I should probably dig out the tape and find out who that referee is.
“WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING”
Date: Saturday, April 13, 1985
Location: WTBS Studios (Atlanta, GA)
We open this week with a clip from a recent arena show where the Koloffs are in a steel cage beating down somebody who kinda looks like Ole Anderson, although that’s doubtful. They grab Nikita’s chain and clothesline him with it. And that’s all we get.
David Crockett and Tony Schiavone are our hosts once again this week, as they run through some of the names we’re about to see.
BUDDY LANDEL (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. SAM HOUSTON
Landel wins the lock-up and then slaps Houston in the corner. Oh it’s ON! Houston wins the second lock-up and grabs a headlock, but Landel throws him up for a release back suplex which Houston backflips out of, although he blows the landing. He fights back with punches in bunches. Landel clears him out with a elbow on a corner charge and then hits some chops before locking in a front facelock. Kneelift and a then a running kneelift. Landel locks on a cravat as Dillon gives him pointers. Houston tries to fight back so Landel just BLISTERS him with a chop. Great sell by Houston too. Big forearm by Landel as a follow-up and then back to the cravat. He gets bored with that after awhile and starts pounding away. Onto the mat where Landel gets a smothering rear chinlock. Kick, kick, back to the chinlock. He rides Houston down and dribbles his head off the mat. Back to the chinlock which looks horrible by the way. Very loose. They work their way into the corner with another chop from Landel. Snapmare out of the corner then he picks Houston up and hits a GORGEOUS standing dropkick! That was spectacular. Apparently spent from a good 10 seconds of actual action, Landel goes back to the lazy chinlock. He looks like he’s trying to anally rape Houston with the way he’s just laying on him. Landel asks J.J. if he’s seen enough and Dillon responds that he wants to see how the figure-four looks, so Landel drops his big elbow and then applies the move of choice. Houston hangs on for a bit but eventually gives in.
Result: Buddy Landel via submission.
Landel of course holds the figure-four longer than necessary with J.J. “trying” to untangle the two men, but having difficulty doing so. Replay shows us the finish.
Over to the ringside table where a leather clad Magnum T.A. runs through a list of heel names and says he’s willing to face any of them for the U.S. title if they’ve got the guts to sign on the dotted line.
Back from the break and we get a replay of Ric Flair’s interview from the week before, including the classic “you pay attention sweetheart, or you’ll never get in line”.
MICHAEL HAYES vs. JOEL DEATON
Since Hayes was mentioned specifically by Flair in the interview, I guess that’s the excuse for re-airing it. The Freebird powers out of the lock-up. They go again and he grabs the headlock. Shoulderblock takes Deaton down. Deaton goes for a monkeyfip so Hayes puts the breaks on and stomps him in the head. That warrants a Freebird strut. Back to the headlock. Push off and a criss-cross before Deaton drops down again so Hayes drops an elbow. Third lock-up and *again* to the headlock. Takeover by Hayes and he works the headlock. The two exchange hairpulls. To their feet and Deaton forces a break. He tries a cheapshot but Hayes is wise to it and blocks, running Deaton into the far corner then going to work with chops. Aaaaand back to the headlock. Another break and now Deaton catches him with some shoulder tackles. He gets a big scoopslam and one! Two! Nope. Deaton with some nice punches but Hayes turns the tide quickly. He comes out of the corner with a bulldog and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Michael Hayes via pinfall.
Not much going on there. Hayes isn’t very inventive in the ring.
