The SmarK Rant for Coliseum Video presents Best of the WWF Volume 5
So we’re actually jumping ahead quite a bit in terms of video releases, as Volume 4 came out in 1985 and then there was about a dozen more releases before this one came out in 1986.
Hosted by Mean Gene, who you may remember from such releases as “Country Boys” or “Rowdy Roddy Piper’s Greatest Hits”
The Magnificent Muraco v. Ricky Steamboat
From MSG, November 85. Jesse and Gorilla immediately discuss the likelihood of buying a car from Mr. Fuji. “That’s a face of integrity” notes Jesse. Dragon threatens Muraco with KARATE and Muraco wisely retreats to the corner and hides in the ropes. Muraco grabs a headlock, but Steamboat escapes and takes him to the floor with an enzuigiri, before chasing him right back into the ring again. Muraco beats on him in the corner and drops a knee, but Steamboat gets a snapmare and Perfect necksnap on him. Muraco retreats to the floor but Steamboat won’t take the bait and chase. Back in the ring, Muraco offers a test of strength, so Steamboat kicks him in the head and takes him down for a neck vice and cranks on that. Muraco fights out of that, so Steamboat uses the KARATE to send Muraco to the floor again. Back in, Steamboat beats on him in the corner and then takes him down for a rear chinlock, and then lets him up before going to a facelock. Man this is pretty lethargic for a Steamboat match. Muraco finally escapes with an atomic drop and slugs him down to take over, before running him into the post in a dramatic Steamboat bump that draws impressive blood. That was one of those Shawn Michaels deals where he probably bladed in mid-air. So Muraco tears at the wound and then takes him to the floor for a catapult into the post. Now this is more like it. Gorilla demands that the ref stop the match and check the cut, so Muraco rams Steamboat into the post right beside the announce table. Nice touch. Steamboat pulls himself to the apron and Muraco slingshots him into the ring, and then follows with the ASIATIC SPIKE before ripping at the cut again. Muraco beats on him in the corner and Steamboat fires back with chops, and god knows Muraco has a lot of surface area to chop. So after making the world’s greatest fired up babyface comeback, Muraco thumbs him in the throat again and Steamboat goes right to selling like death again. I take back my earlier comment, this match is awesome. So Muraco tosses him to the apron, but Steamboat kicks Fuji in the head and steals his cane, which results in the ref getting bumped. Muraco gets the cane, but Steamboat evades that and kicks it out of his hands before stealing it back again and beating on Muraco until the ref revives and calls for the DQ at 15:27. And Muraco gets busted open by the broken cane, so Steamboat jams the wooden stake into his face to get some revenge for the hanging and they tear into each other and fight to the floor, with Steamboat giving him a further beating and ramming him into the post and railing and dragging him into the ring for a vicious beatdown while the crowd goes nuts. Oh man, they built to all the craziness and then DELIVERED the goods. 1 for 1.
The Hart Foundation v. The Killer Bees
We’ve got Jesse and Gorilla on commentary, so I’m guessing this is from All Star Wrestling sometime in 1986. The Bees double-team Bret to start, but Anvil comes in and Bret gets a cheapshot from the apron to take over on Blair. Bret with the backbreaker and legdrop, but he ties Blair in the ropes and charges, before missing and clotheslining himself in the ropes. Brunzell gets the hot tag and gets the dropkick on Bret for two, but Anvil makes the save and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, so the ref calls for the double DQ at 4:30. I mean, this was basically every Bees-Harts match you’ve seen. 2 for 2.
The Killer Bees & Paul Orndorff v. The Hart Foundation & Barry O
So this is a rematch from Championship Wrestling, and I feel like the Bees did a better job of picking a partner than the Harts did. The Harts manage to control for a minute, but Orndorff quickly tags in and destroys Barry O before setting him up for a Brunzell dropkick that finishes at 1:08. Barely even a match. 2 for 3.
WWF tag team title: The Dream Team v. The British Bulldogs
Another one from Championship Wrestling around the same time, September 85. The Dream Team were actually really early in their title reign at this point, which shows how much they defended against the Bulldogs since the feud stretched until WM. Valentine tries to overpower Dynamite and doesn’t get anywhere with that, and then Davey Boy comes in and works on Beefcake’s arm, hanging onto a wristlock through a slam. The Bulldogs double-team the arm in their corner, but Beefcake rakes the eyes to escape Davey Boy. But he just shrugs that off and fights off both Dream Team until a double elbow puts him down for two. Valentine misses the elbow and Kid gets a hot tag and cleans house, ramming them together and hitting Valentine with a backbreaker for two. Headbutt gets two. They all fight in the ring, but Kid goes up to finish and Johnny V shoves him off and draws the DQ at 4:30. Obviously they had good chemistry together from the start. 3 for 4.
