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Prime Time Wrestling - April 3, 1989

by Scrooge McSuck

- We’re less than 24 hours removed from the Mega Powers EXPLODING at WrestleMania V. What does the WWF have in store for us tonight? Some photos of the action? Results? Comments from the winners and losers? OF COURSE NOT. No, instead, what we get is a two hour commercial for Coliseum Home Video, the official video cassette distributer of the World Wrestling Federation. You think I’m kidding?

- No Gorilla Monsoon or Bobby Heenan this week, either. Sean Mooney and Tony Schiavone are our hosts, acting as shill-men years before the days of Barry Dadinski or Don West. The Prime Time studio is littered with Coliseum Video cassettes, and we’re going to see plenty of highlights from each tape in some kind of attempt to drum up business.

Flag Match: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. Boris Zhukov:

I just dodged a bullet reviewing the Hacksaw Jim Duggan tape, so naturally I’m forced to suffer through at least one of his matches, FROM THE SAME TAPE. This is from the November ’88 episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event, possibly the worst episode when it comes to match quality. They trade rights to start. Duggan with an atomic drop, followed by a clothesline, sending Zhukov to the floor. Lockup into the ropes, Zhukov pounds away with rights. He lands a boot to the face of Duggan and drops an elbow. Duggan no-sells it, of course, and retaliates with more punching. Zhukov falls on his ass missing a kick, then Duggan misses an elbow drop. Whip to the corner, and Duggan charges back out with a clothesline. Whip to the ropes and a scoop slam. Charging clotheslines finishes at 2:26. ½* Standard filler match you would see on SNME. Duggan proceeds to make goofy faces while they raise the flag.

- Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Bad News Brown: From WrestleFest ’88, held in Milwaukee, WI on July 31st, 1988. Lockup into the ropes, and Brown naturally cheap shots the Hitman. Whip to the corner, Bret barely gets over Brown on a charge attempt, then throws him across the ring with a hip toss. Bret with a slam, followed by an elbow drop. Whip to the ropes, boot to the midsection, and a rake of the eyes across the top rope. Billy Graham continues to call Brown “The Bad News Man.” My God, he’s awful. Whip to the corner, and this time Bret meets boot on a charge. Brown takes his time going to the top rope, allowing Bret to pop up and slam him off. Bret to the second turnbuckle with an elbow drop for two. Snap suplex and leg drop for another two count. He goes for the back breaker, but Brown rakes the eyes. Whip to the corner is reversed, but Brown comes right back with a stiff clothesline. He screams for the Ghetto Blaster, and sure enough, he whiffs on the attempt. Bret ducks under a charge, sending Brown over the top rope, to the floor, then follows with a slingshot plancha. Back in the ring, Bret comes off the ropes with a body press. Bown kicks out, sending Bret out of the ring. He sunset flips back into the ring, and that only gets two. Bret with a back breaker for two… and that’s all the free preview we get at 6:07. YOU BASTARDS! Well, check out the WrestleFest ’88 recap for the finish…

Tito Santana vs. The Executioner:

From the 1st WrestleMania, held on March 31st, 1985 from Madison Square Garden, but the Coliseum Video being hyped is one of the WrestleMania “Best of” tapes. I am SHOCKED that Paul Orndorff’s name was mentioned in the studio segment, since he hasn’t been in WWF for over a year at this point. Executioner grabs a headlock to start. They do a criss-cross sequence, ending with Santana taking him over with a back drop, then knocking him to the floor with a dropkick. Back inside, Santana works on a side headlock. Executioner goes low(ish) and sends Santana to the buckle. Whip to the ropes and Executioner with a knee to the midsection. He goes for a Figure-Four, but Santana fights him off. He settles for a seated spinning toe hold, but that doesn’t last long. Santana puts the boots to the Exeuctioner and sends him to the corner. Executioner comes back with a slam, but a trip to the top rope is unsuccessful. Santana slams him off, but meets knees on a splash attempt. Executioner goes after the leg again (which at the time was recovering from surgery, an injured in kayfabe caused by Greg Valentine). Santana slams Executioner back into the ring, hits the Flying Forearm, and makes him submit to the Figure-Four at 4:49. ** Non-stop action and crisp work. I could’ve sworn the match was a couple of minutes longer, but double-checking proves me wrong… as usual.

