The PG-Era Retro Rant: WWF on MSG Network, 6-3-91

As promised, a look into nostalgia
heaven for me: the late 80s and early 90s are my favorite wrestling
time, and so…
The PG Era Rant for WWF on MSG Network,
June 3, 1991.
From New York City.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby
Heenan, and Jim Neidhart. As commentary goes, Anvil doesn’t really
add much, but he doesn’t detract either. He’s a clear third wheel,
there to stir the pot.

Opening match: Smash v. The Dragon.
Smash is on his own here. Dragon is a newcomer to the WWF who does
the fire-breathing trick from circus sideshows and is absolutely not
Ricky Steamboat no matter how much they look, talk, and wrestle
alike. Smash with a knee to the gut to start and he slugs away,
working the arm. Dragon reverses the arm and wrenches away, dropping
an elbow on the arm repeatedly. Dragon gets the best of a tackle,
but gets dumped, only to skin the cat back in. Not as well as
Steamboat would, but he makes up for it by dumping Smash. Back in,
Dragon hits an armdrag and works the arm some more. Gorilla wants to
see Dragon take on a Heenan Family member, which causes the Brain to
scoff. Dragon keeps working the arm and adds head chops, then slams
Smash off of a whip and goes to the armdrag again. Heenan praises
his armdrags, though they’re not as good as Steamboat’s. Anvil:
“Weasels don’t like fire, Gorilla.” Smash escapes the arm work
with an inverted atomic drop and a Hotshot. Smash pounds away some
more, getting a chokeslam and holding the choke. Back suplex follows
for two. Neck cranking follows, but Dragon gets to his feet. Smash
dumps Dragon to the outside, adding a big right and sending the
Dragon into the post. A slam on the floor as Gorilla complements the
cameraman. Smash slinghots Dragon back in. Backbreaker gets one.
Gorilla: “That wasn’t exactly a Hitman type backbreaker.”
Heenan: “How much does he pay you to sing his praises?” Gorilla:
“He’ll be here when you’re gone, Brain.” Anvil finds this
hilarious. Dragon fights out of the crank with some weak chops
(Steamboat’s are much better), but Smash with a series of
clotheslines to stop momentum. Sleeper by Smash. Gorilla notes the
lower arm is wrong. They test his arm once, twice, three times…
four times? See, Steamboat would never make a mistake like that.
The announcers are surprised there was no bell. Dragon remembers to
put the arm up on the fourth try, though. Dragon chops out in the
gut area, then the head, but Smash whips him only to put his head
down. Dragon with the comeback, dropkicking Smash to the outside.
Dragon dives onto him from the second rope. Eh, Steamboat would’ve
gone from the top. Smash catches Dragon and suplexes him back in for
two. Smash sends Dragon into the buckle, but a blind charge misses.
Dragon with the bodypress to finish at 10:15. *3/4
Okay, fine, it is Ricky Steamboat, but you’d never get Vince to
admit it.
Warlord
v. Koko B Ware. Anvil says “a definite size advantage for the
Birdman.” This is why he didn’t last long on commentary, I guess.
Heenan wants nothing to do with Frankie. Koko taunts Heenan to
start. Gorilla doesn’t see Slick and wonders if Warlord ate him.
