Thursday, 1 May 2014

WWE All Star Search #7 - Wrestlemania 1 - Adam Ross

Hello Turnbucklers! So we've made it here after trawling through 1984, Wrestlemania 1. Shown on CCTV it was a huge risk for WWE but I think it's safe to say it paid off. This is a big card with a big main event so it'll be intriguing to see how the rest of the card matches up. Before we get there, let's do a summary of what I've learnt so far. The most over superstar is by far Hulk Hogan. His pops are so much bigger than everyone elses its surreal. Tito Santana, Andre the Giant and Sgt Slaughter have been also getting strong crowd reactions. On the heel side, number 1 has to Roddy Piper. The heat he's gained in a year its amazing! Greg Valentine is another who has impressed me so far, always bringing out consistently decent matches. Most suprising superstar for me so far has been The Iron Sheik, I actually look forward to his matches now. Iron Mike Sharpe is most underrated so far in my opinion. As a jobber he stands out from the crowd. Worst wrestlers so far? My least favourite at least are the Wild Samoans, whether they're the worst is a personal opinion though. Too many headbutts and no sells for my liking. Quick shoutout to Terry Daniels too...and his armbar. Anyway...let's do this!

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The Card:

Tito Santana vs The Executioner

King Kong Bundy vs SD Jones

Ricky Steamboat vs Matt Borne

David Sammartino vs Brutus Beefcake

The Junkyard Dog vs Greg Valentine (IC Champ) [IC Title Match]

The Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff vs The US Express (Tag Team Champs) [Tag Team Title Match]

Andre the Giant vs Big John Studd (Bodyslam Challenge)

Wendi Richter vs Leilani Kai (Womens Champ) [Womens Title Match]

Hulk Hogan/Mr T vs Roddy Piper/Paul Orndorff

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The Show:

Here we go then! We kick off with some funky music while screenshots of the match-ups and celebrities flashing by. Our commentary team is Gorilla Monsoon AND JESSE VENTURA! I've been waiting for this team, my second all time favourite pairing on commentary. Fink welcomes us to Wrestlemania and he gets a big pop. I guess the crowd knew this was a special event from the beginning. Mean Gene Okerlund butchers the American National Anthem for us but gets a BIG reaction. To be fair, he really had fun being the one to sing it.

Into the back with Lord Alfred Hayes who's wearing a lovely cream number. He seems strangely nervous in front of the camera and hypes up 'WrestlingMania'.

Mean Gene is with Tito Santana who says no one is going to stop him...and that means you Executioner! Ariba! As soon as Tito buggers off, Executioner appears to tell Tito he's going for his leg...and nothing else. Talk about giving the game plan away.

Tito Santana vs The Executioner

Executioner in the ring first and he's announced as being anything. Big pop for Tito as he comes out. Can't understand why Tito is opening Wrestlemania against the Executioner. Had he had a more formidable or at least established opponent, Tito would've been a perfect opening attraction but not with the Executioner. I should point out that Executioner is Buddy Rose under a mask. The crowd is hot in the beginning as Tito holds Cutioner at bay with dropkicks. Tito maintains control throughout the match although Cutioner does gets some basic offense in. Cutioner does what he promised and aims for the legs but Tito fights back. Executioner looks a little off balance while on the offense. Cutioner goes up top but Santana counters into a slam. He goes for a splash but eats nothing but raised legs. Cutioner works on the legs again but Tito sends Cutioner onto the outside. Flying Jalepeno for Santana, Figure Four and that's all she wrote for Cutioner as Santana wins! Better than I thought it would be and that's including the fact it didn't last long. Crowd loved Tito and Executioner was the standard big man opponent needed to emphasize Santana's normal routine. Match Rating: *1/2

Into the back with a nervous Lord Al who sends us to Mean Gene and SD Jones. Jones has the best voice/accent I've heard yet. He says he's ready. He leaves and King Kong Bundy and Jimmy Hart come in and tell SD Jones to expect to eat a 5 count tonight.

