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.
Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon are calling the action and they are still in San Francisco, California.
Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura are in the booth, and they remain taped from Sacramento, California. On the eve of WrestleMania VI, Ventura is dressed in Ultimate Warrior face paint and t-shirt and a Hulk Hogan hat. When McMahon asks for a prediction, Ventura says the bout is a tossup.
Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon call today’s action from a new round of television tapings in San Francisco, California. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a sold-out crowd of 14,500, with 500 fans attending for free.
Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon do commentary for today’s show, which concludes the tapings in Tucson, Arizona.
The broadcast starts by re-airing Demolition’s squash from Prime Time Wrestling.
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 call the action and they are still in Phoenix, Arizona. This week Ventura has an Ultimate Warrior t-shirt, changing his prediction on the WrestleMania VI main event after doing some research.
Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon are doing commentary and they are broadcasting from Fort Myers, Florida. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, these tapings took place on January 23 and drew a sellout crowd of 5,000 fans.
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 doing commentary and they are concluding the tapings in Huntsville, Alabama.
Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon handle commentary duties and they are taped from the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. This taping took place on December 12, 1989. Schiavone has a guitar and tries to play a song and does terribly.
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.
Live from East Rutherford, NJ
Airdate: August 28, 1989
Attendance: 20,000 (sold out)
Hosted by Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Can the power of Zeus ruin the good show streak of 1989? Let’s find out!
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XVII
Taped from Baltimore, MD
Airdate: October 29, 1988 (taped 10/25)
Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura
We open tonight’s program with Jake and Cheryl Roberts sharing a kiss. Jake then cuts a promo with Damian wrapped around his shoulders. According to Cheryl, Rude’s pain will be their “pleasure.”
Live from Richfield, OH
Airdate: November 26, 1987
Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
WWF’s message to all the cool kids in 1987: “Starrcade who? We’ve got something RAD!”
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Contest: Rocky Maivia & Kama Mustafa
(w/Faarooq & D-Lo Brown) defeat Ahmed Johnson & Ken Shamrock (w/The
Legion of Doom) when Maivia pins Shamrock after Faarooq hits Shamrock with Rick
Rude’s briefcase at 6:44:
sit by the entrance and they showcase signs that read “Spank Me Vince,” “Who
Booked this Crap?,” and “I’d Rather be in Chyna.” One of them is the non-politically correct
“Uncle Tom 3:16”, which I’m surprised they didn’t catch a great deal of heat
for. The crowd is hot for this and
Maivia and Shamrock have a good exchange in a small preview of what is to come
in their 1998 feud. Faarooq spends much
of the match talking with Rick Rude and Kama forgets to nail Shamrock when he
runs the ropes to trigger the initial finishing sequence and all of this
results in a small upset for the Nation.
and gets beaten down and the Legion of Doom just casually walk to aid him
before they are intercepted by WWF officials. Then out of nowhere the Godwinns
jump onto the entrance ramp and attack the LOD with garbage cans.
tonight a former WCW champion will be with us tonight.
the locker room and shows us the Nation of Domination’s locker room, which has
been painted with anti-black graffiti. A
Canadian flag is left behind, along with a “Canada rules,” which is meant to
implicate the Hart Foundation. THIS did
get the company in hot water with civil rights groups if I remember correctly.
out and get in McMahon’s face about the graffiti in their locker room and
allege that he is a racist and is running a racist company. Faarooq gives his pro-black message and
demands that WWF Champion Bret Hart come and face him immediately, despite
their match being booked for later in the evening.
Hart Foundation) pins Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) after Steve Austin
gives Faarooq a Stone Cold Stunner at 5:12 shown:
Shawn Michaels accuses him of being a racist on commentary. Bret goes after Michaels, but he is
restrained by the Nation and that leads to a brawl between the Nation and the
Hart Foundation at ringside. Bret works
the leg, but when he goes for the ring post figure-four the Nation attacks
him. In the midst of the chaos, Steve
Austin comes into the ring and attacks Faarooq to a nuclear crowd reaction and
that enables Bret to pick up a cheap win.
