Saturday, September 29, 2012

WWF Primetime 3-14-1988

 My disc for last week's show wouldn't read correctly so I had to skip to this episode.  Here's the results from last week's show, courtesy of

- Hercules (w/ Bobby Heenan) defeated Jerry Allen via submission with the backbreaker at 6:48 (2/17/88; Topeka, KS; Kansas Expocentre)
- Jim Duggan fought Ron Bass to a double count-out at 15:16 when Duggan chased Bass backstage (2/22/88; Madison Square Garden)
- Bad News Brown pinned John Stewart with the Ghetto Blaster at 3:11 (2/17/88; Topeka, KS; Kansas Expocentre)
- Scott Casey pinned Barry Horowitz with a crucifix at 9:57 (2/17/88; Topeka, KS; Kansas Expocentre)
- Jake Roberts fought Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin) to a 20-minute draw at 19:23 (2/22/88; Madison Square Garden)
- Iron Mike Sharpe pinned Brady Boone with a clothesline at 9:05, using the loaded forearm support (2/6/88; Philadelphia Spectrum)
- Demolition (w/ Mr. Fuji) defeated Jim Powers & Paul Roma at 9:25 when Ax pinned Powers after Smash hit Roma with Fuji's cane behind the referee's back (2/16/88; Wichita, KS; Kansas Coliseum)

We're only two weeks from WrestleMania IV in Atlantic City and Bobby Heenan is ready for his match. Gorilla doesn't believe it though and he said Bobby always has something up his sleeve. However, this time it'll be Frankie up one sleeve and Matilda up the other.

The Rougeaus v. Harley Race/Mike Sharpe w/Bobby Heenan-February 22, 1988-MSG

Oddball tag team of Race and Sharpe and the latter didn't fare too good against the Rougeaus. Sharpe was subbing for Hercules, who he also subbed for on February 2nd in Brooklyn, NY against Koko B. Ware. Heenan started off by asking everyone to show their respect to The King. The Rougeaus were hot early and they delivered double dropkicks to their opponents. Gorilla questioned the pairing of the two heels saying he wasn't even sure Sharpe and Race liked each other. Sharpe got isolated and double teamed while Race kept distracting the ref accidentally allowing for more double teams. Sharpe finally made the tag and went to work on the Rougeaus and the heels didn't look too bad. Race hit his piledriver on Jacques who was isolated for a bit. 

Of course, it was Sharpe who missed an elbow drop and allowed Jacques to tag in Raymond. However, Ray's comeback wasn't as good as expected. All four guys were in and the heels tried to irish whip the Rougeaus into each other but it backfired and the heels collided. Raymond grabbed Sharpe and Jacques came down on him from the top by sitting on him and Ray rolled up Sharpe for the win. This was a pretty solid match here and Sharpe was seemingly the weak link on the heel team.

Gorilla said he heard that Race slapped Heenan after the match for pairing him with Sharpe. Heenan denied this story and explained that Hercules couldn't make the match as planned and Sharpe graciously offered his services as a replacement.

Koko B. Ware v. Terry Gibbs-February 16, 1988-Wichita, KS
Here's a nothing match and quite short. Gibbs got the advantage for a couple minutes but Koko made his comeback and hit the Ghostbuster/brainbuster for the win. Gibbs was pretty robotic but he had a decent look, almost like a slimmer Mike Awesome. During the match, Jesse asked Vince what sport did he excel at in ivy league school, sailing? Vince replied by asking him if he ever played chinese checkers. This was also one of those matches where I didn't realize Bruno was on commentary until Jesse pointed it out.

Gorilla pointed out that Koko has renamed his finisher the Weaselbuster for WrestleMania. Gorilla also called Heenan's six-man tag with Koko, the Islanders, and the Bulldogs, an important match for Mania. Go figure.

Sam Houston v. “Dangerous” Danny Davis-January 25, 1988-MSG
Davis and Houston worked a lot of house matches before and after this including one at the Silverdome in Michigan on January 1st. Over his WWF career, Houston never got any big wins as his biggest was against Boris Zhukov in 1989. He lasted until August 20, 1990 when he was beat by “Iron” Mike Sharpe. In 1989 and 1990, he even lost several house show matches against The Genius. Houston looks like he belongs in the Village People with his cowboy costume. This was an ok match that was boring in spots but had a solid finish. Houston had the crowd behind him during his hope spots. Vince said he was a good looking young cowboy. Also, Sam came in ready to fight and controlled Davis' left arm for a good couple minutes, even lifting up Davis out of a couple armbars. 
Bobby detected a barnyard aroma and Vince asked Lord Alfred if he had been naughty. During a hope spot, Houston exploded for a second but missed a crossbody and went tumbling outside. 

