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WWF Prime Time Wrestling - May 15, 1989
by Scrooge McSuck
We're greeted by Gorilla Monsoon, and our host, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Heenan cuts Monsoon off before he could really get started. Lined up for tonight's broadcast includes Haku defending the crown against Jim Duggan, the Genius will be in action, and something to do with the monster ZEUS, the co-star of No Holds Barred, which stars WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan. It's going to be a happening, you know.
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. Tony Leone:
This is a special match... it's going to have "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin
as the referee. Remember when he lost a Retirement match against Greg Valentine, then found employment in the WWF under various roles before being reinstated? Yeah, it kind of dragged on for months, but it wasn't the worst storyline ever. I know I say this a lot, but it seems like Beefcake is always the opening act on these old broadcasts. Beefcake has unkind words for the Macho Man, during the insert promo. Remember, it was Savage and Sherri who trimmed off Beefcake's mullet, and for that, we thank them. Leone grabs a headlock, but Beefcake quickly escapes and nails him with a running high knee. Beefcake snapmares Leone back into the ring, plants him with a scoop slam, and the sleeper hold ends things at around the 2:00 mark. Not relevant to the actual match, but 1989 (and whatever parts of 1990 he wrestled) might've been the only year I would've considered Beefcake a quality performer. It didn't hurt being in the ring a lot with some decent workers, but he more than was carrying his own, too.
- We throw it to "that little rat", Mean Gene Okerlund, who is standing by with Update, brought to us by WWF Magazine. Last week, Ted Dibiase was scheduled to wrestle Jake Roberts, but faked the flu, and forced Virgil to take his spot. After the match, Dibiase attacked Roberts from behind, knocked him unconcious with the Million Dollar Dream, and stuffed a bunch of cash in his mouth to add insult to injury. We get promos from both men, with Roberts looking fine. The weird thing was, this took eventually was the deciding incident that took Roberts off television for several months. I don't know the truth behind taking Roberts off television, but he was gone until the Fall, then resumed the feud, before blowing it off at WrestleMania VI with an inconclusive finish.
The Warlord (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Tim Horner:
Weird match, just because of the fact the Warlord was still half of the Powers of Pain, but it seemed like they wrestled a lot of individual matches for most of the summer. Horner is a former NWA mainstay, which means nothing in the WWF, but Tony Schiavone is calling the action, so maybe he might make a light nod to knowing his past. Lockup to start, and Warlord throws Horner across the ring with a choke lift. Lockup, and Warlord with a standing side headlock. Horner escapes and counters with a hammerlock, but Warlord hip throws to escape. Horner with a headlock, followed by a sucker-punch. That's just going to make the big man mad. Irish whip, and Warlord hits Horner with a back elbow. Warlord pounds away across the back of Horner with axehandle smashes. Warlord rams Horner to the corner, but can't finish things off. Horner hammers away with rights and rams a knee to the midsection, but comes off the top and Warlord turns it into a powerslam for the three count at 3:21. Warlord matches seemed to drag on forever, even though this one was only a few minutes long.
Demolition (Tag Champs) vs. Honkytonk Man & Greg Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Recycled from the May 14th episode of Wrestling Challenge. I'm pretty sure this was featured on the Demolition Coliseum Video, which goes to show how much the WWF saw in them as a cash cow. By 1989, wrestler(s) specific releases weren't as common as they had been several years earlier, but that's a story for a time that will never come. I love when the SNME banner is still hung up... makes you wonder what matches were considered for the broadcast before the final cut is put together. Smash and Valentine start, and a lockup leads to a stalemate. Smash shoves Valentine down, connects with an atomic drop, and pounds away with rights. Valentine with a knee to the face on a charge attempt, followed by a clothesline. Valentine with a Figure-Four attempt, but Smash counters, and "smashes" on the Honkytonk Man. Ax tags in for some patented double team pounding. Irish whip, and Ax with a back elbow. Smash with a snapmare, and it's chinlock time. Ax tags back in with more of the same. Honky eventually gains control, and quickly tags out to the Hammer, who "hammers" away on Ax, you could say. Ax continues to play face-in-peril, despite very little of interest happening. Ax and Valentine blow a spot, leading to the hot tag. Smash nails everything walking and we get a referee bump. Demolition work over Valentine until Honky bops Ax with the megaphone, but referee Ron Garvin comes to ringside and physically breaks things up and calls for the Disqualification against Honky and Valentine at around the 5:00 mark. I know it was a Challenge feature, but how hard is it to put the unbeatable champions over a make-shift team?
