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WWF At Boston Garden
July 11, 1987

by Scrooge McSuck

Bruno Sammartino

Taped from the Boston Garden and originally presented on the New England Sports Network (NESN), with Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes calling the action, unless otherwise noted. This is the original NESN broadcast, and there are some audio issues, so there's a minor chance I might miss something.

Jim Powers vs. Shadow #2:

How can the WWF guarantee this is Shadow #2 and not Shadow #1? I demand to see credentials! Oh well, at least it isn't the 67th time I must recap Powers vs Iron Mike Sharpe. Jose Luis Rivera is the man under the mask, by the way. I might not enjoy his matches, but the dude was willing to do anything to keep getting a paycheck. In just 1987, he worked under a mask as a Conquistador, Shadow, and Red Demon, on top of appearing as himself. Lockup to the ropes and Powers gives a clean break. Shadow with a cheap shot in the corner, but Powers quickly turns it around and has him cowering for mercy. Shadow grabs a side headlock, using a handful of hair to block a counter. Whip to the ropes and Shadow with a shoulder block. Crisscross and Powers with a hip toss, followed by a deep arm drag into the arm bar. Shadow escapes but is knocked out of the ring with a dropkick. Back inside, Powers continues working the arm. Crisscross and Shadow cuts Powers off with a diving back elbow. We're SIX MINUTES IN and that's the only offense Shadow has executed beyond the brief headlock. Shadow chokes Powers across the top rope and hits a ropewalk flying forearm for two. Whip is reversed and Shadow pops out of the corner with a clothesline. Whip and Powers with a sunset flip for two. Inside cradle for two. Whip and Shadow with another diving elbow for two. I don't mind the Irish whip, but I hate when almost every spot depends on it. Shadow plants Powers with a slam but meets knees going for a splash. Powers unloads with rights and takes Shadow over with a back body-drop. Powers with a suplex and leg drop for two. Whip is reversed and Powers surprises Shadow with a modified sunset flip for three at 11:07. Dull prelim stuff. *

Scott Casey vs. Dino Bravo (w/ Johnny Valiant):

Jimmy Hart joins the commentary team for this one. Casey made his WWF debut in June and never made it beyond a prelim spot. Not that he was a missed opportunity, with an average look and lacking the charisma needed to succeed in this era. I could've sworn Bravo ditched the maple leaf trunks by now. Lockup into the corner, Casey blocks everything Bravo tries and hits him with an atomic drop. He takes Bravo out of the corner with a hip toss and goes to work on the arm. Whip and Casey with a shoulder block. He outsmarts Bravo on a crisscross and goes back to work with an arm bar. Bravo forces a break in the corner and pounds away. Casey tries a monkey flip but Bravo counters with an inverted atomic drop. Casey gets dumped to the outside, and to my surprise Valiant doesn't get involved. Bravo brings him back in with a suplex and comes off the ropes with an elbow drop for a two-count. Casey fights out of a chin-lock, but Bravo cuts him off, hitting him with a gut-wrench suplex and leg drop for two. Casey blocks a boot and throws a series of right hands. Whip to the ropes and Casey with a back body-drop, followed by a fist drop from the second rope for a two-count. Whip and a dropkick for two. Casey misses a charge to the corner and Bravo finishes with the side slam at 6:01. Surprisingly decent. **

Jerry Allen vs. "Cowboy" Bob Orton:

We're getting some weird combinations on this show. Any time I feel the need to research Allen, I forget he passed away back in 1995. He spent a good chunk of 87 and 88 as a prelim babyface for the WWF. Like Powers, he had a decent body, but lacked charisma and size to make it beyond that level. Lockup and Allen grabs a side headlock. Whip to the ropes and we have a stalemate on a shoulder block. Orton gets a taste of the top turnbuckle and Allen dives off the top with an elbow. Crisscross and Allen completely botches a cross body press. He grabs another headlock but Orton counters with a back suplex. Orton sends Allen to the corner then meets the post on a missed charge. Allen goes for the arm, but Orton quickly sends him to the arena floor. Allen fights his way in from the apron, but Orton blocks the sunset flip. Orton climbs the ropes and meets knees going for a splash. Whip to the corner, with Orton taking a chest-first bump into the turnbuckle. Allen throws him out of the corner with a hip toss and hits a crummy-looking dropkick. Orton counters the mounted rights with an inverted atomic drop and gives him a gorilla press into a back breaker. Orton hotdogs, flexing for the crowd. Allen reverses a whip to the corner and connects with another dropkick. He plants Orton with a slam. Orton cuts him off climbing the ropes and finishes with the Super-Plex at 6:26. Orton looked extra-cocky out there. Allen looked rough. *

