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WWF at Madison Square Garden - August 25, 1986

by erick von erich

From right around the time of "The Big Event", it's the WWF's monthly MSG show, hosted by Gorilla Monsoon along with his esteemed colleague and long-time friend, Lord Alfred Hayes. This show has the MSG debut of the famed "Machines" angle which; despite what Crappy Sites that talk about Wrestling may tell you; was actually kinda' fun. But the biggest angle at the time was Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff's return to the dark side as he had attacked his supposed buddy, Hulk Hogan, about a month before this show. In the process, he gained the nickname: "Benedict Arnold of the WWF". Which, technically, isn't accurate...since he wasn't providing intel to the opposing side (say, the NWA). But with so much going on in the World Wrestling Federation, let's get down to ringside for...

Match 1: Nick Kiniski vs. Les Thornton

Hi, I'm Satan -- you may remember me from such memorable films as "The Devil and Max Devlin" or "Hunk"-- and I'm here to welcome you to preliminary bout Hell! Kiniski is around because he has decent size and a blonde mullet; which seemed to garner automatic employment for 80's wrestling. He's also wearing his "CANADA" jacket, similar to his father Gene. This allows Gorilla and Al to briefly reminisce about facing Gene Kiniski back in the day. Al even mentions Nick's older brother, Kelly. GASP! You mean there's a world outside the WWF?!! As the bell rings, Kiniski hops outside to take off his jacket, preventing Thornton from cheap-shotting him. That's...actually pretty damn smart! Thornton quickly takes things to the mat as they trade waistlocks and armbars. The crowd hates this and immediately begins their "BORRR-RING!" chants. Thronton twists a half-nelson and works on Kiniski for a good 8 or 10 minutes. He finally jumps to the WWF formula and pulls up Kiniski for an Irish-whip and a clothesline. He then goes for a slam, but Kiniski hops out of it, applies a belly-to-back suplex, bridges, and gets the 3 count. This match might have work in Florida, but in NYC it's a turd.

Match 2: Sivi Afi vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts

Afi wasn't the best the wrestler around, but the WWF did him no favors by saddling him with "Corporal Kirchner Syndrome". That is, another popular star had left, so they picked another guy with less charisma to take up the same persona and gimmick as the departed star. In Kirchner's case, he was replacing Sgt. Slaughter, while in Afi's he's replacing "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. In each case, the guy was seen as a rip-off and their careers floundered as a result. But don't let that pessimistic intro discourage you.

Jake is without his at-the-time-unnamed mascot/green bag Damien for this match. Afi starts off by targeting Jake's arm; good strategy as it could prevent Jake's patented short-arm clothesline. Afi gets and arm-wringer, then holds on to it as he walks the top rope. Afi tumbles forward, causing Jake to flip out the ring. Jake thinks about "pulling an Ernie Ladd" by walking down the aisle, but returns to the ring. Afi goes for a roll-up, but Jake grabs the rope. just as Jake points to his head in the universal "ain't I smart" move, Afi chops him, lands a dropkick, then bounces off the ropes with a high cross-body for 2. Afi goes back to the arm, settling into a reverse chinlock. Jake drops to the mat to break, hits his kneelift, then drops several shots to the abs for a 1 count. Jake whips Afi to the ropes for a shitty clothesline, then works the crowd a bit. Jake hits a reverse atomic drop, but his casual cover is countered by Avi into a 2 count. Jake slows it down with his own reverse chinlock, as Afi's arm drops 2.5 times. Afi fights back to a vertical base, but Jake kicks him in the tummy and tosses him out between the ropes. Afi ties a sunset flip on his way back in, but Jake grabs the top rope. Jake hooks a sleeper and pulls Afi's tights to bring it to the mat. Jake mugs for the camera to also work the TV audience. Afi pokes Jake's peepers to break the hold, but Jake then tries to smash him into the turnbuckle. Afi, being a Samoan has the Mandatory HARD HEAD and no-sells! Jake responds quickly with a slam, then misses a reverse diving elbow drop from the second rope. Afi chops, dances and headbutts Jake out of the ring. Afi chases him out, headbutts him again and throws the Snake back in. Jake is prone in the middle of the ring, so Afi goes up top for the Superfly...errrr, Afi-Fly Splash. Jake gets his KNEES up to screw with Afi's plans. Jake prowls around and hits the DDT! Jake lays on his back as he covers Afi for the easy 3 count. Match had good heat and was much better than I expected. Can't believe I actually enjoyed a Sivi Afi match!

