The SmarK Rant for Prime Time Wrestling – 03.30.87
I can’t take more of the 1989 Prime Times, so I’m going back to 1987 to fill in some gaps in the archives since much of the year was already done when it was on WWE 24/7. But I’m missing the show from the night after Wrestlemania III, so let’s start there!
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, AS IT SHOULD BE. Gorilla points out this episode was recorded BEFORE Wrestlemania III, so please don’t tune in looking for results, because they don’t know them yet. “You could be the manager of the heavyweight champion of the World, or you could not,” notes Gorilla. Yes, it’s another wacky Schrodinger’s Cat timey-wimey situation.
Huh, so Doc invented the black box. Who knew?
Leaping Lanny Poffo v. Outlaw Ron Bass
I’m guessing we’re in Chicago since Poffo is wearing a Bears jacket, but I checked and it’s actually London, Ontario. Gorilla is very excited to see the match between Bass and Blackjack Mulligan for “the bragging rights of Texas”. I’m pretty sure Texas has better things to care about than those two guys in 1987. “Dallas” was still going strong and a nation was still reeling over who shot JR, for example! Johnny V notes that he’s disgusted by Poffo’s pandering to the fans, as opposed to his new team Demolition, who “sign autographs by breaking peoples’ jaws and sending them to the emergency room”. That’s a little extreme. We get a few minutes of stalling and posturing and they trade wristlocks, but Bass beats on him in the corner and chokes him out on the ropes. Bass tosses him and runs him into the post, and Lanny takes an impressive bump into the front row off that. Back in, Bass gets the ol’ Sunday punch and chokes him out some more. We get more nothing and take a break. Back with Bass slugging him down for two and then going to the dreaded abdominal stretch, and OF COURSE Gorilla immediately bitches about Bass not applying the hold correctly. Take a drink! Bass misses a charge and Poffo comes back, but Bass takes him down with a lethargic neckbreaker for two. The announcers note that referee John Bonello has been pumping some iron. He ended up pumping iron in prison for hiring a hitman to kill his wife, if I remember correctly. Not Bret Hart. Poffo comes back again and slugs away, but Bass throws him out of the ring. Poffo fights his way back in and comes back with a MOONSAULT, but it only gets two. And then Bass puts him away with a back elbow at 15:00. Aside from the moonsault this was a major bore. *1/2
Back at the studio, Gorilla notes that Blackjack has been chasing Bass even before they got to the WWF, but Bass refuses to sign a contract because he’s a COWARD.
Meanwhile, we journey to the set of FUJI GENERAL, as Muraco and Fuji once again demonstrate why they’re the greatest actors not currently in Hollywood. The setup: Dr. Muraco is fighting with the desk nurse, because he told her that he was leaving his wife, but apparently lied about it. Muraco reading from cue cards drives the director crazy, and he snaps and asks for a little bit of expression. But then Dr. Fuji comes in, chewing the scenery and trying not to crack up, and we cut to the patient’s room. Luckily the patient is still alive, but Chief of Staff Fuji fires the nurse so she doesn’t ruin Dr. Muraco’s life. And then the director bursts in again. “How about trying to ACT?” Muraco just blatantly reading from the cue cards while the nurse is actually trying to act, is an amazing touch. Muraco intoning “now kiss me and send me home to my wife with a smile” in a complete monotone finally causes the director to snap and they shut it down to end the bit.
Back at the studio, Gorilla is completely incapable of keeping a straight face while Bobby eggs him on with a complete deadpan breakdown of how brilliant the acting was. “If they hung both guys for being good actors they’d be hanging two innocent men” he notes. Next week: Fuji Bandito! However, why the hell were they showing these in 1987? They were originally from 1985!
Demolition v. Danny Spivey & Jerry Allen
Mike Rotundo is now gone back to Florida, so we get Jerry Allen replacing him after Spivey had already replaced Barry Windham. Barry Darsow is still growing his hair back in at this point after years of being a bald Russian. Not a good look for him. Smash immediately beats on Jerry Allen and blocks a sunset flip, but he misses an elbow and Allen goes to work on the arm. Ax comes in and Spivey works on his arm, and I’m immediately distracted by Ax’s ugly makeup. There was definitely a learning curve involved there. Spivey takes him down with a hammerlock and gets a crossbody for two. Over to Allen and he gets walloped in the Demo corner and tossed to the floor, where Ax runs him into the post. Back in, the Demos continue double-teaming Allen as we take a break. I love the teaser of “MORE ACTION!” which shows a clip of Ax doing a chinlock. Back to the ring with said chinlock while Jimmy Hart and Gorilla have a funny discussion on commentary about how Jimmy always wanted to be a wrestler but was too small. Gorilla suggests that he challenge a midget, but Jimmy always wanted to fight Moolah for the Women’s title. Demos keep beating on Allen in the corner, just doing generic slams and punches instead of more Road Warrior-style aggressive heel tactics that would get them over eventually. Allen gets sent to the floor and double-teamed, but Ax puts his head down and Allen boots him and makes the shockingly hot tag to Spivey. He’s a HOUSE OF FIRE and a clothesline on Ax gets two. Smash makes the save, so Allen tags in again and promptly gets pinned with a clothesline from Ax at 8:13. What is this, the Survivor Series? What a geek. Demos of course got much, much better once Darsow and Eadie gelled and figured out their gimmick. I’d normally call it a bad match but the crowd was so hot at the end that I can’t hate on it. **1/4
Blackjack Mulligan joins Mean Gene to answer the challenges from Ron Bass, and Mulligan accuses Bass of being “transported from New Mexico” and thus he’s not even a real Texan! Well if anyone would know about counterfeits. Anyway, be ready for knuckle sandwiches if you’re facing him.
