Best of British – Tag Team Turmoil!

Let’s have a look, as requested in a previous review, at some tag team wrestling from World of Sport.

First up, some BIG stars you wouldn’t expect to be teaming together!

Giant Haystacks & Big Daddy vs. Tibor Szakacs & Steve Veidor

Yes, Big Daddy was a villain before he was the mom’s and dad’s favourite! He and Haystacks belly butt and forearm each other as part of their pre-match ritual to play up Haystacks’ indestructibility. Szakacs and Veidor are just straightforward trunks and boots good guys. Szakacs’ brother Peter was also a wrestler and referee for years.

Round one: Haystacks starts with Tibor. Kent Walton refers to Haystacks by his gimmick real name, Luke McMasters, but he was actually really named Martin Ruane. Stacks overwhelms Tibor with his size. Daddy comes in and straight away does his belly butts and charges, not as big as in his hero days. Veidor in for some of the same. Stacks stomps from the outside as the bad guys just cheat as much as possible. Veidor comes back with dropkicks, but Daddy’s straight back to his body checks. There are holes so big that you could push Haystacks through with Daddy’s work. Stacks back in for at least some more snug blows. Daddy returns quickly with Irish whip after Irish whip. Finally uses an over-the-shoulder backbreaker for the first fall. Good heat with the crowd, but crap action so far.

Round two: Daddy continues with his shitty stomps on Szakacs, but Veidor has had enough and comes in a sticks up for his partner. Slam from Daddy, but he misses the splash, which is at least a bit more athletic than he’d later do. Szakacs with chops and Daddy tries to escape, but the crowd block him from leaving the ring. Szakacs gets headbutts to the gut as Daddy calls him a swine. The good guys whip an intruding Haystacks into Daddy. Veidor with double stomps to Daddy’s gut. Flying bodypress to finish, but Stacks comes in and breaks up the pin. The ref has had enough, as they’d racked up enough public warnings already, and disqualifies the heels and awards the bout to Szakacs and Veidor.

As bad as Daddy was as a good guy wrestler, he was worse as a heel. He knew how to get the crowd riled up, though, which for his success was all that mattered.

Fit Finlay & Rocky Moran vs. Owen & Ross Hart

Finlay hasn’t grown his moustache or his hair out yet, although Rocky Moran is heading that way. Owen is 18 and already looks in great shape, not scrawny at all, just slimmer. Ross looks pretty plain, but is taller. The heels turn their back on a handshake.

Round one: Finlay starts with Ross, then Owen tags in. Works the arm, Finlay kips out and tags Moran in. More of the same for Moran, including a kneedrop to the shoulder. Both tag out. Kent notes the very unusual measure of Canadian wrestlers wearing knee protectors! Finlay gets the advantage over Ross and brings him into his corner. The heels get a few boots and forearms in, but nothing that really gets a lot of heat. Owen gets tagged back in and jumps over the ropes to enter. Kent keeps on calling them the Ross boys instead of the Harts, although he reminisces about seeing Smith, Bruce and Bret Hart before. Moran gets a victory roll out of nowhere to pin Owen.

Round two: Moran fools Owen into going for a test of strength and kicks him instead. Throws him into one corner and connects with a charge. Throws him in for another, misses it as Owen backflips over him and hits a sweet German suplex for the equaliser! Was waiting for Owen to bust out something sexy like that!

Round three: Finlay pitches a fit about Owen sneaking one out over his partner. Moran and Owen resume the match, but their partners quickly come in. Finlay gets some shots in, but Ross gets a dropkick, then misses one. Finlay gets a single leg Boston while yelling about teaching him a lesson. Owen tags in. Finlay gives him some shoulders in the corner. Owen gets whipped in and does his backflip, but Finlay flattens him with a forearm and finishes with a Samoan drop.

Decent, not great, match. Really worth watching for those bits with young Owen, who wasn’t as dynamic as he would become, but came into the business pretty much like Dustin Rhodes did as fully formed and without an ounce of greenness about him.

Dave Finlay & Rocky Moran vs. Kung Fu & Clive Myers

Let’s have a bit more from the Belfast Bruisers! Finlay is moustached at this point, longer hair, green and white tights, with Moran in red and white. Princess Paula is their manager. Kung Fu is Finlay’s friend Eddie Hamill. Iron Fist Clive Myers is a West Indian with a similar martial arts gimmick.

Round one: Moran starts with Kung Fu. Early advantage to Kung Fu, using the bare feet to rake the face. Moran uses a shot to the throat to gain the advantage. Finlay struts in after the tag. No pretensions of fair play, they’re both totally heeling it, cheating behind the ref’s back when Myers comes in. Big slam and stomps on the hands, so Hamill fires up and tags Myers in. His posing comes to nothing as he gets cornered and Moran comes in. Myers escapes a headlock with a bit of a side backbreaker. Moran sets up for a suplex, but Myers gets shots to the stomach to break. Slingshots Moran eventually into Finlay and does the karate stuff that never connects. Hamill back in, but he gets caught warning Finlay and hit in the back. It’s funny to see Finlay doing more swaggering and cowardly heel stuff, a bit like Jacques Rougeau. He misses a charge and goes flying over the top rope.