Bobby thought Davis was undefeated because Davis had told him that. Vince wondered what record book Heenan was reading. Sam had another hope spot as he tried to charge into Davis in the corner but Davis moved and Houston hit the buckles sternum first. Bobby said he thought Houston was trying to put on his cowboy hat without touching it, as it was hanging on the corner post. Davis had complete control but did some crap covers and ended up arguing with the ref over a count and Houston hit a small package for the victory.

Bobby and Gorilla discussed the IC title match between Honky Tonk Man and Brutus Beefcake at Mania. Bobby said a lot of people thought Honky would end up losing the belt and looking like Moe from the Three Stooges after the match.

Young Stallions v. Barry Horowitz/Steve Lombardi-February 16, 1988-Wichita, KS
Get well
The Stallions worked a couple of shows with the Alaskans (Renslow and Wagner) prior to this match. This was a pretty boring match but it wasn't exactly a squash match as Jim Powers played the face in peril for a few minutes. The heels couldn't get anything going initially but they eventually got rolling. Gorilla did ask Bobby if he had a good vet for after Mania and he responded by saying he wasn't an animal but Gorilla heard differently. They did a double clothesline spot and Powers finally tagged in Roma who had a good reaction for the tag. In the end, Powers hit a powerslam on Horowitz and pinned him.

Bobby's tickets for Mania were lost in the mail and Miss Betty, his female friend was upset. She hated the fact that Vanna White was asked to be at Mania but not her. Gorilla also said that Donald Trump fits in with the WWF because they are about class.

Craig DeGeorge interviewed Hercules and Heenan about their recently signed match with the Warrior for Mania. Herc said the Warrior was condemned for breaking his chain and he must face him as punishment. Bobby said the Warrior didn't even break the chain and that Hercules was pulling on it so hard that it broke. They are going to do all their talking from now on at Mania.

The Killer Bees v. The Islanders w/Bobby Heenan-December 26, 1987-MSG
Prior to the match, Bobby said the Islanders need no introduction and the only good thing about the Bees is they'll never get their trunks mixed up. Bobby promised that in 1988 the Islanders would beat Strike Force and win the WWF Tag Team Titles. This match was about teamwork on the part of the Islanders and how it paid off. The Bees won out early as Tama complained to the ref and wanted a handshake from Brian Blair. 
Anyone know who the ref is?  If so, send me a message.
He tried kicking him but Blair caught him and delivered an atomic drop. Brunzell came in but got pushed into the heel corner and escaped. It was mentioned that the Bees won a tournament in Canada last year. This was the Frank Tunney Memorial Tournament in Toronto on March 15, 1987 (credit:Vance Nevada). They beat Kamala and Sika, Bundy and Orndorff, as well as Demolition to win but later lost in a title match to the Hart Foundation. Blair came in but got double teamed and isolated. 
There really wasn't any heat during this match. The Islanders were on fire at this point and Haku hit a standing dropkick. Tama likes to eye rake and eye gouge a lot. Lord Alfred mentioned that Blair needs to think about tagging now. I guess it slipped his mind or something amidst the ass kicking he was receiving. Blair managed to drop Haku with a forearm smash but he went to the wrong corner and couldn't make the tag. 

Tama then tried a suplex but Blair reversed it and crawled over Tama to make the tag. The only problem was the ref missed the tag. Soon, Blair exploded with a flying forearm on Tama and finally made the tag and Brunzell cleaned house. He put a sleeper on Haku that knocked him out. Tama came in to stop it but Blair chased after him. Now, all four guys were in but the ref pulled back Blair which allowed Tama to stop the sleeper and hit a diving headbutt on Brunzell. Finally, he draped the sleeping Haku onto Brunzell for the win. 
 In the end, Haku was still out of it. This was a solid but basic match that had no heat. It still was the most interesting match on this show, by far.

