Tuesday, December 16, 2014

WWF Superstars of Wrestling January 31st, 1987

January 31, 1987

From the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, NJ

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino, Jesse Ventura, and Vince McMahon

In action tonight will be "King" Harley Race, Jake Roberts, and The Rougeau Brothers. Plus, Greg Valentine vs. Haku and Tito Santana & Pedro Morales vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff.




Tito Santana & Pedro Morales vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff w/ Slick

Tito and Pedro attack their opponents as Volkoff was singing the Russian National Anthem. Vince then asks Jesse if he had found out anything about Andre's suspension as he said we will find out everything he knows tonight as the match settles down. Volkoff stomps on Morales in the corner for a bit. Tito tags and takes Volkoff down with a dropkick but ends up getting caught in the wrong corner. Sheik tags and gets two with a gutwrench suplex. Tito blocks then hits a suplex of his own then makes the tag to Pedro, who is a house of fire. He gets two with a backbreaker as Volkoff broke up the pin then the match breaks down. Slick jumps up on the apron and whacks Tito with his cane, pissing him off in the process as the ref rings the bell for the DQ (3:12). Tito then chases down Slick and ends up slamming him in the ring as the crowd goes nuts. The heels flee to the outside then Butch Reed runs out and joins them as he is screaming at Tito for putting his hands on slick.

Thoughts: The action here was alright but more importantly, they seemed to have found a singles feud for Santana, who has been doing nothing for about a year. Reed also needs a feud at this point as he was overpushed.



A graphic airs about WrestleMania III



WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week's subject is Ricky Steamboat and how he has gone through rehabilitation in order to rejoin the WWF. They show him speaking at a school for kids with disabilities as he talks off his time healing up from injury when he could not talk then in unison says "I love you" with the children in English and in sign language.



Slick is in pain backstage as Reed starts screaming about how he is going to hurt Santana, just like he hurt Slick. Fine job here by Reed.



Greg Vance vs. "King" Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan

Heenan got pelted with garbage as he took Race's robe and crown out of the ring. Race hits a dropkick as we are shown the Junkyard Dog in an insert promo on how he will not bow down to the King. Race then puts Vance away with a cradle suplex (1:23). After the match Vince wonders if Race will be defending his crown at WrestleMania.

Thoughts: Just continuing the JYD/Race feud here and that is perfectly fine.



Gene Okerlund is with Bruno Sammartino, who is facing Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Title in Boston. Pretty much the same Bruno promo he has been saying during this feud, meaning he calls Savage a coward and that he is not after his belt because he is retired. Even still, it was solid work.



The Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart are in Graceland as Honky promises to put out gold records under the "Honky" label.



Rougeau Brothers vs. Al Navarro & Tiger Chung Lee

Navarro cheapshots Jacques to start but gets caught with a monkey flip. Lee tags as Dino Bravo comes down to the ring and walks around staring down the Rougeau Brothers, the team he has been calling out the past few weeks, before joining the French commentary table. Jacques catches Navarro with a jumping back elbow smash for two. Raymond puts Navarro in a sleeper that Lee breaks up then the whole match breaks down as we are shown an insert of Bravo speaking in French about the Rougeau's, who the hit Navarro with the Rougeau Bomb for the win (3:01).

Thoughts: After weeks of saying he is the best Canadian wrestler in the WWF via insert promos, Bravo turns it up a notch by blasting them on commentary after staring them down. At least it is something meaningful for these guys to do.



Ken Resnick is with King Kong Bundy, who will be facing Pete Doherty in Boston. Bundy is pissed that promoters have sunk this low to have him face Doherty in a match. Where they going for a Bundy face turn at this point? He has cutting promos on Kamala and facing Doherty, a shit bum heel.



We are shown footage of last week when Steve Lombardi tossed Paul Roma out of the ring as he was about to start his match. Roma then cuts a wooden promo about how he might be a rookie but knows he can beat him. Even the jobbers are getting feuds now. At least it makes sense.



"Adorable" Adrian Adonis vs. Jack Kruger

Adonis tosses Kruger outside as the fans chant for Piper, driving Adonis crazy. Adonis then roughs up Kruger on the apron before dragging him outside and putting him asleep with the Goodnight Irene (1:17). After the match, Jesse leaves the booth to head over to Piper's Pit.

Thoughts: Too brief to mean anything and the most memorable thing that happened was Jesse leaving commentary to head over to Piper's Pit.