The match was butchered by the commercial and extra curriculars and
Austin’s interference adds an extra ½ to it.
of the Milton Bradley Karate Fighters Holiday Tournament is previewed by Kevin
Kelly and Grandmaster Robbie. Next week
will be the first match of the tournament between Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher.
out, thereby making his return to the company, and says that since we refused
to resign with WCW, Eric Bischoff tried to bury him. He says that WCW put a lid on his potential
and he criticizes being placed with “an ex-football player’s ex-wife that
defines dumb blonde.” He runs down his
old WWF country music gimmick and McMahon’s handling of his career. He then runs down Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels,
and Steve Austin. This “shoot” promo
might mean more if Jarrett was as valuable to the wrestling business as he
thinks he is. None of this would amount
to much since Jarrett would soon go back to his old country music gimmick and
would be partnered with Debra when she came to the WWF. In fact, it actually hurt Jarrett in 1999 since
Austin refused to work a main event program with him because Jarrett called the
3:16 part of Austin’s gimmick “blasphemous.”
Austin rightly worried that Jarrett’s comments could have led to a
Christian boycott of the WWF and derailed his push.
(w/Sable) defeats “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher with a TKO at 4:11:
storyline, as Lawler puts a Steve Austin hat on Sable during the match and when
Mero sees it he takes it off of her face and throws it into the crowd. Aside from that, this match is okay but no
one cares about it. Mero uses a low blow
to set up the TKO, thereby showing that he is moving away from his babyface
roots. Rating: *½
hype the house show circuit.
hypes the title for title match between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart. It recounts the enziguri incident with Shawn
Michaels and the SummerSlam piledriver on Steve Austin.
Title: “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn
Michaels (European Champion) wrestles Owen Hart (Intercontinental Champion) to
a disqualification at 6:20 shown:
Michaels agrees. Michaels gives Owen a
piledriver on the arena floor, which would have meant Owen’s career was over in
Memphis, but he rallies with his belly-to-belly suplex. I hate when big moves like that are done on
the arena floor since by wrestling standards moves on the arena floor are ten
times as devastating as those done in the ring.
This is an interesting match from a crowd reaction perspective because
they don’t necessarily care for Michaels, but they don’t like Owen either. Owen counters Sweet Chin Music with the
enziguri, but Steve Austin comes out from the crowd. The referee makes the mistake of getting in
his way and eats a Stunner and Michaels KO’s Owen with the Sweet Chin Music,
which leads to Bret running out to tear apart Michaels and this is thrown
out. Owen-Michaels is always a great
match, but they just didn’t have the time to take this to another level. Rating: **½
1-900-737-4WWF to hear another one of Jim Cornette’s rants!
a pre-taped segment says that he has carried the grief of his family for a long
time and argues that Paul Bearer has poisoned Kane’s mind. He promises to never fight Kane.
scheduled to be the British Bulldog against Dude Love, but Kane interrupts
after Love’s entrance. Love clotheslines
Kane over the top rope and hits him with a chair, but Kane barely sells it and
chokeslams Love twice on the entrance ramp.
This lays the foundation for a Kane-Foley match at Survivor Series.
Jesse James & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn defeat The Headbangers when James pins
Thrasher after Gunn hits Thrasher with a boom box at 4:05:
Billy Gunn. Gunn’s attire is something
like Taka Michinoku would wear, but it at least gets him away from the cowboy
gimmick he has been sporting in some fashion since 1993. If you are looking for some trademark New Age
Outlaws spots you aren’t going to get them in this match since this is one of
the formative outings of the team and they are still working out the
gimmick. The Headbangers look to have
the match in hand, but Gunn smashes Thrasher over the head with a boom box that
explodes on impact, thereby putting some of those Paul E. Dangerously cell
phone shots to shame, and the soon to be named Outlaws pick up a win over
former tag team champions. A really
boring match until the finish and you would think from the ring work that the
Outlaws weren’t going anywhere, but James’ mic work put the team on the
map. Rating: *
the TKO to a jobber on Shotgun Saturday Night is the Lazer Tag Slam of the
appearance on Mad TV is shown.
be the guest ring announcer for the next match.
Michinoku signing a long-term contract with the WWF is shown. Could they do anything more to telegraph the
fact that this guy was going to be the light heavyweight champion?
