Thursday, 8 May 2014

WWE All Star Search #8 - 27th April 1985 - Adam Ross

Hello Turnbucklers! It's edition #8 and we are less than a month removed from Wrestlemania 1! Wrestlemania 1 was all about the main event and its historical context but let's face it, the show overall was a bit of a stinker. The card for this show looks good so hopefully it'll play out in ring as well. We have one big debut on this edition and we have a big tag team battle royal as main event. This show is mainly tag team matches but hey, doesn't mean it won't be a good show! So shall we see how it plays out? Let's go!

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The Card:

The Hart Foundation vs The British Bulldogs

David Sammartino/Tito Santana vs Brutus Beefcake/Greg 'the Hammer' Valentine (IC Champ)

Roddy Piper/Bob Orton vs SD Jones/George Wells

The US Express vs Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff (Tag Team Champs)

Ricky Steamboat/Jimmy Snuka vs Charlie Fulton/Moondog Spot

Hulk Hogan (WWE Champ) vs Paul Orndorff [WWE Title match]

$50,000 Tag Team Battle Royal

The Show:

Our commentary team tonight is Dick Graham and Gorilla Monsoon who run down whats to come before we go straight into our first match.

The Hart Foundation vs The British Bulldogs

Well ain't this a doozey! This is the first meeting between the two teams and all have history in Stampede Wrestling. This is our first introduction to Bret(t) Hart, Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid. The Bulldogs are my hometown boys so it's good to see them arrive. The Hart Foundation are in all black in this one, so no pink as of yet. Dynamite and Bret start us off and Dynamite does some cool flips to escape an armbar. Davey Boy in and he escapes a hammerlock by sending Bret Hart to the outside using nothing but momentum. Back in and some nice chain wrestling by Bret and Davey. In comes Neidhart and him and Davey test each others strength which Davey gets the better of. Dynamite back in and so is Bret...who eats an amazing enziguiri followed by a perfect snap suplex for 2. Bret regains control, tags out and Anvil locks on a chinlock to slow things down. Bret back in with some heely antics a foot but Dynamite sneaks in a backslide for 2. Dynamite can't tag out as the heels still work him over. He finally makes the tag but the ref didn't see it and sends Davey back out to mild boo's. Bret nails Dynamite on the concrete on the outside and that looked nasty. Crowd are suprisingly quiet so far. More quick tags and heely antics by the Hart Foundation as Dynamite looks dead on his feet. Dynamite finally makes the hit tag to a somewhat quiet buzz and Davey briefly clears house of the heels but its not for long. Bret hits a lovely backbreaker and Davey now has to play face in peril. A couple of restholds later and Bret drops his soon-to-be normal elbow drops. The pace has slowed down quite a bit here and the crowd are silent apart from one or two blokes yelling randomly. Davey takes a hard bump to the outside but he reverses Bret Hart into the guardrail although Neidhart still poses in the ring. Back in the ring and Davey tries to get a sunset flip on Neidhart but it fails. Bret back in for another amazing backbreaker and he heads up top. Of course he gets cut off and thrown to the mat as Davey goes up instead and nails a perfect missile dropkick. Dynamite back in and he takes control of the heels including another awesome snap suplex and a headbutt. Dynamite nails a lovely tombstone piledriver for 2...Davey in and he hits a Powerslam on Bret who is really taking some punishment. Clothesline on Bret and the time expires soon after. The first half of the match was superb and had a great pace. After half way it slowed down a lot and they lost the crowd. Bret looked amazing here, really taking punishment and really hitting some crisp moves on the Bulldogs. Thats not to take away from the others involved either as everyone did great here. Shame about the ending but its understandable. Match Rating: ***1/4

David Sammartino/Tito Santana vs Brutus Beefcake/Greg 'the Hammer' Valentine (IC Champ)

