Thursday, 20 March 2014

WWE All Star Search #1: January 21st 1984 - Adam Ross

Welcome Turnbucklers! Let's get things kicked off with this Philadelphia House Show. I want to start here for one big reason and that is the fact its pre-Hogan title win. We all know how much Hogan's win changes WWE landscape forever but what was it like before? This supercard features the Iron Sheik as WWE Heavyweight Champion and also features previous title holder, Bob Backlund. We have a multi-man main event two featuring some of the biggest pre-Hulkamania era superstars so let's run down the card shall we...

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The Card:

Eddie Gilbert vs Rene Goulet 

Swede Hanson vs Paul Vachon

The Invaders vs Mr Fuji/Charlie Fulton

The Iron Sheik (WWE Champion) vs Tito Santana 

Don Muraco (IC Champion) vs Salvatore Bellomo

The Masked Superstar vs Bob Backlund

Haiti Kid/Tiger Jackson vs Pancho Boy/Dan Carpenter

Andre the Giant/Jimmy Snuka/Tony Atlas/Rocky Johnson vs Afa/Sika/Samula/Sgt. Slaughter [2 out of 3 Falls]

The Show:

We may be ready to start, but our commentary team Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon aren't, Monsoon is still talking to someone by the time the camera's start rolling.

Eddie Gilbert vs Rene Goulet 

Subdued reactions from the crowd during the introductions so I'm pretty sure they are neither here nor there for these two. Eddie Gilbert is your ultra-generic default white meat babyface and Rene Goulet is your aging heel foreigner. Goulet has a cape to emphasize his evil foreign nature. To be fair to Eddie, he's just come back after a horrible car accident that left him with a broken neck! Lots of stalling by Goulet to start that is actually quite funny. You can tell he's traditional. There's an ENDLESS headlock by Gilbert that even a graphic nose picking couldn't wain. Quick sequence for all of ten seconds before back to the headlock! Pace is slow when Goulet is in control but still somewhat vicious I guess. Awkward spot when Gilbert falls out the ring onto a chair with the ringbell on it. Crowd wakes up for Goulet going up top but he decides against it. Gilbert takes another hard fall to the unprotected ringside...and then another a minute later. Decent heat for Goulet and his push ups. Gilbert finally is allowed in the ring and produces an atomic drop which equals a bit too exagerated selling by Goulet...with extra arm flail and face bump. Crowd starting to rumble slightly while Gilbert is on offense. It doesn't last long as Goulet takes back control with more slow motion offense. There's a 4 minute head claw! Jesus! Gilbert takes back control with basic offense but the barely noticable ring bell sounds for the time limit draw mid-momentum. That was incredibly long and boring, especially for the time limit ending. Goulet was great at being his heely self but he's old now and you can tell. Movement was limited by Goulet and Gilbert was far too basic and dull to help matters. Crowd noise was all towards Goulet although it wasn't loud. Match Rating: DUD

Swede Hanson vs Paul Vachon

Straight into the next match as we have a battle of two old heavyweights. Paul Vachon you may know as the Butcher Vachon and Swede Hanson, well, he's Swede Hanson. Hanson comes out waving his Confederates flag and looks like he actually fought in that war. I love Butcher's beard but that's not enough to get me excited for this one. I thought the last match was slow, but this one is something else. Vachon controls for most of the match with some really bad punches and kicks...and thats as far as variety goes. Hanson counters with a Big Back Body Drop and Elbow Drop for the mercifully quick win. This was offensively slow but fair play to Vachon taking that BBBD, he got some decent height for a big (old) man. Crowd seem impressed though. Match Rating: DUD

The Invaders vs Mr Fuji/Charlie Fulton

Mr Fuji is spelled Mr Fugi...don't know why. The ring announcer is someone to be seen. He is what can only be described as flamboyantly styled. Mr Fuji gives us a 'Banzai!' before we start. They announce Fuji as a martial arts expert but his immense gut says different. The Invaders are two masked blokes, one of which has long hair so that's how I'll tell them apart for now. Long haired Invader has some weak ass chops. Lots of quick tags between the Invaders and some fun tag team hijinks and the crowd approve. They pull the ol' switcheroo behind the ref's back but surely he'd notice the flowing locks coming from under this Invaders mask? Apparently not. It makes less sense when they pull the same switcheroo 30 seconds later...and again after that! Who are the heels again? Fuji and Fulton take control and Fuji hits a nice suplex. Fulton has some decent offense but so far is the most unimpressive. The Invaders almost take back control...but don't. Crowd don't like Fuji's dominance. Its only when Fulton comes back in that the Invaders gain some momentum with dropkicks and an awkward cross body for a 2 count. Ref allows the illegal Invader to carry on in the ring and I don't know why, neither do the commentators. Invader 1 hiptosses Invader 2 onto the prone Fulton to get the win and the crowd like that. The Invaders looked good in this one but I can't remember seeing them too much after this. Mr Fuji had good heat and Fulton made up the spaces. Match Rating: *

The Iron Sheik (WWE Champion) vs Tito Santana [WWE Title Match]

