Setting up a regular schedule to post my Chronicles on the blog here… I will continue the TNA reviews on “TNA Tuesdays,” and other assorted retro recaps on Throwback Thursdays. Catchy title, no? Let’s begin with the WWE 24/7 presentation of the 1989 Coliseum Home Video release dedicated to Demolition, my favourite tag team of all time.
The Chrononaut Chronicles – WWE 24/7: Coliseum Home Video – Demolition
– Candice Michelle is wearing a sexy costume on a set decorated in keeping with the Halloween theme for October to introduce the Coliseum Home Video feature for WWE 24/7, noting that Demolition weren’t afraid to wear makeup all year long.
– Ax & Smash themselves introduce the video in their own special way with talk of violence; they are the WWF Tag Team Champions here, so this video is from sometime in 1989. We actually get to hear the Demolition theme song, which was edited off on some old WWF shows on 24/7, so that was cool to finally hear again at the time. Smash states that Mr. Fuji knew a good thing when he saw it and Ax describes winning the belts and how they are fighting champions. Smash makes faces and groans as Ax cuts a promo on the Hart Foundation.
– WWF Tag Team Title: Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Strike Force ©
This is from WrestleMania IV in 1988 during Demolition’s original heel run managed by Mr. Fuji; wisely, the video completely ignores the short period of time they were under the management of Johnny V. Strike Force come out to that ultra-cheesy “Girls In Cars” tune. Man, that song reminds me of the old WrestleMania video game for the original Nintendo. Gorilla Monsoon questions the legality of Demolition’s ring attire as Smash pounds Rick Martel to start and catches him when Martel tries a crossbody, but Tito Santana dropkicks his own partner in the back to knock him on top of Smash. Ax comes in to even the odds and Smash ends up whipping Martel into a crossbody on Ax. Double clothesline on Smash earns Martel a two-count, although Jesse Ventura claims that the ref shouldn’t even count that pinfall because it was a result of double-teaming. Strike Force tag and work over Smash’s arm, but he escapes and tags Ax, who gets armdragged and armbarred by Tito. Martel tags in and focuses on Ax’s arm, but he gets away and tags Smash, who receives a hiptoss and a wristlock.
Santana gets the tag and applies an armbar, but Smash whips him off to the ropes and lifts him in a bearhug near his corner so that Ax can knock Tito to the canvas with a clothesline. That gets a face reaction from the crowd and Demolition tag in-and-out as they isolate Santana and work him over. Smash earns a very close and controversial near-fall on Santana after a vertical suplex, as referee Joey Marella hesitates so that Tito can kick-out. Santana avoids an elbowdrop and crawls to his corner, but Smash tags Ax and they stop him. Santana counters a back-bodydrop with a kick to the face and he crawls again, but Smash comes in and drags Tito back toward the challengers’ corner. Ax has control, but Tito decks him with the flying forearm off the ropes and both men crawl toward their respective corners. Ax tags Smash and Santana makes the hot tag to Martel, who cleans house on both Demolition members with a series of dropkicks and applies the Boston Crab on Smash. Santana cuts Ax off from interfering and throttles Mr. Fuji on the apron, distracting the referee while Ax clobbers Martel with Fuji’s cane. Smash covers him for the 1-2-3 to win their first WWF Tag Team Championship. ***1/2 Good match with Strike Force using their scientific expertise to combat Demolition’s size and strength, but illegal tactics tipped the scales in the end.
– WWF Tag Team Title: The Hart Foundation vs. Demolition © (w/Mr. Fuji & Jimmy Hart)
This is from SummerSlam ’88 with Gorilla & Superstar Graham on commentary. Demolition are accompanied by not only Mr. Fuji, but Jimmy Hart as well since he had recently split from the Hart Foundation and was advising Fuji and his WWF Tag Team Champions on their challengers’ weaknesses. Ax pounds Bret to start, but misses an elbowdrop and the Hit Man unloads on him. Bret gets a two-count off a rollup, but Ax kicks out and tags Smash, who gets armdragged and armbarred by Hart. Jim Neidhart tags in and works over Smash’s arm until Ax cheapshots him with a kick to the head from the apron and Demolition hammer the Anvil with the double-axhandles. Neidhart counters a back-bodydrop with a punch and tags Bret, who cleans house until Smash whips his shoulder into the ringpost and Smash zeroes in on the shoulder, as Graham notes that the same thing finished off Ken Patera earlier at SummerSlam. Demolition go all Anderson on Bret’s shoulder as they tag frequently and just torture it relentlessly until Hart levels Ax with the one-man Hart Attack and tags Neidhart, but the ref was busy with Smash and didn’t see it, so he forces Anvil out while Smash unloads on Hit Man again.
