Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Killer Bees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Killer Bees. Show all posts

Monday, 27 June 2022

EVENT REVIEW: WWF The Big Event (1986)

WWF The Big Event - Event Graphic



August 28, 1986,
Exhibition Stadium, Toronto, Ontario

Although currently classed as a PPV (sorry, Premium Live Event) on the WWE Network, WWF's The Big Event was never broadcast on Pay Per View, or anywhere else for that matter other than the fondly-remembered Coliseum Home Video.

Despite that, it was a phenomenal success for the World Wrestling Federation, attracting some 65,000 fans to the Torono Exhibition Stadium for a world title main event between reigning champion, Hulk Hogan, and his arch-nemesis, Paul Orndoff.

Here's what went down:






Welcome to Toronto!


Our show tonight began with a helicopter’s eye view of Toronto with Mean Gene Okerlund giving a voiceover in which he pretended to be on the actual helicopter.

C’mon Gene, your fooling nobody with that one.

As the ‘copter flew across the city and random shots of tonight’s stats were intercut, Okerlund told us how amazing Toronto was before putting over tonight’s big matches.

The wrestling clips from this intro were clearly from the event itself and the first thing you notice is just how loud and crazy the crowds were.

WWE may be more profitable than ever these days, but you can’t help but wonder if the part of Vince McMahon that still cares about his product doesn’t pine for the days when he could pack an arena full of fans who were genuinely this enthusiastic.

Hoss & Jimmy Jack Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Killer Bees (Jumpin" Jim Brunzell & B. Brian Blair)

With the intro, we cut straight to our opening contest with both The Funks and The Killer Bees already in the ring and the trio of Gorilla Monsoon, Big Cat Ernie Ladd, an Lucious Johnny Valiant on commentary.

The match was -I kid you not- fantastic.

OK, so if you compared it to a modern day Bryan Danielson classic it probably doesn’t seem all that fantastic, but it was way better than I expected for a 1986 WWF show.

The Killer Bees clearly brought their working boots and kept up a relentless pace, so relentless that there wasn’t a single moment when I could pause to grab a half-decent screenshot because everybody just kept moving.

Meanwhile, The Funks proved to be the perfect heels for the match, countering B. Brian Blair & ‘Jumpin’ Jim Brunzel’s fast-paced technical style with underhand tactics and general bad guy shenanigans.

It was a lot of fun.

In the end, the ‘Bees decided to confuse both their opponents and the referee by donning masks so that nobody could tell who was who.

The confusion allowed Blair & Brunzel to pick up the win.
Your Winners: The Killer Bees

That whole mask gimmick seemed like something heels would do, the crowd were so vocally into The Killer Bees that it was met with roaring approval.

King Tonga vs. The Magnificent Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji)

WWF The Big Event Review - Magnificent Murraco vs. Haku


King Tonga was, of course, a svelte and youthful Haku and he was booed by the Toronto crowd just as loudly as his opponent, Magnificent Muraco, which makes it impossible for this writer to tell if Tonga was a heel or a face here.

The match went to a full 20-minute time limit draw but it was heavily clipped so we didn’t see the whole thing.

The heavy editing job was welcome here because this was far from the most exciting match you’ll ever see.

The parts we were shown were mainly rest holds and Muraco slowly, methodically working Tonga’s legs.

I’m not prepared to say that it was awful because it was very much a match of it’s time period, but you do have to question how boring this match really was if all the highlights were so uninspired.
Time-Limit Draw

Moving on…

Ted Arcidi vs. Tony Garea

WWF The Big Event Review - Ted Arcidi



This wasn’t a good match. The crowd didn’t care about it at all and spent half their time looking at something elsewhere in the arena while Tony Garea clearly did his best to make Ted Arcidi look good but failed.

After less than three minutes (at least as it was shown here) Arcidi took Garea out with a bear hug.

To be fair, that finish was at least funny.

To really sync the hold in, Arcidi bounced up and down with Garea in the bear hug so the referee started bouncing up and down with them and it looked like all three were having a fun time.

At least they were because I’m sure nobody who watched this match had fun.
Your Winner: Ted Arcidi

WWF The Big Event Review - Mean Gene Okerlund interiews Jimmy Hart



Out on the arena floor, Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart.

