June 14, 1987
From Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
Your hosts are Lord Alfred Hayes and Gorilla Monsoon
In action tonight we have Hulk Hogan defending the World Heavyweight Title against King Harley Race in a Texas Death Match. Plus, Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes and Paul Orndorff vs. Junkyard Dog.
The Shadows vs. Can-Am Connection
Bobby Heenan has joined the announcers table. The Shadows were Randy Colley (Moondog Rex) and Jose Luis Rivera wearing masks and bodysuits. They go by #1 and #2 here, respectively. Match starts with Martel using his speed to elude #1. Zenk tags and dropkicks #1 as both teams take a break in their corners. Martel stops Zenk as he gets whipped into the corner then the Shadows take a break due to frustration. Back inside, the heel stall as Heenan and Gorilla go back and forth over Gorilla’s claim that he is not paying his talent well. #2 keeps on complaining about non-existent hair pulls then Zenk grabs a hold of his arm and works on that for a bit. #2 goes low on Martel but ends up getting dropkicked to the floor. Martel dropkicks #1 off of the apron then starts high-stepping and pumping his fist in the air. Back inside, the Can-Ams take turns neutralizing #1, mostly using headlocks. #2 fucks up a leapfrog spot and falls down when he was supposed to bounce off of the ropes, then gets caught with a reverse rollup but #1 makes the save then hits Zenk in the back of the head. The Shadows double-team Zenk behind the ref’s back while Martel is frustrated. #1 puts Zenk in a chinlock as Heenan talks up the Islanders and how much better they are than the Can-Ams. Zenk tries to make the tag and does but the ref did not see it take place. Martel breaks up a pin attempt after #2 interfered then Zenk gets tossed to the floor. #1 suplexes him back inside for a nearfall but misses on a splash attempt as Zenk got his knees up. #2 tags in and knees Zenk in the mid-section. He tries a suplex but that gets blocked and Zenk hits one of his own as both men are down. Zenk finally makes the tag as Martel cleans house by himself. The match breaks down as the heels try a double noggin-knocker but Zenk ducks as Martel flies over him and hits #2 with a crossbody (18:56) *1/2. After the match, Heenan grabs the mic and calls them lucky because the Islanders would have beaten them a long time ago. Martel then tells them that they should bring the Islanders to the ring and wrestle right now. The Islanders come out as the crowd goes nuts but several officials hold them back as Heenan tells them they are lucky.
Thoughts: The match was a bore but the antics afterwards were entertaining as they did a fine job of pushing along the Islanders/Can-Am Connection feud.
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules
Hercules spits at Haynes, who goes nuts and starts hammering away. Hercules ducks outside then re-enters and stalls for a bit, pissing off the crowd in the process. Haynes clotheslines him then hits a vertical suplex and a backbreaker as he is overpowering Hercules. He heads up top but missed a fist drop as Hercules catches his breath in the corner before nailing Haynes with a clothesline. Hercules puts the boots to Haynes then knocks him outside where he hits a forearm smash from the apron. Haynes gets whipped into the guardrail then re-enters the ring and taunts the crowd. The action heads back inside where Hercules chokes out Haynes before working over the neck for a while. Haynes tries to mount a comeback but that is stopped short as Hercules maintains control of the match. Hercules gets nearfalls with a backbreaker and a suplex but is unable to put Haynes away. He chokes out Haynes with his wrist tape for a bit then hammers away as Haynes is fighting back. Hercules wins that slugfest then grabs a bearhug that Haynes easily escapes from with an eye rake as both men are down. Haynes boots down Hercules but is unable to capitalize on that as Hercules takes control then puts on the full nelson. Haynes tries to escape as Hercules does not have his fingers locked. He manages to break free after a struggle then clotheslines Hercules as both men are down. Haynes starts firing away then chokes out Hercules with his wrist tape for a bit. He backdrops Hercules then hits a side slam. Elbow drop gets two. They are now slugging it out, laying into each other with stiff chops, until Haynes hits a back elbow smash. He heads over to Hercules, who is able to pull him by the tights as Haynes crashes to the floor. Both guys are now brawling outside and make it in before the ten count. They slug it out again in the ring until the bell rings, signaling a time-limit draw (22:05) ***.
