WWF All American Wrestling – June 9th, 1985
By Dave Newman on 16th July 2023
Back to All American after a detour into All Star last week. This recently uploaded old episode is labelled as Championship Wrestling and has no intro, but Gene is in the studio for the links later in the video.
Barry O vs. Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff
The original Randy Orton, right here. Awful mullet and Puma band t-shirt, before he went for a far slicker look. Paul is in one of his rare babyface runs here after falling out with Roddy Piper and Barry’s brother Bob Orton. Recent longtime payoff recipient Rita Marie is the referee. Paul fires away with dropkicks and a slam. Spurned ex-manager Bobby Heenan comes out to watch Orndorff, who he’s put a bounty on. Barry uses the distraction to turn it around with a nice slam and flying fistdrop. Orndorff ducks a punch off the ropes and fires back, still wrestling as much like a heel as ever. Clothesline sets up the piledriver for the win. The Brain backs off when Wonderful invites him in.
Back to Gene in the studio, who recaps the bounty angle, then throws back to the action.
George “The Animal” Steele vs. Mike Powers
Norm “I’d like to introduce…” Kimber is the ring announcer and Captain Lou is managing George here. Jesse Ventura: “If brains were made of dynamite these two wouldn’t have enough to blow each other’s nose.” George attacks before the bell then eats the tape off the ropes in a change of diet. I have a soft spot for play-by-play announcer Jack Reynolds from the IWA promotion from the seventies, but he’s very much of the “Look at that!” style of commentary. Steele uses the flying hammerlock after stomping the arm, but nobody seems to know what’s going on, so it gets the reverse of a pop. “Was that a submission hold?”, asks Jack. You won’t be long for this company, man.
Gene gets his fishing hat out to reminisce about recently going to a fishing tournament with Liberace. That would be the thing to record for this show.
Update, with Lord Alfred Hayes, looks at Jimmy Hart adding Jim Neidhart and Greg Valentine to his stable alongside King Kong Bundy, which sends us to a clip from TNT of him pouring water over Hayes. More interesting in the long term would be the addition of Adrian Adonis and Bret Hart.
The US Express vs. Johnny Rodz and The Ax
The Ax isn’t Demolition Ax, just a big guy in a yellow and black mask and trunks and boots, looking like a masked Ron Shaw more than anybody else. If Rotunda and Windham had joined later in the eighties than they did then they’d probably be in far jazzier gear than just blue trunks and white boots. After a Rotunda dropkick, Windham gets the bulldog less than a minute in, winning the match without Rodz even tagging in.
Promo time, with Ricky Steamboat settling into being the Dragon with the gi and martial arts arsenal and setting his sights on Greg Valentine’s IC title and the tag belts with Jimmy Snuka, who was probably gone by now, as the SPC (South Pacific Connection). No and no. Ricky, in his usual laidback style, barely gets above a monotone.
Ken Patera vs. Hulk Hogan
Big, big match for TV, with Bobby Heenan and Big John Studd flanking Patera, who would probably soon be gone from the promotion too. Hulk is in the red and yellow with the WrestleMania vest, red with yellow letters. Patera gets the shots in first and elbows away in the corner, but has an Irish whip reversed and gets clotheslined on his feet. Big slam and the axe, then Hulk’s weird reversed suplex (doing it on his right, not his left). Patera gets the knees up on a charge and drops the elbows. Hulk comes back with a slam, so Studd interferes to draw the DQ loss for Patera. The heels swamp Hogan and Bobby goes to cut his hair before Paul Orndorff, of all people, makes the save for him. This would pay off a year later in a big way. Good while it lasted, because you were never going to get Patera going down for the legdrop on weekly TV. Vince McMahon creams himself while Hulk and Orndorff pose together after the match.
Back to Gene and his fishing festival, sharing pictures of himself with a beer in every shot. Never change, Gene. Goldie Hawn was there and you know Gene was sniffing around. He makes a groupie gag.
Piper’s Pit, with Jesse Ventura there to promote his terrible The Body Rules and rage against “three dollar” (gay) rock stars like Prince, Boy George and Mick Jagger. Roddy throws in Elvis, but I’m not sure about that one. Jesse then gives his perspective of WrestleMania, believing that Roddy beat up EVERYBODY, including “Mr. Blunderful”, and should be champion. They then impersonate Orndorff’s favourite move – laying on his back with his legs in the air. Alrighty, then!
Gene is STILL going on about angling, seemingly angling (in a different way) for a sponsorship with this fucking carp competition he was at.
Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine vs. Gary Starr and Rick McGraw
Nascent formation of the Dream Team, although they’re accompanied by both Johnny Valiant and “The Moof of the Soof”, as per Norm Kimber, instead of just Luscious. Bruti is now being announced from San Francisco instead of just Parts Unknown, in a gay character arc for his character that went nowhere. McGraw, who is about 5’5″ in height and has about as much muscle packed on him as his frame could (or couldn’t, in actual fact) manage, gets an early advantage on Valentine, so Beefcake gets a shot in from behind to end that. Beefer had been wrestling about eight years at this point and still wasn’t much good, all arms and legs flailing, so pairing him with Valentine was an excellent move to give him five good years where he didn’t embarrass himself before the face injury. Valentine gets the old standards in, like the shoulderbreaker, gutbuster and release suplex on Starr. Starr gets dragged back up by Beefcake and staggers like a drunk man off a clothesline. Figure four from Valentine finishes it.
Promo time, as Gene wants to hold a manager’s forum, which should be far better than Steamboat earlier, bringing in Fred Blassie and Mr. Fuji to discuss their use of canes. Fred of course denies ever bringing a cane to ringside at WrestleMania (Sheik hit Windham over the head with it, breaking it in half in the process, to aid him and Nikolai winning the tag belts) and claims trick photography. Gene, the gentleman, humours him.
Fuji: “When you carry a cane into the ring it shows authority…”
Gene: “It also shows your age!”
Fuji: “Age is just a number, boy-san.”
Gene: “Tell that to my mother-in-law!”
Fred: “We don’t really need these canes, it just shows a little class and dignity.”
That then segues into a discussion of Don Muraco and the team of the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, respectively, before Gene reminisces about singing the Star-Spangled Banner.
Gene: “I’ve got a copy of that on tape if you want it, Fred.”
And that’s the show!
The red, the white and the blue: Worst bit was the terrible George Steele squash, which was unusual for him because he generally worked his gimmick well, but here it was very aimless. Best bit was a Hulk appearance and angle on TV, which would always be exciting. Strangest bit was Gene and his preoccupation with his extracurricular activities, but that’s what made him a classic.