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Showing posts with label Adrian Adonis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adrian Adonis. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 May 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWF The Wrestling Classic (1985)

November 7, 1985
Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Event Poster



Regular Retro Pro Wrestling readers may have seen me mention in the past that my main motivation behind starting this blog was to review every single WWE PPV from Wrestlemania 1 to Wrestlemania 30.

Though I’ve since expanded that goal to include every WCW and ECW PPV too, I remain nonetheless committed to covering all of WWE’s “Premium Live Events” from the first three decades following the first ‘Mania.

Doing so means I occasionally have to go back and review stuff I’ve missed like the 1985 PPV, The Wrestling Classic.

Honestly, I’m not looking forward to it:

The World Wrestling Federation were not exactly known for producing a wealth of five-star bangers during the mid-1980s, and that’s before I mention the fact that this show features a 16-man tournament.

Every time I think of one-night tournaments I get flashbacks to the horrendous nightmare that was Wrestlemania IV and I can barely face it.

Still, face it I must, and I shall.

Besides, maybe The Wrestling Classic will be better than anticipated.

There’s only one way to find out, right?







Let’s get to it.

The World Wrestling Federation Presents Wrestlevision

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Wrestlevisionisio

 

Tonight’s show began with an introduction In which a Howard Finkle voice-over told us that the WWF presented Wrestlevision, without actually telling us what that was or what it meant.

Honestly, I’ve Googled this and I’m still none the wiser.

Perhaps it was an early name the company gave to their PPV specials or something.

Who knows?

If any of you do, please let me know in the comments below.

Anyway, Fink then proceeded to run down all the participants in the dreaded 16-man “Wrestling Classic Tournament” as well as telling us that we’d also hear who had won a Rolls-Royce the WWF were giving away and see Hulk Hogan defending the title against Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Fink then sent it down to Vince McMahon.

The boss welcomed us to The Rosemont Horizon before repeating what Howard had just told us.

Vince then introduced us to Lord Alfred Hayes  and a lady whose name was apparently Susan Waitkis.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Vince McMahon, Lord Alfred, and a lady called Susan



I thought she might be a celebrity I’ve never heard of, but another Google search reveals no information about her outside the context of his event.

The legendary Lord Alfred put over tonight’s tournament as the ultimate test of endurance, insisting that it was going to be more taxing than a decathlon and a marathon rolled into one. 

The mysterious lady (are you out there, Susan? Who are you?) Then used a pointer to show us the tournament brackets for tonight as Vince McMahon named the competitors.

The Luck of the Draw

Vince then sent us to highlights from earlier in the day where Mean Gene Okerlund and two random dudes in suits presided over the tournament drawing.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mr. Fuji draws a tournament slot on behalf of Don Murraco



Ricky Steamboat drew Davey Boy Smith’s name out of a bowl and that should be a good match.

Elsewhere, Elizabeth picked Macho Man Randy Savage’s opponent, and Mr. Fuji drew on behalf of The Magnificent Muraco.

A Word With The President

From there, Vince and Hayes sent us back to Mean Gene who this time was standing by with WWF President Jack Tunney and his massive chin.

Big Jack expressed his excitement for tonight’s event and told us that the WWF had “outdone themselves,” probably forgetting that he was supposed to be the head of the company and thus should have said “ourselves.”

The President then told us that the only rule for tonight was that you had to win your match to proceed which was both obvious and untrue.

Surely rules like don’t hit your opponent with a weapon and don’t stay outside of the ring for more than 10 seconds still applied?

With all that preamble out of the way, Vince then sent us to our announce team for the evening, the classic pairing of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura

Wow: we’re five and a half minutes into this and not only have we not heard the opening bell yet, but I feel like I’ve already been writing this review for an hour.

Still, I’m not complaining.

Although nothing up to this point was particularly entertaining, it was cool to see all these old-school stars, and it’s been so long since I reviewed a show featuring either Gorilla or Jesse that I’m genuinely excited to hear them again.

The duo were as excited to be there as I was to hear from them, and the two eventually helped us get the show on the road by sending to The Fink for the introductions to our opening match.

Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Corporal Kirschner


WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Adrian Adonis


As Gorilla Monsoon made reference to Adrian Adonis’ former tag team with Jesse Ventura, the big man from New York locked up with Corporal Kirschner in a very short match that was no different than the kind of thing you’d see on TV back in this era.

Though it was inoffensive, there was really nothing to make this one stand out, and Adonis picked up the win in about three minutes.
Your Winner: Adrian Adonis

After a quick recap, we went backstage where Mean Gene interviewed Adonis and his manager, Jimmy Hart.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mean Gene interviews Jimmy Hart and Adrian Adonis



The Mouth of the South called his man a superstar before Adrian cut a crazy promo about rewriting the wrestling rule book.

The promo was far more fun than anything Adonis had just done in the ring.

Dynamite Kid vs. Nikolai Volkoff

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Dynamite Kid


Back in the arena, both competitors were already in the ring.

Nikolai Volkoff busted out his usual rendition of the Soviet National Anthem while Dynamite Kid stood by patiently.

His patience wore out, however, when Volkoff finished his ditty and began berating the live crowd.

At that point, Dynamite scaled the top rope and let rip with a sweet drop kick, putting the evil Russian away in less than 10 seconds and eliciting two “holy mackerel!”s from Monsoon.
Your Winner: Dynamite Kid

Backstage, Okerlund interviewed Macho Man Randy Savage.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mean Gene interviews Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth



With Miss Elizabeth standing by, Macho Man claimed that despite feeling nervous, he was hyper and ready to go for his match with Ivan Putski.

Something tells me I’m going to enjoy the promos on this show far more than the matches.

Ivan Putski vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth)

Making his way out to the familiar sounds of Pomp and Circumstance, Macho Man entered into an entertaining performance against Putski.

This was another very short match, and it certainly wasn’t one for the ages or anything, but both men tried hard to make the best of what they’d been given and the crowds were into it.

A few short minutes of enjoyable action, Savage got the pin with his feet on the ropes.
Your Winner: Macho Man Randy Savage

Prior to the next match, the mysterious Susan updated the tournament brackets while McMahon and Hayes talked about them.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Nikolai Volkoff confronts McMahon and Lord Alfred



The duo were interrupted by an enraged Nikolai Volkoff, who ranted to the pair about being robbed in his earlier match.

Not-so-fun fact:

We’re still less than 25 minutes into this. Man, this review is going to take forever.


Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. Davey Boy Smith

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Ricky Steamboat


It’s a little weird to me that Dynamite Kid had earlier been billed as coming from Manchester but now Davey Boy Smith was supposedly from Leeds when both were in fact from a tiny town called Golborne in Wigan.

That aside, this was the best match on the show so far and could have been something special had the tournament not forces all the matches to remain short.

Just as the match was gathering some real momentum, Smith charged at Ricky Steamboat but crashed into the ring ropes in a move that didn’t look all that painful but was apparently enough to render the future Hall of Famer unable to continue.
Your Winner via Referee’s Decision: Ricky Steamboat

In a display of class and sportsmanship, The Dragon came to his fallen opponent’s aid after the match was over.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mean Gene interviews Junkyard Dog



Backstage, Junkyard Dog mumbled his way through an awkward interview with Mean Gene in which he called his upcoming opponent The Iron Sheik a “Dubba Dubba Champion” and then said he wanted to congratulate Chicago.

For what, exactly, I have no idea. 

Given Okerlund’s response, it seemed like JYD meant to congratulate one of the city’s sports teams for something specific but had forgotten the name of the team and what they’d achieved. As such, it came across as Dog was simply congratulating the city for existing.

That was an uncomfortable watch.

The Iron Sheik vs. The Junkyard Dog


This wasn’t a great match from a technical standpoint, but JYD was over like rover and The Iron Sheik was a tremendous villain, so it worked in terms of pure crowd-popping entertainment.

After a match that was weirdly allowed to go almost twice as long as the Steamboat/Smith match, JYD head butted the former Dubba Dubba Champion for the win.
Your Winner: Junkyard Dog

Backstage, Mean Gene interviewed Terry Funk and his manager, Jimmy Hart.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mean Gene interviews Jimmy Hart and Terry Funk



Ignoring Okerlund’s question about tonight’s tournament, The Funker first said that he wanted a shot at the WWF title and then in the same breath also said that he wanted Paul Orndorff which made it sound like he thought Mr. Wonderful was the champion.