Video package for “The Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez. It’s basically close-ups of a guy putting on his wrestling boots and getting dressed in a lockerroom, and when he stands up it’s, hey! That’s Manny Fernandez! We then gets a clip of Manny entering the ring somewhere and there’s a very Eddie Guerrero vibe to it. All of which segues into…
MANNY FERNANDEZ & THUNDERBOLT PATTERSON vs. PAUL GARNER & MIKE JACKSON
T-Bolt saved Manny from an attack at the hands of the Andersons last week, so natural progression says they team up now. Manny starts versus Jackson, with the jobber starting off cautious. He actually wins the lock-up to grab the initial headlock AND takes Manny down with a shoulderblock. Wow. Manny drops him with a back elbow after a bit of rope running and thus ends Jackson’s offense. Manny’s not looking to follow-up though, so Jackson tags Garner (who was Paul Barnett last week), who is quite tall but also quite gangly and gooberish looking. Manny works him over with an arm ringer and tags in T-Bolt who gets a fireman’s carry into a front facelock. Garner scrambles under the ropes forcing a break and now T-Bolt is dancing. He’s like a cross between Ernie Ladd and Junkyard Dog, for those unfamiliar with Patterson (who was at the tail end of his career here). Lock-up and T-Bolt with a thumb spike. He whips Garner into the corner where Manny greets him with an elbow. Manny in for a big chop. Arm wringer with another chop. David and Tony are doing a nice job putting over the Patterson-Ole Anderson storyline while this is going on. T-Bolt comes back in and hits some goofy knuckle punches. Now Manny back with a chop and then a running bicycle kick. Knee drops follow as Manny calls out for the Andersons. Elbow drops Garner. Another big chop. And another elbow. T-Bolt in again and a double thrust to the throat drops him. Manny back in and he hits a sort of flying chop which is enough for the pinfall. Wow, Garner didn’t even TRY an offensive move.
Result: Manny Fernandez & Thunderbolt Patterson via pinfall.
We go to a commerical with a graphic that says the average cost of Ric Flair’s robes is $10,300. Nice.
Interview time with the Andersons, Arn and Ole, in which Arn makes me like him just a little bit less by sporting a New York Yankees hat. Jagoff. Tony points out to Ole that he and Thunderbolt Patterson are still the National Tag Champs to which Ole retorts he should have the other belt since he carried the Bolt anyway. They then throw it to some footage of last week’s match between Arn and Manny Fernandez. Arn whines about Manny’s “karate” and calls Manny a “short, choppy Mexican”. Ah, the 80’s. We get the full beatdown on the floor and the post match shenanigans. Ole says he stood by while Arn went at it with T-Bolt because he wanted to see what Patterson would do. The verdict: “he lays on his belly, he lays on his side, he’s just laziness personified”, which is why Ole decided to join in the beatdown of his former partner. Ole then goes on to insult Manny’s intelligence for jumping into things. The short of it: the Minnesota Wrecking Crew is back.
TULLY BLANCHARD (w/ Baby Doll) vs PAUL DIAMOND
Yes, it is THAT Paul Diamond, who had a brief run in the AWA in the late 80’s as well as early 90’s WWF while under a mask as “Kato” in The Orient Express. Even here he looks too big and in too good of shape to be doing a job, although that’s his role. Tully continues his odd (for a heel) tradition of shaking hands to sart, then armdrags Diamond right over to let him know who’s boss. Diamond works a headlock off a lock-up (which has happened in EVERY match so far) but Tully yanks the hair to get free. Tully works an arm wringer while Tony *tries* to put over Baby Doll as serving a purpose, but she really doesn’t. Firemarn’s carry into an armbar. Tully then gives a clean break on the ropes. Back to the lock-up/headlock combo for Diamond but Tully pushes off and gets a drop toehold. He grapevines the leg and paintbrushes Diamond on the back of the head before working back into the armbar. Hairpull slams Diamond to the mat just to be a dick. Tully really does seem to be toying with him here. Scoopslam and a trio of vicious elbow drops gets a two-count for Blanchard. Diamond has had enough though and fires back with some spirited punches to gain control. He sends Tully HIGH into the corner with a whip but delays his follow-up long enough for Tully to regain his composure. More punches and an elbow drop leads to the slingshot suplex! One! Two! Three! That’s it, kids, this one’s ovah!
Result: Tully Blanchard via pinfall.
Dusty Rhodes interview time. Damn that mullet perm is ugly. The 80’s weren’t good for anybody when it came to fashion. Dusty, sounding very gay I must point out, talks trash to the Russians. Apparently he’ll be teaming with Jimmy Valiant and Buzz Sawyer at some point to go after the World Six-Man Tag Titles (and THERE was a useless set of titles if ever there was one). Pretty lame for a Dusty interview.
