NWA World Championship Wrestling, March 8, 1986

We open with video of Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs. Dusty Rhodes & Ron Garvin in a tag team match. Rhodes puts Flair in the figure four. Anderson comes in to break it up, but Garvin nails Flair with the knockout punch and Dusty covers the world champ for the pin. The crowd pops huge as Garvin, Rhodes & Baby Doll celebrate.

Tony Schiavone & David Crockett are our hosts and they let us know there has been a “major title change”…

Read moreNWA World Championship Wrestling, March 8, 1986

NWA World Championship Wrestling, February 8, 1986

There is a two-week period in between the last show and this one. WWE Network is apparently missing the February 1 show. TBS also aired “Superstars on the Superstation” on February 7, with supposed “dream matches” that the fans voted for. It’s not on the WWE Network either, but Rock Star Gary provides a good review here. The Midnight Express defeated the Rock & Roll Express for the NWA World Tag Team Titles on that show, which brings us to tonight…

Read moreNWA World Championship Wrestling, February 8, 1986

The Ronnie Garvin Dilemma

Thanks to Scott’s awesome Observer recaps, there has been a lot of talk on the Blog of Doom about the bewildering decision by the NWA to put the title on Ronnie Garvin in 1987. I thought a historical perspective might shed some light on the state of Jim Crockett Promotions at the time, why this was such an atrocious idea, and what the WWE should learn from it.

Read moreThe Ronnie Garvin Dilemma

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1986 WWE as told by George “The Animal” Steele

This was released in 2012

The interview is conducted by Sean Oliver

It runs for two hours and fifteen minutes long

The interview starts with Steele joking around then Oliver asks him about the landscape of the company at this time. Steele talks about he came back to the full time in January of 1986 (he was wrestling part-time for the past few years) as he was teaching and coaching football and got burned out by that. Steele then talks about when he turned babyface on the first ever episode (during the first match too) of “Saturday Night’s Main Event” and how he started to eat the turnbuckles after the match and they sent Capt. Lou Albano in after him and then Steele put his head down in his stomach as the place went nuts for the turn, which Steele never thought would work, and when he saw that it did, he figured that he should come back for a full-time run. He then talks about how he was a cartoon character at that point and how they were selling toys and memorabilia rather than wrestling.


George is asked about Vince’s infatuation with hillbillies as Steele said that it was due to Hillbilly Jim’s popularity and how they decided to give him a family. Steele then tells the story of how Cousin Junior quit. Junior showed up to the arena in a limo, wearing a white tuxedo and smoking a cigar. He got out of the limo and told the agent that he had already made enough money needed for the rest of his life and that he was retiring as he stepped back inside of the limo and drove away.

He is asked about Hogan’s relationship with the rest of the locker room. Steele said he separated a little bit out of necessity but remained “one of the boys.” Steele said that Hogan was the guy Vince dreamed about as he had the look and the charisma and a good but not great worker. Steele said that he would build a company around Hogan as well.

Sean asks Steele about Terry Funk and if he struggled to fit in with the cartoonish product of the WWF. Steele laughs and said that Funk was always a clown and fit right in as he did his character well with the company. When asked if Funk should have been given a title run, Steele said no. Sean asks why as Steele talks about Hogan being so good that it was tough to do return matches at arenas with him because it has not believable that you could leave him laying twice. Steele then goes on about how great workers, like Funk, do not need belts and that the marginal workers do to help give them a jump start.

He talks about “Saturday Night’s Main Event” when he was at the water park as Steele tells a story about how he accidentally called NBC Executive Producer Dick Ebersol “Dave” and how that became a running joke whenever he saw him. Steele said he did it at first by accident because he is dyslexic. Steele then talks about Ebersol changing wrestling as he gave input into the shows such as scripting the matches themselves as he wanted the cameraman to know where the wrestler would be at a certain point in the match. Steele said he always called everything in the ring and how it was a struggle to adapt to this change, even saying that he just did what he wanted most of the time. He also puts over the announcing and guys like Gene Okerlund for helping make them all bigger stars.

On Lou Albano, Steele laughs and tells a story of how in his first run back in the 60’s, he rode around with Albano, who paid for his meals and took care of him. On the last day of his run, Albano gave him a bag filled with all of the bills that he took care of for Steele as a rib. Steele then talks about how Vince loved Albano, especially when he was wild as Steele recalls Vince telling him to get Albano a large bottle of vodka to liven things up when they were quiet.

Steele is asked about Adrian Adonis changing to the “Adorable” gimmick. He talks about how they were close and Adonis came up to him backstage at a “TNT” taping and told him to pay attention as he walked out and gave away his signature leather jacket. Steele said that Adonis thought of the idea himself and while he took a lot of ribbing from the locker room he loved the attention.


About his feud against Randy Savage over his love of Elizabeth, Steele said it was Chief Jay Strongbow’s idea. Steele talks about how it was natural as Elizabeth was gorgeous and Randy was extremely jealous in real life. Steele then talks about how difficult it was to work with Randy but not before putting over his work ethic and talent. Steele said he always improvised in the ring and Randy planned everything out. Steele says they clashed over that but part of that was due to the wrestling business changing towards the way Savage was operating. He then tells a story at a SNME taping where Savage gave him a notebook that had pages filled with details for their match as Steele ripped them out one by one and threw the pages in the trash as he told Savage to listen to him and they would have a good match. He talks about how Savage would even step between anyone talking to Elizabeth, during segments or backstage, just so they would not be looking at her.

On Savage becoming the Intercontinental Champion, Steele said that Tito would have made the better champ as Savage was such a good performer that he did not need the belt where as Tito was a great worker but needed a bit of a push. Steele then talks about how Randy and Tito were going to have a long feud but because of the popularity he had with his infatuation of Elizabeth, Tito ended up losing his run to Savage in favor for Steele.

When asked if it was Savage’s idea to make Elizabeth his valet, Steele said that the WWF wanted to bring in a model for Savage, who nixed the idea and said that he already had a model in Elizabeth. Steele then recalls how the first time Elizabeth came to the “Championship Wrestling” tapings in Poughkeepsie, NY, Savage made her practice how to get in and out of the ring without revealing too much of her legs and body about 200 times as Steele said it was brutal and that he felt bad for Elizabeth as he goes into how much Savage controlled her.

Sivi Afi, billed as the cousin of Jimmy Snuka, made his debut this month. Steele recalls standing next to Vince backstage during his Madison Square Garden debut as the place was going crazy as they thought it was Snuka but when the lights came on it revealed Afi and the crowd booed loudly as Vince commented how Afi’s career was now ruined. Steele then talks about how you can never replace a talent, who is over with another talent acting as a replacement, no matter how good a worker they as he says it is also a disrespect to the talent too. Steele said Vince Sr. never made that mistake but Vince Jr. has many times.

On Dory Funk coming into the WWF as “Hoss Funk,” Steele said that it was a case of Vince wanting control as he would tell the guys they could make a lot of money but it had to be done his way. Steele said it never worked and Dory knew that and left rather quickly. Steele then talks about how the business was changing as it was geared more towards television that all of the talent would come in as the TV would act as a monster and chew and spit them up as if you were not able to get over through TV, you were gone. He says the guys that lasted a long time, like Jake Roberts, were able to overcome all of that. Steele then talks about today’s wrestlers and how they are great athletes but lack the showmanship talent.


The first ever “Slammy Awards” air on March 1st. When asked if he had fun, Steele said while he resented it at first, he started to have fun and was making more money than ever. When asked if he received any royalties for the “Wrestling Album,” Steele said that he received nothing for both the recording or from royalties but it did pay in the long run as it got them more notoriety.

On Mr. T, Steele said that he had an attitude and did not respect the wrestlers or the business. He even believes that if he came along a few years earlier the wrestlers in the locker room would have destroyed him but at that point the business was changing. He also said that Hogan shielded him away from others in the locker room as well.

Steele talks about King Kong Bundy and how he challenged Hogan for the Belt at WrestleMania 2. He recalls a story of how Bundy, at this time, talked about how he was one of the top guys in the WWF as Strongbow started to laugh as he said top guys had 4-5 years while he had one shot at a top feud. Steele then tells another story of how when Bundy appeared in the WWF in 1985, he was standing next to Don Muraco and asked where they got this guy as Muraco told him that he used to do jobs for the WWF in the early 80’s with his brother and back then did not have a shaved head or eyebrows. It was after that when he went to Texas and Gary Hart managed him and suggested he shave his head and eyebrows when he became a star.

Ricky Steamboat and Bret Hart faced off against each other at the March 8th house show at the Boston Garden. Sean asks Steele why we do not see matches like this, between two great workers, happen more often. Steele said the answer is that they do not sell tickets as you need a hook to draw the crowd in and that babyface matches do not draw and that the Hart Foundation were not strong heels at that time.

