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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWF The Big Event (1986)

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When the WWE Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia was announced, we at The Chairshot drew comparisons to another special production in a big, outdoor, foreign venue. The Big Event produced by the WWF in August of 1986, was an outdoor spectacle held in Toronto, Canada. It was not a PPV, but was filmed for Coliseum Video and the commentary was added later. It broke the all-time attendance record for a wrestling show, drawing an estimated 74,000. That record still stands for a Canadian wrestling event, but would be broken by the WWF just a few months later stateside for WrestleMania III. Bragging rights and the WWF Championship are up for grabs, so let’s get into the action…

Open: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund narrates our opening, featuring the city of Toronto as seen from the sky, mixed with clips of the matches that will take place tonight.

Match #1: The Funks (Hoss & Jimmy Jack) w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair & ‘Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell)
Blair & Hoss begin the match, Hoss goes into the ropes and knocks Blair down with a shoulder, back into it and he gets caught by a hip toss. Blair with a slam to Hoss, Jimmy Jack comes in and takes one, make that two apiece and the Funk’s head outside for a breather. Hoss heads back inside and uses strikes to back Blair in the wrong part of town. Blair fights out of the corner, double noggin knocker and the Funk’s head to the outside once again. Hoss comes in and tags Jimmy Jack, Brunzell tags in as well. Into the ropes and Brunzell slams him, then hits Jimmy Jack with an elbow and he rolls to the outside.

Hoss tags in and works Brunzell with uppercuts, into the ropes and he runs into a crossbody that gets Brunzell a near fall. Tag to Blair and they go to work on the arm of Hoss, with a hammerlock and then a pinning predicament for a count of 2. Hoss with a slam to break the hold, Blair kicks up and slams Hoss, going back into an armbar. Blair brings Brunzell in who goes right to the arm, into the ropes and Hoss with a back elbow, then tags Jimmy Jack. He comes in and gets caught with an armdrag, tag to Blair who comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow to the arm. Frequent tags by the Bees, Brunzell coming in and applying a sleeper. Hoss comes in and breaks the hold behind the refs back, no tag was actually made.

He tosses Brunzell to the floor, Jimmy Jack slams him outside behind the ref’s back. There’s a cut in the tape and it goes to both Killer Bees out on the floor, pulling out their masks and putting them on. Blair rolls in the ring and goes to work on Hoss, Jimmy Jack coming in to get some too. Atomic drop to Hoss, followed by a big clothesline and Jimmy Jack takes one too. Blair gets Hoss in an abdominal stretch, Jimmy Jack rushes in to break up. The ref gets Jimmy Jack out of the ring and the Bees switch behind the refs back. Hoss tags Jimmy Jack in and now Brunzell catches him with a small package to pickup the victory.
Winners: The Killer Bees (Brunzell/Small Package)

  • EA’s Take: I always loved The Killer Bees and felt as if they were the most underrated team in WWF/E history. I remember seeing loads of their matches on tapes that family members had and found the use of the masks to swap as intriguing. It wasn’t commonplace to see babyfaces using heel tactics and remaining over with the people. They were the first really athletic team I had ever seen, long before teams like The Rockers would be flying high. Jimmy Jack Funk is not really a Funk brother, but he is actually Jesse Barr, if you remember from my Starrcade ’84 review. He was brought in with the mask as Terry & Hoss’ unstable, younger brother right after WrestleMania 2. However, when Terry left the company a short time later, Hoss & Jimmy Jack fell down the card. Actually, this was the most prominent match that they had and Dory Funk Jr. (Hoss), would leave Jimmy Jack alone to become more or less a jobber not long after.

Match #2: King Tonga vs. The Magnificent Muraco w/Mr. Fuji
They lock-up, Muraco sent into the ropes and Tonga with multiple hip tosses and a slam, Muraco rolls outside for a breather. Back inside now and Muraco wants to shake hands, then sneaks in a knee and a right hand. Tonga strikes back with right hands and a big dropkick that sends Muraco to the outside. Muraco takes another stroll, then comes in and gets caught in a wristlock. The Magnificent One tries to break the hold with a monkey flip, but Tonga hangs on to maintain the hold. Muraco finally breaks it by sending Tonga into the ropes, Fuji hooks the leg behind the ref’s back and his guy takes advantage.

Muraco is in control now, tossing Tonga to the outside and Fuji gets involved again, whacking Tonga with his cane as Muraco keeps the ref’s attention. Tonga gets dragged up to the apron by his hair, Muraco brings him in the ring with a powerslam, then locks-on a nerve hold to wear down the big islander. The referee checks the arm, Tonga shows some life and gets to a vertical base. He delivers heavy strikes, whips Muraco into the ropes and connects with a dropkick. More right hands in the corner, Muraco is sent across into the turnbuckle, Tonga charges, but Muraco moves out of the way and re-takes over.

The Magnificent One to the outside now, wrapping the leg of Tonga into the ring post. In the ring, Muraco capitalizes, hitting a knee breaker and then punishing Tonga’s left leg. That leg is taking a beating and Muraco uses a Figure 4, Tonga is able to slide to the ropes for the break. Muraco is starting to feel cocky, taking his time as he heads to the top rope. Tonga gets to his feet and slams Muraco off the top, then starts his comeback with right hands and chops. Tonga now heads upstairs, coming off with a crossbody, as the ref makes the count, the bell rings and the time limit has expired.
Winner: Draw

  • EA’s Take: We know how I feel about draws now. This didn’t further a storyline, so there was no real need for it other than trying to protect both competitors to a degree. King Tonga is a newcomer to the WWF, coming from Carlos Colon’s World Wrestling Council based in Puerto Rico. Tonga would make a name for himself after body slamming ‘Big’ John Studd on an episode of Championship Wrestling, but of course Bobby Heenan didn’t pay the $15,000 he offered to anybody who could do it. Tonga would undergo a name change, which most people know him as now ‘Haku’. Actually, the commentators would make note of this change during this match and the ‘King Tonga’ moniker would be dropped.