Out comes the Iron Sheik with his massive WWE Title belt to major heat! Things are thrown and a disjointed USA chant greet him. Big cheers for Tito who is already in the ring. Tito starts off very hot using Shieks own headdress to take control early. Shieky stalls outside the ring to major heat while he regroups. He still has time to yell at people though. Back in the ring and an Atomic Drop sends Sheiky over the top rope and back to the floor. More stalling with more heat. Sheik back in but its not long before he finds himself in a sleeper. He escapes but eats a right hand by Santana then finds himself back in a headlock. Santana lets go and some quick offense follows. I see Iron Sheik do a leapfrog which I wasn't expecting! Santana covers for two but Sheik rakes the eye. Sheik works Santana over to major heat. Nice image of a crowdmember furiously flipping off Sheiky. Sheik attempts a Senton Splash but misses. Knee lift by Santana followed by a suplex attempt by both men...Santana wins it though but only gets a 2 count. Sheik counters a splash and puts Santana in an Abdominal Stretch. Tito reverses it into one of his own but Sheik escapes. He tries to take control but Tito suprises him with a Sunset Flip for 2 and a Small Package for another 2. A series of dropkicks sends Sheik out to the floor and he grabs a chair and throws it into the ring. Ref stands on the chair but gets shoved. Ref gets bumped during the kerfuffle and Tito hits the Flying Jalepeno but the ref calls for the bell. Its a double DQ for the the kerfuffle with the chair and Sheiky escapes with the belt. Fun match and Sheiky was awesome, so hateable. He just has a hateable face! Tito was his normal babyface self but the crowd were behind him. Match Rating: **

Don Muraco (IC Champion) vs Salvatore Bellomo [IC Title Match]

Another title match on this card! Both men get mixed reactions which is weird. Muraco is sporting a new beard apparently. Gotta say that the IC Title itself isn't very nice to look at, looks cheap to me. Slow start with lots of stalling by Muraco. They lock up and Muraco takes control in the corner and nails a hiptoss across the ring. A double hand slap makes a superb noise that echoes around the Spectrum. Muraco misses a charge to the corner and Bellomo nails him with a dropkick that sends Muraco outside to stall some more. Bellomo is holding his ear which I assume was from that double slap. Muraco controls again once back inside and locks on a head scissors on the mat. Bellomo escapes a second and somehow ends up back in a head scissors. Bellomo escapes again with a nice twisting leg move thing (that's the best I can do) but a knee strike to the noodle sends Bellomo flying out the ring. The crowd seems uninterested in this one on the whole. Muraco attempts a Tombstone Piledriver but Bellomo escapes and goes on the offense. He locks Muraco in the ropes and hits a cross body, nice! Bellomo releases him and works on Muraco's legs. Muraco is now bleeding from the head and is put in a sleeper. Muraco esacpes and Bellomo works him over with uppercuts until Muraco counters to take control. Bellomo sends Muraco to the corner but misses a charge, eats a somewhat awkward Sunset Flip and Muraco gets the 3 count! Decent match and Bellomo got more offense in than I expected. He showed some unique technical ability which was also surprising. Don't think the crowd ever bought into him winning though and they remained subdued throughout. Muraco was OK but nothing special to note in this one. Decent match though. Match Rating: *1/2

The Masked Superstar vs Bob Backlund

Suprisingly, noticable mixed reaction to Backlund in the announcements so I'm assuming the crowd are somewhat bored of his clean cut image. He's freshly unchampioned as of a few weeks ago and I think this is his first appearance since. Crowd does seem a lot louder than the previous match so Backlund must still have something going for him. Both men try to take control but neither really succeeds. This goes on for a while...until Backlund eventually takes control with a headlock aaaaaand Superstar escapes for more stalling to take place. Another headlock by Backlund into some fun counter wrestling on the mat all while the headlock is maintained. Headlock goes on for years until Backlund hits a forearm smash....and INTO ANOTHER HEADLOCK! After more dead time, Superstar gets a Bearhug on Backlund but it doesn't last long as Backlund counters with A HEADLOCK. Superstar escapes again and takes control with punches and forearms. Armbar on Backlund and these restholds are becoming painful to watch, so boring! Superstar works over the arm for a good few minutes until Backlund uses the ropes to escape and he bails to the floor. Despite Backlund being outside long past a potential countout time, Superstar meets him outside and now a countout starts. Both men back in and Superstar works over Backlunds arm somemore. Backlund fights out with big right hands and a headbutt to the goolies, but no DQ. He tries to pull off the mask of his opponent but fails and the Masked Superstar takes control again with a Hammerlock. Backlund escapes and smashes Superstar's face into the mat repeatedly but he sells the arm thats been worked over throughout the match. Good psychology by Backlund. Superstar misses a flying headbutt attempt and Backlund goes back go the mask but the Superstar bails to the floor. Backlund nails him into the ring barrier but Backlund is counted out very quickly. Crap ending, crap match. So many restholds it was like an anaesthetic. One redeeming feature was Backlund selling his arm. Suprised with the finish as I'd assume Backlund would be protected after his title loss but no, he loses this one.Match Rating: 1/4*

