As I stated in my first diary, one of the main reasons for this project was to watch the history of wrestling pay-per-views in the eyes of WWE. Their revisionist history has been steadily churning out their perception of the past since the WCW acquisition, but it also rears its head in other instances.
However, for every Benoit erasing and Punk chant muffled, there are changes that just are harmless, yet unnecessary. Take this entry in the PPV diary. It is a historic show, yet isn’t a true “pay-per-view”. Granted, that term doesn’t describe WrestleMania or the Royal Rumble anymore with the Network, but it meant something in the past.
I’m glad this show is a part of my journey because A) I’ve never seen it before, B) it was, pun intended, a Big Event and C) I got to relive Coliseum Home Video editing at its finest.
PAY PER VIEW NUMBER SEVEN- WWF THE BIG EVENT
Written on 6/17/14
THE FIRST THING YOU SEE: A helicopter shot of Toronto as Mean Gene provides a voiceover. Shots cut in abruptly showing clips for the actual show. This is how I know this is a Coliseum Home Video production. The crowd sounds very loud in the shots shown. Mean Gene mentions Genesis and Elton John playing in this stadium and the audience looks incredible. Between 65,000 and 70,000 people are about to watch…while I’ve been watching this intro for two minutes. Let me in!!! Gene says this is the largest crowd to ever watch a wrestling event.
-The title card is shown for the event and we immediately cut to the ring for our opening contest.
MATCH NUMBER ONE: Hoss and Jimmy Jack Funk w/Jimmy Hart vs The Killer Bees
-The crowd is ginormous. Gorilla says it is “unlikely to ever see again” a crowd of this magnitude. Gorilla is JUST a bit outside on that comment. He is joined by Johnny Valiant and Ernie Ladd on commentary.
-Was he always B. Brian Blair? If so, he couldn’t have changed it to Bee Brian Blair?
-The Funks love multiple bodyslam spots.
-Jimmy Jack Funk’s Lone Ranger mask…yeah, Haku has fucked him up by now.
-Dory Funk Jr. is better than the opening match. The old timers got a raw deal back then with Vince.
-I really like Ernie Ladd on commentary. He sounds like a wise owl. Johnny V, on the other hand, has a lot of weird allusions.
-Everything the Bees do is crisp and flawless, particularly Blair.
-Man, Jimmy Hart is going to be called annoying so much in these diaries, my computer is going to auto-populate the phrase.
-5:30 into the match, it JUMPS with a fading image edit. Home video effect! BOO!! The Bees are outside the ring, putting their masks on for some tomfoolery. It’s time for that great heel switcheroo…from the babyfaces.
WINNERS: Jim Brunzell pins Jimmy Jack Funk in 6:44 of shown match time with a small package.
FINAL WORD: That was on its way to being a very good match when the edit occurred. I can only consider it good now.
-Another edit sends us directly into the next match. King Tonga/Haku is mostly booed at his introduction, but his opponent is the obviously heelish Magnificent Muraco, wearing a shirt that blatantly doesn’t fit.
MATCH NUMBER TWO: King Tonga vs Magnificent Muraco w/Mr. Fuji
-There is no bell because there is an immediate edit right into the middle of the match. Tonga has the advantage.
-Ladd calls Tonga “Haku”. Now I’m thoroughly lost. Is this the same night?
-It is weird seeing Haku throw a dropkick.
-Ladd mentions that Haku is Tonga’s native name and wants to go by Haku from now on. I trust you, Ernie Ladd.
-Edit #2 occurs and the same wristlock is going on.
-I’m glad Gorilla calls out Valiant for straight shouting on the headset. Meanwhile, Fuji trips Tonga and Muraco takes over.
-The people whose backs are normally turned to the hard camera are standing up and looking at something. That’s how exciting this match is.
-Edit #3 again happens for no reason because Tonga is still stuck in this nerve hold. The referee drops his arm, I shit you not, FIVE TIMES and the match doesn’t end. Haku wakes up on the sixth drop and we are still freaking wrestling.
-Muraco snots on Haku. I notice that Muraco’s shoulders are decently defined. If he can only control that tummy.
-The crowd is growing more restless as Muraco slaps on the Figure Four.
