September 13, 2023

WWF Prime Time Wrestling (1.19.87) review 

WWF Prime Time Wrestling (1.19.87) review 


January 19, 1987 


Hey, I wanted to do some lead up to WrestleMania III stuff. I figured the best way to do this would be via Prime Time Wrestling. A lengthy magazine program from the WWF at the time, which pulled together all the best bits of their programming into a one-stop location. It’s a 90 minute show but I’m hoping it’ll provide me with lots of details into feuds and build for one of the biggest wrestling shows of all time. Historically, I know about Hogan-Andre but I’ve only ever seen clips from Piper’s Pit. Everything else, I’ve not seen the background, just WrestleMania. I’ve already gained some additional knowledge to help pilot my way through WMIII but the more the merrier. 



Hosts, in the studio, are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan.  


Lanny Poffo vs. Magnificent Muraco 

Poffo has taken to throwing frisbies into the crowd. This is from Boston Garden. You know how you can tell that? From the yellow floor, chief. Poffo calls Muraco a beach bum in his stupid little poem and a heavily roided up Muraco looks indifferent. Beat his ass, Don!  

Gorilla, getting more irritating and tiresome by the show, refers to Poffo as “Leaping”. Nicknames don’t work like that, you stupid old fucker. These two can’t get on the same page. They’re different workers from different generations. It’s like watching the Young Bucks wrestle Verne Gagne & Nick Bockwinkel. Muraco is loose as hell and clearly has stopped giving a shit. He must have enough money to retire by this point. Credit to Big Don, he is still putting in the effort. Muraco casually kicks out of the Worst Moonsault Ever (TM) and beats Poffo with a powerslam immediately. Yes, fuck you, Lanny! That’s what you get for mouthing off.  


Gorilla announces the next match will feature Dan Spivey, so Heenan gets comfortable with a magazine. Haha, what a burial.  


JJ Funk vs. Danny Spivey 

Jimmy Jack has been reduced to jobber duty now, as Vince has decided he sucks and is a complete waste of time. Oh, you discovered you couldn’t just stick a Lone Ranger mask on a guy and pretend Terry Funk hadn’t left? Spivey is now going by “Golden Boy” Danny Spivey and they’re trying very hard to create another Hogan. Blonde, tall, muscular, enigmatic ‘patriot’. The crowd don’t care. Spivey would compound the problem by getting injured and missing six months. By the time he got healthy, Vince lost interest.  


So, the match is Hogan Clone vs. Funk Clone and the match is palpably nowhere near that particular contest. Barr can’t bump like Terry, despite trying, and Spivey can’t sell or draw the crowd in like Hogan. Nor does he have anything resembling charisma. He absolutely tags JJ with a lariat, which rules but then they fall over each other trying to get the roll up finish.  


Gorilla shills the WWF Fan Club and Bobby demands the phone number so he can call it right now. No mailbox to write to? Wtf?  


The Grand Wizard talks about Kamala and how he’s coming after the WWF title. WHAT? Up next is Outback Jack, an Australian grappler who only debuted in 1986 for Stampede. Australia was ‘big’ in the mid-late 80s thanks to the success of Crocodile Dundee and a string of other films followed suit. What do you mean you’ve never heard of Yahoo Serious?  

The character is clearly based, roughly, on Mick Dundee with hot lashings of Donk, his oversized sidekick in the little bar in Australia. He does manage to slip the word “bugger” into a promo. Fair dinkum.  


Piper’s Pit 

Roddy Piper is here to oversee Jack Tunney (BOOOOOO) presenting Hulk Hogan with a trophy to celebrate his third year as WWF champion. Hogan comes out to accept it and we see footage of Andre congratulating him afterwards. They were playing the long game, brother.  

As Hogan talks about how great Hulkamania is, out comes Andre, mirroring the celebration 3 years ago. “Three years to be a champion….it’s a long time” says Andre cryptically, and then gives the Hulkster a firm handshake.  

Hogan attempting to act is a highlight.  


We go back to the studio and Bobby Heenan suddenly starts talking about Andre and how insulted he must be at that trophy presentation. Where’s his trophy for going unbeaten for 15 years? Oh, you can smell the treachery.  


