Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Prime Time Wrestling
Date: June 17, 1987
Hosts: Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan
Commentators: Dick Graham, Lord Alfred Hayes, Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, Vince McMahon, Gorilla Monsoon, Bruno Sammartino
Oh boy it’s Prime Time. This was one of the big shows from the WWF, as it featured various matches from major house shows. That might not sound like much, but at the time, this was a pretty awesome deal. What makes it better is Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan as the hosts, giving us the legendary banter that made them one of the best duos of all time. This is from my favorite era in wrestling so hopefully I can have some fun with some of these. Let’s get to it.
This is a special Wednesday edition (as opposed to Monday) and dig that old desk with the old WWF toys!
Gorilla and Heenan (in a neck brace) welcome us to the show and run down the card, with Gorilla saying Brutus Beefcake could give Heenan a trim. Heenan says there is no way he’ll get back in the ring, even after his neck heals. To the ring!
From May 9, 1987 in at the Philadelphia Spectrum.
Corporal Kirschner vs. Nikolai Volkoff
Man these guys were fighting more than a year ago at Wrestlemania II. Kirschner charges the ring to prevent the Russian National Anthem and gets hit with the flag pole for his efforts. Kirschner comes back in and hammers away as Graham is already a bit rough to sit through. It’s like his voice is in slow motion. Volkoff gets in a cheap shot and ties him into the Tree of Woe (In 1987?) for a running knee to the ribs.
That’s enough for Kirschner to need a breather on the floor, with Volkoff following for a slam. A running knee keeps Kirschner outside and it works so well that Volkoff does it again. The third attempt earns Volkoff a crotching against the post and we take a break (with Monsoon and Heenan chiming in for a few seconds).
Back with no time having passed and Kirschner dropping a leg between the legs, plus a middle rope elbow for two. Volkoff is back up with a spinning kick to the ribs and a drop across the top like an evil Russian would. Some whips into the corner set up a bearhug (as is Volkoff’s custom), followed by a quick bow and arrow to stay on the back. That’s broken up so Kirschner dropkicks him to the floor and follows him out to hammer away. Back in and an elbow drop gives Kirschner two but he misses a charge into the corner. Volkoff is right back up with the gorilla press backbreaker for the pin at 10:17.
Rating: D+. This was pretty rough as they seemed to run out of things to do to each other by the end. It’s not like these two were exactly cut out for a longer match and it didn’t work out all that well in this case. Kirschner wasn’t exactly great in the ring, but he was so tough that no one was going to tell him no. You don’t get many people like that, but he was kind of done when he replaced Sgt. Slaughter but was a lower rank.
Bobby Heenan thinks Kirschner never had a chance but Monsoon doesn’t buy it. Monsoon moves on to Heenan signing the Islanders, which has Heenan rather proud. That makes sense to Monsoon, because Heenan is going to take all of their money.
It’s time for….a segment that doesn’t seem to have a name but tells you what is going on at the moment. We open with the Islanders having a technical match with the Can-Am Connection until Heenan showed up, which caused the Islanders to beat the fire out of them. A headbutt from the apron knocked Tom Zenk silly for a countout and Heenan was rather pleased.
Heenan is all fired up about his new team and wants the Tag Team Titles. Heenan: “I’VE DONE IT AGAIN!”
Back in the studio, Monsoon asks why Heenan has to turn everything into a big deal and why he couldn’t just say he has signed the team. Heenan says he likes the shock value, which sends Monsoon into a video on Superstar Billy Graham trying to learn how to walk again after a variety of injuries. Heenan can’t help it and goes into a series of jokes about how Graham can’t sue anyone because he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
We go to the Arizona desert where Graham is moving around on a walker, as he talks about how he needs to get back. We also see him going through some rather tough physical therapy but Graham has insisted that he’ll be back.
Monsoon and Heenan talk about a FREE calendar you can get….if you’re one of 100 post cards they select. This was a move they would do every now and then to restock their mailing list and it’s kind of brilliant.
I think this is from May 13, 1987 at the Sports Arena in San Diego, California but it’s not clear. It also seems to be from Wrestling Challenge, which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for Prime Time.
New Dream Team vs. Young Stallions
The New Dream Team (Dino Bravo/Greg Valentine) have Johnny V in their corner. Bravo drives Roma into the corner to start but he’s right back up with a dropkick, meaning the Dream Team needs a breather on the floor. We get a quick inset promo from the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers promising to be everywhere the Dream Team goes. Except here it seems.
Back in and Valentine takes over on Roma, including a suplex for two. A middle rope ax handle to the back sets up a jumping elbow for two but Valentine misses his big forearm. The hot tag brings in Powers to clean house, only to have Bravo get in a cheap shot from the apron. Valentine drops an elbow for the pin at 4:23.
Rating: D+. Well that was short. This wasn’t much of a match as it was mainly the Dream Team beating on Roma until Powers got to come in for a few seconds at the end. Commentary was hyping up the Stallions as future stars and then they just lose. I get that the Dream Team was new, but it was a weird way to go given the commentary.