- Heenan and Monsoon discuss the Brain Busters' chances at dethrowning Demolition for the Tag Team Championship. Monsoon thinks Demolition's size and strength is too much, but Heenan is confident in his team.
- We throw things to the Event Center with Sean Mooney, and I guess we're going to get a bunch of generic promos since this was a national broadcast that didn't cater to one regional market. We get promos from Hillbilly Jim (WHY!?!?) who feels like scrappin', followed by Andre the Giant and Bobby Heenan... wow, could you imagine a match between Andre the Giant circa' 1989 and Hillbilly Jim? That might possibly be the worst match ever, had it ever happened (Editor's Note: It Happened! Read More About it: HERE! Moowahahahaha!).
Jim Powers vs. The Genius:
Pulled from the April 22nd card held at the Boston Garden, and this is one of the earliest, if not first, appearance of Lanny Poffo wrestling as his heel persona, the Genius. He's still refered to as "Lanny Poffo", but by the summer, he was exclusively known as "The Genius." See also: Mr. Perfect / Curt Hennig. Poffo stalls outside the ring to start, and I'm going to guess that will be a regular pattern for this match. Powers starts with a headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Poffo nips up, and runs into a clothesline. Back in the ring, and Genius with a series of sucker punches. Criss-cross sequence, and Powers dropkicks him out of the ring, despite the Genius pointing to his noggin', signalling how smart he is. Powers remains in control and takes Genius over with a suplex for a two count. Lots of stalling, by the way. Powers works the arm with a wristlock, and it's time to CRANK IT UP! Sorry, I always wanted to work that into a review. My life work is now complete. Genius fights free, but Powers remains in control, and switches things to an armbar. Genius escapes and rams Powers to the buckle. Genius with a snapmare, and it's chinlock time! The crowd seems less than satisfied by this match, judging from the negative reaction from them. Powers with elbows to the midsection, but a sunset flip attempt fails. Genius with choking (or a neck rub, you make the call), followed by knees to the back of the head. Poffo misses a charge to the corner, and Powers rams him to the turnbuckle ten times (thanks for counting, crowd). Powers then takes Poffo to another corner for ten more, and nails him with a clothesline. Powers with a crappy back breaker for a two count. Irish whip, and Powers misses a dropkick. Poffo with a slam, followed by a senton splash for the three count at 10:50. Dull, with a lot of stalling, but I've seen much worse. Lord Alfred calls that move the Honor Roll, by the way. I guess that was the official name for the move.
- Pulled from Superstars of Wrestling, Tony Schiavone is standing by for a VERY Special Podium Interview with Miss Elizabeth! She's introduced as the manager of Hulk Hogan. Elizabeth's one line: "As long as Hulk Hogan needs me, I'll be there." Elizabeth's smile turns to distress at the mention of "Sensational Sherri." Schiavone is interviewing her like she's a 9-year old mark pulled from the crowd. On the topic of Schiavone, this guy got a pretty raw deal jumping to the WWF. He spent years being one of the major non-wrestling personalities in the NWA, and he goes to WWF and is basically 3rd string most of the time, barely above Sean Mooney in the food chain.
- Speaking of Sean Mooney, he's got words from The Barbarian & Mr. Fuji... what is with the seperation of the Powers of Pain? Mooney JUST TALKED ABOUT THEM as a team, and then throws it to a solo promo? Next is a promo from Koko B. Ware, and yes, he's got Frankie with him. This was before he bleached his hair and started painting the sides of his head like a Parrot.
Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Dave Wagner:
From Wrestling Challenge. Speaking of seperated teams, it seems like that for most of the second-half of 1989, Bret and the Anvil were going solo, except for the occasional team up, with the only notable match being at SummerSlam, putting over the Brain Busters. This would be Singles Push #2, for those keeping track at home. Bret tosses his glasses into the crowd, so he's still working out his routine. Wagner gets a few blows in before being swept off his feet. Danny Davis is the referee, and is under strict probation, incase you cared. Mr. Perfect cuts an insert promo, and that's a house show program that really lit up the stars scale. Irish whip, and Bret with a back elbow, followed by a leg drop. Bret with a snap suplex (excellently executed) and second rope elbow drop for the three count at 2:25. He didn't even need to put the scrub away with the piledriver, that's how awesome the second rope elbow is.
Bad News Brown vs. Tom Stock:
From Superstars of Wrestling. Brown pounds away while Ventura puts himself over for his cameo appearance in the upcoming blockbuster smash, No Holds Barred, starring WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan. Brown was kind of in-between things by this point, I think. He really didn't do much of note until kicking off a program with Roddy Piper at the start of 1990. Ventura and McMahon talk about Danny Davis, who is also referee for this match. Brown drops Stock across the top rope, and gets lip from Davis for it. Stock reverses a whip to the corner, but runs into a pair of boots. Brown nails Stock with the Ghetto Blaster, and the pin is made with one foot at the 2:00 mark. Squash-a-riffic.
- Bobby Heenan reports that there was an oil spill that turned out to be just Bret Hart rinsing out his hair, and Gorilla Monsoon retaliating that the Brooklyn Brawler needs to take a bath. This somehow turns into discussion about Zeus, the co-star of No Holds Barred, starring WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. Now, I can understand the idea behind having Zeus wanting to take credit for being the star or whatever, but if he's an actor, it's painfully obvious people know his name ISN'T Zeus. Just say he's a nut job who thinks that's his name... idiots.
The Twin Towers (w/ Slick) vs. Jim Merkel & Kevin Michaelson:
Pulled from Superstars of Wrestling. Speaking of Zeus, he scares the bejesus out of Howard Finkel and the two scrubs. This was before Saturday Night's Main Event, so his intentions aren't exactly clear, yet. I guess Zeus' idea of being scary is screaming while making cross-eyed faces. We get a commercial for No Holds Barred, starring WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. It's rated PG-13, surprisingly. Probably for excessive use of feces. The Towers were being groomed for a program with Demolition, and that was a dream match for me as a little kid... yes, I said it. Akeem pounds away on Merkel, and Boss Man does the same. Demolition with an insert promo as Boss Man hits the sidewalk slam on Michaelson, and Akeem follows it with a splash for the three count at 1:46. After the match, Boss Man handcuffs Merkel to the ropes and beats him with the nightstick. I miss these old days. You got Akeem being stupidly goofy, and Boss Man being a total prick.
- Event Center Promos from the Honkytonk Man and the Bushwhackers... I pass. I'm far more interested in this commercial for the Samantha Fox Hotline! Just call 1-900-909-FOXX. Call and you'll get an autographed photo, and MAYBE some fun... didn't the Corey Hotline promise the same thing?
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Al Burke:
Pulled from Superstars of Wrestling. Warrior is more than a little-pissed off at the fact he was cheated out of the Intercontinental Title by Rick Rude and Bobby Heenan at WrestleMania V. Warrior attacks before the bell and quickly takes Burke over with a back drop. Warrior sends Burke to the corner, and we get an insert promo from Rick Rude. Warrior continues talking trash to the camera and working over Al Burke... hey... Al Burke looks just like Dr. Feelgood from UWF Blackjack Brawl. Warrior drags Burke back into the ring, and lays him out with a clothesline. Warrior starts having a seizure, and the combination of the gorilla press slam and big splash finishes Burke off at 2:08. After the match, Warrior picks up the poor bastard, and throws him out of the ring as we cut back to the studio.
