The Name on the Marquee: WWF Championship Wrestling (3.16.1985)
Posted by Adam Nedeff on 04.09.2014
Okay, we get it, heels don't like black people.
-Originally aired March 16, 1985.
-Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bruno Sammartino. Vince predicts that Piper & Orndorff’s training session will be a real lollapalooza. He also apologetically explains that Andre the Giant was scheduled to wrestle this week, but the Giant’s been so pissed off lately that nobody was willing to sign a contract to face him.
BARRY WINDHAM & MIKE ROTUNDO (Tag Team Champions, with Captain Lou Albano) vs. RUSTY BROOKS & TERRY GIBBS
-Bad idea of the year: Captain Lou Albano got a total makeover and now has short, neatly combed hair. I mean, you spend an entire year giving the guy a name and an image in the mainstream media, and then you change his look that drastically?
-Rotundo starts with Rusty Brooks, and Vince sounds amazed that Rotundo didn’t smother himself on a sunset flip attempt. Windham slams and legdrops Gibbs. Brooks tags back in and gets slammed. Dropkick is sold hilariously by Brooks, and I’m the first person to bitch about “fat people are funny” treatment, but Brooks really went with it and probably wasn’t used to his full potential. He would have been great in a role as some condescending asshole heel’s idiot buddy. Bulldog by Windham gets three.
-Lord Alfred Hayes takes a look at Wendi Richter, who is on the comeback trail and wants her Ladies’ Title back. We take a look at Wendi celebrating her hard-fought victory in a recent match. Wendi doesn’t care who is in Lelani Kai’s corner, because she’ll always have Cyndi Lauper in her corner.
-We get another promo for Wrestlemania. Liberace, Muhammad Ali, and Billy Martin will all be there. And you can see it on the big screen TV in Worcester, Massechusetts.
RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. STEVE LOMBARDI
-Steamboat’s debut! He armdrags and dropkicks Lombardi into oblivion and connects with a bodypress that looks to finish, but Lombardi gets a second wind and kicks out. He backs Steamboat into the corner and they have a clean break while Lombardi takes a breather and recovers. Test of strength is pretty handily won by Steamboat, and he dropkicks Lombardi down again.
-Lombardi stalls for another breather, and Steamboat gets annoyed and slaps him across the head. Lombardi gets pissed off and begins laying a beating on Steamboat, but he makes the fatal mistake of throwing Steamboat over the top rope, and as usual, that ends badly. Bodypress from the top rope gives Steamboat the win.
-Gene Okerlund hypes all the wild action coming to Boston next week. In comes Hulk Hogan, who announces that Mr. T will be in his corner for his title defense against Magnificent Muraco. He promises that he and Mr. T will TCB on March 31, but next week in the Garden, Muraco is his top priority, and that’s why he’s making sure T will be at ringside, just to keep an eye on Mr. Fuji.
KING KONG BUNDY (with Jimmy Hart) vs. MARIO MANCINI
-King Kong’s debut! He comes to the ring wearing a vampire cape and sunglasses. It’s a weird visual. In what appears to be a pretty clever strategy, not only have they aligned him with Jimmy Hart, but they have the tiniest referee on the payroll officiating this, so Bundy looks even more massive.
-Bundy clubbers Mancini and knocks him over with a shoulderblock. Sammartino says that it must feel like being in the ring with a Sherman tank. Irish whip while Vince clarifies that Mario Mancini is no relation to Boom-Boom Mancini. I think Warren Zevon actually wrote an extra lyric to the song to explain that, but it didn’t make it into the recorded version.
-Avalanche finishes, and Bundy drops an elbow after the bell.
-Gene Okerlund talks to Don Muraco, who is exasperated that Mr. T is allowed to be at ringside for his title match after he’s already bent over backwards, jumped every hurdle, and cut through all the necessary red tape to finally get just one title shot against Hulk Hogan.
-Gene Okerlund talks to Billy Martin, who says that Wrestlemania will be exciting, and the fans are excited, and he’s excited to be a part of it.
BIG JOHN STUDD (with Bobby Heenan) vs. JIM YOUNG
-Studd offers the $15,000 to Jim Young before the bell. Young goes for it and doesn’t come anywhere close. He throws a dropkick to soften Studd up and still can’t do it. Studd takes him down with a clothesline and drops Young throat-first over the top rope. That could finish, but Studd picks him up at two to dish out more punishment.
-And suddenly, a very piss and vinegar-loaded Andre the Giant shows up and heads straight into the ring. It’s a fistfight, which abruptly ends the match, and Andre wins it decidedly.
-Piper talks with Luscious Johnny Valiant and Brutus Beefcake and says they’ve negotiated a deal for a match with Bruno Sammartino’s punk kid for a big match. They make it sound like a tag team match until Johnny clarifies that it’s Brutus vs. David, with Johnny and Bruno as the cornermen, and he promises that legs will get broken, just like Hillbilly Jim’s.
-Oh, yeah, that. In a really shitty turn of events, Jim managed to legit break his leg only weeks after debuting with the hottest gimmick of the year they try to make lemons out of lemonade by giving Brutus the credit for attacking Jim in the locker room. Beefcake says newcomers don’t get to make a name for themselves at his expense, whether it’s Hillbilly Jim, David Sammartino, or that new black guy with the weird haircut. Jesus.
-See Wrestlemania March 31 on the big screen TV at the Plymouth Memorial Building!
ROWDY RODDY PIPER AND PAUL ORNDORFF TRAIN
-Gene Okerlund visits the mid-city health club. Orndorff appears to be meditating while Piper rocks back and forth in a near-lotus position. Piper hisses at Gene and grumbles a whole lot. They get pissy with Mean Gene for disrupting their training session. They offer some nasty words for “Hulk Hogan and the black Gumby.”
-Orndorff pumps some iron and and they threaten Gene with some leather belts before shoving him out onto the sidewalk. A passerby tries to help and Piper, Orndorff, and Orton kick the shit out of him, while another passerby audibly yells “He’s a plant!”
WENDI RICHTER vs. PEGGY LEE
-Okay, so remember earlier in the hour when Lord Alfred Hayes showed us some footage of Wendi Richter celebrating after a hard-fought match? IT WAS THIS MATCH.
-Richter works the leg while Sammartino predicts a Richter victory—or as I like to call it, a Richtory—at Wrestlemania. Richter rams Peggy against the ropes a few times then beels and slams her for two. Lee rakes the eyes and chokes her. She goes for a slam, but Wendi turns it into a cradle for two. Series of hair mares by Wendi. Lee gives her one yank of the hair and drills Wendi’s face into the mat. She goes to finish with a splash, but Wendi raises the knees. Richter gets a sunset flip--if you ask me, she should have attempted a Richtory Roll--and barely gets three. Actually somewhat decent.
-Gene Okerlund talks to Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. They pity the fool who messes with…he.
The 411: Two debuts and a bunch of angles, as they're in the hardest of all possible hard-sell modes leading up to the big day. Another solid outing.