Hart began to rant about all the terrible things The Junkyard Dog had done to him and swore that he’d get revenge tonight.

Before he could go any further, Hart was dragged away by the man who would get that revenge for him, Adorable Adrian Adonis.

Adorable Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Junkyard Dog

WWF The Big Event Review - Adorable Adrian Adonis with  Jimmy Hart



I appreciate this may be blasphemy to some, but I’ve never really understood why Junkyard Dog is held in such high regard.

In all the years that I’ve been watching pro wrestling, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a good match.

Of course, it didn’t help that Adonis was his opponent tonight.

Now fully into the flamboyant, gender-bending ‘adorable’ character, Adrian had really let himself go by this stage in his career and couldn’t seem to wrestle a decent match if his life depended on it.

In fact, this match tonight was only a few months removed from his horrible Wrestlemania 2 match against Uncle Elmer which for years had been the worst match I’ve ever seen in my life until I recently watched the scaffold match from WCW Great American Bash ‘91.

Anyway, not only was this match not great from a wrestling standpoint, it made absolutely no sense.

Early on, JYD blatantly pummelled Adonis with his steel chain right in front of the referee who let it slide.

Then, Junkyard (who was the babyface, remember) grabbed the same referee and threw him across the ring in what I’d describe as a pretty unprovoked attack.

Instead of calling for the DQ, the ref simply let it slide and the match continued.

The two combatants then brawled to the floor and barely beat the referee’s ten count.

Once back in the ring, JYD threw Adonis back outside and the referee instantly called for the bell without bothering to give Adonis a ten count.
Your Winner via Some Bullshit Finish: Junkyard Dog

Seriously, what the heck was that?

That was either the worst case of biased officiating ever seen in favour of a babyface or that idiot referee had never seen a pro wrestling match before in his life.

Dick Slater vs. Iron Mike Sharpe

WWF The Big Event Review - Dick Slater Haters Are Greater



Dick Slater wasn’t dirty yet and that made him the babyface here while Iron Mike
Sharpe was a heel whose loud, vocal selling really made this entire match.

The version shown on the WWE Network wasn’t very long and the action itself was decent but forgettable, though Iron Mike’s constant backing off and loud “no! No! No!” Yells every time Slater came near him made this a pretty fun match.

Slater won with an elbow from the top rope to Iron Mike’s head.
Your Winner: Dick Slater

WWF The Big Event Review - Mean Gene interviews Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan



Back on the arena floor, the ever-entertaining Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan spoke to Mean Gene about his involvement in our next match.

Heenan was, just as you’d expect, excellent at riling up the crowd here.

The Machines (uper Machine, Big Machine & Captain Lou Albano w/ Giant Machine) vs. King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd and Bobby Heenan)

WWF The Big Event Review - The Machines



For those unfamiliar with The Machines, the story goes thusly:

Andre The Giant was in a feud with Bobby Heenan and his crew. Giant no-showed a match which led to Heenan calling for his suspension.

The storyline suspension was granted, which gave Andre the chance to take time off to rehab an injury and film The Princess Bride.

When he returned, the suspension was still in place, so Andre did the whole “masked guy who’s real identity is obvious” ala The Midnight Rider, The Yellow Dog, Mr. America etc and called himself The Giant Machine.

Captain Lou Albano had then recruited two other masked machines who were better known as Bill Eadie and Blackjack Lanza, and thus we got tonight’s match.

Though this was far from a technical masterpiece, the crowd were hot for it and the competitors did their best to keep them hot, which made for entertaining viewing.

After a decent big man match, all hell inevitably broke loose and Giant Machine -who wasn’t officially involved in the match- stormed in and attacked, causing the referee to call for the bell.
Your Winners via DQ: Bobby Heenan, Big John Studd, and King Kong Bundy.

Post match, Andre beat up Heenan who sold like an absolute hero.

Howard Finkle then announced the heels as the winners by disqualification and the babyfaces looked absolutely shocked, as if they didn’t know that having an illegal man come in the ring and attack would lead to a DQ.

Maybe they were hoping they’d have the same dumb ass official from the JYD/Adonis match and expected a different outcome.

Snake Pit Match
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat

A snake pit match was basically a no-DQ, anything does match.

WWF The Big Event Review - Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs. Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat



To the surprise of no one, this was the best match on the card so far by a country mile.

