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 Roddy Piper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roddy Piper. Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Judgement Day 2003

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Event Poster

May 18, 2003
Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina

There was one glaring omission from the line-up card for WWE Judgement Day 2003:

Bill Goldberg. 

The former WCW star had been brought into the company to much fanfare and even been given a prominent position at the top of the card in a main event match with The Rock back at Backlash.

That match had bombed so badly, and the crowds had turned on Goldberg so quickly and so ruthlessly that tonight, WWE's latest big-money star wasn't even featured on the line-up. 

What we got instead were two big championship matches in Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar and Nash/HHH, and a whole bunch of Steve Austin & Eric Bischoff skits as WWE gave us the last non-big-four PPV to be co-branded for several years.

Let's get on and review this thing, shall we?

May God Have Mercy On Their Restless Souls

The Judgment Day theme always lent itself well to an awesome video package, and this year was no exception.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Tazz & Michael Cole

Our opening video mixed a spooky voice-over that spoke about the day of reckoning being upon us while we got even spookier shots of nooses and electric chairs.

All this was interwoven with clips highlighting our marquee matches for tonight’s show. This included Stephanie McMahon claiming that a stretcher match was the most barbaric match there is, a statement that is just factually incorrect.

After the eerie VO prayed for God to have mercy on their souls, pyro erupted as Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler welcomed us to Charlotte.

The Raw duo then sent us to Smackdown announcers Michael Cole and Tazz who, in turn, introduced us to the Spanish announce team as the familiar sound of glass shattering got Judgement Day 2003 officially underway.

Stone Cold in Red Neck Heaven

Kicking off the show, recently-appointed Raw General Manager Stone Cold Steve Austin came out to drink a little beer and raise a little hell.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Steve Austin kicks off the show

Austin insisted that he was ready to enjoy the show but wasn’t going to watch the show from backstage…


In a locker room…


In a chair…


In a bathroom.

No, he was going to take his beer and watch all the matches from Red Neck Heaven, better known to you and me as a standard skybox.

Six-Man Tag
John Cena and The FBI (Johnny Stamboli & Chuck Palumbo w/ Nunzio) vs. Rhyno, Spanky, and Chris Benoit

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - John Cena raps before his match

Prior to the bell, John Cena gave us a freestyle rap in which he put over his partners the FBI and wrapped up with an inevitable line about felatio.

Cena, Chuck Palumbo, and Johnny Stamboli then gave us a spirited opening contest as they duked it out with the seemingly random team of Rhyno, Brian “Spanky” Kendrick, and Chris Benoit.

The match was clearly designed to pop the crowd and get them pumped for tonight’s event without really meaning much of anything, and to that end, it certainly succeeded.

Fun and fast-paced, the whole thing was over in less than four minutes, but it was a reasonable match to kick off the show.

It ended with a win for the bad guys when The FBI double-teamed Spanky for the three count.
Your Winners: John Cena and The FBI

Out in the back, every day Man of the People Stone Cold Steve Austin had an assistant put sauce on his hotdog for him before the two were interrupted by Eric Bischoff.

Austin’s co-general manager reminded him that since they shared responsibility for running Raw, they also shared the skybox and all of its food and drink.

In a segment that was nowhere near as funny as it meant to be, Austin obliged and offered Sleazy E a hot dog and a beer, the joke being that Eric was apparently too big of a “sissy” to drink beer out of a can.

La Resistance (Sylvian Grenier & René Duprée) vs. Scott Steiner & Test (w/ Stacy Keibler)

Scott Steiner and Test had a problem with each other since Steiner came to the aid of the patter’s girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, back at Backlash 2003.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Test & Scott Steiner vs. La Resistance

Naturally, they were now doing the whole “partners who don’t get along” thing as they faced La Resistance in the French outfit’s PPV debut.

Sylvian Greenier and Rene Dupre hadn’t taken kindly to Steiner recently saying that hell and France were the same thing, leading to tonight’s match.

It was, in a word, a match.

I’ve seen much worse in my time, but I’ve also seen much, much better.

This one just kind of existed until Test accidentally knocked Stacy off the ring ropes into the waiting arms of Big Poppa Pump.

That set about the finish as Steiner got back in the ring but was accidentally booted in the face by his own partner and soon after succumbed to La Resistance.
Your Winners: La Resistance

Post-match, Keibler wanted to check on a fallen Freakzilla, but misogynist Test dragged her away.

