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WWF PrimeTime Wrestling - March 17, 1991
by Scrooge McSuck
Road To WrestleMania:
Superstars & Stripes Forever
- We're back for some more Primetime Specials from the World Wrestling Federation. I recapped this one a long time ago, but it was an incomplete version missing roughly twenty minutes of footage, so here's a revamped, complete version that I'm sure everyone was dying to read about. Much like the previous Primetime Specials, most of the matches here are either set to tease the fans for a bigger match coming, or to give someone an established wrestler to squash in their on-going quest of getting over. Also, like SummerSlam Fever, we've got a handful of squashes peppered in, too, but that's not too big of a deal.
- Most, if not all, of the matches featured were taped on March 11th from Pensacola, FL, with the dynamic duo of Vince McMahon and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan calling all the action. I'm definitely going to miss Gorilla Monsoon, but you never know. McMahon was kind of tolerable most of the time, and Heenan got some good responses out of him back when they did PPV's in 1992-93.
Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect (IC Champion):
Nice match to open the show with. Perfect is the reigning Intercontinental Champion, but this is Non-Title. Both Bobby Heenan and Marty Jannetty were kept from ringside in a mutal agreement to not have anyone around that could potentially interfere, so we know everyone will be running in at some point. In an awesome example of not having proper information, the USA Network spells Michaels' name as "Sean" rather than Shawn. I seem to recall this match being cropped for the World Tour '91 Coliseum Video, but with alternate commentary. Lockup to start, with no one gaining control. Michaels with a go-behind waistlock, but Perfect escapes with a well placed elbow to the face. Perfect with a hammerlock, but Michaels escapes and knocks the taste out of Perfect's mouth. They talk trash and slug it out, with Michaels gaining the upper-hand. Perfect rolls out of the ring, so Michaels follows with a suicide dive, catching part of the security rail on the way down. OUCH! He doesn't seem phased though, and continues to pound away on Hennig. Perfect fights back and drops Michaels across the security rail, which brings Marty Jannetty to the ring to check on his partner. So much for banning Jannetty and Heenan from the ring.
We return from commercial break with Perfect "hammering" away on Michaels. Perfect with a standing dropkick for a two count. Perfect works Michaels over in the corner, then whips him to the opposite side. Michaels does his usual "flip up the corner, land on the apron spot", and gets clotheslined off for his troubles. Perfect maintains the advantage and tells Jannetty off for being a stupid punk. Perfect with a snapmare, followed by his float-over neck snap for a two count. Perfect continues to pound away, but Michaels boots him in the face, complete with over-sell. Perfect keeps putting the preasure on Michaels, though, and slaps on a sleeper hold. Michaels fights back to his feet and escapes with a jaw buster. Michaels hits the ropes, but runs right into a knee. Perfect takes a cheap shot at Jannetty, so Jannetty retaliates. Where's the Disqualification?! This brings Heenan down to the ring, no doubt still gloating about pinning Jannetty at the '89 Survivor Series. Perfect rolls outside to send Jannetty into the ring post, but Michaels catches him coming back in and crotches him across the top rope. Michaels with an atomic drop, followed by a clothesline for a two count. Irish whip, and Michaels with the pre-named Sweet Chin Music for another two count. Irish whip is reversed, but Michaels takes Perfect down with a swinging neck breaker. Michaels to the top rope, but he has to fight off a distraction from the Brain. Perfect takes control again and quickly traps him in the Perfect-Plex, but the Big Boss Man hits the ring and attacks Perfect, drawing the Disqualification at 10:23. He easily clears Perfect from the ring, then celebrates with the Rockers. Did they really need to protect Shawn Michaels here? The Rockers were always near the bottom of ladder for tag teams, barely a rung up on the Bushwhackers when it came to having to job. Decent match, nothing spectacular. The only other big match I can think of between these two was SummerSlam '93, and that was disappointing, too. How odd. After the match, Andre The Giant pokes his head out from the curtain and after a brief moment of tension, offers a handshake to the Big Boss Man! Oh wow! I always loved the connection here, since Andre was known as "The Boss" and he's helping someone known as the Boss Man.
