The SmarK Rant for Coliseum Video presents Best of the WWF Volume 3
Hosted by Vince McMahon, who reminds us that these tapes are YOURS TO KEEP. Maybe if you were Dick Ebersol and had $100 to burn on a videotape for kicks. Everyone else was just renting them, believe me.
Fijian Strap Match: Jimmy Snuka v. Rowdy Roddy Piper
This is from St. Louis in July 1984, which seems pretty early in their feud for this kind of blowoff, and I’m not really sure why they were recording it. They fight for the strap advantage to start and Snuka beats him down and whips him with it, and Piper runs to the floor to escape, but Snuka pulls him back in. Snuka beats on him with chops and chokes him out with the strap, which proves surprisingly effective, but Piper thumbs him in the eye to escape and goes to work. He beats the leopard print off of Snuka with the strap and they slug it out, but Piper makes the mistake of ramming Snuka’s head into the turnbuckles. Piper takes him to the floor and runs him into the post, but Snuka pulls the strap right back and Piper also eats it. Back in, Snuka fires back with chops and a headbutt and Piper is selling like crazy. Snuka goes to the top with a flying bodypress and that finishes at 6:12, as Piper does a rare clean job. 1 for 1. But then Piper shows sportsmanship is still king, hanging Snuka over the top rope and choking him unconscious to show who the real winner was.
Ricky Steamboat v. Cowboy Bob Orton
Oooooh, this is an interesting one! This is from the Capital Center in July 1985. Steamboat goes right for Orton’s injured arm with armdrags to start, which is pretty cruel. The man’s got a cast on it! To the corner for some chops and Ricky goes after the broken limb again like a sadist, and turns it into a hammerlock. Steamboat holds an armbar, as he is wont to do, but Bob slams out of it, so Steamboat gets his own slam and goes back to the arm again. Orton escapes with a headbutt and tosses Steamboat across the ring with a biel, followed by a flying headscissors, but Steamboat sends him to the floor. So Orton grabs a refreshing soda from a fan at ringside and tosses it in Steamboat’s face. THE BUBBLES! THEY BURN! Steamboat of course sells this like death and Orton gets a superkick to put him down, and then rams his face into the mat and follows with a kneelift. Orton with a cravat, but Steamboat slams out of it and Orton falls on top for two. Orton takes him down with an STO, but Steamboat fights back with chops and beats on him in the corner. Orton grabs him and tries a piledriver, but Steamboat backdrops out of it and goes up with the flying bodypress for two. Orton throws him over the top, but of course Steamboat skins the cat and comes back in with an enzuigiri that sends Orton flying out of the ring. Orton rakes his eyes on the way in and teases a suplex onto the floor, but Steamboat reverses him into the ring, only to miss a splash. Both guys are down and Orton loads up the cast and goes to the top, hitting Steamboat with the cast to draw the DQ at 11:20. Well that’s kind of unfair. Hell of a match, though. 2 for 2.
The British Bulldogs v. Rene Goulet & Johnny Rodz
From MSG early in the Bulldogs’ run, April of 85. Rodz tries to throw Davey out and he flips right back in, so Rodz goes up and Davey slams him off and follows with a missile dropkick. And then Kid comes in with his own missile dropkick, hitting Goulet on the way in. Kid with the snap suplex on Rodz, but he gets caught in the heel corner and double-teamed. Rodz gets his own snap suplex and drops a headbutt on Kid for two. He tries it again and misses, so Davey gets the tag and Goulet immediately hits him with a cheapshot and a gut wrench for two. Rene with a knee to the gut and they take Davey back to the corner and work him over some more, and Rodz tries a legdrop and misses. Davey with the delayed vertical suplex for two and Kid comes in with headbutts, but Rodz and Goulet get a double clothesline for two. Goulet tries the knucklelock on the mat, but Kid bridges and pops up with a monkey flip. Back to Davey, who gets a massive backdrop for two, and he powerslams Rodz for two. Goulet comes in to save, so Davey puts him on his shoulders, and Kid bounces off his back from the top rope and finishes Goulet with a diving headbutt at 7:10. That was always an awesome finish and I don’t know why they stopped it. 3 for 3.
The Hart Foundation v. The British Bulldogs
Back to MSG in July of 85 this time. We’re clipped to Anvil working on Davey and they hit the backbreaker and elbow in the corner to put him down. Clipped again to Davey getting worked over in the Hart corner, but the Harts collide and Kid gets a hot tag and cleans house. He destroys Bret with headbutts and runs him into the corner for the Bret Hart Bump, then goes up with a missile dropkick. Bret is just ragdolling all over the ring for them. Davey with the running powerslam for two, but Anvil saves and the Harts take over again. Davey fights back with a sunset flip on Anvil, but the bell rings for curfew at 5:24 shown. This was clipped a lot but still enough here for a point. 4 for 4.
