Badseed's Bottomline #361:
Greatest Pre-Wrestling War Memories
Hey yo!! After my last column, I started thinking about how much I miss watching wrestling when they did something special and it meant something. You know the days of Wrestling Superstars and Wrestling Challenge when the show surprised me with a classic match or interview segment. Here are some of my memories:
Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage: I never saw anything like this before. It was a good match; nowhere near their Wrestlemania III classic, but the match started off well and then, out of nowhere, Randy Savage went crazy and dove off the top ropes with the ring bell across Steamboat’s throat. I swore Steamboat swallowed his tongue when it happened. It looked sick and I never saw anything like it before. It was so realistic and I couldn’t believe Savage would do such a thing. The WWE played it perfectly and Steamboat didn’t come back for some time. The WWE tried a kick ass angle where Kane stomped on a chair and damaged HBK’s throat. He was coughing up blood. It was great and then HBK came back so quickly and it was like nothing had ever happened. Oh, and then Kane turned face. Back in the day, the WWE knew how to draw out an angle and kept it interesting. Hell, they even had the feud between George “The Animal” Steele and Savage play out for over a year. What happened to Creative?
The Hart Foundation beat the British Bulldogs for the titles: I couldn’t believe it. This was the first title change I ever saw on free television. It also brought the evil referee saga of Danny Davis to a conclusion. Davis had been messing up every match. I just knew Billy Jack Haynes was going to take the IC title from Randy Savage, but his biased officiating ruined a great match. And in this tag-team title match, he just let the Hart Foundation get away with everything. Dynamite Kid was taken out of the match early and the start of the brilliant WWE career of Bret Hart was truly taking shape at this point.
The Young Stallions beat The Hart Foundation: Mr. T was the guest enforcer. It was an angle they were playing out to give Mr. T a new spotlight in the company. The Young Stallions were jobbers; Paul Roma and Jim Powers, but on this night, they did the impossible and were able to beat the tag champs in a non-title match. This was before the 1-2-3 Kid beat Razor Ramon or Barry Horowitz beat Chris Candido. This was a true upset. Sure, the Hart Foundation won the rematch, but this was the first time I saw a championship team lose a match like this.
Strike Force beat The Hart Foundation: I was surprised by this because I never thought of Strike Force as a threat at all. The match was actually so good that I popped so loudly when they won, because the Hart Foundation had done everything to hold on to those titles. They needed to lose and I was happy they did. Who would have thought a team like Demolition would come along and destroy tag-teams like Strike Force and dominate the scene for several years, even longer than LOD could accomplish in the WWE.
Andre The Giant confronts Hulk Hogan on Piper’s Pit: Wow! It was the greatest confrontation ever. Andre ripped the cross off Hogan and left a trickle of blood running down his chest. Piper, who hated Hogan, showed so much concern to make the scene that much more believable. “You’re bleeding.” And then they faded to black. You don’t get better moments than that.
Roddy Piper returns: Piper took time off to film They Live and he came back as a good guy; a guest on The Flower Shop. He ripped on Adrian Adonis and Don Muraco for stealing his gimmick. Muraco was hosting The Body Shop for Jesse Ventura at the time. He mocks Cowboy Bob Orton for becoming Adonis’ Ace. And the three attack him, beating him viciously. Piper was decimated. The next week, Piper came back and destroyed the Flower Shop with a baseball bat. Good stuff.
Paul Orndorff turns on Hulk Hogan: Orndorff and Hogan became friends after Wrestlemania II and Mr. Wonderful got into a heated argument with Bobby Heenan on the Flower Shop. Orndorff promises that he and Hogan would beat King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd. First, they have a warm-up match against the Moondogs, which Orndorff wins on his own, never tagging Hogan. For some reason, I didn’t catch on. Next week, Orndorff turns on Hogan in the big match and piledrives him. Whoa. That’s probably the first turn I ever saw. I was so mad at Orndorff. I couldn’t stop talking about it. How dare he?
Big Bossman turns face: Jake Roberts took Ted Dibiase’s Million Dollar Belt and out of nowhere, Big Bossman attacks Roberts, takes the belt and is prepared to give it back to Dibiase when Slick tells Brother Love that Bossman’s services were paid for by Dibiase. Realizing that he was paid off and was not just righting the wrong of theft, Bossman turns on Slick, his partner Akeem and Dibiase, goes back to Roberts and gives him back the title. Wow. That was actually a complex storyline for that time. I never expected the turn. Really cool.
Hercules sold into slavery: In probably the biggest mockery of a heinous action in our history, Bobby Heenan’s business relationship with Ted Dibiase continues as he sells Hercules to be Dibiase’s slave. Yes, that was the only way they could be turned Hercules face. It was a bad angle, but for some reason, I really liked that Hercules was turned face.
Dibiase tries to buy the belt: In the most shocking moment, Dibiase elevated himself to the main event scene when he announced that he would buy the world title from Hulk Hogan. Hogan would not accept the offer, but the feud continued when Dibiase paid for the services of Andre the Giant. The Giant beat Hogan in a tainted match on Friday Night’s Prime Time Main Event special and gave the belt to Dibiase. The switch was not allowed and the title was held off, leading to the main event at Wrestlemania IV. Great angle.
Hercules and Ultimate Warrior square off: For years, Hercules used that chain and swung it around to show how strong he was, but when Ultimate Warrior snapped the chain…well, that just meant that Warrior was stronger now, didn’t it.
Rick Rude tries to hook up with the wrong girl: Rude kissed girls in the audience all the time, so it was cool when the woman he “chose” to kiss was Jake Roberts’ wife Cheryl. Roberts came out from the shower to attack. It was so realistic how it was played out and a feud was born that crossed a lot of line of taste. Rude had a picture of Cheryl’s face airbrushed on his tights. Roberts pulled the tights off and the first wardrobe malfunction was shown on television with a censor mark. LOL. Funny stuff.
Killer Bees break out the mask: Wow. Did I just see the good guys cheat to win? A major first during that era.
Ron Bass carves Brutus Beefcake’s head: I couldn’t believe it. The Outlaw Ron Bass attacked Beefcake and used his spurs to carve into Beefcake’s skin. Back then, such imagery was too graphic for television. They x’ed it out. Must have been violent. Cool.
Ken Patera attacks Bobby Heenan: They did debates in the WWE back then, too. Patera came back to the WWE, but Heenan, his former manager, never did anything for him when Patera was legitimately sent to prison. During heated words where a number of bleeps were used, Patera wrapped a belt around Heenan’s neck and snapped him across the ring. Back then, that was pretty violent and made it that much more realistic, too.
Tito Santana vs. Iron Mike Sharpe: This was actually a great match. At the time, Sharpe was a jobber, but was once an accomplished wrestler. This match closed out Wrestling Challenge and was pretty long. They had to take a commercial break and even said that they received additional time from the network to show the conclusion of the match, which gave it that live feel. Suddenly, Santana hit the Flying Burrito out of nowhere and got the pin. The show went right to the wire and may have been a minute over. It made me feel that anything could happen in the WWE, even in a jobber match. Too bad that’s not the case anymore.
The Rockers Split: This was awesome. On The Barber Shop, HBK and Marty Jannety hugged, but out of nowhere, HBK threw Jannety through a plate glass window catapulting HBK as a major player in the WWE. He would never look back from there. It was the only memorable moment from The Barber Shop, but it was a major moment that changed the face of wrestling.Oh well, that’s all for today. Feel free to share your memories. I think next time I will talk about my favorite wrestlers who never won a title from back in the day. Let me know what you think. Peace.
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