On This Day: April 9, 1985 – Primetime Wrestling 1985: The Show That Became Raw

Prime Time Wrestling
Date: April 9, 1985
Hosts: Jack Reynolds, Jesse Ventura
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Okerlund

This is a different kind of wrestling show. The idea here is that the hosts sit in a studio and introduce matches to us. The matches would usually be from one house show that was filmed and then shown on programs like this. The most famous hosting duo for this was Gorilla and the Brain, producing some of the best banter you’ll ever hear. Let’s get to it.

Unfortunately, this is the Jack Reynolds era. Reynolds is fine but he’s pretty generic.

Most of this show appears to be from the March 17, 1985 MSG show.

Charlie Fulton vs. Rocky Johnson

Fulton has a big beard and that’s about it. Rocky is apparently returning to the company here. He takes Fulton to the mat in a head scissors and speeds things up with something close to a nip up and some armdrags. Charlie gets in a few punches but Rocky rolls through some clotheslines and a BIG sunset flip wins it. The referee was way out of position just to tick off Gorilla.

Rating: C-. Rocky is a guy that the more I see of him the more I like him. He was really fun to watch and depending on who you believe, he might have been in line for Hogan’s push had Hogan not signed. Still though, not much here but Rocky didn’t have much to work with in Fulton.

Jesse says his headdress is a Manhattan golf hat for when he swings the clubs in Central Park.

Barry O vs. Rene Goulet

Speaking of not having much to work with, I get this match. The O is for Orton, as he’s Randy’s uncle. We talk about Wrestlemania which was two weeks after the airing of this MSG show. The show aired at 1pm which is so strange to hear in modern times. They go to the mat for some generic stuff. Barry controls with a headlock on the mat as the announcers ignore what’s going on. To be fair they’re talking about the main event of Wrestlemania so I can’t argue much.

Now he really cranks it up by putting Rene in an armbar. Rene comes back with his Claw. A Von Erich he is not. Barry slams him and Rene counters into a devastating headlock. The crowd completely turns on it due to the levels of boring this is hitting. Goulet knees him down but gets caught in a small package for the pin.

Rating: F. The audio and video messed up as I was watching it. Even the recording equipment knew that this match sucked. MSG was booing it and I can’t say I disagree at all. The mathc sucked as neither guy was doing anything past first gear in the entire thing. Why this needed nine minutes is beyond me.

The announcers talk about the upcoming matches. They do this between every match.

Jim Neidhart vs. SD Jones

Jones pulls the beard to start. Why don’t more people do that? What kind of a name is Special Delivery anyway? Is that supposed to be intimidating? Jones works on the arm as Neidhart can’t get out of it even with a slam. Neidhart clotheslines him on the top rope and hits a right hand. Gorilla wants a DQ for that punch. Jones shrugs off being rammed into the top rope. See he’s black, so he automatically has a hard head. Jones comes back with left hands which Gorilla has no comment about. He sends Neidhart into the corner but walks into a powerslam for the pin. One shoulder was clearly up but the referee was blinded by boredom.

Rating: D. Good grief these matches have SUCKED so far. No wonder the fans are getting sick of this show so far. Neidhart was actually a decent singles guy but his generic power game got lost in the shuffle with all the other power guys of this time. Putting him with Bret was the best thing they ever could have done.

Jesse thinks Bundy is the Burt Reynolds of wrestling. Ok then.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Terry Gibbs

This is the first match that wasn’t in order on the show. Gibbs jumps him to start and is promptly backdropped. Gorilla is alone on commentary here. Gibbs keeps pounding Ricky down but he’ll run every time Dragon comes back. This makes for a match that keeps starting and stopping. We get a chase around the apron and Ricky speeds things up with a chop. Gibbs hits an atomic drop but Steamboat comes back with a variety of chops and the cross body gets the pin.

Rating: D+. Can we get a single good match in this whole show? Or even a match that doesn’t make me want to go to bed? Steamboat is great of course but there’s not much he can do when he’s stuck in there with a guy like Terry Gibbs. This didn’t work well at all, much like the rest of the show so far.

Intercontinental Title: Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine

Lumberjack match. This was the main event of the house show and is called the feature match here. There were other matches talked about to start the show but there’s no sign of them here. Then again, that’s probably a good thing. Greg is defending here. Tito explodes on him to start as is his custom. Valentine rolls to the floor in a daze but only Steamboat will throw him back in.

Back in Santana hits an atomic drop and knee lift. Valentine gets in a shot as Rocky Johnson gives Jimmy Hart the death stare. Tito hits a move called the Headknocker and Greg bails again. This time he winds up on the good guy side and is thrown back in. The crowd is really getting into this. Another knee lift gets two. Valentine gets more and more frustrated as no one will cut him a break but he’s scared to death of the fired up Tito.

Greg finally gets a boot up in the corner to take over. He pulls the hair a lot and slams Tito’s head into the mat for two. Greg works over the knee which he injured to take the title in the first place. He throws Tito to the floor a few times and then won’t let Santana back in. Hammer is getting warmed up now and slams in forearms to the chest. Knee drop gets two.

Being kind of an idiot, Valentine slaps Tito twice before going for the Figure Four. Santana rolls him up for one and it’s time to slug it out. Hammer puts him down and drops an elbow for two. Tito gets both feet up in the corner to put Greg down. Valentine is in trouble as JYD beats up someone on the floor. Tito sets up the Figure Four but Valentine rolls to the outside. Back in a forearm sets up the Figure Four but Greg makes the ropes. They slug it out and in a weak ending, Greg gets sent into the ropes and they hit heads. Both guys are out cold and Greg falls on top for the pin.

Rating: B. This is one of those matches that is almost impossible to screw up. These two had one of the greatest rivalries of the 80s and one of the best ever in company history. For some reason you never hear about it though. It’s probably due to Savage coming in and taking the title from Santana and dominating it for a year afterwards.

Overall Rating: D. The main event is good but OH MY GOODNESS did the stuff leading up to that suck. The rest of the house show sucked too so I can’t blame the fans for booing like they were. To be fair though, two weeks later they saw Wrestlemania so they can’t complain that much. Bad show here though.

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