Mike Reviews – California Championship Wrestling (3rd August 1986)

Wow, I think even the SEGA Saturn had a more successful launch over here in the West than the European Super League did!

Brother brocore suggested this one in the comments a couple of weeks back so I decided to give it a go. I’m not sure on the exact date of this show, and I’m not sure the uploader even is either, with 3rd of August being a guess on their part. Dave Newman has already had a bash at reviewing a show from this company, and you can read what he thought of a show from June 1986 by clicking right HERE

I’m not entirely sure on the backstory of CCW, but this features Rocky Johnson and Jimmy Snuka, so it at least has some star power if nothing else.

Anyway, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling

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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”…

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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…

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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.

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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.

WWF Wrestling Challenge November 30th, 1986

November 30, 1986

From the Metro Centre in Rockford, IL

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

Tonight, George Steele & Junkyard Dog are in action. Plus, the Dream Team & Dino Bravo will take on the Islanders & Sivi Afi. Plus, we get to see the Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage match from the 11/22 edition of “Superstars of Wrestling.”

We are first shown a clip of Slick with a cast on his arm blaming the British Bulldogs’ mascot Matilda for causing his injury.

George Steele & Junkyard Dog vs. Dave Wagner & The Raider

The Raider was wrestler Randy Barber under a mask. Barber wrestled a lot in the South, mainly in Georgia, and did several TV jobs for the WWF and NWA in the late 80’s. Sadly, he passed away in 2008 of a heart attack at age 49. The match starts with both JYD & Steele taking turns beating on the Raider. Wagner tags and JYD clotheslines him down. Steele tags and bites open a turnbuckle then throws the stuffing in Wagner’s face before tagging JYD, who hits the powerslam for the win (1:40). After the match, JYD and Steele teach a kid to dance in the ring, prompting Heenan to say how no one in the ring had more than a 3rd grade education.

Thoughts: Same old act with JYD & Steele but the fans ate it up so why not go with it as a midcard act.

We get another clip of Jesse Ventura telling the Honkytonk Man that he lost the “Vote of Confidence” as Honky goes off on an angry tirade on the fans.

They show a replay of the Savage vs. Steamboat match from the 11/22 edition of “Superstars of Wrestling.” This was the match in which Savage crushed Steamboat’s throat with the timekeeper’s bell, starting off their feud.

Ken Resnick is with Koko B. Ware and his bird, Frankie, who is flapping his wings out of control the entire time. Not much of an interview as it was just Koko doing his schtick.

Another promo from the desert by Superstar Billy Graham. He calls out King Kong Bundy and promises that he will be back. That didnt exaclty happen.

The Dream Team & Dino Bravo w/ Johnny V. vs. The Islanders & Sivi Afi

Gorilla quickly alerts us that Danny Davis is the referee as we get an insert promo from Davis who tells the fans that he has a valid referee’s license until April and he will call it like he sees it. Haku and Valentine exchange blows to start. Valentine wins that and takes him over with a snapmare before tagging out. Beefcake gets two with an inverted atomic drop. Valentine tags back in but Haku blocks a suplex and hits one of his own. Afi tags and covers but Bravo runs in and breaks things up then the match breaks down. Valentine knees Afi in the back from the apron then Bravo hits Afi with a back suplex for the win (3:37).

Thoughts: Decent action. The Dream Team has start to run its course though despite being a really good team. It seemed obvious that Afi would eat the pin here.

Resnick is with the Wizard, asking him about Sika and Kamala. We get another awful screaming promo from the Wizard, who says that his men are in search of Hulk Hogan, Hillbilly Jim, and the Junkyard Dog then declares that he will put his men in a team to face the British Bulldogs so they can feast on dog every Sunday.

Now, we get a promo from Blackjack Mulligan at his ranch while he sits on a horse. His comeback lasted for about four months.

Moondog Spot vs. Kamala w/ The Wizard & Kimchee

Spot hammers away to start but can’t get him out of the corner and gets caught with a crescent kick. Spot fights back and charges but Kamala leapfrogs him then boots him down before getting the win with a top rope splash (1:40).

Thoughts: The Kamala push stays strong. Spot was playing the face here which actually made sense as the Moondogs were arguing with each other on TV as Rex was the aggressor.

The Snake Pit with guest Hillbilly Jim. Roberts is wearing a black fur coat for this interview. This goes nowhere as it turns into a discussion about animals. The Snake Pit was a pretty lousy talk show segment.

Gino Carabello & Jimmy Jack Funk vs. The Rougeau Brothers

Raymond fights off Funk, who tags Carabello. We get an insert promo from the Rougeau’s in both English and French that seemed generic as the Rougeau’s show off their athletic ability in beating on Carabello. Funk tries to break things up but the Rougeau’s fight him off then hit the Rougeau Bomb on Carabello for the win (2:27).

Thoughts: The Rougeau’s were a fine team but were about to get leapfrogged in the pecking order by the younger, flashier, and more popular Can-Am Connection.

We are shown the replay of Okerlund interviewing Steamboat’s doctor from the past episode of “Superstars of Wrestling” as the doctor is unsure if Steamboat will ever wrestle again.

Jack Foley vs. Hercules w/ Bobby Heenan

Jack Foley is in fact Mick Foley, who was billed from Bloomington, Indiana for this match. Johnny V has replaced Heenan on commentary. Hercules destroys Foley as the crowd starts up a “weasel” chant. Hercules slams Foley a few times then sends him down with a clothesline. Hercules then picks up Foley and puts him in the backbreaker for the win (1:28).

Thoughts: Hercules was getting a renewed push when he became managed by Heenan and they needed new blood in the upper midcard so he was far from the worst person to give that spot to on the roster.

