The SmarK Rant for WWF Prime Time Wrestling – 08.11.86
Your hosts are Bobby Heenan & Gorilla Monsoon
Interestingly, they’ve begun lightening up the set a tiny bit as compared to previous weeks. Still a black background, though.
The Rougeau Brothers are on a boat, y’all, on a boat with generic 80s synth music playing that I’m gonna guess was originally the Miami Vice theme based on the bassline. Anyway, they go waterskiing and appear to buzz a giant tanker for some reason. What a strange hype video that was. And then back in the studio, Bobby tries to set up a punchline about Jacques trying to drown Raymond and Gorilla COMPLETELY no-sells it.
The Rougeau Brothers v. Les Thornton & Terry Gibbs
This would appear to be a dark match from either Championship Wrestling or All Star Wrestling, and you’d think it would be from the last ever tapings of those shows. But no, in fact this one was pulled from an All Star Wrestling taping at the end of May. The cut-and-paste nature of these Prime Time shows is so random most of the time. The Rougeaus double-team Thornton, but Gibbs manages to get a tag and the jobbers actually double-team Jacques for a bit. Thornton gets a gut wrench for two, but Jacques gets a small package on Gibbs for two. The jobbers hit a double-clothesline on Jacques while Gorilla and Alfred discuss Gibbs being a secret millionaire down in Florida in a wacky tangent, but Jacques comes back with a missile dropkick on Gibbs to finish at 4:00. Having Jacques go out and sell for those guys for 4 minutes was certainly a choice. *
Jimmy Jack Funk v. Tony Garea
We’re joined in progress from MSG for this one, with a true main event in any arena in the country. Jimmy Jack takes him down for a boot rake and beats on Garea in the corner before going to the chinlock. Maybe NXT should bring Jimmy Jack out of retirement and have him manage JB & BJ? Garea fights out of the chinlock and comes back with a sunset flip for two, but Funk puts the boots to him again and goes back to the chinlock. So Garea fights out of that one again and gets a rollup this time for two. They slug it out and Garea puts the boots to him in the corner, but he tries a bodypress and Funk hurks him over in a powerslam for the pin at 7:07. Well this was a match and it happened, that we can certainly determine. ½* Back at the studio, Gorilla notes that “Garea is certainly looking a little bit lethargic here in the twilight of his career.” YA THINK? How did this make TV?
Ricky Steamboat v. Moondog Rex
It’s so weird now having watched all the Mid-South and Mid-Atlantic stuff from around this time, which turns this into the FORBIDDEN DOOR opening as the Nightmare faces the Dragon. So we’re at an All Star Wrestling taping in June for this one as Steamboat evades Rex and gets a bodypress for two. Ricky grabs a headlock and then snapmares him into a chinlock and this is going NOWHERE so we take a break. Back with Rex in control with some clubbing forearms as the crowd is yelling at them to do something. So Rex goes to his own chinlock. THAT’LL LEARN ‘EM! Steamboat fights out of that and then misses a blind charge, so Rex rakes his eyes and tosses him to the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF…oh wait I guess we’re not doing that bit yet. Rex slingshots him back in and drops a knee, then follows with a backbreaker for two. Rex goes to a bearhug, but Steamboat claps the ears, so Rex backdrops him and continues beating on him. Russian legsweep gets two. I may have used this one before, but there was no one rushin’ in this match. And then Steamboat randomly slams him and goes up with the flying chop for two and then finishes with the flying bodypress at 10:38. This was abysmal. DUD Back at the studio, Gorilla notes that Steamboat must have been preoccupied with Jake Roberts because he barely put away Rex here.
SD Jones joins Killer Ken for a promo, putting over his new tag team with Paul Roma.
Leaping Lanny Poffo & Sivi Afi v. Al Navarro & Jimmy Kent
Another Championship Wrestling dark match castoff from the trash bin here. Kent sends Poffo into the corner, and Lanny backflips out and dropkicks him. Over to Afi, who gets a bizarre running slam on Kent as that looked really botched. Back to Poffo for a headscissor takedown on Kent, so he brings Navarro in. Navarro rakes the face on the ropes and slugs away in the corner, and then Kent comes in with a boot off the middle rope. Kent actually goes up to tease a moonsault, but Poffo shoves him down and makes what appears to be a hot tag to Afi. He does an exact copy of a Jimmy Snuka comeback, setting up Poffo for his moonsault to finish at 3:28. Funny how Poffo was doing moonsaults in 1986 but it was actually too far ahead of its time. This was at least more energetic than anything else on the show thus far, although Afi was just terrible. *1/2
Hercules Hernandez v. Tony Stetson
From another Championship Wrestling taping, although I guess if we’re searching hard for interesting things to talk about, Tony Stetson later became a minor player in the pre-ECW Philly scene. Herc runs him into the corner and slams him, then drops an elbow for two. Delayed suplex follows and Herc chokes him out on the ropes and then finishes with the torture rack at 3:04. DUD
Back at the studio, Bobby is ignoring the match and reading the WWF Magazine with King Kong Bundy on the cover, but Gorilla teases him with a copy of a Japanese magazine that he claims contains photos of the Machines without the masks.
