WWF Prime Time Wrestling 3/23/1987
Written by: Erick Von Erich from Da Wrestling Site
Hello again everyone, it’s Gorilla Monsoon…and your host, Bobby “the Brain” Heenan, with another edition of Prime Time Wrestling. This particular episode was their last before WrestleMania III, so it’s one final chance to get viewers to buy into the event. Fans, what are you waiting for?! Get up, call your cable operator now, or make plans to attend a closed circuit location to see the Greatest Wrestling Extravaganza of All Time (well, at least until the Survivor Series arrives).
As the show opens, Heenan is complaining about the way Gorilla embarassed him while wandering around Andre the Giant’s training camp. Heenan invited Gorilla to the camp, but in typical Brain fashion, proceeded to get the duo lost in the woods. Were it not for Gorilla’s trail of banana peels they might have never made it out of the woods! They run down the show’s card a bit, which will feature plenty of matches from a recent Maple Leaf Gardens show. The show was actually the Frank Tunney Memorial Tag Team Tournament, but that’s not mentioned on-air. Heenan discounts the participation of Rick Martel and Tom Zenk, the “Can-Spam Connection”. But with so much going on the in WWF, let’s get down to rinside for…
Match 1: Hillbilly Jim vs. Dino Bravo (w/”Luscious” Johnny V)
From Maple Leaf Gardens. Gorilla is joined on commentary with Jimmy Hart, which means we’ll hear “telagram, tell-a-friend and tell Gorilla Monsoon” at least 12 times during this show. The duo bicker back and forth, with Gorilla ripping Jimmy for everything– including his finances, clothes, managing history and clients. The wrestlers lock-up twice and HBJ wins by shoving Bravo away. Damn Bravo..hit the weight room. There’s no way you’ll ever set a world record benchpress if you can’t outmuscle the Hick from Mudlick. HBJ with a side headlock, shoulderblock off the ropes, slam and a cartwheel. He’s got spirit, yes he do! He’s got spirit, how ’bout you?! Bravo works and arm-wringer and pounds him into the corner. HBJ is whipped into the corner and catches Bravo with a leg-scissors, then follows up with an atomic drop to clear the ring. Bravo returns with an inverted atomic drop, stompy fun and an elbowdrop for a 2 count. Bravo even hits his side suplex finisher, drops another elbow and only gets 2. HBJ reverses an irish-whip and takes off Bravo’s head with a nice clothesline. Yes, I just complimented Hillbilly Jim… but only for a clothesline. Jim headbutts Bravo into the corner and they begin brawling. Bravo nails the referee, Terry Austin. Ref falls to the canvas, while Johnny V enters to raise Bravo’s arm, claiming they’ve won. The ref comes to, and signals that Bravo’s been disqualified and awards the match to Hillbilly. There is joy in Mudlick.
Back in the studio, Gorilla ribs Heenan about all the guests he’s flying in for WrestleMania III. Of course, Heenan could only get them to upstate New York and they’ll have to rent a car and drive to Detroit. Including the enigmatic “Miss Betty”.
Match 2: Sivi Afi vs. Ivan McDonald
From a different arena… when I can’t figure identify the old WWF arenas, I always use “Hershey, PA” as a good guess. Afi gets a good pop from the crowd, while Gorilla sells McDonald like he’s the next Randy Savage. They trade hammerlocks and waistlocks to start, until McDonald gets a shitty slam and misses an elbow. McDonald is VERY green, looking rigid and unsure of his moveset. Afi knocks him to the ropes and he has trouble flipping over the top and to the floor. Back in, McDonald works the arm and turns it into a fireman’s carry slam. Afi chops back at him, then works the leg with a step-over toehold. Afi grapevines the leg, bridges back for leverage and then turns it into a reverse figure four (“oooooooowwww!!!” Y’see, that’s the reverse of “wwwwwoooooo” *rimshot* Thank you, thank you! I’ll be here all week). Afi kicks McDonald in the forehead and Gorilla gives an awesome anatomy lesson (“above the ear”). He happens to have a knowledge of these things. Afi with a gut-wrench suplex and a flying headbutt to score the 3 count pin.
