Throwback Thursday: WWE Old School: Boston Garden (March 8, 1986), As Seen on WWE Network

March 8, 2018 by Brock Allen

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This week Throwback Thursday goes “old school” as we dip into the archives of the WWE Network to relive another great night of World Wrestling Federation action at the world-famous Boston Garden that took place 32 years ago today!

The WWF was less than a month out from WrestleMania 2 at this time. A week prior to this event Saturday Night’s Main Event V (taped on February 15, 1986) set the pieces in motion for the heart of WrestleMania 2, including the Piper/Mr. T “boxing” match (the New York main event), the Dream Team/Bulldogs World Tag Team title showdown (the Chicago main event), and the Bundy/Hogan World title “steel cage” match (the Los Angeles main event).

WWE Network 'Old School' Logo
WWE - Gorilla Monsoon & Lord Alfred Hayes, Classic Commentary Team

But on this night the fans were eager to see if Tito Santana, who had been robbed of the Intercontinental title in the Boston Garden one month ago by Randy Savage, could regain the Intercontinental Championship and to see World Champion Hulk Hogan team up with Junkyard Dog in JYD’s effort to get even with the nasty, no-good Funk Brothers. All but the Intercontinental title match and the Devils of Japan/McIntyre & Marie match were aired on Prime Time Wrestling in either 1986 or, in the case of the latter, June 17, 1987.

So let’s hop in the old time machine, hit ‘play’, and relax with some “old school” World Wrestling Federation action!

Edits, for those wondering, aren’t a big deal and include only a few of the entrance themes; a bit of “WWF” muting; a scant few instances of offensive language/hand gestures; and two promos, both conducted by Gorilla Monsoon, with Jake Roberts and Tito Santana.

Context on the Network is a work in progress. While the previous week’s SNME V (as well as all prior editions of SNME) is available on the Network, along with all prior PPVs, Prime Time Wrestling doesn’t pick up until April 28, 1986. Though the weekly syndicated Championship Wrestling is currently unavailable as of this writing, the Network, this past Monday, added 92 editions of All Star Wrestling from 1975 to 1980.

Date: March 8, 1986 – Location: Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 16,390 – TV Rating: N/A
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon & Lord Alfred Hayes – Interviews: N/A

WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan
WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion: Randy “Macho Man” Savage
WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Dream Team (Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Brutus Beefcake)
WWF Women’s Champion: The Fabulous Moolah
WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions: The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin & Leilani Kai)

After the usual Old School opening Gorilla Monsoon, alongside Lord Alfred Hayes (filling in for the “on assignment” Jess Ventura), welcomes us to the show before Gorilla gives a brief rundown of the two main events—Tito Santana against Randy Savage for the Intercontinental title and Hulk Hogan teaming with Junkyard Dog to challenge the Funk Brothers—and tosses to the ring where the first match is waiting.

Singles Match (WATCH – 1:14)
“The Number One Frenchman” Rene Goulet vs. Sivi Afi

WWE Old School: Boston Garden - Rene Goulet vs. Sivi Afi

Monsoon calls Goulet, his full-time career winding down by this time, the “Michael Jackson of the wrestling world with his little ‘sequinted’ glove.” Many fans remember Rene Goulet as an “official” on WWF TV but Goulet had been a mainstay of WWF TV/house shows and was one-half of the second WWWF World Tag Team Champions with Karl Gotch in December of 1971. This is a pretty good wrestling match that, while slow at times, the fans stick with to the end. Goulet spends much of the latter portion of the match trying to submit Afi with the clawhold but Afi survives and eventually makes the comeback, winning with a flying cross body at 11:08.

WINNER is Sivi Afi (Pin, 11:08)

After replays we go to break and return with the next match in the ring.

Singles Match (WATCH – 15:04)
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Jose Luis Rivera

WWE - Jake Roberts Wants To Release His Snake In The Ring!

Roberts had just started with the WWF on March 2, 1986. This marked Jake’s second televised match for the WWF, the first coming the night before, against Rivera, on a sold-out PRISM show. Roberts looks great in this match. Though it’s slow at times it’s a good wrestling match that shows the psychological brilliance of Roberts who never forgets to sell. In the end Roberts nails Rivera with a beautiful DDT for the 1-2-3 at 10:33. After the match, in an awkward bit, Roberts wants to let his snake out of the sack but the referee prevents it.

