A new concept today, a mixture of wrestling matches and then shoot interview clips featuring specific wrestlers. Kicking off today with noted loudmouth the Honky Tonk Man and grumpy old man Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, collectively known as Rhythm & Blues!
Rex Farmer & Paul Brown vs. Honky Tonk Man & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
From late 1988 Superstars. with Vince and Jesse bickering from the start. Not quite Rhythm & Blues yet, with Jimmy Hart trying a Double Trouble moniker for them as they eventually evolved into a feud with the Hart Foundation. Honky is just out of his feud with the Ultimate Warrior while Greg was stalling based on Don Muraco getting the sack. Standing suplex (meaning Greg didn’t drop down with it) from Valentine, followed by an elbow and fist drop from Honky on Farmer, who looks like a shaved Dutch Mantel. Brown immediately walks into an eye rake from Honky, then Valentine reenters with a double axehandle from the top. Honky gets to show off his big technical wrestling move, the over-the-shoulder fireman’s carry takedown. Greg gets a back suplex and his incongruous headbutt to the abdomen (never worked out how that hurt the legs) before spinning the shin pad around for the assisted figure four. Perfectly fine squash.
Honky buries WWF agents
From Kayfabe Commentaries, with Honky remarking on the name of the person who sent the question in (Cock Diesel) “At least he’s not a lazy fucking Diesel, like Kevin Nash!” before reaching over for a swig of his vodka. He wants to know about office staff and agents, which boils down to:
- Howard Finkel is Radar from MASH, with eyes and ears everywhere, the nicest guy in the world, and the possessor of the biggest porn collection in the world.
- Tony Garea – “Mr. Personality, what a fucking asshole, dipshit, cocksucker he was!”.
- Jay Strongbow – “If he were dying and he needed a drink of water I wouldn’t piss in his mouth or even shit in his mouth.”. Randy Savage hated him too and gave him credit for wrecking careers. Strongbow “fired” Honky one time, leading to a call with Vince as to what was happening, which concluded with Jay having to apologise to Honky in the basement before the next day.
- Blackjack Lanza – “Tarhead, One Eyed Jack, Hang ‘Em High!”. He would butter up guys to ask what they thought of the agents, then go and grass them up to the other agents.
Bear in mind that Honky fit all of this into under four minutes – that’s talent!
The Hammer on Billy Jack Haynes & GHB
Not a lot of memories of wrestling with him, but he recalls the nature of his firing. Billy Jack got fucked up on GHB one time on a plane and they had to call for an ambulance when he was unconscious and drooling on himself. Honky gave Greg some one time and he passed out too, but luckily he had Honky to cover for him and wake him up, whereas Billy Jack didn’t. Greg felt sorry for Iron Mike Sharpe when Billy Jack beat him up one time after a match. Sharpe was heavy-handed, but it didn’t deserve a receipt, yet Billy punched him out in the locker room.
Valentine was careful with drug use because he knew Vince had stooges looking out for stuff like that. Bobby Heenan was another guy who was a victim of GHB in 1991, falling asleep in first class on a trip back from New York to Tampa. The police pulled him off the plane and found pot in his bag. It was a misdemeanour, but he didn’t get charged (Greg jokes that they took the pot off him and probably smoked it themselves). Bobby admitted that story to Greg himself. Greg’s moral of the story – don’t do drugs that will make you pass out and slobber all over yourself.
Honky Tonk Man & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. Demolition
From Wrestling Challenge in 1989, feature match at the top of the show. We’re past WrestleMania V now. Bobby with some classic hypocrisy, claiming that if the Brain Busters were the champions they’d defend the titles every match. Of course, when we got to Summerslam and they had won the belts after the match was announced they obviously didn’t. Smash and Greg start, with Greg getting paint of his side from the start. He gets a clothesline out of the corner and goes for the figure four, but Smash rolls him out and Honky tags in. Honky gets to sell a double axehandle onslaught from the champs in classic style, holding his arms stiffly and grimacing in pain from each shot. Honky gets a cheap shot to bring in Hammer. You don’t appreciate how big Bill Eadie is until you see him towering over the two far from unsubstantial heels. Botched spot brings in Smash, as Ax foregoes any attempt at a long sell. Smash’s clothesline on Greg bumps him into Earl Hebner, who goes flying out to the floor. Honky follows with a diving sell on a double gut shot. The champs set up Hammer for the finish as referee Ronnie Garvin comes out to check on the ref, then sees Honky using the megaphone on the Demos and disqualifies his nemesis Valentine and his partner for use of a foreign object. Fine match in the time it had, always set up for an angle finish. The heels beat up Garvin, so the Demos save him in return.
Honky on Rick Rude
From backstage at a show with Hannibal, with Honky clowning around for the camera. Hannibal just straight out asks him, knowing the story, how Rick Rude died. Honky replies that he injected Viagra into his dick thinking he could get an instant erection. Instead, his balls swelled up and had to be removed. He then went home and killed himself with an overdose of pills. Hannibal sounds a little bit incredulous, although a few others have said the story is accurate. There definitely were stories prior to his death that he was suffering with spermatoceles.
