What the World Was Watching: WWF Wrestling Challenge – June 23, 1991
By LScisco on 3rd October 2022
Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and Jim Neidhart are handling commentary, taped from Tempe, Arizona. Or at least that is where this show took place even though the WWF’s graphic says they are in Phoenix.
Opening Contest: The Texas Tornado (18-0) beats Dale Wolfe with the discus punch at 2:04:
The Tornado does his sportsmanship spot of holding the ropes open and when Wolfe hits him with a cheap shot he goes ballistic. Wolfe ducks his head too early on an Irish whip and pays for it with a discus punch to the head.
Lord Alfred Hayes’ Special Report discusses the formation of the Natural Disasters.
The Mountie (w/Jimmy Hart) (17-0-1) beats Matthew Burns with the carotid control technique at 2:10:
Heenan talks about how Tugboat’s heel turn was justified because Hulk Hogan was an ungrateful friend. After some deliberate punching and kicking, the Mountie wins with the two handed chokeslam-into-carotid control technique finish. Following the bout, the Mountie reads Burns his rights and shocks him in the neck.
Bret Hart (8-0-3) defeats the Black Knight via submission to the Sharpshooter at 2:29:
Bret systematically dismantles the Knight, with the Sharpshooter setup getting a good pop.
The Berzerker (w/Mr. Fuji) (12-0) defeats Jerry Stevens via count out at 2:12:
Monsoon and Heenan discuss rumors that the Coach is trying to buy some of the talent under Fuji’s direction. After some big boots and powerslams, Stevens is tossed out of the ring so the Berzerker can remain undefeated. The Berzerker celebrates by bumping in the ring, absconding from jumping onto his opponent on the arena floor as has been his custom.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan appears on the Barber Shop. Duggan puts over the accomplishments of U.S. troops in the Gulf War and leads the crowd in a “USA” chant. Duggan promises to do something about Sergeant Slaughter, General Adnan, and Colonel Mustafa. Beefcake promises to invite Duggan the next time he hosts those three in his shop.
There is a replay of Okerlund’s report on the WBF Championship.
Sergeant Slaughter (w/Colonel Mustafa & General Adnan) (9-3) beats Larry Ludden via submission to the Camel Clutch at 2:51:
The only fun thing about the squash is Monsoon and Heenan calling Ludden “Larry London.” Slaughter delivers a flying knee drop to Ludden’s back and locks in the Camel Clutch for a submission win. After the match, Mustafa puts Ludden in the Camel Clutch as Slaughter kicks him in the face.
Ted DiBiase and Sensational Sherri say that Sid Justice will like the WWF because Sid will do anything it takes to win. Roddy Piper argues that Sid can do anything he wants to, if he wants to.
Virgil (7-0) defeats Louie Spicolli via submission to the Million Dollar Dream at 1:58:
Monsoon shares a rumor that Randy Savage and Elizabeth were spotted holding hands in a carriage near New York City’s Central Park. Virgil throws lots of fists and chops and then does not sell Spicolli’s fists. That leads to an atomic drop, more fists, and the Million Dollar Dream. The crowd wants to cheer for Virgil, but his anemic offense does not give them much to invest in.
Tune in net week to see Jake Roberts, the Beverly Brothers, WWF Tag Team Champions the Nasty Boys, and the Undertaker!
The Last Word: As noted already, there is no juice left in the “Sergeant Slaughter is a turncoat” angle. With the Gulf War in the rearview mirror for most of the country, the WWF looks silly continuing to force the Duggan patriotic issue into their programming. Jim Neidhart should also be tossed out of the commentary position as he provides no value to these broadcasts. He is wasted space since he lends no insight to the ring action or angles. This show was skippable because nothing of consequence happened, a familiar pattern for the product in the late spring and early summer until SummerSlam is booked.
And here is a recap of the WWF’s house show action, with results courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com:
Minneapolis, Minnesota – The Target Center – June 21, 1991 (6,500): Bret Hart beat Colonel Mustafa…Shawn Michaels beat Kato…Animal defeated Jerry Sags…Earthquake beat Jake Roberts via disqualification…Irwin R. Schyster defeated Greg Valentine…The Big Bossman beat the Mountie…The Ultimate Warrior defeated the Undertaker via disqualification.
Toledo, Ohio – Toledo Sports Arena – June 22, 1991 (Matinee, 3,000): The Berzerker pinned Koko B. Ware…Bret Hart beat the Warlord via count out…The British Bulldog wrestled Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect to a time limit draw…The Rockers beat Haku & the Barbarian…Colonel Mustafa pinned Shane Douglas…Animal pinned Brian Knobbs…Hacksaw Jim Duggan (substituting for Hulk Hogan) defeated Sergeant Slaughter in a Desert Storm match.
Boston, Massachusetts – The Boston Garden – June 22, 1991 (9,500): Jimmy Snuka (substituting for Typhoon) wrestled Greg Valentine to a double count out…The Dragon pinned Paul Roma…The Bushwhackers beat the Orient Express when Luke pinned Kato…The Texas Tornado defeated Dino Bravo (substituting for Hercules)…The Mountie beat the Big Bossman…Jake Roberts (w/Andre the Giant) defeated Earthquake…Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster defeated Roddy Piper & Virgil when DiBiase pinned Virgil after IRS hit Virgil with a steel briefcase…The Ultimate Warrior defeated the Undertaker in a body bag match.
Backstage News*: Dr. George Zahorian’s legal team leaked to news outlets that WWF Champion Hulk Hogan was one of his customers, creating a media firestorm for the WWF. USA Today ran the story on its front page. The WWF issued a statement that Zahorian, not their company, is on trial and that they have had a drug policy in place since June 1987. However, Dave Meltzer notes that the policy in question applies to cocaine, not steroids. Hogan will not be testifying at Zahorian’s trial because the judge ruled that it would negatively affect Hogan’s personal life. Other talent like Roddy Piper and Rick Martel, among others, did testify this week that they bought steroids from Zahorian between 1988-1990.
*In a sign of how the steroid issue is affecting business, the Ralston-Purina food company was supposed to release a Hogan cereal this year but is not backing away from the project. And things are bound to get worse as tabloid companies are digging for dirt on Hogan’s private life and if other deaths in the industry can be linked to steroids.
*The reason that Hacksaw Jim Duggan had to substitute for Hogan on house shows against Sergeant Slaughter is because Hogan suffered a neck injury. Hogan had been working through the injury until the Zahorian news broke.
*In talent relations news, Ric Flair might be available as there are rumors WCW has given him thirty days’ notice and he will wrap up appearances at The Great American Bash. Steve Keirn’s name when he debuts will be “Skinner.” The WWF gave a tryout to Bob Bradley when they were in Fresno, California on June 18 for a Wrestling Challenge taping.
*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for July 1.
Up Next: Prime Time Wrestling for June 24!