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WWF Prime Time Wrestling (5.22.1989) Review

August 30, 2019 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Prime Time Wrestling 5-22-1989
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WWF Prime Time Wrestling (5.22.1989) Review  

-Originally aired May 22, 1989.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan, and we are in maximum hype mode, with the set festooned in No Holds Barred posters and t-shirts, and Gorilla is even wearing a gigantic lapel pin with the poster on it.


-Stall session to start, but truth be told they don’t need to do anything because this crowd is AMPED for this match. This has to be the first bout of this TV taping. Koko makes contact with rights and Boris backs off. Boris attempts a backdrop, but Koko leapfrogs and headbutts him, and the crowd continues to treat this like it’s the main event.

-Boris clotheslines the Birdman to the floor. Back in, Boris hammers on Koko, but Koko does a fake-out in the corner to trick Boris into looking away and then hits him with a missile dropkick. Fistdrop gets three. Nothing match but a hell of a crowd.

-Bobby makes a note of Koko’s green hair paint and says it makes his hair look like “Afroturf.” Nobody be offended by that, that’s a good pun.

RAVISHING RICK RUDE (Intercontinental Champion, with Bobby Heenan) vs. JIM EVANS
-This is clearly a dub of the show originally made for WWE Network, and they have the most ridiculous-looking retconned graphic for Rude’s entrance; all they needed to conceal was the tiny “WWF” underneath his name but for some reason, the WWE 24/7 crew makes this ridiculous looking graphic with a giant font against a blue background that takes up nearly half the screen.

-Dusty armdrags Rude for a hot start. Rude starts fighting back but misses a corner charge, which Jesse says is a sign that Rude is a fighting champion who only wants top competition. Rude finally takes control for good with a suplex, and the Rude Awakening finishes.


-Mean Gene Okerlund takes us back to Wrestlemania V, where Superfly Jimmy Snuka walks to the ring, then leaves. What a weird way to bring him back to the company.

-Demolition cuts a promo telling us to see No Holds Barred. Well, I mean, Ax was in the movie so that makes sense.
-Today I learned: Dusty has self-published a 99-cent Kindle memoir called The Zeus Handler about the WWF in 1989, when he was given the awesome responsibility of looking after Tiny Lister for all of his arena appearances.

-Wolfe dropkicks Horowitz out to the floor early on. Back in, Wolfe applies an armbar and Horowitz has trouble escaping. Good cover of a blown spot as Wolfe goes for a monkeyflip in the corner, but his foot legit slips and Horowitz just turns it into an atomic drop counter to take over. Rolling cradle by Horowitz gets two.

-Wolfe makes a comeback, but Horowitz counters a backdrop attempt with an elbow. Double underhook by Horowitz, and a back elbow off the second rope gets three. HOROWITZ WINS! HOROWITZ WINS! HOROWITZ WINS! Pretty bland in a lot of ways, but they played off of each other pretty well and the match flowed nicely.


-All the babyfaces except Hulk are in the ring. Backstage, we see Haku throwing a fit while Bobby Heenan and Andre try to console him. Gene Okerlund dubs him King Duggan as he receives his crown, and Jesse Ventura laments that taxes are going to go up. Backstage, Bobby Heenan huddles with Haku and Andre, and they emerge from the huddle laughing evilly about the evil plan that they evilly hatched. This never, ever gets paid off.

-In the studio, Bobby Heenan angrily tweets #notmyking about the ceremony.


-Greg Valentine does a quick summary of his entire career and mentions that he used to hold the Tag Team Title with Brutus Beefcake. At this point, WWE operated on the premise that anything over six months ago never, ever got acknowledged so it’s jarring to hear Greg mention that. Also, Hillbilly Jim wants YOU, Boris Zhukov!

No Holds Barred is opening soon!

DINO BRAVO (with Jimmy Hart) vs. SCOTT COLTON

-The audio system in the arena is distractingly screwed up. Dino has switched to the “Canada’s Strongest Man” look, except he’s wearing white tights and black boots with his name on them instead of the fleur de lis so we’re still not quite there. We get comments from Hercules, who wants to match strength with Dino.

-In the ring, Dino piledrives Colton. Airplane spin by Dino, and he just gently places Colton on his feet and gives him the side suplex to finish. Dino’s back is bleeding hardway, so this was a hard-earned victory.

-Brother Love is back after his week’s hiatus, and Jesse takes full credit for getting him back on the show. Jake “The Snake” Roberts heads out, and to show he’s not messing around, he opens the bag and brings Damien out right away. He has threatening words for Ted DiBiase. Brother Love tries to mock him by asking what he did with the hundred-dollar bills that DiBiase stuffed in his mouth, and Jake teases that he spent the money on a bigger snake.


