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The Name on the Marquee: WWF Wrestling Challenge – April 1987

July 7, 2009 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: WWF Wrestling Challenge – April 1987  

-When everything your company does is built toward a single event, the downside is you pretty much have to start from scratch afterward. How did they cope with that problem in 1987? Let’s find out…

-Originally aired April 5, 1987.

-We’re still in Columbus, OH.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan. Bobby is still a little freaked out about the upcoming first installment of “The Ken Patera Story.”

-Iron Mike loses his temper with Mel Phillips for forgetting to say “Canada’s Greatest Athlete.” Bobby Heenan says Haku & Tama are native words for “Dumb” and “Stupid,” which is weird given their impending turn. Islanders offer a pre-taped challenge to the Hart Foundation and warn Danny Davis to stay out of their way.

-Haku slams both jobbers and the Islanders atomic drop their opponents into each other. Arm wringer on Sharpe by Tama, but Sharpe makes the tag and Navarro takes control with forearms. Tama comes off the ropes with a chop and makes the tag. Uppercut by Haku and a great-looking dropkick. Heenan says that “You have to be agile when you’re a tree-jumper.” And that’s your champion for Weirdest Slur Ever.

-Enziguiri to the external occipital protuberance by Haku and Navarro tags in Sharpe. Tama comes in with headbutts but gets hammered down by the suspicious arm brace. Navarro tags back in and gets slammed down immediately. In comes Haku with a clothesline. Suplex by Haku, top rope splash by Tama for the three count.

-Craig DeGeorge talks to Randy Savage, who looks irate and promises no more Mr. Nice Guy, so “if you want to put on some pink tights and see the difference, then do it!” Okay, then.

-Gene Okerlund recites some of Patera’s collegiate accomplishments as newspaper clippings flash across the screen. We see photos of Ken lifting weights at the Pan-Am games and the 1972 Olympics. We look at a “TNT” clip from 1984 where Ken shows off his medals and does a few feats of strength. We also see him competing in tag team action with Big John Studd. What nobody knew at the time was that his connection to Bobby Heenan would take Patera down a tragic road…To be continued…

HONKY TONK MAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. SIVI AFI
-Heenan is furious about what he just watched and wonders why Patera is resurfacing after he “retired” two years ago. Honky Tonk Man cuts a pre-taped promo explaining that he’s carrying a guitar to the ring now because if Jake Roberts can bring a snake, then certainly he has a right to bring a guitar.

-Slam and a diving headbutt by Afi to start off hot, but Honky rallies with a clothesline. Elbow by Honky and he chokes Afi over the top rope. Honky snaps Afi’s neck over the top rope. “We want Jake!” chant goes up as Afi attempts to mount a comeback with chops and punches. Honky blocks a monkeyflip and Heenan actually beats Gorilla to the punch in noting that he went to the well one too many times. Shake, Rattle, and Roll finishes, although Bobby Heenan calls the move “Heartbreak Hotel,” which really SHOULD be the name for a finisher. Post-match, Honky sings and dances for the fans. I love Gorilla’s passive-aggressive disgust for the guy (“Oh…I guess we’re going to see him dance after all…”).

-Gene Okerlund talks to Outback Jack, who commends Outback Jack for his recent weight loss. Jack credits Hulk Hogan for suggesting a diet and training regime that helped him drop about ten pounds.

-Bobby Heenan notes that Haynes has “Oregon” printed on his jacket, his tights, and his boots, theorizing that he does that so he can get mailed back to his mother’s house whenever he gets lost.

-Gladiator starts off with kneelifts and clubbing forearms, and Haynes fires back with his own, then adds a chop for good measure. Into the corner of our screen comes Butch Reed, who chastises Haynes for not being natural.

-Series of chops by Haynes, who never seems to be in a good mood. The guys seems born to be a heel; why was he never seriously pushed as one? Full nelson finishes off the Gladiator.

