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WWF at Sam Houston Coliseum
by Scrooge McSuck
October 9, 1987
Photo credit: Geoff Winningham
We're in the Sam Houston Coliseum with the unlikely trio of Bruce Prichard, Mike McGuirk and "The Duke of Dorchester" Pete Doherty calling the action unless otherwise noted. This show is begging to be watched on mute.
Sam Houston vs. Barry Horowitz:
We could've drawn a worse opener than this. Did Iron Mike Sharpe miss his flight? This is from the old "Classics on Demand" service, so we've got ridiculously dubbed music for Houston. One of these days I'll research "Sam Houston" that the building is named after and why there's a wrestler named "Sam Houston", and today will not be that day. Houston does a two-step to frustrate Horowitz. They do a lengthy crisscross sequence until Houston takes Horowitz over with an arm drag. Lockup to the corner and Horowitz with an elbow to the body. Whip across the ring and Houston with a pair of arm drags. Horowitz counters the arm bar with a head-scissors and again hides in the corner. Wow, these three on commentary have ZERO chemistry. I think three random people off the street could do better. Houston with a cartwheel to avoid a back body-drop and goes back to the arm bar. Crisscross and Houston with a cross body press for two. Horowitz offers a handshake and Houston FALLS FOR IT. Horowitz sends Houston face-first to the canvas but gets straddled climbing the ropes. Houston brings him down with a snap mare and grabs a wristlock. Whip and Horowitz nails Houston with a thrust-kick. Horowitz puts the boots to him and connects with a knee across the chest. Houston teases a comeback, unloading with left jabs and a right hook. Horowitz blocks the bulldog, but Houston comes off the ropes and hits it on the second try for the three-count at 8:17. Simple, basic opener. *
Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. Nikolai Volkoff:
Poor Volkoff doesn't have Slick with him, so you know he's in real trouble. Bigelow made his national TV debut a few weeks earlier, snubbing Slick's offer and beating Volkoff in his first match. Wow, even Prichard acknowledges that match! Bigelow sweeps Volkoff off his feet and drops an elbow across the left knee. Lockup to the ropes and Volkoff takes advantage of Bigelow's sportsmanship. Bigelow shrugs off Volkoff's strikes and sends him out of the ring. Back inside, Bigelow goes to work on the arm. Volkoff escapes with a rake of the eyes. Whip and Bigelow with a shoulder block. What a sorry a$$ "bump" from Volkoff. They keep trading blows. Whip to the corner, Bigelow avoids the charge by flipping to the apron and finishes Volkoff with a slingshot splash at 3:37. Might as well have been a match taped for syndication. Volkoff's one-trick pony act dies as soon as the bell rings and is hardly the man to make Bigelow look like a future World Champion. ½*
"Special Delivery" Jones vs. Boris Zhukov:
OH MY GOD, NOT BORIS ZHUKOV. Jones is introduced from "The West Antigua in the Indies", wherever the hell that is. Somehow, that might be the high spot of the match. Lockup and Zhukov's head impresses McGuirk. Jones snaps Zhukov over, who complains that Jones used the singlet for unfair leverage. Whip and Zhukov with a shoulder block. Jones with another hip toss, followed by a slam. Zhukov takes control with a shot to the throat and boots to the back of the head. Zhukov doesn't waste time slapping on a chin-lock, using the ropes for leverage. Jones escapes but is caught with an elbow to the back of the head. Jones battles back and goes to the eyes like a true hero. Zhukov gets sent to the turnbuckle and he begs off. Whip and Jones with a back body-drop. Jones keeps grabbing the beard. I can't tell if Zhukov has spastic lips or he's calling spots. Zhukov regains control and grabs another chin-lock. Jones escapes and lays Zhukov out with a headbutt for two. Whip to the corner, Jones meets the post and Zhukov finishes with a headbutt to the chest at 6:30. Wow, BORIS ZHUKOV won a singles match. It stunk. ½*
WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. "Million $ Man" Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil):
Woah, HOGAN made the trip to Houston?! Well, we've got a pre-intermission title defense, so you know we're getting a cheap finish to build a rematch next time they're in town. Dibiase's heat is off the charts with the crowd, though according to sources, that heat didn't translate into ticket sales when running the loop with Hogan (not to say he was a bad draw, but it wasn't lighting the world on fire). Before the bell, Dibiase wants to humiliate Hogan by offering money to one of his Hulkamaniacs to do something demeaning. Hogan interrupts, giving Dibiase and Virgil a double noggin knocker. Hogan with right hands and an atomic drop, sending Dibiase over the top rope. Back inside, Hogan blocks a cheap shot and throws more rights. Whip to the ropes and Hogan with the