The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Boston Garden – September 12 1987
– Taped from Boston.
– Your hosts are Gorilla & Alfred.
Leaping Lanny Poffo v. Duke Doherty
And you thought he was just a horrible, horrible color commentator. Poffo is busy sucking up to Hulk in his pre-match poem when Duke lays him out, thus earning the wrath of the crowd. Duke chokes away in the corner, but Poffo slugs back and rams him into the turnbuckle. Duke bails as Gorilla notes that he has officially changed his name from Pete “The Duke of Dorchester” Doherty to simply Duke Doherty. Well, it’s a better name, so good for him. Test of strength and Duke cheats to win, but Poffo takes him down with a top wristlock. So they do the test again and this time Poffo does an old-time headscissor takedown out of it, as they’re channeling Ricky Starr matches from the 50s now. Not complaining, just making a note, mind you. They do a nice reversal sequence off an armbar and Poffo rocks the crazy rolling cradle for one, but Duke makes the ropes and then punches out of it. Poffo makes the comeback and slugs away in the corner, into a rolling cradle for two. Doherty stomps him down, but Poffo suckers him into going to the top by playing dead, and the result is Duke getting slammed off. Poffo with a senton splash for two off that. Rollup gets two. Duke goes to the eyes, but puts his head down and gets caught. Poffo follows with a monkey flip out of the corner, but the moonsault hits knee. Duke finishes with a backbreaker at 10:05. And the crowd boos the SHIT out of him thanks to some good, old-school heel tactics and a fine opening match. This was such a throwback that it should have been broadcast on the Dumont Network, but that’s a good thing in this case. ***
The Shadows v. Scott Casey & SD Jones
Casey starts with Shadow #2 (Randy Culley) and takes him down with a crucifix for two. Back to the lockup and Casey goes with a flying headscissors this time, so we go with Shadow #1 (Jose Luis Rivera) and Jones. The faces work #1 over in their corner and #2 comes in and makes the mistake of going after SD’s head, but the old cheapshot on Casey turns the tide. They work him over with the usual stuff and cut off the ring, as I can practically write this crappy recap without even watching the match. As awesome as 24 was tonight, this match is not. Casey tries to escape a bearhug by undoing the mask, but that just annoys the Shadow and they use more chokes in their corner. Hot tag SD and he uses the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM on a Shadow, but it’s breaking loose in Tulsa and the Shadows double-team him. Heel miscommunication and SD gets the cheap rollup for the pin at 11:40. Seriously, they really did that exact sequence of unbelievably clichÃ©d tag team wrestling finishes. This was fine other than the incredibly predictable nature. **
Steve Lombardi v. Sivi Afi
Gripe of the day: Afi is just from “The South Pacific”. No nation in particular. Maybe he was on Broadway doing Rogers and Hammerstein? And FUCK ME, Duke Doherty in a suit wanders over and takes over on commentary and demands to be allowed to join the broadcast team. You evil BASTARDS on the production crew. THIS is the “Ring Royalty” tie-in for this show? I think the 24/7 guys are just ribbing us now, searching out his appearances to screw with us. However, they’re also dropping the soon-to-end TNT show and replacing it with Mid-Atlantic Wrestling from 1982, so I’m not complaining too loudly about them. So lord help us all, we have Gorilla Monsoon and Duke Doherty as a commentary team. With this train rapidly headed for a wreck of epic proportions, the actual match in the ring suddenly seems even less important than the miniscule amount of attention I had previously been prepared to pay it. Anyway, Lombardi takes over with some generic cheating and goes to a chinlock after much of the first 4 minutes was ignored by the cameramen, who instead focused on Doherty taking over at ringside and mugging for the camera. Stuff happens, Afi makes the comeback with a bunch of headbutts, and I’m fighting hard to keep from screaming in horror from how terrible and irritating Doherty is on commentary. Lombardi reverses a bodypress for the pin at 8:40. Duke is SO BAD and almost a physical irritant to listen to that he can actually wreck matches just by talking over them. Call this *
WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Killer Khan
Call it right now: Fuji throws salt at Hogan, hits Khan in the face by accident, Hogan wins with the legdrop. We’ll see if I’m right. Khan, although a scary opponent of Andre the Giant in the early 80s, was just another Unstoppable Heel for Hogan to miraculously beat in house shows around the country by this point. Khan beats Hogan down with the WWF title, but shoots his GREEN MIST OF DEATH at the referee by accident and blinds him. So the first ref gets taken out and treated for Kool-Aid burns while another one joins us, allowing Khan to toss Hulk into an assault from Fuji’s cane. Those darn Asians. Back in, Khan levels Hogan with a karate thrust to the throat while Hulk does his overblown selling, but misses a kneedrop and Hulk pops up for the comeback. That was Khan’s big finish? A kneedrop? And to think I used to think this guy was pretty scary when I was 13. Hulk chokes him down with his wrist tape and tosses him, as if to say GO BACK TO MONGOLIA, YOU MONGOL! And then he hits him with an ALL-AMERICAN chair to the head and runs him into the post before hitting him with another chair. This is pretty heavy stuff for a 1987 house show, actually. Back in, Khan gets another karate thrust, as Hogan actually appears to be a lot more fired up tonight than Khan is. And indeed he goes to the laziest heel hold in wrestling, the Vulcan nerve hold, to emphasize that. This gives me a chance to talk about a point here. On the last World Championship Wrestling show I reviewed, Ric Flair gave jobber Mike Jackson a bunch of offense before putting him away cleanly, and a few people were like “Man, that’s why Hogan made so much more money, because he’d put his opponents away cleanly in 7-8 minutes and Flair was constantly looking like a punk.” And yet every time you saw Hogan in his