Had a suggestion/request to look at Larry Simon’s Florida group from the eighties, so doing just that. This can double as a tribute to Rusty Brooks, who passed away a few days ago.
Hosted by the increasingly heavy Bob Roop and Dr. Red Roberts, a real life psychologist who came to the fore again during the Benoit murder/suicide. They quickly throw us to Professor Boris Malenko, manager of heels Rusty Brooks and Jumbo Baretta, accepting a big money challenge from Ox Baker, claiming to have his own team. Joe and Dean Malenko show up to talk to their dad, who blows them off. Ox seemingly has his own guys off camera, but the Malenko brothers sneak in and roll up Brooks and Baretta, fooling the Professor and getting the money. This leads to a more legit, but non-title, match.
Rusty Brooks and Jumbo Baretta vs. Joe and Dean Malenko
The former are tag team champions, managed by Boris, while Joe and Dean are challengers to them, managed by Ox. The ring announcer has a really weird haltering voice. Joe is probably only known for a brief appearance on Monday Nitro in ’98 to stick up for Dean against Chris Jericho, where he looked short and overweight, but here he’s obviously taller than Dean, in shape, and quite handsome. Apparently he’s the funnier, more outgoing one of the two in real life, whereas Dean is apparently a very dry wise cracker.
Test of strength to start, with Joe outsmarting the far bigger Jumbo. He and Dean both get clotheslines in the corner on Jumbo, then Dean dropkicks both Jumbo and Rusty, before the brother double suplex Jumbo and Joe gourdbusters Dean onto Jumbo for two. Rusty gets a brief advantage against him before he tags out. Ox bellows at Malenko about not interfering with “MY boys”. Joe gets caught by the heels, who drop elbows on him. Both bad guys are pretty overweight, but still have decent agility, including double shoulder blocks and double dropkicks. Brooks misses a big splash to allow Dean back in.
Dean runs both guys into one another and continues with the flipping dropkicks. Boris comes up onto the apron for something, so Jumbo grabs Joe and holds him for a shot, but Joe switches out and runs Jumbo into him. Jumbo picks up Boris for some reason in a slam position, so Dean dropkicks them over and scoots in for the pinfall. Dean excitedly celebrating is such a contrast to the Iceman of later years. The heels gripe at Boris afterwards. Boris pleads innocent but Rusty says he’ll have to prove it. Pretty energetic promo from Rusty with Boris playing it well that he’s caught in the middle. Good match, although Jumbo picking up his own manager for a slam was bizarre and needed explaining.
Nasty Ned and David Perry vs. Joe and Dean Malenko
Nasty Ned is a forgotten WCW jobber who teamed with Cactus Jack in the latter’s WCW debut. David Perry is neither the Games Animal or the creator of Earthworm Jim, rather a black jobber from Alabama. Ned is bizarre to look at, very tall but incredibly skinny, so a snapmare from Dean to him looks bizarre. There’s no bend to his body, so it looks like a solid Crash Test Dummy being flipped over. Boris comes out to observe the match, smoking away. Perry comes in and gets some impressive slams, but gets caught in a small package. Joe comes in and tries to hit what looks like a fisherman suplex, but Perry is too big and they’re close to the ropes, so he doesn’t go down with the suplex. Perry avoids a kneedrop but walks into a stiff clothesline. Dean and Joe try a front and back dropkick/high knee, then Dean scoops up Perry for what I’d call a British suplex, a bridging blockbuster slam, with an assisted dropkick, but it only gets two. Perry drops his head to allow him to finally be trapped and pinned with a fisherman suplex. Impressive showing for the Malenkos with some interesting experimental double team moves, but Perry looked especially good with his offense and bumps.
After the match, Boris, flanked by the tag champs, claims it’s peace, but Rusty says it’s only as long as the brothers don’t challenge them for the belts. Ox Baker comes out to push the title match aspect, then walks off after stirring up the s---. Rusty suggests that the brothers stay home, which Boris says would mean there would be no problem, but Joe says he’s 32 and he’s never no-showed a match and that Rusty and Jumbo should stay home. Rusty vents his frustrations, so Boris says the only way to sort it is that they’ll have the match and he’ll pick his side by going with the winners, then walks off. Very shades of grey situation, with Boris trying to be the peacemaker and still having greedy, heelish tendencies, but also showing an emotional impact by not wanting to do wrong by his sons.
Joe DeFuria and Matt Otto vs. The Malenkos
DeFuria later did jobs for WCW and looks decent. Dean has an eyepatch after being burned in the eye with a cigar by Brooks and Baretta in the weeks between the last episode and this. He doesn’t f--- about and has more of his mean look we’d come to be used to. Otto gets a bit of offense in, as does DeFuria, on Joe. Joe blocks a slam by sitting out and getting his own. He goes for a Cloverleaf, but Otto clothesline to get him out, so Dean dispatches him and the Malenkos finish DeFuria with a double superplex and a clothesline/German suplex combo. The superplex would’ve been enough, felt like a big move too many. Bob Roop interviews them at ringside and Joe starts swearing straight away (bleeped). Dean swears revenge for himself and his father after what Brooks and Baretta. Bob then takes us back to last week, where Tom Nash was used as a stooge to distract Boris while Joe and Dean were on a cruise with their grandparents, leading to Brooks and Baretta beating him down.
Interview: Roop talks to Brooks and Baretta after their latest victory. When I say Brooks and Baretta, it’s just Brooks, Baretta NEVER seems to speak. Brooks is ready to accept any challenge, so Bob throws to a taped promo of the Professor issuing a challenge Rusty to a Russian chain match, using a steel chair as a prop to show what the chain could do to him. Back in the studio, Brooks tries to talk his way out of the match.
Rusty Brooks vs. Professor Boris Malenko
Boris comes out for his match, but complaining that someone stole his chain. Brooks attacks from behind, but misses a big splash, so Boris goes to the eyes. Brooks’ singlet is already rolling down. While Boris has him in a camel clutch a masked man comes out with the chain and starts tying Malenko to the ropes. Brooks dumps the ref so the heels can double team. The mask comes off and to the surprise of nobody it’s Tom Nash. The Malenkos and Baretta come out to even things up, but the dad and his sons send the heels running.
Interview: Brooks talks for the trio of him, Baretta and Nash, saying he’s too smart to take on Boris in a chain match. Back in the studio, Boris says the only way to settle it is three against three. Great animation with Boris straining and the veins popping in his neck to show his tension.
The Malenkos vs. Rusty Brooks, Jumbo Baretta and Tom Nash
Finally, all six men together. The heels are going by the nickname the Rat Pack. Bob on commentary prefaces the match by saying there’s not much time left in the show, so whatever happens off the air will be played next week. Joe starts out, but Boris comes in soon and works over the heels with his tricks. Not long before everyone is in (“It’s getting kind of wild”, says Roop with the excitement of an undertaker). Joe misses a charge on Brooks as the show runs out of time and the uploader hasn’t included the second half of the match, for shame!
The Bottom Line: A fun collection of clips to watch for the ongoing angle with the redemption of Boris Malenko, with his sons showing off their technical wizardry and Brooks showing off his heel instincts. A shame there’s not more out there to further evaluate it by.