WWF: Philadelphia Spectrum (11.08.80)

WWF: Philadelphia Spectrum
November 8, 1980
Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Spectrum

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 (9/20/1980)

Pop Culture #1s of the Time:
#1 Movie of the Week: Private Benjamin starring Goldie Hawn
#1 Song of the Week: Woman in Love by Barbra Streisand
#1 TV Show of the 80-81 Season: Dallas starring Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, and Patrick Duffy

Your hosts are Dick Graham and Kal Rudman. No more Vince!

Three matches are not shown on my copy of this show. Here are the results courtesy of TheHistoryOfWWE.com:

  1. Rene Goulet fought “Pretty Boy” Larry Sharpe to a 20-minute time-limit draw.
  2. Rick McGraw defeated Jose Estrada in 10:53.
  3. Johnny Rodz defeated Charlie Brown at 4:47.
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship: Ken Patera (c) vs. Bruno Sammartino

These two certainly had their feud back in 1977. Patera would be considered Bruno’s last unsuccessful challenger during his final reign as the WWWF world champion. Interestingly enough (and this would be a spoiler alert, but give me a break), Bruno will prove to be Patera’s last unsuccessful challenger during his reign as the WWF Intercontinental champion as well. History coming full circle here. Dick Graham keeps mentioning how this is a one-hour time limit match. If you think 1980 Bruno is going to go an hour, you’re just fooling yourself. They take turns shoving each other out of lockups. It’s like Hogan and Warrior, but ridiculous heat. Patera is just an off the charts heel. They get into an overhead wristlock and as Bruno starts to power out, Patera yanks the hair and Sammartino hits the mat. This happens three times before Bruno finally pulls Patera by the hair. Patera complains to the ref over it. He goes low on Bruno and keeps him on the mat with elbow drops. Patera then pulls back on the arms. It takes Bruno a while, but eventually he reverses the hold. Patera ducks into the ropes for the break. Rudman calls Patera a “sissy” and says he’s getting limp from this action. Geez. Bruno starts punching and kicking back on Patera to bust him open. Patera goes to the eyes and slams Bruno followed by an elbow drop for two. He comes off the middle rope, but Bruno catches him in the bread basket on the way down. Patera reverses a cross-corner whip, but then misses a charge into the corner running his shoulder into the post. Bruno goes to work on the arm and tries to rip his arm off with a hammerlock down on the mat. He continues with a hammerlock slam which is something Kal can never seen. More work on the arm. Patera eventually elbows out and puts the boots to Bruno. Another back elbow stuns Bruno and Patera tries the Full Nelson, but Bruno uses his butt to break the hold. Sammartino wraps Patera’s injured arm around the top rope. Patera is so hurt, he takes a powder. Bruno stays on the arm and Patera continues to bail. Bruno finally goes out after him and before they are counted out, Patera whacks Bruno with a chair. Ref Dick Whorle gets shoved away and Patera drops the chair over Bruno’s back for the DQ. (14:57) Patera attempts the Full Nelson with an injured shoulder. He never really gets the hold tight on Bruno before Tony Garea, Rick Martel, and Angel Maravilla come out to chase off Patera. Arnold Skaaland joins the good guys to check on Bruno. Pretty much by the numbers Bruno match. Not one of my favorites either. **½

  • Sgt. Slaughter vs. Angel Maravilla

This is the Spectrum debut for the Sarge. He hammers on Maravilla and delivers a pair of backbreakers. They don’t get the job done. He continues to pound the back. Maravilla reverses a corner whip, but his back hurts. He still manages a brief comeback. Slaughter cuts him off and hits the Slaughter Cannon to set up the COBRA CLUTCH for the win. (4:06) Sarge holds onto the Cobra Clutch past the bell and even helps Maravilla up only to slap the hold back on him. Rudman thinks Slaughter is so MEAN. Jut a JTTS match for Slaughter.

  • WWF Heavyweight Championship with Special Referee Tony Atlas: Bob Backlund (c) vs. Larry Zbyszko

