Sunday, March 17, 2013

Danny Davis finally wrestles against Koko B Ware, and it's weak

Wrestling came back to my home town of Newmarket, Ontario on March 17, 1987. It was just days before WrestleMania III in Pontiac, Michigan, and the WWF crew was working hard all over the United States and Canada.

Here's the show that was advertised:

Newspaper clipping advertising WWF in Newmarket Ontario, March 1987

Here's the show we got:

Maple Leaf Wrestling line-up for Newmarket Ontario on March 17, 1987
One neat thing about WWF shows of this era is how often you'd get to see jobber vs. jobber matches. Sure, you knew S.D. Jones was going to get flattened by King Kong Bundy, and The Red Demon would barely get any offence in against Junk Yard Dog. But how would Jones and Demon fare against each other? Well, let's put them together! So, we got that match. We got Tom MaGee, who we hadn't seen on TV yet, against Terry Gibbs. Magee had the looks but not the talent.

And you might think Ron Bass would get some stiff competition from poetic autofellator Leaping Lanny Poffo. No. Despite being Randy Savage's brother, Lanny was laying down for all the up and coming heels.

The crowd went nuts for the hot new tag team in the WWF, Demolition. I think they were still under the management of Luscious Johnny V at this point, though he wasn't at this show.

WWF's Demolition vs. Danny Spivey and Jerry Allen in Newmarket, Ontario on March 17, 1987

Here are Ax and Smash preparing to take on "Golden Boy" Danny Spivey and... let's check the program.... oh, that's ??????????. I've checked around, and I'm pretty sure we're looking at Jerry Allen.

Fans may remember that Spivey was a little bit stranded at this point. See, Mike Rotundo (or Rotunda) (the guy now famous for being IRS) was teamed up with Barry Windham as the American Express, or US Express. Hulk Hogan's "Real American"? Yeah, that song was really for Windham and Rotundo -- listen to the Wrestling Album. It's right there on the record. Hulk had "Hulk Hogan's Theme" and it sucked.

Anyway, Windham left. He joined the Four Horsemen, whoever they are. The WWF had another tall blonde guy around: Danny Spivey. So they put Spivey with Rotundo and tried to make magic again. It didn't work. Rotundo also left, eventually landing in the NWA and teaming with Rick Steiner as The Varsity Club.

That left Spivey standing alone as a miscast babyface, teaming with ????????? Jerry Allen.

Yes, Demolition won.

Danny Davis bodyslams Koko B Ware at WWF wrestling in Newmarket, Ontario on March 17, 1987

Koko B Ware drops a fist on Danny Davis as Terry Yorkston lays the count at a WWF show in Newmarket, Ontario on March 17, 1987.

Recognize these guys? The man in stripes is former referee Danny Davis, I've written about here several times before. He helped the Hart Foundation cheat to win the tag team titles, so WWF President Jack Tunney suspended him for life. Jimmy Hart scooped Davis up and turned him into a wrestler.

Of course, Davis was already a wrestler. He was Mr. X. And Mr. X had tattoos on his forearms and knuckles. That's why Danny Davis always refereed with long sleeves, and now wrestled with long sleeves. It looked ridiculous.

Not only that, Davis as a non-masked wrestler was entirely boring. He had some heel heat that carried over from the Hart Foundation association, but beyond that, he was just dull.

Compared to that, Koko B. Ware was electrifying. Ware came to the ring to "The Bird" by Morris Day and the Time. (You remember their 1980s hit Jungle Love, and their appearance in Prince's movie Purple Rain. They were also in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, I think.) The bird. Yes, he had a bird. He came to the ring with a bird named Frankie, but here in Newmarket the bird looked different. That wasn't Frankie! Frankie was red! This bird is green. I call shenanigans.

Koko and Davis put on a so-so match until Ware came off the turnbuckles with a Jerry Lawler fist drop. Must have picked that up when the two were big attractions in Memphis.

After the show, I got an autograph on my sign from referee Terry Yorkston. WOW! An autograph from a referee! Then I went out behind the arena to see if we could see any wrestlers coming out of the arena.

We saw a few. Koko B. Ware came out and he was smelly. Oh my god, I don't think I'd ever smelled body odour like that before in my life. He was a stinky, stinky man. Granted, these guys were on the road for ages, so who knows how often they got to wash their gear. I have no way of knowing if they took showers inside the Newmarket Recreation Complex. But Koko, man, you reeked. Still, I think I shook his gloved hand. It was warm.

I remember Demolition Ax coming out and I got to see him without his makeup. Kayfabe was still partly in effect, so seeing someone like the Road Warriors or Demolition without the face paint never happened. Ax looked old. Tired, exhausted, worn and old. He appeared to have a pockmarked and weathered face. I had no idea at the time that he was Bill Eadie, aka Masked Superstar. He'd been around for years. I felt kind of bad for him.

Ax got in a car with Outlaw Ron Bass and I forget who else, and headed off in their rental car toward Yonge Street.
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Hart Foundation vs. Bulldogs at a pre-WrestleMania III house show

WWF wrestling ticket stubs from Newmarket Ontario in 1987 at the Newmarket Recreation Complex.Wrestling in the Toronto area was white-hot with just days to go before the WWF's biggest event of all time, WrestleMania III. Maple Leaf Wrestling returned to my home town of Newmarket, Ontario. The Newmarket Recreation Complex was a small arena with room for about 3000 people. This show on March 17, 1987 was sold out and I had great seats with my dad.

Roughly dead-centre, five rows back in the stands. And in the main event, my favourite tag team and new champions, Bret "Hit Man" Hart & Jim "Anvil" Neidhart with Jimmy Hart - The Hart Foundation - taking on Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith, the British Bulldogs.

WWF Tag Team champions The Hart Foundation with Jimmy Hart and Danny Davis prepare to wrestle British Bulldogs and Matilda in Newmarket, Ontario in March, 1987.

The Bulldogs were accompanied to the ring by their mascot, Matilda the dog, who you see here being lectured to by Jimmy Hart through a megaphone. The Hart Foundation was accompanied to the ring by referee-turned-wrestler Danny Davis. The referee for this match was former wrestler John Bonello.

In the background above the hallway you can see a sign for Hostess Potato Chips. Hostess was running a co-promotion with the WWF, packaging small wrestling stickers in bags of chips. I stuck them on the front of the photo album these pictures come from.

You'll recognize the ring above as the same one I mentioned in my first posts on this blog, and also from the WWF TV tapings from 1985-1986 in Brantford, Ontario. The ring posts give it away.

Davey Boy Smith knocks Jim Neidhart and Bret Hart's heads together in Newmarket, Ontario.

Davey Boy Smith suplexes Bret Hart in a WWF tag team title match in Newmarket, Ontario

Jimmy Hart leads Hart Foundation from the ring with their title belts in Newmarket Ontario in 1987.

Dynamite Kid was still working hurt, so I think Davey Boy Smith took most of the bumps. As you see above, the Hart Foundation retained the titles but took a beating, with Jimmy Hart and Danny Davis looking a little worse for wear as they headed to the dressing room.

The WWF roster was working like crazy at this point in time. Legend has it that the crew rolled into WrestleMania exhausted and banged up. I'd love to hear from Jimmy Hart or anyone else on the card what it was like doing small shows like these with the biggest card in history a mere 12 days away.

And if you look closely, that's a young, swarthy, Jimmy Korderas in the lower right, helping to clear the aisle for the heels. Before he was a referee, he was on the ring crew learning from guys like Bonello and Terry Yorkston.