(In celebration of the Coliseum content dump on the Network tomorrow, here’s a repost of my attempt to reboot the series via YouTube, which abruptly ended when the guy got kicked off YouTube.)
The Coliseum Video Rant 2.0 – 10.10.13
Much like Star Trek, I’m rebooting the franchise. Thanks to YouTube, I can start from the beginning of the series and probably lose interest after the second one. I’m skipping WF01 because it’s a compilation of skits called “Bloopers Bleeps and Bodyslams” and doesn’t really fit the series, but here’s WF02 (Hulkamania) and WF03 (The Best of the WWF Volume 1). As always, a point for stuff that works in any way, and no points if it doesn’t.
Tape #1: Hulkamania!
Hosted by Vince McMahon, from HOME VIDEO CONTROL, still doing his Howard Cosell cadence. He gives us highlights of the tape, which I don’t really like because I preferred the “What’s coming next?” surprises of the tapes.
WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Greg Valentine
From the Spectrum in August 84, featuring Hulk’s NWA National title variation on the belt. The Philly crowd is just JACKED for Hogan. Hogan quickly slugs Valentine into a Flair Flop and this is unfortunately edited, as we cut to the heat segment on Hogan. Valentine works on the knee with an indian deathlock and rams a chair into it, but Hulk does a primitive version of the Hulk Up and hits him with the axe bomber. Suplex from the apron and Hulk adds an atomic drop, as his comeback goes much longer than it would in later years. Valentine catches him with his head down and drops elbows, and we’re clipped again to another heat segment on Hogan. Hammer goes up and gets slammed off, but Hulk’s knee gives out and Greg goes back to work on it. Hulk escapes the figure-four, drops the leg, and we’re done at 8:29. Good start to the tape. 1 for 1.
$15,000 Bodyslam Challenge: Hulk Hogan v. Big John Studd
This is also a title match, but if Hogan slams him, he gets the money as well. EVERYTHING’S COMING UP HOGAN. From December 84 in New Jersey. The egregious music editing during the intros would seem to indicate that “Eye of the Tiger” was still Hulk’s theme. Welcome to 1984: Some dude in the front row has a Kodak 110 camera with about 18 flash cubes stacked on top. Good times. They fight over the slam and Hulk slugs away and hits the big boot, but can’t get the slam. Clothesline and another try, but Studd clubbers his way out of it. Hulk keeps coming with the corner clothesline and ALMOST gets it, but Studd grabs the ropes and they brawl outside. So Hulk starts bleeding and Studd beats on him outside, and then back in for LUCHA STUDD off the top with the CLUBBING FOREARM OF DEATH. Back elbow gets two. Studd slams him and sadly can’t collect $15,000 off it. Back to the floor as Studd keeps beating on him, but Hulk makes the comeback and slams Studd out there. Gorilla notes it wasn’t in the ring, so he doesn’t get the money, but the match is over at 8:00 for some other reason, which turns out to be Studd getting counted out. How do you book a screwjob in a bodyslam challenge? 1 for 2.
Hulk Hogan makes his PYTHON POWDER SMOOTHIE for Vince and Lord Alfred on TNT. OH MY FUCKING GOD, why didn’t someone show this to the feds before they started prosecuting?!? Hogan adding the “magic powder” to make them stronger should have locked both guys up for 20 years. And then he pulls out a BAGGIE filled with packages of PILLS! Hulk notes that he eats one of these pills every day and doesn’t need any other painkillers, and if you’re looking small in the gym, they’ll help you get bigger. The secret ingredient: Kryptonite. Is that the street name, I wonder? BEST SEGMENT EVER. 2 for 3.
WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Dr. D David Schultz
From Minneapolis, sometime in 1984 you’d presume as a giant “Fuck you” to Verne Gagne, and Hulk has the rare powder blue tights. Schultz lays him out and chokes him down with his headband, which gets two. Dr. D pounds away in the corner and Hulk bails to the floor, where D adds a chairshot that busts Hulk open. Back in, Schultz drops the flying elbow, but he chooses not to cover, and that gives Hulk time make the comeback. Axe bomber and an elbowdrop gets two, but Hulk picks him up and decides to beat the shit out of him some more. Legdrop gets two, but he wants more. So they head to the floor and Hogan, SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR, runs the already beaten Schultz into the post to bust him open. BE A STAR, jerk. Back in with Schultz making a comeback and going up, but the flying elbow misses this time. Hulk levels him with a lariat to finish at 9:00. Schultz lays him out and steals the WWF title, and that of course is the only thing Hulk cares about, so he takes it back and chases him off. Does petty revenge make you feel better, Hulk? This all set up the super-duper-rare Hulk Hogan & John Stossell v. Dr. D & Richard Belzer tag match that I don’t think has ever been featured on DVD yet. I think Hogan won that one with a facelock. 3 for 4.
