The SmarK Rant for WWE Unreleased 1986-1995 (Part 2)
Continuing on with the remainder of disc one!
Still hosted by Charly & Mooney
Randy Savage v. Ultimate Warrior (04.04.89)
This is from the same show as the scintillating Andre v. Studd match that closed out our previous portion. Both guys are fresh off losing their titles at Wrestlemania, so expect a lot of angst and deep psychology here. Savage attacks to start and gets nowhere, as Warrior quickly puts him on the floor with a shoulderblock and then presses him back into the ring again. Savage goes up with a flying bodypress, which Warrior catches and hangs him in the Tree of Woe. I should note that the Superstars banner above the ring is conspicuously blurred out, so THAT’S still a thing and explains why they can’t put the WWF Superstars syndicated shows on the Network already. Savage gets a cheapshot while Warrior is arguing with the ref and takes over with a chinlock, but Warrior reverses to a bearhug as they might as well have Fed-Exed this one in as a part of a Zahorian drug shipment. Savage puts him down with the hooking clothesline and goes up with the double axehandle for two, but Warrior makes the comeback until new IC champion Rick Rude joins us to taunt Warrior with the belt. Warrior finally takes the bait and that allows Savage to roll him up for two before Warrior makes another comeback. Finally he’s had enough of Rude’s braggadocios behavior and chases him back to the dressing room for the countout loss at 7:12. There was enough of a kernel of a good match here for a point, but not much past that. 1 for 1. An interesting thing I found watching this one is that they cut the camera angles just like regular TV, so you could kind of hear the commentary in your head, even without actual commentary.
Ted Dibiase v. Dusty Rhodes (06.06.89)
Oh man, another interesting one! So yeah, this is pre-polka dot Dusty, making his WWF debut at a TV taping as a substitute for Jake Roberts, and he’s immediately over in a big way. Dusty throws elbows immediately and gives Ted’s money out at ringside, and it’s Flip Flop and Fly to send Dibiase running. I find it weird, but not really I guess, that they never really delved into the natural feud between the Million Dollar Man and the Common Man, aside from the stupid shit with Sapphire. It was really a natural direction to go and they were so busy humiliating Dusty that they never did more than scratch the surface. Dibiase heads back in and Dusty sends him hurtling out with another elbow and the crowd goes NUTS for it. Back in, Dibiase tells the ref to just step aside and he goes on the attack, but walks into another elbow while the fans, who Vince thought would have never heard of Dusty before, chant his name. So Virgil trips up Big Dust and Dibiase chokes him down while Dusty gets more and more over by the minute, and a pair of fistdrops get two. Dibiase drops his own elbow for two, but Dusty makes the comeback, so Dibiase puts him in the chinlock until Dusty makes the comeback and slugs away in the corner. Another elbow puts Dibiase on the apron and Dusty suplexes him back in, but Virgil hooks the leg and Dibiase gets the pin at 10:00. And then Dusty beats them both up and gets his heat back anyway. Like, seriously, they had to beat him in his FIRST MATCH?! Well, yeah, I guess so. 2 for 2.
King Duggan & Hillbilly Jim v. Haku & Andre the Giant (07.19.89)
Well this is pretty wacky. But then most things on this set are, which is why I LOVE IT. Duggan gets punched in the heel corner a bunch to start and Haku drops an elbow that misses by a foot, but Duggan evades a dropkick and makes his own comeback. Haku and Andre have their heads rammed together and Andre falls on top of poor Haku in a funny spot, which allows Jim to get two. Jim with the big boot for two. The faces double-team Haku, but he goes low on Jim and Andre comes in to kick his ass. Andre casually rams their heads together like they’re children, but Duggan manages to tag back in and immediately gets clobbered like the big dummy he is. Haku with a sunset flip that somehow goes horribly wrong, but still gets two. Duggan with an inside cradle that somehow manages to defy physics and yet gets two as well. NOW the match is living up to its potential. Jim comes in again, but Andre catches him with the headbutt, and Haku accidentally superkicks the Giant. Duggan finishes the ex-King with the clotheslines at 9:04. This was a complete and total trainwreck but it was energetic and fun and not boring at all. 3 for 3.
