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The Name on the Marquee: WWF Championship Wrestling (7.26.1986)

April 27, 2015 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: WWF Championship Wrestling (7.26.1986)  

-Originally aired July 26, 1986.

-Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bruno Sammartino.

BRITISH BULLDOGS (Tag Team Champions, with Captain Lou Albano) vs. TIGER CHUNG LEE & A.J. PETRUZZI
-Chunger starts with Davey Boy. They trade slams, but Davey Boy stymies every one of Lee’s attempts at a backdrop, finally dropkicking him out to the floor, which Lee totally no-sells. The blue padding just completely screwed with everybody for the first few weeks, and that’s so interesting to me.

-Petruzzi slams Davey Boy down while Bruno rages about Paul Orndorff’s disgusting behavior last week. Dynamite finally tags in and offers a snap suplex and backbreaker. Davey Boy lifts Lee up in the fireman’s carry, and Dynamite leaps off his back and connects with a diving headbutt on Petruzzi for three. Vince notices Dynamite seems dazed after the bell and speculates that a diving headbutt is just as harmful to the wrestler who performs the move. Give that man a cigar.

-Ken Resnick interviews President Jack Tunney. Tunney explains that suspending Andre the Giant was one of the hardest decisions he ever made. He says that Andre was contracted to appear for “a few matches” and didn’t show up, and Tunney could have let that slide if Andre could just explain himself, but then Andre no-showed the hearing. And if Andre no-shows the hearing, then his hands really are tied. He had to suspend him.

-Bobby Heenan strolls him and thanks “Mr. President” for making the right decision, saying that Andre is a chicken with no gumption. He says it’s pathetic that Andre is trying to sneak back into the WWF with his pathetic “Giant Machine” ruse, and Jack Tunney tells him that he’s seen The Machines’ passports and that Andre is neither one of them. Jack reasons that it could be Giant Baba under the mask. Heenan says that there is no 7’5” Japanese wrestler, because three of them don’t add up to 7’5”. Jack agrees that if Bobby Heenan can back up his claims, Andre will be permanently suspended. Heenan pledges to unmask the Giant Machine, but Jack warns him that if Heenan turns out to be mistaken and he’s just wasting everybody’s time, Heenan himself will be suspended. That’s kind of interesting to me because it sounds like they had a different payoff in mind before the Machines fizzled out.

-Muraco belly-to-bellys Mancini right away, and in the NWA that would end it, but Mancini bounces right up. Muraco goes out to the floor for no reason and jaws with the fans, and then Lanny Poffo leaps in with an anti-Muraco poem. Point to Lanny for rhyming “Shogun” with “Hulk Hogan.”

-Muraco tosses Mancini to the floor and Mancini is just laying there like he’s dead. This has a weirdly disjointed feel for a squash match. Muraco press slams Mancini on top of the barricade and lays down in the ring while he waits for Mancini to get back in the ring. Mancini throws a few punches, but Muraco absolutely levels him with a clothesline and puts him out of his misery with the tombstone. Fuji strikes a pose with his cane pressed into Mancini’s chest after the bell, which is a funny visual.

-Ken Resnick hypes the next big Boston Garden and throws it to a non-venue-specific promo from a bleeding Jake Roberts. Oddly enough, it’s a different promo than the last time we saw Jake cutting a promo with a bleeding forehead.

-Vince McMahon honestly believed that a redneck waving a Confederate flag would get over as a face in New York. And when Dick kisses the flag at the start of the match, he gets a loud chorus of boos from the fans. This is so simple to understand, I cannot wrap my head around Vince not being able to anticipate it. I think that, above all else, is what makes Vince such a fascinating and enigmatic figure. There’s no such thing as a stupid billionaire. If you’re a self-made man with that much money, you have to be a genius, but when Vince is wrong about something, he’s “Holy SHIT!”-level wrong. I think I understand this a little bit, Vince was looking at his company in national terms now and just saw “The Rebel” as something that would might get over in Crockett Country, but the thing is, at this point, even if he is a national entity, it’s still “the New York company” that he’s running.

