The War To Settle The Score

by Stephen Von Slagle

February 18, 1985, New York, New York

Mr. T - Cyndi Lauper - Hulk Hogan -

Mr. T, Cyndi Lauper & Hulk Hogan

Following the unprecedented success of “The Brawl To End It All” seven months earlier, the second collaboration between MTV and the WWF, “The War To Settle The Score,” airs live on MTV. The unique television special was an unqualified success, surpassing its predecessor’s record-setting rating for MTV and expertly setting the stage for the upcoming WrestleMania 1 main-event. As had been the case with “The Brawl…”, the match took place at New York’s Madison Square Garden before a sold-out crowd of over 22,000 rabid spectators. And, as had also been the case with the previous MTV-WWF collaboration, the hour-long “War To Settle The Score” (which garnered a record-setting 9.1 rating) featured just one bout from the WWF’s monthly MSG card.

Alan Hunter - Gene Okerlund -

Alan Hunter & Gene Okerlund

In a foreshadowing of what was to come a month later at WrestleMania, the program was jam-packed with celebrity appearances and interviews. The pre-show, which was hosted by Gene Okerlund and MTV’s Alan Hunter, featured numerous brief sound bytes which advanced the “Rock & Wrestling” storyline. Top musical performers of the era such as Tina Turner, Ted Nugent, Patti Smyth (Scandal), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Andy Taylor (Duran Duran), Peter Wolf (J. Geils Band), Greg Kihn, and The Dictators’ “Handsome” Dick Manitoba all pledged their allegiance to rock n’ roll. Additionally, celebrities from outside the world of MTV, such as former Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, feminist activist Gloria Steinem, and pop-art legend Andy Warhol also shot pro-rock n’ roll snippets for inclusion in the special. Meanwhile, interspersed with the celebrity comments were short promos from a variety of WWF superstars, the majority of which came from heel wrestlers. Lastly, NBC’s Bob Costas, the nation’s best-known sportscaster at the time and a genuine celebrity in his own right, was the special guest ring announcer.

Paul Orndorff - Bob Orton, Jr. - Roddy Piper -

Orndorff, Orton & Piper

In the main event, WWF Heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan defeated “Rowdy” Roddy Piper by disqualification, with both Mr. T and Cyndi Lauper factored into the finish, thus setting the stage for their involvement at WrestleMania just five weeks later. Although the program ran an hour in length, the Hogan-Piper match itself lasted less than six minutes in total and concluded with Piper being disqualified when both Paul Orndorff and Bob “Ace” Orton interfered on the challenger’s behalf. As Hogan was suffering a two-on-one beatdown, Piper began physically threatening Cyndi Lauper, which prompted Mr. T to leave his ringside seat and defend the diminutive singer. After coming to Lauper’s aid, Mr. T then became involved in his first ever in-ring altercation, helping Hogan to chase the three heels out of the ring and back to the dressing room.

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