What the World Was Watching: WWF Prime Time Wrestling – January 8, 1990

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan host tonight’s broadcast.  Tonight’s two feature bouts come from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and were taped on December 14.

Opening Contest:  Roddy Piper beats Tony Burton via submission to a side suplex at 1:56:

Piper was one of the most recognizable stars that the WWF had on its roster in 1990, having done science fiction action films Hell Comes to Frogtown in 1987 and They Live in 1988.  Working his way through American territories through the 1970s, Piper became a top heel in the Los Angeles-based NWA Hollywood territory, feuding with the lives of Chavo Guerrero, Sr. and Gory Guerrero.  His work carried him to the top of other territories in Portland, Georgia, and Mid-Atlantic and wrestled a bloody dog collar match with Greg Valentine at the first Starrcade where his left eardrum was broken, leaving him with permanent hearing loss.  Piper was instrumental in the WWF’s boom period after 1984, working a hot feud with Hulk Hogan and celebrities like Mr. T and Cyndie Lauper before bolting for Hollywood after WrestleMania III.  Piper straddled the roles of broadcaster and wrestler when he returned to the WWF in 1989, feuding with Rick Rude in the ring and Bobby Heenan outside of it.  Burton was a wrestler that worked in the Memphis-based CWA as an enhancement worker, something the WWF used him for throughout the late 1980s.  Piper has no issues with Burton in this squash, knocking him down with a clothesline and choosing to finish with a side suplex instead of a sleeper hold.

Monsoon talks about how Piper wants to be the first man in the Royal Rumble and how he is not finished fighting with Rick Rude.  After a commercial break, Monsoon is on the telephone explaining how pay-per-view providers are violating fans constitutional rights by not carrying The Royal Rumble.

In the WWF Update segment, Gene Okerlund hypes The Royal Rumble.  He recaps the Colossal Connection winning the tag team titles from Demolition and then the champions cut a celebration promo.  Demolition respond that they are going to work their way back to the top of the WWF.

Heenan says he will be at ringside for the Royal Rumble and does not care what the other managers in the company are doing.

The Canadian Earthquake (w/Jimmy Hart) pins James Sexton after the Earthquake Splash at 1:39:

A former collegiate and sumo wrestler, the Earthquake, real name John Tenta, began his wrestling career in All Japan Pro Wrestling after being trained by Giant Baba in 1987.  His size and ability earned him an immediate push.  After his run in Japan, Tenta worked for the Vancouver-based NWA All Star Wrestling before signing with the WWF in late 1989.  In dark matches, one of which can be found on the WWE’s Unreleased set, Tenta worked in lumberjack attire as the Canadian Earthquake.  By the time he made television, he kept the name but the goofy lumberjack attire was discarded in favor of blue tights with a Canadian flag on the front of them.  Tenta was paired with Dino Bravo as his muscle against the Ultimate Warrior, with his debut angle seeing him come out of the crowd and sit on Bravo’s back for push-ups, only to attack the Warrior when it was time for the Warrior to replicate the feat.  Sexton has no chance against the Earthquake, squashed with an elbow drop, chokeslam, and the Earthquake Splash.

After the match, Earthquake does the Earthquake Splash a second time, leading to a stretcher job.  As Earthquake goes to the dressing room, Tony Schiavone and Lord Alfred Hayes talk about the Earthquake’s chances in the Royal Rumble.

When Monsoon says Sexton’s career might be over, Heenan blames the jobber for his problems, saying that he should have known better than to get into the ring with the Earthquake.  Heenan says Andre the Giant is the favorite to win the Rumble anyway, but Monsoon argues there is no favorite.

The Brutus Beefcake squash from WWF Superstars airs, along with the post-match antics with Rick Martel.

Monsoon and Heenan argue over the Genius’ wrestling ability.  Monsoon says that the Genius’ only ability is that he is a contortionist.

Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) beats Dale Wolfe via submission to the Million Dollar Dream at 2:38:

A trainee of Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk, DiBiase got his start in Mid-South Wrestling in the 1970s and had a short run with the North American Championship in the WWF in 1979.  His loss of that title to Pat Patterson is seen as the unofficial beginning of the Intercontinental Championship.  In the early 1980s DiBiase had a great run in the Georgia territory, feuding with Tommy Rich, and then returned to Mid-South to feud with Hacksaw Jim Duggan.  Signing with the WWF in 1987, DiBiase was given the gimmick of the Million Dollar Man, a gimmick that WWF owner Vince McMahon wished he could play himself.  After doing some babyface work on house shows, DiBiase debuted in the new gimmick in the spring of 1987, accompanied by a bodyguard named Virgil, and moved to buy the WWF title by the end of the year, a tactic that appeared to work when Andre the Giant defeated Hulk Hogan for the belt on The Main Event.  WWF President Jack Tunney nullified that move, though, and DiBiase came up short in quests to win the title in a fourteen-man tournament at WrestleMania IV and in house shows against tournament winner Randy Savage in the summer of 1988.  Undeterred, DiBiase proclaimed himself the Million Dollar Champion and began wearing his own title belt to the ring.  In 1989, DiBiase was the runner-up in the Royal Rumble and resumed a feud with Hulk Hogan, losing that as well when his Million Dollar Team lost to Hogan’s team at Survivor Series.  That led to a feud with Jake Roberts, who DiBiase eliminated in the closing stages of the Survivor Series bout with Virgil’s interference.  As DiBiase viciously slams Wolfe, Jake Roberts cut a promo in the split screen and names DiBiase as a target in the Royal Rumble.  DiBiase sets up the Million Dollar Dream with a swinging neckbreaker and piledriver and locks it in after two-and-a-half minutes to prevail.

