Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WWF Primetime 5/18/87

1. Johnny V vs. Brutus "Barber" Beefcake - 2
2. "Iron" Mike Sharp vs. Sivi Afi - 4
3. Can-Am Connection vs. Iron Shiek and Nikolai Volkoff - 3
4. Frenchie Martin vs. Nick Kiniski - 3
5. British Bulldogs and Tito Santana vs. Gladiator, Jimmy Jack Funk, and Barry "O" - 3
6. Hercules vs. Ken Patera - 2
7. Islanders vs. Demoliiton - 4
8. Ricky "Dragon" Steamboat vs. Butch "Natural" Reed – 3

I must admit, prior to this viewing, my experience with Primetime was pretty limited. But, by today’s standards, it holds up decently. It’s much more worried about substance than flash, unlike your atypical “Monday Night Wars” and onward WWE approach. The matches were culled, like precious gems and minerals, from a variety of sources, including a Boston house show, Saturday Night’s Main Event, Wrestling Challenge, etc. Bobby Hennan and Gorilla Monsoon are our hosts from the studio, and their back-and-forth banter is more hilarious than ever, and ups this show big time in the recommendation category.

Beefcake was working a program where he dumped V as his manager, beat him the week prior, gave him a bad haircut, thus leading to a rematch on this show. Beefcake ran the offense almost exclusively in a short match, but V delivered a few stiffer overhand shots across the back. Every time I watch Sharp wrestle, he inevitably almost dies, usually doing a simple bump but screwing it up. This match sees him flipping for an armdrag/hiptoss, but ending up getting dropped squarely on his skull. While there’s some stalling hindering this from being truly recommendable watching, it feels like the most legit fight or athletic contest of the show. Next, the charismatic Can-Am boys have a rollicking crowd rolling, but it’s mostly the ethnic heels in control. Iron Sheik makes Tazz look like shit, tossing some truly tasty suplexes and throws in for our enjoyment. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is in the front row, predictably getting goaded into interfering, hurting this one’s appeal.

Frenchie Martin and Kiniski had a good bout, but Nick’s greenness and Frenchie being about as appealing as a month-old baguette dampened me on it. I had no idea Gene has a kid, especially one that went on to wrestle, too; he looked like a chubby Johnny Ace impersonator, and if such a thing exists, it’s a sure sign of end days. The six-man tag was a fun squash. Barry “O” was a great sleazy heel, with a bad Vegas jacket, trunks that looked like the carpet of a ‘80’s hotel game room, and a ridiculous aura about him. The thing that soured me on this one was that Dynamite Kid was only tagged in once, worked for maybe 5 seconds, tagged out, and then wasn’t brought back in again. Other than that, this was a fun and moderately successful squash.

I figured Hercules and Patera would be a stinker, although, it had more backstory than anything else on the program, due to the Heenan Family versus Patera storyline that had been unfolding. It was mostly uninspired brawling, big man stuff, but even that didn’t last, as interference by “King” Harley Race ended it prematurely. The Islanders versus Demolition on the other hand was a welcomed change. The Islanders had been, according to the announcers, riding a surge of success and momentum, so the match was worked pretty evenly, with both teams coming off looking strong. This era had a lot of epic tag teams, with the then champions Hart Foundation leading the pack. The main featured Ricky, hot off his title win at historic WrestleMania III, proving he wasn’t going to be, in his own words, a “closet champion.” More of a snapshot of a match than a fully realized one, ultimately ending in a near double countout, with Steamboat barely making it back inside the ring in time. Short but aggressive and fine while it lasted, Reed demonstrated some stuff from his skill set, including but certainly not limited to an impressive “Neck Hang” (as it was referred to on WCW Wrestling for the Nintendo Entertainment System).


Adam said...

Here's a fun fact ... perennial jobber Barry O is Randy Orton's uncle.

I got some more Primetime shows lined up for you in the next batch of discs. Good work.

I'm working on some reviews I'll post up soon.

Jessie said...

ah, the neck hang....i used to love being stretched in that...this review brings up a good question though...who was the best of the best of samoan wrestlers?....and you've sold me on this show with the heenan and monsoon commentary...nice job