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WWF Prime Time Wrestling (11.20.1989) Review

August 12, 2020 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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WWF Prime Time Wrestling (11.20.1989) Review  

-Originally aired November 20, 1989.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan in Studio A with Survivor Series posters all over the set. Rowdy Roddy Piper is in Studio B with more posters. He’s playing with a hammer and smiling as he describes how ready he is for Rick Rude’s team.

DUSTY RHODES vs. AKEEM (with Slick)

-From Wrestling Challenge, with the rare Vince/Gorilla combo calling the action.

-The African Dream and the American Dream have a dance contest to start, and anyone who says that Akeem wasn’t a rib on Dusty is out of their minds. Dusty clonks Akeem with elbows while the rest of the Enforcers offer pre-taped words of support for Akeem.

-Slick hooks Dusty’s leg from the outside and gives Akeem an opening for a sneak attack. Nerve hold by Akeem, but Dusty overcomes it with the power of dancing while Slick gets in a screaming argument with a passionate Dusty Rhodes fan at ringside.

-Akeem keeps the nerve hold clamped on and Dusty starts to fade, and that has Slick feeling so cocky that he goes back over to the fan at ringside and jaws with her some more. Dusty punches out of the nerve hold, but Akeem takes him back down and drops a series of knees.

-Slick gets fed up with the woman at ringside, screaming at her to “sit your fat butt down” and Akeem goes out to see what’s going on with his manager. Dusty slips out, drops Akeem with a right hand, then slips back in, beating the ten-count and getting the win. Akeem and Slick storm off while the Dusty Rhodes fans dances in her chair and gloats at them. More angle than match, but that’s fine.

-Don’t be left out in the cold! Call your pay-per-view provider before Thursday!


-Rick Martel steps up to the interview platform, wearing “the stud patrol” look; basically an Austin, Texas high-end gigolo ensemble with a purse, showing off how good he looks.

-Roddy Piper says Martel dresses in fashions from “Fraudrick’s of Hoofywood,” which sounds like a Bojack Horseman sight gag.


-We’re in the home stretch for the Powers of Pain as a unit, and I think they’re such an odd case, as they were consistently pushed and made to look strong at all times, but I don’t think the fans ever really bought into them as a legit threat to Demolition or any other team.

-Warlord hammers Woods down and Barbarian shows some agility, running into Woods with a HIGH boot on impact. Casey comes in and a top rope Hart attack by the Powers finishes like they have somewhere to be in five minutes.

-Bobby Heenan again emphasizes that NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THE HEENAN FAMILY.

-We’re off to the swimming pool, where Mr. Perfect shows off some perfect-ten dives as the Genius recites a poem daring Hulk to replicate what Perfect is doing on the diving board…except with an empty pool. Perfect does some perfect dives, decked out in his wrestling gear in a nice touch.


-One of the all-time great surprise debuts. Dino Bravo is in the ring with Jimmy Hart and Gene Okerlund. The test in this case is doing push-ups with someone sitting on each man’s back, and Jimmy demands that a fan from the crowd come into the ring.

-A BUNCH of fans in the crowd begin frantically pointing to one particularly big guy sitting in an upper level seat, so Jimmy picks him, and the guy stands up to reveal he’s enormous, and Jimmy has a minor freak-out when he realizes WHO he’s picked.

-So the big fan gets in the ring and introduces himself as John from West Virginia. Gene asks how much he ways and John modestly says he weights 460 pounds, and the crowd pops huge for Jimmy Hart’s big mistake here.

-Dino does ten push-ups with John on his back, doing them EASILY, and now out comes the Ultimate Warrior, with John shyly cowering in the corner from Warrior. Warrior gets on all fours for the push-ups, but John from West Virginia abruptly thrusts his weight down and causes Warrior to collapse. John hits the ropes and splashes Warrior a few times, and with Warrior splattered across the mat, Dino stomps all over him and chokes him out. And John strolls off with Dino and Jimmy to the locker room.

-This was executed to perfection–the fans had a legit voice in choosing who got picked from the crowd, and they genuinely picked John, who was in a bad seat, who the camera had trouble finding for a bit, and who didn’t have any lighting on him.

-Bobby Heenan promises that Andre the Giant and Haku are going to bring the Tag Team Titles to the Heenan Family, and Gorilla interrupts to ask if he already forgot about the Brain Busters, who would logically be in line for a rematch. Bobby insists that no, no, the Brain Busters are still valued members of the family…but, uh, yes, he mentions he’s actively working on signing Andre and Haku for title matches, not the Busters.


-Haku starts as usual as the Brain Busters step in to warn Ultimate Warrior about what’s coming to him on Thanksgiving night.

-Haku chops and dropkicks both opponents, then heads over to Andre for a quick chat. They decide “not yet,” so Haku goes back over and just chops and kicks both men some more. Worth noting that Haku has finally moved on from losing the crown and is back to his tropical print tights. See, that’s good–that’s healthy, I think.

-Piledriver on Johnson, but Haku picks him up at two and DEMANDS a tag. Howell enthusiastically throws punches, but Haku gouges him and Andre tags in, and the crowd reaction for Andre tagging in is incredible, as again, they found a way to make him look like a monster while doing NOTHING. Andre headbutts Howell and holds him in place for a kick from Haku. Andre drops one BIG elbow on Howell for the three-count.

-In the studio, Bobby is vandalizing the new WWF Magazine with Piper on the cover.


-The Ultimate Warriors are here. Anvil cuts the bulk of the promo while Warrior psychotically ties his three partners together with wrist tape. He wraps a significant amount of his tape around Shawn Michaels’ neck and hair, which is rather brutal coming from the guy on the team with the least cause for wanting to kill him.


