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WWF Primetime Wrestling: January 1st, 1985

January 1, 1985


This is the debut episode of Primetime Wrestling. For those who are not familiar with this show, it featured a lot of house show matches, especially for the first few months. Over time, they incorporated studio interviews and even filmed exclusive matches at the television tapings. Although Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are remembered the most, they were not the original hosts. That honor belongs to Jack Reynolds and Jesse Ventura. Anyway, I will occasionally review this show over time.


Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Jack Reynolds


The show starts with Reynolds and Ventura welcoming the viewers. Reynolds seems really uncomfortable and glued to the cue cards. Ventura informs us that TNT has been moved to Friday nights. He also says that despite having blood clots a few months ago, he is training and promises that 1985 will be his year. Not a lot of chemistry at all between these two.


Just to let everyone know, all of the matches and interviews on this show were from the 10/22/84 house show at MSG.


Salvatore Bellomo vs. “Dr. D” David Schultz

Bellomo starts with a few arm wringers but Schultz is able to duck between the ropes. Bellomo grabs a hammerlock and Schultz ducks out again as the crowd boos. Bellomo grounds him with a headscissors for a bit. Schultz escapes and knees Bellomo, then goes to work. He catches him with a back elbow smash then chokes him out in the corner. Schultz gets a slam then drops the elbow from the second rope but Bellomo kicks out. Schultz is pissed then roughs him up in the corner before putting him away with a suplex (4:02) *.

Thoughts: I have no idea why Bellomo kicked out of Schultz’s finishing move. The guy was a scrub. Pretty much a squash for Schultz, which it should have been.


After the match, the hosts give their thoughts. They put over Bellomo as being a fighter but state he was no match for Schultz.



Ventura puts down the Samoans, saying they should not be able to wrestle as they cannot read or write, which he states should be a prerequisite.



Afa vs. Dick Murdoch

This match is joined in progress with Afa chopping Murdoch. Afa no sells a turnbuckle smash then and does the same to Murdoch, who comically oversells the move by stumbing all over the place before falling through the ropes. Afa works the arm, using headbutts, then knocks Murdoch down. Afa goes for a chinlock but Murdoch rakes the eyes then tries to one-up Afa by ramming his own head into the turnbuckle repeatedly but just stumbles around and falls over. The crowd is eating up the comical overselling from Murdoch. Afa covers and gets two as Murdoch struggles to get up. The Hillbilly is shown at ringside as Murdoch knocks Afa to the floor. He goes out and chokes Afa with a cord. Murdoch kicks him from the apron then chokes him by using the ropes. He unties the tag rope and chokes out Afa but the ref is able to intervene. Afa finally makes it back into the ring and no sells a ton of shots to the head. Afa fights back and catches him with a chop. He bites Murdoch then hits him with a pair of atomic drops. Falling headbutt gets two. Mrudoch oversells everything as Afa gets a few nearfalls. Murdoch goes outside then puls out a paperbag that appears to have a bottle inside and hits Afa. He drops a few elbows to the throat of Afa, who is laying underneath the ropes. Murdoch goes to work but both men collide and are down. Afa headbutts Murdoch down from his knees and gets two. Murdoch tries a slam but Afa falls on top and gets two. Afa slams Mrudoch down on the mat. Afa plays to the crowd then hits another headbutt and goes for the cover but the bell rings, signaling they reached the twenty minute time limit. About twelve minutes of this was shown. After the match, Murdoch challenges Afa for five more minutes but gets destroyed shortly afterwards.

Thoughts: Fine for what it was. Afa was in a ton of pain at this time and couldn’t do much and they worked around that by having Murdoch do a lot of comedy spots.


Gorilla Monsoon interviews Mad Dog Vachon in the locker room. Mad Dog says no one will stop him. That was basically all he said.



