WWF Boston Garden (11.1.86) review
November 1, 1986
We’re at Boston Garden for another 1986 show. I’m back from AEW All In London and I’m suitably relaxed. Hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes.
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Bob Orton
Ace comes out to Piper’s music, wearing a kilt and such. He stole that bit from Paul Orndorff.
Billy Jerk is still around. His WWF run was relatively short but will feel very long. My favourite thing about 1986 vs. 2023, is that when wrestlers are bad, they know they’re bad and don’t attempt anything. Billy Jerk can’t work at all so when he’s on top he just does simple holds. Armbars. Chinlocks. Maybe a slam or a dropkick at a push. He knows his limitations. Good lord he’s boring though. Good grief. They spent a good 10 minutes in an armbar. Orton is better in charge, but he doesn’t have a plan. He’s filling time, not trying to win. There are instances of Bob hitting a move that feels like a near fall and he doesn’t even bother pinning. Billy Jerk finally fucks something up, attempting a clothesline off the second rope. Overreached there Billy! We call that a “Sid”. If you squint at Billy Jerk, you could probably fool yourself into thinking it might be Steve Williams. The saving grace here is Bob Orton, who tries desperately to make Billy’s spots look good. It’s a god damn challenge, I tell you. Anyway, the time limit expires at like 22 minutes. What was the time limit?
Moondogs vs. Raymond Rougeau & Lanny Poffo
Poffo is an honorary Rougeau as Jacques has a knee injury. The Boston crowd sympathetically boo him for it. They also boo Ray and Poffo’s poem too. Hey, I don’t blame them. Everyone sucks in this match. Especially Rex. He is the dirt fucking worst. Spot keeps up with Poffo’s weird headscissor business, but Poffo can’t return the favour by adequately bumping Spot’s spots. Damn, that sounds weird. Gorilla talks about the subscapularis, which is the bit of muscle at the top of the chest/arm area. It’s one quarter of the rotator cuff. Jacques joins commentary and good lord, he’s completely lost. As if the injury was brain related and he’d left most of his head in the locker room. Ray ends up rolling up Rex after Jacques, the son of a bitch, trips Spot with the crutch after saying he wouldn’t. Great babyface antics there.
Jimmy Jack Funk vs. Koko B. Ware
Koko came in a few months ago. Did you know Koko and his parrot were related? He’s introduced as Frankie B. Ware. This is an extension of the WWF wrestlers have spirit animals deal that came from Jake Roberts having a snake.
The difference between having a snake and a parrot is that one is potentially getting involved in the match and the booking and shit, and the other is a random connection to Koko being a high flier. Koko has basically just been in Memphis to this point. He dropkicks Jesse Barr right in the face here, and it’s so neat they show a replay. Koko, however, spends most of the rest of the match working the most boring shit he can think of. Koko can take a decent bump and Barr tries to rough him up. They have a few cool spots but it’s mostly just Koko landing on the ropes or the floor. There’s definitely potential here. Jesse grabs his bull rope and starts whipping Koko with it and the referee cautions him. TWICE! Eventually the ref gets shoved over and that’s a DQ. Oh, so it’s ok to whip the black man but as soon as YOU get pushed over it’s a DQ? Fucking hell, ref. Just say you’re in the KKK.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Randy Savage (c) vs. Ricky Steamboat
Oh, hell yeah.
Savage has been champion since he beat Tito Santana, clean as a whistle with no foreign objects used whatsoever, back in February. Steamboat feels like the next logical choice to step into this situation. He’s one of the few guys who can not only keep up with Savage but outdo him. They would go on to have a feud, based on Savage using the ring bell on Steamboat’s throat, which would set up the match at WrestleMania III. This is before all that, so there’s no real anger or animosity. Savage is only annoyed with Steamboat because he’s coming for that belt.
Even with less at stake these are still two of the premier workers of the era. The pacing is so superior to everything else on the show. Steamboat knowing when to go for quick falls and when to return to the armbar. Speed it up, slow it down, keep people interested. It’s the bare bones version of WrestleMania III. The first draft. Savage is the same, knowing when to cheat, when to get aggressive, when to speed it up. They do a grand job with the near falls, the transitions and the changes of momentum. It is built up in a way that either guy could win out of nowhere. Savage misses off the top to the floor and hurts his knee. Steamboat rolls back in and wins on count out. Savage, presumably, blames Ricky for trying to end his career, hence his later rage. ***½
Steamboat, in a dick move, throws Savage back in and pins him, counting the three himself. The ref is all “that’s not how wrestling works Richard”. Steamboat doing the equivalent of running onto the pitch after a football match and blasting the ball into the empty net. GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLL!
Salvatore Bellomo vs. Hercules
Get the fuck out of here with this shit.
Bellomo is a chubby jobber. Herc is roided to the gills. I wonder which one of these wrestlers Vince McMahon prefers. The crowd hate Bellomo because he stinks and belongs in the 1970s. Herc squashes Bellomo and beats him with a backbreaker. Herc had just switched from Slick to Bobby Heenan, which would signal the start of his best run in wrestling. Financially, anyway.
Magnificent Muraco vs. Roddy Piper
Muraco comes out to Piper’s music as well, and is also wearing a kilt.
