Hello and welcome to the forth blog in my series. This one is a review of the little known pay per view The Big Event. And it really was a big event. Over 70,000 people crammed into The Exhibition Centre in Toronto to see their favourite WWE superstars however some big names would be missing. They did get a show for their money though with 11 big matches albeit some of them were scraping the barrel.
The last event was Wrestlemania 2 and since then all the champion had kept their gold. Hulk Hogan was still the World Heavyweight champion, Randy Savage was the Intercontinental champ and The British Bulldogs were the tag champions. This was a great time for champions actually, the title holders they had at the time were fantastic.
The big story going into this pay per view was Paul Orndorff’s heel turn. Him and Hogan had been good friends for about a year but after some stirring from Adrian Adonis on his chat show “The Flower Shop” Orndorff would leave the side of a Hogan. Bobby Heenan joined forces with Paul on a mission to take the World Heavyweight title.
So let’s being the PPV, it’ll be Gorilla Monsoon calling the action alongside commentator virgins “Luscious” Johnny V and “The Big Cat” Ernie Ladd.
Hoss Funk & Jimmy Jack Funk vs The Killer Bees ( Jumping Jim Brunzell & B Brian Blair)
Well the bad news is that Terry Funk, the leader of the Funks, had left WWE which meant this stable had to carry on without him. And sadly it meant the beginning of the end for the Funks. Jimmy Jack wasn’t actually related to Terry and Dory (Hoss) but he added something to the stable and I mean more than the Zorro mask he was wearing. The Funks came out to sirens, no music just sirens which I think is pretty cool. They were like bad cowboys.
The Bees are most of a generic face tag team with cool costumes and they start very quickly. They work well as a tag team and have really good chemistry, making quick tags in the early going. There’s lots of action and it’s fast paced which gets the crowd going. Exactly what you need from an opening match. Jimmy Hart is outside as manager of the Funks and he winds everybody up with his megaphone. He does his job distracting the Bees and after some hellish tactics, the Bees have the advantage. The referee is slow as hell with the counts making you wonder whether this match will go on for ever.
There’s a classic spot with the referee not seeing the Bees tag which gives the Funks chance to double team. Just when you think Brian and Jim are out of it they roll out of the ring and put on their Bee masks and swap the legal man. I love it but the advantage doesn’t last long. It takes another masked swap and a small package for the Killer Bees to pick the win! I enjoyed this match. It was fast paced, fun and both the heels and faces played their part well. A good way to kick off this pay per view.
Haku vs The Magnificent Muraco
Up next we have a match between two powerhouses. Gorilla Monsoon informs us that King Tonga is now known as Haku and the Magnificent one is no longer the reigning King Of The Ring so this one is not the battle of the Kings. Muraco continues to look like a fat Italian on holiday whilst Haku has the look of AC Slater from Saved by the bell. Haku doesn’t wear wrestling boots, he’s way too hard for that. He starts the match quickly but Muraco is there to slow the match right back down. Donny keeps exiting the ring much to the frustration of everyone watching. Who does he think he is, Savage? He looks knackered about two minutes into the match, gasping for every breath of air.
Haku is dominant for a long time much to the dislike of heel announcer Johnny Valiant who sounds a lot like Bobby Heenan when commentating. Ernie Ladd on the other hand sounds like Dusty Rhodes. Muraco hits a monkey flip which shocked just about everyone in the building. Muracos manager, the devious Mr Fuji gets involved, tripping up Haku. He really is devious. That gives Muraco the advantage now. Muraco locks on a sleeper and dribbles all over Haku, lovely. This match seems to have gone on for ever. Waaaaay too long. Muraco hits a headbutt to Haku’s manhood. Apparently that’s not a disqualification. Haku somehow gets the advantage after that and hits a big splash from the top rope but as he pins Muraco the bell rings.
And it’s a 20 minute time limit draw. That was painful. This match should’ve been 5 minutes maximum, not a 20 minute broadway. Yawn. Haku should’ve won, Muraco should be putting over younger talent. But for the second PPV in a row, Muraco draws his match.
Bobby Heenan is interviewed and is as awesome as always. He says that tonight he’ll be unmasking Andre The Giant. His newest client Paul Orndorff gets a World title shot later and Heenan is confident he’ll be bringing home the title. We’ll see.
Ted Arcidi vs Tony Garea
Garea seems to be winding down his career now, mainly being used as a jobber and putting new guys over. Today should be no different as he takes on Ted Arcidi. It’s probably worth mentioning that Garea is filling in for an injured Tony Atlas in what was supposed to be a battle of the “Worlds strongest men”. Garea has been called a lot of things but world strongest man is not one of them. Arcidi is a big old unit. He is just thick, comparable in size to Alexander Rusev. Tony is tiny in comparison. Garea tried to wrestle but Arcidi is not a wrestler, he’s just a big powerful unit who counters most of the wrestling moves with powerslams, chucking Garea from one side of the ring to the other. It’s a fairly back and forth match that ends quickly courtesy of an Arcidi bearhug. Could it be onwards and upwards for Ted? Sadly not, it’s the last PPV appearance of this up and comer. Short match but not too sweet.