- It's time for the official contract signing for the big Retirement Match between the Ultimate Warrior and "Macho King" Randy Savage. Mean Gene Okerlund is hosting this in the ring, along with President Jack Tunney and the usual gaggle of suits that would show up to break up fights and hold people back from doing anything stupid. Two of them I believe were Blackjack Lanza and Rene Goulet, and sometimes you'd see Pat Patterson among the group, too. Anyway, it's the usual here, but without any violence. However, we do get a special treat with an appearance from the Undertaker. This should've been a clue that they had big plans for an Undertaker/Warrior program, otherwise, why establish anything along the lines of it before the big match at WrestleMania VII?
The British Bulldog (w/ Winston) vs. Jim Corbett:
Squash Central, population 1. The Bulldog's new mascot Winston didn't hang around for a while. I wonder if that poor dog was treated as poorly as Matilda was. Now if only Ricky Steamboat came to the ring with that "Dragon" of his, and fed a bulldog to it... now that's Insta-Feud at it's best! The Bulldog was involved in a program with the Warlord over who was stronger. Yeah, one of THOSE. One of the main highlights building up to this match was a special Full Nelson Challenge (see also: The Masterlock Challenge) that lead to Slick being brutally beaten by the Bulldog. Lockup, and Bulldog with a standing side headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Bulldog counters a hip toss with a clothesline. Corbett rakes the eyes and slaps on a crappy Full Nelson, but Davey Boy counters into his own version, then drops him on the back of his head. Bulldog with his signature delayed vertical suplex, followed by a headbutt. Whip to the corner, Bulldog charges in with a clothesline, and the powerslam finishes things at 1:34. This squash did it's job. Showcased what the Bulldog could do, without breaking much of a sweat.
- Courtesy of WWF SuperStars of Wrestling, we catch a clip of Martel accidentially on purpose spraying Roberts in the eyes with Arrogance. Then clips of Martel and Brother Love taunting a blind Jake, and Jake planting Love with the DDT on the set of his own interview stage. Jump to a clip from a match between Martel and Santana, where Santana was DQ'ed when Roberts attacked him. We close things out with a promo from Jake Roberts. Not a great promo, but it's short and to the point.
Koko B. Ware (w/ Frankie) vs. "The Model" Rick Martel:
Vince gets a good laugh from some retarded Florida Cracker doing his own version of "The Bird." It's a rematch from WrestleMania VI, and the outcome will probably wind up the same. Blindfold match means both guys wear masks that they can see through, but pantomime being unable to see, and thus comedy ensues. Since Roberts spent the better part of 4 months walking around blind, it's Martel's chance to get a taste of it before being put in a smiliar match at WrestleMania VII. Martel with some trash talking to start, and Ware turns the favor with a sucker punch, then takes Martel over with a back drop. Koko with a pair of dropkicks, sending Martel out of the ring. Ware finally puts the hood on, before Martel does so too, allowing Martel to beat the crap out of him for it. Martel takes things out of the ring and rams Koko into the post, then finally puts the mask on too, upon re-entering the ring. Koko's role at this point has become "bang the canvas a lot to make noise", and about a minute later, Martel finally "finds" him by grabbing the ankles and turns Koko over with the Boston Crab for the victory at 4:21. Well, that sure was a waste of time. At least the match at WrestleMania VII had some form of entertainment. Martel continues to punish Koko after the match, for whatever reasons. Maybe Koko stole a sample of Arrogance and got lucky one night because of it.
- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper is standing by, and he of all people gets to do an interview with the Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase. I find that unusual, since Piper was spending the weeks leading up to the show as the mentor/trainer for Virgil, Dibiase's scheduled opponent for WrestleMania VII. Piper is coming to the ring with a crutch, selling an injury that was probably hip surgery or something. It doesn't take long for things to get heated, and suddenly Virgil comes out to make the confrontation complete. One thing I couldn't understand is that following WrestleMania, they established a program between Dibiase and Piper, but then totally ignored it and Virgil/Dibiase resumed up to and through SummerSlam. Dibiase had a bad luck stretch when it came to programs. The angle with the Boss Man in 1990 seemed to fade away without so much as a whimper, then the program with Dusty Rhodes became one-sided and abruptly ended due to Rhodes' leaving, then the aborted program with Kerry Von Erich set up when Dibiase cost him the Intercontinental Title, and now this with Piper.
