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WWF Championship Wrestling- July 19, 1986
by Scrooge McSuck
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino, taped on June 24th, 1986, from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, the last week of this taping cycle. This week, Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff finally have their match with the dastardly duo of Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy. Last week, Hogan and Orndorff's warm-up with the Moondogs went well, if your name was Paul Orndorff. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS TO ADVERTISE.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Eric Cooper:
Will Savage polish off his opponent in less than 90-seconds? Only time will tell. With how things are shaping up elsewhere, Savage is a bit in limbo despite being the Intercontinental Champion. Vince name drops George Steele because we can never get enough of that rivalry. Lockup and Cooper grabs a side headlock. Savage forces a break in the ropes and delivers a knee to the midsection. Savage traps Cooper in a tree of woe and puts the boots to him. We cut to a pre-tape from Lou Albano as Savage connects with a suplex. Albano says he detects a weakness in Savage as he hypes up his man. Savage follows Cooper to the floor with a double axe-handle. Back inside, Savage drops another double axe-handle and finishes Mr. Cooper with the flying elbow at 2:37. I see Savage took his time this week. No way am I interested in seeing more Savage vs. Steele, but the WWF would run it back for most of 1986 and even do several matches on Saturday Night's Main Event in 1987 before finally putting it to bed.
"Mean" Gene Okerlund is standing by with this week's update, courtesy of the WWF Magazine. Okerlund presents a Japanese magazine featuring the mysterious Super and Giant Machine. We cut to footage of the Machines in action. WOAH, they're using footage from New Japan Pro Wrestling?! I mean, we only get about 15-seconds of footage, but that's still quite surreal for 1986. Okerlund signs off as a geek is incapable of removing his mask. Was that a replica Masked Superstar mask the goober was wearing?
The American Express vs. Al Navarro & Gino Carabello:
OH MY GOD, THEY'RE STILL USING "BORN IN THE USA"! Yes, The Fink introduces Mike Rotundo and Danny Spivey as "The American Express." Spivey starts, grabbing a side headlock on Carabello. Spivey comes off the ropes with a shoulder block, followed by a BAAACK body-drop. Rotundo with a flying head-scissors and side headlock takeover. Carabello goes to the eyes and picks the leg. Rotundo fights to his feet and connects with an enzuigiri. Navarro tries his luck, clubbing Rotundo across the chest. Rotundo returns fire and snaps Navarro over before hitting an elbow drop. Spivey with an elbow from the top rope. Whip to the ropes and Spivey with a back elbow. Rotundo with a whip and dropkick. Spivey hits a cross body press, giving up the pin for whatever reason, and Rotundo finishes with the airplane spin at 2:46. Better effort from Rotundo and Spivey this time, but this is clearly a "fill the card" team with little hope of upward momentum.
Ken Resnick is standing by to hype the return to the Boston Garden on August 9th. The Hart Foundation face Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik to determine the #1 Contenders to the Bulldogs, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat takes on Jake "The Snake" Roberts, and in the MAIN EVENT, Randy Savage and Adrian Adonis meet Hulk Hogan and George "The Animal" Steele.
The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff vs. Jimmy Jackson & Don Driggers:
No Fred Blassie in the corner of Volkoff and Sheik, at least not for the introductions. Even with all the fresh talent that keeps coming in, I'm always amazed how much Vince wanted to fall back on Sheik and Volkoff as Tag Champions throughout 1986 and into 1987. Sheik starts. Driggers grabs a side headlock and takes Sheik over with a hip toss. Crisscross and Sheik with a clothesline, followed by a back body-drop. Volkoff in with his clubbing strikes as Vince makes up his Olympic credentials. We cut to a pre-tape from Corporal Kirchner in another feud that won't die. Sheik sends Driggers to the ropes and plants a boot to the midsection. For a shooter, Sheik works incredibly light instead of trying to take advantage of people. Volkoff hits Jackson with the spinning kick to the midsection. He connects with the press slam into a back breaker and Sheik finishes with the Camel Clutch at 3:07. I have no desire to see Volkoff touch gold again, but I enjoy their squashes.
Ken Resnick standing by with more hype for the Boston Garden. Mr. USA Tony Atlas faces Ted Arcidi! Lord Littlebrook vs. Cowboy Lang! Tito Santana vs Cowboy Bob Orton! OK, at least one of those matches should be entertaining. Fred Blassie and Jimmy Hart joins Resnick to hype the contender's match between the Foundation and Sheik and Volkoff.
