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

October 4, 2009 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: WWF Wrestling Challenge – September 1987  

-When we last left off, the managers were having a tug-of-war for Bam-Bam Bigelow’s contract, Paul Orndorff fired Bobby Heenan one more time, and the Honky Tonk Man was bragging just a little too much for a certain ex-champion’s comfort.

-Originally aired September 6, 1987.

-We’re in the Cow Palace of San Francisco.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and the Federettes. Bobby chases the Federettes away, noting that they filled their most important duty, walking him to the table.

-A hilarious shot opens the show, with a fan holding up his vanity license plate, reading “A (blurry letter-blurry letter-blurry letter) FAN.”

HONKY TONK MAN (Intercontinental Champion, with Jimmy Hart) vs. JERRY MONTI
-Gorilla Monsoon talks about an interview Honky did last week where he declared himself “the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time” and notes that Pat Patterson & Pedro Morales were bothered by it, but the guy who’s REALLY pissed about it, from what he’s heard, is Randy Savage.

-Monti tries an arm wringer, but Honky boots free and dances to celebrate while Jimmy Hart gripes about Hulk Hogan being on the cover of the Piledriver album instead of Honky.

-Monti continues getting hammered in the corner and Honky drops a fist from the second turnbuckle. He tosses Monti to the floor and keeps punishing him. Monti gets back into the ring and starts to mount a comeback with punches, but he makes the mistake of putting his head down and Honky capitalizes. Shake, Rattle, and Roll finishes, although Monti kicks out at the three-count to make it look like a fluke victory. We have to protect Jerry Monti, you know.

-This week, Jesse Ventura breaks the news to Bobby Heenan. Heenan hits the roof about getting screwed by Paul Orndorff last week and now by Bam-Bam. In comes Slick to celebrate because he’s the only manager left in contention. Next week, he promises the debut of Bam-Bam Bigelow. That’s the end of that controversy, unless there’s some other manager that we’re forgetting about.

-Martel starts with Gibbs as Gorilla mentions that their song, “Girls in Cars,” is his favorite cut on Piledriver. I can’t help smiling at that thought.

-Bodypress by Martel gets two. He monkeyflips Gibbs and armdrags him. In comes Tito to work the arm as Bruno Sammartino offers complimentary words on the new team. Bobby speculates on how long Santana will stick with Martel before quitting like the other guy.

-Strike Force works the arm of Lombardi. Martel ‘ranas him and Tito goes back to work on the arm. Santana gets caught and the jobbers get a heat segment, but Tito is able to throw a punch hard enough that Lombardi can’t stop him from making the tag. Martel dropkicks everything in sight and pins Lombardi.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Rick Rude about Paul Orndorff’s departure from the Heenan Family. Rude says that “Orn-Dwarf” was going to be fired, got tipped off about it, and saved face by firing Heenan first.

-Ken Patera shows the cast he has on his arm, courtesy of the Heenan Family. Patera doesn’t know when he’ll be back, but he’ll get rid of the entire Heenan Family once he’s back. You know, like he said he was going to do four months ago.

-Gang hammers Anderson down as Gorilla compliments Slick for surprising him with his talent on “Jive Soul Bro,” which Bobby thinks is a cover of an old Kate Smith song. Jack Tunney announces that Gang’s 30-day probation period is over, following his assault on a referee.

-Gang elbows Billy down and clubbers like a mofo. Gang crushes Anderson in the corner over and over and over again. Gourdbuster finishes. Seeing the force of the move leads Gorilla to speculate that the 450-pound Gang is actually over that 500-pound mark.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Leaping Lanny Poffo.

“Mister Wonderful” PAUL ORNDORFF (with Oliver Humperdink) vs. REX FARMER
-Heenan is too angry to hang around and watch, so he leaves the broadcast table while Orndorff just beats the holy hell out of Farmer, throwing him out of the ring and ramming him into the timekeeper’s table. Back in, he faceplants Farmer and stomps him until grape jelly starts leaking out. We get pre-recorded words from Humperdink, boasting that Orndorff has a better body than Rude.

-Irish whip and a dropkick by Orndorff. He signals for the piledriver, and the crowd reaction is pretty telling, as about half pop for it and the other half totally sit on their hands. Three turns in three years completely burned the fans out on the guy. Anyway, the piledriver is enough to finish, whether the crowd cares or not.

-Bobby Heenan runs onto the interview platform and runs down Orndorff for turning on him. Orndorff totally ignores him and just leaves the arena without incident. Heenan then demands the crowd’s respect and admiration as he introduces the returning Andre the Giant. Andre is booed out of the building and leaves in a huff, without saying a word.