Heenan is glad the Dream Team got rid of Brutus Beefcake but Monsoon doesn’t think Heenan’s memory is quite right.
Ken Patera is happy that he is out of prison and has paid his debt to society. Now all he wants is a second chance but that isn’t going to include Bobby Heenan. While Patera was in jail, Heenan was nowhere to be seen because weasels don’t make it through tough times.
Heenan says he doesn’t feel sorry for Patera (who put him in the neck brace), because Patera is the one who landed himself in jail. That ended their relationship and Heenan doesn’t care what happened to Patera’s family. Now Patera is blaming him, so Heenan will be taking care of him soon.
From the Philadelphia Spectrum on May 9.
Pedro Morales vs. Steve Lombardi
It’s weird seeing Lombardi without a shirt. Said shirtless Lombardi runs away from Morales to start as Pedro is all fired up (as is his custom). Back in and Lombardi forearms away, earning himself a slam from Morales. That’s enough for Lombardi to bail to the floor again as more breathing is needed. Back in again and Morales hits another slam, meaning Lombardi heads outside for the third time in less than three minutes.
Lombardi gets in again and this time claims a sore back to stall even more. Therefore we pause for some stretching before Lombardi misses a right hand and gets atomic dropped out to the floor (again). This time Lombardi comes back in with a rake to the eyes and a ram into the buckle but commentary isn’t buying Lombardi as a threat. On cue, Morales hits him in the ribs and adds a backdrop, setting up a backbreaker for the pin at 5:47.
Rating: D. This was a good example of a match that worked well for the live crowd but wasn’t much if you’re not a big Morales fan. It’s also a lesson in how to get through a match without doing much, as this was more than half Lombardi stalling on the floor. They didn’t bother trying to do anything more than the minimum here, which wasn’t the most thrilling stuff. The live fans seemed to like it though and that was the point of something like this.
Monsoon is glad that Heenan wasn’t around as a manager when he was in the ring. He knows Heenan would dump any of his clients at the drop of a hat, just like Patera. As you might expect, Heenan shrugs off the suggestions and we move on.
From the Convention Center in Anaheim, California on May 12, 1987. This seems to be from the June 6 Superstars.
Brutus Beefcake vs. Tim Patterson
Monsoon and Heenan make Pat Patterson/Terry Garvin jokes about Patterson in their intro for the not so subtle jabs. Brutus gets his own inset promo, promising to give the New Dream Team another cut. Patterson gets punched and slammed down to start as commentary talks about Beefcake’s gear. Vince: “Barbers are a little eccentric in general aren’t they?” The beating continues as commentary talks about Honky Tonk Man getting an undeserved Intercontinental Title shot next week. I’m sure that won’t go anywhere. Patterson fights back with some running shoulders but Beefcake is back with the sleeper at 2:40.
Post match, Patterson gets a haircut, possibly for taking a long time to go down from the sleeper.
Monsoon and Heenan bicker over how legitimate of a neck injury Heenan really has.
Gene Okerlund talks to Slick, who has quite the fashion sense. Slick says Gene has high class opinions of high class people and calls Gene “Holmes” before threatening to smack him in the head. Nikolai Volkoff and Butch Reed come in, with Slick saying they are the best of the best around. Reed thinks there are some jive turkeys running around here like Tito Santana and Junkyard Dog. Those people are trying to take money from him, and he gets mean when he has money. Volkoff thinks Americans should be proud that he is here in America. Buy Russian war bonds! This is still one of the oddest groupings ever and it’s great.
From the San Diego Sports Arena, May 13, 1987.
Don Muraco/Bob Orton Jr. vs. Sivi Afi/Corporal Kirschner
Mr. Fuji is here with Muraco and Orton and why are we getting two Kirschner matches on one show? Afi shoves Orton outside to start and it’s time for an early breather. Back in and Afi no sells some rams into the buckle (he’s foreign so he has a hard head you see) so it’s off to Kirschner. This means a discussion of being drafted, with Heenan saying he was 3Q, meaning too smart for the military. He could have been a six star general if he had actually gone in though, which Monsoon somehow manages to no sell.
Orton sends Kirschner outside and a distraction lets Muraco get in a cane shot to take over. A top rope shot to the back drops Kirschner again as Monsoon talks about how Kirschner has been pretty worthless as of late. It’s back to Afi, who gets taken down with a neckbreaker but comes right back with a high crossbody.
Kirschner gets to come in and glare at Muraco, setting up a clothesline. A dropkick sends Muraco over to Orton, who cuts Kirschner off with an atomic drop as Heenan praises the villains’ intelligence (kind of his thing). Muraco sends Kirschner into an elbow from Orton but it’s off to Afi anyway. The pace picks up for all of ten seconds before Muraco charges into a powerslam. What would become known as the Tombstone finishes Afi at 7:19.