Match #3: Ted Arcidi vs. Tony Garea
They tie-up multiple times and everytime Arcidi overpowers Garea. Garea tries a side headlock, gets sent into the ropes and attempts a couple of shoulder blocks, but runs into a brick wall. Garea goes to the side headlock again, Arcidi is in the ropes and he shoves Tony to the canvas, following with a slam. Garea is sent hard into the turnbuckle and Arcidi with a big back elbow. Garea whipped into the ropes again, Arcidi tries a back body drop, but gets caught with a kick. Garea hits the ropes and staggers the big man with a shoulder, then a running dropkick and Arcidi is finally off his feet. Into the ropes once more and Garea gets caught in a bearhug and he gives up.
Winner: Ted Arcidi (Bearhug)

  • EA’s Take: Tony Garea arrived in the then-WWWF in 1972 from his home country of New Zealand. Mainly working as a tag team specialist, Garea formed partnerships with the likes of Larry Zbysko, Haystacks Calhoun and most notably, Rick Martel. Tony won multiple Tag Team titles, but after Martel left the company in 1982 he was relegated to a jobber status until his retirement in 1986. Garea still works for the company as a road agent, almost 30 years later. Ted Arcidi was brought into the fold in 1985, after working as a powerlifter and even becoming the first man to benchpress 700 pounds in competition. Arcidi’s run was nothing spectacular, as he would be let go when fellow strongman Ken Patera returned to the company in the spring of 1987.

Ringside: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund catches up with ‘Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart for comments on Adrian Adonis taking on the Junkyard Dog tonight. Jimmy says tonight’s the night of his life, when he gets revenge on JYD for ripping off his pants at the Slammy Awards. Adrian Adonis grabs Jimmy and they rush off to the ring.

Match #4: ‘Adorable’ Adrian Adonis w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. Junkyard Dog
JYD quickly hits the ring and goes to work with right hands, then wraps the chain around his hand and clocks Adrian with it. Headbutts on the mat and Adonis goes shoulder-first into the ring post. Adrian gets whipped into the corner, flipped upside down and over the top to the floor. JYD tries to drag him in by the hair, but the ref backs him off. He gets Adonis up to the apron and hits more rights and a headbutt. The ref tries to get in between again, JYD pushes him off, allowing Jimmy Hart to jump on the apron and spray some fragrance into JYD’s eyes.

Adrian takes the opportunity and hits a clothesline, knocking JYD to the canvas. Big forearms from Adonis, he heads to the 2nd rope and connects on another for a count of 2. JYD gets tossed to the outside, tries to get back on the apron and is knocked to the floor again. Jimmy Hart whacks him with the fragrance bottle behind the ref’s back, with no effect. Adrian heads up top, Jimmy Hart jumping on JYD’s back and getting thrown aside, then JYD crotches Adonis in the ropes and he falls to the floor. They slug it out a little before getting back inside. Jimmy Hart is on the apron, Adonis charges JYD, misses and hits his manager, both men crashing out to the floor. The bell rings and the winner is…
Winner: Junkyard Dog (Count-Out)

  • EA’s Take: This had to be a botched finish or something. How in the hell does JYD win by count-out when Adonis was back in the ring, then hit Jimmy Hart and spilled back out to the floor? The bell rang after he was outside for about a second and a half. The match was fine for what it was, simply a continuation of the heated rivalry. However, the screwed-up finish diminishes it all for two of the better characters in the company. JYD is a trailblazer, the first real African-American mainstream wrestling star. There were men before him like Ernie Ladd, but never to the level of popularity as the dog.

Match #5: Dick Slater vs. ‘Iron’ Mike Sharpe
Sharpe with a top wristlock, Slater counters into a hammerlock and Sharpe goes into the ropes to break. They go for a test of strength know, Slater with a boot and he stomps on Sharpe’s fingers before rolling to the outside and taking a walk. Back between the ropes, Sharpe strikes with his forearm support, the ref sees it and Iron Mike claims it was an open hand. Slater doesn’t appreciate it, stalking Sharpe and backing him in the corner with right hands and headbutts. Into the ropes they go, Slater ducks a clothesline and catches Sharpe’s boot, then hits a swinging neckbreaker, but misses a follow-up elbow drop. Sharpe attempts a slam, Slater’s out of it and he connects with a russian leg sweep. Slater climbs to the top turnbuckle, and comes down with a big elbow. He floats over into a double leg pinning predicament and gets the 1-2-3.
Winner: Dick Slater (Top Rope Elbow)

  • EA’s Take: In the NWA, Dick Slater was a mainstay and a top draw, but after debuting in 1986 with the WWF he never did much, making this a match between 2 relative jobbers. Slater would continue to work as an enhancement talent until early 1987. ‘Iron’ Mike Sharpe is a 2nd generation star that would become a mainstay in the WWF’s undercard from 1983 until his retirement in 1995, only gaining untelevised victories against lower level talent.

Ringside: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is with Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan who has some words about his upcoming contest against The Machines. He says in the main event, his man Paul Orndorff is going to take away Hulk Hogan’s WWF Championship.

