While the first live wrestling show I ever witnessed was WrestleMania 2 (live as in "live via an oversized movie screen watching with thousands of others") and the second was the historic Big Event (a/k/a Wrestling Hulkamania Night), the first live event I saw that wasn't - shall we say - WWE Network-worthy was The Frank Tunney Memorial Tag Team Tournament on March 15, 1987 at Toronto's historic Maple Leaf Gardens.
For those who don't know the name, Frank was the uncle of Jack Tunney. The two of them, along with Frank's brother Ed Tunney, essentially ran the Toronto wrestling territory from the 1940's until Frank's passing in 1983. The business was absorbed by Vince McMahon a few years later, with Jack acting as both the local promoter and figurehead WWF President when the situation called for it.
Of course, I knew none of this at the time; I'd been a wrestling fan for less than two years and hadn't heard of the Tunney legacy. But I was sure as hell excited to see a tag team tournament in my hometown!
For at least a month or two before (the WWF came to Maple Leaf Gardens at least six times a year at that point), announcer Billy Red Lyons promoted the eight teams entered into the competition and interviewed most of the participants. The winner of the tournament would get an immediate title shot against WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart). The participants were:
The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid)
The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel and Tom Zenk)
Cowboy Bob Orton and The Magnificent Muraco, managed by Mr. Fuji
Demolition (Ax and Smash), managed by Luscious Johnny Valiant
Kamala and Sika, managed by King Curtis and Kim Chee
The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jumpin' Jim Brunzell)
King Kong Bundy and Paul Orndorff, managed by Bobby The Brain Heenan
The "New" U.S. Express (Danny Spivey and Mike Rotundo)
There were two major changes I can recall between the time the event was announced and the event itself. Mike Rotundo left the WWF, leaving Spivey with long-time jobber Jerry Allen (no, not "Magnum T.A." Terry Allen) as a partner. As well, he bracketing somehow changed. I know this because I'd written the brackets down on a sheet of paper beforehand, trying to determine the eventual winners and later, had to draw a bunch of arrows to realign the whole damn thing.
Going into the event, I was reasonably confident that The Can-Am Connection was going to win the tourney. This was a common theory held by many of schoolmates, too, as Martel and Zenk were up and comers and were being pushed to the moon (until Zenk inexplicably left the company a few months later and thus we got Strike Force). The British Bulldogs also had an outside chance, as they'd dropped the belts to The Foundation a month or two earlier and would have loved to have them back at WrestleMania III, which was a mere 12 days away.
What follows are the definitive results and my (very hazy) memories of that fateful evening:
ROUND ONE: The Killer Bees vs. Kamala and Sika
Kamala and Sika had only recently been turned into a tag team (a natural pairing, given they were both savages who were managed by King Curtis), whereas Blair and Brunzell had seemingly been teaming forever and had always been solid, but never enough to get the big belts. Essentially they were the Tito Santana of tag teams. I believe that King Curtis wasn't here this evening so he had Kim Chee doing the dirty work. This was, surprisingly, a pretty solid opening match. Kamala and Sika weren't civilized enough to put together a finish, though, and I believe Sika accidentally clotheslined Kamala or somesuch, allowing The Bees to win and advance to the next round.
ROUND ONE: King Kong Bundy and Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff vs. Cowboy Bob Orton and The Magnificent Muraco
Believe it or not, THIS was the match I was dying to see in the first round! Bundy was my absolute favorite guy at the time, and Orndorff had set the world on fire half a year earlier by turning on Hulk Hogan and joining Bobby Heenan (whom I believe also wasn't here tonight). This was probably the first and only time Bundy and Orndorff would be a tag team. And it was a very rare bad guys vs. bad guys matchup.
Click the video below to see who won the match, but just know that I was a VERY happy camper.