-Starr actually mimics Beefcake’s heel act, dodging a lock-up and strutting. Starr goes after Beefcake’s eyes and gets rammed into the turnbuckles in retaliation. Powerslam by Beefcake, and he finishes with the sleeper in short order. Beefcake shears and spraypaints Starr after the bell.

-Tama chops Gatorwolf and applies a side headlock early on, but Gatorwolf hiptosses and slams him. In comes Haku with a clothesline and a slam. In comes Jesse Ventura for some reason to put over the Islanders as the #1 tag team in the WWF.

-Back to action, Haku clotheslines Cortez. Elbow by Tama and he knocks Gatorwolf off the apron for good measure. Double diving headbutts finish things.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Slick about paying $1200 for his suits, and Slick manages to whip out “Exacatively!” before bringing in Butch Reed to deny accusations of sneak-attacking Superstar Billy Graham. “I didn’t Pearl Harbor him! The fool just forgot to turn around!”

-Something next week this way comes…

-Originally aired September 13, 1987.

-We’re in the Cow Palace, which would be a great name if Gary Larson ever decides to establish his own church.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan. Heenan shows off the new WWF Magazine with him on the cover.

-WWEClassics.com version unfortunately removes a full-scale riot breaking out in the crowd after Graham throws his t-shirt to the fans. Graham clubs Patterson down in the corner, then faceplants him a few times. Graham is so weak that he can’t even hold onto the bearhug anymore, and the referee has to pretend that ramming a guy into the corner over and over again qualifies as a submission hold and gives Graham the win.

-Ax axes away at Ketchum and slams him. Smash tags in and rams Ketchum into the turnbuckle, then puts the boots to him. Smashing blows to the sternum by Smash, and Ax returns to elbow Ketchum down. Hard slam by Smash and Ketchum has finally had enough. Smash shoulderblocks Ataki and Ax steps in to put the boots to him. Decapitator finishes.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Junkyard Dog, congratulating him for climbing the ladder again after hitting rock bottom. JYD says Butch Reed’s a true brother, but he doesn’t know what’s got into him with the way he’s behaving towards Billy Graham. He also says he suspects that Virgil got hired because DiBiase is trying to compensate for the wife that left him. Wait, what?

-Sharpe drops Roberts down right away, and then retreats, apparently taking the quite-while-you’re-ahead approach. Roberts takes his shot and dropping him down and Sharpe complains about hair pulling. Arm wringer by Roberts, and he takes out a leg for good measure. Jake makes a wish with Sharpe and stays on the leg. Sharpe tries to fight back with chops, but Jake chops back. Jake charges but runs into a knee and Sharpe goes to town again with hard blows to the kidney area. He puts his head down and Jake capitalizes with a kneelift. Short clothesline leads to the DDT, and Damien does his thing.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Hercules. Billy Jack Haynes got taken out…Ken Patera got taken out…Hulk Hogan, you’re next!

“The Million Dollar Man” TED DIBIASE (with Virgil) vs. LEAPING LANNY POFFO
-Poffo calls DiBiase a jerk in his poem, which goads him into charging, and Poffo ducks, causing DiBiase to crash into the turnbuckles. Poffo really IS a genius, by god. Backdrop and a pair of dropkicks by Poffo, and DiBiase gets the hell out of the ring. He walks off the pain and gets back in. He goes right to work with kneelifts and shots to the stomach. Irish whip by DiBiase and he hits a backdrop of his own. Elbow from the second rope and a series of elbowdrops get two when DiBiase yanks Poffo up by the hair. We get pre-taped comments from fans saying that they don’t have a price for the Million Dollar Man.

-Powerslam by DiBiase, and he finishes with…a spinning toehold? Huh. Chalk up a victory to the Million Dollar Funk.

-Honky Tonk Man is the guest and he gets pelted with garbage from every direction. DeGeorge talks about the “greatest Intercontinental Champion” claim and Honky couldn’t give a damn what Savage thinks. He can’t sing, he can’t dance, and worst of all, his manager is a woman!

