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Thoughts on Starrcade 83

The first WrestleMania started with The Executioner, and the first Starrcade begin with a pair of Assassins. They scored a surprisingly clean win over Rufus R. Jones and Bugsy McGraw.  Rufus was the Mid-Atlantic heavyweight champion, and here he was jerking the curtain in a tag match.

Mark Lewin & Kevin Sullivan also scored a clean win, and I thought "Hmm, they didn't really do anything evil." So Gary Hart threw them a spike and they busted open Scott McGhee's head and Angelo Mosca's arm. Was that bloodbath necessary with Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher up next?

I showed Abby to my daughter and said, "This is the guy who chased Daddy out of the ring in Cleveland." I explained that I moved faster than I ever have in my life because Abby always busted his opponents with a fork. She asked, "The referee just lets him do that?" She had a point. Even in the "Night of the Butcher" main event I called for ROH, Abby was allowed to mutilate his opponents with impunity.

With Abby's win, followed by Bob Orton & Dick Slater beating Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood, the heels won the first four matches. The babyfaces evened the score by sweeping the final four matches.

When they announced that Great Kabuki's TV title was on the line for the first 15 minutes, I thought I knew the finish. But good oi' Charlie Brown surprised me by winning the title.

Roddy Piper and Ric Flair are two of the greatest villains of the 80s, but they were the two top babyfaces on this night. Piper gained revenge on Greg Valentine, who was in the same spot as the secondary champion that he was at the first WrestleMania.

Flair wins the MVP award, surely the first of many in my next book, "King of Atlanta." Not only did he win the NWA World title in a bloody steel cage match against seven-time champion Harley Race, but every fan who got on the microphone in the Greensboro Coliseum predicted that he would win. Flair didn't let them down.

Edited by Gorman
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Always good to see your hero not letting you down, in case of Flair and his Greensboro fans, but since I think the first Starrcade was tagged "Flair (flare?) for the Gold", the fans must have felt PRETTY confident in their predictions! Hell, they could have called the show "Race for the Gold" just to put some doubt into fans' minds! I guess that name would have worked better for the rematches (if there were any at the time).

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I apologise if this has been mentioned elsewhere, but at some time in the last few days, they pulled WrestleMania 24 down from the Network. No explanation offered anywhere I've seen, though the running guess is they are redubbing some piece of music or another.

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20 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

I apologise if this has been mentioned elsewhere, but at some time in the last few days, they pulled WrestleMania 24 down from the Network. No explanation offered anywhere I've seen, though the running guess is they are redubbing some piece of music or another.

Yeah - apparently PWI (lord knows I am not infecting my computer to double check) confirmed it was taken down due to the dispute over Floyd Mayweather's entrance music.

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Thoughts on Starrcade 84

Denny Brown won the junior heavyweight title from Mike Davis with the "Oops! I pinned myself" back suplex finish. 

Jesse Barr retained the Florida title with the "feet on the ropes for leverage" finish. Referee Tommy Young missed that one. Why was the Florida title on the line in Greensboro, N.C.?

Assassin #1 fully expected to be cheered by the fans for opposing Paul Jones, even though he didn't bother to change his "masked bad guy" appearance or name.

When I saw that Jimmy Valiant was competing in a loser-leave-town match against Jones, I thought I knew the finish because he had already done the "Charlie Brown" gimmick. Well, he left town again because JJ Dillon hit him with a weird object that looked like a hairbrush.

Dick Slater was doing the same fired-up babyface act that he later did in the WWF as "The Rebel." However, he was so fired up that he knocked down the referee, costing him a chance to win Ron Bass's Mid-Atlantic title.

Manny Fernandez and Dusty Rhodes were the World tag team champions, but they both went for singles titles on this night. The aerial camera showed a lot less blood at this point in the night than at Starrcade 83, but Manny and Black Bart changed that in a bloody brawl. Manny won the brass knuckles title, which was so important that it didn't have a belt. 

Ricky Steamboat is the MVP for valiantly fighting through a rib injury to mount a strong challenge to Tully Blanchard's TV title. He also was smart enough to set up the stipulations that Tully could lose the title by disqualification or by running away. Unfortunately, Steamboat didn't count on Tully using a foreign object right in front of Tommy Young's face and not getting caught.

Superstar Billy Graham was WWF champion six years earlier, but here he lost to Wahoo McDaniel's tomahawk chop.

Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes battled for the World title and a million dollars. Not trusting Tommy Young in such a big-money match, Jim Crockett Promotions brought in Joe Frazier as referee. Of course, the biggest wrestling match of the year had a boxing finish. Frazier stopped the match due to a huge cut above Dusty's eye. Dusty cried foul and said he wanted a fight with Frazier, whose post-match explanation made perfect sense. 