Billy Jack Haynes v. Steve Lombardi
Yes, back to the dumping ground of Championship Wrestling dark matches. Haynes gets a slam on Lombardi , who complains about back issues and wants some time to recover. So Haynes hiptosses him and goes to a chinlock, but Lombardi fights out of that and beats on Haynes in the corner. Powerslam gets two. Haynes whips him into the corner and throws chops, then drops a leg on him and goes to a facelock while Lord Alfred thinks Lombardi is wondering to himself why he signed on for the match. I’m currently wondering why I decided to review this episode. Meanwhile, Gorilla makes the Terry Garvin reference of the week because of Lombardi being in the ring, and Haynes bulldogs him before finishing with the full nelson at 5:18. ½*
Back at the studio, Bobby has found a Paul Orndorff and Hulk Hogan LJN figure set, and puts the title belt around Paul’s waist.
Davey Boy Smith v. Greg Valentine
They tease me by noting this is the feature match, but there’s still about 45 minutes left in the show so I’m instead disappointed that the show isn’t anywhere near done yet. We are WAY back in April in MSG, about two weeks after the Bulldogs had won the tag team titles. Gorilla and Ernie Ladd screw up the famous Dirty Harry quote about how “A man’s gotta know his limitations”, misquoting it as “Gotta know his capabilities”, which actually renders it into the complete opposite meaning. Valentine tries pounding Davey down a couple of times, but Davey fights him off and then blocks a boot to the gut and takes him down with a SHARPSHOOTER. In 1986! Greg hides in the ropes, so Davey splits the legs and stretches the hamstrings to work on the legs. I had to retake my CPR certification this week and that’s how my legs felt afterwards after having to go down and get up a bunch of times. Hopefully next time someone has a heart attack around me they’ll do it on a table or give me a chance to stretch first. Smith gets a headbutt and small package for two as we take a break. Back with Hammer putting the boots to him on the ropes, and they fight to the floor where Greg runs him into the post. Back in, Hammer gets a suplex and drops the elbow for two before going to a chinlock. They actually turn that into a facelock and Hammer works for a pin off that to keep it somewhat interesting, but the crowd dislikes mat wrestling I guess. Smith fights out of that, but Hammer drops a knee on him for two and goes back to the chinlock again. Davey escapes with a backdrop suplex and beats on him with shoulders in the corner. This sets up the running powerslam in the middle, but it only gets two. So Valentine bails to the floor to regroup and Davey chases him, allowing Valentine to catch him on the way in and put the boots to him again. Greg goes to work and gets the figure-four, but Davey powers out and makes the ropes. So Valentine goes back to it again, but Davey throws him off and into the corner. So Valentine climbs the ropes, drops the hammer on him, and gets the pin at 16:27. Interestingly, this version of the match was twice as long as the one that was on the British Bulldogs video, so they edited out a LOT for that. Really good match, too, as a nice contrast to the rest of the dogshit on this episode of Prime Time. ***1/4
Back at the studio, Bobby tosses away the Hogan figure to show what he thinks of Hulk. I agree, I much preferred the redone sculpt that came later on.
Hulk Hogan sits down in the gym with Vince McMahon, and Vince had a few questions for Hulk before he starts “hanging and banging”. But then Hulk is all fired up about Mr. Wonderful, and thinks back to everything that happened between them, complete with flashbacks. And yeah, this is just a series of clips of the Hogan-Orndorff breakup while Hogan does bits of a promo in between. And we return to the studio and Bobby declares that Hulkamania is over and done with, and we wrap it up for the week.
Yeesh. These shows are hit and miss at the best of times and this was definitely a MISS. Recycled dark matches and recycled clips as the big “angle” at the end of the show. Hard pass, better luck next week.