It’s time for the WWF Wrestling Classic What If Tournament, the imaginary event that envisions 32 of the world’s greatest wrestlers competing in a titanic tournament to determine the winner. Unlike the WWF Wrestling Classic from 1985, this one features wrestlers from a variety of promotions including the American Wrestling Association (AWA), various territories from the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), Japan, and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF_. It also ups the stakes by awarding the winner a Rolls Royce (much like one lucky fan who ordered the pay-per-view did) along with a title shot against the NWA, WWF, or AWA World Heavyweight Champion. The tournament also features a main event tag team match with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair teaming up to take on Magnum T.A. and WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. Hogan, who is scheduled to meet Flair at Starrcade ’85, will meet Flair in the ring for the first time.
The matches will be held under traditional WWF rules which means you can win by count-out, disqualification, pinfall, or submission. There is no disqualification for throwing your opponent over the top rope, unlike other promotions. The matches in rounds one and two matches have a 20-minute time limit while rounds three and four have a 30-minute time limit. The fifth and final round will be a one-hour time limit. Just as was the case with the 1985 Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup, the tournament will feature randomly selected referees from a pool of referees from every promotion that is sending competitors.
The event will be held over five nights with the first eight matches of round one taking place on Thursday November 7, at the famous Boston Garden. Round One’s first eight matches saw Antonio Inoki, Tito Santana, Larry Zbyszko, Tully Blanchard, Harley Race, Jerry “The King” Lawler, The Junkyard Dog and Bob Backlund enter the winner’s circle. They’re now on their way to the second round. Round One’s final eight matches took place at the fabled Philadelphia Spectrum on Friday November 8, with Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Kerry Von Erich, Nikita Koloff, King Kong Bundy, Ricky Steamboat, Big John Studd, Kamala and Sgt. Slaughter advancing to Round Two. Fans saw Tito Santana victorious over Antonio Inoki, Tully Blanchard edge out Larry Zbyszko, while Jerry Lawler defeated Harley Race by disqualification, and the Junkyard Dog pinned Bob Backlund.
It’s time for the next two matches in round two, which like the first four, are taking place at Canada’s famous venue, Maple Leaf Gardens on Saturday November 9. Your announcers for the show are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Gorilla says there’s a capacity crowd on hand to witness this historic event and there’s no telling what will happen next.
Randy "Macho Man" Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Kerry Von Erich
The fans cheer wildly as Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” plays and Kerry Von Erich makes his way through the crowd. Von Erich is signing a few autographs when Randy Savage runs out and attacks Von Erich from behind! Savage slams Von Erich on the entrance ramp then drops an elbow on “The Modern Day Warrior.” The "Macho Man” lifts Savage up for a piledriver but Von Erich counters with a back body drop. Von Erich is hot and grabs Savage by the hair, dragging him towards the ring before throwing him in. Von Erich and Savage are still in their ring robes. Memphis referee Jerry Calhoun is trying to get things under control as Von Erich whips Savage into the ropes then dropkicks him. Savage rolls out of the ring as Miss Elizabeth tries to console him. Savage is yelling at “The Lovely One” as Gorilla asks why Savage is belittling Miss Elizabeth. Jesse says she should have warned Macho about Von Erich’s sneak attack. “Gimme a break!” Gorilla says as Savage ditches his ring robe and talks trash at Von Erich from outside the ring, with the referee counting Savage out. 1, 2, 3…
The Macho Man rolls into the ring only for Von Erich to slug him. Rake of the eyes slows Kerry down and Savage knees him in the gut. Bodyslam by Savage followed by a kneedrop. Savage covers Von Erich for a one-count. Savage jaws with the referee as Von Erich gets up and whips Savage into a corner. Savage bounces out and Von Erich catches him with a back body drop. Irish whip into the ropes by Von Erich as Kerry goes for a dropkick. However, a cagey Macho Man hangs onto the rope and Von Erich lands on his head. Savage grabs Von Erich and runs towards the ropes, jumping over the top rope as he clotheslines Von Erich with it. Savage pulls Von Erich out of the ring and slugs away.
The two begin trading punches outside the ring. During the exchange, Von Erich takes a swing at Savage outside the ring, but the Macho Man ducks and Von Erich punches the ring post. Savage takes Von Erich’s hand and slams it against the mat apron. Savage rakes Von Erich’s eyes then slams him head first into the post. Von Erich is busted open! Savage rolls into the ring and breaks up the referee’s count. Macho Man jumps onto the mat apron and dives off with a flying axe-handle that floors Von Erich. The Macho Man then throws Von Erich into the ring before climbing to the top rope. Savage dives off with another flying axe-handle, but Von Erich punches Savage. However, Von Erich grasps his hand in pain as he’s hurt himself as bad (if not worse) than he did Savage.
