WWF Superstars - January 17, 1987
by Scrooge McSuck
- Taped from the Meadowlands Arena in East Ruthorford, NJ on January 5th. I know Meadowlands was like the B-location, like a Copps or Sam Houston Coliseum, but having a television taping there is pretty big, so maybe we'll see some good stuff. Vince McMahon, Bruno Sammartino, and Jesse "The Body" Ventura are calling all the action. What's the deal with that purple wig Ventura is wearing? We get the classic Superstars theme, which I believe was reused for the "fight" music for WrestleMania on the NES.
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Barry O:
This is NOT a WWE Edited Edition, so The Alan Parsons Project's "Sirius" is left in tact for the Dragon, thankfully. Dragon is making his first in-ring appearance since being injured (kayfabe) at the hands of Randy Savage, which of course lead to their classic encounter at WrestleMania III. Lockup, and Barry O with a side headlock, but he misses a body press during a criss-cross sequence. Ricky Steamboat with his own special™, and takes it out, then back in, the ring. Irish whip, and Barry O takes him over with a powerslam for a two count! Barry with a scoop, but Steamboat rolls through and connects with an atomic drop, then takes Barry O over with a monkey flip. Randy Savage with an insert promo, and he's not too keen on the Steamboat return. Steamboat goes back to working the arm until Barry O attacks the throat! LOGIC IN SQUASH MATCHES! Barry O surprisingly with a press slam, but Steamboat blocks being dropped across the top rope. They exchange blows until Steamboat lays him out with a roundhouse right, then hangs O up across the top rope. Steamboat to the top, and the cross body wins it at 2:33.
- From the pages of the WWF Magazine, it's Update with Mean Gene Okerlund. We see closing moments from Billy Jack Haynes vs. King Harley Race. Haynes slaps on the full nelson, but Bobby Heenan comes in and gets a taste of it, as well. Heenan cuts a promo afterwards, and Heenan says he's got someone to show Haynes what "being strong is all about." Yes, we're setting up the Hercules/Haynes feud that sold out arenas on the Pacific Coast!
- George "The Animal" Steele is standing by, thumbing through a copy of the WWF Magazine. He freaks out when he sees Randy Savage is on the cover, screams "Bad!" and rips it off. How pointless.
Kamala (w/ Kimchee) vs. Don Driggers:
This should be quick. I seem to recall doing some research on WrestleMania III, and coming across Kamala was sharing main event duties with Paul Orndorff around this time, in the on-going quest to take the title off Hulk Hogan. This lead to one of the most childish arguments ever on Da Board, but we'll just leave that one alone. I guess Kamala was fine in a role like this, but please don't let him wrestle 20-minute matches. Kamala attacks before the bell and chops away. Irish whip, and Kamala with a crescent kick, followed by the big splash. Kamala heads to the top rope, and he comes down with a HUGE splash, and he seems smart enough to cover for the three count at the 33-second mark. Kamala goes to the top again, but Kimchee actually talks him down. Wait... so Kamala acts like a total monster, and his handler is DISCOURAGING his wild behavior? Oh my God, how did they change things so drastically five years later, when Kamala returned to the WWF?
- Ken Resnick is standing by, hyping an up-coming WWF live event at the Boston Garden. Among other matches, Macho Man Randy Savage defends the Intercontinental Title against the living legend... Larry Zybyzko. Just kidding. It's Bruno Sammartino. They're going to be in a Lumberjack Match, and Bruno is standing by to cut a promo. I feel like watching Goodfellas whenever I hear Bruno talk. I seem to recall that being a pretty good Boston show, but I'm not 100% positive it's the same card I'm thinking of.
- Ken Resnick is standing by once again as we're missing a segment from this broadcast (looks like a recap from SNME concerning JYD and Harley Race). Resnick is joined by RAYMOND Rougeau, all by himself. They're scheduled to face the Hart Foundation, Bret "Hitman" Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart. He claims they've been holding Jacques and himself from capturing the tag titles from the British Bulldogs.
- We go to the land down under, and it's time to see more of that crazy critter known as Outback Jack! He's downin' be'yah and winnin' ahm resslin' matches. He's also chugging along with a cow. That might be the worst jukebox music I've ever heard. Jack loves drinkin' the be'yah wid 'is Aussie mites. He work ha'd and play ha'd and is gonna givit a go in the World Wrestling Federation. Wow, I wasn't old enough to remember this guy, but that accent is just outrageously bad for a good guy.
Demolition (w/ Johnny V) vs. Salvatore Bellomo & Mario Mancini:
Got to love that my fellow country-men are a couple of scrubs. I don't know why, but the New Jersey crowd HATES Bellomo. So did Boston. And New York. I guess fans were smart back then, too. He was a pretty atrocious worker, in more cases than not. This is the debut of Demolition, Ax and Smash. You know how every time someone recaps an early match of Demolition, they swear "this is the original Smash!"? Well, in this case, it really is. Randy Culley, formerly of the Moondogs, is tagging along with Bill Eadie, formerly known as the Masked Superstar and one of the Machines. The difference here than a few weeks later: terrible paint-jobs, multi-colored and glittery hair, and furry boots. WOW! If they kept this look, they would've ben shelved in weeks. It didn't hurt that Culley was a pretty poor and out-of-shape looking wrestler, so using Darsow was a definite step up. Then giving them kickass entrance music was REALLY helpful. Ax starts by hammering away on Bellomo, then planting him with a stiff slam. Irish whip, and Ax with a back elbow. Smash tags in and rams Bellomo to the buckle as we get an insert promo from Valiant. Mancini tags in and gets pummeled by Ax, as well. Smash tags back in and clubs Mancini across the back. Smash tosses Mancini out of the ring, allowing Ax to slam him on the thick gym mat. Back inside, and Smash with a double axehandle to the chest. Ax tags in, and they kinda blow the Decapitation, but it still gets the three count at 2:19. Not an impressive debut, but they would get better. Side note: I don't think there exists a non-squash match featuring Culley as Smash. Two of the earliest examples of their televised arena matches were at MSG vs. the Islanders and the Tag Tournament in the Maple Leaf Gardens during the second week of February, and by then, Darsow was already playing Smash.