-Gene Okerlund has a word with Paul Roma, who says he’s seeking bigger and better competition because he wants to “climb the plateau.” Best of luck, Paul.

KAMALA (with Mr. Fuji & Kimchee) vs. SAM CODY
-Oh, happy day, no more Wizard promos! Oh, wait, one for the road, I guess, as we see the Wizard hand over the reins to Fuji before the match. Kamala is wearing green paint instead of his usual white for this match, which is one of those minor things that shouldn’t faze you, but you see it and it’s all you’re able to think about for the entire match. The jobber for this match, by the way, looks every day of 50 and has a beard that makes Moondog Spot’s look like mere peachfuzz.

-Series of chops and savage, uncivilized hiptosses by Kamala. Slam and a splash by Kamala, but he’s feeling it this week and goes up top to finish with Air Uganda.

-Jake’s guest this week is Blackjack Mulligan, who says he has a surprise for Jake…They’re WWF Ice Cream Bars! Jake says it’s fine for little kids, but big guys like WWF wrestlers don’t eat ice cream bars. Blackjack says that’s nonsense. His entire family loves dipping them in barbecue sauce. Jake has a bite and decides that he likes the ice cream bars and leaves with Mulligan to get some more. By the way, an ice cream vendor drove by my apartment complex a few days ago and my jaw dropped because one of the pictures posted on the freezer was a WWE Ice Cream Bar with Chris Jericho on it. Vendor said he was all out, but I was curious enough to Google, and hard as it may be to believe, they still make the damn things! They’re not widely distributed however, but for God’s sake, if anybody has any idea how to get a case of them delivered to a third-floor apartment in Glendale, CA, please let me know.

-Hiptoss by Bass, followed by an elbowdrop. Series of knees to the gut, and Bass just hammers Mirto in the corner as the commentators build up the perfectly natural Mulligan-Bass feud that never got paid off for some reason. Rear elbow shot to the jaw is enough to take out Mirto and give Bass the win. I like how Bass is basically called a newcomer by Monsoon and Heenan despite being there for about six months now, and the reason is more or less that they still hadn’t found anything to do with him.

-Mean Gene Okerlund files a report from the empty Silverdome, giving the complete results, along with stills and brief clips.

-Outback Jack tries to go swimming in a public fountain and gets busted by a security guard.

GREG VALENTINE (with Dino Bravo & Johnny V) vs. JERRY ALLEN
-Through the miracle of pre-recorded television, Dino’s hair is black again. Brutus Beefcake comes in and promises a nightmare, now that the Dream Team is finished.

-Snapmare and an elbow by Valentine. Allen gets some token offense and hits the monkeyflip for two. Another snapmare by Allen, but Valentine counters a corner charge with an inverted atomic drop. Suplex by Valentine and the figure four finishes.

-Jimmy Hart brings in Danny Davis, who’s glad he got fired from his referee gig because he’s ready for competition.

-Let’s go to next week…

-Originally aired April 12, 1987.

-We’ve moved on to Phoenix, AZ.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan.

-I don’t think we can emphasize enough how fabulous Las Vegas truly is, and I’m glad Barry O is able to set Mel Phillips straight about it. Matilda chases the heels out of the ring as Danny Davis drops in to say that he’s ready to meet Tito or either Bulldog one-on-one.

-Tito starts with Barry O and the faces trade off to work the arm. O sends Davey Boy into the ropes but gets caught in a flying bodypress. Davey Boy goes right back to the arm and brings in Dynamite. Dynamite rams O into Davey’s boot and Tito tags in. JJ Funk enters the battle and gets caught in a side headlock. Davey Boy pulls him off and suplexes him. Double elbows by Tito and Davey get a two-count. Slam by JJ and he tags in Barry O, who in turn tags in the Gladiator, whose singlet at long last matches his mask. Davey Boy tags in and rams Gladiator into Dynamite for a headbutt. Backdrop by Davey Boy, and a flying forearm from Tito secures the victory.

