Card Subject to Change
During my first decade or so as a stupid mark fanboy, I would often write down the results of the house shows I attended - either that or I'd hang on to the souvenir line-up card they handed out the door for posterity. While this doesn't even represent a fraction of the WWF and WCW cards I went to in Toronto in the late 80's and early 90's.... it nonetheless brings back some great memories.
Notes: If you can read my chickenscratch writing, these are the (partial) results of a house show I attended in October of 88. It wasn't my first wrestling show (At the very least, I saw WrestleMania 2, The Big Event and The Frank Tunney Memorial Tag Team Tournament before this one), but it was the first one I thought to scrawl down on paper...
Now, there's NO WAY there were only four matches on the card, so I was either being lazy or (more likely) I wrote this down several years after the fact. Having said that, I remember all four of these bouts well. The Hart Foundation versus The Rougeau Brothers was especially awesome - Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart had turned babyface earlier that year, and they were feuding with The Rougeaus because Jimmy Hart was paying Jacques and Raymond part of The Hart's earnings.... Add to this that the notorious Brother Love was the referee and the match was a huge spectacle (and a ton of fun to watch). Randy Savage was WWF Champion at the time and he lost to Dino Bravo by countout, setting up for a rematch at Maple Leaf Gardens a month or two later.
Notes: Wow.... this sounds like a pretty shitty card, even by 1989 WWF house show standards. Three squash matches (and "Canadian" Earthquake wasn't against a mystery opponent or anything; he was facing an unnamed jobber, and I happened to miss the introductions during a bathroom break).... The Ultimate Warrior vs. Andre The Giant cage match was actually pretty amazing; Warrior kept whipping Andre into the cage wall and because the impact was so huge, it actually looked like the cage was constantly going to cave in.
An interesting note about the tag team match listed here. Arn Anderson was supposed to team with Tully Blanchard, but I believe Blanchard had early left the company. And Bret Hart had his ribs legitimately taped up; the previous show in Toronto was where he'd injured his ribs at the hands of Dino Bravo (see the film "Wrestling With Shadows" for details). I also remember that match because the finish was Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart reversing their positions in The Hart Attack, with Bret doing the bearhug on Arn while The Anvil clotheslined him.
Notes: I remember feeling weird going to this show because my best friend was supposed to come with me and wasn't able to because of a tragedy in his family, so I guess it was guilt I felt going without him. But damn, this was a good card.
The Ultimate Warrior and Texas Tornado versus Rick Rude and Mr. Perfect was seriously a pay-per-view quality match, with Warrior and Von Erich super over with the crowd.... Big Bossman vs. Ted DiBiase was a cool grudge match, even if it really didn't settle their issue or anything.... The reason why Shane Douglas teamed with Marty Jannetty was because his Rockers partner Shawn Michaels was out injured.... even the match between past-his-prime Superfly Jimmy Snuka and Hercules was a decent back and forth encounter.
Notes: This was the first time NWA/WCW had been to Toronto in at least five years and as a result WCW promoted the hell out of it on the only syndicated show that was available to us at the time (midnight on Saturdays, but we dedicated fans watched it).
This card was essentially at a fairgrounds that usually housed horses, and it smelled accordingly. What was amazing about this show is that except for one, ALL of the other champions lost their matches by pinfall, and ALL of them were non-title matches (which certainly wasn't advertised in the run up to the show). So, Lex Luger pinned WCW World Champion Ric Flair; Rick and Scott Steiner beat WCW World Tag Team Champions Doom and The Southern Boys defeated U.S. tag team champions The Midnight Express.... but no belts changed hands! Junkyard Dog beat TV Champion Arn Anderson, but I think it was by countout....
The Flyin' Brian vs. Mean Mark match never happened as scheduled, although local jobber Nick DeCarlo showed up to lose to Mean Mark (better known now as The Undertaker), who was managed at the time by... Paul E. Dangerously! The Johnny Ace-Bam Bam Bigelow match didn't happen at all; I don't quite remember what went on in its place.
Notes: This was WCW's return to the horse barn and it wasn't nearly as good as the original show.... Notice the television stations listed at the bottom of the line up? That's probably because, at the first show, Gary Michael Cappetta encouraged us to watch WCW on TBS, to which the angry fans booed because Canada didn't have TBS yet. So above was a list of the alternate TV stations you could watch WCW on at midnight on Saturday.....
