The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Maple Leaf Gardens – September 22 1985

The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Maple Leaf Gardens – September 22 1985

– Taped from Toronto, ON

– Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura.

Scott McGhee v. Rene Goulet

Gorilla claims that the crowd is “20,000 +” but then he also claims that fans are “literally hanging from the rafters” so I wouldn’t take his word on it. Unintentionally funny moment as Goulet has one sequined glove, so Gorilla calls him “The Michael Jackson of the wrestling world,” which wasn’t much of an insult back in 85 but definitely would sound worse today. Some standard armdrags to start from Goulet and they do the criss-cross and armdrag in return by McGhee. He goes for the surfboard and Goulet makes the ropes. Because he’s smart, you see. He takes McGhee down by the hair and they do the test of strength and bridge spot, which McGhee monkey-flips out of. Goulet takes him down with a spinning toehold, but McGhee fights up and slams him and Goulet runs away again. Goulet jaws with the ref and then gets a cheapshot to take over. He follows with a clothesline and a side salto for two. He drops a knee and applies the IRON CLAW, but they’re doing it as a resthold more than anything and McGhee uses it to fight back for the comeback. McGhee misses the charge and posts himself, however, and Goulet goes to work on the shoulder. Knee to the gut gets two. Back to the claw and McGhee resists the awesome power of temple massage and slugs Goulet down. Probably helped his headache, too. Goulet takes a nice Bret Hart bump in the corner and gets hung up in the ropes, and McGhee throws some nice knees as Goulet bumps like nuts on top. Inverted atomic drop as McGhee comes back, and he gets another atomic drop the other way. Goulet goes to the eyes, but McGhee finishes with a sunset flip at 11:58. OK, I enjoyed that despite the pedestrian start, as Goulet is a solid worker and he picked a body part and stayed on it. **1/2

Frank Marconi v. Dino Bravo

Bravo is wearing a red coat with a big maple leaf and red tights, so apparently he’s still a babyface here in Canada. He’s not quite as roided as he would end up, but he’s getting there. Bravo gets a series of slams and takes him down with a headlock, and a Russian legsweep gets two. Marconi fights back, but Bravo backdrops him and gets an atomic drop into a backdrop suplex for the pin at 1:45. Well that was brisk. 1/2*

King Kong Bundy v. Swede Hanson

I’m sensing a squash here. Or not, as Swede throws forearms in the corner and ain’t taking any crap from Bundy tonight. Bundy charges him and Swede stands his ground, throwing more chops and forearms on the ropes to get the crowd going. Bundy overpowers him with a wristlock, but Hanson gets the crowd to chant “Porky” and Bundy gets flustered and breaks it. Now that’s some interesting psychology. Bundy tries it again and then just decides to pound him down instead, which proves much more effective than attempting to wrestle. Swede fires back at Bundy, but Bundy keeps coming. Swede is not so easily felled and he throws chops in the corner, but stands still too long and the Avalanche and big fat elbow finish at 5:23. See, you can give the other guy offense and still look like a monster. The fact that the other guy hit you a few times and you sold for him doesn’t lessen the impact of running into a guy with 450 pounds in the corner. **

