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WWF Championship Wrestling: January 12th, 1985

January 12, 1985

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

Appearing on the show this week will be the Tonga Kid as well as the team of Big John Studd & Ken Patera. Also, we will see another training video of Hulk Hogan and Hillbilly Jim.

Mike Powers vs. Tonga Kid

The crowd likes Tonga. Powers tries to attack Tonga but fails. Tonga hits a backdrop as Powers can barely run the ropes. He is a tall guy with a gut and no athleticism. Tonga grabs a chinlock then switches to a headlock. Tonga hits a shulderblock and a slam. Fist drop gets two. Powers backs Tonga to the corner and lands a few crappy punches that even the announcers make fun of but Tonga hulks up and chops him down. He grabs another headlock the hits a backbreaker. He heads up top and hits the flying headbutt for the win (3:54). The crowd popped huge for the finish as Vince states that Tonga is just eighteen years old.

Thoughts: Powers is one of the worst wrestlers I have ever seen. I remember a squash match he had against Tito several months before this which was embarrassing. Tonga was just about gone from the company when this match aired, as he no-showed several dates and went over to Pro Wrestling USA shortly thereafter. He would come back to the WWF the following year as part of the Islanders. In his shoot interview, Tonga admitted that he had difficulty handling the fame, which is a lot when you become a star overnight at age 19.

Lord Alfred Hayes introduces us another clip of Captain Lou Albano and Cyndi Lauper at Studio 54. This time, Hulk Hogan is introduced and puts over Albano for changing his ways. They really wanted to get Albano over as a face.

Joe Mirto vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine

Since Albano is now a face, Valentine is now without a manager. The crowd taunts Valentine with a “Tito” chant. Valentine works the arm but gets caught with an armdrag. Valentine backs Mirto against the ropes and doesn’t break cleanly. He takes him down with an elbow smash then goes to work on the leg. He softens him up before hitting a suplex. He gets two off an elbow drop then puts on the figure-four leglock for the win (2:20).

Thoughts: Valentine was awesome here, and he would stay that way until midway through 1987. He was one of the best workers in the company and in a great feud with Tito Santana.

Gene Okerlund runs down the February 2nd card at the Boston Garden. He welcomes Mike Rotundo, who will be facing the Iron Sheik and Barry Windham, who will be facing Nikolai Volkoff. Rotundo cuts a horrendous promo on Sheik, stating that he will show how an American boy like himself can win. Windham shows signs of life and says they can show what they can do in singles competition. Nine days after this interview aired, Windham & Rotunda won the titles from Adonis & Murdoch at a house show in Hartford, CT.

Up next is another training video with Hogan and Hillbilly Jim. Hogan is proud of his progress as Jim can now handle Hogan’s morning drink called “Python Powder.” We get another training montage and this time, Hillbilly isn’t embarrassing himself. However, Hulk says that he still isn’t ready to wrestle, even though Hillbilly thinks he is ready because he wrestled bears in the circus.

Gene Okerlund is with Andre the Giant. He tells Ken Patera and John Studd that he will chase them all over the country and all he wants to do is get even. This is to promote his Tornado Tag match in Boston with the Junkyard Dog.

R.T. Reynolds & Mr. X vs. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo

On commentary, Vince refers to Windham & Rotundo as the “American Express.” Reynolds and Windham trade armdrags to start. Reynolds hits a shoulderblock but Windham monkey flips him and Reynolds goes outside. Both men tag out and Rotundo slams Mr. X. He gets two off an elbow drop then tags Windham, who gets two off a flying forearm, then Rotundo tags and hits the airplane spin for the win (2:49).

Thoughts: Windham & Rotundo were over with the crowd, who finally gets to see a face tag-team that doesn’t involve Tony Garea or SD Jones. R.T. Reynolds would get a makeover later on in the year, as he became Corporal Kirchner.

Piper’s Pit with Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch. Piper says he couldn’t find the Brisco’s in Oklahoma, stating he only found an empty bottle of cheap wine in front of their teepee. Murdoch says they did not lose as they were sick and defied doctor’s orders as Adonis claimed they had the “Taiwan Flu.” Piper brings up how the Brisco’s think they deserve a title shot but Adonis says that there are other guys deserve a shot, like Frankie Williams and “Rivera.” Just promoting their house show matches against the Brisco’s, who would be gone in a month.  

Tito Santana vs. Paul Kelly

They have a nice little sequence ending with Kelly backing away. Santana gets a hiptoss and a slam. He then works the arm before putting on a chinlock. Kelly hits a shoulder block but Tito comes back with a monkey flip. Tito fires away and gets a backdrop. He then softens up the leg before locking on the figure-four, causing Kelly to submit (2:59). The ending was weird as the bell was rung softly and Tito said something to the ref, who then broke up the hold.

Thoughts: Kelly worked at a fast-paced and this was a well wrestled squash match. Too bad Kelly didn’t job regulary throughout the 80’s, as he could have kept up against guy like Steamboat and the Dynamite Kid.

Another vignette of Don Muraco in Hawaii, who is with Mr. Fuji. Muraco says that they (the fans) will know the violence will return to the WWF and wipe away Hulkamania. Nice to see them push Muraco in a top feud in his return.

Aldo Marino & Jim Powers vs. Ken Patera & Big John Studd w/Bobby Heenan

Powers made his WWF debut at the previous TV taping. Oddly enough, he got in because of Studd. The crowd chants “Andre” at the heels. Patera starts by beating the shit out of Powers, tossing him all over the ring. Studd tags as the crowd chants for Andre. He knocks Marino off the apron then rams Powers in the corner. Patera tags and hits a suplex. Marino tags and Patera beat on him for a bit. Marino fights back but ends up in the wrong corner. Studd tags and throws around Marino. He pulls up Marino after dropping an elbow and tags out. The heels take turns tossing around Marino until Patera makes him submit to the full nelson (4:44). Patera refuses to break and when he does, stomps on Marino.

Thoughts: I thought this was a fun squash match, with the jobbers getting tossed around all over the ring. Patera was still good in the ring at this point.

Gene Okerlund is with Wendi Richter. She cuts a promo on Judy Martin, saying if she can beat Moolah, she can beat Martin. The Iron Sheik interrupts and disses Richter and Okerlund before cutting a promo on Rotundo, saying that his American coach at Syracuse knows nothing, unlike his own Iranian coach. He rants and raves for another minute before leaving.

Vince says that they were once again, not allowed to show the clip of the melee at last month’s MSG show.

Next week, Hulk Hogan will make an appearance. Also, Brutus Beefcake, Junkyard Dog, Blackjack Mulligan, and the team of Big John Studd & Ken Patera will be in action.

Final Thoughts: Not bad, although there was nothing that memorable on the show, unless you count another Hulk/Hillbilly training video and another clip of Albano with Lauper accepting an award at Studio 54. The show breezed right by, which is a good thing.