Next week’s featured match will be a six-man tag with Billy Jack Haynes & British Bulldogs vs. Butch Reed & Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik.

Final Thoughts: If you missed the last few weeks of “Superstars of Wrestling,” this was a useful show but besides that it was completely forgettable. We had two reintroductory vignettes of guys way past their primes and unexciting matches to go along with bad promos. You can easily pass on this show.

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Saturday: RoH Retribution: Round Robin Challenge 4/26/03
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/6/86
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/7/86
Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/13/86

WWF Superstars of Wrestling November 29th, 1986

November 29, 1986

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

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

Tonight’s featured match will be the Hart Foundation vs. British Bulldogs in a non-title bout. Also, Danny Spivey returns from injury and will be in action with Mike Rotundo. Plus, Butch Reed is here and we will get an update on the condition of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.

First, we get a special interview via satellite from London, England. Its conducted by some guy named Gary Davie who informs us that WWF President Jack Tunney as overturned the suspension of Andre the Giant. Andre himself comes out and says that he will be back and is happy to return. Andre said that he would not say what he has been doing during his suspension.

King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan vs. “Leaping” Lanny Poffo

Poffo gets two off of a crossbody then takes Race down with an armdrag. Race catches Poffo with a high knee smash then hits a belly-to-belly suplex as Jesse cannot believe that Andre is back. Race then hits Poffo with the cradle suplex for the win (1:32).

Thoughts: Despite the push, it was still sad to see the legendary Race flop in this role. Not even Heenan could get this gimmick over.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund, who looks incredibly hungover. The guy appears to be in complete and utter agony here. He then talks about Ricky Steamboat’s injury and talks with his wife over the phone. She hints at her husband possibly having to retire due to the injuries and how he is not handling the fact that he is unable to speak. Okerlund promises that we will get an update from doctors about Steamboat’s condition later in the show.

Jesse is backstage with Mike Rotundo, who welcomes back Danny Spivey. They challenge Jesse, who thought that Spivey would never be able to return to action.

U.S. Express vs. Dave Wagner & Rick Renslow

Renslow catches Rotundo with a hiptoss but misses an elbow drop and Rotundo takes control. Spivey tags and gets a small reaction as he elbows Renslow in the face. He slams him down then follows with a slingshot splash for two. They hit Renslow with a double dropkick then Wagner tags and he gets double-teamed briefly until Spivey finishes him off with a bulldog (2:15). The crowd gave them a big ovation after the win.

Thoughts: The crowd was really into Spivey returning. They played it up a bit for the past several weeks too and it paid off.

Ken Resnick is with Hulk Hogan who is pumping up while talking about Kamala and how he is squashing little guys and an “Ugandan Creep” and a “Dark Giant.” He then says when they meet at the Boston Garden, they will be in his jungle.

The Honkytonk Man talks about how he went to “fat” Jack Tunney’s office and counted the votes and even after kissing dirty babies and shaking sweaty hands the fans still did not appreciate him. He then tells the fans that he is no longer doing that and will slap babies, hit women, and do a tap dance on the heads of guys he drags into the mean then promises a special announcement for next week. And that is how the Honkytonk Man turned heel.

Bob Boyer vs. Kamala w/ Grand Wizard & Kimchee

Boyer was an old-timer who wrestled in Indianapolis for Dick The Bruiser’s WWA territory under the name “Bobby Bold Eagle.” You can actually see some of his stuff on YouTube filmed in black-and-white footage. Boyer bounces off of Kamala a few times then gets caught with a chop. Kamala slams him down then hits a splash before climbing up top for another splash and gets the win (0:55). After the match, Boyer is taken out on a stretcher as Kamala is stopped by his handler’s from hitting another splash.

Thoughts: Kamala’s opponents would all do stretcher jobs after the match to lead up to his house show run with Hogan, who was finishing up against Orndorff.

Resnick is with the Junkyard Dog, who will be facing Paul Orndorff in Boston. JYD talks about Kamala being the biggest man he has ever seen then runs down the card.

Slick is with the Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff. Slick goes off on the British Bulldogs and Matilda as he broke his arm. Vince says that is hilarious while Jesse asks him how he thinks breaking an arm is funny.

Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart vs. British Bulldogs

This is a non-title match. Also, this is the debut of the all pink tights here for the Hart Foundation as the have a thin black stripe on the sides. Vince is way too excited to see Matilda. The fans go nuts as Matilda chases Jimmy Hart up the top rope then Vince points out how Danny Davis is the referee for this match. Davey catches Brett with a monkey flip after an Irish whip sequence. Anvil tags and they collide a few times until Davey takes him down with a drop toehold. Dynamite tags and takes both of the Hart’s down with a headlock/leg scissors combo as the fans are really into this match. Brett catches Davey with a knee from the apron. The Hart Foundation use quick tags and double-team moves to neutralize Davey until he comes back with a slam on Brett then makes the tag. Dynamite runs wild and nails Brett with a clothesline but Davis was yelling at Hart on the apron then the Anvil comes in and tosses Davey to the floor then the Hart Foundation hit Dynamite with the Hart Attack for the surprise win (4:32).

Thoughts: Fun match that propelled the Hart Foundation right to the #1 contender slot. The result was a mild upset at the time too and it cemented the Hart’s as a legitimate threat.

Piper’s Pit with Jimmy Hart, who comes out instead of George Steele. Hart says that he took care of Steele by giving him a poster of Elizabeth then rants and raves at Piper about demanding respect. Piper then mocks Hart by calling him a “Federette” then Hart keeps poking Piper then slaps him a few times as Piper no-sells it then puts him in a lifting chokehold until he is attacked by Adrian Adonis from behind with a crutch. Adonis puts him in the sleeper as Hart yells in Piper’s face then Adonis declares that he is back and dumps flowers into Piper’s mouth.

