Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are tonight’s studio hosts. Monsoon asks Heenan if the Heenan Family is seeing growing defections. Heenan is aghast at what happened with Andre the Giant at WrestleMania, opining that the big man cannot take directions. Monsoon makes a good point that Heenan failed to help get Andre out of the ropes at WrestleMania, thereby costing his team the WWF Tag Team Championship.
With Tony Schiavone gone, Wrestling Challenge sees an announcing shakeup with Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan now calling the action. They are commentating matches at the end of the taping cycle in San Francisco.
Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are manning the studio. Monsoon announces that the Ultimate Warrior is the new WWF Champion, and adds that Hulkamania has now achieved immortality. Heenan challenges the Warrior to put the title on the line against an undetermined member of the Heenan Family.
Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are in the booth and they are live from Toronto, Ontario, Canada in what will be Ventura’s last appearance calling a WWF pay-per-view. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a sellout crowd of 67,678, a new attendance record for the venue. It drew a buyrate of 3.8 (an estimated 550,000 purchases). This was a decline from the 5.9 buyrate of WrestleMania V, but this can be attributed to more homes getting pay-per-view access by 1990, thereby messing with the buyrate average.
Robert Goulet sings the Canadian National Anthem. According to Bruce Prichard, Goulet was picked for this spot because he badly botched signing “The Star Spangled Banner” several years earlier and this was a chance for him to redeem himself in front of a live crowd. The WWF put the lyrics on the Skydome’s video screen to ease Goulet’s nerves. And if you watch his body language during the performance, he goes from a bad of nerves to a guy having the time of his life halfway through. His wife, who watched backstage, cried her eyes out after he nailed the song.
Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura handle commentary duties, starting a new round of tapings in Sacramento, California. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, these tapings took place on March 6 and attracted a crowd of 13,500, with 2,000 of those fans attending for free. This week Ventura has his face painted like the Ultimate Warrior – a horrifying sight – and is wearing tassels because he is once again changing his prediction for the WrestleMania VI main event.
Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan run the studio portion of the telecast. Heenan is wearing a dark green jacket, so Monsoon asks him if that will be his attire for WrestleMania VI. Heenan responds that he might be preparing for the Masters golf tournament.
Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are in the booth, and they kick off a new round of tapings in Phoenix, Arizona. These tapings took place on February 13. Ventura is clad in Hulk Hogan merchandise because he predicts Hogan will win the WrestleMania VI main event.
Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon are in the booth and they are concluding the tapings in Fort Myers, Florida.
Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura call today’s action and kick off a new round of television tapings at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the taping took place on January 22 and drew a crowd of 15,063, 10,500 of which paid to attend.
Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan host tonight’s show.
The Bushwhackers squash from the January 29 Wrestling Challenge episode airs. Heenan wonders whether fans need shots after the Bushwhackers lick them. He likens the spectacle to “a petting zoo on the road.”
Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan do the studio duties for tonight’s show.
Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are in the booth, kicking off a new set of tapings in Birmingham, Alabama. These tapings took place on January 2.
The opening match is the Jimmy Snuka-Brooklyn Brawler bout that aired on Prime Time Wrestling.
Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon call today’s action, wrapping up the television tapings in Nashville, Tennessee.
1989 was a strong year for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The Mega Powers angle between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage created a strong buyrate for WrestleMania V and rematches between the two throughout the spring and summer generated healthy gates. In addition, the company expanded its revenue streams by adding The Royal Rumble to its pay-per-view lineup in January. And other competitors were faltering as the American Wrestling Association (AWA) was on its last legs and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was riven by divisions between Executive Vice President Jim Herd and talent like Ric Flair. Times were good for the WWF’s Golden Age.
However, there were some cracks underneath the surface that the WWF would grapple with as 1990 began. The company’s star, Hulk Hogan, wanted to make his mark on Hollywood and WWF owner Vince McMahon wanted to find the next big act to replace him. And without Hogan it was unclear whether casual fans, who fueled the WWF’s rise throughout the late 1980s, would continue to tune in. Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior appeared the most likely successor, with a physical build similar to Hogan’s and laying claim to being the second-biggest star in the company. Both men had been kept away from each other in storylines and McMahon looked at a clash between them as a way to resolve the conundrum. And beyond the Hogan-Warrior transition there were questions as to who the big heels of the company would be. Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase had failed in their efforts to win the WWF Championship, reduced in standing by multiple losses. Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude, and Zeus were considered possibilities but Perfect had not held a singles title yet, Hogan refused to work a program with Rude, and Zeus was limited in the ring. So, the WWF was on the look for new talents that they could slot into main event programs and continue to draw houses on par with those of the late 1980s.
