THIS RETRO BUSINESS: WWF – The Wrestling Classic – November 7th, 1985

Looking to follow up on the success of Wrestlemania, the WWF entered the Pay Per View market with their very first PPV event, The WWF Wrestling Classic.
The main attraction here was a huge 16-man elimination tournament. Also, the WWF did a fan sweepstakes where a fan would receive a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud 3.
We’d get to see wrestlers here like Dynamite Kid and Randy Savage.

There were also a single title match to drive up the buy rate:

Piper vs. Hogan for the WWF Championship because, honestly, if Hogan were entered in the tourney, he probably would have insisted on winning.

Everyone up to speed?

Great! Let’s do this thing!

Vince McMahon, himself, welcomes us to the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, Illinois!

He pushes the tourney and the championship matches and then introduces Lord Alfred Hayes and Susan Waitkis. Hayes gets to talk while Susan Waitkis stands there in a dress from the Renaissance Era and points to brackets while smiling.

Backstage, Gene’s with the competitors who all have to pick their opponents from a bucket.

Steamboat picks Davey Boy Smith as his first round opponent.

Randy Savage has Miss Elizabeth picks his opponent and he gets Ivan Putski. Savage snaps at her and verbally abuses her in the name of good family fun.

Mr. Fuji picks Tito Santana and he grins because I don’t think he’s ever frowned in his life. He laughs and says Santana’s in big trouble…

Back to McMahon and Lord Alfred Hayes.

McMahon says they are going to Mean Gene who is with the “President of the WWF”, Jack Tunney. Tunney’s excited about things until Gene talks over him and sends things back to McMahon.

Time for a match…

Your guys on the mic are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura who look like they’ve raided the costume section at a thrift store.

They introduce us to the opening match…

MATCH #1: Adrian Adonis (w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) vs. Corporal Kirchner (First Round Match)
They lock up and Kirchner nearly breaks his arm trying to arm drag Adonis to the mat twice. Never the less, it works. Ventura says that there’s a 10-minute time limit in each match. Kirchner has a side headlock on Adonis which takes FOREVER. Adonis finally gets up and hits a side suplex and then follows with an elbow. Snap mare and a falling elbow smash. Kirchner comes back and tries to suplex Adonis but Adonis just hits a DDT for the win.
WINNER: Adrian Adonis via DDT
GRADE: F. This was short and dull.

Gene interviews Adonis and Hart who are stoked by the win. Adonis claims Kirchner “doesn’t know a wrist lock from a padlock”. Cute.

MATCH #2: Dynamite Kid vs. Nikolai Volkoff (First Round Match)
Volkoff sings the Soviet Anthem, then rants endlessly. Kid gets tired of waiting and hits a Missile Dropkick to his head off the top rope for the win.
WINNER: Dynamite Kid via Missile Dropkick
GRADE: F. Havin’ fun so far, kids?

The crowd is behind this, cuz ‘MURICA–er…uh…’NITED KINGDUM!

Gene’s backstage with Savage and Miss Elizabeth. Savage gives his usual awesome hyper promo. Savage drops a pipe bomb and says he’s the Best in the World.

MATCH #3: Ivan Putski vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) (First Round Match)
“Putski” had to be facetious stage name. No wrestler picks that. Ventura calls him “Pudooski” which is supposed to be funny, I guess. Putski tries to make a move but Savage keeps out of his way. Putski breaks a hold and spits in Savage’s face. He keeps bailing from the ring and then gets back in and runs into a shoulderblock by Pudooski. Savage tries to run Putski’s head into the buckle but Putski blocks it and this stubborn, stiff mule of a match continues. Savage punches away but Putski comes back with a headlock and punches of his own. Putski puts Savage into the corner and stomps away. Savage trips Putski and pins him with feet on the ropes.
WINNER: Savage via cheat pin.
GRADE: D-. Ugh…

  • Putski left the WWF in 1986 and wrestled independently. He would wrestle in many other promotions and would retire some time in the 1990’s. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.

Post-match, Savage and Liz run for their lives as Putski chases them to the back.

Monsoon and Ventura go to McMahon who has Smiling Susan and Hayes backstage. Volkoff rants into McMahon’s mic and says that he will have the last laugh.