-Muraco has bowed like a girl about five times in a row.
-The referee takes forever to start counting after Haku hits a top rope cross body on Muraco. I think I know why…maybe I don’t.
WINNER: Time Limit Draw in 11:33 of match time actually shown.
FINAL WORD: The bell just rang in the middle of the referee’s count. It is announced as a draw, but this viewer can’t tell because there were more edits in this match than the first 20 minutes of Gravity.
-VHS restrictions have us prepared for a battle between a six-time tag champion and a six-time idiot already.
MATCH NUMBER THREE: Ted Arcidi vs Tony Garea
-Three lockups have resulted in Arcidi throwing Garea off the ropes comically three times in a row.
-Arcidi looks like every dickhead in a gym throughout the 1980s: shitty sneakers, bad hair and no athleticism.
-Arcidi has no crowd support or charisma.
-We finally see the commentators from the top of the stadium. Back ringside, the people facing the hard cam are now turned around. It looks like Bo Dallas is entering the NXT Arena.
-Garea knocks Arcidi down finally with a dropkick. That Garea momentum! He’s…caught. (Second Major League reference. How many can I get?)
WINNER: Ted Arcidi in 2:40 with a bearhug.
-The replay shows Arcidi’s pitiful bump from the dropkick. That’s enough to file him away as LVP of the PPV so far.
FINAL WORD: I think I’m starting to understand why this Ted Arcidi didn’t make a name for himself in the wrestling business.
-Mean Gene interviews Jimmy Hart live. Gene says he was on his way to get a hot dog, but decided to do the interview first. Hart talks about getting pantsed several times by JYD and Adrian Adonis interrupts with the epic line “Time to do damage!” They walk to the ring, with Hart carrying a rainbow feather duster and an atomizer. Adonis has some pretty feminine leg warmers.
-Just once I’m going to squeeze the shit out of a Hostess snack in a store for Sylvester Ritter.
MATCH NUMBER FOUR: Adrian Adonis w/Jimmy Hart vs Junk Yard Dog
-Edit into the match just getting underway…I think. JYD is hitting Adonis with his chain. Gorilla mentions something about blood, but I don’t see any. I really hate this presentation.
-A great close up of Adonis calling a spot to both JYD and the ref. At least the right guy is calling this.
-JYD pushes the ref down and Hart jumps up to spray JYD in the eyes. There is zero sign of a DQ and Adonis hits some awkward strikes that JYD sells crappy.
-I mentioned it during SwoggleMania 2, but Adrian Adonis’ pink tights show way too much of the Flower Shop.
-The referee is down again and Jimmy Hart is now on JYD’s back. Adonis is hung up on the ropes. This is ridiculous. JYD manages to send Adonis into Hart on the apron for their usual spot.
WINNER: Junk Yard Dog by countout in 4:12 of actual action shown
FINAL WORD: I didn’t see a single count from the referee, but this was announced as a countout victory. I barely have time to write down all of my thoughts. Fuck that match will suffice.
-You want a chance to breathe? Screw you!
MATCH NUMBER FIVE: Dick Slater vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Sharpe is introduced as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete” and is soundly booed. Slater is announced as “The Rebel” and the crowd sadly doesn’t care.
-Sharpe just won’t shut up in the ring, but I can’t understand a word he is saying. He sounds like Delirious, but Canadian.
-Edit #1 in this match and Sharpe is begging off. That could be looped to summarize his whole career.
-Slater hits a bad looking neckbreaker followed by a weird Russian Leg Sweep. I’m starting to see why The Rebel was Without a Cause in WWF.
WINNER: Dick Slater in 2:34 of action shown with a top rope standing elbow drop.
FINAL WORD: I have a sinking suspicion I won’t like Dick Slater from here on out. Also, the odds on typing Iron Mike Sharpe again aren’t good.
-Mean Gene is with Bobby Heenan for a live interview. Heenan takes credit for the crowd and the amazing rapport between him and Gene is evident. They set up the crowd to chant “Weasel” masterfully and this massive crowd is back and ready. We edit and prepare for the fallout.
