WWF: All Star Wrestling (05.17.80) (PLUS BACKLUND vs. PATERA TEXAS DEATH MATCH~!)

WWF: All Star Wrestling
May 17, 1980
Hamburg, PA
Hamburg Fieldhouse

Your current WWF champions are as follows:
WWF Heavyweight Champion: Bob Backlund (2/20/1978)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ken Patera (4/21/1980)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Wild Samoans (4/12/1980)

Pop Culture #1s of the Time:
#1 Movie of the Week: The Long Riders starring David Carradine, Keith Carradine, Robert Carradine, James Keach, Stacy Keach, Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid, Christopher Guest, and Nicholas Guest

#1 Song of the Week: Call Me by Blondie
#1 TV Show of the 79-80 Season: 60 Minutes hosted by Mike Wallace

Follow along if you have the WWE Network!

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino. We’ve got a fresh series of tapings here as the crowd already sounds more awake than the crowd at the last taping we saw.

  • Ken Patera (w/the Grand Wizard) vs. Steve King

This is our first change to see the *new* Intercontinental champion. Vince and Bruno put Patera over as a great talent, but he’s a jerk rule breaker. Patera BUM RUSHES THE SHOW on King and throws this poor guy around like he’s nothing. The SWINGING FULL NELSON ends King in a record setting :43, says Capetta. Once Patera leaves King alone, they bring a stretcher out for him and take him back to the locker room. You can see an old lady at ringside shaking her head at Patera.

  • Exhibition: Bob Backlund vs. El Olympico

This will go ten minutes no matter what so that Backlund can show off his wrestling skills. This is actually kind of an interesting thing to see on TV and would be the type of thing you would expect to set up an angle in almost any other promotion. Vince and Bruno mention that even though Olympico can’t “beat” Backlund, an exhibition like this can certainly help push Olympico up the rankings for a WWF title match. While there’s not really any real story here, it’s actually a great way to let the fans see Backlund, and put him over showing how he can basically escape or counter anything.

Bruno Sammartino talks with the Grand Wizard and his man the IC champ Ken Patera. Bruno thinks Patera shouldn’t be too proud of the way he won the IC title because Patterson’s foot was on the bottom rope during the pinfall. Wizard gets confused and mentions Patera and not Patterson. Patera says Patterson’s nervous system jerked his leg over the bottom rope after being knocked out, but that was after the pinfall. WHAT. Wizard says Patera will be a better champion than Patterson because a man who could beat him as yet to be born. Let the line form to the left, sign the contracts, and let Patera beat them one by one. Patera stirs the pot mentioning Larry Zbyszko and suggests Bruno couldn’t handle Patera once Bruno is done with Zbyszko. Bruno doesn’t really engage and mentions Ivan Putski and Tony Atlas as top challengers to the IC title. I can actually see Putski being a fun, short term IC champion.

  • Rene Goulet vs. Tor Kamata

Blassie is “conspicuous by his absence” here. Kamata is still undefeated as Vince mentions. Goulet ducks the salt being thrown in his face and starts pounding Kamata. He works a headlock on Kamata. Once he escapes, Goulet runs the ropes and knocks Kamata to the floor. Back in, Kamata jabs him from the apron and takes control doing Kamata things. Goulet punches back and fails to slam Kamata. However, an inside cradle gets two. Kamata goes to the throat again, but Goulet whips him into the corner. Using the momentum of the impact, Goulet grabs Kamata and SLAMS him! Man, that should have gotten a bigger crowd reaction. Kamata takes a powder and heads back in the ring. He rubs salt on his hand, which could mean something later. Goulet takes Kamata to the mat and grabs an armbar. Kamata rakes the eyes, but walks into a series of armdrags for another armbar. Kamata counters to a headscissors, but Goulet escapes and grabs a headlock. Back to their feet, Goulet gets a nearfall off a sunset flip. Meanwhile, Bruno talks about how sumo wrestlers train. Kamata backs Goulet into the ropes and knocks him through the ropes to the floor. As Kamata follows after him, the bell rings and we have reached the time-limit. (10:00) This was actually not too bad. I would have liked to see them build to that slam a little more though. After the bell, Goulet dropkicks Kamata and that gets him tied up in the ropes. Before he leaves, Goulet bows to Kamata and waves at him while he heads to the locker room. **

  • Larry Zbyszko vs. Angelo Gomez

No doubt about it – Zbyszko and Patera are the HOTTEST heels in this company right now. I’m surprised Bruno sticks around to say anything. Of course, he has nothing GOOD to say about Zbyszko. He wins with a nice vertical suplex in 3:27.

  • Hulk Hogan vs. Mike Masters

Hogan slams this dude all over the place and hits the pair of LEGDROPS, but decides to put away Masters with the BEARHUG in 2:58. While of course this show was pre-taped, Hogan has headed for a life changing tour of New Japan as he quickly becomes nicknamed “Ichiban” in a very short amount of time wrestling the likes of Antonio Inoki and Riki Choshu while teaming with guys like Stan Hansen and Bad News Allen.