WWF SUMMERSLAM FEVER 1990:
* These “preview shows” for PPVs are always a great source for little-seen matches. In this one, we’re a week away from SummerSlam, we have our prelude show in Utica, New York (what kind of a place doesn’t know the expression “steamed hams”?), featuring a handful of big name vs. name matches- Earthquake vs. Hacksaw! Smash vs. Neidhart! Mr. Perfect against Ronnie Garvin! And most importantly, THE BOLSHEVIKS EXPLODE!
WWF SURVIVOR SERIES SHOWDOWN 1989:
(Nov. 12, 1989)
* So this is largely a card of JUST Dream Matches, and I Bayless already covered this ages ago, but whatever- these cards fascinate me. I guess they were on the USA Network and were used as hype shows for the Survivor Series, mixing up the guys in the matches against each other. So we’re in the post-WrestleMania V era, with “Macho King” being slid down to an “Upper Midcard” position, Hogan as Champion again with Zeus as an arch-enemy, and more. And this YouTube video includes the COMMERCIALS, complete with advertising. Hm, Dyanetics or video games made by Acclaim- which is more evil to advertise to children?
Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan & Roddy Piper are our hosts, and Monsoon actually lays it out- every team member would put their names into a hat, drawing names out until one one guy remained- those guys would fight each other. This is why it looks so “random” (ie. big stars are fighting tag team wrestlers so that they can win while not hurting anyone’s push).
YES I’M AN UNAPOLOGETIC MABEL MARK SHUT UP!
It’s time for more of wrestling’s strange oddities, ironic “Dream Matches”, or just stuff I didn’t otherwise know existed. First off, a quartet of 1994 WWF’s least-respected workers in a great FAT MAN STAND-OFF tag match, then a bizarre 6-man from the 1970s era of the company- Gorilla Monsoon & Haystacks Calhoun on the same team! Plus our weekly dose of Hercules, and then two roided-up tag teams from 1996 WCW- did you know that you needed High Voltage vs. The American Males in your life? Because you need High Voltage vs. the American Males in your life.
As always, WWE-owned videos are non-kosher on the Blog, but this is all easily found on YouTube.
YOKOZUNA & CRUSH (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. MABEL & TYPHOON (w/ Oscar):
(WWF TV, 02.07.1994)
* HELL YES it’s my all time favorite kind of match- the FAT MAN STAND-OFF!! My two favorite things in wrestling are high-speed joshi, and Big Fat Guy wrestlers slamming into each other. As a kid, I was unironically a huge fan of both Mabel & Typhoon, so I was delighted when they randomly started teaming up, and because it’s the WWF, they put their 6’10” 550 lb. guy up against the only person fatter, in Yoko. Crush was in his heel persona here, and is quite possibly my least favorite wrestler to watch, ever.
And we’re back with more of wrestling’s oddest Dream Matches! Two in one week, no less! Tonight we’ll see a “WTF?” Old-Timers vs. Rookies match as two of the Four Pillars face some washed-up megastars, and some WWF hossery from various giant dudes based off of historical & mythological figures! More Berzerker- challenging his counterpart, the Barbarian! Also the Warlord versus Hercules!
Once again, WWF-owned YouTube clips get the Blog into trouble, but they’re not hard to find with a simple search.
ANDRE THE GIANT, GIANT BABA & DORY FUNK, JR. vs. TOSHIYAKI KAWADA, KENTA KOBASHI & TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI:
* Okay, now this is just strange. I figured Baba was only in the “comedy matches” at this point, as he looks about as unintimidating as you can possibly look while being nearly as tall as Andre is, but there you go. He’s got his standard “broad and wide torso that nonetheless has all the ribs exposed like he’s a starvation victim” physique, with the lil’ tiny bird arms, and red trunks. Andre’s in a blue version of his regular gear, while Dory’s in blue- he’s a HUGE legend in Japan and deeply respected for his work with Baba and others. Kawada’s the Grumpy Kicking Asshole (ignoring Dory’s handshake attempt), Kobashi’s a young up & comer not quite into his big push, and Kikuchi’s his tag partner- a guy with a GREAT wrestling physique (Dynamite/Savage-style size & body), but who never got a serious push after that tag team. He’s instantly recognized as the “polite Young Boy wrestler” by him gleefully shaking Dory’s hand.
–Gene Okerlund and Dusty Rhodes are doing commentary and they are live from St. Petersburg, Florida since tonight’s broadcast is the Slamboree pre-show.
WWF The Main Event II
Live from Milwaukee, WI
Airdate: February 3, 1989
Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Pro wrestling in prime time again? What could possibly happen this time?