-Brutus Beefcake is carrying Adrian Adonis’ hair in a plastic baggie and now that he’s messed up the hair, Beefcake is going to mess up his big fat mouth.

“The Natural” BUTCH REED (with Slick) vs. SIVI AFI
-Afi ducks a punch and Reed retreats to the corner before anything can happen. Afi armdrags him and Reed complains to the referee. Slick vows revenge against Tito Santana for ruining his threads at Wrestlemania.

-Back to the ring, Reed chokes Reed over the top rope and faceplants him with a handful of hair. Reed tosses Afi to the floor. Back in the ring, Reed Irish whips Afi and misses the charge. Afi mounts a comeback but gets wiped out by an elbow. Press slam by Reed finishes.

-Gene Okerlund talks to the Rougeau Brothers about the formation of the New Dream Team. The Rougeaus want revenge, and they want it “the honest way, the way our father taught us.” Beware the rolls of quarters, Dino & Greg.

-We get words from Brutus Beefcake, who promises to make life worse for Adrian Adonis. Then the clock hits 6:00 am and “I Got You, Babe” starts playing on the radio.

-Bees start the match with their masks. “Bee #1”, according to Monsoon, applies a hammerlock on Renslow. Arm-wringer is broken by a shot to the eyes from Renslow. He walks into a punch from Bee #2 and Wagner gets bodyslammed on top of his partner. Heels go out for a breather. Back in, Renslow falls victim to a double-elbow and an atomic drop. He gets fired into the turnbuckle as Wagner tags in. He gets stung for a two-count and Renslow accidentally elbows him while making the save. Gorilla & Bobby have a funny exchange where they admit that they can’t tell the difference between Wagner & Renslow, either. Bee #2 connects with a dropkick (so he’s definitely Brunzell) and gets the three-count.

-Steve Lombardi tells Paul Roma not to bother showing up because he won’t be able to do anything.

-Gene Okerlund hosts this segment wearing a black suit and sitting in a black room, making this segment as creepy as is humanly possible. Wrong move when you’re trying to push Ken as a face.

-Anyway, Ken Patera was a great athlete, but Bobby Heenan turned him into an angry monster. Yes, he got financial reward and accolades under Bobby Heenan’s tutelage. But Bobby Heenan’s guidance also led him…here: (Ken Patera, in a prison uniform, watches the bars slam in his face.) To be continued…

KING HARLEY RACE (with Bobby Heenan) vs. JIM YOUNG
-So the Brain isn’t there to offer his rebuttal for the moment. He will, however, demand that the fans bow to his majesty. Young throws a punch and Irish whips Race. Race clotheslines him down and suplexes him. Elbows by Race as Outback Jack, of all people, comes in to say that Australia has never had any kings, and Harley looks more like a queen.

-Right back to the match and Harley finishes with the cradle suplex.

-“He who imitates evil always goes beyond the example set. He who imitates good always falls short.” Good lord, that’s profound.

-Outlaw Ron Bass comes out and blah blah blahs for a few moments before Jake shuts him up to ask about Blackjack Mulligan. He challenges Mulligan and Jake says he shouldn’t be hard to find because Blackjack is bigger than a breadbox. ****YAY, GAME SHOW REFERENCE!!~!!!1!”****

-We go to Superstars of Wrestling, where Hacksaw Jim Duggan is battling Iron Sheik. Nikolai Volkoff attacks him on the floor with Slick’s cane, bloodying him until the Killer Bees make the save. Hacksaw Jim Duggan jumps over the barricade and marches through the crowd, leading a “USA” chant while covered in blood. It’s a memorable image, I’ll give them that.

-A little later, Volkoff & Sheik beat the crap out of Ricky Hunter, who is supposed to be wrestling Volkoff in a singles match. They toss him out of the ring and Volkoff starts singing the anthem, but Duggan arrives with his head wrapped in bandages and clears the ring with the 2×4.

