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WWF Championship Wrestling - March 30, 1985
by Scrooge McSuck
- I've hit a bit of a stand-still in my reviews, with no clear image on whether or not I should find another common theme, or just a bunch of random stuff. Either way, I'm kind of not sure what to do, but then I came across this episode, and I was interested in what kind of time capsule effect it might have. We're just 24 hours away from something called WrestleMania, but because this is taped for different markets, it's just "this sunday at 1 o'clock" for those markets that aired this show sundays.
- Opening has an instrumental of "Thriller" with clips of Hulk Hogan laying the smackdown on the Iron Sheik from their famous Championship Match that is credited to starting Hulkamania (don't tell Greg Gagne about that, though).
- Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino are here to tell us that THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T will be in the main event of something called "WrestleMania." McMahon quickly runs down who we will be seeing in action on the broadcast, and quickly throws it "to the opening of our very first match." Thank GOD Gorilla and Ventura did commentary duty for WrestleMania.
Mike Rotundo & Barry Windham (Tag Champs) (w/ Lou Albano) vs. Jim Harley & "Playboy" Buddy Rose:
During introductions, Rose insists he weighs 227 pounds. Windham and Rotundo come to the ring to Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA", an incredibly unpatriotic song that everyone confuses with a positive message about loving America. Rotundo and Rose start. Lockup, and they fight over a wristlock, with Rotundo gaining the advantage. Rose escapes, but Rotundo goes back to the arm. Crowd with a chant of "fat boy" as Rose escapes Rotundo's clutches. Irish whip, and Rose with a diving elbow. Whip to the corner, and Rose puts Rotundo down with a slam. Rose meets the knees on a splash, and the tag to Harley means it's time for Windham to whoop''im. Whip and a dropkick from Windham. Rotundo tags in with a back elbow, scoop slam, and elbow drop. Rotundo with the Airplane Spin and slam for the three count at around 3:30. Windham worked roughly 15-seconds of the match, and Rotundo is sweating like a pig.
- Update is brought to you by Castrol: Motor oil engineered for smaller cars! Now it's "Wanna Be Startin' Something". Lord Alfred Hayes is standing by, talking about the Junkyard Dog. We watch JYD dance with kids to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust." SPIN-A-ROONI! From an 8 year old white kid! He will challenge Greg Valentine for the Intercontinental on WrestleMania, March 31st. That's Lord Alfred's words.
King Kong Bundy (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Paul Roma:
Bundy is wearing a sweet-ass cape, and Jimmy Hart is without the megaphone. Bundy is a newcomer to the WWF, according to McMahon, and he's going to make an example out of that punk Roma. Lockup, and Bundy quickly lays into Roma, then rams him to the buckle. Bundy with a snapmare, followed by a knee drop, but picks Roma up after a two-count. Horsemen fans would be so proud... Irish whip, and Bundy kills him with a clothesline. Whip to the corner, and Bundy follows in with the Avalanche. Bundy with another knee drop, and Roma is done at 1:49, but Bundy demands a FIVE COUNT... and gets it. About as competetive as Bundy's match at WrestleMania, and only about 30-seconds longer. That's me making fun of the horribly gimmicked "9 seconds" the match allegedly went. Complete and total squash.
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is standing regarding WrestleMania. Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, with Jimmy Snuka in their corner, take on Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff, with Bob Orton in their corner. Andre the Giant puts his career on the line against Big John Studd and his $15,000. Junkyard Dog challenges for the Hammer's Intercontinental Title. Also, Leilani Kai defends the Women's Championship against her guest at this time, Wendi Richter, and her "manager", Cyndi Lauper. Lauper promises to give it to Moolah like never before... and Richter just kind of screams in the background. If this were the 21st Century, LAUPER would probably challenge for the title at WrestleMania.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Savage:
For you Scrooge Trivia buffs out there, Rick Savage was the name given to a second Hasbro Randy Savage figure I had, in my little wrestling figure federation from my youth. It was basically my recreation of the Hart Brothers angle at the time... yes, I did eventually get a girlfriend, thank you very much. Steamboat is NOT yet dubbed "the Dragon"... that TNT bit was still to come. Savage grabs a waistlock, but Steamboat quickly counters until Savage grabs the ropes. Steamboat works the arm, then nails Savage coming off the ropes with a running high knee. Steamboat with his signature arm drag, then back to the armbar. Savage forces a break and whips Steamboat to the corner, but is quickly taken down again with arm drags, and Steamboat reapplies the armbar. This match is B-O-R-I-N-G. Irish whip, and Savage hits Steamboat with an elbow. Steamboat chops the skin off of Savage's chest to get some pops from the jeering crowd. Steamboat heads to the top rope, and finishes Savage off with a high cross body at 3:40. Steamboat was new and had to show off his babyface offense I guess, otherwise I don't know why this couldn't be cut down to 90-seconds.