Match #6: Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, King Kong Bundy & ‘Big’ John Studd vs. The Machines (Super Machine & Big Machine) & Captain Lou Albano w/Giant Machine
Super & Studd begin, Studd backs him in the corner and there’s a shoving match. Studd backs Super into the ropes this time, he goes for a right hand and it gets block, Super fighting back with rights and a failed slam attempt. Super is sent into the ropes and runs into a big shoulder, sent in again and Super with 3 straight clotheslines, taking Studd off his feet and to the outside. Giant Machine grabs Studd and rolls him back in the ring, Super tries another slam, but Studd’s too close to the ropes.

Tags on both ends as Bundy & Big enter the match, Bundy into the ropes, Big tries a shoulder and it’s a stalemate. Big hits the ropes and can’t stagger Bundy with another shoulder, he ducks a right and delivers rights of his own. Bundy reverses a whip into the corner, misses a splash and Big with a back elbow, finally taking the big man off his feet. Bundy regroups and comes back with heavy forearms, tags Studd in and he pummels Big in the corner, then down to the canvas. Heenan tags in and he goes after Big, trying to unmask him. Super comes in with a shot on Heenan and he quickly tags Studd back in. Big is sent into the ropes and he delivers a kick, Super tags in and goes to town with a series of rights, he gets distracted by The Brain in the corner and Studd capitalizes with a back elbow.

Tag to The Walking Condominium, he maintains the upper-hand, then gets the ref’s attention which allows Heenan & Studd to double team. They hold Super in the ropes, Bundy attempts a shoulder, but misses and hits Studd. Super builds some momentum, hitting the ropes and delivering a shoulder to Bundy. He goes into the ropes again, but Studd with a kick. Bundy covers and Big comes in to break it at 2. Tag to Studd, knocking Super down with a back elbow and then bringing Heenan in.

The Brain tries to direct traffic, but doesn’t see Super make the tag to Albano until he’s already in the ring. Albano offers Heenan a free shot, Bobby slaps him and Albano with a flurry of rights, then sending Heenan into the corner and turning him upside down. Bobby goes to the eyes, then tags Studd who pummels Albano and then knocks The Machines off the apron. Chaos breaks out as Giant Machine is in the ring now and he starts taking out everybody with headbutts and chops causing a DQ.
Winners: Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, King Kong Bundy & ‘Big’ John Studd (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Giant Machine gets ahold of Heenan, hammering him with a right hand and a big headbutt.
  • EA’s Take: This match was entertaining because of the personalities involved, but was not exactly a sight to be seen for in ring ability. Andre The Giant was starting to have problems with his health due to his acromegaly and took some time off to also film the movie ‘The Princess Bride’. To explain Andre’s time off, Bobby Heenan lobbied to get him suspended after he missed a match against Bundy & Studd. It worked and Andre was suspended, but 2 months later vignettes for a new team called The Machines started airing. It was obvious that the man known as ‘Giant Machine’ was indeed Andre The Giant and Heenan would try vehemently to prove that it was. Bobby was never successful and the angle would last until November, when Andre was officially “re-instated”. Big Machine was Blackjack Mulligan, who would go back to that moniker when The Machines ended, while Super would go on to be part of a tag team that would ‘demolish’ it’s competition.

Match #7 is a Snake-Pit Match: Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
A ‘Snake-Pit Match’ is just a no disqualification match. Jake goes right after Steamboat on the apron before he can get in the ring. Ricky fights back with right hands, whips Roberts into the ropes and hits a back body drop, The Snake rolls outside to catch his breath. Steamboat catches Jake coming back inside with more rights, into the ropes and he connects with a big chop, covers and gets 2. Ricky goes to a wristlock now, working the arm then into the ropes they go again.

The Dragon lands another big chop and gains another count of 2, then goes back to punishing the arm. Roberts gets to a vertical base, misses a right and Steamboat goes back on the offensive with a chop and then a back kick. Roberts falls to the outside, Steamboat chases and gets caught. Jake with a stiff right hand and then a slam on the floor. The Snake tortures The Dragon, Ricky fights back and stops Jake from using a chair. Steamboat wants the weapon, connecting to the midsection and head of Roberts with it. Back inside, Ricky climbs to the top and comes down with an overhead chop for a near fall.

Steamboat looks to wear Roberts down some more, locking in an armbar. Jake is up, but gets slammed into the top turnbuckle, Steamboat climbs the 2nd rope and reigns down right hands to The Snake’s head. Steamboat with an irish whip into the corner, reversed and Ricky is sent flying over the top to the outside. Roberts slides out after him and starts to take control, catapulting Steamboat into the ring post and he’s been cut. Jake using everything around ringside, driving Ricky into the barricade and then sending him in the ring. Roberts begs The Dragon to fight back, then pummels him with heavy shots. Jake with a short-arm clothesline, then sets for the DDT, but Ricky drives him into the turnbuckle. Jake stops any momentum with a right hand, followed by an inverted atomic drop and a gutbuster, then makes an arrogant cover. Ricky counters, holding Jake down for the 3 count.
Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (Pinfall Counter)

  • EA’s Take: The continuation of their heated rivalry, this was the first major feud in the WWF for Jake Roberts and in a lot of ways it was for Steamboat too. It all started on an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event in May, when Jake delivered his patented DDT to Ricky on the concrete floor, right in front of Steamboat’s wife. Ricky’s head legitimately hit the concrete and he was rendered unconscious and suffered a severe concussion. After taking time off to recoup, Steamboat would return and immediately set his sights on revenge. This was one of the bigger matches they had, other than the final encounter on another edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event in October.