Sidestepping the controversy, Flair basically said, "I've got the belt, I've got the check ... see you next year!"

Edited by Gorman
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16 hours ago, paintedbynumbers said:

Great news!  The WWF Challenge episodes coming are from 1986. They will start with episode 1 which is when Harley Race was crowned king.  Really looking forward to seeing this in great quality!!

At least it's not 1995 episodes, when it was 99% squash matches (and I know what I am talking about, in 95 there were two WWF shows on German TV: Superstars and Challenge - until Challenge got replaced by Action Zone, I think; once WWF switched TV station in early 96, we finally got Raw).

What was the WWF TV show hierarchy in 86? I realize that in the long run Superstars was the A show and Challenge the B show (while PTW stood a bit outside the hierarchy due to the different focus), but in 86, the line ups at least look to be pretty comparable.

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1 hour ago, Robert s said:

What was the WWF TV show hierarchy in 86? I realize that in the long run Superstars was the A show and Challenge the B show (while PTW stood a bit outside the hierarchy due to the different focus), but in 86, the line ups at least look to be pretty comparable.

Superstars was very much the A-show, I feel like shortly into 87 WWF Challenge was already 99% squash matches and maybe 1 or 2 midcard angles would start on Challenge here and there.

But as someone that somehow grew up in a market that had a station airing Wrestling Challenge but no stations airing Superstars, I have to say that if a major angle or match happened on Superstars, there was usually a recap that same week on Wrestling Challenge, sometimes through Mean Gene's "WWF Update" segment or a simple voiceover with Gorilla talking about "this week on Superstars", I never felt lost or feel like I missed any angles or storylines as a kid. And if it was something major, like a title change, they would typically air the match/segment in its entirety, "courtesy of WWF Superstars".

And if you had cable and could watch Prime Time Wrestling and All-American Wrestling like I could as well, those shows would layer in enough Superstars/Challenge recap segments within the arena and exclusive matches that you could not have Superstars in your market or miss it due to a bad timeslot and still get just enough of the big picture.

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30 minutes ago, Matt D said:

The deal with Superstars is that it usually aired first, no?

I have in my head that Superstars was meant for Saturday airing, with Challenge meant for Sunday airing, though obviously the nature of syndication meant there were probably some stations here and there that played loosey-goosey with that.

As someone that did a run-through of 87/88 Superstars a few years back and interspersed some Challenge episodes in there, there were definitely some Superstars episodes promoting "and this week on Saturday Night's Main Event, check your local listings" for SNME airings with the same episode date as Superstars, and if Challenge aired or recapped an angle from Superstars it was usually that same weekend. 

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3 minutes ago, Matt D said:

In Boston they were back to back on Saturday morning, with candlepin bowling after Challenge.

Too bad you didn't live here when we had duckpin bowling on Baltimore TV. 

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I remember Superstars and the Canadian version of Challenge, WWF Cavalcade, both being on Saturdays. They actually aired back to back, Superstars at noon on WUTV and Challenge/Cavalcade at 1pm on CHCH.

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Started with Wrestling Challenge episodes. Funny to see baby Shane Douglas (as Troy Martin) against Paul Orndorff. Was this before or after Douglas was known as Troy Orndorff somewhere? Anyway, you could already see Mr Wonderful's left arm starting to atrophy this early on, even though at this point it still looked almost normal. Well, better than "normal" but in comparison to his right arm.

Later on, you could see The British Bulldogs facing The Moondogs and Dynamite Kid could be seen losing plenty of mass even before his back injury. He must have been a physical wreck already at this point, but the steroids and pain pills kept him from realizing how close he was to collapsing.

I have seen the Haku, Duggan and Savage coronations, but this may very well be the first time I have seen the Harley Race one.

Also, in the second episode, Hart Foundation cut a promo and Bret used "the best there is..." catch phrase already at this point. And he hadn't even won a title yet in WWF and he already knew! Furthermore, Rougeaus cutting a face promo was weird, eventhough I very clearly remember them being faces early on.

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More Challenge this morning as we have more weird shit, with Virgil (as Lucius Brown) facing Paul Orndorff and Douglas again (this time as Mike Kelly) against Butch Reed. The most perplexing thing about this was Honky Tonk Man making his debut as a face and even Hogan cutting a promo in his support. This seems like such a retcon, instead of a plan all along. Rougeaus vs Mr electricity Steve Regal and Bob Bradley was another match with a surprisingly big name as a jobber.

Furthermore, having The Flowershop, Piper's Pit and The Snake Pit as alternating talk show segments (and there's Body Shop, too?) is confusing and pointless af.