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine vs. Scott Allen:
The wonders of the WWF in 1991, including the odd decision of turning Greg Valentine face. He was allegedly rumored to feud with the Honkytonk Man, but the latter bolted from the WWF prior to the Royal Rumble, so Valentine gets paired up against whatever Jimmy Hart had left: Earthquake. Ouch. Too bad for Earthquake, going from main event threat to midcard filler in the course of a few months. Lockup, and Valentine shoves Allen off. Allen with a side headlock, and Valentine takes him over with an arm drag, then slaps on an armbar. Valentine with chops in the corner. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Valentine with a boot to the face, followed by a clothesline. Allen offers a handshake, but Valentine pulls him in and boots him in the chest. Valentine hammers away (har har) and connects with a stomach buster. Irish whip, and Allen with some mild jobber offense. Valentine ends the luck streak with an atomic drop to the knee, followed by a leg sweep. Valentine with a headbutt to the midsection, followed by his winded up forearm across the chest. Valentine with the Figure-Four, and it's over at 3:00. Not an impressive squash, and definitely doesn't give me hope he'll put on a good performance against Earthquake at WrestleMania VII.
- We throw it to pre-recorded comments from WWF Champion Sgt. Slaughter and his manager, Gen. Adnan. Slaughter calls us all Pukeamaniacs, and calls Hogan the Immortal Slime. Seriously, every single promo involved Slaughter calling some a puke or a slime. "Peace is for Pansies", sayeth the Sarge. That's not a dumbass line if I've ever heard one. We get Hulk Hogan's response, and it's his usual. Will Hulkamania Live Forever? We will find out at WrestleMania VII.
Hulk Hogan vs. Gen. Adnan:
Unusual match, since Adnan was never established as anything more than a corner man. It would be the equivilant of putting Slick or Jimmy Hart in the match. I've mentioned this before, but Hulk Hogan wrestling on something other than Saturday Night's Main Event was always a big deal, since these appearances were very few and far between. Don't expect this "match" to go for very long, though. Adnan attacks before the bell and does some back scratching. You can't steal the Hulksters offense, brother! Adnan continues raking and scratching away, but Hogan kicks him in the face to turn the tide. Adnan begs for mercy, but Hogan will have none of that. Irish whip, and Hogan connects with a running clothesline. Adnan with more begging, but now Slaughter hits the ring and nails Hogan with the WWF Championship to draw the Disqualification at 1:04. Slaughter beats Hogan down and slaps on the Camel Clutch. Meanwhile, Adnan taunts Hogan by holding the WWF Championship in his face, upside down. How dare you hold the title upside down, brother! Slaughter ends things by laying the Iraqi flag across the fallen body of the Hulkster. Nothing match, but the post-match beating did it's purpose.
- We return from commercial, and Mean Gene is backstage with the tandum of Slaughter and Adnan. I'm sorry, but I already sat through one of their crappy promos. This angle was just a total slap in the face of human decency. If Slaughter was just a blood-thirsty republican or something, that's one thing, but using the Gulf War as the back-drop for a program, the main program heading into WrestleMania? That's just a lack of class.
- We're taken back in time, to the Tag Team Battle Royal from an episode of Superstars of Wrestling. It's been done before, most recently in the February 18th episode of PrimeTime Wrestling. Here's the shrt version: The Legion of Doom are in control, but Power and Glory, who were eliminted by the LOD, are mad, and are responsible for Hawk being eliminated, giving the Nasty Boys a title shot at WrestleMania VII. LOD vs. Power and Glory is also established for the PPV, based solely on the actions that took place at the end of this Battle Royal. And now you know the rest of the story...