Macho Man capitalizes, stomping on Von Erich’s bad hand. Savage whips Von Erich into the corner and charges in, but Kerry has the presence of mind to raise both feet. Von Erich slugs Savage with his good hand then whips him into the ropes. Big dropkick by Von Erich as he covers Savage, only getting a two-count. Bodyslam on Savage as Kerry bounces off the ropes and drops an elbow onto Savage. Kerry goes to lift Savage for a suplex but “The Macho Man” drives a thumb into his eye. Savage takes Von Erich’s bad hand and slams it onto the top turnbuckle. Savage body slams Von Erich then begins punching him in the head, apparently trying to bust him open further. Savage lifts Von Erich up and piledrives him! Savage climbs to the top rope, sailing through the air with a flying elbowsmash. Savage covers Von Erich and puts him legs on the bottom rope for the added leverage, getting the 1-2-3 as Jesse says “Macho” couldn’t have done it better. Gorilla asks why Savage felt the need to cheat and use the ropes, to which Jesse replies, “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.”
Winner: Randy "Macho Man" Savage
Nikita Koloff (w/ Ivan Koloff) vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby Heenan)
The fans boo Ivan and Nikita as they enter the ring. Gorilla Monsoon says the fans aren’t happy with the Russians after they laid out Sgt. Slaughter at the end of his match against Nikolai Volkoff. Jesse notices how King Kong Bundy is receiving polite applause from the fans. Gorilla adds that Bundy and Heenan aren’t near and dear to the fans’ hearts, but they want to see wrestling’s “Walking Condominium” do a number on Nikita.
World Class Championship Wrestling referee Rick Hazzard instructs both men on the rules after he conducts a pre-match inspection for foreign objects and any other plunder. Hazzard signals for the bell. Nikita charges Bundy and bounces off the big man. Bundy invites Koloff to try a shoulderblock and Nikita bounces off the ropes as Bundy watches Koloff bounce off him again. Bundy laughs and challenges Nikita to try one time. Gorilla says Nikita is getting hot under the collar. Jesse says it looks like a case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object and Gorilla makes a note of that for future reference. Nikita charges off the ropes again but this time Bundy clotheslines him, sending him down to the mat. Bundy bounces off the ropes with a big splash as Gorilla says this one could be over! Nikita manages to roll out of the way. Koloff stomps at Bundy’s head then bounces off the ropes, dropping an elbow onto Bundy. Bundy gets to a knee as Nikita readies the Sickle. Bundy gets up as Nikita charges him but King Kong dodges him. Incredible display of speed by the big man Gorilla observes. Bundy whips Nikita into a corner and prepares to charge him. However, Bundy notices something going on outside the ring. Bundy leaves the ring as Gorilla wonders what’s going on.
Uncle Ivan runs over towards Bobby Heenan and looks like he’s going to clobber “The Brain.” Bundy grabs Ivan and slams him to the ground. Bundy splashes Ivan as Gorilla Monsoon says they’re going to need a squeegee to get Ivan off the concrete. Nikita tries to ambush Bundy but Bobby Heenan alerts Bundy. Big elbow to Nikita’s head as Bundy whips Nikita into a steel post. Bundy turns towards Nikita, who appears wiped out in the corner. Bundy charges at Nikita with the Atlantic City Avalanche but Nikita somehow gets out of the way. Bundy bounces off before falling to the ground. Bobby Heenan tries to get Bundy back into the game but Hazzard Bundy out as Nikita rolls into the ring, beating the ten-count.
Winner: Nikita Koloff (by countout)
Ricky Steamboat vs. Big John Studd (w/ Bobby Heenan)
The Alan Parsons Project’s Eye in a Sky plays as Maple Leaf Gardens erupts into cheers. Ricky Steamboat makes his way to the ring as “Big” John Studd and manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan wait in the ring. How fickle these fans are Jesse observes as the Maple Leaf Garden fans boo Studd and Heenan after Howard Finkel introduces Studd. They were cheering Bobby in the last match and now they’re booing him. Ricky Steamboat is waving to the fans as he takes off his karate gi. Unfortunately for “The Dragon,” he does so with his back turned to Studd, who charges at him. Referee Tommy Young starts a five count as Studd lays into Steamboat with big forearms to the back. Pearl Harbor job! Monsoon says as Studd backs off at the four-count, only to move in again. This time, Steamboat responds with a flurry of knife-edge chops that send Studd backwards. Steamboat delivers a beautiful karate kick to Studd’s head, knocking him against the ropes. “Tremendous crescent kick” Gorilla observes as Steamboat takes off his jacket then whips Studd into the ropes.
