwhelming talking abilities, the Bulldogs were soon thrust into the spot as the Dream Team's new challengers, set up with a simple moment on the set of Piper's Pit on an episode of Championship Wrestling in early 1986. What followed from that confrontation would be the predictable challenge for a match NEXT WEEK, though the Champions and their manager insisted it be a Non-Title Match since the Bulldogs haven't earned a shot at the belts.
Non-Title Match: The British Bulldogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) vs. Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (w/ Johnny Valiant):
From the February 1st, 1986, episode of Championship Wrestling
, taped on January 7th from Poughkeepsie, NY. Valentine and Dynamite start. Lockup to the corner, Dynamite avoids a cheap shot and hits Valentine with an atomic drop. Whip and Dynamite with a shoulder tackle, sending Valentine staggering into the ropes. Valentine pops Dynamite with a knee and plants him with a slam. Beefcake comes in and drops a pair of forearms across the chest. Snap mare and Beefcake with a leg drop for only a one-count. Davey Boy tags in and works on the left arm of Beefcake. Valentine tags in and they briefly work Davey Boy over in the corner. Valentine with a whip and elbow, followed by a headbutt across the midsection. He works the legs and slaps on a Figure-Four, buy Dynamite saves with a leg drop. Dynamite tags in and catches Beefcake with a back breaker for two. Whip to the ropes and Dynamite with a clothesline for two. Snap Suplex but Valentine saves. Davey Boy scoops Beefcake up and plants him with a running powerslam, hoists Valentine on his shoulders, and Dynamite Kid launches himself off Valentine with a flying headbutt to Beefcake for the three-count at 4:27. This crowd goes NUTS and they knew it was non-title. Good match that officially sets up the Bulldogs as the clear #1 Contenders for the Tag Team Titles.
With the key non-title victory featured on television, it was time for the Bulldogs and the Dream Team to hit the house show loop, working all the major cities, and often featured on cards presented for regional network broadcasts such as PRISM and MSG, with the Champions walking away with the belts every time. Curiously, the feud was kept alive for the television audience too, as a Championship Match would be featured on the next episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. This sounds like a no brainer, but in the mid-late 80's, and even some cases in the early 90's, feuds that began on television often were never played out on television except in promos and other non-match scenarios to build interest exclusively for live events.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (c) (w/ Johnny Valiant) vs. The British Bulldogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano):
From the March 1st, 1986, episode of Saturday Night's Main Event
, taped on February 15th from the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ. We're reminded that the Bulldogs own a non-title victory over the Champions, years before it became a standard crutch in WWE storytelling. The more I see of him, the less I care for Valiant's work as a manager. In a pre-match promo, Valiant climbs the loss meant nothing, as the purpose was to scout the Bulldogs for when the match mattered. Davey Boy and Valentine start. Lockup and Davey Boy shoves Valentine into the corner. He catches a boot and hits the Hammer with an atomic drop. He gets knocked by a pair of headbutts but ends up in the ropes. Davey Boy brings him in from the apron with a suplex for two. Whip and the Bulldogs with a double shoulder tackle for two. Beefcake gets the blind tag, but Dynamite still manages to fend him off without skipping a beat. Davey Boy back in to work the arm. Whip and Davey Boy with an elbow. Valentine in and he's immediately hit with a press slam for a near-fall. Dynamite with a headbutt and knee across the face, followed by a back suplex for another two-count. Flying knee drop across the chest. Valentine and Davey Boy trade blows until Davey Boy nails him with a dropkick and cradles him for a two-count. There are some tempters flaring at ringside between Albano and Valiant as we take a break. We return with the action in the ring. Davey Boy with a missile dropkick on Beefcake for two. Beefcake pounds away and Valentine quickly applies the Figure-Four, only for Dynamite to break the hold with a leg drop. Valentine hits Dynamite low and comes off the ropes with an elbow for two. Shoulder breaker for two. Dynamite gets trapped in the corner and worked over by both Beefcake and Valentine. Valentine winds up and drops a forearm across the chest for two. He signals for the Figure-Four but Dynamite kicks him off into the corner. Valentine climbs the ropes and gets slammed down. Dynamite climbs now and hits a missile dropkick for two. Whip and Dynamite with a hooking clothesline for two. Dynamite with a snap suplex but Beefcake saves. Whip to the ropes and they smack heads, with Valentine falling on top of Dynamite for the three-count at 9:35. Great action with a finish that leaves room for a rematch.
