Hey folks I’m back and this time I’m reviewing WWE’s second PPV (or first depending on how you look at it). 8 months after the original installment of Wrestlemania, we have Wrestling Classic.
So what do we know about Wrestling Classic heading into the PPV? Well, we know that there is a 16 man tournament. There is no prize as such but it would certainly put the winner in with a shout of the World Heavyweight title (or so you should think). We also know that Hulk Hogan defends his World title against top heel Rowdy Roddy Piper in a match that should really have took place at Wrestlemania.
So to get you up to date, a few things have changed since the last pay per view. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine lost his Intercontinental title back to Tito Santana. Also, The Iron Sheik and Nikalai Volkoff lost their tag team straps back to Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda who in turn lost the titles to “The Dream Team”, Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. Not that any of that matters because neither sets of titles are on the line tonight.
So without further ado, Vince McMahon opens the show with the tournament brackets with Lord Albert Hayes. They take us through some highlights from the draw which includes a cameo from Mr Fuji who for some reason I find hysterical.He’ll be joining Don Muraco later on. We then get some drivel from WWF President Jack Tunney, who of course was not any sort of President but a booker up in Canada. Great, so the scene is set and we know the brackets. The big matches to look forward to in the first round are British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith vs. Ricky Steamboat and “Cowboy” Bob Orton vs. (now a face) “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. So let’s get started.
Adrian Adonis vs. Corporal Kirchner – Tournament First Round Match
Adonis is in the ring with his manager Jimmy Hart and is soon joined by Corporal Kirchner who is lucky enough to have an entrance. First thoughts on Adonis are that he has put on a lot of weight since I last saw him. That would have been back when he was tag team champion, he seemed in much better shape back then. But he seems like he has more of a gimmick now. “Adorable” Adonis is a camper and more arrogant. Kirchner makes his PPV debut and looks in good shape. He looks like WWF’s answer to the recently departed SGT Slaughter.
Adonis dominates for most of the match which is about 3 minutes long. He’s the veteran so it makes sense for him to have controlled this one. In the end Kirchner goes for a suplex but Adonis manages to reverse it into a DDT for the victory. Not a classic match by any means but it means that Adonis is the first man in the quater finals, could the vet be getting a singles push? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Dynamite Kid vs. Nikolai Volkoff – Tournament First Round Match
An interesting first round match here. Two men that are probably better suited to the tag team division at this point in time. Volkoff a former tag team champion whilst Dynamite an aspiring champion as one half of The British Bulldogs. We are treated to the Soviet National Anthem from Volkoff as we are with many of his matches but oh dear this taunting of the crowd backfires. Mid-note Dynamite flies off the top rope, delivering a dropkick and quickly covering him for the win! Dynamite with an upset victory setting him up with a match against Adrian Adonis in the quater finals.
A couple of promos to break up the action. One from a happy Adrian Adonis who seems confident enough on the stick and the second from Randy Savage who isn’t happy with Elizabeth for drawing him Ivan Putski, that match is up next.
Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ivan Putski – Tournament First Round Match
Randy Savage had not long made his debut in the WWF but he was over. And he looked like a million dollars. Well, actually he looked ready for bed, walking out in a gold robe. Pomp and Circumstances is his entrance song that he seemingly had since day one. He plays the cowardly heel well, using Miss Elizabeth as a shield before doing a “Pearl Harbour job” on Putski.
Putski looks so outdated. I don’t know what it is about him. He’s quite short, balding, hairy and just doesn’t fit in with the rock and wrestling era of WWF. Oddly he spits in Savage’s face, quite the heel move. The match itself isn’t Savage’s finest but both men do well to make Ivan look strong. Which is the extent of Putski’s gimmick, being strong. In the end it’s Savage who wins with a pin out of nowhere and using the ropes to get some extra leverage. Miss Elizabeth isn’t too happy about that apparently.
Another quick match, not even 3 minutes long but these matches have to be quick since there are so many of them.
Niklai Volkoff isn’t happy. I quote “he who laughs last laughs the best and I haven’t finished laughing yet”. I don’t know what he’s laughing about, Dynamite Kid beat him in 9 seconds.
Ricky Steamboat vs. British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith – Tournament First Round Match
Two very popular faces go up against each other in this one. Both are already in the ring, but can Davey Boy join his tag partner in the quater finals? McMahon and now Ventura mention that this match will feature “scientific wrestling”. I’m not totally sure how much the Bulldog is a scientific wrestler but we’ll soon find out.
Well, it starts off with submission holds from Davey boy and a nifty kick up from Steamboat. Maybe this will be scientific! Bulldog dominates the match and this one seems to end before it gets started. He dropkicks Steamboat into the ropes and then attempts another dropkick but misses. Smith instead dropkicks the ropes and the referee calls for the bell! Apparently Smith can’t carry on! A bizarre ending to what had the makings of a very good match. Again this one clocks in at a few seconds shy of three minutes. Three minutes seems to be McMahons orders for the first round.
The Junkyard Dog treats us to a generic interview. He’s up next against The Iron Sheik.