King Kong Bundy vs SD Jones

Big boo's for Bundy which is good considering he's not done much in his run so far apart from squash jobbers. Match goes as follows...Strikes by Bundy, bearhug into the corner, splash in the corner, Jones goes down, eats another splash on the mat...5 count. Bundy wins. As far as squash matches go, this one is relevant and has use to it. Bundy looked like a monster in front of his biggest audience yet. A good way to set the tone over the next year. What the main problem here is the match is announced as a new match length record at 9 seconds...although anyone with a concept of time will understand how wrong that time is. Pointless lie that made WWE look silly for trying. Match Rating: DUD

Into the back with Mean Gene who's with Matt Borne...son of Tough Tony Borne. He puts over Steamboat but says he's too nice of a guy and that's why Borne will win. He leaves and Steamboat appears. He hypes Wrestlemania and says he's here to develop the 'meanness' he's lacking. Arib....wait, no, wrong babyface.

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Ricky Steamboat vs Matt Borne

Not the biggest reaction for Steamboat but I think the crowd have settled slightly. It starts off at a quick pace with Steamboat getting some leapfrogs in before nailing Borne with a chop to the throat. Borne goes for a couple of side suplexes but Steamboat escapes both and nails a delayed atomic drop and shows a little personality in doing so. Reverse atomic drop by Borne puts him in control. It doesn't last long as Steamboat replies with chops and a headlock. Borne with a nice belly to belly suplex followed by a standard suplex. Steamboat fights back, nails another suplex, hits a nice neckbreaker and Steamboat is firmly in control. Steamboat goes up top, nails a flying cross body and gets the 3 count! One of the better, quick matches I've seen in this blog so far. Steamboat looked good here but was no where near the superstar we look back fondly at. Steamboats style and popularity really leave very little for Jimmy Snuka to come back to as at this point, there were so many similarities between the two. Match Rating: **

Into the back with Lord Al, who runs down the next match. We even see Beefcake heading to the ring in the background.

Mean Gene is in the back with the Sammartino's who give us some fighting talk. They leave and are instantly replaced by Beefcake and Valiant. Valiant does all the talking but he sounds like he's trying to fit a years worth of talking into one promo. Beefcake then gets stage fright and has to be bailed out by Valiant. That was incredibly awkward but surely Beefcake would be prepared!

David Sammartino vs Brutus Beefcake

Out of all the matches on the card, this one was the one I was least looking forward too. David Sammartino is the definition of a superstar lacking X Factor and Beefcake at this point was as dull as the Bury Times. David is with dad, Bruno who gets a great reaction from the crowd and Beefer is with Johnny Valiant who is quite similar to Freddie Blassie. The heels stall forever until we get a lock up, but nothing happens. We get a Beefcake strut but its all for nothing as Sammartino controls with his basic offence. We get long headlocks by both and this is getting painfully boring. Eventually, Valiant gets involved on the outside, which draws in daddy Bruno and the whole thing is thrown for a double-DQ. No one looked good in this although Bruno got big cheers. It should have been a tag match between the four men out there. Match Rating: 3/4*

The Junkyard Dog vs Greg Valentine (IC Champ) [IC Title Match]

JYD gets himself a title shot already on the WWE's biggest show to date. It seems a bit strange considering Santana was in the opener after feuding with Hammer for the past year. Steamboat would've been a better choice in this one and JYD could've fought Borne. Hammer of course is out with Jimmy Hart. JYD controls to start and Hammer tries to get a breather. He does get the briefest of offense in before JYD hits his canine-headbutts and Hammer bails outside. Hammer uses heely tactics when he gets back in to take control and works over the leg of JYD. He goes for a figure four but it gets countered. JYD nails some more headbutts and Valentine timbers to the mat. Jimmy Hart tries to get involved but heel miscommunication leads to a nasty fall to the outside by Hart. Seriously, I think it gave him a bad concussion. A bit of back and forth before Hammer goes for the rollup. It looks like he's won but Tito Santana comes down and convinces the referee that he we continue! Bwah?! Hammer says fuck that and loses via countout. What a ridiculous finish to a pretty poor match. Both men's popularity saved this one from being really bad. Match Rating: *1/4

Into the back with Mean Gene who's with Blassie, Sheik and Volkoff. They ramble incoherently until the US Express and Albano replace them. They say that they're heading to the ring.....which they're clearly not.

The Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff vs The US Express (Tag Team Champs) [Tag Team Title Match]

NOW they're heading to the ring. Big boo's for the foreigners and massive cheers for the US Express. Big shock there. Volkoff does his pre-match singing and then we get under way. The US Express are Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham who won the titles a few months earlier from Murdoch and Adonis. Rotundo and Sheik start us off with Rotundo getting the advantage with hiptosses and slams. Windham gets a shot in before he gets the tag and follows up with a shot from the top rope. The heels try and gain control but heel miscommunication on their part means Volkoff eats a Sheik dropkick. Sheik apologizes and Volkoff comes in...but finds himself in a headlock. A couple of one counts and eventually the heels take control. Sheik nails an elbow for 2 and follows up with a lovely side suplex. He tries for a standard suplex but Rotundo counters into one of his own. Volkoff in but quickly finds himself in a hammerlock before eating a sunset flip. Volkoff regains control, Sheik back in who locks on an abdominal stretch. He eventually escapes and makes the hot tag to Windham. Rotundo takes Sheik to the floor but doesn't keep an eye on him. Windham and Volkoff brawl until Sheik nails Windham in the noodle with Blassies cane behind the ref's back and that gets the win and we have new tag champs! A bit of a suprise considering the US Express were over huge and the foreigners were no where near in comparison. I can't see this title reign being a long one but lets see. Match was actually a good'n I think. Rotundo was a good face in peril and the foreigners had enough heat on them to really make it work.Match Rating: **1/4

Into the back with Mean Gene who's with the new Tag Champs. They say they proved themselves and that Russian and Arab countries are the best. That escalated quickly.

Still in the back and Mean Gene is joined with Heenan and Studd. Heenan is great here as he tells Gene to keep his hands to himself and tells Andre to look forward to retirement.

Andre the Giant vs Big John Studd (Bodyslam Challenge)

This is Studd's $15,000 vs Andre's career...which hardly seems balanced. In fact, Andre comes out with a massive Donny Osmond smile on his face so I don't really feel like he's about to become unemployed. Studd of course is with Bobby 'the Brain' Heenan. Studd tries to get the early advantage but it doesn't quite work and he finds himself reeling on the outside. Back in and Andre does his chokes in the corner...which is a high spot for him...and then uses his arse to his advantage. Studd fights back, tries to slam Andre but it fails. Andre with a bearhug, which I thought was a heel's hold. Studd bites his way out of it but soon finds himself in a headlock. Studd goes for a boot, countered...and he eats a slam shortly after. Andre wins! He gets his bag of money to throw to the crowd but Heenan knicks it back. Glorified squash match I'm afraid but Studd was never going to win this. What's worse is the fact neither man could move very well. Match Rating: DUD

Into the back where Mean Gene is with Andre who cuts a barely understandable promo about his win. I wish I could tell you what he said but he sounded like a bath being unplugged.

Still in the back with Lauper and Richter who tells Shmoolah and Lani Kai to watch out! Richter yells that she's ready and sounds like an utter hick in the process. They are replaced by Moolah and Kai, where by Moolah shows off her new glasses and Kai out!

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Wendi Richter vs Leilani Kai (Womens Champ) [Womens Title Match]

At the War to Settle the Score, Moolah cost Richter the title to Leilani Kai. Cyndi Lauper is still with Richter and Moolah is with Kai. I'm not going to dwell too much on this one because it was utterly a stinker. Lots of slow back and forth with hair pulling added here and there. Kai tries for a gutwrench suplex but the women botch it and have to salvage it into a pinning attempt. Moolah tries to get involved but Lauper stops her to a big pop. More back and forth until Kai goes for a crossbody off the top but a horrific looking roll through gets the win and the title for Richter. Let the cringeworthy celebratory dancing begin! At this point, all the hype the women's division had developed was starting to disappear now. Unfortunately the female wrestlers involved couldn't hold up their end of the deal so to speak. Not much more Lauper can do for them. Match Rating: DUD

In the back, Mean Gene is with the new champ and Lauper. They're both very happy and Richter still yells and sounds like an utter hick.

