I decided that I fancied watching one of the Home Video releases that they’ve uploaded onto the WWE Network, and with this one being under an hour I thought it’d be a nice snappy watch.
I’m going into this completely blind without a clue of what’s actually on the tape, but noted Tough Guy Akeem is on the screen-cap on The Network, so we should at least get some Jive Soul Bro if the music dubbing God’s are feeling generous.
Sean Mooney and Judo Al Hayes are handling the hosting duties, with the dubbing of the music being horrendous as they’ve clearly put in something over the original track but you can hear the original track itself when Mooney and Al start talking. Mooney has a Hulk Hogan shirt on instead of his usual suit, and seeing him in that makes it clear why they normally avoided sticking him in merch. Al makes fun of Mooney’s lack of muscle definition, which seems to hurt Mooney’s feelings. Mooney says he’s going to head to the gym to take on the WWF Superstars, which I’m sure will end well for him.
Boris Zhukov w/ Nikolai Volkoff Vs Jim Duggan
Zhukov and Volkoff were a typical “Evil Foreigner” tag team, but Volkoff would eventually decide to team up with Duggan in 1990 to turn babyface. This was actually the instigating factor to Sgt Slaughter going heel, as he saw America accepting Volkoff as an example of his country becoming too soft. Had the gimmick just stayed as that then I might have been okay with it, but then they added the Iraq stuff to milk a real life war and it just became all kinds of tasteless.
Duggan is over with the crowd, so the match has some decent heat at least, even if the actual wrestling is hardly that good. Zhukov looks a bit like a taller, chubbier John Silver actually, and he does generic clubbing heel offence, whilst Duggan mostly throws punches and raises his thumb in the air whilst yelling “Hooooooooooooooooooo”.
Zhukov works some heat and goes to a bear hug, but Duggan fights out and goes to a ten punch. As someone who saw Duggan work a house show match with Fit Finlay in 2000, this is basically par for the course with him. Volkoff tries to pass Zhukov Duggan’s 2X4 and distracts the referee, but Duggan ends up getting it first and hits Zhukov with it for the pin.
WINNER: JIM DUGGAN
It was fine on the sliding scale I tend to use on one of these tapes, and I like the finish of the heel getting hoisted by their own petard
They dub in some music at the end of the match, even though Duggan didn’t actually have any entrance music on the way to the ring.
Haku w/ Bobby Heenan Vs Rubbish Ronnie Garbage
This should be a fun snug slug fest at least due to both men’s penchant for throwing down. Garvin does okay in the early going, but then makes the mistake of head butting Haku, which goes about as well for him as you’d expect. I actually don’t mind Garvin, but I enjoy OSW Review’s nickname for him so much that I always like to refer to him as it so I can throw a plug their way. Haku works some heat on Garvin, but the crowd isn’t really that into it until they start throwing chops at one another, which are so stiff that the crowd digs it.
Heenan distracts the referee at one stage so that Haku can do a blatant choke, and some of the crowd gets angry at it, as they have just kept working and working here until the crowd has started to get with it a bit. Sadly they give us a really lame finish, where both guys fight outside the ring to a double count out, which is a shame as the bout was just starting to pick up.
DOUBLE COUNT OUT OF THE RING
Shaping up to be fun until the slow fart of a finish
Fans boo that finish but at least give Garvin a bit of applause when he stands tall in the ring.
Powers of Pain w/ Mr. Fuji Vs The Bushwhackers
Gorilla Monsoon steps in to do commentary with Al here. If this was actually the pre-WWF version of The Whackers then this would make a very reasonable addition to the tape, but the comedy WWF version seems a tad out of place in all honesty. I mean, if this match is anything other than the PoP squishing them in short order then something has gone drastically wrong. It would be like expecting Too Cool to have a realistic chance of taking out The Brothers of Destruction or something, but then again Too Cool got a semi-serious push at one stage in 2000 where they actually won the tag belts, so that might not work as a comparison.
They give The Whackers a comedy shine in the early going, which the crowd mostly responds too, but eventually Luke gets caught in a Warlord bear hug for the cut off, even though he manages to gain a bit of momentary respite by biting Warlord on the nose. The Whackers switch out at one stage like they’re The Killer Bees or something, even though they don’t like THAT alike for such a spot to work, and it only leads to some further heat on Butch this time, so it doesn’t really serve a purpose. That spot works much better when you do the old switcheroo in order to sneak a win against the run of play.