ARN ANDERSON & OLE ANDERSON vs. GENE LIGON & ROCKY KING
Arn starts with Ligon and takes him down with a drop toehold and then they scramble on the mat with some amateur stuff. Ligon must have been a big amateur guy because he worked that same sequence with Flair the week before. Arn bullies him to the ropes and works some stomps before tagging Ole in. Ole goes right to the arm and tags Arn in as they work the Anderson formula. Arn gets a nice move where he gets sort of a short-leg scissor that he rolls back with. Hard to describe but it looked cool. Knee drives to the arm and he grinds the knee into Ligon’s bicep. In comes Ole to continue the work. Not only are they tenacious on the arm, but they add lots of little bits where they grind the face into the mat and other stuff. Quick tags and Arn gets a scoopslam, dumping Ligon close enough to his corner that King can tag in. Arn doesn’t seem too concerned however and charges right into King with a kneelift. King tries to fight back but Arn scrambles to the corner and Ole comes in again. Amateur takedown by Ole and now he goes to work on King’s arm, again rubbing his forearm in the back of King’s head just to be a dick. Arn in for a hammerlock suplex (I love that move). Scoopslam and then back to an armbar variant. Tony calls the Anderson’s a “wrestling machine” and he ain’t lying folks. Ole in for some more armwork and a nasty forearm shot. They tag in and out a bunch more times, never staying longer than 10 seconds and working the arm in a variety of ways. Arn finally gets a submission with an armbar variant. That was a slaughter.
Result: Arn Anderson & Ole Anderson via submission.
Buddy Landel in his Flair-lite robe is joined by J.J. Dillon for an interview. Dillon’s pissed at all the publicity that Magnum T.A. has been getting. He says the reason for it is the title he carries, because without it, “he’s just another musclehead with a pretty face and some nice hair”. They surmise if Landel can take the title from Magnum, the spotlight will be on him. Landel accuses Mangum of hiring the women in his videos, or borrowing them from Buddy himself. Whatever works for ya, dude.
BUZZ SAWYER vs. IVAN KOLOFF (w/ Nikita Koloff & Krusher Khruschev)
This would be our feature match of the night. Buzz is wearing a pair of furry boots that would make Bruiser Brody proud. The Russians have the Six Man Tag Team Trophy with them. Ivan and Nikita hug it out while Mad Dog paces around the ring. Lock-up leads to a stalemate. A second leads to an Ivan hammerlock which he accents by biting Sawyer’s fingers. Buzz promptly reverses the hold and adds some nibbling of his own, which of course Ivan complains about. They exchange armwringers but Buzz wins and now he bites the bicep. Koloff calls for a test of strength and again it’s a stalemate, even though both men try to turn the tide with a boot to the gut. Ivan is getting frustrated because Sawyer is matching all his heel tactics which is a fun little story for the match. Ivan finally gains control with an eyerake and some choking, but of course Sawyer counters with a choke of his own. Mad Dog with some open-handed chops in the corner and then a big beil that sends Ivan into the far corner. More big chops, but Sawyer follows a corner whip with the ill-advised blind charge and ends up spearing the corner post. Koloff goes right to work, hammerlocking the arm and driving it into the buckle before working an armbar. Buzz gets free with a scoopslam but Ivan rolls free of an elbowdrop and goes back to the armbar as we take a break heading into hour number two.
