Prime Time Wrestling - May 26, 1986
by Erick Von Erich
Hello again, everybody, it's time for Prime Time Wrestling with Gorilla Monsoon and -- once again sitting in for Jesse "The Body" Ventura-- Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. WWE Network has these Spring 1986 episodes as the start of their Prime Time bucket in the "Vault". I'm guessing they chose to start here because it's when Gorilla and the Brain first started hosting, together. I like the original intro music, as it sounds like something from a 1970's TV cop show. Gorilla mentions that Jesse is off with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Puerto Vallarta, filming "some sort of jungle movie". Really, if you ever go to Puerto Vallarta, check out the "El Eden Predator Movie Set Zipline Tour". Frickin' awesome. But with so much going on in the World Wrestling Federation, let's get down to ringside for...
King Kong Bundy (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas
All of the matches tonight are from an MSG card; I'm guessing the first one after WrestleMania 2. Gorilla and Lord Alfred Hayes are at ringside, calling the action. Vladimir is in about the fourth row, but walks up loser to heckle Bundy. Bell rings with a lock-up and Bundy gets a side headlock. Atlas muscles out, then comes off the ropes with a Thesz-press for a 2 count. Bundy whips him to the ropes, again, and this time Atlas returns with a headbutt. Bundy takes over with a reverse elbowsmash, then to the mat with a reverse chinlock. Atlas fights up, once more, and comes off the ropes with a shoulderblock. He goes for an arm-wringer, but Bundy simply slugs him in the ribs. Another elbow and a slam gets 2 for Bundy. Bundy goes for the avalanche in the corner, but Atlas gets his legs up to block! Atlas comes off the second turnbuckle with a flying headbutt. Atlas goes for a splash, but Bundy gets his legs up to block (Gorilla mentions that it's rather odd that Atlas was going for Bundy's knees on a splash attempt). Bundy drops a big elbow and gets the 3 count (not a 5-count?). I expected this to be the drizzling poops, but it was okay.
"Leaping" Lanny Poffo vs. Tiger Chung Lee
Two mainstays of PTW. Gorilla mentions that the loser of this match could be on his way out of the WWF. Wishful thinking. Thankfully, we're joined-in-progress. Lee carries the entire match, working over Poffo's midsection with a series of inverted backbreakers. Slam, then he drops a few knees into Poffo. When Poffo does make his two or three comebacks, he does nothing but punch. Lee with a knife-edge chop and Poffo over-sells it by flipping over the top rope to the floor. Poffo finally gets some significant offense with a backdrop. Lee is whipped into the turnbuckle, then Poffo meets him with a head-scissors into a pinning combination for the win. Was more of a showcase for Lee, yet this match was J-I-P, then took up two whole segments including a commercial break. Egads. Back in the studio, Heenan says the only thing Poffo's accomplished in the WWF is "reading 75-hundred lousy poems".
Studio Interivew with Captain Lou Albano and the British Bulldogs
Albano's a ball of non-stop babbling energy, introducing himself to "Killer" Ken Resnick, promoting his new movie "Wise Guys", then bringing in his 16th set of Tag Team Champions, the Bulldogs. Just wondering, but did Lou ever venture outside of the WWF/WWWF for a bit and manage anybody else to tag team gold? Davey Boy does all of the talking, throwing out challenges to the Dream Team, Studd/Bundy, Sheik/Volkoff and the Hart Foundation. Dynamite Kid says nothing, so Resnick manages to drop his name in.
"Special Delivery" Jones vs. Bret "Hitman" Hart
Joined-in-progress, with them fighting over an armbar. They criss cross (JUMP! JUMP!) the ropes, then Hart nails an inverted atomic drop...and hawks a loogie onto S.D! Hart takes over, splitting the legs and delivering a nice leg drop before going into a reverse chinlock. The fans chant "borrrring" almost as soon as they lock into any restholds, but I'm guessing part of that is because they want to see Hart's offense. S.D comes back with-- what else?-- some headbutts. Hart sells them like he's just been shot. Reverse into the corner and Hart is up to the second turnbuckle to deliver a quick flying elbowdrop. S.D tries a backdrop, but gets an elbowsmash to the external occipital protuberance. More headbutts from S.D. get the crowd fired up, along with dance moves! They hit the ropes once more, duck under, then Hart plants S.D. off the ropes with a crisp back-breaker. That gets the 3 count pin for the Hitman and a good chunk of fans seem to approve. Nice showcase match for Hart, as he pretty much carried the entire thing.
The next studio session is significant if you're a big fan of Prime Time. First, Gorilla mentions that the key to the last match was "excellence and execution". Then Heenan suddenly says that HE is the host of the show, since that's what Jesse the Body promised him. Gorilla contends that Jesse's a "fountain of misinformation", that Heenan's only a guest co-host and not the host...
