Tonight I’m going to do something I really, really dislike: mocking my favorite wrestling show of all time, the legendary Prime Time Wrestling. It’s the reason I became a wrestling fan, and I’ve told that story so many times I won’t bore you with it again, other than to note that were it not for the commentary duo of Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, you wouldn’t be reading the very worse burning into your eyeballs right now.
That said, even I am willing to admit the actual wrestling on this show was not always the best. In fact, more often than not, it was downright horrible. Sure, you’d get that random British Bulldogs-Hart Foundation match that was incredible, but it was far more likely you’d get a Jose Estrada vs. Dino Bravo 15 minute snorefest.
As a fan, you didn’t watch Prime Time for the in-ring action.
You couldn’t. It was awful.
The standard format of the show was simple: while the WWF would present a few matches and angles from their syndicated shows (Superstars of Wrestling and Wrestling Challenge), the vast majority of the run time was dedicated to house show bouts taped in the weeks leading up to the Prime Time hitting the air. Those encounters generally came from the same few locations: the Spectrum in Philadelphia, the Boston Garden, Madison Square Garden, Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens.
It was kinda fun to watch back then because you would immediately know, just by looking at the ringside area, where these matches were taped. Each arena had a very unique look that could not be hidden. Oh how I miss the old days when arenas didn’t all looks exactly the same.
Yeah yeah – I know I sound like a geezer whose time has passed him by.
Speaking of such things that equally appear to be gasping for their last breath, let’s take a look at a Junkyard Dog vs. Andre the Giant match! This one is from a very special episode of Prime Time, a night that featured in-ring action not from any of the standard haunts I’d just mentioned, but rather from Paris, France!
Before I continue – if you’re a masochist with a deep desire to hurt yourself and have the WWF Network, you can play along by clicking here.
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
On with the show!
Let’s start with a positive first: namely this guy’s pants.
Why on earth he is wearing what appears to be my old living room drapes I will never know.
What I do know is that I totally dig him doing ring introductions in FRENCH. If this happened today, I have no doubt WWE would stick one of their company guys out there and not only would it look just like every other show, it would sound like every other show as well.
Isn’t the whole idea of touring to see what is different in each location? Am I missing something here?
This being 1988, though, that’s not the case. What’s cool is that despite what the Federette’s (and mad props if anyone gets THAT reference) sign says, this isn’t Andre the Giant.
Non non non! We are in FRANCE!
This is Andre LE Giant!
And that’s where all the positives come to a screeching halt. Think about it – we’ve got Andre way way way past his prime, and it’s not like Junkyard Dog circa 1988 was in the position to carry anyone.
Fun fact: this was JYD’s last televised WWF match.
And what a way to go out.
Before the “action” can commence, Andre explains to the ref that he will not get in the ring until JYD puts his chain away. Dog isn’t looking to oblige, so Andre does what any sane, rational person would do – tells everyone he’s going back to the locker room. For whatever reason, this causes the crowd to boo their fellow countryman.
Now I get why every other country in the world hates France.
(Oh I am just kidding. I love the Eiffel Tower. And your fries are delicious.)
Now when Andre says he’s leaving, the dude is LEAVING. He literally goes ALL the way to the back as Dog looks on in disbelief. After a legitimate four minutes, a ringside official (I think it was Nick Bockwinkel of all people!) finally gets the chain out of the ring. You’d think this would cause Andre to immediately return, but no – instead we get 90 seconds of JYD squatting.
He seriously looks like he’s going to take a dump or something.
So we kill even more time waiting for Andre to waddle his way back to ringside as Monsoon and Heenan try to come up with anything talk about. As the crowd grows ever more restless, Andre finally returns.
But instead of actually getting into the squared circle, he decides to look under the ring. For what, I have no idea. So let’s have a contest. In the comments section below, give your funniest suggestion of what he’s looking for under there. The one that makes me laugh the hardest gets a free Eric Bischoff stick head mailed to their Unibomber-style shack.
Six minutes (!!!!) after Andre originally made it to ringside, he actually gets into the ring.
That’s a level of stalling that would make Larry Zbyszko proud.
The “action” commences with Andre attacking Dog in such a manner that would give Bob Uecker flashbacks. Somehow this causes Dog to fall out of the ring which means we get even MORE stalling.
After watching that flurry of offense from Andre, I’m not sure I should be complaining.
As Dog attempts to get back in the ring, Andre sits on his back. Yes, like you are doing right now on your couch as you read this. Apparently this constitutes what I believe you smart marks refer to as a “high spot” in this encounter.
Dog somehow regains his feet and we get just what you were hoping for…MORE CHOKING! This time, however, Andre doesn’t have the energy to actually shake Dog back and forth and just kinda sorta leans on him instead.
Then Andre turns around and quite literally leans on him, no kinda sorta about it!
Why I used an exclamation point there I have zero idea. That would indicate that there’s some type of excitement happening here, and believe me, that is NOT the case.
What we get next is truly the stuff of legend: the worst Irish whip in recorded history followed immediately by the worst clothesline in recorded history. The combination of all this horrendosity causes both men to collapse.
Watching that on a loop makes me want to crumple as well.
Amazingly, Le Horrible Move Express isn’t ready to head into the station quite yet – let’s get the worst headbutts in recorded history into this match too!
And just in case you think things are getting too exciting, let’s get back to what you all really love:
Our see saw matchup continues to go back and forth (oh how I miss 1980’s Vince McMahon on commentary), with Andre eventually escaping Dog’s clutches and putting his head down on the turnbuckle.
I think he may be going to sleep.
Watching this match, I can’t blame him.
Wait, no – he’s actually removing the turnbuckle pad altogether. It takes so long for him to do so that Gorilla asks if Andre has trouble tying his shoes.
Again to my point: Monsoon and Heenan were the only things making this show even remotely watchable.
Andre rams Dog’s head backwards into the turnbuckle which causes him to see stars. So I guess that means, for the record, that the only hard part of JYD’s head was the front.
Then Andre gets his head rammed into the exposed area as well. Despite the fact that he routinely slammed his skull into opponent’s with no ill effect, this causes The Giant to go cross-eyed as well.
If there are any neurologists reading this that can explain what is happening here to us, please also do so in the comments.
The big finish sees Andre kicking (well, kinda) Dog in the tummy then laying on top of him to get the pin, using the ropes for added leverage. I guess being 500 pounds just isn’t enough of an advantage.
Woof, that was atrocious.
Easily the worst JYD match I’ve ever seen, and pretty sure it’s Andre cellar dweller as well. That’s saying quite a bit, as I was around for his run in the early 90s which had head shaking atrocities on a seemingly weekly basis.
But in the end, it was all worth it. Why?
Remember that announcer at the beginning of the match?
Despite announcing him clearly as the victor, the Giant grabs him by the back and turns him into his own personal ventriloquist dummy.
Maybe that’s where Blade got the idea for Stubby. Hmmm…