The SmarK Rant for Allied Powers: The World’s Greatest Tag Teams
Well, this one won the poll I did, and I love me some tag team wrestling, so let’s crack the seal and give it a look. Much like the Hogan set, I’ve got no idea what’s on this one.
Hosted by Miz & Morrison, which really dates this one. Can you imagine if they were tag team champions 11 years later and doing the same shtick? Anyway, they’re completely phoning this one in and add nothing.
The concept here is pretty dull, with the generic video narrator guy introducing a notable team, then a minute long highlight package, and finally the feature match. Doesn’t appear to be presented in any particular order.
First up, a look at the British Bulldogs.
The British Bulldogs v. The Hart Foundation (09.23.85)
We’re in MSG for this one, early on for the Harts, when they had black and blue tights. Bret hides from Kid and complains about having hair pulled right away, so Kid catches a dropkick attempt and slingshots him into the corner and out of the ring. The Harts are of course grossly offended by this. Back in, Bret tries a hammerlock and gets taken to the floor on the reversal. Over to Davey Boy and Anvil, and they trade slams as Neidhart gets the worst of that. They do the test of strength and Davey flips out of it and dropkicks him out of the ring. Jesse notes that they need to trap a Bulldog in the corner and put the beats on him. “You gotta put out the cheese to catch the mouse” he notes. But the Harts ignore this and Davey gets a victory roll for two on Bret. Finally Bret just hits Davey with a knee to the gut and drops an elbow on him to take over. Into the corner and the Harts go to work and Bret gets a standing dropkick while Anvil holds Davey. Anvil with a bearhug, but Davey fights out and brings in Kid, and he immediately gets cut off and slammed on the concrete outside. Back in, Anvil goes to work in the corner and then taunts Davey into the ring while Bret switches in and drops the leg on Kid. Bret sends him into the corner for the turnbuckle bump, and then taunts Davey in AGAIN and slams Kid by the hair behind the ref’s back before dropping the middle rope elbow for two. Backbreaker gets two. Anvil with a facelock to cut off the ring, and then Bret knocks Davey off the apron to be a dick, resulting in Smith running in like a fooking idiot while the Harts put the beats on Kid in their corner. This is textbook stuff. Kid fights to his corner again, and this time Bret takes the ref and Davey again gets sucked into the ring illegally and the Harts do more double-teaming. Kid tries to flip out of a Bret backbreaker and Bret kind of loses his grip, so they flail around for a bit before Kid gets a backslide for two. Finally Bret charges and crotches himself on the ropes, and it’s HOT TAG Davey Boy. He runs the Harts into each other and Bret takes the turnbuckle bump for two. Davey with a press slam for two on Bret. Harts come back with a double team backbreaker and they set up a TOP ROPE HART ATTACK, but the ref is busy getting Anvil out, and Kid switches into the ring with a top rope headbutt and gets the pin at 18:40. Now that was a clever “heels get their comeuppance” finish. ***1/2
Next, the Steiner Brothers.
The Steiner Brothers v. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki (03.21.91)
Hey, this is from the New Japan Supershow! Which is not available on the Network, but is available on New Japan World. Scott trades takedowns with Hase and neither gets anywhere with it, so Scott hits him with a throw instead. Hase responds with a reverse kick and clotheslines Scott to the floor, but Scott scowls him out of trying a dive. Back in, Rick comes in to face Sasaki, and Sasaki immediately takes Rick down with a judo throw and grabs a headlock. Powerslam gets two and he follows with a bulldog right away and then KILLS Rick with a lariat. You don’t see the Steiners selling for anyone like that! Hase comes in and the Steiners trap him in the corner, allowing Scott to hit the pumphandle slam and take him to the top for an Angle Slam off the top. Scott decides to shit-talk the Tokyo Dome crowd instead of covering, and Rick comes in and runs Hase into the corner. Rick with his own clothesline on Hase and Scott gets the belly to belly for two. Hase fights back, so Scott hits him with a DDT and Rick takes him to the top for a belly to belly. Elbowdrop gets two off that. Rick whips Hase into a Scott clothesline for two. Butterfly powerbomb gets two. Steiners double-team Hase but he fights back with uranages on both Steiners and it’s HOT TAG Sasaki. Powerslam for Rick gets two. Scott gets pissed and beats on him while making the save, and Sasaki gets a running powerslam on Rick. Sasaki superplexes Hase onto Rick and Hase follows with the northern lights suplex for two. Hase and Rick do the double down, but Scott comes in with a tilt a whirl slam on Hase, who luckily tags Sasaki back in. Sasaki tries a Doomsday Device on Scott, but Rick comes in and breaks it up before setting up their own version with the top rope bulldog on Sasaki. Scott pulls down the straps and follows with the Frankensteiner for the pin at 9:39 to win the IWGP tag team titles, in addition to the WCW World tag titles they already held. This was an incredible sprint, literally all action for 10 minutes, but needed another few minutes to achieve greatness like the Steiners would hit later. ****
Next, we take a look at great high flying tag teams, like Steamboat & Youngblood, The High Flyers, The Fantastics, and The Killer Bees.
