WWF 1980s Title Changes
One of the more interesting things to note about the WWF in the mid-1980s, and I guess the NWA during that time to some extent, is that the heels never won a title cleanly, it was always a screwjob. These days, you've got Curt Hennig winning the U.S. Title from Mongo, Owen Hart winning the Intercontinental Title from (the face) Rocky Maivia, Giant beating Ric Flair for the World Title, all cleanly. Back then, even the faces often won the titles via a screwjob.
October 13th, 1981, Allentown, PA. Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito win the WWF World Tag Team Titles from Rick Martel and Tony Garea. Mr. Fuji threw salt in Rick Martel's eyes as he came off the top turnbuckle. That allowed the bad Japanese men to pin Martel and take the titles.
Did you know that Tony Garea was co-holder of the tag team titles five times with four different partners? Twice with Rick Martel, once with Larry Zbyszko, once with Haystacks Calhoun, and once with Dean Ho.
As for Mr. Saito, his dubious claim to fame usually is going to prison (along with Ken Patera) for attacking two police officers after throwing a boulder throught the window of a McDonalds in 1985 in Wisconsin.
November 15th, 1983, Allentown, PA. Rocky "Soulman" Johnson and "Bony" Tony Atlas win the WWF World Tag Team Titles from the Samoans. The end came when Lou Albano tried to chair one of the good guys, but chaired one of his own men, instead. In a terrible finish, Albano stood there biting his nails and stamping his feet instead of interfering while the ref counted the pinfall.
Interestingly enough, would you believe that from 1978 to 1983, in fifteen tag team title changes, 10 out of the 15 occurred in Allentown, PA?
November 25th, 1985, New York, NY. "The Spider Lady" defeats Wendi Richter for the women's world title. Wendi pulls off the mask after the match and reveals The Fabulous Moolah!
I wasn't really following women's wrestling at the time, but if I remember correctly, this was not the first appearance of The Spider Lady, but I think it was the first time that The Fabulous Moolah was under the hood.
I always noticed that the match had a weird ending...Richter powered out twice before the three-count, but referee Dick Kroll kept counting, anyway. Since then, a story that seems to now be taken as fact is that before that match, Wendi Richter has a falling out with Vince McMahon, not unlike Sable and Chyna. So, Vince immediately double-crossed her out of the title.
July 6th, 1985, Baltimore, MD. Tito Santana, climbing down the outside of the cage, kicks the cage door shut into Greg Valentine's face. He then drops to the floor to become the third man in history to hold the WWF Intercontinental Title twice.
After the match, Greg Valentine would destroy the belt in a fit of anger.
I was a big Greg Valentine fan at the time, so I was pretty bummed at the outcome of this match.
February 8th, 1986, Boston, MA. Randy "Macho Man" Savage reaches way down deep (into his tights) to pull out a victory over Tito Santana for the Intercontinental Title. It was a tough win for Savage, as Santana had worked on Savage's knee to the point that he was writhing in pain after the match.
I have three interesting notes about this match. First, I first heard about the result by reading it in the box scores of the Boston Globe. One of my college roommates was from Boston and got the Globe regularly. Somehow, I don't think the Globe covers pro wrestling anymore.
Second, Tito Santana obviously didn't do his homework. Three months earlier, in the WWF's first-ever Pay-Per-View, The Wrestling Classic, Randy Savage advanced to the semifinals by beating Ricky Steamboat in this exact same way.
Third, according to Wrestling Title Histories, Tito Santana continued to defend the title for two weeks after losing it, until the title change match aired on TV.