For a brief period, Brock Lesnar appeared to have kidnapped Shawn Michaels this week on Monday Night Raw, before showing up at ringside with a broken Michaels over his shoulders.
The kidnapping angle brought back memories of perhaps the most famous heist in WWF history in 1988, when Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and the Islanders stole Matilda, the canine mascot of the British Bulldogs.
Heenan is hilarious during the match between the two teams that led up to the kidnapping. Matilda went after Heenan, who took a crazy leap over the top rope to escape. In response to Heenan’s protest about the “attack-trained” dog, as color commentator Jesse Ventura noted, the ref forced Matilda to stay on a doggie platform near ringside.
Towards the end of the match, with the Bulldogs at a disadvantage, Heenan, Tama, and Haku picked up Matilda and ran out of the building (at about 4:30 of the YouTube clip below).
Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith chased unsuccessfully after their pet, and for a few weeks the whereabouts of the dog were unknown. Then-WWF President Jack Tunney suspended the Islanders until Matilda was found, although in the storyline, it was never really explained where the animal had been.
This was one of the most remembered angles of the late 1980s WWF scene, and it was funny, too, thanks to Heenan’s acting.
As for the Islanders, Tama was formerly the Tonga Kid, who briefly hit it big as Jimmy Snuka’s cousin during Snuka’s feud with Roddy Piper. Haku was formerly King Tonga, and later became known as Meng in WCW. He was regarded as one the legitimately toughest wrestlers behind the scenes.