The SmarK 24/7 Rant for WWF Prime Time Wrestling – May 11 1987
– We seem to be back on track again with the order of airdate, although this show is so totally hit-or-miss from week to week and with regards to what matches get shown that really it hardly matters what order you watch them in.
– Your hosts are Gorilla and Bobby, who is sporting the neck brace he would milk for the next year or so.
– Bret Hart v. Davey Boy Smith. I actually remember this match, from [Syndicated Show Name Blurred] in 1987, back when I couldn’t stand the Hart Foundation and actually cared which team won their matches. Smith dumps him to start and pounds away in the corner, but Bret slugs back. It’s pretty funny to hear Jesse ragging on Vince and threatening to have him fired, as though he was just an employee of the WWF. Bret takes Davey down and stomps him, and follows with a backdrop, but Smith tries a crucifix. Bret drops him to counter and drops an elbow, but misses a blind charge and Smith comes back. Bret does the corner charge spot and gets yanked by the hair. Neidhart tries to come in while Bret dropkicks Smith, and the teams are brawling as a result. Smith powerslams Bret in the chaos and pins him at 3:44. Not exactly the bloodbath from In Your House V, but it was about as good as a 3 minute TV match was going to be within the confines they had. *1/2
– Paul “Nature Boy” Roma v. Steve Lombardi. This is from Philly, and a very odd choice to actually make TV at that. Roma overpowers him to start and gets a slam off a criss-cross. Roma takes him down and grabs a headlock, and a crossbody gets two. The more you learn about Lombardi’s personal life, the more disturbing the spots are where he’s thrusting against Roma on the ropes with his ass in the air. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Roma works the arm, and woo, now we go to school! Trade school, because he was a failure as a wrestler and needed a career to fall back on. Lombardi comes back with a backbreaker for two and rams him into the mat for two. We hit the chinlock and that goes on for a while, almost as long as one of Ric Flair’s many World championship reigns, numbering anywhere from 16 to 20 depending on which you’re counting. Lombardi rakes the eyes, but Roma knocks him down and clotheslines him. Lombardi blocks a monkey flip with an atomic drop, and a suplex gets two. Roma sends him into the post as Lombardi works in another spot where he’s bent over with his ass in the air, and Roma dropkicks him to start the big jobber comeback. Another clothesline gets two. Powerslam gets two. Sunset flip finishes at 9:52. I bet Flair was totally jealous of that big curtain jerking win there. Roma was also the sixty-minute man, because all of his matches in the WWF took place within the first sixty minutes of the show. **
– UPDATE! WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE! Ken Patera beats up Bobby Heenan and we get an interview with Heenan, who has already been cutting promos for the whole show. JERRY MCDEVITT ALERT: Craig says “Superstars of Wrestling” at the end of the update, which is a forbidden phrase.
– Sika v. Pete Doherty. If it’s the Duke of Dorchester, it must be Boston. Doherty was an odd case, in that he was a TV jobber for his whole WWF career, but got a minor push whenever they were in New England. I can’t recall anyone else getting that kind of leeway from the WWF. Sika pounds on him to start, but gets dumped and they slug it out on his way back in. Sika chops him down and hammers him on the ropes, but Doherty fires back in the corner. Sika headbutts him, but misses a falling one and Doherty comes back again and even stomps on his bare foot, but walks into the samoan drop and gets pinned at 3:11. Craptastic. 1/2*
– And now it’s back to old clips of Fuji and Muraco from TNT, as they do their stand-up act and bomb like Paul Roma’s career. It’s so bad that even Fuji can’t keep a straight face. The Ferdinand Marcos joke would have been funny if it was someone with better delivery, actually.
