Happy Saturday Everyone!
Decided to review some classic WWF over on WWE Network and went with this one as the Main Event of a big Tag Team Battle Royal sounded intriguing and the show itself only runs just under an hour, so it should hopefully be a breeze to watch.
We haven’t got the full card here, so either they didn’t film it all or they’ve cut it out of the Network version for various reasons. It says on the WWE Network that this show happened at Sam Houston Coliseum, but I think it was actually in a different venue called The Summit if Cagematch.net is anything to go by. Just WWE Network being WWE Network I guess (unless they change it between me writing this review and posting it).
The event is emanating from Houston, Texas on the 19th of October 1986
Calling the action are Gorilla Monsoon and Ken Resnick
Brutus Beefcake Vs Special Delivery Jones
Beefer wasn’t yet The Barber at this stage, as he was still a Heel in The Dream Team with Greg Valentine, so he struts around to taunt the crowd to start. Jones does strut back in a funny spot though, and the crowd enjoys it. Jones gets the briefest of babyface shines until Beefcake cuts him over and works him over with standard Heel offence such as punches, stomps and chokes. It’s hardly the most thrilling action you’ll ever see, but it gets the point across that Beefcake is an unlikeable bad guy that we shouldn’t like because he fights dirty. Jones eventually makes the comeback by shucking and jiving, and the crowd is kind of in to it, but it’s not like they’re going nuts or anything. Beefcake catches Jones with a flying knee OUTTA NOWHERE though and that’s enough for three.
WINNER: BRUTUS BEEFCAKE
Bordering on a squash but Jones got just enough offence that it became a real match in the end
We get the replay for that as they play it up like Beefcake was playing possum a bit to lure Jones in.
Greg Valentine Vs Steve Gatorwolf
I’ve never seen Gatorwolf before but he’s rocking the Native American look here (and he may indeed really be Native American, but a lot of guys in wrestling have pretended to be indigenous people when they really weren’t, so I’m not going to commit one way or the other on that one). Gatorwolf supposedly also wrestled as the Masked Zodiac and worked 20 dates for All Japan in 1990 according to Cagematch.net. Valentine is the other half of The Dream Team, and I suppose I should make a joke about him needing a long time to warm up but that’s potentially fruit that hangs too low even for me.
Valentine mostly works over Gatorwolf’s arm and shoulder here, throwing his patented hammer blows and chops. Gatorwolf sells it well and it’s not a bad match or anything, just pretty uneventful. Like the previous bout, this one is bordering on being a squash for the most part, with Gatorwolf mostly selling for Valentine. Gatorwolf does eventually make the Native American comeback with chops and even gets a big Tomahawk Chop at one stage for a two count.
Valentine bails to the outside of the ring following that and tries to go after Gatorwolf’s leg, but Gatorwolf fends him off with more chops. Valentine jumps Gatorwolf when he tries getting back into the ring though and locks in the Figure Four, but Gatorwolf makes the ropes to break the hold. Valentine misses an elbow drop off the second rope and Gatorwolf makes yet another brief comeback until Valentine decides he’s had enough of this Monday to Friday undercard bout on this mother-fighting show and puts Gatorwolf away with a suplex.
WINNER: GREG VALENTINE
Not much to it, but Gatorwolf could sell and showed some fire when he tried to fight back, so it wasn’t terrible. Just a match really
So I decided to head to the Blog for some answers on Mr. Gatorwolf. Apparently he isn’t actually a Native American and he also has had some issues with the law in recent years, so he sounds like a bit of an unsavoury feller.
The Iron Sheik w/ Nikolai Volkoff Vs WWF Tag Team Champion Davey Boy Smith w/ Matilda
The British Bulldogs were Tag Champs at the time and had been defending them on the road against Sheik and his regular partner Nikolai Volkoff, so this match is just a continuation of that issue. Matilda is an actual bulldog who was involved in a storyline when Bobby Heenan and The Islanders dog-knapped her to set up a match at WrestleMania IV.
Sheik cuts his usual Heel promo to start and then jumps Smith to get us going. Sheik wasn’t entirely physically shot yet, but he was kind of getting there. He has a watchable match with Smith here though, even if his bumping isn’t always perfect and his offence looks a little loose. He still mostly is able to keep up, and it’s not like Smith was the sort of guy to blow opponents up.
Smith sells well when on the defensive and Sheik does a good job of riling the crowd up with his mannerisms. This version of Sheik reminds me a lot of Tadao Yasuda actually, in that physically he isn’t really capable of doing that much but he definitely has a presence and charisma to him. Smith sticks Sheik in a sleeper hold at one stage and Sheik starts to fade, but he manages to elbow his way out and get a suplex before going to the Camel Clutch.
Before Sheik can make Smith humble though, Smith is able to grab the ropes to break the hold, thus saving himself from being violated with a beer bottle. Smith looks like he’s going to pick up the win following a comeback but Volkoff attacks him for the lame DQ.