Tito Santana vs. The Magnificent Muraco:

Well, hello there. This is quite the interesting match to randomly throw on a show. Even though Santana's reign ended in early ‘86, it feels like forever since either man was a legitimate title contender. Muraco is subbing for Butch Reed. The word "subbing" will be a trend the rest of the show, unfortunately. Muraco with a lot of chatter with the referee. That looks like their familiar timekeeper of the era (he would also do referee work when they were spread thin). Lockup to the ropes and a clean break. Muraco grabs a side headlock but Santana counters with a head-scissors. They fight for a wristlock, with Muraco spinning through and escaping with a mule kick. Lockup to the corner and Muraco pops Santana on the chin with an elbow. Muraco shoves Santana on his rear and powders out to talk trash. Back inside, Santana grabs a side headlock. Whip to the ropes and Santana surprises Muraco with a forearm, but Muraco ends up in the ropes. Muraco buries a knee into the midsection and goes to work on the left leg, including wrapping it around the post. More punishment for the leg, with Muraco slapping on a spinning toe hold. Santana blocks an attempt to reapply the hold, shooting Muraco shoulder-first to the post. Santana unloads with rights, backing Muraco into the corner. Whip across the ring and Santana continues to deal the right hands. Muraco reverses a whip and charges into the corner with a clothesline. Santana avoids a second attempt, taking Muraco over with a sunset flip for three at 8:23. After the match, Muraco gives his respect to Santana, despite the disagreement with partner Bob Orton (this was all setting up Muraco's babyface turn that wasn't too far away). Decent, but it wasn't like they had much time to build to something better. **

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Honkytonk Man (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Bruno Sammartino:

Bruno is coming close to his final appearance in a wrestling ring, and he's subbing for Jake Roberts, who was suspended for failing a drug test (basically anyone that tested positive for cocaine was suspended in the fallout from the Duggan/Iron Sheik fiasco). Honky tries to attack before the bell, but Bruno is too manly for that, beating Honky to the punch and sending him running to the outside. Honky gets in the ring to break the count and runs right back out. Bruno with a few slams and Honky stalls again. Bruno ducks a right hand and knocks Honky over the top rope with an atomic drop. Back inside, Bruno starts working the arm. I've never seen a crowd count along with the amounts of times someone cranks a wristlock. Bruno catches Honky off the ropes with a spinning arm hook and goes back to the arm, with the crowd still counting along. Honky rakes the eyes and takes advantage of Jimmy Hart grabbing Bruno's ankle. Honky takes control putting the boots to the back of Bruno. Hart bops Bruno with the megaphone, which I'm positive the referee had a decent view of. Honky pounds away on the body. Whip across the ring and Honky turns himself upside down on a missed charge. Bruno unloads with rights, knocking Honky through the ropes. Bruno follows, sending Honky into the post. He slaps Jimmy Hart around and rolls back in the ring for the count-out victory at 11:17. Bruno might've walked away with the belt, but he won the winner's share of the purse. This was typical Honky with a lot of stalling and basic work. I don't think he was the right opponent for Bruno but being a guy who was clearly not on the juice probably satisfied Bruno. *

Jose Luis Rivera vs. The One-Man Gang:

Johnny Valiant sits in on commentary for the match. HAHAHAHAHA... Yes, Rivera is pulling double duty. How depleted was this part of the roster that we have so much filler and substitutions? The Gang is still new to the WWF, still working his way through the prelim geeks. Rivera is subbing for Corporal Kirchner here. Rivera tries to avoid the Gang, using whatever speed advantage he might possess. Gang clubs him with a right hand and grabs a wristlock. Rivera counters, turning it into a hammerlock. Gang breaks free with another clubbing blow and drops Rivera with an elbow to the top of the head. Gang punishes Rivera while hollering at the top of his lungs. I'm waiting for something exciting, but nope. Gang squashes Rivera in the corner and finishes the forward suplex at 4:11. This was bad, even for a 4-minute squash. -*

Paul Roma vs. Shadow #1:

Seriously, did the WWF botch their touring schedule and send the C-Tour group to Boston by mistake? I've never seen star power so weak in Boston, and we're nearing the end of the show. Shadow #1 is Randy Culley, formerly Moondog Rex and Demolition Smash (for a cup of coffee). Shadow attacks Roma during the referee's instructions. Whip to the corner and Shadow connects with a back breaker for a one-count. Roma blocks the turnbuckle and instead gives the Shadow a taste. He grabs a side headlock, but Shadow forces a break in the ropes. Roma blocks a cheap shot, and a dropkick has the Shadow trapped in the Andre Special. Roma ignores the referee, hitting a body press. He tries it again, but Shadow frees himself, causing Roma to take a big bump over the top rope. We get an instant replay and deservedly so. Shadow brings Roma in from the apron with a delayed suplex. Roma fights out of a seated chin-lock, driving a series of elbows to the midsection. Shadow quickly cuts him off, dropping him with a clothesline. Gut-wrench suplex for two. Roma catches Shadow with a back-slide for a near-fall. Shadow remains in control, working Roma over in the corner. Roma battles back with right hands. Whip to the ropes and Roma counters a back body-drop attempt with a punt to the chest. Roma throws more rights and rams Shadow into the turnbuckle. Whip and Roma with a dropkick for two. Roma goes for the mask, unsuccessfully. Crisscross and they smack heads, with Shadow falling on top of Roma for a two-count. Whip to the corner, Shadow misses a charge, and Roma finishes with a flying sunset flip at 8:54. Nothing fancy, just a decent prelim match. **

Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. Johnny Valiant:

Valiant is subbing for Greg Valentine. How many times can Valiant get his hair cut before they run out of stuff to trim?! Beefcake takes forever removing his gear. Valiant with a "Pearl Harbor job" and chokes Beefcake down in the corner. He rakes Beefcake's eyes across the top rope and punishes the midsection with right hands. Valiant with a slam and rake of the eyes with the bottom of his boot. What's with "Moon Shine" on his tights? Beefcake mounts a comeback, slamming Valiant's face into the canvas. Beefcake with a scoop slam, followed by a double axe-handle from the second rope. Beefcake sits down across the chest and gives Valiant ten shots to the turnbuckle. They go to the opposite corner and give us an encore. Beefcake with an atomic drop and signals for the sleeper. Valiant rakes the eyes to cut him off, but Beefcake regains control, and the sleeper finishes at 3:26. After the bell, Beefcake gives a light trim and spray paints Valiant's hair and chest neon orange. Basically, the same match they did at the Maple Leaf Gardens on June 28th. ZERO STARS

Rick Martel & The Junkyard Dog vs. The Islanders:

Final match of the night. I don't dare consider this a Main Event, so that means Honky and Bruno was the biggest draw of the card. JYD is subbing for Tom Zenk, who walked out over a pay dispute and was soundly buried for two-months on every episode of WWF programming. Islanders attack to kick things off, but Martel and the JYD turn things around and send them to the floor to regroup. Things settle down with Martel and Tama in the ring. Tama offers a handshake and attacks with a helpful distraction from Haku. He sends Martel to the corner, but Martel leaps over the charge and plants him with a slam. JYD and Haku in next, with Haku making fun of JYD's dance moves. Haku grabs a side headlock, but a shoulder block doesn't budge the big man. They take turns missing elbow drops and JYD sends Haku out of the ring with his signature headbutts. Back inside, JYD and Martel take turns working the arm. Whip to the ropes and Martel with a cross body press for two. He knocks Tama off the apron, then pays for it, getting tripped up on a crisscross. Tama comes off the top with a double chop and grabs a blatant choke. HOW IS THE REFEREE COUNTING A PIN ATTEMPT AFTER THAT? Haku hits a Super-Kick with Martel held wide open. Martel fights out of a nerve hold but Haku blocks a sunset flip attempt. Tama with a whip and diving back elbow for two. Martel escapes another nerve hold but misses a twisting body press. Haku with a leg drop for two. He plants Martel with a slam and misses a headbutt from the second rope. JYD with the hot tag, running wild with rights and lefts. DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER. The Islanders get whipped into each other and Martel sends Haku to the floor with a dropkick. Dropkick to Tama, and JYD finishes with the Thump Powerslam at 11:22. The Islanders attack after the bell to get their heat back. Good match, with Martel in there for most of it. **½

Final Thoughts: Card Subject to Change indeed. Not the strongest card on paper before the substitutions, and what we got with all the injuries and/or suspensions was one of the weakest lineups I've ever seen for a major market. Only a couple of decent matches with a lot of prelim filler. Even as a fan for the era, there's nothing to go out of your way, unless you want to see the last few matches of Bruno Sammartino's career.

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