With such an unfortunate stroke of bad luck, it seemed like the Bulldogs' hopes of capturing the gold was dashed, with what could only be identified as a clean finish that didn't go their way. HOWEVER, it was only a week later on Championship Wrestling when the news broke: The Bulldogs would get another chance at Valentine and Beefcake. It wouldn't be on syndicated television or a prime time special, but as one of the feature attractions for WrestleMania 2, acting as a semi-main to the 20-Man Battle Royal that was set to headline the Chicago portion of the event. Not only that, but there would be TWO REFEREES assigned to the match, no doubt making Gorilla Monsoon jump for joy as he sat at the high roller blackjack table. The fictional reasoning for the decision was to cut back on the excessive interference from Johnny Valiant. Yes, Valiant was a distraction at ringside, but in the match treated as canon for the TV audience, his involvement was nothing out of the ordinary, and made it look like the Bulldogs were pulling favors.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (c) (w/ Johnny Valiant) vs. The British Bulldogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano and Ozzy Osbourne):
From WrestleMania 2
, presented on Pay-Per-View on April 7th, 1986, from the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, IL. Why is OZZY OSBOURNE with the Bulldogs? Because they're all British, obviously. Valentine and Davey Boy start. Lockup and Davey Boy shoves Valentine to the canvas. They trade blows, with Davey Boy backing the Hammer into the corner. Valentine shoots for the legs and takes Davey Boy down, only to miss an elbow drop. Whip to the ropes and Valentine with a hip ross. Davey Boy avoids a forearm drop and tags in Dynamite. He sends Valentine into the turnbuckle and goes for an early pin attempt. Whip to the ropes and Dynamite comes bouncing back with a hard shoulder tackle. He snaps Valentine over with a suplex and drops an elbow. Davey Boy back in, taking Valentine over with his delayed suplex for two. Valentine throws a series of forearms in the corner. Davey Boy reverses a whip to the corner but is caught with a forearm across the back of the head. Beefcake in for the first time, working the left arm. Davey Boy counters the wristlock with a press slam. Dynamite sends Beefcake to the ropes and lays into him with the hook clothesline for two. Inside cradle for two. Davey Boy with a Fisherman Suplex for two. Valentine tags in and clobbers Smith with a forearm from the top rope. Valentine with a suplex of his own for two. Dynamite in, trading brutal forearms with Valentine. He sends Valentine into the corner and unloads a series of shoulders into the midsection. Whip and the Bulldogs with a double shoulder tackle for two. Whip to the ropes and Dynamite with a sunset flip for two. Back breaker for two. Knee drop across the forehead for two. Valentine rocks Dynamite with forearms and plants him with a reverse Spike Piledriver for a near-fall. Dynamite brings the knees up, inadvertently hitting Valentine low. Valentine makes a slow climb to the top rope and gets slammed down for his efforts. Slam into the corner and Davey Boy sets up to launch Dynamite for a headbutt, but Valentine bails. Back inside, Valentine knees Dynamite repeatedly across the back of the neck. Davey Boy tags back in and plants Valentine with the Running Powerslam for two. Snap suplex from Davey Boy for two. Valentine reverses a whip, sending Davey Boy shoulder-first into the post. Beefcake in, slamming Davey Boy with a hammerlock applied. Valentine with a shoulder breaker, pulling Smith off the canvas at two. Meanwhile, Dynamite Kid has scaled the ropes in the Bulldogs' corner. Davey Boy shoves Valentine away, knocking heads with Dynamite, who takes an UNGODLY bump to the concrete floor with a sickening splat. The impact knocks Valentine out as well, and Davey Boy covers for three and the Tag Team Championship at 12:02. Dynamite is dead on the arena floor while OZZY OSBOURNE celebrates with the belts. Nice callback to Saturday Night's Main Event, where a head collision went in Valentine's favor. Might as well have listed this as Valentine vs. The Bulldogs, as Beefcake did very little, and it's for the better. This was a FANTASTIC match with non-stop action, a hot crowd, and a finish that played off the Bulldogs' unlucky break in the last attempt to dethrone Valentine and Beefcake. Our first truly great WrestleMania match. ****