WINNER BY DQ: DAVEY BOY SMITH
Sheik was past his best by this stage but the match was okay outside of the lame finish
Dynamite Kid saves his partner following that, thus continuing the feud between the two teams.
Champ: Hulk Hogan Vs Paul Orndorff w/ Bobby Heenan
This was a notable feud where Hogan and Ornforff had been opponents at the first WrestleMania but Orndorff had gone Face and started tagging with Hogan. However, Orndorff eventually ended up turning on Hogan and the two had a very lucrative feud. The feud was so lucrative in fact that Orndorff put off getting an injury in his arm checked because he was making so much bank, and it ended up causing nerve damage that led to one arm shrinking in comparison to the other. Orndorff was a full-blow workout nutcase though and he ended up managing to make the injured arm stronger than the healthy one!
Orndorff is actually using Real American as entrance music here, which I believe he did for a while as way to mock Hogan. Hogan has a white and teal colour scheme going on here, and I do enjoy how Hogan would mix the colours up a bit in the early years of his Title reign. This is an enjoyable match, with Orndorff jumping Hogan in the early going and then trying to get Hogan to clobber him with a chair in order to win by DQ, although Hogan is able to keep his cool for the time being. Hogan sells quite a lot here actually, with Orndorff controlling things from early on in the bout.
Hogan does a good job selling all of that and the crowd clearly wants him to make the comeback, so they’re into the story being told. Hogan eventually starts Hulking Up and gets a slam before getting the Legdrop of DOOM™. However, Hogan decides he doesn’t want the pin and takes the fight to the floor, although the referee stops him from delivering more punishment when he grabs a chair. Hogan does eventually use the chair when Heenan distracts the referee by mistake, and Hogan then happily takes the count out for the win.
WINNER BY COUNT OUT: HULK HOGAN
Hulk Hogan was such an odd babyface sometimes. The match itself was fine, but it felt kind of abbreviated, and Hogan bonking Orndorff with a chair and then gleefully taking a count out win was such a Heel move that I’m amazed it took until the 90’s for fans to start booing him
Hogan taunts Orndoff following that whilst the Heels give the referee a cheap shot. Hogan is nice enough to help the referee up so that he can get a cheer at least. Hogan then does his posing whilst the Heels slink away.
Tag Team Battle Royal for $50,000
Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy Vs Mike Rotundo & SD Jones Vs Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik Vs Chief Jay Strongbow & Steve Gatorwolf Vs WWF Tag Champs The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid) Vs The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine) Vs The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) Vs The Islanders (Haku & Tama) Vs The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques et Raymond) Vs The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell) Vs The Moondogs (Moondog Rex & Moondog Spot) Vs The Machines (Big Machine & Super Machine)
Super Machine is Bill “Demolition Ax” Eadie whilst Big Machine is Blackjack Mulligan. I think they had a slew of different machines, with both Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan having spells under the mask. Only one member of the team needs to be thrown out in order for the entire team to be eliminated, so it’s a bit like the Battle Royal that opened up WrestleMania XIV. The Bulldogs are the most over team in the match, which makes sense as they have the belts.
Studd and Bundy are actually out super quick, which is surprising as I thought they were favourites to win it. Maybe Bundy had a plane to catch, or an especially tasty watercress sandwich waiting for him the locker room and he wanted to get out of there ASAP? This is kind of your standard Battle Royal, with guys trying to slowly throw one another out. It’s not a bad match or anything but Battle Royals are a bit like Marmite in that you either like them or you don’t. If you do then this should be fine. If you don’t then this will do little to change your mind.
There’s some storyline stuff in there, as The Hart Foundation and Rougeaus were feuding, so they eliminate each other to keep that issue cooking. Sheik actually dumps out both The Moondogs and Killer Bees at the same time by throwing over one member of each team whilst they battle on the ropes. That brings us down to a final four of Islanders, Bulldogs, Sheik/Volkoff and Dream Team. The Islanders manage to throw out The Dream Team but then fight with The Bulldogs to foreshadow their eventual feud.
Eventually The Bulldogs unintentionally help Sheik and Volkoff throw out The Islanders, giving us the final two. The Bulldogs look to have that won but Volkoff ends up sneaking up on Davey to kick him out whilst Davey is going after the Sheik, leading to the Heels picking up the win.
Typical House Show Battle Royal really, although I wouldn’t say it was actively bad or anything. There just wasn’t really anything that remarkable about it
I’m disappointed that they don’t have a comically big cheque and/or trophy to give Sheik and Volkoff for winning there.
Kind of just a show really. Either there wasn’t a particularly big crowd or they weren’t especially well mic’d. Either way, you don’t really need to go out of your way to see this. It wasn’t what I would call bad, but it was middling at best. At under an hour runtime it’s not going to eat up too much of your time, but I still don’t think it’s really worth taking time out to watch it.
Not a recommended show