Back in, Hamill tricks Finlay into taking the foot and fishhooks his mouth. Finlay gets a side headlock takeover for multiple pin attempts. Moran comes in off a tag with a double axehandle. He throws Hamill out into the crowd. Moran tries to post him coming in but gets blocked. Hamill misses a flying bodypress coming back in and goes rolling across the ring. He gets a backslide for two, but then caught by the heels. He threatens a poke to the eyes but won’t see it through, then gamboles across the ring for the tag. Myers gets a double-arm suplex for two, broken up by Moran. Finlay gets a cravate and spins it into a short-arm clothesline. Chickenwing, which is broken eventually when Myers reaches the ropes. BIG back body drop. Myers comes back with a suplex but doesn’t go for the pin and Moran tags back in.

Moran waits in the corner for Myers and sneaks an elbow in. Stiff clothesline with the left arm. He goes for another and runs into another stiff one from Myers. Inverted atomic drop. The partners come back in at fifteen minutes. Finlay gets a big kneedrop, but gets atomic dropped. Hamill misses a charge, though and gets gutwrench suplexed for the first fall at 15:35.

Round two: Moran and Myers tag in and Myers gets a public warning for a headbutt to the gut. Moran gets his own for rough tactics. He slams Myers and goes to the top, but misses a somersault senton. Myers suplexes but again doesn’t go for the pin. Hamill and Finlay back in. Hamill with almost a flying headscissors and chops, then sits Finlay down and sets up for the stump puller, but pulls him back for a cradle and pin at 19:31 to equalise. Unfortunately there’s not enough time left in the match for a third round, so it’s a draw. Fine tag match between a couple of mates, if never threatening to become too dynamic.

Blondie Barratt and Kendo Nagasaki vs. Steve Regal and Rob Brookside

Who’s who in this one? Bob “Blondie” Barratt is the least famous, one of Kendo’s multiple tag team partners, given his nickname because he’s got blonde hair. Heavily tattooed, looks like a thug with a bad haircut. He’s also using the nickname of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express in an obvious bit of theft. Kendo Nagasaki, the masked samurai warrior, is a legend of British wrestling and only recently gave up the dirt on himself in his seventies, confirming he is multi-millionaire businessman Peter Thornley, although the papers were onto him for a long time in the eighties due to his homo/bisexuality. He’s got his full entourage with him, including longtime manager Gorgeous George Gillette and future manager Lloyd Ryan, a musician who composed and recorded Kendo’s Theme for him, which became his entrance music.

Robbie Brookside is a trainer in NXT and future member of the Liverpool Lads with the late Ian ‘Doc’ Dean, who were like the UK version of the Rockers in the nineties. And Steve Regal is a Lord in the making. The pair together here are the Golden Boys, which they reminisced about in Robbie’s Video Diaries show. Robbie is as skinny as he ever was, but Regal is one of the more muscular British wrestlers.

Round one: This is quite an infamous match too, I should add. Barratt and Regal start and botch a leapfrog spot early on. Kendo comes in, wearing his less common blue outfit (more often he wore red). Gets a front facelock and just tosses Regal across the ring. Big double-arm suplex. Regal is bleeding from the mouth off a blow and tags out, looking pissed off. Robbie easily gets taken to the heel corner. Barratt comes in and gets a double clotheline with Kendo and a fistdrop that doesn’t connect at all. They work a headlock/top wristlock reversal, then Robbie gets monkey flips and armdrags to keep him bumping. He goes for a slingshot, but Kendo sneaks in and clotheslines him with his arms occupied, earning a public warning just before 5:00. Kendo comes back in with chops. Barratt gets a clumsy-looking flying kneedrop for his own public warning. Big back body drop gives Kendo the first fall at about 7:00.

Round two: Kendo keeps Robbie in with a nervehold to the trapezium, then switches to a choke. Regal finally gets back in as Kendo backs off and tags Barratt in. Regal with a big legdrop, then Barratt continues his bumble, stumble and fall routine by getting caught in the ropes off an Irish whip, falling on top of Regal who had gone down flat to the mat. Regal gets a belly-to-belly, pinfall broken up by Kendo. Kendo annoyed me a lot as a fan because his whole gimmick was based on being a silent killer who never spoke or did interview, hence the manager as a mouthpiece, but he did so much jawing in the ring that it was inconsistent. Robbie comes in to see how much Barratt can fuck up with him, including lots of awkward bumps to the corner as the ring attendants try to fix something on it. He gets slammed off the top by Robbie, then dropkicked off the top for a knockout at about 15:00. Not exactly a Dynamite Kid one, he looked like he stepped out with both feet stuck out and connected as he fell to his back. Barratt can no longer compete in the match, so it’s Kendo on his own against the good guys.

Round three: Robbie takes the advantage, although Kendo fights back. Beyond his awesome Kamikaze Crash move, Kendo was so overrated to me, just doing chops and nerveholds. The Golden Boys get a low impact Hart Attack and double dropkick, which Kent has never seen before. Another legdrop from Regal and dropkick off the top from Robbie. Not quite knocked out, but prone enough for Robbie to remove the mask. As soon as it’s completely off, Kendo grabs Robbie by the throat, holds him still, waves his fingers in his face and HYPNOTISES HIM! He grabs his mask back, directs Robbie towards Regal, who he then pulls in and attacks. The acting on this is absolutely terrible. Kamikaze Crash for the knockout on Regal, giving Kendo the win. Kent Walton sounds so embarrassed explaining this bullshit. Robbie protests what has happened as his influence has finished (“Hey, referee, that man’s just done something to me!”, like he stuck a finger up his arse). The crowd just fart at all this. Not a comment on All Star Promotions necessarily, but it was stuff like this that showed they were crawling towards the end on ITV.

Conclusion: A bit of a mixed bag here, but some historical significance with a heel Big Daddy, early Owen Hart, and some WWF influence with the last match, which was total shit but at least memorable.