– Intercontinental title match: Ricky Steamboat v. Hercules. From the May 87 SNME. Savage is watching in the back, because he wants Steamboat to win so he can take the title himself. Herc and Dragon slug it out, and Herc wins. Ricky dropkicks him and chops away, and he bails. Steamboat chases him and gets an atomic drop, and back in we go. Hercules cheapshots him to take over. He kicks away, and a clothesline and elbowdrop get two as Savage cheers on Steamboat in the back. Steamboat fights back, but Hercules goes low. Steamboat sends him to the turnbuckles and gets a neckbreaker to come back. Hercules goes to the eyes again, and hooks the FULL-NELSON OF AGONY, so Savage takes action and runs in, pulling Hercules into the ropes to break the hold. We go to commercial and return with Herc coming off the top and missing. Elbow misses. Charge misses. Man, he ain’t very godlike tonight. Steamboat makes the comeback, working on the ribs. Herc chokes him out with the chain for the DQ at 6:14. Now, the interesting part, as Savage is standing around at ringside watching Hercules beat on Steamboat forever, and the crowd is READY to just cheer their heads off if he makes the save. But he doesn’t, which pisses them off more. Finally, Hercules leaves and Savage goes in to check on Steamboat, and AGAIN the fans are just waiting for the face turn, but Savage suddenly bolts to the top and drops a big elbow to crush that hope. I think this may have been where the WWF realized the potential they had in a babyface Savage. Match was duller than dishwater, though. *1/2
– Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake v. Johnny V. This is Beefcake’s debut of the new gimmick after getting dumped by the Dream Team, and actually began his best period as a wrestler. Johnny attacks from behind, but gets slammed and dumped as a result. Johnny fights back, but walks into Beefcake’s new finisher — the sleeper — and goes goodnight at 1:38. Total squash. DUD Beefcake cuts his hair and kicks off his babyface push.
– George Steele v. Honky Tonk Man. Honky never even gets his suit off, as George steals the guitar and attacks him with it, chasing him out of the ring for the DQ at 0:34. Why the hell did they waste a segment showing this “match”? DUD
– And now, a Randy Savage interview, as we’re apparently really short of content this week.
– Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff & Butch Reed v. The Young Stallions & Joe Mirto. Oh man, TWO Roma matches in the same show, how lucky can I be? Outback Jack pops in with a totally pointless promo while Powers hiptosses the Sheik and brings in Roma while they work on the arm. Sheik blocks a sunset flip and Roma gets taken into the heel corner, where Reed elbows him down. Roma manages to tag in Mirto, and he promptly gets murdered. Reed puts him out of his misery with the gorilla press at 2:37. DUD Slick sings the Russian national anthem to celebrate the huge win, which is pretty god damned funny.
– Don Muraco & Bob Orton v. The Rougeau Brothers. Oddball commentary team of Bruno “Tree-mendous” Sammartino and Jesse Ventura here. Jacques grabs a headlock on Muraco to start, but gets sent into his own corner as a result. Muraco overpowers him again, but Jacques pops up with a victory roll for two. Over to Raymond, who takes Muraco down with a wristlock but gets accused of using the hair, so he quite blatantly pulls the hair. Muraco and Orton have some problems, which would continue for a while. Raymond gets a cross body on Orton for two, and Jacques flips in for two. He goes to work on the arm and the Rougeaus switch off, but Mr Fuji earns his Hall of Fame spot by tripping him up. Orton takes over by stomping the face and the heels work him over in the corner. Orton gets a belly to belly for two. Muraco gets a rolling necksnap for two and Orton chokes him out with the tag rope. Muraco gets a neckbreaker and brings up the level of class by flicking a booger at Jacques on the apron, and we get more cheating in the heel corner. Orton sets up for a powerslam, but then drops Raymond on the top rope instead and chokes him down. Raymond catches Orton with his head down and makes the hot tag to Jacques. He comes in with an elbow on Orton for two, and Raymond superkicks him for two. Double dropkick gets two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Raymond gets dumped, allowing the heels to double-team and draw the DQ at 10:10. Lack of a finish was disappointing, but the match was full of quality cheating and good work, the kind of nice match that you can bring home to meet your mother and not be embarrassed at the supper table by it. **1/2
While not a bad show, this is truly a program where I could skip two months of it and not miss anything worthwhile. Maybe they should jump to the 90s with the super-campy panel of wrestlers or something.