MATCH NUMBER SIX: The Heenan Family (Bobby Heenan, King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd) vs The Machine (Big and Super) and Capt. Lou Albano w/Giant Machine
-Gorilla doesn’t call the Machine Big and Super, but Machine #1 and #2. I’m confused as to why Andre isn’t wrestling. I thought this silly Machine thing was to get around the storyline.
-Heenan’s one armed tights are hilarious.
-The referee blatantly watches Giant choke Studd. No DQ called. Maybe someone stole the bell?
-Gorilla drops the “irresistible force meeting the immovable object” line. It’s music to my ears.
-You can certainly tell the difference in mobility between Big “Blackjack Mulligan” Machine and Super “Demolition Ax” Machine. I’m shocked Ax has the advantage.
-Heenan enters with a Machine down. He gets two shots in, Machine hits him once and he scampers out. Classic.
-Bundy’s strap is down. I’m getting Tara Reid flashbacks.
-Capt. Lou and Bobby are in the ring together. Heenan is Bump Machine with the Flair corner bump until the Family responds and traps Albano in the corner himself.
-Giant runs in and sheer chaos erupts. The Machines double noggin knock everyone and the bell rings.
-Giant chops Heenan and he sells with a fucking backflip. Eat your heart out, Dolph! Giant chops him in the head and Heenan goes over the top rope. The Brain is the MVP of the PPV with these bumps and his earlier promo. He’s going to be difficult to dethrone. The Machines and Albano celebrate like they won, but Fink announces the real result.
WINNERS: The Heenan Family by DQ in 7:49
FINAL WORD: The manager wrestling was the best worker in the match by a country mile.
-A title card appears that proclaims the following a “Snake Pit match!!!” Those three exclamation points are in quotes for a reason.
-Fink announces that anything goes in this match. Jake the Snake is already in the ring and it is odd to see him in a ring robe. A pretty close version of Sirius plays and now I’m stoked!!!
MATCH NUMBER SEVEN: SNAKEPIT MATCH- Ricky Steamboat vs Jake Roberts
-Jake jumps Steamboat on the way in and Steamboat thwarts it.
-Gorilla Monsoon doesn’t know how to properly say déjà vu.
-The commentating team mentions that the bandana on Steamboat’s head is to remind him of the DDT Jake gave him on the floor. Good addition.
-Officials apparently announced that it was too dangerous for any animals to be at ringside for this match. You know, as opposed to usually having a snake and a dragon near the action.
-Steamboat accidentally gets Jake with a spin kick right in the marbles. (Major League 2 reference? Don’t worry, I’ll get another one)
-Valiant says that pineapples are coming out Steamboat’s ears after Jake slams him on the floor.
-Boom in the shot!
-WE HAVE OUR FIRST UNPROTECTED CHAIR SHOT TO THE HEAD ON WRESTLING PAY-PER-VIEW!!!! Naturally, it is the ultimate babyface, Ricky Steamboat, delivering it to Jake Roberts. I’m sadly going to keep track of these now.
-Ricky follows that brain altering move up with a top rope chop for a close two count.
-I’m really glad this match hasn’t had any edits.
-A mid-match replay airs of Jake sending Steamboat over the top rope and sort of landing on the wooden steps. Jake follows that up with a slingshot into the post, another PPV first, I believe.
-Here is the difference between the NWA and the WWF. Gorilla is surprised that Steamboat doesn’t come up bleeding immediately whereas Schiavone or Caudle would say nothing because the guy would definitely be bleeding.
-Steamboat is now bleeding and Jake calls him a son of bitch. This is getting even better.
-One guy in the crowd keeps calling for the DDT really loudly.
-Jake goes for a nonchalant cover on Steamboat that is essentially teabagging him. Yeah, that’s going to cost him.
WINNER: Ricky Steamboat in 10:18 after a sunset flip cradle.
FINAL WORD: I wouldn’t expect anything but a solid affair between two men ahead of their time. I’m going to seek out more of these two together.
-We transition from Ricky Steamboat’s bloody face into Billy Jack Haynes’ loud jacket and stupid band around his neck.
MATCH NUMBER EIGHT: Billy Jack Haynes vs Hercules Hernandez
-Gorilla is alone on commentary. He jokes that Ladd and Valiant are “gone to get groceries.” In other words, the audio got messed up and Gorilla had to add this back in post.