Exhibition: Taka Michinoku beats Tajiri
with a Michinoku Driver at 2:52:
beginning of the light heavyweight championship tournament, which will kick off
on the November 3rd edition of Monday Night Raw. Tajiri folds Michinoku up like an accordion
on a sit out powerbomb and the two proceed to put most of the light heavyweight
matches done so far to shame. They work
a fast match, which has the predictable finish, but the WWF just didn’t know
what they had with Tajiri at this stage of his career.
some fan comments about his rant against Phil Mushnick last week. He urges fans to make their voice heard and
McMahon tells fans to write to TV Guide and voice their displeasure with Phil
Godwinns losing the tag team championships to the Legion of Doom last week is
shown, along with their beating of Uncle Cletus.
scheduled to face the Disciples of Apocalypse, but the DOA do a four-on-two
attack on the Godwinns before the Truth Commission comes to the Godwinns aid to
continue their feud.
promo from the arena boiler room, where he says that he is the master of mayhem
and if the Undertaker will not fight against his own brother then he will.
to see Bret Hart defend the WWF title against Ken Shamrock! See, they didn’t have to do Montreal unless
they really wanted to.
tons of different angles fly at the audience from all kinds of different
directions, but it made for a quick and enjoyable show. The matches were brief and not very exciting
outside of the light heavyweight exhibition and Shawn-Owen, but everyone has
something to do and that keeps you invested in the non-main event matches.
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are live from
Calgary, Alberta, Canada. All of the
announcers are wearing cowboy hats, with Lawler’s looking ridiculous as it
swamps his head.
out in a previous review of this show, this was the last two hour WWF
All: The Godwinns defeat The New
Blackjacks when Phineas pins Barry Windham with a small package at 5:34:
Calgary crowd takes to their cowboy gimmick, and they put together one of their
better efforts in recent memory as they dominate much of the match against the
newly turned Godwinns. However, this
effort isn’t enough to give them a much needed win as Henry helps Phineas block
a suplex attempt and give the match to the Godwinns. Rating: *½
pay-per-view, which has another awesome 1997 black and white video package.
hypes the Hunter Hearst Helmsley-Mankind match.
Contest: Hunter Hearst Helmsley
(w/Chyna) and Mankind wrestle to a double count out at 13:12:
that’s pretty much what the entire feud has been based on thus far. The match works a more brisk pace than their
encounter the previous month, which is to be expected since neither guy had to
wrestle a match earlier in the night. It
doesn’t take long for Chyna to get involved, as she breaks up a Mandible Claw
and then works a nice spot where Helmsley whips Mankind into her and she slams
him into the steps. This is a nice
combination of a bloodless Attitude Era-type brawl and a scientific encounter,
as Helmsley spends the middle of the match working the left leg. Helmsley also shows a great deal of
improvement in this match, as he diversifies his moveset and does not resort to
long stalling spots. The match built
very well and made you want to see a rematch from these two, so it accomplished
its intended purpose and I don’t mind the double count out here. Rating: ***¾
and Sunny encourage us to dial the WWF Superstar Line to hear from the winners
and losers of tonight’s matches.
narrates a video package of the WWF’s participation in the Calgary Stampede
the Hart Foundation and Steve Austin interrupts the interview but is held back
by WWF officials. Bret Hart says that
the Hart Foundation will prove itself by beating Austin and his team
match starts, Helmsley and Mankind fight back into the crowd and Chyna tries to
get involved to protect her man. The
crowd loves it.
defeats Taka Michinoku with a tiger suplex at 9:58:
athletes from Michinoku Pro Wrestling in Japan and it’s a good thing in that it
shows a more high-flying light heavyweight style than the WWF had been
showcasing on television up to this point.
This match is really like a video game in that it combines a small
segment of mat wrestling, a series of strikes from both guys, and then the high
risk moves that both men are known for.
Michinoku hits the Michinoku Driver, but Sasuke kicks out at two and
finishes Taka shortly thereafter when he counters Taka’s dive off the top rope
with a dropkick. You may wonder why
Sasuke went over, since Michinoku eventually became the cornerstone of the
short-lived Light Heavyweight division, but the WWF anticipated that he would
be the first champion. However, Sasuke
said he would only defend the title in Japan and would not drop it on WWF
television and when McMahon heard those comments he fired Sasuke and Sasuke was
never seen in the WWF again. A really
entertaining contest that had great pacing and made both guys look like
significant threats in the light heavyweight division. Rating: ****
Mankind are shown continuing their fight outside of the arena. Helmsley is slightly busted open and he takes
a pipe to Mankind’s back.