Bret "Hitman" Hart (w/ Jim Neidhart) vs. Brian Knobbs (w/ Saggs & Jimmy Hart):
The Hart Foundation are the reigning Tag Team Champions, but their days as Champions appear to be numbered. Another in the awesome series of hyping the up-coming tag title match by featuring one member from each team in singles competition. Neidhart does the honors of handing out the Hitman sunglasses. That's all he was good for at this point of his career, I guess. Lockup into the corner, and Bret teases a cheap shot before backing off. Lockup again, and this time Knobbs has no trouble taking the diry route. Knobbs sends Hart to the buckle and continues to hammer away. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Hart takes Knobbs over with a hip toss. Bret with an atomic drop, followed by a reverse version and a diving back elbow, sending Knobbs out of the ring. Knobbs wastes time on the apron, so Hart brings him back with a sling shot. Irish whip, and Bret comes off the ropes with a cross body press, then pounds away. Knobbs tries stalling again, but the Anvil throws him back in the ring. Hart with a wristlock, then turns it into an armbar. The action gets intense outside the ring with all the cornermen, allowing Knobbs to cheap shot Hart from behind, then puts him down with a clothesline. Knobbs tries for a slam, but Hart shifts his weight to land on top for a two count. Knobbs regains control, then sends Bret hard into the turnbuckle. Whip to the corner is reversed, but Knobbs boots Hart coming in. Knobbs stomps away and rakes the eyes. Irish whip, and they blow a spot. Hart with a series of rights. Irish whip, and Hart with a fist to the midsection and Russian leg sweep for a two count. Bret with a snap suplex for another two count. Bret with a back breaker and second rope elbow drop. Saggs trips Bret up, allowing Knobbs to recover and plant Hart with a piledriver, but that only gets a two count. Saggs continues to interfere, but Neidhart intervenes, allowing Bret to nail Knobbs with his half of the Hart Attack for the three count at 9:31. Not the worst Nasty Boy match I've ever seen, but it wasn't very good. Bret Hart could've had an equally good match with a mop or broomstick.
- Next week, PrimeTime Wrestling is moving to Tuesday Nights, and will be a post-WrestleMania celebration coming to you from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV! That was definitely an interesting episode of PrimeTime, from what I recall. I wonder how long the change to tueday night's lasted. The way McMahon described it, it wasn't for a one-shot deal, but he was never the most enlightening person to hear from.
- Mean Gene Okerlund is standing by, and with him is the challenger to the WWF Championship, the Immortal HULK HOGAN! Hogan is kind of selling the beat-down still, but not very convincingly. He's not going to back down from Slaughter, and at WrestleMania VII, he's going to win the WWF Championship for all the little Hulkamaniacs and for the United States of America. I wouldn't be surprised.
Tugboat vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer):
It was only a few weeks ago where Brother Love handed over the managerial duties of the Undertaker over to Paul Bearer, previously known as Percy Pringle in southern wrestling territories. The Undertaker is scheduled to face "The Phenom", Superfly Jimmy Snuka at WrestleMania VII, and Tugboat is doing the JTTS Tour along with guys like Tito Santana and Koko B. Ware. I guess it took someone a YEAR to figure out that Tugboat was a stupid idea and no one wanted to see him near the main events? Undertaker attacks before the bell, and hammers away on Tugboat in the corner. Whip to the opposite side and Undertaker follows in with a splash. Undertaker chokes away, but misses another charge into the corner. Tugboat goes for a slam, but fallsunder the weight of the Undertaker. Undertaker misses an elbow drop, but comes back, off the ropes with a diving clothesline. Undertaker with more choking, and another failed attempt from Tugboat leads to another near fall. Undertaker with an elbow drop, followed by choking across the middle rope. Undertaker comes off the ropes and misses the elbow drop that always misses. Irish whip, and Tugboat with a powerslam, but the Undertaker sits up. Tugboat with an avalanche in the corner, but he misses a second attempt. Undertaker casually climbs to the top rope, walks the rope, and drops an elbow for the three count at 3:29. That's how you squash an established name. The usual formula Undertaker match, but it seemed more lively, probably because of the short amount of time alloted. Afterwards, the Undertaker sprinkles dirt on the fallen Tugboat. That was a short-lived post match celebration gimmick. I think he traded it in for the body bag soon after.
Final Thoughts: Another entertaining two hours. A couple of decent matches, a lot of focus on the big storylines heading into WrestleMania VII, and very little filler, that being the two squash matches and extra promos from the WWF Championship Match participants. This time frame marks a wind of change for the WWF, at least to me. They would start to bring back names from the past under different guises, push new tag teams while breaking up older ones, and just a whole lot of random stuff just thrown at the wall to see if something will stick. I'm sure once I get to the 1991 Summerslam Spectacular, the WWF will feel like a different place.
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