-Slater and Gladiator have a very even mat wrestling exhibition. Gladiator takes a shot to the gut and Slater looks ticked off. Slater fires back with a chop so loud that it genuinely startles the commentators. Front facelock by Slater. Gladiator backs him into the ropes and fires some shots. Gladiator misses a charge and Slater comes off the turnbuckles  with a forearm, and finishes with a Russian legsweep. Fans boo him out of the building, and Slater looks visibly frustrated as his arm his raised. Slater tries to turn into the skid by scowling at the fans and screaming “I’m the best,” because deep down he knows this is a heel character, but naw, Vince wanted a face, so he’s stuck.

-Ken Resnick talks to the Sheik & Volkoff, who says they hope the Hart Foundation happens to have the best day of their life on the day they arrive in Boston, because that’s the only way they’re going to have an even battle.

Joined in progress, with the Rougeaus using dropkicks to clear the ring. Raymond tries to roll up Rex, but he’s too close to Spot and Spot connects with a forearm to daze him. Moondogs get Ray caught in the corner and tag in and out quickly to keep control over him. Vince mentions that the last time the Moondogs were on Championship Wrestling, Paul Orndorff behaved strangely during the match. Hmm, I remember that, too.

-Ray gets a sudden bodypress on Spot for two, then finally tags in Jacques, and Jacques moves at a hundred miles per hour as he lays into both opponents. All four men wind up in the ring. Moondogs try to Irish whip the Rougeaus into each other, but the Rougeaus anticipate and Jacques bodypresses Spot and gets the three-count.

-Adrian welcomes his guest, Paul Orndorff, who takes forever to come out before finally introducing his new manager, Bobby Heenan. Heenan says the difference between “The Old Mister Wonderful” and the new one is that the New Mister Wonderful will be WWF Champion. Orndorff says that the fans are just like Hulk Hogan—they won’t listen to him.

Jake gestures to something on his boots and then sucker punches Tatri. Jake slams Tatri over and over and over while the crowd chants “Steamboat.” Tatri reverses an Irish whip and charges, but Jake meets him with a clothesline and finishes with the DDT. Damien does his thing after the bell. Awesome bit that you can’t plan: Cameraman puts the camera directly on the mat, and Damien crawls right to it.

-Ken Resnick talks to Captain Lou Albano and The Machines. Giant Machine denies any knowledge of this Andre fellow. Super Machine describes their training regimen for the WWF, giving us the hilarious mental image of Andre going on a nine-mile jog.

Steamboat comes to the ring hauling the giant cage and looking uncannily like Jay Stewart hauling something around on a tray so Monty Hall can tempt people with it. Tonga enters through the door since we’re still doing these damn tapings at Poughkeepsie and for some reason nobody thought to just prop the door open and then hang a curtain over it, and when Tonga enters you can see Captain Lou just walking around and having a chat with somebody until a jobber tells him he’s on camera. And then Sivi Afi shows up with a flaming torch and does a fire dance before the match.

-Dragon slams Lombardi and tags in Afi. Afi armdrags Mr. X around and slams him. Tonga bodyslams  Rusty Brooks and bodyslams everybody else before doing a celebratory dance. Classy Freddy Blassie shows up on commentary and announces he is preparing to sell 50% of the contracts for Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik, and he’s hoping to have the deal finalized within the next few weeks. He will not announce the buyer until the check has cleared and he knows for sure that the money is in the bank.

-Steamboat chops away at Big Rusty, and Vince weirdly calls him that right after I type it. Tonga fires off some chops of his own, and I’m still frankly amazed that, based on size alone, Vince never found SOMETHING for Rusty to do. Steamboat hits the flying bodypress for three to finish.

-Ken Resnick says he’s been bending the bars at the gym in preparation for his big tag team match in Boston. Captain Lou brings in George “The Animal” Steele and says he’s ready to humiliate Randy Savage & Adrian Adonis.

The final score: review Poor
The 411
Really sluggish week following the hot angle last week. Everything that's interesting is interesting for the wrong reasons. Take a pass.