Rick McGraw vs. Mad Dog Vachon

This is also from the October show at MSG.  Vachon backs McGraw into the ropes and breaks cleanly. He takes McGraw down with an armdrag and puts on a headlock as Okerlund makes a joke about losing his dog this weekend. McGraw eventually escapes and manages to ground Vachon with a headlock of his own. Vachon escapes then bites McGraw. He rakes the back and chokes him out, then goes back to biting. McGraw fights back and gets two off a snapmare. Vachon chokes out McGraw but gets dropkicked. Vachon misses a charge in the corner and McGraw covers for two. Dropkick gets two. Scoop slam gets two. Vachon dodges a dropkick and chokes out McGraw with the ropes then hits a terrible looking piledriver for the win (7:04) DUD.

Thoughts: Vachon was of no use to this company. His antics did not fit in with the WWF at this time. He fit in a decade earlier. McGraw was alright but these two did not work well together.



Reynolds promises that David Sammartino will be a superstar as Jesse calls him a “beer-bellied punk.” They show Monsoon interviewing him at MSG. He is vanilla and they were calling him David Bruno Sammartino at this time, which was an attempt to get him over. The poor guy tried but didn’t have any star qualities about him.



Moondog Spot vs. David Sammartino

This is joined in progress. Sammartino catches Spot with a shoulder block and goes to work on the arm. Sammartino ducks a clothesline and knocks Spot down. He catches him with an armdrag and goes back to the arm. Sammartino charges but runs into a superkick. Spot kicks him again then rams him into the corner. Slam gets two. Spot sends him down with a kneelift as Sammartino eggs him on. He fights back but Spot gets an eye rake. Sammartino gets two off a sunset flip but Spot hits him with a forearm smash from the second rope. He grabs a chinlock but Sammartino escapes. He sends Spot down with a shoulder block but misses an elbow drop. Spot gets two off a backbreaker the fires away. Sammartino fights back as Spot begs for mercy. They trade shots and Sammartino tries to fire up the crowd. Kneedrop gets two. Suplex gets two. Spot catches him with a knee on a backdrop attempt then picks him up for a  slam but Sammartino countered with a small package, which looked terrible, for the win.  About eight minutes shown of this match, which went 12:23. After the match Spot jumps Sammartino then grabs the bone but Sammartino fights back and the bone falls. He grabs the bone from the ref, and the crowd goes nuts. Spot bails afterwards.

Thoughts: Good action. The Sammartino push did not work as he lacked charisma and looked like a bloated Rick McGraw but he really wasn’t that bad in the ring. Spot, who was underrated, did a fine job.



The hosts talk about Tito Santana, with Jesse referring to him as “Chico,” for what I believe was the first time. He says that being the Intercontinental Champ was a big jump from him selling tacos in Tijuana.



Monsoon interviews Tito. He promises to get the IC belt back from Greg Valentine and says that he will make him pay for every night he spent thinking about him. A good, intense promo from Tito.



Intercontinental Title Match

Greg Valentine (Champion) w/Capt. Lou Albano vs. Tito Santana

The crowd goes nuts for Tito. He goes right after Valentine, who is still wearing the belt. He takes it off and tries to use it but Tito knocks him down. He continues his assault as the crowd is going nuts. Valentine grabs a hold of Tito’s leg but gets knocked back down. Valentine fight back then they trade shots. Tito knocks Valentine to the floor with a forearm smash. Back in the ring, they trade shots with Valentine winning that battle. He punches Tito, who turns him around and starts hammering away. Valentine hits a few forearms then an atomic drop. Tito fights back but Valentine rakes the eyes. He kicks Tito the floor and gets booted by Albano. Tito drags Valentine out of the ring and they fire away. Valentine gets an eye rake and grabs a chair but Tito ducks and fires away. In the ring, Tito whacks Valentine with a chair and Tito fires away. Valentine is busted open and Tito opens him up some more. The ref tries to intervene but Tito shoves him away and the ref rings the bell for the DQ (5:52) ***. Albano runs in the ring but Tito knocks him down and he and Valentine leave ringside.

Thoughts: Great stuff. Although short, this was all action and these guys really laid into each other. I loved this feud, as these two just hated each other.



