Chris' Blog


WWF From Philadelphia, PA – March 25, 1978

   The final WWF show from the seventies on the network comes to us from Philadelphia, PA. This show comes to us as Bob Backlund is the new WWF champion, having won the title one month earlier from Superstar Billy Graham. The Tag Team Champions are even newer, as Dino Bravo and Dominic Denucci won the titles only eleven days earlier defeating Mr. Fuji and Professor Toru Tanaka, We’re still a year and a half away from the crowning of the first IC champion, but the WWF was still using regional champions and sometimes even the NWA champion. This is only an hour long, so I expect lots of clipping and little else, but let’s see.

1. Bob Backlund v. Spiros Arion

   Bob is announced as the new WWF champion as this would be his first defense in Philly. Arion refuses the handshake and hides in the corner, they lock up and Bob dazzles the challenger with his speed. Another lockup and Bob overpowers Arion to the ropes, as the audio keeps dropping making us miss some of Vince’s amazing commentary. Arion with a go behind but Bob of course breaks the hold, and reverses the position and Arion makes the ropes. The crowd is all over Arion all ready as Bob once again gets behind his opponent and Arion unable to break the hold and grabs the ropes so Bob pulls him back to the centre. Arion with a headlock to a go behind but Bob again reverses the hold and suplexes Arion back for a near fall. Old school Backlund matches were very slow paced as he used his amateur skills to maintain control, as Arion finally gets the headlock on Bob again and pops him with a few rights. Bob driven into the buckle headfirst but comes back with the backslide for two, and Arion is stunned. Backlund takes him down again and Arion makes the ropes and Arion chokes the champion, which is angering Vince on commentary. Arion scoops and slams Backlund down in the middle of the ring and begins to unload on the champion, but gets caught in the small package for another near fall. Arion bails out of the ring and paces around the ring before finally getting back in the ring. They lock up in the middle of the ring in the test of strength and Bob crumples to his knees, but slides through his legs and takes Arion down. Backlund catches Arion’s ankle and knocks him down to the mat and then goes for it again but Arion rakes the eyes to break Bob’s grip. Arion shoots Bob in and catches him with a big boot and shoots him again but gets caught this time with a sunset flip and Bob almost scores the win. Every time Arion gets the advantage Bob catches him in a pin move, which is driving the challenger crazy. Arion gets caught going for the kick again and Bob snaps the leg down and begins to work over the leg of the challenger. Arion finally fights free and sends Bob into the corner and stomps the champion and gets a cheap low blow in as well. As Bob tries to get back in the ring Arion catches him with a stomach breaker and almost steals the World Title. Backlund tries to make a comeback with a mule kick, but it only gets a brief hiatus as Arion hoists him up in the backbreaker. Bob slides down his back and then sends Arion to the buckle as Bob gets fired up, and then Arion gets bulldogged into the corner. Backlund hits the atomic drop, but the ref gets caught from Arion’s leg and falls to the floor. Bob goes to check on the ref and Arion gets a cheap shot in, but Bob fights back as we get a slugfest. The locker room empties as everyone comes out to break up this melee. 6/10 not a bad match but very slow paced, as most Backlund matches were back in the day.

1. Bob Backlund and Spiros Arion battle to a draw 6/10

2. Ken Patera v. Bruno Sammartino

   Ken catches Bruno as he enters the ring and quickly starts to hammer the legend. The ref tries to pull Ken off, but Ken dives off the top rope onto Bruno and then taunts Bruno. Ken slams Bruno hard in the middle of the ring and continues to pound Bruno. Bruno finally fights back and sends Ken into the buckle, Ken shoots him in and leaps over Bruno who catches him in a slam. Ken rolls out of the ring for a breather, and Bruno is fired up. Patera finally gets in at seven and catches Bruno with a kick to the stomach but misses the kneedrop and Bruno starts to work the knee of Patera. Patera powers Bruno the corner and shoots him out then catches him in a powerslam but misses the elbow this time and Patera back to the outside. Back in the ring and Bruno with the side headlock but Patera powers out and drops Bruno down. Patera locks on the full nelson but Bruno charges to the corner and sends Patera’s head into the buckle. Bruno stomps and chokes Patera as the crowd is going wild, Bruno applies the rear chinlock before moving to the full nelson and Patera makes the ropes quickly. Patera once again on the outside as Bruno paces wildly. Patera gets back in and we get a slugfest which Bruno wins taking Patera down, Bruno applies the headlock. Patera powers out and unloads on Bruno before sending him into the ropes, Patera catches him in the bearhug and squeezes Bruno. The Living Legend headbutts Patera to break the hold and catches Ken coming in with a boot the stomach. Bruno drives the knee in the side of Patera’s head and Patera drops to the mat as Bruno continues to stomp him. Patera catches Bruno with a shot to the leg knocking him down and begins choking Bruno in the ropes. Patera relentless working over Bruno’s back before reapplying the bearhug, and Bruno fights him off and now it’s Bruno stomping on Patera before locking on his own bearhug. Patera rakes the eyes to break Bruno’s grip and rolls to the outside once again. Bruno gets caught going after Patera and gets dragged to the outside, Bruno reverses the whip into the post and Patera crashes into the steel. Bruno tosses him in the ring and Patera back out so Bruno goes after him and smashes a chair over Patera’s head. Patera tries to get away but Bruno has snapped and is destroying Patera before throwing him back in, Bruno goes after him but Patera rolls out and takes off. Bruno calls him back in and Patera obliges, but just as quickly bails out and head back to the locker room. 3/10 just you basic kick and punch match, nothing to see here.

2. Bruno Sammartino and Ken Patera go to a draw 3/10

3. Haystack Calhoun v. Nikolai Volkoff

   Volkoff looks funny in black as he rakes the eyes of the big man  right away and begins to work him over in the ropes. Calhoun comes back with kicks of his own and they collide with a shoulderblock and no one moves. Calhoun with a wristlock on Volkoff who rakes the eyes to break free and hammers Calhoun, who overpowers Volkoff and sets him in the corner. Haystacks with a series of avalanches but Volkoff back to the eyes and then kicks Calhoun in the head repeatedly. Volkoff misses the corner charges and Calhoun drops a splash for the quick win. 3/10 once again nothing worth seeing here.

3. Haystacks Calhoun pinned Nikolai Volkoff 3/10

MATCH RECAP

1. Bob Backlund and Spiros Arion battle to a draw 6/10

2. Bruno Sammartino and Ken Patera go to a draw 3/10

3. Haystacks Calhoun pinned Nikolai Volkoff 3/10

   Not the best show as we finish the seventies off finally. We got two draws and a squash, not much worth watching. A much slower hard to watch pace, looking forward to the eighties. Our next show sends us to 1981 and should be fun.

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