-Johnny V has sold Demolition’s contract to Mr. Fuji to concentrate on guiding his New Dream Team.

-Demolition sort of cock-blocks Poffo by making their entrance during the poem. Fuji’s face is painted for the first time. I always thought facepaint was a cool look for him because of the visual contrast: a classy-looking tux combined with war colors. Gorilla says that Fuji’s new look is “very Kabuki-like,” which is an interesting choice of words, and accurate regardless of how you look at it.

-Ax pounds down Anderson and in comes Smash to slam him. He tosses Anderson across the ring and in comes Poffo. He gets shoved down but kips up and throws punches. Smash whiffs a backdrop and Ax comes in to slam Poffo down. Smash & Anderson tag in and Smash punches and pounds the chest. Decapitator finishes.

-Gene Okerlund talks to the Can-Am Connection. Tom Zenk says he’s so excited and happy, thanks to “the stuff we use.” Well, good.

See you next week!…Which is now!

-Originally aired April 19, 1987.

-We’re still in Phoenix.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan.

-Howard is a dead ringer for Ross from “You Can’t Do That on Television.” Koko does something a tad heelish, ducking lock-ups from Howard to frustrate him and then hiptossing him. Danny Davis warns Koko that he’ll stuff Frankie down his throat.

-Koko blocks and reverses a turnbuckle shot. He traps Koko in the corner and takes control with punches and an elbow. Backdrop is countered by punches and Koko connects with a rear elbow. Howard misses a charge into the corner and eats a missile dropkick. Ghostbuster finishes for Koko. Will Howard want to mess with Koko again? I don’t know. (Splat)

-Rougeau Brothers vow revenge against Dino Bravo for costing them the match at Wrestlemania III.

-The little girls in the crowd love the jobbers. They actually get some promo time in the upper corner box.

-Powers & Bravo trade arm wringers and Bravo gets worked over in the corner. Roma rolls him up but Dino makes the tag on the way down and Valentine attacks. Roma attempts to roll him up and Valentine blocks, then drops an elbow. Shoulderbreaker by Valentine and a suplex for good measure. Elbow by Bravo misses and Powers comes in throwing punches. Dropkick and a slam by Powers; he slams Valentine for good measure. Johnny V gets involved from the outside and Dino hits the side suplex. Valentine comes in and locks in the figure four to get the submission.

-Gene Okerlund talks to the British Bulldogs. They vow to climb the ladder again and take the belts back from the Hart Foundation.

-Gibbs tries a shoulderblock to start but gets knocked down. Punches by Duggan followed by an atomic drop. Duggan rams Gibbs into the turnbuckle as Slick vows that Nikolai Volkoff will sing whenever he wants.

-Hiptoss by Duggan, then a kneedrop and he applies a headlock. Gibbs fights to his feet but gets clotheslined down. Suplex by Duggan nearly finishes, but he pulls Gibbs up to apply a chinlock. They take turns pulling hair until Duggan clubs him down and drops the elbow. Spinning bodyslam by Duggan and the three-point stance clothesline finishes.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Mr. Fuji & Demolition. Ax calls Mr. Fuji “the doctor of sick.” Isn’t that ANY doctor?

HONKY TONK MAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. JERRY ALLEN
-Jimmy Hart comes to the ring with a “BAN THE D.D.T.” picket sign. Allen gets the early advantage with an Irish whip and a dropkick. Back suplex by Honky turns the tide as we get pre-recorded words from Jimmy Hart, clarifying that Honky isn’t really afraid of the DDT, it’s just that the move is awfully dangerous. You know, to OTHER wrestlers.

-Honky takes it to the floor and drops Allen throat-first over the barricade, setting up the Honky Tonk Man-Jerry Allen classic at Wrestlemania IV. Back in the ring, Honky goes to the eyes and clotheslines Allen down. Shake, Rattle, and Roll finishes. And if you want to ban the DDT, send a postcard to Stamford, CT immediately.