Piper's Pit with guest Jesse Ventura. Both Andre's and Hogan's trophies are on the set. Piper brings out Ventura and asks him why he is stirring up trouble regarding the trophies. Ventura says that Andre's suspension hearing was fishy as he was not there and Heenan was and decided to go out and find what happened and that we will not believe what took place. As Piper wants Ventura to tell us, Ventura goes on and says that this is worse than "Watergate and Iran-gate" but that he is not going to talk. Piper calls him out for being a liar and that he really knows about nothing as Jesse compares the trophies, saying Hogan has a bigger trophy and that he has only been champ for three years and ducks challengers, compared to Andre being undefeated for fifteen years. Piper stands up for Hogan saying that he has not ducked anyone as Jesse touches the trophies, saying that Hogan's is made of real gold while Andre's is made of "rotten, old lead." Jesse and Piper then go back and forth as Jesse says they can settle this two ways: in the ring, which makes the crowd go crazy, or the other way by bringing out both Hogan and Andre for a discussion next week. Jesse guarantees he can bring out Andre next week, as he owes him a favor then challenges Piper to bring Hogan out. Piper then says "you damn betcha, man" then yells some more before leaving. Words cannot describe how great this segment was. Both guys were perfect here and the whole story of Andre turning is the type of compelling storyline the WWE wishes they could create today.



Another Outback Jack vignette as they show him going to the airport on his way to America. Judging by his debut, he was better off missing the plane.



Greg "The Hammer" Valentine w/ Johnny V vs. Haku

Haku chops down Valentine as Brutus Beefcake comes down to the ring. Haku knees Valentine as Tama comes out but whiffs on a clothesline as Valentine takes control. Haku kicks out of a figure four attempt then starts yelling at Beefcake and Johnny V for grabbing his leg, allowing Valentine to take control. Tama then returns the favor by tripping Valentine and referee Danny Davis sees this and rings the bell, awarding Valentine the win via DQ (3:03). After the match they also show the replay of Beefcake tripping Haku with Davis watching the whole thing take place.

Thoughts: The match kinda sucked and all this did was further along the Davis storyline, which was getting played out. They could have done a feud with these teams but the Islanders did not do anything after losing and were pretty low on the pecking order of teams at the time.



Jerry Allen vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts

This match is joined-in-progress. Roberts works the arm but Allen fights back. Roberts gets his knees up on a charge before hitting a gordbuster then finishes with the DDT (0:48). After the match, Roberts wraps Damien around the throat of Allen. The fans popped for both the finish and the snake.

Thoughts: Jake was getting about 75% face reactions from the crowd. He came across so cool plus the fans loved the DDT as much as the snake.



Resnick is with the Hart Foundation, who will be facing the Rougeau Brothers in Boston. Short promo from them but it was enjoyable due to Neidhart's manic behaviors. Hercules comes out next and he promises to defeat Billy Jack Haynes with the full nelson. He leaves then Randy Savage comes out to hype his match against Bruno Sammartino. Savage says that Sammartino could not handle him even in his prime and now he is washed up and the fans will have to swallow the fact that Bruno will be done and finished. A nice series to back-to-back-to-back promos to build up the house shows.



Another graphic airs hyping WrestleMania III



Hulk Hogan is in the locker room where he gets approached by Piper, who is a bit nervous in asking Hogan on to the Pit next week but an irritable Hogan says that he will be there as Piper is ecstatic, making it official.



Next week we will have the head-to-head discussion on "Piper's Pit" between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Plus, the debut of Outback Jack and a Tag Team Title Match between the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs. Damn, that is a loaded show.



Final Thoughts: An excellent show. Every segment meant something, even if it didn't completely workout. Piper's Pit was one of the more compelling segments in WWF history and we saw a lot of feuds being planned out in the midcard, which is good as it gives them some direction. And with next week's show another stacked hour of programming, the WWF was really firing on all cylinders at this time. Awesome stuff.

8 comments:

  1. Great stuff, and really would it be so hard for WWE to have some meaningfull feuds for the current midcard? It's not higher science, just look at these old shows. Simple story, great feuds.

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  2. I think I'd actually like to see Valentine and Haku in a legit fight.

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  3. I'd pay to see that. Even in 2014.

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  5. Sweet, we're juuuust about into my early days as a fan. Just after WM3.

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  6. It's amazing that an hour of mostly squash matches interspersed with angle development can be so much more entertaining than a three-hour show with matches between "stars." Yet it is, because the writing was so far superior to current day. Great review as usual, Bayless.

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  7. Haku in his car salesman outfit, Hammer is probably still wandering around in his trunks just waiting to finally get warmed up.

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  8. I frickin lived, ate, and breathed WWF at this point in my life.

    ReplyDelete