Best 2 out of 3 falls: The Killer Bees v. Demolition (10.09.87)
THIS is the followup we get to “high flying tag teams”?! From Houston, so of course we get the all time trainwreck commentary team of Bruce Prichard, Mike McGuirk and Duke Doherty. Smash beats on Brunzell in the corner to start, but the Bees double-team the arm. Smash catches Blair with a bearhug and then Ax beats Brunzell down and follows with a slam for two. Blair comes in and fights off the heels before bringing Ax back to the corner for more double-teaming on the arm, and a rollup gets two. Smash beats on Brunzell in the corner, but the Bees go back to the arm again. And then Blair gets taken back to the corner and they double-team him for a bit as this match is going nowhere. Finally the Demos cut off the ring and start working Blair over with a chinlock from Smash, but Blair keeps hitting Ax’s leg to escape the corner and now the Bees goes to work on that. But then Smash distracts the ref and Ax gets the knees up to block a splash from Blair and gets the pin at 9:20 to win the first fall.
Second fall and the Bees continue working on Ax’s leg, but Smash tags in, and Brunzell gets a dropkick on Smash to win the fall at 11:38.
Third fall and Brunzell tries a sleeper on Smash, but Blair gets caught in the corner and double-teamed by Demolition some more. They trade nerve holds on Blair and Ax goes to a neck vice, before Smash beats Blair down for two. False tag to Brunzell, but Smash misses a blind charge on Blair and Ax misses an elbow, and it’s hot tag Brunzell for real. Brunzell with the dropkick for two on Ax and it’s BONZO GONZO, at which point Ax uses Fuji’s cane and Smash gets the pin at 19:25. First two falls were a waste, third fall was pretty good stuff with lots of heat from the crowd. ***
Speaking of high flyers, time for the Hardy Boyz.
Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz (06.27.99)
So of all the matches they could have picked, we get King of the Ring 99. They cut something out after the entrances and we’re joined with Jeff getting double-teamed in the Brood corner as Edge gets a gutbuster. Jeff tries a headscissors in the corner and Edge whiplashes him to counter, but Matt comes in while the crowd is dead. Christian misses a charge and Matt goes to a chinlock, but Christian escapes with the inverted DDT. Now the Hardyz have their shirts off so they mean business. Edge with a DDT on Matt while Gangrel takes the ref, but Michaels Hayes gets a cheapshot for the Hardyz and Edge spears him. So Hayes brawls with Gangrel on the floor, but Edge spears Jeff for two. But then Gangrel spits that red viscous-like fluid into Edge’s face by mistake and Jeff gets the pin at 4:30. What an odd choice for inclusion here. Some highspots but not much else. ½*
Speaking of Michael Hayes, the Freebirds are the next team featured.
Country whipping match: The Fabulous Freebirds (Hayes & Gordy) v. Kevin & Kerry Von Erich (October 83)
From World Class, complete with butchered entrance music. The exact date isn’t given but I’m assuming this show is on the Network should you want to look it up. Big brawl to start and the Von Erichs send the Birds running by strapping them right away. So the gimmick here is that everyone gets a strap to use as they wish, rather than the usual “loser gets whipped 10 times” deal. Kerry starts the match proper with Michael Hayes and beats the tar out of him, but he gets trapped in the corner and Gordy just LAYS into him as the crowd shrieks in horror. Over to Kevin, who hangs Gordy in the Tree of Woe and beats on him with the strap, and the Freebirds run away. Back in, Kevin goes to work on Gordy again, but Gordy finally clotheslines him to stop the beating. And then Hayes comes in with more sick shots across the back and chokes Kevin out, before the Birds double-clothesline him with the strap for good measure. Kevin fights back on Hayes and makes the hot tag to Kerry, who uses Kevin’s strap for DOUBLE STRAP ACTION and they’re just beating the fuck out of each other. Finally the Birds toss Kevin over the top rope for the DQ at 6:45, as usual for their matches. And then everyone just brawls like crazy some more until Buddy Roberts manages to pull Hayes out and the heels fight another day. This was entertaining as FUCK and the crowd was hanging on every move. ***1/4
Next up, a feature on brother tag teams, brother. Of course, the Von Erichs, plus Ole & Arn Anderson (who were only brothers depending on which week you were watching), Undertaker & Kane, Johnny and Jimmy Valiant, the Strongbows, the Funks, the Brisco Brothers, and the Smoking Gunns. Of course, many of these people are not actually related to each other. Like, aren’t there enough legit brother tag teams in wrestling without using all the fake ones?