Warlord throws Koko out of a lockup and poses. Gorilla and Anvil
claim Heenan skims some money out of Barbarian’s paycheck, saying he
lies and cheats. Gorilla: “You forgot steal.” Koko with
headbutts and he sticks and moves, with Warlord unable to keep up and
losing his cool. Koko slides out of the ring before slowly
returning. Warlord goes CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY to take
control. Koko to the eyes to get in control, though. Warlord visits
the turnbuckle, but Koko gets the worst of it. Gorilla and Heenan
agree on something, which scares them both. Warlord tries again, but
Koko blocks and fires back. Warlord no-sells a clothesline before
running Koko down with a big boot. Choking on the ropes follows,
then a shot to the kidneys. Bearhug follows, with Koko “picked up
like a bucket of chicken”. Heenan really said that. Heenan claims
that Slick is in a skybox with Diana Ross. Monsoon claims that was
just Slick in drag. Every time Koko tries to headbutt out, Warlord
adds a crunch. Koko avoids the KO and tries to squirm out, but to no
avail. He’s not allowed to choke Warlord to escape, but he rings the
ears to get out only to get clotheslined hard. Warlord with more
clubbing blows, but Koko cuts one off and works the head. Warlord
catches Koko and dumps him, however. He drags Koko to the apron and
smashes away. Koko gets a shoulder to Warlord’s gut and tries a
sunset flip only to get punched. Big slam follows, but an elbowdrop
misses. Koko with a small package for two. Blind charge by Warlord
misses, and Koko with a missile dropkick for two. Warlord with a
Stun Gun to win at 10:34. *1/4
Jim
Duggan v. Colonel Mustafa. Mustafa is, of coure, Sheiky Baby
repackaged as an Iraqi soldier, and given the history of Iraq and
Iran he could not have enjoyed that. Duggan sends General Adnan to
the floor through intimidation. Mustafa stalls to start as Duggan
tries to keep the crowd into it. Mustafa clubs him in the ropes, but
gets run over with clotheslines and bails. Heenan wonders why people
go to the fans when you’re the one wrestling. Gorilla: “Nobody
ever cheered for you.” Duggan wins a slugfest, complete with
Popeye punch to send Mustafa bailing again. More stalling. Mustafa
with a cheap shot off of a corner lockup, and he keeps pounding and
choking. More shots at Duggan while he’s draped on the apron, and
Adnan adds a shot of his own off-camera. Mustafa with another right
and into a chinlock. Duggan elbows out, but runs into an Iranian
Hammer. Mustafa loads up the boot, but Duggan reverses a suplex try.
Mustafa back in with throat shots, but Duggan gets a slam to
counter. Football lariat time, but Adnan trips Duggan and steals the
2×4 for good measure. Duggan chases him to the back, where Sgt.
Slaughter ambushes him for the countout at 5:46. Of note: Danny
Davis is seen on camera waiting about 10 seconds before trying to
stop the beating, but he’s Danny Davis so of course he’ll give the
heels some leeway. Iron Sheik was more or less done at this point.
-*
Barbarian
v. Bret Hart. Since Heenan is stuck at commentary, Mr. Fuji manages
Barbarian for this match. We have a Heenan Family member against a
Hart Foundation member, so don’t expect unbiased commentary or
anything. Hitman has his Skull and Wings jacket. Gorilla asks what
the insignia means, but Anvil says it’s personal. Barbarian throws
Bret into the corner on a lockup. Barbarian with a headlock, but
Bret shoots him off and gets run over. Bret falls right next to
commentary as Heenan shows he’s staying out of it. Back in, Bret
gets another lockup. Gorilla tells Anvil to keep an eye on Heenan.
Barbarian nails Bret hard with some shoulder tackles. Bret ducks a
back chop only to get slammed on the rebound. Elbowdrop misses and
Bret fires away, causing Barbarian to bail. Back in, Bret works the
arm, driving knees into the elbow. Barbarian backs Bret into the
ropes, but puts his head down and Bret goes back to the arm. Big
boot to the shoulder by Barbarian. Seated senton drop on Bret’s back
follows. Barbarian kicks away, nudging Bret to the floor. Barbarian
follows him and catches him, knocking him off the apron and ramming
his back into the post twice. Heenan: “I don’t see too much
Excellence of Execution here.” Bret slowly rolls in, so Barbarian
steps on Bret’s throat. Hammer Throw by Barbarian follows. Standing
punches to a prone Hitman follow, but a big boot misses and Bret…
runs into a bearhug. Bret escapes quickly. Barbarian with a chop,
then another Hammer Throw into another bearhug. Bret avoids the KO,
putting him one step up on Dragon, and bites Barbarian to escape.
Heenan: “I’d expect that out of you [Anvil], but not the Hitman.”
Barbarian recovers first with a sidewalk slam. Second-rope
elbowdrop misses. Heenan criticizes Fuji for not telling Barbarian
to go faster. Bret pops up out of nowhere to fire away on Barbarian,
getting an inverted atomic drop and clothesline for two. Ten punch
countalong follows in the corner, then a backbreaker. Second-rope
elbow by Bret connects, getting two. Heenan desperately wants to get
to the ring. Bret with a Russian legsweep for two, with the kickout
sending Bret out of the ring. Bret’s favoring his leg as Barbarian
drags him to the apron, suplexing him back in. Bret reverses and
tries a rolling cradle, but Barbarian shrugs him off and Fuji trips
Bret. Fuji goes onto the apron, but a cane shot nails Barbarian and
Bret gets the pin at 12:08. Heenan chews out Fuji in the ring as the
two managers nearly come to blows. Barbarian takes Heenan’s side on
this one. Anvil loves seeing the fight. This one picked up once
Bret got on offense and was pretty slow otherwise. **1/4
Jim
Quinn of the World Bobybuilding Federation is at ringside. Anvil:
“Look at the veins in that guy’s arms!” All the better to find
where to put the needle.