Smash eats boot when he charges at Bret in the corner and Bret makes the hot tag to Neidhart, who uncorks a dropkick on Ax and clears Demolition from the ring. The Anvil follows that up by wiping out Smash with a slingshot plancha, with a little help from Bret. Pretty impressive; I think Neidhart gets a bad rap, but he could really work when he wanted to. Back inside, Anvil powerslams Smash for a near-fall and tags Bret, who whips Neidhart into Smash with a spear in the corner and covers him for two. Backbreaker by Bret gets two as Ax makes the save, but Neidhart comes in to take care of Ax and throttles Fuji on the apron. While the ref is distracted by that, Ax clobbers Bret with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and Smash covers him for the 1-2-3 to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship. ***1/2 The finish inspired a sensation of deja vu, like I just wrote something similar a few minutes ago. Still a good match, though, as I liked Demolition’s arm work on Bret and everybody had their working boots on.
– Smash says the bottom line is that the best team won and moves on to “Fuj the Stooge” turning on Demolition at the Survivor Series. Ax states that he remembers everything about that night and wonders why Fuji would want to dump the champs, but adds that Demolition showed him they can do anything they want.
– 1988 Survivor Series: Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) & The Conquistadors vs. Powers Of Pain & The British Bulldogs
This is joined in progress, obviously, as the match started out with five tag teams on each side. Dynamite Kid (sporting Tony Schiavone’s porn ‘stache) counters a back-bodydrop with a headbutt and covers Smash, but he does a power-kickout and tags Conquistador #1 (sure, why not?), who tags in the other Conquistador They work over Dynamite until #2 misses a somersault splash off the middle turnbuckle. Dynamite tags the Warlord and he manhandles the Conquistador before tagging the Barbarian, who levels the masked man with a big boot. Tags are made on both sides and Davey Boy Smith drops #1 with the delayed vertical suplex for a two-count, but the Conquistador tags Ax and Davey Boy wraps him up in a crucifix for two. Ax pounds Davey Boy and tags Smash, but Davey armdrags him and tags Dynamite as the Bulldogs double-headbutt Smash. Dynamite chops away and hits a jawbreaker, but Smash tags Ax and Dynamite clotheslines him. Both men tag out and Davey press-slams a Conquistador before planting him with the running powerslam and tagging Barbarian. They double-headbutt the Conquistador and he tags Ax, but Barbarian clotheslines and covers him. Ax kicks out so powerfully that Barbarian ends up on the floor and when he rolls back in, Ax hammers him with double-axhandles and tags Smash, who tosses Barbarian through the ropes. The Conquistadors work over Barbarian, but he tags Davey Boy and they drop a Conquistador with double back-elbows for two. Dynamite tags in and scores a pair of two-counts with a gutwrench suplex and a falling headbutt, but the masked man tags Smash and he runs into a foot when he charges at the Kid.
Dynamite snap-suplexes Smash, but misses the diving headbutt off the top turnbuckle and Smash pins Dynamite after a clothesline to eliminate the British Bulldogs. Barbarian attacks Smash, but he backs the Power Of Pain into the heel corner and the Conquistadors bang away on him until he manages to tag Warlord, who runs his shoulder into the ringpost when the masked man sidesteps a charge and tags Ax. Demolition hammer Warlord as Fuji randomly gets up on the apron, then goes back to the floor as the heels exchange tags and work over Warlord’s shoulder. Fuji hops up on the apron again as Smash clotheslines Warlord and runs to the ropes, but Fuji holds the ropes open and Smash crashes out to the floor. Gorilla & Jesse question if it was an accident as Ax checks on his partner and the ref counts Smash out to eliminate Demolition from the match. Ax argues with Fuji at ringside and Fuji cracks his cane across Ax’s back, but Smash pushes Fuji from behind and Ax bodyslams him on the floor before Demolition walk off without their manager. The Powers Of Pain help Fuji up and dust him off as Jesse suggests there’s more to the story than meets the eye. The Conquistadors ravage Barbarian in their corner until Fuji trips one of them with his cane and Barbarian drops a headbutt on the masked man to eliminate the Conquistadors and win the match. The crowd actually cheers as the Powers hoist Fuji on their shoulders triumphantly, but Demolition return to clear the ring and the fans boo loudly. This type of face turn would later be known as an “Orton” in 2004, but Demolition survived this to become arguably the most popular WWF tag team of all time.