Big chop to Studd, but the big man isn’t moving much. Steamboat fires off several more chops, but Studd is shrugging them off. The Dragon whips Studd into the ropes but he doesn’t budge this time. Instead, Studd lifts Steamboat up, slamming him to the mat apron. Elbow drop on Steamboat as Studd covers for a two-count. Studd lifts Steamboat up and whips him into the ropes. Steamboat ducks under a clothesline and lands a dropkick. A second dropkick to Studd, but the big man is standing tall. Steamboat races to the top rope and jumps off with a flying chop, which dazes Studd. Steamboat jumps onto Studd’s back, applying a sleeperhold. Studd fights it but Steamboat is wearing him down. Studd looks to be dropping to one knee as Tommy Young raises Studd’s arm and it drops one time. Studd begins flailing his arms around and he hits Tommy Young. Young goes down as Steamboat goes to check on him. Studd staggers to the corner where he regains his bearings. Heenan gets on the mat apron and is telling Studd something. The two men work to take the top turnbuckle cover off and succeed. Meanwhile, Steamboat is checking on Tommy Young, who is getting up slowly. Studd knees Steamboat in the back, knocking him down.
Studd picks up Steamboat and prepares to javelin toss him into the exposed metal. Unfortunately, Steamboat slides behind Studd and dropkicks him into the corner. Studd’s head connects with the metal and he falls backwards. “Oh, it’s Excedrin headache number five!” Gorilla Monsoon calls. Jesse says it looks like Studd just knocked himself out. Steamboat hooks the leg as Tommy Young makes a fast three-count.
Winner: Ricky Steamboat
Sgt. Slaughter vs. Kamala (w/ Kim Chee)
Kamala and Kim Chee are in the ring as the Marine Hymn plays. Sgt. Slaughter slowly makes his way to the ring, his hand bandaged up. Jesse says Slaughter is sporting “The Spirt of ‘76” bandage as Gorilla shouts “Yes, thanks to those no-good Russians!” “This ain’t the Olympics Monsoon. The Russians take their national pride very seriously” Jesse replies. AWA referee Gary DeRusha signals for the bell as Slaughter unloads with lefts and rights on Kamala. Gorilla observes the Sarge isn’t packing the punch he normally does. Kamala responds with a big chop to Slaughter’s bandaged head then begins choking him. “This guy doesn’t know a wristlock from a wristwatch” Gorilla remarks about Kamala.
The referee gets in to break things up as Kim Chee yells instructions to Kamala. Kamala chops Slaughter then backs out of the corner. Slaughter is down in the corner and Kamala moves in, driving a bare foot into Slaughter’s throat. “Kim Chee had better make sure his man isn’t disqualified” Gorilla tells Jesse. The referee shouts at Kamala as the Ugandan Giant tilts his head in apparent amazement. Slaughter gets up as Kamala moves in, only to walk into a big kick to the gut. Slaughter rams Kamala’s head into the turnbuckle. Series of lefts and rights from Slaughter as the referee orders him out of the corner. Kamala comes out of the corner, headbutting Slaughter. Kamala grabs Slaughter and rips off the Sarge’s bandage, headbutting him again as blood begins to pour down Slaughter’s face. Slaughter falls to a knee but drives his head into Kamala’s ample belly. Rake of the eyes to Kamala but it barely slows him down. Kamala chops at Slaughter and headbutts him again. The referee goes to check on Slaughter but the tough-as-nails competitor signals him off.
Kamala chokes Slaughter again then whips him into the ropes. Kamala goes for a side kick but Slaughter avoids and bounces off the ropes, hitting the Slaughter Cannon! However, Kamala falls between the ropes, likely avoiding a pinfall defeat. Slaughter is down on the mat and moving slowly, his blood dripping on the mat. Kim Chee is trying to get Kamala going as the Ugandan Headhunter is dazed. Slaughter slowly rolls out of the ring and goes after Kamala. Slaughter rams Kamala’s head into the mat apron then whips him into the post. Kamala reverses it and Slaughter flies into the post, falling to the ground. Kamala slaps his belly and delivers a splash to Slaughter on the cement! Kamala lifts Slaughter up and throws him back into the ring. Kamala bounces off the ropes and splashes Slaughter again, covering him for the 1-2-3.
Backstage, Maple Leaf Wrestling announcer Billy Red Lyons is interviewing WWF President Jack Tunney about the tournament rankings. Lyons points out that there have been some upsets and it looks like fans are in for some real barn-burners in round three. Jack Tunney adds that fans are also going to see a huge tag team bout as Magnum T.A. teams with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan to face “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and NWA World Heavyweight Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair as Mr. Hogan and Mr. Flair prepare for their upcoming title unification match at Starrcade ‘85. Billy signs off, telling the fans “Dontcha dare miss it!”
That’s it for this time fans. Join us next time as round three begins as “The Elite Eight” do battle. Be sure to check back as the WWF Wrestling Classic What If Tournament continues, exclusively at Wrestling Merchandise and Memories.