-From MSG.

-Genius offers a handshake, but Koko is too smart for that. Genius stalls for a bit to do a gymnastics exhibition while Koko gets increasingly agitated with him. Koko finally gets fed up and dropkicks him to the floor.

-Genius shifts tactics, trying to intimidate Koko with flexing instead of gymnastics. Genius demands a test of strength, and really, the right thing to do after Genius’ muscleman poses would be for Koko to overpower him EASILY, but instead Genius drops Koko to his knees until Koko bounces up and monkey flips him. Another big dropkick sends Genius plummeting to the floor

-Back from commercial, Genius avoids a corner charge and Koko goes shoulder-first into the post. Genius picks his target, stomping the shoulder repeatedly, then dashing over to the opposite corner to give Frankie a stern lecture. I love how there’s no wink at the camera about that. No acknowledgment that it looked ridiculous. Genius is just so all-in with being a heel that he scolds a bird for being a bird.

-Genius applies an armbar, and to build onto the point that I just made, he literally announces “I am the Genius!” as he applies the armbar. Koko headbutts out, but he still has a bad arm to Genius commits to that.

-He slams Koko to the mat and goes for the honor roll, but Koko just BARELY gets out of the way and Koko makes his comeback, but he misses a corner charge and Genius rolls him up with a handful of tights for insurance, and that’s enough for the win. Pretty entertaining stuff.

-Gorilla and Piper insinuate that Ted DiBiase built his team by offering cash incentives, and that his teammates are holding him up for extra money before they get to Survivor Series. Once in a while, they’d say something like this and it would always be just for the purpose of filling time and having something to talk about, but if we had seen this, it actually would have been a pretty good angle. There’s dissension in DiBiase’s team because they think he’s not paying enough, he thinks his teammates are being too greedy, and DiBiase blinks first and offers them a slew of incentives to make up the difference. “A bonus for each opponent who has to go to the hospital!” and suddenly everybody is on board again and agrees to it.

-The Million Dollar Team is here to pledge that Hulk Hogan will be the biggest turkey of all!


-One more hard sell from Mean Gene. We hear from the Ultimate Warriors, and this time Warrior’s shtick is ripping the Rockers’ clothes off. It’s like he doesn’t even give a damn what does or doesn’t make the world work.

-Rebuttal promo from the Heenan Family. I feel oddly sad about seeing the Brain Busters cutting one last promo.

-The Macho King calls Hacksaw Jim Duggan a disaster area in the school of truth. Charisma overcomes it completely. Hacksaw Jim Duggan responds that he’ll win with the help of Bret Hart and “his fancy-Dan moves.”


-Dropkicks by Reagan. But then Rude clotheslines him so hard that Reagan claims not to be able to recall if he was clotheslined. Forearms by Rude as Piper drops in, laughing maniacally at Rude.

-Reagan has some fight left in him. Slick finish sees Rude go for a backdrop. Reagan leapfrogs over him, but when he lands Rude reaches back and gives him the Rude Awakening right there and gets the three-count. AWESOME! They bring a woman into the ring for the Rude Awakening, but Rude declares her to be too much of a sweathog and walks off without giving her the kiss.


-The Hulkamaniacs are here this week, to Brother Love’s disdain. Hulk says they aren’t fighting for money, they’re fighting for the LOVE of the Hulkamaniacs. Jake teases saying the word “ass” to Hulk’s visible delight before Demolition steps in and promises to kick some stinkin’ teeth in.

-Bobby is notified that he has a phone call, but Bobby refuses to answer the phone. Roddy suspects it’s Richard Dawson calling because of Heenan’s brewing family feud. Um, RAY COMBS, Roddy. It’s 1989, he’s hosting it twice a day? You know, for a year and a half now? (glasses pushed up)


-Now this is rare, we’re actually getting a feud blow-off on this show.

-Honky tries to attack as Snuka leaps into the ring, but Snuka’s ready with kicks and chops. Snuka boogies and headbutts Honky to the mat, then calmly removes his entrance outfit and then goes back to finish kicking Honky’s ass.

-Federally mandated atomic drop on the Honky Tonk Man and a pair of chops from the second rope as Snuka continues making Honky’s life hell until Honky raises a knee to stop a corner charge. They end up on the floor. Honky kicks Snuka away as he heads back into the ring, and Jimmy Hart takes a cheap shot. Snuka goes after him, but Honky yanks him by the hair up to the apron.

-Snuka headbutts Honky down and tries to springboard himself on top for a pin, but Honky raises his knees as we take a break.

-Back from the break, Honky chokes the Superfly and knees him out to the floor. Snuka tries to re-enter but Honky drives him into the post and sends him crashing down in front of Vladimir (the WWF’s version of Hat Guy). Back in, Honky piledrives Snuka and takes time to celebrate and argue with every fan in MSG one by one by one.

-Shake, Rattle, & Roll attempt is countered by a backdrop and Snuka is on the comeback trail. Jimmy Hart heads up to the apron, and since he’s been building up bad karma through the entire match, you know exactly how this ends. Snuka gets distracted, Honky tries to attack, he collides with his manager, Snuka heads to the top and comes crashing down for the three-count. It was what it was; not a classic but a good match to end a mid-card feud.

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Call me crazy but other than the forgettable Powers of Pain squash there wasn't a wasted minute of this show; even the other squashes were a pleasant use of two or three minutes each.

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Prime Time Wrestling, Adam Nedeff