November 24, 2012
I sat down and watched a really old wrestling DVD this weekend and thought I would share my thoughts. I watched Showdown at Shea Stadium a WWF (maybe even a WWWF) event from August 9, 1980. The event set up as well as the DVD presentation was very strange. The event was from Shea Stadium, which is a baseball stadium and the ring looked to be set up on top of second base despite all of the fans sitting in the regular stands behind home plate. They didn't seat anyone on the field itself so the ring appeared to be in the middle of nowhere with the 36,295 fans ridiculously far from the ring.
I'm not sure where I got the DVD of this event but it seemed to be a compilation of the matches from this event more than a full presentation, for the first 4 matches commentary was done by Kal Rudman and I think Vince McMahon. Vince was also the in ring announcer for the event but I'm all but positive the commentary was put in after the fact. There was one match that didn't have commentary at all, another with Japanese commentary, another with Gorilla by himself and then Vince did the Main event all by himself. The original event featured 13 matches and this DVD only featured 8 of them, many of which were edited.
Fabulous Moolah & Beverly Shade vs. Kandi Malloy & Peggy Lee: This match was dreadful, made worse by horrendous and often degrading commentary. At one point Kal Rudman asks the question, "If you were making love to a woman wrestler and it wasn't going your way, what would you do?" What exactly do you think he meant by this? I assume he meant that generally if sex wasn't going his way he smacked the woman around a bit, but with it being a women wrestler she might hit back, which created a problem for him. Offense by the women was limited to a few one legged monkey flips and really didn't build to anything. Eventually Moolah just took over gave one girl a back drop and pinned her.
Pat Patterson vs. Toro Kamata: This match was pretty much nothing. The original match was less than 5 minutes and this was even edited down from that. There was virtually no wrestling at all, just some punching and a bad missed splash off the top leading to a really lame DQ finish when Kamata threw salt at Pat but hit the ref in stead. Kamata looked to be pretty bad and uncooperative, which was disappointing because I was anxious to see Pat wrestle. As bad as this match and finish was there was a very strong fan reaction to the announcement of Pat Patterson as the winner.
Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Chavo Guerrero (Jr. Title): At the start of this match there were audio problems and you could hear the live house mic announcing the Main Event; I have no idea how that happened. This was a really fun match, it was a different style from today but there was a lot of great wrestling including a big dive to the floor by Fujinami. This was fun, Fujinami retained the title.
Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan: This was the match that didn't have commentary, which hurt it a fair bit but it was interesting to watch none the less. Hogan was a heel (this was a few years before Hulkamania) managed by Freddie Blassie. Andre was fairly young and a lot slimmer so there wasn't that big of a size difference between the two. They didn't do all that much in the match but the crowd was into what they did. Andre was extremely agile back then at one point even having a hold on Hogan from behind while standing where he stood on 1 foot with his other foot in the middle of Hogan's back. Hogan slammed Andre at one point, with Andre latter returning the favour, which led to a ref bump when the ref got hit by Hogan's feet as he went up for the slam. Andre scored the pin fall after the slam and a splash (I think) when a second ref slid in. Hogan kicked out right before the 3 count but the ref counted it anyway and Andre won the match to a huge pop from the crowd. Post match Hogan loaded his elbow pad and nailed Andre busting him open, which I assume was to set up a return match. They actually did a stretcher job with the ref who got hit by Hogan's feet on the body slam.
Ken Petera vs. Tony Atlas (IC Title): Gorilla Monsoon did commentary for this match, and while I love Gorilla he did bury a lot of what went on in the match. I enjoyed this match. Tony Atlas was way more agile than I remembered, he had great fire and was a lot of fun to watch wrestle. Petera was really good too so I enjoyed this match. They did a count out finish with Tony getting the win and Petera retaining the Title, again I assume to set up a rematch.
Wild Samoans vs. Bob Backlund & Pedro Morales (WWF Tag Titles): This was originally a 2 out of 3 fall match but was edited down to about a minute on this DVD and only showed the finish in the last fall. This was the match that had Japanese commentary, which made it even worse. It seemed really clumsy and clunky for the third fall but when Backlund and Morales won the titles the crowd was thrilled. They showed so little of the match that it's really hard to tell if it was any good.
Bruno Sammartino vs Larry Zbyszko (WWF Title): This was fought in a steel cage and it was escape the cage rules. The matches was edited, which was disappointing because I haven't seen much of Bruno and I wanted to see more than I got. The crowd was super into Bruno and Larry worked real hard bumping his ass off. Bruno was bleeding from the arm in the match but eventually made his comeback and beat Zbyszko down and walked out of the cage to win. The finished seemed a bit anti climactic but that may have been due to bad editing.
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