The SmarK Rant for Allied Powers: The World’s Greatest Tag Teams (Disc Two)
After a strong first part of the set, let’s see if they can keep the cool stuff coming.
Kicking it off with my faves, Demolition!
WWF tag team titles: Strike Force v. Demolition (03.27.88)
Oh come on, they just pick the lazy Wrestlemania IV choice? Whatever, let’s watch it again. Smash beats Martel down to start and catches a bodypress attempt, but Tito dropkicks them over and Strike Force clears the ring. I think it once again needs to be stated that this is the deadest sellout crowd of a large arena you will ever see in your life. Not involving Roman Reigns. Tito works Ax’s arm and trades off with Martel, and then more of the same for Smash. I have to say, I didn’t particularly care about Strike Force at the time, but Martel’s injury kind of screwed them because they had some juice left as a team. And as I’ve noted before, they’re generally thought of as transitional champs between the Harts and Demolition, but they were actually champions for months! They just didn’t have anything in particular going on in terms of a feud. These days it would be a legendary reign. Tito gets caught in the Demo corner and double-teamed while President Drumpf watches at ringside. Ax puts his head down and Tito gets an elbow, but Smash drags him back to the corner for more punishment. Tito hits the flying forearm out of nowhere on Ax and it’s hot tag Martel. I think one guy in the 14th row actually cheered! Martel runs wild and gets the Boston crab on Smash, but Tito gets taken out by the ref and Fuj the stooge throws the cane in, allowing Ax to nail Martel and Smash to win the tag team titles at 8:00. And THAT finally draws a pop from this crowd of high rolling mannequins. Probably would have been better in a setting that wasn’t quieter than the Performance Center, but it wasn’t, and it sucked anyway. * Still a sentimental favorite for me anyway.
“International attractions” is our next feature, including the Mountie and his brother the doofus announcer, plus the French Canadian Russian and his nephew the Minnesota preacher, The Bushwackers, La Resistance (?!), Windham & Rotundo, Sheik & Volkoff…and of course you know what match we’re getting.
WWF tag team titles: Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo v. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (03.31.85)
Yeah, it’s Wrestlemania. Sheik headlocks Rotundo to start, but gets hiptossed and dropkicked. The US Express pinballs him in the corner and Rotundo goes back to the headlock. Windham comes off the top and legdrops Sheik low, but gets caught in the wrong corner. Heel miscommunication allows him to escape, however. Volkoff tries and gets headlocked by Windham right away, and Rotundo gets an elbow and elbowdrop for two. Windham comes in with an elbow and they work over the arm in the corner. Good tag stuff there. Rotundo meets the boot of the Sheik, however, to turn the tide. Sheik backdrops him and drops an elbow for two. Gutwrench suplex gets two. Rotundo comes back with a suplex of his own, but Volkoff stomps him down. Rotundo tries a hammerlock, but gets worked over on the ropes. He gets a sunset flip for two, but Volkoff stomps him down again. Knee to the gut and Rotundo gets worked in the heel corner, which leads to the ADOMINAL STRETCH OF DEATH by Sheik. He escapes and makes the hot tag to Windham, who dropkicks Volkoff and gets a bulldog for two. It’s BONZO GONZO, but Sheik hits Windham with Blassie’s cane and Volkoff gets the pin and the titles at 6:55. Match was your usual tag formula, but had terrific heat. **
OK hopefully the selections get a bit less lazy.
