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WWF Championship Wrestling- May 24, 1986
by Scrooge McSuck
- Hosted by Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino, taped on May 13th from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. New taping cycle means new Superstars and maybe a hot angle in the coming weeks. This week, the Killer Bees take on Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik in the Feature Match, as well as the debut of Handsome Harley Race! Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat will be in action, and many others, so let's go to ringside!
Mike Rotundo & Dan Spivey vs. Steve Lombardi & Paul Christy:
Oh God, I just finished watching the latest episode of TNT
, and now I'm stuck watching Christy AGAIN. Wait a minute... Mike Rotundo is back (making his first appearance since December '85)! AND THEY'RE STILL USING "BORN IN THE USA"! Oh, and Barry Windham has been replaced by Dan Spivey, so try not to remember Windham ever existed. Anyway, back to Christy: He's at the advanced age of 47 at this point, and in the twilight of his in-ring career. I can honestly say I've never seen his work in any other promotion. Fink introduces Rotundo with emphasis on the "O", but the graphic reads "Rotunda." HOW HARD IS THIS JOB? Spivey starts with Lombardi and gets caught in a headlock. Whip to the ropes and Spivey with a hip toss, followed by a deep arm drag into the arm bar. Rotundo in, coming off the top with an elbow and taking Lombardi over with a fireman's carry. Vince says Lombardi is one of the most improved competitors in the WWF. WHAT?! Rotundo with a slam and Spivey with a clothesline. Spivey with a slam of his own but misses an elbow drop. Christy tags in and throws some rights, looking about 18 inches shorter than Spivey. "U-S-A" chant in a match with four Americans, none based further West than Chicago. Whip and Rotundo and Spivey with a double dropkick. Whip and Rotundo sends Spivey into Christy with an elbow. They try another "team spot" that looks much worse. Spivey with a cross body press, but he ends up in the ropes. Lombardi gets the tag and Rotundo (sweating bullets after 2-minutes of work) catches him off the ropes with the Airplane Spin. Spivey with the tag, hitting a slingshot splash for three at 3:57. They tried to look like a cohesive unit, but clearly need more matches to get their timing down.
- UPDATE with "Mean" Gene Okerlund. Woah, they stopped using "Power of Love." This week's topic is King Kong Bundy. Recently, he was the focus of a great deal of attention at WrestleMania 2. He met Hulk Hogan in a Cage in Los Angeles but was unable to defeat the Hulkster for the WWF Heavyweight Championship. We get to see clips of the finish, possibly for the first time on syndicated television. The segment is interrupted by a stage assistant walking through with cleaning supplies. WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THAT ENDING? Between this bit and the latest episode of TNT, I'm starting to get tired of Okerlund's performances. I know, that's sacrilege, but he's treating everything as a joke.
"Handsome" Harley Race (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. John Centeno:
The in-ring debut for Race, the former 7-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Race is one of countless men who insisted they would never work for Vince McMahon after the National expansion, but here we are, with Race a 26-year veteran at this point and this turned out to be the tail-end of his in-ring career, though that had less to do with his age but an unfortunate in-ring injury accelerating the countdown. Heenan being instantly assigned to Race might be an attempt to guarantee a negative reaction, since Race's biggest runs were in the Central and Southern territories. Lockup and Centeno grabs a side headlock, only for Race to counter with a back suplex. He measures Centeno and drops a knee across the face before tossing him out of the ring. Race follows, throwing the poor geek face-first into the guardrail. Back inside, Centeno throws a few rights, but Race cuts him off with a headbutt and takes him down with a swinging neck breaker. Race drops down with a headbutt across the chest and hits a shoulder breaker. Vince and Bruno discus the "Handsome" nickname as he finishes Centeno with a piledriver and slingshot brain-buster suplex at 3:09. The nerve of Centeno putting up a fight, looking like he was trying to kick out. Good work in the ring from Race, which isn't much of a surprise.
- Ken Resnick standing by to promote the show coming to the Boston Garden later in the day. We know all the major matches but added to the under-card is "Leaping" Lanny Poffo vs. Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and Scott McGhee vs. Hercules Hernandez. Nikolai Volkoff is here to cut a promo on Corporal Kirchner.
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Ron Shaw:
Steamboat is rocking a shorter haircut, as we found out on TNT. He's all business, and he's out for revenge on Jake "The Snake" Roberts. We haven't seen much of Shaw lately. Lockup and Shaw grabs a side headlock. Whip to the ropes and Steamboat catches him with a powerslam. He tosses Shaw out of the ring and unloads with chops before rolling him back in. Steamboat with chops across the forehead, followed by a standing heel kick. Snap mare out of the corner and Steamboat grabs a chin-lock. Bruno Sammartino has downgraded the injury Steamboat suffered to a "mild concussion." Whip to the ropes, Steamboat slides between the legs and throws more chops. Vince McMahon warns the youngsters watching, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Steamboat with a swinging neck breaker, followed by the hangman's neck breaker. Whip and Steamboat with a diving chop to the throat. He climbs the ropes and finishes with a flying body press at 2:49. I'm all in on pissed off Ricky Steamboat. Maybe he's done wasting time in random tag team squashes. Steamboat's headband never came off for the duration of the match.
