Thursday, December 27, 2012

WWF ends 1986 by feeding Hulk Hogan to Kamala

Kamala has Hulk Hogan hurt in the corner at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens in December, 1986 WWF wrestling.
Kamala's handlers look on as the Ugandan Headhunter
has WWF champ Hulk Hogan on the ropes
at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens in 1986.
(Photo: CD Simpson)
When my dad and I went to Toronto for wrestling at Maple Leaf Gardens on November 16, 1986, one of the undercard matches was actually setting up a main event for the next show.

On the mid-November card, Kamala obliterated George 'The Animal' Steele. George did a stretcher job after succumbing to a series of splashes from the Ugandan Headhunter. Kamala was obviously a monster. A destroyer. Potentially unstoppable.

Next stop? Hulk Hogan.

Now, I was still a relatively new fan, and as such was naive to the established patterns of WWF booking.

As I understand it, the established series of encounters was kind of like this:
  • Large or especially evil heel emerges
  • Heel demolishes high-midcard talent
  • Heel faces Hulk Hogan in standard match
  • Heel cheats and is disqualified, cheating fans out of conclusive finish
  • Rematch is announced for two weeks later in a no-DQ match
  • Heel gets counted out, still cheating fans out of conclusive finish
  • Rematch is announced in a steel cage so heel can't run away
  • Hulkster is victorious

After Kamala squashed poor George Steele, it was natural to sign a match vs. Hulk Hogan. Marty the ring announcer would usually announce some of the upcoming card after the intermission, so fans could look forward to ordering tickets on Monday morning.

The November 30, 1986 main event would be Hulk Hogan vs. Kamala.

WWF wrestling champ Hulk Hogan and Kamala the Ugandan Giant trade shots at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in late 1986.
WWF wrestling champ Hulk Hogan and Kamala the Ugandan Giant
trade shots at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in late 1986. (Photo: CD Simpson)
I wasn't there, but Kamala was disqualified. They immediately signed a return match for December 28, 1986 with Hogan vs. Kamala in a no-disqualification match, so we could be sure there'd be a conclusive winner.

Also on the Sunday Nov 30th Maple Leaf Gardens Toronto WWF card:

Blackjack Mulligan defeated Johnny K-9. Mulligan had been a tag-team star years earlier with Blackjack Lanza, and had spent the late-summer and early fall under a mask as Big Machine of the Machines. He was working a gimmick that I'd describe as a babyface Stan Hansen with way more clothes. Johnny K-9 was a young shaved-headed jobber from the Cambridge area. He rose to fame later in life as a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang. I expect Mulligan squashed K-9 soundly in short order.

Dino Bravo defeated Jose Luis Rivera. Rivera was a Puerto Rican jobber whose only real success would come about a year later under the gold mask of The Conquistadors. Bravo was still getting a slow build as a Canadian strong man under the management of Luscious Johnny V. This was another obvious-on-paper squash.

The midgets made a rare return to Maple Leaf Gardens as Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook defeated the Karate Kid and Pepe Gomez. I don't even understand this. As you'll see on this blog in the months and years ahead, I have plenty of experience with midget wrestling. I've never worked with any of the four guys in this match, although I saw them working on an old AWA midget video.

WWF Women's Champion the Fabulous Moolah defeated Velvet McIntyre. The WWF had a hot-and-cold relationship with its womens division at the time, and Velvet was getting a lukewarm push. I don't regret missing this match.

Butch Reed pinned Tito Santana in a rematch of their contest from two weeks earlier. That one ended in a time limit draw, so it was a 'natural' choice for a rematch. If you missed the pun, you weren't around for Butch Reed's WWF run.

In tag team action, the Killer Bees, B. Brian Blair and Jumping Jim Brunzell defeated Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. I think that would've been considered an upset for the Bees, as Sheik and Volkoff had only lost the tag team titles in the spring.

And in the main event, WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Kamala via disqualification. That sets us up for Jack Tunney's Christmastime spectacular at the Gardens. Once again, my dad scored gold tickets and we prepared for a memorable show.

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