July 14, 1984
This is the infamous “Black Saturday” show. In 1984, Georgia Championship Wrestling occupied this exact timeslot on WTBS. Vince bought the stock of the company from the Brisco Brothers (Jack & Gerald). In fact, the Brisco’s briefly teamed together in WWF later in the year. On this date, many fans tuned in expecting their regular NWA action but were shocked when Vince McMahon and his WWF showed up on the screen. Viewers were largely unhappy and I believe around 500 called into WTBS and complained. This was a major move in Vince’s plan to make the WWF a national promotion. In the end, the move to WBTS failed and several months later, NWA programming returned to that timeslot. I wish I knew more about the history behind this but I do not.
Freddie Miller welcomes us to the WTBS studio and then introduces Vince McMahon. He promises us that we will see the greatest superstars in wrestling and then names off the wrestlers we will be seeing tonight, making a point to emphasize how big and muscular they all were. Vince hosted the show from the studio but the matches were not taped here.
Nick DeCarlo & S.D. Jones vs. Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch
This match features McMahon and Tony Garea on commentary. Garea is as exciting on color as he is in the ring. This match took place in Canada during the “Maple Leaf Wrestling” tapings. That was what “All-Star Wrestling” became. SD and Murdoch start things off. Murdoch keeps on ducking out as SD approaches to get some cheap heel heat. Murdoch manages to tag out while being placed in a headlock and Adonis comes in and grabs a hammerlock. SD reverses that but Adonis escapes and hits a shoulderblock. Adonis charges but gets caught in a slam. He wanders into the wrong corner and DeCarlo hits him with a forearm. Adonis tags out and SD dances as Murdoch enters. Murdoch misses an elbow in the corner and SD hits a headbutt that Murdoch sells forever before tagging Adonis. SD works the arm before tagging out to DeCarlo, who goes to work on the arm. Adonis yanks him down by the hair and tags Murdoch. DeCarlo hits him with an armdrag but Murdoch gets up and beats him in the corner. He whips him into the boot of Adonis and they double team DeCarlo for a bit. Adonis drops the elbow and gets two. He puts him in an abdominal stretch but SD comes in and breaks that up with a headbutt. Murdoch tags back in and beats on DeCarlo for a while. He eventually fights back and crawls under Murdoch’s legs and makes the tag. The crowd is actually going crazy right now as SD runs wild. Adonis hits him from behind and Murdoch works on SD until he escapes and tags DeCarlo. The crowd goes silent as DeCarlo gets in a few punches before eating an elbow off of a charge. Tag to Adonis and they hit their finisher, which had Murdoch lift DeCarlo up in the back suplex position and Adonis came off the top with an elbow, and they get the win (6:11). If anyone actually knows the name of their finisher and could let me know, that would be great.
Thoughts: Dull match but the crowd was really into SD Jones for some reason. I’m not so sure about showing this off as the first match to the Georgia Championship Wrestling audience though. Adonis is rapidly gaining weight. He is not nearly as big as he was during his “Adorable” phase but heavier than he was before.
Gene Okerlund is with Mr. Fuji and his newest acquisition, George Steele. Fuji rambles for a bit as George is rubbing his chest and tongue, acting like a savage. Fuji then yells at Okerlund for interrupting him then attempts to get Steele to speak. Steele struggles to speak until he finally blurts out “Fuji,” who then does his maniacal laugh as Okerlund then tries to comprehend what he just witnessed. Fuji was okay here and Okerlund did a great job reacting to the craziness around him. He was so much better in that role than he was at color commentary.
Chris Curtis vs. Jesse “The Body” Ventura
This match is from the show at the Met Centre from June 17th. Before the match, Jesse points and yells at an audience member. Okerlund and Monsoon let us know that he was yelling at Minnesota Viking All-Pro linebacker Scott Studwell. He was never shown on camera. Jesse backs Curtis in the corner then slams him into the turnbuckle. He yells some more at Studwell before knocking Curtis back down. Jesse beats on Curtis some more, stopping to yell some more at Studwell. Slam by Jesse but he misses an elbow drop. Curtis lands a few punches but runs into a knee and Jesse regains control. He knocks him down with a throat thrust and yells at Curtis to get up, referring to him as Studwell. The crowd then starts a “We Want Studwell” chant as Jesse picks up Curtis for the Bodybreaker and he taps out (4:19).
Thoughts: This was more tolerable than most Ventura squash matches. The Scott Studwell stuff was fun. I have no idea if he really was even in attendance but again, the crowd loved it and it gave Jesse a lot of heat.
Gene Okerlund is with B. Brian Blair. Oh boy, this ought to be exciting. He tells Okerlund that he has been teaming with Spike Huber and has his goals set on the tag-titles. Those two havent even been teaming on TV yet and Huber was only briefly with the WWF. He runs down the competition, mentioning the Moondogs twice then Okerlund cuts him off and thanks him for joining. Blair is awful on the mic, as expected and why on earth did they choose him to interview for their debuting show on a new network?
Immediately after that, Alexis Smirnoff joins Okerlund. He was primarily used as a jobber in the WWF but did stuff with Ivan Koloff in the 70’s. Okerlund mentions the Soviet Union not being in the Olympics and Smirnoff says that the Americans can finally win something. He then proceeds to cut a horrendous promo, which I can barely understand. WWF was 0-2 with these back-to-back interview segments.
WWF Magazine Plug
Ron Hutchinson vs. Iron Sheik w/Freddie Blassie
This is also from the Canadian TV tapings. Shiek starts his pro-Iran stuff to piss off the crowd and they respond with an “Iron Sheik sucks” chant that the announcers are afraid to repeat. Sheik takes Hutchinson down with a fireman’s carry to start. Backdrop by Sheik is followed by a gutbuster as the crowd starts a “We Want Slaughter” chant. Sheik hits aback suplex then locks on the Camel Clutch for the win (2:11). After the match, Sheik grabs the mic and refers to Slaughter as a “Fat Soldier” then tosses the jobber over the ropes.
Thoughts: Decent enough squash match and finally a segment worth showing to a new audience. Sheik was good in the ring and his feud with Slaughter was great and could be over enough with just about every type of wrestling fan.
Big John Studd vs. Bobo Brazil
As ring announcer Mel Phillips lists off Studd’s height and weight, Studd interrupts and says he is seven feet tall and over 400 lbs. This match is from the Philadelphia Spectrum. Bobo is a few months away from his 60th birthday here. They start out by trading punches and it looks horrible. Bobo can barely move and Studd is a terrible wrestler to begin with. Studd gets an elbow smash and puts Bobo in a bearhug. Bobo reverses the bearhug but Studd rakes his eyes. Bobo also rakes the eyes and knocks down Studd with a headbutt. Studd takes a breather and comes back in and chokes out Bobo. They then engage in the single worst shoulderblock spot I have ever seen. It was like two people in slow motion bumping into each other in the hallway. Studd gets a headlock for a bit. They run into each other twice and Bobo gets a jumping headbutt after that. He backs Studd in the corner and takes him down with another headbutt but misses a leg drop and Studd covers for the win (5:44) -***
Thoughts: Oh my, this was the worst match I’ve seen from 1984 WWF so far. There wasn’t a single thing in this match that looked even remotely believable. Having Studd do the work for an immobile Brazil is not a smart move.
Next week, Vince promises that Hulk Hogan will be here.
Final Thoughts: This was about as bad as it gets in terms of introducing a product to a new audience. The show was filled with bad matches and interview segments. They didn’t showcase their top talents and this came off as a “B” show. It wasn’t hard to see how this failed to get over with the NWA audience. The ratings for this show declined sharply when WWF took over.