Date: October 6, 1987 (broadcast on October 31, 1987)
Show: Wrestling Challenge
Roster (10): Bam Bam Bigelow, Boris Zhukov, Cowboy Bob Orton, “the Rock” Don Muraco, Hercules Hernandez, Junkyard Dog, Nikolai Volkoff, the One Man Gang, Outback Jack and the Ultimate Warrior
I found this piece of WWF history too interesting not to include. It’s probably the shortest televised battle royal in WWE history at just about four minutes and the roster is a peculiar list of who’s who for the 80’s. Seeing a match between two named wrestlers on Challenge was always a rarity, so despite the short length and the fact that it has nothing to do with anything, this would still be considered a treat, all things considered.
What draws me to this is just how interesting and random a cast of midcarders we have here. All of them are memorable in some way and to see them all in one ring is slightly surreal. From Ultimate Warrior, the newcomer who would pin Hulk Hogan years later, to Outback Jack, a poster boy of Wrestlecrap from that era, the thing is a who’s who of WWF in the 80’s. I should note that Outback Jack was also a replacement for an injured Hillbilly Jim.
Even though he’d be the runner up at the first Royal Rumble months later, the massive One Man Gang is out within seconds thanks to the teaming up of Outback Jack and Junkyard Dog. Then Outback Jack is ousted because he sucks. Already less than 30 seconds and we’re down to 8. Despite the shortness, there’s nothing outright bad about the match. It’s entertaining for what there is. The ring gradually shrinks down over the course of the next minute or so and Ultimate Warrior shows off his super strength by pressing Zhukov over his head and flinging him out of there. Though while he’s doing that, Orton has no problem in sneaking up from behind and throwing him out to join Zhukov.
That leaves Bam Bam vs. Orton and Hercules. Yeah, Hercules reaches the end of two battle royals this year. The two heels corner Bam Bam and prepare to waste him. What they aren’t prepared for is CARTWHEELS!
Outside, Don Muraco has decided to stick around for the sake of cheering Bam Bam on. Eventually, Orton and Hercules get their hands on Bam Bam and work him over. After a moment or two of beating on him and nailing a double-clothesline, the two set him up in a corner and do that bit that never seems to work where someone tries to lift out a guy very slowly against their will. It’s usually a stall tactic for any battle royal, especially the Royal Rumble, but here it’s an excuse for Bam Bam to free himself by conking their heads together via his legs. They release the grip and he takes care of them in one fell swoop.
And Bam Bam wins! It’s kind of amazing how strong the company was behind him before he needed knee surgery. A few weeks later, Bam Bam would be part of Hulk Hogan’s team in the main event of the very first Survivor Series. The match ended with Bam Bam left alone against Andre the Giant, King Kong Bundy and One Man Gang. Bam Bam took out Bundy and the Gang, only to hang in there briefly against Andre before being snuffed out. Still, that’s a damn nice boost. Too bad they never did anything with it. The kids in the crowd for this match were crazy into him.
Tomorrow we’re heading into the 90’s for some tag-teaming.