The SmarK Rant for WWF Wrestling Challenge – 12.20.86
THE RECOGNIZED SYMBOL OF EXCELLENCE IN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT
Taped from Tucson AZ
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan. Put out the porch light and hang up the phone!
Minor note: They’ve changed from the artsy airbrushed photos at the beginning of the show to a more straightforward series of still photos hyping the matches this week.
Honky Tonk Man v. Leaping Lanny Poffo
Sadly, we completely lose Honky’s entrance for music right reasons, although we still get Poffo’s disrespectful poem where he calls Honky a “sorry imitation of Elvis”. I hope Honky PUMPS IT UP on Poffo and puts the boots to him. Poffo attacks to start with a headscissors and gets some offense, but Honky goes up and drops the fist as HIS AIM IS TRUE, and then he finishes with the neckbreaker at 1:40, leaving Poffo on his back and WATCHING THE DETECTIVES. Honky was instantly better as a heel here, with no more PEACE LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING. 1 for 1.
Wrestler’s Rebuttal with Paul Orndorff and Bobby Heenan, as they complain about Orndorff not gracing the cover.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene talks with a pair of “doctors” about Ricky Steamboat’s throat, or “larynx” if you want to get all medical about it, and he stirs shit up by getting one to say that Steamboat should come back and another to say that Steamboat should retire. I’m skeptical about their medical credentials, although the one guy DID have a stethoscope around his neck and that’s usually a good sign that he’s a legit medical professional.
The Rougeau Brothers v. Mike Lucas & Dennis Stamp
Well we must be somewhere near Texas if Stamp got booked. I haven’t mentioned lately how douchey that the robes made the Rougeaus look. The jackets they later adopted were infinitely better as babyfaces. The robes look like something that the Young Bucks should be wearing these days. They double-team Stamp with a slam for two right away and we get an inset promo from the Rougeaus as they wish us a “joyeaux noel”. What is that, some kind of commie holiday? GO BACK TO RUSSIA. Over to Lucas and Raymond backdrops him to set up Jacques for the bombs away senton at 2:18 to finish. Not a particularly impressive squash here. 1 for 2.
Hillbilly Jim chats with Killer Ken after apparently having him over in Mudlick for a Thanksgiving dinner with Granny, with lots of possum-based dishes involved.
Blackjack Mulligan is off at his ranch rounding up cattle, and he’s got a branding iron that he’s going to use on King Kong Bundy. Well that seems extreme. Weren’t we just supposed to boo Terry Funk for that kind of behavior? Also, do we have proof that those are Mulligan’s cattle? Maybe he’s just printing his own cows in the barn.
Hercules v. David Gold
Herc is now in his more familiar form, having dropped the faux armor and just carrying a chain around now. Gold tries yanking his chain and fails spectacularly at it, and Herc puts him down with a clothesline and slugs him down. Hercules tosses the geek and then throws him back in again for a press slam and torture rack to finish at 2:50. 1 for 3.
Tito Santana joins Killer Ken and although 1986 wasn’t great, 1987 will be better!
Meanwhile, Jesse Ventura is the next person to ask Andre why Bobby Heenan was at the suspension hearing and Andre wasn’t. Andre tells him that it’s none of his business and to get lost. Fair enough.
Billy Jack Haynes, Hillbilly Jim & Pedro Morales v. three guys
Entrances and ring introductions are cut out here and the timeline just lists it as “Six man tag team action” so I guess it was more musical issues. None of the jobbers are anyone I recognized. Also about a minute of commentary is muted out for some reason as well. Each of the babyfaces comes in and slams a jobber. Pedro gets a backdrop on one of the guys and Haynes adds a dropkick and legdrop and the full nelson finishes at 3:23. What was this random accumulation of midcard goofs doing in a six-man, I wonder? So of course I looked up the team on Cagematch and discovered to my shock, my SHOCK I tells ya, that this led nowhere and they never teamed again after this. 1 for 4.
The Snake Pit with Harley Race. This was a thing that happened.
Meanwhile, we take a video look at BAD BOYS of the WWF, with whatever music purged and replaced with generic synth. There’s a neat supercut of guys diving off the top rope and this might have been pretty cool with the original track, I guess.
Meanwhile, JYD has a tete-a-tete with Matilda. “I bet that dog is going to have get shots now” Bobby notes. Well her owner could certainly help out with the needles.
The Dream Team & Moondog Spot v. The British Bulldogs & Junkyard Dog
This show was of course taped in November, because Dynamite Kid was in the hospital and unable to walk by the time this aired. Davey quickly hits Valentine with an atomic drop, and Kid comes in and trades chops with Hammer to set up a snap suplex. JYD comes in with the headbutts and then slugs away on Brutus, but Kid gets the heat and the heels work him over. Spot with a backbreaker for two and I always feel bad because he was a total competent worker who tried really hard in every TV shot he got, but nothing ever happened for him. They even tried to repackage his useless partner Randy Colley into Smash! JYD puts him away with the Thump at 3:24. 1 for 5.
Leaping Lanny Poffo joins Killer Ken with a BONUS POEM about George Steele, who joins us with a Jimmy Hart LJN figure. And then he throws it away because he doesn’t like Jimmy Hart, and pulls Lanny back into the interview for one more poem to celebrate Christmas. And then George gets inspired and writes his own poem about Christmas, trying and failing to crack up Ken Resnick.
Next week: Andre the Giant returns! Plus the Islanders v. Sheik, Volkoff & Butch Reed!
Even by WWF December show standards this was pretty half-assed.