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WWF @ The Meadowlands Arena
by Scrooge McSuck
May 8, 1989
Originally brought to us on May 8th, 1989, televised on what I'm assuming was the MSG Network. Anyone else notice that in 1989, the WWF took a hiatus from MSG during the months of May through August, and not including SummerSlam being on PPV and coming from Jersey, the other three months featured shows on the MSG Network from the Meadowlands? Just a curious observation. By the way, Tony Schiavone and Lord Alfred Hayes are calling the action.
Opening Match: The Blue Blazer vs. Mr. Perfect:
What, no Jim Powers vs. Iron Mike Sharpe to open things up? I'm disappointed (just kidding. I'm not). We've got a WrestleMania V ReMatch! Lockup and Perfect takes the Blazer over with an arm drag, followed by a hip toss and fireman's carry. Whip to the corner is reversed, and the Blazer takes Hennig over with a hip toss and slam, then sends him to the floor with a dropkick. Back in the ring, the Blazer grabs a side headlock. Criss-cross sequence ends with Blazer taking him over with an arm drag. Scoop slam and a dropkick sends Perfect back to the floor. This time the Blazer follows him out with a baseball slide and comes off the top, only to miss an axehandle. Perfect throws him back in the ring, snapmares him out of the corner, and floats over with a neck snap. Perfect with a standing dropkick, knocking the Blazer through the ropes. Whip to the ropes and Perfect slaps on an abdominal stretch. Unfortunately for Mike Rotundo, he doesn't use the ropes for leverage. Perfect with some bitch slapping to cheese off the Blazer. Charge to the corner meets boot, and Blazer greets him from the top rope with a missile dropkick. Blazer with a series of uppercuts and a dropkick. To the top, a fist drop connects, but only gets two. Whip to the ropes and Blazer with a back drop. Perfect over-sells uppercuts in spectacular fashion. Blazer with a knee lift and back breaker for two. Blazer with another missile dropkick. Whip to the ropes, and Blazer drops Hennig on top of his head on a powerslam attempt. Perfect hangs him up with a Hot Shot, and finishes with the Perfect-Plex at 10:55. Ugly spot near the end aside, a decent opener. Not anything mind blowing when you think of the potential the match had, but satisfactory.
- June 2nd, 1989... No Holds Barred comes to Theaters. Complete with soundbite of "What's That Smell!?!" The only good thing about this movie is Joan Severence, but it's kind of a kids movie... I guess, so we can't even have gratuitous nudity.
Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Blink and you'll miss Bret Hart's second attempt at a singles run, before finally going off on his own in the Spring of 1991. It's kind of like a WrestleMania V ReMatch, minus Neidhart and Honky (a.k.a the two crappy workers). I 'capped this one on the Christmas episode of PrimeTime the same year, so here we go: Lockup to start, and we get a clean break. Lockup #2, and this time Valentine with a shove. Lockup #3, and this time Bret shoves Hammer down. Valentine tries to boot him, but Bret catches it and connects with an atomic drop. Bret heads outside after Jimmy Hart, but he's smart enough to avoid a sneak attack from Valentine, hammering away on him on the apron. Bret with a snapmare, followed by an elbow drop. Bret drives an elbow to the top of the skull, then applies a chinlock. Valentine takes it into the corner, and they exchange some stiff blows. Bret staggers Valentine with a bionic elbow and a headbutt, and a dropkick finally puts the Hammer down. Whip to the corner, but Valentine hits the post on a charge attempt. Back in the ring, and Bret takes Valentine over with an arm drag, then applies an armbar. Valentine with a slam, but Bret holds onto the armbar. Valentine tosses Bret out of the ring, while Jimmy Hart trash talks him.
Valentine finally brings Hart back in the ring, and drops a series of elbows, followed by some choking. Valentine hammers away on Bret in the corner, then whips him hard across the ring. Valentine pounds away on the back of Hart, then covers for a two count.Valentine covers again for another two count. Valentine applies a chinlock, then opts to rake the eyes. Valentine with a small package for a two count, followed by a headbutt to the midsection. Valentine tries pinning down Bret by the wrists, but Bret won't stay down for the three count. Bret gets the knees up in between the legs of Valentine, and now both men are down. Valentine quickly nails Bret with a stiff clothesline, then scoops him up for a back breaker. Valentine heads to the second rope, but he ends up missing an elbow drop. Bret hammers away with rights, and Valentine eventually takes a face-first dive to the canvas. Bret with a scoop slam, followed by a leg drop. Bret with a beautiful snap suplex for a two count. Irish whip, and Bret with a fist to the midsection, followed by a roll up for another two count. Bret with a side back breaker, then he heads to the second rope for an elbow drop, but here's Mr. Perfect to create a distraction. Valentine nails Hart from behind, then nails an elbow to the back of the head. Valentine stomps away on the knee, then he turns the Hart Breaker around. Bret blocks, kicking Valentine off into the corner, then covers for a two count as the bell sounds at 18:44 for a Time Limit Draw. Not as good as I was expecting it to be, but it was still a decent little match. I still don't understand the run in from Perfect. I know he was working shows with Bret around the time, but I don't recall an angle between the two on television to make sense of it all.
