Wrestling Classic
November 7, 1985
Chicago, Illinois
Rosemont Horizon

Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse "The Body" Ventura

Vince McMahon introduces the video and refers to it as the first annual Wrestling Classic Tournament. Turned out being the last annual Wrestling Classic as well. Apparently, the Classic wasn't shown on TV (though I believe it was tested in the PPV market) and the only way to see it is on this rare tape.

Vince and Lord Alfred Hayes show clips of the drawing to determine the matchups. An actual fish bowl is used.

Corporal Kirchner vs. Adrian Adonis
This is pre-flower shop days for Adonis. There are ten minute time limits in the first round, but this one won't even come close to approaching that as Adrian reverses a suplex into a nice DDT for the three count at 2:37. 3/4* Hey, that DDT counter was ahead of its time.

Dynamite Kid vs. Nikolai Volkoff
Nikolai sings the Russian National Anthem as usual, but as he finishes turns right into a Dynamite dropkick off the top. Quick cover, quick count, quick match. 0:09 to be exact. DUD. Nikolai was still holding the mic while he was getting pinned.

Ivan Putski vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage
During the entrance, Elizabeth's name gets a big face pop, and Savage's a heel one, thus predating the same pattern with Debra and Jeff Jarrett by fourteen years. Hey, I just realized this ring has no turnbuckles. How odd. They exchange some basic stuff until Savage scores the Flair pin in the corner at 2:46 to advance. 3/4* If these match descriptions don't seem overly long, that's because these matches aren't overly long, and are pretty non-descript, much like this review is turning out to be.

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Davey Boy Smith
The graphic reads "Davy" Boy, but we'll overlook that. Both are faces, and they start with a nice little wrestling exchange. Unfortunately, that's about as far as it gets, as Smith injures himself on an errant dropkick and the ref calls for the bell at 2:54. The stuff they did was good, but like everything else on the card, this was way too short. ** The cheap finish kind of cheated Steamboat out of some credibility, but it did protect Smith while his tag team partner fared very well in the rest of the tournament.

Junkyard Dog vs. Iron Shiek
JYD takes it after a headbutt. Yep. Boring. 3:27. DUD. Next.

Moondog Spot vs. Terry Funk
Funk takes the mic and suggests that they don't have to fight and should both leave the ring for a draw. And so they do, but Funk double crosses him in the aisle, and jumps him. They fight back towards the ring where Spot charges, and Funk ends up lifting him into the ring just before the ref's count reaches ten. Spot wins via countout at 0:31, and Funk is steamed. Cute, but a definite DUD.

Tito Santana vs. Don Muraco
Tito is the reigning IC Champ. Not much of note happens until Muraco hits a powerslam and gets three on Tito, but Santana's feet were on the ropes, so the ref nullifies his own decision as Muraco celebrates. Santana recovers and small packages Muraco to grab the real pinfall and advance at 4:19. *1/4

"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff vs. Cowboy Bob Orton
Dave Hebner is the official for this one. Nice wrestling sequence to start, with Orndorff working on Orton's injured arm, which is of course protected by his infamous cast. Orton controls, but when he gets in trouble he uses the loaded cast in plain view of the ref, and gets DQ'ed at 6:30. Decent match, but nothing terribly good. **1/4 Orndorff advances.

Vince and Alfred analyze the second round.

Dynamite Kid vs. Adrian Adonis
Now that we're in the second round there are fifteen minute time limits. Like anything on this show will even approach fifteen minutes. Ventura heads to the dressing room mid-match supposedly to talk strategy with Savage. Maybe he just had to take a leak or something. Adonis works the leg and applies... the sharpshooter? Wow, a sharpshooter and a DDT in 1985. I have a new respect for Adonis. What a pioneer. Dynamite makes the ropes. A comeback is quickly stifled, but he soon comes back for real with one of his awesome snap suplexes. Jimmy Hart climbs on the apron, which backfires for Adonis, as he and the Mouth collide and Dyanmite rolls him up to advance at 5:28. **

Mean Gene Okerlund is with Jesse Ventura.

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage
Quick action the whole time, packed into a painfully short match. This was no Wrestlemania III, but the sparks were there. Ventura returns to the boradcast mid-match, as Savage grabs a foreign object from his trunks and nails Steamboat with it in the middle of a back suplex attempt. A cover gets three, and Savage advances. 3:18, **1/2, which is about the highest a match that short can score.

