On This Day: July 28, 1984 – Championship Wrestling: The Raw Of Its Day

Championship Wrestling
Date: July 28, 1984
Location: Mid-Huston Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, New York
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Tony Garea

This is one of those shows that I haven’t touched much but it was a big deal in its time. Championship Wrestling was probably the top syndicated show for the company in the early 80s so these will be the top stories at the time. Hogan has been world champion for about six months now and is the hottest thing in the world. We’re five days past the Brawl to End it All which is the grandfather of Wrestlemania but this would have been taped weeks earlier. Let’s get to it.

The opening theme is an instrumental version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Now how’s that for embracing pop culture? The video is literally all Hogan so they know where their money is coming from.

Rene Goulet vs. Tito Santana

Tito is IC Champion but this is non-title. Santana quickly takes over with some flying headscissors to keep Rene on the mat. Back up and Rene has his hiptoss countered into an armdrag and a headlock to keep the champion in control. Goulet finally gets up and drives a knee into Tito’s ribs to gain control. A double stomp keeps Santana in trouble as Goulet stays on the stomach. Goulet suplexes him down for two and it’s off to a claw hold for some two counts. Tito gets kicked down again for two more and it’s back to the claw, only to have Tito fight up and hit the forearm for the pin.

Rating: D. This was long and dull with most of the match spent in rest holds. At the same time, this was a long match for television at the time, going nearly six minutes. Tito was having an off night here as he was usually in a groove at this point and would be feuding with Greg Valentine again very soon.

Now, ARM WRESTLING! It’s Jesse Ventura vs. Ivan Putski which was one of Jesse’s biggest singles feuds while in the WWF. This is every arm wrestling contest you’ve ever seen: Jesse stalls, is about to lose once it gets going, and then blasts Ivan when he’s about to lose. Ventura beats Putski down with a chair. This segment is actually on three or four tapes.

Iron Sheik vs. Ron Hutcheson

This match was also on the WWF debut of World Championship Wrestling, more famous as Black Saturday. The fans are all over Sheik with an Iran Sucks chant. Sheik hits a quick backdrop followed by a gutbuster and the camel clutch for the win. Total squash.

Time for WWF Review, which is a music video set to some rock/pop song. Further research shows that the song is Message of Love by the Pretenders. That’s an odd song for a wrestling highlight video.

We go to Vince in studio to talk about the show last Monday night, which is the Brawl to End it All. He shows us a clip of Cyndi Lauper beating up Lou Albano in Piper’s Pit, which eventually started the Rock and Wrestling Connection, which begat Wrestlemania.

Time for Piper’s Pit but Roddy is sitting by himself. Piper offers to show the full Wendi Richter vs. Fabulous Moolah match on his show next week in addition to having the winner as his guest. Now it’s time for a fan letter, begging Piper to not beat up Jimmy Snuka, signed Jimmy Snuka’s son (that would be Sim Snuka, who wrestled in the Legacy in WWE for about five minutes. He’s also the guy that kept Undertaker from dying in the botched Taker Dive at Wrestlemania 25). Roddy shouts at Jimmy to fight his own battles and you can see the fire in his eyes.

Jimmy Snuka vs. Tiger Chung Lee

Lee swings a kendo stick to keep Snuka on the floor. Jimmy finally gets in and they both take martial arts poses. Lee snaps off a shot to the throat and bails to the floor to avoid retaliation. Back in and they circle each other even more until Lee gets in a kick to the chest to put Snuka down. He pounds on Jimmy’s head like an idiot would and the comeback is on. Jimmy does his double leapfrog but gets chopped down to stop the momentum cold. Lee goes up but gets slammed off, setting up the Superfly headbutt for the pin.

Rating: D. The match was nothing special but the pop for Jimmy going up top was awesome. I’ve heard that he was going to be one of the other options if Hogan never happened and given how popular he was, it’s not that hard to believe. The man could fly like no other and was way ahead of his time at this point. Dull match but a good ending.

Overall Rating: D. This was a pretty lame show but the Pit was entertaining as always. The schedule screwed this show up because they were just past the biggest show of the year but we couldn’t see any of it because the show was taped weeks in advance. This was an exciting time for the WWF but this wasn’t a good example of that excitement.

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