The SmarK Rant for WWF Wrestling Challenge – 01.17.87
I find it continually fascinating that this show, which should fall into the wheelhouse of everyone reading, just doesn’t do very well in engagement or views, but WWF Superstars in 1993 knocks it out of the park every time. Do I need more Finnish recipe jokes here?
Taped from Hershey, PA
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan
Blackjack Mulligan, Mike Rotundo & Danny Spivey v. Joe Mirto, Steve Lombardi & Ray Miller
Odd to see Mulligan teaming with his son-in-law. We get a quick inset promo from newcomer Outlaw Ron Bass while Spivey and Rotundo double-team Mirto, as Bass was supposed to be opposition for Mulligan and ended up staying way past Blackjack’s departure. Wait, it just occurred to me: Did Mulligan get caught counterfeiting when IRS busted him for not paying taxes on his supposed income? Miller comes in and Rotundo puts him down with a back elbow, and Blackjack finally tags in to a shockingly big pop. And he immediately finishes Miller with a back elbow at 3:42. Dull and bad. 0 for 1.
Wrestler’s Rebuttal with Randy Savage: Everyone wants to Ricky Steamboat against him, but the same fire that Dragon breathes will BURN HIM, yeah! I’m not sure what he was rebutting against there, to be honest.
Butch Reed v. Mario Mancini
So before the match, Mel Phillips introduces Andre the Giant, who comes out and offers handshakes to everyone, only to have Slick refuse it. Andre’s like “Whatever, I’m out” and surprisingly doesn’t backhand him. Reed hits Mario with a shoulderblock as Slick does an inset promo denying that Butch Reed’s contract is for sale. Well that certainly went nowhere. Press slam finishes at 0:50. 0 for 2.
The Hart Foundation joins Killer Ken, and Jim Neidhart admits that the Bulldogs whispering to a dog terrifies him. I imagine he never watched Cesar Milan, then. Bret Hart thinks the Bulldogs should shine up the belts because the Harts are the next WWF tag team champions. And in fact, a week later they became exactly that.
Meanwhile, Outback Jack is out in the Australian scrub. Wasn’t that what they called him, the Australian scrub?
The Can-Am Connection v. Terry Gibbs & The Gladiator
Martel gets a rollup on Gibbs for two and Zenk comes in for a dropkick, and it’s over to the Gladiator. Meanwhile, we get an inset promo from Fuji as he declares that if it was a beauty contest then the Can-Ams would be going up, but otherwise they’re going down. Gibbs and Gladiator collide and Zenk works on the arm of Gladiator for a bit, but Gibbs comes in and Zenk is completely lost out there for some reason as Gladiator has to improvise some stomps after Zenk misses his cue and then finally tags in Martel. Rick cleans house and the Can-Ams get a double dropkick on Gladiator, and Zenk slingshots Martel into the ring with a splash on him for the pin at 3:33. I don’t know what was up with Zenk here but he looked BAD. And they were having some pretty hot matches around the horn at house shows at this time. 0 for 3.
Macho Man Randy Savage joins Killer Ken and threatens to splatter Ken’s face against the wall if he keeps talking. Also Savage is the master of the mindgames and they’re gonna be starting and starting and starting and starting and starting and then come to a bad and vicious ending and then darkness comes and Macho takes you all the way home, YEAH.
The Honky Tonk Man v. Tommy Sharpe
Sharpe gets a quick rollup for two, but Honky finishes him with Shake Rattle and Roll at 0:45. And we even got an inset promo from the jobber! So they completely edited out the entrance and ring introductions and cut right to the bell here, assumably because of the music nonsense, but then the entire post-match is left intact and the music is replaced with some kind of Elvis ripoff instrumental. So why didn’t they just do that for the entrances? And Honky is so salty about losing the popularity vote that he gives Sharpe two neckbreakers in the ring, and then dances his way to the back while following the guy as he’s carried out and gives him another one on the floor.
Meanwhile, on Piper’s Pit over on Superstars, senile old Jack Tunney presents a gigantic trophy to Hulk Hogan for being WWF champion for three years. So Hogan does his promo, but then Andre ominously comes out and smiles at him, quips “Three years to be a champion is a long time” and then shakes Hulk’s hand extra hard while still smiling at him the whole time. Hulk seems confused by this reaction, but that’s why he was such a shit friend who didn’t know how to read the room.
The Dream Team & Dino Bravo v. Hillbilly Jim, Tito Santana & Pedro Morales
And then suddenly Bobby goes on this huge rant about how the WWF has mistreated Andre, giving Hogan a giant trophy for being champion while completely ignoring the 15 year undefeated streak of the Giant. Gorilla clarifies that Andre does not want the spotlight and he’s received plenty of accolades that took place behind closed doors. Tito quickly hits the flying forearm on Beefcake, but referee Danny Davis only counts two and then claims that Beefcake kicked out and stops counting. Valentine comes in and drops elbows on Tito to take over, and a shoulderbreaker gets two. Pedro gets a hot tag and beats Valentine down for one, but Davis again stops counting and goes over to chide Jim about something on the apron. So the babyfaces have had enough and they walk out like a bunch of Texas Democrats and get counted out at 3:30. Hopefully they didn’t get Covid on the plane ride afterwards. Pretty shockingly terrible match. 0 for 4.
WRESTLEMANIA III is coming! Oh hell yeah it is.
George Steele v. Tony Nardo
Steele hauls the poor guy out of the ring and rams him into the stairs while Gorilla clarifies that he only knows that Wrestlemania will be the greatest sports entertainment spectacular of all time, but doesn’t know the main event or the location. But other than that, it sounds great. Flying hammerlock finishes at 1:10. 0 for 5.
Kamala joins Killer Ken and the Wizard does his usual nonsense promo as they threaten to squash Hulk Hogan and win the WWF title.
Next week: Junkyard Dog! DEMOLITION debuts! The Rougeau Brothers! And Ricky Steamboat returns! Hopefully someone also gives Andre his own trophy or something, so that he doesn’t do anything rash.