Prime Time Wrestling 4/11/88
– The show kicks off with the new opening theme intro that you may remember from the late 80’s into the 90’s. This is the WWE 24/7 version of the episode and there appears to be different music playing in the background under the more familiar audio track, so I’m not sure if there was something different on the original broadcast version. Gorilla also starts talking during the opening video, which leads me to believe that maybe there was a different opening video for this show when it initially aired. No big deal, I just like to cover all the little things. It’s Gorilla and Bobby hosting.
Match #1: “The Rock” Don Muraco (w/ Superstar Graham) v. “The Natural” Butch Reed (w/ Slick). From the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, TN. This is from the SNME TV Taping held on 3/7/88. It’s Bobby Heenan and Alfred Hayes on the audio inserted commentary. We’ve got a couple of guys who were just featured in the Mania IV tournament (even though this was taped first). Reed cuts a promo on Muraco and Graham before the match, talks about how he put Graham out of action and says something about 2-wheel Cadillac’s or something. Reed is also letting his black hair roots show, which makes me start to question how “natural” that blond really is. Reed grabs a chair and stalks Graham outside the ring, but Muraco sneaks up behind and goes on the offense. Muraco tosses Reed into the ring, lands some moves, and send Butch back out. Graham hits Reed with a cheap shot using his cane while Muraco has referee Joey Marella distracted. Fans enjoyed that. Muraco then stomps the hand of Slick on the apron. Muraco all over Reed. Don gets in quite a bit of offense, even a rolling neck snap, but Reed takes over after jabbing a foreign object into the throat of the Rock. Appears to be one of those Jerry Lawler invisible objects, the kind you pretend is there and the marks just buy into it. Reed takes over offense, lots of kicking and punching. Slick gets in some shots with his own cane on Muraco. Don tries a comeback but runs into the knees of Butch, and Reed comes off the second rope with a double axe and gets two. Reed lands a nice looking piledriver and Muraco sells it awesomely. Muraco catches Reed coming off the ropes with a punch and the two men trade some shots. Slick jumps up onto the apron and Muraco runs Reed right into the Slickster and as the heels collide, Don with a rolling cradle gets the win in 9:25. It seems like Muraco either came to to work, or he didn’t. Tonight, Don came to work, but Reed didn’t. Butch was very lethargic here, but he was gone after WrestleMania IV. Don actually impressed, for a guy his size, by 1988 standards. Nothing fancy, but there were attempts at making this an actual match, so I’ll go *.
– Bobby & Gorilla have some banter on Lord Alfred, then Monsoon pulls out a 2×4 and Heenan jumps back in fear. Monsoon chuckles as he shows off the 2×4 which reads “Giant Killer” on the side. The board is placed on the desk as a reminder of the new issues between Hacksaw & Andre.
Match #2: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart) v. Brady Boone. From the “Superstars” TV Tapings held on 3/19/88 at the “Show-Me” Center in Cape Girardeau, MO. Gorilla and Heenan on inserted commentary. Jimmy Hart is sporting the beret even though Beefcake hadn’t cut his hair at Mania yet. I’ll tell ya, these guys think of everything. Valentine with about a minute of grounded offense. Boone is given an opportunity to land a huracan rana, but it’s Brady Boone, sooooooooo. Yeah, he botched it. Boone didn’t quite get his legs up around Greg’s neck, but rather under his arms. Valentine still took the roll and sold it like a rana. And Boone’s record of botching a spot every match remains intact. Valentine actually allows Boone to TRY THE MOVE AGAIN. And BOONE FUCKS IT UP…. AGAIN. Holy shit this is hilarious! This time Greg pauses, and just drops Brady on his back. Boone reverses a whip into the corner but misses a Psicosis bump and lands upside down in the corner on his head. LOL. Crowd gives a shit less. The crowd is more dead in Boone squashes than any other match. Seriously, there’s more noise for Omar Atlas & Jose Luis Rivera vs. Horowitz & Lombardi. It’s like an empty arena of noise for this match. Anyway, Valentine follows up with a nasty looking back suplex, some elbows, and the Figure Four finishes the future Battle Kat off in 3:25. Typical Valentine squash, dropping Boone on his ass garners a 1/4* though.
– Andre vs. Duggan continues to be the hot topic between the announcers, so much so that the feud is featured on this week’s “UPDATE” segment with Lord Alfred Hayes. We go back to WrestleMania IV when Andre cost Duggan a first round match against Ted DiBiase. Then, we get comments from Duggan promising to challenge the Giant at some point. Well that some point happened in a snap, as last week Duggan challenges Andre in the ring, the Giant chokes Duggan down, until Hacksaw blasts him with the 2×4 and knocks Andre out cold.