We get another video of Outback Jack and this time he speaks. He is shown taking a shower outdoors while singing what would be his theme song (Tie Me Kangaroo Down). It’s amazing that someone thought this would get over.

Now we get clips of Randy Savage injuring Ricky Steamboat last week. From that, we get Gene Okerlund with the WWF doctor. The doc talks about Steamboat receiving a crushed larynx and does not have his voice and might require speech therapy later on and says that his career is in jeopardy.

Blackjack Mulligan is shown at his ranch in Texas and says that he is tougher and meaner than ever and warns King Kong Bundy that he better watch out. This run would be very short lived.

“The Natural” Butch Reed vs. Max Blue

Reed beats on Blue then catches him with a kneelift. He then hits a swinging neckbreaker and catches him with a slam before hitting a flying clothesline for the win (0:55).

Thoughts: Total domination here as Reed’s debut push continues.

Resnick is with the Wizard. Kimchee and Kamala come out as the Wizard cuts one of his awful screaming promos on Hogan to hype their match at the Boston Garden.

Next week in action will be Randy Savage, Koko B. Ware, Adrian Adonis, and the featured match of The Dream Team & Dino Bravo vs. The Rougeau Brothers & Billy Jack Haynes.

Final Thoughts: Decent show. The tag match was fun and the Steamboat/Savage stuff continued. The Davis stuff continued too. In the Observer at this time, Dave Meltzer reported that he heard a rumor from someone in the company that they were planning on a Vince & Bruno vs. Jesse & Davis match that Meltzer himself completely dismissed it at the time but said they way the TV had been going it seemed like there was actually a chance it could happen.

I am taking a break and these reviews will continue the beginning of November with the 11/29/86 episode of “Saturday Night’s Main Event.”

WWF Wrestling Challenge November 23rd, 1986

November 23, 1986

From the Civic Center in Glens Falls, NY

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

Tonight, the Moondogs will take on the Hart Foundation. Also, Hulk Hogan will appear on the “Snake Pit” and the featured match will be the Killer Bees vs. Don Muraco & Bob Orton.

Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart vs. The Moondogs

The Hart Foundation attack the Moondogs before the bell. Rex then whacks Brett with his bone as the Moondogs take control of the match as we get an insert promo of the Moondogs that did not feature any sound. Neidhart trips up Rex as he had Brett up for a slam then the Hart Foundation beat on Rex in the corner. They continue to work over Rex until he elbows a charging Neidhart then tags Spot who is running wild. The Moondogs take down Neidhart with a double elbow smash then Brett breaks up the pin as the match breaks down. The ref orders Spot to the corner then the Hart Foundation hit Rex with the Hart Attack behind the referee’s back and Neidhart covers for the win (3:51).

Thoughts: They briefly built up the Moondogs here by mentioning how they were former champs and giving them in an insert promo in order to put over the Hart Foundation, who they were building up as potential champions. Thought this worked well for a rare heel vs. heel match.

The Gladiator & Barry O. vs. Can-Am Connection

Zenk takes down Barry with a flying headscissors before tagging out. We get an insert promo from the Can-Am as they proclaim that they are ready for action as Martel was speaking French with Heenan asking Monsoon to make sure he speaks English the next time he is on his program. The Can-Am’s hit their opponents with dropkicks. They then hit The Gladiator with an atomic drop/crossbody combo then after Zenk hits a powerslam, Martel gets the win with a slingshot splash (3:23).

Thoughts: The fans took a quick liking to the Can-Am’s. Their fast-paced offense won over the crowds.

Ken Resnick is with the Junkyard Dog as they plug the “WWF Superstars” magazine before JYD talks about all of the opponents he will have in the new year.

Bobby Heenan introduces us to his “tribute” to Capt. Lou Albano as he shows us his men, Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy, defeat The Machines from last week’s edition of “Superstars” in Albano’s last match as a manager.

Paul Roma vs. Sika w/ The Wizard

Roma briefly works the arm then takes Sika through the ropes with a dropkick. Sika regroups then heads back inside and takes Roma down with a headbutt. Sika then slams Roma and puts him away after catching him with a Samoan Drop (1:45).

Thoughts: Roma looked good in his brief flurry of offense against the washed up Sika. The fans really did not care enough about Sika to even boo him.

Resnick is with the British Bulldogs. Davey tells us that they got Matilda as a mascot to fen doff all of the cheating managers. Dynamite then cuts a promo in which he pretending to be listening to the dog as they both state that they plan on keeping the Tag Team Titles for a long time.

Dino Bravo w/ Johnny V vs. Mario Mancini

Bravo roughs up Mancini then takes him down with a dropkick. He hits a sideslam then follows that with a leg drop as we see an insert promo of Bravo teaching Johnny V to speak French. Bravo takes Mancini down with a knee lift then hits an atomic drop. He beats down Mancini some more then tosses him outside. Mancini crawls back inside and Bravo boots him down then finishes off Mancini with a back suplex (2:35).

Thoughts: Bravo could actually move around here and his offense looked fine but he was not getting over here in his first heel singles run with the company.

The Snake Pit with guest Hulk Hogan. Roberts says that he is the man that your kids can look up too then Hogan comes out and says that Roberts runs with the devil but that he runs with the Hulkamaniacs then tells Roberts when will he get enough courage to strike back then leaves. They were teasing a Roberts/Hogan feud big time here.