The Funk Brothers v. The Brisco Brothers
This is from Florida at an unnamed date, but pretty clearly sometime in the 70s. This is more of a series of highlights from the Florida TV show than an actual match, as the Funks get all discombobulated and Dory gets rolled up and pinned with about 2:00 aired.
Back to the regular features, with a look at Harlem Heat.
WCW World tag title: Harlem Heat v. The Steiner Brothers
So of all the matches, they picked HOG WILD to represent the Heat. So the Heat stall forever as the bikers can’t really care for their skin type, and finally the Steiners throw a bunch of suplexes to clear the ring while the bikes all rev in obnoxious fashion. Scott slugs away on Booker in the corner as we learn that the Trump rally masquerading as a crowd can actually count to 10, and the Heat bails. Back in, Stevie beats on Scott and stomps him down, and you can’t say that the match doesn’t have heat, I’ll give it that. Scott comes back with a suplex and Rick comes in with a chinlock on Stevie and hits a Steinerline for two. Stevie rakes Scott’s face and Booker comes in with a sideslam and beats on Scott in the corner, but Scott hits a suplex for two. Over to Rick, who also suplexes Booker for two. Cheapshot from Stevie turns the tide and the Heat go to work on Rick and Stevie goes to a chinlock. Rick fights out and Scott comes in with a dropkick for two, and back to Rick for his own chinlock on Booker. But then Stevie pulls down the top rope and Rick hits the floor to get the heat again. Stevie with a forearm to the neck for two. Stevie with a chinlock on Rick again and he follows with the big boot, and Booker boots him down for two. He misses an elbow, but spins up with the sidekick to recover while Dusty rambles. Stevie with a backbreaker and suplex for two. Booker misses an elbow as the bike revving is already giving me a headache, and it’s hot tag Scott. Overhead suplex for Booker gets two, but Parker throws powder and hits Booker by mistake. But then he uses his cane instead and knocks Scott out, and the Heat retain at 17:58. Man, I forgot how long Sherri and Parker were together managing the Heat after their wacky angle in 1995. Of all the Heat v. Steiners matches we’ve seen, this was certainly one of them. **1/4
Finally, we get the Midnight Express!
US tag team titles: The Fantastics v. The Midnight Express (06.10.88)
I was hoping they’d pick the Worldwide match to get it archived, but this will do. From the famous Great American Bash 88 PPV, with Jim Cornette put in a straitjacket and hung above the ring in a cage. Cornette trying to bribe the ref is hilarious (“This guy’s a crackpot, he’s an honest man!”) and of course Cornette is legitimately terrified of heights in real life, which makes his reactions to getting pulled up in the cage all the better. Eaton starts with Fulton and they trade headlocks, but Fulton snaps off a sunset flip for two and the Express regroups. Fulton with a headscissors and a rana to take Eaton down, and they back off again and think about it. Over to Lane and Fulton takes him down with a slick armdrag reversal, but Stan beats on him with karate kicks that put the Question Mark to shame, and Fulton hits the floor. Lane charges and Fulton runs him into the post, however, and follows with a baseball slide. Over to Rogers and he hits Lane with dropkicks and controls Eaton with an armbar while we get a bit of foreshadowing from Jim Ross: The matches are sanctioned by the Maryland Athletic Commission, and they rule with an iron fist! So that’s why Cornette is locked away in the cage, you see. Eaton slugs away on Rogers, but Fulton gets a blind tag and comes in with a double backdrop and they work Eaton over before tricking Lane into backdropping his own partner! The Fantastics clear the ring and the Express has another talk on the floor to figure this out. Back in, the Fantastics double-team Lane’s arm, but Eaton gets a blind tag of his own and comes in with a bulldog on Rogers for two. The MX double-teams Rogers and Lane slingshots in with a lariat on him, followed by a back elbow from Eaton and an elbow for two. Eaton keeps coming with a neckbreaker for two. Eaton with Divorce Court for two and he works the arm, but Rogers escapes with a facejam and Lane comes in with a punt to stop the tag. The ref gets distracted by Fulton and the Express double-teams Rogers for two, before Lane goes to an abdominal stretch. Fulton again distracts the ref by accident and Rogers uses the distraction to run Eaton into the post this time, but Lane cuts off the tag again. Rogers with a sunset flip for two, but Bobby goes up with the Alabama Jam and Lane gets two off that. Lane with a legsweep to set up the Rocket Launcher, but it hits knees and it’s hot tag Fulton. Fulton rolls up Eaton for two after fighting off Lane, but Stan trips him up from the apron and the ref is bumped. Rogers sends Eaton into the post, but Lane loads up a chain and Eaton uses it to knock out Fulton for the pin and the titles at 16:23. See, they didn’t need Cornette to cheat all on their own, fair and square! ****1/4 And then Eaton shoves in the chain into Fulton’s tights for good measure, leaving the Fantastics with no legal recourse.