After chasing the Championship for several months, the Bulldogs finally snatched the belts from the grip of Valentine and Beefcake, which naturally led to them running the house show loop again, this time with the Champion and Challenger roles reversed. Unfortunately, the babyface Champion stigma strikes hard for the Bulldogs, as they would work regularly with the team the unseated as Champions throughout the entire Spring and most of the Summer! You would get the occasional defense against the other teams lingering on the roster, from Volkoff and Sheik to the Hart Foundation and even the Moondogs, but they kept coming back with Bulldogs vs Valentine and Beefcake until it was finally put to rest towards the end of August. During that time, the Tag Titles faded from the spotlight, and the Bulldogs manager was more heavily involved with the debut of the mysterious "Machines" than their own business. In fact, Lou Albano would make his last appearance by the side of the Bulldogs at the August 27th tapings for the first set of episodes for "Wrestling Challenge." He would return for a one-off towards the end of October, working a Six-Man as a "retirement match", but for all intents and purposes, he was done with the act before "The Big Event" came to Toronto. With the loss of Albano and no high priority booking on the horizon, someone came up with the bright idea to give the Bulldogs a mascot. In came "Matilda", an English Bulldog that served as their inspiration (and backstage the dogs used were victims of cruel animal abuse that I'd rather not document further than "people are scumbags").
Even with the lack of any emotionally charged storylines for audiences to get behind the Bulldogs further, you were at least guaranteed that if they were featured on your local live event, you were going to see a good match, with Dynamite Kid's reckless abandon and Davey Boy Smith playing the solid hot tag role. Heck, Dynamite Kid took a ridiculously unsafe bump at WrestleMania 2 for the sake of a finish that was poorly captured for the television audience (other than a loud SPLAT, you wouldn't have known he took a terrible bump to the floor). Unfortunately, that hardnose style of wrestling would start taking a serious toll on the body of the Dynamite Kid. After working several weeks following WrestleMania 2, limited in what he could do, he was taken off the road for three weeks to heal from nagging injuries. When he returned, it was back to business, hitting all his signature spots (including nightly doses of the headbutt from the top rope) and showing zero signs there was serious problems on the horizon. At the time, he was only 27 years old, though he had 11-years of professional wrestling experience working a style more physically demanding than ever seen before, and worst of all, was a noted steroid abuser, dating back to his rise in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling. With his small stature packing on mass, the drug abuse, and diving off the top rope night after night, it wasn't a matter of if, but when his body would deteriorate and derail his career.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
The British Bulldogs (c) vs. The Magnificent Muraco & Bob Orton (w/ Mr. Fuji):
Handheld footage from the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, taped on December 13th, 1986. I don't know how the stars aligned for someone to have a video recorder in the audience for this show, but here we are. No, "fan-cam" shows weren't commonplace in the mid 80's, and even when they were used for WWF shows in the early 90's, most of them were taped in the New York/New Jersey and California markets. Muraco and Davey Boy start. Lockup to the ropes and Muraco gives a clean break. Muraco grabs a side headlock and yanks the hair to block a counter. Davey Boy takes control, planting both opponents with slams. Dynamite Kid in with a side headlock and shoulder block. Even on a