-This comes to us courtesy of “(Mute) Superstars (Mute),” and this time, Craiggers is talking to Slick & Nikolai Volkoff. Slick proudly introduces his newest acquisition, Bam-Bam Bigelow…And Oliver Humperdink comes out instead. And he insists that HE wants to proudly introduce Bam-Bam Bigelow. Bam-Bam walks out and Slick offers him five. Bam-Bam refuses and tells Slick and his commie friend to leave. Nikolai calls him an ugly American and Bam-Bam punches right off the interview platform. You’d think this was leading to a feud, but no, we’re going to pay that off as fast as we can…

BAM-BAM BIGELOW (with Oliver Humperdink) vs. NIKOLAI “Company Man” VOLKOFF (with Slick)
-Volkoff tries to attack at the bell, but Bam-Bam no-sells it and punches him right over the top rope. Volkoff tries shoulderblocks and they’re all no-sold. Bam-Bam wipes out Volkoff with a shoulderblock of his own and punches the piss out of Volkoff. Volkoff tries to go for the eyes, but Bigelow slugs back and headbutts him down. Diving headbutt as Slick screams, “What’s going on?!”

-Shoulderblock by Bigelow, and then an elbow to the head. Volkoff goes for the eyes and bites Bigelow. Skullcracker topples Volkoff, and Bigelow props him up just to dropkick him right over the top rope. Volkoff goes back in and just gets headbutted and headbutted and headbutted until he goes back to the floor again. Back inside, Bigelow punches him, and Volkoff goes to the eyes again. Irish whip is dodged by a forward roll, and Bam-Bam headbutts and punches Volkoff simultaneously to KO him and get the three-count. Bam-Bam’s Ass, meet Rocket Ship to the Moon. Rocket Ship to the Moon, meet Bam-Bam’s Ass.

-Davey Boy & Dynamite remind you to take your dog to the vet now and again.

-Merciful mother of god, Danny Boy is finally wrestling a TV match! Well, you know the old saying, “Strike while the iron hasn’t wrestled on TV in six months.” Davis charges at his opponents and the Harts hold him back, which is pretty damn funny. And this seems totally out of nowhere, but everybody on the heel side is having a bad hair day. Seriously. Danny Davis promises us in a pre-tape that we’ll be impressed.

-Anvil starts with Casey and he gets his arm worked over by the jobbers. Anvil comes back by tackling Schmidt, and in comes Davis with a boot, followed by a boot. Uppercut by Davis, and then an uppercut. Oh, so THIS is why they kept him off TV.

-Hart tags in and hits a backbreaker on Schmidt, then brings Danny back in for an elbow drop. Anvil tags in and slams Schmidt. The Harts slingshot Davis back in for a splash on top of Schmidt, and that gets the win.

-Gene Okerlund talks to King Kong Bundy. “Paul Orn-dwarf is a midget! No offense, Gene.”


-Originally aired September 20, 1987.

-One more go from the Cow Palace.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby “The Cover Boy” Heenan. Gorilla tells us not to judge a book by its cover, and even though Heenan is on the cover, WWF Magazine is still pretty good this month.

-Screw the match, the Piledriver album is coming out on Monday! Well, I guess we’ll talk about the match anyway. Specifically, how the Killer Bees remind Gorilla of the song “If You Only Knew.” Oh, definitely. Gorilla & Bobby get into an argument about whether or not the Brain is in the album, and this is one of the rare occasions that the Brain is right, because he’s one of the voices belting out “If You Only Knew.”

-Uh, anyway, the Killer Bees do moves to the fat Shadow, and then the thin Shadow tags in and doesn’t last long. Just like how the Piledriver album won’t last long in the record stores, especially with the holidays right around the corner. You know it’s going to make a great gift!

-Thin Shadow gets some offense in and Fat Shadow takes advantage with a backbreaker. Brunzell does a heelish move, grabbing a leg from the apron to break the hold, and Blair makes the hot tag. Brunzell cleans house and hits the dropkick. In comes Blair, and the Bee Sting finishes, even though the Shadow kicks out at three.

-A recap of the Battle for Bam-Bam and Oliver Humperdink’s triumph. All of the losing managers vow revenge on Bam-Bam for screwing them over.

-Nickel is built like Rick McGraw, four and a half feet tall and every inch of it is steroids. Khan isn’t intimidated and goes to work on Nickel’s eyes before chopping him down. Thrust kick by Khan as a “Hulk!” chant erupt. Nickel takes a faceful of green sputum, drawing protests from Gorilla, who thinks it will cost him the match, but Heenan reasons that Nickel is inexperienced, so he was green to begin with. I love you, Brain. Kneedrop from the top rope finishes.

-Gene Okerlund talks to the Rougeau Brothers. They love competition, and that’s why they’re so happy in the WWF.

-Strike Force is happy about “Girls in Cars,” coming this Monday as part of the Piledriver album. Oh, is that coming out?

-Crowd doesn’t quite know how to take to Muraco, and he doesn’t look quite comfortable playing face yet. He got better at it quickly. Takedown by Muraco, but Lee fights back with chops and elbows. Here’s Cowboy Bob Orton, vowing to make Muraco’s island crumble.