Meanwhile, on TNT, George Steele visits the offices of Dr. Sigmund Ziff, as Captain Lou attempts to normalize Steele. Albano apparently had Steele diagnosed with “calcium deposits blocking the medulla oblongata” and Vince is very concerned about this. So Ziff, “Doctor of Last Resort”, is going to hypnotize George and cure him. So George regresses to his school days, when his teacher called him a dummy and told him to sit down, and relates the rejection he faced as a heel in the 70s, which turned him into a monster. Sadly, George freaks out upon getting woken up, and he’s still an animal. I’m as shocked as you. So the next week, Ziff steps up the treatment, moving onto shock treatment. This goes better, as George responds to the treatment and quips “How Now Brown Cow?” but then Ziff pushes it too far and fries his brain again. Another swing and a miss for medical science. 5 for 5.
George Steele, Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo v. Big John Studd, Adrian Adonis & Bobby Heenan
We’re at MSG again, June of 85. Steele chases Bobby to the floor right away, so Adonis comes in, so Windham controls him with slams and armdrags. Adonis tries to run to the babyface corner by mistake, so Steele bites him and Adonis runs away and brings Studd in. Windham goes for the slam and Studd blocks him, so Windham tries it again and nearly gets it before Studd grabs the ropes. Windham with a crossbody for two, and we’re clipped to Heenan finally coming in and immediately getting his ass whooped. Windham sends him FLYING over the top rope in the corner, as Bobby takes a crazy bump into the post and out to the floor, and Steele runs around threatening everyone before running Heenan into the railing, until Albano talks him down and mellows him out. Rotundo comes in and quickly gets double-teamed in the heel corner, and Adonis suplexes him onto the top rope. Gorilla: “Now that you mention it, Adonis HAS put on a bit of weight.” There’s famous last words. Adrian with a DDT for two, which probably had Bill Watts ENRAGED. The heels continue working on Rotundo, so Steele comes in and just beats the tar out of Bobby Heenan, until Studd throws him over the top. Everyone is brawling, so Steele retrieves a chair and chases everyone out of the ring, and then just waffles the ref for no particular reason and that’s a DQ at 8:28. Bit of a tactical error on Steele’s part there. The heat for this one was unreal and Bobby Heenan was a hoot. 6 for 6.
Bruno Sammartino is profiled next, as we get promos from himself and David and then Beefcake and Johnny Valiant, setting up Wrestlemania.
David Sammartino v. Brutus Beefcake
Clipped to David suplexing Brutus for two, but Beefcake dumps David and Johnny V slams him. But then Bruno saves and triggers a huge brawl for the double DQ at 1:00 shown. Nothing to this one. 6 for 7.
Bruno & David Sammartino v. Johnny Valiant & Brutus Beefcake
This is the natural rematch from MSG the next month. Gorilla thinks that perhaps Bruno is in the best shape of his entire career. Highly unlikely. Bruno grabs a headlock on Valiant and then boots him down before taking care of Brutus as well and chasing them both out. David comes in and does his armdrags on Johnny while Bruno stares Brutus back onto the apron again. Johnny has had enough of those armdrags, so he brings Brutus in and the Sammartinos trade off with hammerlocks on the mat. Watching Bruno and David doing the same moves in succession just shows why David was such a failure in this position, as he had very little charisma and just looked like someone going through the motions of imitating his famous father. Back to Bruno, who beats on Valiant in the corner and fires up the crowd again after his son took them down. David comes in and slugs away on Valiant, but falls prey to choking on the ropes and the heels take over. Brutus with a pair of backbreakers and they double-team David in the corner, but Johnny misses a blind charge and David gets the banana peel rollup at 9:02. Decent enough for a point but really it just made everyone realize what a big star Bruno was. 7 for 8.
King Kong Bundy joins Vince on TNT, as they discuss ways of disguising himself in the airport to prevent fan interaction. So Vince suggests trying a wig, and Bundy is intrigued by the idea and tries a few of them on. But then Alfred cracks up at Bundy’s fashion sense and Bundy storms off in disgust. 7 for 9.
King Kong Bundy v. Tony Garea
Back to MSG on the June 85 show again, which is actually a rematch from a 1981 MSG show when rookie Bundy was known as Man Mountain Cannon Jr. Yeah I’m shocked he didn’t get over with that gimmick, either. Garea slugs away in the corner, but Bundy puts him down with an elbow. He misses a second one and Garea takes him down and works the leg, but Bundy runs him into the corner and goes to a chinlock. Garea fights out and comes back with dropkicks and slugs away in the corner, but the Avalanche finishes him at 5:00. 7 for 10.
18 Man Battle Royale:
We’re in St. Louis in October of 84. The big draws here are Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, but there’s an interesting selection of guys like Mil Mascaras and Masked Superstar in there as well. Usual battle royale stuff, leading up to Studd doing the Flair win, putting out Andre and Hogan at the same time while they’re fighting on the ropes, taking the $30,000 prize at 8:00. And of course Hogan is a sore loser as usual and demands that Studd face him, and then coerces Andre into helping him attack Studd 2-on-1 after cleanly losing the match. This was a rare battle royale loss for Andre but otherwise absolutely nothing notable about this. 7 for 11.
This was a really good tape for the first half but nosedived by the end. Still, a nice variety of stuff here and an entertaining 90 minutes, so it’s a thumbs up.