Match #8: Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez
They tie-up and it’s a stalemate off the bat, locking up again and neither man can get the upper-hand. A 3rd lock-up and Haynes scores a side headlock, into the ropes he knocks Herc down with a shoulder, back and forth with leapfrogs and Hernandez flattens Haynes with a clothesline. Hercules locks the hands together in a bearhug, Haynes breaks the hold by clapping at the ears. Hernandez with hard rights, dropping Haynes and hitting 3 consecutive elbow drops for a count of 2. Billy Jack eats a top turnbuckle, reverses an irish whip into the opposite corner and they crack heads and double down.

Hercules is to his feet first, Billy Jack catches him with a series of boots and a big knee. Into the ropes and Haynes with a back elbow, followed by a backbreaker. He heads to the 2nd rope and comes down with a forearm drop for a near fall. Haynes goes for the Full Nelson, but Hernandez with a low blow and the ref doesn’t see it. Herc takes advantage, tossing Haynes to the outside and posturing for the crowd.

He drags BJH to the apron and delivers a forearm shot, then a kneelift that drops Haynes back to the floor both times. Hernandez brings BJH in the hard way, delivering a suplex in from the apron for a 2 count. Herc follows up with a decapitating clothesline and covers, the ref counts to 2 and Haynes gets a foot on the bottom ropes. Hercules thinks he’s won, BJH capturing him from behind with a roll-up and a near fall. Hernandez hits a couple of shots and attempts a neckbreaker, BJH counters into a backslide and he gets the count of 3.
Winner: Billy Jack Haynes (Backslide)

  • EA’s Take: Both of these big guys actually put on a pretty good match as Haynes scores the sneaky victory. Billy Jack is another newcomer to the WWF, after leaving the NWA following a heated physical confrontation with promoter Jim Crockett. He had a quick feud with Randy Savage over the IC Title, but this rivalry with Hercules is his most notable work of his WWF career. Both men would become rivals over who had the best Full Nelson, which they used as their mutual finishing maneuver.

Match #9: The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond) vs. The Dream Team (Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine & Brutus Beefcake)
The Dream Team jumps the Rougeaus before the bell sounds, they pair off in the corners as the bell rings. Rougeaus start to take the upperhand and throw Valentine & Beefcake to the outside. Order is restored as Raymond & The Hammer are the legal men, tag to Jacques and he comes in with a sunset flip for a count of 2, as Beefcake comes in to get dropped by Raymond. Valentine is sent into the ropes for a chop, then a knee drop before tagging Raymond. He comes in and lands a couple of kicks to the midsection, Jacques back in for a jumping back elbow for 2. Jacques locks in an abdominal stretch, but The Hammer powers out with a hip toss and brings in Brutus. Beefcake with a big slam and a 2 count, Jacques backs him near his corner and tags out.

Brutus is dropped to the canvas, Raymond grabs the legs and hops on his chest with a seated senton. Brutus backing Raymond into a corner and he unleashes a flurry of knees, then tags The Hammer who comes off the top with a forearm smash. Another forearm for Raymond, then a slam for a 2 count. Raymond is sent in, ducks a back hand and hits a crossbody for 2, then tags his brother. The Rougeaus drop Valentine with a double dropkick, Jacques rolls him up and gains a count of 2. Valentine with big chops and Jacques is in the wrong part of town. Dream Team with a couple quick tags and slam Jacques back-first into the turnbuckle. The Hammer with an atimoc drop, Beefcake back in and delivers a low-looking boot, then struts his stuff. Jacques battles in the corner and now all 4 men are in the ring.

Dream Team has the Rougeaus in headlocks on opposite corners, they got ram the brothers into each other, but get shoved off into one another. Jacques with a slam on Beefcake, then he flips Raymond off the top and into a senton. They make the cover, Valentine breaks it up to save the match. Brutus tosses the Rougeaus to the outside, The Hammer does a number on Raymond on the floor. Raymond’s lower back is being destroyed and continuously rammed into the ring apron. Jacques tries to come in the ring, distracting the ref for more double team tactics by the Dream Team. Brutus lifts Raymond in a military press, then drops him into a backbreaker for what I guess is a 2 count. Valentine in off the tag, with heavy offense, they call him ‘The Hammer’ for a reason.

Valentine with an inverted atomic drop, Brutus with more rights off the tag and a vertical suplex for another near fall. The Hammer comes in and utilizes a bearhug, Raymond fights out, but still can’t make the tag and gets caught in it again. Jacques again wants to get in the ring, allowing his opponents to double team his brother again. Raymond is finally able to get something going, getting the tag to Jacques after Valentine misses consecutive elbow drops. Jacques is the proverbial ‘house of fire’, connecting on dropkicks to Beefcake & Valentine, then slamming them.

The Hammer briefly stops the momentum, more double teaming from him and Beefcake, they go for a double clothesline, but Jacques ducks it and lands a double dropkick. He heads to the 2nd rope, missing a knee drop to Valentine. The Hammer tries to go for the Figure 4, Jacques kicks him off, but Valentine is persistent and he finally gets it on. Raymond comes in to break the hold and all hell is breaking loose again. They pair-off, leaving Valentine & Jacques in the ring. Raymond & Brutus come back in, the ref tries to get Brutus back on the apron and Raymond hits a sunset flip on The Hammer as he’s trying to put the Figure 4 on Jacques again. The ref doesn’t realize it’s not the legal man and he counts to 3.
Winners: The Rougeau Brothers (Raymond/Sunset Flip)

  • EA’s Take: The match could have been really entertaining, but the referee was ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE. His counts were very slow and he just was not quick to the trigger on anything he was supposed to do, which really took away from what could have been. Jacques & Raymond came to the WWF from their family’s promotion in Montreal, having an enormous feud with Jimmy & Ronnie Garvin. Like many of Superstars on this card, they are still relative newcomers, having just signed 6 months prior and debuting as clean-cut faces…for now. The Dream Team is still looking to get on track after dropping the WWF Tag Team Championships to The British Bulldogs at WrestleMania 2. They’d start to move in a different direction with the addition of another member to come.