Stone Cold Said So is aired. Buy
your copy for $19.95 (plus $6 shipping & handling) by calling 815-734-1161.
say that Ahmed Johnson should have been fighting the Undertaker in the next
match, but he suffered a knee injury two weeks ago and was replaced by Vader.
Vader and Paul Bearer and Bearer says that the Undertaker killed his whole
family and Vader is going to beat the Undertaker like he did at the Royal
Rumble and win the WWF title.
Match: The Undertaker (Champion) defeats
Vader (w/Paul Bearer) with a Tombstone at 12:39:
duck title defenses and this one of them as Vader was hardly a threat to anyone
at this point in time, jobbing to Ken Shamrock two months earlier and being
absent from last month’s King of the Ring pay-per-view. Still, with Ahmed Johnson on the shelf and
all of the top talent booked into the ten man tag main event, the WWF had to go
with someone and you could do much worse than Vader. Despite this, Ross tries to build Vader up as
someone who really can win this match, talking about his Japanese
exploits. Everyone has their working
boots on tonight, as both men knock each other around with reckless abandon and
avoid a rehash of their boring Royal Rumble encounter. The crowd wants to see the Undertaker tear
apart Bearer, but Vader consistently comes to his manager’s aid. They do a great false finish where Vader is
chokeslammed off the second rope after the Undertaker gives him a low blow to
block a Vader Bomb and the crowd works itself into a frenzy as the Undertaker
runs through a chokeslam and impressive Tombstone to send Vader to the
showers. As far as big man matches go,
it doesn’t get much better than this.
This match could have easily rebuilt Vader as a heel, but this was his
last dance in the WWF main event scene as a singles. Rating: ***¾
chronicles all of the chaos in the WWF right now with the gang wars and the
Austin-Hart Foundation feud.
Steve Austin and his team for the ten man tag.
Each member of the team cuts a quick promo, except for Austin who heads
for the ring.
sings the Canadian national anthem before the ten man tag.
recognizes Ralph Klein, premier of Alberta, and Stu and Helen Hart.
Hart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart & “The Loose
Cannon” Brian Pillman defeat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock
& The Legion of Doom when Owen pins Austin with a schoolboy at 24:31:
face-heel alignment. However, the Legion
of Doom are so popular on both sides of the border that they are still
cheered. Austin is booed out of the
building, which he seems to enjoy. The
crowd loses its mind when the Hart Foundation come out and Bret gives his
mother his shades and Lawler makes a great joke about how he didn’t know they
came in bifocals. You might think that
they would keep Bret-Austin separate for a while to start this match, but you
would be wrong as Bret and Austin go toe-to-toe at the beginning and the crowd
vocally cheers Bret’s offensive moves and loudly boos Austin. Austin even hooks a Million Dollar Dream,
which Bret counters by kicking off the ropes, and Austin finds a way to escape
so he’s not pinned like Survivor Series 1996.
Everyone runs through their trademark spots, but in a ten man tag it’s
difficult to get a pin in those situations so the match continues. They do an interesting spot where both sides
incapacitate someone on the other side, as Austin damages Owen’s right leg with
a chair and Bret damages Austin’s right leg with a fire extinguisher in
retaliation. Eventually both men return
from receiving medical attention, with Owen returning
second and breaking up an Austin Sharpshooter on Bret. Austin proceeds to pick a fight with the Hart
family and in the midst of the chaos, Austin is rolled into the ring where Owen
surprises him and finishes him off. This
was creatively booked and it did a nice job keeping the focus on Bret-Austin,
as they had two small singles matches within the confines of this matchup. It’s also a sad match from a historical perspective
since three of the five men on the Hart side are no longer with us, Stu and
Helen are gone, and Owen was the only member of his team still in the WWF in
December 1997. Rating: *****
the teams continue to brawl and WWF officials and Alberta police have to
separate the Harts from Austin’s team.
Austin isn’t happy to see his team lose and he interrupts the Hart
celebration by attacking Bret with a chair and this gets him arrested. Undeterred, Austin makes sure to flip off the
Canadian fans on his way to the back.
After Austin is taken away, the Hart family celebrates in the ring.
of this show or what? Everyone put in a
great effort tonight and it produced the best WWF pay-per-view of the year and
perhaps of all-time from a workrate perspective. If there is one pay-per-view that you need
for your collections from the 1990s, this is arguably it. An easy thumbs up for this show.