Steele is asked about the “All-Star Wrestling” tapings being held in Brantford, ONT as he had no idea why the chose that location but tells a story about the Junkyard Dog taking a job guy and smashing his head off of the wall after a match. Steele and Albano grabbed JYD and asked him why he did that as JYD was pissed about the guy not selling his finisher. Steele said he saw the tape later and JYD was right then when the custodians went to clean the blood off of the wall, Steele told them to leave it there as it was a good reminder for people to see what would happen if they did not want to sell any offense during the match. He talks about how it stayed on the wall for about three shows.


They talk about WrestleMania 2 and how it was broadcsted from three different locations as Steele mentions how Vince was ecstatic that all of the different satellite feeds worked as he had a lot of money riding on the show and that he would have been broke if it did not go off. Steele then credits Vince for actually putting his profits into the product, specifically the production values as most promoters did not do that. When asked why Vince chose to have it take place at three different venues, Steele said that he learned a long time ago that in wrestling you have to make people talk and cites an example of how Vince had the Fabulous Moolah win a battle royal once by sneaking behind Greg Valentine and dropkicking him over the top rope as his point was that Valentine winning wasn’t going to garner any buzz and that Moolah would.

Sean asks Steele about the celebrities (as a scroll listing off all 18 of them appears on the screen). Steele had no idea who handled them. He starts laughing when asked about Ray Charles as he went into his room to meet him and turned on the light as Charles told him that he did not need that. Steele said that he was a great guy. On which celebrities got wrestling, Steele said Lou Duva and Joe Frazier got it but he was not around all of them. Steele tells another story of how his wife was at the hair salon and when asked why she was there, she said that she was going to a wrestling show as the hair dresser put her hand on her shoulder to feel sorry for her then a few years later, at the same salon with the same hair dresser, she was asked why she was there as she told them that it was for WrestleMania III as the hair dressser asked his wife if she could get her some tickets.

Steele is asked about his match at WrestleMania 2 against Savage. He said that it was originally supposed to be Savage against Tito but he got into the match due to the popularity of the Elizabeth angle. He is also asked about the main event, King Kong Bundy vs. Hulk Hogan in a cage match for the title as Steele said that he thought Bundy was in over his head. He said the match was alright overall but nothing he would go buy a ticket to see or anything.

He is asked about the Rougeaus as Steele said they were good workers but Jacques could be difficult to get along with. He said Raymond was great to get along with and talks about how he worked with their father.


He talks about Adonis again and how wonderful he was as the “Adorable” one but got carried away with the “nose candy” and couldnt help himself after that. Steele tells a story of how he wrestled Adonis, who took a bump to the floor and landed hard on his hip, then in the locker room, Adonis was crying due to the pain and had his makeup running down his face and as Steele tried to console him, Pat Patterson would walk up and make it seem like he was about to laugh, which would get Steele to laugh himself, then Patterson kept doing that as Steele talked about how Patterson pulled a lot of ribs in his day.

When asked about Jake Roberts hitting Steamboat with a DDT on the floor during “Saturday Night’s Main Event,” Steele said it was a great angle and talked about how George Scott was booking and overpushed some of the guys he brought in, like Steamboat, who were not getting over and once they held him back a little and started a feud with Jake he began to get more over with the fans.


George Scott was demoted from his role as head booker. Steele recalls once during a taping of “TNT,” Scott became disgusted over a segment then told Steele that Vince was going to do things to hurt the business and if he saw something that would in fact hurt it to pull Vince aside and tell him as Steele was close to Vince. Steele said that he wasn’t going to tell Vince then talks about the business was changing and that you could not knock success.

King Tonga (Haku) bodyslammed John Studd on an episode of “Championship Wrestling.” When asked about any stories about his toughness as Steele recalls a story while at a bar in Canada when some guy kept taunting Tonga about how he was not able to slam him. Steele said that a cop was there near the guy but Tonga picked him up anyway and slammed him near the cops foot. The cop then said that the guy was asking for it as Steele noted he didnt want any part of Tonga either. Steele said that he was a good guy who also loved his scotch. He also said that for some reason whenever they went all went out Tonga was the guy that would get challenged by bar patrons.

Steele talks about the Komodo Dragon that Steamboat carried with him as he said that the British Bulldogs would mess around with it and burn it with cigarettes and as a result Steamboat hated to pick it up because he never knew what the dragon would end up doing. Steele also tells a story of how the dragon escaped while in Connecticut and when it finally got caught it was several pounds heavier and the area had calls for missing cats and dogs.

On June 17th, Andre the Giant lost to Antonio Inoki in Japan. Sean asks Steele if Japan had to get permission from Vince for Andre to lose and he said that they did. Steele then tells a story about during a match Andre asked him to try a slam. Steele said he went over and attempted to pick him up but then acted like his back hurt and after that, Steele said that Andre came up to him backstage and put him over and always respected him for that. When asked about guys that Andre disliked, Steele said that he did not like Big John Studd, as Steele said Studd was dumb as Andre would tell him to not do certain spots that he did but Studd did them anyway. Steele said that Andre also hated the Iron Sheik and the Ultimate Warrior as Steele tells a story that happened a few years later when he was the agent for a Warrior vs. Andre match at a house show in Florida that was booked to have Warrior beat Andre in 14 seconds. When that happened, the fans booed as they felt cheated out of a match and started to rip up their Warrior posters and throw them at the ring. Steele called Vince to tell him what happened as he felt this would hurt both guys but Vince told him that they would shove this match down the fans throats and after three months of the same reactions it actually ended up getting Warrior over at the end.

Steele said that Billy Jack Haynes was a tough guy and had a good look but the machine swallowed him up. He then tells a story of how he ribbed Haynes once when he asked him if he was gay as the night before he saw Haynes’ girlfriend in the hotel lobby alone then asked Haynes would he had in his room. Steele said that Haynes blew up and talked about how he beat the shit out of a TV producer in Oregon to which Steele once again asked him if he was gay as Hillbilly Jim was cracking up in the car but also warning Steele that Haynes might actually act violent towards him.


Harley Race won the “King of the Ring” tournament in Foxboro, MA. Steele said giving Race the king gimmick was one of the biggest ribs in the history of wrestling as Race had to carry the crown and the robe everywhere he went.

About Paul Orndorff turning heel on Hogan, Steele said that he was much better as a heel then talked about how Orndorff was bipolar and always an inch away from going off of the deep end.  Steele does have a lot of respect for him. Steele then talks about how at one point Danny Spivey was going to be considered as a protege of Hogan then end up turning on him as Steele talks about how he helped devise an idea to have Spivey team with Hogan then one day come out with his hair dyed black and slap Hogan as he would then say how he was sick of being in his shadow but the story then went to Orndorff as Steele said that Hogan used some of their idea and brought it to that storyline. After being asked if Orndorff being difficult to work with cost him a run as the champion, Steele said that he gets a kick out of “smart marks” needing to think that the best worker needed the belt and that being in multiple territories also made you great as Steele said that just means you were unable to get over and stay somewhere and that you could put the belt on anyone and have them beat people but you cant make them into a good worker so he feels it is a waste to give a great worker a belt (The World Heavyweight Title).


Steele laughs when asked about Slick as he said the character was a joke but also gives Slick credit for doing a great job with the character.

On whether or not Roddy Piper returned to the WWF with an ego, Steele laughed and said that he had one before he left the questions to find a superstar who made it in wrestling without having a huge ego.

When asked about the Machines gimmick, Steele said they outright stole that from Japan and they were trying all sorts of things at that time.


He is asked about the change from taking the TV tapings from Poughkeepsie to on the road, Steele joked about how there were wires everywhere for cameras and everything else. Steele also talks about how the company was all about the production.

The final episode of “TNT” aired as Steele recalls how much fun he had doing those shows and joked that Vince backed out as host and put Mean Gene in charge so it would fail without him as the host.

Steele then talks about Superstar Billy Graham returning and how that did not work out. He then goes off topic and talks about how when Graham thought he was returning for a run on top, no one could follow Hogan without a big drop then brings up one guy who he thought could have followed Hogan with just a slight drop off years later was Sid Vicious, prefacing that comment by stating how people will probably laugh at him for saying that.

Steele said that the Honky Tonk Man brought in as a face was an instant failure and even thought coming back as a heel would fail as well but credits him or being the best at his gimmick and talks about how he had a ton of heat with the fans and nearly caused a riot in Panama City, FL as a result at a house show.


When asked about Vince proclaiming Tom Magee as his future World Champion, Steele talks about Vince being one of the best TV people there and great at merchandising but wrestling his just not his thing as he witnessed so many mistakes. Steele said Magee with a nice guy and a good “beer drinker” but thought Vince was on drugs when he thought Magee could be a champion then even questions if Vince said that as a rib as you never knew what he was doing.