Gorilla thinks the odds are against the Islanders at Mania. The Bulldogs are stronger and quicker and they have Koko in their corner. The Islanders only have Bobby in their corner. Bobby said that when you have him you don't need anyone else. He's like AAA, when you have trouble you call him. Gorilla shouldn't worry about him at Mania.

Next week, courtesy of Heenan, the show will be in Atlantic City.

Sorry for the lack of updates lately.  I'm going to try and update faster with the next episode and some other stuff planned including more AWA, WCW, and even some ECW.  As always, contact me at, on Twitter @stevesgraps, or here on the site.  Thanks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Can the WWE salvage their mid-card?

It's fair to say that most of us will agree that the WWE is severely lacking in depth currently. There are several wrestlers in the lower to mid cards who have the potential to make some money for the WWE but for one reason or another, the fans do not care about them. Don't worry, this won't be an article full of complaining about the fact that my favorite wrestler isn't headlining right now. The purpose of this article is to outline a possible scenario for the WWE to get more from their roster and thus, draw more money. Currently, the mid-card is at an all-time low, specifically looking at the heels, who have been used constantly to put over main event talent. The WWE has tried to bring mid-carders like Alberto Del Rio into the main event but the fans have not cared due to bad booking and zero build-up. The key to strengthening the main event in the WWE in the future is to strengthen the mid-card and allow the fans to make a viable connection to those wrestlers.

In order to strengthen the mid-card, the WWE must be willing to change their current booking philosophy. The first and simple way to do this is to separate the three tiers of wrestlers in the WWE and keep them separate. Starting with the lower card guys, they can wrestle main eventers and mid-carders at any point. The idea is that wins and losses don't matter at all with these guys. Their main job will be to put over everyone until some of them can make the jump up to the mid-card.

The mid-carders will be the bread and butter of RAW and Smackdown. The focus must be put on them because they need it the most. Of course, they all have the potential to be big money draws for the WWE for many years to come. Mid-carders will never wrestle main eventers and lose unless it is a rare situation where they will be made to look better by nearly winning. Ideally, the only time mid-carders will wrestle main eventers is when they are being promoted to the main event. Fans need to care about the mid-card and this isn't happening when guys like Cody Rhodes are putting over main event guys in countless tag team matches. The more they put over main guys, the weaker they look. In the past, wrestlers like Bret Hart were over long before coming to the main event. However, this has not been the case for the last couple years.

Main eventers will only work with other main eventers and lower-card wrestlers with almost no exceptions. Main event wrestlers should not need to look good at the expense of mid-carders. The idea is that they are in their position because they are already over and very strong. Also, they should be used in less matches in order to make them more special. They can still cut promos but that's it.

As noted, the main focus of both shows must be on the mid-card and that means more and/or longer matches and more face time for them. The WWE needs to focus on producing strong programs involving mid-card acts, focusing on the long term. Bear in mind of course that Vince McMahon does not focus on the long term as much as he should. Following these simple rules will prove valuable to the WWE in advancing forward. Wrestlers like the Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, and others may not be around much longer and the WWE will need to rely on new main event guys to draw. They will fail to draw if they are continually made to look weak and then forced into the main event scene abruptly.

Feedback is welcome in order to keep this conversation going. I would love to hear your thoughts, good and bad, on this issue. As always, follow me on Twitter @stevesgraps, contact me at, or leave a reply to my article directly.

Monday, September 10, 2012

WCW Saturday Night-January 8, 2000

It was January 2000, and it was the start of a pivotal year for WCW. After this year, business would never be the same for the company as guys like Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, and others assumed control of the on-air product. The Nitro preceding this episode of Saturday Night saw Terry Funk named WCW commissioner and he immediately appointed Arn Anderson as WCW's enforcer to deal with the New World Order. Yea, two old guys are going to try and control several somewhat younger guys with weapons. Not to mention, this lasted all of a couple weeks, along with the new New World Order. Arn Anderson ended up kidnapped and in the back of the nWo's car and subsequently was tortured for three days until WCW Thunder.  Yes, the announcers indicated he had been tortured the whole time.  Also, DDP and Buff Bagwell were mad at each other because DDP thought Buff was trying to hook-up with his wife. WCW was headed into Souled Out with a bunch of lame gimmick matches and dream bouts such as David Flair v. Vampiro. This is the January 8th Saturday Night show, taped January 5th in Rock Hill, SC.

