WWF Wrestling Challenge May 17th, 1987

May 17, 1987

From the Coliseum in New Haven, CT

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan (returning to commentary from the beating he received from Ken Patera and sporting a neckbrace) and Gorilla Monsoon

Tonight’s featured match is “The Natural” Butch Reed vs. Ricky Steamboat in a non-title match. Also in action will be Killer Khan vs. Outback Jack, Islanders vs. Killer Bees, and the Hart Foundation.

“The Natural” Butch Reed w/ Slick vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Reed attacks Steamboat as he enters the ring and attempts to take off his belt so he can choke him out. Reed suplexes Steamboat into the ring then chokes him out with his own jacket as Heenan rants about how he is not done with Patera. Reed briefly targets the back then tosses him through the ropes as Slick gets caught trying to hit him with his cane. Steamboat slides underneath Reed’s legs then chops him down but ends up running into a big boot. Reed works over the back and tries a press slam but Steamboat floats over and hits Reed with a back suplex as both men are down. They both get up then collide as they are down again. Reed heads up top but Steamboat slams him off of the top. Slick jumps up onto the apron to distract Steamboat, who follows him outside. He chases him around and into the ring then chops away at Reed. Steamboat tries a crossbody as Reed catches him but the momentum takes both guys over the top rope then Steamboat slides back in just before the ten count as he wins the match (6:08) *1/4.

Thoughts: Not much of a match. Reed was generally awful in the ring during his WWF run. Maybe he was hurt for most of it but is offense looked weak and he seemed blown up halfway through the match. Steamboat did not look too strong during the match.



Joe Mirto & Jack Miller vs. Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart

Neidhart runs through Mirto as we get an insert promo from Danny Davis, who says he is taking applications for his refereeing academy. Man, Davis was awesome as a heel. The way he delivered his lines was fantastic. Too bad he sucked in the ring. Back to the match as Miller gets his ass kicked. Speaking of Miller he has a beard and the most random rat tail I have ever see. He then gets put away quickly with the Hart Attack (2:10).

Thoughts: Quick squash for the Hart Foundation, who are without a team to feud with at the moment.



Gene Okerlund is with Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, who cuts a zany promo with many hair styling puns. Main point of this was to establish that Beefcake was 100% babyface and had fan support, which he did at the start of the gimmick.

Dave Wagner vs. Koko B. Ware

Koko takes down Wagner with an armdrag then rallies the crowd. Koko uses his speed to frustrate Wagner as the camera zooms in on Heenan and his neck brace. Koko clotheslines Wagner then hits a missile dropkick before getting the win with his Ghostbuster (2:20).

Thoughts: Poor Koko had nothing going on at this point, besides jobbing to Honky on the house show circuit. He came around about 10 years too late. His size hamstrung him a lot more in 1987 than it would have today.



Okerlund is with Jimmy Hart and the Honky Tonk Man. Okerlund asks Honky where his guitar went as Honky says he will not bring it out because of Okerlund “badgering” him into singing all of the time. Good stuff from Honky and Hart, who truly came off as a hateable duo.

Outback Jack and Killer Khan are in the ring for their scheduled match but Khan attacks Jack before the bell then chokes him out with Mr. Fuji’s cane as he screams like a lunatic. Several referees run out to break it up as Khan and Fuji leave Jack behind in the ring. Jack finally gets up as he clutches his throat. Designed to get Khan over as a killer and somewhat protect Jack, who was all but a lost cause at this point anyway.

Snake Pit with guests the New Dream Team and Johnny V. Jake talks about how the original is always the best. He then asks why they got rid of Brutus Beefcake as Johnny is hiding out with his hands over his head to hide the haircut he received from Beefcake two weeks ago. Jake then taunts the New Dream Team if they are next to receive a haircut from Beefcake as Johnny promises Beefcake will pay. Man, the New Dream Team just did not work. They never got over enough as heels. But they did have a role in getting Beefcake over as a face.

The Islanders vs. Killer Bees

Both teams shake hands before the match, prompting Heenan to call them “sissies.” Match starts with Blair and Tama going back and forth in a nice sequence. Haku and Brunzell tag in and trade moves until Haku shoves Brunzell down off of a break as Heenan talks about the Islanders missing the ability to want to hurt someone and if they had that they could be the Tag Team Champions. The Islanders work over Brunzell for a few minutes until Brunzell hits Tama with a shinbreaker. Blair tags and runs wild for a bit until Haku puts a stop to that. Blair hits Tama with the Bee Sting then tags Brunzell, who hits a dropkick, but Haku breaks up the pin. Haku tosses Brunzell to the floor then breaks up a pin attempt from Blair. The Islanders double-team Blair then Haku shoves the referee down when he tried to intervene as the match is ruled a DQ in favor of the Bees (5:32) **1/4. After the match, Tama climbs up top and plays to the crowd.

Thoughts: Really good action here. And the subtle heel turn of the Islanders continues. Tama acting cocky on the top rope after the match was a nice touch.



Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Billy Jack Haynes

Haynes slams Sharpe then hits him with an atomic drop. Haynes is then shown in an insert promo where he tells us he has no sympathy for Heenan and his neck. Sharpe attacks Haynes for a bit but misses an elbow drop as Haynes fires away. Sharpe reaches into his tights but Haynes ducks then gets puts him in the full nelson for the win (2:40).

Thoughts: These two seemed testy here and I’m pretty sure this was the match in which Haynes legitimately knocked out Sharpe backstage after it took place, with Haynes feeling Sharpe was shooting on him and not selling his moves. From what I saw, Sharpe’s offense looked stronger than usual and he seemed to not want to take the full nelson at all.



In action next week will be Hacksaw Jim Duggan, the debut of the One Man Gang and the featured match of Dino Bravo vs. Brutus Beefcake. Plus, the “Snake Pit” with the entire Heenan Family as the guests of the show.

Final Thoughts: Fun show this week. You had two competitive matches and they were pushing some newer acts. Heenan back on commentary made for some good banter between him and Gorilla too. The midcard was shaping up well at this point but the top of the card was getting really stagnant.

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Thursday: 1986 WWE Timeline as told by George Steele
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 5/23/87
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 5/24/87
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 5/30/87