Adrian Adonis vs Junkyard Dog
Adonis and the Dog are up next. Both guys haven’t faired too badly in the last year although it looked like JYD who was on course for bigger things. Adonis seems to have more make up and gets bigger and bigger every time I see him. Junkyard Dog is the first man tonight to have a big entrance, coming out to his familiar music. The two men get straight into it and it doesn’t take long for JYD to use his chain as a weapon which should surely be a disqualification? Apparently not, the match continues.
The Dog starts quickly but the match only lasts a few minutes. JYD shoves the referee, knocking him to the floor and Jimmy Hart, manager of Adonis uses the opportunity to spray some cologne looking liquid into JYDs eyes. Hart doesn’t stop there, he gets involved a fair bit even jumping onto the apron and shoving JYD. Junkyard responds by shoving Adonis into his manager on the outside of the ring and the bell then rings for a count out. Which seems bizarre because Adonis was only outside of the ring for a couple of seconds. It’s a shame because this match had a lot of potential but the ending ruined it. JYD wins by countout.
“Iron” Mike Sharpe vs “The Rebel” Dick Slater
A first time pay per view appearance for both of these guys. Sharpe is a grizzled veteran used mostly for developing talent whilst Slater is a blue chipper, new to the WWE. Both men are out and it’s a slow man to get going. Sharpe plays the heel very well and he’s really entertaining on the whole. He plays the coward much better than Muraco did earlier, I think it’s his girly screams that make it seem convincing. It’s a back and forth match, again quite a short one made up mostly of basic wrestling moves. The match ends with an axe handle off the top and a roll up. a good win for Dick Slater.
Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy & Bobby Heenan vs The Machines (Super Machine & Big Machine) & Capt Lou Albano
I think a little back story is required for this one. The Machines are a new team “from Japan”. They’re all masked big men and there are three of them. However, only two of them (Bill Eadie and Blackjack Mulligan) are in this match. The third (Andre The Giant) is on the outside and Heenan has vowed to unmask him to be Andre which would get the suspended giant in trouble. So let’s get to the match, the first six man tag on WWE PPV. The Machines come out to some music as a lot of the newer guys tend to now. Andre is unmistakably on the outside of the ring, Heenan is in a singlet and Albano wears his normal gear.
This is very much a power match. There are no fancy wrestling moves, no high flying, these guys are all big dudes who hit hard. Heenan seems focused on unmasking the machines and tries it early in the match with no success. The match continues and it’s back and forth for the most part, with all four big men getting the upper hand at one time or another. I have become and John Studd fan through watching his early work. He’s an excellent heel who just looks like he hates everybody.
It takes a while for Captain Lou to get into the match and as I notice this, he gets the tag. Him and Heenan go toe to toe much to the crowds delight but Heenan makes the tag and suddenly it becomes three on one in the heels favour. This causes “Giant Machine” to get involved and clean house. Andre, sorry I mean Giant Machine, isn’t supposed to be involved though so the bell rings and Heenan, Bundy & Studd get the win by disqualification. An entertaining match.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Snakepit Match
The first ever Snakepit match is up next which means it’s anything goes, except animals, they’re banned from ringside. This match on paper is fantastic, Steamboat is one of the best workers in the company whilst Roberts is one of the best ring psychologists. Roberts is already in the ring whilst Ricky comes out to an entrance theme. The two men get straight into this one, I love Jakes jabs. So simple, yet so effective. Steamboat soon gets the advantage and cleans house though much to the fans enjoyment. Eventually it settles and Steamboat starts well, using submission holds to wear his opponent down.
It doesn’t take long until both men are on the outside of the ring and it’s The Dragon who is first to use a chair. They make their way back into the ring and we’re back to the submissions. At this point, the crowd break out into a “Jake” chant. And I don’t blame them, the submissions are stinking this match up. Ricky has been dominant in this one until Jake turns the tide and throws him over the top rope, narrowly missing the wooden steps outside of the ring. Wooden, eh. Outside of the ring, Jake slingshots Steamboat into the ring post. Nice, you don’t see that often. Steamboat is now bleeding from the head. Roberts rolls Ricky back into the ring and pins him but Ricky reverses and pins Roberts for the three count. Jake does not like this and throws a tantrum in the ring. A huge win for Steamboat in a soli mid-card encounter.
Hercules Hernandez vs Billy Jack Haynes
Well this feud dates back through every promotion these two guys were ever in together. No music for either fella as Hercules comes out still looking like Eugene Dinsmore and Billy Jack comes out looking like a cross between Flash Funk and “Dr Death” Steve Williams. A good look though. Johnny V And Ernie Ladd have apparently not come back to commentate and not long after, Gorilla Monsoon seems to lose his mic. Audio problems ahoy. Luckily we have the crowd chanting to Hercules that he needs a haircut, which keeps us entertained.