-Back to the ring, where Lee is putting the boots to Muraco. Muraco comes back with a clothesline and a snapmare. Series of punches and a powerslam by Muraco, and he calls for the piledriver. Crowd seems to be warming up to him as he finishes off Lee and takes the win.

-Gene Okerlund has a word with Superstar Billy Graham. I think it’s weird the way that guy aged about 30 years between 1978-87, but if you look at him now, he looks exactly the same.

-This is kinda wasted on a show like Challenge, especially with two guys like Boone & Jones among the jobbers who usually got offense in their matches. A ten-minute version of this on Prime Time Wrestling would be pretty good, but we’ll probably get three…Oh, wait, Rude does his robe routine…two minutes, then.

-Wolf is the first jobber to get his ass handed to him and he tags in Ryder. Race slams him down as Andre the Giant comes in to tell us he’s proud of the Heenan Family.

-Back to the ring, where Rude is powerslamming Ryder and doing a celebratory pose. Here comes Bundy with a clothesline. Rude comes back in and slams Ryder down. Fist from the top rope fini—no, wait, Rude gets up at two just to be a dick. Hercules stomps Ryder from the apron as Bundy tags back in and avalanches Ryder. Elbow gets a five-count. Boone & Jones never even tagged in. Who the hell did Ryder piss off?

-This week’s guest is Ken Patera. He trash-talks the Heenan Family on their way to the locker room and vows revenge for his arm injury. The family wants to get a brawl going, but Heenan holds them back for no specifically-defined reason.

-Honky Tonk Man takes Randy Savage to task for being upset about not being the greatest of all time. Elizabeth says she disagrees with Honky.

-We go to “Superstars of Wrestling,” where Randy Savage goes into the locker room and backs Jimmy Hart into a wall, telling him that he needs to let the Honky Tonk Man know that he’d better shut his mouth. Hart, close to tears, says that he wouldn’t do that if Honky had been there. Savage is gonna be sorry.

RANDY “Macho Man” SAVAGE (with Elizabeth) vs. OMAR ATLAS
-From Superstars of Wrestling, but Gorilla & the Brain are on commentary for some reason. Savage slams Atlas and chokes him out. Snapmare and a kneedrop by Savage and he applies a front facelock. Atlas is able to back him into the corner but gets caught with a knee and a suplex. He chokes Atlas again, then bites him. Atlas starts to fight back with a series of punches, but misses a corner charge. Savage tosses him to the floor for a top rope axehandle. Back inside, the elbow smash finishes.

-We get words from Grammy Award winning engineer Ted Jensen, who says that the Piledriver album holds up with anything from Steve Winwood or Huey Lewis.

“The Natural” BUTCH REED (with Slick) vs. JERRY ALLEN
-Allen applies a side headlock, but Reed elbows free. By the way, the Piledriver album comes out this Monday, just so you know. Slick has a song called “Jive Soul Bro.” Gorilla asks the Brain what the title means, and the Brain helpfully explains, “It’s a bro who is…a little jive.” Slick helpfully steps in himself to explain that he listens to the Piledriver album when he gets to feeling down. That explains everything.

-Neckbreaker by Reed gets two. Bodyslam follows, and Allen tries to mount a comeback with punches and kicks. Reed blocks and reverses an Irish whip. Flying clothesline finishes.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Johnny V, joined by the New Dream Team. Johnny is now wearing a doorag to hide the fact that Brutus Beefcake has now rendered him totally bald. Valentine gets pissed with Okerlund for badgering Johnny.

-Just one more show this month? Aww, shucks…

-Originally aired September 24, 1987.

-We’re in Rockford, IL, home of the Lightning!

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and the Federettes.

-You can tell we’re in Illinois because the referee here is that old guy who wore a different uniform than the other referees. Okay, this is weird, WWEClassics.com has been editing the generic guitar riff that Demolition used at the start of their run, but starting this week, they’re using the Rick Derringer version and we get that intact.

-Smash starts with Jones and hurts his elbow on a missed charge. Jones & Jack capitalize, but Smash comes back with a clothesline that takes Jack right down. Oh, by the way, Gorilla has heard some shocking rumors lately that Hulk Hogan was seen in Hollywood going on a date with Dolly Parton! Hard to believe that got paid off, isn’t it?

-Demolition double-teams Jack and tries to finish him off, but Jones makes the save. Ax applies a headlock. Demolition goes back to double-teaming while Jones complains vigorously from the opposite side of the ring. Jack finally makes the tag and Jones lights into Smash with headbutts and punches. He goes off the ropes and we actually get an impressive finish as Smash catches him and kneels down immediately so Ax can give him the decapitator. That DESERVES the win.

-Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake is showing some surprising improvement in the styles that he’s giving his fallen opponents. He’s visiting world champion hairstylist Salvatore Fedora for lessons. Fedora tries to teach Beefcake how to cut hair using a sketchpad and a mannequin head, and, uh, it doesn’t go well. But, you know, in a comical way.

“Mister Wonderful” PAUL ORNDORFF (with Oliver Humperdink) vs. BRIAN COSTELLO
-Heenan insists that he was going to fire Orndorff anyway after the family put it to a vote. Orndorff shoulderblocks Costello down, then catches him in a kneelift. Snapmare and an elbow as Orndorff continues dominating. Costello comes back with a few shots into the turnbuckle, but misses a charge and Orndorff picks right back up where he left off. Backdrop by Orndorff followed by a knee. Hard punch sends Costello out to the floor. Orndorff yanks him back in for a clothesline, and the piledriver finishes.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Strike Force. They have their eye on the Hart Foundation’s belts, but first, they have some unfinished business with the Islanders.

-MS Word hates this jobber’s name so much that I’m just going to call him VVH to make things easier. Gang hammers down VVH with elbows and forearms, as well as shouting. Bam-Bam Bigelow says the Gang is big, but he ain’t bad!

-VVH tries to fight back with some punches, but Gang clubs him right back down and kicks him in the chest. Gourdbuster finishes. Post-match, Gang splashes VVH twice…no, THRICE, and Gorilla speculates that Gang’s suspension could be reinstated. What a confusing punishment.

-Gene Okerlund talks to the Killer Bees. Blair refers to his partner as “Brunzy,” but beyond that, there’s nothing of note here.

-Yeah, Ivan Putski, no shit. Putski had been on a weird schedule where he was still working a full house show schedule, but he hadn’t been on TV in about two years. The jobbers attack from behind, but the Miracle Geritol Connection catches them in simultaneous bearhugs and get the submission in about ten seconds.

-Craig’s guest is the returning Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Duggan got fired back in May after getting arrested and breaking kayfabe in the process by riding with Iron Sheik when the police caught him. And then a funny thing happened, as Vince brought Jim back for a one-shot match against Ted DiBiase for the Paul Boesch Retirement Show in Houston, and the match was so damn good that Vince decided, what the hell, you’ve earned a second chance. Jim doesn’t really say anything of note. He just talks about loving the USA and carrying his 2×4. Basically, the point here was just to remind everybody who he was.

RAVISHING RICK RUDE (with Bobby Heenan) vs. SIVI AFI
-Johnny V is sitting in on commentary and is now doing the “obvious wig” schtick to run out the clock on this feud. Afi monkeyflips Rude and hammers his pretty face. Rick Rude wants to make sure that the men in the audience know who he is, because the women definitely know about him.

-Rude goes to the eyes and slams Afi. Rude attempts a hiptoss, but Afi monkeyflips and punches him again. Afi turns his back for no specific reason and gets clotheslined from behind. Snap suplex by Rude, and he offers a celebratory pose. Chinlock by Rude, but Afi sends him into the turnbuckles. Rude tries a dropkick but misses and Afi chops away. He goes for a bodypress, but Rude catches him and makes it a backbreaker. Shittiest piledriver EVER (Afi somehow lands on his face and Gorilla looks for any word besides “piledriver” to call the move) gives the Ravishing One the win.

-Sherri boots Velvet during the referee’s instructions. Velvet blocks a monkeyflip and kicks Sherri down. High knee gets two. Headlock by Velvet. Sherri counters and faceplants Velvet. Velvet gives Sherri a HARD slug, but Sherri yanks the hair. Velvet goes off the ropes and gets a spiffy looking ‘rana for two. Front facelock by Velvet. She slams Sherri and spins her around the ring by the ankles (which Gorilla says he used as a finisher at some point in his career; interesting). Velvet rolls up Sherri, but Sherri reverses it and gets a handful of tights for a little extra help, and that gets the three-count. Velvet attacks post-match and backdrops Sherri out to the floor. Crowd actually gave a shit about all of this, so naturally it was never followed up.

-Gene talks to the Hart Foundation. They still have the belts, don’t forget!

-End of the month! Here’s Game Show Utopia to finish things.

The 411: Another month with more and more effort going into making things fresh. Muraco's a face! The great big unstoppable monster is being pushed as a FACE for once! Orndorff's a face again for a while! Strike Force has arrived! It just seems like there's always something new going on in this era, and that's what makes it such a kick to watch.
Final Score:  7.1   [ Good ]  legend

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