Sunday, 4 March 2018

WWF at the Boston Garden (12/6/86)

The Network has a bunch of pre-90s WWF shows from MSG and the Spectrum and Boston in full. I wanted to watch the Hogan/Kamala main event from this show anyway, so I just ran through the whole thing. I may check out more shows from around this time because the midcard had some studs and Hogan main events are usually fun.

Mike Sharpe v SD Jones

Fairly putrid. I have a bit of a soft spot for Sharpe the jobber as he's really vocal and looks like he's always trying to make himself look like a fool. Some of his stalling and horse shit was kind of amusing and he clubbed Jones in the ear one time. Otherwise this was about four minutes that felt like eight minutes.

Mike Rotundo & Dan Spivey v Jacques & Raymond Rougeau

I liked some individual parts of this, at least in isolation. The Rougeaus have nice offence and brought some fun arm work, then some fun leg work, then some fun stuff that was neither leg- nor arm-specific. Rotundo was in the ring for the majority, but I never felt like he was actually in any sort of danger because he never sold like he might've been. It was babyface v babyface so the Rougeaus never exactly put a traditional work over on him, but a few times he sort of got up and could've tagged out but didn't and effectively reset the match, like everything before it hadn't happened or meant anything. Spivey threw one or two forearms that connected nicely, then it got testy and the ref' threw it out, getting in everyone's face with the making money gesture. Heavy fines may have been issued had conflict escalated. I can't think of a babyface team I'd be less interested in watching than Rotundo and Spivey, but if babyface Rougeaus match up with decent opponents then I'd be up for watching some of that.

Harley Race v Pedro Morales

It's pretty cool that this match even exists. Former NWA champ in his goofy crown with chin strap against former WWWF champ. Morales is at the tail end of being able to do much here, mostly throwing a few nice body shots, but Race turned it into a bump show and I was totally fine with it. At one point he took a backdrop from a standing position after it was Morales who came shooting off the ropes, which was pretty impressive as Race is not a small individual and Morales wasn't a youngster in 1986. Harley's taken a whipping in some circles over the years for maybe throwing out offence willy-nilly, but he was basically the sole reason this was fine so I don't mind him running through piledrivers and suplexes. How many kings have shared that same entrance music? Has the king gimmick been a staple in WWF for over thirty years now? Must there always be a king in the WWF in the same way there must always be a Stark in Winterfell? This match has raised more questions than it's answered.

Dick Slater v Steve Lombardi

Eesh, Slater is called 'The Rebel' here and kitted out with his confederate flag jacket. Gorilla says you'll struggle to find a braver man than one willing to wave a confederate flag in the Boston Gardens. Slater's balls are so big he's the babyface, naturally. Lombardi is just plain old Lombardi at this point and hasn't donned the torn up shirt and jeans. This was like five minutes, had some okay arm work from Slater (minus the worst Russian leg sweep this side of Shelton Benjamin) and a pretty butterfly suplex. I'll be honest, I had no memory of Slater being in the WWF. I'm guessing he was only there for a cup of coffee and did nothing of note?

Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook v Pepe Gomez & The Karate Kid

This got off to an exceptional start as Littlebrook made a point of ripping on Gomez and Kid for being tiny. I couldn't tell you the last time I watched one of these matches so I don't know if all of the spots are staples or just some of them (I mean, some of them DEFINITELY are), but it was pretty amusing and got a chuckle out of me. Nobody wants any part of Karate Kid's martial arts, not even Little Tokyo who is a master of the martial arts in his own right being Asian and whatnot. Gomez is wearing plastic bandoleers and looks like Hector Guerrero from my avatar on PWO. My favourite part was when the ref' admonished Tokyo for something or other, so Tokyo climbed the middle turnbuckle, kicked the ref' in the gut and took him over with a sunset flip as Karate Kid counted him out. A real show of midget solidarity, there. I can only conclude that the ref' purposely made them all look stupid at the end by botching the finish in embarrassing fashion. Can you say 'political hit?'

Adrian Adonis v Junkyard Dog

Good grief Adonis is humongous. He does not look adorable in the slightest but man did he go all in on that gimmick. This wasn't good, but it was short, had a few okay headbutts, some lukewarm stalling early on, and a pretty awesome turnbuckle bump from Adonis where he went upside down Flair-style then wound up on the apron tangled up in the ropes Andre-style. If nothing else it's impressive that he managed to combine those two signature spots as relatively smoothly as he did given his portliness.

Jimmy Jack Funk v Blackjack Mulligan

Mulligan's cowboy boots and Yosemite Sam shirt combo really is something. I couldn't even tell you the last time I watched any Blackjacks but Mulligan is huge and super imposing, like way more so than I remembered. Jimmy Jack is wearing a Zorro mask and probably the worst Funk there's been. This was also not good, just sloppy and clunky and uncoordinated. But it was only about five minutes so at least they were merciful.

The Islanders v The Dream Team

Beefcake's involvement in this was basically limited to stooging, mugging and hitting a few stomps. Bulk of the heel end was held up by Valentine, and you may not be shocked to hear that the match probably wasn't hurt because of it. First stretch is total Valentine in peril. Usually you want Greg to be fish hooking people and elbowing them in the temple, but I dug him getting schooled by Haku and Tama. Tama is, once again, the funnest motherfucker in wrestling. His energy is utterly infectious. Then he eats a Valentine back elbow and SOARS over the top rope with an awesome bump to the floor, and good golly is Tama just about the greatest under-the-radar bumper ever. Brutus runs a few distraction spots and mostly sticks to the background so Valentine can deliver the ass beating, which includes a fucking Ganso Bomb-style piledriver! If there's a Tama/Valentine singles match I need to seek it out, because no way it wouldn't rule. This was fifteen minutes that flew by.

Dino Bravo v Corporal Kirchner 

I guess this was fine for a piss break before the Hogan Show. Dino hit a few decent suplexes and a crazy piledriver that was somewhere between that and sit-out powerbomb, then Kirchner came back and hit a few things, then Johnny V ran distraction and it ended. This ref' is the same one from the midgets match and boy he isn't having a good night. He has a touch of the inverse Hebners where he counts super slowly all through the match then speeds it up x12 at the finish. Gorilla slaughters him for it as was Gorilla's wont, but it's hard to disagree with him on this occasion. The young man is quite frankly a disgrace to his profession.

Hulk Hogan v Kamala

The Ugandan Headhunter is a way cooler moniker than the Ugandan Giant. This was a super fun eight minutes of Hogan formula. They establish early that Kamala is a big fuckin unit as Hogan barrels into him and looks out wide-eyed to the crowd when Kamala doesn't budge. Hogan tries to slam him, almost gets him up, but the back gives out and Kamala takes over. It's Hogan v Superheavyweight 101. Kamala working on top is fine enough initially, but then he stabs Hogan with the Fang of Shang-Chi or some nonsense and it gets pretty awesome. I always assumed WWF had banned blood by this point, but Hogan gigs himself and gets some big time colour. I loved Kamala biting and gouging at the cut, and in a gruesome spot he licks Hogan's blood off his fingers, apparently enjoying it as he's a cannibal and a fan of such delicacies. Hogan's bloody convulsing is kind of goofy, but it's one of those Hoganisms that I find at least amusing. We get the comeback, the slam, the boot and the legdrop, the posing, the Hulkamaniacs seeing what they came to see -- it's the ultimate WWF experience! I'd like to check out the rest of the Hogan/Kamala matches because I bet they'd all be fun.  

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