In the studio, Gorilla mentions that Afi has signed for some 6-man matches, with the Islanders as his partners. Whoa… the short-lived Islander threesome actually teamed up as faces a year before?! They segue into King Kong Bundy’s upcoming 6-man midget match at WrestleMania III, which Heenan says will be “blotter city”. Gorilla asks about Bundy’s eating habits and Heenan replies that he only eats “fish and chicken…. well maybe a coupla’ Twinkies here and there”
WrestleMania II report with “Mean” Gene Okerlund
Gene runs down the card and introduces highlights from a recent battle royal on Saturday Night’s Main Event. In it, Hogan was easily eliminated by Andre, but it took 8 wrestlers to eliminate the Giant. Cut to an interview with Bob Uecker and Mary Hart, who babble about the show. Uecker gets off a few muscle poses, too.
Match 3: Can-Am Connection vs. Demolition (w/”Luscious” Johnny V)
(Rick Martel & Tom Zenk vs. Ax & Smash)
Back to Maple Leaf Gardens. Since people always ask, yes this is Barry Darsow as Smash. It’s early in his run, though, as his hair is hardly more than a stubble from growing out his cueball Krusher Kruschev look. On commentary, Jimmy Hart shows his age and the match’s age by comparing the Can-Spams to “Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy”. Can-Spams leap around for a bit, then deliver double dropkicks to clear the ring. They tag in and out, working on Smash’s arm. Ax throws Martel into Smash’s boot, then knocks hm outside the ring just in time for a commercial. Martel tries to come back in and the Demos keep knocking him off the apron. Martel manages to fight his way back in and leaps over Smash with a sunset flip. Smash manages to tag Ax on the way down, so the pin attempt is nullified. Demos work over Martel for a few minutes, until Ax misses a diving headbutt. Hot tag to Zenk, who’s all punchy/kicky and the obligatory “double noggin knocker”! Martel returns as they toss the Demos into each other. They pair off an brawl, with Ax and Zenk brawling on the outside. Ax throws Zenk into the ringpost, then rolls back inside to win by count-out. Afterwards, Martel beckons Johnny V to enter the ring. Further proof that Martel could never be a bad-ass….he’s not concerned about Ax or Smash, he’d rather go after the geriatric manager who did nothing in this match.
In the studio, the Brain is using his phone to call production and cue up the incorrect segment. He doesn’t dial any numbers or push any buttons. He simply picks up the phone and begins talking.
Match 4: S.D Jones vs. the Red Demon
JIP-time. I think the Red Demon was Jose-Luis Rivera in a red jumpsuit and a camoflauged mask. Or Glen Jacobs. You decide. Criss-cross rope sequence, until Deon stops SD with a kneelift. Demon uses his wrist-tape to choke him out. S.D has a quick comeback but schedules a meeting with the post. Demon chokes soem more, but S.D. counters with a slam and an Unmasking Attempt! I mean, just think of what would happen if everyone knew who the Red Demon was!! Demon tries working the knee for a bit, until S.D. smacks him, then leaps over to perform a sunset flip and score the pin.
Match 5: Killer Bees vs. Kamala & Sika (w/Kim Chee & Mr. Fuji)
(Bees: Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair)
More from the MLG tournament. I think the Bees went on to win the thing, then received a title shot against the Hart Foundation. I recapped this match a few years ago, but I’ve EVOLVED and noticed some different crap. Brunzell tries to slam Kamala, but that ain’t happenin’. Blair comes in and they perform a double-slam on the Ugandan Man in Underwear. Johnny V is on commentary, babbling away and saying words of importance like “I dunno’ WHAT those stars on Kamala’s stomach mean”. Kamala gets a reverse kick on Brunzell and does some clubberin’. Sika and Blair brawl for a bit, until Kamala comes in to press-choke Blair. Heel Miscommunication has Kamala miss a charging belly-smash on Blair, nailing Sika instead. Sika whips Blair to the ropes, but he manages to make a blind tga to Brunzell. Blair drops down and Sika walks right in a Brunzell Dropkick (copyrighted, since it’s usually pretty damn good), as the Bees score the pin.