– Next we go to a Special Arena Interview with “Outlaw” Ron Bass and conducted by Craig DeGeorge. Bass wants to talk Junkyard Dog. He says JYD took a cheap shot at him (didn’t happen), and so he choked JYD’s “big old greasy neck”.
Match #3: Special Delivery Jones v. “Luscious” Johnny Valiant. Taped 3/13/88 from The Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Nick Bockwinkel & Craig DeGeorge on commentary. I thought Valiant had finished up with the company shortly after Survivor Series ’87, guess he still did some spots. This match is joined in progress with Valiant ramming Jones into the ring post outside. A little Johnny V offense, but SD comes back and rams Valiant into the turnbuckle 20 times, and hits a backdrop. Johnny still manages to climb the ropes, but gets slammed off the top by Jones, and a cover by SD gets two. Valiant reverses a whip into the ropes and lowers his head for a backdrop, but Jones hits him with a headbutt for the pin. About 3:00 was shown, didn’t seem like much was cut out as neither guy had broke a sweat. May have edited some stalling or whatever out of the early part of the match, which I applaud them for. Nothing match with two guys who weren’t even part of the full time roster by this point. 1/4* for Valiant, who kept the pace moving.
Match #4: The Killer Bees (Jim Brunzell & Brian Blair) v. The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov) w/ Slick. Taped 3/13/88 from The Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Bockwinkel and DeGeorge again on commentary. Nikolai hammers Blair to get the match going, but the Bees use some back and forth double teaming and tags to take over on Volkoff, and then Zhukov. Brunzell grounds Zhukov with a wrist lock, and then Blair takes his turn with an abdominal stretch until Nikolai breaks it up. The Bolsheviks take over on Blair. Nikolai hops in over the top rope, which impresses both myself and Nick Bockwinkel. That’s about the only thing Nikolai ever did in the ring that impressed me. A long and boring heat spot follows with the Russians in control. Nikolai holds Blair while Boris charges, but Brian moves and the Russians collide, eventually leading to a hot tag out to Brunzell and Zhukov. Jumping Jim throws some shot at both Bolsheviks and lands the DROPKICK on Zhukov! Volkoff is in to stop the cover. Blair cuts Volkoff off while Brunzell locks Boris in the SLEEPER! While the referee gets Blair back to his corner, Nikolai comes off the second rope with a double axe on Brunzell. Volkoff makes the illegal cover and gets the win in 11:15. An eleven minute Bolsheviks match usually garners negative stars, this one wasn’t AS bad as most, but it wasn’t good either. As for Blair and Brunzell jobbing to the Bolsheviks in 1988, the writing was clearly on the wall for the Bees. 3/4*.
– Gorilla makes his usual mention of the Bees winning the Frank Tunney Memorial Tournament back in 1987. Monsoon then shits on the Bees’ current record.
Match #5: Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin) v. David Sammartino. Taped on 3/5/88 from the Boston Garden in Boston, Mass. I had heard hiring David back at this coincidental point was Vince’s way of throwing Bruno a bone and trying to get him to re-sign with the company. I’ve also heard that David and Bruno were already on the outs, and this was just one of many factors that led to Bruno leaving in March of 1988. Take your pick. Match is joined in progress, but likely only seconds in. David returns all tanned up, roided up, and with his hair dyed. Maybe had he looked this way 3 years ago Vince would have pushed him harder, in 1988 he’s a dime a dozen. Sammartino is all over Bravo early. It’s funny watching Dino, he’s so jacked up and muscle-bound he actually has to stop and set himself up for a jump with an armdrag. Bravo teases leaving the arena, but returns and hits David with a piledriver. Dino lands an elbowdrop and two moves in a row is Bravo’s limit. Dino is blown up and goes to a chinlock. Sammartino fights out and gets a near fall off a sunset flip. Dino misses an elbow, and David follows up with his dads old Irish whip and boot to the gut spot. Didn’t quite get the reaction Bruno used to. David with a small package for two, kneedrop for two. Bravo reverses a whip off the ropes and catches Sammartino with the Side Suplex, and that’ll do it in 5:38. Bravo was so bad at this stage, David looked OK. A chinlock and Dino stalling outside was about 50% of the match, so can’t go more than 1/4*. To celebrate, Frenchy does more of that reach around tittie grabbing I mentioned in the last review.