- Ken Resnick is standing by with Hulk Hogan to promote his match with the Macho Man at the Boston Garden.
Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake (w/ Johnny Valiant) vs. George Wells & Mike Saxon:
Good to see Mr. Wells recovered from frothing at the mouth at WrestleMania 2. He'd stick around through August, but this is one of Wells' final televised appearances, and he doesn't look like the happiest man in the world during introductions. Wells and Valentine start. Lockup and Valentine with a shove to the corner. Valentine grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle and clothesline. He drops the elbow and covers for barely a one-count. Bobby Heenan is back to announce that ANDRE THE GIANT HAS BEEN SUSPENDED BY THE WWF. HE DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER SHOWING UP OR HAVING REPRESENTATION AT THE HEARING. Wells makes his comeback, planting Valentine with a slam and hitting a diving clothesline. Valentine goes to the eyes and takes him over with a snap mare. Beefcake in, missing a fist drop. Wells gives him a slam and hits another clothesline. Saxon tags in and it's all down hill from here. Beefcake with a slam on Saxon and Valentine comes from the top with a double axe-handle. Valentine with a suplex and the Figure-Four Leg Lock finishes at 3:04. It was nice of Valentine and Beefcake to give so much shine to Wells.
- Jimmy Hart and "Adorable" Adrian Adonis are standing by from the Flower Shop with guests The Magnificent Muraco and Mr. Fuji. Adonis is sporting a sunhat and veil, among his other feminine attire. Muraco arrives with flowers. He says Adonis has a sparkling and bubbling personality that goes with his savage and viciousness. Adonis says they both have the same problem, a Mr. Awful and Cartoon Champion. Muraco sounds like he's smoked a couple of cartons of cigarettes before coming out for the interview. So far, these Flower Shop segments aren't doing anything but encourage nasty chants from fans and keep Adonis out of the ring.
- The big appearance from Hulk Hogan, as promised last week, is a recycled interview from Saturday Night's Main Event, followed by the "Real American" Music Video.
The Killer Bees vs. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Fred Blassie):
How can they give this match away on syndicated television when they can easily throw it on a Pay-Per-View and book it to have a cheap non-finish there? The Bees come out with their masks on, and again remove them before the bell. WHY?! Brunzell and Volkoff start. THIS SHOULD BE A HUMDINGER. Volkoff with a knee to the body and axe-handle across the back. Whip to the corner and he misses a charge, allowing Brunzell to go to work on the arm. Whip and the Bees with a double elbow for two. Brunzell with a sunset flip for two. Brunzell is easily distracted by the Sheik, allowing Volkoff to take control and choke him out with the tag rope. Sheik in with a whip and clothesline. Brunzell fights to get to his corner but the referee misses the tag. Brunzell eventually scurries to the corner... and exits the ring. WHAT THE HELL WAS THE POINT? Oh, they put the masks on. That's why! Blair clearly comes in and pounds away. Whip and he hooks the abdominal stretch. Brunzell makes the illegal switch, annoying Volkoff. Blair switches back and hooks a sleeper, prompting another save from Volkoff. Whip and a clothesline from Blair for two. Volkoff pulls Sheik out and they choose to take the count-out at 4:51. Good, the Bees were cheating to the point of ridiculousness.
- Ken Resnick with one more promo set for tonight's Boston Garden show, with words from Corporal Kirchner and "Macho Man" Randy Savage on their respective matches.
NEXT WEEK: "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff! Jake "The Snake" Roberts! George "The Animal" Steele! Corporal Kirchner! The Funk Brothers! The Magnificent Muraco and Bob Orton! AND MORE!
Final Thoughts: The new taping cycle definitely gave us something to work with, including the return of Mike Rotundo (but not Barry Windham, so here's Dan Spivey) and the debut of Harley Race. They're pushing Steamboat vs. Roberts pretty hard, so I expect that to be a B-Circuit headliner or co-Main Event on the house show loop. The Bees masked confusion gimmick is just that... confusing. How is that supposed to get them over? By being cheaters who can't even win the match via pin or submission? Great strategy. The biggest news is the alleged suspension of Andre the Giant, but Vince and Bruno refuse to accept it on Heenan's word alone.
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