Back in the studio, Jesse calls Tito a disgrace to wrestling as he cheated the entire match.



Sika vs. Adrian Adonis

Sika works the arm for a bit until Adonis bails. Back in the ring, Sika goes back to the arm for a long time. Adonis eludes Sika with a cartwheel but gets caught with a slam. Sika works a nerve hold for a bit. Adonis manages to catch Sika with a clothesline then takes control. Adonis climbs up top but Sika knocks him down then hammers away. Adonis reaches into his tights for a glove but Sika moves and he accidentally hits the ref, who calls for the bell (9:29) ¼*. Sika grabs the glove but Adonis is able to escape. Howard Finkel informs us that Sika has won by DQ.

Thoughts: Bad match with a shitty finish.  The tag team division really stunk at this time. Luckily, 1985 brought some new tag-teams to the WWF.



Tony Garea vs. Brutus Beefcake w/Luscious Johnny Valiant

Beefcake starts things off by strutting around. Garea ducks under Beefcake but gets trapped in the corner. Garea reverses a whip in the corner then takes him down with a side headlock. He does it again as the crowd doesn’t care. He gets two off a crossbody then takes him down with yet another side headlock. Beefcake takes control and connects on several forearm smashes. He chokes him out in the corner but misses an elbow smash. Garea punches away then dropkicks Beefcake to the floor. He chases him around and gets two off a reverse rollup. They do an Irish whip spot and Beefcake connects with a jumping knee smash for the win (5:20) ½*.

Thoughts: Another dull match, which is no surprise with these two. Garea is one of my least favorite wrestlers of all-time. He is awful in the ring and on the mic. Beefcake still cannot get over, despite his push and new manager.



World Heavyweight Title Match

Big John Studd w/Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan (Champion)

Studd ducks outside and when he comes back in, Hogan spits at him. Hogan fires away and Studd ducks out again but Hogan chases after him. Studd fights back and sends Hogan into the post. Back in the ring, Studd hits Hogan with an elbow smash. He grabs a chinlock and Hogan tries to escape but Studd knees him down. He hits Hogan with a forearm smash from the second rope then grabs another chinlock. Studd knees him down again then drops him throat-first on the top rope. Studd roughs up Hogan outside of the ring, who barely makes it in before the ten count. Hogan blocks a slam attempt and fires away. Hogan then ducks an attack and hits Studd with a lariat for the win (7:38) *1/4.

Thoughts: Decent enough, considering Studd was in the match. It was pretty cool to see a World Title match on TV, even if it was over two months old.



Jesse refuses to comment on the Hogan match when asked by Reynolds. When they come back from break, Jesse rips off his jacket and flexes while yelling about Hogan. Reynolds runs down next week’s show, which features the Tonga Kid vs. Roddy Piper match from the November MSG show.



Final Thoughts: Although some of these matches sucked, it was rare to see not only an Intercontinental Title match, but a Heavyweight Title Match on television. The show was long and the hosts had no chemistry but it was a new format that featured competitive matches, which was uncommon at that time. It was especially cool to see footage from house shows that most across the country were not able to see. The debut show was okay but some felt at that time that it was overexposure on the WWF’s part as they had several other weekly shows at this time.


  1. Prime time was always good. For my money it was always better than Raw

  2. Especially during the Gorilla/Bobby era. It was definitely the most entertaining wrestling show on television, even though the matches usually sucked except for an occasional great match here and there.

  3. AverageJoeEverymanJuly 17, 2013 at 6:15 AM

    I know most places I read call Prime Time the B show but as a kid growing up I always took it as the main show to watch. Maybe just because of how awesome Bobby and Gorilla were or that their stuff seemed more "Live" than the syndies even before going live or because of it being prime time cable it always was the show I was most excited for. Also coming on after Cartoon Express was a big positive for it in my book as well (though later on I was "lucky" enough to have Herb Abram's UWF on right before PT on another channel, which lead to my love of Dr. Death and Cactus).

  4. I really wish all the old Prime Time episodes were posted somewhere. They were awesome.


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