Match #10: ‘King’ Harley Race vs. Pedro Morales
Harley plants a knee into the midsection, but Pedro strikes back with big left hands and Race spills out to the floor. Harley grabs the Pedro’s legs and drops him out onto the apron, delivering elbows to the throat and then dropping him on the timekeeper’s table. Harley with a diving headbutt on the floor, heavy lefts and then he rams Pedro into the ring post. Back in the ring, Pedro blocks a suplex and plants Race with one of his own. Morales with a small package and he gains a count of 2. Harley reverses a whupe into the corner, Pedro hops up into a sunset flip for another near fall. Pedro works over Harley in the corner, the ref gets in between and Race with a double leg takedown. He stacks Pedro up, puts his feet on the ropes for leverage and Harley gets the win.
Winner: ‘King’ Harley Race (Double Leg Pinfall)

  • EA’s Take: It’s well-known that Harley Race is an NWA icon, but during a time when the WWF didn’t recognize a Superstars accomplishments in other organizations, they needed a way to recognize Harley as a true legend of the business. Thus, the WWF took ‘Handsome’ Harley Race and had him win the King Of The Ring Tournament, altering to ‘King’ Harley Race. Harley would later say he waited to go to the WWF until he was near the end of his career because he knew he could “get away with doing a lot less”. Pedro Morales is a former WWWF Champion, who was also near the end of his career, retiring just one year later. Had this match happened 10 years earlier, it would have been a tremendous draw.

Match #11 for the WWF Heavyweight Championship: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff w/Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan vs. WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan
The ref checks both men and as Hogan is being checked, Orndorff levels him with a big clothesline as the bell rings. Orndorff takes advantage, unloading on the champion, Hogan turns the tide until the ref pulls him off by his hair. They slug it out, Hulk getting the upper-hand and knocking Mr. Wonderful to the outside with a big right. Orndorff quickly back in, he catches a back elbow and spills outside once more, this time grabbing Hogan’s legs and dragging him outside. Ornodorff with heavy shots, tries to slam Hulk into the apron, but Hogan counters and rams Orndorff instead.

Back inside, the Hulkster with big rights and a clothesline, followed by an elbow drop. Hulk with an irish whip into the corner, following Orndorff with a clothesline. Hogan plays to the crowd and Mr. Wonderful catches him in the midsection, then Heenan delivers a slap from the outside. Orndorff comes from behind and Hogan scouts it, planting him with an atomic drop and then going after Heenan on the outside. The Brain slides through the ring and Orndorff puts the boots to Hogan coming in. Orndorff has the edge, sending Hulk to the outside with a clothesline and landing a suplex on the floor. Mr. Wonderful heads back in the ring to bask in the glory and hit Hulk with a knee when he tries to roll in.

Orndorff continues to dominate, driving the point of the elbow into Hogan’s neck on the apron. Hulk is dragged to the apron, Orndorff with a big forearm shot before they finally get back in the ring. The referee is getting all over Mr. Wonderful, he drops a knee and covers for a 2 count. Orndorff with a slam, then drives the elbow into Hulk’s neck again for another 3. Mr. Wonderful is perched on the top, coming down with another elbow. He signals for the piledriver, but Hogan flips Orndorff over to avoid it. The Hulkster can’t capitalize and Orndorff continues to pummel the champion. Hogan desperately grabs a side headlock, but Orndorff with a back suplex and Hulk gets his foot on the rope after a count of 2.

Hogan’s starting to feel it now, Hulking up and hitting Orndorff with a knee that also knocks down the ref. Hulk gives Mr. Wonderful the thumbs up, then clotheslines him the same way that Orndorff turned his back on him. Hogan signals for the piledriver, he gets Orndorff in the air, but Heenan comes in and clocks him with a chair. Mr. Wonderful crawls to a cover, but the ref is still down. He slowly crawls over and taps Orndorff’s shoulder. Mr. Wonderful grabs the belt and begins to celebrate as the bell rings. The referee tells Howard Finkel that Orndorff has been disqualified.
Winner and STILL WWF Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Orndorff has the title around his waist and he puts the boots to Hogan, incensed that he didn’t win the title. He Hulks up and goes to town on Mr. Wonderful with right hands, a clothesline and a big boot, sending Orndorff to the outside.
  • EA’s Take: A highly enjoyable main event, as this was the main draw of the evening. Paul Orndorff turning heel on Hulk all began when the seeds were planted by Adrian Adonis, who would refer to Orndorff as ‘Hulk Jr.’, saying he went soft by teaming with Hogan. Mr. Wonderful’s jealousy of Hogan would come to a head during a tag match, in which Hulk would suffer Orndorff’s signature piledriver. Paul would reunite with Bobby Heenan, adding fuel to the heated rivalry. It was during this time that Orndorff would suffer a severe arm injury while weightlifting, but did not take the time off to properly fix the issue. This would creep up later on for Mr. Wonderful. Paul Orndorff was a great technician and sports-entertainer, who was vastly overshadowed by Hulk as many other stars were during this time.

