The SmarK Rant for WWF Prime Time Wrestling – 03.16.87
Pretty famous moment in this one, plus I really enjoyed our last trip to 1987, so let’s carry on.
Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon, and lookie at what’s sitting on the desk…..!
Yup, it’s the famous Andre custom WWF title belt that he would have been awarded had he beaten Hogan at Wrestlemania! That’s pretty awesome. Someone’s gotta have that in storage somewhere, right? Frankly I’m surprised they didn’t just switch to that title.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Moondog Spot
We’re in Boston Garden this week for the matches and this would be Duggan’s debut on this show. Spot runs away for a bit to start, but Duggan gets an atomic drop while Jimmy Hart protests the suspension for life of Danny Davis while on commentary. Even Gorilla concedes that “life plus ten years” is a bit harsh on the part of Jack Tunney. Spot stalls outside the ring again while Jimmy notes that referee Rita Chatterton is “overweight, out of shape, and out of date”. Well Vince apparently didn’t think so. Duggan slugs away in the corner, but Spot puts him down with a forearm and follows with a fistdrop off the middle rope before going to a chinlock. Duggan fights out of that deadly predicament and makes the comeback with a spinning slam and drops the knee for two. And we take a break. Really? For THIS match? Back with Duggan punching him on the ropes and then yelling at Rita to get off his back about it. Women, am I right? Three point stance finishes at 7:00. The match literally only lasted THIRTY SECONDS after the break. Why did they even bother sticking a commercial there? *
Back at the studio, Gorilla has a couple of cards for Bobby: An invitation to Hulk Hogan’s victory party after Wrestlemania, and a sympathy card for Andre losing. Bobby introduces the new belt for a real man, a GIANT of a man, although Gorilla points out that it belongs to the WWF and not Bobby. What a killjoy.
WRESTLEMANIA REPORT! WITH MEAN GENE!
This week it’s Jimmy Hart chatting with Bob Uecker. Jimmy explains how a hair match works. Mary Hart chats with Bobby Heenan and Andre, and asks why a great wrestler needs a manager. Andre tells her that she talks too much. I’d do what the giant says. Billy Jack Haynes does a promo about how he’s doing wrist curls to work on the full nelson, and he’s not a very good promo. The Dream Team and Dino Bravo also have some words for the Rougeaus.
The Killer Bees v. Tiger Chung Lee & Iron Mike Sharpe
We’re over to Superstars for this now, with the weird long tights and running shoes for the Bees. The Bees double-team Sharpe and work the arm while a Superstars of Wrestling banner hangs UNBLURRED in the background. Oh man, someone better draw up a cease-and-desist letter on behalf of that promoter right now. Over to Lee and Brunzell works on his arm, but the heels trap Jim in the corner and work him over for a bit. Vince promises that WM will be “the largest crowd in the history of any entertainment event ever”, which feels like he’s overselling it JUST a tad. I think Woodstock might have had more, for example. Finally Sharpe hits his partner with the loaded forearm by mistake and Blair gets the hot tag and hits Mike with an Asuka hip attack. Brunzell comes in with the dropkick on Tiger and that finishes at 4:51. Pretty decent little match with a beginning, middle and end. **
Back at the studio, Bobby is unimpressed with the Bees and thinks he can randomly put together a bunch of combinations to beat them. Mr. Wonderful and the King, for example! That’d be a hell of a team, actually.
Honky Tonk Man joins Mean Gene for an interview, and talks about how his mama gave him his “natural jet black hair” and raised him right, but Gene wonders how hitting someone with a guitar is OK. Honky notes that he thought that he hit Jake hard enough to knock some sense into him, but he was apparently wrong, and Gene nearly cracks at the delivery of that line and then wraps it up right away.
Outlaw Ron Bass v. SD Jones
Back to Boston Garden and we’re joined in progress with Bass getting a back elbow and beating on SD. Bass runs him into the corner and chokes him out on the apron, and a slam gets two. Bass goes to a lengthy chinlock and then switches to an abdominal stretch. More dullness and SD comes back with some headbutts, but Bass hits him with a back elbow for the pin at 7:08. Well there’s a portion of my life I’ll never have back again. DUD I can’t believe Bass managed to stick around for years after this.