Tiger Chung Lee & Iron Mike Sharpe v. The Killer Bees

Weird dubbed in rock music and fan reaction for the Bees. I don’t recall them ever using entrance music, but they sure piped something in here in post production and also added a pop like it was a bunch of kids at a High School Musical concert or something. That Jim Brunzell, he’s so dreamy. Speaking of which, he uses speed to evade Tiger Chung Lee and the Bees trade off on the armbar, and Blair gets a small package for two. Funny bit as Blair gives Iron Mike a quick shot on the apron and Mike drops down and sells it like he was shot in the face or something. You can never go wrong OVERselling, says I. The Bees continue to work on Lee’s arm, but Blair gets caught in the heel corner and faces the wrath of Iron Mike. And, well, that wrath isn’t really all that impressive, as Sharpe also gets double-teamed by the Bees. Blair takes him down with a sloppy crucifix for two. Nice to see someone change up from doing the same old bodypress off the ropes, at least. The Bees stay on the arm and Brunzell monkey-flips him out of the corner and it’s back to the arm again. Sunset flip, but Sharpe grabs the ropes, so Blair uses the tights for two. Brunzell comes in with the sleeper, but Lee hits him from behind to break it up. And now Brunzell is YOUR face in peril. Lee gets a suplex for two and works a headlock, and the heels switch off to give us the false tag as the crowd gets hotter than you’d think for a nothing tag match like this. They hold him in the corner and Sharpe beats on him on the floor, and back in for a bearhug. Brunzell escapes and knocks him down with a high knee, and it’s HOT tag to Blair, as the crowd is ridiculously hot for this. Blair slugs away on Lee in the corner and has Sharpe flailing like he poked him in the eye with a burning cinder or something. Backdrop for Lee and that sets up the Brunzell dropkick to finish at 12:49. This was ludicrously good for what should have been a squash, as once again they work the formula and it almost always results in a damn good match. ***1/4

Lumberjack match: Ricky Steamboat v. Magnificent Muraco

Steamboat is all over Muraco to start, chopping him down and throwing a kneelift that sends him to the floor, but the lumberjacks send him back in. They mess up a spot where Muraco is supposed to block a chop with a kneelift, but Steamboat chops him out anyway and now the heels gently help Muraco in. Muraco recovers with a clothesline which of course Steamboat sells like death, and then he pulls Ricky off the ropes and Dragon goes flying over the top rope off a karate thrust. Back in, necksnap follows, but Steamboat catches him with a boot out of the corner and quickly flies off the top with a chop. Muraco begs off but Dragon is still chopping, and a spinning neckbreaker results. Muraco comes back with an atomic drop and Dragon of course bumps to the floor off that, and once the heels toss him in Muraco goes low. Muraco goes up and drops the dreaded thumb to the throat, and from there he uses the Vulcan nerve pinch, proving himself to be a student of Mr. Fuji. He goes for a slam and then changes his mind in mid-move and uses a shoulderbreaker instead, and that looked kind of awkward. Back to the nerve hold as Gorilla clarifies that lumberjack matches are assumed to be no-DQ, no countout. Did not know that. What was with Steamboat’s bizarre camel-toe boots, by the way? I never got that. Steamboat fires back with chops, but Muraco tosses him and everyone brawls outside before they toss Steamboat back in. Muraco drops the knee for two. Another one misses and Steamboat catches him with his head down, so Muraco bails. The faces carry him back in and dump him over the top, but Muraco backdrops Steamboat out again as I think he’s trying to set a new record for bumping over the top or something. He skins the cat back in and Muraco catches him with a suplex, but the ref is busy talking to Mr. Fuji. Orton offers the services of his cast, but Steamboat gives him a shot and runs Muraco into it, and that finishes at 8:11. Typical good stuff from them with super heat, as Steamboat was determined to go over the top rope as many ways as possible. ***

Barry O v. King Tonga

Tonga = Meng/Haku and Barry O = Randy Orton’s estranged uncle, for those keeping track. Barry pounds away to start, but Tonga throws some chops and sends him out of the ring. Back in, Barry takes Tonga down, but can’t keep him there, and Tonga throws more chops before they trade wristlocks. Barry slams him and misses an elbow, allowing Tonga to drop his own for two. Barry gets an atomic drop for two and gets a clothesline, but stops to do the pose that would later be the sign of the Zodiac in Stampede. That gimmick was YEARS ahead of its time, actually. Back elbow gets two for Barry, but Tonga fights back with, yes, more chops. Legdrop gets two. Superkick and big splash finish at 5:55. A rather dull outing. *1/4

WWF tag titles: Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake v. Uncle Elmer & Cousin Junior

