WWF at Boston Garden (3.8.86) review
March 8, 1986
We’re in Boston, at the Garden. 16,390 in attendance here. This aired live on NESN, as did all Boston Garden house shows. Hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes. That’s not an ideal pairing. The show is 2h 13m, which is long for 1986. I’ve been enjoying how short these shows are.
Rene Goulet vs. Sivi Afi
This match sucks. Sivi Afi is quite bad. How long is this? 11 minutes. That doesn’t sound like a long time until you have to sit and watch this for 11 minutes. How long can a headlock last? Comms get bored and start talking about Cauliflower Ears and islander’s hard heads. I wouldn’t be able to bullshit my way through this. Still bored Gorilla debates why Goulet has his name on his tights. Is it in case he loses them in the locker room? Probably so that the jobbers in New England know who he is. From there we go to talking about WrestleMania 2. Goulet seems to not give a single shit. He only has a couple of televised matches left before he retires so hopefully I never see him again. Afi finishes with a high crossbody. 11 minutes, felt like at least 30:00. Dreadful, drab match. A complete waste of time.
Jose Luis Rivera vs. Jake Roberts
Jake joined WWF a few weeks ago. They’ve immediately latched onto the “snake” nickname, and he’s got a snake in a bag. The real snake was always Jake. It was a metaphor! A METAPHOR!
This is also boring, but Gorilla and Al get into the WWF vs NFL battle royal at WrestleMania. Jake is a fascinating guy to watch though. He spends a while eyeballing the crowd in a headlock and he’s gauging reactions. I have no idea why they feel the need to have him go 12 minutes with Rivera. He should be in there, cheat a bit, DDT, snake, leave. Especially with Rivera, who is garbage. That makes it two stonecold DUDs in a row. My controversial “Jake Roberts was a good character but not a good wrestler” take continues. DDT finishes. Thank fuck. Jake was more of a loss for Mid-South than a gain for WWF, at this point. That would change.
Judy Martin & Donna Christianello vs. Crush Gals
Yes, we really have Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka here. Judy Martin is ok, but Donna is awful. Why couldn’t they have wrestled Bull & Dump, who are on later? Judy is still in her 20s here, which staggers me. If I had to guess, I’d have said 42. The locals work heel and stall. A lot. For some reason the Crush Gals use a lot of karate. I assume someone told them it would get over.
As the match rumbles on, I start wondering who thought this would be a good idea? Considering how electric and over the Crush Gals were in Japan. The big ring doesn’t help as Asuka gets into position for something and Judy is still running the ropes. It’s quite funny but also a bit sad. The normally innovative Crush Gals are limited to basic holds. Nagayo does manage to demonstrate a Sharpshooter for Bret Hart to steal though. Double dropkick sets up the Giant Swing, which is awesome, and Donna jobs to it. This was way long, at over 15 minutes, and the Crush Gals barely scratched the surface of their offence thanks to a reluctant heel team.
Scott McGhee vs. Jim Neidhart
I thought we all decided Neidhart shouldn’t be working singles matches? Jimmy Hart joins commentary to complain that the Harts haven’t had a title shot. This is yet another bad match. What are we on here? 0/4? Anvil finishes with a powerslam.
Bret Hart vs. Ricky Steamboat
The upside to Anvil in singles is that Bret is also in singles. Rumour has it that Bret impressed so much against Ricky in matches around here that Steamboat vs. Bret was on the cards for WrestleMania 2. That got switched to Steamboat vs. Hercules and Bret was in a battle royal. Unlucky mate.
This is a contest between two guys who fancy themselves at taking bumps. While Bret’s are more realistic, Steamboat’s are sensational. The snap on everything is elite here. Two guys who could do everything. The only major issue stems from the reliance on rest holds in between the good stuff. Bret’s execution is on point. They do a weird thing here and have Bret get a visual pin with the ref down. As soon as the ref is back up Bret goes for a crossbody and Steamboat rolls through it for the pin. Naturally, this was good and much better than anything else on the card. ***. It’s a match with some issues though. The weird finish and some needless rest holds included. Everything else was executed to perfection though.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Randy Savage (c) vs. Tito Santana
Last time were in Boston; Savage won the belt from Santana. The yellow floor brings all the feelings of rage back for Tito.