MATCH #4: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Davey Boy Smith (First Round Match)
 The two lock up and it’s counters, reversals and flips until Smith finally hits a hip toss. Smith hits a nice belly to back suplex and tries a pin which Ricky puts into a backslide for two. More locking up and Ricky’s in a front headlock. Smith goes for a suplex but Ricky shifts his weight. So Smith hits a BEAUTIFUL Press Slam and gets two. Another front facelock by Smith and ANOTHER suplex but Ricky hits a delayed suplex and splash but Smith brings his knees up and Ricky goes down. Smith hits dropkicks but misses a third and the bell rings…? Smith got tangled in the ropes and the match ends? Ok…
WINNER: Steamboat via forfeit
GRADE: D+. Well…at least the quality is slowly going up…right???

Ricky checks on Smith to make sure he’s ok.

Then we go to Gene who has Junkyard Dog who is Gene’s Guest At This Time. JYD congratulates Chicago…because.

MATCH #5: The Iron Sheik vs. Junkyard Dog (First Round Match)
Sheik is all over JYD early with the chain, choking him with it. He uses his the cloth from his hat to choke JYD, too. JYD comes back with punches and a headbutt. Sheik begs off so JYD hits a headbutt and Sheik bails. When he comes back in the ring, he catches JYD in a Full Nelson. JYD breaks out and hits a clothesline for two. He tries a headbutt but misses and Sheik hits the Camel Clutch. JYD looks like he’s out so Sheik lets go…then picks up him and beats on JYD in the corner. Sheik shoves the ref out of the way and JYD hits a headbutt for a win.
WINNER: JYD via headbutt
GRADE: D-. Man…these are just ugly matches…

Gene’s backstage with Terry Funk and Jimmy Hart who sounds beyond drunk. He wants the Championship. Gene bails from the interview as Funk spits tobacco all over the camera. Thanks for that.

MATCH #6: Moondog Spot vs. Terry Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart) (First Round Match)
Funk grabs the mic. He says he doesn’t wanna wrestle Spot and he’s sure Spot doesn’t wanna wrestle him. So how’s about a draw? Spot agrees. Funk offers to step out if Spot follows. They leave the ring and go back down the aisle…and Funk attacks him and runs back to the ring. Spot is in pursuit and attacks Funk before he can get back in. Funk lifts Spot over his shoulders but Spot falls into the ring before the ten count and wins.
WINNER: Moondog Spot via countout
GRADE: F. MAKE. IT. STOP. This was like trying to pull the “made you look” prank on Einstein.

Post-match, Hart’s lost his shit and it ends up being a brawl. The ref runs before he gets his ass kicked.

Gene is backstage with Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji. Fuji says that Santana has met his match and will lost the hard way. Muraco says he wants to beat the best and Santana is one of the best.

MATCH #7: WWF Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana vs. The Magnificent Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji) (First Round Match)
Muraco starts by clubbing Santana and then kicking him in the corner. He misses a clothesline and Tito hits a cross body for two. Another run into the ropes and a Santana Sunset Flip and a backslide pin for two. Santana punches Muraco in the corner and then flings him into the other corner and Muraco flips and lands on his ass. Santana hits a wrist lock. Muraco tries to fling Santana into the ropes to break it but Tito holds the wrist and then converts into an arm bar. Finally, Muraco lifts up Santana and drops his neck on the ropes, clotheslining him afterward. Muraco drops an elbow and a knee. He hits a HUGE powerslam and wins the match…ok, wait, no. Apparently, the ending was botched. Tito put his foot on the ropes so the pin doesn’t count. Santana hits a small package to win. Jesus…that was awful.
WINNER: Tito Santana via pinfall
GRADE: D+. I was ready to go “C” here until that finish.

Gene is with Bobby Heenan. Heenan says he’s always looking at new talent. And he’s not a weasel. He has $50,000 dollars for the guy who wants to take out Orndorff and be in his stable.