Clearing things up, Funk explained that he was out to claim the bounty placed on Orndorff’s head by his (Orndorff’s) former manager, Bobby Heenan.

The plan, you see, was to use the bounty money to buy himself a title shot against the man he claimed would be the next world champion, Roddy Piper.

Finally, Hart promised a big surprise as Funk spat tobacco all over the camera lens.

That was crazy, but in a good way.


Moondog Spot vs. Terry Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Prior to the bell, Terry Funk took to the microphone and claimed that he no more wanted to wrestle Moondog Spot than Spot wanted to wrestle him.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Terry Funk has a proposition for Moondog Spot



He then suggested both men leave the ring and call it a draw.

Moondog agreed and the two began heading up the entrance, only for Funk to reveal his plan and attack his opponent.

The plan backfired, however, when the two made it to the side of the ring where Funk actually threw Spot back into the ring and then immediately got counted out by Earl Hebner.

I can understand people being angry at that non-match, but honestly, it was so ridiculous that I found it absolutely hilarious.
Your Winner via Countout; Moondog Spot

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mean Gene interviews Mr. Fuji and Don Murraco



Prior to the next contest, Mr Fuji claimed that Tito Santana had met his match in Magnificent Don Murraco, while Murraco himself insisted that he was glad to be getting in the ring with one of the best.

Non-Title Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana vs. Magnificent Don Murraco (w/ Mr Fuji)


Like the Smith/Steamboat bout from earlier, this was shaping up to be a good match until the dumb finish.

Santana and Murraco worked well together, delivering an engaging contest until the former IC champion dove onto the current title-holder for the three count.

Apparently, however, Tito had his foot on the ropes. You wouldn’t have known this though because the cameraman completely missed it, so when Santana popped back up and caught his opponent off guard with a surprise roll-up that the official delivered a fast count for, it came off as very confusing.
Your Winner: Tito Santana

As Mr Fuji protested the decision, a small but audible “bullsh*t!” chant came from the crowd.

I don’t blame them either, that was such a heel move for a babyface to commit.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mean Gene interviews Bobby Heenan



Out in the back, Bobby Heenan told Mean Gene that despite not having any men in tonight’s competition, he was here actively scouting for new talent.

Cowboy Bob Orton vs. Mr Wonderful Paul Orndorff

This was the longest and most enjoyable match on the card so far.

Though it may not stand up against the balls-to-the-wall bangers we see in the modern age, it was still very good for the time period and looked like Taker/Michaels from Wrestlemania compared to some of the absolute dross we’d seen on The Wrestling Classic so far.

After a very good battle, Bob Orton blasted Mr. Wonderful with his trademark cast and made the cover, but referee Earl Hebner had seen the whole thing and disqualified the Ace Cowboy.
Your Winner via DQ: Paul Orndorff

Next, cameras cut to Lord Alfred Hayes sexually molesting a visibly uncomfortable Susan Waitkis while Vince McMahon watched.

Seriously, that was almost Jimmy Saville-level behaviour right there.

McMahon eventually prized Lord Alfred’s filthy hands off the distressed woman and asked him to tell us about what we’d seen in the first round.

Hayes only had two things to say about each match. Either it was great or a surprise, or in some cases a great surprise (yes, I know, that’s three things).

In a repeat of the last McMahon/Hayes segment, Terry Funk then burst onto the scene and complained about being robbed in his match before threatening to slap Alfred.

Whether the slap was because Terry was angry at his match or Lord Alfred was a blatant sex pest is something we may never know.

Quarter Final 1
Dynamite Kid vs. Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart)

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Adrian Adonis puts a hurting on Dynamite Kid



As Jesse Ventura abandoned the commentary table to apparently go and talk to The Macho Man, Dynamite and Adonis gave us a good match.

After the absolute dross of the first 45-50 minutes of this show, it was good to see the quality finally picking up from the Orndorff/Orton match onwards.