-Elizabeth nervously talks about how insane Randy Savage has been acting since he lost the WWF Intercontinental Title.

-Ricky & Bonnie Steamboat announce that they have a little dragon on the way. That kid’s old enough to buy beer now…I need a nap.

-Craig DeGeorge tries to talk to Randy Savage. He vows that the Dragon will fall and he will get his title back.

-Blackjack Mulligan warns Outlaw Ron Bass to stay away from him.

-Jake moves at a breakneck pace with a back suplex and a slam. He sends Wolfe to the floor and tosses him back in the ring. He tosses him out through the other side and slams him on the floor. Wolfe tries to mount some offense but gets caught in a short clothesline. Jake offers a pre-recorded threat vowing not to give up the DDT.

-Jake punches Wolfe down. DDT finishes and Damien does his thing post-match.

-One night in Wisconsin, a hungry Ken Patera went to a fast food restaurant and was denied service. A melee ensued between Patera, a number of police officers, and a co-defendant. Despite the fact that rapists were able to plea bargain, Ken Patera was sentenced to a whopping 18 months in prison. Ken Patera says he accepts full responsibility for his actions, and then without taking a breath, blames Bobby Heenan for being a bad influence on him.

-Johnny V takes over commentary duties as Bobby Heenan again conveniently disappears during these segments.

HERCULES (with Bobby Heenan) vs. TOMMY SHARPE
-Hercules hammers down Sharpe as Billy Jack Haynes drops in and threatens to take Hercules apart link-by-link. Elbows by Hercules and he slaps & taunts Sharpe. Funny moment as Sharpe puts his hands behind his head and walks toward Hercules, as if legitimately wanting to just finish the match and go home, but Hercules keeps pounding him and tosses him to the floor. He suplexes Sharpe back into the ring and finally fulfills Sharpe’s wishes by locking in the full nelson, and that’s it.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Jimmy Hart, who has open contracts signed and waiting for the Hart Foundation & Danny Davis.


-Originally aired April 26, 1987.

-One more time from Phoenix.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan.

-Martel and Lombardi start, with Martel dodging Lombardi’s offense with a cartwheel. Martel gets caught in the heel corner and Lombardi accidentally decks Sharpe. Zenk comes off the top rope with a missile dropkick and Martel gets a two-count from that. Mr. Fuji is forming a tag team with Kamala & Sika and warns the Can-Ams to be afraid.

-Back to live action, Sharpe misses a corner charge and Zenk wrings the arm. Lombardi grabs Zenk’s hair from the apron and Sharpe capitalizes. Zenk gets double-teamed in the corner. Lombardi hits a backbreaker for two. Sharpe comes back in and he collides with Zenk. Both sides tag and Martel backdrops Lombardi. Sharpe gets taken off the apron with a dropkick. Lombardi goes into the turnbuckle and Zenk surprises him with a powerslam. Slingshot splash finishes things, and it’s another good week for the Can-Ams.

-Brutus Beefcake mangles a promo, referring to Adrian Adonis as “a huge truck.”

-Haynes shoulderblocks Lee and goes for a flying bodypress, but Lee sidesteps it. Chops by Lee as Hercules lets us know that he’s going to chain up Haynes. Back to the ring, Haynes reverses an Irish whip and Lee sells it with a Flair flip. Backdrop by Haynes, followed by a suplex. Full nelson scores the submission.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Honky Tonk Man & Jimmy Hart about the Ban the DDT campaign. Gene argues that fair is fair and Shake, Rattle, & Roll should be banned, too.

-Hillbilly Jim & Outback Jack talk about critters.

HART FOUNDATION (Tag Team Champions, with Jimmy Hart & Danny Davis) vs. JOE MIRTO & NICK KINISKI
-Post-Wrestlemania III, Davis got treated so strangely, as they gave him that gigantic victory for his debut and then proceeded to keep him out of the ring for TV tapings for the next six months. Danny cuts a promo saying that he’ll be at ringside for the Hart Foundation to prevent referees from behaving in a prejudicial manner.