Thoughts: Good match. These two worked a hard, physical style. The finish also signals that a return bout is looming. Haynes and Hercules had always had solid chemistry together.
Gorilla is with Hulk Hogan, who talks about beating Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III and how he will retire if he loses to King Harley Race tonight in their Texas Death Match. That was the stipulation for Hogan title matches a lot of the time in 1987.
Jim Powers & Paul Roma vs. The Islanders w/ Bobby Heenan
Tama yells at the crowd then struts around the ring before the match. Man, he was an awesome heel. Match starts with Roma working a hammerlock on Tama, who runs to the ropes then complains to the referee. Roma comes back with a slam and a dropkick as Tama ducks outside to huddle with his partner and manager. Tama tries to trick Roma with a handshake but Roma catches his foot after he attempted a kick then hits an atomic drop. Powers tags and works over Haku briefly until Tama tags back into the match. Powers works the arm for a bit then hits a dropkick after Tama believed he had outsmarted him. Roma & Powers take turns working the arm of Tama for a few minutes. Roma gets backed into the Islanders corner as Haku tags and roughs up Roma. He hits a dropkick then hammers away. He misses a move but Tama trips up Roma from outside the ring as the Islanders are in complete control as they work over Roma for a few minutes. Roma reverses a suplex on Tama but was unable to capitalize as the Islanders go back on the attack. Roma tries to make the tag but Tama cuts him off each time. Haku slams Roma down but misses a flipping senton as both men are down. Powers tags and fires away on both members of the Islanders. The match breaks down as Haku goes behind the ref’s back and hits a backbreaker then Tama comes off of the top with a splash for the win (19:02) **1/2.
Thoughts: Solid match. Tama did a fantastic job here getting heat and was the glue here. Too bad he let himself go because he should have been a much bigger star. Roma & Powers got in a healthy amount of offense in the loss as their small push continues.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Junkyard Dog
Gorilla says that this match could main event any arena in the country. Two years prior it could have. The size difference between Orndorff’s arms is very noticeable here. Match starts with Orndorff stalling for a bit until they fight over a lockup. Orndorff bails before JYD can hit him with the crawling headbutts. Back inside, JYD works the arm then a headscissors as this match boasts very little action. Orndorff now is in control and hits a few elbow drops. Orndorff now slams JYD’s head off of the mat but that has no effect as JYD fights back. He gets a nearfall with a small package then Heenan trips up JYD, who drags him up on the apron. Orndorff hits JYD from behind but its not enough to put him away. JYD charges but gets caught in one of the most pathetic looking stunguns I have ever seen as that is enough to get Orndorff the win (9:47) 1/4*.
Thoughts: Awful match between two guys whose star power was rapidly fading away. JYD was essentially immobile as Orndorff was far too hurt to be working the match. The biggest highspot of the match was a fucked-up looking hiptoss. Fans were not into this either. As a matter of fact, they were not all that into the show altogether.
Gorilla and Hayes are with Outback Jack, who will be facing Jose Estrada tonight. He says a whole lot of nothing here as his push continues to bomb.
Dave Winfield joins the announcers. He tells them they (Yankees) are three games back and not happy about that. Winfield seemed to be enjoying himself.
WWF World Title
Texas Death Match
King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan
Race tries to attack Hogan as he entered the ring but ends up getting backdropped to the floor. Hogan beats on Race halfway up the aisle then remains in control as the action heads back into the ring. Hogan is going berserk as he hammers away on Race. He chops him through the middle rope then outside the ring smashes a chair over his head as it ends up around Race’s head. Race finally gets in some offense after a low kick as he hits a piledriver for a nearfall. Race hits a falling headbutt that sends Hogan tumbling across the ring. Gutwrench suplex gets two. Hogan reverses an Irish whip into the corner that sends Race to the floor as he took a wild bump. Hogan then chases after Heenan but that allows Race to attack him from behind. Race rams the end of the chair into Hogan’s throat then hammers away but misses a falling headbutt as his head whacks the concrete. Hogan powers up and takes the action back inside where he hits the big boot. Hogan then hits an atomic drop before taking him to the floor with a running clothesline as Race falls into the chairs set up in front of the guardrail. Hogan chases Race up the aisle but ends up getting piledrived onto the floor. Back in the ring, Heenan hands Race the title belt as he uses it to attack Hogan. He leaves the belt next to him then climbs up top for a diving headbutt but ends up hitting the belt instead. Hogan gets up and grabs the belt and whacks Race in the head and that is good enough for the win (9:56) ***1/4. After the match, Hogan rids Race from the ring then holds the belt up like a baseball bat, begging Race to re-enter the ring.