Oh f*ck me, why couldn’t it have been the f*cking Bulldogs instead? The pre-match stalling eats up about three minutes alone. Junior gives Brutus a clean break to start and then tries a headlock, but Beefcake throws him down to escape. Junior accuses him using the hair, but it looked clean to me. Then they do the same routine in reverse. OK, we’ve established that they both know how to do headlocks, let’s move on. They criss-cross and Junior gets the mule kick and messes up the hair. That of course would be a much more painful move a couple of years later. Over to Valentine and Junior stomps him in the corner, but Hammer casually drops an elbow to halt the idiot’s progress and then adds another elbow. Junior comes back with a headlock and stomps him off the criss-cross, but he gets distracted by Beefcake and gets in trouble. They choke him down in the heel corner and Hammer drops another elbow behind the ref’s back, which gives Brutus two. They pound away and Junior finally slugs back and makes the hot tag to Elmer. He basically stands there and Junior whips the Dream Team into his belly, but then he stops and tags Junior back in again. Junior gets a buttdrop on Valentine for two. The ref goes after Elmer, however, and the Dream Team double-teams Junior with, oddly enough, a Hart Attack clothesline to finish him at 11:19. Rather long for what they were doing, but not terrible or anything, and at least it had a clean finish. **

Cowboy Bob Orton v. Leaping Lanny Poffo

We switch to Billy Red Lyons on color commentary here, which should make Maple Leaf Wrestling fans happy. Lanny goes right for the cast and dodges a blind charge from Orton, then kips up off a slam and takes Orton down with an armbar. Gorilla notes that it’s been in a cast for seven months at that point. And there’s more to come! Question: Did Orton or Owen Hart milk the cast gimmick longer? Orton comes back with a hiptoss into a flying headscissors, but misses a charge and crotches himself. Poffo slugs away in the corner and Orton is selling everything tonight, and Poffo takes him down with a half-nelson for two. He switches to a short-arm scissors on the “broken” arm, which has Gorilla and Billy Red reminiscing about the good old days. Orton drops a knee on Poffo’s face to break it up, and then drops him with a slingshot suplex. I’m surprised that wasn’t a no-no, although it looked like Orton wanted to drop Poffo on the top rope and Lanny decided to lead him into the suplex finish. Press slam into a backbreaker gets two. He sets up for the superplex, but Poffo fights out and Orton does a great shaky-knee sell on the mat. Poffo follows with a missile dropkick for two. Hiptoss and another dropkick set up the moonsault, but he hits the knees and Orton shoots the half to finish at 7:18. Tremendous pace and some good clean wrestling from Orton. Too bad his kid is such a f*ck-up. ***

Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. Jesse Ventura

Yup, you read that right. I guess he came out of retirement to put Chico in his place. Tito has the (then) new look IC title here, which I don’t really associate with him. Jesse of course poses for us and Tito gives him a clean break off the lockup, which gives Jesse a few minutes of material as he bitches to the ref about several infractions Tito committed. Jesse offers his own clean break and then gloats about it, which leads to Tito giving him another clean break off a rollup attempt. Ah, it’s a gentlemanly affair, I see. Tito goes to the hammerlock and Jesse immediately goes for the ropes and then complains to the fans about it. He responds with a wristlock on Tito and does color commentary on his own match years before the Rock did it, but Tito reverses to escape. Tito goes to the headlock and works on that, and Jesse is unable to knock him down, which is a nice touch on his part. Jesse’s bumps off the shoulderblock are pretty funny, as he goes down with all the grace of a dying gazelle. Finally he cheats to take over, using his old favourite thumb to the eye before dumping Tito. He rams the back into the apron and chokes him out in the corner before Tito stumbles back in. Another thumb to the eye sets up a backbreaker for two. Atomic drop gets two. Jesse throws some kicks to the ribs, but takes too much time jawing with the fans to capitalize, and then goes with the bearhug instead of pinning him. Tito slugs away to escape and he makes the comeback, and he pounds away on the mat and gets the figure-four, but Jesse makes the ropes in record time. They brawl to the ramp and that’s it at 11:43. Tito wants five more minutes, but Jesse’s more of a run away and fight another day kind of guy. Not a classic or anything, but Jesse knows the right things to do to get heat and set up the babyface’s comebacks and stuff. Plus he was game for taking the bumps here. **1/2

The Pulse:

Really solid show, actually, as there was nothing great here but there was a lot of really good matches despite the lack of star power. And hey, I bet you can’t say you’ve seen that matchup in the main event before. Recommended show.

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