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is back, hyping the upcoming WrestleMania, which can be viewed at closed-circuit locations, tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. Billy Martin will be the special ring announcer for the main event, and Muhammad Ali will be the special referee (or really, special outside enforcer). Andre The Giant comes in for a few words. No one can make Andre retire, and promises to slam Studd and claim the $15,000 and go on vacation... somewhere, but he will!
- Taped interview from "Mean" Gene with LIBERACE! He's looking forward to WrestleMania, you know and will be the special timekeeper! Come see WrestleMania, now!
"The Magnificent" Muraco vs. Jim Powers:
I know that WrestleMania wasn't the PPV extravaganza it would become, but I'm still surprised someone of Muraco's placement in the company was left off the card. I guess they had enough top level matches, but sucks for someone like him, among others, to not get a shot on the card. Muraco (beach)bum rushes Powers, and hangs him up under the bottom rope. Irish whip, and Powers fails at a roll up. McMahon disputes WrestleMania being on local television, but it will be available in the very limited homes that have Pay-Per-View providers, otherwise, you have to come to local theaters to view the Super Bowl of professional wrestling. Powers works an armbar, but who cares? Powers ducks an elbow and puts Muraco down with a slam. Powers with an arm drag, then slaps on an armbar. Someone was paying attention to Ricky Steamboat's match... Muraco escapes and takes Powers down with a swinging neckbreaker. Muraco scoops him up, and the reverse piledriver finishes Powers off at 2:40. That move would later be known as the Tombstone Piledriver. Muraco is one of those guys I've definitely grown to appreciate over the years.
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is back, and repeats McMahon's words about not being on local television, but forgets to mention Pay-Per-View... I'm confused! We throw it to Piper's Pit, and front and center, is a poster of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Piper places a toilet seat over the poster. Oh my God... did Mr. Wonderful just offer Mr. T a banana and call him a SPIDER MONKEY? Eggs are involved too, but that banana joke really bugs me. Orton uses his cast to knock out the wall of the set.
- We throw it to a video of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T on location, looking over New York City. Mr. T is going to show Hogan how to street fight. Is this outtakes from Rocky III or something? Where's "Eye of the Tiger" to really complete the effect? I see a lot of jogging, but no fighting... where's the Street Fighting? I've seen better street fighting in that awful movie with Jean-Claude Van-Damme. Hogan quotes "Eye of the Tiger", and now they're working out in the gym. That must be Hogan's brand of street fighting skills.
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (IC Champ) (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Paul Pompay:
Valentine actually has music for his entrance... but I can't make out what song it is, sorry. Valentine starts with a knee to the midsection, followed by a pair of elbows to the top of the head. Valentine with a slam, then works over Pompay with a chinlock. The scrub fights free with shoulders to the midsection, but Valentine lays him out with a knee to the face, and dumps him out, through the ropes. Valentine works over Pompay while hanging out on the apron, then brings him back in the ring for more punishment. Valentine with a snapmare, and he slaps on another chinlock. Pompay with another mild comeback, but Valentine quickly snuffs it out, and takes him over with a suplex. Valentine picks him up at a two count. Valentine with a stomach buster and choking, as Jimmy Hart argues with a mark at ringside. Valentine goes to the legs. Valentine with a slam and second rope elbow drop, and the Figure-Four finally ends this one at 4:35. That was almost completely one-sided. Valentine celebrates, and I guess his song is Autograph's Turn Up The Radio. I'm sorry, I just can't imagine Valentine having theme music (and yes, I'm aware he had music as a babyface in 1991).
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is back again with an Update about WrestleMania. He runs down all the important matches, again. I love how Gene emphasises Andre's ENTIRE Career will be on the line, not just half or a third of it. Captain Lou Albano's men, Windham and Rotundo, defend the titles against Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff... that seems like one of those super-teams before super-teams became the norm'.
Final Thoughts: It's a show of squash matches with hype in between regarding a supercard coming up. No matter what year, it's always the same, and usually does the job. We're obviously before the era of ridiculous gimmicks and personalities, with all of the matches featuring top caliber wrestlers without stupid costumes. Just straight up wrestling. It would only take a few years to change that. All of the hype for WrestleMania was acceptable, except for the Piper's Pit with Orndorff making some very racially insensitive comments about Mr. T. Watching this actually makes me want to pop WrestleMania into my DVD player. I think I might go ahead and do just that. Why? IT'S WRESTLEMANIA! You can only do it with the Vince McMahon growl, though.
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