WINNER is Jake “The Snake”” Roberts (Pin, 10:33)

Ladies Tag Team Match (WATCH – 27:32)
Donna Christanello & Judy Martin vs. The Crush Girls (Chigusa Nagayo & Lioness Asuka)

WWE Old School: Boston Garden - The Crush Girls in Ladies Tag Team Match

This marked The Crush Girls’ (whose music has been overdubbed) WWF TV debut and was one of less that five matches the duo wrestled in the Federation over the next month. The Crush Girls were without question one of the biggest names in women’s wrestling in Japan and were on the verge of winning All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling’s WWWA World Tag Team titles for the third time at this point in 1986. Chigusa, in red, was 21 at the time while Asuka, in blue, was 22. For the curious, Judy Martin is 30 here and Christanello 43. As for the match, it starts as a slow clash of styles but is a decent wrestling match. The longer this one goes the better and tighter the action gets. A miscommunication late leaves the door open for Marie and Christanello but the Crush Girls level Marie with a great double dropkick which allows Lioness Asuka to deliver a must-see giant swing to Dawn Marie for the pin at 15:37.

WINNERS are The Crush Girls (Chigusa Nagayo & Lioness Asuka) (Pin, 15:37)

After replays of the finish we get a break after which we return with the next match in the ring.

Singles Match (WATCH – 46:33)
Scott McGhee vs. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart w/Jimmy Hart

WWE Old School: Boston Garden - Jim Neidhart vs. Scott McGhee

McGhee comes to the ring in the ever-trendy Synchronicity jacket, for you Police fans. This match is power against power with “Anvil” tossing McGhee around outside the ring in an attack that McGhee never really recovers from. Neidhart wins the match after a powerslam at 6:00.

WINNER is Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart w/Jimmy Hart (Pin, 6:00)

Again we get a replay of the finish before a break. We return with the next match, as usual, in the ring.

Singles Match (WATCH – 54:37)
Bret “The Hitman” Hart w/Jimmy Hart vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

WWE - Ricky Steamboat vs. Bret Hart, Boston Garden House Show
WWE - Bret Hart With a Flying Elbow Drop to Ricky Steamboat!

Steamboat’s music is overdubbed as usual on the Network. According to Bret Hart’s book a Steamboat/Hart match was penciled-in for WrestleMania 2. It was on this day, backstage in the Boston Garden, that Bret was told the match was “scratched” and that Hart was “demoted” to the big 20-man NFL/WWF battle royal. Steamboat, Bret writes, responded to the news by saying, “Let’s go out and show them what they’ll be missing at WrestleMania.” This match also marks the first time, according to Bret, that Monsoon referred to him as the “excellence of execution”. This is just a fantastic match from start to finish—the pacing, the psychology, the story—and is one of Bret Hart’s first classic storytelling performances in the WWF. A highlight of the match is Jimmy Hart’s incessant complaining and use of the megaphone which drive Steamboat and Hayes crazy. In the end an errant Irish whip reversal sends Steamboat into the referee and the ref on his bum. Moments later Bret hits a crushing running lariat but there’s no referee to count what looks to be a surefire win. As the referee comes to Bret comes off the ropes with a running crossbody which Steamboat rolls through, hooking Bret for the pin at 15:10.

WINNER is Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (Pin, 15:10)

We see replays of the finish before going to commercial break and coming back with the next match ready to go.

WWF Intercontinental Championship – “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:13:29)
Tito Santana vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage(c) w/Miss Elizabeth

WWE - Randy Savage & Miss Elizabeth with Intercontinental Championship
WWE Old School: Boston Garden - Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana

These two had worked on and off since the title change a month earlier in Boston with Tito taking many of the matches by DQ or count-out. Savage takes his time getting in the ring, stalling on the floor with Elizabeth and jawing with Monsoon and Hayes and only the threat of being counted out gets Savage in the ring. Savage having this Boston Garden crowd in the palm of his hand is something to see. Once Tito gets his hands on Savage the match is a fight. Tito looks to be close to regaining the Intercontinental title when Savage’s endless running gets the better of Tito and the former Champion shoves the referee down for the DQ loss at 7:17. After the match the referee tackles Tito to prevent Santana from going after Savage.

WINNER and STILL WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, Randy “Macho Man” Savage (Disqualification, 7:17)

Next we see a replay of the finish before a break. After the break we come back to the next match in the ring.

Ladies Tag Team Match (WATCH – 1:26:05)
The Devils of Japan (Dump Matsumoto & Bull Nakano) vs. Velvet McIntyre & Dawn Marie

WWE Old School: Boston Garden - Devils of Japan vs. Velvet McIntyre & Dawn Marie

This marked the debut of both members of the Devils of Japan tag team. Like The Crush Girls, Matsumoto and Nakano would work less than five matches in the WWF before returning to Japan. This match would be Dawn Marie’s sole televised match in 1986 for WWF while Velvet McIntyre was, by this time, a mainstay in the WWF’s women’s division. It takes some time for Nakano and their unnamed manager to get the armor gimmick off of Dump Matsumoto, who Hayes refers to as “a big ugly lady”. Marie and McIntyre are no match for the strength and aggressiveness of the Devils of Japan. This is a fun, stiff, sometimes sloppy match that has the Boston Garden hushed in disbelief as Monsoon quips that the Devils of Japan should have called themselves “The Tons of Fun”. Though the Devils dominate the match McIntyre manages to trap Bull Nakano in a victory roll for the win at 8:28.

