WWWF/WWF/WWE Title belt lineage (footage only)
1963, Buddy Rogers wins title
1963, Rogers loses to Bruno Sammartino in 48 seconds
1971, Sammartino loses to Ivan Koloff
Match No. 1 (2/8/71): Ivan Koloff vs. Pedro Morales in Madison Square Garden. Holy shit, Koloff looks huge, even bigger than Morales. He must have really shrunk in his NWA days in the mid-80s. Ross says he’s at 295 pounds in this match. Great heat from the MSG crowd. Morales at 246 pounds looks tiny. Koloff chokes Morales with a strap from his singlet. Morales hits a huge monkey flip. Koloff does a back suplex on Morales, but Morales gets his shoulder up at two to get the pin on Koloff. Rating: *** Outstanding heat, but weak finish.
1973, Morales loses to Stan “The Man” Stasiak
1973, Stasiak loses to Sammartino
Match No. 2 (4/29/74): Bruno Sammartino vs. Killer Kowalski. Kowalski looks more like a mental patient than a wrestler with his unkempt hair and small arms. Of course, he was nearly 50. Vince McMahon is the lone commentator on this match. He is horrible. Some guy at ring side as a humongous afro. Shot Arnold Skaaland at ring side. Sammartino juices. And he goes ape shit on Kowalski. Bell rings. No idea if it is a DQ or double DQ. Rating: None (joined in progress). Match is ruled a draw.
Match No. 3 (4/30/77): Bruno Sammartino vs. Superstar Billy Graham. Graham looks huge. The ring in Baltimore is massive for some reason. It looks to be at least 25 feet wide. Bruno wins test of strength. These two trade bear hugs. Graham gets pin with feet on top rope for leverage. Rating: *** This one doesn’t last long and there isn’t much that’s memorable other than the title change.
Match No. 4 (2/20/78): Superstar Billy Graham vs. Bob Backlund. Backlund hits the atomic drop for the pin. Rating: None (joined in progress). That was the finish?
Match No. 5 (1/16/82): Bob Backlund vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. This match is in a cage. Valentine keeps trying to escape. Valentine takes a header into the cage and gets busted open. Valentine takes another header. Backlund hits piledriver and leaves cage for the win. Rating: None (highlights only).
Match No. 6 (5/23/83): Bob Backlund vs. Sargent Slaughter. Backlund has marks on his chest and back from the riding crop. Backlund attacks him before the bell. All Backlund early. Fans are really into Backlund. Slaughter hits huge clothesline. Backlund hits ugly-looking piledriver and only get two. Slaughter gets DQ for using the riding crop. Rating: *** Sloppy match in spots. I expected more from these two.
(They skip Iron Sheik beating Backlund and Hulk Hogan beating Iron Sheik)
Match No. 7 (4/5/86): King Kong Bundy vs. Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania II. Bundy was a big bastard. Tommy Lasorda is the ring announcer. Ricky Schroeder is also in the ring. I remember watching this event on Showtime. The chain link fence is so much better than the blue steel cage. Hogan’s offense is pretty damn weak. Bundy goes headfirst into the cage and juices. Hogan tries to slam the fatass but he falls on him. Bundy hits avalanche and splash on Hogan, who then does Superman comeback. Hogan finally slams him. He hits legdrop. And then climbs over the cage for the win. Rating: *** Average match. Heenan takes huge bump into the cage after the match.
Match No. 8 (1/3/87): Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff vs Hulk Hogan. The stupid blue steel cage is back. Orndorff attacks Hogan and hits him with title belt. Both leave cage and jump to floor at the same time so match is restarted. Orndorff drags Hogan into the ring. Hogan does Superman comeback. Orndorff goes face first into the cage three times. No color. Orndorff gets it a fourth time. Finally, some color. Heenan keeps Hogan from leaving the cage. Heenan takes nasty bump into the cage. Hogan gets out of the cage first for the win. Rating: ***1/2 Orndorff looked good, Hogan average. Interesting and creative finish, which boosts the rating.