EA’s Finisher: This 2 hour event had very little of anything other than in-ring action, there wasn’t much in the way of interviews and such. In this time period, Hogan was really all you needed to draw, plus we know how rabid Canadian fans tend to be. In addition to your main event, other matches like the Snake Pit Match, JYD vs. Adrian Adonis and Heenan’s squad against The Super Machines are your selling points. I think that’s why we see them almost alternating between them and your squash matches like Harley vs. Pedro or Slater vs. Sharpe. It’s basically a glorified house show, nothing of any real importance happened, no title changes or rivalries concluding. Compared to the Greatest Royal Rumble? This will obviously be peanuts when it comes to production value, spectacle and overall importance of the show. Not just because I’m expecting at least one championship to change hands, but because it’s the first step into a new country.

3 On Top
1 – Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff
2 – Ricky Steamboat vs. Jake Roberts
3 – The Funks vs. The Killer Bees


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Classic Royal Rumble

Attitude Of Aggression #275- The Big Four Project Chapter 3: Royal Rumble ’88 & WrestleMania IV

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Attitude of Aggression
Attitude Of Aggression #275- The Big Four Project Chapter 3: Royal Rumble ’88 & WrestleMania IV

The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. On this Episode, Dave welcomes back the one and only PC Tunney to discuss two more immensely important events in pro wrestling history, the inaugural Royal Rumble and WrestleMania IV. The 1988 Royal Rumble was different than any other Rumble in history and not just because it was the first. Dave and Tunney break down the fascinating history of the first installment of an event that would evolve into an annual favorite for many in the WWE Universe. From there, the guys recap the surreal events that led to the end of Hulk Hogan’s 4-year reign as WWF Champion and set the stage for, arguably, the most important tournament in WWE History at WrestleMania IV. Macho Madness reached new heights that night. But was Savage the first choice of Vince McMahon to emerge from Atlantic City with the gold that night? We have the whole story for you here on Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project!

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Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #15 – AAW Defining Moment 2018

Harry covers a show that helped to continue Sami Callihan’s 2018 infamy. AAW Defining Moment should be a fun trip down memory lane!

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Apologies for the slight delay getting to this but it’s Harry here once again. And for as verbose as I can be at times, I don’t feel the need to waste any time getting to this one. This is the second part of the double shot for AAW on ‘All In’ weekend in Chicago. 

The WayBack Machine takes us to August 31st, 2018 as we once again arrive at the Logan Square Auditorium (and oh boy does that become important later) for AAW’s Defining Moment 2018.

What I Watched #15

AAW Defining Moment 2018

8/31/2018

Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago, IL

Runtime: 3:18:22 (HighSpotsWrestlingNetwork)

Commentary By: Tyler Volz (PBP) and Marty DeRosa (Color)

 

THE RESULTS

  • Match 1: Curt Stallion/Jake Something def. Ace Romero/Colt Cabana, Something pins Cabana @ 8:41
  • Match 2: Shane Strickland pins Darby Allin, top-rope Swerve Stomp @ 13:30
  • Match 3: Jessicka Havoc def. Palmer Cruise/Steve Manders, pinning Cruise with a Chokeslam @ 2:52
  • Match 4: OI4K (Dave/Jake Crist) def. Ace Austin/Brian Cage, Dave pins Austin @ 5:55
  • Match 5: AAW Heritage Title- Trevor Lee © pins DJ Z (Shiima Xion), roll-through on CBB with tights @ 13:30
  • Match 6: AR Fox/Myron Reed def. Bandido/Flamita, double cover @ 15:42
  • Match 7: Maxwell Jacob Friedman taps Marko Stunt, Salt of the Earth @ 10:41
  • Match 8: Sami Callihan pins Jimmy Jacobs, Cactus Driver on a bridged guardrail @ 17:52
  • Match 9: AAW Tag Titles- Eddie Kingston/Jeff Cobb © def. Davey Vega/Mat Fitchett, Cobb pins Fitchett @ 14:19
  • Match 10: AAW Heavyweight Title- Brody King pins ACH ©, All Seeing Eye (Whiplash) @ 22:46

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Curt Stallion/Jake Something vs. Ace Romero/Colt Cabana

*The match was decent but nothing special. A pretty big win for Something at the end with the three count over Cabana, who has a storied past in Chicago and was one of the biggest names in independent wrestling. That said, I personally don’t love the flukish nature that Something pins Cabana, as I think Something could have used a defining pinfall to really give him a rub going forward. 

Cabana usually makes for a fun watch and I’ve grown to enjoy Ace Romero the more I see him (he especially stands out for Limitless, which I hope to get to one day soon). Jake Something is a huge star in the making and you can see it even early in the run of AAW that he has. Stallion is what Stallion is. Solid opener, but nothing you’ll remember post show. (**½)

Darby Allin vs. Shane Strickland

*Showstealer, plain and simple. Strickland had been with AAW for a while but to the best of my memory, it was more often in a tag team with Keith Lee (funny how that works out with 2022 eyes on it, as Swerve and Keith are the current AEW tag champions at the time of writing). I do believe this is only Darby’s second match in AAW (the prior being a five-ish minute loss to Brody King). Both guys are huge names now and with efforts like this, it’s easy to see how. Darby tries to keep pace with Swerve and is able to do so for a good portion of the contest until Swerve finds that next gear down the stretch and puts Allin down with the Swerve Stomp to a massive (deserved) ovation from the crowd. (****)