Randy is caffeinated this evening. He looks twitchy, yells at the fans and the commentators before getting into the ring and takes multiple powders before the bell rings. When Tito eventually catches up it turns into a wild brawl. Savage was masterful at being a chickenshit heel but also switching in an instant from ‘running away’ mode to savage attack mode. Despite all that running away, he never felt like a coward. Just an opportunist. Tito breaks himself here by hitting his Flying Forearm and then not pinning. What are you doing? Savage tries to run again, Tito won’t get off him and Danny Davis loses control. Santana throws him across the ring and that’s a DQ. Should have just pinned him after the forearm. **½. A good match but it never reached the higher gear both guys are capable of. I have a strong suspicion that Savage was supposed to go into the ropes after the forearm.
Bull Nakano & Dump Matsumoto vs. Velvet McIntyre & Dawn Marie
Dump arrives in full samurai gear and face paint. The Devils of Japan are working heel, which leads to a barrage of hateful racism from Gorilla and Lord Alfred.
Imagine finding Bull Nakano unattractive? What a pair of wankers. Velvet is working barefoot. Gorilla suggests she might have lost her boots. I don’t understand the logic of having the Crush Gals and the Devils of Japan here and not just putting them in the same match but hey, I guess we have some unique bouts here because of it. The Devils of Japan, in Japan, wrestled a style that involved ignoring the rules. The matches are carnage. Here, they’re shackled to WWF rules and it’s not much to watch. At least Velvet takes a decent beating. Despite being beaten up all match Velvet pins Bull with a victory roll. This lacked chemistry and wasn’t fun. In retrospect, they definitely should have pitched the two Japanese teams against each other.
Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Corporal Kirchner
Canada’s loudest jobber Mike Sharpe is here to put over the patriotic Kirchner. Sharpe has a bizarre idea for taking dropkicks, which involves standing sideways and taking them on the arm. Then taking an overblown back bump. They do this three times.
Comms spend most of the match laughing at how dumb everything looks. Iron Mike Sharpe was an artist. Iron Mike suggests a test of strength, which he loses. Loudly. “ARRRRRGH. ARRRRGGGH. AAARRRRRRRRGH”. Someone should just steal Mike Sharpe’s whole gimmick wholesale. It’s so different that I reckon it would get over. If Twitter was around in 1986, people would have been crying out for the Iron Mike Sharpe push. He’s certainly more entertaining than the one-trick pony that is the Corporal. The trouble is, this being 1986, it’s over. Sharpe loads up his forearm pad but Kirchner blocks and bashes Mike in his own face with it for the win. That looked as stupid as it sounds, if that helps. This was a tremendous little match. I have a new love for Iron Mike Sharpe. I always liked him but his shtick would work with anyone. Like George Steele or Ric Flair. He could just take that match and have it with any body.
Barry O vs. Ted Arcidi
Ah, Ted Arcidi. Ted Arcidi was Mark Henry before Mark Henry. Ted was the world bench press champion. Vince took a shine to him and talked him into wrestling. He only had 22 televised matches and it’s fair to say, he didn’t take to wrestling as well as McMahon was hoping for. He did eventually impact the WWF in a huge way though. He was the strength trainer for one Paul Levesque and the guy who put the future Triple H in touch with Killer Kowalski. Arcidi, while he looked the part, had no charisma at all. He’s from Boston and still can’t get much in the way of reactions. Bearhug finishes for Big Ted.
Hulk Hogan & Junkyard Dog vs. The Funk Brothers
Terry Funk is teaming with Dory here, although Vince has renamed him “Hoss Funk” for reasons. Dory was a former NWA champion. They didn’t rename Dusty Rhodes Blobby Rhodes or Ric Flair Nick Flair did they? JYD and Terry have a feud coming in and will work together in a tag at Mania 2. I think Hogan comes in to “Real American” but the pop is so loud, I can’t actually tell. Hogan has his ribs taped, courtesy of King Kong Bundy breaking his ribs. I personally wouldn’t have had him wrestle at all to sell the injury but tickets need to be sold.
They do the two guys run ropes, one guy stops, heel keeps going bit. It’s one of my favourite bits but it is house show territory. Terry actually joins in so both heels are running the ropes while JYD watches. They also do the ‘save your partner from the turnbuckles’ bit. They’re running all the house show gimmicks, huh? Terry, intent on having a match with himself, fights the barricade and then falls over the TV cables.
Terry isn’t all comedy and hangs JYD with the lasso. That leaves him wide open though and Hogan hits him with the Axe Bomber for the win. This was great, although your mileage may vary if house show nonsense isn’t your bag. **½
We end the show with Hogan posing for the crowd, something that would become common and then gradually piss people off. However, this time JYD poses wearing a Hogan mask. Pop!
There is a lot of crap on this show and WWF house shows in general are piss poor. However, the presence of the Crush Gals, Devils of Japan, Terry Funk, Savage-Santana and the Steamboat-Bret match makes it an interesting curio show though.