Blackjack Mulligan vs. Brutus Beefcake 

The Dream Team beat Mulligan up pre-match, leaving him at a huge disadvantage. Mulligan makes an immediate comeback and beats Brutus with a back elbow. Greg Valentine looks unimpressed, and this would lead indirectly to the Dream Team splitting at WrestleMania III.  


The Snake Pit 

Yes, it’s another chat show. With Piper a babyface, the Snake Pit is the mockery show. Sal Bellomo is the guest. He claims to be “pure Italian”. He’s Belgian. He also claims he’s going to fly the Italian flag higher than Bruno Sammartino. Jake rightfully sniggers. Gorilla says Jake shouldn’t have humiliated Bellomo like that. Heenan points out he humiliated himself. Hey, he ain’t lying.  


Hillbilly Jim vs. Jim Neidhart 

The battle of the bearded Jim’s! It’s so bad, they cut away to the studio about 2 minutes in. Matters do not improve. Hillbilly Jim just isn’t very good. He does look the part. He’s a big dude with enormous shoulders but everything he does looks fake. Anvil isn’t much better but at least his forearms look ok. Anvil gets sick of the ref’s bullshit and hurls him across the ring for the DQ. This was BAD.  


Bobby Heenan continues to campaign for Andre, who he claims he’s not friends with, but should get something for his years of service and dedication. Gorilla points out Heenan tried to get Andre suspended last year. The trouble with all this coverage is they lay the Heenan-Andre link together a little too thick considering nothing has happened yet. Which is typical of Vince. Heavy handed booking.  


Pete Doherty vs. Mike Rotundo 

Oh hey, Mike Rotundo is still here. He’s still teaming with Spivey, but they’ve basically given up on the American Express. Maybe the credit card company sued. The team remained together until Rotundo left in February. It’s weird leaving right before WrestleMania. Wouldn’t you want that payday? Maybe they had no plans for him to be on the card. He’ll be in the Crockett Cup, teaming with Tim Horner. Obviously, he wins here because Doherty never won a match in his life. The next time we’ll see Rotundo in New York, he’ll be IRS. After the match the Dream Team jump Rotundo and Dan Spivey makes the save. This feels like it was going to be a WrestleMania match. Dream Team faced the Rougeau brothers instead.  


Tama vs. Scott McGhee 

Amazing that, in this era of WWF spending and recruitment, that this was still a match on their TV show. McGhee is on the outs and would be gone about a week after this. Tama would continue with the Islanders and be more useful in the long run. Based on this dull match, neither guy belongs in a hot promotion. The crowd HATE them. Whenever Tama does anything, it looks like Jimmy Snuka offence and the crowd do not like the idea of a fake Snuka. To be fair to Tama, he does win the crowd over and he finishes with a high crossbody. The crowd reaction is mixed, but I thought he looked good. McGhee was a jobber at this point and he did that well enough. Honestly, this was the best match on the show!  


Bobby Heenan has been reading the WWF Magazine and points out Randy Savage is on the cover because he demanded it. Ask and thou shall receive. Gorilla shills the fan club again, and the Network has covered up the phone number because it’s no longer active. They could have left a recorded message on there as an easter egg. Poor form.  


We get the Hogan-Orndorff cage match from SNME, which I’ve already seen and reviewed. This time around we get Heenan offering his opinions on the false finish, where they drop to the floor at the same time. We finish the show with Bobby Heenan continuing to argue about the finish, Andre, Jack Tunney and he’s so mad he storms off and they roll the credits.  


The 411: 

The issue with this show is that you get a fucking Boston Garden house show, without the main event, with the main event from SNME tagged on it. That’s not an ideal setup. With the shows they ran, I’m sure they could have cobbled together a better highlights deal than this. Hillbilly Jim, Pete Doherty, Scott McGhee etc. What a load of bollocks. On the plus side, it did show me a little from the Hogan-Andre set up, plus the Beefcake-Valentine issues. I’m hoping to get a little more from this in the coming weeks. Next however, Ric Flair is wrestling Barry Windham in NWA again and I’m all over that my friends.  

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