The SmarK Rant for WWF Wrestling Challenge – 10.04.86
Taped from Salisbury, MD. Is that where the steak came from? Like some enterprising hamburger cook ran out of buns one day and was like “Fuck it, dump some gravy and onions on the patty and sell it as an entrée!” Because that’d be pretty smart of him, actually.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Johnny Valiant, since Gorilla is unaware of Bobby Heenan’s whereabouts this week. Spoiler: He shows up after the first match.
King Harley Race v. Allen Martin
Race immediately hits Martin with a gut wrench and drops a knee on him, as Martin appears to be auditioning for Superman with his red and blue tights combination. Race with a suplex and he goes up with a kneedrop from the middle rope and then finishes with the cradle suplex at 1:10. Kind of like the Perfectplex but he CINCHES it in, as opposed to bridging up like Perfect used to.
Wrestler’s Rebuttal with the Machines and they do fake Japanese accents and offend everyone in the world in a 30 second span. Super Machine wants more sushi in the hotels while Big Machine goes “Moshi moshi” and says random Japanese brand names in the background.
The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers v. Bob Bradley & Mr. Electricity Steve Regale (sic)
Jacques controls Regal with some headlocks and Raymond comes in with slams on the jobbers and they back off. Kind of interesting that Regal was something of a pushed guy for years and then suddenly disappeared off the face of the wrestling earth at the end of 1986. Bradley gets a bit of offense on Ray, but misses a splash and the Rougeaus finish with the double-team Rougeau Bombe at 2:40.
Meanwhile, Killer Ken chats with Corporal Kirschner as we learn why he didn’t really get much promo time. They chat about him possibly getting title shots at Randy Savage (HA!) and he sounds more like a stoner burnout than a military fighting machine.
Meanwhile, on that new Superstars show, it’s the battle of Piper’s Pit and the Flower Shop, as both sets are put up side by side and they do dueling interviews. Adonis brings out Bob Orton for his guest and they bury Piper’s “drab plaid set”, so Roddy fires off that Orton couldn’t hold his jockstrap and sold out to Adonis. So Adonis gets all flustered by Piper’s razzing and Roddy steals the camera back for his Pit and declares that he’s not trying to be a nice guy, but Adonis makes him sick and so he had to come back. “We don’t want you tripping on your pantyhose, sweetheart, so just stay back there.” Piper’s guest is Magnificent Muraco, and Piper can’t help but bury him even when he’s trying to put him over, and makes fun of Muraco “imitating” his segments with the Body Shop and makes fun of his wardrobe. So Muraco goes off on him and we have some communication issues as Piper makes his case because he doesn’t want his children watching Adonis, but Muraco declares that it’s a free country and Adonis is free to do what he wants. So then Piper can’t help himself and starts calling Muraco “Fatso”. Adonis: “Who are you calling fatso?” Piper: “Who am I calling fatso? TAKE YOUR CHOICE!” This finally is enough for the heels, and Adonis, Orton and Muraco all lay out Piper, as Adrian smashes a chair into Piper’s knee and they trash the Piper’s Pit set before putting lipstick all over Piper’s face.
So although I’ve talked about the Hogan-Orndorff turn as the catalyst for my fandom many times before, this was the angle that REALLY hooked me for good. But what’s fascinating about this today is that Piper was so clearly in the wrong here, as he was 100% the instigator and not only drove off Orton himself, but then had to poke the bear with Muraco as well when he could have left well enough alone and probably had an ally! And yet it was 100% in character for Piper to think he was doing the right thing, but being so unable to function like a normal human being that he would end up on the wrong side of a three-on-one beating because he didn’t know when to shut the hell up. And yet he was so great as a character that you still wanted to see him get revenge.
This was AWESOME and should be required viewing for everyone “telling stories” today.
Meanwhile, Killer Ken chats with Rebel Dick Slater, who lets us know that it’s not how fast you run, but how you run when you’re going fast. Thank you, Ricky Bobby. When he gets in the ring and does a job, he does it well. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments.
The Rebel Dick Slater v. Tiger Chung Lee
Oh man, I hear southern boys don’t take too kindly to people from other continents! I hope Dick teaches him a lesson about being born in another country that’s not AMERICA. The Rebel pounds away on Lee as we’re apparently building to Slater v. Orndorff as the big house show feud according to the inset promo. Well that’s a step down for Mr. Wonderful to say the least. Lee gets a karate thrust out of the corner and then hits Slater repeatedly in the throat with them, thus potentially robbing us of more Slater promos, but Slater goes up and finishes with the top rope elbow at 3:09 while we get what sounds like generic bluegrass music to cover up what I assume was “Dixie” or some reasonable facsimile of it.
The Snake Pit with the Natural Butch Reed, as Reed tells us all the reasons why he’s so natural. HE’S GOT BLOND HAIR! BOO THIS MAN!
The Dream Team v. Don Hastings & Jerry Allen
Gorilla and Bobby discuss the Piper’s Pit deal here, and Bobby points out that Piper is always the one who talks big about how he can take on six or seven guys at a time, and someone finally called his bluff. He’s not wrong! Allen gets some offense on Beefcake with slams while Gorilla buries referee Danny Davis, sewing the seeds for some stuff months later. Beefcake with a backbreaker on Hastings for two, but he picks him up and brings in Valentine for the figure-four to finish at 2:40. “Get the hot shower ready for these guys!” notes Gorilla. Yeah right, they probably still had another 7 squash losses to do before the end of the 6 hour taping.
Junkyard Dog v. Jimmy Jack Funk
Poor Jimmy Jack doesn’t even get Jimmy Hart anymore as he plummets down the totem pole. But despite this, Gorilla announces this as our “feature match”. I’d hate to see what they consider a curtain-jerker. So again, “Grab Them Cakes” is apparently fine to continue existing as I continue not understanding their music rights situations. Funk charges and gets clotheslined out of the corner, but Dog misses a headbutt and Funk goes up with…something…and lands on Dog’s, I wanna say, head? That was really ugly. Anyway Funk gets the worst of whatever that was and bails to the floor. Back in, they slug it out and Dog rings his ears, but Funk slugs away on him and gets nowhere. Dog puts him in an abdominal stretch and if you put $20 on Gorilla bitching about Dog not hooking the leg properly, you’d be $20 richer. Funk gets a kneelift and that gets two, but he lands on the floor and Dog hauls him back in for the Thump to finish at 4:33. This was REALLY bad and could have only been made worse if Joey Marella was the referee. OH YEAH, HE WAS. No wonder.
Meanwhile, Killer Ken has words with Bobby Heenan, which is a marked upgrade over the last couple of promos we’ve had on these segments. Anyway, the Machines are COWARDS and CHICKENS and we get words from Studd and Bundy, who are so tall that the camera actually has to shoot above the “WWF” background to get them in frame, so we can see the ceiling lights in the background. So weird how that little detail completely ruins the illusion. Also Resnick questions the mathematical force behind Bundy’s big splash, and that was actually a famous post by Herb Kunze on RSPW years later, as he attempted to quantify exactly that because he was a different level of nerd than us mere quasi-nerds.
Next week: Randy Savage! Muraco and Orton!
That Piper v. Adonis segment was something else, man.