Muraco has aged about 15 years since I last saw him. He looks gnarly. Astonishingly he’s here for another two years still. It feels like his time in wrestling is over. As with Iron Sheik, Piper takes no shit at all from Muraco. His energetic brawling style is over as fuck. They could have put the belt on him as a babyface too. He’s still cheating and arguing with the referee but now the fans are eating it up. Muraco eventually gets a spell in charge, but the opening shine is the bulk of the match. Both guys blade, there’s blood everywhere. Muraco collides with Fuji and Piper rolls him up for the win. Piper’s energy levels were superb here. He feels so special. While Savage and Steamboat have that too, the style of Piper is more ‘in your face’. It’s amazing to me that Piper never really got a big main event run right off this face spell. ***
Roddy’s movie career is something that genuinely fascinates me. He had so much potential as a wild eyed protagonist, or antagonist. He could have gone either way. He started out in the wrestling movie Body Slam, with Dirk “Face” Benedict. During it the wrestling fans got mad at the wrestlers for clearly pulling their punches. Piper improvised a ‘shoot’ fight to convince the audience that wrestling was actually real. On leaving WWF in 1987, Roddy started chasing roles as a leading man. He starred in Hell Comes to Frogtown. It’s about Piper, under the name “Sam Hell”, trying to rescue women from humanoid frogs. It’s as dumb as it sounds, I quite like it. Later in 1988 he appeared in the movie They Live, which Piper has always claimed saved his career. An outstanding piece of sci-fi from John Carpenter, it’s about a drifter who discovers an underground alien takeover of Earth. Imagine Hidden Invasion if it wasn’t lame. His Hollywood career peaked with They Live and he went back to wrestling in 1989. Later in his life he appeared in a lot of DTV junk like Resort to Kill, Back in Action (with Billy Blanks), Tough and Deadly (I have a copy of this!) and the dreadful No Contest. Finally, if you’ve never seen It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, he was Da Maniac on that show in a spellbinding performance that blurred reality and fiction. Somewhat unhinged, down on his luck, about to snap, aging pro wrestler. I miss Roddy. He was fun.
WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship
Glamour Girls (c) vs. Candice Pardue & Penny Mitchell
The women’s tag belts appeared around 1983 and for most of the ‘Hulkamania’ era they were held by the Glamour Girls. Judy Martin and Leilani Kai. They had a feud with the Jumping Bomb Angels towards the end of the titles existence and eventually the WWF gave up on women’s wrestling in 1989 and that was the end of that. Mitchell was a WWF mainstay around this era but Pardue, I must admit I’ve never seen wrestle. She’s a weirdly quiet ginger haired girl. The crowd hate everyone, which is not ideal.
Judy Martin is 31 going on 60. People aged differently in the 80s. Pardue has to be dragged from one spot to another, clearly a little too feisty. It’s red hair. They all have a temper*. We get some comical miscues, including the champions clotheslining each other. Kai throws in a tasty Northern Lights suplex. I often wonder why women’s wrestling seemed to be ahead of the curve on suplexes. Maybe something to do with flexibility and suppleness? Pardue gets picked off for heat and the crowd get loudly bored. Judy sneaks in blind and powerbombs Penny for the win. Apparently, they call that the “drip dry” in England. Do we? Shit, I need to modify a lot of my terminology.
*If you’re a red head and your read that sentence and got mad, you’re merely proving my point.
Scott McGhee vs. Sika
What in the name of all that’s good and holy did I do to deserve this?
McGhee is just a j-brone at this point. Sika takes his sweet fucking time plodding through the match. Gorilla makes the mistake of interviewing the Wizard (aka Curtis Iaukea) during the match. Samoan Drop finishes, eventually. “You must take your hat off to Sika” says Al Hayes. Nah mate, I’d rather not. He took nearly five minutes to put this jamoke away.
WWF Tag Team Championship
British Bulldogs (c) vs. Hart Foundation
This is a classic pairing for the house show circuit. Bulldogs have gained Matilda, as the WWF animal show continues.
She charges Jimmy Hart and Alfred Hayes thinks this is the funniest thing he’s ever seen. Imagine if he saw “Football in the Groin”, he’d laugh himself to death! Bret has crazy good chemistry with both Bulldogs. Neidhart, as always, is bad and Bret has to carry the Hart side of things. I know he got good eventually but watching him struggle with the pace and the logic and the movement of all this is annoying. It’s doubly frustrating when you see how good Davey is at all the same power stuff. The whole tag team feels like an incredible waste of Bret. They have a rough finish, where the ref is bumped and Dynamite keeps getting pinned but the ref is too slow to count the three, so DK gets these insanely late kick outs. Davey rolls up Anvil, neither of whom were legal and that’s the finish. Jesus Christ, guys. What a fucking mess. **¾ but only because the chemistry was good, the actual match structure was not.
The proverbial game of two halves. Loads of rotten, terrible shit on this show. Billy Jerk going 20 minute Broadway, the women’s tag, Moondogs, Jimmy Jack Funk, Bellomo etc. But then also; Savage-Steamboat, prime Roddy Piper against Don Muraco and a decent tag title match to finish. Not a massive recommendation but slightly better than most WWF house shows of the time thanks to, well, Savage vs. Steamboat and Roddy Piper.