Steele said that the Danny Davis as a heel referee worked then talks about how even though it might sound egotistical, Steele himself believes he was responsible for the far out and cartoonish ideas in the 80’s as when he turned and got over by acting ridiculous, Vince took things farther with other performers.


Steele laughs when asked about Outback Jack but did say he got over a little bit due to the vignettes but the TV ate him up quickly and also said he began to date one of the girls in the office and that was looked down upon and was the beginning of the demise. Steele also joked how the girl he dated was as attractive as Jack and wouldnt want to see what their children looked like.

He is asked about Tom Zenk as Steele said that he just didnt fit in with the locker room and was the type of guy who blamed everyone else for his failures.

On the start of the Savage/Steamboat feud, Steele said that he had his heart broken a bit being the manager for their WrestleMania III match because that was his hometown and he wanted to wrestle in front of the home crowd.


He is asked about the finish at “Saturday Night’s Main Event” (filmed in December 1986 but aired on January 1987) where both Orndorff and Hogan hit the floor at the same time after escaping the change and said that Orndorff’s feet really hit the ground first.

Steele talks about how at that same taping, he took Elizabeth backstage during their match but a few nights before, Vince wanted Steele to grab Elizabeth by the ankle and capture that on photo but Savage flipped out and thought that Steele and Vince were trying to rib him by doing that then JYD started to egg on Savage by telling him he should be asking if Steele would be laying on his belly or on his back, looking up her dress as Savage went ballistic. Savage also went nuts over Steele taking her away in the match as he wondered what the fans thought he would be doing to her. Steele then talks about how Savage being off of the wall made him a great worker.

Final Thoughts: Excellent interview. Steele was fantastic throughout and gave great insight mixed in with funny stories and gossip. Steele also displayed a great mind for the wrestling business too. He came off as a personable guy and did not have an agenda or an ax to grind.

As someone who recently watched all of the WWF TV and major house shows of 1986, Steele really was a huge part of the company and the crowd did love him. I thought he was a fine choice as the subject of the timeline. His close relationship with Vince also gave us some details that I have never heard before.

Overall, I highly recommend this interview. It is another fine installment in the KC Timeline Series and you will not be disappointed. Steele is an entertaining guest in general and keeps things moving along.

You can purchase this interview for $20 by clicking on the link below


Next week, I will be reviewing the classic RF Video Al Snow shoot interview from 1998.

WWF Wrestling Challenge December 28th, 1986

December 28, 1986

From the Community Center in Tucson, AZ

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

In action tonight will be Koko B. Ware, Kamala, Hart Foundation & Adrian Adonis vs. U.S. Express & S.D. Jones, and Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff & Butch Reed vs. The Islanders & Jose Luis Rivera. And the “Snake Pit” with special guest Andre the Giant.

Frenchy Martin & Koko B. Ware

Martin attacks Koko before the bell. He gets two with a gutwrench suplex then rakes the back of Koko a few times. Martin beats on Koko in the corner but whiffs on a clothesline and Koko hits him with a crossbody with Martin was completely out of position. Koko backdrops Martin then hits a back elbow smash as Martin looked gassed. Koko heads up top and hits a missile dropkick before getting the win with the Ghostbuster (3:07).

Thoughts: Martin was just as awful in the ring as he was at managing. They guy blew up in a friggin’ TV squash match for crying out loud. Way too much offense for him and that took the crowd out of the match.

Another vignette of Blackjack Mulligan on his ranch. Why they wasted all this time hyping up his return is beyond me.

Hart Foundation & Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart vs. U.S. Express & S.D. Jones

The Match starts with the U.S. Express cleaning house as S.D. just stands on the apron. Even Gorilla mentions that on commentary. The match settles down as we get an insert promo from Jimmy Hart referring to the Hart Foundation & Adonis as the “perfect trifecta.” Rotundo is trapped in the opposing corner and they all take turns beating on him until he comes back with a flying forearm on Bret  then tags S.D. as the match completely breaks down as Adonis puts S.D. in the sleeper for the win (3:34).

Thoughts: They are pushing Jimmy Hart’s guys as a strong unit. Wonder if S.D. was hurt because he barely did anything at all besides stand the entire match.

Ken Resnick is with the Rougeau Brothers and the plans they have for 1987. Raymond loves the competition in the WWF as Jacques thinks we should be thankful and celebrate the holidays and most importantly, do not drink and drive. The segment ends with the Rougeaus cutting a promo in French. 1987 ended up being pretty damn forgettable for them.

Bill Anderson vs. Kamala

Before the match we get an insert promo from WWF President Jack Tunney about how the banning of Kamala’s top rope splash is currently “under advisement.” Kamala beats on Anderson as the announcers plug the new “Official WWF Fan Club.” Kamala splashes Anderson then climbs up top and hits another splash for the win (0:34).

Thoughts: The WWF did a good job at making Kamala’s splash the most devastating move in the company. This meant it would mean even more when Hogan kicked out of the move during their series of matches.

Resnick is with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and puts over how he is devastating. Roberts cuts his usual promo but he was so convincing in everything he said that it worked.

We now see Anderson getting stretchered out as Kamala is following him up the ramp. Kamala then has a standoff with King Kong Bundy, who was coming out for his match.

King Kong Bundy w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Pedro Gonzalez

Johnny V. has replaced Heenan on commentary. Bundy tosses around Gonzalez before hitting him with the Avalanche as the ref counts to five for the win (0:58).

Thoughts: Same old stuff with Bundy, who was doing nothing at this time except getting challenged by wash-ups (Mulligan, Graham) in vignettes. After WrestleMania 2 it was all downhill for him.

Snake Pit with guest Andre the Giant. The fans go nuts for Andre as he waves to the crowd. Roberts asks him about Damien as Andre refers to it as a garter snake. Roberts then cuts to the chase and asks him about how he got reinstated as Andre tells him it is a mystery. They did a great job at dragging this out with Andre acting vague and only giving one-word answers.

Dino Bravo w/ Johnny V. vs. Alex Knight

Bravo is now sporting Canadian flag trunks. He puts Knight in a front facelock as Heenan avoids all questions from Gorilla about Andre’s reinstatement. Back to the match as Bravo hits a gutwrench suplex and a leg drop before tossing Knight to the floor. We get an insert promo from referee Dave Hebner who says that Danny Davis is “unfit” to be a referee. He tripped all over his line there. Bravo keeps tossing Knight to the floor as the crowd is silent. Knight comes in but Bravo blocks his monkey flip attempt with an inverted atomic drop then gets the win with a back suplex (3:18).

Thoughts: Dull stuff. The crowd barely even bothered to boo Bravo after he won. The announcers spent most of this match talking about other things going on in the company.

Another vignette from Outback Jack as he is taking a shower while singing his theme song.

“The Natural” Butch Reed & Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Islanders & Jose Luis Rivera

Haku slams Sheik a few times as we get an insert promo from Slick as he denies ever committing outside interference. Rivera lands a few moves to Rivera but gets booted in the face on a backdrop attempt. The heels use quick tags to beat on Rivera until Reed gets the win with a press slam (3:26).

Thoughts: Most of this was the heels beating on Rivera, who was obviously the one who was going to get pinned here.

Resnick is with Jimmy Hart and asks him about his new client, the Honky Tonk Man. Hart says he just signed a contract with Honky and that he recounted the “Vote of Confidence” with Jack Tunney and found out that he was wrong. Resnick doubts Hart then Honky comes out and talks up Hart and puts down Tunney for not standing behind him. He also thinks that deep down the fans love him. Good job starting the Honky/Hart dynamic as they were annoying as fuck and the crowd hated them both.

Next week is the “Year in Review” show. I will not be reviewing that show and will skip ahead to the 1/11/87 show.

Final Thoughts: Andre’s first live appearance in months was cool but this was mostly a throwaway show. Things would get a lot more interesting as 1987 began when the road to WrestleMania III got underway.

WWF Superstars of Wrestling December 27th, 1986

December 27, 1986

From the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and Vince McMahon.

In action tonight will be Randy Savage, Adrian Adonis, and a six-man tag featuring the Dream Team & Dino Bravo vs. Hillbilly Jim & Tito Santana & Pedro Morales plus a look at the career of Andre the Giant.

Nick Kiniski vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/ Elizabeth

Kiniski starts the match by taking Savage down with an arm drag then grounds him with a headscissors. Danny Davis is shown in an insert promo saying he doesn’t care about the fans and only pays attention to the action in the ring. Kiniski hits a Thesz Press for then Savage rolls outside for a  breather. Back in the ring, Kiniski backdrops Savage then fires away in the corner. Dropkick gets just one then Davis stops him from beating on Savage. Kiniski tries a crossbody but Savage ducks that then boots Kiniski out of the ring after kicking out of a small package. Savage rolls Kiniski back inside and slams him down before putting him away with the flying elbow drop (3:28).