Iron Mike Sharpe vs. “The Rebel” Dick Slater

Slater takes down Sharpe with a hiptoss then drops a knee. Sharpe takes a breather outside then Slater chases him back into the ring. Slater headbutts Sharpe after he pleads for mercy then they take it to the mat. Sharpe beats on Slater in the corner but misses a charge then Slater hammers away. He works on the leg for a bit until Sharpe catches him with a right hand. Sharpe chokes out Slater then is able to hold up on a dropkick attempt. Sharpe pulls something out of his tights and into his protective gear but Slater blocks the attack and rams it into Sharpe’s own forehead before getting the win with a top rope elbow smash (3:47).

Thoughts: A heatless match but the in-ring portion was fine. Slater got booed as he won, something that happened often,  as this gimmick continues to be proven as a failure.

Killer Bees vs. Don Muraco & Bob Orton w/ Mr. Fuji & Jimmy Hart

Orton & Muraco continue to mock Piper by wearing kilts and using the bagpipes as their entrance music. The Bees start the match by working on the arm of Orton. Muraco tags as Monsoon points out how Danny Davis is the referee for this match. Blair takes down Muraco with an armdrag then the Bees hit take him down with a double elbow. Davis orders Blair out of the ring as Brunzell works the arm of Muraco. Orton knees Brunzell from the apron then Davis yells at Blair as the heels beat down Brunzell in the corner. Brunzell eventually fights back and tags Blair. He beats down Muraco then hits the Bee Sting. Brunzell tags back inside and hits a dropkick but Orton breaks up the pin. Davis yells at Blair as that allows Orton to run in and attack Blair, who had Muraco in a sleeper. The heels continue to cheat as Blair has enough then pushes Davis out of the way then Davis signals for the bell as he disqualifies the Bees (5:00). After the match, Muraco & Orton attack the Bees from behind.

Thoughts: More of a match designed to further along the Davis angle than anything else. The in-rign part was solid.

Resnick is with Slick, who has convinced the Championship Committee to get the Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff a shot at the Tag Team Titles due to his “geniustry.” Resnick asks Slick about selling Hercules as Slick is not worried about that as he brings out “The Natural” Butch Reed, who cuts a promo about how natural he is then challenges Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan.

Next week’s we will see the Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage match from the 11/22 edition of Superstars and Hillbilly Jim as the guest in the “Snake Pit.”

Final Thoughts: Not much of a show this week. The tease of a Hogan/Roberts feud on the Snake Pit was good and they showcased the Tag Division but the rest of the matches were just filler and besides the Danny Davis stuff, no other feuds were continued.

WWF Superstars of Wrestling November 22nd, 1986

November 22, 1986

From the Broome County Arena in Binghamton, NY

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

Tonight, Randy Savage defends the Intercontinental Title against Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Plus, the results of the “Vote of Confidence” for the Honkytonk Man and Hillbilly Jim & Tito Santana & Pedro Morales vs. The Dream Team and Johnny V.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy “Macho Man” Savage (Champion) w/ Elizabeth vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Dave Hebner is the referee for this match as he orders Danny Davis out of the ring. The fans go nuts for Steamboat as he makes his entrance. These two start off the match by going right at each other. Steamboat uses his speed and catches Savage with an armdrag then work the arm for a bit. Steamboat uses a few reversals then slams Savage before taking him over with another armdrag. Savage fights out and hits a pair of shoulderblocks but gets caught with another armdrag after a fast-paced sequence. Savage grabs Steamboat by the hair then beats on him in the corner. Knee drop gets two. He heads up top and hits the double axe handle but that only gets two. Steamboat fights back and ends up rolling through a flying body press for a nearfall. Savage catches Steamboat with a knee after a charge but Steamboat rams Savage off of the turnbuckle then hits a flying chop. Steamboat hammers away but Savage tosses him to the floor. Savage blocks a sunset flip the Steamboat skins the cat and gets two with a reverse rollup. Steamboat leapfrogs Savage, who crashes into the referee. Steamboat heads up top and hits the flying body press as Hebner is down. Davis runs in and asks Hebner if he is okay just as Hebner got up to make the count as Vince goes off on commentary. Savage takes Steamboat outside then drops him throat-first on the guardrail. Savage drapes Steamboat over the guardrail again and goes up top and hits a double axe handle as Steamboat is grabbing his throat in severe pain as the match ends in a double count out (7:02) **3/4. Savage then grabs the timekeeper’s bell and rams it into Steamboat’s throat as he is rolling around on the mat in pain. savage heads up op again but Hebner prevents him from inflicting further punishment. The medics and some road agents come out and put Steamboat on the stretcher then take him to the back as the fans are in shock. They show a few more replays of the incident.

Thoughts: Just an amazing segment. This worked great with the crowd too as they were in disbelief as to what happened to Steamboat. The match was really a SNME quality match too that was rarely seen on these shows. This was the segment which started the feud that would eventually lead to the blowoff match at WrestleMania III for those who were unaware.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s subject is Paul Orndorff and how his peers have ranked him the #1 contender to Hogan’s title. They show Heenan and Orndorff reading the “WWF Magazine” article that contains that information as they run down his doubters and Orndorff declares that he is the cream that has risen to the top.

Al Navarro vs. The Junkyard Dog

JYD takes down Navarro and hits him with crawling headbutts before getting the win with a powerslam (0:37). After the match he dances with kids.

Thoughts: All of JYD’s TV matches should have been this short as he really could not go at all in long matches.

Sammartino is in front of the locker room as he tells us that Steamboat just had a tube put in his throat and that the ambulance is on their way to take them to the hospital.

Ken Resnick is with Hulk Hogan and asks him about his match in Boston against Kamala. Hogan says that he is ready for Hogan and that Boston knows that he feels no pain and promises that Kamala will find out that he is the king of the jungle.

We get a promo from Superstar Billy Graham from the desert saying that he will be back in the WWF.

