Live from Chicago, IL Rosemont, IL

Airdate: November 7, 1985

Attendance: 14,000

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

This review is sponsored by the candy bar Payday. Thanks, WWE Network!

This was not only the WWF’s foray into pay-per-view but also wrestling’s. Finkel narrates the introductions as sixteen men compete in a single-elimination tournament. In addition, the winner of a sweepstakes for a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III will be announced. To top it all off, Hulk Hogan will defend the WWF title against “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

Vince McMahon welcomes us to the show and joins Lord Alfred Hayes and Susan Waitkis for the tournament bracket. Earlier this afternoon, “Mean” Gene Okerlund hosted the “random drawing” involving Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth), and Mr. Fuji.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews WWF President Jack Tunney.

Monsoon and Ventura are at ringside and ready to call the action.

Match 1 (round of 16): Corporal Kirchner versus “Adorable” Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart)


Rating: DUD

Summary: Kirchner was no Sgt. Slaughter, and I believe his military gimmick was used as part of the opening match to get the crowd stirred.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Adonis with Hart.

Match 2 (round of 16): Nikolai Volkoff versus the Dynamite Kid


Rating: *

Summary: Now THAT’S the way to pop a crowd.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Savage (w/ Elizabeth).

Match 3 (round of 16): “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) versus Ivan Putski


Rating: DUD

Summary: Putski was past his prime, so Savage used Memphis-style heel tactics to steal this one.

We return to the bracket, but Volkoff interrupts claiming he was “robbed.” Chicago’s finest was nowhere to be seen.

Match 4 (round of 16): Davey Boy Smith versus Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat


Rating: *

Summary: Nifty little match they had going until the abrupt finish.

After the match, Steamboat checks on Smith. “The Dragon” truly was the consummate babyface.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews JYD.

Match 5 (round of 16): Junkyard Dog versus the Iron Sheik (w/ “Classy” Freddie Blassie)


Rating: ½*

Summary: It’s hard to hold a suspension of disbelief when a supposedly woozy wrestler hits a head butt to gain a victory. Nevertheless, JYD advances.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Terry Funk with Jimmy Hart. I’m not sure if Funk was inebriated, but he sprayed tobacco juice on Okerlund as he requested a title shot. As Hart finished the interview, Funk spat tobacco on the camera lens. Yuck!

Match 6 (round of 16): Terry Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Moondog Spot


Rating: DUD

Summary: Cute indirect way for Funk to lose without doing a job.

After the “match,” Funk levels Spot from behind again. Funk is so crazed that he chases after referee Dave Hebner.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Don Muraco with Mr. Fuji.

Match 7 (round of 16): Don Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji) versus Intercontinental champion Tito Santana


Rating: *

Summary: According to Monsoon, Santana’s leg was on the bottom rope. Muraco got screwed! The presence of neither Jack Tunney nor the Illinois state athletic commission could be construed during these shenanigans.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. The latter is ready to deliver the $50,000 bounty on Orndorff’s head to Orton should he put him out of action. If only there was a BKO in 1985…

Match 8 (round of 16): “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff versus “Cowboy” Bob Orton


Rating: ½*

Summary: That cast shot could put Mr. Wonderful out and help make Randy’s daddy a richer man.

After the match, they trade fisticuffs until a big right sent Orton down to the concrete floor.

Vince and Hayes,who is wooing Ms. Waitkis, break down the quarterfinals:

  1. Adonis versus Dynamite Kid
  2. Savage versus Steamboat
  3. JYD versus Moondog Spot
  4. Santana versus Orndorff

After they list the quarterfinal matchups, Funk interrupts saying he’s been screwed. Who does he think he is? Bret Hart? Oh, wait! This happened twelve years before the Montreal Screwjob.

Match 9 (quarterfinal): “Adorable” Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the Dynamite Kid


Rating: ***

Summary: Excellent work by the Dynamite Kid here. I can see why a young Chris Benoit wanted to emulate him. I just wish he hadn’t duplicated the head-butting.

