Much of the lineup looked like a TV taping - ten matches, mostly stars vs. jobbers with a few top names in the main events. The headline event was to be WWF champion Hulk Hogan taking on Kamala, the Ugandan Headhunter, in a rematch from their inconclusive bout at the Gardens a month earlier. But it wasn't a TV taping -- no TV cameras except for the local news. Just a sold-out WWF Maple Leaf Wrestling house show in Toronto.
The WWF had a busy day that day. The Fed had four shows running that day. Not just an A, B and C show. Because Toronto was getting an A show matinee, the boys were also booked for a night show in Richfield, Ohio.
Here's the Ohio lineup from later the same night, c/o http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/86.htm:
WWF @ Richfield, OH - Coliseum - December 28, 1986 (11,500)Looks rather similar, huh?
Dino Bravo defeated Tony Garea
Blackjack Mulligan pinned Nikolai Volkoff in a matter of seconds
Pedro Morales defeated Tiger Chung Lee
Hercules defeated Cpl. Kirchner
Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart defeated Jacques & Raymond Rougeau
WWF Women's Champion the Fabulous Moolah defeated Leilani Kai
Dick Slater fought the Iron Sheik to a double count-out
Sika defeated Moondog Spot
Lanny Poffo defeated Jimmy Jack Funk
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Kamala via disqualification at around the 5-minute mark
So, I dressed up in my fanboy clothes, with my WWF trucker hat and a new hand-painted sign. My dad led the way and had his fancypants new auto-focus camera. Seriously, it was a thing of awesomeness. He captured some of the best wrestling pictures I have in my collection on this night.
That's why I'm stretching this post into multiple parts -- so I can show off some of the great shots. Let's start with the opening bouts.
Pedro Morales, the man who'd held more titles than anyone else in WWF history, was the curtain-jerker on this night, taking on the Red Demon. I suspected Demon was one of referee Danny Davis' gimmicks, given that he was on the card in the Hart Foundation match, but some research suggests I'm wrong. One site tells me Red Demon was Jose Luis Rivera, half of the eventual Conquistadors masked tag team. Morales, despite being barely above jobber status, defeats the hooded Demon.
In a rare heel-versus-heel encounter, Moondog Spot battled Tiger Chung Lee. You'd rarely see good guys face other good guys or villains versus villains. Babyface-only contests could be interesting if one guy adopted a heel role after a few minutes of fair fighting. But heel vs. heel matches were usually duds, because frankly, you wanted to see both of them lose. And I don't remember either of these guys being interesting. Spot beats Tiger Chung Lee, somehow.
Leaping Lanny Poffo beat Jimmy Jack Funk. Marks like me didn't know that Lanny was Randy "Macho Man" Savage's brother, or that Jimmy Jack Funk was unrelated to Terry and "Hoss" Funk, who'd left the WWF earlier in the year. I don't even remember this match happening.
|Dino Bravo bodyslams Tony Garea at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens|
during a WWF wrestling matinee on Dec. 28, 1986.
Now, yeah, I was a mark. I was not in the "wrestling is 100% real" camp, nor was I convinced it was 100% set up. As such, I took notice when something looked fake. During this match, one guy whipped the other off the ropes. That guy came off the ropes with a clothesline that went right over the head of his opponent. But the guy took the bump anyway as though he'd taken a solid hit. Huh. That was weird. Anyway, Bravo wins.
Those are the first few matches from the ten-match lineup. More in Part Two.