Obscure Jewels!

A match popped up on my YouTube feed that looked far too good to let pass without talking about, so taking a break from the normal shows I’ve been looking at for a mix of different stuff that deserves having some light shed on it, featuring the Sarge, Mr. Wonderful, Sid and Jake and the Undertaker, Bobby Heenan as a “manager” after his retirement, plus more!

Sgt. Slaughter vs. Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff

From the Philadelphia Spectrum in June of 1984. Sarge gets an immediate big pop by shouting “USA number one!” on the house mic and Orndorff comes out griping to anyone who’ll listen about being called Paula, really riling them up. Sarge pours more of it on by saying “It looks like it’s just you and me, PAULA!”, to encourage the crowd to chant it more. Orndorff then gets into an argument with Dick Woehrle before going out to complain to Gorilla and Dick Graham. Sarge makes a big deal facetiously out of taking his hat and belt off to wind up Wonderful more, which is great comedy, to the point that even Woehrle corpses. Four minutes in, Orndorff still hasn’t gotten his robe off, so Sarge picks him off the ropes and atomic drops him into the corner, pulls the robe off himself and puts it on, doing some poses in it while puffing his cheeks out. The crowd doesn’t have any less enthusiasm for the lack of action.

Paul tries an attack from behind, but goes bouncing off some punches before Sarge peels the robe off and blows his nose in it. Orndorff sneaks a kick and kneelift in to steal the advantage, then sends Slaughter to the steel post for his trademark bump. Sarge is bleeding straight away. Boots him in the corner and adds an elbow to the throat. The Sarge’s forehead is covered in blood straight away. Orndorff aggravates it with a fistdrop, even selling his own hand on it. He goes for the shuffle, but Sarge blocks him and fights back with a wind-up. Dick tries to tell him about it but he walks him out with his hand around his throat. He does the eye rake across the top rope followed by some punches and then slingshots Orndorff into the corner for two, broken by Paul getting his leg on the rope. Wonderful reverses an Irish whip into the corner to allow Sarge to do his over the corner bump to the outside, then won’t let him come back in, posing between kicking him back out.

Sarge eventually gets a shoulder to the gut in from the outside, but it takes down the ref in the same blow. Orndorff uses that down time to pull a knuckle duster out of his tights and hits Slaughter with it, then sucks up to Dick and gets him to count Sarge out while berating him for not counting faster. Sarge manages to pull Orndorff out before ten and gets a chair from the front row to stalk Paul with, knocking Woehrle aside as he does. That’s all enough to give Mr. Wonderful the win, although the senile ring announcer puts it down to a count out. Paul makes sure to escape as soon as he can. Great match, with a bit of comedy, a hot crowd with over guys, heavy action… only thing it needed was a good finish. If I was a pedantic man I’d give it 3.5 stars, but I’m not, so I’ll give it 4.

El Diablo vs. Sid Justice

From Superstars of Wrestling in October of ’91, this was a billed feature match from the week before, although El Diablo was a newcomer nobody was aware of, billed as ” from parts unknown, weight unknown”. He’s a martial artist in a red gi with a mask on and a bit of blonde hair sticking out the back. Sid at this point was fighting on the retired Randy Savage’s behalf against Jake Roberts, with both as captains of opposing teams at the Survivor Series. Sid’s injury changed that, but would’ve been interested to see what finish they booked. As soon as the bell rings, the Undertaker’s music starts playing, with Paul Bearer leading him out while carrying a briefcase. He beckons El Diablo out and intimates that he’s willing to pay him off for the Undertaker to take his place, which is exactly what happens.

‘Taker gets in the ring with Sid, which the crowd is really excited about, and puts his hand around his throat. Sid no-sells it and gives him the same back, walking him back. El Diablo runs back out with the case, slides in, takes the mask off, and… it’s Jake “The Snake” Roberts! He uses the belt from the gi to choke him down while Paul Bearer returns to ringside with a casket on wheels. Jake gives Sid the DDT to knock him out and then ties him in the rope with the Undertaker’s help. He goes back to the briefcase, which Roddy questions because it’s only got money in it, nothing else.

But it’s not got money in it, it’s got Jake’s black glove in as well as one of the biggest king cobras you’ll see! They plan to let it bite Sid until Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who’d had words with Bearer on the Funeral Parlour earlier in the show, runs out for the save, overturning the casket to distract Jake, then getting Sid out. The good guys decide discretion is the better part of valour at this time. The segment ends with a brilliant shot of the king cobra in the air just above the Undertaker’s outstretched hand. Fantastic forgotten angle that probably won’t be on the Network for a long time.