Dino Bravo w Johnny C vs. Kurt Kaufman

Bravo chops Kaufman against the ropes then hits him with a backbreaker. He then clotheslines down Kaufman before hitting a back suplex for the win (0:55).

Thoughts: No one cared about Bravo at this point. The announcers made fun of the jobber’s slight build throughout the match.

Bruno rejoins commentary and tells us how Steamboat needed that tube in his throat to save his life and that he is being taken away to the hospital.

Resnick is with The Islanders as they run down their opponents in Boston, the Dream Team. Nothing special here.

Another Outback Jack video, this time of him with a group of Aborigines. Jack also sported the tribal face paint.

Jimmy Jack Funk vs. Dick Slater

Jack attacks Slater as he enters the ring. Slater then knocks down Funk and heads up top but gets tossed. Funk drops Slater across the top rope then they slug it out for a bit as Slater wins that. Slater then hits a swinging neckbreaker then an elbow smash. Slater tries a figure four but Funk blocks that and tosses Slater on the apron. Slater fights back and sends Funk into the corner then climbs up top and hits an elbow smash then drops another elbow for the win (2:12).

Thoughts: Barely anyone cared about this match either as Slater was never over with the crowds during his time in the WWF.

Piper’s Pit with guests Kamala, Kimchee, and the Wizard. Piper makes fun of them as the Wizard drones on and on. Piper mocked the Wizard pretty well here but other than that it was unmemorable.

Ray Vance vs. Billy Jack Haynes

Haynes hits a back suplex then follows that with a kneelift. Haynes hammers away as a few in the start a boring chant. Haynes then locks on the full nelson and gets the win via submission (1:06). Haynes got booed after he was introduced as the winner surprisingly enough.

Thoughts: This crowd in Binghamton hated Haynes for some reason. Usually, Haynes received favorable crowd reactions.

Jesse Ventura is shown with the Honkytonk Man as he reveals the results of Honky’s “Vote of Confidence.” 674,383 votes were cast and the results but only 71,111 who voted liked the Honkytonk Man. Honky is in shock and promises to go seek out “Big Fat Tunney.” This vote was in no way legitimate as the show took place at the same taping as the show when the “Vote of Confidence” was announced. However, it still was a brilliant way to have him turn heel.

The Dream Team & Johnny V vs. Hillbilly Jim & Pedro Morales & Tito Santana

Jim boots down Valentine to start. Pedro tags and hammers away but referee Danny Davis stops him as Pedro is pissed. Valentine cheap shots him as the Dream Team briefly double-team him until Pedro backdrops Beefcake then tags Tito, who fires away. Jim tags and tosses Beefcake, who asks for a timeout. Johnny tags and rakes the eyes but Jim no-sells then tags Tito as he kills him with a flying forearm. He goes for the figure four and Valentine breaks that up then the match breaks down as Davis calls for the bell and awards the match to the Dream Team & Johnny V. as he claimed that the other team started the brawl (3:12).

Thoughts: The match was a backdrop for the continuation of the Davis angle as these six guys were stuck having meaningless midcard matches.

Resnick is with Bobby Heenan and asks him about the matches his men have in Boston (Race vs. Morales and JYD vs. Orndorff). He says that Orndorff has a “news blackout” and will not be giving interviews and is upset that Orndorff is not getting a shot at the title. He then talks about Morales being washed up.

Sammartino is backstage and said that Steamboat as left in an ambulance as he was barely able to breath even with the tube in his throat. Savage then interrupts as he sarcastically asks Sammartino how Steamboat is doing and says he is proud of what he has done and this sets Sammartino off as he chokes out Savage until he is pulled off by S.D. Jones, Corporal Kirchner, and Hillbilly Jim. After that, Jesse goes off on Sammartino for being a biased reporter. And this segment would start a feud between Bruno and Savage with matches at various house shows. Savage was so fucking awesome as a heel here.

Final Thoughts: Great show as the Steamboat/Savage angle completely dominated things. They really got these guys over strong and it was compelling to watch at the time as this type of show-long angle rarely happened on these shows. Other than that, the matches were complete filler, which was fine as they were getting overshadowed by Savage/Steamboat anyway. Definitely check out the Steamboat/Savage stuff if you can.

WWF Wrestling Challenge November 16th, 1986

November 16, 1986

From the Civic Center in Glens Falls, NY

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

Tonight’s featured match will be Koko B. Ware against Randy Savage in a non-title match. Also, Corporal Kirchner will take on Harley Race and Capt. Lou Albano’s final match will take place as he teams with the British Bulldogs to face the Dream Team and Johnny V.

Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/ Elizabeth vs. Koko B. Ware

Savage attacks Koko as he enters the ring and beats on him while still wearing his robe. He tosses Koko to the floor and roughs him up before going back into the ring. Koko finally fights back and takes Savage down with a dropkick. He hits a missile dropkick but Savage gets his foot on the rope. Savage ducks a crossbody and Koko spills out to the floor. He tries a double axe handle but Koko hits him with a punch to the gut then sends Savage into the railing then into the post as the ref counts to ten and its ruled a double countout (3:10). Savage is pissed off at the result.

Thoughts: Fun while it lasted. Koko was actually over despite the goofy gimmick and this result would have you to believe that a rematch would be happening in the near future.

We have “Wrestler’s Rebuttal” with Ricky Steamboat as he is pissed at Randy Savage for mistreating Elizabeth and wonders what goes on behind closed doors with them. You’re probably not the only one who wondered that, Ricky.

A clip of King Harley Race on “Piper’s Pit” is shown when Piper puts the toilet seat over Race’s head.