Match 3: Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez (w/"Classy" Freddy Blassie & Slick)

Herc has his "dual managers" out, but Blassie departs after the introductions are over. Gorilla queries where Slick got the cash to become a manager and alludes to a possible association with "ladies of the evening". Good thing Mean Gene wasn't on hand. The initials lock-ups result in a stalemate, so they criss-cross (jump-jump) the ropes. Haynes leapfrogs over Herc, but then gets plastered with a sick clothesline. Herc press-slams him and throws him into the corner. Haynes rebounds and applies his own, BIGGER, press-slam. They go nose-to-nose, until Haynes lands an atomic drop, 2 drop-kicks and a snapmare into a reverse chinlock. During the resthold, Gorilla talks about Haynes lives a clean lifestyle with no drugs, partying or alcohol. Yet he has tattoos and long hair... so was Haynes the original "straight-edge" wrestler?! Herc goes for a vertical suplex, but Haynes hangs on and both guys hit their external occipital protuberances (thank you, Gino). They end up outside where Herc jabs Haynes with a chair to the jaw. Back in, Herc works the lower back and a Bearhug happens. Haynes claps the ears to break and a brawl ensues. Herc gets a reverse atomic drop and a suplex for 2. He tries the suplex again, but Haynes reverses it, slams him, then misses a flying forearm from the second rope. Back and forth until Haynes gets a lame clothesline for 2. Herc hits a lowblow as he connecting with Lil' Billy, then lands a kneedrop, belly-to-back suplex, back bodydrop and a fistdrop from the second rope for 2. The time limit bell sounds out at a completely random time. Slick gets the house mic and complains, while a "draw" decision is announced.

But wait..what's this?! Both guys want five minutes more..and the ref seemingly agrees! Herc stomps away for a bit, buy Haynes gets fired up and gets the upper hand. He tries to lock the full nelson, but Herc makes the ropes and Slick pulls him out. The heels bail and the ref counts them out, awarding the match to Billy Jack. Gorilla and Al wonder if it's a legitimate decision...I guess it is.

Match 4: Corporal Kirchner vs. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff (w/Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

Orndorff comes out to Hulk Hogan's "Real American" and copies some of Hogan's mannerisms to fire up the crowd. They start out with two lock-ups; on the first two, Orndorff breaks cleanly, but on third he paintbrushes Kirchner in the mug. They brawl for a bit while the Brain visits with Gorilla at ringside. Brain claims that "Real American" was written especially for Orndorff. Ya' know...that's about as much claim as Hogan himself had to the music, considering that it was originally composed for Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo!

Back in the ring, Orndorff hits the turnbuckle hard, as Kirchner follows up with a hip-toss and two drop-kicks to send him packing. Outside the ring, Orndorff does Hogan's cupped ear motions, then hops back in to fight over an overhead wristlock. Orndorff goes all punchy/kicky, the suplexes Kirchner to set up...a reverse chinlock! Criss-cross (jump! jump!) the ropes as Kirchner flies off with a high cross-body press for a quick 1 count. Orndorff is ticked, tosses Kirchner out and slams him on the rail. Back in, Orndorff misses a drop-kick as Kirchner grabs the ropes. Kirchner deploys his forces with a headbutt and an atomic drop, then goes into his Airborne training by climbing up top. Kirchner makes an unsuccessful jump and eats canvas. Orndorff moves in and applies the PILEDRIVER (it's doomsday for the skull) and gets the 3 count. Orndorff then gets the house mic and calls out Hulk Hogan...in case we had forgotten that he was now Hulk's Arch Enemy. Match was pretty much just a heat vehicle for Orndorff, as it lacked substantial offense from each guy.

Match 5: The Machines vs. King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd (w/Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

Billed as the "feature match" for this particular card. Heenan's irate that there are now THREE Machines. Gorilla explains that their manger, Captain Lou Albano (conspicuous by his absence) has gotten special permission from WWF President Jack Tunney to have any two of the three participate in a match. For this match, Big (Blackjack Mulligan) and Super (BillEadie/Ax/Masked Superstar) Machine are the participants, while Giant Machine (umm...might be either Dusty Wolfe, Mike Sharpe or Andre the Giant. Not sure) acts as a corner man. To assure Gorilla-- yes, the ring HAS been specially reinforced for this match!

Super and Studd start off by brawling, and Super almost slams Studd. Studd tries besting Super with a series of charging shoulder-blocks, but Super responds with a series of clotheslines to send him out to the floor. He runs into Giant Machine on the outside, who thumps him on the apron and rolls him back in. This time, Big almost slams Studd! Tag off to Bundy, who doesn't fare much better, as he misses an avalanche and walks right into a Big elbow. They go into a lock-up, as the heels take over thanks to some kidney shots from Bundy. Studd whips Big for an attempted backdrop, but gets a boot to the head. Super returns and unloads on Studd. he gets distracted by Bundy and eats a Studd elbow. Bundy drops a knee and gets a quick 2. Studd holds Super on the rope and sets him up for a Bundy avalanche. Of course, Super escapes, so Bundy and Studd accidentally crash into each other and begin arguing. Fans go into a mini-tizzy as the two "BO-hemoths" go face-to-face. Heenan restores order, but the Machine steal the heels' last maneuver and try it on Bundy. But the Machines actually STOP when Bundy escapes. Super starts pounding away, but Studd gets in a cheapshot from the apron. Studd and Bundy tag in an out and double-team Super in their corner. Bundy covers after a snapmare and fistdrop, but Big Machine makes the save.