Tito Santana vs. Rick Martel (w/ Slick):
Yes, we have one of the earliest encounters of the Strike Force Wars! Remember, it was at WrestleMania V where miscommunication turned Martel to the dark side, and Santana into a human punching bag for the Brain Busters. Martel attacks Santana during introductions and wraps the leg around the post for good measure, so the match will take place later in the show... They worked the same angle at the show in Boston a week or so prior.
Hillbilly Jim vs. The Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Ew. Sorry, it's premature, but this is going to suck. No introductions, probably because both theme songs cost money this week. To the surprise of a wrestling fan just waking up from an eight year coma, the Honkytonk Man stalls. The only good thing about HBJ was that around this time, his involvement in the product meant a bit more variety. Other than that, I can't think of much positive. Four minutes in and we've yet to see a lick of action. Jim does a cartwheel to avoid a back drop and chases Honky to the floor following a punch. Back inside, Hillbilly grabs a headlock and hops around like a demented bunny rabbit. I hate comedy matches... most of the time. The AC must be broken, 'cause Hillbilly is sweating like a pig from doing nothing. He grabs a bearhug, but Honky somehow fights free and pummels HBJ down with axehandles. He rams a series of knees to the back and grabs a chinlock. Jim offersa comeback, but his back is in so much pain that he can't complete a slam. Time to retire if that 15-seconds of work makes it impossible to slam someone who weighs barely north of 200 pounds. Whip to the ropes, Jim with a big boot for two. He goes for Jimmy Hart, allowing Honky to hit him from behind with a knee and roll him up for three at 9:29. Ugh... do I honestly have to say how bad this was? And as I expected, the show cuts away as Honky's theme starts playing.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
"Ravishing" Rick Rude © (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. The Ultimate Warrior:
The graphic incorrectly lists this as a "WWF Title Match" and Rude as the "WWF Champion." Smarks of the era must be wetting themselves over it. We've got another WrestleMania V ReMatch! Warrior hits the ring and quickly sends Rude to the floor with a clothesline. He rams him into the ring apron on all four sides of the ring. If this were a goofy rules Strap Match, we'd have a new Champion. Warrior to the top rope with an axehandle for two, then goes to the bearhug. Rude goes to the eyes to escape, and Warrior retaliates in the same manner. He sends Rude back and forth to the corners, traps him in the tree of woe, and stomps away at the midsection. Rude avoids a charge to the corner, climbs the ropes, and comes off with an axehandle. Warrior mule kicks out of an unusual pin attempt, then slams Rude off the top rope. Warrior comes off the ropes for a splash, but meets the knees. Rude pounds away with a flurry of rights. Whip across the ring is blocked and Warrior plants him with a slam. He goes to the top rope, but he's already hit something, so it's no surprise Rude crotches him for taking his time and mouthing off to Heenan. Rude connects with a piledriver for two, then slaps on a chinlock. Warrior fights free with elbows, but a knee to the midsection slows him down again. Rude works the midsection, snapmares Warrior over, and sits across the back with another chinlock. Warrior rams his head into the junk to fight his way back to his feet. He throws Rude into the corner and presses him into the air for a chest-first landing. Warrior with a series of clotheslines, followed by a piledriver. Heenan helps pull him to the floor, and Rude takes the Count-Out loss at 9:55. Decent match with a lame (but neccessary finish), but Rude was still working on the formula of getting a really good match out of the Warrior.
- Sean Mooney is hanging around to get interviews from Rick Martel and Slick, The Twin Towers and Slick, and finally Demolition.
Jim Powers vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:
... COME ON! Really, do I have to? I'm saying it right now. I REFUSE to sit through another Jim Powers vs. Mike Sharpe match after this. You would think, after wrestling each other a good 600 times, these two would have good matches. HA! Sharpe offers a handshake, but Powers is skeptical. Despite being around for over four years, Hayes insists Powers is inexperienced. Being a jobber and being green are two different things, Alfred. Powers with a dropkick, sending Sharpe to the floor for some stalling. Sharpe horribly misses a dropkick in a cute spot... if you couldn't tell, I'm being very selective with match details. Guess what happens next... if you said "Test of Strength", you win! The prize: The match continues. I don't know why, but Sharpe's loud bellowing and over-selling his own offense is quite amusing to me. Powers fights free and goes to work on the arm, but that only lasts a brief moment, as it's been all Mike Sharpe, tonight. Powers mounts his big comeback by ramming Sharpe to the buckle ten times... TWICE! Whip to the ropes and a dropkick gets two. Whip to the ropes again, and a powerslam gets three at 10:40. Okay, there, I'm finished. No more Powers and Sharpe.