MATCH #8: “Cowboy” Bob Orton vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff (First Round Match)
Orndorff has an arm bar and then a wrist lock. Orton tries to clothesline Orndorff but whiffs and ends up hitting the corner buckle. Orndorff hits another wrist lock and it’s another rope run that ends in another wrist lock by Orndorff. I never got why Orton was allowed to wear the cast all that time. Orton uses his feet to lock the arm and pulls on it by falling backward. Orton gets slung into the corner but Orton whacks Orndorff as he charges. Orton takes over and clotheslines Orndorff using the ropes. Orton methodically attacks Orndorff (his son looks so much like him in this regard) and punches him in the corner. He goes for a backdrop off the ropes but Orndorff counters into the a Sunset Flip, getting two. Orton hits an elbow for two and then converts into a headscissors until Orndorff counters and rolls Orton over. Orton, however, counters into a sunset flip for two. Orton is tossed into the corner and Orndorff is all over him. He slings Orton into the ropes and knocks him down, hitting an elbow. He knocks Orton out of the ring and Orndorff chases him, putting him back in the ring. Orton crawls to the ropes outside the ring. He goes in the cast and adjusts something, then whacks Orndorff with the cast. He pins Orndorff and the ref rings the bell. Orton is DQ’ed.
WINNER: Paul Orndorff via DQ
GRADE: B-. Wow. After nearly an hour of dicking around, we get a decent match. 

Vince is “with Alfred Hayes” as they can’t even be bothered to say Susan’s name. Hayes is groping and pawing and manhandling Susan as she stands there, stiff as a board, keeping the same creepy Stepford Wife smile. They analyze the second round.as Hayes practically eye fucks Susan. Suddenly, Funk shows up and the Network bleeps “WWF” even though the logo is clearly shown on screen.

Back to the matches…

MATCH #9: Dynamite Kid vs. Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) (Quarterfinals Match)
Adonis hits a shoulderblock and then Kid hits two arm drags and Adonis leaves the ring. After a breather, it’s back in the ring and he hits a slingshot on Kid. Ventura is leaving the announce table to talk to Savage for some reason. Adonis hits a suplex for two and then a snap mare and a headlock. Kid counters with a side suplex and tries a splash but Adonis sits up and Kid hits nothing. Adonis tangles Kid’s knee up and falls down on it. He goes for Sharpshooter Grapevine but Kid gets to the ropes and breaks the hold. He picks Kid up and tosses him into the corner. Adonis charges but Kid leaps over him and hits a Sunset Flip for two! Nice. Adonis kicks at Kid’s knee and tries a bulldog but Kid shoves him forward into the ring post. Kid hits a kneedrop, then hits the running clothesline and Flying Kneedrop and a CLOSE two. Kid gets up and hits a snap suplex, then a headbutt. He’s about to pin, so Hart gets up on the mat. Kid goes to confront him and Adonis rolls up Kid for two! Kid shoves Adonis who goes flying into Hart and knocks himself out. Kid gets the pin.
WINNER: Dynamite Kid via pinfall
GRADE: C+. Not too bad, though Adonis really can’t wrestle for shit.

Post-match, Adonis throws a temper tantrum and pounds the mat like a insolent child as Hart jumps up and down in anger.

Gene has Ventura backstage. Ventura says two heads are better than one. He’s favoring the Macho Man but is still “neutral”.

MATCH #10: “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (w/ Miss Elizabeth) (Quarterfinals Match)
Savage points a finger in Steamboat’s face. Steamboat goes to attack and Savage hides behind Liz. When Steamboat turns his back, Savage attacks but ends up getting chopped out of the ring by Steamboat. Savage reaches for Steamboat and pulls him outside the ring. After beating on him, he shoves Savage back in, punching Steamboat in the corner. Steamboat counters by using his legs to fling Savage outside. He beats on Savage outside the ring and gives him an Atomic Drop. Back in the ring, Steamboat hits a chop off the ropes but misses a second one. Savage hits a Side Suplex then goes to the top rope for a Double Axehandle but Steamboat nails him coming down and this hits Banzai fists. Savage rolls outside the ropes so Steamboat suplexes him back in. Steamboat climbs the ropes and hits the Dragon Splash but Savage kicks out of the pin. Steamboat goes back to work and Savage goes into his tights and gets some sort of object out. He swings at Steamboat and misses. Steamboat side suplexes Savage into the ring but Savage hits him coming down and then pins Steamboat.
WINNER: Savage via pinfall
GRADE: C+. 3 minutes of this? Really? We had to sit through Adrian Adonis and Junkyard Dog for longer than this.

