As noted in prior columns, this show was a joint effort by the WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling. The WWF was looking to expand its global presence while New Japan and All Japan felt threatened by Akira Maeda’s shoot-like Universal Wrestling Federation, which drew a 50,000 person crowd to the Tokyo Dome for a big show in November 1989. To counter them, New Japan and All Japan worked together on a supershow at the Tokyo Dome on February 10. Then, they built on that effort by partnering with the WWF for another big card in Tokyo on April 13 that was named The Wrestling Summit. According tothehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a crowd of 53,742.
Andre & Baba versus two 6’7″ guys so bad even Vince didn’t want them. I’m in love. So how bad do you have to be to have neither Vince nor Eric want you when you’re that big? Read on!
Time for more Dream Matches! This time, I’ve found one of those things that opens up the floodgates- wrestlers I’ve never heard of before who send me on a YouTube-fest that bring sup all sorts of weirdo matches! Come see two 6’7″+ guys even VINCE didn’t want as the “Land of Giants” take on Andre the Giant & Giant Baba in 1990!
Also, we have two bouts from the same episode of Prime Time Wrestling, as Jake Roberts takes on Typhoon and Paul Roma goes up against The Dragon! And then a match recommended to me a week ago- Dean Malenko vs. SURFER-era Sting from Nitro! And we’ll cap things off with the WCW Saturday Night debut of one Bill Goldberg, as the “Best of Roadblock” series continues! Can Bill defeat the 6’7″ guy who almost never wins? Who knows?!?
REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 1990:
ANDRE THE GIANT & GIANT BABA vs. THE LAND OF GIANTS (Butch Masters & Skywalker Nitron):
(All Japan, 25.11.1990)
* Oh my god you GUYS. This is Andre & Giant Baba in their retirement tour as crippled old men, and they’re taking on two gigantic dudes I’ve never heard of! I have to know everything about these guys now. Looks like they’re two never-was acts (Nitron sniffed WCW for a second as “Big Sky” and that’s all the Big Two has for them), both about 6’7″ or so but with physiques like the Young Bucks and knock-off Ultimate Warrior facepaint. Oh wait… Big Sky/Skywalker Nitron was Sabretooth in the first “X-Men” movie! It’s Tyler Mane! And he has a goddamn bleached RAT TAIL haircut! Butch has more fashion with a regular brown mullet. I love this match already.
Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon are doing commentary and they are taped from Fort Myers, Florida.
No, not THIS WrestleFest. But damn, that game was awesome.
WWF WRESTLEFEST ’88:
(July 31, 1988, Milwaukee Coliseum)
* So while looking for more Dream Matches, I found this interesting card. It’s been covered on the Blog in the distant past, but it seems fun. This was one of those times Vince “My philosophy is help yourself; don’t hurt the other guy” McMahon deliberately booked a super-show specifically to hurt the other guy, as Great American Bash tour was kicking off in Milwaukee the next night, so Vince is like “HEY HAVE A STADIUM SHOW WITH ALL MY BIGGEST STARS!” putting the hot World Title program and Hogan/Andre in a goddamn Steel Cage in the Main Event slots. The obvious reason being to make the WWF look awesome and the NWA look like shit, and to make fans spend money and hype on this show instead of that one. And I guess it worked.
This show is kind of scattered around the ‘net, as they didn’t quite air the whole thing at once- the openers were taped for regular TV shows and the Title Match is on DailyMotion, so this is scattered between YouTube and DM. But it’s an interesting time for the company, as things are hot as hell 3+ years after the Hogan Era began and the Mega Powers era is in full swing. Your hosts are Lord Alfred Hayes, Sean Mooney & Superstar Billy Graham, which is an, um, odd assortment of B & C-Team announcers.
Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura are in the booth and they are live from Orlando, Florida. According to thehistoryofwwe.com, this show drew a sellout crowd of 16,000 fans. It also drew a buyrate of 2.0 (an estimated 260,000 buys), an increase from the 1.5 number the Rumble did the previous year. This would also be the last pay-per-view that Schiavone would call for the WWF.