Back to the action where Buzz Sawyer is on the outside and has his head DRILLED into the ring apron by Nikita Koloff. He tries to climb back in but Ivan is there to work him over some more. He ends up back with the armbar he had before the break. They work that for a bit and then Buzz gets a scoop into a powerslam! One! Two! Foot on the ropes! Sawyer sells the armwork so Ivan tries to take a breather on the apron. But here comes Buzz to suplex him BACK IN! ONE! Nope, foot on the ropes again. Sawyer works a bearhug which he then turns into a belly-to-belly suplex. Back into the bearhug. Ivan pounds on the arm he’d been working to break the hold, but Sawyer counters with a forearm across the back that is apparently so powerful it drops Koloff and actually gets Sawyer a one-count. Back to the bearhug with Koloff on the mat this time and we use the time to get a shot of Nikita at ringside. Corner whip by Sawyer but Ivan gets the boot up. Koloff goes up top but that ain’t happening as Sawyer slams him off and FAR across the ring. One! Two! Koloff kicks out. And back to the bearhug. All of these matches tonight are featuring LOTS of repitition. Just saying. Koloff punches the injured arm again and AGAIN Sawyer takes him down with a powerful forearm to the back. Double underhook suplex! ONE! TWO! NO! Koloff kicks out. And yep, back to the bearhug, and yep, Ivan breaks it by working the arm over. Big headbutt by Koloff but that seems to only have annoyed Sawyer. Gutwrench suplex by Sawyer! One! Two! Kickout and… bearhug. Ivan works to his feet and starts slapping Sawyer across the chest in the corner. Sawyer reverses a corner whip and whips Ivan back, squashing the ref in the corner as a result. He rolls to the floor like a dead fish and wouldn’t you know it, Buzz manages to get Ivan caught in a roll-up. Jimmy Valiant flies in out of nowhere to count the pin, but I’m guessing that’s not official. The whole thing is enough to bring Nikita and Krusher in for the beatdown. Sawyer gets tossed outside and they bring the chain in to do some damage to Valiant. Before they can however, the American Dream makes the save and the Russians, despite having an advantage, clear out. Commie cowards! Per usual with the “main event”, the official result is never really clear.
Result: no contest?.
Quickly over to Tony for an interview with a showered Michael Hayes. He scoffs at the Russians calling themselves Six Man champs since they never wrestled the Freebirds. Good point, Michael! He turns his attention to Ric Flair and his interview from last week. Yeah, the women are standing on line, Flair… down at the corner. Heh heh. He just called them whores. He mentions that he is only 26 years old, which for some reason kinda shocks me, then steals some lyrics from Lynyrd Skynyrd and George Thorogood.
Back from a break with Dusty and Buzz. Dusty still has Nikita’s chain. Jimmy Valiant joins them and he and Sawyer scream and shout a lot. Who needs actual charisma when you can just be LOUD! Jimmy thanks Dusty for saving his life. Well that’s a bit overstated.
NIKITA KOLOFF (w/ Ivan Koloff & Krusher Khruschev) vs JOSH STROUD
I’ll point out again that Stroud is a powerfully built jobber. Nikita powers out of the lock-up and hurls Stroud into the corner, but Stroud ain’t impressed and actually flexes his massive upperbody to show it. Stroud wins the second lock-up and slips into a full nelson. It takes a bit, but Nikita is able to break it, although Stroud slides right into a rear waistlock, which Nikita also powers out of. Third lock-up and Nikita backs Stroud to the ropes where he gets some kneelifts. Sloppy back elbow drops Stroud. Scoopslam follows. One! Two! No, Stroud kicks out. I think. Krusher’s head was kind of in the way. Nikita works a rear chinlock but Stroud elbows out. Nikita has had enough of the jobber’s resistance and hurls him through the ropes. He brings him back in the hard way then catches Stroud in the face with a shot that seems to piss Stroud off legit as he POPS Nikita with a shot of his own. Nikita lets him get a few more shots in before chopping him down. Thumb to the throat leads to a snapmare takeover and back to the rear chinlock for Nikita as Ivan shouts for Stroud to just give up. Nikita starts getting frisky as he blatantly chokes Stroud with his hands, then comes back to grind his shin into the throat like a saw. Side headlock by Koloff and another shot to the throat. Back to the chinlock again. Stroud fights back briefly and hits an Erik Watts dropkick. He stupidly charges the corner though and gets caught with a Russian Sickle. Nikita doesn’t pin him though, as instead he crawls over to Ivan for some advice before he winds up locking on the Cobra Clutch to earn the submission victory.
Result: Nikita Koloff via submission.