Bundy misses a charging elbowdrop, which allows Super to rollaway and tag in the GIANT Machine. Giant chops away an chokes Bundy in the corner. Studd tries to make the save, but instead gets tossed in the corner for a double-team shoulder-smash/rugby scrum from both Machines. Giant fights off both guys, as Bundy gets a double clothesline from Super and Big. Giant and Super then double clothesline Studd. Giant makes the cover and the bell sounds. The ref apparently realized all the confusion and made a decision. But the Machines want more,a s they isolate Studd in the ring and beat the tar out him. As the Machines celebrate in the ring, Howard Finkel announces the official decision: Studd and Bundy have won by disqualification.

Intermission time with the usual pre-recorded interviews lined up. Up first is Slick and Freddy Blassie with the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. Gorilla asks Slick where he got all this money to become a manager, but Slick refuses to tell. "Macho Man" Randy Savage is next, as he runs down his upcoming opponent, Pedro Morales. Macho threatens Hulk Hogan and promises to make an example out of a former Grand Slam champ Morales. Lou Albano and the British Bulldogs also make an appearance.

Match 6: "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas vs. "Adorable" Adrian Adonis (w/Jimmy Hart)

Adonis stalls for several minutes, giving Gorilla and Al enough time to talk about his obesity and the recent defection of Bob Orton to Adonis' camp. The trade side headlocks, then Atlas sends Adonis to the outside with two charging shoulderblocks. Adonis returns and tries a full nelson, but Atlas quickly powers out and applies his own version. Hart tries pulling him out, but Atlas maintains a headlock. Hart finally distracts Atlas, allowing Adonis to get in some cheapshots. Atlas whips him into the turnbuckle, then drops a leg and works the arm. Some Atlas thumping and headbutts gets a 2 count. Atlas jumps off the second turnbuckle with another headbutt, then tosses Adonis to the ropes. Atlas leapfrogs twice, but on the third, Adonis catches him in a bearhug and clotheslines/stun-guns him on the top rope. That's enough to put Atlas down for the 3 count. Heatless match, as nobody expected Atlas to do anything of interest and it was just a chance for fans to boo Adonis... which they didn't do too much.

Match 7: Mike Rotundo & Dan Spivey vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/"Classy" Freddy Blassie & Slick)

But before the entrances, Bobby Heenan returns to the ring and challenges all 3 Machines to a match, next month. Heenan announces that he'll don the tights to partner up with Studd and Bundy to take on "those three miserables nips". Errrr... they should've edited that comment out.

The scheduled entrants arrive, and of course Comrade Volkoff asks that we all rise for the Soviet National Anthem. Finkel announces the faces as the "US Express", no "new" or anything. Sheik and Rotundo start off, fighting over a waistlock. Sheik gets a fireman's slam, but Rotundo counters into a head scissors. Lock-up again and Rotundo wins with a hiptoss. Mini-brawl, which segues into the usual criss-cross (jump! jump!) scenario and Rotundo reversing a hiptoss. Slam by Rotundo, then Spivey comes in to apply a headlock, atomic drop, then works the legs with a step over toehold. Sheik manages to tag Nikolai who lowers the boom on Spivey with some shoulderblocks and... a cartwheel. Nikolai bounces off the ropes and eats an reverse elbow smash and two elbowdrops from Spivey. But he hits the turnbuckle, allowing Nikolai to decapitate him with a sickle. Spivey manages a sleeper, but Sheik makes the save. Spivey fights back and gets a small package for 2. Rotundo returns to apply an abdominal stretch, but ends up in the wrong corner as Sheik chokes him with the tag rope. Sheik comes in with a backdrop and a LOOGIE! Sheik whips Rotundo to the ropes and catches him with a forearm to the throat, the tries his own ab stretcher. As usual, it's gut-wrench suplex time followed by the Camel Clutch. Rotundo is about to give up, but Spivey makes the save. The ref gets distracted and misses a legal tag to Spivey, so the bad guys keep double-teaming Rotundo. Rotundo lands a sunset flip, but the ref is occupied discussing international relations with the Sheik and misses what could've been a 10 count. Press-slam./back breaker from Nik only gets 1. More thumping and Rotundo's neck gets dropped on the top rope. Rotundo reverses a suplex attempt from Sheik, then makes the hot tag to Spivey. He cleans house, the hits a drop-kick, slam and an elbowdrop on Sheik. Spivey hits a ...bulldog from the corner (sayyyy...who used to do that?!), but Nikolai makes the save. All four guys enter the ring and in the confusion, Nikolai gets Slick's cane and blasts Spivey in the back of the noggin. Sheik makes then makes the easy 3 count to pick up the victory. Rotundo gets the cane and makes the obligatory BabyFace Clearing of the Ring. Match was pretty much just a way to get Sheik & Volkoff back together as a team and give them some momentum.