Haiti Kid/Tiger Jackson vs Pancho Boy/Dan Carpenter

Its a special attraction match, which is a politically correct version of saying midgets...despite them referring to this also as a Midgets Match. Pancho Boy looks strikingly like Tyrion Lannister. Tiger Jackson is the smallest of the four, and looks like a smaller Christopher Daniels. Pancho and Tiger start and both do some weird gyrating before locking up. The commentators are laughing from the off and this feels a little dirty. Dropkick by Jackson followed by a nice Jumping Head Scissors Takedown. Jackson is spun on his head vertically which looked awesome and he tags in Haiti Kid. A Whoopsie on Carpenter gets a 1 count. Carpenter bounces Kid's head of the turnbuckle but Kid no sells it to big laughs. He takes control with some awkward looking offense and something happens with Tiger Jackson that the camera misses but the crowd found hilarious. Tyrion comes in and uses his bigger gut to ground Haiti Kid, twice, and also Tiger Jackson. The crowd love it! Finish comes with a fun four midget criss-cross ending with all four looking confused in the ring. Haiti hits an airplane spin on Carpenter while Jackson floors Tyrion with a dropkick. Awkward counter pinning sequence ends with the 3 count for Haiti Kid. Interesting to watch albeit slightly uncomfortable. This diminished audio made crowd laughter clear as day. Crowd definitely loved it, I just feel for the wrong reasons. Match Rating: DUD

Andre the Giant/Jimmy Snuka/Tony Atlas/Rocky Johnson vs Afa/Sika/Samula/Sgt. Slaughter [2 out of 3 Falls]

The crowd finally comes alive for the main event. Andre gets the biggest reaction by far and he also still has his long hair at this point. Andre starts us off with a TRIPLE noggin-knocker on all three Samoans. Andre wants Slaughter in who teases getting in and eventually does and locks up with Andre. It doesn't go well as Andre clubs him and tags in Rocky Johnson who puts on a headlock. Atlas in now who works over Slaughter. It looks like he tagged Andre but Andre stays on the apron, still managing to make Slaughter flinch though. In comes Snuka to a decent reaction and the faces work over Sarge in their corner. In comes one of the Samoans but Andre gets a cheap shot from the apron. Snuka with an OK dropkick but gets a big pop for it. In comes Samula but he doesn't get anywhere and the Samoans re-group in their corner. Rocky Johnson back in and he tries another double noggin-knocker but Slaughter puts his hands between the noggins to somewhat prevent it...which he only half manages. If the Samoans have really hard heads...why put your hands between two of them?? Tag to Slaughter and he hits a nice elbow on Johnson. He gets him in the Cobra Clutch until Andre breaks it up with a blow to the back of Slaughter. Tag to a Samoan who gets a headbutt for a 3 count and the first fall with it! Second fall starts with the Samoans working over the now sluggish Rocky Johnson. Nerve hold applied on Johnson while the crowd chants 'Rocky! Rocky!' (sound familiar?). Andre breaks it up and the Slaughter gets a tag but its the other Samoan that comes in and the ref allows it. Scoop slam and a choke on Johnson. Johnson fights back and makes the tag to Andre who cleans house of the Samoans. Everyone comes in for a brawl but in the melee, Andre slams a Samoan and Snuka nails a cross body after jumping off Andre's shoulders for the 3 count and the second fall, 1-1! Crowd are going crazy now! Onto the final fall and Samula and Snuka start us off. Snuka with a lovely chop and Samula flies over the top rope. Snuka cleans house with more chops on the Samoans while Slaughter hides on the apron. Andre tagged back in, but Samula gets a headbutt to take him down. Andre no sells more offense and now everyone comes back in for the big clusterfuck brawl. Andre gets the winning 3 count in the melee but I can't tell you what from as the camera missed it. Decent match and the crowd were buzzing. The heels were basic as basic come but the heat was enormous none the less. Andre looked like he was having fun which is always great. Slaughter did nothing after the first fall had been and gone. Match Rating: *3/4

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Wrestler Scores:

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  • Eddie Gilbert +1 (1)

  • Rene Goulet +2 (2)

  • Swede Hanson +1 (1)

  • Butcher Vachon +1 (1)

  • Invader 1 +3 (3)

  • Invader 2 +3 (3)

  • Mr Fuji +2 (2)

  • Charlie Fulton +2 (2)

  • Iron Sheik +3 (3)

  • Tito Santana +3 (3)

  • Don Muraco +3 (3)

  • Salvatore Bellomo +3 (3)

  • The Masked Superstar +1 (1)

  • Bob Backlund +1 (1)

  • Haiti Kid +1 (1)

  • Tiger Jackson +1 (1)

  • Dan Carpenter +1 (1)

  • Pancho Boy +1 (1)

  • Andre The Giant +4 (4)

  • Jimmy Snuka +3 (3)

  • Tony Atlas +2 (2)

  • Rocky Johnson +2 (2)

  • Afa +2 (2)

  • Sika +2 (2)

  • Samula +2 (2)

  • Sgt Slaughter +2 (2)
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