-Gorilla explains Blassie’s sale of clients to Slick, which includes Hercules.
-Hercules hits an ugly clothesline and Edit #1 happens. While Haynes is in a bearhug, Gorilla talks about Johnny V eating popcorn.
-Gorilla calls this event “Once-in-a-Lifetime.” Crap, I don’t want to watch Rock and Cena this early.
-A boring chant starts, but it isn’t drawn out. This has energy to it. A spot where both men’s heads slam together doesn’t help.
-Hercules blocks a full nelson attempt with a kick to the nuts that makes one fan in the crowd react as if he was the one hit in the nuts.
-Man, it’s quiet. The crowd is either worn out from that last match or Hercules and Billy Jack Haynes are wrestling.
-One girl in the audience is screaming bloody murder at this. Is she a leftover Manson Family member? It’s actually Angry Miz Girl’s mother.
-More sloppy action. Go home, boys. Please?
WINNER: Billy Jack Haynes in 6:08 of shown action with a backslide
FINAL WORD: Obviously, this match was so good that Vince decided to do it in front of even more people at this next event.
-The Rougeaus are in the ring waving their country’s flag proudly. Their opponents get cheap heat by attacking them before the bell.
MATCH NUMBER NINE: The Rougeau Brothers vs The Dream Team
-According to Gorilla, it isn’t Raymond. It’s Ramon.
-Valiant is going to be even more annoying on commentary in this match.
-75% of this match’s participants are wearing red trunks. Beefcake fucked up again.
-Why were the referees so slow back then? Every count looks like an ordeal.
-Nice wishbone into a butt splash by Raymond.
-Jacques is almost as annoying on the apron as Nikki Bella yelling “Brie! Briiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!”
-A double slingshot into the turnbuckle by the Dream Team elicits a response from the crowd as well as me because it was LOUD.
-Jacques has a Lex Luger-like scream after an Atomic Drop.
-“Pandemonium breaks loose” and the Rougeaus gain the advantage back. They hit their awesome cannonball finisher, but Valentine breaks up the pin.
-Is Ernie Ladd asleep? He hasn’t talked in forever. Yet again, Valiant isn’t really giving him any opportunity to speak.
-Raymond is really taking the heat. He has been suplexed, bearhugged and slammed over and over again.
-This ref is close to making Gene Kiniski at Starrcade 1983 look like Charles Robinson.
-Jacques hits four consecutive dropkicks after his hot tag.
-Valentine applies the Figure Four in the center of the ring and Jacques hangs on.
-Confusion begins to spread as the match breaks down and the illegal man gets the pin. Remember when that was a thing?
WINNERS: Raymond Rougeau pins Greg Valentine with a sunset flip in 14:54
-Valiant freaks out in the booth, which he calls a “chicken coop”. Gorilla admits the illegal man got the pinfall and Valiant gets madder and more grating.
FINAL WORD: Nice match, if a little boring at times. I’m excited to see the Rougeaus more (except versus the Bushwhackers).
-My old timers line from earlier rings true again.
MATCH NUMBER TEN: Harley Race vs Pedro Morales
-This starts mid-match. Great way to treat two long-reigning World Champions.
-The side of Morales’ tights are wet. I don’t want to know why. Harley doesn’t care either because he just sends Perdo careening into a table, face-first.
-Valiant tells a horrific joke about a Puerto Rican lion. I’ve had enough of that shit. We have a new LVP of the PPV.
-The crowd doesn’t care about this match. Maybe it was because the 452nd sunset flip of the evening just occurred.
-The ref gets involved in the middle of a babyface punching a heel. It’s time for everyone’s favorite cheap win!
WINNER: Harley Race in 3:21 after a roll up in the corner with his feet on the ropes.
-The crowd chants something derogatory that I can’t make out and Race is announced as “the King of Wrestling” and “Handsome”. One out of two ain’t bad.
FINAL WORD: These two weren’t past their prime. They overshot their prime.
-We cut to the main event introduction and Mr. Wonderful mockingly entering the arena to Real American. The song keeps rolling for Hogan’s intro. Hulk looks bloated and Orndorff looks great. Hogan probably had too much syrup. Some smart fans chant for Orndorff.