Bob
Bradley v. Jimmy Snuka. Bradley was a WCCW alum who is just a
jobber. Heenan unloads a racist tirade on Fuji. Bradley pushes
Snuka into the ropes and shoves him, which annoys Snuka. Snuka gets
shoved out of a second lockup. Bradley with a headlock, but Snuka
gets a criss-cross and leapfrog before Bradley bails instead of
getting the Island Chop. Snuka slingshots Bradley back in, then gets
a hiptoss after a long whip sequence, followed by the Island Chop.
Bradley gets a knee in Snuka’s stomach (Anvil: “That looked low.”)
before sending him into the turnbuckle… which only fires Snuka up.
Bradley maintains a headlock, tackling Snuka. Snuka with his reverse
leapfrog and another Island Chop, followed by a backbreaker.
Superfly Splash ends it at 4:04. Just a squash. 1/2*
Earthquake
v. Jake Roberts. No sign of Jimmy Hart in town. This, of course, is
after Quake killed Damian on an episode of Superstars. Jake hides
Lucifer – his replacement snake – under the ring and away from
Quake. Neither man waits for the bell, with Roberts getting a
kneelift and backing Quake into the ropes. The ref separates the
two, with Roberts telling the ref to make sure the snake stays safe.
Roberts dodges Quake and keeps him in the corner. A second dodge and
Roberts with some shots to the gut. He keeps sticking, moving, and
punching away. Quake tells the ref the fists are closed, and Roberts
tells the ref he’ll personally demonstrate. Quake backs Roberts into
the corner and slams his shoulder into Roberts’ ribs. Hammer Throw
and Quake with a goozle, but Roberts breaks and gets kneelifts to
double Quake over. DDT, but Quake hangs on to the top rope to stop
it. Quake stomps Roberts out of the ring, and Quake finds the bag.
The referee tells him to back off, which allows Roberts to get
another kneelift. Quake smashes Roberts into the corner, but a
running tackle misses and hits the post. Jake with a kneelift as
Quake returns, then a short clothesline. Another DDT try, but Quake
bulrushes Roberts into the corner. Gorilla says Jake needs to move
to the center of the ring. Quake steps on Roberts to keep control.
Gorilla threatens to leave and have Anvil and Heenan alone, which
freaks Heenan out. Quake measures Roberts and does another shoulder
ram. Hammer Throw and Jake falls to the outside. Quake goes up top
as the crowd freaks out, but Roberts bails out of range before Quake
can jump. Roberts rolls back in, only for another Hammer Throw to
follow. Quake plays to the crowd, which allows Roberts a right hand,
but Quake clubs him to knock him over. Roberts refuses to let the
ref stop the match, but Quake pulls him up and rams him in the gut
again. Another Hammer Throw follows. Roberts falls with his foot on
the rope, which means… something. Quake begs Roberts to come to
him, and Roberts slithers over and takes hold of his leg. A confused
Quake asks Roberts to keep crawling up, but when he does, Roberts
with a shot. Quake keeps control, but misses a clothesline and
Roberts clobbers him in the back of the head, felling Quake. Jake
tries another DDT, but Quake’s in the ropes again. Quake with a
single-leg trip and he drops the elbow on Jake’s leg… but Jake gets
the knee into the rib and both men are hurting. Quake is up first
and keeps control with more shoulders to the ribs, and Jake can’t
even finish an Irish Whip with his bad leg. Quake signals for the
Earthquake Splash, but Roberts bails. Roberts’ leg is hurt, so the
ref checks in on him. Quake takes the opportunity to drag the bag
into the ring and threaten to crush it. Roberts trips Quake this
time, and that’s enough to get Jake to pull Lucifer out. The ref
throws the match out at 10:59 as Quake bails. I know this match
sounds bad, but this needs to be seen in my opinion. It was basic,
but it was how they used their basic moves to build to the finish.
**
Sean
Mooney interviews Mr. Fuji about the events of earlier, and he
challenges Heenan to a tag match. Likely he means Orient Express
against Faces of Fear, but he doesn’t name any names.
Mooney
now interviews Big Boss Man about his upcoming match with the
Mountie. Boss Man respects law, order, and justice, and that’s why
he hates the Mountie, who allows Hart’s posse to beat up Boss Man.