After the match, Adonis has a temper tantrum.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Ventura? The latter puts 100% support behind the “Macho Man.” But who will he support for President in 2016?

Match 10 (quarterfinal): “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) versus Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat


Rating: ***

Summary: If you thought this was good, wait until you see some of their encores. I can’t wait to review them. The replay showed that the foreign object was a pair of brass knuckles.

Backstage, Okerlund attempts to interview Moondog Spot who has a big soup bone in his right hand. The interview by Okerlund becomes an act of futility.

Match 11 (quarterfinal): Junkyard Dog versus Moondog Spot


Rating: DUD

Summary: Let’s just say that JYD moves on to the semi-finals and be done with it, shall we?

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Heenan again. The latter wants to offer Santana $50,000 for taking Orndorff out of wrestling. Heenan then picked Piper to win the title match later in the show.

Match 12 (quarterfinal): Intercontinental champion Tito Santana versus “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff


Rating: *

Summary: Very old-school scientific match that wasn’t very exciting including the ending. I guess the WWF was boxed into a corner having the Intercontinental champion in the tournament since neither he nor Orndorff could lose at this point in time.

We return to the tournament brackets as Hayes is still hitting on Waitkis. The scoundrel! The only semifinal remaining will pit the Dynamite Kid against Savage.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews the WWF Champion. Intense promo for Hogan.

Match 13 for the WWF title: Hulk Hogan (champion) versus “Rowdy” Roddy Piper


Rating: **

Summary: Monsoon didn’t use it here, but it’s appropriate for this match—main event anywhere in the civilized world. It may not be a scientific match, but both wrestlers know how to entertain a crowd.

Afterwards, Orndorff runs in to stop Piper and Orton from demolishing the champion.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews JYD again. Jimmy Hart interrupts but nothing comes from it.

Match 14 (semifinal): The Dynamite Kid versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth)


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Magnificent if only too short match between these wrestlers. Give me more!

Vince and Waitkis are prepared for the announcement of the winner of the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud 3 sweepstakes. Ring announcer Howard Finkel introduces WWF President Jack Tunney. Next, Basil DeVito rushes his lines in order to give away the fine luxury automobile. Finkel then introduces Ed Fibershaw of Don Ciccota Associates. After describing the authenticity of the drawing, Fibershaw gave the envelope with the winner’s name to Lord Alfred Hayes. The winner is Michael Hambley of Batavia, IL. In a funny moment, Hayes asks the crowd to give Hambley a “real good Chicago cheer.” They proceed to boo. HA!

Back In the locker room, Okerlund interviews Hogan and Orndorff. Hogan wants another piece of Piper. According to Orndorff, he and Hogan “are blood.”

Match 15 (final): The Junkyard Dog versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth)


Rating: ***

Summary: Savage did everything he could with the rather immobile yet extremely charismatic JYD and got a decent match out of him. Once again, the WWF was boxed into a corner since they couldn’t have Savage lose in a high-profile manner since he was skyrocketing up the ladder.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews the winner—Junkyard Dog. Immediately Ventura enters the ring and protests the decision since JYD only wrestled twice as opposed to three times for Savage.

To finish the show, Waitkis gave Hayes a kiss on the cheek. Vince asks Hayes if he’s going to give her a ride (with regards to the Rolls-Royce), and Hayes affirms it rather confidently. HA!

Conclusion: This would definitely fall under the sports-entertainment version of a wrestling tournament as many of the matches were forced to be very short and yet achieve victory somehow. I think it would have benefitted the tournament to begin with the quarterfinals rather than the round of 16. This was definitely a template that the WWF would later use for both WrestleMania IV and King of the Ring. If you’ve never seen this show, I highly recommend it since it isn’t boring, but it has zero historical value so a subsequent viewing isn’t something I’d favor.

See you for Starrcade ‘85!

Buyrate: 2.50 (52,000 buys)

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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