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! Today, it’s a kind of Giant-themed day by accident, as I went looking for Ron Reis’s stuff and found this bizarre Andre/Baba tag match as well! So come see a weird WWF/All Japan bout as Andre & Giant Baba take on Demolition! Also, come see ERIK WATTS make his “Dream Matches” debut wrestling a knock-off Kamala! Plus Ron Studd versus a jobber Chavo Guerrero Jr., then a couple years later as Ron becomes “Reese” of the Flock and takes on a washed-up ex-WWF guy in The Barbarian! And Earthquake in rare chocolate-brown gear against Rubbish Ronnie Garbage!
ANDRE THE GIANT & GIANT BABA vs. DEMOLITION (Ax & Smash):
(WWF/AJPW/NJPW Wrestling Summit April 13 1990)
* Good heavens! A wild interpromotional show, with an ungodly tired-looking Andre teaming up with the aged Baba in Japan against the Demos! Andre adored both guys in real life so he’ll probably be pretty generous to them, but, uh… neither guy on his side is in any position to be carrying a match. Andre’s in blue, with an obvious brace in his gear, while Baba’s in red and looks like he just got dug out of a mass grave. Looking at this card, I really gotta watch the whole thing.
WWF SURVIVOR SERIES SHOWDOWN 1989:
(Nov. 12, 1989)
* So this is largely a card of JUST Dream Matches, and I Bayless already covered this ages ago, but whatever- these cards fascinate me. I guess they were on the USA Network and were used as hype shows for the Survivor Series, mixing up the guys in the matches against each other. So we’re in the post-WrestleMania V era, with “Macho King” being slid down to an “Upper Midcard” position, Hogan as Champion again with Zeus as an arch-enemy, and more. And this YouTube video includes the COMMERCIALS, complete with advertising. Hm, Dyanetics or video games made by Acclaim- which is more evil to advertise to children?
Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan & Roddy Piper are our hosts, and Monsoon actually lays it out- every team member would put their names into a hat, drawing names out until one one guy remained- those guys would fight each other. This is why it looks so “random” (ie. big stars are fighting tag team wrestlers so that they can win while not hurting anyone’s push).
And we’re back with more of wrestling’s oddest Dream Matches! Two in one week, no less! Tonight we’ll see a “WTF?” Old-Timers vs. Rookies match as two of the Four Pillars face some washed-up megastars, and some WWF hossery from various giant dudes based off of historical & mythological figures! More Berzerker- challenging his counterpart, the Barbarian! Also the Warlord versus Hercules!
Once again, WWF-owned YouTube clips get the Blog into trouble, but they’re not hard to find with a simple search.
ANDRE THE GIANT, GIANT BABA & DORY FUNK, JR. vs. TOSHIYAKI KAWADA, KENTA KOBASHI & TSUYOSHI KIKUCHI:
* Okay, now this is just strange. I figured Baba was only in the “comedy matches” at this point, as he looks about as unintimidating as you can possibly look while being nearly as tall as Andre is, but there you go. He’s got his standard “broad and wide torso that nonetheless has all the ribs exposed like he’s a starvation victim” physique, with the lil’ tiny bird arms, and red trunks. Andre’s in a blue version of his regular gear, while Dory’s in blue- he’s a HUGE legend in Japan and deeply respected for his work with Baba and others. Kawada’s the Grumpy Kicking Asshole (ignoring Dory’s handshake attempt), Kobashi’s a young up & comer not quite into his big push, and Kikuchi’s his tag partner- a guy with a GREAT wrestling physique (Dynamite/Savage-style size & body), but who never got a serious push after that tag team. He’s instantly recognized as the “polite Young Boy wrestler” by him gleefully shaking Dory’s hand.
And we’re back with more bizarre finds of “what can I find by typing random names into YouTube?” (and also some requests from sadistic BOD members). This set sees a match between two of the worst workers of all time clearly booked by a monster, along with some unusual WWF matches- the Colossal Connection vs. The Rockers, plus a certain legendary JTTS worker “Huss”-es his way in!
Once again, WWF YouTube videos are non-kosher to post here, but you can find them pretty easily.