Nikita leaves the Clutch on long after the match is over, despite Ivan and Krusher trying to get him to stop. Stroud gave a sprited performance, but in the end Nikita was too powerful. Kinda fun for a squash though, as Stroud got in a lot of offense considering it was a Nikita match.
B&B (The Bull and The Bolt) get some interview time to issue some warnings the Anderson’s way. T-Bolt is a terrible interview. He stutters and seems to lose his place a lot. He also reacts to a handshake with Manny like he just pulled a muscle in his bicep. I’m not sure if he had a legit injury or if he just reacted on instinct and started to sell before he realized, “oh, this isn’t a match, it’s an interview”. And I don’t mean that as a joke. He really does come across that lost.
THE BARBARIAN & BILLY GRAHAM (w/ Paul Jones) vs. JIM JEFFERS & MACK JEFFERS
This is somewhat interesting as the Jeffers, while total jobbers here, would be repackaged about a year later as The Mod Squad for a brief mid-card heel team run. They don’t look like much here though. Barbarian mauls Mack into the corner as David and Tony get distracted by “something” at ringside. Jeffers tries to leap onto the ropes on a corner whip and nearly falls off, then gets a sloppy spinning crossbody. Shot of the “thing” at ringside reveals that it is indeed Abdullah The Butcher with his robe pulled up over his head. Graham comes in to stomp Jeffers some, then smashes him into the buckle before tossing him outside. Jones adds a stomp for good measure. Still outside the Barbarian rams him back-first into the corner post before rolling his carcass back inside. Graham works Mack over some more as David excitedly tells us that the show is making broadcast history! That’s right! This is the first wrestling show ever! IN STEREO!! Woohoo! Of course, 20 years later the WWE made a huge deal about the switch to HD, so I guess I shouldn’t kid. Graham sends Mack to his own corner so he can tag Jim, and instinctively GRAHAM tags Jim, because, well… he’s not too bright. Realizing that Jim is his opponent, he quickly goes to work with stomps. Barbarian in for more of the same. Thrust kick. Head butts. Double thrust to the throat and now some choking. Mack tags back in and eats a chop to the throat. That brings in Billy Graham – “Kung Fu Master”, for some stomps. Yeesh, this match is boring. At least it’s giving Tony and David a chance to cover a lot of stuff on commentary. Barbarian comes back in for a decent press slam on Jim, then hits the flying headbutt and we get the one! Two! Three! Graham puts Jim Jeffers in a full nelson just for fun.
Result: The Barbarian & Billy Graham via pinfall.
The replay shows us the Barbarian’s headbutt again and this week’s looks much more impressive as he really had to launch himself a good 3/4 of the way across the ring. The match was a dog though.
The Six-Man Tag Champs and their enormous trophy join us for some talky-talk. Ivan claims to have taught Buzz Sawyer everything he knew back when they were tag partners. He’s also not happy with Jimmy Valiant and Dusty Rhodes for interfering last week. Krusher gets to speak and for those who don’t know the gimmick, he doesn’t do the cheesy Russian accent that Ivan and Nikita do. Story is he was born Russian but moved to the U.S. at a young age and now is getting in touch with his roots (all of which played out in Mid-South, I believe). Nikita once again grunts his way through some generic threats. Ivan reiterates his early points and POUNDS HIS FIST ON THE TABLE for emphasis. Okay then.
MAGNUM T.A. vs. GEORGE SOUTH
I don’t think this will take long. Lock-up. Arm wringer. Irish whip. Belly-to-belly suplex. Three count.
Result: Magnum T.A. via pinfall.
Now how did I know that would happen? Magnum as they say, doesn’t get paid by the hour. Once again the replay is the whole match in slow motion, which means the replay was longer than the match.