The future tag champs are out first with Johnny Valiant as Dick Graham says this should be a great one. David Sammartino though? Hmmm. This further baffles me as to why Santana was in the opener of Mania instead of JYD. Brutus and Sammartino start and Sammartino takes early control. Beefcake tries to run away but finds Tito's fist on the apron and the heels regroup on the outside. Fruitcake chants breaks out at Brutus as Hammer comes in and chases Sammartino around the ring with elbows but misses every one. Tito comes in as Hammer bails. He comes back in, stalls for an age, then tags out to Brutus! Sammartino back in and Tito did fuck all then! Sammartino takes control with armbars and slams but its all basic as basic is. Tito in and he works on the arm until Hammer gets involved but Tito fights off the heels. He locks in an armbar...tags out...and Sammartino locks in an arm bar. Crowd are dead in this one too...Heels take over on Sammartino and Hammer works over the back, even applying a chin lock. Beefcake back in and he...just works over Sammartino in general. Tito eventually gets the hot tag and faces off with Valentine. Heel miscommunication allows Santana to roll up Hammer for the win! The David Sammartino run is pretty much a big failure after this point. The crowd were definitely finding it hard to get behind him. Beefcake is showing some improvements after his initial months. Tito was...Tito and Hammer was...Hammer. Looking forward to seeing Beefcake and Hammer team up more so down the line. Match Rating: *3/4

Roddy Piper/Bob Orton vs SD Jones/George Wells

I can't really understand this match as it couldn't be more of a write off for the heels. Shockingly I'm not wrong, as within a few minutes, Piper and Orton have already won with a cheapshot with Orton's cast off the top rope that KO's SD Jones for the win. Normally squash matches are there to make wrestler's look strong and unbeatable...this one didn't do that.Match Rating: DUD

Into the back with Dick Graham who is with the tag champs, Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. The way they're holding their belts actually gives them a somewhat physical prestige. They say that they shall win tonight but in a less crazy manner they normally get that point across.

The US Express vs Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff (Tag Team Champs)

This is a non-title rematch from Wrestlemania 1 and I can't work out why it's not for the belts. The champs are Blassie-less for this one and the challengers come out on fire and pearl harbour the champs. The crowd are hot for this one. Its a good match with Sheik outdoing Volkoff on the heels side and Windham shining for the faces. Windham is crisp throughout but that's not to take anything away from Rotundo. The action is well balanced with everyone getting in some offence. The heels and their miscommunication spots are funny. Sheik does take a nasty bump to the outside at one point. The finish comes after Volkoff misses a knee in the corner and gets rolled up for the 3 count. The faces and the crowd celebrate, although things quieten down once the crowd realise its not a title change.Match Rating: **1/4

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Ricky Steamboat/Jimmy Snuka vs Charlie Fulton/Moondog Spot

Our last tag team match of the card and on paper it's another complete squash match. In the previous All Star Search, I looked at the similarities between Snuka and Steamboat and how in my opinion, the WWE only really needed one of them. However they've shut me up and put them as a tag team to face Jobber UTD. This is Moondog Spots blog debut and I'm expecting big things. The match goes longer than I expected with the heels actually getting in some decent offense. Charlie Fulton got in a lot more offense than I expecting in particular even though the majority was basic. Moondog Spot was slow and uninteresting but hey, who's suprised. This match gave me the ideal opportunity to compare Steamboat and Snuka and it's obvious that Steamboat is the one with the future and Snuka is falling behind. Again we see a lot of chops, arm drags and leapfrogs. The faces were trying a lot more double team manuevers so it seems that WWE were testing the waters to see if they'd make a good tag team. To be fair they do but Steamboat doesn't need to be there, he needs to be moving up the card but that won't happen until further down the line. I have to point out the sprinkling of boring chants during the restholds which I would never expect during a Steamboat match. Finish comes when all four men get involved at once and Steamboat catches Fulton with a crossbody for 3! Match Rating: *1/2
Into the back with Dick Graham and Hulk Hogan. They shill the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone featuring Hogan before moving onto hyping the upcoming match with Paul Orndorff. Hogan puts over Orndorff something fierce.
Hulk Hogan (WWE Champ) vs Paul Orndorff [WWE Title match]