Boss Man’s life flashes before his eyes whenever the Mountie zaps him
with the cattle prod, seeing all the men he’s arrested and put on
Death Row. Mountie’s on the Most Wanted List for his actions, and he
will serve hard time. Boss Man’s so furious he drops his nightstick
while twirling.
Mooney
is now with Sgt. Slaughter and General Adnan, who talk about the
Desert Storm Match they’ll be having with Hulk Hogan. He tells Hogan
to be ready for an ambush, like the one he put on Duggan. Hogan is,
by the way, the Immortal Slime in this promo. Mooney explains the
Desert Storm Match, which is basically an I Quit match.
Mooney
now is with Hulk Hogan, who is wearing a gas mask and military camo.
He says he saw what happened to Duggan, and now he has the green
light to break all the rules. He warns the little Hulkamaniacs that
Slaughter may have put napalm in their popcorn. He really said that.
He says it’s all-out war between the two, and though he won the
battle at WrestleMania, he’s got to win the war tonight. As long as
Slaughter is in the WWF, the war is still on. He has white sand from
Venice Beach, and he’s loaded with it and just about any weapon you
can think of. He doesn’t care about the title – it’s all about
ending Slaughter.
We
look back at how Hacksaw Duggan was ambushed and left laying by
Slaughter. Duggan was dazed by the attack (Heenan: “How could they
tell the difference?”) but he was more shaken up than injured and
very angry.
Mountie
v. Big Boss Man. The Mountie is a corrupt policeman played by
Jacques Rougeau who managed to do the unthinkable: get Canada upset.
Heenan makes a point that both men carry weapons as their police
issue items. Mountie won’t let Bossman in, but the ref yanks away
the cattle prod and Bossman’s ready to go with uppercuts. Fifteen
visits to the top buckle follow (Mountie adds two or three more in
momentum) and Bossman slugs away. Jumping rope straddle follows,
then a second one. Bossman with an Oklahoma Slam (dedicated to
Anvil) for two. Mountie bails out, but Bossman follows with a
running punch. Back in, Bossman shoves Mountie around and slaps his
back as Mountie turtles up. Uppercuts by Bossman and Mountie timbers
down. Bossman up top, but Mountie moves and Bossman gives himself a
Hotshot. Mountie with a shot to the throat as both men are dazed,
and Mountie drops an elbow on the outside. Mountie smashes Bossman
against the barricade and punches him in the neck. Jumping back
elbow by Mountie gets two. Slugest follows, which Bossman wins.
Mountie caught with a back elbow and big splash. Bossman punches a
defenseless Mountie, who falls out of the ring and grabs his cattle
prod. Bossman shoves the ref aside, and Mountie jams the prod into
Bossman’s stomach for the pin at 5:53. *3/4
Bit of a Raw match feel to this one, and with good reason: it was
setting up their SummerSlam match where the loser would spend the
night in New York jail. Mountie gets another zapping in, a long one
this time, as Bossman twitches and foams at the mouth.
Paul
Roma v. Animal. It’s supposed to be a tag match, but Hawk is absent
or injured or something, so it’s one on one. Roma wins the coin toss
to take the match. Anvil notes it’s too tag team specialists in
singles competition and that they may not be comfortable. Everyone
shoves everyone to start, and Roma jumps Animal and pounds away.
Animal reverses the whip, but after another whip, Animal catches Roma
in an inverted atomic drop and lariat. Hercules distracts the ref,
so Animal drops a headbutt to Roma’s groin. Ten punch countalong is
stopped at six as Roma dumps Animal. Hercules adds a shot or two on
the outside. Roma stomps Animal and throws him back-first into the
apron. Back in, Roma fires away and gets a mile-high dropkick. Roma
with three locomotion backbreakers on Animal, but he shows off
instead of covering. He goes up top, landing a single axhandle.
Animal fires away to regain momentum, then catches Roma in a back
suplex. Roma kicks Animal to stop him cold, adding a piledriver for
two. Animal hulks up off of that, and he begins the comeback. Roma
reverses a whip, but the blind charge eats boot and Animal with a
running punch. Animal gives Roma a merry-go-round whip… into the
referee. Animal with a dropkick and shoulder tackle for nothing
because the ref’s out. Hercules breaks it up and a double-team
begins. Hercules holds Animal, but Roman’s missile dropkick hits
Hercules and a powerslam ends it at 4:59. Another Raw style match.