WWF World title, cage match: Hulk Hogan v. Big John Studd
Back to April 84 now for some reason, even though the dubbed Gorilla commentary tries to sell it as the rematch from earlier in the tape. Hulk still has the ugly green belt here that he originally won from Shieky baby. Studd quickly drops an elbow and tries to walk out, but it turns out that it’s just VERY edited because Hulk is bleeding all over the place and we’re obviously late into the match. Cut to double juice and Studd dropping the clubbing forearm off the middle rope. They fight at the door and Hulk keeps him from leaving, and they slug it out. Studd goes down and Hulk drops the leg, but can’t crawl out the door. So Hulk kicks Studd in the face and crawls out on his belly like the coward he is at 5:48. 3 for 5.
Meanwhile, Vince McMahon interviews Hulk about how he got into the sport and he manages to lie about EVERYTHING even in this short bit. 3 for 6.
WWF World title: Iron Sheik v. Hulk Hogan
And of course we finish with this one, which we’ve covered a million times, as Hogan wins in 5:00 with the legdrop and kicks off four years of our national nightmare. 4 for 7, since it changed the course of history and all.
This one barely passes, but the Python Powder segment is a must-watch, especially if you’re a federal agent looking for evidence against Hogan and Vince.
Tape #2: The Best of the WWF Volume 1
Hosted by Vince McMahon.
Hulk Hogan & Andre the Giant v. Big John Studd, Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch
From New Jersey in 1984, and this is quite the tag match. Adonis and Murdoch were the tag champions at this point and I’m not even sure what the setup for this would be. Adonis starts on Hogan’s arm and gets caught in the babyface corner, but Hulk gets double-teamed in return. We’re clipped to Studd and Andre, and then over to Hulk beating on Adonis. Andre REALLY beats on him as Adonis bumps all over the ring, and then Andre traps all three heels in the corner and beats on them at the same time! Finally Andre puts his head down and Studd puts him down, and Andre is YOUR giant-in-peril. Murdoch goes up with a knee from the top and pounds away, then uses the tag rope to choke Andre down. Murdoch slugs away, but Andre chokes him right back and brings Hogan in to clean house. Murdoch catches him with an elbow and we’re clipped to Adonis dropping knees on Hogan and Studd holding a facelock. Hogan fights out and it’s hot tag Andre, as kicks everyone’s ass. The heels all bail and Studd runs for the dressing room while the tag champs double-team Hogan and get nowhere. Hogan no-sells Murdoch’s punches and Andre sits on him to finish at 9:29. Murdoch and Adonis as diabolical heels is always fun, and Andre kicking the crap out of people will never ever get old. 1 for 1.
WWF Women’s title: The Fabulous Moolah v. Wendi Richter
This would be from the Bout To Knock The Other Guy Out, of course. Moolah attacks and chases Richter to the floor, and we’re clipped to Moolah getting the heat on Wendi. This was a pretty short match and even then they had to edit it down to something watchable. Richter ties her up in the ropes and we’re clipped again to Cyndi Lauper getting a cheapshot on Moolah. Richter gets a dropkick for two and a suplex for two, and we’re clipped again to Moolah hitting a backdrop for two. Clipped again to Moolah rolling her up for the apparent pin, but Richter gets the shoulder up and wins the title at 4:00 aired. Terrible on every level. 1 for 2.
Gorilla Monsoon v. Baron Mikel Scicluna
This is famous for other reasons, as Muhammad Ali is at ringside watching. The Baron attacks and gets nowhere, as a chop from Gorilla puts him on the floor, prompting Ali to get all riled up and throw challenges at Monsoon. So he comes into the ring and wants a boxing match, but Gorilla grabs him in an airplane spin to send him fleeing. This sets up the famous promo from Gorilla, where he declares that Ali “doesn’t know a wristlock from a wristwatch”. Crazy stuff. Can you imagine Floyd Mayweather or Anderson Silva going on national TV and being made to look like a fool now? 2 for 3.
Jimmy Snuka v. Bobby Bass
Another TV match, as Snuka squashes this guy and finishes with the Superfly splash. 2 for 4.
Piper’s Pit with Jimmy Snuka. Piper’s racism aside, this remains a classic. Best moment: After calling Snuka a “monkey who lives in the trees” and pelting him with bananas, Snuka asks “Are you making fun of me?” No wonder Piper cracked him on the head with the coconut. 3 for 5.
