The SmarK Rant for WWF Prime Time Wrestling – 08.25.86
OK, my Christmas break from the blog is over and it’s back to the review grindstone!
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan. So the setup for this week’s gag is that Bobby has put a big “H” on his jacket this week to prevent any shenanigans like last week.
Leaping Lanny Poffo v. THE NOTORIOUS Mr. X
Starting strong this week. Poffo’s poem is some weak rhymes, just sucking up to the Boston fans by putting over famous cricketeer Larry Bird. I bet he scored a lot of tries back in the 80s! Poffo takes X down with a headscissors and then fights out of a full nelson before going to his own. They fight for another full nelson while Gorilla and Alfred discuss the meaning of X’s mask and whether he might be a fugitive from justice. I actually had written a short story back in college about someone who escaped from prison and got into the sport as a masked wrestler in order to evade police. I think it got adapted into Nacho Libre or Pulp Fiction or something. Poffo takes X down and works the arm before taking him down with a flying headscissors. Meanwhile Gorilla has moved onto mocking poor Danny’s, I mean Mr. X’s, lifts in his boots. X misses a splash, so Lanny goes after the mask, but X drops a leg on him and rings his ears. This match makes me sad that his Kickstarter failed and we never got the autobiography of masked superstar and renegade referee Mr. X like we were promised. Poffo finishes with a somersault senton at 7:00, kind of a precursor to the swanton but without the DUI after the show. *1/2
Back at the studio, Bobby is paranoid about Gorilla possibly being the one who knocked the letters off his jacket last week and refuses to turn his back. I just kind of assumed that Bobby was too cheap to hire a proper seamstress and they just fell off. This storyline has layers, man.
Cowboy Bob Orton v. Tito Santana
Back to the Boston Garden from the same August 9 show as the opener. Orton is transitioning into Adrian Adonis’ new bodyguard at this point and wearing the pink cowboy hat to go along with it, which is easy heat and yet still hilarious. They trade armdrags to start and Tito goes for the wristlock, but Orton cries foul due to his longtime forearm injury and hides in the ropes. And then punches Tito in the face behind the ref’s back. Tito comes back with a clothesline out of the corner for two and goes back to the arm again. Orton bails again and they do a nice little hammerlock reversal back in the ring as Gorilla waxes nostalgic about how Orton was “the scourge of all the Orient” in his day. Wasn’t that, like, a 40s comic book villain? Tito works the arm and Orton tries to run him into the turnbuckle, but Tito blocks and runs the forearm into the turnbuckle instead. What a great little spot. Then Orton takes him down with a fireman’s carry, but Tito hangs onto the wristlock while rolling through it. Hot take: These two are GREAT professional wrestlers. Orton finally puts one foot on the ropes to force the break because he’s a coward while Gorilla and Hayes do a whole bit about Terry Garvin for some reason.
Orton gets a biel and follows with a FLYING HEADSCISSORS to take over. Holy cow, Bob. Gorilla posits that his new position with Adonis is really perking him up. Cowboy controls with the headscissors on the mat and as usual Gorilla is like “Welp, he’s in no danger of being pinned.” Bob drops a knee for two and follows with another biel as Tito just HURLS himself across the ring, but the headscissors misses this time and Bob crotches himself on the top rope in a nice bit, then goes flying out of the ring and into the crowd. Damn, Orton’s got his BOOTS on tonight. Tito immediately hurls him back in and makes the comeback with a jackknife for two. He goes back to the armbar for some reason and they slug it out, which Orton wins. Tito catches him with a backslide for two and takes him down for the armbar again. Orton breaks with an atomic drop, but misses a blind charge and Tito continues pounding the arm. Bob leverages him out of the ring and sends him into the railing, giving us our first Excedrin Headache of the evening. Back in, Bob works him over and gets two, then goes to the chinlock, but Tito fights out and Bob puts him down with a big boot for two. Bob back to the chinlock as they’re maintaining great heat, but Tito fights out with a jawbreaker. He’s busy selling, so Bob wraps him up with another chinlock as Gorilla notes that the “championship committee” is watching the match for a future title shot against Randy Savage. I’d be curious to sit in on one of those meetings these days. “Well, he lost his last 150 matches on TV, but won a four-way, so he gets the shot.”
Tito makes the comeback and works on the leg, setting up the figure-four, but Orton quickly makes the ropes. Tito goes back to the leg again as the announcers are confused what his strategy here is, working the leg instead of trying the move again. This backfires on Tito as Orton gets a cheapshot to escape and slugs away on Tito. Bob drops an elbow, but sells the knee because he lands on it while delivering the move. What a great touch. They slug it out on the mat and Tito makes the big comeback until the bell rings for the draw at 28:49, so it wasn’t a 15 minute draw, it was a 30:00 draw! The guys are so hot that the poor ref gets beat up while trying to split them. Have I mentioned that these guys are terrific lately? What an entertaining match! **** Tito calls for another 5:00 and Orton accepts, but then points out that his leg is injured and leaves instead.
Junkyard Dog joins Killer Ken to discuss his issues with Paul Orndorff, who of course has recently turned on Hulk Hogan, which now makes Orndorff DOUBLE trouble! I actually saw that match on a house show in Vancouver in 86. The match sucked but Orndorff had nuclear heat.