Koko B. Ware vs. Big Boss Man (w/ Slick):

From the 1st (and at the time, only) SummerSlam, held at Madison Square Garden. Billy Graham tortures my ears again, complaining, of all things, about Boss Man’s badge. Fuck the night-stick, that badge is the real deadly threat he carries. Boss Man attacks from behind, thanks to a distraction from Slick. Back inside, Koko mounts a bit of offense, coming off the ropes with a dropkick, trapping Boss Man in the ropes. He splashes down across Boss Man’s chest and continues to pound away. Koko tries to hit and run, but Boss Man catches him and pounds away. It’s quite amazing how good of shape the Boss Man gradually got into. You watch this match compared to not just 1991, but even the summer of 1989, and you can see the difference. Whip to the ropes and a big clothesline gets an intentional two count. Boss Man with the sit down splash across the back. He plants Koko with a slam, but misses a splash from the top rope. That landing can’t be good for his feet and knees. Koko avoids a charge and pounds away with right jabs. He goes to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick! Big splash gets two. He comes off the ropes, but gets dumped over the top rope. Back inside, the Bossman Slam finishes at 5:56. *1/2 Competitive squash match.

Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs. Jacques Rougeau (w/ Jimmy Hart):

From Best of the WWF Vol. 18. If this is some of the best, I’d hate to see some of the worst (Spoiler: that would be Best of the WWF Vol. 16). I’m sure this was featured on Prime Time a few months earlier. Jacques stalls to start. Surprisingly, we get a hand shake and NOT a sucker punch. Lockup, Jacques with a knee to the midsection. Whip to the ropes, and a criss-cross ends with Jacques connecting with a dropkick. Beefcake side-steps a second attempt and starts putting the boots to him. Whip to the ropes, and a High-Knee sends Jacques to the floor. Jimmy Hart with a distraction, allowing Jacques to attack from behind. Whip to the ropes and a diving elbow connects. Jacques with a Boston Crab, but Beefcake makes it to the ropes to force a break. Hart continues his shenanigans, using the mega phone as a weapon behind the back of the referee. Jacques with a snapmare and knee drop across the back, setting up a lazy bow-and-arrow. Whip to the ropes and its Abdominal Stretch City time. Beefcake avoids a blind body press and rallies with rights. He nearly blows a back drop spot. Beefcake with a delayed atomic drop. Jacques takes the buckle to the face 10-times, but Beefcake’s splash attempt meets knees. We get heel miscommunication, Brutus grabs the Sleeper Hold, and Raymond runs in for the DQ at 9:12. Beefcake threatens everyone with his hedge clippers to clear the ring. * This was just too long and dull to have a bull-crap finish.

Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, Blue Blazer, Sam Houston, Jim Brunzell vs. The Honkytonk Man, Ron Bass, Greg Valentine, Bad News Brown, Danny Davis:

From the 2nd Annual Survivor Series, unless there was some bizarre house show that featured one hell of a random 10-man Tag Team Match. Oh, the Survivor Series ’88 Coliseum Video. Not only does it butcher two matches down to almost nothing, but they actually FLIP FLOP the proper order of the matches! Yes, I still have a copy of it, even though the WWE Anthology set features a practically unedited show, so there’s little reason to go back and watch it on VHS. Beefcake starts with Valentine. Danny Davis tags in, and the Sleeper Hold finishes him almost immediately, at 1:17. Yeah, Davis’ time as an in-ring performer was nearing an end. We clip ahead to Bad News working over Brunzell. Brunzell trades blows with him until Brown goes to the eyes. Brunzell misses a charge to the corner, and the Ghetto Blaster finishes at 2:24. Clip ahead to Valentine and Sam Houston in the ring. Bad News tags in, and we get heel miscommunication. This pisses Bad News off, so he takes a walk at 3:20. He’d do it again in 1989. Clip ahead to Ron Bass finishing Sam Houston off with a Powerslam at 4:16. Clip ahead to the Blue Blazer having his way with Valentine, until Honky shoves him off the top rope, and Valentine finishes him with the (shin-guard assisted) Figure-Four at 5:10. Clip ahead to Beefcake and Honkytonk Man brawling to the floor and both getting Counted-Out at 6:00. Clip ahead to Valentine and Bass relentlessly double-teaming the Warrior… and again, we don’t see the finish. Spoiler: Ultimate Warrior wins, WITHOUT splashing either Valentine or Bass. 6:30 shown. The FULL match (not the clipped down version including the finish) is fine entertainment, probably in the **1/2-*** range.

Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Steve Lombardi:

From “Brains Behind the Brawn” a collection of stuff featuring all the managers of the WWF. This is from the Summer of 1988 and the break-up of the Hart Foundation and Jimmy Hart. Jimmy shows up at ringside, but Bret Hart orders him away after refusing his advice. Lombardi puts the boots to Hart and chokes away. Whip to the ropes and Bret takes him over with a back drop. He comes off the ropes with a clothesline as we get an inset promo from Jim Neidhart, warning Bad News of what kind of guy Bret is. Piledriver finishes at 1:33. Standard Superstars squash match.