– Mean Gene with the WrestleMania IV Report. We catch the last few minutes of the Battle Royal with the elimination of the JYD, and then Bad News Brown turning on Bret Hart. We also relive the Hitman smashing the trophy, Mean Gene claims Brown is using the remaining piece as a hood ornament for his car. Bret Hart interview, he wants his hands on Brown who double-crossed him. Bad News Brown returns comments, he wants revenge for Hart spoiling his win and destroying his trophy.
Next, we go back to Mania for the finish of the IC Title match between Honky Tonk and Beefcake. Match ends in a DQ, but Brutus manages to cut Jimmy Hart’s hair. Then it’s back to the studio where Gorilla and Bobby discuss the 2 cassette home video of the event. Gorilla shows off the double box package, when you open the two boxes a picture of Hulk Hogan pops out from between the two. Bobby delivers another funny one-liner while holding the box in hand.
Heenan: Whoever’s stupid, stand up. (and then he proceeds to open the cassette box and Hogan pops up)
Just another funny Heenan delivery.
Match #6: “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (w/ Virgil) v. Alden Kinsey. Taped back on 3/8/88 at Viking Hall in Bristol, TN. Gorilla and Bobby on inserted commentary. DiBiase beats the crap out of Kinsey on the floor, and then more in the ring. Ted finishes it off with a backwards falling elbowdrop from the second rope in 2:43. This was taped right before the Million Dollar Dream became his finisher. Definition of a squash, but it was OK. A funny spot where Ted stands in the ring and kicks the jobber on the floor in the chest gives the match 1/4*
Match #7: Koko B. Ware v. “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan). Taped 3/20/88 in Springfield, IL at the Prairie Capital Convention Centre “Wrestling Challenge” TV Tapings. This is a return match of sorts, I’m sure purely by accident. The last time the two met, Rude won the match on a count out after Koko chased Bobby Heenan, who was stealing Frankie, to the back. Gorilla and Lord Alfred Hayes on inserted commentary for this one. Gorilla points out Rick Rude is wearing eye makeup in this one. Rude tries to shine early, but Ware knocks Rick from the rung. Rude tries to regroup and attack, but Koko is again all over Rude, lots of fun offense by the Birdman and Rude sells it like a million bucks. Great baby face offense stuff ends when Koko misses a charge into the corner. Now it’s Rude on top, he puts a hurting on Koko and slides into a chinlock which takes us through a commercial break. Ware flaps his arms and breaks free of the chinlock, but he’s thrown to the floor where Heenan harasses him. Ware comes back with a slingshot sunset flip back inside but only gets two. Rude back to the chinlock, and Koko is taken down to the mat. Rick lands a fistdrop off the top rope, but instead of covering he does a little hip gyrating. Heenan starts making his way towards Frankie the bird outside the ring, which leads to the British Bulldogs and Matilda coming out and chasing Bobby to the back. Rick Rude takes noticed and chases after the Bulldogs to save his manager, and Ravishing Rick is counted out at 10:55. Koko picks up the count out victory. Fun little match for TV, most of Rude’s offense consisted of three separate chinlocks. I’m assuming Rude just did what he needed to do to extend the match, you sure can blame him for being lazy because he bumped and sold his ass off for Koko. Ware looked good out there, Rude took some nice bumps, but the chinlocks balanced the match out to keep it from being REALLY good. It was *1/4, the chinlocks and the finish hurt it, but Koko couldn’t be denied in this one.
– Closing comments from Bobby and Gorilla. Bobby promises an all new Prime Time Set, and a new opening theme in the next few weeks. Makes me think even harder about the opening of this episode. Heenan gives another one liner “Whoever’s stupid and wearing sunglasses stand up”. This time Bobby pops up the picture of Hulk Hogan and has colored black shades onto Hulk’s face. lol. End program.
Final Thoughts: The Bobby and Gorilla banter was more upbeat and fun this week versus the last two. The matches were also more enjoyable this week compared to the last two. The bad stuff was short or in progress, Brady Boone got owned, a random appearance from David Sammartino, and we had two matches that broke a whole star, which is great for an episode of Prime Time. We’re still viewing footage taped prior to WrestleMania, so there’s only so much to work with, but they’ll continue this for another couple weeks before a new set of tapings. Not a bad show, I enjoyed it in general.
Match of the Night: Koko vs. Rude. Not saying it was a “must see” candidate, but for this show it was the best. Rude sold like a champ for Ware’s offense, kept the crowd hot. Still not understanding why it’s so hard for Rude to put Koko away.