WWF All Star Wrestling – January 5, 1980

Now that I got the Roku up and running again, decided to jump back into the network shows. I’m skipping the rest of the seventies show basically because they are before my time, and I really want to get into the boom years of the mid eighties. So we’re going to the start of the 80s. The first episode of the decade takes place on January 5th. The reigning WWF World Champion is Bob Backlund, who has held the gold since February 20, 1978 while the Intercontinental Champion is the 1st Champion, Pat Patterson who was awarded the belt on September 1, 1979. The current Tag Team Champions are Ivan Putski and Tito Santana who captured the gold on October 2, 1979 from Johnny and Jerry Valiant. With that out of the way, let’s go to the ring.

2. Ken Patera destroyed Bill Burger

Opening video features the stars like Ivan Putski, Andre the Giant and Rocky Johnson over some disco sounding music. Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino welcome us to the show and go over tonight’s card.

1. Great Hossein v. Tito Santana

Hossein, otherwise known as, Iron Sheik is accompanied to the ring with Freddie Blassie. Hossein attacks Tito before the bell and quickly unloads on one half of the tag champs. Hossein proceeds to choke Tito with his scarf, and then a headbutt to the stomach. The referee warns Hossein, but he is relentless, but Tito up and over and slams Hossein down then chokes Hossein with the scarf. Tito with a side headlock and pops Hossein, Tito shot off and we get a classic criss cross from both men. Santana catches him with a hip toss and follows with the side headlock takeover as he tries to wear down the Iranian. Hossein powers out but misses the dropkick, Tito doesn’t miss with his as he goes back to the side headlock. Tito tosses Hossein across the ring and a nice flying headscissors before going back to the headlock. Can’t get used to calling Sheik, Hossein, as he catches Santana coming off the ropes and tosses him to the floor. Hossein follows and rams Tito into the wood steps as Blassie watches intently. Tito crawls back in and Hossein fires him off, Santana comes back with a series of dropkicks that send Hossein to the floor. Hossein grabs a wooden chair and the ref stops the match. Tito sends Hossein back to the floor as the crowd goes wild.

1. Tito Santana over Great Hossein **1/2

Nice opening match, would’ve liked a clean ending but for a TV match this was really good. Went for a lot longer then expected too.

2. Bill Burger v. Ken Patera

Grand Wizard accompanies Ken Patera to the ring for what should be a quick squash match. Wizard makes a big deal of helping Ken remove his warm-up outfit and the crowd is all over him. Patera not concerned with his opponent as he does jumping jacks and stalls for time before locking on the side headlock and squeezes Bill’s head. Patera goes to the ropes and chokes Bill down before driving an elbow to his nose. Bruno and Vince go over Ken’s Pan-Am games wins and football stats, as Patera keeps pulling Bob up at two the suplexes him down before yelling at the camera. Patera rakes the eyes and then stomps on the head of Bob before locking on the swinging full nelson for the easy submission victory.

2. Ken Patera destroyed Bill Burger

Not rating squash matches, as they are only done to showcase the name, so they’re never much. Was never a fan of Patera but he was a powerful guy, just never saw the appeal.

Vince interviews the Grand Wizard and Ken Patera after the match, Patera poses in front of Vince as he talks. Vince says Ken’s attitude is awful, but Wizard says he loves it, as that is what makes him the greatest champion he’s ever managed. Wizard says Patera will be champion in 1980, as Patera says if he could get away with it he’d knock Vince out. Just wait seventeen years and Bret Hart will do it for you! Ken says he knows he is great and calls out Backlund, Santana, Sammartino and Putski, he says they don’t have the courage to hurt someone and enjoy it. Vince continues to agonize Ken with his comments, and Ken calls the fans lost souls with no self respect and that he demands respect. Wizard says he the manager of champions.

