The SmarK Rant for WWF Prime Time Wrestling – 04.06.87
(Originally written 11.12.20)
Since we’re in the 1987 area with Saturday Night’s Main Event lately, we might as well go back to Prime Time where I left off there, because GOD KNOWS I CAN’T GET ANY SUPERSTARS. Not that I’m bitter.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan
So we’re coming off this show you may have heard of before, called WRESTLEMANIA III.
Gorilla immediately starts needling Bobby about his family’s failure at the show. Also Bobby owes the promotion $37,000 for the belt that wasn’t needed for Andre.
Blackjack Mulligan v. Tiger Chung Lee
For those who couldn’t remember Mulligan on the last SNME I reviewed, here’s another appearance for you in his abbreviated 1987 run that you probably don’t remember. This appears to be a dark match from Challenge, because the oddball team of Bobby Heenan and Johnny V are doing commentary for it, trying to crack each other up with one-liners. Lee attacks with chops and Mulligan ignores those and clotheslines him while Johnny calls lady ref Rita Chatterton “this stupid broad” and Bobby wonders why she’s not home doing dishes and cooking for her husband. Tiger bails to the floor and begs off in the ring, but Mulligan beats on him in the corner as Bobby and Johnny step up their efforts to make the other guy corpse on air. Finally Johnny can’t take any more and laughs at Bobby’s joke about Mulligan hanging around picnics because it lures the flies away from the food. Mulligan finishes with a back elbow at 3:30, but the real battle was Johnny V v. Bobby Heenan, with Bobby winning in a squash as you’d expect. STOP THE DAMN COMEDY ROUTINE, THIS MAN HAS A FAMILY! Also the match was fucking horrible. But, you know, who cares.
Back at the studio, Bobby admits that yes, perhaps he ordered King Kong Bundy to squash the midget, but the real tragedy is that the other midgets were able to walk away under their own power. OK, I laughed at that one pretty hard.
WRESTLEMANIA III REPORT! WITH MEAN GENE!
Gene is all by himself in the empty Silverdome, and he runs down the results for those of us who weren’t able to see the closed circuit showing at the time. For some reason they recap the entire show, but completely omit Butch Reed v. Koko B. Ware. #BlackMatchesMatter.
Back at the studio, Bobby buries the idiot referee in the Hogan-Andre match, who did the WORST JOB EVER. He wasn’t man enough to make a decision! Stick Wrestlemania right in the garbage can! And Gorilla cracks up for the first time of the episode, which might be a new record for him.
Meanwhile, Ken Patera was a big deal in the early 80s. But then things went bad for him. Because of Bobby Heenan. Back at the studio, Bobby (rightly) points out that the entire show thus far has been aimed towards making him look like the bad guy in everything. “Don’t blame me, you license-plate making…”
The Honky Tonk Man v. Koko B. Ware
We get a Superstars dark match this time, with Gorilla and Bobby on commentary. Honky does his usual stalling, protesting the natural and non-greasy shine of his pompadour to the front row, but Koko hits him with an atomic drop and slams him to send him out to the floor. Back in, Honky demands some fisticuffs, complete with 1800s boxer stance, but Koko puts him down with a shoulderblock and slams him out of the ring again. Back in, Honky grabs a headlock, but misses a fistdrop and Koko gets his own headlock as we take a break. Back with Honky in control somehow as we’ve missed a vital piece of storytelling in this match between two goofy midcarders, and Honky gets cheapshots out of a headlock and then puts Koko down with a knee to the gut. Honky goes up with the middle rope fistdrop for two, but Koko comes back with a bodypress for two before Honky stomps him down again. And dances. Can’t forget the dancing. Honky goes up and hits an elbow off the middle that it looked like he intended to miss, and that gets two. Honky goes to the chinlock, but Koko comes back with a sunset flip for two before Honky puts him down with a clothesline again. Koko makes the comeback and slugs away while Honky just sells like nuts for him and goes flying over the top rope in a great bump. Koko tries a suplex back inside, but Jimmy grabs Honky’s legs to stop the move and then trips Koko to put Honky on top for the pin at 11:53. I’m sure these two worked together a million times in Memphis and they looked like they really enjoyed doing it. ***
Back at the studio, Gorilla randomly buries Aretha Franklin while putting over the other celebs at WM3.
Meanwhile, Hacksaw Duggan chats with Mean Gene and he’s pretty coked up, ranting about Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Sheik. They actually tweaked the character a lot when he returned from the suspension and sanded off the rough edges, making him more of the WWF version of the character instead of fired up Mid-South version. Less angry, less proactive, and de-rastified by 20%.
Meanwhile, it’s FUJI BANDITO. So this is a rerun from 1985, with the heel managers all playing poker in a saloon in the Old West, while waiting for the appearance of the Muraco Kid. The deliberately, but horribly, offensive Indian Chief character who rambles about “the newly driven snow on the plains where we grow corn and make whiskey” is something else. Anyway, Sheriff Ringo comes to arrest the Muraco Kid, but draws too fast and accidentally shoots Fabulous Moolah, which results in Muraco filling him full of lead as the saloon celebrates. And then we head back to the studio, as Mean Gene wanders in, wearing a trenchcoat and sunglasses, asking where the bathroom is. “This guy’s looking for some change!” notes Bobby astutely. Oh geez. This show is going off the cliff.
