WWF: All Star Wrestling (06.02.79) (PLUS A SPECIAL BONUS MATCH~!)

WWF: All Star Wrestling
June 2, 1979
Hamburg, PA
Hamburg Fieldhouse

Your current WWF champions are as follows:
WWF Heavyweight Champion: Bob Backlund (2/20/1978)
WWF North American Heavyweight Champion: Ted DiBiase (2/17/1979)
WWF Tag Team Champions: Johnny & Jerry Valiant (3/24/1979)

Pop Culture #1s of the Time:
#1 Movie of the Week: Alien starring Sigourney Weaver & Tom Skerritt

#1 Song of the Week: Hot Stuff by Donna Summer
#1 TV Show of the 78-79 Season: Laverne & Shirley starring Penny Marshall & Cindy Williams

Follow along if you have the WWE Network!

The following wrestling exhibition requires discretionary viewer participation.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino.

  • Ted DiBiase vs. Jose Estrada

Since Estrada has seemed to have turned over a new leaf, I’m not expecting a ton of heel stuff here from him. They tie up and trade headlocks and headscissors. Estrada delivers a hiptoss, but DiBiase fires back with a hiptoss of his own. DiBiase shows off his armdrag skills and works an armbar on Estrada. Once DiBiase releases the hold, Estrada uses a clinched fist to pound on DiBiase, which is of course against the rules. DiBiase punches back on him and backdrops Estrada. There’s a knee drop for two. Nice powerslam gets the win in 4:16.

  • The Great Hussein (w/The Grand Wizard) vs. Steve King

Hussein attacks King with his headscarf to start and the man just doesn’t have a chance after that. Vince mentions the Grand Wizard is filling in for Freddie Blassie while he’s away on vacation. He refuses to pin King even though he’s clearly done a minute into the match and delivers FOUR suplexes to King before finishing him off with the LOADED BOOT in 4:11.

Vince meets with Captain Lou Albano and the Valiant brothers. Albano talks about how classy his Valiants are. Jimmy Valiant says he’s got the body that men fear and women love. Johnny V is back out here barking about not having any competition. Vince wants to know why we never hear from Jerry, but Albano says he doesn’t talk. Albano, Jimmy, and Johnny bring up a million different scenarios as to why maybe Jerry doesn’t speak. Vince continues to stir the pot and discredit the heels, but never a babyface.

  • Steve Travis vs. Mr. X

Travis gets tired of having his hair pulled by Mr. X during an armbar and chases him out to the floor. Back in, Travis escapes a headlock into an overhead wristlock, but Mr. X pulls the hair again and takes Travis to the mat. Bruno explains Mr. X is trying to get Travis to make a mistake. Mr. X applies a hammerlock and pulls the hair when Travis goes for the mask. Travis gets mad and hiptosses Mr. X across the ring. He follows up with a dropkick that sends Mr. X’s head into the buckle for two. Mr. X comes back and tries a double chicken wing hold. Travis breaks free, trips up Mr. X, and legdrops the knee a few times trying to weaken him for something else. Mr. X pulls the hair and punches at Travis to break free. He hits a suplex of sorts for two. Mr. X tries that kitchen sink knee strike he normally does, but uses the knee Travis was working on and sells the knee. He misses a leg drop and HERE COMES TRAVIS. He surprises Mr. X in the corner with the Jack Brisco rollup for the win. (7:43) This was fun. I liked Mr. X selling the knee there. SELLING AND PAYING OFF LIMB WORK IS A LOST ART. **½

  • Tito Santana vs. Johnny Rodz

This looks like Tito’s biggest challenge to date on All Star Wrestling. Rodz controls much of the first few moments with holds down on the mat. He switches over to pounding and smashing Santana’s head on the buckle, but that just gets Santana mad. Too smart to worry about such, Rodz kicks him back down and continues where he left off with the pounding and the smashing. Santana fires back, but again he’s too smart to be affected and comes right back with shots off the second rope. Rodz botches a back suplex, but stays on Santana with stomps to the head. Santana makes another comeback and whips him across into the far corner for a backdrop. He telegraphs a second backdrop and Rodz knees him down for a nearfall. Rodz telegraphs a backdrop of his own and Santana sunset flips him for two. Santana trying to get the quick pin on Rodz, but he won’t go for it. He winds up giving Rodz a THESZ PRESS for the three-count he didn’t see coming. (8:16) Rodz felt like it was a fast count, but nobody is going to give Rodz the benefit of the doubt. *½

Bruno speaks with Tito Santana at ringside after the match. If it wasn’t for the way he trained, there’s no way he could beat guys like Johnny Rodz. He talks to the Spanish speaking audience as they wrap up the interview.