Thoughts: Kiniski got a lot of offense here. He had a good look and was passable in the ring but lacked charisma thus never rising above jobber status. The fans weren’t even into him as much as you think they would be. The announcers talked about Steamboat at the beginning of the match but that was all.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s subject is the Steamboat/Savage feud as we get a clip of Savage injuring Steamboat then we hear from Steamboat at home as he struggles to speak. Steamboat’s acting was very, very bad.

Jesse Ventura interviews B. Brian Blair as he show a video clip of him running his wrestling academy for kids that is associated with the police department in Tampa. Ventura then tells him he should teach kids important things in live such as dressing like himself.

Dream Team & Dino Bravo w/ Johnny V. vs. Hillbilly Jim & Tito Santana & Pedro Morales

Valentine and Jim trade shots in the corner to start. Jim catches Valentine with a headscissors then the face team makes a few quick tags. Valentine ducks outside after Tito attempted a figure-four then Beefcake tags and gets beat on for a minute. Valentine and Tito are slugging it out in a nice sequence until Valentine ducks a flying forearm attempt. He tries a figure four but Tito stops that then makes the hot tag to Pedro, who beats on Bravo. Then, in a terribly contrived spot, Pedro uses a double noggin-knocker on Bravo and Johnny V then Bravo just ducks through the ropes and stands on the apron as Pedro attempts to suplex him back inside but Johnny V pulls the leg of Pedro and Bravo falls on top and gets the win (3:49).

Thoughts: These six-man tags between these guys were going nowhere. The fans still loved Tito and went nuts seeing him face off against Valentine as their feud was still fresh on their minds, despite ending two years ago.

Ken Resnick is with the British Bulldogs. They promise that 1987 will be even better than 1986 and welcome all challengers for their Tag Team Titles.

Another Blackjack Mulligan vignette from his ranch. The same its been for the past two months.

Lord Alfred Hayes narrates a review of Andre the Giant’s career as we get clips of him from various matches and interviews. Hayes also talks about how Andre was recently reinstated into the WWF and we are shown the interview he had with Jesse Ventura. The segment ran about 5 minutes long as was a nice recap of his career as he was about to re-enter the WWF.

Resnick is with Randy Savage and asks him how promoters think he has gone too far for what he did to Steamboat. He then talks about his opponent in Boston, Bruno Sammartino, and how he is a punk and that he will end his career once and for all.

A replay of Jesse Ventura trying to intimidate the Can-Am Express but they just laugh at him.

“Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart vs. David Gold

Adonis knocks down Gold then picks him up and puts him away with the Good Night Irene (Sleeper) as he gets the win (0:35). Adonis roughs up Gold after the match.

Thoughts: Very quick win for Adonis, who looked like a major threat here and not a joke.

Piper’s Pit with guests Bobby Heenan and Hercules. Heenan tries to tell Piper that Hercules made Hulk Hogan tap on “Saturday Night’s Main Event” then puts over his strength and how he can tear down anything so Piper asks Hercules to tear off his chain but Heenan stops him.

Moondog Spot & Tim Patterson vs. U.S. Express

Before the match we get an insert promo from Don Muraco & Bob Orton who are not impressed with the U.S. Express. They are stuck feuding with the lower ranked tag teams now. Spot and Rotundo trade arm wringers to start. Spivey tags and he goes to work on the arm of Spot as Vince disses Jesse for being unable to get any information about Andre the Giant. Patterson tags as Spivey catches him with a dropkick then a slam. Rotundo tags as Jesse promises he will get the information out of Andre next week then Rotundo catches Patterson with an airplane spin for the win (1:37).

Thoughts: Just time filler here as the U.S. Express were an afterthought.

Ventura asks WWF President Jack Tunney if he will ban Kamala from coming off of the top rope. Tunney said he would like to but then would have to ban everyone else who comes off of the top so he will not be banning him, much to Jesse’s delight.

Another vignette of Outback Jack in the swamp as he says the only place left for him to go his the WWF.

Sivi Afi vs. King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan

Before the match we get an insert promo from Junkyard Dog who says that this is a free country and he does not have to bow down to anyone. Race avoids a crossbody from Afi then drops a pair of elbows before getting the win with the cradle suplex (0:37).

Thoughts: They teased a feud between JYD and Race with an insert promo but that was the only thing you could take away from the match.

Resnick is with Lanny Poffo, who comes out wearing a full suit of armor. He wore that for the Bunkhouse Battle Royal that was featured on a Coliseum Video Tape. Dick Slater comes out and rambles on about driving up to the “Northern land” in his pickup truck so he can take home the $50,000 prize. Blackjack Mulligan comes out and talks about how his grandfather started the first bunkhouse match in 1887 and promises to win. Well, he did.

Next week is the 1986 Year in Review show. I will not be reviewing that episode.

Final Thoughts: Not much of a show this week. They did a great job treating Andre’s eventual return as a huge deal and teased a new feud between JYD and Race but that was really all that happened. At least the company has some good feuds heading into the new year as the road to WrestleMania III was slowly starting to heat up.

WWF Wrestling Challenge December 21st, 1986

December 21, 1986

From the Community Center in Tuscon, AZ

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

In action tonight are the Honky Tonk Man, Hercules, and the main event of Hillbilly Jim & British Bulldogs vs. Moondog Spot & Dream Team

Honky Tonk Man w/ Jimmy Hart vs. “Leaping” Lanny Poffo

Poffo recites a pre match promo about Honky being a poor excuse of a Elvis impersonator then hip tosses him out of the corner. Poffo takes him down with a flying headscissors then Honky ducks outside. Back in the ring Honky takes control and targets the neck. Poffo fights back but Honky catches him with a clothesline then gets the win with the Shake, Rattle and Roll (1:42).

Thoughts: Surprisingly, the was not a lot of heel heat for Honky here. Regardless, his heel push was still in its infancy and he would continue to get opportunities.

Gene Okerlund is with two doctors as he asks them their opinions on whether or not Ricky Steamboat can return to the ring. One says that he can while the other says he should not.

Mike Lucca & Dennis Stamp vs. Rougeau Brothers

The Rougeau’s work over Stamp to start the match as we get an insert promo from the Rougeau’s wishing us a Merry Christmas in both English and French. Lucca tags and gets hit with a double dropkick and shortly after that the Rougeau’s put him away with the Rougeau Bomb (2:16).

Thoughts: The Rougeau’s were booked as a bland babyface team and were basically a better in-ring version of the U.S. Express.

Ken Resnick is with Hillbilly Jim and thanks him and his granny for their Thanksgiving dinner, especially the possum pudding and the catfish fritter. Jim then talks about how he has had a good year hanging with his friends and will have a “musical Christmas” and Resnick wants to come along and bring a special friend because granny will be cooking. The first of many Holiday themed backstage segments on this show.

Yet another vignette of Blackjack Mulligan at his ranch. Holy shit did they air a ton of these.

David Gold vs. Hercules w/ Bobby Heenan

Johnny V. has replaced Heenan on commentary. Hercules starts by having a tug of war with his chain and shows off his strength by using one hand to send him into the corner. The announcers talk about Danny Davis, who is the referee for this match, as Hercules destroys Gold. He knocks Gold to the floor then throws him back in and applies a chinlock then softens him up some more before getting the win with the backbreaker (2:59).

Thoughts: Hercules was getting a solid push here as a power wrestler and did okay for himself in that regards. He would get better as an in-ring performer as time went on too.

Resnick is with Tito Santana and asks him about his goals for 1987. Tito’s first priority is to get another shot at the Intercontinental Title and that Randy Savage better be in shape when the time comes. Hopefully Tito can start wrestling in some meaningful matches.

Jesse Ventura is with Andre the Giant and asks him what happened at his hearing and how the suspension got lifted as Andre said its none of his business as Jesse is beside himself over the fact he cannot get any information. They really did a great job with this angle as they slowly made Andre seem heelish with each passing week but not enough to really notice at first. This story is even more brilliant in hindsight.

Kevin Collins & Buddy Ryder & Tim Patterson vs. Billy Jack Haynes & Pedro Morales & Hillbilly Jim

Ryder looks like he traffics meth. We get an insert promo of Jim saying hi to granny. The match starts with Haynes grounding Patterson. Jim tags and sucks up to the fans then in a terrible looking spot, Collins tries to sneak attack him but runs into an inadvertent clothesline. The idea of the spot was fine, the execution was not. Pedro and Ryder are in now as Pedro hits a backbreaker. Patterson tags as the fans are into this match. The faces then all take turns beating on Patterson until Haynes makes him submit to the full nelson (4:32).

Thoughts: Enjoyable match that the fans liked featuring three guys without any feuds going on so the pairing made sense at least.