*1/2
Main
event, Desert Storm match for the WWF Title: Hulk Hogan v. Sergeant
Slaughter. As a reminder, Desert Storm Rules mean there are no
rules, you can do whatever it takes, and there will be unconditional
surrender to decide the winner (as Fink puts it). Heenan questions
whether Hogan putting the belt on the line in a match like this was
smart. Hogan still has his military gas mask thing on. He throws
the belt in the ring, knowing Slaughter will try to hit him with it,
then throws the Venice Beach sand into Sarge’s face as Slaughter
tries to use the belt. Beltshot follows by Hulk, then a shot with
Sarge’s Army helmet. Hogan uses Sarge’s riding crop liberally. He
headbutts Sarge with the mask. Hogan tosses Sarge out to the floor
and follows, sending Sarge into the steps. Hogan chokes Sarge with a
TV cable and punches away. Another stiff right, and Hogan throws
Sarge back in. Hogan throws Sarge over the buckle and into the post.
Sarge blades at this point, so Hogan takes a Desert Storm flag and
chokes Sarge with it. Sarge slumps over by the broadcast table, so
Hogan sends Sarge into Anvil’s monitor. Hogan takes the house mic
and clocks Sarge with it. Hogan gives the Thumbs Down, then Hammer
Throws Sarge. Sarge is swinging blindly, so Hogan controls with his
running elbow. Hogan kicks away as Sarge is up to .4 Muta. Hogan
punches the cut in a ground and pound, then bites the cut. Even
Gorilla thinks Hogan is over-the-top violent. Hogan slingshots Sarge
into the post again, but Sarge finds the riding crop. Hogan is only
momentarily fazed, going back to a headlock and punches. Sarge kicks
Hogan off a backdrop attempt before punching away and raking the
eyes. Slaughter unlocks his utility belt and smashes Hogan with it.
He smashes Hogan a second time to send Hogan to the outside. Sarge
sends Hogan into the barricade, first his forehead, then his back.
Sarge with axhandles to Hogan’s back as the crowd starts a
spontaneous USA chant. Back in, Sarge finds Hogan’s belt and whips
Hogan with it. He chokes Hogan in the corner with the belt, putting
Hogan on his back in the corner. Both men are tired as Adnan throws
a chair in. Sarge gets it, winds up… and collapses from the blood
loss. Hogan uses the chair on Sarge’s back, then picks Sarge up and
punches away. Sarge ducks a right hand and gets a Russian legsweep.
Sarge pounds away on Hogan, then slams the chair into Hogan’s back.
Camel clutch try, but Sarge can’t hook the right arm. Sarge is
smothering Hogan’s face, so there’s that. Hogan slips out the back
door and sends Sarge into the corner, where he nails his shoulder
into the post. Sarge recovers and pounds away on the back, but he’s
exhausted. He goes up top, but he’s too tired and falls off the top.
Sarge tries again, but by this time Hogan’s up and slams him off.
Double clothesline follows for the double KO. Sarge is up faster,
but he’s punch drunk and falls back down. Sarge unties his boot to
use that as a weapon, but Hogan throws a fireball at Sarge to stop
him. Hogan rips the camo shirt and gets an Axe Bomber. He gets
Sarge’s boot and floors Sarge with it repeatedly. Now Hogan puts a
camel clutch on Sarge – a proper one, too, almost a Steiner
Recliner actually – and Adnan throws the towel in at 15:32. Hogan
throws sand in Adnan’s face to stop him from a sneak attack, then
clears the ring of opponents before beginning the posing. Man, who
doesn’t love a good street fight? **3/4
Hogan poses with a little kid who may be Nick for all I know.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
This
was basically like watching what Raw would be in 1991. That’s not
necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but there wasn’t much angle
advancement and no feuds (Hogan/Slaughter, Quake/Roberts,
Bossman/Mountie, Animal/Roma) had what you’d call a feud ender. The
wrestling was very slow in places, which is too bad. Also,
commentary had a lot of kinks to work out, as Anvil really messed
with the chemistry of Heenan and Monsoon.
Still,
a blast from the past is fine, and it would be worth the $10 or
whatever I would have paid to go live. The street fight was a great
way to send the fans home happy, and although I would’ve liked to see
more effort out of Steamboat or Warlord, the last few matches helped
out quite a bit.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 80:10 over nine matches
BEST
MATCH: Hogan/Slaughter
WORST
MATCH: Duggan/Mustafa
NIGHT
MVP: Hulk Hogan
FINAL
SCORE: Meh, 4/10. No good matches, but the last few at least had
good heat to them.
Okay,
guys, thanks for reading and nitpicking! I’ll see you on Monday for
Raw from my neck of the woods, DC!