Jessicka Havok vs. Palmer Cruise/Steve Manders

*I dislike handicap matches in general. However, unlike certain other writers for this site, I don’t mind intergender wrestling. But the suspension of disbelief gets lost here when you have two dudes the size of Cruise and Manders struggling with Jessicka Havok, who should realistically not being coming in at 100% after taking the Ganso Bomb from Brody King through the chairs the night before. I won’t rate the match due to the Larry Csonka (RIP) Rule of not rating anything shorter than three minutes, but I’m calling this a miss regardless. (X)

OI4K (Dave/Jake Crist) vs. Ace Austin/Brian Cage

*The Brothers Crist come out to ringside to stand next to Havok after said match and call out Brody King and Jimmy Jacobs. They get one of those two men as Jacobs makes his way out, but informs Dave and Jake that neither he nor Brody will be facing them due to having prior obligations, but he did find the perfect opponents for OI4K. As for the opponent, Cage does make for a good size fill-in for Brody King. Ace Austin is a OI4K trainee that hadn’t quite made a name for himself at the time but has since turned into a pretty good wrestler, having just competed for NJPW in Best of the Super Jr’s as well as being Impact Wrestling’s X Division champion for a while.

The match itself was not memorable at all. I will admit to typing this review on a bit of a delay and other than the finish (a Tiger Driver ‘98 by Dave to Austin), I don’t remember anything that happened during the course of the contest. Not the best impression for these four men to leave. (**)

AAW Heritage Title- Trevor Lee © vs. DJ Z

*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I like DJ Z. I liked him more under his previous identity, but this was him using the Impact Wrestling name for more notoriety with the casual fan. That being said, despite DJZ winning a three way relatively quickly the night before while Trevor was in a war with Ace Romero, I never felt the title was in jeopardy here. For as much as I like DJZ’s run with AAW, this misfortune of his injury just so happened to coincide with Trevor Lee becoming one of the hottest acts on the undercard and there wasn’t anything in the build up to the rematch (despite some good promo work from Z) that made me think that the strap was switching here. 

As for the match itself, they have really good chemistry together and that isn’t a surprise given how many of the same promotions they were working for at the time as well as their history in AAW up to this point. I do think this match does a nice job of setting the stage for a return match as it is DJZ’s offensive attack at the end of the contest that gets reversed into the cradle (with a handful of tights) for the finish. The nature of the victory leads me to believe that the story with these two isn’t over quite yet. (***½)

AR Fox/Myron Reed vs. Bandido/Flamita

*This was similar to the main event the night before, but didn’t have the same crowd investment that match did. Bandido and Flamita once again shine here and it is easy to see why they become semi-regulars in AAW after this weekend. AR Fox and Myron Reed (Team Firefox, as they were referred to by Sarah Shockey) get a massive victory with a double pinfall following stereo 450 splashes. This sets up Fox and Reed for a title match against the winners of WRSTLING vs. Besties later in the night, but honestly, I think that Bandido/Flamita was the better pairing to have go forward to a title shot. Firefox had previously unsuccessfully challenged for the tag belts and if I’m being fully honest, I prefer AR Fox as a singles wrestler over being in a tag team. Good match, but I think the wrong team wins. (***½)

Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Marko Stunt

*Marko had just made a name for himself at GCW’s Lost in New York (a show I have watched) and this was a way for him to break out back in his Midwest home. MJF has been on a hot streak point up to this point (believe he is the current CZW Heavyweight champion, though I don’t think he ever actually defends that title) and MJF would make himself a known commodity the next night opening the ‘All In’ PPV against Matt Cross (in a losing effort)

Easy story to tell with MJF taking the much smaller Stunt lightly and Marko making him pay for it. It is unfortunate that more people didn’t get to see what Stunt is capable of, because his run in the indie scene before he went to AEW was quite special to watch due to his ability to connect with a crowd (no different here). The finish sees MJF take advantage of the arm work that he did early in match and after Marko escapes a fujiwara armbar, MJF is able to catch Marko in ‘Salt of the Earth’, a wakigatame (Marko on stomach as MJF applies a cross-armbreaker) for the the tapout. Very good work and Marko does really well for himself in his debut with another high end US Independent. (***)

Jimmy Jacobs vs. Sami Callihan

*Ooooh, boy. A lot to unwrap with this one. Let’s get the match first, because the drama that it creates leads to the fallout that has to be discussed. It is honestly a pretty standard Sami brawl for the time frame. PWG used to have what was known as the “Sami Sprint”…by which it would be Callihan vs. Opponent and the match would run anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes of hard hitting back and forth action with little in terms of a cohesive story or selling. Pretty much a ‘can you top this?’ kind of situation. This feels like that in a sense because the match features both Sami and Jimmy going into their well of tricks (the crowd brawling, the spike, the guardrail that gets used in the finish) while maintaining the crowd reaction from the prior night’s tag match. Fittingly, the finish is visually impressive as Callihan hits the ‘Cactus Driver’ (pulling piledriver) on a guardrail bridged across two metal folding chairs to secure the three count. (***½)

THE INCIDENT

The bigger story coming out of this is that this match almost costs AAW the Logan Square Auditorium and almost ends even more disastrously personally for Callihan. At one point, Callihan and Jacobs are brawling over by the stage in the venue (traditionally used for concerts) where Callihan buries Jacobs under a portion of the stage. Callihan then starts winging metal sitting chairs (not the standard folding ones you see in most companies because the four legged dinner table type chairs) at Jacobs. A voice comes over the house mic telling Callihan to stop, causing a loud visceral boo from the crowd. Callihan more or less tells said voice to “fuck himself” and hurls more chairs at Jacobs. 