Your Secret’s Safe With Me

Backstage, intrepid reporter Gregory Helms confronted Mr. America and suggested that his sources understood that America was actually Hulk Hogan’s secret identity.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Gregory Helms questions Mr. America about his true identity

Calling Helms’ Bluff, the masked man claimed that his own sources had actually told him that Helms was secretly The Hurricane.

Backtracking, the reporter mused that his sources may have been wrong while America gave in and admired that his sources might be mistaken too, brother.

The segment, which was way more fun than it sounds, ended with both men giving each other a “your secret’s safe with me,” nudge and a wink.

Across the way, Eddie Guerrero revealed that Tajiri would replace his injured partner Chavo Guerrero in a match against Team Angle tonight.

That was also a hugely enjoyable segment.

Ladder Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri

The term “spot fest” is often used negatively, but this wildly enjoyable tag team ladder match was proof that there can be such a thing as a good spot fest.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin head into battle

It was basically four guys wandering from one stunt to the next, but it was absolutely gripping from start to finish.

At this point I should mention the awesome Judgment Day entrance set which featured an enormous scaffold structure.

It looked mighty impressive and, honestly, if we don’t see somebody climb up it for a Shane McMahon style stunt tonight, I’m going to be disappointed.

Anyway, back to the match, this excellent contest saw Eddie and Tajiri get the better of Team Angle and scale the ladder to retrieve the gold.
Your Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions; Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri

Up in red neck heaven, Steve Austin made fun of Eric Bischoff for drinking like a sissy.

Meanwhile, Terri Runnels’ cleavage made it difficult to concentrate on Chris Jericho’s arrogant promo as he promised to become the next Intercontinental Champion.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Roddy Piper and Chris Jericho have a heated confrontation

Jericho was soon interrupted by another former champion, Roddy Piper.

The two didn’t like each other for some undisclosed reason and took plenty of shots at each other in an entertaining segment that ended with the two refusing to admit that they had a few things in common.

This was followed by a video package highlighting the history of the Intercontinental championship.

The title had been dormant since it was swallowed up by the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002 but Steve Austin had decided to reinstate it and tonight we would have a battle royal to determine the new champion.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal
Featuring: Val Venis, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Goldust, Lance Storm, Kane, Christian, Booker T

Prior to the match, the first-ever Intercontinental Champion, Pat Patterson brought out the new title belt, ready to present it to the winner of our battle royal.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Christian won the Intercontinental Championship

Val Venis then came out to the surprise of everybody, especially our announce team.

Val had previously been working as Chief Morley and had been fired by Eric Bischoff. Apparently, Steve Austin had hired Morely back as Val Venis just to screw with Bisch.

The rest of the competitors came out and gave us a better-than-average battle royal.

Everybody piled on Kane in the early going, but The Big Red Machine battled back and quickly eliminated Lance Storm before the numbers game proved too much and he was dumped on the outside.

The next few minutes then saw Rob Van Dam and Val Venis eliminated quickly and forgettable, leaving us with Booker T and Goldust facing Chris Jericho and Christian in what was tantamount to a tornado style tag match.

A brief rematch, of sorts, from their outing at No Mercy 2002, this one saw Goldust try to eliminate his buddy Booker, only for Mr. 5-Time to get a quick reversal and dump Dusty’s lad on the outside.

Christian then double-crossed Jericho, but was eliminated by Booker.

The problem was that the referee had been knocked out on the outside and never saw the elimination, so Christian stole the title belt from Patterson, knocked out Booker with it, and then eliminated him just in time for the official to see it and award him the match.

This was a good bout that I enjoyed a lot.
Your Winner and New WWE Intercontinental Champion: Christian

Out in the back, Sable talked smack to Torrie Wilson about their upcoming bikini contest then proceeded to oil herself down.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Torrie and Sable have words backstage

Torrie seemed strangely into it.

Bikini Contest
Torrie Wilson vs. Sable

Torrie made her way out first, dancing behind a screen with Lillian Garcia who was singing her theme tune before strutting to the ring.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Torrie Wilson & Lillian Garcia

With Tazz presiding over things, the two Playboy cover stars then took turns to disrobe and shake about a bit, with the crowds equally enthralled by both beauties.

Just as Tazz was about to declare the whole thing a draw, Torrie continued and stripped down to a thong and a revealing bikini top, earning her the win.

Before she left the ring, however, Wilson pressed herself up against Brock’s missus and gave her a slow, lingering peck on the mouth.

Sable was into it.