AND NOW FOR A SPECIAL BONUS MATCH~!

  • Texas Death Match for the WWF Heavyweight Championship: Bob Backlund (c) (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Ken Patera (w/the Grand Wizard) – (Madison Square Garden, 5/19/80)

Anyone who has the “Best of WWE at Madison Square Garden” DVD set from like 2013 can pop in disc one to see this in better quality. I don’t know why I can’t find this on the WWE Network because it’s considered a universal classic. For those interested in this sort of thing, this is the Wrestling Observer Newsletter match of the year in 1980 – the first time this award was given. After Wizard gets Patera freed from his jump suit, Vince wonders if they are embracing or Wizard is giving Patera some consultation. It’s like Jim Ross on commentary messing with Pat Patterson in 2000, I suppose. This match just has no rules, which is only a small part of what makes a Texas death match in Texas.

Patera kicks Backlund to the floor, but then Backlund yanks Patera out and kicks the crap out of him at ringside. Backlund wants the match to get back in the ring. They trade blows and Patera staggers into the corner slumping to the middle rope. Backlund hammers him on the forehead, but Patera rakes the eyes and sends Backlund to the buckle. He grabs a front headlock. Backlund manages to escape, but Patera stick with him and applies a chinlock. Backlund gets to his feet, but Patera throws him shoulder first into the ringpost. He grabs the FULL NELSON and Vince thinks we’ve got a new WWF champ. Backlund winds up putting Patera on his back and runs Patera into the buckle for a neat way to escape the hold. Patera stays on Backlund and dumps him on the floor. He gives Backlund a slam on the concrete. Back inside, Patera comes off the second rope and lowers the boom for only a one-count. He hits a backbreaker for hardly even a one-count. Time for the bearhug. Backlund starts to fade and rakes the eyes to get out. He lands the ATOMIC DROP, but Patera goes sailing through the ropes to the apron. He hits a JUMPING PILEDRIVER (!!) for 1-2-NO! He goes for a slam, but Patera blocks in a small package for a one count. Now Backlund hits a nice vertical suplex and almost knocks himself silly. Patera takes Backlund into the corner for a tree of woe and chokes Backlund. I know, it sounds pretty kinky to me as well. It’s almost like what Scott Steiner used to do. He hits a lariat and drops Backlund on the top rope for still only a one-count. Where’s the drama, Bob? Patera chokes Backlund again, but Backlund goes to the eyes to stop him.

He tries another lariat, but Backlund ducks and rolls him up for two. Patera hits a vertical suplex of his own and hits the mat so hard, even he can’t capitalize. Backlund comes back with an abdominal stretch, but Patera makes it to the ropes and uses the ropes to dump Backlund on the floor. NASTY! Patera is still standing and whacks Backlund with the WWF title belt! Holy crap. Looks like Backlund is busted open. Back in the ring, Patera is daring to nail the referee. Patera brings Backlund into the ring and pounds on the cut. He gives Backlund his big slam and kicks Backlund back out to the floor. This is awesome heel work. Besides maybe Brock Lesnar, do you ever see a heel booked this strong anymore? Back inside, Patera avoids Backlund’s wild swings and punches down to the mat. Patera telegraphs a backdrop and then Backlund throws him clear over the top rope to the floor. Backlund comes out after him and runs him into the guardrail and into the ringpost. AWESOME. Now both guys are bleeding. Backlund brings Patera back in the ring and starts punching the cut himself. To get Backlund to stop, Patera goes low and kicks him in the face. Patera then heads up top, but Backlund is there to slam him down. Backlund comes off the second rope with a fist drop. Patera won’t stand for it and throws Backlund to the floor again. Backlund slams Patera’s face on some chairs, but then Patera hits Backlund with a chair on the way back in the ring. Patera throws the chair into the ring, but can’t whack Backlund. However, Backlund gets the chair and whacks Patera TWICE with the chair for a two-count. He then heads up top and lands a flying body press for the win. (22:56) The way they built Patera as a challenger for Backlund is nothing short of genius. He’s this bad ass bully who can handle anybody, Backlund and Patera have these two other MSG matches where there is no definitive winner, they have Backlund face the brawling Wild Samoans in separate matches. Meanwhile, Patera continues to destroy everything in his path, doesn’t miss a beat, and beats Pat Patterson for the IC title. Both guys are white hot and on this incredible roll and they meet each other again in a match where anything goes and they take it to that level. Everything about this match is just as it should be. If you want to show someone why you enjoy pro wrestling, this is one of those matches – plain and simple. An absolute classic and an easy top five WWF match from the 1980s. ****½

Until next time, so long for now.

Posted on September 12, 2020, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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