Thursday, 3 April 2014

WWE All Star Search #3: Brawl to End It All - Adam Ross

Welcome Turnbucklers! Its edition #3 and it's The Brawl to End it All! This one is a biggie history wise as this was WWE's big break so to speak. The Rock 'n' Wrestling connection was under way with Cyndi Lauper and her fella/manager creating bridges between WWE and mainstream pop culture. This show had a portion featured on MTV at the time and that was a big deal regarding viewing figures. Strangely it was the women's match that was showcased as the main story going into this was Lauper vs Albano represented by a women's wrestler each. For added intrigue the women's title was on the line. Not only that but every men's title is being defended and we have a Battle Royal to boot so let's rumble on!

The Card:

Sika vs Ron Shaw

The Iron Sheik vs Tony Garea

Tito Santana (IC Champ) vs 'Cowboy' Bob Orton [IC Title Match]

Bob Backlund vs Butcher Vachon

Hulk Hogan (WWE Champ) vs Greg Valentine [WWE Title Match]

Antonio Inoki vs Charlie Fulton

Adrian Adonis/Dick Murdoch (Tag Team Champs) vs Sgt Slaughter/Terry Daniels [Tag Team Title Match]

The Fabulous Moolah (Womens Champ) vs Wendi Richter [Womens Title Match]

Paul Orndorff vs Cheif Jay Strongbow

Afa vs Rene Goulet

20 Man Battle Royal

The Show:

We kick things off with Mean Gene but he ain't alone, he's with the WWE Champ, Hulk Hogan. We are 6 months into his title reign so far and the belt itself is a different design than the last time we saw it. I definitely prefer this smaller style. The word Hulkamania is used for the first time in the blog and Hogan puts himself over and Hulkamania over while claiming that the potential list of challengers to his title 'turns him on'. Frisky. We leave Hulk posing for the camera and I gotta say, that was one of his more easily understandable promo's. It was OK and Hogan looked to be having fun.

Our commentators tonight are Gorilla Monsoon and Mean Gene Okerland.

Sika vs Ron Shaw

It seems since last time, Sika (and I assume Afa too) has had a bit of a popularity boost as he gets most the positive reaction in the intro's while Shaw is booed. Sika can't be too much of a Wild Samoan judging by how maticulous he is with folding his t-shirt. We start with a gentle shove by Shaw but he bails out the ring before anything happens. They try a couple of lock ups but nothing comes of it until Shaw gets caught in the ropes and sent outside with a forearm to take a breather. Back in and both lads trade punches until Shaw is levelled by a running elbow. We have eye racks and hair pulling from Shaw now but Sika nails a headbutt and then locks on a chinlock. Shaw's punches are no-sold by Sika and then he eats a headbutt for his troubles. A snapmare by Sika and back to a chinlock. Shaw escapes but quickly eats a headbutt for a 3 count. Another stinker of an opening match. Match Rating: DUD

The Iron Sheik vs Tony Garea

Straight into the next match now and we have Tony Garea, who I'm sure is still looking for a new tag partner 6 months later, as well as The Iron Sheik with Freddie Blassie. Must mention the lovely all gold number Blassie is wearing. Tony Garea looks more like Alvin Stardust every edition which isn't a good trend. Still big heat for Sheik which is good as he hasn't really been doing much since his title loss 6 months previous. Sheik mouths off to the fans to stall and gets a USA chant in return. (Wrong chant number 1 - Tony Garea is from New Zealand). Headlock to start by Garea followed by a scoop slam and a headlock takedown. Lovely sunset flip by Garea gets 2 and back into the headlock. Sheik escapes, goes for a boot to the chest but its countered into an atomic drop which Sheik sells like a botched circumcision...and back into a headlock. Shoulderblock by Garea but he then eats a right hand by Sheik. That allows some crucial posing time for Sheik to some decent heat. He goes for a big back body drop but eats a boot to the face by Garea. Hip toss, dropkick and cross body gets a 1 count for Garea. Sheik whipped into the corner but he reverses it, Garea goes chest first into the turnbuckle and backs into a lovely back suplex for the 3 count! Enough entertainment in this one to keep it away from DUD territory and decent heat for Sheik. Garea is just a means to an end now. Sheiky mouths off after the match and camera cuts to a fan who is clearly a little too much so, he has a police escort. Match Rating: 1/2*