- We're standing by with a VERY special edition of Piper's Pit. There seems to be a giant trophy on the set, I wonder who that is for. WWF President Jack Tunney is there to honor a very special man on a very special occasion... and it's a trophy to honor Hulk Hogan for his three years as reigning WWF Champion! We see clips from Hogan's WWF career up until this point, including Andre the Giant dousing him with champagne following winning the championship. This brings out Andre, who Piper calls "Hulk Hogan's best friend." Andre offers a handshake, but Hogan sells it like he just shook hands with a vice grip. And that's it. Well, there would be more in the coming weeks.
Hercules (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Jim Parks:
I think it was only recently where Hercules dropped his last name. Hercules quickly rams Parks to the turnbuckle and stomps away on him. Hercules with a scoop slam, followed by a pair of elbow drops. Hercules with a somewhat-delayed vertical suplex, and he slaps on the Full Nelson or the submission victory at 1:22. Yes, Hercules is using Billy Jack Haynes finishing move! It's the official kick-off of Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes: Master of the Full Nelson! Technically, since Haynes always used it and Hercules only started, the logical answer would be Billy Jack Haynes, but you know, it's logic in wrestling. Hold the phone... Billy Jack Haynes comes to ringside after all the trash talking is done, and offers Hercules a chance to put the hold on. Heenan distracts Haynes, allowing Hercules to lay him out with a clothesline. Hercules stomps away on Haynes, pulls him off the canvas, and locks on the Full Nelson. He still doesn't have the fingers locked. Gorilla Monsoon would be disgusted by the lack of excellence in the execution of the hold.
The Killer Bees vs. Iron Mike Sharpe & Terry Gibbs:
It's that goofy point of the Killer Bees tenure where they introduced wearing masks as a way to confuse their opponents, in hopes of stealing a few victories. Gibbs and Sharpe is one of those All-Star Scrub teams, as you would see these guys all the time, even on local arena cards, almost picking up victories. They were stll jobbers on the weekend shows, but you knew they were a step up on guys like Parks and Driggers. Oh, and the referee is Danny Davis, and he's been acting weird, lately. He's giving the Bees business about their masks. Bee #1 (Brunzell) starts with Gibbs, and quickly takes him down with a drop toe hold. Bee #2 (Blair) comes in with an elbow across the arm. Irish whip, and Blair with a cross body for a two count. Blair with the Ricky Steamboat Special™, and a tag out to Brunzell. Gibbs thumbs the eye and tags in Sharpe, who hammers away. Brunzell blocks a boot, sweeps the leg, and drags Sharpe to his corner. Blair tags in for a version of the wish-bone. Insert promo from the Hart Foundation, as Brunzell tags back in for another wish bone, then a roll up for a one count. Blair tags in and slaps on a toe hold, but Sharpe boots his way free. Davis allows double teaming, but pulls Brunzell away from trying to save his partner. Blair works over both opponents and nails Gibbs with a clothesline, but Davis takes his sweet time to count, and it only gets one. Irish whip, and the Bees with a double elbow. Blair with a snapmare, followed by a knee drop, then another slow count. Gibbs takes Blair to the corner, and we get more double teaming while Davis is "distracted" by Brunzell. Irish whip, and Blair with a powerslam, but Davis is quick to stop counting as Sharpe enters the ring. The heels double team AGAIN, but Blair rolls up Gibbs using an abdominal stretch. Davis turns back to the action and refuses to count, thinking the Bees did an illegal switch. The Bees argue and unmask, as Gibbs and Sharpe attack from behind, and it's a pier-six brawl! The heels are sent into each other and Brunzell with a dropkick on Gibbs for a very slow three count at 5:42. Brunzell and Blair continue giving Davis the business, after the fall. Wow, that was one hell of a match for a squash. The whole Danny Davis, evil referee thing was genius.
- Ken Resnick is standing by with the likes of the Hart Foundation and Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage, who are all hyping their own matches. Remember, Boston Garden. February 7th. Savage vs. Sammartino in a Lumberjack Match, Foundation against the Rougeaus for whatever reason you want to come up with. Go see the WWF Live, now! Tickets are available... 24 years ago.
Final Thoughts: This episode had a lot going on, and it all, more or less, was going towards a bigger picture. We had the "Return" of the Dragon, back for revenge against Randy Savage. We had the kicking off of the lengthy feud between Haynes and Hercules. Piper's Pit was the stage for the big Andre/Hogan blow-up, and this week added more fuel to the eventual fire. The Killer Bees squash helped establish even more for how much Danny Davis wasn't on the level. Demolition debuted, and they sucked, and the Outback Jack vignette left me wondering "did people really think, back then, this guy was going to get over in the ring?" So while not perfect, this show has a very strong success rate in showcasing the goings on with the promotion at the time, and has a little of everything for the person who loves variety.
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