The match is pretty back and forth with no man getting the edge for too long. Billy Jack shows us his strength though as he gorilla press slams Hercules, which is some feat of strength. There are a few “boring” chants now which are very audible as the commentators are still having mic problems. Oh, Gorilla is back now. Hercules now has the edge now, using power moves and the odd resthold to keep Haynes down. This is accompanied by more boring chants. The match ends with Hercules attempting a neckbreaker and Haynes reversing it into a backslide for the three. I know the crowd found it boring but actually I didn’t think it was the worse match of the night by a long shot.
The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine) vs The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond)
The Rougeaus brother make their PPV debut in the WWE in their home country of Canada which is a nice touch. The Dream Team are still looking to get their tag team titles back from the Bulldogs but they’ll have to settle for Jacques and Raymond first. The Dream Teams manager is up on commentary and back for this match thankfully. The Fink announces Brutus as 270 pounds and Valentine as 240 which is hard to believe. The Dream Team get the early attack in but The Rougeaus’ soon turn the tables and get the advantage in the early going.
For the mid part of the match it’s quite back and forth as most matches seem to be in this era. Finally we have Ernie Ladd back on commentary and a full deck at the announce table. We also have the slowest referee in the world making the slowest counts in the world. Little brother Jacques is a loud seller, screaming in agony nearly as loud as “Iron” Mike Sharpe earlier in the night. Brutus Beefcake is getting a lot more in-ring action in this match compared to the tag title match at Wrestlemania 2. I guess he must be improving. I quite like Beefcake. All hell breaks loose in the match with all four men going for it but it soon simmers down and we’re back to the two legal men.
Valentine is dominate, although he may regret wearing his red trunks tonight as he looks like a third Rougeaus brother. The Dream Team continue to get the better of their opponents but the referees slow counts stop them from clinching the victory. Eventually, the hot tag is made from Raymond to the younger Jacques and he comes in fresh as a daisy. He hits a dropkick to both members of The Dream Team at the same time, a move I really don’t like the look of. Valentine manages to get the advantage and locks in a figure four leg lock on Jacques but Raymond breaks it up. He then goes for it again on Jacques but Raymond sunset flips Valentine and gets a three count! Raymond wasn’t even the main man. The referee is horrendous though and doesn’t pick up on that. It’s rare that the commentators will slate the referee for a decision but Monsoon is quick to say the wrong man got the pin. A win for the Rougeaus in any case.
Pedro Morales vs King Harley Race
Next up is a rematch from the 1986 King Of The Ring final. Apparently the WWE didn’t want to recognise Harley Race’s previous wrestling accomplishments in other promotions so hotshotted him as King Of The Ring to give him some wrestling pedigree. Morales as the only triple crown winner in WWE history at this point gives the match between these two veterans some juice. The match is back and forth of course but only short. There’s a cool spot where Race throws Morales through a table. Both guys look out of shape and the third man in the ring is the slowest referee in the world again. Harley Race gets the win just over three minutes into the match with his feet on the ropes. The crowd aren’t happy and a “bullshit” chant breaks out. Big win for Race in his PPV debut.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff – WWE World Heavyweight Title Match
Our final match has a lot of back story. Orndorff has turned his back on year long friend Hulk Hogan after some stirring from Adrian Adonis. I do wonder whether Hogan suggests heel turns when faces get too close in popularity to him. I’m not a big Orndorff fan though so I couldn’t care either way. He looks like He-Man. And is one of four men to feature on every PPV so far. Orndorff and Heenan come out to Real American which I originally thought was a mistake but turns out it is just heel tactics to the max. Hogan comes out straight after with no break in the music and for the first time we see him in yellow and red. The crowd go nuts for him. Hulkamania is really starting to take off.
The match starts with a lot of energy although the referee grabs Hogans hair to get him off Orndorff which I thought was a bit strange. Hogan starts well though until Bobby Heenan (still in wrestling gear) slaps the champion. Orndorff takes over now and is dominate for a while. Hogan has a plaster on his ear. Random. Hogan pushes Wonderful into the referee which was a bit heelish of him. He then poses and gets the crowd going, holding them in the palm of his hand. Heenan runs in though and attacks Hogan with a stool! Orndorff then rolls Hogan over and pins him and the referee seems to make a count of Orndorffs back. The bell rings and Wonderful celebrates with the belt but wait! The referee has given the disqualification win to Hogan. The two men brawl and Hogan cleans house, cue Real American and celebration from the champion.
Rating: 6.5/10* Match Of The Night
And that folks is The Big Event. It was a funny old pay per view. It started off with a lot of energy, The Killer Bees warmed up the crowd but then it had a bit of a lull. The next four matches featuring Haku, Ted Arcidi, JYD & Dick Slater were pretty bad. They really bought the PPV down a notch and made it seem more like a live event. The second half of the PPV would send the fans home happy though. The semi main event 6 man tag match had a great story, Snake and Steamboat had two great characters going head to head and the Dream Team/Rougeaus match was a good one despite the finish. The main event despite the dodgy finish was a decent one and the fans are eating out of the palm of Hogans hand. Overall, it had a few highlights but not a memorable pay per view because of the filler. It certainly missed Intercontinental champion Randy Savage, Tag Team Champions The British Bulldogs and Rowdy Roddy Piper.
Overall Rating: 38/100 (Ranked #3 of 4)