Our next choice is the Dudley Boyz…
WCW v. WWF tag team titles: The Dudley Boyz v. The Hardy Boyz (11.18.01)
Holy god you forget sometimes how crazy stupid hot Stacy Keibler was. So yeah, this was a cage match to unify the titles and I was happy to flush away this entire era as soon as it ended, so I haven’t watched it or thought about it since then. Matt pounds on Bubba to start and the Hardyz double-team in him in their corner, as apparently you have to tag here in this cage match. Also, Jeff is wearing a ball cap, so hopefully there’s no spots where he has to take a framed photo on the head. D-Von comes in and they double-team Jeff for a bit, and then D-Von gets a suplex on Matt for two. I should note the logo blurring is in FULL effect here, at various points around the ring and even on the big LED board beside the Titan Tron, which is unbelievably distracting. Dudleyz work Matt over, but he gets the inverted DDT on Bubba and makes the tag to Jeff. Hardyz with the Poetry in Motion on both guys and now they abruptly drop the tag rule and everyone climbs the cage. Bubba brings Jeff down with a top rope Bubba Bomb and everyone is out. About time. Jeff dives for the cage off a leapfrog and makes it to the top, but Bubba brings him down with a Doomsday Device and everyone is out again. Bubba with a backdrop suplex on Jeff for two and they run Matt into the cage and then take turns splashing him into it. More of the same for Jeff and both Dudz go up and miss splashes, allowing Matt to come back with a top rope clothesline on both guys. Matt sends them into the cage as Bubba bumps all over, and Matt gets a DDT on Bubba for two. The Hardyz both go up and hit the double legdrop/splash combo, and that gets two. Matt goes up and gets hung in the Tree of Woe on top of the cage, which leaves Jeff open for the Wazzup, while Stacy seduces Nick Patrick and steals the cage key. Thus the tables are gotten, but Matt breaks up the 3D and the Hardyz make the comeback. Matt fights with Bubba on the top of the cage and manages to climb out, but now Jeff is alone and man does that look like a stupid move now. So Jeff fights them off and makes the climb, but then he sees D-Von left on the table and just has to do the swanton, at which point D-Von moves and Jeff is BROKEN IN HALF, BY GAWD, and pinned at 15:43 to make the Dudleyz the undisputed champions. Well good personal choices have never been Jeff’s strong point. And now let us never speak of the Invasion again and certainly not e-mail me about it a million times. Took a while to really get going and there was never any real story to it or heat segment, but it was mostly entertaining by the end. *** The ending made Matt and Jeff both look like complete dumbshits, though.
And of course, the Outsiders get their segment…
WCW tag team titles: Harlem Heat v. The Outsiders (10.27.96)
Well this is the obvious choice, from Halloween Havoc 96. The crowd alternates chants of “Razor” and “Diesel”, so I guess Vince’s fakes really are getting over! The Heat control Hall while fights in the stands distract the crowd, presumably between members of the WCW and WWF legal teams who happened to be attending the show in the same section and just couldn’t resist suing each other over who got the last hot dog. Finally they settle down after a lot of nothing in the ring, and Nash throws elbows in the corner on Stevie Ray. Stevie fires back and Booker comes in with an axe kick for two. Over to Hall with a bulldog on Stevie for two, but Booker comes in with a flying forearm for two. Finally a cheapshot from Nash turns the tide, and Hall gets a lariat for two off that. The big scary Outsiders are so clearly the babyfaces to the casual fanbase here. Snake Eyes on Booker, and Hall adds a chokeslam for two. Sherri gets involved and Hall distracts her with his machismo, allowing Booker to hit him with a spinkick. They trade sleepers and Hall drops him on the top rope to break, which as Dusty notes, “You’re nuts if you don’t think that hurts.” Nice. Hot tag Stevie and he presses Hall onto Nash and cleans house, and the Harlem Hangover on Hall follows, but Col. Parker comes in and loses the cane to Nash, which results in Hall pinning Stevie to win the titles to a gigantic babyface reaction at 13:13. Pretty good showing for the Heat, who had been struggling to break ** in the months leading up to this on Nitro. **3/4
Time for some Horsemen!
WCW tag team titles: Tully Blachard & Arn Anderson v. Sting & Nikita Koloff (06.10.88)
Really, Bash 88? Come on, there’s so many great matches from the 80s they could have used. Big brawl to start and Sting quickly cradles Tully for two out of that. Arn bails and Sting follows him with a tope con hilo, and back in Arn comes off the top and gets caught. Sting puts him in an armbar and Koloff trades off on that, but Arn pounds him in the corner to break. Koloff comes back with a Russian Sickle for both heels, and gets two on Arn as a result. Sting comes back in and goes back to the arm, but runs into a knee. Arn makes another ill-advised trip to the top, but outsmarts Sting and sucks him in for a sleeper. Sting powers out of that and goes back to the arm again. Tully comes in for a double-team, but Sting dropkicks both of them. Tully immediately gets taken down with an armdrag, and Nikita goes to the arm as well. They stay on it and Koloff runs Tully’s shoulder into the post, and we get a funny spot with Arn trying to tag Tully’s foot and protesting the legality of it. This gives the challengers a chance to switch off again. Tully tries to fight back on Koloff, but Nikita takes him down with an atomic drop and goes back to the arm. Nice sequence sees Nikita holding a hammerlock and holding on through a snapmare counter by Tully, but it also puts them in the heel corner and allows Tully to tag out. Nikita takes Arn down with a drop toehold and holds him on the mat with a half-nelson, but goes after JJ on the floor and clotheslines the post as a result. And now we go to school, as the champs pound the arm and Arn gets the hammerlock slam and goes to work. Hammerlock on the mat, but Koloff fights back, so Arn gives him a DDT for two. Tully comes in for a cross-armbreaker and standing armbar, but Koloff fights out and it’s hot tag Sting. Dropkick for Tully and press slam, and Arn gets bulldogged. Noggins are knocked, but Tully tags Arn in again, which allows Sting to put him in a sleeper with a minute left. Not MY strategy for a match with a minute left, but whatever. Tully tries a sunset flip to break, but Sting blocks and hammers away, and it’s BONZO GONZO with time running out. Stinger splash for Tully sets up the Scorpion Deathlock, but time expires at 20:00. *** Sting and Koloff rather presumptuously put the tag belts on before the decision is even announced. There’s confidence, and there’s being an asshole, guys.