Gene has Moondog Spot who chews on a bone and grunts unintelligibly.

MATCH #11: Moondog Spot vs. Junkyard Dog (Quarterfinals Match)
There’s no ref. Spot jumps off the ropes at him and misses an attack. JYD headbutts him and then counts his own pin. I guess he won.
WINNER: JYD via headbutt
GRADE: F. Whatever.

  • Larry Booker (AKA Moondog Spot) went on to wrestle for the WWF for another two years as a Jobber to the Stars and then would leave in 1987. After wrestling independently, Booker turned up in 1993, wrestling for Smoky Mountain Wrestling for six months. He would continue to wrestle independently after leaving in 1994. In 2003, Booker wrestled at an event hosted by wrestling great, Jerry Lawler. During the match, Spot suffered a heart attack and, after 20 minutes of administered CPR, he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Booker was only 51 years old.

Gene has Heenan backstage. Heenan says he still has a chance to give that $50,000 dollars to the guy hwo takes out Orndorff.

MATCH #12: “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana (Quarterfinals Match)
Ventura goes all-out racist here and says “Chico” (Tito) will go for Heenan’s 50K bounty because he’s a “Taco salesman from Tijuana” and “nobody from Tijuana cannot be bought”. Santana has a bandaged quadricep so, drama. Slow start as the first four minutes is comprised of a long headlock by Santana, then a wrist lock and head scissors. Finally, Orndorff breaks out of it and puts Santana in a Hammer Lock. Santana eventually gets to the ropes. There’s a lot of staring and Santana locks in another headlock so Orndorff hits an Atomic Drop. Santana is starting to limp on his hurt quadricep. Orndorff pus Santana into a leg lock and continues to put pressure on the leg as Santana tries to elbow out. Orndorff tries to twist it up but Santana kicks out and gets to his feet. They lock up again and this crowd is bored as fuck. The ref tells them to break once they reach the ropes and Orndorff hits a punch, knocking Santana out of the ring. Orndorff follows and the two men brawl to a countout.
WINNER: Double Countout
GRADE: D-. Just a terribly slow match. What a waste of talent.

Post-match, both guys get back in the ring and stare at each other. Yawn.

Backstage, Hayes is kissing Susan who looks visibly uncomfortable. What did I do to deserve watching that? Hayes points out that JYD goes to the finals due to the double countout we just saw.

At ringside, Monsoon and Ventura argue about Orndorff and Santana getting pissed at one another.

Gene has Hulk Hogan who says he needed more intensity for this match so he watched the tournament to get extra psyched. Hogan says he’s gonna use everything he’s got to win.

MATCH #13: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (challenger) vs. Hulk Hogan (champion) for the WWF Championship
I have always loved Piper’s entrance as well as Piper, himself. The dude is just a badass. Hogan comes out to the ring (in white trunks) and Piper’s all over him. Piper tosses Hogan outside so Hogan pulls Piper out of the ring by his leg and it’s a brawl. Piper his shots to Hogan’s throat. Hogan counters by tossing him into the corner and clotheslining him. Hogan’s hulking up and it’s shots to Piper’s face with a Side Suplex on top of that. Hogan slams him and hits elbow drops. He beats on Piper in the corner and Piper manages to get out of the corner and gets to the top rope but flies right into the arms of Hogan. Piper gouges Hogan’s eyes and beats on him on the mat, getting a two count. Piper slings Hogan into the ropes and hits a Sleeper and manages to get Hogan on his ass but Hogan Reaches Down Deep Brother and they both fall out of the ring. Piper starts punching Hogan and Hogan does the No Sell of Doom. He puts Piper back in the ring and starts his attack. He tosses Hogan into the ropes and Hogan crashes into the ref who goes down. Piper gets a chair and whacks Hogan with it but Hogan counters and gets the chair, hitting Piper and nailing him with a Sleeper. Orton comes running in to attack Hogan and we’re done.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Hulk Hogan via DQ
GRADE: C+. Decent Hogan match as Piper didn’t become a punching bag like most of his opponents. But another crap finish as is the norm on this PPV.

Post-match, Orndorff comes in to save Hogan and the faces clear the ring. Hogan poses and celebrates with Orndorff.