King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Corporal Kirchner

Johnny V. replaces Heenan in the booth. Danny Davis is also the referee for this match. Race attacks Kirchner from behind and takes him down with a kneelift. Race stops a comeback attempt with a thumb to the eye then hits a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Kirchner fights back and slams Race but misses a top rope elbow drop. Race then hits a flying clothesline before putting him away with the cradle suplex (2:20).

Thoughts: Kirchner is now just a TV jobber at this point and Race, despite Heenan’s best efforts, was not getting the King gimmick over. To be fair, he was miscast in that role.

Ken Resnick is with Hulk Hogan, who tells Paul Orndorff will feel the brunt of his punishment and will be humiliated as he realizes you cannot cheat and stab your friends in the back. He says that the belt will stay where it is and promises to get both Orndorff and Heenan. They got a ton of mileage out of that feud.

John Jackson & “Mr. Electricity” Steve Regal vs. Pedro Morales & Tito Santana

Regal slams Santana then struts around for a bit. Santana unloads on Regal as we get an insert promo from the Hart Foundation as Neidhart said the only thing Morales can beat them at is eating burritos. Morales tags and applies a side headlock then Jackson tags and Santana puts him in a front facelock then Morales tags and hits a backbreaker for the win (3:01).

Thoughts: Morales was dead weight as the crowds loved Tito and barely cared about Pedro. 1986 was not the year of Tito Santana, that’s for sure.

Resnick is with Randy Savage. He congratulates Savage for having a top selling wrestling figure as Savage talks about how he just beat the Junkyard Dog. Resnick then asks him about Jake Roberts challenging him for the Intercontinental Title. Savage says that the “Snake Pit” is nothing to be proud of and that he is nobody until he beats somebody and that he can experience “Macho Madness.” The were really hammering home the angle of everyone gunning for Savage’s Intercontinental Title.

Kurt Koffman vs. Kamala w/ The Wizard & Kimchee

Koffman is about a half-foot shorter than Kamala and weighs at least half as much as he does too. Kamala tosses Koffman around to start. Koffman tries to use his speed as he crawls under Kamala’s legs but gets tossed back down then Kamala finishes him off with a splash that looked like it killed the poor guy (0:53).

Thoughts: Kamala completely dominated this poor jobber and as a result the crowd bought him as a legitimate threat which is a good thing as he was about to start a program with Hogan.

Snake Pit with guests Slick and Butch Reed. The Slickster is afraid of the snake as Jake, sporting a vinyl jacket, talks to him about letting Hercules leave. Slick says that Hercules is great but wanted to see what it felt like to buy and sell a man as while he sold Hercules, he bought Butch Reed. Reed spoke briefly before the segment ended. Not a whole lot to this segment.

Johnny Mann & Nick Kiniski vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff w/ Slick

Sheik and Kiniski go back and forth as we get an insert promo from Slick, guaranteeing that he will lead Sheik & Volkoff to the titles. Mann hits Volkoff a few times but gets kicked by Sheik from the apron. Volkoff hits Mann with a backbreaker then tags the Sheik who hits a gutwrench suplex then makes Mann submit to the Camel Clutch as Danny Davis waits a long time before signaling for the bell (2:31).

Thoughts: More or less the same from Sheik & Volkoff that we have been seeing for the past year or so. Even still, Volkoff’s singing of the Soviet National Anthem got them a ton of heel heat.

Johnny V. & The Dream Team vs. British Bulldogs & Capt. Lou Albano

Dynamite takes down Valentine then hits a snap suplex. Davey tags as Valentine hits him with a slam. Beefcake tags and hits a vertical suplex for a nearfall. Davey comes back with a slam but gets trapped in the opposing corner. Johnny V tags in and Davey slams him down then catches him with a sleeper as the match breaks down. The Bulldogs dropkick the Dream Team out of the ring then Davey hits Johnny V with a powerslam and Dynamite follows with a diving headbutt then tags Albano, who covers for the win (3:39). Heenan goes off on Albano for getting a cheap win.

Thoughts: Decent for what it was as Albano left the company with a victory.

They show Albano coming into the locker room as he gets sprayed with champagne by Corporal Kirchner and George Steele. Johnny V then runs in and shoves a cake into Albano’s face before running out.

Next week, Moondogs vs. Hart Foundation and the Killer Bees vs. Don Muraco & Bob Orton. Plus, Hulk Hogan will be the guest on the “Snake Pit.”

Final Thoughts: Not a bad show. Albano’s retirement was the main thing here. Koko vs. Savage was fine and they are still building towards a Steamboat vs. Savage match (It takes place on the 11/22 edition of Superstars that I will be posting Sunday evening) and continue to build up Kamala so he can be fed to Hogan. They continue the heavy push of Danny Davis’ evil referee angle as well. The company is shaping things up for WrestleMania III.

Here is my schedule:

Saturday: RoH Night of Champions 3/22/03
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/22/86
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/23/86
Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/29/86

WWF Superstars of Wrestling November 15th, 1986

November 15, 1986

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

This week’s featured match will have the Machines vs. Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy in Capt. Lou Albano’s final appearance as a manager. Also in action are the Hart Foundation, Don Muraco & Bob Orton, and the Islanders. Plus, “Piper’s Pit” with guest Hulk Hogan.

The Gladiator & Barry O. vs. The Islanders

Haku catches Barry with a dropkick after a reversal sequence. Tama tags and they use a double headbutt. The Gladiator tags and Tama clotheslines him down. The Islanders hit a double chop then Haku beats on the Gladiator, even hitting a somersault senton. He hits a backbreaker then tags Tama, who gets the win with a top rope splash (2:07).

Thoughts: The Islanders were not getting over all that much. A very solid team and Tama really could have been a huge star if his head was right but the crowd was not buying this team as a threat.

WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s subject are the Rougeau Brothers and there love for outdoor sports. We are then treated to a video of them water skiing set to the song “Bad Boys” by the Miami Sound Machine. This was pretty lame, even for 80’s standards in trying to get over a face.

Another clip promoting the “Vote of Confidence” for the Honkytonk Man.

Mario Mancini vs. “The Natural” Butch Reed w/ Slick

Reed knocks down Mancini then stomps away. He hits a swinging neckbreaker then inflicts more punishment until he finally puts him away with the flying clothesline (1:45).

Thoughts: Total domination by Reed. Bruno and Vince kept calling Reed a “cheater” throughout the match as Jesse stood up for his fellow heel.

Ken Resnick is with Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster is pumping up as he cuts a promo on Kamala to hype their upcoming match in Boston. Hulk also referenced Orndorff here so we know that feud is not yet finished.

We have George Steele in the back of a car trying to order food at the drive-up window. Steele kept repeating the word “eat.” Finally, the driver, who is also is psychiatrist, ended up ordering one of each item on the menu. Steele was great in this role.

Don Muraco & Bob Orton w/ Mr. Fuji & Jimmy Hart vs. Jerry Allen & Don Driggers

Muraco & Orton continue to come out to Piper’s music and wear kilts. Muraco powerslams Bruno then tags Orton, who also slams around Allen. Driggers tags and Muraco suplexes him into the ring. Orton hits Driggers with a backbreaker then puts him a Boston Crab as Muraco leg drops him. Vince screams about referee Danny Davis for letting the heels both stay in the ring then they each hit the jobbers with their finishers simultaneously for the win (2:21).

Thoughts: The fans were less responsive to the heels this week as the gimmick of mocking Piper is starting to get a bit old. This match also gave more time to the Danny Davis angle, which has completely dominated the TV shows for the past few months.

Resnick is with Bobby Heenan, who is upset that Paul Orndorff has to face the Junkyard Dog in Boston instead of Hogan. Heenan rags on the Red Sox for blowing the World Series then Orndorff comes out and runs down JYD, telling him that he is going to go down.

An old clip of Jake “The Snake” Roberts on TNT showing his pet snakes to Lord Alfred and Mean Gene. Not much to this one.

Steve Lombardi & Moondog Spot vs. The Can-Am Connection

This is the WWF debut of the Can-Am connection. The girls were going nuts for these two. Zenk’s name is spelled “Zinc” on the graphic. Lombardi attacks Martel from behind to start. Martel then catches Lombardi with a hiptoss then takes him down with a hurricarana. Spot tags and grabs a hold of Martel but Zenk was able to make the tag. He dropkicks Spot but gets caught with a kneelift. Lombardi tags and whips Zenk in the corner but Martel acts as a shield then Zenk hammers away on Lombardi. The Can-Am Connection use some nice double-team moves then Martel puts Lombardi away with a slingshot splash (2:26).

Thoughts: Really good debut for the Can-Am Connection. They were sort of like a flashier version of the Rougeau Brothers although Martel was easily the best worker out of any of them. The WWF has not had a tag team that got the girls going crazy since Barry Windham was teaming with Rotundo over a year prior.

Piper’s Pit with guest Hulk Hogan. But before Hogan comes out he is surrounded by Jack Tunney, Billy Red Lyons, Arnold Skaaland, and some other guy. There is also a table on the set as well. Hogan comes out and he and Piper stare each other down as the crowd goes wild. Hogan congratulates Piper for getting rid of the Flower Shop then tells Piper they are alike but the opposite. Hogan tells him that they both want to be the best at what they do as Piper says that he will be there. Pretty damn cool to see these two face off and the crowd really wanted them to be on the same page.

We get a video of Outback Jack driving his jeep. That was all that happened.

The Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Sivi Afi & Johnny Mann

Afi takes down Brett with a drop toehold. He gets two with a reverse rollup but Brett catches him with a clothesline. Neidhart tags and beats on Afi then the Hart’s use quick tags to isolate Afi. He finally makes the tag as Mann runs wild. Brett trips up Mann from outside the ring then the Hart’s get the win with the Hart Attack (3:16).

Thoughts: The Hart’s were being built up well on commentary here as they continued to climb up the Tag Team Division ranks.

We get a promo from the Honkytonk Man who is pleading for the fans to give him their vote of confidence and that he will shake hands and kiss babies, as long as they are clean. It was a given that Honky was turning heel after watching this.

Capt. Lou Albano lets us know that tonight’s match will be his last as a manager as he is going to dedicate himself to outside activities, namely to work to raise awareness for Multiple Sclerosis.

Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy vs. The Machines w/ Capt. Lou Albano

Studd backs Super Machine into the corner. Super fights back and hits a flying headbutt. Bundy tags and eats boot courtesy of Big Machine. Studd tags but Big Machine ducks underneath him then hits a body slam as the fans go nuts. Bundy breaks up a pin attempt then the match breaks down. Bundy holds up Super Machine as Studd hits him off the top with a double axe handle as the ref was distracted then Bundy covers as Studd prevents Big from breaking it up and that gets the win (3:01).

Thoughts: This was also notable for the last times the Machines gimmick was seen. Also, this was Studd’s last WWF apperance until his brief comeback in 1989. Oddly enough, the voiceover hyping a house show mentioned how Blackjack Mulligan would be appearing. Mulligan was the wrestler who played Big Machine. As for the match itself, it sucked, but the fans loved it when Studd got slammed. Not much of a send-off for Albano at all but he would wrestle his last match on the next episode of WWF Challenge.

Resnick is with The Wizard as we are a treated to another awful screaming promo. He speaks on behalf of Kamala to hype up his match in Boston against Hulk Hogan.