Back at the studio, Gorilla points out that Bobby has been making some big bets about his success at Wrestlemania with the wrong kinds of people, and he’ll be liable to wind up at the bottom of the river if he doesn’t pay out.
Don Muraco & Bob Orton v. Jerry Allen & Dan Spivey
More from Boston. Kind of surprised Vince never seriously repackaged Spivey after Rotunda left, since he seemed like a no-lose. Big tall blond guy with great hair? Checks all the boxes. Muraco stops for support from Bobby Heenan at ringside before the match, asking if Bobby would rather see Muraco put Spivey away with the piledriver or let Orton finish him with the superplex. Bobby: “Carte blanche! Do whatever you’d like!” I love little moments like that. Spivey slugs away on Orton to start and then works Muraco’s arm. Muraco does a nice attempt at a reversal by walking up the middle rope and getting an armdrag, but Spivey rolls through and retains control. Over to Allen, who comes in with a crossbody for two and goes back to the arm. Bobby, meanwhile, details his training program with Andre, as they’re counting on Hogan running away for the whole match and so they’re training for endurance. Back to Orton, and he quickly beats on Allen to take over. Muraco with a Russian legsweep for two while Bobby makes a good point about the fickle nature of Boston sports fans, and Allen tries to fight back, but Muraco literally just sticks out his arm for a half-assed clothesline and cuts him off. Man, Muraco was SO bad before the babyface turn re-energized him a bit. He just did not give a shit about anything but surfing and steroids for most of 86 and 87. Orton with a dropkick and he goes to a facelock, but Allen makes the hot tag to Spivey, who chases Orton out of the ring and slams Muraco for two. Spivey with a headlock and we take a break. In the studio, Gorilla notes that the Can-Am Connection will be watching this tape repeatedly, looking for flaws. Flaw #1: The match fucking sucks. Also, Muraco is terrible. Back with Orton beating Spivey down for two, and then he fights up and gets tripped by Fuj the Stooge. Allen manages to tag in while Spivey takes a nap on the floor, and he puts Muraco down with a back elbow for two. He tries a crossbody, but Muraco lazily drops him on the top rope, moving a pace that can charitably called “glacial”, and Orton finishes this geek with the superplex at 12:40. “This is dedicated to me, Monsoon!” declares Bobby giddily. I liked the Muraco/Orton team but this was not their finest outing. *1/2
Bobby is on the phone with Miss Betty back in the studio, while Gorilla questions how he’s paying for her services.
Jimmy Jack Funk v. Pedro Morales
This Boston show must have been quite the house show to sit through. And then I check my archives and I actually reviewed the full show on WWE 24/7 back in the day! Maybe I’ll attach it after this one. Morales works a hammerlock and Funk runs away to stall outside. Back in, Funk wants a test of strength, so Pedro punches him and he runs away again. Back in, Funk misses a punch and bumps to the apron like a clown, but then finally boots Pedro down and chokes him out to get…heat? I wanna say heat. In theory. Funk manages to sneak a shot with the cowbell and drops elbows for two. He goes up and misses an elbow off the middle, however, and Pedro makes the comeback with a backbreaker to finish at 7:26. Well that was certainly a match. *
Back at the studio, Gorilla still thinks that Andre has some faults with his training technique, but Bobby screwed him over during the last visit and so he’s not going to share those faults now.
Jake Roberts chats with Mean Gene, and he points out that he was indeed making fun of Honky because he likes to say exactly what he thinks.
