September 7, 1986
From the Civic Center in Hartford, CT
Your hosts are Ernie Ladd, Johnny Valiant, and Gorilla Monsoon
This is the debut show of “Wrestling Challenge,” which replaced “Maple Leaf Wrestling.” This was still the “B” show to “Superstars of Wrestling” though.
In action tonight are the British Bulldogs, Paul Orndorff, Koko B. Ware, Adrian Adonis, and Danny Spivey & Mike Rotundo. Plus, the debut of the “Snake Pit” with Jake Roberts and his guest, Kamala.
For some reason, Lord Alfred Hayes is doing the ring introductions tonight. It was not a role that he did well. But, I’m sure that he just filled in and was not going to be a permanent thing.
Iron Mike Sharpe & Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji vs. U.S. Express
Rotundo & Spivey are now called the U.S. Express instead of the “American Express.” Muraco looks thrilled to be a part of this match. He starts by shoving Rotundo then they trade side headlocks as we get an insert promo from Superstar Billy Graham saying that he is coming back to the WWF as the U.S. Express work on the arm of Muraco. Sharpe tags and rams Spivey into the corner but gets backdropped then hit with a dropkick. Rotundo tags and catches Sharpe in an airplane spin but Muraco breaks up the pin attempt. Spivey comes in as Rotundo uses a small package on Sharpe but Muraco reverses it only for Spivey to reverse it back when the ref confronts Muraco and that gets the win (3:07).
Thoughts: Poor Muraco was established as just another guy in this match as his run near the top of the card has ended. He did not look happy at all out there. There was nothing wrong with the U.S. Express as a team but the depth was so great at this time and they did nothing that stood out besides carrying the American flag to the ring.
We get a promo from Randy Savage, who tells the fans that he does not appreciate when they go out of their way to applaud Elizabeth and that it should be channeled towards himself as they should get on the bandwagon of the Macho Man.
“Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/ Bob Orton & Jimmy Hart vs. Tommy Sharp
The crowd starts the “faggot” chant aimed at Adonis as Gorilla points out how Adonis is the heaviest he has been. Adonis takes down Sharpe as we get an insert promo from Orton who states how the conditions have improved since working for Adonis. Back to the match as they trade arm wringers then Adonis shoves Sharp to the floor as Gorilla questions the officiating of Danny Davis. Back inside, Sharp makes a comeback and attempts to whip Adonis from the corner but Davis intervenes. Hart jumps up on the apron and distracts Davis as Adonis tosses Sharp then has Orton come in and they hit a double-team move from the top as Davis was still distracted and that gets Orton the win (2:57).
Thoughts: This match was more about establishing Danny Davis and his questionable judgement as a referee than anything else.
Ken Resnick is now with Bob Orton and asks him about joining up with Adonis. Orton said he was offered more money and conveniences, along with faith, which is what Piper never did for him then accuses Piper of going off to Hollywood and not paying him as Orton said he will wear any color cowboy hat they give him as he is getting paid a lot of money. Orton says that it takes a man to walk around in a pink hat and he is the one who does it then takes credit for allowing Piper to say whatever he wanted because he was his bodyguard. They are setting up all the pieces for Piper to turn face.
Bob Bradley vs. Koko B. Ware
We are shown an insert promo of Koko as he is bouncing around while holding a boombox, telling everyone to do the bird. Koko fires up the crowd then hits Bradley with a crossbody that gets two. Koko then works a side headlock as Ladd points out how the female referee is doing a better job than some of the men as Valiant thinks she should be home washing dishes. Bradley takes control and beats on Koko in the corner. He slams him down and heads up top but Koko rolls away from a flying attack. Koko comes back with an elbow smash and a pair of dropkicks. He goes to the middle turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick before finishing Bradley off with a splash (3:04).
Thoughts: No idea why they didn’t make this Koko’s debut match on “Superstars of Wrestling” instead of teaming with Paul Roma. Then again, Koko was never really pushed all that much as a threat in the ring as he was mostly used to dance around and hype up the crowds.
Resnick now questions Jimmy Hart about needing a bodyguard and when he has a whole stable of wrestlers. Hart says that his men are all over the world and he cannot always be with them so that is why he went out and got Orton. He then said that the Flower Shop will live on forever.
Troy Martin vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff w/ Bobby Heenan
For those of you who do not know, Troy Martin would go on to become Shane Douglas. Orndorff continues to use Hogan’s “Real American” theme song. Orndorff tosses Martin to the floor as we get an insert promo from the Honky Tonk Man, who is upset at Orndorff for turning on his friend, Hulk Hogan. Orndorff goes outside and tosses Martin over the guardrail. He drags him back in and takes him down with a dropkick then finishes him off with a piledriver (1:49). After the match, Orndorff mocks Hogan’s poses as the crowd disapproves.
Thoughts: Orndorff completely dominated Martin here. Orndorff was still being pushed strongly as he was still facing Hogan at house shows at this time. Orndorff was a natural heel.
The Snake Pit with Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Jake dares us to enter the Snake Pit and brings out King Curtis Iaueka, Kimchee, and Kamala. King Curtis screams about how they traveled 22,000 miles to find Kamala in Uganda. King Curtis was annoying here and not in a good way. They are pushing Kamala strong though. The Snake Pit did not get off to a great start with this segment.
We are shown a replay of last week’s coronation ceremony of Harley Race from “Championship Wrestling.”
The Moondogs vs. British Bulldogs w/ Capt. Lou Albano
This is a non-title match. The Moondogs attack the Bulldogs before the bell. The Bulldogs fight back and whip the Moondogs into each other. Dynamite hits Rex with a snap suplex but Spot trips him up from behind. Spot tags and hits a suplex for a nearfall. The Moondogs use quick tags to isolate Dynamite, who hits a sunset flip on Spot for two but the Moondogs are able to maintain control. Dynamite then hits Rex with a crossbody that gets two. Dynamite hits Spot with a clothesline and tags Davey, who backdrops Spot. Davey then uses the double noggin knocker on the Moondogs as the match breaks down. Davey then tags himself back into the match and climbs up top and hits Rex with a crossbody for the win (4:25).
Thoughts: Match was fine but the Bulldogs have not really had a feud since they finished with the Dream Team. That would be changing in the coming weeks, however.
Resnick is with Jake Roberts and asks him about the movement to ban the DDT from wrestling. Jake believes that Ricky Steamboat is at the bottom of this then says that the DDT is cruel but fair and that it fits his lifestyle. He then brings out someone who shares his views and that person is Randy Savage. Jake talks about how everyone looks at rainbows as Savage say he has to point his finger at Jake because he freaks him out and has a great mind. This promo is so great that I have to show it to everyone:
Next week, Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff and Hercules Hernandez will team up in six-man tag action. Plus, Kamala, King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd, and Ricky Steamboat will all be in action.
Final Thoughts: Not a bad start. The Savage/Jake promo was money and too bad we didnt get to see them team up a lot in this era. The announcing was pretty bad though. Ladd seems like anice guy but was incredibly boring and just spouted of lame cliches. Valiant at least gave us a few laughs and was not as grating as he has been in the past. This trio only lasted for the first taping (they taped three shows at a time) as Ladd & Valiant would be replaced by Bobby Heenan, which was easily for the best.
Here is my schedule for the next seven days
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Bret Hart, Volume 1
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/13/86
Saturday: RoH Glory by Honor 10/5/02
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/14/86
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/20/86
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