Next up, some “Honorable Mentions”, in this case MNM, Billy & Chuck, The Hollywood Blondes, the APA, and the Nasty Boys.
The Public Enemy v. The Nasty Boys (02.11.96)
From SuperBrawl VI, a show I really like, but this isn’t one of the main reasons. I’m gonna have to redo that show someday, actually. As usual, this is a street fight and everyone immediately brawls out of the ring. Knobs runs Grunge into the post while Rock brings a table from the souvenir stand, but Sags just beats him down with a chair. But then Grunge gets his own sick chairshots on Sags and Rock goes up top, only for Knobs to slam him through the table for two. Sags goes back to the fake concession stand and finds a trash can full of plunder and they beat on each other with that. They finally make it back into the ring and Sags piledrives Grunge onto the can for two. Meanwhile, back at the concession, Knobs suplexes Rock through a table, but the ref is still in the ring and can’t count. Everyone makes it over to the stand and slugs it out with weapons and no one is selling and there’s no story to the match at all. Finally Rock goes up and tries a dive off the concession stand, misses, and gets pinned at 7:49. This was fine for what it was, but they had a million of these matches and it’s been done far better before and since. **1/2
And finally for this disc, The Rockers.
The Rockers v. The Brainbusters (03.18.89)
Well this is a way to end the disc. We’re in MSG and I’m surprised that Tully & Arn don’t get their own segment. I’m reminded of Herb Kunze on RSPW many years back, joking that when Tully and Arn toured Japan during this period they were billed as “The Vertical Suplexes”. Arn gets a cheapshot on Shawn to start and rakes the bootlaces in the corner, but Shawn blocks a sunset flip and slugs away in the corner. The Rockers clean house with DOUBLE ROLLUPS and double flying fists and the Busters retreat to the floor. Back in, Tully misses a charge on Shawn and the Rockers go to work on his arm while Arn complains to the ref. Double hiptoss on Tully and Shawn continues working the arm while preventing Tully from tagging. Finally he slips away from Marty and brings Arn back in, allowing AA to go to work on Marty on the floor. He accidentally punches the post, however, and Marty goes to the arm again as a result. More nice leverage from Marty as Arn dives for the tag and gets taken down again to prevent it, but Tully uses the knee from the apron and comes in. But then the Rockers hit double ranas and double dropkicks to put the Busters on the floor, followed by double dives. But then the Busters use some well-timed cheating and cut Shawn off in their corner, clotheslining him on the top rope to block a headscissors and allowing Arn to take over. AA whips him into Tully’s knee and Shawn takes a melodramatic bump to the floor, where Arn adds a forearm shot to lay him out for good measure. Back in, Shawn fights off Tully, but the heels cut off the ring again and move Shawn back to their corner. Shawn puts his head down and Arn blasts him with an elbow for two. Arn gets caught in a bodyscissors, but turns it into a catapult into Tully’s fist instead, and then Tully catapults Shawn under the bottom rope. Shawn runs Tully into the corner, but charges and runs into the knees. Tully goes up and Shawn slams him off, and it’s HOT TAG Marty. Sunset flip out of the corner on Tully gets two and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, but Shawn pulls out Arn and Marty rolls up Tully for two. Shawn goes up off Marty’s shoulders with a splash on Tully for two, but Arn takes out the ref and it’s a DQ at 13:50. Fantastic match with a shitty finish. ****1/4
Hey, questionable match selection aside, this was a hell of a disc! Some great matches here, and probably more to come.