We've got a new look for Saturday Night after an apparent few week break along with a danceclub intro. Scott Hudson and Mike Tenay are the announcers. Hudson started off by saying that if the next 51 weeks in WCW are anything like the the first then we are in for a doozy. Who'd have thought Scott Hudson could be so wise?

Curt Hennig v. David Sierra

Sierra had previously wrestled as Fidel Sierra and as one of Los Especialistas with Ricky Santana, in the 90's. This was a short match and neither guy brought a lot of emotion into the match although Hennig did work hard. Basic stuff here with hammerlocks and headlocks with Hennig winning out. 
Hennig even hit a cartwheel in an exchange but walked right into a clothesline.  Both announcers hypothesized that Hennig might still have ties to the Powers That Be, seeing as how he had ties with them in 1999. Sierra made the ultimate mistake by going for a back drop and Hennig nailed the Hennig Plex that Tenay said was perfectly executed, for the win. In scouting Hennig for a match, one would think that the first thing to go over would be to not go for a back body drop EVER, during the match. Shows why Sierra never rose above jobber status I guess. Maybe he just needed a good manager.

Tenay and Hudson recap Nitro and run down Souled Out with no videos or anything, just verbal stuff and lots of hand gestures.

Lash LeRoux v. Al Green
LeRoux came out all happy and smiling but Green came out like he wanted to kick someone's ass. Green rushed him right away, pressed him up and tossed him over the top rope onto the floor. 
Then, Lash got launched into a railing outside but he got back in. Tenay and Hudson got some plugs in for the big Tank Abbott/Jerry Flynn match at Souled Out and Hudson called Tank a pitfighter. LeRoux had some minor hope spots but Green still hit a powerslam and a lariat. This show has tons of piped in heat and it was getting annoying considering we could see the fans sitting on their hands. LeRoux finally hit a missile dropkick and a fancy snap mare/russian leg sweep neckbreaker. He went for the Whiplash but they cut away to a fan wearing a Psychosis mask and apparently Green had countered or that was the idea. Green missed a leg drop though and Lash fired up and hit the Whiplash, which starts off in a fireman's carry with Lash spinning him and Green landing on his back/head between Lash's legs. Not too bad of a match here but I really wanted Green to win. On a side note, I noticed that Green fought The Barbarian in June 26, 1999 and that had to have been good!

Kid Romeo v. Mike Sanders
Mike Sanders
They put over how these guys are straight from the Power Plant and they're the stars of the future. However, during the match, all Tenay and Hudson talked about was the “shoot” interview with DDP from Nitro and his feud with Buff Bagwell. Romeo and Sanders worked hard for this one but I was more impressed with Sanders. He was way more put together than Romeo, by this point. Romeo was sketchy in some parts and a decent portion of the match just felt like moves being strung together. It was still an exciting match though. Sanders came out to surfer music, for some reason. They did a test of strength and then some lucha flips and monkey flips out of it. Romeo won out and hit a headscissors that sent Sanders outside and then he hit a massive crossbody from the top. 
Romeo hit some bad looking knees in the corner and he went for another headscissors but Sanders countered, as Romeo was spinning, with a side suplex that sent Romeo outside. This was by far the best move of the match and it looked very crisp. Sanders hit a standing moonsault off the apron after this and he went for a powerbomb that was countered into a DDT and both guys were down. Romeo hit an enzugiri and a rana from the top and followed them up with his Romeo Recliner/Snowplow move and won.

Kid Romeo
The Villanos v. Dean Malenko/Perry Saturn w/Shane Douglas
Douglas cut his usual promo beforehand and he swore a lot and he was bleeped out with a whip sound, which I found amusing. He said the Revolution isn't getting their due respect and they have a surprise mystery partner against the Filthy Animals at Souled Out. The story of the match was that the Villanos were the faces and they got decimated until they hit their comeback and started getting some offense going. Their comeback was exactly the point where the match started to get interesting. Saturn and Malenko on top were boring. I'm not sure which Villano was which as the announcers did not specify and I'm not too well versed in the Villanos knowledge. One of them hit a crossbody from the top and made the tag to his partner and a few moments later, all four guys were in. 
The Villanos hit double corner fists but the ref was busy trying to stop one of them and Douglas whacked the other Villano with a chain. Finally, Malenko put the Texas Cloverleaf on and won the match. 