big boot before sending Dibiase to the floor again. Hogan works the arm until Dibiase yanks the hair to turn things around. Hogan returns the favor, stomps Dibiase's foot, and comes off the ropes with a clothesline. Virgil picks the ankle, allowing Dibiase to attack from behind and regain control. He sends Hogan into the turnbuckle and pounds away at the midsection. Snap mare and Dibiase with a stomp across the face. He comes off the ropes with an elbow and grabs a chin-lock. Hogan escapes with elbows and comes off the ropes with a pair of shoulder blocks. He goes for a third, but Dibiase cuts him off with a knee lift. Dibiase with a series of drifting fist drops for two. Hogan kicks out with authority and starts HULKING UP. Hogan with right hands and a big boot. Virgil hops on the apron and gets decked. Hogan with a scoop slam and leg drop but Virgil with another distraction. Dibiase pops up immediately (AFTER TAKING THE LEG DROP) to clothesline Hulk over the top rope. Hogan pulls Dibiase out and they brawl. Hogan sends Dibiase back in, but then Virgil sends Hogan into the post and the referee counts him out at 9:51. I'm still befuddled that Dibiase didn't sell Hogan's finisher for longer than a few seconds. Dibiase tries celebrating with the belt, but Hogan doesn't appreciate it. Despite the loss, Hogan does his posing routine. Good match that didn't overstay its welcome. ***
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Honkytonk Man (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Hillbilly Jim:
Oh GOD, please be short. I don't have any fun talking points, I just want this to end as soon as possible. The bell rings and Honky bails out of the ring. Whoops, my bad, the bell rings a second time, and Honky bails AGAIN. That's amazing commitment to a ring style. Jim does a cartwheel in what might be the high spot of the match. He chases Honky around the ring and gets caught with soft knees to the side of the head. Honky goes for the arm but Jim counters with a wristlock. Jim shrugs off some rights and hits an atomic drop. Whip to the ropes and Jim catches Honky in a bearhug. Honky rakes the eyes to break free. Jim catches him charging into the corner with a head-scissors and whacks him with his leg. Jim with a scoop slam but he misses an elbow drop. Honky keeps Jim on the canvas with a seated chin-lock. Honky misses a fist drop, opening the door for Jim's comeback. Whip to the ropes and Hillbilly with an elbow. Jim misses a charge to the corner and blows the roll-up, but Honky somehow cradles his arms and STILL hooks the denim of his overalls to steal the three-count at 7:19. Post-match, Honky and Jimmy Hart keep attacking Hillbilly Jim until Randy Savage makes the save. This match was terrible, but Honky saving the finish keeps it in the positive range. ¼*
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine:
Depending on the level of motivation, this could be boring or the second-best match of the night (which isn't saying much with the competition for that honor). The random color combination of Beefcake's tights, tassels, and forearm covers are driving me crazy. Beefcake with the first strike, hitting Valentine with an atomic drop and straddling him on the post. Whip to the corner and Beefcake with a suplex for two. Beefcake unloads with mounted rights but gets nailed in the opposite corner with a forearm. Valentine comes off the second rope with a double axe-handle and unloads with elbows to the back of the head. Beefcake fights out of the corner with right hands, giving Valentine a chance to take his face-first bump to the canvas. Valentine quickly recovers, using the tights to send Beefcake into the turnbuckle. Whip to the ropes and Valentine with an elbow. He applies the Figure-Four Leg Lock in the center of the ring, but Beefcake gets to the ropes for the break. Valentine goes for it again, but Beefcake sends him into the turnbuckle. Beefcake gets the better of another slugfest. Sleeper is applied, but Valentine gets to the ropes. Beefcake reapplies the hold, even with Valentine halfway through the ropes. POOR SPORT. Valentine leads Beefer on a chase around the ring and uses the high ground in the ring to take control. He brings Beefcake in with a back suplex and it's that dumb finish where the guy using the move is down while the guy taking the move rolls his shoulder, so Beefcake gets a tainted victory at 8:32. The crowd was into it, and Valentine did what he could. *½
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Killer Khan (w/ Mr. Fuji):