The Snake Pit with guests King Harley Race and Bobby Heenan. This really didn’t go anywhere at all to be honest as Race was failing in the role.

We now see the Junkyard Dog down on his hands and knees talking to Matilda and even rubbing his head against his. JYD looked like he was on a lot of cocaine here.

Moondog Spot & Dream Team w/ Johnny V vs. British Bulldogs & Junkyard Dog

Heenan is back on commentary. Before the match we get a funny insert promo from Johnny V about how he hates all types of dogs. Match starts with Davey hitting Spot with an atomic drop. Dynamite and Valentine are in now and trade chops until Dynamite hits a snap suplex. JYD tags and hits a crawling headbutt as Valentine begs for mercy. Dynamite tags and beats on Brutus until he gets hit with an inverted atomic drop as the heels beat on Dynamite until he knocks down Spot and makes the tag to JYD, who gets the win with a powerslam (3:25).

Thoughts: Decent in ring action in this one. Really not much more to add other than that.

Resnick is with Lanny Poffo who recites a promo about George “The Animal”  Steele then welcomes him out. Steele keeps saying “no” then tells us that all of the heel managers gave him their action figures but he does not like them then as Poffo recite a promo about Christmas then after that Steele writes a promo. Lots of wackiness here. It was entertaining though.

Next week in action will be Koko B. Ware, Kamala, and the Hart Foundation & Adrian Adonis vs. U.S. Express & S.D. Jones. Plus, Andre the Giant returns as the guest on the Snake Pit and much more.

Final Thoughts: A looser show due to the Holiday segments but it was all in good fun. The Andre storyline got advanced and nothing here was bad so it was fairly enjoyable overall.

WWF Superstars of Wrestling December 20th, 1986

December 20, 1986

From the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino, Jesse Ventura, and Vince McMahon

In action tonight will be Kamala, King Kong Bundy, Killer Bees and the featured match of Cowboy Bob Orton & Don Muraco vs. The Islanders.

Cowboy Bob Orton & Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji vs. The Islanders

Both teams start brawling as soon as they get into the ring. Haku then gets double-teamed but comes back with a clothesline on Orton and makes the tag to Tama, who is a house of fire. Muraco knees Tama in the back from the apron and hits a swinging neckbreaker. Orton tags but misses a top rope move and Tama is able to make the tag. Haku beats on Orton then hits a sunset flip that gets broken up by Muraco as the mach breaks down. Haku takes out Orton with a flying body press but Muraco hits him with a flying knee drop and tries to roll Orton on top of him then the referee rings the bell as the Islanders win the match via DQ (2:54). After the match, both teams brawl on the way back to the dressing room.

Thoughts: Looks like these teams will be feuding now, which at least gives them something to do. Orton & Muraco did not have on the kilts to mock Piper as they are now seemingly out of that feud.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s topic is Ricky Steamboat as they show the clip of Savage crushing his throat with the timekeeper’s bell. Then after that they show the infamous clip of him trying to speak again but being unable to as he gets frustrated and pounds on the desk. The Steamer wasn’t much in the acting department, that’s for sure.

Pedro Gonzales vs. Kamala w/ Kimchee & The Wizard

Before the match we are shown a promo from Jack Kruger, the jobber that Kamala squashed last week. He actually cuts a pretty damn good promo about how devastating Kamala’s splash is and that he will never step into the ring against Kamala ever again. Well, he wasnt always a WWF jobber and wrestled as Sheik Ali Kassan and held tag titles in the Central States territory. Back to the match as Kamala has Gonzales in a lifting chokehold then slams him into the mat. Kamala slams Gonzales then hits him with a splash before climbing up top and hitting another splash for the win (0:56).

Thoughts: They did a great job at making Kamala look like an unstoppable monster and Kruger cut one hell of a promo too.

Ken Resnick is Randy Savage, who will be facing Bruno Sammartino at the Boston Garden on Jauary 3rd. Savage says that he is number one now and if he was around back when Bruno was active, he’d been #1 too.

Gonzales is shown being carried out on a stretcher.

Yet another vignette of Blackjack Mulligan at his ranch. Its been several weeks of the same exact thing. The re-introductory vignettes might have lasted longer than the comeback itself.

Jose Luis Rivera vs. Honky Tonk Man w/ Jimmy Hart

The debut of Jimmy Hart as Honky’s manager. Honky knocks down Rivera as Jesse is asked about Andre the Giant’s reinstatement and he claims he is unable to track down any information on how the hearing went down. Honky shows a lot of arrogance as he taunts the crowd. Honky then hits him with a clothesline before putting him away with the Shake, Rattle, and Roll (1:30). After the match, Honky gets on the mic and taunts the fans and gets a lot of heel heat in the process.

Thoughts: The fans still hate Honky. He didn’t need Hart to get heel heat but they made it work as Hart’s obnoxiousness went well with Honky’s taunts and mannerisms. They really were one hatable duo.

Resnick is with Jim Neidhart and asks him about the Bunkhouse Battle Royal in Boston. He mocks the other wrestlers about what they might wear to the ring then laughs as he says what he is wearing will be different. Neidhart is insane and this promo is proof of that.

Savage cuts a promo on Steamboat and makes fun of him for not being able to speak. Vince is outraged on commentary.

King Kong Bundy w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Steve Gatorwolf

Bundy squashed Gatorwolf several months prior on “Saturday Night’s Main Event” in a match that was taped at this very same building. Gatorwolf starts off the match hitting a few chops but Bundy tosses him in the corner and roughs him up then hits the Avalanche for the win after asking the referee to count until five (1:21).

Thoughts: Bundy is back on TV for the first time since the Machines gimmick finished but he never got near the top of the card again. Gatorwolf was a shitty wrestler and a far worse human being.

Piper’s Pit with guests the Hart Foundation and Jimmy Hart. Piper refers to them as the #1 contenders for the Tag Team Titles then has a few dog toys on the table that he uses to mock them. Piper asks them if Danny Davis is in fact part of the Hart Foundation and the deny the allegation. Not much of a segment here.

“The Natural” Butch Reed w/ Slick vs. Jerry Monti

Before the match, we get an isert promo from Reed and Slick where Reed tells us how mean he is then has Slick spell it out mean for us a “R-E-E-D.” Reed beats down Monti then rams him into the corner. Reed slams Monti off of the mat as all the announcers talk about his abilities then finishes Monti off with a flying clothesline from the middle turnbuckle (1:17).

Thoughts: Reed is now acting more aggressively than before as he has toned down the posing and taunting but he still was struggling to get over as a heel. He did have all the tools to be a star though.

We get a replay of Heenan blowing off Ventura when he asked about what took place at the Andre the Giant reinstatement meeting. The Andre stuff was great as you were pretty sure that Heenan was the one who got Andre’s suspension lifted but they still made you have some doubts. They milked this all to perfection.

Hogan cuts a promo telling us to wear our seatbelts, saying its the most important belt you can put around your waist.

Another Outback Jack promo as he hangs out with some local Aborigines. This lasted about 30 seconds long.

Buddy Ryder & Mike Lucca & Dennis Stamp vs. Koko B. Ware & Killer Bees

Oddly enough, Koko got his entrance by himself as the Bees were already in the ring with everyone. Well, the entrance was over. Koko even comes out wearing a Bee mask too, much to Vince’s delight. The Bees work over Stamp then tag Koko. He backdrops Stamp then knock Lucca off of the apron. Stamp continues to get worked over then his teammates make the save during a pin attempt. Ryder tags and Koko hits him with a thump as Lucca tags into the match. Brunzell also tag and gets two with a dropkick as Stamp & Ryder make the save then the match breaks down as Koko tries to sneak a cover but the referee stopped him as Jesse mentions how even Hebner can’t be that stupid to fall for that. Then as Hebner orders Koko back to the apron, Blair comes in and catches Lucca with a kneelift and gets the win (2:59). After the match, Koko teaches the Bees how to do the bird as Vince screams “GIT DOWN WITH THE BIRD!”

Thoughts: The main focus here was on Koko, who was still in the midst of a minor push and getting over too. The fans really dug him and Vince put over the dancing like crazy on commentary.

Resnick is backstage with Bruno Sammartino and asks him about his match against Randy Savage in Boston. They then show the clip of Bruno backstage after Savage attacked Steamboat as Savage himself mocked Steamboat, prompting Bruno to attack him. Sammartino then says that Savage will regret when he gets into the ring with him and is only out to expose him for the punk that he is and not for his IC Title. Good stuff from Bruno.