Thoughts: Good match. Race sold like a champ here too. He was awesome. Hogan now needs a new opponent for the house show circuit.
Hayes is with the Can-Am Connection tell us that they have signed the contract to face the Islanders at MSG on July 25th. Well, that never took place as Zenk quit the company before it took place. Instead we got Rick Martel vs. Tama. You can tell the WWF really wanted to put over this feud and the Can-Ams.
Jose Estrada vs. Outback Jack
Talk about your crowd-cooling match. Jack gets a backdrop to start the match. Estrada uses an eye rake then they engage in a terrible brawling sequence in which Jack was way out of position. Jack then keeps kicking Estrada away after getting taken down as that happens a few times. Estrada uses another eye rake then hammers away as the crowd looks to be sitting on their hands. Jack fights back and hits a slam then drops an elbow for a nearfall. Estrada headbutts Jack in the groin and heads up top to deliver a forearm smash that gets two. Estrada roughs up Jack a bit more until he gets caught with a slam then Jack hits the Boomerang for the win (4:47) DUD.
Thoughts: Estrada tried but Jack was just terrible. And the crowd did not respond to Jack at all. He was soon-to-be a TV jobber.
Hart Foundation & Danny Davis vs. British Bulldogs & Billy Jack Haynes
Haynes pulls double-duty here as Koko B. Ware, the scheduled partner for the Bulldogs, did not appear. Jimmy Hart was not here for the match as he was with the Honky Tonk Man, who was headlining the “B” show in Tuscon, AZ. The Bulldogs & Haynes attack their opponents before the match as the Hart Foundation and Davis regroup outside for a minute. Hart and Davey start off the match. Hart sells a shoulderblock by rolling all the way to the floor/ Davey then works the arm before tagging Haynes, who uses a bell clap. Dynamite then knocks Hart down from the apron before Haynes grabs a chinlock. Davey tags back in the match but Hart coutners a crucifix with a Samoan Drop. Neidhart tags but misses a fist drop as the faces regain control of the match for a bit until Neidhart rakes the eyes of Dynamite. The heels work over Dynamite for a while, with Davis acting as cocky as ever as he kicks Dynamite while he is down. Davis gets brought in with a slingshot splash but Dynamite got his knees up then makes the tag to Haynes, who runs wild. Haynes hits Davis with a press slam then locks on the full nelson but that gets broken up by the Hart Foundation, who are now in control of the match. Haynes takes a beating but is able to kick out of a few pin attempts. The Hart Foundation and Davis use all sorts of illegal tactics as Haynes takes a beating for several minutes until he comes back with a double clothesline on the Hart Foundation then makes the tag to Davey. who runs wild. He hits Hart with a delayed vertical suplex then gets a small package for two. The match breaks down as the faces clear the ring until only Hart is left. Hart gets whipped into the buckle then Davey launches Dynamite at Bret for a headbutt as that gets the win (18:08) ***. Dynamite appeared in a lot of pain after that.
Thoughts: Fun match to close the show. Hart worked his ass off here too. He was bumping like a maniac for his opponents.
Final Thoughts: I thought the show was solid for a house show. However, this drew the lowest attendance for a show headlined by Hogan as a champ at MSG at this point. His feud with Race was not selling at the box office and the low attendance can also be attributed to the product, which was ice cold at the time. Still, there were for quality matches but also a few stinkers. I’d recommend this show for the good matches while you can skip over the rest.
Here is my schedule for the rest of the week:
Thursday: 1989 WCW Timeline as told by Jim Cornette
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 6/20/87
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 6/21/87
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 6/27/87