As I’ve said in the past, I normally find these kinds of segments more embarrassing than erotic, but both ladies looked damn fine here and I can’t deny I enjoyed it.
Your Winner: Torrie Wilson

Out in the back, Eric Bischoff was struggling to keep up with all the food and drink Austin was plying him with, so Austin tricked the former WCW boss into eating super hot peppers and then drinking the juice from the jar.

That was pretty funny.

Across the way, Vince McMahon interrupted Roddy Piper’s conversation with his protégé, Sean O’ Haire, to give Piper a pep talk before his match with Mr: America.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review -  Vince McMahon speaks to Roddy Piper & Sean O' Haire

Vince reminded him that without Piper being on the opposite side of the ring to Hulk Hogan at events like Wrestlemania 1 and The Wrestling Classic, Hogan wouldn’t be what he was today.

This was followed by a clip from Smackdown where Mr. America handed a US flag to a “kid” at ringside before interrupting a Piper’s Pit segment and getting his ass beaten down by Hot Rod and O’Haire.

The “kid” had then raced to America’s aid but got his ass handed to him too and his artificial leg ripped off, much to Piper’s horror.

That “kid” was, of course, Zach Gowan.

Rowdy Roddy Piper (w/ Sean O’Haire) vs: Mr. America (w/ Zach Gowan)

WWE Judgement Day 2003 - Mr. America and Zach Gowan

Prior to the match, America introduced Gowan as his special guest then proceeded to lock up with Piper in their first PPV singles contest since WCW Halloween Havoc '97.

What followed was not a great match by any stretch.

Piper looked to be in horrible shape and couldn’t really do much of anything. Despite this, he played to what strengths he had at this point in his career to at least pop the crowd.

Towards the end, Sean O’Haire tried to hit Hogan with a pipe but accidentally hit his own manager instead.

Vince McMahon then tried to stop Hogan from getting the fall but was prevented from doing so by Gowan.

The whole thing lasted less than five minutes and was a far, far cry from the kind of battles these two would have in their prime.
Your Winner: Mr. America

Post-match, the masked man put Gowan in the corner while he busted out that famous post-match Hogan posedown routine.

Out in the back, Smackdown General Manager Stephanie McMahon advised her ex-husband Triple H to be careful in his upcoming title defense against former buddy, Kevin Nash.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 - Stephanie McMahon warns Triple H to be careful against Kevin Nash

This was followed by a video package recapping their rivalry.

To sum up, Nash had returned to the company wanting to spend time with his buddies and had tried to resolve the animosity between Shawn Michaels and Triple H.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 - Triple H vs. Kevin Nash

The Game, however, had promised that he would pretty much hate HBK forever and then turned on Big Sexy, leading to tonight’s match.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Kevin Nash (w/ Shawn Michaels)

Given their superstar status, both Shawn Michaels and Charlotte native Ric Flair got separate entrances to the men they were representing tonight, but a brawl immediately broke out and the two battled to the back before the match even began.

What followed was a slog of a match that was nowhere near as bad as some people will tell you but was hardly either man’s finest hour.

After a slow-paced match that didn’t really go anywhere, Triple H got himself disqualified by smashing referee Earl Hebner in the face with a sledgehammer.

I know this wasn’t great, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Nash as a character if not necessarily as an in-ring competitor, so I had no problems seeing him out there doing his thing.
Your Winner via DQ: Kevin Nash (HHH retains)

Post-match, Big Kev got his revenge by beating the hell out of Hunter and powerbombing him through the Raw announce table.

The aftermath, in which an enraged Nash looked like a legitimately vicious monster, was way better than the actual match.

Bischoff Hurls

Up in Redneck Heaven, Eric Bischoff proved that hanging out with Stone Cold was too much for him as he barfed all over the cute blonde assistant and the live audience.

The segment was pretty funny, but I’m distracted by crushing on the blonde girl.

Give me her over any of the WWE divas any day.

Speaking of divas…

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Jazz (w/ Theodore Long) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline vs. Victoria (w/ Steven Richards)

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Jazz puts a hurting on Trish Stratus

This was a decent match in which all four women worked hard to deliver.

Unfortunately, your reviewer was so burned out by the lacklustre offerings of the last two matches that it was hard to concentrate or even care about what was going on.

That’s a shame, because it looked like this could have been good. Unfortunately, it was just another thing that simply kind of happened on a very underwhelming show.

In the end, Jazz pinned Jacqueline to retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still WWE Women’s Champion: Jazz

Up next, we got a look back at the rivalry between Big Show and Brock Lesnar and how it all started with Show bullying Rey Mysterio.