Outlaw Ron Bass v. Sal Bellomo
Sal is now a boxer, introduced as “The Italian Stallion”, which is offensive to Rocky Balboa AND the Crockett jobber. And to Bruno on commentary. This is from Superstars, of course. Bass slugs away on Bellomo, but he comes back with a ridiculous mule kick and a bodypress for two while the announcers discuss his training routine, or lack thereof. Bass tosses him to the apron and chokes him out in the ropes before running him into the post and slamming him on the floor. Back in, Bass hits a high knee and chokes him out some more as the crowd is REALLY bored by this. Bass puts him away with a back elbow at 3:30.
Back at the studio, Bobby denies his losses at Wrestlemania, blaming the referee, the Democratic Party, the Dominion counting system, Fox News…hold on, I’m mixing him up with someone else.
Meanwhile, Mr. Fuji introduces Mean Gene to his newest team of Kamala and Sika. Fuji: “I have a black man from Africa, and he don’t forget what the white man has done to him! He loves to eat white meat!” OH MAN.
Demolition v. The Islanders
From MSG, as the Demos are newly managed by Mr. Fuji but still managed by Johnny V at the point when this was taped. Also, this features the original music that Rick Derringer’s song was based on. I thought they usually purged that one and replaced it with the Derringer theme? Smash overpowers Tama to start, so Haku comes in for a double dropkick and they clear the ring. Back in, Haku fires away on Ax with chops and the Islanders double-team him in the corner before Tama takes him down to work the arm. Meanwhile, Gorilla chastises Bobby for not being culturally sensitive to the Islanders, and then corrects him by noting that they’re SAMOAN. Good lord, it was right in their names for years! King TONGA and the TONGA Kid! The Islanders work on Ax’s leg as we take a break and a disgusted Bobby resorts to reading the newspaper. Back with Tama getting caught in the heel corner and Smash comes in and beats him down before tossing him to the floor. Back in, Smash chokes him out and they continue the abuse in the corner and Ax throws him out to the floor again for an impressive bump. Back in for more double-teams, but Haku gets the hot tag and hits Smash with a dropkick and a superkick. Islanders with the double headbutt and Tama goes up with a flying bodypress for two. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and the ref escorts Haku out, but that allows Demolition to finish Tama with the Demolition elbow at 10:29. You could instantly tell that Eadie and Darsow were way better than the original version with Eadie and the Moondog. **3/4
Back at the studio, Gorilla lays it out for Bobby: Bobby couldn’t give Andre the heart and killer instinct to beat Hulk because Bobby himself didn’t have it inside him. Bobby quietly mumbles “No comment” and then takes a minute to regroup before blustering up against Gorilla again. And then he places a call to “Kevin Dunn” to register his complaint while Gorilla loses it again.
The Hart Foundation v. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers
From the Boston Garden, shortly after the Harts won the belts in January. A quick check reveals that this was actually from February 7, with the majority of the matches from that show airing on the 2/16 episode of Prime Time, but this one match left out and saved until now. Jim Neidhart stresses that the match was signed before they won the belts, so this is non-title. The Harts do this whole wacky routine where Bret has to hold back Neidhart because he’s just so crazy, and then Bret starts the match himself and immediately claims a hair-pull on the ropes. He does another lockup with Raymond and he’s literally calling for a hairpull before they even make it to the ropes. Raymond takes him down with a wristlock and gets a bodypress for two before working the arm. Jacques comes in and they double-team Bret with a splash for two, and the Harts bail and regroup. Over to Anvil and he dares Jacques to slam him. He actually wins that bet and then slams Jacques in return while Bret does running commentary on the apron for them. So the Rougeaus talk it over and this time Jacques hits Anvil with a powerslam instead. The Rougeaus double-team Anvil, but he pounds Raymond down and drops him on the top rope to take over. We take a break and return with the Harts beating on Raymond, and Bret slingshots Anvil in with a splash for two, but Bret does his normal corner charge and hits the turnbuckle to knock himself out. Anvil puts him on top of Raymond for two, however. Raymond tries a rollup and Bret blocks it, but Ray dropkicks him out of the ring and makes the hot tag to Jacques. He hits everyone with dropkicks and goes up with a flying fist on Bret for two. Jacques with a sleeper, but Anvil breaks it up. The Rougeaus regroup and whip the Harts into each other, and finish Bret with the assisted senton at 12:44. ***1/2
And then we wrap it up with a preview of next week’s replay of Fuji Chan. And our features next week are the Harts defending the titles against the Rougeaus, plus Randy Savage v. JYD.
Well this was an interesting show with some decent wrestling, you have to give it that.