The Name on the Marquee: WWF Prime Time Wrestling (12.15.1986)
-Friend sent me a message to notify me that WWE Network quietly uploaded an episode of “Prime Time” that was previously missing from the series that they had up there. We’re backtracking to December 1986, because WWE Network has decided that Wrestlemania III will never get here.
-Originally aired December 15, 1986.
-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan.
TAG TEAM TITLE: BRITISH BULLDOGS (Champions) vs NIKOLAI VOLKOFF & IRON SHEIK (with Slick)
-From Houston. Slick has his arm in a cast, stemming from a real-life incident that happened in a previous house show match in which Matilda chased Slick around the ring and Slick actually broke his arm during the chase. Nikolai demands to sing the Soviet anthem, but protests the presence of Matilda and won’t start until the Bulldogs take her out of the ring just to move this along. Heels get offended by the chants of “USA” and tease going back to the locker room to kill a little more time.
-Davey Boy and Nikolai start. Nikolai connects with some shoulderblocks, but wastes time with a celebratory cartwheel and gets trapped in an arm wringer. Volkoff hammers Davey Boy down and clamps on a front facelock while Slick says he’s filing an injunction against Matilda. Not against the Bulldogs, but against Matilda.
-Dynamite tags in and Nikolai goes to work on his back, which is unpleasant to see with hindsight. Sheik throws him out to the concrete. Pointy boot connects, but Dynamite starts to mount a comeback with an atomic drop and Volkoff has to rush in to stop it. Bearhug is applied as we pause…
-Bobby Heenan gets a phone call, but the phone appears to be broken. And with our concentration sufficiently disrupted, we go back to the bearhug.
-Volkoff shifts down to turn the bearhug into a pin for a series of two-counts. Backdrop by the Sheik gets two. It makes me crazy watching these matches where Dynamite is legit injured but insists on being the partner-in-peril. How is Davey Boy not the guy doing the bulk of the work night after night?
-Sheik goes for a suplex. Dynamite turns it into a snap suplex and makes the tag. Davey Boy cleans house, but Nikolai repeatedly breaks the attempted pinfalls, and the commentators are pointing out how completely ridiculous it is that Nikolai can do that five straight times and think it wouldn’t lead to a DQ. Volkoff tags in and lifts Davey Boy for a slam, but Dynamite flies off the top rope and dropkicks his partner on top of Nikolai for a three-count. This was fine.
-Bobby is still dealing with the broken phone. Gorilla mentions the recent reinstatement of Andre the Giant and pledges to get some actual information from the Brain about that reinstatement hearing.
“The Natural” BUTCH REED (with Slick) vs STEVE GATORWOLF
-Joined in progress from Houston. Reed chokes out Gatorwolf and drops the leg on him, earning a spot in the doghouse and a two. Reed keeps choking away at Gatorwolf, and a neckbreaker gets two. Gatorwolf finally mounts some offense with chops and celebrates with a “war dance” that looks more like he just found out he’s going to play Plinko. Reed cuts off the comeback and finishes with a clothesline off the turnbuckles for three.
-We go to Ken Resnick, who interviews Slick. If you’re a Slick fan this is just the best episode ever.
-Gene Okerlund is with Dr. Bob Ponovich, who is amazed at how quickly Ricky Steamboat is recovering from his career-threatening throat injury. Dr. Ponovich isn’t comfortable clearing Steamboat to return to the ring just yet, however. Squash!
-Gorilla points out that we’ve gone all over the world this week on Prime Time, having already seen matches from Houston, as well as Houston.
“The Rebel” DICK SLATER vs JAKE “The Snake” ROBERTS
-At the start of 1986, this was a Mid-South Wrestling main event, and this week, it’s a feature match on Superstars that exists only to build the Danny Davis story.
-Slater gets the upper hand early on, working the leg and staying on it. Jake tries a leapfrog to get something going but hurts himself because of all the work on the leg. The story here is that Slater is keeping his nose REALLY clean with Davis officiating, and you can see Davis getting visibly frustrated because he can’t find an excuse to screw Slater over.