ZEUS vs. ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER:
(World Wrestling Council, 1990)
* OH MY GOD SOMEONE ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN!!! This is in Puerto Rico, a pretty wild territory (a murderous one, even), with the famous blood ‘n’ guts wrestler Abdullah facing off against Zeus, following his WWF run, which was so bad he wasn’t even trusted to do a solo match with Hogan in a big way. They look like a pair of “Fist of the North Star” villains fighting- Zeus roided to the gills and in silver & black pants, and Abdullah this scarred-up monstrosity, baggy pants hoisted up to his tits. I mean, at least Zeus LOOKS like a star.
This is like what happens when you hit “Random” in Fire Pro.
RANDOM DREAM MATCHES:
* So randomly searching YouTube for stuff, I found some true gems and some weird stuff, and decided to make a thing of it. This first one is just BONKERS and it got a great reaction when I posted it in the live thread a week back, so I had to share it here. Some are ironic “LOLWTF THOSE guys wrestled!?!” while others are legitimately good. A few of these are WWF & WCW matches posted on YouTube, so I won’t post them here (it demonetizes the blog or somesuch thing), but they’re easy to find.
ANDRE THE GIANT, EL CANEK & VILLANO III vs. KOKINA MAXIMUS, BUFFALO ALLEN & BLACK SCORPIO:
(Universal Wrestling Association, Mexico, 03.05.1992)
* Yes, it’s YOKOZUNA, BAD NEWS BROWN & 2 COLD SCORPIO! Fighting ANDRE, plus Mexican legend El Canek (one of the few guys to slam Andre) and Villaino III (elder brother of IV & V). This is like what happens if you hit “Random” in Fire Pro to make your teams- Andre dressed in a red singlet teaming up with fighting Yokozuna, Bad News Brown and 2 Cold Scorpio! Andre is BEYOND washed up at this point, while Yoko is almost ready for his WWF run, being not quite as fat as he’d be in his 450-lb. debut. Andre’s in a red singlet, Canek’s in white, and Villano’s in blue. Kokina’s in black trunks, Allen’s in his usual black, and Scorpio is wearing a yellow mask and long tights- he’s got a great physique here, too.
Taped from Dallas, TX
Airdate: January 21, 1984 (taped 01/06)
Hosted by Bill Mercer
How will Andre make a difference for Parsons against Devastation, Inc.? Can Kevin topple Garvin, and will Adams be a factor? Who also makes an impolite debut? And what dynamic duo will assist me with hosting this episode?
Taped from Dallas, TX
Airdate: January 15, 1983 (taped 01/07)
Hosted by Bill Mercer
Who will win the six-man elimination match? Can Madril attain victory over the truly loathed Hayes? And who will ring in 1983 with us?
Live from New York, NY
Airdate: February 1, 1993
Hosted by Vince McMahon, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, & Rob Bartlett
Can Typhoon defeat Doink the Clown? Who will make a surprise appearance this week? What will stem from it? Let’s find out!
The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Collection: ANDRE THE GIANT (Part 1)
Well, in honor of the HBO doc tonight (or last night, I guess), this seems like an appropriate time to review this set of matches on the Network. It’s under “Shows” and then “Collections” in case you’d like to watch it, by the way.
Live from Rosemont, IL
Airdate: November 23, 1989
Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Who will survive? The Dream Team or the Enforcers? The King’s Court or the 4x4s? The Hulkamaniacs or the Million Dollar Team? Rude’s Brood or Roddy’s Rowdies? The Ultimate Warriors or the Heenan Family? Let’s find out!
WWF Royal Rumble ‘89
Live from Houston, TX
Airdate: January 15, 1988
Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Question to the masses: If a baseball game lasts until 3am on a work night, can we still blame Vince McMahon? Ponder on that while enjoying the show.
Taped from Sacramento, CA
Airdate: November 26, 1988 (taped 11/16)
Hosted by Vince McMahon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Warrior scares the dickens out of everyone by opening the program. Hey! This isn’t the Halloween episode! Regardless, he wants to spoil Super Ninja’s Thanksgiving weekend. I believe salmonella enterocolitis would be less painful.
Sorry for the grainy photo…like the original recording, it existed on videotape. Unlike the tape, the photo got lost in the shuffle when it came to remastering.