La Parka v. Adrian Byrd
Adrian Byrd
Byrd was incredibly green here and not ready for tv as he was very slow and didn't move very well. Byrd was a very large, muscular guy but that's about all he had going for him. His moveset was very basic with arm drags and clotheslines and even a dropkick.

 La Parka danced a lot here and controlled the match except for a tiny Byrd comeback. Byrd's dropkick sent La Parka outside backwards, similar to Harley Race's backwards bump. La Parka hit a missile dropkick, powerslam, and finally, a twisting senton splash from the top for the win. Not a very good match here.

Big Vito/Johnny the Bull w/Tony Marinara v. Disorderly Conduct
Whoever came up with the name Tony Marinara is an idiot. The Italians weren't very interesting here but Disorderly Conduct were amazingl. Vito and Johnny were in control until Johnny missed a charge in the corner allowing Disorderly Conduct to get some offense in. Johnny pressed up Mean Mike after eating a spinebuster a couple minutes beforehand. 

Then, Johnny did a standing leap to the top but missed a spinning leg drop allowing Mike to make the tag. Tough Tom came in and cleaned house with a ton of fire as he looked amazing here. Suddenly, all four guys were in but Disorderly Conduct got double clotheslined and Vito hit a twisting DDT for the win.

Tony Marinara
Booker T w/Midnight v. Chris Williams
Williams was a young “Wildcat” Chris Harris from TNA and Braden Walker from WWE. He was green here but not nearly as bad as Adrian Byrd from earlier in this episode. Nowhere in the same galaxy, actually. Booker was winning initially and even hit the Bookend but Williams went on to nail an eye poke and got some offense going. 

He had Booker in a chinlock as Booker kept trying to fight out but Williams pulled him down a couple times. Booker finally got out, hit Williams with a scissors kick, and then finished him with an Alabama slam for the win. This wasn't the worst match on the show.

Apparently, Bret Hart released a compilation album of metal music around this time, as a commercial aired for it.

Disco Inferno w/Big Vito, Johnny the Bull, and Tony Marinara v. Scott Armstrong
Scott Armstrong is, of course, a current WWE referee and in this match, he had a giant W on his ass. Can someone please fill me in as to why this was on his tights? This was a pretty basic match, similar to just about every other match on this episode. Armstrong started out great with a ton of fire but it didn't last long. Disco used Scott's momentum to send him out to the floor and his pals did a number on him. 

 Disco hit a high inverted atomic drop and he started to dance but Vito put a stop to that. Disco tried for a middle rope elbow but he spent too much time dancing and missed it. Scott hit his comeback, which was underwhelming. Either that or I was expecting too much from him because it wasn't really bad. How the WCW rules committee let all three of Disco's pals at ringside is baffling. They all jumped up and Scott took a swing at Vito as Tony distracted the ref. Vito handed Disco some brass knucks but Disco missed the first time and got it right on a second try and he won. 

Lord Steven Regal/Dave Taylor v. Crowbar/David Flair-WCW Tag Team Title Match
Here's the main event and it was the best match on the show but not great or anything. Flair started out by getting destroyed by Taylor and Flair escaped. Taylor followed and nailed both opponents. They got in and both teams tagged in and Crowbar did better against Regal. He threw Regal out and then nailed a baseball slide and a splash off the apron. 

Now, all four guys were brawling outside and this seemed like it would end in a double-countout but that wasn't the case. Crowbar accidentally threw Flair into a railing. They all got back in and exchanged control as a “We Want Flair” chant broke out. Regal was down now and Crowbar hit a slingshot leg drop and he tried to go to the top. However, Regal caught him and hit a double-underhook superplex and made the tag to Taylor who went nuts on both guys. Crowbar and Regal brawled outside as Taylor hit a double-underhook cradle and tried to pin Flair. The ref was trying to control Regal and Crowbar came in and whacked Taylor with a pipe and put Flair on top of him for the win.

Double-underhook superplex

I forgot to mention that they aired a segment where Disco Inferno was acting as a debt collector for Big Vito and he had to collect from an old guy at a corner store.  The old guy wouldn't pay up, so Disco convinced him to pay if he gave the guy his Rolex.  The agreed and gave Disco a small amount money for Disco's watch and Disco gave the money to Vito, waiting outside.  Laughable acting by everyone but a fun segment.  I would've put it earlier in the post but I lost track of it until I was done formatting everything.

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