The Iron Sheik vs. The Junkyard Dog – Tournament First Round Match
Both of these guys were involved in title matches at the previous pay per view so could be considered solid mid carders. JYD in particular is over with the fans and at the forefront of the Rock and Wrestling era. He gets his own theme music that helps rally the fans and gets them cheering. This doesn’t last long though as Sheik attacks him prior to the bell, just to get the advantage.
The match itself was back and forth. A lot of these matches don’t follow the convention of “heel dominates match” that we see these days. Usually it’s the veteran that will control the match but this one is back and forth. Eventually The Iron Sheik locks in his Camel Clutch finishes and sadly it looks pathetic. He just seems to be sat on JYD’s back. I’m not sure if JYD got out of it or Sheik just gave up, none the less, Sheik gets off and shoves the referee which gives the Dog time to get up and hit the former World champion with a headbutt for the victory.
Terry Funk with a quick interview. He wants the World Heavyweight title and he wants Paul Orndorff and the bounty that Bobby Heenan has put on his head. Tobacco spitting Funk is up next against Moondog Spot.
Moondog Spot vs. Terry Funk – Tournament First Round Match
Funk has recently been targeting Hogan so you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that he might be a dark horse in this tournament. He has arguably the easiest first round match ahead of him against Moondog Spot. However in an odd turn of events Terry Funk announces that he doesn’t want to fight Spot. He just wants the World title and suggests that he and Spot just walk out. Now Moondog Spot isn’t the brightest and decides to walk out. Funk has other motives though and attacks the Moondog. The two go back and forth outside the ring but at the very last second Moondog Spot slides back into the ring for the victory. Ridiculous scenes. Massive upset.
Don Muraco and his manager Mr Fuji are backstage. Fuji is hilarious. I’m not sure he’s meant to be but he is. Muraco thinks Santana is the favourite in the tournament and he could be right.
Tito Santana vs. Don Muraco – Tournament First Round Match
Santana sure is over as the reigning Intercontinental champion. This is of course a non title match as we are reminded by the commentators numerous times. This match was pretty back and forth. I was looking forward to seeing Santana as he’s one of the more fast paced wrestlers on the roster but he didn’t really get chance to showcase this. Muraco looks out of shape and past his prime in this match. Saying that, he is the reigning King of the Ring after defeating Iron Sheik in the finals of the 1985 tournament.
Muraco looks like he could be on the way to a second tournament win after a powerslam and a three count from the referee. In confusing scenes the bell rings but Santana gets back up and cradles Muraco for the actual victory. Apparently Tito had his arm under the ropes. Replays back this up and Santana progresses to the quater finals.
Bobby Heenan is backstage and wants Paul Orndorff taken out. He’s confident that Cowboy Bob Orton can do that in the upcoming tournament match.
“Cowboy” Bob Orton vs. “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff – Tournament First Round Match
This is the first round match I’ve been looking for. This is a big grudge match featuring two men that were on the same team at the last PPV. It’s the only first round match with any backstory and meaning. It seems much bigger than the other tournament matches. The crowd give Orton the loudest jeers of the night so far whilst Orndorff gets the biggest cheers. I like Orton as a heel, there’s just something very devious about him. I’m not totally sold on Orndorff though. If I was to bet on a man to win this tournament it would be Orndorff, he seems to be the #2 face in the company right now following Hogan.
Orton dominates for much of this match and we’re treated to his bare arse as Orndorff pulls his trunks down with a sunset flip. Orton is such a coward, running away at times and being the tough guy when he needs to be. Orton does something to his cast, I’m not really sure what, he just seems to loosen it and spin round. He then hits Orndorff with it which causes the disqualification. Orndorff goes through to face Santana in the next round. Probably the best match of the evening so far.
Vince McMahon is backstage with Lord Alfred Hayes and some lady who I didn’t catch the name of. I’m sure she’s some 80’s US light entertainment star. Alfred Hayes comes across as very creepy in these segments. McMahon notes that the time limit in the first round matches goes up from 10 minutes to 15. Not that 10 minutes was needed, no match went over 6 and a half minutes and there was only one that went over five minutes. Terry Funk interrupts McMahon and tells him that he wants Hogan. Sewing the seeds early for Wrestlemania II? We’ll have to wait and see.
Dynamite Kid vs. Adrian Adonis – Tournament Quaterfinal match
Two interesting choices for the quater finals. Dynamite had a quick victory in the last round so I hope we get to see a bit more of him in this one. He starts quickly which is what we expect to see. At this point Jesse Ventura leaves the announce booth to go talk to Randy Savage. Gorilla calls the action alone for this one. Adonis takes a more slow approach to this match using power moves and submissions. The Kid comes back into it though and quicken the pace before shoving Adonis into his manager Jimmy Hart and pinning the veteran. Dynamite walks out looking injured whilst Adonis has a tantrum in the ring.
Ricky Steamboat vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Tournament Quaterfinal Match
Steamboat is already in the ring for this one whilst Randy Savage gets his usual big entrance and appears in different ring gear to before. This should be a great match. Save and Steamboat are two of the best workers in the company. Sadly it’s quite a short match but it’s fast paced with some high impact action. Savage plays the cowardly heel so well, hiding behind Miss Elizabeth. Savage takes the victory after hitting Steamboat with some brass knucks. Devious. Savage goes through to meet Dynamite in the semi finals. The match itself is the best one of the night. Great stuff and a preview for Wrestlemania III.