-From “Superstars,” with Vince introducing it as if this is the final blow-off for the feud. Ronnie Garvin is your referee.

-They trade punches with Rooster winning that battle. The Genius drops in with a poem calling the match for the Brawler, but in the ring, Rooster atomic drops the Brawler. Back in, elbow and a fistdrop by the Rooster get a two-count. Brawler counters a corner charge with a boot to the mush. Brawler clotheslines him and heads to the top rope, which Vince thinks is a mistake. Rooster slams him off. Neckbreaker by the Rooster. He starts working the arm, prepping Brawler for the chicken wing, but Brawler manages to fling the Rooster out of the ring.

-Rooster slingshots himself back in and goes for the sunset flip. Brawler grabs onto the top rope to block it, but Ronnie Garvin, in his capacity as WWF referee, fucks up the “kick the rope” spot and kicks Brawler’s arm. That is a distinctly WWF vs. NWA thing and I don’t get why this was so hard for the WWF as a whole to wrap their heads around. The idea is to kick the ropes to determine if the wrestler actually has a firm grip on it, but the WWF always had the referees kick the wrestlers, which is pretty explicitly interfering in the match. And here you have Garvin, an NWA mainstay who by all rights should know the way to do this correctly, but he’s acting as a WWF referee here so he does it wrong and screws over the Brawler because my god, he just attacked the man’s arm, and Brawler gets rolled up for two. Brawler gets into a screaming match with Garvin and is absolutely in the right, but Rooster sneaks up and rolls him again, getting three this time.

-Post-match, Jesse absolutely lays the blame on Garvin for how that match turned out. Brawler attacks Garvin but Garvin fights back and lays out the Brawler before chasing Heenan out of the ring. But Garvin totally DID bone the Brawler on that one.

-Gorilla welcomes Tony Schiavone, wearing a gigantic No Holds Barred lapel pin. Gorilla announces that Tony will have a new weekly segment on the show, Coliseum Corner, highlighting a match from a Coliseum Video release.

-From Wrestlemania V. This was touted as Strike Force’s “reunion” after ten months apart, with Rick Martel building toward the match with a couple of promos implying that he’d really rather be a singles wrestler. Hmm…

-Martel gets trapped in the wrong corner but fires away at everything that moves. A brawl erupts and Strike Force clears the ring. Mat wrestling with Arn Anderson goes Rick’s way, too. He applies the Boston crab early, but Tully breaks it with a thumb to the eye. Tito tags in behind Tully’s back and Strike Force takes control with dual figure-fours. Tito handles both Busters even as they keep trying their sneaky stuff.

-Tito accidentally wallops his own partner with a flying forearm and fights off the Busters by himself for a few minutes. Martel recovers but when Tito tries to tag in, Martel walks away and calls it a night, leaving Tito to die, and the Busters have an easy night with Tito before finishing with the spike piledriver. More of a story than an actual match, but a good story and a good match for what it was.

-Hillbilly Jim tells us to check out the WWF Magazine, with an exclusive article about No Holds Barred. God, this is like the Midnight Rider angle of cinema.

WARLORD (with Mr. Fuji) vs. PAUL ROMA

-Roma dodges Warlord artfully and lights into him with punches. Warlord misses a corner charge as Roma continues having the best night ever, until Warlord gives him…a boot to the head. Warlord applies a bearhug, but Roma breaks with the ol’ thumb in the eye. Roma tries to get a comeback going, but Warlord catches him coming off the ropes and powerslams him for three.


-From Wrestling Challenge. The Rockers come to the ring with a new version of their entrance theme, with Shawn and Marty singing. Holy hell, I don’t remember this at all. Jimmy Hart goes off on a tangent about how horrible it sounds–and he’s not wrong–and the Rougeaus accuse them of being copycats who were jealous of the Rougeaus for singing their own entrance theme. Them’s fightin’ words, so we get a brawl on the floor and the match never starts. Jimmy’s megaphone gets involved and we go hardcore here, as blood starts oozing out of Shawn’s mouth and the Rougeaus give him a shot right to the throat with the megaphone.


-Nice sequence where they armdrag each other again and again without letting go of each other. They follow that with a fist fight and Perfect just gives Powers a hard knee to stop it. Standing dropkick is perfectly executed, and Perfect gets cocky, slapping Powers around. Powers starts to show some fire, throwing kicks at Perfect. Perfect just yanks him by the tights and spins him so he can attack Powers’ lower back. Abdominal stretch by Perfect. Powers fights out, but Perfect just finishes things with the Perfect-plex and takes off. Perfectly “meh” match.

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Some good stuff here like the Rockers/Rougeaus angle (which genuinely surprised me because I don't remember it ever being that badass) and Jake's promo. But even the competitive matches were a bit on the squashy side this week. Shrug.