Jake Roberts on the Funeral Parlour

Jake had planned to hit Miss Elizabeth with a chair after losing a match to Randy Savage on Saturday Night’s Main Event in early ’92, but his apparent henchman the Undertaker had blocked him, so Jake took a shot from Randy with a chair instead. Bearer reminds him of this via a recap of his history since Summerslam. Jake cuts him off and tells him he’s annoyed with ‘Taker and needs to talk to him so, he comes out of a standing coffin from behind to talk to him, making Jake whip round so quickly that his hair gets stuck to his face. Jake starts to question him, with no answers forthcoming, the Undertaker contemplating the urn, refusing to answer what side he’s on until he answers “Not yours!” eventually to a big pop.

Jake then snatches the urn away and drops it in a casket, telling him he owes him one. He then slams the casket lid on his hand and seals it, with a great eyes rolling back sell from ‘Taker, leading to a DDT for Bearer on the stage. Undertaker tries to pull his hand out, but only succeeds in moving the casket. Jake goes to work on him with a chair and tries to recommence his promo, but ‘Taker won’t stay down, so more chair shots and punches. It would appears he’s out, but he revives again like the Terminator (“Are you some kinda freak, boy?!”, questions Jake) and follows him while pulling the casket and taking more shots until Jake realises he’d be there all day and starts heading backstage. Incredibly effective first turn for the Undertaker, with Jake looking like a merciless prick and ‘Taker immediately being embraced as the coolest and most different new good guy in the promotion.

Chris Walker vs. Sid Justice

Talk about a guy who had a lot going on for him, including a great look, awesome body (possibly too awesome, hence why he wasn’t around for long), and some decent high flying moves for a guy his size, here’s “Conan” Chris Walker. From Georgia and one of the first major stars in the GWF, he’s got curly blonde hair, a bodybuilder physique (which he probably would’ve had to see deflate if he’d stuck around in ’92 with the steroid scandal), and Tarzan-like tights. I believe he may have moonlighted as a male stripper or in the strip club management business.

Sid has turned heel on Hulk Hogan by this point, managed by Dr. Harvey Wippleman, and about to engage in a feud with the Ultimate Warrior post-Wrestlemania. He forces Walker into the corner, but Walker ducks a few shots and gets a quick comeback before walking into a clothesline. Sid chokes him on the ropes and throws some kicks in. Sid didn’t have much more of an arsenal at this point, but he had a lot more fire until about this point than he had in his second WWF run. Powerbomb finishes in what was probably his and Walker’s last appearance, as the latter gets the stretcher treatment. Basically a squash that didn’t do Walker any justice. Let’s redress the balance…

Chris Walker vs. The Warlord

This is an earlier match, from before Wrestlemania, with MEL PHILLIPS on ring announcer duties. They test strength with one another while Lord Alfred Hayes pours scorn on Sean Mooney’s comparative time in the gym. Walker goes for a flying tackle, which is caught and turned into a backbreaker, but Warlord misses an elbow and he gets clotheslined and dropkicked down. Warlord starts taking a walk, but Harvey Wallbanger, as Alfred misnames him, talks him into coming back. Warlord gets a knee to the guy and some clubbing forearms, but Walker slips behind a slam, goes for an Oklahoma roll that’s blocked, then takes a charge at him and gets backdropped over the top in a big bump.

Back in, another big backdrop. Warlord keeps on him as Harvey shoehorns his old Downtown Bruno “Mama said sometimes it bees that way”. Walker manages to make a comeback with double axehandles off the second rope and then a flying bodypress off the top for two. He tries to finish with a huracanrana, but Warlord turns it into a powerbomb and gets the pinfall off that. A surprisingly good match between two guys who were buddies on the road, probably through their similar training methods, although it obviously didn’t lead to anything for Walker in the long run.