WWF Women’s tag team titles: Lelani Kai & Judy Martin v. Velvet McIntrye & Angie Minnalli
This was before the champs got repackaged into “The Glamor Girls”, and it appears to be a dark match from Wrestling Challenge, with commentary overdubbed by Mean Gene and Lord Alfred. Minnalli works on the arm of Kai, but Lelani overpowers Velvet and then brings in Judy Martin. Velvet tries a headscissors on her, but Martin cuts it off and the champs control Velvet in the corner. Kai misses a legdrop and Velvet gets a rollup for two, but Martin saves and Kai takes over with a backbreaker again. Martin comes in with a hairtoss and Kai hangs her from the apron, and we take a break. Back at the studio, Bobby gets on the phone with the director and promises that we’ll see King Kong Bundy’s training footage instead of Gorilla’s promised footage of Andre. Gorilla thinks it doesn’t exist, since Bundy only ever trained in a fast food restaurant. Back to the match as Kai necksnaps Velvet to keep her on the floor. Back in, Martin continues working her over. Apparently Velvet actually won the Women’s title from Moolah in Australia in 1986 and held it for six days in a reign that was never recognized on TV as far as I can remember. Huh. Minnalli gets a hot tag and runs the champs together for two, but Martin hits her with a POWERBOMB behind the ref’s back and Kai pins her at 12:04. Not exactly a feature match worth waiting around for but seeing Martin bust out a powerbomb here was pretty cool. *1/2
And we wrap it up with Gorilla introducing special footage of his trip to the Andre training compound. So we join Gorilla and Bobby in the woods, as Bobby gives him a bunch of bananas as lunch (and Gorilla eats them anyway!) and they wander through the woods and get completely lost in circles, despite Gorilla leaving a trail of banana peels. So Gorilla accuses Bobby of sabotaging Gorilla’s attempts to get to the training camp because he doesn’t want the flaws revealed, and we’re done for the week.
And hey, just for fun, here’s my original review of the Boston show from WWE 24/7 as well…
The SmarK 24/7 Rant – WWF Boston Garden show, March 7 1987
– Yeah, it’s all about the build to Wrestlemania III this month, and this is no exception. This one leaves in about 2 hours, so I figured I might as well get ‘r done.
– Taped from Boston (duh)
– Your hosts are Gorilla & Jimmy Hart.
Pedro Morales v. Jimmy Jack Funk
Pedro starts on the arm with a wristlock takedown and a hammerlock, but Funk bails to escape and jaws with the fans. Funk wants a test of strength, but Pedro just slaps him, and we get more stalling as Funk bails again off a punch. Back in, and he immediately bumps out again. Good lord. Finally the match actually starts, as Funk gets a cheapshot in the corner and stomps away, and now it’s Pedro’s turn to leave the ring for a bit. Funk uses MORE COWBELL on the way back in and Pedro is in trouble, so Funk drops an elbow for two. We hit the chinlock and Funk uses the ropes, which gives me a chance to wonder: What the hell is with Funk’s leggings? Real men, especially Texans, don’t wear knee socks. Shoulderbreaker sets up a middle rope elbow, but it misses and Pedro fires back. Nice backdrop suplex into a backbreaker gets the pin.
(Pedro Morales d. Jimmy Jack Funk, backbreaker — pin, 7:26, *1/2) Typical kicky punchy jobber match to open things.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Moondog Spot
This was Duggan’s first go-around, before pulling an RVD and getting fired for having pot in his car on a routine traffic stop. Putting both of these guys into the ring at the same time opens up a whole area of debate on who is uglier, a question that I don’t know can ever be answered. Duggan gets an atomic drop and slugs away in the corner, and Spot runs away. Run, Spot, run! Back in,Spot grabs a headlock, but Duggan clotheslines him, so Spot regroups and fires back with a kneelift out of the corner, and then drops a knee from the middle rope to set up a chinlock. They trade hairpulls and Duggan loses that battle, as Spot continues slugging away. Duggan finally comes back with a slam and knedrop, and Spot begs for mercy. That gets him nowhere, as Duggan shoulderblocks him to set up the three-point stance to finish.
(Jim Duggan d. Moondog Spot, clothesline — pin, 6:17, 1/2*) Duggan was awful as usual, although frankly I’m shocked Vince didn’t try to repackage Spot as something else, because shaving off the beard and hair would have totally altered his look.
– For some reason, Bobby Heenan takes over on commentary from Jimmy Hart here.