Next week we will get a special tribute to Andre the Giant. In action will be Randy Savage, Adrian Adonis and our main event of Dino Bravo & Dream Team vs. Hillbilly Jim & Tito Santana & Pedro Morales

Final Thoughts: The main angles are still going strong as we have another productive episode of “Superstars of Wrestling.” The only knitpick so to say are that these vignettes for Mulligan and Jack are getting tiresome. But other than that, they are giving the Steamboat/Savage feud a ton of airtime as they have been dominating the TV shows for the past month. And for historical purposes, the singles heel run for Honky with Jimmy Hart started on this show. The WWF was doing a solid job at TV.

WWF Wrestling Challenge December 14th,1986

December 14, 1986

From the Metro Centre in Rockford, IL

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

In action tonight will be Randy Savage, Butch Reed, U.S. Express, and Adrian Adonis.

Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/ Elizabeth vs. Mario Mancini

Mancini surprises Savage by taking him down. He then backs Savage into the corner as the announcers talk about what Savage did to Steamboat as Heenan makes a joke about Steamboat being unable to help out his wife with the housework. Mancini eats a knee on a charge then gets tossed to the floor. Savage follows him out with a top rope double axe handle then rolls Mancini inside to hit another one as we get an insert promo from Savage dissing Steamboat then he gets the win with a flying elbow smash (1:24).

Thoughts: They really kept the Steamboat/Savage storyline going strong even with Steamboat off of TV. This feud was red hot.

We get a “Wrestler’s Rebuttal” from Kamala and the Wizard, who screams about Kamala not being in the lastest issue of WWF Magazine. Enough of the Wizard.

Jack Tunney lets us know that Andre the Giant has been reinstated into the WWF and only tells us how Andre no-showed the meeting and Bobby Heenan was there. You could easily tell that something fishy was going on about Andre’s suspension being lifted and the WWF did a great job at keeping the fans in suspense.

Bobby Colt & Steve Lombardi vs. U.S. Express

Gorilla asks Heenan about Andre and he just dodges the question. Lombardi and Rotundo briefly go back and forth until Rotundo takes him down with a flying headscissors. He hits an atomic drop then tags Spivey, who also hits an atomic drop. Colt tags but Spivey takes them both down with a crossbody block. The announcers talk about how referee Danny Davis’ license expires in April as Colt takes a beating before getting put away with the bulldog (2:20).

Thoughts: The U.S. Express fell by the wayside at this point as their were a lot of teams better than them and the fans were not all that crazy for the duo either. It seemed like they still saw Spivey as a Barry Windham knockoff.

Ken Resnick is with Johnny V. and Dino Bravo. Johnny talks about how Bravo has agreed to listen to everything he says as he can trust him and is able to go all the way to the top. Bravo says that playing Mr. Nice Guy got him nowhere and that Johnny showed him the light. A segment designed to show everyone how these two were on the same page.

Another vignette from Blackjack Mulligan on his ranch. He talks about all he has been doing and calls out King Kong Bundy. Oddly enough, Bundy kept on getting called out but had not been on TV for several weeks.

Paul Roma vs. King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan

Johnny V. has replaced Heenan on commentary for this match. Heenan demands that everyone give Race a standing ovation and they boo mildly. Roma leapfrogs Race then sends him over the top rope with a dropkick. Roma then goes outside and puts on Race’s crown. Race then rams him into the post and rolls him back inside where he drops a pair of elbows before putting him away with the cradle suplex (1:50).

Thoughts: Nice of them to give Roma a bit of offense here. Race was still struggling to get over as he never looked comfortable with the King gimmick. If Roma was six inches taller, he would have been a star. His height held him back a lot.

A replay of the Honkytonk Man revealing Jimmy Hart as his manager is shown.

“Leaping” Lanny Poffo vs. “The Natural” Butch Reed w/ Slick

Once again, Heenan dodges Gorilla’s question about Andre the Giant’s hearing. Poffo floats over Reed and gets two with a rollup. Reed gets cocky after a leapfrog and ends up walking into a dropkick. Reed comes back with a dropkick of his own that sends Poffo to the floor then goes outside and exposes the concrete and slams him down. Back in the ring, Reed knocks down Poffo and slams him him down before getting the win with a flying clothesline (2:09).

Thoughts: The Natural’s push continues but he really wasn’t getting all that much heel heat. He needs a feud.

The Snake Pit with guest Roddy Piper. Roberts insults Piper before inviting him out then asks him about Adonis coming on the Pit last week and declaring that Piper’s time is up. Piper  looks focused and pissed off and only talks about how Adonis is wrestling next as Jake gets upset. Piper then  declares that Adonis’ time is up. Interesting segment with a lot of foreshadowing here.

S.D. Jones vs. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart

Adonis puts his robe over the head of Jones then hammers away. The crowd starts to go crazy as Piper comes out to the ring. Adonis gets distracted as Jones takes control. Adonis keeps looking and Piper and struggling to maintain control in the ring. Jones gets two off of a rollup but Adonis tossing him outside then Piper runs into the ring to attack Adonis as the ref rings the bell for the DQ (2:13). Piper unloads on Adonis until half of the locker room comes out to break it up. Adonis tries to escape but Piper follows him out and chases him up the ramp.

Thoughts: Decent pull apart brawl. It might have looked tame by today’s standards but these two were in the midst of a hot feud so any action between the two was great, especially seeing Piper getting the upper hand on Adonis.

Jesse Ventura is with the Can-Am Connection. He tells the duo that he is impressed by them and tries to intimidate them with his body as they laugh at him. They are already giving the Can-Am Connection a strong push.

Sika w/ The Wizard vs. Bob Boyer

Sika catches Boyer with a back elbow smash then slams him down as Heenan continues to avoid Gorilla’s questions about the reinstatement of Andre the Giant. Sika roughs up Boyer for a bit until he puts him away with the Samoan Drop (1:01).

Thoughts: Sika still looked as scary as anyone else on the roster but he was washed up in 1984 and even more deteriorated here.

We get a promo from Hulk Hogan who tells Randy Savage that he will throw the title aside in order to wrap his 24 inch pythons around his neck for what he did to Ricky Steamboat. With Hogan endorsing how much he wants to hurt Savage for what he did and even put the title aside, you know the WWF was serious about making Steamboat/Savage a top feud.

Next week in action will be the Honkytonk Man and Hercules plus an update on the condition of Ricky Steamboat.

Final Thoughts: A much better episode of Challenge than the previous few weeks. They advanced angles instead of just showing replays of “Superstars of Wrestling.” The show long theme on commentary of Heenan ignoring Gorilla’s questions about Andre was well done. The WWF was doing a great job of keeping their top feuds hot at this time.

WWF Superstars of Wrestling December 13th, 1986

December 13, 1986

From the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center in South Bend, IN

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and Vince McMahon

Tonight, we will see Adrian Adonis, Kamala, and the Can-Am Connection. Plus, an update on the condition of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and a highlight package set to the song “Everybody Have Fun” by Wang Chung.

Pedro Morales & Tito Santana & Hillbilly Jim vs. Moondog Spot & Barry O. & The Raider

Jim overpowers Spot then puffs out his chest. Barry tags as Jim grabs a side headlock before tagging Santana. Tito takes Barry down with a flying headscsissors then dropkicks him before tagging Morales. The Raider also tags in and Morales catches him with a shot to the midsection. Tito tags and hits another dropkick before Morales rolls up The Raider for the win (1:57).

Thoughts: The six-man tags involving Santana, Pedro, and Jim were not particularly exciting. The crowd really only seemed to care about Tito at this point anyway as Pedro was washed up and Jim was never as popular as he was pre-WrestleMania I.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s subject is Randy Savage, who is shown cutting a promo gloating about how he took out Steamboat and calls himself the greatest wrestler in the WWF. He then gives the throat slash gesture to Steamboat if he ever decides to wrestle him again.

Mario Mancini vs. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart

Before the match we are shown a promo from Piper who is insulting Adonis then tells him to “pay the Piper.” Adonis backs Mancini into the corner and roughs him up. He elbows him in the back of the neck then takes him down with a shoulderblock. He chops him down then taunts the crowd as Vince probes Jesse about his investigation into Andre the Giant’s investigation. Jesse says that he will be interviewing Bobby Heenan about that situation as Adonis puts Mancini away with the Good Night Irene (1:16). After the match, Adonis shoves flowers into Mancini’s mouth.

Thoughts: They did a good job at continuing the Piper/Adonis feud here and on commentary they continued the story about how Andre got reinstated by the WWF.

Ken Resnick is with Savage, who will be facing Bruno Sammartino at the January 3rd Boston Garden show. The next “Saturday Night’s Main Event” aired that night too. Savage calls Bruno a “has been” and promises to teach Bruno to respect the young. Great stuff by Savage, who was in the zone at this point.

Another Outback Jack vignette, who says that he is chomping at the bit to get over to the WWF.