I can safely say I've probably covered less than 5 Killer Khan matches in all the years I've done this. Even though he hung around for about 6-7 months, it feels like Khan's run was mostly unremarkable. Lockup into the ropes and Savage gives a clean break. He's a good guy now, after all. Khan with chops and a short whip into the corner. He sends Savage across the ring but misses a knee. Savage gives Khan a taste of the turnbuckle and knocks him off his feet with a spinning elbow. Khan backs Savage into the corner to break a front face-lock and drives a series of knees into the midsection. Fuji with the cane across Savage's throat as Khan distracts the referee. Fuji's done more work than Khan so far. Back inside, Khan stomps across the lower back. Savage kicks off the ropes to counter an overhead back breaker. He comes off the top rope with a double axe-handle for only a one-count. Khan with a reverse thrust kick. He misses the mist, allowing Savage to roll him up for three at 4:40. From what research I've done, they loved doing that spot with Khan taking the loss. *
2 out of 3 Falls Match: The Killer Bees vs. Demolition (w/ Mr. Fuji):
Final match of the night. This match, of the thousands of options in the vault, was dusted off for the "Allied Powers" DVD set dedicated to the best tag teams in WWE history. At this point, neither team was doing much of anything other than filling a spot on the card. Fall #1: Doherty tries making fun of the Bees by calling them Wasps, but he's either a moron or trying to play the ignorant heel. I'm going with the former. Brunzell and Smash start. Smash catches Brunzell off the ropes and punishes him in the corner. Brunzell avoids a charging elbow, and the Bees take turns working the arm. Now it's Blair caught in a bearhug, but he escapes with an ear smack. Ax in, pounding Brunzell to the canvas like a stake. Brunzell cuts him off, but Ax is having none of that and levels him with a forearm. Smash tags in to do the selling for the Bees' arm-oriented offense. Ax goes to the eyes of Blair and takes him into his corner with a snap mare. Smash overpowers Brunzell, but gives him the high ground, allowing Brunzell to dive off the ropes with an elbow for a near-fall. Ax and Smash remain in control, cutting the ring in half. Blair gets the tag and finds himself in the same predicament. He chops Ax down with low kicks and Brunzell is in to work the leg. I wish there was more to say, but they're working a simple formula. Blair applies a Figure-Four but Smash saves. Heck breaks loose, Blair meets knees for a splash and Ax covers for three at 9:01. I don't know, after all the damage done to the knee, I don't like that decision, even with Ax still selling the leg after the count is made.
Fall #2: As per the rules, Ax and Blair must start the next fall. Ax tries hiding on the apron, but the Bees aren't having any of it. Blair slips out of a slam and throws more kicks at the damaged knee. The Bees give Ax a Wish Bone and Brunzell goes to town with a spinning toe hold. Blair with a roll-over cradle for two. The Bees with a blind tag, allowing Brunzell to nail Smash with his signature drop for three at 1:41. WOAH, BRUNZELL PINNED SOMEONE ABOVE JOBBER WITH IT.
Fall #3: This one is for all the marbles, and maybe what leftover mad caps I have (not to be confused with Madcap Moss, which will be a dated reference 5-months from now). Brunzell doesn't waste time putting the pressure on Smash and hooking a sleeper. Smash back peddles into the turnbuckle to force a break. Brunzell reapplies the hold and Ax saves this time. Ax with clubbing blows across the back. Brunzell goes after the leg, forcing Ax to tag out immediately. Whip to the ropes and Brunzell counters a back body-drop attempt. Blair with lefts to the body, followed by a spinning elbow. He sends Smash to the corner and meets the knee charging in. Blair gets dumped, allowing Ax to get some extra work on the floor. Back inside, Demolition continues pounding Blair in a puddle of goo. Blair surprises Ax with a small package for two but he's still firmly on the defensive as Ax and Smash take turns with nerve holds and chin-locks. Ax cuts Blair's comeback off with a drop toe hold and Smash in with an elbow drop for two. Whip to the ropes and Blair rocks Smash with a diving forearm. Blair gets to his corner, but the referee misses the tag! Smash meets the turnbuckle on a missed charge and this time Brunzell's tag is allowed. He runs wild on Ax with right hands and a clothesline for two. Whip and a dropkick but Smash saves. Heck breaks loose with all four men in the ring. The Bees hit Smash with a double elbow. Ax clotheslines Brunzell from the apron with Fuji's cane, allowing Smash to score the third and deciding fall at 7:13. This turned into a heck of a match, though the Bees' traditional (methodical) style might not be for everyone. One of the best Demolition matches, too. ***½
Final Thoughts: Two above-average matches will always be a good score for this era. There's a handful of bad matches, but the bad is kept reasonably short. The real deal breaker is the AWFUL commentary from Prichard, McGuirk and ESPECIALLY Doherty. Since I don't recommend watching a show on mute, I can't give this show a recommendation at all, unless you're cool with listening to one of the worst trios around.
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