fan-cam, Muraco is SO BLOATED. The Bulldogs rock Muraco back and forth with headbutts and send him to the floor with a double shoulder block. Orton tries his luck and gets sent into the turnbuckle. Muraco tries to interfere, but we get heel miscommunication, allowing Dynamite to regain control with a side headlock. Muraco tries running in, distracting the referee from seeing the Bulldogs pull an illegal switch. The referee misses Orton tagging in Muraco, and the crowd LOVES IT as Muraco is ushered to the apron. Dynamite fights out of the corner and lights Muraco up with forearms and chops. Davey Boy back in, taking Orton over with a series of arm drags before hooking the arm bar. Dynamite comes back in to pick up where Davey Boy left off, but is nailed with a knee to the back, awkwardly crumpling to the canvas and allowing Orton to take control. Muraco and Fuji get some shots in from the floor while the referee tries to keep order in the ring. Something is clearly wrong, as Dynamite limply pulls himself to his corner and immediately tags in Davey Boy. He nails Orton with a clothesline and plants him with a slam for two. Orton hangs Davey Boy out to dry, allowing Muraco to get some free shots in on the apron. Meanwhile, Dynamite is still down on the apron, in the position from where he made the tag. Muraco rests on a chin-lock while Orton casually goes over to Dynamite and gives him a few blows. My best bet is it was an attempt to check on him without stopping the match completely. Davey Boy fights out of a chin-lock and hooks a sleeper, but Muraco saves. Fuji tosses in the cane, but Muraco accidentally nails Orton and Davey Boy covers to retain at 13:42. Post-match, Orton and Muraco heel on the limp Dynamite Kid before being escorted from ringside. Fun house show formula until things went array.
Billington wound up hospitalized for several weeks in traction with two ruptured discs. Doctors advised him that his professional career is over after performing emergency surgery. With no timetable for a return to the ring (doctors told him no, he said he was going to wrestle again as soon as he was discharged), Davey Boy Smith soldiered on with a replacement partner on every stop on the house show tour, including names like Billy Jack Haynes, the Junkyard Dog, Sivi Afi, Cpl. Kirchner, Roddy Piper, and even THE CRUSHER filling in for the Dynamite Kid in all their title defenses, most of them against the Hart Foundation, who found their stock rising through the ranks by making their opponents look good in defeat. Well, it was mostly Bret Hart working hard to get the job done, but Jim Neidhart deserves some credit for holding his own when it counted. With TV approaching, the decision was made to put the titles back on the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, with the idea being Slick would pay off a referee to give his team an unfair advantage to save the Bulldogs face. Dynamite balked at the suggestion, refusing to fly into Tampa to drop the belts unless they were given to Bret and the Anvil. With Vince accepting this arrangement, there was thoughts that the Hart Foundation would transition the belts to the Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel and Tom Zenk), who were earmarked for a big push after Vince McMahon scooped them up from the withering Lutte Internationale based out of Montreal. However, the original plan saved for Sheik and Volkoff with the crooked referee was too good to pass up. Sure, Slick was sleazy and had money from questionable outlets to throw around, making it a perfect marriage for the sake of a story, but a heel is a heel, and all heels are capable of dirty tactics, so with the new change in direction, the crooked referee was still a go, and it was time for the Mouth of the South to kick off his most successful year as a WWF manager.
BONUS CONTENT: With this chapter dedicated entirely to the British Bulldogs and covering almost exclusively matches with Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake, I thought we could scrounge around the WWE archives for other title defenses for the sake of giving a spotlight to some of the Bulldogs other challengers, maybe finding a hidden gem along the way.