PEZ WHATLEY vs. VERNON DEATON
Pez is cut from the same mold as Iceman Parsons (for those WCCW fans out there), although he didn’t really have Iceman’s skills (which weren’t necessarily great). It’s odd, they’ve got 3 pretty chiseled black dudes as part of their job crew (Rocky King, Josh Stroud & Gerald Findley), all of whom were at least adequate in the ring, and who do they choose to push? Pistol Pez. This business makes no sense sometimes. Pez gets an armdrag out of the lock-up and follows up with a backbodydrop. He works a headlock for bit although Deaton pulls on the ‘fro. Shoulderblock won by Pez and then a NICE dropkick. Then it’s back to the headlock. Pez then works the arm for a bit and his technique is not so good (although Deaton isn’t helping as coordination doesn’t seem to be one of his strong suits). Aaaaand now we work the leg. Jacknife cradle gets two but Deaton boxes the ears with his manly thighs. Ugly gutwrench suplex gets another two for Pez who then segues into a chinlock. Pez apparently isn’t big on “strategy”. He struts a little and goes to some Rocky Johnson-esque punches. Deaton kicks out after a suplex so Pez goes back to the arm. He is all over the map with this match. Foot on the ropes breaks a keylock and then it’s back to the headlock. Deaton tries to fight back but Pez won’t be giving him any offense today. A flying lasso finally gets Deaton down for the one! Two! Three!
Result: Pez Whatley via pinfall.
Well that was… something. It’s funny, even in squash matches you can tell who the real stars are. Guys like Flair, Anderson & Blanchard are smart enough to tell a basic story, make the other guy look decent, and hit a few signature moves before putting them away. Meanwhile, Pez, Graham and somebody like Black Bart just sort of mindlessly work their guy over without any real thought or effort to make them look competent. The result is they themselves don’t look like much either because there’s nothing to stand out from their match and they show no real charisma outside of grunting a lot.
Arn Anderson and his cursed Yankees hat join Ole and Tony for more interview time. Arn admits to not being flashy or pretty, but the bottom line is they get results. Ole tells the team of B&B that even with all their fancy moves they aren’t getting by the Wrecking Crew. Again I need to point out the difference here. Ole and Arn are calm, to the point, and come across as more threatening than all the roid-induced shouting of, say, Nikita. I realize sometimes you need a crazy monster, but it seems there were way too many guys back then who only knew how to shout. Meanwhile I could watch nothing but a loop of Anderson promos and the matches they set up all day.
KRUSHER KHRUSCHEV (w/ Ivan Koloff & Nikita Koloff) vs. MIKE SOMIANI
Krusher is of course Barry Darsow, aka Demolition Smash, aka The Repo Man. He actually looks cooler here with the shaved head than he did as Smash. He also has this relaxed attitude in the ring which makes him look kinda badass because he’s clearly not having to think too hard to beat the scrub nor is he looking distracted. He gives Somiani a tour of the various turnbuckles and then chokes him out. Military press slam sends Somiani down again. Mike fights back with jobber punches, but that doesn’t effect Krusher. Tony puts over the Krusher story (apparently his mother was Russian, but after coming to the states his American father abandoned them which is actually a cool justification for his “turning” on the US). Krusher works the arm in a variety of ways for a bit, pretending that Somiani is Dusty Rhodes to give himself some motivation. Stun gun across the top rope not once but twice. Cobra Clutch is locked in and Somiani is not long for this world. Must be a “team” move.
Result: Khrusher Khruschev via submission.
Tully time! He’s pimped out in a suit now and Baby Doll is dressed to look like the maitre’d in some fancy restaurant (which might very well be her side job for all I know). Tully takes immediate offense to Tony’s intro as he seems to think Tony is surprised by his earlier victory, so he reminds us he was longest raining TV champ of all time. He talks also about having to fork over $10,000 to Dusty after losing the TV title which has put a dent in his lifestyle. “You’re born to be a champion. You can’t just come out here and wear a belt… beat people in 13 seconds”. Sewing the seeds with Magnum. I love it. He even gets on the ringside fans for not even being able to heckle him correctly. And with that… we out!
Overview: Episode two is in the books and it’s another solid one. We’re still getting a feel for who the main players are and what they’re about with just enough angle work to keep it interesting. The squash matches are decent, especially when you get a guy in there who knows what he’s doing. The feature match was not quite up to the standard set by Manny and Arn the week before, but it was good in it’s own way. All-in-all a thoroughly enjoyable two hours of wrestling (or 1 hour, 25 minutes if you want to nit pick).