WWWF/WWF #18 Page #2
The third time they wrestled in cage matches and no disqualification matches and bodyslam challenges, so Andre went on to win most of those matches (this was the basic run of all the hot feuds of the time; go around twice to no contests, and again in gimmick matches to end it, usually with the baby winning). But this feud was so hot, it would not cool down, so they brought it around again with tag matches, then six-man tag matches, eight-man tag matches, and at least a few 10-man tag matches, with the biggest thing about all of them being Stud on one side and Andre on the other.
Finally, by 1984 the feud started cooling down a bit, but instead of letting it die, the powers that be decided to rekindle it. Stud took on a regular tag partner in "Strongman" Ken Patera. They won several squashes on TV and went around the horn (I love that saying) meeting Andre and anyone he could find as a tag partner. Then they were scheduled to wrestle on TV against Andre and Special Delivery Jones. Every once in a while they tossed S.D. a bone and let him tag with someone like Andre on TV to maintain S.D.ís credibility as a capable competitor, so this was his bone for while. The match was going on as usual, Andre clowning with the two opponents (squashing them both in the corner, double noggin knocker, etc.) and S.D. "getting caught in the wrong part of town" before making the hot tag. But then they tossed out S.D. and the referee to double team the Giant. They double bodyslammed him, and both men dropped elbow after elbow until they rendered "The Eighth Wonder of the World" unconscious. Studís new manager, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, kept S.D. at bay, by kicking him out every time he tried to enter. Then they did the unthinkable. The weasely Heenan pulled out a pair of scissors and Stud and Patera proceeded to cut Andreís hair.
Now the feud was back with vengeance, and hotter than ever. Every time Stud and Patera were interviewed for upcoming matches, Stud carried with him a small plastic baggie with Andreís hair in it, and tossed a little on the floor when he talked. I saw this leg of the tour when Andre and Blackjack Mulligan met Stud and Patera in the Erie Civic Center. The match ended in the usual no contest of some kind, but memory fails me as to how.
When the first WrestleMania came around, the feud was still hot enough to book Andre and Stud in a $15,000 Bodyslam Challenge (the slam ransom was raised to $15,000 somewhere in there). But since that match already took place in most venues they had to up the ante a little. On TNT with Vince McMahon and Lord Alfred Hayes (god I hated that show), Vince was making a big deal that Stud was putting up $15,000, and Andre was putting up squat. So Andre got a little upset, grabbed Vince by the tie, and said if he couldnít slam Stud he would retire from professional wrestling. And there, fans, was the first hint that Andre was eventually turning heel, whether it was planned to give that appearance or not. This was very uncharacteristic for the usually "gentle giant." They gave the impression that the pressure of the Stud feud was really getting to Andre, and he was showing signs of cracking. If it was planned to give that impression, that is truly awesome booking. (When was the last time you saw an angle that was almost three years in the making? Hell today, a feud is hinted at before first commercial, executed at the hour mark, and finished before bedtime so the guy can make his baby or heel turn again next week.)
Iím sorry, do I seem bitter? Anyway, Andre literally squashed Stud like a bug at WM 1, slammed him with ease, and took the money. He threw a few handfuls of it out to the crowd, but just when you thought this feud was over and done with, Heenan, sneaks up from behind, grabs the duffel bag full of cash and makes like the Steve Miller Band to run to the back with it.
Here we go again. Patera was fired from the WWF for legal trouble, so Stud needed a new tag partner to continue with the feud. Enter King Kong Bundy. Bundy was a huge mountain of a man, who believe it or not, had a wrestling background (wrestled in high school or college, and was practically undefeated). Bundy was being given a monster push, based mostly on his tremendous size. He squashed S.D. Jones in a record nine seconds at WM, and was about ready for main events. So Stud is wrestling Andre in Torontoís Maple Leaf Gardens, and Andre really has him reeling, when Heenan starts waving someone to come down for help. Itís Bundy, who along with Stud, lay out Andre, and Bundy gives the Giant a series of big splashes, breaking a few ribs. Andre is out for a while, and King Kong Bundy is a household name, and changes managers from Jimmy Hart to Bobby Heenan.
When Andre returns, he has a new manager as well in the recently turned babyface, Captain Lou Albano. He meets Bundy one-on-one in MSG in a match dubbed "The Colossal Jossel" (boy I used to love those names theyíd come up with for matches back then). The match ends in a no contest, with Andre really getting hot under the collar, and showing more signs of turning heel (using chairs, threatening referees, etc.). But itís the same old song, who can Andre team with? This time they decide to give him a regular tag partner. So in the spring of 1985, they hold a "Manager of the Year" contest. Capt. Lou and Heenan are the best in the fed, and since Albano is a baby he was the shoe-in to win, and Heenan knows it. So he sets up a double cross, where by "proxy vote," all the heel managers, Blassie, Mr. Fuji, and Jimmy Hart, sent their votes to Heenan, who would win the honor. But upon hearing this, Hillbilly Jim (who was in this thing on the shaky grounds that he "manages" Uncle Elmer and Cousin Junior), "gave" his votes to the Captain. Heenan called foul (I guess it must have been on the grounds that "The Brain" used the word "proxy" while Hillbilly used the word "give."). Anyway, the Brain clocks Albano from behind with the "Manager of the Year" trophy (and what is a trophy in wrestling if itís not used to clock someone from behind?) Hillbilly comes to Albanoís aid, when who should come down but Bundy and Stud and they give the chicken farmer the same thing they gave Andre, injuring his ribs as well, and giving Andre a tag partner (yeah, I know, Hillbilly Jim in main events. I wonít say it, but I will think it).
Thatís it for now. Tune in next month and see: Andre the Giant donning a mask aíla The Midnight Rider; Hogan sport fake tears after his "childhood idol" rips the Hulkamania t-shirt off him on Piperís Pit; and half the WWF roster turn into machines, as the world of ridiculousness joins the ranks of pro wrestling.
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