At first, I thought it was Danny Daniels telling Callihan to stop, but it turns out it was actually building management. This becomes important when after the three count goes down, building security surrounds the ring to escort Callihan out of the building as they were pissed at Sami for throwing chairs that the venue used for other events. As I’ve heard the story, Callihan thinks this is part of a storyline and begins to push the security guys until one of them shows Callihan that he is carrying a real pistol and will use it if necessary. Things break down from there with the rest of OI4K getting involved and eventually Sami is escorted to the back (and presumably out of the building).

How much of this is real? How much of this is scripted? How much of this was sensationalized for additional attention? I don’t have the answers for those questions. I do know that cooler heads would prevail and AAW was able to continue running at LSA, however I feel the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It may have been a planned altercation to play off the recklessness of Callihan. It may have been a real reaction from the building to what they perceived as damage to personal property. The old axiom in wrestling is “believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”. Overall, it makes for a great story with a relatively happy ending all considered. But man does it take the wind of the crowd for quite a while. And I will have to check out the follow up AAW shows to see what the fallout truly is.

AAW Tag Titles- Eddie Kingston/Jeff Cobb © vs. Davey Vega/Mat Fitchett

*Trevor Lee’s promo before the match is not one I can do justice. I recommend the show in general, but Trevor’s asshole smarmy heel persona in AAW (Impact Superstar Trevor Lee) is one of the best things going in the company.

Match is good but you’d have to expect that from the four men involved. Kingston and Cobb work surprisingly well as a team and despite being on separate pages for most of the bout, Vega and Fitchett do link up for a few double teams (corner enzuigiri/Kippou kick combo being standout among them) to continue to prove why they are one of the best tag teams in pro wrestling (still are to this day, though not known as the Besties in the World anymore). The finish sees the final stab from Vega to Fitchett as Vega chooses to take Scarlett to the back after she gets knocked off the apron, leaving Fitchett alone to take a one-two combo of the Backfist to the Future from Kingston that staggers him into a Tour of the Islands from Cobb to finish the contest. The ring work is on point, the story is very well told and you can hear the disappointment from the crowd when Vega chooses the hussy over his long-time tag partner. (****)

AAW Heavyweight Title- ACH © vs. Brody King

*Unfortunately, something gets lost during the course of this contest through no direct fault of the participants. As I understand it, Brody King got concussed relatively early in the bout. Credit to ACH for keeping things together as well as he did, but I would be curious to see what they are capable of with both competitors at 100% capacity for the full duration of the match.

As for the match, it does tell a pretty good story. ACH comes in still pretty beat up from the match with Jeff Cobb the night before. However, ACH lets his pride (or perhaps his ego) get the better of him as he once again tries to hang step for step, strike for strike and move for move with a man much bigger than he is. It ends up coming back to bite him at the end as a distraction from Jimmy Jacobs allows Brody King to take a distracted ACH up into the All Seeing Eye (fireman’s carry into a Michinoku Driver) for the three count to crown a new champion. Slightly cheap on the distraction ending but does help get Jimmy some of the heat he lost earlier in the evening back after dropping the contest to Callihan. (***½)

THE FINAL REACTION

Overall, a better show then the day before but not without a couple flaws. Obviously, the big story to come out of this show would be the fact that AAW almost lost Logan Square Auditorium due to the issues in the Callihan-Jacobs match. Thankfully, those would be resolved and to my knowledge, AAW is still running there. But it gets awfully hairy there for a few.

The highs: two four star matches on this show and they come in completely different type contests. Eddie Kingston continues his march of dominance in AAW and cuts one hell of a promo at the end of the show to run down how ACH let him down by losing the title. Marko Stunt has a fun debut and quickly gets the crowd behind him. The lows: that handicap match helped no one and the tag match that followed wasn’t much better. The main event isn’t what it could have been either, but that’s a case of shit happens with the early concussion to King. I will also say that I thought Sarah Shockey did a better job on color commentary yesterday then Marty DeRosa does here.

We’ll call it an 8 overall. As I said, it is a better top to bottom show then Destination Chicago is. And while high on the guest stars (for obvious reasons), you also get a really good look at what the overall AAW roster is all about too. I look forward to coming back to AAW down the road (ironically, upcoming shows are a double shot as well for the ‘Jim Lynam Memorial’ tournament), but I do want to mix in some other odds and ends before I do so.

Best Match/Moment: Shane Strickland vs. Darby Allin

Worst Match/Moment: The Havok handicap. Especially when you consider what Steve Manders would come to mean for AAW, it’s a really inauspicious debut.

Overall Show Score: 8/10

MVP: Eddie Kingston. The key part of a match that tied for best match of the night honors and absolutely shows why he is viewed the way he is when it comes to talking with an amazing promo to close out the show.

 

THE SIGNOFF

So, where does ‘What I Watched’ go from here? I go on vacation in about a week’s time and will be gone for most of August. I spoke to Andrew and what I hope to do is reformat the ‘All In’ report that I did to the new style so you guys have something to tide you over.  As for where I go when I get back from vacation…well, the Peacock WWE Network watch-through that I am working on has reached a show that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen (and if I have, it has been quite a while). Therefore, ‘What I Watched’ #16 will be ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999 to set the tone for a year where all hell breaks loose in two of the three major promotions. Hopefully, you guys enjoy the ‘All In’ redo to hold you over and I’ll be back later in August with Guilty as Charged. I appreciate everyone who has been checking these out and if you’ve missed any, feel free to click on my name at the top of the article to check out my archive. Thanks for reading.


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