Back at the studio, Bobby gets Johnny V on the phone, and Gorilla demands to know why Johnny still wears wrestling gear to the ring, and then supplies his own punchline: He sold all his gear to Heenan. Bobby: “He didn’t say that! Did he?”
Meanwhile, Rowdy Roddy Piper does his farewell Piper’s Pit in advance of his retirement, as it’s the last one we’ll ever see in our lives. Because he’s retiring forever, just like Terry Funk and Undertaker. Anyway, Piper tells his story about how wrestling saved him from jail and how he’s been stabbed three times and he can handle anything, but he can’t let his girls go without a daddy. So he takes down his pictures and says goodbye. Man, Piper was great.
Back at the studio, Bobby reveals that in fact Piper’s daughter begged him to go back on the road for another 50 days. And the paintings are so beautiful that you can’t even see the numbers on them!
Meanwhile, in the recording studio, Honky Tonk Man lays down some tracks, although they dub “Honky Tonk Man” and I’m pretty sure that song wasn’t being used for a while yet. Anyway, Honky will conquer the singing and wrestling world because Elvis couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Random question: Did the TNA bozos ever reach out to Honky to manage the Flying Elvises?
Back at the studio, Gorilla is pretty sure that Bobby won’t be here next week because either Andre wins and Bobby will party until he’s hungover, or Andre loses and Bobby is so humiliated that he won’t show his face in public.
Sivi Afi v. The Red Demon
We move from London to Toronto now, with poor Sivi Afi, the sad replacement for Jimmy Snuka. Should have teamed up him with Corporal Kirschner as “The Dollar Store Knockoffs”. Afi gets some Polynesian chops, but misses a splash and the Demon uses his (allegedly) loaded mask to take over. And then we get some choking with wrist tape, but Afi comes back with his “squint and pretend he’s the Superfly” offense and a headbutt to the abs for two. He probably couldn’t even brutally murder his girlfriend and then escape justice for decades half as well as Snuka. Afi goes up and finishes with a high crossbody at 4:52. ½*
Back at the studio, Bobby claims that he controls everyone in the studio, and you hear “HA!” from off-camera as Gorilla cracks up.
Jake Roberts v. King Kong Bundy
From Saturday Night’s Main Event as this episode is a real hodge-podge of stuff. Jake is wearing his rare red tights tonight, and they fight for the lockup to start and then Bundy suckers him into a test of strength. Jake fights out of that, so Bundy pounds him with forearms in the corner and goes to a facelock. Jake fights back with a kneelift and slugs him down, but Bobby steals the snake and runs away as we take a break. Back with Jake getting choked out by Bundy, and Bundy hits a pair of shoulderblocks to put Roberts down. Finally he charges one time too many and hits the corner, and Jake makes the comeback, but prematurely goes to whip out his snake and gets DQ’d for hitting the ref at 6:15. What a stupid finish. Bundy was wrestling MIDGETS on the PPV and he couldn’t do a job to super-hot Jake Roberts? Bundy tries to lay him out afterwards, but Jake hits him with a DDT and the ref actually tackles him to prevent the snake from getting put on Bundy. Vince is DISGUSTED that Jake wasn’t able to finish draping his snake all over Bundy, even though he didn’t actually win the match. Thankfully Jesse sets him straight, as usual. *1/2
Back at the studio, Bobby gets a call from Miss Betty, who apparently tells Gorilla to shape up and treat Bobby with respect, or the show is getting shut down.
Blackjack Mulligan & Dan Spivey v. Tiger Chung Lee & Sal Bellomo
Well this is a weird team concept, with Mulligan teaming with the guy who replaced his son. Lots of knockoffs on this episode, actually. This is from Superstars, which I don’t remember at all. Mulligan takes Bellomo down and elbows him back into the corner. Over to Lee, but Mulligan throws him around for a bit before the jobbers trap him in the corner for a bit of offense. Mulligan throws them off and it’s over to Spivey, who is just a complete style clash with Mulligan. Mulligan was bad enough at this point but this team makes ZERO sense. And then Spivey tries a leap frog on Lee and lands flat on his face, but Mulligan comes in and finishes Lee off with the back elbow at 4:05 to save this farce. How did this even make TV? What an awful squash. And I don’t think this even led to a tag team match at the house shows!
Outback Jack, or as Bobby calls him here, Outhouse Jack, joins Mean Gene for an interview. He’s Australian, you know. I’m fighting the urge to throw a million Simpsons memes here. But I’ll resist. BUT CAN HE PLAY KNIFEY-SPOONEY? OK, I think it’s out of my system.
Demolition v. The British Bulldogs
Yes, TWO Demolition matches and two Danny Spivey matches in the same show! So this was part of, and I swear I’m not making this up, The Frank Tunney Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament in Toronto, which is 100% a unique tournament idea that wasn’t taken from any other competing promotional concepts. The Demos attack Dynamite and beat him down right away and Ax goes to a bearhug. And then Smash follows with his own. Davey comes in to break it up, which allows them to double-team Dynamite behind the ref’s back and beat on his back. And then Smash goes right back to the bearhug, but Davey gets the hot tag and hits powerslams on both Demos, but Johnny V trips him up. So Dynamite throws a chair into the ring and the Bulldogs are DQ’d at 4:50. What a stupid finish. DUD
Back at the studio, Gorilla is still waiting for the day when we get two referees in every tag team match. Take a drink!
Next week: Wrestlemania III results!