And now, time for TRYOUTS!
Brian Adams v. Barry Horowitz (08.09.89)
Damn, it’s BABY CRUSH! Seriously, he looks like a pudgy teenager at this point, more mullet than man. We were still a year away from working him into Demolition and think of how green he looked THEN. Adams overpowers Horowitz and puts him on the floor with a dropkick. Back in, he misses an elbow and Barry takes over for a bit, but Adams comes back with a delayed suplex and finishes with a tombstone at 5:32. Nothing special at all. 3 for 4.
Earthquake Evans v. Paul Roma (09.20.89)
Mr. Evans is managed by Slick here and hails from the Yukon territory, basically doing a lumberjack gimmick. There’s some weird video signal squashing here, making everyone look shorter. Was this originally from a PAL tape that they converted, I wonder? Earthquake pounds away on the ropes, but Roma takes him down with an armdrag. Roma works the arm, but Evans puts him down with a backbreaker and goes to the bearhug, then continues pounding away with clobbering forearms before missing a blind charge. Roma makes the comeback with flying forearm smashes and a SPECTACULAR dropkick for two (I mean, think of how tall Earthquake was, and picture Roma hitting him square in the face with it), but misses a flying bodypress and Earthquake puts him away with an elbowdrop at 7:07. Pretty boring. 3 for 5.
The Powers of Pain v. The Rockers (01.22.90)
Into our next decade now. The continue to favor Wrestling Challenge tapings because they don’t have to blur shit out. The Rockers manage to keep Warlord off-base with their speed, but Marty gets powerslammed and does an INSANE backdrop bump for two. I seriously thought he was going to land on his head there and die. Marty gets hit with a cane outside and the Powers continue beating him up in the ring as Barbarian goes to a bearhug, then catches a bodypress and turns it into a powerslam. Elbow misses and it’s hot tag Shawn Michaels, who is fists and fury as they say. Sunset flip on Warlord gets two. And then Fuji trips him and it’s a DQ at 7:57. I know it’s just a random dark match, but the Powers were getting split up like TWO WEEKS later! They couldn’t even do a job here? 3 for 6.
WWF tag team titles: Andre the Giant & Haku v. Demolition (01.23.90)
It’s our second appearance of Andre & Haku as a team on this set, and now they’re tag champions! Haku gets double-teamed in the babyface corner and they take turns working over the neck, but Smash stops to mouth off at Andre and gets superkicked, allowing Andre to pound on Smash for a bit to take over. And then Andre kind of rolls into the Demolition corner and they choke him out and double-team him as the structure here is really bizarre. Finally Haku just comes in and kicks Ax now the heels get the heat again. And then they randomly punch and kick each other and finally Demolition gets DQ’d for double-teaming Andre at 8:00. Holy forking shirt, this was awful. 3 for 7.
Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Randy Savage
This goes completely off the rails of bizarre by actually just being raw footage from the hard cam, complete with time count at the bottom of the screen. What an amazingly nutso set. They immediately fight onto the floor and Savage tries a bodypress back in, but Warrior catches him and hangs him in the Tree of Woe and stomps away on him. Savage tries a cheapshot and Warrior pounds him with chops, but he misses a charge and Savage rolls him up for two. Warrior with a backslide for two and he backdrops a charging Macho onto the floor. Back in, the big splash misses and Macho chokes away to take over, then follows with the double axehandle to the floor. That gets two. Warrior comes back with a shoulderblock to put him on the floor, but Savage pops back in with the flying elbow, and that gets two. And then Macho grabs Sherri’s purse and nails Warrior with it, which also gets two. Warrior makes the comeback and Savage gets tied up in the ropes, but Warrior charges and hits the floor. Savage tries another axehandle, but Warrior nails him on the way down, and the gentlemen engage in fisticuffs until counted out of the ring at 8:00. Much better than their first match on the set, as you can see the chemistry beginning to really form between them, especially with Savage’s obsessive need to plan his matches and Warrior’s terribleness necessitating planning out his matches. 4 for 8.
Good, bad or indifferent, this is an endlessly fascinating set thus far, and we continue on with the second disc next time!