The two wrestled, they brawled, Ricky Steamboat got busted open, and Jake Roberts was so good that the crowd seemed to love him despite him being a sinister heel.

After an excellent battle, Roberts had Steamboat beaten down and battered into a bloody mess, but The Dragon caught him off guard with a roll-up at the last second and snatched victory from the proverbial jaws of defeat.
Your Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat

That was good.

Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez

It’s interesting seeing Billy Jack Haynes looking so well put together here when I’ve been far more used to seeing him lately as the portly Black Blood at events like Clash of the Champions 15 five years after The Big Event took place.

As the two locked up, it became obvious that Gorilla Monsoon was calling this match solo, and was doing so from a studio rather than an arena. 

Gorilla explained the jarring change in commentary by claiming that his colleagues Johnny Valiant and Ernie Ladd had gone out to buy groceries.

Because, you know, what a normal thing to do while you're in the middle of calling a wrestling show.

Nothing really happened in this match, so a clearly bored Monsoon went through the motions and spent as much time bigging up the magnitude of the event as he did calling what little action there was to call.
Your Winner: Billy Jack Haynes

The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond) vs. The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine)

I’m very much one of those people who believes that opposing wrestlers shouldn’t wear the same attire, but apparently, Greg Valentine wasn’t.

He wore the exact same trunks as his opponent which looked kind of dumb and occasionally gave the impression that he was on their team.

Having returned from his grocery shopping, Valentine and Brutus Beefcake’s manager, Johnny Valiant cheered them on as they gradually picked apart The Rougeau Brothers and gave us a solid, formulaic tag team match.

I don’t mean “formulaic” in the bad sense either.

The standard tag team match formula has worked for decades, and it certainly worked here, giving us a match that may have been the best thing on the card had we not seen the Roberts/Steamboat match.

As a side note, I love the way Gorilla Monsoon consistently referred to Raymond Rougeau as “Ray-moan.”

Speaking of The Rougeaus, as good as The Dream Team were at being the aggressors, Ray-Moan and brother Jacques were effective as the popular babyfaces.

That said, they were obviously much better as heels, if only because their heel run gave us one of the greatest pro wrestling themes of all time.

After a well-fought match, The Rougeuas emerged victorious thanks to a sunset flip by Jacques.
Your Winners: The Rougeau Brothers

And on we go..

Harley Race vs. Pedro Morales

We joined this match in progress and I’ve read some pretty poor reviews of it, but I honestly didn’t think it was that bad.

Clocking in at a little under four minutes, it was obviously designed to give space between the excellent tag match and the main event, and it served its purpose well.

After a few short minutes of decent but unremarkable action, Handsome Harley Race got the win with his foot on the ropes.
Your Winner: Harley Race

Post-match, the crowds chanted loudly. I thought they were changing “Hogan!” But Monsoon said they were letting it be known what they thought of the match which may mean they were actually chanting “Bullsh*t!”

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff

WWF The Big Event Review - Paul Orndorff thinks he's the champion!


This was a good Hogan-style main event with Paul Orndorff getting the best out of the reigning champion.

This was the match that had sold out the venue to capacity, so it was no surprise that the crowd were red hot for it, and that level of pure excitement helped to elevate this one to something special.

After a good 80s-era WWF main event match, Paul Orndorff got disqualified when his manager, Bobby Heenan, struck Hogan with a chair.
Your Winner via DQ and Still WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

Afterwards, Heenan put the belt on Mr. Wonderful who proceeded to attack Hogan, only for the champion to make his big comeback to send the crowd home happy.








The Big Event was big in stature but not so big on quality wrestling.

I can’t remember the last time I watched a wrestling event with such a large audience of fans who were so rabidly enthusiastic and genuinely excited to be there.

Yes, I know Wrestlemania is a humongous event these days, but while it may match tonight’s event in terms of the crowd it draws, modern day Mania pales in comparison to The Big Event in terms of a lively, impassioned crowd.

Still, the match quality wasn’t great. Although I personally enjoyed the opening match much more than many other reviewers seem to, and although the main event was good for a Hulk Hogan title defence, only Dragon/Snake and the Dream Team/Rouegaus matches stood out as being particularly excellent from a pure wrestling standpoint.

Not the greatest show of all time then, but certainly one I’m glad I watched.



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.