WINNER are Velvet McIntyre & Dawn Marie (Pin, 8:28)

Afterwards we see a replay of the finish before yet another break. After the break the next match is in the ring.

Singles Match (WATCH – 1:37:39)
“Iron” Mike Sharpe vs. Corporal Kirchner

WWE Old School: Boston Garden - Corporal Kirchner Falls Through Wooden Barricade

Mike Sharpe, wrestling’s loudest wrestler, dominates this match throughout, even tossing Kirchner through the wooden barricade around ringside. In the end Sharpe cuts off a Kirchner comeback and loads his forearm support with some dastardly foreign/international object. But when Sharpe tries to use it on Kirchner the Corporal blocks the forearm and manages to hit Sharpe with Sharpe’s own loaded forearm for the win at 9:58.

WINNER is Corporal Kirchner (Pin, 9:58)

We see replays of Kirchner glomming Sharpe with the loaded forearm followed by a break. When we return Barry O and Ted Arcidi are waiting in the ring.

Singles Match (WATCH – 1:50:21)
Barry O vs. “The World’s Strongest Man” Ted Arcidi

WWE - Ted Arcidi Bear Hug Finishing Move, World's Strongest Man

Ted Arcidi had made a smattering of TV appearances prior to this event, his debut in the Boston Garden in front of his hometown fans. Arcidi, who looks like he’s been eating horse supplements, was preparing for the big 20-man WWF/NFL battle royal at WrestleMania 2. Barry O, the controversial brother of WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Jr., does his best but Arcidi is too much. Before long Arcidi has Barry O submitting to the bear hug at 3:12.

WINNER is “The World’s Strongest Man” Ted Arcidi (Submission, 3:12)

Again we see a replay of the finish before going to break. When we come back The Funks are in the ring and looking to start a fight with Gorilla Monsoon which draws a big pop from the Boston faithful.

“Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:55:20)
The Funk Brothers (Terry & Hoss) w/Jimmy Hart vs. Junkyard Dog & WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan

WWE - Hulk Hogan & Junkyard Dog Team Up for Boston Garden House Show
WWE Old School: Boston Garden - Hulk Hogan & Junkyard Dog vs. The Funk Brothers

Hulk has tape, not the WWF World title, around his waist from the attack by Bundy on SNME V. Both JYD and Hogan and o-v-e-r and virtually everything they do garners a loud reaction from the Boston fans. Though Terry Funk and JYD had been feuding for months the JYD/Funk feud was kicked into high gear to the February 15, 1986 edition of Championship Wrestling when Dory Funk, Jr., making his WWF debut, helped brother Terry and manager Jimmy Hart beat down JYD. This is a fast-paced, psychological match that features a number of clever spots and humorous moments. Terry Funk is at his crazy best, tripping over cables and kicking the snort out of the wooden barricades, among other things. In the end the Funks are choking JYD over the top rope with their lariat in a shocking display of violence when Hogan makes the save and wipes out Terry with a big clothesline for the 1-2-3 at 11:33.

WINNERS are Junkyard Dog & WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan (Pin, 11:33)

WWE - Hulk Hogan Gives Junkyard Dog A Big Hulk Hogan Mask!

After the match Hogan knocks out Hoss before tending to the injured JYD. Hogan and JYD watch the Funks leave as Gorilla talks about WrestleMania 2. Hulk gives JYD a Hogan mask from the fans and JYD poses as Hogan before the two leave the arena, celebrating with the fans.

We see a replay of the finish before going to break. After the break Gorilla and Hayes wrap up the night’s main event and hype WrestleMania 2 before signing off.

Final Thoughts

This is a great card with something to like in every match. The two ladies tag matches are must-see for any fan of the modern “women’s evolution” while the Steamboat/Hart match continues to hold up as a true mat classic. Oh, and the main event aint bad either!

If you’re new to this era of the WWF this is an excellent place to start. You won’t be disappointed.

WWE - 'Macho Man' Randy Savage Poses on Turnbuckle in The Boston Garden

Already subscribed to the WWE Network? Then you can relive this classic night of WWF action or see it for the very first time! And don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!

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  1. whut says:

    I’m pretty certain that at least the Hart/Steamboat and the Savage/Santana match made it onto Coliseum Videos from that timeframe (if I’m not mistaken: “The Hart Foundation” and “Randy Savage and Elizabeth”)

  2. Brandon Vendetta says:

    Dump Matsumoto? LMFAO I thought Balls Mahoney was the best name ever but Dump? That’s classic