The Big Event
August 30, 2014
The Big Event was a gigantic show held at Toronto's CNE stadium as part of the Canadian National Exhibition on August 28th 1986. (Almost exactly 28 years ago). For the most part it was just a big WWF house show line up but it drew appr. 74,000 fans, which at the time was touted as the largest wrestling crowd in the history of the world. The place was packed and the crowd looked awesome. On commentary were Gorilla Monsoon, Handsome Johnny Valiant, and Ernie Ladd.
I don't think I'd ever seen this show before so it was cool to look back at it now, but to be honest it wasn't that good of a show. Several unimportant matches and a few finishes while typical at the time would be considered very poorly booked today.
The Killer Bees vs. Jimmy Jack & Hoss Funk: This was a decent opener; the Bees were pretty over at the time so the crowd was into them and popped for the Mask-Confusion switch-a-roo finish. Technically the baby faces cheated twice to win but the crowd didn't care. Brian Blair flapping his bent arms like Bee wings before hitting moves always makes me laugh and Gorilla always putting over the “Little Bee Action” makes it even more absurd and enjoyable. Jim Brunzell never embraced the Bee Action.
Magnificent Muraco vs. King Tonga (Haku): This match over stayed its welcome and really killed the crowd. Tonga was introduced as King Tonga but the commentators put over that he now preferred to be called Haku, so he was just getting repackaged, and really wasn't over as a baby face. To make matters worse this match went to a 20 min draw and dragged as a result. I guess they wanted to protect Muraco without killing the new baby face Haku.
Ted Arcidi vs. Tong Garea: This match over stayed it's welcome too and it only went 2:41. Ted was jacked to the gills and just dreadful. The finish was executed so poorly it got no crowd reaction what so ever. Arcidi won with a bear hug and when he locked it on the ref started jumping up and down beside them, asking Garea if he wanted to give up. I can only assume his jumping up and down was to add energy and excitement to the finish, but unfortunately at no point did Garea change the way he was selling or indicate that he had submitted and the ref never acknowledged a submission nor called for the bell, yet the bell rang the match stopped and it was announced the Ted Arcidi had won via submission. A completely dead flat finish.
Junk Yard Dog vs. Adorable Adrian Adonis: This match was a complete cluster. Dog opens the match by repeatedly punching Adonis is the face with his dog chain wrapped around his fist right in front of the ref. There was no explanation why this wasn't a DQ. This match also featured JYD at one point just grabbing the ref and throwing him down, and Adonis quite a but later knocking the ref down, neither of which were DQs or really needed in anyway. Both guys were on the floor for extended periods of time in this 4 minute match, which climaxed in a spot where Adonis bumped into Jimmy Hart (His manager) and fell to the floor and almost before they hit the floor the bell rang and it was later announced that JYD won the match via Count out. Another terrible flat crowd numbing finishes.
Iron Mike Sharp vs Dick Slater: I'm not sure if this is where this match was on the card, it's not even listed on the Wikipedia entry. This was a nothing match with not particularly over Baby face Slater pinning perennial Canadian jobber Mike Sharp. This was pretty much a pointless match and I don't even remember how Slater won.
Heenan, Bundy& John Studd vs. Captain Lou & The Machines: There were 3 Machines out with Captain Lou (Big, Giant, and Super) Andre was Giant Machine but I'm not sure who the other 2 were and I don't care enough to look it up. Andre wasn't in the match he was just at ring side and he eventually got involved resulting in a DQ victory for Heenan's team. The match was okay but it didn't build to the finish and I assume they just told Andre once we cut off Albano just get in and clean house. Monsoon drove me nuts in this match. I loved him with Jesse and Heenan on commentary but it always drove me nuts when he would dispute guys announced weights. Bundy was announced at weighing 468 lbs and Monsoon saai he knows 500lbs when he sees it and says there is no way Bundy is under 500. What is the point of announcing weights if the baby face announcer tells us they are all bullshit? To make it worse when asked what he thought the total weight in this match was he stated a Ton and a half. That would be 3000 lbs between 6 people, which means an average of 500lbs each. In a match that features Bobby Heenan. To my knowledge Andre was the only guy in WWE that was announced at 500lbs or heavier so this was just absurd.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Jake Roberts (Snake Pit Match): This was a big feud at the time and the Snake Pit match meant No Holds Barred, No DQ. This was probably the best match on the show but even saying that it was disappointing considering who was involved. The match went 10 minutes and there wasn't even a comeback by Steamboat. Once Jake cut off Steamboat he beat the hell out of him on the floor, including busting him open. After beating Ricky to a pulp Jake made an arrogant cover sitting on Steamboat's chest and after a 2 count Steamer reached up with his legs rolling Jake back into a Sunset Flip style pin for the 1...2...3 The crowd popped but you would expect more out of these 2 considering they were in front of 70,000 people.
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez: There wasn't much to this match and to make it worse there must have been an issue with the original commentary track. We only got Gorilla calling this match and he sounded bored out of his tree. He said Johnny V and Ernie Ladd had left to go to the store to pick up something to eat, so I assume he redid the commentary after the fact in studio and just couldn't muster any enthusiasm. They pretty much just did stuff back and forth until Billy Jack caught Hercules in a backslide, for the 3 count and the win.
The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Dream Team: The Rougeaus were pretty popular here being Canadians who had not yet become All American Boys. Ladd and Valliant had returned from the store and apparently brought Monsoon some coffee because he was excited to be here again. There was one spot in this match that just made me laugh. The Raymond hits the Big Fantastic Flip off the top rope on Beefcake and as Valentine comes in to make the save Jacques goes to drop kick him to prevent the save. This looked like the perfect finish but Greg just side stepped Jacques who landed on his face and Greg made the save. The Rougeaus ended up winning with a sunset flip executed by Raymond who wasn't the legal man so technically a cheating victory for the home Country faces.
Harley Race vs. Pedro Morales: This match when about 3 minutes and Harley picked up the pinfall victory with his feet on the ropes for added leverage. A complete nothing match; if anyone bought a ticket to see former NWA World Champion vs. Former WWF World Champion boy were they disappointed.
Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndroff (WWF World Title): This was a huge feud at the time and no doubt the one most responsible for this incredible crowd. Not a lot too this match it went just over 10 minutes and was mostly just Hogan selling. Hulk eventually blew a comeback and after firing up set Mr Wonderful up for Orndorff's own Piledriver finishing move. Heenan made the save by hitting Hogan in the back of the head with a wooden stool prompting the DQ. Yup they gave 74,000 people a 10 minute main event and a DQ finish. A DQ back then wouldn't be as disappointing as it is today but still.
Some pretty bad booking when you think about it. They drew 74,000 people and we got a DQ in the Main, a terribly executed count out in a match with 2 needless ref bumps, another DQ, a flat time limit draw with an un-established baby face, and 2 tag matches that both ended with the illegal baby face scoring the pinfall.
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