Match No. 9 (3/29/87): Andre The Giant vs. Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania III. Detroit fans throwing all kinds of shit at Andre, who looks old and a bit frail. Hulk tries to slam Andre but can’t and he falls on him. Andre nearly gets the pin. Andre slams Hogan twice. And then walks on him. Andre somehow lifts his foot and Hogan runs into it. Andre backdrops Hogan onto exposed floor outside of ring. Hogan drops Andre with a clothesline. Hogan begins Superman comeback. He slams Andre. Does leg drop. And gets the pin. Rating: ***1/2 Average match, but rating is bumped up because of historical importance. Fans continue to throw shit at Andre after the match. RIP Andre & Joey Marella.
Match No. 10 (2/5/88): Andre The Giant vs. Hulk Hogan. Hogan gives the boot to Ted DiBiase and Virgil before the match. Andre slams Hogan. Andre chokes Hogan with the strap to his singlet. He fucks it up and the Dave Hebner sees it. Hogan floors Andre with a weak clothesline. Virgil grabs his leg. He leg drops Andre but Hebner is distracted by Virgil. Andre grabs Hogan from behind by the hair and headbutts him. Hebner counts to three despite Hogan’s shoulders being up. Andre gives the belt to DiBiase. Rating: *** Another average match.
4/1/88, Ted DiBiase loses to Randy “Macho Man” Savage
Match No. 11 (4/2/89): Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania V. Savage hides behind Elizabeth. Savage nails Hogan with double ax handle to the head. Hogan is bleeding. Not sure how it happened, maybe hardway. Savage all over Hogan, including running knee to the back. Superman comeback for Hogan. He throws Savage over the top rope. Elizabeth tries to help Savage and he gets pissed. This is probably a shoot. Hogan tries to run Savage into the post but Elizabeth blocks it. Hogan then gets the post. Elizabeth made to go to the back. Savage goes to the top turnbuckle and and hits Hogan with a double ax handle outside of the ring. Savage pounding on Hogan. Savage chokes Hogan with tape from his wrist. Savage hits elbow from the top rope. Hogan kicks out. Superman comeback again. Boot and leg drop and Hogan gets the pin. Rating: ***1/2 Pretty good match, Savage deserves most of the credit.
Match No. 12 (4/1/90): The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania IV. Warrior runs to the ring. He’s already blown up. Dumbass Gorilla Monsoon says he’s in great shape. Yeah, if you count the juice. Test of strength. Boring, but fans going crazy. No actual wrestling so far. Warrior clotheslines Hogan to the floor. Hogan’s knee is injured. Warrior goes after it. Hogan hits clothesline. Nearly gets pin. Warrior clotheslining the shit out of Hogan. Ref bump. Warrior hits ax handle from top rope. And a second one. Warrior hits backdrop but no referee to count pin. Hebner gets up, nearly counts to three but Hogan kicks out. Hogan does roll up but Hebner out of position. Hogan elbows Warrior over top rope. Hogan into the steel post. Warrior press slam and splash on Hogan. But he kicks out. Superman comeback. Hogan misses leg drop. Warrior pins Hogan with splash. Can’t believe Hogan did the job. Match picked up a bit at the end, but this wasn’t a classic. After the match, Hogan hands belt to Warrior, raises his hand and hugs him. Rating: **1/2
Match No. 13 (8/29/94): Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart in WWF version of steel cage. Owen attacks Bret at the bell. Davey Boy is shown ringside with terrible hear wearing Coke bottle glasses. Guys beating each other on top rope. Owen hits missle dropkick. Then nearly makes it over top of the cage. Shot of Stu and Helen Hart watching the match in the front row. Also, a shot of Niedhart. Owen pulls Bret from top of the cage and crotches him. Owen does Samoan drop on Bret. Shot of Bruce Hart at ring side. Owen takes a nasty header into the cage. Owen does a back suplex on Bret from the top rope. Owen hits piledriver on Bret. Owen takes nasty crotch drop on top rope. Bret slingshots Owen into the cage. Owen takes another header. Bret hits superplex on Owen from top of the cage. Owen puts Bret in sharpshooter. Bret reverses it. Bret wins as they are both outside of the cage but Owen gets hung up and Bret jumps to floor. Outstanding cage match. Long match, but it didn’t drag. RIP Owen, Stu and Davey Boy. Rating: ****1/2