The Hammer – The Nutbuster!
Greg worked out with Rick Rood, before he was a star. He gave him a back suplex one time and found out years later that the way they landed ruptured his left testicle and had to get it fixed. He also hit Owen Hart’s testicle at the 1988 Survivor Series after not lowering his head enough on a leapfrog. According to Stu, Owen actually had to have the testicle removed due to how damaged it was. Owen had always kept the story private and Greg feels terrible about it and almost cries about it, especially given that both guys are gone now. He jokes they could’ve renamed him “the Nutbuster”. This segues into a discussion of being a Stu Hart trainee and getting a bad case of fungus on his feet during training without boots which he had to have scraped off at the hospital. Stu said he had “eh, rotten feet, eh!”, but Greg rebuts that Stu had a rotten mat to train on.
The Mulkey Brothers vs. The Rhythm & Blues Combination
Mulkeymania runs wild in the WWF with Tony and Bill, rather than Randy and Bill. The heels are still workshopping the name and gimmick, with Greg in his robe and with blonde hair into 1990. The heels isolate Tony for an extended beating before Greg chops into tagging Bill. No-sell before Greg gives him a high back body drop. Honky finishes with the Shake, Rattle and Roll neckbreaker. More unity to come soon. Greg dances badly to Honky’s song after the bell.
Honky on Medicine
A YouShoot trailer, Honky is asked to name whether ten names are drug users (Medicine Men) or teetotal (No Toke). Here’s the rundown:
- Bret Hart – probably smoked some weed in his time.
- Vince McMahon – “Not THIS kind of medicine!”, implying coke.
- The Bushwhackers – “Medicine Men, A to Z!”
- Ricky Steamboat – “Probably after his wife left him.”
- George Steele – “No medicine for George!”
- Mr. Fuji – “A to Z, unbelievable!”
- Demolition – Nope.
- Jimmy Hart – Nope.
- Gene Okerlund – “Definitely!”
- Howard Finkel – Nope.
Hilarious for Honky channeling Sheiky Baby with his verbiage.
The Hammer on Drug Tests
Greg appreciated that Vince HAD to drug test people because coke was so big in the eighties, even though you could never wrestle on it. Coke was out of your system sooner than pot (three days compared to a month). Vince ran every kind of test to combat it. Wrestlers would swap urine samples with clean people if they could get away with it. He jokes that the clean guys could’ve made bank off selling their piss! If they’d use the piss of their wives or girlfriends they wouldn’t have gotten away with it because the test picked up birth control medication too.
Agents were sent in to check people weren’t cheating, but guys like Arnold Skaaland had no desire to see piss coming straight out of their dick, so would let them do it behind closed doors. Nick Bockwinkel was pretty much the exception to that, getting him the name of the “Pecker Checker”. Greg had his methods for cheating the tests, but they took some work. He got busted one time for taking painkillers after a knee injury and didn’t even remember having taken them because he was off the road. He does admit he probably smoked a joint or ten while off too. Vince let it fly without punishment.
Rhythm & Blues vs. Rugged Ronnie Garvin and Glen Ruth
A semi-competitive squash match from Wrestling Challenge, with Vince subbing for Gorilla Monsoon, who was recovering from a toe amputation. It’s the period with the cool muscle-flexing intro. The look and gimmick is firmly fixed in place now, with Greg wearing shades, a white leather jacket and the jet black hair, plus Hunka Hunka Honky Love as the shared theme tune. This is six months after Ronnie Garvin won the long feud he had with Valentine, but he was firmly into glorified jobber mode soon after. Glen Ruth went on to be Headbanger Thrasher. Here he’s 21, skinny, pale, with a bad moustache and haircut, although he still has his hair at this point.
These kinds of matches with one star and one jobber work on the formula of the star having a 50/50 chance of edging it in their favour as long as they don’t tag out to the jobber. This is just after Summerslam, with the Hart Foundation the new tag champs and Honky and Hammer positioned as the first challengers. Bobby even throws back to Jimmy Hart previously managing Bret and Anvil, so he can share the inside scoop on how to beat them. Greg and Garvin start out pretty evenly, exchanging shoves and chops, impressing Vince. Jimmy gets in a good knock on the ref that surely Scott will approve of: “Quick picking your nose, Marella!”. Bobby gets in a strangely topical reference for him, comparing Garvin to Bart Simpson. Honky comes in to break up a Garvin sleeper, but Garvin makes the mistake of tagging in Ruth. Garvin even helps him out with a trip from the outside, but Honky gets in for a double elbow. They take it straight home with their finisher, the double back suplex. Hopefully no nuts were busted with that one. Fun match.
