The Machines (professional wrestling)
|Billed from||"The Orient"|
The Machines were professional wrestling stable that performed in the World Wrestling Federation in 1986 and 1987. The team consisted of well-known WWF wrestlers working under masks which strongly resembled that worn by Super Strong Machine (Japanese wrestler Junji Hirata) in New Japan Pro Wrestling at the time. The gimmick was very much tongue-in-cheek, as the identities of the masked men were obvious to the fans but frustrating to heels when they were unable to prove them. The Machines was the last tag team Capt. Lou Albano managed in the WWF until he returned in 1994 to manage The Headshrinkers.
After feuding intensely with André the Giant for more than a year, Bobby Heenan's Heenan Family challenged André and a partner of his choice to face King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd in a tag team match on April 26, 1986. When André did not show and was replaced by Ted Arcidi, Bobby Heenan launched a campaign to get him suspended from the WWF. After deliberating on the matter, WWF President Jack Tunney was forced to suspend him for missing the tag team match and subsequent matches against the Heenan Family. (This was part of a wrestling storyline, as André was touring Japan at the time, filming the movie The Princess Bride (in which he was a featured star) and beginning to battle health problems.)
Less than two months after the suspension was announced, vignettes appeared on WWF Television hailing the debut of a masked tag team from the Orient, known as "The Machines": Giant Machine and Super Machine. The team announced that they were coming to America soon with their manager Lou Albano and that their only mission was to prove that they were the number one tag team in the world. Super Machine was portrayed by Bill Eadie. His ring name was a play on his previous gimmick "Masked Superstar". Though it was clear that Giant Machine was none other than André the Giant, commentators sold that Giant Machine might be Giant Baba, and not André, under the mask. In televised interviews with Studd and Bundy, Studd would question the two smaller Machines being Japanese as one had a West Texas accent (Big Machine/Mulligan) and the other had a South Florida accent (Super Machine/Eadie). On the WWF show Tuesday Night Titans, Heenan claimed he knew of no Japanese wrestler who was 7'4" tall, weighed over 500 lbs and spoke with a French accent.
In the following weeks, Bobby Heenan made repeated claims that Giant Machine was André the Giant attempting to circumvent his suspension. To illustrate the obviousness of the ruse, Heenan went so far as to introduce his "New team from Korea" on an episode of Jesse Ventura’s "Body Shop". The team was merely King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd wearing paper bags over their heads. Heenan's claims led to Jack Tunney decreeing that if the Giant Machine was revealed to be André, André's suspension would become permanent.
On August 5 (shown August 23), The Machines made their WWF debut with Super Machine wrestling in a singles match while Albano and Giant Machine were at ringside. Later that night, Bobby Heenan sneaked around at ringside taking pictures of the Giant Machine to try to prove his true identity. One week later, Albano introduced a third Machine to the WWF: Big Machine, who was played by Blackjack Mulligan. André had been suffering from (legit) severe back injuries, and the introduction of the Big Machine character was meant to reduce André's wrestling role. "The Machines" angle was designed to put him in a lighter tag-team role. Due to the severity of the back injury, Mulligan was brought in to reduce André's wrestling role even further, thereby keeping the popular superstar on TV.
Big Machine and Super Machine wrestled the majority of the matches against Bobby Heenan's cronies, occasionally with Lou Albano joining them to face Bundy, Studd and Heenan in six man tag-team action. Soon, other masked wrestlers (whose identities were generally obvious) appeared and temporarily teamed with The Machines. On September 10, Big and Super Machine were joined by Animal Machine to defeat King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd and Bobby Heenan. On September 16 the Machines were joined by Hulk Machine as the trio defeated the Heenan Family. The Hulk Machine returned on September 22 and helped the Machines win in the main event at the Madison Square Garden. A few weeks later the Machines received help from the kilt-wearing Piper Machine. On a house show in St. Paul, Minnesota the Machines even got the help of Crusher Machine, pinning John Studd to gain the victory for his team. On October 28, The Machines wrestled their last match under that gimmick, a loss to Bundy and Studd. This also marked the last appearance as a manager in the WWF for Lou Albano.