This wasn’t spectacular or anything, but it was certainly a solid effort that ended with a win for the British Bulldog member thanks to a flash pin.
Your Winner: Dynamite Kid

Post match, Adonis threw a temper tantrum.

Meanwhile, out in the back, Mean Gene accused Jesse Ventura of being a biased commentator.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mean Gene interviews Jesse Ventura



The Body refuted such claims, but did declare that he’d been scouting on behalf of Randy Savage and had informed Macho of the best way to beat his upcoming opponent.

Quarter Final 2
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage

A precursor to their legendary battle at Wrestlemania 3, this was a brilliant little match that proved that just because a bout only runs to two or three minutes, it doesn’t have to suck.

After a tremendous effort from both men, Savage pulled an international object from his trunks and used it to steal a victory from The Dragon.
Your Winner: Macho Man Randy Savage

Out in the back, Okerlund tried to interview Moondog Spot, but Spot could only grunt and beat himself in the head with a bone, so Gene cut it short and we went back to the ring.

Quarter Final 3
Moondog Spot vs. The Junkyard Dog

JYD came out to “Grab Them Cakes” from The Wrestling Album and then entered into a weird bit of nothing with Moondog Spot.

For reasons that were never explained, there was no official for this match, so Junkyard simply hit his opponent with a couple of headbutts, pinned him, and made his own three count before leaving the ring, calling it a day in bout 40 seconds.

“I don’t think that’s going to be official,” said Monsoon, but apparently it was.
Your Winner: The Junkyard Dog

In our second Bobby Heenan interview of the night, The Brain insisted that he wasn’t worried that nobody had claimed the $50,000 bounty on Mr. Wonderful’s head yet because his time would definitely come.

Heenan was also eager to see Roddy Piper best Hulk Hogan for the title.


Quarter Final 4
WWF Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana vs. Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff


This could have been a great match, but instead the two babyfaces decided to keep things clean and focus on holds.

Santana held Orndorff in a headlock for a bit, then transitioned to a head scissors before slapping on an Armbar.

Mr. Wonderful then recovered and worked on his opponent’s leg for a bit and nothing much happened.

It was rather boring until the finish when the two threw the babyface rule book out of the window and brawled on the outside until they were both counted out.
Double Countout

Elsewhere the arena, Lord Alfred Sexpest continued to grope and fondle Susan, who at least pretended to enjoy it more than she had the last time.

Alfred and Vince ran down the updated tournament brackets, which now gave Junkyard Dog a by into the final as a result of the previous match’s double Countout finish.

So yes, JYD got through to the final by virtue of winning a 30-second match in which he counted his own pinfall.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mean Gene interviews Hulk Hogan



Piper came out first with a full entourage of bagpipe players, after which we cut backstage for a Hulk Hogan promo.

Having still not fully embraced the trademark red and yellow attire that he’d become synonymous with later in his career, The Hulkster cut claimed that Hot Rod had backed himself into a corner by running his mouth about being the next champion.

Cutting a charismatic figure, Hogan naturally insisted that he would topple his opponent before heading to the ring for a hot match with a lively crowd.

Though it was never going to be a technical masterpiece, the two were excellent at captivating an audience and played their roles well here, putting on a match that was a lot of fun to watch.

In the end, the referee got destroyed so Piper brought in a chair but Hogan snatched it and whacked Piper with it.

Roddy’s buddy Bob Orton then ran out, but by this time the official had risen from his nap and called for the disqualification.
Your Winner via DQ and Still WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

Backstage, JYD gave another interview to Mean Gene.

This time, he spoke at 5,000 miles an hour but somehow still mumbled his way through it.

The funniest part was that Junkyard talked about how great it was to be in Chicago while looking absolutely miserable about being there.

Semi-Final
Dynamite Kid vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth)

Dynamite and Savage took a few moments to click, but when they did, it was a thing of beauty.


Unable to get the better of his opponent in the early going, Savage took a breather on the outside but returned to deliver an excellent match that could have (perhaps should have) gone an extra ten minutes without any problems.

At the finish, Savage scaled the ropes, but Kid drop kicked him then took him down with an impressive superplex that was genuinely a major deal back in 1985.