Rating: 6.5/10* Match of the Night
We go backstage and Moondog Spot is with Meneg Gene ahead of his match with fellow dog, Junkyard Dog. Spot stands there chewing on a bone. Very very odd.
Junkyard Dog vs. Moondog Spot – Tournament Quaterfinal Match
Now I know what a Junkyard Dog is but what is a Moondog? Well I don’t know and I don’t get much time to think about it. In 45 seconds JYD defeats Spot. To add to this bizarre night there is no referee in the ring! Junkyard takes it upon himself to make the count and progresses to the semi finals against the winner of the Santana/Orndorff match.
Tito Santana vs. “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff – Tournament Quaterfinal Match
The final quaterfinal match is between the man I think will go the whole way and the man Don Muraco thinks will go the whole way. Me and Muraco never saw eye to eye. Two big fan favourites in this one. Santana goes down the technical wrestling route and shows how much he loves a headscissors, locking in countless in the early going. It’s just occurred to me that Paul Orndorff looks like a less masculine Nicole Bass. This match is dull. It is long submission hold after long submission hold. This match is the longest so far tonight, clocking in at 8 minutes but boy is it bad. Eventually it results in a double count out. Which means JYD progresses to the final to meet the winner of Savage and Dynamite. This match? Awful.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper – World Heavyweight Championship
Why isn’t this match closing the show? If the tournament was a big deal you could maybe understand why but it’s not. Apparently the semi final is a big dealer though. This is the big match and the only one with any meaning tonight. I’m sure there’s some logic behind it. Anyway, both men come out to big entrances. Piper first with his merry band of bagpipers and then Hogan to his new theme music “Real American”. Hogan dressed all in white, maybe they thought he’d look more pure as a baby face in white. Piper attacks Hogan before the bell like many of the heels have tonight. It doesn’t take Hulk long to come back though and soon clears the ring of his nemesis.
Piper is great at a selling. It’s not too over the top and seems very natural. Hogan on the other hand is great at working the crowd. He really does have them in the palm of his hand. Hulks mania is really taking off now although arguably not at it’s peak just yet but the crowd are buying into it. This match is really high intensity. There aren’t so many rest holds, it’s all big impact like a true heavyweight match. At one point Hogan grabs the referee and rips his shirt. Whether you’d get away with that now, I don’t know.
The match ends with Piper throwing Hogan into the ref. the referee hits the deck and the challenger grabs a chair. After hitting Hogan with it, the Hulkster grabs the chair and uses it himself. As the referee wakes up, Hogan gets Piper in a sleeper but before he can rap out his bodyguard “Cowboy” Bob Orton makes the save causing a disqualification. This makes me think that they wanted this feud to continue but never again would these two meet at a PPV. This a tach was fairly enjoyable. It was too short though really and given more time it could have been something much more special.
JYD is backstage. Mend Gene tells him that Alfred Hayes thinks he’ll make it all the way to the final. News flash: he’s already in the final.
Dynamite Kid vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Tournament Semi-Final
Dynamite seems. To be carrying an injury for this match and hobbles to the ring whilst Savage once again gets his big entrance. Surely there’s only one winner in this one. I like Dynamite but he is no Savage. But in a card where Moondog Spot beat Terry Funk, anything is possible. This match was fairly short compared to the last few matches, clocking in at five minutes. It was back and forth and again, I could see these guys having a really good match given more time, but time they did not have. In the end there was a big superplex off the top rope, something Gorilla Monsoon had never seen before. Dynamite hits the big spot but it’s Savage that rolls up kid for the win. And so the final is complete. Randy Savage vs Junkyard Dog.
We are treated to one of the worse segments I have ever seen. The Rolls Royce sweepstake. The entire crowd are booing it. It was horrendous. Jesus. Nobody cares.
Junkyard Dog vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Tournament Final
Well here we have it folks, the big tournament final. If I were to place a bet before it began I probably would have gone for an Orndorff/Savage final but it’s JYD that represents the baby faces in this final. Savage plays the heel so well. Hiding behind Miss Elizabeth once again. Most of this match took place outside. At one point Savage used a chair which surely should have been a DQ but the referee just watched him do it. It was back and forth and had some good action outside of the ring but sadly this match finished much like how Moondog Spot won his match, by count out. A disappointing finish to an altogether disappoint night. Congratulations Junkyard Dog, maybe one day you’ll be world champion.
So overall, it was a fairly disappoint night. I like a tournament, they’re good fun but this one seemed very odd. So many questions I would want to ask the bookers. Why couldn’t Bulldog carry on? Why did Moondog Spot beat Terry Funk? Why did the bell ring in the Santana/Muraco match? Why was there no referee in the JYD/Spot match? Why didn’t the world title end the show? Why did Savage Iain the tournament by count out? So many odd decisions. But Savage was definitely a worthy winner and a Hogan keeps his title too.
Overall Rating: 36/100