  • Dominic DeNucci & Haystacks Calhoun (w/Ivan Putski) vs. Johnny & Jerry Valiant (w/Jimmy Valiant & Captain Lou Albano)

DeNucci is distracted by Jimmy to start while Johnny V stalks him in the ring. He escapes a headlock and slams Johnny, but Jerry breaks up the pin while Jimmy gets up on the apron. The Valiants are SCARED. Tag to Jerry, he keeps DeNucci in their corner. Calhoun has enough of the Valiants grabbing at DeNucci and sends Jimmy packing. When Haystacks heads back to the apron, the Valiants go back to triple-teaming Dominic. DeNucci eventually reaches him for a tag as he threatens Albano’s boys with his horseshoe. HEY WAIT, DeNucci goes back to the locker room and comes back with IVAN PUTSKI. He sticks around to keep Handsome Jimmy where he’s supposed to be. Meanwhile, Haystacks and DeNucci take turns beating on Jerry. When DeNucci tries to apply some sort of abdominal stretch, Jerry and Jimmy jump into the ring and we’ve got a PIER-SIX BRAWL on our hands as the Valiants are disqualified. (6:18) The Valiants turn tail and run home rather quickly here before things actually get exciting. ¾*

AND NOW FOR A SPECIAL BONUS MATCH~!

  • WWF Heavyweight Championship: Bob Backlund (c) (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. The Great Hussein (w/Captain Lou Albano) – (Madison Square Garden, 6/4/79)

To give this match some context, the Shah and his family fled Iran months ago, the Iranian Revolution was completed months ago, and the Ayatollah has taken control over the country making Iran an Islamic Republic as it remains to this day. As far how this affects the United States and the Iron Sheik’s heat level, the Iran hostage crisis has not yet occurred and that will not begin until November. So of course being a foreign heel who cheats and hates the top babyfaces, Hussein has heat but not NUCLEAR IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS heat just yet.

Earlier in the evening, the Great Hussein won the first battle royal to ever occur at MSG. For winning the 20 man battle royal, he received $10,000 and a WWF heavyweight title shot against Bob Backlund. Boy, Freddie Blassie is going to wish he hadn’t left on vacation knowing this had happened.

Albano and Hussein give the ref a real hard time inspecting Hussein’s controversial boots. Albano is supposed to be leaving ringside, but he sticks around and pesters VINCE MCMAHON who throws a full cup of water in his face. HOLY CRAP. They even provide instant replay on that. Hilarious. Backlund and Hussein lock up with one trying to grab a waistlock on the other. Once they hook up, Backlund grabs a leg and tumbles Hussein to the mat to get him all frustrated. Hussein grabs a leg as well, but can’t trip Backlund. Eventually, Backlund is able to monkey flip Hussein. Backlund answers Hussein’s fireman’s carry toss with one of his own and follows up with a hiptoss. A waistlock reversal leads to a sitout where Backlund escapes and trips Hussein out to the floor. Back in, Hussein grabs an overhead wristlock and perfectly times the moment when he pulls Backlund’s hair to take him to the mat. Backlund elbows out, but Hussein catches him with a kitchen sink knee strike. Hussein pulls back on the arms while headbutting the shoulder blades. They really milk this hold for several minutes. Backlund eventually escapes and cradles Hussein for a nearfall. Hussein grabs a full nelson, but Backlund reverses and holds onto Hussein for a while. When Hussein tries to counter, Backlund again surprises Hussein with a cradle for two. Hussein applies a hammerlock and knee drops the left arm before applying an armbar. Backlund gets a burst of energy and delivers a hiptoss before following up with a flying headscissors. Backlund holds onto the headscissors on the mat.

Hussein turns and twists around in the hold, but it takes him a while before he manages to roll over on top of Backlund for a backslide sequence. Backlund scores the better end of that for a two-count. However, he misses a corner charge and runs his left shoulder into the buckle. Hussein grabs a hammerlock and Backlund does the snapmare backflip over Hussein and an O’Connor roll gets 1-2-NO! Backlund starts leg dropping and row boating the left arm. Once they switch gears, Backlund gets whipped into the corner and tries a crossbody, but Hussein kicks him down. There’s an abdominal stretch applied to Backlund. After a few reversals, Backlund comes away with a butterfly suplex. Hussein comes back with a gutwrench suplex. They run the ropes and collide into each other. As Hussein rolls out to the floor, he comes back into the ring with a chair and whacks Backlund twice. Backlund puts his foot on the bottom rope to prevent any counting here. He comes back with a gutwrench suplex of his own and comes off the ropes with a splash, but Hussein brings up the knees to block. Hussein brings in another chair, but takes it away and clobbers Hussein. That’s where the video stops, but there’s only a couple more minutes until Backlund hits the ATOMIC DROP for the win. (29:00 shown) Lots of holds traded, but tons of psychology. They played off Hussein’s ruthlessness more than just classic heel tactics. I honestly thought we would see more suplexes than we saw, but they gave us a different type of match. I liked the chair being involved as it provided an extra element of danger for Backlund, but he returns the favor quite nicely at the end. I just wonder how they got to the finish here. These long matches aren’t for everyone and it’s not an all-time classic, but it was a great effort as always from Backlund. They won’t meet again in Madison Square Garden until the end of 1983 and I think we all know how that turned out. ***½

That’s gonna do it for this week. Until next time, so long for now.

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