Iron Mike Sharpe & Jimmy Jack Funk vs. Can-Am Connection

The crowd loves the Can-Am Connection. Funk and Martel start off the match trading off of on the arm. Martel uses his speed to his advantage and gets two with a hurricarana. He sends Funk to the floor with a dropkick as the crowd goes nuts. Sharpe tags and roughs up Martel for a bit. Martel is able to tag Zenk and they take down Sharpe with a double monkey flip. Zenk works the arm but Funk knees him in the back from the apron then tags in and roughs him up. The fans rally behind Zenk as he is able to crawl through the legs of Sharpe and make the tag. Martel is on fire then tags Zenk who slingshots in with a sunset flip for two. The match breaks down then Sharpe is in control until Zenk hits him with an atomic drop and Martel takes him down with a headscisssors. Zenk then dropkicks Funk off of the apron and catches Sharpe with a powerslam then slingshots in Martel with a splash to get the win (3:54). The crowd went crazy at the finish.

Thoughts: Awesome for a short TV match. The Can-Am’s were instantly over. They had barely been with the company for a month and had the crowds going nuts for them. The girls loved their looks and the fans loved their fast-paced moves as they appealed to just about everyone. I have to imagine that the other white-meat babyface teams like the Rougeau’s and the U.S. Express were getting worried about their spots on the card at this time.

Resnick is with Blackjack Mulligan as he will be part of the “Bunkhouse Battle Royal”match at the Boston Garden. They hype how you can wear whatever you want in this match, which is best known for Lanny Poffo wearing a suit of armor in the ring. Mulligan cuts a dull, rambling promo here.

We get another Blackjack Mulligan vignette on his ranch as he talks about the bull he got for $1,000. He then talks about his past bull as this went nowhere. Vince laughed like a moron when this ended. At least he was entertained.

Jack Kruger vs. Kamala w/ The Wizard & Kimchee

Kamala attacks Kruger with his mask before the bell. Kamala then hits him with some chops and kicks then slams him down. Kamala hits a splash then climbs up top and hits another splash for the win (0:38). Kruger is getting carried out on a stretcher as Vince calls him a “young man.” Kruger was 40 years old here and looked even older than that.

Thoughts: The Kamala TV squash matches are starting to get stale now. When his house show against Hogan ended, there was not much else left for him to do in the WWF.

Piper’s Pit with guests Butch Reed and Slick. Reed talks about how natural he is Piper mocks him for dying his roots black. Reed and Piper start insulting each other until Piper grabs Suzette the Federette and asks how she finds more attractive as she walks off with Piper. Reed then gets on the mic and flips out.

The “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” video is shown. Solid stuff as the WWF video packages at this time were generally good.

Okerlund is with Steamboat’s doctor, who is amazed at Steamboat’s progress. The doctor then states that another shot to his throat could even be fatal.

We are shown the interview by Jesse Ventura with Bobby Heenan about Andre the Giant’s reinstatement. Jesse runs down Jack Tunney then asks Heenan what happened. Jesse chides Heenan for allowing Andre to be reinstated as Heenan surprises him by putting over his size and agility and says that there is no reason for him to not be reinstated. Jesse point blank asks him if he should be allowed to be back and Heenan says yes and that he does not have to answer to anyone. Awesome segment that kept everyone intrigued.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “The Rebel” Dick Slater

Roberts got a lot more cheers than Slater to start the match. Vince goes off on Danny Davis, who is the referee for this match. Slater takes down Jake with a hiptoss to start. Slater knocks him down as the crowd boos then works the leg but Davis breaks that up as the crowd now boos Davis. Slater goes back to work on the leg as Jesse and Vince go back and forth about Davis. Slater still attacks the leg as this match is starting to drag. Roberts kicks Slater over the top rope but sells his leg and Slater is able to come back in a hit a swinging neckbreaker then an elbow smash from the top rope as Slater covers and gets the pin but Davis gets up and saw Roberts’ had his foot on the ropes and orders the match to continue as Vince and Bruno talk about how once the ref counts to three the match is supposed to be over, no matter what. As Slater argues with the referee, Roberts gets up and hits him with a short-armed clothesline. He hobbles around then grabs his snake but Slater fights back. Davis then backs Slater into the corner but gets tossed across the ring as the crowd erupts then Davis rings the bell for the DQ as Roberts is the winner (4:32).

Thoughts: The match was okay but this was more about furthering the Davis storyline than anything else. Roberts sold his leg like a champ for this match. This was one of the last TV matches for Slater in the WWF. He would remain with the company for several more months too, usually wrestling on house show opening matches.

Resnick is with Bruno Sammartino, who says that Savage has done nothing but insult him then warns Savage that he is not after his title but will mop up the floor with him and even come after him outside of the ring if he tries to escape and save his title.

Next week in action, we will see Don Muraco & Bob Orton vs. The Islanders. Also in action will be Butch Reed and the Killer Bees.

Final Thoughts: An awesome show. They accomplished a ton of stuff in just one hour. They kept their two top feuds (Steamboat/Savage, Adonis/Piper) going strong and had a very intriguing segment about the return of Andre the Giant. Plus, they showcased a hot new act in the Can-Am Connection. You really couldnt ask for much more here and a lot of the main stuff on this show continued into WrestleMania III. Great long-term planning by the WWF here.

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Saturday: RoH Frontiers of Honor 5/17/03
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/14/86
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/20/86
Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/21/86

WWF Wrestling Challenge December 7th, 1986

December 7, 1986

From the Metro Centre in Rockford, IL

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

In action this week are Kamala, the Hart Foundation, Koko B. Ware, and the featured match of the British Bulldogs & Billy Jack Haynes vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff & Butch Reed.

We get a replay of the clip of Andre the Giant being interviewed in England over his suspension being lifted. Andre says that he is happy to be in the ring and does not tell the details of what happened but is grinning from ear-to-hear.

Pedro Morales & Tito Santana & Hillbilly Jim vs. Brian Costello & Barry O. & Iron Mike Sharpe

Tito starts off the match by taking Sharpe out of the corner with a monkey flip. He follows that with a dropkick then tags Jim, who does a cartwheel and roughs up Barry briefly. The faces use a lot of quick tags here to maintain control until Morales gets caught in the opposite corner. Costello tags but he is no match for Morales then Tito tags and hits a backdrop before tagging Jim, who gets the win via submission with the bearhug (2:24). Jim does the do-si-do after the match.

Thoughts: Really just an excuse to use the guys on the winning side, who were just floundering at this point.

Another replay of Honkytonk Man saying how he is going to be mean and nasty to the fans as they deserve it for how they treated him. He then says that he has a surprise for us next week. That surprise was the reveal of Jimmy Hart as his manager that took place on Superstars the previous day.

Jack Foley vs. Kamala w/ The Wizard & Kimchee

Mick is on job duty again tonight. Kamala chops Foley down then hits a slam. Kamala hits a splash then climbs up top for another splash that gets the win (0:39). Gorilla called Foley “Kurt Koffman” in this match. Koffman was another TV jobber used at this time.

Thoughts: Lots of Kamala squashes on WWF TV in 1986. This one was no different.

Ken Resnick is with Bobby Heenan and asks him how much he spent to buy the contract of Hercules. Heenan says that he will not reveal that as he insults the fans then brings out Hercules, who says that Heenan gives him the best trainers and food as Heenan puts over Hercules.

As Foley is getting carried off in a stretcher, Gene Okerlund is interviewing Bonnie Steamboat from her home. She says that she is preparing for the fact that her husband might not be able to wrestle again. Acting wasn’t Bonnie’s strong suit.

Mario Mancini & Max Blue vs. Don Muraco & “Cowboy” Bob Orton w/ Mr. Fuji & Jimmy Hart

Before the match we are shown an insert promo of Hart & Fuji referring to themselves as a “one, two punch.” In the ring, Muraco hits Blue with a powerslam then tags Orton who hits a suplex and an elbow drop. Orton then tags Muraco, who gets the win with a tombstone piledriver (1:39).

Thoughts: With Adonis back, Muraco & Orton were basically after thoughts but they still came out to Piper’s music while wearing kilts so on TV, they are still involved in that feud.

Resnick is with Billy Jack Haynes and asks him about coming up short against Randy Savage twice due to the bias officiating of Danny Davis. Haynes cannot understand why Davis is doing this and upset over what Savage did to Steamboat. You can tell Haynes is insane just by the way he looks into the camera.

Another vignette from Blackjack Mulligan. More of the same from him, really.

Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Bob Boyer & Salvatore Bellomo

Bellomo bounces off of Neidhart then tags out as we get an insert promo from the British Bulldogs about their “secret weapon” Matilda. Boyer is in now and the Hart’s double team him until they put him away with the Hart Attack (1:21).

Thoughts: The Hart’s are clearly the #1 contender’s for the Bulldogs Tag Team titles as their series of matches will begin shortly on the house show circuit.