– Ax hypes the next match with the Bolsheviks as never-before-seen on TV and Smash states that Demolition didn’t need Mr. Fuji anyway.
– WWF Tag Team Title: The Bolsheviks vs. Demolition ©
It’s still jarring to see a WWF product on-screen and hear Tony Schiavone on commentary, with Lord Alfred Hayes no less. Nikolai Volkoff sings the Russian national anthem, but Demolition’s theme song cuts him off as Mike McGuirk announces that Mr. Fuji is accompanying the WWF Tag Team Champions, even though he isn’t. All four men slug it out until Ax dumps Boris Zhukov and Demolition rain down the double-axhandles on Volkoff. Demolition tag in-and-out as they work over Nikolai’s arm until he finally manages to tag Boris, who slugs it out with Smash. Demolition exchange frequent tags as they pound Zhukov and work over his arm. Smash gets a pop when he calls Zhukov a “stinkin’ commie”; I guess Krusher Khrushchev really is dead. Zhukov calls for a timeout at ringside, but Smash drags him back in and Demolition punish the Russian in their corner as Schiavone notes that they wrestle the same way they did before, only now the fans cheer them. It’s true, they’ve totally dominated this match so far. And then on cue to emphasize Tony’s point, Demolition pull an illegal switch when the referee gets distracted by Volkoff. Zhukov gets his feet up into Smash’s face to block a charge and tags Volkoff as they pound Smash. All four men are in the ring and Demolition whip the Bolsheviks into each other before double-clotheslining Boris. Nikolai dumps Ax out to ringside and the Bolsheviks set up a double-team on Smash, but Ax pulls the ropes down and Volkoff crashes to the floor. Demolition finish off Zhukov with the Decapitation and Ax pins him to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship. *1/2 Solid power match to show Demolition as dominant asskickers despite the face turn.
– Non-Title: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Honky Tonk Man (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Demolition
Gorilla & Bobby Heenan are on commentary here and this must be another Coliseum Video exclusive, since the banners in the arena are from Saturday Night’s Main Event. This is prior to the Rhythm & Blues era for Honky & Valentine, as Greg has his traditional blond hair. Smash overpowers Valentine to start, but runs into a knee and the Hammer clotheslines him. Valentine goes for a very early figure-four, but Smash small-packages him and Valentine tags Honky, who gets pounded in the Demolition corner as Smash tags Ax. The WWF Tag Team Champions exchange frequent tags as they pulverize Honky, but Honky jabs Ax in the throat and tags Hammer. They tag in-and-out and punish Ax in their corner, but he decks Valentine and tags Smash, who cleans house and accidentally clotheslines Valentine into the referee, knocking Earl Hebner through the ropes to the floor. Demolition catch Honky with a double fist to the gut and he flies out through the ropes, then they hammer Valentine while Ronnie Garvin comes out in his referee uniform to check on Hebner. Meanwhile, Honky whallops Ax with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and all four men slug it out in the ring as Rugged Ronnie (who had lost a retirement match to Valentine, which led to Garvin becoming a referee for a while) comes in and starts shoving the wrestlers around before calling for the bell and awarding a disqualification victory to Demolition. **1/2 For some reason, I always thought Honky & Valentine made a great team, so this wasn’t too bad.
– WWF Tag Team Title: The Brain Busters (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Demolition ©
This is from Saturday Night’s Main Event, with Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura on commentary. Tully Blanchard tries to outmaneuver Smash, but the future Repo Man catches him in a bearhug as Bobby Heenan hops up on the apron to distract the referee, allowing Arn Anderson to knee Smash from behind. The Brain Busters try to double-team Smash, but he mows them both down and tags Ax, who unloads on Anderson and clotheslines him in the back of the head. Smash must have taught him that Russian Sickle because of his Russian background. Ax tags Smash as they lay Arn out across the top turnbuckle and just pound him. Tully cheapshots Smash with a knee to the back when he runs to the ropes and Arn drops him with an impressive delayed vertical suplex, but Tully won’t accept Arn’s high-five and points behind him as Smash gets right back up and we get all four men in the ring. The Busters bail out and regroup with the Brain after Demolition get the better of them with an atomic drop and a pair of bodyslams. Tully’s chops have no effect on Ax, who pounds Blanchard into a corner but eats knee when he charges in. Blanchard jumps off the middle turnbuckle, but Ax catches him in a bearhug and knocks him to the floor. Smash presses Tully overhead and throws him back in through the ropes, but Ax clotheslines Tully right back out the other side and Blanchard lands on top of Heenan. Heenan is pissed and tries to climb up on the apron to confront Demolition, but Anderson pulls him down and the Busters hold him back as a commercial break is edited out.