Junkyard Dog vs. Moondog Spot
JYD hits a few quick headbutts and covers, but the ref is in the can and hasn't made it down to the ring yet, so JYD has to count it himself... and the bell rings at 0:33 and JYD is announced as the winner. Hey, he can't do that! But he did, and it counts. Gorilla tries to rationalize everything, but I'm not buying it. DUD, which makes JYD two for two in that department.

Gene talks to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff vs. Tito Santana
These two are both faces, so they shake hands to start. Good mat stuff in this one, with lots of different holds and reversals. Headlocks, armlocks, grapevines, and more. It would normally be boring, but they're doing it well and the strategy gets time to build, which is always important. Orndorff can't put Tito away and starts resorting back to his heel ways as Jesse predicted would happen. Things get heated and a slugfest spills to the floor, where both men are counted out at 8:06. Aw, all the mat stuff was for nothing after all. Still, a pretty good match. **1/2

Vince and Alfred analyze the rest of the tourney. Dynamite and Savage will face off in the semi-finals, and JYD has a bye all the way to the finals.

Gene with WWF Champ, Hulk Hogan.

WWF Title: Hulk Hogan (Champion) vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper
May I just interject that this whole show is produced way better than Wrestlemania 2 and other shows from this basic time period? Everything is clear, and we don't have Finkel talking over pre-recorded backstage segments. Hogan is wearing all white for some reason. Not much happens for awhile, and Piper hooks the sleeper. Both men spill to the floor, where Hogan posts him and decides to hulk up right there on the floor. Well that's a new one. Back inside, Hogan hits the big boot and an atomic drop before a ref bump. Piper crawls through the window of opportunity and nails Hogan with a chair, albeit weakly. Hey, it was 1985. Hogan stops a second chairshot and puts the sleeper on Piper. Orton runs in and the awoken ref calls for the DQ at 7:17. Two on one beatdown ensues, and Orndorff makes the save for Hogan. The Hulkster retains via DQ. *

Dynamite Kid vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage
Basic Savage/Dynamite awesomeness with a bid to the finals on the line. Dynamite wows the crowd with a superplex, but Savage cradles him for the three at 4:52. Dynamite thinks he's won it, but Savage is the one going to the finals. Decent match, good for the short amount of time given. ***, especially considering how cool that finish was in that time period.

Gene is literally in the locker room. None of that cartoonish background stuff from the early 90's. He even asks the camera man to keep the shot above the waist in case anyone is just coming off the shower. UGH, I really didn't need that visual, Gene. He eventually finds Hogan and Orndorff, who yell and whine about Piper, Orton, and Heenan. There's some weird muffled yelling in the background.

Junkyard Dog vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage
JYD has made it to the finals by wrestling two DUDs totaling four minutes. Elizabeth has changed outfits for the finals in a precursor to the events of Wrestlemania IV. Savage stalls a bit, and Gene joins commentary. For some reason, Jesse is bent out of shape about JYD receiving a bye in the previous round. Savage finally gets to work with a Macho clothesline and hits an axehandle from the top rope to the arena floor. He posts JYD and hits another top to floor axehandle. Savage with a chairshot, and the ref lets it go. Back inside, Macho goes upstairs again, but it's a classic case of going to the well once too often, and JYD catches him with a shot to the gut. Cue the headbutts. Savage charges, but JYD dips the shoulder, and backdrops Savage over the top and all the way to the concrete floor. Ouch. Savage can't make it back in, and JYD wins the final round of the tourney via countout at 9:43. Match was about *1/2.

Gene steps into the ring to get a word with a winded JYD, and that concludes the first and only Wrestling Classic. It wasn't a bad idea, but with sixteen men in one tournament, it had to be rushed, as is evident by the miniscule match times. The action wasn't awful, but there's nothing history making or particularly memorable about this show. The WWF would soon present Wrestlemania 2, and then concentrate on hyping the successful Wrestlemania III, before finding better gimmick cards like the Survivor Series and Royal Rumble. The "annual" Wrestling Classic never made it to year two.

Wrestling Classic Key Stats
Matches: 15
Total Wrestling: 62:30
Average Match: 4:10
Average Match Rating: *1/4
Top Moments: Anything with Savage or Dynamite is a definite plus, but this show doesn't really have many standout moments

If you have any questions or comments on this review, direct all mail to kayfabe@rajahwwf.com.