Pete Doherty v. THE REBEL Dick Slater
I guess we’re literally just doing the whole Boston Garden show from August here on this TV show. Yes, put the babyface who literally has a confederate flag wrapped around his neck into BOSTON. Talk about not knowing your audience. That character was so misguided in so many ways. Slater elbows Duke down, but Doherty kind of holds him down with a rollup for a bit before Slater sends him to the floor. Atomic drop on the floor and Doherty does a ridiculous Terry Funk-style sell out there. Gorilla recaps Doherty’s record to this point: 957 losses and no wins, and the first time he wins a match he’ll retire from the business forever. Doherty works on the arm, but misses a blind charge and Slater puts him down with a neckbreaker for two. Doherty comes back with a terrible clothesline and hits the chinlock as this simple squash has somehow managed to go off a cliff. Slater drops an elbow, but Doherty goes AERIAL and Slater slams him off and finishes with the flying elbow at 6:42. If this was supposed to get Slater over, it FAILED. DUD
UPDATE! WITH MEAN GENE OKERLUND!
The Machines (from Northern Japan) are here in the WWF and their target is Studd & Bundy. Bobby gives us some wild conspiracy theories on TNT about how it’s actually Andre the Giant under the mask and promises that Bundy is going to prove it.
Meanwhile on TNT, Mr. Fuji unveils his newest protégé: Little Tokyo, who dresses exactly like Fuji. Kind of a mini version of himself, if you will. Let’s face it, a villain dressing up a midget to look like himself would never draw money. Speaking of which, Fuji clarifies that he’s keeping all the money and just giving Tokyo enough to survive, because he’s so little you see. Tokyo gets all offended but Fuj notes that he’s investing the money for him, which prompts Tokyo to jab Fuji with his cane and then run into the audience. This was very late in the lifespan of TNT and it shows.
The Flower Shop with special guest Slick. Slickster introduces his new group, having purchased the contracts of Sheik, Volkoff & Hercules from Freddie Blassie. But Rowdy Roddy Piper interrupts before Adonis even starts the interview, and Roddy wants to talk RIGHT NOW. So Piper says that Slick has “lips like petals…bicycle pedals!” and that’s a tad questionable even for 1986. Adonis is so offended by this disrespect that he shuts down the segment right then.
Back at the studio, Bobby gets a phone call from Paul Orndorff at the desk and passes the phone to Gorilla, who completely no-sells whatever threats are on the other side and hangs up on him.
Paul Roma & SD Jones v. Gino Carabello & Terry Gibbs
This appears to be from Championship Wrestling tapings somewhere, with Gorilla Monsoon & Jim Neidhart on commentary. Jones & Roma double-team Carabello with slams and SD works on the arm, and then brings in Gibbs and continues working his arm as well. Gibbs comes back with an elbowdrop on Roma to take over and the jobbers (sorry, heel jobbers, I guess I should clarify which jobbers I’m talking about) work Roma over in the corner for a bit. SD quickly gets the tag and hits Carabello with a snap suplex, and then gives him an atomic drop. Carabello runs around the ring holding his ass like he’s a Looney Tunes character selling a hotfoot gag or something. Jones puts him down with a headbutt and it’s back to Gibbs again, as he gets some offense on Roma. Back to Carabello and he’s immediately useless and gets double-teamed and headbutted by Jones, who then slams Roma onto Carabello for the pin at 4:00. Carabello’s selling was ridiculous here and he didn’t seem to be taking it the least bit seriously in a match that wasn’t intended to be comedy. ½*
Ricky Steamboat joins Killer Ken to discuss his blood feud with Jake the Snake. Ricky’s not the kind of guy to complain and cry about taking a beating, but getting DDTd on the concrete was TOO FAR.
The Hart Foundation v. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
Oh hey back to the Boston Garden on August 9 one last time. What a shock. This was still well into the heel run for the Harts, but clearly they’re gonna be the babyfaces tonight. Volkoff tries the extended anthem, so the Harts attack and chase them from the ring, because they might be heels but they’re AMERICAN heels. Except Bret. But either way, they’re not gonna stand for foreigners expressing their own cultural viewpoint in their ring. Volkoff overpowers Bret to start, but gets dropkicked and it’s over to Sheiky Baby. He quickly goes flying out of the ring and stops for some advice from Slick. That advice: “I’ve got two words for you: Get a Twitter account.” Back in, Bret goes to work on Sheik with a backbreaker and middle rope elbow to an enthusiastic crowd reaction, but Volkoff comes in for a double-team and the heels take over. Bret gets worked over in the corner, but comes back with a sunset flip on Volkoff for two. Sheik with the abdominal stretch and gut wrench to set up the camel clutch, but Anvil breaks it up as the crowd is going NUTS for the Harts. Hot tag Anvil and he cleans house on Volkoff and elbows him down for two. Powerslam, but Sheik hooks the legs from outside and Volkoff falls on top for the pin at 7:40. It’s a MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE. Fun match, though, with Bret Hart managing to work for all four guys and stealing the show. ***
And we wrap it up at the studio, as Bobby is going to LITIGATE Gorilla for slamming the phone on his hand earlier and causing permanent nerve damage. However, the bag of ice on his hand has a leak in it, and Bobby storms off to use the payphone before slipping on the leaking ice bag on the way out to close the show.
I mean, the matches were pretty good this week, but it’s literally just a repackaged version of the August 9 Boston Garden show with some segments from Bobby and Gorilla in between and unfortunately doesn’t have anything advancing the big storylines at the time otherwise. But hey, that’s the wrestling slot machine you get from Prime Time Wrestling.