prime, some heel is beating the shit out of him for 10 minutes. So I don’t think that argument holds water at all. You could argue that Flair was out there losing his title to Dusty Rhodes every night before getting it back on a technicality, but that was more Dusty’s booking than any fault of Flair. Outside of that variable, the standard Flair match during Hogan’s prime years is much like the standard Hogan one: Flair gives the babyface challenger 10-30 minutes of offense and makes the crowd think that MAYBE he’s going to lose the belt this time, then uses the face’s own error against them and finishes clean with the figure-four. In later years, after Dusty’s booking ruined him, he would be more likely to use the ropes or JJ’s shoe, but by then it was too late to save the NWA anyway so I submit that it was a moot point. Anyway, Khan with the FLYING KNEEDROP OF AGONY, but it’s Hulk Up time and he CATCHES the green mist in his hand. That’s so cheesy and stupid that’s it kind of awesome, actually. He rubs it in Khan’s face and finishes with the legdrop at 9:34. OK, I was into it, it was fun, and Hulk was smashing people with chairs, so it kind of ruled. ***1/4
Hercules v. Davey Boy Smith
Mel Philips has trouble remembering which Bulldog was competing tonight, and indeed I had to stop myself from typing “The British Bulldog” out of habit. Davey was strictly a tag wrestler at this point and is 100% guaranteed to be doing the job here, as the Kid was a no-show for whatever reason and the card must have been rearranged as a result, giving us the bizarre tag team title match that main events this show. Power match to start and it’s a draw, so Herc pounds away until missing a charge. Davey slugs him down as a result and Hercules bails. Back in, they trade poses and do the test of strength, but Davey goes for a crucifix out of that. Herc drops him with a samoan drop to block that, and starts pounding on the back. That gets two, and he whips Davey into the corner and goes to the bearhug, but Davey reverses to his own and then adds a suplex. Herc recovers first and pounds away, but Davey gets another suplex and follows with a clothesline for two. Powerslam looks to finish, but sadly he chooses to go up to the top and tries a flying headbutt, which misses by a mile, and Herc finishes with a full-nelson at 10:34. Davey was game and showed flashes of singles stardom, Herc was his usual shitty self, and the result was somewhere in the middle. **1/2
Ted Dibiase v. Brutus Beefcake
Dibiase is making his summer residence in Hainesport, Mass. Absolutely INCREDIBLE heel heat for the early run of Dibiase, as fans pelt the ring with garbage during his pre-match promo. Dibiase offers Beefcake $500 to take a walk, which Beefcake in 1987 would never do. TODAYâ€¦probably. Beefcake of course slaps the money away and attacks, and holy cow is this crowd going mental. Dibiase bails to calm things down, and back in Brutus starts with the headlock before walking into a boot. He quickly recovers with the sleeper and Dibiase bails to escape that. Back in, Beefcake backdrops him out of the corner and stomps him, but Dibiase begs off and runs away again. Back in, Dibiase comes back with an atomic drop to take over and chokes Beefcake out amidst the rain of trash. Dibiase drops an elbow from the middle rope for two. Beefcake comes back with a small package for two, but Dibiase stomps him down for that and adds a suplex for two. He briefly goes to a chinlock before putting Beefcake down with a knee for two. Dibiase goes up again, but Beefcake nails him coming down and makes the comeback, slugging away in the corner. Into the turnbuckle for a great cartoon bump from Dibiase, but Virgil trips him up and Dibiase rolls him up for the pin at 12:00. Just an average match, but it had heat like you wouldn’t BELIEVE, which made it a lot better as a result. ***
WWF tag team title: The Hart Foundation v. Sika & Mr. Fuji
To quote the Rock, what in the blue HELL is this? I’m thinking that the Harts have to be de facto babyfaces here even during the prime of their heel run. I’m guessing Kid’s no-show ruined a Bulldogs v. Harts main event, but why not throw Poffo out there as a replacement instead of this bizarre trainwreck of heels? Sika slugs it out with Neidhart to start and the champs work him over in the corner, so Fuji gets the cheapshot right away to clearly establish who the fans should cheer for. Bret gets double-teamed and plays sympathetic face while Sika stomps him and Fuji uses his geriatric chops on him. Bret fights back, so Fuji hits him as blatantly in the junk as humanly possible and the heels take over again. Sika chops Bret down for two and slams him for two. Headbutt gets two and Anvil saves as you can see the future babyface Hart Foundation formula in full effect. Semi-hot tag to Anvil and he comes in with a slam on Fuji and goes to the bearhug, but Sika attacks from behind. Fuji goes for a slam, but Bret dropkicks them over and Anvil gets the pin at 7:06 for a minor face pop. Weird. *1/2
Main event: King Harley Race v. George Steele
I don’t forsee anything classic here. Race wisely waits Animal out on the floor as we do the big stall to start, but Steele finally corners him and bites away. Race clobbers him from behind while Steele argues with the ref, and headbutts him into the corner. Steele whips him out of the ring in response and hauls him back in, slugging away in the corner with some surprisingly stiff shots, but Race pounds him down and dumps him. They brawl on the floor and Steele gets the best of that, then they head back in where Race goes low to stop Steele’s comeback. Race tries a clothesline, but Steele bites the arm to counter, so Race dumps him out of the ring again. Back to the brawl on the floor and Race rams him into the table (with Doherty adding a shot of his own and cackling about it), but that just gets Steele mad. He tosses chairs into the ring and it’s a wash at 7:00. Pretty decent brawl, actually, as Steele was up for working a normal match instead of a comedy one for once. **1/2
A much better show than it would appear on paper. Definitely check it out, although mute the sound to avoid Pete Doherty if need be.
Tags: 24/7, Hart Foundation, SmarK Rants, WWE