So at Wrestlemania, Orndorff was on the losing end of the pinfall and thus was left behind by his heely cohorts. One month later he's challenging Hogan for the title and his crowd reaction is slightly more mixed. Hogan is still coming out to Eye of the Tige, still all in whiter and his reception is still double the volume of anyone else on the roster. The crowd is hot for this one! We have the scrappiest start I've seen in a long time before some more stalling. Orndorff takes control early with kicks and clubs before taunting the crowd. Hogan blocks and rams Orndorff into the turnbuckle and follows up with an elbow. Orndorff wants some timeout and bails out to crowd heat. Lots of stalling before Hogan takes control with a headlock and a shoulderblock sends Orndorff reeling in the ropes for more stalling. Back suplex by Hogan, headbutts and a clothesline in the corner send Orndorff to the mat for a 2 count before locking on a chinlock. Big 'Paula' chant for Orndorff which reminds me of the 'Princess Evans' chant at Futureshock. More restholds and this is becoming a really slow paced match and the crowd is fighting to stay hot. Finally Orndorff retakes control with a kitchen sink and elbow drops. Nice suplex by Orndorff followed by a big knee drop for 2. Hogan starts no selling, nails Orndorff with right hands, whips him into the corner, avoids a charge by Orndorff, nails the Leg Drop and that gets the win. Afterwards Orndorff offers his hand in friendship and Hogan eventually accepts to a huge pop! Orndorff is now almost certainly a face! Really disappointed with that match. Baring in mind the heat between the two is huge and baring in mind the aftermath, this was a glorified Hogan squash match if you take away all the stalling. Orndorff got very little offense in on Hogan which isn't good if they want to push him strong as a face in future. Match Rating: *

Before we get to the next match, the flambouyantly dressed Spectrum ring announcer runs down the next 'supercard' in Philly...and boy does it sound DULL. All I'm going to to say is...Charlie Fulton vs Swede Hanson was a highlight. I think I'll let someone else find that show and review it.
$50,000 Tag Team Battle Royal

So this is our main event! A tag team battle royal featuring many of the superstars and teams we've seen already tonight. The winner gets $50,000 to share and all the pride they can handle. There's no point me telling you exactly what happened throughout the battle royal so I'll give you the jist. It only takes one member of a team to be thrown out for the whole team to be eliminated. To be fair, looking at the teams, anyone could've won this one....not David Sammartino though. It all kicks off before the announcer finishes his introductions. The tag champs and the US Express are the first teams to go suprisingly. Piper and Orton try to eliminate Steamboat who skins the cat! The crowd love it as these are the final two teams. Moondog Spot is still ringside and attacks Steamboat for some reason. He escapes and comes off the top rope to take out everyone in the ring. Piper is eliminated by Snuka giving the 'South Pacific Connection' the win! However, Piper steals the money and buggers off with it. Entertaining match although battle royals are hard to rate. Steamboat was the only person in this who truly stood out so he'll get extra points for that! Nice to see Snuka and Piper interacting after their program last year.  Match Rating: *3/4

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Wrestler Scores:

  • Jim Neidhart +6 (10)
  • Bret Hart +7 (7)
  • Davey Boy Smith +6 (6)
  • Dynamite Kid +6 (6)
  • David Sammartino +2 (6)
  • Tito Santana +5 (39)
  • Brutus Beefcake +5 (9)
  • Greg Valentine +5 (36)
  • Roddy Piper +3 (30)
  • Bob Orton +3 (10)
  • Iron Sheik +4 (19)
  • Nikolai Volkoff +4 (11)
  • Barry Windham +5 (10)
  • Mike Rotundo +4 (10)
  • SD Jones +1 (6)
  • George Wells +1 (1)
  • Jimmy Snuka +5 (19)
  • Ricky Steamboat +7 (12)
  • Charlie Fulton +4 (8)
  • Moondog Spot +3 (3)
  • Hulk Hogan +5 (36)
  • Paul Orndorff +5 (19)

So all in all, although not spectacular, this show is one of the better ones I've reviewed so far. Bret Hart had a great first appearance looking extra crisp in everything he did. Hogan and Orndorff was a let down but wow, the first match on the card was really good. It will be interesting to see where Orndorff's character development leads too.

Finally, a good mate of mine is back from a short break and doing his ever popular reviews. He's one of YouTube's oldest reviewers and he's definitely the most interesting. Of course I'm talking about Mr. Marc Pearson and here is his latest video HERE.

These blogs will also be appearing on Across the Pond so if you've never checked out the site, please give it a view!

As always, follow me on Twitter @TheWrestlinDork and please click on the affiliates to keep me fed! Much love Turnbucklers and see you next time!

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