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WWF Championship Wrestling January 26th, 1985

January 26th, 1985

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

This week, Hillbilly Jim makes his in-ring debut, with Hulk Hogan in his corner. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo (called the American Express by Vince) will be in action as well. Plus, George Wells makes his Championship Wrestling debut.

Gino Carabello & AJ Petruzzi vs. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo

The camera shows a guy in the crowd who looks just like Matthew McConaughey’s character from “Dazed and Confused.” Petruzzi gets one off a hiptoss then gets dropkicked by Rotundo. Windham tags and gets two off a back elbow smash. Carabello tags and gets knocked down. Windham hits a vertical suplex then drops the elbow. Rotundo tags and hits a dropkick before working a hammerlock. They use a few quick tags before Windham hits the bulldog for the win (3:45).

Thoughts: Although not mentioned here, Windham and Rotundo actually were the tag-team champions when this match aired. They defeated Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch at a house show in Hartford, CT. The crowd wasn’t that into this match but seeing as this was the 4th and final show of the taping, you cant blame for being tired. Anyway, its clear that Windham and Rotundo are being pushed as the top bayface team and it has gotten off to a promising start.

WWF Update with Lord Alfred Hayes. He lets us know that they will show us thestill photos of what happened at the December 28th MSG show between Piper and Albano as soon as they are available. Some update this was.

Dave Barbie & Rusty Brooks vs. Tonga Kid & Jimmy Snuka

Snuka can barely move here. Brooks school-boys Tonga for one before getting put in a headlock. Snuka tags and gets shoved in the corner. Tonga tags and slams Barbie then Snuka hits the Superfly Splash for the win (2:29).

Thoughts: Tonga did all the work and Snuka hit a splash for the win. Snuka was really broke down at this point and Tonga was no-showing all the shows at this time, including the recent MSG show, and was gone from the company within days of this match airing. Had Tonga, who admitted that he lefty because of the pressure from being on top, stuck around, he definitely would have been involved in WrestleMania and had a prominent role in the company during the 1980’s. He did come back at the end of 1986 to form the Islanders with Haku but was never able to capture the momentum that he had here.

Gene Okerlund runs down the card for the February 2nd show at the Boston Garden. Big John Studd comes out, with his bag containing Andre the Giant’s hair, plugging his Texas Tornado tag with Ken Patera against Andre & Junkyard Dog. He puts himself over for being strong enough to bench 700lbs and clip Andre’s hair. Studd really needed Heenan to help him out on interviews.

S.D. Jones & Aldo Marino vs. Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik w/Freddie Blassie

As Volkoff sings the Russian national anthem, Windham & Rotundo appear ringside waving the American flag, upsetting the heels. The crowd erupts in a “USA” chant. SD headbutts the Sheik then tags Marino. Sheik kicks him and tags Volkoff, who puts him in a backbreaker. Sheik tags and hits a suplex before making him submit to the Camel Clutch (2:04). After the match, the heels toss their opponents to the floor.

Thoughts: The match was forgettable but they found their next tag feud, even if it was a bit contrived. Its nice to see the tag division get built up again as it was awful during 1984.

Okerlund is with Andre, who is also plugging the tag-match at the Boston Garden. He mumbled lot here and nothing of note happened.

George Wells vs. Paul Kelly

This is the Championship Wrestling debut for Wells, who left Mid-South to come here several weeks prior. He starts with a crescent kick off an Irish whip spot. He takes Kelly down with a headscissors then an armdrag. Kelly throws some forearms in the corner but Wells comes back with another headscissors then works the arm. Kelly doesn’t break cleanly then takes Wells down with a kneelift. Wells hits a European uppercut then finishes Kelly with a diving shoulder block (2:05)

Thoughts: An action packed two minute match that was sloppy at times. The crowd gave Wells a nice ovation after he one and they seemed to respond favorably to him. His run in the WWF was mostly forgettable, with his most famous moment jobbing to Jake the Snake Roberts at WrestleMania II, while foaming at the mouth from selling the effects of Damien.  