Next week’s featured match will be Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Title. Also, the results of Honkytonk Man’s “vote of confidence” and Hillbilly Jim & Tito Santana & Pedro Morales vs. The Dream Team & Johnny V.

Final Thoughts: Good show this week. The Piper/Hogan confrontation was good and we got to see the Can-Am Connection make their debut as well and get over very quickly too. The Machines vs. Studd & Bundy was a big main event, even if the angle was a flop. They are continuing the transformation of Honky from a face to a heel and showcasing the depth of their Tag Team Division.

Here is my schedule

Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Ted DiBiase Volume 1, Disc One
Friday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Ted DiBiase Volume 1, Disc Two
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/16/86
Saturday: RoH Night of Champions 3/22/03
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/22/86
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/23/86

WWF Wrestling Challenge November 9th, 1986

November 9, 1986

From the Civic Center in Glens Falls, NY

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

In action this week are the Junkyard Dog & George Steele, Hercules Hernandez, Hillbilly Jim & Billy Jack Haynes and the Islanders

Joe Mirto & Al Navarro vs. Junkyard Dog & George “The Animal” Steele

Mirto tries to attack Steele from behind but that fails and he gets rammed into the turnbuckle. He tags JYD and he uses his crawling headbutts then nearly drops him as he hits the powerslam and they fuck up the finish even more as the ref stops counting so Steele can toss Navarro to the floor then he counts to three (1:26). After the match, Steele eats the turnbuckle then they dance with some kids in the ring.

Thoughts: Embarrassing in-ring action but regardless, these two got the crowd going. JYD was slowly being sent down the card as he was rapidly deteriorating.

A “Wrestler’s Rebuttal” with the Dream Team pissed that the Fabulous Moolah won a battle royal after hiding under the ring until the end. A waste of time.

We get a recap of the events that led to Roddy Piper facing Mr. Fuji on Superstars. They even replay the entire match.

Ken Resnick is with Hillbilly Jim. He asks him about his theme song and his appearance at the “Farm Aid” concert. Jim puts over the show and lets us know how we can make a donation. Jim also thanks Resnick for asking about granny and says that she is doing well and even promised Jim some “possum pudding.” A lot of Hillbilly Jim on this show.

Another replay from Superstars, this time of Bobby Heenan buying the contract of Hercules from Slick.

Scott McGhee vs. Hercules w/ Bobby Heenan

They have dropped the “Hernandez” part of Hercules’ name here. Johnny V replaces Heenan on commentary for this match. Hercules destroys McGhee in the corner to start. McGhee hits a dropkick but gets caught with a clothesline then Hercules makes him submit to the backbreaker (1:06).

Thoughts: They certainly gave Hercules a huge push once they aligned him with Heenan. Monsoon even called him a contender for Hogan’s title.

Resnick is with the Islanders. Haku talks about how he has learned sumo in Japan prior to coming to the WWF. Tama then takes over and is a lot more lively than Haku.

We get a replay of the Jesse Ventura interview with the Honkytonk Man were they announce the “Vote of Confidence.

Rick Renslow & Jimmy Jack Funk vs. Billy Jack Haynes & Hillbilly Jim

Johnny V remains on commentary. Funk knocks down Haynes but gets caught with a hiptoss then dropkicked out of the ring. We get an insert promo of Jim inviting Haynes over to granny’s house for dinner in a comically awkward bit as Haynes didnt seem to know what to say and sat in silence. Funk catches Haynes with a clothesline then gets two with a fist drop. Renslow tags as Haynes chops him then tags Jim. The Hillbilly slams Renslow then they double team him until Haynes makes him submit to the full nelson (1:53). After the match, they do the do-si-do.

Thoughts: One of the oddest tag team combinations I have ever seen. Not much to add other than that.

The Snake Pit with guests Bobby Heenan and Paul Orndorff. They run down Hulk Hogan as Orndorff said you can even ask Hogan’s girlfriend who is the better man. The Hogan/Orndorff feud was still going on strong.

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

Heenan is back on commentary and announces that Capt. Lou Albano will be retiring from wrestling. Allen catches Reed with an armdrag but Reed knocks him down. He chokes out Reed against the ropes as Gorilla asks Heenan how much he paid for the contract of Hercules and shortly after that Reed hits Allen with a flying clothesline for the win (2:19).

Thoughts: Reed was getting pushed but despite that he still was not all that over with the crowd.

We are shown Albano as he says that next week he will have his final match teaming with the Bulldogs to take on the Dream Team and Johnny Valiant.

Frenchy Martin & Dave Wagner vs. The Islanders

Tama works the arm of Martin as we get an insert promo from Sheik & Volkoff and Slick as they run down the Islanders. Wagner tags and the Islanders work him over until Tama puts him away with a top rope splash (2:26).

Thoughts: Seemed like filler to me although they are teasing a feud between the Islanders and Sheik & Volkoff.

Resnick is with Bobby Heenan, who puts over Orndorff for being the greatest athlete today and the fact that he has been the only person to leave Hulk Hogan lying down. Orndorff comes in and lets us know that Heenan was not bragging but that the truth hurts and that he will even sell his own family down the river for the belt. He then tells Hogan he was dumb for thinking that he was his friend.

Next week, Koko B. Ware will face Randy Savage in a non-title match. Also, King Harley Race vs. Corporal Kirchner and the featured match of the British Bulldogs & Albano vs. The Dream Team & Johnny V.

Final Thoughts: Another skippable show. They set up net week’s show nicely as they have a lot going on then but really, not a whole lot happened here but if you missed “Superstars of Wrestling,” you got recaps of all the major happenings.

Schedule for the following week:

Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/15/86
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Ted DiBiase, Volume 1
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/16/86
Saturday: RoH Night of Champions 3/22/03
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 11/22/86