- More from the “Brains Behind the Brawn” Video. This time Jim Neidhart shows up at ringside to scare away Jimmy Hart… remember when he wore the beret to cover up the butchered haircut given to him at WrestleMania IV? We get to see a few minutes of Bret squashing Jerry Allen and we suddenly cut to a squash featuring the Hart Foundation and the Conquistadors. Jimmy Hart cuts an inset promo about making sure the Hart Foundation never win the Tag Team Titles again.

WWF Women’s Championship Match:
Rockin’ Robin © vs. Judy Martin:

From the 1989 Royal Rumble, the first featured on PPV and first to be released on Coliseum Video. Before the match, Sensational Sherri cuts a pretty awful promo. I mean, it’s just bad. Thankfully, this is the CLIPPED version, as Coliseum Video cut a 10+ minute match down to almost nothing. Robin can’t take Martin over with a roll up and gets laid out with a stiff clothesline for a near fall. Sherri joins the PBP team and buries both wrestlers. Robin with an alleged DDT for two. Martin misses an elbow drop. Robin can’t get her up for a slam. Martin with a slam and back slide for near falls. Small package by Robin gets two. Whip to the corner, Robin with a body press, and she retains at 2:43. DUD Four months later and the Women’s Championship was abandoned. Again.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan):

Of ALL the boring matches from WrestleMania IV to tease fans into buying the Coliseum Video, they pick this one?! Lord, help me… Random rant: Whenever people flashback to this PPV and this specific match, too many people remind us of their angle with Cheryl Roberts leading into it. Except the fact that angle wasn’t taped until AFTER this PPV, and this was just a random match thrown together. Lockup and Rude shoves Roberts to the corner. Another lockup, and Rude gets dropped face-first to the canvas. Rude with two slams. Roberts comes back with two slams as well and works the arm for a couple of minutes. Roberts teases the DDT, but Rude escapes to the floor. They criss-cross until Roberts plants Rude with a slam. He charges for a running knee, but gets thrown into the corner. Rude pounds away and lays him out with a clothesline. Chinlock #1 (lasts just shy of 2-minutes). Rude with an axehandle from the top rope, followed by a clothesline for two. Chinlock #2 kills another minute. Top rope fist drop gets two. Chinlock #3 kills another minute. He lets go briefly, then goes to Chinlock #4. The boring chants are almost as loud as Monsoon and Ventura. That’s another 90-seconds of nothing. Roberts escapes with a jaw buster and peppers Rude with rights. Whip to the ropes and a back drop, followed by the short-arm clothesline. Rude counters another DDT attempt. Whip to the corner, but a charge meets the knee. Roberts with a stomach buster for two. They do a double knock-down spot but nobody cares. Rude sweeps the legs and rolls Roberts up, but the bell rings at 15:10 to signal a Time Limit Draw. DUD Not only was half the match just dull resting (literally 6-minutes was chinlocks, and another 2-3 was a wristlock), but the crowd was probably the largest gathering of corpses you could find. Why couldn’t they edit this down to 3-4 minutes?

- We get Highlights from Hulkamania 3, which covers pretty much the entire feud with Andre through 1987 and early 1988, and is definitely recommended viewing, even for non-Hogan fans. We start with clips of Hogan vs. Andre The Giant from WrestleMania III, then clips from their rematch at WrestleMania IV, and finally a montage of clips sets to Hulk Hogan’s theme music, Real American. I’m not complaining. I’m still a Hulkamaniac all these years later.

- We conclude the episode with Mooney and Schiavone shilling WrestleMania V watches. Of course.

Final Thoughts: Using the way television is done today, could you imagine WWE giving us a nothing show the night after WrestleMania? I don’t mean nothing as in “nothing major happening”, I mean nothing as in absolutely zero fresh content. Not one mention of a result of the PPV. The following year, while lacking in decent content, they at least acknowledged something that happened at WrestleMania. In 1991, they held an “After-party” kind of show in Las Vegas! Here? We have Sean Mooney and Tony Schiavone shilling Coliseum Videos, and giving us probably the matches least likely to entice from each show, most of them being the PPV’s of the last calendar year. I could over-look the lack of original content had they presented us with something solid but no, the best match presented doesn’t even include the finish. All this was is a 2 hour infomercial that anyone with even the littlest understanding of entertainment could’ve patched together better with the same material available.

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