As the crowd went crazy and Gorilla gushed over how they’d never seen such a move before, Dynamite got a roll-up but Savage reversed it and pinned his way into the final.
Your Winner: Macho Man Randy Savage

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Vince McMahon and Susan


Giving Savage a break before the main event, we next went to Vince and Susan, the latter of whom looked relived to be away from Lord Alfred but still incredibly uncomfortable to be there.

The duo showed us a clip of the Rolls-Royce that was being given away in a sweepstake before sending it down to the ring to reveal the winner.

In order to do that, Howard Finkle first had to introduce us to WWF President Jack Tunney.

Tunney announced that they’d received thousands upon thousands of entries to the sweepstakes and thanked the fans for their response.

Next, Fink introduced us to WWF promotions manager Basil DeVito who also told us that they’d had lots of entries to the competition but added nothing else.

Then, as it this wasn’t long enough, Fink introduced us to some dude from the marketing company that managed the contest.

You know what he said?

Yep, that they’d had lots of entries.

By this point, the restless crowd were loudly booing, and even though Marketing Dude’s comments were unnecessary, I couldn’t help feel bad for him as nerves were clearly starting to get the better of him.

Finally, Lord Alfred Hayes also told us about how many entries they’d received before revealing that some dude called Mark Hanley (Mark Hamley?) from Illinois had won.

The crowd booed poor Mark like he was the biggest heel in the building, and when Lord Sexpest asked them to cheer for him, they booed even louder which for some reason made Big Bad Al’ laugh his ass off.

As Alfred was talking, you could clearly hear Gorilla Monsoon taking to somebody on the headset, and it was to him and Jesse that we went next.

Monsoon found the fact that Michael had won the Roller to be quite humorous and chuckled about it before sending it backstage to Mean Gene.

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Paul Orndorff and Hulk Hogan




Hanging in the locker room, Okerlund interviewed Hogan, who was eventually joined by Paul Orndorff.

The champ insisted that he and Mr. Wonderful watched each other’s backs and claimed that they’d be ready any time
piper and Orton wanted to face them in a match.

Tournament Final
Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Junkyard Dog

WWF The Wrestling Classic Review - Junkyard Dog won the Wrestling Classic tournament



Savage hobbled to the ring looking tired and hurt after wrestling three hard-fought contests while JYD sauntered out looking fresh as a daisy after wrestling for 40 seconds in the past hour and a half and getting a bye into the final.

There’s nothing wrong with doing the weary warrior vs. The fresh-faced opponent, but isn’t it usually the face who comes out battle-worn and ready to overcome the odds?

Anyway, this was a fine main event that was given enough time and was legitimately enjoyable until JYD tossed Savage to the outside and won by Countout.

Again, shouldn’t it be the heel doing this?
Your Winner: Junkyard Dog

Post-match, Mean Gene tried to interview the Wrestling Classic tournament winner but they were interrupted by Jesse The Body.

Ventura protested that Savage had wrestled three times while Junkyard Dog had an easy night.

He had a point too, I was honestly rooting for Macho Man because Junkyard seemed like such an unworthy winner.

Deciding not to finish his promo after Jesse pointed out how hollow his victory was, a folorn-looking JYD simply chatted off-mic to Mean Gene before Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura signed off and the credits rolled.








So, was The Wrestling Classic tournament better than the never-ending nightmare that was Wrestlemania 4?

Well, yes and no.

On the one hand, there was some genuinely enjoyable wrestling here.

Savage/Dynamite was the best thing on the card while Orndorff/Orton delivered and Steamboat/Savage was also a gem.

On the other hand, I think we had like 3 clean finishes in the whole tournament and a lot of dumb booking, especially when it came to Junkyard Dog.

The guy had one three minute match against Iron Sheik, wrestled (and I use that term very loosely here) for about 40 seconds against Moondog Spot and didn’t even get a three-count from a verified official, and then sat around for an hour enjoying a bye to the final.

Then, he took on a Macho Man who had been working his ass of all night and could only beat him by Countout.

All this, and we’re supposed to think JYD has truly earned his tournament win?

It was incredibly stupid, but a good bit of nostalgia with a smattering of good wrestling to boot.



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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.