3. Hulk Hogan v. Ben Cortez & Angelo Gomez

Hulk is a heel here managed by Fred Blassie and is facing two men at once. Hulk with a purple cape looks funny, as also has almost a full head of hair. Both men go for Hulk’s legs, but Hulk powers them both off. Hulk drops elbows on both men’s heads and hammers away at them. A slam for both men as Hulk shrugs off the dropkick from Cortez, Hulk with a double headlock and rams their heads together. Hulk continues to toss both men around the ring as he dominates both guys before tossing Gomez outside. Cortez slammed down and then Hulk with a vertical suplex followed by a cover but he pulls him up at two. Gomez tries to get in and eats a knee sending him flying to the hard floor. Bruno calls Hulk just a power man with no skills, wonder if he really thought that. Gutwrench powerbomb on Cortez, that was weird, very similar to Jack Swaggers move. Then he pulls Cortez up in the backbreaker for the submission win.

3. Hulk Hogan over Ben Cortez and Angelo Gomez

Some different moves from Hogan that we usually don’t see, which made this very interesting. Bruno’s comments seemed very shootlike, and really angry. Funny cause most of Bruno’s matches were slams, stomps, punches and the bearhug.

Bruno is standing by with Blassie and Hogan, and asks Blassie if Hogan has any wrestling knowledge. Blassie says time to show it is when you need to, and Hogan has yet to face anyone worth his time. Hogan says it’s a new decade and he’s the future of wrestling. How right was that? Hogan says he will prove it to everyone and that he can beat anyone with his brute strength. Blassie challenges anyone to face his man.

4. Larry Zbyszko v. Johnny Rodz

Two more WWE Hall of Famers collide as Johnny gets the first shot in, but Larry comes back quickly. Hip toss from Rodz as we get a slugfest and Rodz hides in the ropes. Rodz quickly takes Larry down and send him to the ropes, Larry comes back with a sunset flip for two. Larry goes for a right and the ref grabs his feet, allowing Rodz to nail him with a right of his own. Rodz stomps away at Larry before firing him in and drives a knee into the ribs. Rodz misses a kneedrop and Larry quickly unloads on him before locking on the abdominal stretch but Rodz flips him out. Larry gets caught with his head down and Rodz quickly climbs the ropes, he misses the flying knee and almost gets pinned. Larry with a snapmare and then a boot to the stomach, Rodz sweeps the legs but misses the diving knee again. Larry quickly starts to work the knee of Rodz but Rodz comes back with a headbutt. Larry off the ropes and eats a big elbow, then Rodz drops the fist but doesn’t go for the cover. Rodz drops an elbow off the second rope, but the second on misses and Larry grabs him, Rodz sends him to the ropes and both men collide head to head, both slowly back up. Rodz with a side headlock and a series of punches to the head, but Larry sends him in and back body drop. Off the ropes again and both men again collide but Larry lands on top for the win.

4. Larry Zybszko over Johnny Rodz **

A really good back and forth battle with a truly odd finish. Fun match between two good workers.

5. Bob Duncum v. Ron Lee

Bobby is managed by Captain Lou Albano, as this is going to be a squash obviously. Crowd is chanting for Patterson, who had a feud going with Albano as Albano was his manager before Pat turned face. Bob quickly powers Ron down and just wears him down. Bob with a bulldog for the quick win.

5. Bob Duncum crushed Ron Lee

Quick squash, basically just headlock to bulldog to pin. Nothing major to the match as they’re playing like Lee is dead from the bulldog.

That finishes the show as next week Larry joins us again, and we get an appearance from the Samoans.

MATCH RECAP

1. Tito Santana over Great Hossein **1/2

2. Ken Patera destroyed Bill Burger

3. Hulk Hogan over Ben Cortez and Angelo Gomez

4. Larry Zybszko over Johnny Rodz **

5. Bob Duncum crushed Ron Lee

Overall a fun forty something minutes with two good matches and three squashes. Interesting to see the interaction between Bruno and Hogan, would’ve made an entertaining match at the time. I miss seeing managers for guys who were heels, it was an effective way to generate heat. Something sorely lacking nowadays, among other things. Looking forward to the next episode.

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