Gene has JYD backstage who talks so fast, you can’t understand him. He mumbles something about Chicago again and Jimmy Hart interrupts, screaming at him.

MATCH #14: Dynamite Kid vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) (Semi-Final Match)
The two grapple for the first minute as the match goes nowhere. Quick attempts at classic wrestling holds are countered by both men and Savage rolls out of the ring. Monsoon and Ventura are so bored, they start speculating on what “purpose” Elizabeth “serves”. Kid starts punching Savage after some elbows and hits a shoulderblock. Savage is tossed into the ropes and Kid hits a HUGE back drop. Kid hits a cross body but Savage rolls into the ropes. Savage sends Kid into the ropes but Kid counters with a Sunset Flip. Savage just falls on Kid. Kid tries to follow with a cross body but misses and then both men clothesline each other. Savage gets to his feet first and goes to the top rope. Kid, however, hits him with a drop kick and goes for a Superplex and goes for the pin…but Savage gets his shoulders up and reverses the pin!
WINNER: Randy Savage via pinfall
GRADE: B-. This was a really good match but frustratingly short.

Post-match, Savage rolls out of the ring and just lays on the dirty concrete floor…ugh.

Vince is with Susan who doesn’t have a last name anymore, apparently. She says she has never been in a Rolls Royce. She says it’s a nice car and she wishes she could “be in it right now”. Great analysis, Susan. Thanks. Howard Finkel is in the ring to announce the winner of the Rolls Royce.

After a lengthy bit of talking, Lord Alfred Hayes reads the name of the winner. The fans boo either way. The winner is Michael Hamley. Yaaaaay.

The fans boo loudly.

And we’re done…think of all that time wasted that could have been put into better matches. Monsoon and Ventura talk all about it.

Gene is backstage and has Hulk Hogan and tells the camerman to “keep the shots above the waist because there are guys getting out of the shower”. Duh. Hogan says him and Orndorff are on the same page and they’ll help each other out. Orndorff says they’ll stick together since he’s got a 50K bounty on his head.

MATCH #15: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Junkyard Dog (Finals Match)
JYD attacks and Savage, once again, hides behind Liz. Savage goes outside and grabs a chair as JYD seems to threaten to punch Liz. Savage still has the chair and tosses it at JYD who throws it back. The ref kicks it out of the ring as Savage just does his best to keep his distance from JYD. He gets back in the ring and then bails out again and that’s two minutes gone. Finally, they lock up but JYD just keeps shoving him away. JYD hits a headbutt and then a delayed atomic drop. JYD picks Savage up and puts him in a bear hug. Gene joins the announce team as JYD hits shots to Savage’s back. Savage gets to the ropes and stumbles over them, hanging upside down. Savage hits a knee to the gut off the ropes and pins JYD for two. He tosses JYD out of the ring and goes off the ropes with a double axehandle. Savage rolls back into the ring and then sneaks out behind JYD and nails him from behind. Savage hits another double axehandle, then gets out of the ring again to restart the count. He whacks JYD with the chair and then chokes JYD on the crowd railing. He gets back in the ring and JYD is just rolling around on the floor outside…sooooo Savage goes back out again and rolls JYD into the ring. He goes for an attack off the top rope but JYD catches him with a punch, then a series of headbutts. Savage begs off but JYD picks him up and puts him in another headbutt. Savage gets tangled in the ropes. The ref frees him up and Savage runs at JYD but JYD dumps him out of the ring…and we end this whole thing in a countout?! Wow.
WINNER OF THE WRESTLING CLASSIC: JYD via countout
GRADE: C-. Slow, clunky, and of ALL the matches you could have made special, you end it like THAT?

Post-match, Liz tends to Savage who gets rolled back in the ring.

Gene Okerlund interviews JYD. Ventura interrupts and he’s pissed as JYD “didn’t wrestle as many times” and says Savage should be “the winner of the tournament”.

McMahon is backstage again with Susan the Stepford Commentator and she’d like to say, “I’ve. Never. Had. This. Much. Fun. ”

With that, we’re done.

OVERALL: D+. This was the first big event since Wrestlemania and not as well produced. Nearly every match was horribly booked with a terrible ending. The WWF tried to do too much in a short amount of time and the show suffers because of it.

That’s it.

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