King Tonga & Sivi Afi vs. Lane Anderson & Gary Semones:
Semones looks like a complete goober. How come Afi and Tonga aren't the Tongan-Samoan Connection or Island Express? You can tell we're at the end of a taping cycle with so many tag team matches featured. Vince calls them a Polynesian Combination as I move on from my original joke. Tonga starts, whipping Anderson over with a hip toss and planting him with a slam. Semones runs in, takes a slam, and bails out. Vince with a comment about Tonga slamming Studd to keep that bit going. Afi comes off the ropes with a shoulder block and drop toe hold. He plants Anderson with a slam and comes off the ropes with a dropkick. People don't care for Sivi Afi. Tonga with a slam and Afi comes off the ropes with an assisted senton. Semones gets his chance to earn his payday. Whip and Tonga with an elbow on the chin. Tonga with a Super-Kick on Anderson, followed by a splash for three at 2:50. This was fine, but two solo guys in tag team action means nothing more than filler.
Adrian Adonis is standing by with this week's edition of The Flower Shop. Whose feathers will he ruffle this week? The guest is Hercules Hernandez, so the answer is no one. Adonis asks if he's THE REAL HERCULES. He says he's Hercules today like he was 2,000 years ago. He says he hangs out on Mount Olympus and talks about partying with everyone but Zeus, because that's his daddy. WHAT THE HELL AM I LISTENING TO.
Hulk Hogan & "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff vs. Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby Heenan):
This is quite a match to put on free television. To set the mood, for weeks, people like Heenan and Adrian Adonis were getting inside Orndorff's head, calling him Hulk Jr and telling him he was in Hogan's shadow. Orndorff accepted a challenge on behalf of Hogan, but darn it, the phone call wasn't answered, so things were delayed. We cut to the backstage area (with lots of wood paneling for the walls), where Hogan and Orndorff "strategize." Well, it's Hulk obsessing over that call, saying he was under the squat rack when the phone rang, and when he got to the phone, Orndorff wasn't there. Hmm, something feels wrong. You can cut the tension between the two with a chainsaw. Orndorff insists on starting, going against Studd. Lockup to the ropes, Orndorff blocks a right hand and lands several punches to back Studd off. Orndorff avoids a slam and uses the tights to take Studd over with a sunset flip. Whip to the ropes and Orndorff with a hip toss. Bundy with a knee to the midsection and clothesline. Orndorff avoids a splash and unloads with right hands. Orndorff goes for the slam on Studd, but Studd blocks. Orndorff with dropkicks, clearing the ring. Orndorff poses and finally gives Hogan the tag he's begged for. He trades right hands with Studd until being slowed by a thumb to the eye. Whip is reversed and Hogan gives Studd a slam! Hogan poses and Orndorff is hot at Hogan showing him up.
We come back from commercial break (how rare is that for mid 80's syndication WWF?) with Hogan hitting Studd with an atomic drop. Whip to the corner and Hogan charges in with a clothesline. Whip across the ring and Studd pops out with a clothesline of his own. Bundy drops an axe-handle to keep Hogan from his corner. Whip and a double clothesline, followed by a knee across the chest for two. Hogan goes to the eyes of Bundy to create separation. Hogan headbutts Studd and falls backwards into his corner, knocking Orndorff off the apron. Bundy and Hogan double-team Hogan until the referee gets bumped. Vince says the match is over, clocking in at around 6:00 (shown). Orndorff finally makes the save, sending Studd and Bundy running to the floor. He helps Hogan to his feet, raises his arm, AND ORNDORFF BLASTS HOGAN WITH A CLOTHESLINE! Orndorff adds a piledriver as McMahon calls the action in disbelief. Studd, Bundy, and Heenan join him in the ring as Spivey, Rotundo, Tonga and Sivi Afi rush to protect Hogan from further assault. Sammartino is in shock that Orndorff would take such a cheap shot at Hogan. REALL? A GUY NAMED MR. WONDERFUL? Jimmy Hart and Adrian Adonis are waiting backstage to further embrace Orndorff's actions as it comes to light that the whole thing was a set-up. Not just a memorable moment but kicked off arguably the best drawing feud of the 1980's, as Hogan and Orndorff went around the horn for the rest of 1986 making ungodly amounts of money.
Ken Resnick shills the August 9th card from the Boston Garden. Now Hulk Hogan's participation is up in the air based on what happened. Tito Santana joins us, confused by what Paul Orndorff just pulled off, and cuts a promo on Bob Orton.
NEXT WEEK: Who knows. New taping cycle.
Final Thoughts: After weeks of simmering, the relationship between Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff finally boiled over, with Orndorff betraying the Hulkster and joining forces with Bobby Heenan. The rest of the show was just end of a cycle filler, but the 10-minutes that covered the match and post-match angle setting up Orndorff's turn was the 10-best minutes of this program in quite a while. You could argue that Orndorff's turn was obvious, but remember, he remained an arrogant character as a babyface, so it wasn't like he was suddenly a new man with an attitude in the weeks that lead up to this episode.
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