From TNT: Mr. Fuji and Don Muraco complain that Vince sent them to do a guest spot on a soap opera and the director and script were all TERRIBLE. So that of course is FUJI GENERAL, as Muraco plays a doctor who is clearly standing there reading off cue cards in a monotone until the director freaks out. Not quite the best of their series but it began a weird running gag that people still remember to this day.
Women’s title: Wendi Richter v. Leilani Kai
From MSG in February of 85, and we’re joined in progress with Kai choking Wendi out in the corner, but Wendi tosses her to the floor and then suplexes her back into the ring for two. Wendi wraps her up in a questionable attempt at a surfboard where the ref should have been counting her shoulders down. Richter goes to an armbar instead, but Kai reverses to her own and then puts her down with a thumb to the throat to take over. Wendi comes back with a pair of kneelifts for two. Big boot gets two. So Moolah goes over to choke out Cyndi Lauper, which draws Wendi over to save, and Kai runs Richter into the corner and rolls her up to win the title at 6:20 shown. This of course set up the rematch at Wrestlemania so that Wendi could get the title back. Match was pretty bad. 3 for 5.
Women’s title: Wendi Richter v. The Spider Lady
From MSG, this time November of 85, as Wendi tries a flying headscissors and can’t get her over, and the Spider gets two. Wendi comes back with a sling blade for two, but the Spider does a shoot inside cradle and pins Wendi to win the title at 2:05, with the ref fast-counting her. And Wendi loses her mind, continuing the “match” because it wasn’t supposed to be the finish, ripping off the mask to reveal Moolah and then doing a backbreaker while yelling at the ref to count. So for those who don’t know the story, Wendi had been doing a house show circuit, defending the title against “The Spider Lady” every night, but it was always Penny Mitchell under the hood. And then for this match, her contract was expired and Vince McMahon confronted her at the gorilla position on the way to the ring, basically shoving a new contract at a much lower rate of pay in her face and telling her to sign it or else. So Wendi told him to get lost and went to the ring, thinking it was another match against Mitchell, but in fact Vince instructed Moolah to go out and shoot on her and win the title. And in fact you can tell there was a couple of times, like with the early headscissors spot, where Moolah was clearly not cooperating and tried to end up in a position where she could hold Wendi’s shoulders down. So if nothing else, this tape has one of the few legitimate double cross finishes in wrestling history documented. Still not worth a point. 3 for 6.
Intercontinental title: Tito Santana v. Jesse Ventura
This is from Toronto, September 85. Tito controls with headlocks while Jesse tries to avoid him, but Jesse puts him down with a knee to the gut and stomps on him to take over. Jesse tosses him and puts the boots to him from the apron, and back in that gets two. Jesse with an atomic drop for two. He goes to a bearhug, but Tito claps out of that and makes the comeback, ramming Jesse’s head into the mat. Tito goes to the figure-four, but Jesse is so tall that he makes the ropes easily and retreats to the ramp. They slug it out on the ramp and Tito gets another figure-four, but that’s just silly because both guys get counted out at 10:00 as a result. I mean, this was about as good as you were gonna get from Jesse at that point. 4 for 7.
Afa, Sika, Samu & Big John Studd v. Andre the Giant, Rocky Johnson, Chief Jay Strongbow & Ivan Putski
We’re in Philly for this one, as Rocky throws young Samu around and then lets Afa come in for more of the same. Studd comes in, so Andre obliges with a tag and then Studd runs out again and tags Sika. So Andre rams their heads together, but Studd still declines. Andre beats on Sika instead and Strongbow comes in with a sleeper on him, but it’s a donnybrook and Andre throws all the heels out of the ring and the ref calls this a DQ win for the babyfaces at 4:43. Not exactly top shelf refereeing there.
Apparently this is two out of three falls, as we continue with the Samoans double-teaming Strongbow and Sika headbutts him down for the pin at 6:20 to even it up at 1-1.
Finally the ring announcer clarifies that it’s best three out of five falls, and Andre boots Sika down to put Strongbow on top for another pin at 7:41 and it’s 2-1 babyfaces. The ring announcements are lasting longer than the falls in the match.
Next fall and we’re still on Sika and Strongbow, but Ivan Putski finally tags into this thing and cleans house on the heels while John Studd wanders around ringside avoiding the fight. Finally the Samoans double-team Ivan to take over on him, but he falls into a tag for Andre, who is in no mood and destroys Samu with headbutts, and then blocks a bodypress by booting him out of the air, before sitting on him for the winning pin at 11:41. This whole thing was kind of a mess but the finish was great. 4 for 8.
The opener was fantastic but the rest of the tape was stretching the definition of “The Best” pretty far.
Interestingly, the trailers at the end of this one promote the Ricky Steamboat tape, using a match that’s not on the tape, with Steamboat & JYD v. Muraco & Fuji. Also GRUDGE MATCH, which is another great tape that’s on my list to redo.