Debra McMichael meets with Bobby Heenan

This is less than seven days before the Great American Bash 1996. Steve McMichael and Kevin Greene were due to challenge Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, who Bobby Heenan had come out of retirement on request to “coach”. Debra wants to speak to Flair, with Mean Gene there to hold the mic, Bobby insinuating that she’s been calling him all week. He relents, and takes her into their locker room (“Follow me, toots!”), slamming the door as hard as possible. Screaming is heard behind the door, with Debra coming out with messed up hair courtesy of Woman and Liz. Renegade and JOE GOMEZ, the Horsemen’s opponents later that night, happen to be around, so Arn knocks out the Desperado and Flair puts the figure four on Renegade while Arn stomps the knee to eliminate them. I was never aware of this little angle, and Bobby slamming the door as hard as he could in his state was enough to get my attention!

The Condor vs. Jimi Starr

This is a bit of a tribute to Brian Bayless, who we don’t see enough of these days, back to when we were talking about these two guys doing jobs all the time on the WWF shows in the early nineties. Mark Thomas is the Condor and Ross Greenberg is Starr. The Condor is billed as from the Andes, possible neighbour of Giant Gonzales, and has a pair of foam wings that Ricky Steamboat would snort at and paint on his face to resemble talon markings, plus a fur collar. Starr has shades and a leather jacket and Brutus Beefcake tights. A kid in the crowd comes up to slap hands with him with a worse mullet than either guy. Starr manages to ignore about half a dozen kids, the dick!

Kick straight to the gut from Condor, with zero follow-up. Starr manages to shove him back into the corner, with Condor managing to bump in a way that could’ve broken his neck. He then takes down Starr and slingshots him into the corner, with Starr’s overtights (the black ones with the bits cut out of them to show the pink tights underneath) falling down as he does. Condor helps him pull them up and throws some knees that have a foot of air between them, then almost slips off him as he goes for a monkey flip. The crowd have already openly guffawed at them a few times less than two minutes in.

A dropkick from Condor with even more air in between his feet and Starr, then he slams him and goes to an… arm stretcher? He does get a nice back suplex, but misses a Ted Dibiase back elbow with Starr barely getting out of the way. Starr mounts a comeback with an elbow. Just watching these guys run the ropes shows where their strengths and weaknesses are. Condor tries to escape as Starr pulls his tights back up. Condor gets a slam and a legdrop, followed by… a figure four? Just no rhyme or reason with these sequences, he hadn’t even kicked the knee. He decides to let it go for no obvious reason, then gives Starr what looks like a nipple tweak in the corner. Condor’s also sweating so much that his paint has almost entirely washed off.

Jimi gets mounted punches in the corner, but that’s blocked with a reverse atomic drop and clothesline. Jimi takes him back down and gets knees and a legdrop to the quads and groin, which Condor doesn’t even bother or know to sell. A Dino Bravo tribute as Condor gets a side suplex. An Irish whip is reversed and reversed again to allow Starr to try a backwards cross body block out of the corner. Condor barely rolls through, with Starr actually helping him back over the rest of the way, and gets the pin, which the ref even counts too quickly. Maybe he was sparing us. Terrible match that made no sense. Both guys looked like professionals, other than Jimi’s constant wardrobe malfunctions, but wrestled worse than amateurs. Hard not see why they weren’t used as anything other than muscular job guys in the WWF.

The Rock Gifts Harvey Wippleman a Truck

Harvey managing reminded me of this Instagram video I saw recently. Everyone knows Dwayne Johnson is the coolest guy on the planet, and stuff like this proves why. He’s meeting with Harvey (Downtown Bruno/David Lauer), with both with masks on (“You tested negative for COVID but positive for herpes, right?”, he jokes) in a car park. The Rock talks about knowing Bruno since he was 15 and “DJ” living with him when he and his family got kicked out of Hawaii and he couldn’t live with his dad. When Rock was Flex Kavana he lived with Bruno too in his trailer in Walls, Mississippi, and Bruno helped him buy his first car, a Thunderbird, for forty dollars from a crackhead. I encourage you to watch the video as I won’t give away the follow-up gag about what Rock found when he was driving it back to the Alamo Plaza, forcing him to pull over, but it’s pretty funny.

Rock tells him that he can’t thank Bruno enough for helping him in the past and tells him how highly he thinks of him and is now thanking him in return by buying him a brand new truck. Bruno is absolutely flabbergasted to the point of tears. They play some Christmas music over it, but it’s incredibly genuine with the responses and interactions between the two (“I love you, man, because of who you are, not because of this.”).

The Bottom Line: Hope you enjoyed the mix of stuff here, if there’s more like this I’ll share it.