Koko B. Ware & The Blue Blazer vs. The Brain Busters (w/ Bobby Heenan):
Primetime Wrestling Exclusive, and hey, it's High Energy, before the baggy-pants. It's a perfect example of WWF vs. NWA... you got the no-nonsense Brain Busters, and then you have a guy running around with a bird, and a colorful masked eagle, or whatever the Blazer is supposed to be. The faces come to the ring to Piledriver, and yes, Blazer gets funky, too. Anderson starts with a headlock, but the Blazer quickly counters with a hammerlock. Anderson with a drop toe hold and front facelock, but Blazer escapes and goes back to working the arm. Anderson with shoulders in the corner, but a blown spot leads to more arm work. Koko tags in, and comes off the top with an axehandle. Irish whip, and Koko with a hip toss for a one count. Blanchard gets the tag in, and gets pounded on by Koko for his troubles. Koko slaps on a headlock, and takes Arn over with a head scissors at the same time. Koko hits the ropes and spills out of the ring, thanks to Blanchard pulling the ropes down. Back in the ring, Arn with a snapmare and stomps. Blanchard drops an elbow across the back and slaps on a chinlock. Koko escapes with elbows and plows through Blanchard with a hip toss. Criss-cross sequence, and Koko spills out of the ring, allowing Anderson some cheap shots. Back in the ring, and Arn with a not-so-perfect spinebuster for a two count. Blazer gets the hot JTTS tag, and sends Blanchard flying with a dropkick. Irish whip, and a hip toss to Blanchard, followed by a back drop on Anderson. Blazer with a slam on Blanchard, followed by a missile dropkick. Blazer with a back breaker on Anderson, but Anderson recovers to crotch him on a moonsault attempt. The Spike Piledriver connects behind the referee's back, and the three count is made at 7:08... I would say doing the spike piledriver was illegal, since it seemed like it always happened behind the back, but I clearly remember them doing it at WrestleMania V in full view of the referee. Decent match, but nothing to fawn over.
- Have we mentioned that No Holds Barred, starring WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan, is coming to theaters soon? We get to watch the scene in the parking garage where Hulk Hogan uses wrestling moves to beat up some thugs, which somehow makes the limo driver crap himself in fear. Thankfully, we cut away from the part with the soiled pants... if you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the No Holds Barred review. It will scar you for life.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. King Haku (w/ Bobby Heenan):
It's time for our feature match, and it's pulled from Superstars of Wrestling. Heenan goes off on Duggan for being a cross-eyed moron, and Monsoon just busts a gut laughing the entire time. This is for the crown of King of the WWF, by the way, as if it was a real championship, or something. This match was also recycled for the Best of the WWF Vol. 20 Coliseum Video. For whatever reason, we get an insert promo from The Genius. He doesn't care for Duggan, surprisingly. Lockup into the ropes, and Haku gives a clean break. Duggan gives him a "HOOO!". Haku with a cheap shot following the next lockup, but Duggan comes back off the ropes with a clothesline. Irish whip, and a shoulder block does nothing for neither man. Duggan takes Haku over with a hip toss and knocks his block off with another clothesline. Back in the ring, and the two exchange wristlocks, with Duggan coming out on top of the sequence. Haku rakes the eyes, but it takes two attempts to do damage. There's a Heenan joke for that somewhere. Irish whip is reversed, and Haku whacks Duggan with a clothesline, but misses a senton. Duggan quickly comes back with the big clothesline, and the three count at 3:32 gives Duggan the crown and title of King of the WWF. One could question why such a patriotic and fighter for freedom and justice would want such a title, but it's logic in wrestling. Heenan runs away with the cape and crown, but I'm sure he was forced to give them up to the New King.
- Promotional consideration paid for by the following... Bubblicious, a Taste of Paradise! Mike Ditka uses Peak Anti-Freeze! New Shield Soap! WWF Wrestlemania for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Handheld Game, from Acclaim!
- Gorilla Monsoon promises the coronation of our new king, next week... and that's all. Heenan continues ranting about Duggan as Monsoon bids us farewell.
Final Thoughts: I don't know if it's just me, but the summer/post-WrestleMania months seemed to be very light on the quality matches and features. From this episode, the main feature is a recycled match from Superstars, and the two exclusives are undercard matches featuring the likes of Jim Powers and Koko B. Ware. Even though the quality of wrestling wasn't much, it's still a fun waste of time, it's entertaining to see the bickering between Monsoon and Heenan, and it's always a nice time warp to see what was going on at the time. Don't forget to get your copy of No Holds Barred, while you're at it.
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