Rating: D+. Muraco and Orton weren’t going to be the top team but they were fine as a pair of villains to give an up and coming team some trouble. That wasn’t exactly what they had here, making this a fairly long and not entirely squashy squash. Then again, what are you expecting from the forces of Afi and Kirschner?
Monsoon likes the new WWF Magazine, including a look at Ken Patera. Heenan wants to know where the prison number is.
Monsoon and Heenan introduce a women’s tag match and Heenan has no idea who they are.
From the Boston Garden on March 8, 1986.
Crush Girls vs. Donna Christianello/Judy Martin
Well this is a surprise. The Crush Girls (normally Gals) are Lioness Asuka/Chigusa Nagayo and in short, Christianello/Martin are going to be in a lot of pain. Nagayo isn’t having any of this getting hammerlocked thing and takes Christianello down into a hammerlock of her own. It’s back to Martin, who has to avoid Asuka’s kick to the head. Asuka gets the better of an exchange of kicks to the ribs and it’s a very fast sunset flip for two.
Christianello comes back in for a front facelock but a forearm sends Asuka over to Nagayo as Hayes can’t keep track of these names. An elbow to the head sends Martin outside and she looks rather scared of what she’s gotten herself into. Back in and Christianello offers a handshake, which of course suckers Asuka in so the villains can take over. We take a break and come back with Martin elbowing Asuka in the face, only to have her nip right back up.
Nagayo comes back in but gets kicked in the chest for a quick knockdown. Some choking in the corner has Nagayo in more trouble as commentary brags about all of the international media here. A few right hands allow the tag off to Asuka though and it’s time to clean house in a hurry. Asuka dropkicks Martin and hits a slam for two as the beating is on.
Nagayo gets on the middle rope so she can be tagged in (you know Monsoon isn’t having that) and it’s a Sharpshooter as Monsoon can’t remember if Nagayo is a tiger or a lioness (with Hayes having to make the save). Asuka accidentally clotheslines Nagayo down but they’re both back up for a double punch (I think?) to Martin’s ribs. A bunch of elbows keep Martin….well not really in trouble as she pops up to hit Asuka in the face. Christianello comes in and gets caught in a giant swing for the pin at 15:31.
Rating: C+. This is such an odd match, not just for the participants but also the fact that it got some serious time. You don’t see modern women’s matches breaking fifteen minutes but here you have this one, in 1986 no less, getting far more time than anything else on the show. Martin and Christianello weren’t exactly a seasoned team like the Girls, but dang this was a fun surprise.
Heenan claims to be on the phone with the Crush Girls before moving on to this week’s main event. Monsoon asks what George Steele has to do to get by Kamala, and Heenan suggests buying a machine gun. Or give up during the instructions. Then the Hogan figure on the desk falls over, which Heenan says is how he’ll be kneeling before King Harley Race. That’s the kind of quick wit that made Heenan a legend.
From the Philadelphia Spectrum on May 9.
Kamala vs. George Steele
Kim Chee and Mr. Fuji are here with Kamala. Steele looks confused (as is his nature) but he knows to avoid a charging Kamala as the bell rings. A few right hands put Kamala on the floor and it’s time for an early breather. Kim Chee gives some instructions (“Don’t look directly at the hairy chest.”) and Steele scares Kamala right back into the ropes. Steele starts poking at Kamala, who runs off again as this isn’t exactly an action packed spectacle.
Back in and Steele destroys a turnbuckle so Kamala runs away from the pieces of padding. Kim Chee’s distraction finally lets Kamala get in a shot from behind and Steele goes shoulder first into the exposed buckle. Since Kamala doesn’t quite know how to follow up, Steele grabs a foreign object to knock Kamala silly. Another Kim Chee distraction, this time in the form of a trip, lets Kamala hit a splash but a top rope version misses. Steele, ever the easily distracted one, chases Kim Chee off and that’s a countout at 6:03.
Rating: D+. I know it wasn’t very good and was little more than a comedy match, but this was the kind of goofy fun that I like from a show like this one. This was a lot better than seeing these two try to have a regular match and it’s nice to see that they understood the limitations they were under. Not a good match, but it was entertaining in a wacky way.
Post match Steele comes back with Kim Chee’s cane and pith helmet. He hits Kamala in the ribs with one and puts another on his head. I’m assuming you know which is which.
Heenan doesn’t think much of Steele but Monsoon isn’t convinced.
Try to get that calendar!
Heenan wants to tell us what’s coming next Wednesday but finds out that they’re going back to the regular Monday time to mess with him one more time.
Overall Rating: C-. Prime Time Wrestling isn’t a show you often go to for classic action, but I had a great time with this. It was the big show of its day and you could see some of the top stars and goings on of the time. I’ll be doing some more of these, just for the sake of having some fun. That’s what wrestling is often supposed to be and that’s what I was getting out of this, despite it not having the best wrestling in the world.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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