WWF Rumble in the Bronx was a 1985 professional wrestling event held by the World Wrestling Federation. It is the 5th event in the alternate WWF Timeline. Emanating from Yankee Stadium in New York City, the show was broadcast as a primetime special on NBC, after MTV refused to air the show due to contract disputes with the WWF. The show featured a 30-Man Battle Royal which was a precursor to the Royal Rumble events which would begin in 1988. The main event was a "Winner Take All" Tag Team Title Match between Hulk Hogan & Andre the Giant and the World Tag Team Champions The Gargantuans (King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd). The match stipulated that not only would the tag titles be on the line, but if the Gargantuans won, the winning man would win Hulk Hogan's WWF title. The undercard of the show also featured Roddy Piper facing Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, Johnny V's Dream Team facing the US Express, and television champion Rocky Johnson defending against Nikolai Volkoff.
As The Gargantuans dominated the tag team division throughout the summer of 85, manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan decided to set his sights on World Wrestling Federation Champion Hulk Hogan, berating him in interviews and calling him "scared" of facing either of his giants. He challenged Hogan to find any partner in the world of wrestling to take on his two men, and Hogan returned by recruiting the "Eighth Wonder of the World" Andre the Giant. The first match between the two teams ended in a no contest, resulting in WWF Commissioner Arnold Skaaland making this match a "winner take all" affair in which all championships would be on the line.
After purchasing the contract of former Intercontinental Champion Greg "The Hammer" Valentine from Jimmy Hart, Luscious Johnny V began teaming Valentine with current IC Champion Brutus Beefcake as the Dream Team. After initial success in the tag team ranks, a #1 contenders match was set with the former tag team champions, Windham and Rotunda.
Following his victory at the King of the Ring, a special "coronation" ceremony was held on an episode of Piper's Pit, where King Piper was officially "crowned." This coronation was interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, who smashed the set of the Pit and broke the custom-made scepter over his knee while stomping on the crown. After a short feud with Bob Orton, Orndorff turned his attention back to Piper, and vowed to defeat him in Yankee Stadium. WWF Commissioner Arnold Skaaland also added a stipulation in which "Cowboy" Bob Orton would be locked in a shark cage at ringside, to prevent his interference.
The primary draw of the event was a 30-Man Over the Top Rope Battle Royal that was termed the "Rumble in the Bronx." The match would have an unprecendented $100,000 Winner's Purse, enticing many individuals to enter the match, including some newcomers to the WWF such as the Midnight Express and Terry Funk.
The first three matches of the card were "dark matches" in that they weren't televised live on NBC. These featured an 8-Woman Tag Team Match in which women's Champion Wendi Richter (teaming with Velvet McIntyre, Vivian Vachon and The Magnificent Mimi) was defeated by Mr. Fuji's newest female athlete, "The Empress" Hokuto, who teamed with Judy Martin, Sherri Martel and Leilani Kai. Former WWF Champion Ivan Koloff made a successful return against his old nemesis, Pedro Morales, while the team of The British Bulldogs successfully debuted against the Moondogs.
The first televised match was the tag team match between The Dream Team and the US Express. Valentine and Beefcake were a formidable team, but it was clear that the teamwork between Rotunda and Windham was better, as the US Express scored the victory and became the #1 contenders to their old tag team titles. Rocky Johnson then defended the WWF TV Title against Nikolai Volkoff, who's manager Freddie Blassie utilized his old tricks to gain the upper hand on the Soulman. Johnson appeared to have Volkoff beat, but a distraction from Blassie combined with him tossing his cane into the ring allowed Volkoff to use to foreign object against Johnson behind the referee's back, scoring the pinfall and winning the title.
Piper and Orndorff squared off next, with Bob Orton locked in a cage at ringside. This allowed Orndorff to finally get his hands on Piper, but the Rowdy Scot kept trying to find ways to escape Mr. Wonderful's grasp. Eventually he managed to get the upper hand, but Orndorff made a come back, inadvertently knocking out the referee in the process. This allowed Piper to get the keys to the cage, slipping them to Orton so he could escape and knock out Orndorff with his ever present cast, allowing Piper to pick up the victory after the referee came back to consciousness.
The Rumble match, one of the largest Battle Royals ever in WWF history, was next up and it was chaos in the ring as most battle royals are. The final superstars in the ring were Randy Savage, JYD, Terry Funk and Tito Santana. Santana and Savage fought one another to a standstill, before both were unceremoniously dumped out by Funk. The JYD and Terry Funk then did battle, with the Dog nearly tossing Funk out of the ring. However at ringside, Funk's manager Jimmy Hart handed him a branding iron, which Funk then used to knock out JYD before dumping him out of the ring and winning the match, and the $100,000 purse.
In the main event of the evening, the Gargantuans leaned on their size and did everything in their power to make sure Andre stayed out of the match. However Hogan's own strength led him to eventually slam Big John Studd and make the hot tag to Andre. All four men then broke out into a brawl, and when fellow Heenan family member Hercules got involved in the match, Special Guest Referee Pat Patterson called it a DQ victory for Hogan and Andre, allowing the Gargantuans to keep their titles. The show ends with Hogan and Andre celebrating together in the middle of Yankee Stadium.
|1D||Ivan Koloff d. Pedro Morales by Pinfall||Singles Match||6:57|
|2D||"The Empress" Hokuto, "Sensational" Sherri Martel, Leilani Kai & Judy Martin w/Mr. Fuji d. Wendi Richter, Vivian Vachon, Velvet McIntyre & The Magnificent Mimi by Pinfall||8-Woman Tag Team Match||10:11|
|3D||The British Bulldogs [Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid] d. The Moondogs [Rex & King] by Pinfall||Tag Team Match||8:11|
|4||The U.S. Express [Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo] d. The Dream Team [Brutus Beefcake & Greg "The Hammer" Valentine w/Luscious Johnny V by Pinfall||Tag Team Match||13:14|
|5||Nikolai Volkoff w/Classy Freddie Blassie d. "Soulman" Rocky Johnson (c) by Pinfall||Singles Match for the WWF Television Championship||10:49|
|6||"Rowdy" Roddy Piper d. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff by Pinfall||Singles Match||12:00|
|7||Terry Funk won the $100,000 Rumble in the Bronx||30-Man Battle Royal||20:10|
|8||Hulk Hogan & Andre the Giant d. The Gargantuans [Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy] w/Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (c) by Disqualification||Tag Team Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship (Hogan's WWF Title was also on the line)||21:09|
The Gargantuans would lose the tag team titles in an upset to former champions The US Express the following month at a house show, as John Studd would leave the WWF. Bundy would then move into a feud for the WWF Title. Terry Funk and the JYD would feud over the $100,000 Purse that Funk "won" at the Rumble in the Bronx. As a result of their loss and tension, Valentine and Johnny V would turn on Beefcake shortly after the event, challenging him for the IC title and turning Brutus face in the process.