 Tito Santana (IC Champ) vs 'Cowboy' Bob Orton [IC Title Match]

This one should help the pace pick up now. Tito had won the IC Title from Muraco earlier in the year and was now well into his run. Orton is a new recruit to the WWE and was one of a few people to appear on this card who also featured on the first Starrcade at the end of 1983. Big cheers for Santana which he didn't have 6 months ago. They lock up, shoulderblock by Orton but Santana comes back with repeated armdargs. He locks in an armbar, its countered into a head scissors by Orton...but countered again back into an arm bar by Santana. More chain wrestling until Orton escapes to the ropes for a breather. They tease a lock up but it doesn't happen. Wristlock by Orton is countered into Hammerlock by Santana and countered again by Orton into a Hammerlock of his own into a pinning predicament. Santana whipped into the corner and Orton misses a charge, hurting his elbow. Santana working over the elbow! Nice! Santana upto the second rope and levels Orton with a right hand. Santana back to working over the arm, elbow and shoulder of Orton and locks on an armbar although not for long. They lock up again and Orton takes control with some aggressive quick punches. Orton hits what I can only describe as a galloping stomp...seriously, it was very horselike and Tito sells it like death. Orton taunts the crowd and it seems VERY familiar to see. A lovely running powerslam only gets 2 for Orton so he responds by working on the lower back! Nice! Psychology 101 in this one - Tito aiming for the arm, Orton aiming for the lower back. Orton lifts up Santana and nails him with a backbreaker for a close 2 count. Santana tries fighting back with right hands to the mush and the crowd love it. Orton, the heely bastard that he is, takes back control with an eye rake and we go into a headlock. Santana fights out with an arm drag but Orton levels him again with a boot to the tummy for 2. Scoop slam on Santana and Orton goes up top, tries for the VaderBomb but eats nothing but knees! Santana is pumped now and goes to work with right hands, Orton flops down and eats a knee drop. Ortons head now repeatedly driven into the mat but Orton takes back control AGAIN with a thrust to the throat. Not for long as Santana gets him in an abdominal stretch. Orton reverses and locks on one of his own! Nice! A hip lock by Santana breaks it up and onwards with the right hands until both men collapse to the mat in exhaustion. Suplex by Orton and he tries for a second but its reversed into a small package for 2. Santana goes for a cross body but eats nothing but air and regret. Orton whipped into the turnbuckle, eats a low punch by Santana and clotheslines himself off the top rope. Orton goes for a piledriver but eats a back body drop. Into the corner for 10 punches but Orton counters into an atomic drop half way through. Wait a minute...the bells goes and we've reached a time limit! No! Both men continue slugging it out afterwards until Santana is left in the ring. Crowd shit all over the draw. Either way, was still a really good match with top psychology and plenty of opportunities to get behind Santana. Orton was methodical and aggressive and the similarities between himself and his son are glaringly obvious here. It annoys me to think Orton will never get WWE gold when putting on matches like this. Tito was the typical babyface but the crowd seem to love him although I find him dull. Everytime it seemed the fightback was on, Orton cut it short and I loved it! That's not to take away from his performance here as I think it's the best Tito Santana match I've seen so far. I can't blame those who give this match a higher rating than myself as it would've been a classic in 1984...but it's 2014 so... Match Rating: ***1/2