This show definitely underscores "card subject to change", as El Gigante wasn't in town (I believe local jobber Nick DeCarlo stepped in once again to do battle with Dr. X - ooh, what a match!); the Z-Man/Cuban Assassin match didn't happen; and Flyin' Brian battled a Black Scorpion that DEFINITELY wasn't the same guy we saw on television.... Oh, and it wasn't The Rock 'n' Roll Express but rather Ricky Morton and Tommy Rich. Interestingly, the match quickly made The Freebirds fan favorites and Rich/Morton heels, which I'm guessing surprised both duos, but they changed the match on the fly and it was amazing. Captain Mike Rotunda appeared to be laughing throughout his match....
The "main event" of Lex Luger vs. Sid Vicious left a lot to be desired.... WCW would come to Toronto one more time in its current format before disappearing for a good three or four years.
Notes: I'm not sure what happened to the bottom of this line-up card. It's quite possible that Sika ate it.... Ultimate Warrior vs. The Undertaker was probably the hottest feud in wrestling at the time; it's amazing how far Taker had come from being Mean Mark just over a year ago.
Instead of the WWF Tag Team Championship match, it ended up being Animal versus Knobbs (Hawk may have been injured at the time?).... I vaguely remember Power & Glory teasing a break up after the match, but then they made amends and all was right with the world.... Fairly certain Superfly's opponent was Irwin R. Shyster (a/k/a IRS), and I'm also thinking that 'Fly lost.... Colonel Mustafa was actually The Iron Sheik during his short-lived team with Sgt. Slaughter and General Adnan.
Notes: I literally don't remember any of the results of this match other than the main event, "The Real World's Champion" Ric Flair's Toronto debut in the WWF, where he snuck a victory out over "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in a pretty intense match.... I vaguely remember seeing Big Bully Busick make his entrance (no Harvey Wippleman in his corner for a house show) and the Big Boss Man/IRS match, but that's about it.....
Gotta love the 1-900-ATTACHED phone hotline at the bottom of the line-up card, where they attempt to make money off the fact that Macho Man Randy Savage and Elizabeth are now married. Ironically, they probably could have made a mint a year later having a phone line about Savage and Liz bitching about their divorce....
Notes: Warrior and Taker teaming up, after feuding a year earlier, was just about one of the coolest things around because WWF still played up their past history. And yet facing Papa Shango and Berzerker was just.... perfect. This could have been a main event in any arena in the country.... and it was! I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how some dude in Papa Shango gear always showed up at Maple Leaf Gardens cards, and even long after Papa had left the company (no truth to the rumor that he now dresses like The Godfather)..... But enough about this, take it away to 16 year-old Bulldog for the hand-scrawled results:
One More Note: Yes, it's true. Bob Backlund showed up to take on Brooklyn Brawler. This was huge to us fans because (a) he pretty much hadn't been seen since dropping the WWF Title in 1983 and (b) there were absolutely no rumors circulating at the time that he was coming back. In fact, he didn't return to WWF television for a couple of months, so this was like a test run of sorts.
Notes: Yeah, I don't even remember going to this show, let alone the particular matchups.... I'm guessing this was Backlund's return Toronto engagement (and I'm sure Papa Shango Guy was quite pleased)..... Damien Demento got a win over Tito Santana? What the hell? Money Inc. versus The Natural Disasters sounds like a terrible main event.... Oh, and even though my printing is impeccable, I feel compelled to point out that Razor Ramon beat Macho Man Randy Savage by countout; it wasn't that he beat Randy Savage & Co. Feel better that I got that one off my chest.
Notes: This show I definitely remember.... WWF World Champion Bret Hart was doing a test match with Yokozuna ahead of their WrestleMania 9 matchup (and it had already been announced that was the main event for Mania)..... The Predator, I believe, was Horace Hogan under a camouflage mask.
Both Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels and Big Bossman vs. Razor Ramon were excellent matches, and I was a HUGE Steiner Brothers fan at the time.... And as my barely-legible writing suggests, this actually WAS Ric Flair's final match in the WWF. He'd lost a "Loser Leaves WWF" match to Mr. Perfect the Monday prior, and we were told he was fulfilling a contractual obligation before going back to WCW.
The 10-bell salute "in memorium" (whoops) to Andre The Giant, who passed away the week or two prior, was lovingly handled by Ring Announcer Marty, whom I'm sure will get his own piece on this website one day.