“Tribute to the Classics” next, with the Texas Outlaws, Patterson & Stevens, The Samoans, The Blackjacks, and Bockwinkel & Stevens.
AWA tag team titles: Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens v. Billy Robinson & Red Bastien (December 1972)
From AWA TV and I’m pretty sure I’ve done this one before but it ruled. Robinson & Bastien quickly double-team Stevens with flying headlock takedowns and Robinson drops a knee on Stevens for two. Robinson gets caught in the heel corner but fights back on Bockwinkel with a kneelift, and Bastien comes in and drops a knee on Nick for two. Bockwinkel tries to grabs the ropes and escape, but Robinson pulls them away and Bastien gets a hiptoss for two. Bockwinkel finally runs away and thinks it over, “planning some skullduggery” with Stevens according to the announcer. That does sound like him. Robinson wants the test of strength with Bockwinkel and then ties up Nick in knots and takes him down, allowing Bastien to come in and try for a submission. Stevens comes in and lays Red out as he takes a crazy bump on the ropes, hitting his head on each rope on the way down, but then KATIE BAR THE DOOR as he comes back and pounds on Ray in the corner. Over to Robinson with a dropkick on Stevens and a slick judo throw into a butterfly suplex for two. The champs manage to double-team Robinson in their corner, which taunts Bastien into coming and thus distracting the ref. Stevens gives Billy a stiff boot to the head from the apron and they choke him out in the corner, but Robinson keeps fighting back with forearms. But they keep dragging him back to the heel corner and switching off. Finally Robinson collides with Stevens and they’re both out, but Robinson falls into his corner and makes the hot tag to Bastien. Red lands on his feet out of a backdrop and cleans house with dropkicks, and an atomic drop on Stevens gets the pin and the first fall at 9:15.
Second fall and Bastien keeps coming, dropping a knee on Stevens’ back, and Robinson beats on Bockwinkel in the corner and puts him down with a forearm for two. Bastien also knocks him down for two. Catapult into a Robinson forearm on the apron, and he hangs on and does it again! What a great spot. Robinson with the dreaded SKULLCRACKER and Bastien goes with the crab, but Stevens breaks that up. Robinson keeps coming with a gut wrench and Stevens breaks that up as well. Stevens comes in and chokes Robinson, but Billy hits him with an upkick from his back to escape. Finally the heels slow him down and double-team him in the corner, and Nick follows with a biel and then gives Robinson a crazy whip into the corner as Robinson just flails around. Double backbreaker in the corner, but Robinson keeps fighting, so Bockwinkel hits him with a slam and tries a piledriver. Robinson escapes that with ANOTHER kick and it’s hot tag Bastien and he runs wild with dropkicks on Bockwinkel. Back to Robinson for the elevated backbreaker on Nick for the pin and they win the tag team title at 14:31! But then Wally Karbo clarifies that it’s not for the titles after all. This was an INCREDIBLE TV match for the time, non-stop action during a time when headlocks were highspots. ****1/2
Next up, Miz & Morrison present their own segment.
Miz & John Morrison v. Rey Mysterio & Shawn Michaels (11.17.08)
OK well this an oddball choice. This is from RAW before Survivor Series 2008, building up whatever match they were hyping. Team Shawn v. Team JBL apparently. Rey and Shawn double-team JoMo to start and Rey goes for the 619, but Miz trips him up and then Shawn hits Miz with a dive. And we take a break as RAW ROLLS ON, and return with Miz holding a chinlock on Shawn. Rey makes a comeback, but Miz runs him into the post and they go to work on him, as John whips him into the corner for two. More dull stuff, but Rey gets a dropkick to block a JoMo springboard and makes the hot tag to Shawn. He runs wild with the usual and goes up with the flying elbow, but Miz escapes the superkick. Shawn clotheslines him for two and Rey hits the 619 into the superkick, but Morrison hits his own superkick on Shawn and Miz falls on top for the banana peel finish at 8:20 aired. Slick finish, but just the normal RAW formula tag team match and nothing special at all. **1/2
And finally, the Hart Foundation to end the disc! Hopefully they don’t just do the Summerslam 90 match and go with something more interesting.