Rowdy Roddy Piper v. Jimmy Snuka
So yeah, this one tore up the house show circuit for a while. Snuka of course attacks him right away as Piper bumps all over, but a poke to the eyes turns the tide. Snuka fights back with a sleeper and Piper takes him to the floor to break, so Snuka RAMS him into the post. Piper is crazy to take the bump so hard. Back in, Piper is bleeding and Snuka goes nuts with rage. He goes up to finish, but Piper trips him up and he bumps to the floor for a countout at 5:51. 4 for 6.
WWF Junior Heavyweight title: The Cobra v. Black Tiger
The title is being held in abeyance at this point. Black Tiger is Mark Rocco, not Eddie Guerrero, of course. Cobra puts him down with a spinkick and a gut wrench suplex for two, and they have a stalemate. Cobra pounds the back and hits a gutbuster into a Boston crab, and then hooks Tiger with a bow and arrow. Clipped to Cobra dropkicking the Tiger out of the ring and then slamming him back into the ring, but Tiger comes back via the magic of editing with a clothesline for two. Clipped again to Cobra hitting a leg lariat for two and dropkicking Tiger out of the ring, then following a SUICIDE DIVE. In 1984! Black Tiger comes back in with a floatover suplex for two and a TOMBSTONE for two! Another one is reversed by Cobra and he goes up with a top rope senton to finish at 7:00. Holy cow, what a finish! The title went back to Japan with Cobra and never returned that I know of. 5 for 7.
Hulk Hogan arrives at Mean Gene’s house to train him for their tag match, and Gene is smoking a cigar while drinking coffee and eating a pancake breakfast. They go on a run and Gene tries to stop for a beer and sausage, to no avail. Gene’s commitment to the gag earns a point by itself. I nearly deduct the point for the visual of Gene carrying Hogan on his back while grunting in pain, but I’m nothing if not generous. 6 for 8.
Hulk Hogan & Mean Gene Okerlund v. Mr. Fuji & George Steele
We’ve covered this one a bunch as well, and it’s a famously silly match from Minneapolis with Hogan beating both heels by himself and putting Gene on top of Fuji for the pin. Just harmless fun. 6 for 9.
Bruno Sammartino v. Larry Zbyszko
This would be the complete opposite of harmless fun, as this is a “scientific exhibition” between teacher and student that kicked off a violent feud. They fight over a waistlock and Bruno gets the best of that, but Larry gets a hiptoss for two. Bruno takes him down with a drop toehold and Larry is getting flustered and slams Bruno for two. Bruno slams him right back and Larry’s rage is building. He tries the abdominal stretch and Bruno quickly throws him away. Larry with another slam for two and he goes to a half-crab, but Bruno escapes that as well. Criss cross and Bruno hiptosses him, and now Larry gets so worked up that he walks right into a bearhug. Bruno quickly breaks out of sportsmanship, which only makes it worse. Larry bumps to the floor and Bruno holds the ropes open, so Larry BLINDSIDES him and absolutely destroys him to take out his frustrations. This results in a DQ at 9:24, and Bruno eats a chairshot and bleeds all over. What a great storyline and payoff. And Zbyszko STILL won’t shut up about it to this day. 7 for 10.
Cage match: Bruno Sammartino v. Larry Zbyszko
So we finish the tape with this classic from Shea Stadium. Bruno attacks and chokes him out in the corner to start, then sends him into the cage all over the place and rakes his face into it. Larry goes low and stomps him down, but can’t make it out of the cage, so he rams Bruno into it a few times and tries to climb out. Bruno yanks him down and they slug it out, which goes Bruno’s way. He rams Larry into the cage, but he tries to climb out again and Bruno slams him off the top again. Larry eats the cage a few more times and Bruno chokes him out in the corner, but Larry slugs him down and pounds away in the corner. Larry manages to tear open a gash in Bruno’s arm and he tries to walk out, but Bruno yanks him back in again and sends him into the cage. Into the post and Larry does the obligatory blade, so Bruno sends him into the cage a few more times to really give the fans their money’s worth. He kicks Larry in the head one more time, wipes his sweat onto him, and then walks out to win. Just a total fight from start to finish. 8 for 11.
Hell of a collection here.
I’d give both a pretty solid recommendation, actually. The later Hogan tapes would get pretty insufferable once it turned into the “Hogan v. big fat heel” formula over and over, but this was a nice mixture of stuff, as was the Best of the WWF debut.