Heenan looks dissheveled and holds his head at ringside while Ax dominates Tully and tags Smash, who holds Tully in a hangman choke until Arn sneaks in and takes out Smash’s knee. Anderson plants Smash with the spinebuster for a two-count and the Brain Busters utilize frequent tags and double-teams to control Smash. Smash overpowers Anderson and heads toward his corner, but Arn drop-toeholds him while Tully taunts Ax and tosses Smash to the floor, where Arn hits him with a double-axhandle off the apron. Back inside, Smash mounts a comeback and slugs it out with Arn until they connect with simultaneous punches and both men go down. Smash crawls toward his corner, but Arn pins him down while Tully sneaks around and yanks Ax off the apron. Ax comes in anyway and all four men slug it out in the ring as referee Joey Marella tries to restore order, but Ax flings him to the mat and Demolition clear the ring as the bell rings, signaling a disqualification victory for the Brain Busters. Afterwards, the two teams brawl up the aisle and Demolition get the better of it. *** These guys really meshed well together and always had pretty good matches, and the finish set up a rematch on the next SNME where the Busters won the belts.
– WWF Tag Team Title – Handicap Match: Powers Of Pain & Mr. Fuji vs. Demolition ©
This is from WrestleMania V with Gorilla & Jesse on commentary. Jesse hilariously brags about Fuji completing the WrestleMania 5K marathon in good time while wearing a tuxedo, but Gorilla points out that Fuji rode a rickshaw and showed up at the finish line. Monsoon states that this is the first time the Tag Team Title has been decided in a handicap match as Ax pounds Warlord to start and tags Smash, who rains down double-axhandles with Ax. Demolition tag in-and-out to control Warlord until he powers Smash into the heel corner and tags Barbarian. Smash boots him in the face and tags Ax as Demolition isolate Barbarian and work him over with quick tags. Barbarian finally chops Smash down and tags Warlord, but Smash drags Warlord back to the Demo corner and tags Ax. They mow down Warlord with a double clothesline and Ax goes after Fuji on the apron, but Barbarian catches him with a kick and the Powers pound Ax in their corner as Fuji stands on his throat. Fuji tags in and chops Ax down before dropping a headbutt to the lower midsection and tagging Barbarian, who levels Ax with a big boot and a leaping shoulderblock off the ropes. Warlord gets the tag and pounds Ax down for a two-count, then tags out. Barbarian tags Fuji and slams Ax, but when Fuji dives off the top turnbuckle, Ax rolls out of the way and crawls toward his corner. However, Fuji tags Warlord and he knocks Smash off the apron. Warlord and Ax both go down after simultaneous clotheslines, but Ax makes the hot tag and Smash cleans house on the Powers while Fuji remains parked on the apron. Smash drops Warlord’s throat across the top rope with some help from Ax on the apron and covers him for a two-count, but Barbarian makes the save and Ax clotheslines him over the top. Warlord holds Smash as Fuji throws salt, but Smash ducks and Warlord is blinded by the salt. The big man disappears from the ring, leaving Fuji alone with his former proteges. Demolition destroy Fuji with the Decapitation and Ax pins him to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship. ** I guess I just have a thing for power teams with facepaint, but I always thought the Powers Of Pain had potential with Fuji as their manager. Solid power stuff here and it was pretty much the blowoff to the feud, although they continued to wrestle off-and-on through until the 1989 Survivor Series, where Demolition and the Powers were on opposing teams.
– Smash claims that this is the first time he’s seen himself on TV and rants about breaking arms and beating every team who challenges them. Ax puts over Coliseum Video and names off all the potential challengers for their belts, but Smash promises that they’re all gonna get hurt awful bad.
Afterthoughts: Like I said, Demolition is my favorite tag team of all time, as I was a huge mark for them as a kid back in the day, and they really got me even more into wrestling than I already was. I think their matches and style still hold up fairly well today. They weren’t fancy by any means, but I just loved their entrance, theme music, and when they hammered their opponents into the mat mercilessly. On top of that, they were both solid workers and cut some great promos, so I really hate it when some people just write them off as Road Warrior clones. I have that LOD DVD and most of those matches just don’t hold up like the matches from this video, in my opinion. So while Demolition may have been created so that Vince could have “his own Road Warriors”, I think they broke out of that mold and became a far better all-around tag team. It’s sad that Vince just fed them to LOD when Hawk & Animal finally came to the WWF, because the Demos deserved a lot better and will hopefully be remembered for their contributions and inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame one day.
Check out my other reviews at The Chrononaut Chronicles!