Piper’s Pit with guest Blackjack Mulligan. Piper mocks Blackjack, who comes out with a bag with chewing tobacco. He tells him that he doesn’t have the qualifications to interview anyone and tells him that he stinks. Piper also tells him he is not afraid of him then introduces him to his bodyguard, Bob Orton. Blackjack lets the people decide who makes the better host then they cut to commercial. Piper spoke for 95% of the segment, which didn’t really click at all to be honest.

The Moondogs vs. Steve Lombardi & Jim Young

Spot hits Lombardi with a thrust kick the Rex chops him against the ropes. The Moondogs continue their assault on Lombardi as Vince plugs Hillbilly Jim’s debut, which will be coming up next. Young tags in but Rex powerslams him then they hit their finisher (backbreaker/elbow drop combo) for the win (2:48).

Thoughts: The Moondogs, a very underrated team, looked really good in this match.

Another vignette of Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji in Hawaii. Muraco says that Hawaii is not for “comic book hulks” or “moron, retarded superflies” then says he will be back to the WWF shortly as Fuji is laughing in the background.

Terry Gibbs vs. Hillbilly Jim w/Hulk Hogan

They come out to “Eye of the Tiger” as the crowd goes nuts. Vince is cackling like a moron during all of Hillbilly Jim’s antics. The match starts as Jim breaks out of a full nelson. He sits Gibbs on the top rope and pats him on the chest. Gibbs bounces off Hillbilly a few times before getting caught with a slam. Gibbs rakes the eyes and lands several shots but is unable to take him down. Jim blocks a slam and hits one of his own before catching Gibbs in a bearhug for the win (2:58). After the match, Jim poses with Hogan as Vince is in all his glory.

Thoughts: Gibbs did all of the work in the ring but that did not stop Jim from getting over big with the crowd. Vince was also enamored with Jim, doing anything he can on commentary to put him over.

Gene Okerlund is with Paul Orndorff, who faces Ivan Putski at the next Boston Garden show. Orndorff looks glum and talks about how sad it is to be so wonderful. I cant do this interview justice but Okerlund was awesome here in playing off Orndorff. At the end, Orndorff sheds his robe and calls Putski a “turtle head” who will cower up and never be seen again after their match.

Bruno and Vince praise Hillbilly Jim at the end of the show. Next week, Don Muraco and Andre the Giant will be here.

Final Thoughts: Not a bad show. The debuted Jim and started a new tag feud so that was good. The matches were all shorter than usual too. The crowd was cold for most of this but next week will be the first show from the new taping so that usually means a more energetic crowd. The WWF continues to shape up their feuds too as they are dragging out the process of showing us what happened to Albano at MSG so you know there will be a big feud as a result of that. Plus, Muraco will be coming back to presumably feud with Hogan, seeing as he has been insulting him in all his vignettes.


  1. Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! That has to be one of the BEST DEBUTS EVER!!! Terry Gibbs did a great job of putting him over but Hillbilly Jim made it clear that he was the absolute MAN right out of the hog-pen. Just reading this recap gives me goosebumps; I'm going to try and track this down on Youtube ASAP.

  2. Snuka was indeed run down here, and to think he'd return at Wrestlemania V four years later, face the undertaker at Wrestlemania VII, SIX years later, and be a part of a Survivor Series match ELEVEN YEARS LATER!

    I wish I had Samoan genes.

  3. Never cared for Hillbilly Jim. I remember when they were doing the " fan in the stands" gimmick to introduce him and I knew he would most likely suck and I was right.

  4. I am responsible for that down vote.

  5. Here is the aforementioned Orndorff interview. Its a thing of beauty. Okerlund loses it.

  6. He could barely walk down the aisle but he was still able to get some height on his splash, which was all he was doing anyway at this point.

  7. I always wondered how he got a role in the WM1 main event -- sense of obligation from Vince?

    Also: it is two months to the first Wrestlemania, and no mention of it on this show.


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