Bob Backlund vs Butcher Vachon

Straight into the next match and after the last one, I somehow expect this not to match up in quality. Bob Backlund is still around 7 months after his title loss and Butcher Vachon is scary looking, but if he wins this, I'll eat my own face. Backlund dodges Vachon to start and the crowd go...uninterested. We almost get a wristlock but don't and Backlund does some more avoiding. Vachon takes control with punches and a shoulder thrust in the corner. Backlund reverses a whip attempt into a scoop slam, holding Vachon up for a while which is really impressive to see. Cross-face Chickenwing applied and Backlund gets the quick win. I really want to give this a DUD for wasting my time and yours but that slam was impressive. Match Rating: 1/4*

Into the back with Mean Gene and Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine. Greg promises Hogan he will feel the figure four leglock and...that's it!

Still in the back, this time with Mean Gene and Hulk Hogan. When Hogan puts the Hammer down, he's calling New York City electric company to shut off all the power because 'everyone will be glowing' and we're not going to see anything. That doesn't make sense Hulk, but at least you seemed pumped up.

Hulk Hogan (WWE Champ) vs Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine [WWE Title Match]

Out comes Valentine to big boo's, although many of them will be shared with Captain Lou who is out with Hammer. Hogan comes out to an explosion of noise and his entrance really makes him look like a superstar. He's still in his white ring gear here. Seriously, the reception for Hogan is amazing. Hammer tries to pearl harbour Hulk but to no avail as Hogan levels him with right hands sending Hammer staggering across the ring. Whip into the corner and Hammer face flops to the mat. If a Hammer falls in the woods and no ones around to hear him, does he make a noise? Hammer begs for mercy, tries for a cheap shot, gets countered and eats an atomic drop to send him flopping to the mat again. Hammer tries to escape but gets slammed back inside for his trouble. Chinlock applied by Hogan to bring the pace and crowd to a simmer. Headlock reversed into a nice back suplex by Hammer and then into a camel clutch. Hogan powers out but Valentine regains control and hits a flying forearm for 2...and another 2. Hammer works over Hogan with punches, elbows and knees. Hogan reverses a suplex attempt into one of his own. Lovely shoulderbreaker by Hogan followed by a big boot out of the ring. Hogan follows outside for a brawl and nails an atomic drop. Back into the ring we go and Valentine nails a knee as Mean Gene calls him a 'capitalist'. Elbow gets 2 for Hammer and into another headlock we go. Valentine heads outside and nails Hogan with two (very weak) looking chairshots to the knees. The chairs were bright red and very much padded I may add. The ref was watching but no DQ, just a slow 10 count that makes it to 6. Hammer works on the knees and the...balls...of Hogan. Hammer up top, attempts a flying forearm smash but eats a weak clothesline floor him. One leg drop later and Hogan gets the win! Classic Hogan formula as we'll come to expect. Crowd was electric for Hogan at the beginning but the pace of the match assisted in its diminishment. Hammer was fun to watch and Hogan was at least mobile and competant.Match Rating: *1/2

Charlie Fulton vs Antonio Inoki

We've seen Charlie Fulton before and there's nothing to mention. Inoki is the Martial Arts Champion, which means nothing to me. Nice chain wrestling to start and Inoki eventually locks on an armbar. Fulton escapes and we get some stalling. Fulton with a series of shoulder thrusts and forearms which send Inoki down. Snapmare gets a 1 count for Fulton. Inoki has been getting tips off Sgt Slaughter on how to grow an oversized chin. Fulton locks on a headlock but Inoki escapes, nails some martial arts kicks to the legs and a jumping kick to Fulton's temple for the 3 count! That was crap. Match Rating: DUD

Sgt Slaughter/Terry Daniels vs Adrian Adonis/Dick Murdoch (Tag Team Champs) [Tag Team Title Match]

