- WWF Prime Time Wrestling
"WWF Prime Time Wrestling" (also known to fans as simply "Prime Time" or "PTW") was a TV wrestling program that aired on the
USA Networkfrom 1985-1993. A precursor to "Monday Night RAW", "Prime Time Wrestling" was a two-hour long, weekly program that featured stars of the World Wrestling Federation. The program featured wrestling matches (most of which were compiled from the WWF's syndicated programs of the era, combined with "house show" matches from venues such as Madison Square Garden), interviews, promos featuring WWF wrestlers, updates of current feuds and announcements of upcoming local and pay-per-viewevents.
Past episodes of "Prime Time Wrestling" have been re-aired on
WWE 24/7 Classics.
Despite the format changes in its last years, the main focus of "Prime Time Wrestling" remained unchanged—recapping the highlights of the WWF's flagship syndicated programs and presenting occasional exclusive matches taped from the house show circuit. Selected matches from the past and present from WWF's flagship arenas of the time —
Madison Square Gardenin New York City, New York, the Philadelphia Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Boston Gardenin Boston, Massachusetts— that had aired on various regional sports networks were also aired on "Prime Time Wrestling".
The original hosts of "Prime Time Wrestling" were
Jesse Venturaand Jack Reynolds. Later, Gorilla Monsoonreplaced Reynolds as Ventura's co-host, and Bobby Heenanwould replace Ventura in 1986.
The Monsoon/Heenan era
The best-remembered "Prime Time" format featured Heenan and Monsoon introducing taped matches and analyzing them afterward, with Monsoon taking a neutral/babyface position and Heenan unashamedly cheering on the heels. The chemistry between Monsoon and Heenan made this show popular with fans for many years, despite the fact it was not considered one of the WWF's "primary" shows for most of its history, and many other wrestling programs—both produced by the WWF and by other companies—would attempt to copy this formula, with varying degrees of success.
Heenan and Monsoon co-hosted "Prime Time" from 1986-1991.
Roddy Piperreplaced Heenan briefly in the summer of 1989, during the period Heenan "took over" the last half-hour of the "Prime Time" program for his own talk show; after Heenan returned to the main program, Piper was retained for the remainder of 1989 as a second co-host.
February 1991 - November 1991
February 18, 1991, "Prime Time" changed formats to something vaguely resembling a talk/variety show, with an in-studio audience. Vince McMahonand Bobby Heenan hosted this version of "Prime Time", with Lord Alfred Hayesserving as an announcer. WWF wrestlers were frequent guests during this particular incarnation of "Prime Time", which was similar to the WWF's old " Tuesday Night Titans" program. Sean Mooneyreplaced McMahon during the pre-SummerSlam weeks until this format was discontinued in November of that year.
November 1991 - January 1993
"Prime Time"'s final format (November 1991 - January 1993) featured Vince McMahon and a panel of WWF personalities (including, at various points, Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon,
Jim Duggan, Randy Savage, Mr. Perfect, Jerry Lawler, Slick, Sgt. Slaughter, and Hillbilly Jim) participating in a roundtable discussion about the goings-on in the WWF at the time.
One of the few instances where "PTW" was used in a significant storyline development was shortly before Survivor Series 1992. An insinuation early in the show by Heenan (then "financial consultant" to
Ric Flair) over the inferior status of Mr. Perfect within the Flair team (who was "executive consultant" to Flair at the time), was taken advantage of over the course of the episode. This culminated in Mr. Perfect turning babyface, abandoning the Flair team and teaming up with Randy Savage against Flair and Razor Ramon in the main event. Such rapid plot developments were extremely rare at that time in the WWF but was necessitated by the departure from the WWF of Savage's scheduled partner, the Ultimate Warrior, mere weeks before the Survivor Series. "PTW" was also used to introduce the Brooklyn Brawler (Steve Lombardi) to the Bobby Heenan Family when the Brawler attacked Terry Taylor aka the Red Rooster (who had left the Heenan Family after a falling out with The Brain) and Gorilla Monsoon. Heenan first gave Lombardi the Brooklyn Brawler name on this program. "PTW" was also used to further the Roddy Piper/Rick Rude feud.
*imdb title|id=0283816|name=WWF Prime Time Wrestling
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