The Name on the Marquee: WWF Championship Wrestling (8.31.1985)
Posted by Adam Nedeff on 07.15.2014
Bobby Heenan has an addition to the family.
-Originally aired August 31, 1985.
-Weirdness of the week: The show opens with a long version of the “recognized symbol of excellence” music. Because they made a long version for some reason.
-Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bruno Sammartino.
JUNKYARD DOG & RICKY “The Dragon” STEAMBOAT vs. MR. X & GINO CARABELLO
-Mr. X is wearing a ¾ mask this week and he’s pretty unmistakably Danny Davis.
-X runs the ropes for a long time while Steamboat just leapfrogs over and over again to screw with him. He finally armdrags X and tags in JYD. JYD headbutts MRX. They’re one Q away from being the very worst hand you can possibly have in Scrabble.
-X finally makes a tag while Howard Finkel hypes the big card at the Bank Street Armory, including some “big names,” like the ones that Howard doesn’t bother mentioning. Jimmy Hart runs in to campaign for Manager of the Year. They are actually devoting more weeks of TV to this than they devoted to hyping Wrestlemania.
-Match is still going on, by the way. And then Steamboat comes off the top rope with a flying bodypress, and then there’s a pin, and then the match isn’t going on anymore.
-Lord Alfred Hayes says that Mr. Fuji and “Prince of Darkness” Don Muraco are dedicated to eliminating all competition in their quest to get a title match against Hulk Hogan. For the moment, they’re targeting Ricky Steamboat. We watch Muraco and Fuji hanging Steamboat and whipping him, which made them “Satanically happy,” according to Alfred.
NIKOLAI VOLKOFF (with Classy Freddy Blassie & Iron Sheik) vs. QUICKDRAW RICK MCGRAW
-Volkoff backs McGraw into a corner and absolutely lays a beating on him, then Irish whips him and turns a cartwheel to celebrate.
-McGraw throws punches and a dropkick, but goes for a bodypress and Volkoff simply catches him and drops him. Volkoff’s wedgie-backbreaker dealie gets the three-count.
-We get a promo for the premiere of “Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N Wrestling,” September 14, on (name of network censored).
-Gene Okerlund drops in and announces that Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Brutus Beefcake have won the WWF Tag Team Championship, and hopefully, the WWF will obtain some footage in the very near future. Junkyard Dog comes in and says that the title change was highway robbery. He turns his focus to Terry Funk, who likes to “poke” people with his branding iron. He mentions that he wrestled Funk once years and years ago, and he thought the issue was settled, but apparently, he has to deal with Terry one more time.
TONY ATLAS & IVAN PUTSKI vs. MATT BORNE & JOHN RIZZO
-Well, we gave up on George Wells nice and quick, didn’t we?
-Borne backs Putski into the ropes, but Putski slaps him away and we have a standoff. Vince pimps the Manager of the Year contest and says the winner will be announced in three weeks. Jesus, seriously?
-Rizzo tags in and Putski just beats and beats on him until Rizzo tumbles through the ropes and onto the floor. Atlas tags in and punches Rizzo in the stomach, which Rizzo sells by falling backward and landing spread eagle. Atomic drop by Atlas, and Rizzo lands squarely on his ass. Polish hammer finishes Rizzo off for the win.
-Gene Okerlund talks to Terry Funk, who says the world has been blessed by special people like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Terry Funk. Gene starts to smirk, and Terry, offended, drops his branding iron on Gene’s foot. Terry calls himself “Middle-aged and crazy,” which is what Jim Ross was still calling him 13 years later during his Chainsaw Charlie run.
TERRY FUNK (with Jimmy Hart) vs. RED WALSH
-Jimmy was a GREAT manager without a doubt, but there was truly no reason to attach Funk to him or anybody else.
-Funk lays a beating on Walsh when Mel Phillips struts to ringside, wearing Funk’s cowboy hat. Funk gets pissed off and chases Phillips around the ring, and suddenly the Junkyard Dog shows up, acting as Phillips’ human shield. Funk demands that Dog get in the ring, so JYD gets in the ring and just immediately headbutts Funk onto the floor, and Phillips taunts Funk by throwing his hat on the floor. Fun angle!
-Hot Rod welcomes Randy Savage. This is weird, Piper introduces him as a free agent and they basically act like last week never happened and Savage says that after six hours or contract negotiations, he has selected a new manager. She walks out again and Randy finally announces her name: Elizabeth. Elizabeth cuts a perfectly friendly promo, greeting Piper and giving Savage a kiss. Piper asks if he can have a kiss, too, and Savage immediately snaps like a twig and shoves Roddy, who backs off and apologizes.
CORPORAL KIRCHNER vs. TERRY GIBBS
-Kirchner’s debut. Crowd reaction for the corporal never goes above “lukewarm,” and the cheers die out altogether before he’s even made it into the ring, to the point that you actually hear his entrance theme echoing.
-Gibbs attacks and pays for it quickly, falling victim to an atomic drop and clothesline for two. Gibbs mounts a comeback, but goes to the top rope and gets Flair-slammed. Fireman’s carry slam by Kirchner gets the three-count, and the crowd very briefly gives a shit after the bell sounds.
ANDRE THE GIANT vs. BIG JOHN STUDD (with Bobby Heenan)
-Joined in progress from Maple Leaf Gardens. Heenan distracts the referee while handing off some scissors to Studd. Studd tries to give Andre another haircut, but Andre bites his arm so hard that Studd drops the scissors. Heenan dives in to get them back, and Andre headbutts him out of the ring. So the referee grabs the scissors and hangs onto them.
-Andre slams Studd, but instead of going for the pin, he grabs the scissors from the referee and gets ready to chop some hair off of Studd. King Kong Bundy arrives and attacks from behind. Studd hooks Andre’s legs and holds him down on the mat while Bundy splashes and splashes and splashes Andre until every B-level-or-lower babyface (Jesse calls them “The Cavalry of Do-Gooders”) runs in and joins forces to clear the ring and rescue the Giant.
-We get a very rare American television appearance from Billy Red Lyons, who interviews Andre about the incident. Andre’s chest and stomach are actually purple from the attack, and he vows revenge against Studd and Bundy.
-Gene Okerlund hypes the upcoming house show in Boston and reacts to what he just witnessed in the Andre-Studd match. I’m actually amazed that they had the local promo tapings coordinated to the point that they knew where and when in the show they’d be airing. Bobby Heenan runs in breathlessly, trying to look like they taped this immediately after the match in Toronto. He promises that the EMTs won’t be able to put Humpty Dumpty together again.
The 411: Fun show with a good batch of angles and some new life coming into the company. Good stuff.