The Marine music hits and out comes Sgt Slaughter and the unknown Terry Daniels to big cheers and lots of flag waving. Terry Daniels is the first recruit to Slaughter's COBRA CORE which in the long and short term means...fuck all. Out next are the tag champs, Adonis and Murdoch. They had won the belts earlier in the year and were proving to be aggressive and well adjusted champs. Adonis at this point is wearing leather and looks like a Roman biker. Murdoch looks like a slightly slimmer Dusty Rhodes...emphasis on the slightly. Slaughter throws his shirt into the crowd and it's caught by the one bloke who doesn't have a shirt, talk about convenience! We start off with Daniels and Murdoch and of course, some stalling. They lock up, Daniels gets the upper hand but suprisingly just lets go. He gets some words of wisdom from Slaughter before another lock up, a wristlock and into an armbar. Murdoch tries to escape but Daniels holds on, hits an elbow then locks the armbar on again. Daniels gets kitchen sinked in the gut and both men tag out to their respective partners, big pop for Slaughter. Short chain wrestling sequence, a lock up and Slaughter nails Adonis with a right hand that sends him rolling backwards. Slaughter and Adonis start countering wristlocks between each other and in comes Daniels to lock on his favourite move...the armbar! Massive chop by Daniels followed by a run the ropes sequence. Daniels gets monkey flipped, lands on his feet...kind he loses his balance, bounces off the ropes and lock on...the armbar! Crowd liked it all though! Adonis tags out to Murdoch who finds himself quickly armbar! Bodyslam by Murdoch which is no sold and the armbar goes straight back on. Adonis in...and into an armbar...followed by a dropkick...and an armbar. Finally Slaughter comes in, takes control with a nice armbreaker and the crowd loves it. Daniels is armbar! Its a kneedrop...followed by an armbar! Adonis comes in and finally beats on Daniels something fierce and nails a lovely running powerslam. A big USA chant goes up (Wrong chant #2 - EVERYONE IS AMERICAN!). Heely antics ensue which Slaughter doesn't help the situation until he finally gets the hot tag and locks on the Cobra Clutch to Murdoch. The crowd is buzzing but Adonis breaks it up, Daniels in with a series of dropkicks and a double team backbreaker move gets the win for Slaughter and Daniels. This match was essentially one long arm bar. Some decent action at the end saved it somewhat but Daniels was frustrating to watch. Match Rating: *

Out comes Captain Lou Albano who tells the crowd to stand in a few minutes time for the Fabulous Moolah. Bit rich, as Moolah can barely stand herself at her age...then again...she's champ again in 1999, sad.

The copy of the show I have gives me a cheeky Avengers advert. Dame Diana Rigg, you, were, stunning!

Into the back with Mean Gene who's with Fabulous Moolah and Captain Lou. Lou says Moolah and him discussed strategy and Moolah is beyond being beaten. Moolah sounds cocky...but as cocky as a sweet old lady can sound. Mean Gene bigs up Cyndi Lauper's training skills. That annoys Lou so much he gets Moolah's title reign length wrong and then corrected by the lady herself. Awkward.

The Fabulous Moolah (Womens Champ) vs Wendi Richter [Womens Title Match]

So before we start its worth knowing that out of all the matches on this card, this one is the most important. It was aired live on MTV and drew HUGE numbers, mainly thanks to the appearance of Cyndi Lauper with Richter. The huge ratings this drew was a big encouragement for Vince to gamble with Wrestlemania. So was Richter more influential than Hogan on the grand scheme of things...dwell on that...or don't, not arsed. Anyway, out comes Lauper, fella and Richter to big cheers and the only Lauper song I know, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Lauper's fella joins us for commentary and he sounds way out of his depth and very confused. I apologize for the lack of details but the match itself is very basic. The crowd is hot as hell as Moolah stalls and then hits some snapmares. Richter ends up on the commentary table before getting back in the ring for some basic back and forth with Moolah that gets a 2 count for Richter. Lauper is a little cutie a must point out. Moolah acts heely until Richter headbutts her in the cervix. Moolah gets trapped and Richter takes advantage. Moolah gets free but ends up in a full nelson. Lauper punches Moolah right in the mush in front of the ref...who does fuck all. Suplex gets a 2 count for Richter but Moolah comes back with a monkey flip. Back body drop into a pin but Moolah pulls her up because she can. Lou misses a cheapshot and Moolah goes for a roll up for 3. It looks awkward though and we see that Moolah's shoulders were down while Richter kicked out at 2. That means a new womens champion to HUGE cheers from the crowd. Lou and Moolah take it out on the ref and have a whinge but nevertheless. The match itself was crap, no two ways about it. Just awful. Match Rating: DUD

