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WWF Wrestling Challenge (11.29.1986) Review

September 20, 2021 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
WWF Wrestling Challenge 11-29-1986 Superstar Billy Graham
7.4
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WWF Wrestling Challenge (11.29.1986) Review  

-Originally aired November 29, 1986.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan.

-We open with the announcement that Slick was injured at a house show in Tacoma, Washington. Slickster has a plaster cast on his arm now because Matilda chased him around the ring and when Slick climbed the turnbuckles to get away from her, he fell to the floor.

JUNKYARD DOG & GEORGE “The Animal” STEELE vs. THE RAIDER & DAVE WAGNER

-Steele is fixated on Raider’s mask and comes very close to pulling it off. JYD tags in and headbutts him. George munches on a turnbuckle while JYD hits the Thump, and it’s an easy win for the Creative Has Nothing For You Connection. JYD pulls a fan in the ring to help him teach George how to dance.

-And now, the big course correction of 1986, as Jesse Ventura confronts the Honky Tonk Man with the results of the vote of confidence. By about a 9-to-1 margin, the fans have voted that they hate the Honky Tonk Man, and Honky is crestfallen.

-Off to “Superstars” for regrettably-joined-in-progress highlights of Randy Savage’s title defense against Ricky Steamboat. Jesse Ventura is a riot here, as Vince McMahon yells “Oh no!” when Savage nearly gets a clean three-count, and Ventura can’t believe that’s Vince’s reaction to the champ simply winning a match. Referee Dave Hebner gets bumped, which is a golden opportunity for Danny Davis to run in and stir some shit, as Steamboat hits a bodypress right as the referee revives, but when Steamboat goes for a pin, Davis breaks the count to check on Hebner’s condition.

-Savage gets enough time to recover from that and starts targeting the throat, draping Steamboat’s neck over the barricade for the top rope axehandle, and Savage gets the win by countout.

-But Savage is so damn mad about Steamboat coming closer than anyone else ever has to taking his precious title away that his next step is to bring him in the ring and come off the top rope with a shot to the throat, using the bell. Vince is screaming to get a doctor to the ring as Steamboat looks like he can’t breathe, and they skip the “referees run to the ring” step of the post-match angle and go straight to the “police and security guards run to the ring to stop Savage” step. Steamboat has convulsions as he’s loaded onto the stretcher and hurried out of the building. Side note: This actually caused a few legal issues for the WWF, as apparently they kayfabed the EMTs in the building, and then the EMTs were pissed off when the show aired because Vince basically called them incompetent when Steamboat twitched and rolled himself off the stretcher.

-Ken Resnick talks to Koko B. Ware, who keeps getting interrupted by Frankie, who’s trying to eat Koko’s glasses.

-Superstar Billy Graham is sitting in the desert and cutting a really odd promo about how tough and mean and ready for action is. Now by this point, they HAD to know that he wasn’t cleared to wrestle, so why have him cut the promo?

ISLANDERS & SIVI AFI vs. DREAM TEAM & DINO BRAVO (with Johnny V)

-This is interesting, because both of the regular tag teams in this match are teaming up with the later-added members of the teams whose additions spelled death for the teams. Danny Davis is the referee, so…you know. Speaking of which, we get a promo from Danny, who says that no matter how much people complain, there’s nothing anyone can do because he has “a valid referee’s license that doesn’t expire until April 1987.” That is an interesting way to foreshadow where this angle was SUPPOSED to go, until they went in a better direction with it and just had him get fired.

-Haku and Valentine have a slugfest. Haku blocks and reverses a suplex and this crowd is INTO this match. All six men end up brawling, and Davis conspicuously just hangs out quietly in one corner and doesn’t bother with a count or trying to pry anyone apart. Islanders overwhelm Brutus and suddenly Danny DOES care about his job and tries to pull them apart, and that allows Valentine and Bravo to engage in a little chicanery, and Afi, the illegal man, gets pinned.

-Ken Resnick talks to the Wizard, who clarifies that the thing around his neck is “The Tooth of Shahkan.” But how can she sing “I’m Every Woman” without her teeth?

-Blackjack Mulligan is back in the WWF now that he’s not a Machine anymore. He’s says he’s here for King Kong Bundy and Randy Savage, but more accurately, it turned out he’s here for about 15 minutes.

KAMALA (with The Wizard & Kimchee) vs. MOONDOG SPOT

-Odd choice of jobber as Spot has always been pretty firmly a heel jobber. And the match plays out in a really surprising way, as Kimchee, for no particular reason, goes over to taunt Spot, and Spot just wallops Kimchee with his bone, and before the referee can get it away, Spot just unloads on Kamala, too. Bonus: yanking Kamala’s wooden mask off and cracking him over the skull with that, too. Crowd is totally blindsided by Spot suddenly becoming an ass-kicking machine out of nowhere as Gorilla hastily reminds us that Spot’s a former tag champion. Spot tries an Irish whip but that’s the only mistake he has to make, as Kamala reverses and goes nuts on him with chops. Superkick knocks Spot into place, and a big splash off the top gives Kamala the win. I actually could have stood to watch more of that. That was a fantastic two minutes.

THE SNAKE PIT

-Jake is wearing a fur coat and it doesn’t look any less ridiculous than it sounds. This was around the time that public attitude about fur started changing, though, so it’s good shorthand for “I’m a bastard” on Jake’s part. They have a discussion about farm animals and it just sits there until they fade to black two minutes later. Listen, I can see on paper how “an interview segment hosted by Jake” probably seemed like a stroke of genius, but he’s had ten shots at this now and it’s still awful.

ROUGEAU BROTHERS vs. GINO CARABELLO & JIMMY JACK FUNK

-Raymond kicks JJ around as we get a French promo from the brothers. Jacques takes on Gino as Gorilla commends their Rougeaus for their continuity, and that’s quite true. Whenever you see Raymond drinking a glass of water, and they cut to a different camera angle, he still has the same amount of water in the glass. Always. Le Bombe de Rougeau finishes the match, following Le Bombe de Nedeff, my joke about the word “continuity.”

-Gene Okerlund is with Dr. Bob Ponovich, Chief Physician for the World Wrestling Federation, and I think that’s legit because he appears not to be wearing a shirt under his white lab coat. Ponovich’s prognosis: Ricky should probably retire.

-Outback Jack goes out for a walk. And that’s it.

HERCULES HERNANDEZ (with Bobby Heenan) vs. JACK FOLEY

-Foley is at least wearing tights that fit at this stage. Hercules clotheslines Foley and finishes with the torture rack. It’s just endlessly crazy to see Foley is one interchangeable cog in the machine for these four-hour TV tapings.

-Ken Resnick talks to Special Delivery Jones, who wants to take on all comers and reach the top and George Steele helpfully comes in and George Steeles this promo up to make something interesting out of it. And it appears to be a rib as SD is just totally confused by the sight of George.

7.4
The final score: review Good
The 411
Even in truncated form, the Savage/Steamboat segment is an all-time classic, and that's enough for a thumbs-up.
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