Hulk Hogan/Mr T vs Roddy Piper/Paul Orndorff

It's main event time! So here we have...Billy Martin (who has no relevance outside the USA) as ring announcer, Pat Patterson as the ref (just for a paycheck I presume), Liberace as ringbell dude (with added effeminate bell) and of course, Muhammed Ali as special enforcer. Ali gets a huge pop and every other celebrity is quickly forgotten. Piper and Orndorff's entrance is epic as they come out with the bagpipe band. Cowboy Bob Orton plus his cast are with them. We get the now well-known visual of Mr T and Hogan ready to head to the ring...and here they come! Massive pop and my version has Eye of the Tiger to make it just that little bit better! Jimmy Snuka is with the faces in this one. Everyone, plus myself, is hyped up for this. Orndorff and Hogan start...or so it looks but Piper begs to start with Hogan...and then Mr T wants to start with Piper. They lock up and trade strikes with Piper getting a brief advantage before T nails him with a firemans's carry! This draws all 6 men in the ring for a big shmoz until Ali comes in and sends Piper outside. The heels then try to walk out but the faces don't let them. The heels charge the ring but eat a double noggin-knocker, some Hogan offence and then a second double noggin-knocker. Hogan nails an atomic drop on Piper and tags in T. T hits a cool double clothesline and slams Piper to the mat followed by a hiptoss on Orndorff. Nice and the crowd love it! Hogan back in for sends Piper to the outside but gets beaten on Orndorff which sends Hogan outside also. Piper with a chairshot to the back on Hogan but no DQ. The heels can finally take control of the match as they work over Hogan. Orndorff comes in and nails a lovely suplex on Hogan. After more heel tags in and out, Orndorff hits a lovely backbreaker on Hogan but misses an elbow drop which allows T to come back in to huge noise! He wails away on Orndorff but not for long thanks to Piper. Its not long before Hogan makes his way back in for a third double noggin-knocker! Orndorff manages to get in a lovely side suplex while Piper manages to distract the ref. This also means Orton can involve himself but Snuka tries to stop him. In the resulting shmoz between everyone, Orton manages to nails Orndorff with his cats accidentally and that gives Hogan and Mr T the win! Piper and Orton berate Orndorff afterwards which plants seeds for a faceturn. They leave Orndorff behind when they leave as the faces all eat up the crowd noise. WWE's first really massive main event and it was a success! Good action, great noise and an OK finish. It was strange that Hogan was the face in peril in this one though and you'd think the celebrity would be the one to look weaker and struggle to overcome the heels. Match Rating: ***

That's it for the show so let's see who gained the most from this show and who didn't....

Wrestler Scores:

  • Tito Santana +5 (34)
  • The Executioner +3 (3)
  • King Kong Bundy +5 (9)
  • SD Jones +1 (5)
  • Ricky Steamboat +5 (5)
  • Matt Borne +4 (7)
  • David Sammartino +1 (4)
  • Brutus Beefcake +2 (4)
  • Junkyard Dog +4 (8)
  • Greg Valentine +5 (31)
  • Iron Sheik +6 (15)
  • Nikolai Volkoff +5 (7)
  • Mike Rotundo +6 (6)
  • Barry Windham +5 (5)
  • Andre the Giant +3 (13)
  • Big John Studd +2 (10)
  • Wendi Richter +1 (3)
  • Lailani Kai +1 (1)
  • Hulk Hogan +6 (31)
  • Mr T +3 (7)
  • Roddy Piper +6 (27)
  • Paul Orndorff +6 (14)
So a card with 3 DUDS on it is never a great one is it. My advice, just watch the main event for quality seeking viewers. 

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @thewrestlindork and check out our affiliates! See you next edition for an April house show!

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