Jerry Allen & Danny Spivey v. Don Muraco & Bob Orton
Wow, nothing like replacing Mike Rotundo with a jobber. I’m sure Spivey was thrilled. Muraco, not impressed either, asks Bobby if he should beat Allen with a piledriver or leave him for Orton to finish with the superplex. Nice. Spivey slugs it out with both heels to start, and takes Muraco down with an armdrag. He holds onto the arm for a bit, and brings in Allen, who gets a crossbody for two. They trade off on the arm until Muraco tags out to Orton, and he gets worked over by the arm as well. However, Allen tags in one time too many and gets brought into the heel corner, where Muraco gets a russian legsweep for two. Dropkick from Orton gets two. Spivey gets the semi-hot tag and noggins are knocked, and a slam on Muraco gets two. He walks into a kneelift from Muraco, however, and the heels double-team him with an elbow into an Orton fistdrop, for two. Spivey comes back with a shoulderblock on Muraco, but Fuji trips him up and he falls out of the ring while tagging Jerry Allen back in. Yeah, I wouldn’t put much faith in Allen saving the day. He fights off the heels and gets a jumping elbow on Muraco, but tries a crossbody and gets dropped on the top rope. Double clothesline and Orton finishes with the superplex, as promised.
(Muraco & Orton d. Allen & Spivey, Orton superplex — pin Allen, 11:57, **) Really quite long and there was never any serious heat segment, but it was technically fine.
SD Jones v. Ron Bass
Ah, the squash parade continues. Jones tries overpowering Bass to start and gets nowhere, so he goes with a headlock instead. Criss cross and Jones catches him with a slam, which gives us some stalling. Back to the headlock and Jones tries a sunset flip, which gets two after some suspense, and he goes back to the headlock yet again. Bass rolls him over for two and then drops an elbow to take over, and with subtlety out the window he tosses Jones and rams him into the post before going with some choking. Slam back into the ring gets two. And we hit the chinlock. With that having failed, Bass goes to an abdominal stretch, but Jones escapes and uses the headbutt to come back. Blind charge misses as Bass casually dodges him, and he goes back to stomping and choking as the crowd goes back to sleeping and yawning. Hammerlock slam and he starts working the arm, but Jones slugs him down and headbutts him for two. Bass fires back with a jumping elbow and gets the pin. Thank god.
(Ron Bass d. SD Jones, elbow — pin, 10:58, *) Total nacho break.
World tag team titles: The Hart Foundation v. The Rougeau Brothers
OK, this is more like it. Bret starts out with Jacques and hides in the ropes, then offers a free shot while standing in front of Neidhart. Finally Jacques bites on one of Bret’s tricks, as he goes for the test of strength, and Bret boots him down. Jacques counters with a takedown, and Bret bails and regroups. Over to the Anvil, who goes with the power, but Raymond comes in and actually wins a lockup battle, which leads to the Rougeaus double-teaming him in the corner. Anvil retreats and brings Bret back in, but he misses an elbow and Raymond goes to the arm. Bret blocks a rollup, but walks into a crescent kick, and Jacques comes in for some double-teaming on the leg. Bret tries to counter with a monkey-flip, so Jacques kicks him in the leg to block it and they go back to the leg again. Neidhart comes in and Ray takes a shot at Bret on the apron, and that of course allows Neidhart to hit him from behind and take over. Back to Bret with an atomic drop off a totally legal and real tag, and Anvil uses the tag rope for the purpose it was intended. Neidhart comes in and hits the chinlock, but Ray gets a sunset flip for two, until Bret clobbers him to break and tosses him. Jimmy Hart runs interference with the ref while Danny Davis gets his cheapshot in on the floor, and Ray heads back in. The Harts switch off and beat on him in the corner, and Neidhart goes to a bearhug, but some cheating draws Jacques in to distracts the ref long enough for more cheating. Bret backbreaker gets two. Blind charge hits knee, however, and it’s the false tag to Jacques. Heel miscommunication results, however, and the real tag follows. Jacques brings Bret down with a chop and drops a fist from the middle rope, then hiptosses him into a short-arm scissors and rolls him around the ring. That’s unique. Anvil breaks it up and it’s BONZO GONZO, which sees the Harts collide and things are looking bad for them. The Rougeaus set up to finish, but stop to take care of Danny Davis and that allows Anvil to save. Jacques rolls up Bret, but Davis pushes them over and the Harts retain to HUGE heat.