Honky on the O Brothers
This is from about 2003, with Honky pouring scorn on wrestlers who claim to have “found God”. First up, Ted Dibiase, the leader of the raiders of the covenant, with his pass the plate gimmick. “Desperate men do desperate things!” George Steele and the Hammer are included in that as well as the three older Guerrero brothers, Sting, Shawn Michaels (!), the Koloffs, Marty Jannetty (!), Brutus Beefcake, “Steiner, Bagwell… he had both Road Warriors but now he’s only got one!”. Honky questioned Beefcake when he saw him as to whether it was legit that he was “touched” long distance and dropped down to his knees and confessed all of his sins, which Brutus was quick to deny and then just straight up gave up the game that “it’s a good payday!”.
He then laughs at the idea that Vince Russo got religious (and still today stays religious). This transitions into a critique of Russo’s booking philosophy and blatant hypocrisy. “I’m gonna pray for you, son!” He thinks that if Dibiase and his gang are at the pearly gates then he won’t get in, but he think they’re all, himself included, heading the other way anyway.
A quick dig on the XWF, which had already died by then – “the coke league!”. A friend of his who worked on one of their few house shows in Texas met with the main guys at the hotel who told him that they had three rooms set up: one for coke, one for pot, one for booze; if he wanted to work for them he’d have to go in one of them and partake. He wrinkles his brow at that and says nothing more.
The Hammer on his Rhythm & Blues Hasbro figure
Greg shares his knowledge of the unproduced action figure that was shown in an advert in WWF Magazine. He and Honky went to a signing in Pittsburgh and saw a prototype. He wanted to keep it, but they wouldn’t let him. That didn’t bother him because he figured he’d just buy one off the shelf when they were out. Instead, Honky quit after they made him an announcer and Greg tried to go the UWF, but his contract with the WWF was upheld and he returned under his original look, so the product was cancelled. Matt Cardona has the original prototype and the scaled up version. Greg had another prototype figure that his dog chewed up and he thinks about how much he could’ve sold that for on eBay if it was unblemished. He recently sold some of his old gear for “unreal” money. Someone makes copies of the lost figure now in the UK. He also regrets not bagging up the IC title he lost to Tito and selling that. Instead, Tito’s wife threw it in the bin when he got the new belt.
Rhythm & Blues vs. The Hart Foundation
The last real appearance of the team prior to both doing the job at the Survivor Series. From Superstars, with an emasculated Roddy Piper fretting over the heels going to break the big egg with their guitars. Would’ve been doing us a favour if they had. How many minutes until the other available members of the Dream Team and Million Dollar Team come out for the big brawl? Honky and Greg have talked about how they realised they were just plugging a gap once Vince signed the Legion of Doom. Hammer, in keeping with his Roy Orbison look, has ‘In Dreams’ on the back of his blue trunks. He and Anvil start before Honky walks in and gets his arm bitten on. Knee to the gut of Bret Hart when he tags in and a hair pull. Hammer misses an elbow coming back in and does his face flop after being run into Jim’s boot. Jimmy Hart provides the distraction to turn it round. After a few minutes, Anvil makes his own comeback with a clothesline out of the corner. Hitman rolls over both guys with his usual offense, getting a decent pop at the same time. And here comes Ted Dibiase and Virgil for the DQ. Danny Davis stands around looking useless until Dusty and Koko make the save. Decent match, better with a finish.
Rhythm & Blues on Herb Abrams and the UWF
Honky gives a short history of who Herbo Turbo was and the guys he booked. He booked Honky in New York and thought he could take on Vince. His cheques started bouncing as he had two bank accounts, one for the old, old guys, like Andre, Bruno and Killer Kowalski, then another for the recently released guys, with the latter bouncing. Honky places his drug death a lot sooner than it happened, “a fitting end for a guy who bounced cheques”. Honky went to the New York State Athletic Commission and got them to look into it. They placed the license at a gym in New York and were going to take them to task for it, so Honky got his money through kicking up the stink.
Sean Oliver also weighs in with an anecdote about how a member of his crew (unnamed) worked for the UWF and stole the video tapes for promos when they didn’t get paid, leading to them having to admit on the air that they had no promos to throw to that week. Honky reckons that they could probably make more money today with those tapes. Greg Valentine got stiffed, but had been smart enough to get a top dollar hotel room with his wife and ordered food and champagne on the room service. Honky paid his own bill, but Greg just walked out on it and left it unpaid, so at least he got a nice stay in a hotel room even if he didn’t get any money out of the deal.
In the clip with the Hammer, he talks about doing a few tapings for him, but spoke to Vince in secret about possibly coming back to the WWF after a brief tiff (kicking off his ill-fated face run in ’91). Herb found out about it and withheld his pay. Greg was pissed off at him and Abrams wouldn’t answer the phone to him. Greg facetiously growls “PAY UP! I know you’re dead, but send me a cheque from up there or down there!”.
Melting it down: The matches aren’t top calibre, but show the evolution of the team and aren’t likely to get reviewed elsewhere. Where the real fun is in the shoot clips, with both guys being comfortable enough to cut loose in their own unique ways with just a hint of working in there.
Next time: Some magnificent moments with the Magnificent Muraco!