WWF: All Star Wrestling (01.26.80) (PLUS ZBYSZKO VS. BRUNO~!)
WWF: All Star Wrestling
January 26, 1980
Your current WWF champions are as follows:
WWF Heavyweight Champion: Bob Backlund (2/20/1978)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Pat Patterson (9/1/1979)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Ivan Putski & Tito Santana (10/22/1979)
Pop Culture #1s of the Time:
#1 Movie of the Week: Kramer vs. Kramer starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep
#1 Song of the Week: Rock With You by Michael Jackson
#1 TV Show of the 79-80 Season: 60 Minutes hosted by Mike Wallace
Your host is Vince McMahon. Yes, that’s right. He’s commentating SOLO this week since Bruno Sammartino has so much on his mind these days.
- The Great Hussein (w/Freddie Blassie) vs. Steve King
Hussein is at it again with the Persian clubs. Vince lets Hussein do his thing and essentially says nothing to put over the clubs. I guess he figures people get it by now. Hussein chops down King and applies a bow and arrow hold. King escapes a chinlock, but Hussein headbutts him in the belly and throws him to the floor. Back in, Hussein starts up with the suplexes and pulls him up a few times to prevent the pinfall. A nasty butterfly suplex finally gets the win. (5:58) Hussein grabs the Persian clubs to show off some more as Vince lets us know the clubs weigh 75 pounds a piece.
- Ken Patera (w/the Grand Wizard) vs. Mike Masters
From one heel to the next. The crowd is still giving Patera shit for letting the Wizard take off his pants. Masters tries to get fresh with Patera and forearm smashes him until he retreats to the floor. Back in, Patera gets some advice from the Wizard. Masters quickly puts him in a headlock. Vince doesn’t think Patera is in any kind of trouble here. Patera knocks Masters through the ropes and then slams him from the apron back into the ring. He proceeds to beat on Masters until he’s primed for the SWINGING FULL NELSON. That takes care of Masters in 4:13.
Vince McMahon talks with the WWF tag champs Ivan Putski and Tito Santana. He wants to know how long Putski and Santana can take on ALL challengers. I’m not sensing any real chemistry here. Vince brings up Afa and Sika as their top challengers. Ivan says he and Tito study the matches of the Wild Samoans. He seems to think the Samoans have weak spots. He’s not watching what I’m watching. Vince says it doesn’t seem there’s any way to prepare for the Wild Samoans because they are so different than any team in the WWF. Not a good question because how can anybody answer that. Ivan says they will not allow the Wild Samoans to go to the top rope where they are so deadly. Putski watches Santana’s back and Santana watches Putski’s back. I know they are using Putski to get Santana over, but I don’t see how anyone can be excited about them as a duo.
- Larry Zbyszko vs. John Buford – (WWF Championship Wrestling, 1/26/80)
Big pop for Zbyszko. He is at the top of his game against Buford here. Bruno Sammartino is on commentary and he’s asked about Larry’s challenge. Before Bruno can make up his mind, he wants to have a talk with Zbyszko. Buford corners Zbyszko and refuses a clean break by nailing him with a couple elbow smashes. He whips Zbyszko across into the corner, but Zbyszko reverses a whip into the opposite corner. Zbyszko slams Buford and delivers a nice hard vertical suplex for the win in 3:09.
Afterwards, Larry Zbyszko meets with Vince for a word. Larry says if he can’t have a chance to prove himself against Bruno, he just wrestled his last match. He cannot remain in wrestling in Bruno’s shadow. He can’t make Bruno accept his challenge, but he needs Bruno to tell him to his face what he wants to do. Well, boy, the crowd goes NUTS for Bruno walking over to Vince. Bruno can’t be responsible for the end of Larry Zbyszko’s career. Since the challenge was laid out by Zbyszko, the WWF has received so much mail asking Bruno to accept the match. He has decided to go into the ring against Larry Zbyszko under certain conditions: Larry has to pin or submit him, but Bruno is not interested in pinning or submitting him because he cannot find it in his heart to put a hold on Larry and hurt him. If Larry wants this so badly, he will have to show everybody that he’s the better man. We get Larry’s response: he couldn’t ask for more from Bruno and looks forward to their match NEXT WEEK. Weird moment as Tito Santana appears whispering in Larry’s ear. Zbyszko stresses two more points before we go: 1) he doesn’t hate Bruno and 2) he wants this match to be on TV only so that everyone can see it.
EPIC FINAL TEN MINUTES of this episode.
AND NOW FOR A SPECIAL BONUS MATCH~!
- Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko – (WWF Championship Wrestling, 2/2/80)
It’s criminal this whole match is not on the WWE Network because just the ending doesn’t do this match justice. Some collar and elbow tie-ups to start end with Bruno having the advantage. Bruno avoids a leg dive and counters a go-behind with a standing switch. Larry tries to go to the mat, but BRUNO WILL NOT GO WITH HIM. Take notes, kids. Another tie-up which switches to a headlock by Bruno. Zbyszko shoves him into the ropes, drops down, and catches Sammartino with a hiptoss for 1-2-NO! Whoa. The crowd gasped. Back to the middle of the ring, Zbyszko grabs a headlock. He gets shoved into the ropes and shoulderblocks Bruno, but comes back around and taken down into a drop toehold. As Bruno starts to pull back on the leg, he realizes he doesn’t want to hurt Larry and lets Zbyszko get back up to his feet. We see another tie-up and Zbyszko slams Bruno, but then Bruno returns the favor. Looks like Zbyszko is getting a little frustrated. Bruno counters a waistlock with a hammerlock and again releases the hold. Zbyszko shoves away another hammerlock and applies the Abdominal Stretch. Bruno escapes with a hiptoss and again Zbyszko shows some anger. Zbyszko shoves off a headlock into the ropes and slams Bruno, but only gets two. It should be noted that this is one of Vince’s best called matches of his commentating career. I’m not kidding – he’s GOOD. Another tie-up and Zbyszko trips up Bruno for a half crab. Bruno trips up Zbyszko to escape and both men are right back up to their feet. Sammartino applies an overhead wristlock and it looks like Zbyszko can’t escape it, so Bruno lets go of the hold. Another tie-up leads to a criss-cross ending with Bruno reversing a hiptoss and sending Zbyszko down. They tie-up again and Bruno sends a headlock off into the ropes, but gets knocked down. Bruno catches Zbyszko coming back off the ropes and grabs a BEARHUG, but then releases the hold before any damage can be done to Larry. Now Zbyszko is getting PISSED because he feels he’s being disrespected. Zbyszko reverses a lock-up to a hammerlock. As Bruno turns away from the hold, Zbyszko falls out to the floor. Sammartino holds the ropes open for Larry who then comes back into the ring to beat the shit out of Bruno. I mean, the fans are FREAKING OUT. Zbyszko sends Sammartino hard into the buckle and then brings a chair into the ring. He throws the referee away and strikes Bruno over the head several times to bust him open. (9:34) Mad at Bruno and at himself, Larry throws the chair down and leaves as the crowd BOOS him out of the building. It felt REAL and it felt like everything mattered here. Amazing storytelling and psychology and a heel turn for the ages. I’d also like to reiterate how this is Vince at his best as he does a great job putting over every little thing in this match as IMPORTANT. This is a must-see. ****
Until next time, so long for now.
Posted on August 15, 2020, in WWE and tagged All Star Wrestling, Bruno Sammartino, Freddie Blassie, Grand Wizard, Iron Sheik, Ivan Putski, Ken Patera, Larry Zbyszko, Mike Masters, Tito Santana. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.