WWF tag team titles: The Hart Foundation v. The Rougeau Brothers (03.07.87)
Hey, much better! We’re in Boston for this one. The Harts are fresh off screwing the Bulldogs over for the tag titles so it’s big heat. Plus Danny Davis hanging around with them now just adds onto that. Actually, I think Danny was trying to kickstart an autobiography a few years back, and I don’t know if it ever happened. Bret hides in the corner to start while Jacques insinuates that he’s CHICKEN, so Bret offers a free shot and then waits for the ref to tell Jacques not to punch with a closed fist. Ah, see, now they’re getting inside refereeing advice from Davis. They do the test of strength while Bobby Heenan lets us know that his research has discovered that “Rougeau” is French for “coward” and they’re known as “Les Chickens” in their home province. Anvil comes in and wins a power battle over Raymond, but Ray goes to the arm and the Rougeaus double-team on that. Back to Bret, but he misses an elbow and Ray works his arm too. Bret blocks a rollup but gets cocky and Ray kicks him in the gut to set up more double-teaming in the Rougeau corner. Jacques works the leg now, but Bret rakes the eyes on Raymond and Anvil clobbers him from behind to take over. That was a nice spot, too, as Bret tries his usual knee from the apron and Ray sees it and goes after Bret, but then that opens him up for Anvil to get his own cheapshot. Lots going on there! Bret chokes him out to get the ref’s attention, which allows Neidhart to choke Ray out with the tag rope and then go to the chinlock. Ray bridges up out of that, so Bret swoops in and hits him in the gut in another subtle spot. Ray with a sunset flip on Anvil for two, but Bret breaks that up by making a blind tag. These guys are ON tonight. Ray with a backslide for two on Bret, but he puts Ray down with an elbow again and goes back to work by throwing him out. Jimmy Hart suckers Jacques AND the ref over to the other corner, allowing Danny to put the boots to Ray on the floor. Back in, Anvil with the bearhug, but Ray fights out of that, so Bret pulls him back to the corner for more abuse behind the ref’s back. Backbreaker gets two. Bret charges and hits Ray’s knee and it’s the false tag, but Bret charges and hits Anvil by mistake. It’s LE HOT TAG to Jacques and he runs wild and chops Bret down, then follows with a Lawler fistdrop and a rolling short-arm scissors for your batshit crazy move of the match. It’s BONZO GONZO and the Harts get rammed together to set up the Rougeau finisher in the corner, but Anvil saves. Everyone is still brawling and Jacques cradles Bret, but Danny Davis pushes them over in the chaos and the Harts retain at 15:00. This was GREAT and a great way to end a so-so disc. ****
Also on this disc, we get some special features!
– First up, the complete “Badstreet USA” music video! I can’t even deal with the 80s cheese on display here. Also, the song has a second verse AND a break after the second chorus, who knew? Also, the video has a story, which involves the Freebirds (and Jimmy Garvin!) getting into a rumble with what appears to be the cast of The Warriors on a lunch break. Gotta say, if Michael Hayes was any kind of singer, the actual music track is technically good enough that it would have lent itself to being a pretty damn good song.
– Animal advice from the British Bulldogs in 1987, as Matilda gives Dynamite advice: Use the headbutt.
– Mean Gene visits the Hart Foundation HQ from the Hart Foundation video in 87. Just one of the many segments from that video.
– Mean Gene goes to visit the Bushwackers but they’re CAMOFLAGED and pop out of the leaves.
– Mean Gene interviews the three-man version of Demolition in June of 1990, as we meet CRUSH.
– The Legion of Doom returns to Chicago in 1992. Sadly not the dummy promos.
– And now, a deleted segment on LOS CONQUISTADORS!
– From RAW in 1999, Mick Foley vents his spleen to the Rock in the dressing room, while Rock is on the phone and paying no attention to him.
– From Cyber Sunday 2006, Shawn tries to rig the vote for the special referee in his match, so HHH gets him all riled up and he superkicks an intern who looks suspiciously like Shawn Spears!
– And we finish with Miz & Morrison’s “Mizfits and Mofos” music video, which doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by Badstreet USA.
This disc was certainly up and down, but there’s a couple of hidden gems on here for sure.