The SmarK Rant for WWF All Star Wrestling – 02.16.80
By Scott Keith on 28th September 2022
The SmarK Rant for WWF All Star Wrestling – 02.16.80
Why? I dunno, I need something short to review before bed tonight and it’s been forever since I’ve reviewed these. Plus this one has Hulk Hogan on the thumbnail.
As always, a reminder that this is the show that eventually was rebranded into Wrestling Challenge in 1986, and was definitely the B Show of the time.
THE FOLLOWING WRESTLING EXHIBITION REQUIRES DISCRETIONARY VIEWER PARTICIPATION
Really rolls off the tongue. Not quite as catchy as “What the world is watching”.
Taped from Hamburg, PA
Your host is Vince McMahon. Apparently the attending ringside physician is Dr. George Zahorian. Good to know.
Pat Patterson v. Jo-Jo Andrews
Although Pat is the Intercontinental champion at this point, a reminder that this is NON-TITLE. Which is good, because Andrews is wearing what appears to be leg-warmers and I don’t think he would represent the belt very well. Pat quickly puts Jo-Jo in a full nelson and slugs away on the ropes, then takes him down and works the arm on the mat. And then HOLY CRAP, apparently Bruno Sammartino has been co-host this whole time and literally didn’t say a word until 2:00 into this match, when he suddenly reveals his presence like a horror movie villain. Hang on a sec…
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bruno Sammartino
OK, back to the match. Vince notes that to look at Patterson, you don’t really see a great athlete, and he doesn’t really have that great definition that someone like Hulk Hogan has. Bruno confirms that it doesn’t mean Pat is a WEAKLING or anything. Perish the thought. You know, in case he DOES need muscle definition, I’ve heard that the guy at ringside can hook him up. Andrews rakes his face with the LEG-WARMERS OF DEATH and chokes him out in the corner. Pat fights back and takes him to the ringside table for a shot out there, and then back in he goes up with the flying kneedrop to finish at 7:12. Man they really didn’t have the artform of the squash down in 1980, like at all.
Larry Zbyszko v. Steve King
Larry is fresh off betraying Bruno so now he wants to be announced as the Living Legend. Pretty sure that won’t stick. The crowd actually gives Larry a LOUD heel reaction and chants “We want Bruno”, so Larry blows them a kiss and takes King down with a headscissors. Vince asks Bruno a softball question on his thoughts and Bruno pointedly notes that he’ll be honest, and he finds it disgusting to even watch or comment Larry in the ring and doesn’t want to ever talk about him again, so he’s leaving until the match is over. Larry takes King down and goes to a chinlock, and then switches to a facelock and cranks on that while the crowd gets on him again. And Larry finishes with a neckbreaker at 5:44.
After the break, Vince chats with Larry, who tells the yelling crowd that Bruno isn’t coming back out, so maybe knock it off. Bruno apparently was using him the whole time to prop up his own name, and now he can reveal that all the times they were training together, Bruno was never able to beat him! And then they had a scientific match on TV, and Bruno was so shocked that Larry was better than him that he wasn’t able to keep up. Also Bruno knew that Larry could escape any hold that he applied, so he didn’t want to try any. And hitting him with the chair was a message that he is not to be messed with or embarrassed, and it was the happiest moment of his life! Also the fans are ignorant and don’t know the real story, so maybe they should all shut up and let someone who understands the business speak. OK there PHIL. Also he’s sick of kissing ugly babies for the last few years and now he’s doing his own thing. Larry was a GREAT promo back in the day.
Rene Goulet & Tito Santana v. The Wild Samoans
This is an oddball pairing on the babyface side, first because Tito was currently tag team champions with Ivan Putski, and second because Rene Goulet as a babyface DOES NOT COMPUTE. Was Tony Garea out with the New Zealand flu that week and they needed an ethnic replacement and didn’t care who it was? Granted much of his career was well before my time but I can’t ever recall seeing Goulet as a face before. Tito quickly hits Afa with the flying forearm out of a big brawl and gets two, although Vince thinks it’s three before correcting himself. Tito and Rene trade off with wristlocks in the corner. Afa fights over and tags Sika, but they aren’t holding the rope and so the ref disallows the tag, as Tito and Rene switch off behind his back. Sika finally gets a legit tag, but Tito controls the arm while Albano freaks out on the floor. But then Sika gets a cheapshot and chokes Goulet out in the corner, and now Tito is the one objecting to the ref. Well maybe if you hadn’t cheated behind the ref’s back, karma wouldn’t be paying you back now! Blind charge misses and Tito gets a hot tag and dropkicks both Samoans, leaving Afa tied in the ropes as a result. But then Tito gets beat up in the Samoan corner again and put down with a double headbutt, before fighting up and bringing Goulet back in again. He actually gets cut off and does a Flair Flip in the corner, leaving him in the Tree of Woe, and the Samoans put the (metaphorical) boots to him until Tito makes the save. And they take HIM out as well and stomp away, until finally Ivan Putski can take no more and storms the ring, and drawing a DQ at 8:24. Ivan declares that they’re ready to take on the Samoans any time, although that challenge would backfire on them before too long. This was a perfectly cromulent tag team match for TV.
Baron Mikel Scicluna v. Mike Masters
Oh! Masters just died recently, I think. He apparently had a really interesting career after WWF as a trainer and promoter. Scicluna beats on Masters in the corner, as Vince calls him a “big raw-boned athlete”, which I guess is a compliment. Bruno notes that it’s easy to lose your physique if you don’t put in the work, but Scicluna puts in the work. I dunno, I’ve heard the ringside doctor can help with “putting in the work”. The Baron finishes quickly with a kneedrop at 2:42.
Hulk Hogan v. Paul Mauret & Paul Figueroa
Usual Hogan handicap squash as they bounce off him while the fans catcall the jobbers. Mauret in particular is like the pastiest skinniest Crockett jobber looking doofus I’ve ever seen, making the Mulkey Brothers look butch by comparison. Hulk drops the leg on Figueroa and then slams Mauret on top of him and pins them both at 2:15. Bruno notes that it might be interesting to see Hulk matched up with Andre the Giant. Well, maybe someday. Also Hulk is announced as “The Incredible Hulk Hogan” but Vince keeps calling him “the Fabulous Hulk Hogan” for some reason. Well his cape WAS pretty fabulous. Can’t go wrong with a good purple and gold cape, I always say.
A fairly inoffensive show this week, but the bitter and lying Larry promo was the clear highlight, blowing away everything else. No wonder that Bruno program was FIRE.