I’ve found a Stampede episode with returning stars the British Bulldogs, one of the longer TSN episodes, so I’ll have a look at that before possibly alternating between episodes of this show and an interesting but short-lived show from the late eighties with some entertaining and incendiary elements in it.
In the case of Stampede at this time, the Bulldogs are back in as the top stars, between tours of Japan, and Dynamite was the booker, with an emphasis on wrestling and less on gimmicks, and seemingly a lot of new additions up and down the card, the latter not being dissimilar to Jerry Lawler’s booking philosophy.
The Power Twins vs. Sandy Beach & Goldie Rogers
Joined in progress with Ed Whalen and Bulldog Bob Brown on the mic. Ed eloquently describes Beach as the one in the “puke-green outfit”. This is like a UWF show with three out of the four guys in the ring, who I’m sure all drove up together from New York. It’s weird to watch perennial heels Larry and David seemingly defaulting to the babyface role against the bleach blondes. They still use heelish double teams where they can. Beach and the twins are pretty green, so there’s a lot of them walking around the ring and not really doing much while they work stuff out on the go. Ed amuses me with his description of the outweighed Rogers as “a pretty honest scrapper”. He’s actually the only decent worker in here, but he’s got nothing to work with as far as his partner and opponents go. The match falls apart as one of the brothers makes a comeback and Beach tries to break it up, but they dispatch him and double suplex and double elbowdrop Rogers for the win. Awful match.
Interview: The Singh/Singh Boys, Vokkan and Makhan, promise to keep their tag titles in the main event against the Bulldogs. The Weasel says next to nothing and looks like someone crossed Jimmy Hart and Skandor Akbar and then shrunk the result in the wash.
Randy Colley & Roger Rhodes vs. Kim Schau & Steve Blackman
The Lethal Weapon! He starts with Colley, who was of course Moondog Rex and the original Demolition Smash. Rhodes is Roger Smith, better known as Dirty Rhodes, a half-decent Dusty impersonation. Eight years removed from his shot in the big time, Blackman has pretty much the same look as he did in the WWF, except for the mullet. He dropkicks Colley out of the ring, so Rhodes tags in while Ed talks about the absence of Don Muraco in the territory while the reigning North American champion. The heels try to work over Blackman to no avail. After a commercial, Rhodes holds a headlock on Kim Schau, who’s a dumpy guy with a moustache. Colley comes in and gets a clunky powerslam on him, then a neckbreaker. Whalen and Brown, as bored with the match as I am, talk about quirky dates on the calendar, but they’re no Gorilla and Bobby either. Rhodes get a weak chairshot on Schau on the outside behind the ref’s back. Eventually, Schau gets the hot tag to Blackman, who comes in with dropkicks. It’s interesting to see his different way of doing them, from the left, and noticing how firmly in place his body language was from early on. He makes the mistake of tagging Schau back in, who whiffs on a dropkick and the heels finish him off with their version of Decapitation, with Rhodes coming off the top. Looked pretty impressive from that height with the elbow. Not an especially engrossing match, there just to get the heels over without doing damage to Blackman.
Interview: Jim Davies talks to Rhodes and Colley in the ring. Southern as heck. Rhodes is definitely the stronger talker of the two, with challenges to the Bulldogs and the tag team champs.
Great Gama Singh & Johnny Smith vs. Chris Benoit & Biff Wellington
Johnny’s mullet is out of control at this point, like he’s glued a scalp to the back of his head and shaved over his ears. Biff manages to foil a double team early by ramming Gama’s head into Johnny’s boot. Much like his partner, Biff has the stare of a psycho too. Benoit comes in and handles Singh with dropkicks and a clothesline. Singh manages to rake the eyes of Wellington on a tag and brings Smith in, prompting a high speed criss-cross with Smith getting armdragged to the outside. The heels just can’t get any advantage on Benoit and Biff until Benoit goes for a superplex and Smith reverses and dumps him to the outside in a pretty nasty bump. His hip and arse hitting the edge of the ring just sounds painful. Gama comes back in to take over on him as Brown randomly cackles like a nutcase.
Nice suplex from Smith as Ed tells the story of Benoit being considered too small to become a wrestler and overcoming that. Yeah, he certainly fixed that problem later on. Side suplex, and not a lazy Dino Bravo or Kevin Nash one. Smith bashes Benoit with a clothesline when he tries a quick roll-up on Singh. Benoit flies over Singh for a sunset flip, but Smith distracts ref Wayne Hart while he’s down. Back in with a butterfly suplex as Ed certifies this match with the highest of his honours, a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy. That’s like an “Unbelievable!” or “seesaw, back and forth” from Vince McMahon. Nice, big powerslam from Smith for two. Wellington gets to tag in after Benoit and Singh smack heads against each other at speed. He comes in with a very similar clothesline and HIGH dropkicks! The feet were almost over the tops of the heads. He takes a run at Singh in the ropes and crotches himself, setting up Smith’s superplex from the top for three. Took a bit to get going, but once the heels got the advantage on Benoit it really started rocking.