After the Machines last match was shown on November 23, the angle was ended and André was announced as being reinstated on November 29. In the following weeks the mystery of why André the Giant was reinstated built up until it was revealed that Bobby Heenan had arranged for the suspension to end so he could turn on Hulk Hogan in the buildup to WrestleMania III. After the angle ended Eadie (Super Machine) was repackaged as Ax, one half of Demolition while Big Machine worked for the WWF as Blackjack Mulligan (Windham's best-known wrestling identity) in late 1986 and the first half of 1987 before leaving the promotion.
- Finishing moves
- The Machines: Andre the Giant puts on a hood and becomes the Giant Machine, and no one can figure out who he is. And um...yeah.
- Graham Cawthon (March 31, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(Shown: April 19, 1986) Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy as guests of the Piper's Pit in which they challenge André the Giant and a partner of his choice to face them the following week"
- Graham Cawthon (March 31, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(Shown: April 26, 1986) Hillbilly Jim & Ted Arcidi (sub. for André the Giant) defeated Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy via disqualification at 2:33 when Studd & Bundy illegally double teamed their opponents and attacked referee Gilberto Roman"
- Graham Cawthon (April 21, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(Shown: May 3) during the bout, Bobby Heenan did guest commentary and mentioned he was meeting with WWF President Jack Tunney in an attempt to have André the Giant suspended"
- Brian Shields (2006). Main event – WWE in the raging 80s (4th ed.). Pocket Books. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-1-4165-3257-6.
- Graham Cawthon (June 24, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(Shown: July 5) featured Vince McMahon interviewing Bobby Heenan in which he showed Heenan footage of Gene Okerlund finding the Machines in Japan, with the Machines saying they were coming to the WWF and would have Capt. Lou Albano as their manager"
- Graham Cawthon (June 24, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(Shown: July 5) Heenan was irate after seeing the footage and claimed that Giant Machine was André the Giant; during the closing moments of the show, McMahon & Bruno Sammartino speculated that Giant Machine was Giant Baba"
- Graham Cawthon (July 7, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(Shown: August 2) Heenan introduced two new wrestlers from Korea - King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd wearing paper bags over their heads; it was an attempt by Heenan to show how obvious it is that Giant Machine is really André the Giant."
- Graham Cawthon (July 15, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(Shown: July 26) Bobby Heenan then came in and said that André was obviously one of the Machines, with Tunney responding that if André was proven to be one of the Machines he would be suspended for life"
- Graham Cawthon (August 5, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(Shown: August 23) Super Machine (w/ Capt. Lou Albano & Giant Machine) pinned Tiger Chung Lee at 2:30 with a swinging neckbreaker"
- Graham Cawthon (August 5, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "Bobby Heenan was shown at ringside taking photographs of the Giant Machine, in hope of trying to prove that it was actually André the Giant"
- "André the Giant". Biography. 1999-01-13. A&E Network. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092322/.
- Graham Cawthon (August 28, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(Shown: September 16) Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, & Bobby Heenan defeated Big & Super Machine, & Capt. Lou Albano (w/ Giant Machine) via disqualification at 7:49 when Giant Machine interfered, as Studd was in the ring illegally, and single-handedly beat down and cleared the ring of the opposition"
- Graham Cawthon (September 10, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "The Machines & George Steele (as the Animal Machine) (sub. for Capt. Lou Albano) defeated Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, & Bobby Heenan"
- Graham Cawthon (September 16, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan (as Hulk Machine), Big & Super Machine defeated King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd, & Bobby Heenan"
- Hulkamania 2 (VHS). Hartford, Connecticut: Coliseum Video. 1986. Retrieved 2007-07-01.
- Best of the WWF Vol. 12 (VHS). Hartford, Connecticut: Coliseum Video. 1987. Retrieved 2007-07-01.
- Graham Cawthon (October 5, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "Big, Super, & Crusher Machine defeated Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, & Bobby Heenan when Crusher pinned Studd with a bolo punch"
- Graham Cawthon (October 28, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(shown November 23: King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd (w/Bobby Heenan) defeated Big & Super Machine (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) at 3:01 when Bundy scored the pin after Studd came off the top with a forearm blow (Albano's last match as a manager)"
- Graham Cawthon (November 19, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. "(shown November 29: included footage, via satellite from London, England of Gary Davie interviewing André the Giant, where it was announced that André had been reinstated"