MSG Interview with Dave Winfield and Dave Righetti
Wha?! Absolutely. It's from the same MSG broadcast, as Gorilla is backstage with the Yankees' Winfield and Righetti. Gorilla asks them if they want to challenge anybody and Righetti kinda' talks some smack about Ron Darling of the Mets and his three-piece suit. Oooo, burn! Inter-league rivalries! King Kong Bundy crashes the interview, claiming that Righetti wouldn't be able to throw a fastball past him. Bobby Heenan wanders in, next, wondering if this is "Little League practice". Some dude who I don't recognize then walks in, claiming he's the "manager" of Winfield and Righetti. Lou Pinella was the Yankees manager that year, so I have no clue who this chucklehead is. I'm guessing it's their agent or a friend and that I'm being WAY too literal with the word "manager". Heenan tells him: "if you're the manager of these guys, you're gonna' be out of a job soon" and leaves. The Yankees and their "manager" then challenge anybody, yet Winfield clarifies: "Anybody in the American League East"! Just a fun segment, as Winfield and Righetti both had ear-to-ear grins the whole time. Gorilla, Heenan and Bundy all seemed to be having a blast, too.
"Jumping" Jim Brunzell vs. Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart
They start with an overhead wristlock, which Anvil heels up by going for a hair pull. They evoke Brunzell's Gagne roots by working the mat with a hammerlock sequence. After that, about 75% of the match is Anvil working a freaking headlock. No exaggeration. Brunzell hits the ropes for a high cross-body for 2, then gets sent out to the floor. It may have been accidental, since the ropes appear to be rather loose. Brunzell tries coming back in, but Anvil thumps him away. He finally comes in with a shoulderblock, then Sloppy Packages Anvil for 2. More Headlocks of Mild Significance from Anvil. The crowd is REALLY vocal with their "borrrrring" chants, making me wonder why the WWF chose to air this match on a national level. After more headlocking, they hit the ropes and Brunzell hooks a sleeper. Anvil breaks by backing him into the corner and more headlocking occurs. Ending has Brunzell making a mild comeback with his little jumping "skullcracker" mini-piledriver, then his big drop-kick. In for the cover and the 1...2.. but Anvil gets his foot on the ropes and the bell sounds for a time limit draw. Yes, somebody booked a timelimit draw match, featuring little more than Anvil working a headlock. To quote William Shakespeare: "this was pure crap".
"Golden Boy" Danny Spivey vs. Paul Christy
Starts off with Spivey working a headlock. Oh, for poop's sake! More "borrrrring" chants, naturally. They do a little criss-cross (JUMP! JUMP!) and when Christy drops down, Spivey simply stomps on his head. Christy gets a cheapshot and Spivey rolls outside to over-sell. Spivey easily gets back in and catches Christy with a reverse elbow, slam, then a whip to the corner. Big bulldog from Spivey gets the 3 count. Well, at least it was short.
Studio Interview with Corporal Kirchner
Ken Resnick brings in the former Airborne trooper, who shouts Fightin' Words directed towards the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. He even calls them "little commies". Technically incorrect on Sheik's part, but in the midst of the Reagan Era, calling somebody a "commie" was akin to calling them a putz.
Sivi Afi vs. Hercules Hernandez (w/"Classy" Freddy Blassie)
Herc wins the initial lock-ups, tossing Afi around. Afi flips out of a reverse hammerlock, over Herc's head, chops and sends him packing with a drop-kick. Herc with a shoulderblock, then a headlock takedown. Yes, more headlocking. They hit the ropes and Afi comes alive with two armdrags and a pair or drop-kicks. A belly-to-back suplex from Herc slows Afi down, then Blassie gets some cane-shots in. Herc drops a series of elbows and gets a 2 count. Herc tries to slam Afi onto the top rope, but Afi kinda' blows it. A chinlock occurs. Afi fights out, gets some momentum, but Herc blasts him with a jumping clothesline. Chinlock sequence, take two. Yup, here come the chants. Afi fights up, again, hits some charging shoulderblocks and a sunset flip pinning attempt for 2. Herc goes back to the chinlock....and here we go again. Afi fights out for the third time, they hit the ropes and do an awkward sequence where Afi delivers a reverse atomic drop. Afi chops away, then sends Herc outside. Afi's up to the top and flies to the floor with a high cross-body! Back in the ring, Afi with a slam and a diving headbutt for 2. Afi goes up top for another flying cross-body. This time, Herc catches him, rolls through and pulls the trunks to get the 3 count. Final minute was entertaining, but that was it.
Gorilla and the Brain wrap things up, telling us to catch TNT on Wednesdays and All-American Wrestling on Sundays. Next week, our feature match will be Ted Arcidi vs. Big John Studd. Heenan gets one final quip about how he'll be the host, next week!
Why'd You Watch This?:
The middle portion of Hart/Jones and the Yankees interview saves this episode. Yes, I'm a huge baseball mark and I get all giddy whenever it crosses over into wrestling in any form (longtime DWB lurkers/sufferers may remember me getting all excited about a Pirates camerman mentioning Ric Flair's retirement, back in 2008). The Bulldogs interview is perfectly silly vintage Captain Lou. Gorilla and the Brain are just starting to warm up to each other and finding good chemistry. The ongoing joke about Heenan being the "host" may have had its genesis in this episode. The remainder takes up more than 70% of this show and is not really worth watching, though. Match-wise, this whole era of Prime Time is full of a LOT midcarders, at best. It was almost like an "(Alternate) WWF Universe", full of guys like Lanny Poffo, Tiger Chung Lee, "Iron" Mike Sharpe and split-up tag teams. In other words, the "star power" is fairly low.
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