The Big Show and Lesnar would compete in a stretcher match next.

WWE Championship Stretcher Match
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show

After a disappointing show, this main event stretcher match was a fantastic way to end things.

A rematch from their previous title match at Survivor Series 2002, this was probably (if not definitely) the best match you’ll ever see with The Big Show involved.

Both champ and challenger absolutely destroyed each other in a brutally brilliant contest that captivated from start to finish.

Speaking of finish, that came about as Lesnar struggled to properly carry Show’s enormous frame on a stretcher that was just too small for him.

Thinking outside the box, the champion disappeared backstage which gave us a moment for the predictable Rey Mysterio cameo.

Rey Rey was ineffective against Show, but did distract long enough for Brock to come storming out on a forklift.

In the move of the night, he then dove off the top of the forklift into the ring, taking out his opponent with an awesome flying crossbody.

After beating down his rival some more, Lesnar put a stretcher board on the forklift, rolled Big Show onto it and drove him over the line to keep his title reign intact.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar 

That was fantastic.

You really have to wonder what went wrong for WWE in the first half of 2003.

Wrestlemania 19 had been a phenomenal show, but the two PPVs that had followed it had gotten increasingly worse.

While there was nothing truly terrible here (even Nash/HHH was passable if you don’t expect too much), nothing stood out as being anything special until that amazing stretcher match.

Sure, I enjoyed the tag team ladder match and the Intercontinental battle royal a great deal, and I’d watch those two matches and Show/Lesnar again, but otherwise, this was an underwhelming event that isn’t worth watching.

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.

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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Thursday, 22 October 2020

Movie Review: Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1998) Movie Review | Poster | Rowdy Roddy Piper
It's the end of the twentieth century and mankind has blown its wad...

If you only do one good thing for yourself today, watching the trailer to the 1988 sci-fi caper Hell Comes to Frogtown should definitely be it.

Directed by Donald G. Jackson and written by Jackson and written by Randall Frakes, this goofy b-movie may not be a cinematic masterpiece but the trailer, my goodness, the trailer may be the greatest thing of all time.

I mean seriously, it’s just about the most gloriously over-the-top slice of 1980s awesomeness that you’ve ever seen in your whole natural life.

Even if you lived through the 80s, nothing you’ll have experienced in that decade will have been as epic or as fun as the trailer for this movie.

Don't just take my word for it though. Just look at it:

What does any of this have to do with retro pro wrestling?


It stars none other than pro wrestling legend, the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper.

It's also nearly Halloween, which is the time of year when we usually post these kinds of offbeat reviews.

OK, so Hell Comes to Frogtown might be neither as good nor as memorable as Piper’s turn in cult classic They Live, but it’s certainly better than the hokey horror/unintentional comedy that was Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies.

In that film, Hot Rod had to team up with Shane Douglas to fight some zombies while Matt Hardy shagged his missus in the background.

In this one, it’s Piper that’s doing all the shagging, and saving humanity in the process.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a film in which Roddy Piper must prevent human extinction by getting laid as often as possible.

He does this under the watchful eye of an armed guard and a doctor, both or whom just so happen to be smoking hot women who Piper also gets to shag.

So far, so bizarre, right? But there is a point to all this...sort of.

Hell Comes to Frogtown finds us in a post-apocalyptic world in which repopulating the species Is top priority for the remaining humans.

To help with this of badass, sexy nurse warrior type women track down Sam Hell (good name), who has apparently been wandering the barren wastelands and shagging everything in sight.

Chosen for his magnum dong and renowned sexual prowess, the warrior nurses simply want Hell (Piper) to impregnate a bunch of women. However, it then it turns out that the woman have been captured by a race of mutant amphibian people and taken to their base (the titular Frogtown) so that the mutants can breed them to become the new superior race.

Joined by a sexy armed guard (Cec Verrell) and about equally as sexy Doctor (Sandahl Bergman), Piper’s new mission is to rescue the kidnapped women, return them to safety, and promptly give them one.

Yes, it really is as dumb as sounds.

No, it really isn’t the greatest movie ever made.

At times it’s cheesy. At times it’s absolutely ludicrous. At times it’s just badly acted and poorly written.

But at other times it’s hilarious, goofy, and -if you’re into the sight of Sandahl Bergman in her undies- even kinda sexy.

Even if it was none of those things, Hell Comes to Frogtown gave us the greatest movie trailer of all time, and for that alone it's worth all the praise in the world.

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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.