“LARRY ZBYSZKO FOR PRESIDENT” flag in the Spectrum gets some attention. Tony Atlas is *your* special referee. Hilarious listening to Kal Rudman say he wants to take Tony with him to the baaaaad side of town. We all know what you mean, Kal. Such a weird time for Zbyszko. Even against Backlund, he can’t follow the heated feud with Bruno. Atlas reaches in Larry’s tights and pulls out some taped knucks. You can see Zbyszko keeping his dick away from Tony. While Zbyszko yells at Tony, Backlund BUM RUSHES THE SHOW for a hot start. Atlas tries to keep things fair and square by keeping Backlund and Zbyszko separated when Larry Z bails to the apron. When things settle down, Backlund goes for the arm and holds Zbyszko in an armbar. Atlas makes sure both guys (but more so Zbyszko) aren’t using a closed fist. Backlund misses a corner charge and runs his shoulder to the post. Zbyszko keeps Backlund down on the mat with stomps and elbow smashes and the like. He grabs a front headlock on Backlund while Atlas tries to make sure there’s not a choke. Atlas eventually calls for a break knowing there’s a choke. Zbyszko lets go of the hold and gets in Tony’s face. Atlas shoves him back and they go nose-to-nose. Backlund comes up behind Larry Z for a back suplex to get a nearfall. Backlund mounts a comeback, but then Larry Z shuts him down with a low blow to send him to ringside. Down on the floor, Zbyszko commits to some RINGSIDE VIOLENCE choking Backlund with a microphone cord. Back inside, Tony gives Zbyszko the riot act. Backlund headbutts Zbyszko in the mid-section and takes him from corner to corner for turnbuckle smashes to stagger Zbyszko for the Piledriver. Butterfly suplex gets two. Here comes the RUNNING ATOMIC DROP, which takes Zbyszko to the apron. As Backlund grabs Zbyszko, Larry Z grabs Backlund and chokes him on the top rope. When Zbyszko won’t break, Atlas DQ’s him to end this match. (14:47) Once Atlas helps Backlund get free, Backlund brings Zbyszko into the ring for a slam. Backlund then kicks Zbyszko out of the ring and then gets his hand raised. As Backlund leaves with Arnold Skaaland, Zbyszko jumps Atlas from behind to send Backlund back into a RAGE as he chases off Zbyszko. “DIRTY POOL, FANS. DIRTY POOL.” – Dick Graham. Thatstarts a Philadelphia Spectrum feud for Tony Atlas and Larry Zbyszko that takes us in 1981. **½

During the intermission at the Spectrum, we hear from the PRISM Network President Jack Williams who has to explain to the network’s subscribers why they don’t play X-rated movies.

Dick Graham and Kal Rudman talk with Tony Garea. He and Rick Martel are very confident in their ability to beat the Wild Samoans tonight. Graham wants to get Tony’s opinion on Larry Zbyszko these days. Garea says he’s beaten Zbyszko twice in Madison Square Garden. Zbyszko knows Garea is the better man. He thinks Zbyszko will come back to earth and know what he’s done. Rudman brings up Zbyszko’s family and says Larry’s father is the VP of U.S. Steel. Zbyszko is just a spoiled little rich kid. When Garea was 16 years old, he says he was making $10 a week working full time. He wonders how he got in business with him in the first place. Graham reminds us Zbyszko pulled the wool over our eyes in this case. Dick and Kal continue with their verbal fellatio of Tony Garea as they wrap up this interview. These guys are so creepy.

ROCKY II is coming to the PRISM Network! So is MAGNUM FORCE starring Clint Eastwood!

  • Pedro Morales vs. The Hangman

Morales escapes a headlock with a shinbreaker in the opening moments. Hangman is PISSED. He tries another hold, but Morales slams his way out. He snaps the Hangman’s arm over his shoulder. Seems like a minor inconvenience, but the Hangman turns things around and locks in a stepover armbar. This continues for quite some time. He eventually runs Pedro’s shoulder into the corner and continues with the armbar some more. Hangman decides to start punishing Morales with stomps and whatnot. Now Morales is PISSED. He starts his comeback leading to the windup punch and the O’Connor roll takes care of the Hangman. (11:02) Hangman threatens Pedro with the noose, but using the noose on another person could turn him babyface here in Philadelphia. Morales talks to Dick and Kal afterwards. Kal never shuts up.½*

Gary Michael Capetta runs down the next Philadelphia Spectrum card on Saturday afternoon December 13 headlined by a double main event: Bruno Sammartino versus Ken Patera while Tony Atlas takes on Larry Zbyszko. Kal seems most excited about Pedro Morales against Ernie Ladd.

  • WWF World Tag Team Championship: The Wild Samoans (c) vs. Tony Garea & Rick Martel

Afa and Martel go back and forth to start. Martel and Garea are all about wearing down the arms of the Samoans as they play around with armbars for several minutes. Eventually, Garea gets dumped out on the floor and slammed by Sika. Back inside, Afa runs Garea into the corner and then the Samoans go nuts with the nerve hold. We get a false tag spot to piss off Martel. Garea manages a comeback and hits Afa with a cross body block, but only gets two. More nerve hold goodness. Garea elbows out into a double KO spot. This leads to the HOT TAG TO MARTEL! It’s BONZO GONZO IN THE SPECTRUM! We see STEREO MONKEY FLIPS to the Samoans followed by STEREO DROPKICKS! Martel and Garea go to whip the Samoans into one another, but Garea gets reversed and he’s wiped out. Martel then sunset flips Sika and gets the three-count to win the WWF tag team titles. (14:29) Check out Capetta marking out with the Howard Finkel “…AND NEW” announcement of the new tag champs. Garea has now been crowned the W(W)WF tag team champion on four different occasions with four different partners: Haystacks Calhoun, Dean HO, Larry Zbyszko, and now Rick Martel. Not a great match, but to be honest the Wild Samoans have been done for several months now. They should have never lost to Backlund and Morales at Shea Stadium. *½

Final Thoughts: Not much of a card here. Everything just felt like these guys were taking the night off if you ask me. The three main events might catch your eye, but I gotta say I was disappointed. It’s not a BAD card so I wouldn’t give it a thumbs down. Dick Graham and Kal Rudman are certainly a commentary duo to behold. If you have this show just playing in the background, you might have a few “what did I just hear?” moments. I’ll go with a solid “thumbs in the middle” for this Philly Spectrum show. Not necessarily recommended, but not offensive.


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