-Anvil starts with Kiniski and gets tied up in an arm wringer. Bodypress by Kiniski gets a one-count and Mirto tags in to work the arm. Anvil goes for the eyes and slams Mirto down. Bret tags in and drops an elbow from the second rope. Anvil attacks from the apron. Anvil tags in and Bret takes his turn attacking from the apron. Anvil works Mirto over in the corner. Uppercut by Bret and Anvil adds one of his own. Hart Attack gets the pin.

-Koko B. Ware and his windbreaker are ready for Danny Davis!

-It’s face vs. face at this point. Crowd actually seems to side with the Islanders. Raymond and Haku start. It turns into a fistfight quickly and Raymond connects with a Thesz press for two. Jacques tags in and applies a side headlock. Criss-cross leads to a sunset flip by Haku for two. Armdrag by Haku and Tama tags in. Jacques catches him in a monkeyflip and Tama hides in the corner before tagging.

-Both sides tag and Haku wrings Raymond’s arm. Tama comes off the top rope with a forearm. Double chops on Raymond. He tries to come back with a sleeperhold, but Haku flips him over to break the hold. Haku goes crashing into the corner and Raymond locks in the sleeper again, and this time he has a little more success with it. Tama comes off the top rope to break the hold. Headbutt by Tama. Raymond tries a sunset flip but gets a chop between the eyes. Double headbutts by the Islanders. Bodypress by Raymond gets a two-count. Chops by Haku and a thrust kick. In comes Tama and he faceplants Raymond for a near-fall, but Jacque breaks it. Raymond makes the tag and Jacques connects with a dropkick. Kneedrop and a slam get two. Abdominal stretch by Jacques is broken by a chop from Haku. Brawl erupts and spills out to the floor and we have a double-count out. Really good TV match.

-This week’s guest is Hacksaw Jim Duggan, a man who “does things a little bit differently…a little bit special.” Straight from that, Duggan comes out and gets right in Damien’s face to yell “HOOOOOOOO!” He apologetically explains that he was going to bring something for Damien to eat, but somebody told him that he wasn’t allowed to do that on TV. Duggan goes on a nonsensical rant about discotheques and zodiac signs while Jake tries to hold back his laughter.

-Mr. Fuji feeds a raw fish to Sika. Kamala freaks out and tries to grab the fish for himself.

KAMALA & SIKA (with Mr. Fuji & Kimchee) vs. SD JONES & ALEX KNIGHT
-Sika starts with Jones. Arm wringer by Jones. Sika fights it off but gets punched. Kamala tags in, leapfrogs Jones, and kicks him down. Knight comes in as the Can-Am Connection challenges Kamala & Sika to a match next week. That didn’t take long.

-Slam by Kamala and he splashes Knight to get the three-count.

-Gorilla starts to introduce the Ken Patera Story and Bobby Heenan storms off angrily.

-Gene Okerlund stands outside the prison as Ken Patera takes his first steps as a free man. We cut to Ken Patera psychotically blaming Heenan for “selling me down the river” (HOW?) and training like a sumbitch. He looks GREAT here, but his push stalled, he stopped caring, and he proceeded to age about ten years by the end of 1988.

-Steele attacks right away and sends Cortez from turnbuckle to turnbuckle. Flying hammerlock gets the submission.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Johnny V and the New Dream Team. With Brutus Beefcake out of the way, there’s no limit for them!

That’s it for the month of April. See you at Game Show Utopia.

The 411: Well, they were ready and raring to go, with a returning star, a new star, stars turning, and most importantly, yummy ice cream bars. If there's any nit to pick about this month of shows, it does strike me as a little odd that the two singles champions have vanished into thin air. Other than that, it was a good month.
Final Score:  6.7   [ Average ]  legend

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Adam Nedeff

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