Into the back with Lauper and Richter. Lauper calls Lou fat and expects an apology. Richter is also happy and gives the soon to be standard 'I believed in myself' speech. Some randomer comes in and calls it an incredible match...christ. Did I mention Lauper is a cutie? Slaughter comes in and has banter! Hogan follows and everyone is celebrating.

Paul Orndorff vs Chief Jay Strongbow

Back to the ring and Orndorff is definitely over now, big boo's for Mr Wonderful. Crowd are indifferent to Strongbow but that isn't suprising. Stalling to start until Strongbow gets some shots on Orndorff in the corner. Orndorff misses a clothesline and both men collide. Strongbow is knocked to the outside and rings the bell on the way down. More back and forth until Strongbow takes no more and psychs up. Finally its an awkward clothesline that gets the win for Orndorff. Another poor match that did little for Orndorff taking so much from old man Strongbow. Match Rating: DUD

Afa vs Rene Goulet

Straight into the next match and it baffles me that THIS is the semi-main event. Think about that. I'm a new found Rene Goulet fan and I'm expecting his normal cheeky foreign heel escapades. Back-drop by Afa almost straight away followed by a bearhug. Way to kill ANY heat straight away. Goulet gets it back using his normal heely antics...including biting of the noodle. Afa with a headbutt but Goulet comes back with a snapmare. Goulet with the face claw but Afa escapes quickly with another headbutt. Afa nails a big samoan drop for the 3 count. Poor match but quick. Goulet was fun as always. Match Rating: 1/4*

20 Man Battle Royal

I'll just tell you who's in it and the finish: Sika, Jose Luis Rivera, Butcher Vachon, Antonio Inoki, Tony Garea, Chief Jay Strongbow, Afa, Steve Lombardi, Dick Murdoch, Bob Orton, Adrian Adonis, Rene Goulet, Ron Shaw, Charlie Fulton, Terry Daniels, Iron Sheik, Tito Santana, Paul Orndorff, Sgt Slaughter and Samu.

The last 5 is Orton, Inoki, Shaw, Garea and Goulet. I really want Orton or Goulet to win but its not to be as Inoki eliminates Shaw and Goulet last to win it. It was your standard battle royal so take that for what you will. Strange choice in the final men and strange that Inoki looked so strong tonight. Match Rating: *

Wrestler Scores:

  • Sika +2 (5)
  • Ron Shaw +2 (2)
  • Iron Sheik +3 (9)
  • Tony Garea +2 (4)
  • Tito Santana +6 (12)
  • Bob Orton +7 (7)
  • Bob Backlund +2 (3)
  • Butcher Vachon +1 (2)
  • Hulk Hogan +6 (12)
  • Greg Valentine +3 (3)
  • Charlie Fulton +1 (3)
  • Antonio Inoki +4 (4)
  • Sgt Slaughter +4 (8)
  • Terry Daniels +2 (2)
  • Adrian Adonis +3 (3)
  • Dick Murdoch +3 (3)
  • Fabulous Moolah +1 (1)
  • Wendi Richter +2 (2)
  • Paul Orndorff +3 (8)
  • Chief Jay Strongbow +2 (3)
  • Afa +2 (5)
  • Rene Goulet +2 (5)

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