The Red Rooster vs. The Brooklyn Brawler:
Would you consider this a WrestleMania V Fall-Out Match? I'm pretty sure the angle was dead at this point in television time, but they've got to keep running house shows for a little while longer, so there you go. Shoving match to start, then they exchange blows. Rooster with a jaw buster to take control, and blink or you'll miss it, but the Brawler actually has a Brooklyn Dodgers shirt on. First time EVER. Criss-cross sequence, and Rooster with a slam for two. Rooster slaps on a wristlock, and works that for a while. Brawler escapes, but misses a charge to the corner. Rooster with a short-arm clothesline and knee drop for two. Rooster works a hammerlock this time. Brawler escapes and dumps the Rooster to the floor. He returns to the ring to return the favor, but a follow up attack sees him get a taste of the ring post. Back inside, and the Brawler controls the match with the most electrifying rest hold in sports entertainment... the chinlock. He throws in a few punches and forearms to change up the offense. Rooster fights free, but I guess a slam attempt is too much for him, allowing the Brawler to land on top for two. Rooster surprises Brawler with a small package for a two count. Rooster with an atomic drop, followed by clothesline. Whip to the ropes, and Brawler counters a back drop with a kick to the chest. Whip to the corner, and Rooster surprises Brawler with a sunset flip for the three count at 8:57. Well, I guess they could've gone with a back slide for a more generic finish to this match. Rooster had a few moments of decent action, but this was pretty boring, and half of it was Brawler's chinlocks.
- Brother Love comes out for reasons the Fast Forward button can't explain. Seriously, I don't care. I'm just skipping through until ZEUS shows up. I guess he was making the rounds before his "surprise" appearance on Saturday Night's Main Event later in the month? There's another ten minutes of wasted time.
Tito Santana vs. Rick Martel (w/ Slick):
Okay, let's try this again. Santana is selling the knee still, so expect him to job (well, that and the fact he lost every match against Martel). Martel has no entrance music, nor has he adopted the "Model" gimmick, yet. Santana tries to pull Martel in the ring, but Martel sweeps the legs and rams the knee into the post. Martel controls with plenty of working of the left leg, mostly with kicking. He undoes the magic bandage and drives a series of knees into the left knee. Santana blocks being sent to the buckle and instead introduces Martel to it. He unloads with rights, pounding him down in the corner. The referee gets in the way, allowing Martel to sweep the legs and roll Santana up, with feet on the ropes too, for the three count at 3:22. Well, that was ridiculously short. Was Santana working with an injury, or did they figure they could put on a good match, so give them as little time as possible and work around an injury angle, too.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
(Ax & Smash vs. Big Bossman & Akeem)
Demolition © vs. The Twin Towers (w/ Slick):
No introductions shown, which is a shame because of the two kickass theme songs the teams used, but this should be fun. I made reference to this before, possibly the May 1st Copps Coliseum show, but this was my Hasbro Dream Match come to life. Smash and Bossman start. It's a slugfest, and we should expect plenty of that in this encounter. Bossman greets him off the ropes with an elbow, but Smash no-sells. Bossman goes to the eyes and sends Smash to the corner. Smash greets him with a boot, and the Champs use him as a ping-pong ball, knocking him back and forth. Demolition with double-team clubberin' to drive Bossman down to the canvas. They take turns working over the arm. Akeem tags in for the first time and pounds away. Smash goes for a slam, but it doesn't go well in his favor. Whip to the corner is reversed, and now it's Akeem who gets worked over by both members of Demolition. Akeem over-sells it with some funky jive dancing. There's goofy and then there's ridiculous. This would fall under the latter. Akeem goes to the eyes and tags out to the Bossman, but dammit if Demolition won't be dined.
The Towers finally take over, sandwich'ing Ax between themselves. Slick gets his token cheap shot in as Akeem comes crashing down across the back of Ax. Just for shits and giggles, Bossman does the same. Ax no-sells being choked with the tag rope and rams Akeem into the ring post. Unfortunately for him, Bossman greets him rolling back in the ring with a chinlock. Whip to the corner, Bossman follows in, and Akeem piles on for a double avalanche. Akeem shakes his fanny at Ax, confusing Schiavones and Hayes on commentary. Akeem with a snapmare and settles into a chinlock. Akeem's rump shaking continues. Ax escapes with a VERY lazy looking jawbuster, but the Towers keep him from tagging out. Bossman with a slam and Akeem follows up with a splash. Akeem does the butt shake again, but this time Ax rolls him up from out of nowhere for two. Akeem and Bossman miss their double avalanche and Smash FINALLY gets the hot tag. He goes to work on both men like a house of fire. He sends Bossman to the floor with a clothesline, and a double clothesline takes out not only Akeem, but the referee. They double Stun Gun Akeem, and here comes Bossman, nightstick in hand, and it's a Disqualification victory for Demolition at 15:17. You could argue the clothesline knocking the referee down should've been the finish, but whatevs. Match was pretty much all punchy-chokey, but for nostalgia, I still found it watchable.
Final Thoughts: Nothing really stood out this time around as "oh my God, you have to see it", but we've got a pretty deep card. Demolition/Towers, Warrior/Rude, Bret/Valentine, Blazer/Perfect, and even to a lesser extent, Santana/Martel bring something to the table, whether it be for the sake of nostalgia or because it was a program at the time that meant something. When the only true negatives were the two bottom of the card matches and a Hillbilly Jim comedy match, you can't really complain. Overall, a decent way to kill a couple of hours.
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