WWF Tag Team Championship; 2 out of 3 Falls Match:
The British Bulldogs (c) (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) vs. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Fred Blassie):
From the May 3rd, 1986, episode of Saturday Night's Main Event
. McMahon mentions this is the first title defense for the Bulldogs (true, for National TV at least. Obviously not considering the house show circuit). Volkoff sings the Soviet Anthem before the match. Fall #1: Davey Boy and Volkoff start. Volkoff misses a charge to the corner and Davey Boy unloads with forearms. He plays ping-pong between the Bulldogs and gets cradled for two. Volkoff catches Davey Boy off the ropes and drops him across the top rope. Sheik in with a release German Suplex. He hooks the Camel Clutch and that's the fall at 1:30! Fall #2: Volkoff tags in and puts the boots to Smith. Sheik sends him to the ropes and takes him over with a back body-drop. Whip and Sheik with a clothesline. He hooks an abdominal stretch, but Davey Boy escapes with a hip toss. He comes off the ropes and misses an elbow drop, finding himself stuck in the corner of the challengers. Volkoff with a whip and clothesline. McMahon speculates that Dynamite Kid is injured. Davey Boy with a sunset flip, but the Sheik distracts the referee from a timely count. Sheik with a gut-wrench suplex for two. Whip and Davey Boy blocks a boot. He nails the Sheik with an atomic drop and covers for two. Volkoff with a takeover into a cover for two. Whip and Davey Boy nails Volkoff with an elbow. Blassie with blatant interference in full view of the referee. Volkoff with a scoop and slam, but Davey Boy gets a foot on the ropes. Volkoff celebrates pre-maturely and Davey Boy rolls him up for three at 4:30. Fall #3: Volkoff attacks at the bell as we find out the Dynamite Kid has a "severely torn ligament in his left knee." REALLY? Sheik sweeps the legs and turns Davey Boy over with a Tehran Crab. Volkoff with the world's softest back breaker, but he holds Smith across the knee to make up for it, bending him like a piece of rubber. Davey Boy muscles the Sheik onto his shoulder and hits the running powerslam for two. Dynamite tags in and gets caught with a boot to the face. Sheik carries him into the corner with a bear-hug, with Volkoff applying the hold himself. Sheik with a gut-wrench suplex. He goes for the Camel Clutch, but Davey Boy saves and cradles the Sheik for three at 3:14 despite being the illegal man. I don't buy Vince saying Dynamite worked with what basically is a torn ACL (he missed several weeks, so not that severe) but this was a solid effort with the unique dynamic of a team having to go it with one man practically useless on the apron. ***¼
Non-Title Match: The British Bulldogs vs. King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd (w/ Bobby Heenan):
From the May 17th, 1986, episode of Championship Wrestling
. For whatever reason, Lou Albano wasn't making appearances with the Bulldogs currently. Davey Boy and Studd start. Lockup into the ropes and Studd with a forearm across the chest. Whip to the ropes and Studd with a shoulder tackle. Smith tries for a sunset flip, getting assistance from a Dynamite clothesline to take him over. Davey Boy with a dropkick, but Studd casually shrugs it off. Davey Boy with forearms across the chest and the Bulldogs take him down with a double dropkick. Heenan yells at his men to slow it down. Bundy in with a knee to the midsection, followed by a slam. Davey Boy avoids the elbow drop and the Bulldogs with another double dropkick, followed by a shoulder block. Bundy blows catching Davey Boy's body press and drops a knee to salvage it. Studd sends him to the ropes and hits a clothesline for two. Davey Boy slips out of a slam but is knocked down with a knee lift. BREAKING NEWS: The WWF is still investigating on the Andre the Giant dilemma. Studd sends Davey Boy to the corner but misses a charge. It doesn't seem to matter, as Bundy and Studd remain in control. Dynamite comes in and hops on Studd's back with a sleeper, but Bundy saves. The referee gets shoved and it's a Disqualification at 4:55. Davey Boy avoids the assisted Avalanche, and we get a shoving match between Studd and Bundy because of it. Dynamite must've been hurting badly, barely doing much.