Studio fun and this time the Brain’s traded his phone for a headset. The joke is that the headset makes him oblivious ot everything Gorilla’s saying. Gorilla’s having fun with it and, at times, can’t keep a straight face. Out of nowhere, Brain orders production to “throw it to Bob Uecker!”. Instead, they throw it to Mean Gene with the Hart Foundation and Danny Davis. In the promo, Bret Hart’s accent seems more noticeable than usual, as he calls “Chihuahua Santana” a “Burrito Brother”. Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart cackles. Yeah, baby! Hahahaha!
Match 6: Jose-Luis Rivera vs. Johnny K-9
Gorilla calls this a “very special match”…making me think that Jose-Luis Rivera was the Red Demon, since Gorilla would slip in little “smart” comments at times. K-9 was a fairly underrated jobber and one of my favorites from my first “tour” of the WWF in 1986. He would actually fit in well with modern wrestlers– with his shaved head, black trunks and goatee. K-9 attacks at the bell, tossing Rivera over the top. If it was a Two Man Battle Royal, we would’ve had a winner. Rivera runs back in, leapfrogs, slams K-9 and delivers two armdrags. Drop-kick sends K-9 to the floor. Basic stuff, but Rivera wins the match by landing a flying drop-kick off the second rope.
Match 7: “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff & King Kong Bundy vs. Magnificent Muraco & “Ace/Cowboy” Bob Orton (w/Mr. Fuji)
Feature match for this episode and it’s another outtake from the MLG tourney. Yup, it’s heel vs. heel, but the crowd quickly favors Orndorff & Bundy. Muraco and Orndorff lock-up and after two clean breaks, Muraco gets a cheapshot in. After that, Ornodorff and Bundy work the match as faces. Weird. Orndorff slams Orton and whips him into Bundy. Bundy seems to be getting a sizable pop whenever he enters. There was a houseshow program at the time, where Bundy would wrestle other heels, like Kamala. Fans speculated about a face turn, but nothing happened. Bundy tries for the avalanche in the corner, but Orton has it scouted and bails. Muraco comes in and jabs Bundy in the eyes. Orton & Muraco cheat and doubelteam behind the ref’s back, working on Orndorff. Orton with a backbreaker, then Muraco comes in for a Very Special Moment– a bearhug. Bundy lands his avalanche on Muraco, but gets jabbed in thee yes again. Orton gets 2 on Orndorff with an elbowdrop. Orndorff punches back, hits an atomic drop and a quick 1 count. All four guys enter and a brief level of PANDEMONIUM occurs. Orton holds up Orndorff while Fuji tosses his cane to Muraco. Orndroff escapes and Muraco “accidentally” blasts Orton. Orndorff is quick to make the cover and get the pin. Interesting match for the crow reaction, plus it’s an early episode of the Muraco face turn. Every year, someone always asks “how did Muraco turn face?” Basically, the Heel Miscommunication bit with Orton went on for another 4 months until the turn was official.
Final segment in the studio, where the Brain has given up on his headset. Gorilla is really enjoying it. That’s the thing about these two– they usually entertained, but behind it you got the sense that they were just two good buddies. It’s fun to see them goof it up on camera.
Why’d You Tape This??
One of the better episodes of the period. The tag matches are all entertaining, with the only slow spot behind the Demos and the Can-Spams. The three jobber matches are nothing special, but with the exception of Ivan McDonald, they featured the “top-level jobbers”. Even though this episode was included on WWE 24/7 as a way to hype up WrestleMania III, the matches themselves are not along that avenue. The commentary and studio sessions are all hype, but the in-ring stuff isn’t. If you like WWF junk from this era, this is definitely worth tracking down.