Butch sells the heat well enough and the crowd sticks with it, whilst the PoP’s work is perfectly cromulent heel power wrestling, but it’s kind of boring to me. I just don’t buy The Whackers as surviving this long against a pair of big scary heels like this. Barbarian eventually misses an elbow off the second rope and that allows the tag to Luke, which leads to them getting The Battering Ram on the heels. This brings in Fuji for a cane shot, and that leads to The Whackers picking up the DQ win.
WINNERS BY DISQUALIFICATION: THE BUSHWHACKERS
Boring match with a lousy finish
Butch chases the heels off with Fuji’s cane following the match.
Akeem w/ Slick Vs Hercules
Jive Soul Bro survives! Tony Schiavone is handling the play by play with Al this time. I don’t think The Mega Powers were still a thing at the time this was taped, so I won’t be able to do the Third Mega Power gag for Herc this time out. Another day though, another day. Both of these guys of course worked in Mid-South/UWF at one stage, with Akeem actually holding the main singles Title back in his One Man Gang days. Herc peppers Akeem with punches to start and actually sends him tumbling to the floor, showing some good fire in the process. I know everyone liked Power and Glory as a team, but I was kind of sad to see the end of babyface Herc, as I thought he was good in that role and they could have done more with him.
Slick throws down his jacket and has to be held back by Akeem from getting in the ring at one stage, as they have gone completely “House Show Special” with this one and it’s actually been quite fun. Akeem has a bad rep as a worker, but I always thought he was fine for a big dude and One Man Gang was a legitimate Main Event level villain in his heyday. They probably could have repackaged him back to that gimmick in 90 or 91 and had a fresh heel monster for Ultimate Warrior to slay. Akeem eventually manages to cut Herc off when Herc goes for a slam, which leads to both he and Slick cheating whenever the opportunity presents itself. Herc makes the comeback though, and the crowd is having fun with Akeem’s heel stooging for all of Herc’s offence. Herc gets to bump Akeem around and looks to have things well in hand, at which point they ruin a decent match by having Slick low bridge Herc for the lame DQ finish.
WINNNER BY DISQUALIFICATION: HERCULES
The finishes on this tape have been abysmal. The match itself was fun and could have been **1/2 with an actual finish
Akeem tries to give Herc the Big Daddy Splash following that, but Herc dodges it and gets a body slam to stand tall. Why not just do an actual finish if Herc was going to stand tall anyway?
Dino Bravo Vs Tito Santana
Gorilla and Mooney are handling the call here. Bravo would of course be one of the Blog’s favourite wrestlers, so I’m looking forward to some fine grappling action here from such a fine in-ring technician. They actually do the “Boo-Yay” spot to start, where Bravo climbs up the ropes to receive a boo and Tito climbs up to receive a cheer, leading to Bravo teasing that he might walk out. It’s another case of two guys doing the “House Show Special”, but that stuff normally works and it does on this occasion also. Tito shines on Bravo with the usual babyface offence of hip tosses and whatnot, and the crowd is totally into it.
I don’t know if Bravo actually isn’t as bad as his rep suggests, or if the general quality of bad wrestlers in the modern era has worsened to the point that he simply looks better by comparison, but he’s basically fine here. He knows how to work the crowd, he’s where he needs to be in order to take Tito’s offence and they have your typical under-card wrestling bout, where Tito controls the early going with basic stuff until Bravo manages to counter a monkey flip into an atomic drop for the cut off and the heat segment. The crowd stays with Tito during that and Bravo keeps it simple with rest holds whilst playing to the crowd.
Tito gets the odd hope spot but then always gets cut off again, as they are working the seven point structure to the letter here and it’s working a charm, with the crowd reacting how they are supposed to at the right moments and wanting to see Tito make the comeback. Tito does eventually make the comeback and the crowd is hot for it, popping as Tito rams Bravo’s face into the turnbuckle pads and preps for the Flying Forearm. Bravo counters it into the Side Slam though and that’s enough for the clean win.
WINNER: DINO BRAVO
This was an actual wrestling match, and it was decent. They structured it well, both guys did what they needed to and the crowd was into it.
Mooney is all banged up after getting battered by the wrestlers at the gym, whilst Al laughs at his misfortune. His hair has remained unblemished though
Aside from some seriously crappy finishes, this was a breezy enough watch and I enjoyed the last two matches, so I’ll give it a thumbs in the middle leaning ever so slightly up.