Match 8: WWF Intercontinental Championship:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (c) (w/Elizabeth) vs. Pedro Morales

Morales wants to go toe-to-toe, but Macho wants to work the crowd a bit. Shoulderblock and a slam from Morales gets 1 count. Macho is apparently upset with the seating arrangements about ringside, as he tosses a chair into the ring. Macho returns and uses his trusty title-winning Foreign Object from the Trunks to take charge. Savage knees him in the back to send him outside, then introduces him to the railing. Macho ascends the top turnbuckle for a flying double axe-handle. Macho suplexes him back in, over the ropes, and gets 2. He tries a flying axe-handle, but Morales hits him in the tummy. Macho sells it like he's just been disemboweled, and rolls outside the ring. Morales with a series of shots and a backdrop for 2. Whip to the corner, where Morales rises and rolls forward for another quick 2. Small package also nets 2. Morales muscles a backslide into yet another 2 count. Outside the ring, where Morales gets some payback by blasting Macho into the railing. They fight at ringside, as Macho tries a chair shot. The cameras miss exactly what happens, but it seemed like the chair missed Pedro and the recoil hit Macho. Morales rolls back into the ring...and wins by countout?! Yup, that's the official decision. Morales did the best he could, but the match ended up being simply "luke warm".

Match 9: WWF Tag Team Championship:
British Bulldogs (c)(w/Captain Lou Albano) vs. the Funks (w/Jimmy Hart)

Davey Boy Smith & the Dynamite Kid vs. Hoss Funk and Jimmy Jack Funk
I suppose you could make a dated joke about the Funks "needed more cowbell". Hoss and Dynamite criss-cross and trade blows. Davey Boy enters, fends off a slam attempt from Hoss and slams both Funks. Dynamite and Hoss grapple, until Kiddo whips him to the turnbuckle for a dropkick and a slam. 2 count, as Jimmy Jack makes the save. All four guys brawl, until the Funks whip the Bulldogs into each other. Hoss holds up Davey Boy for a clothesline, but Davey escapes as Jimmy Jack accidentally hits Hoss and sends him to the floor. Jimmy Jack eats floor, courtesy of a dropkick from Dynamite. Things return to the ring as Jimmy Jack knees Dynamite into the corner and drops him on the top rope. Hoss returns for a double-underhook suplex and a 2 count. Hoss throws him outside, where Jimmy Jack whips him into the railing. Dang, I can't tell if VLADIMIR is at this card, but his usual perch seems to be getting a lot of rail action. Dynamite makes it back in and chops away, until Hoss lifts him into a belly-to-back suplex. Davey enters with a dropkick, reverse elbow and a suplex for 2. Big running powerslam, but Jimmy Jack breaks the cover. All 4 guys enter for fisticuffs. The Funks try to whip the Bulldogs into each other again, but they do-si-do and dropkick each Funk. Dynamite slams Hoss. Davey Boy then press-slams Dynamite onto Jimmy Jack for the 3 count. post-match, there's a mild skirmish over the Funks' lasso...but neither side really knows what to do with it. Another day-at-the-office for the Bulldogs as they pulled out a watchable match from a past-his-prime Dory Funk and a worthless Jimmy Jack Funk.

Why'd You Tape This??
This card basically had everything but Hulk Hogan on it. Two title matches and a big "feature match" tag battle featuring Andre and the main event heels. The in-ring work isn't too bad on this thing..but aside from the Machines bout, you do not get that feeling of "who's gonna' win this". The Morales-Savage decision may look surprising to you, but losing by countout or DQ was Savage's schtick at this time. Heck, I think he even lost by countout to a newly-arrived Honky Tonk Man back then. I know the Machines get labelled as "crap", but it was a fun and kinda' cool angle. Until they made it a complete comedy act with stuff like "Piper Machine" or "Animal Machine". There's nothing AMAZING on this card, but it does make for a surprisingly well-stocked and entertaining show. Some of the WWF house shows from this period stink like central Nebraska, but this one turns in a solid performance.

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