(The Hart Foundation d. The Rougeau Brothers, Bret small package — pin Jacques, 14:53, ***1/2) Classic Hart Foundation in their heel prime.
Elimination tag match: Hulk Hogan, Billy Jack Haynes & Roddy Piper v. Adrian Adonis, Hercules Hernandez & Paul Orndorff.
This is the same match from the episode of PrimeTime I did a few weeks ago, so we’ll just copy and paste. Keep in mind that was pre-Survivor Series, so the ring announcer actually had to explain the rules. Had they ran this match at a house show back then, I would have been THERE. Actually, they did quite a few similar ones in Vancouver around that time, with Orndorff/Savage/Butch Reed v. Santana/Steamboat/Hogan, and they drew big crowds too. Probably why they decided to a whole PPV of them, I guess.
Big brawl to start and the heels get schooled and run away. The crowd is molten for this one, as you’d expect. The idea here is that this is Piper’s last match in Boston before he retires. If only. Piper starts for the faces and of course wants Adonis, as this was taped before Wrestlemania III, but he gets Hercules instead. Gorilla erroneously notes that Adonis and Jesse Ventura were former WWF tag team champions, when in fact he got mixed up and meant Adonis and Dick Murdoch. Hogan comes in and quickly hits Herc with a corner clothesline, then brings Billy Jack in for a kneelift, so Herc backs off and tags Orndorff in. Billy grabs a headlock and gets a cross body for two, and Orndorff accuses him of pulling the tights. That’s ridiculous! He might accidentally traffic blow in his car, but he draws the line at cheating! They fight over a lockup and Orndorff takes him down with an armdrag, but Haynes quickly reverses out. Over to Adonis, who pounds on Haynes and overpowers him, but he gets caught in the face corner and slammed by Haynes. Piper comes in, so Adonis goes out. So it’s Piper and Orndorff. Piper wants a test of strength, but then pulls him into the corner and brings Hogan in. Smart guy. Hogan works on the arm, as does Haynes, but Orndorff moves to the corner and brings Hercules in, and the heels do some dirty work behind the ref’s back. Gorilla notes that all the men involved here would be at Wrestlemania III, although Orndorff wasn’t even booked on the show! Haynes misses a blind charge and Herc wipes him out with a clothesline, and Adonis comes in with a legdrop and starts working the knee. Powerslam , but Adrian accidentally allows Haynes to tag Piper in, and Roddy goes nuts on him. It’s breaking loose in Tulsa and Adonis and Piper are both counted out, which is not a surprising finish to their night. Piper stages a sit-in to protest until Adonis faces him like a man, but that’s not Adrian’s thing and he walks away from the fight as we take another ad break.
Back with Hogan & Haynes against Orndorff & Hercules, as Hogan gets distracted by a chair-wielding Hogan, allowing Hercules to sucker-punch him and take over. Herc drops elbows, as does Orndorff, but Hogan dodges one of them and slugs away. Orndorff comes back with a kneelift and pounds away, but hits Hercules by mistake and Hogan rolls him up to eliminate him. So poor Herc is left by himself, and Billy immediately attacks him, but misses a charge and Herc drops an elbow for the pin in a weird spot. That was pretty anti-climactic. So it’s down to Hercules v. Hogan, and Herc immediately gets the torture rack, but he lets go too soon, and you know the rest. Team Hulk wins it with the usual at 19:33. Just to demonstrate good sportsmanship, Hogan beats on poor Bobby Heenan too. ***1/4 Very watchable and fun tag match with all the big feuds of the day, albeit with tons of cheap booking tricks.
Hey, the tag match is great, and the main event is fine, so this is certainly worth watching for those two matches, but FF through the rest of the card.