MATCH NUMBER ELEVEN: WWF TITLE MATCH- Hulk Hogan (Champion) vs Paul Orndorff w/Bobby Heenan
-The refereeing keeps taking a turn for the worse. This time, he holds Hogan’s boot mid-kick so Orndorff can clothesline him. That’s how the match gets underway.
-The slugfest at the onset is really good and the referee PULLS HOGAN’S HAIR to get him off of Orndorff. Is he going to hit him with a sledgehammer next?
-Hogan looks awkward at times, but this is still pretty good thus far. Hogan taunts, Heenan distracts and Orndorff bumps around.
-The crowd seems a little split, to be perfectly honest. Orndorff hits a suplex on the floor and continues to dominate Hogan who is now draped over the apron.
-Ernie Ladd is bringing the heat on commentary. He talks with a lot of passion during this match and it reminds me of William Regal in NXT. That’s always a good thing.
-The referee starts arguing with Orndorff. That means Hogan has to starting recovering with the crowd’s help.
-Hogan’s ear is stuffed with something. It might be cotton. How will he celebrate after the match?
-The crowd is pretty much 50/50 when Orndorff does the taunt for the piledriver. It pops much bigger, however, when Hogan counters it with a backdrop.
-Another heel celebration that is preemptive. Orndorff gloats, but Hogan gets up and knees Paul in the back like HHH, which knocks the referee down.
-Cool storyline moment: Hogan raises Orndorff’s hand in a mirror image of Mr. Wonderful’s turn, then hits the clotheslines. Hogan calls for the piledriver and Heenan runs in with a stool before Hogan can thoroughly botch it. Orndorff gets a visual three on Hogan while the referee is down.
-The referee recovers and taps Orndorff on the shouler. The bell rings and Paul celebrates with the title. Heenan straps it on. There was zero counting whatsoever. That can only mean one thing.
WINNER: Hulk Hogan by DQ in 11:07
FINAL WORD: It had the normal tropes of a Hogan match, but the crowd enjoyed it and Orndorff is still solid. I wish the PPV era was more developed for these two.
-Orndorff and Heenan go ballistic at the announcement and Hogan gets beaten down until he blocks a shot with the title belt. Orndorff gets sent outside, returns for one more punch and bails again. The two men display great tension and the crowd heat is huge.
-The ending is replayed in a weird frame and the space is almost up on that tape. Credits rolls to orchestra music. The highlight of the credits: writers being listed and Vince McMahon getting a “Special Thanks”.
THE LAST IMAGE: Hulk Hogan posing to the crowd.
THE WRAP UP
FINAL MVP of PPV: It has to be Bobby Heenan. The man put in work at ringside, on the microphone and in the squared circle. The question now: how many of these will Heenan accumulate?
FINAL LVP of PPV: Johnny Valiant was loud in the worst way. I’m starting to think the Valiant Brothers completely fucking sucked.
MY FAVORITE MATCH: Ricky Steamboat vs Jake Roberts
MY LEAST FAVORITE MATCH: Adrian Adonis vs Junk Yard Dog
WWE HALL OF FAMERS IN ACTION: 14 (Hoss Funk, Magnificent Muraco, Junk Yard Dog, Bobby Heenan, Big John Studd, Lou Albano, Big Machine, Ricky Steamboat, Jake Roberts, Greg Valentine, Harley Race, Pedro Morales, Hulk Hogan, Paul Orndorff)
DEARLY DEPARTED IN ACTION: 5 (Junk Yard Dog, Adrian Adonis, Big John Studd, Lou Albano, Hercules Hernandez)
FINAL THOUGHT: It is hard to accurately say if this show is good or not because I felt like I missed a lot. Granted, all of the main attractions were complete and they were entertaining, but this just didn’t feel important despite the magnitude of the crowd. It was like watching a Raw with a giant crowd. MULLET DOESN’T RECOMMEND
NEXT TIME: Starrcade 1986: Night of the Skywalkers. Jim Cornette is not going to have a rocket up his ass to get up that scaffold. (Thanks, Bob Uecker!)