It was funny seeing Muraco being the voice of 2021 defending Adrian Adonis' right to dress as he pleases in a free country against Piper's "I have kids, I don't want them to see this idiot" -rant! Then they proceeded to beat the fuck out of Piper! Face move, in today's world.

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5 hours ago, Shartnado said:

It was funny seeing Muraco being the voice of 2021 defending Adrian Adonis' right to dress as he pleases in a free country against Piper's "I have kids, I don't want them to see this idiot" -rant! Then they proceeded to beat the fuck out of Piper! Face move, in today's world.

I know it was a different time but it really was unnerving seeing episode one and part of the crowd chanting the F word (not fuck, you know what I mean)  But aside from that it was neat to see Challenge from '86.  I grew up with the early 90s versions which were good so it's neat to see how it started.

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The Challenge episodes have been an amazing throwback to my childhood! I hadn't seen those neon stylized portraits they used to announce who was on the show in years. I've given a few shows some quick scans, will have to make time to sit down and watch them in full soon.

One of the highlights of my scans was a super fun Kamala/Moondog Spot match

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2 hours ago, Infinit said:

The Challenge episodes have been an amazing throwback to my childhood! I hadn't seen those neon stylized portraits they used to announce who was on the show in years. I've given a few shows some quick scans, will have to make time to sit down and watch them in full soon.

One of the highlights of my scans was a super fun Kamala/Moondog Spot match

Think that was in the Kamala RIP thread, yeah. Super-fun while it lasted, with the two Memphis guys deciding to throw everyone's expectations out the window and mix things up.

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Thoughts on Starrcade 85

Starrcade 85 finally started the show with the national anthem, rather than playing it before the main event (83) or the USA vs. Soviet Union match (84).

Manny Fernandez outlasted Abdullah the Butcher in a bloody Mexican death match, which sounded much tougher than a Sombrero on a Pole match. The ring announcer simplified it even more by saying "capture the hat."

More blood in the next match as Ron Bass and Black Bart blew up their Long Riders team in a Texas bullrope match. If you love cowbell shots to the head, this is the match for you.

One year after helping Paul Jones win at Starrcade, JJ Dillon got a "manager wins!" moment himself when Bart returned and gave Bass a piledriver.

Buddy Landell had blond hair, wore a fancy robe and called himself "The Nature Boy" in the same promotion as Ric Flair. This would be like the WWF having a blond, muscular mid-carder named Hulk Richardson.

In addition to too many Nature Boys, this show had too many tag team championships. Ole & Arn Anderson retained the National tag team belts by beating the U.S. tag team champions, Wahoo McDaniel & Billy Jack Haynes. Why not unify the belts, since they represent the same country?

Magnum TA won a brutal war with Tully Blanchard in a steel cage I Quit match to regain the US title. Like the Hardy Boys and Finn Balor, he appealed to all audiences with his looks and toughness.

The Midnight Express wore tuxedos to their street fight with Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively. Seems like a big waste of money!  Now I want to see this happen in the movies.

Despite Magnum's heroics, Dusty Rhodes is the MVP. He challenged the Flair-Race winner at Starrcade 83 and complained about Joe Frazier costing him the title at Starrcade 84. So finding himself in the main event again, Dusty had to win the gold, and he did. After the match, he dedicated the win to all the blue-collar workers. That's so Dusty.

 

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If the first episode of Icons featuring Yokozuna is any indication then this should be a great series.   A great 1 hour plus documentary about his life and career.     The ending of this was really sad and they go into details about Yoko massive weight gain and how it was impacting his in ring stuff.  Also never heard of people eating "turkey ass"  but apparently he ate a ton of it at his physical worse.  Some of the fascinating thing I got was that apparently that he was supposed to be a Headshrinker but got injured and had to be replaced with Rikishi and Bret Hart's thought about the Wrestlemania 9 match in Vegas.   I will have to watch this again but Bret's claim is that it was a really strong match and then Yoko got tired and then went straight to the finish.  Didn't seem like it at the time but maybe so.  Completely shits on the Hogan part of 1993.  But mostly this is about great person he was to all the people and his family

The Batista Day of 2014 Royal Rumble is just fascinating.  We know what the result what and we know what ended up happening but man to say that Dave had a really hard time at this Rumble is an understatement.  Ring trunks made almost an hour or 2 before match.  Ring boots where the zipper breaks as the Royal Rumble match is going on and doesn't get fixed until maybe 3 or 4 spots before he comes out.  Plus that he was already injured going into his return match.   Talk about chaotic.     The really mind blowing is we have all of this shit with Daniel Bryan and who is Batista is talking to after the match:  Connor the Crusher,  Daniel Bryan's best friend.   Saying that he was rooting for Batista.  So remember marks, even Connor thought Batista should have won 

 

 

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