Non-Title Match: The British Bulldogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) vs. The Moondogs:
From the premiere episode of Wrestling Challenge, broadcast date September 7th, 1986, and taped on August 27th from the Civic Center in Hartford, CT. Gorilla Monsoon, Ernie Ladd, and Johnny Valiant calling the action. Lord Alfred Hayes doing ring introductions is so out of place. Spot and Rex attack before the bell, much to the delight of Johnny Valiant. The Bulldogs turn things around, sending the Moondogs into each other. Dynamite with a snap suplex on Rex for a two-count. Crisscross and Spot trips Dynamite up from the floor. Spot in with a vertical suplex for two. Whip to the ropes and Rex with an elbow, followed by a knee drop for two. Dynamite surprises spot with a sunset flip, but the Moondogs remain in control. Dynamite ducks a spinning elbow and hits Rex with a cross body press for two. Crisscross and Dynamite hits Spot with a hook clothesline. Davey Boy tags in for the first time, taking Rex over with a back body-drop. DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER sends the Moondogs to the canvas. Delayed suplex on Rex but Spot saves. We get a sloppy brawl in the corner until Davey Boy surprises Rex with a flying body press for three at 4:26. Non-stop action, though I'm not fond of the champions selling for so long. **
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
The British Bulldogs (c) vs. The Hart Foundation (w/ Jimmy Hart):
From the Boston Garden on November 1st, 1986, broadcast on NESN. Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes are calling the action. The Bulldogs have their mascot, Matilda, with them, and poor Jimmy must sell for the dog. Dynamite and Bret start. Yes, I've abandoned the Bret(t) joke. Lockup doesn't get either man anywhere. Bret with a knee to the midsection, backing Dynamite into the corner. Dynamite fights free, throwing forearms and headbutts at both Hart and Neidhart. Davey Boy in, hitting Bret with an atomic drop. Whip to the corner, Bret leaps over the charging Smith and cradles him for a two-count. Neidhart in for the battle of each team's muscle. Davey Boy fights out of a side headlock and connects with a dropkick. Whip to the ropes and neither man budges on a shoulder block. Neidhart catches a body press and plants him with a slam. Bret in with a slingshot splash for two. He connects with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a back breaker. Bret comes off the second rope with an elbow with Davey Boy resting across the knee of Neidhart. Bret grabs a choke from the apron while Neidhart ties up the referee. Whip to the ropes, Davey Boy ducks a clothesline, but Bret whacks him across the back with a knee. Neidhart sends Smith to the floor, giving Bret the opportunity to slam him on the exposed parquet floor. Back inside, Neidhart with a snap mare into a chin-lock. Davey Boy fights for his corner but Bret creates a distraction to cut him off. Bret with an assisted whip, sending Neidhart into Smith with a shoulder tackle. Whip and Davey Boy counters a clothesline with a crucifix cradle for two. Bret quickly regains control, connecting with a pair of leg drops. Double DDT from the Hart Foundation for two. Way to kill Jake Roberts' finisher. Davey Boy survives a sleeper, ramming Bret into the turnbuckle to break the hold. Whip is reversed and Davey Boy straddles Bret across the top rope with a press slam. Dynamite with the hot tag, running wild with a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER. Whip and he nails Bret with his signature hook clothesline. Whip to the corner and Dynamite with a snap suplex, followed by a falling headbutt. Dynamite applies a sleeper of his own, but Neidhart saves, wiping out the referee in the process. He puts Bret on top of Dynamite but a long delay for the referee to recover buys him time to kick out. Neidhart with a scoop slam and again he puts Bret on top of Dynamite for a two-count. Neidhart pulls the referee up to his feet, only for Smith to cradle him for three to retain at 13:59. Tons of heat for the Hart Foundation working on Davey Boy for most of the match, with a super-hot three-minutes to wrap things up. ***½
Next time on Part 5 (or is it Part V?) of the History of the Tag Team Championship: Rise of the Hart Foundation, featuring a crooked referee, the appointment of a special enforcer, and unlikely tag teams emerging to take their shot at the gold.
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