WWWF: Philadelphia Spectrum (03.25.78)
WWWF: Philadelphia Spectrum
March 25, 1978
Your current WWWF champions are as follows:
WWWF Heavyweight Champion: Bob Backlund (2/20/1978)
WWWF World Tag Team Champions: Mr. Fuji & Professor Tanaka (10/1/1977)
Pop Culture #1s of the Time:
#1 Movie of the Week: Straight Time starring Dustin Hoffman
#1 Song of the Week: Night Fever by Bee Gees
#1 TV Show of the 77-78 Season: Laverne & Shirley starring Penny Marshall & Cindy Williams
Follow along if you have the WWE Network!
The following wrestling exhibition requires discretionary viewer participation.
Courtesy of TheHistoryofWWE.com, here are the results of the matches that are cut from the WWE Network version:
Joe Turco pinned Pete Reeves at 10:17 with a kick to the chest.
Gypsy Rodriguez pinned Pete Austin with an elbow drop at 10:57.
Dominic DeNucci defeated Davey O’Hannon via count-out.
Peter Maivia & Chief Jay Strongbow defeated Stan Stasiak & Baron Mikel Scicluna.
Gorilla Monsoon pinned the Golden Terror at 4:42 with a giant swing and a splash.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Dick Graham. Gary Michael Capetta is the ring announcer.
- WWWF Heavyweight Championship: Bob Backlund (c) (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Spiros Arion
I saw an interview with Superstar Billy Graham where he was pissed when Backlund was first champion that he would wear the WWWF heavyweight title under his robe because he “loved the robe”. Forty years later, he’s STILL PISSED ABOUT IT. He felt Backlund was a child and not a man – and that putting the belt on Backlund was the BIGGEST mistake ever in wrestling. Onto the match, Backlund works a waistlock and tries to roll Arion over for a pinfall, but Arion does a great job getting away at the very last second. As Spiros starts slamming, Backlund counters to an inside cradle for a nearfall. Arion takes a breather out on the outside. Back in, Arion grinds Backlund down with a test of strength. Backlund slips through Arion’s legs and escapes the hold. He wants Arion in the middle of the ring. Backlund grabs an ankle, but Arion rakes the eyes to take control. Backlund surprises Arion with a sunset flip, but only gets two. He goes after the leg and rowboats the knee. Philly crowd is loving it. When Arion finally gets away, he pulls a turnbuckle pad down and smashes Backlund’s face on the EXPOSED buckle. Arion then puts the boots to him and brings Backlund in from the apron into a gutbuster for 1-2-NO! Arion applies the GREEK BACKBREAKER, but Backlund is able to break free. HERE COMES BACKLUND! He gives Arion a Piledriver for 1-2-NO! Backlund runs Arion’s head into the corner. While he’s standing and stunned, Backlund picks up Arion for the ATOMIC DROP only for Arion to kick ref Dick Whorle out of the ring. Whoops. The brawl continues without a ref. Meanwhile, Chief Jay Strongbow and High Chief Peter Maivia come out to help separate the two. Heels Stan Stasiak and Baron Mikel Scicluna hold Arion back. Ref Dick Whorle gets stretchered out of the building. Backlund and Arion break free and start brawling again. It’s a double DQ, by the way. (17:49) Fun brawl that sets up a rematch for next month. You might could say Backlund should have gone over clean for his first WWWF title match at the Spectrum, but they both looked strong at the end and he’s got to have future opponents. You might as well keep something going hot if you feel the crowd is into it. ***½
- Bruno Sammartino (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Ken Patera
Patera jumps Sammartino right as he comes through the ropes. The ref tries to keep them separated long enough to start the bell. When he can’t control Patera, he just lets it go and calls for the bell to ring. Bruno gets his shots in, but he’s mostly on the defense from Patera’s stomps in the early going. He applies a half Boston crab, but Patera is too strong and pulls Sammartino down into a chinlock. Patera like a body slam, but misses an elbow drop and takes an armdrag that sends him to the floor. Back in again, Bruno grabs a side headlock. Patera breaks loose and leapfrogs Bruno before landing a Harley Race knee. It’s FULL NELSON time, but Sammartino runs him off into a turnbuckle. Sammartino puts the boots to him and chokes him in the ropes. Bruno gets behind him for a stomp to the head. Chinlock time. Bruno transitions to a full nelson of his own, but Patera reaches the ropes. Back inside, Sammartino wins a slugfest and kicks Patera down for two. Back to a headlock. Patera powers out and applies a Bearhug. WILL BRUNO GIVE UP? No, of course not. It’s freaking Bruno Sammartino. Are you INSANE? Once he does escape, Bruno sells the hold and kicks Patera around. Patera comes back and chokes Bruno down in the ropes. He applies the Bearhug again, but Bruno breaks the hold and hiptosses Patera over. Bruno then applies a Bearhug of his own, but Patera quickly rakes the face to get free. They go to the floor to brawl where Sammartino shoves Patera off into the post. They brawl back inside and back out again where Bruno drops a desk chair on Patera’s head. Ring the bell, this thing has gotten out of hand! (16:24) Instead of disqualifying Sammartino, the ref calls it a double countout. Patera heads for the locker room wanting nothing more to do with Bruno. Pretty standard Bruno match that has grown tired by 1978 and especially since there’s not a ton of heat for a feud between these two. **
- Haystacks Calhoun vs. Nikolai Volkoff
Volkoff looks great and he gets offense in on Calhoun in the few minutes they wrestle, but he’s just here to job for the legendary big guy. Onto the finish, Volkoff misses a corner charge and Calhoun splashes him for the win in 2:39.
Final Thoughts: Now this is more like it. Cut out all the bull crap matches that nobody living today cares about and just give us the good stuff. Mild thumbs up for Spectrum show 3/25/78.
Posted on April 30, 2019, in WWE and tagged Arnold Skaaland, Bob Backlund, Bruno Sammartino, Haystacks Calhoun, Ken Patera, Nikolai Volkoff, Philadelphia Spectrum, Spiros Arion. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.