Monsoon and Heenan argue over how DiBiase bought the thirtieth number in last year’s Royal Rumble.  Heenan says that people need to stop snitching.

Sean Mooney hypes The Royal Rumble.  The Genius says he is thinking of victory and his intelligence will help him defeat Brutus Beefcake at the Rumble.  WWF Champion Hulk Hogan recaps how the Rumble works before saying that he wants the first number to prove that Hulkamania is the strongest force in the universe.

Heenan says he loves the Big Bossman using his ball and chain on jobbers after matches.  He suggests that the Bossman use his night stick at the Royal Rumble to take advantage of Duggan’s lazy eye.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s squash match against Craig Greene on Wrestling Challenge airs, as is Randy Savage’s interview with Gene Okerlund.

Bad News Brown (1-0) beats Paul Roma with the Ghetto Blaster at 7:59:

This bout follows a house show template of Brown taking a long powder after Roma gets a near-fall with a sunset flip into the ring and they work a long handshake segment.  Brown’s attempt to use an exposed turnbuckle backfires and Roma nearly scores the upset with a flying double ax handle.  A blind charge spells doom, though, as a loopy Roma stumbles out of the corner and Brown connects with the Ghetto Blaster.  Roma holding his own was a sign that the WWF was planning to use him later.  They just did not know what role to plug him into yet.  Rating:  **

Arnold Skaaland visits the program to add to the complaints about pay-per-view providers not giving fans access to The Royal Rumble.  When Skaaland shows up, Heenan takes back negative remarks he made about him earlier in the show.

Rhythm & Blues (w/Jimmy Hart) (1-0) defeat Mark Young & Reno Riggins when Greg Valentine makes Riggins submit to a figure-four leg lock at 3:42:

Hart hypes his team in a split screen promo as the match begins.  Young gets the better of Valentine, but Riggins gets driven into the heel corner, gets worked over, and submitted.  Rhythm & Blues need to work on their teamwork since they do not do many moves together in the squash.

Gene Okerlund provides The Royal Rumble Report.

Koko B. Ware (1-0) defeats Mike Sharpe after the Ghostbuster at 2:38:

The bigger Sharpe controls the first couple of minutes of the match, but he puts his head down too early on an Irish whip and Ware hits the Ghostbuster to win another match.

Monsoon runs down Sensational Sherri’s looks, while Heenan does that for Sapphire.

Dino Bravo (1-0) beat Tito Santana with a sidewalk slam at 9:44 shown:

A veteran of the Canadian Football League, Santana trained under Hiro Matsuda and Bob Orton and broke into the business in 1977.  After working in Florida, Georgia, and Mid-Atlantic, among other territories, Santana joined the WWF in 1979 and won the tag team titles with Ivan Putski.  After losing those belts, Santana departed for the AWA and Georgia until 1983 and when he came back he won the Intercontinental Championship twice and teamed with Rick Martel to form Strike Force and win the tag team belts in late 1987.  In 1989, Santana feuded with Martel when his former teammate turned on him at WrestleMania V.  The two never had a singles blowoff on pay-per-view but Santana did defeat Martel for the 1989 King of the Ring, a glorified house show event in Providence, Rhode Island.  Although his promos were not on par with other top acts, Santana’s in-ring abilities made up for it with fans and he remained a powerful force in the midcard going into 1990.  This match took place in Hamilton, Ontario and despite Bravo being in Canada, he is booed by the crowd.  Santana dazes Bravo in the early going, but Bravo is able to corner the former Intercontinental champion and work a long bearhug.  Santana fights out and goes for his flying forearm to finish but when he comes off the ropes, Bravo catches him with a sidewalk slam and wins.  The finish was great, and it gets HUGE heat from the crowd.  Rating:  **¼

Heenan says that Haku is making more money as part of the Colossal Connection than he has ever made before.  Monsoon is skeptical.  As they wrap up the show, Monsoon warns Heenan that Roddy Piper will be at The Royal Rumble and might wish to get revenge for getting kicked off of Prime Time Wrestling.

The Last Word:  The two feature matches were entertaining, which is all you can ask for with a show like this.  Based on how the announcers treat the Canadian Earthquake he is going to be a big deal because Hulk Hogan and/or the Ultimate Warrior need a new giant to slay.

Up Next:  WWF Superstars for January 13!