Interview: Ed talks to Biff and Benoit. Benoit says while they lost tonight, they’re up for fighting the Funks and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. Did those guys show up in Calgary in ’89? Will have to look out for those. Biff says that while they haven’t got a lot of experience they’ve got big hearts… the HGH kicking in early, I guess.
Interview: Bob Brown talks to Johnny, Gama and the Weasel. Gama talks himself and Johnny as potential Playgirl models. I imagine that’s a very specific market. Possible foreshadowing with Johnny being reticent to talk about or knock the Dynamite Kid, which I imagine is leading to their inevitable team.
Lethal Larry Cameron vs. Ron Ritchie
Hey, it’s Ron Ritchie, from Scott’s Privates era fame! Larry isn’t quite as big as he would get and his outfit seems designed to hide that. His ridiculous haircut draws enough attention away from his body anyway. Think Berlyn, plus a tuft at the crook of his neck. Ritchie outfoxes Larry early on while Bob Brown tries to tell about Chris Benoit having a face that could stop a clock, but doesn’t know the name of Big Ben so Ed has to finish the gag for him. Ed’s also on about the missing Don Muraco, who was last heard of wrestling for the AWA. That’s as obscure as being in the witness protection programme. Larry starts making his comeback with stomps and a choke. He looks incredibly sluggish, sweating bullets and having to clear his throat while Ritchie recovers on the floor. Snake Eyes on the ropes. Going back outside, Ritchie gets a chair and hits Cameron with it. Back in, he gets a piledriver but doesn’t go for the pin. Atomic drop, with a good sell from Cameron. He catches Ritchie going to the top, though, pulls him off, and pins him with his feet on the ropes. Weak as fuck. I don’t know what was happening here, but Cameron looked small and cowardly while Ritchie looked strong and tough.
Interview: A breathless Cameron talks to Ed at ringside and challenges Don Muraco and the British Bulldogs. He also clarifies he’s not available for dates and he’s running on one last nerve and Ed better not get on it. Ed laughs him off as he heads backstage.
Makhan & Vokkan Singh vs. The British Bulldogs
Main event time, with Davey Boy looking massive as always and Dyno already shrinking. Doesn’t stop him from getting a quick snap suplex on Makhan, who starts taking a walk. Back in, Vokkan replaces him against Davey Boy. Davey Boy catches a boot and takes him down for a wishbone split. Vokkan takes Kid into the heel corner for double teaming, then throw him out at five minutes in. Makhan gets a weak clothesline and legdrop back inside. In his book, Dyno talked about how he didn’t really rate Mike Shaw but thought very highly of Gary Albright, and stylistically I can understand that from his standard of wrestling. Vokkan gets an incredible belly-to-belly for two, broken up by Davey, then jumps onto him with a splash. Makhan posts Dyno a few times on the outside, by the hair and back-first too. Vokkan works the notoriously bad back, but Davey Boy gets a tag. Vertical suplex, without delay, on Vokkan, which is understandable because Albright is massive. Snap suplex on Makhan, slam and a BIG piledriver on Vokkan for two. That was almost a Paul Orndorff one. Small package at ten minutes in for two, followed by a sunset flip, which gets the same. Dyno comes back in for a double headbutt, followed by a clothesline and kneedrops. It looks similar, but just not the same as it used to be. Davey Boy goes for the win with the powerslam, broken up by Makhan. The Singhs are whipped into each other and it’s a sleeper on Makhan and Boston Crab on Vokkan, but Johnny Smith runs in for the DQ and cuts Dynamite’s hair while he’s down, with Davey Boy maintaining the sleeper with his back turned to it all. So that’s where they were going and how they were getting there! Bad news for Kid, but he’s done worse ribs. He heads backstage to chase Johnny Smith, leaving Davey Boy in the ring, stalking the interfering Weasel in an impressive visual, with Davey looking like a giant. Makhan Karachi Crunches him with his back turned, but he makes a quick comeback. Great match and angle.
Interview: Brown speaks to Karachi Vice, with Johnny complaining about his “brother” Davey Boy being a British Bulldog and not him, then challenges Dynamite to an English chain match. Makhan also calls out Davey.
Interview: Ed talks to a dejected Dynamite Kid, who whistles through his teeth as he talks, and accepts Johnny’s challenge. Davey, in his new Americanised accent, talks about his deadbeat brother and accepts Makhan’s challenge. Ed closes, without the subdued crowd assisting him.
The Bottom Line: Just as the AWA shows I reviewed demonstrated how you can build around a strong tag team (the Rockers), this was obviously a case of the same with the Bulldogs. Pretty pedestrian card, but a hot main event and booking at the top being the main focus.
Back tomorrow with a different promotion for a look.