-Snake goes for a slam but can’t put any weight on his leg. Slater connects with an elbow from the top rope and gets the three-count clean as a sheet…and then Snake puts his foot on the bottom rope, and Davis insists that the match continue. Jake sneaks up with a short clothesline and doesn’t even wait for the DDT, he just gets Damian out right away to do his thing. Slater gets away from Jake and the snake, and then just gets fed up and hiptosses Davis into space. Seriously, Davis takes a BUMP on this hiptoss and it looked like a million bucks. Fast match, but it told a story, and one that actually had a little more thought than the usual Davis-screws-the-good-guy stuff, which Slater actively looking for ways to avoid that.
-Bobby STILL won’t explain anything about his hearing at Jack Tunney’s office in Toronto.
DAN SPIVEY vs MOONDOG SPOT
-Stunning to see Spot here and realized how much he ballooned between here and his SMW run.
-Spot and Spivey lock up and trade arm wringers. Spivey connects with a clothesline that sends Spot to the floor for a retreat. Back in and Spivey stays on the arm. Slam and armdrags by Spivey. Spivey crashes on a corner charge and Spot goes to work with an axehandle for two. Spot launches Spivey out to the floor for two. Back in, Spivey connects with a dropkick for two. Spot sends Spivey into the ropes, but Spivey grabs Spot on his way back and makes it a bulldog for three. This one kinda bored me.
ADORABLE ADRIAN ADONIS (with Jimmy Hart) vs SPECIAL DELIVERY JONES
-From Wrestling Challenge. Adrian has just torn every page out of Gorgeous George’s playbook at this point, including the atomizer and the oxygen tank.
-Adonis throws his jacket at Jones and uses it to attack right away with stomping and raking. Fans start popping like crazy as an angry and inexplicably wet Roddy Piper shows up. Adrian is so surprised that it gives SD an opening to attack Adrian. Adonis mounts a comeback quickly, but can’t take his eyes off Piper. SD rolls him up for two. Adrian throws him out to the floor, and Piper’s tired of waiting. He dashes into the ring and it turns into a brawl. The entire locker room empties out to pull them apart, and holy crap it’s weird to see Nikolai Volkoff in workout pants. Brawl spills into the aisle, but Adonis makes a getaway.
MIKE ROTUNDA vs MOONDOG REX
-They slug it out to start, and Rex takes control with punches and an arm wringer, which is not usually how things go for the heels in a WWF nothing-match. Rotundo fights back with help from the turnbuckles and there are people in the front row visibly reading and having extended conversations with the people behind them as this progresses.
-Side headlock by Rotundo, and he apparently potatoes Rex because Rex is just constantly checking his nose for the next minute or so. Rotundo applies a chinlock as this match just lays here and dies. There’s one guy in the front row with four seats to himself yelling “LET’S GO!” as Rex takes his turn at a chinlock. Rex misses a corner charge and Rotundo finally does the airplane spin to put a bullet in this horse.
ISLANDERS vs MAGNIFICENT MURACO & COWBOY BOB ORTON (with Mr. Fuji & Jimmy Hart)
-Orton starts with Tama. Tama leapfrogs a few times and chops him down, and he gets pinballed by the Islanders with some headbutts before retreating and tagging Muraco. Muraco runs into a series of chops and they work the arm. Bruno Sammartino, on commentary, finally says something a full three minutes into the bout.
-Muraco finally gets things going and applies a chinlock. Tama teases a comeback but gets mowed down by a clothesline. Orton connects with a dropkick and plants him into the mat from the top rope. Ridiculous cut here as they go back to the studio literally as the referee is counting one on a pinfall attempt.
-Back from commercial, Haku breaks at two, so this is one damn slow referee. Tama makes a comeback and gets some offense in before tagging Haku, which is a nice change of pace from the usual hot tag, honestly. There’s no rule that says every tag match needs the same formula.
-Haku noggin-knocks his opponents, but puts his head down for a backdrop and gets booted. Double shoulderblock leaves both men laying, but Muraco recovers immediately and tags, another nice change of pace from the usual formula. Orton arrogantly strolls into the ring slowly because Haku is so badly hurt…but he walks TOO slowly and Haku actually is able to make the hot tag! Ha! I love the way they’re mixing stuff up in this match!
-Tama whips and backdrops Orton. Bodypress sends both men very gradually rolling over the top and onto the floor, and we have a double-countout cop-out. This was pretty fun while it lasted.