We’re back with some liner notes from our “Under the Tutelage” bonus episode! This was an episode where our co-host Eclectik got to give us his take on the 80’s WWF era. And as we all know, E’s all about the heels, so this should be a rather villainous trip:
“The Great Betrayal” – Paul Orndorff turns on Hulk Hogan
In 1986, Hulk Hogan was riding high and had begun tagging with friend and fellow WWF good guy “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. Ordorff was a ripped muscular powerhouse, and I remember at the time thinking he might even be a better overall wrestler than The Hulkster, but I was glad the two of them were on the same side. The team had to face off against the menacing monster team of King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd. Orndorff starts the match and easily handles both Bundy and Studd, gaining the cheers from the raucous crowd, but then tags in the champ. Hogan proceeds to body slam the 7 foot Big John Studd, which blows the roof off the venue (in Poughkeepsie, NY, btw)– much to the jealous dismay of “Mr. Wonderful”. Eventually Studd and Bundy get the better of Hogan as The Hulkster becomes the face in peril. Minutes later, in a wild flurry of offense, Hogan accidenally elbows the outstretched Orndorff in the eye, knocking him off the apron. The match ends in a DQ and Orndorff eventually comes in to aid his partner. He raises Hogan’s hand in victory… and then… well…
Eclectik and I agree this was probably the biggest most unexpected heel turn in wrestling history at the time. This was on a regular Saturday “Superstars of Wrestling” broadcast and at the time it was unheard of that a good guy would turn on the top face like that. While Eclectik rejoiced in the villainy that ensued, I and many other little Hulkamaniacs were crushed. But let’s not forget that Orndorff was a former heel at the time, matched up against Hogan and Mr. T alongside his partner Rowdy Roddy Piper at the first WrestleMania. Here’s a training segment with Ordorff and Piper…
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Arguably one of the most heated feuds in the history of the WWF…. nay, the history of pro wrestling ever! The late great Macho Man was a massive heel and a favorite of Eclectik’s. Of course, I was a big fan of Ricky Steamboat in those days. As the story goes, in 1986 Savage was to defend his intercontinental championship title against Steamboat in a televised match. With Elizabeth in tow, the match goes down in typical fashion but not without controversy due to crooked referee Danny Davis trying to muscle referee Dave Hebner out of the ring before the contest. Danny Davis comes down later in the match as Hebner gets knocked out (a Hebner gets knocked out in a match?? SHOCKER!) , distracting Steamboat and giving Savage the final advantage. The match is called a count-out DQ, but not before Savage delivers a double-axe handle from the top rope to a prone Steamboat who has his throat draped over the steel guard rail outside the ring. Then to add insult to injury, Macho Man takes the ring bell from the timekeeper’s table and delivers a crushing blow from the top rope with it onto the already injured throat of The Dragon, crushing his larynx!!
… and if you thought that was evil, check out Savage’s post-match interview backstage with Bruno Sammartino, which didn’t last long b/c Bruno had had enough!
Rest in peace, Macho Man, but 10-year old Classick thought you were a son of a bitch for that move!
But The Dragon did eventually return and they faced off for the big payoff at WrestleMania III at the Pontiac Silverdome.
With George “The Animal” Steele in his corner, Steamboat proved triumphant and defeated Savage for the Intercontinental Title in front of the largest audience ever. This match may have stolen the show that night on a card headlined by Hulk Hogan facing Andre The Giant.
“The Million Dollar Man” & the kid with the basketball
If you wanna be a heel in pro wrestling, it takes much more than beating up the good guy in the ring or saying unpopular things in an interview. In this segment, DiBiase, accompanied by his bodyguard Virgil, was holding the latest in a series of “Million Dollar Challenges” to give the WWF fans a chance to earn a portion his money. This usually involved a fan having to humiliate him- (or her-) self, but this time it was simple… bounce a basketball up to 15 times consecutively without stopping. DiBiase selects a young kid from the crowd named Shawn and, well…
Suffice to say, Shawn learned a hard lesson that day!
“The Birdman” Koko B. Ware’s entrance theme
Koko B. Ware is best known for prancing his way to the ring with his pet parrot Frankie in tow. And his later entrance music sounded like some church revival stuff…
However, if anyone remembers Koko from his debut and early time in the WWF, it’s no secret he came to the ring to “The Bird” by Morris Day & the Time. shout-out to Purple Rain!
WWF Ice Cream Bars
CM Punk was asking for it…
and here’s why!
’nuff said, Animal…
Getting into bad gimmicks, Eclectik mentions Arachnaman, who in name as well as costume looked eerily similar to one web-headed wall-crawling superhero. So much so that Marvel Comics ordered WCW to cease and desist with this gimmick, much to the relief of the pro-wrestling world.
Now, if only Midway Games could’ve prevented the debut of this guy…
Kevin Nash as “Oz”
Another inauspicious debut in WCW, this was also filed under our “worst gimmicks” segment.
As for why this blog post is titled “The Russian Sickle”, well that was Eclectik’s original suggested title for this episode. For those of you not familiar with the actual move…
Shout-out to Nikita Koloff!