The Snake Pit with guests Adrian Adonis and Jimmy Hart. Roberts first shows us a clip of Adonis attacking Piper on the set of “Piper’s Pit” then brings out his guests. A “faggot” chant breaks out as Adonis goes off on Piper for being jealous of him due to the success of the “Flower Shop” then for the first time calls his sleeper the “Good Night Irene.” Not a whole lot happened here.

Rick Renslow vs. Koko B. Ware

Koko hits a hiptoss but gets caught in the corner after that. Koko comes back with a dropkick then hits a missile dropkick before hitting the ghostbuster for the win (1:55).

Thoughts: Another win for Koko who was getting a decent midcard push at this time. He was over too.

Okerlund interviews Danny Davis about his involvement in the Ricky Steamboat/Randy Savage match from “Superstars of Wrestling” and why he took Dave Hebner’s place in the match, Davis said that he felt it was the right thing to do as Okerlund tries to make him feel guilty for being involved in what could be the end of Steamboat’s career. Davis says that those are the breaks and did not feel bad at all. Not only is Davis an evil referee but he is also a dick.

Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik & “The Natural” Butch Reed w/ Slick vs. Billy Jack Haynes & British Bulldogs

Matilda scares Slick away to continue that angle. Davey blocks a hiptoss from the Sheik then catches his foot before hitting a suplex. Dynamite tags and gets hit by Volkoff in a miscommunication spot. Dynamite comes back with a sunset flip for two then Reed and Haynes tag in as the crowd goes nuts. They have a little sequence that ends in a stalemate. Reed then hits a suplex then Davey and Nikolai go at it briefly. The match gets a bit clunky then it breaks down and Slick hits Haynes with his cane behind the ref’s back and Reed covers for the win (3:31).

Thoughts: Looks like they are setting up for a feud between Haynes and Reed based off of the finish. The crowd reacted favorably to them when they were in the ring together.

Next week in action will be Randy Savage, King Harley Race, U.S. Express, “The Natural” Butch Reed, and “Adorable” Adrian Adonis.

Final Thoughts: Challenge has clearly been the “B” show the past few weeks has one-third of the show is highlights that took place from “Superstars of Wrestling.” And if you have watched Superstars recently then there was no real reason to see this other than the main event.

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Raven, Volume 1
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/13/86
Saturday: RoH Frontiers of Honor 5/17/03
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/14/86
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/20/86

WWF Superstars of Wrestling December 6th, 1986

December 6, 1986

From the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center in South Bend, IN

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and Vince McMahon

In action tonight are Randy Savage, Koko B. Ware, Adrian Adonis, and the featured match of the Rougeau Brothers & Billy Jack Haynes vs. The Dream Team & Dino Bravo. Plus, an update on the condition of Ricky Steamboat and much more.

The Honkytonk Man is shown as he talks about how he is no longer kissing ugly babies or fat women in the crowd then brings out the surprise he promised us and that turns out to be Jimmy Hart. Honky says that Hart appreciates good talent as Hart tells Honky that the fans are jealous of him. And for those wondering that was how Hart was introduced as Honky’s manager.

S.D. Jones vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/ Elizabeth

Savage cuts a promo before the match about how Steamboat is gone forever. Bruno talks about how disgusted he is with Savage as he hides behind Elizabeth. They trade slams to start the match then Savage slides outside. In the ring, S.D. connects with a few punches but runs into a clothesline then shortly after that Savage hits the flying elbow smash for the win (2:12).

Thoughts: The fans hated Savage but more importantly was Bruno on commentary continuing to show his disgust for Savage as that would lead to future matches at house shows.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s subject is King Harley Race. Heenan is shown telling the fans that they need to show respect to the King. Race then says there is no one else on the planet who is worthy of wearing his crown then says he will be the king forever. Not even this could get the King character over.

We get another vignette from Blackjack Mulligan as he has his “honey wagon” as he talks about spreading fertilizer while issuing a challenge to King Kong Bundy. Mulligan was really washed up at this point and did not fit in with the company plans.

Bobby Colt vs. Koko B. Ware

Koko beats on Colt then gets two with a suplex. The fans are really into Koko right now as he slams Colt then puts him away with the ghostbuster (2:05).

Thoughts: The crowd absolutely loved Koko here and he excited them with his moveset. He needs a feud at this point.

Ken Resnick is with the Wizard, Kamala, and Kimchee to plug the title match at the Boston Garden show. This featured both Kamala and the Wizard screaming over each other. Good lord this was awful.

Highlights from Adrian Adonis making his return last week by attacking Roddy Piper on “Piper’s Pit” is shown.

Paul Roma vs. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart

Adonis comes to the ring breathing into an oxygen mask that apparently contains a fragrance that according to Vince, stinks. This is his first TV match in two months and he has gained even more weight. Roma ducks an elbow smash and comes back with a dropkick. He then takes Adonis down with a monkey flip but misses on a dropkick as Adonis is now in control then quickly puts him away with the sleeper (1:41). After the match, Adonis takes two flowers and shoves them in Roma’s mouth.

Thoughts: Adonis still had his heel heat when he returned to the ring. The WWF was smart in that they kept this feud strong when Adonis was away with Muraco and Orton filling the void.

Resnick is with Johnny V. He asks him about the matches his guys have in Boston as Johnny V rambles on until Dino Bravo comes out and tells his opponent, Corporal Kirchner, that he is going to destroy him. Bravo was never known for his promo skills.

An Outback Jack vignette is shown as he tells us that he is 6’6 and weighs 303 lbs. Captivating stuff.

Jose Luis Rivera vs. Hercules

We get a promo from Hercules and Heenan before the match as Heenan tells us how he would make the deal for him again. Vince hypes up Hercules by saying how he is in the “Top 10” rankings as the match begins with Hercules shoving Rivera before flexing. Rivera hits a dropkick but Hercules blocks a hiptoss and takes him down. Hercules hits a suplex then puts him up in the backbreaker as he gets the win by submission (1:02).

Thoughts: Vince was putting over Hercules strong and Hercules completely dominated the match.

Piper’s Pit with guests George “The Animal” Steele and the Junkyard Dog. Steele was supposed to be the guest last week. Piper gives Steele a gift then JYD comes out and tells Piper that they are “salt and pepper” as they work out an elaborate handshake then get Steele to join. This was designed to make Steele & JYD friends of Piper’ so he could have someone watch his back.

Okerlund is with Ricky Steamboat’s wife as she expresses her hatred of Randy Savage through her terrible acting.

Salvatore Bellomo vs. Kamala

Kamala goes right after Bellomo to start. He slams him down and hits a splash then goes up top for another splash to get the win (0:44).

Thoughts: Kamala destroyed the pathetic Bellomo to remain strong for his series of matches against Hogan.

Jesse Ventura is with WWF President Jack Tunney as he asks him about reinstating Andre the Giant and why this is the case. Tunney said that he presided over a hearing and the outcome was “bizarre” but he did not want to go into the specifics other than Andre was not at the hearing but Bobby Heenan was. Ventura tries to pry information out of Tunney but failed then promised that he will get to the bottom of the story. A lot of foreshadowing in this segment. I wonder how many fans caught on that before Andre turned? I mean Tunney kept on mentioning how it was a “bizarre” meeting and that Heenan was there.

Dino Bravo & Dream Team w/ Johnny V vs. Billy Jack Haynes & Rougeau Brothers

Danny Davis is the referee for this match. The heels work over Jacques to start the match. They are slamming him all over the place as Vince goes off on Davis on commentary. Jacques reverses a move and puts Beefcake in an abdominal stretch but Bravo runs in and breaks it up then the match breaks down as everyone is brawling in the ring then Davis rings the bell as the match is ruled a double disqualification when the heels are at the disadvantage (2:12). Well, that was the story told on commentary anyway.

Thoughts: Nothing more than a backdrop for the Danny Davis angle, which has been going strong for three months.

Resnick is with JYD and asks him about facing Paul Orndorff in Boston. JYD says that Orndorff thrives on money and is jealous of Hogan and will not be able to walk past him. JYD then tells Hogan to be careful of Kamala as Hogan himself comes out and says he has been training with JYD to prepare for Kamala as he is the baddest man he knows then closes by saying “boom shaka laka laka.”

Next week in action will be Adrian Adonis, Kamala, and the Can-Am Connection. Plus, an update on Ricky Steamboat and a music video highlight package set to the song “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung.

Final Thoughts: A really good show. Most of the segments had a lot of importance as Hart was introduced as Honky’s manager and we learned that Heenan was part of the meetings to reinstate Andre the Giant. Plus, they continue to hype hot feuds like Steamboat/Savage and Adonis/Piper and build up the new challenger to Hogan in Kamala. Also, midcard guys like Koko and Hercules got their pushes too and we saw another mysterious Outback Jack vignette.