James Dixon: I am excited about this tape. I have high hopes because both guys were superb workers, unparalleled in their day. Let’s hope Coliseum give us some good matches and not the least appealing bouts possible, as they sometimes are prone to doing.
The British Bulldogs vs. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
We start out with this match from MSG in October 1985, with Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura on commentary duty. We have the usual fast babyface start and heel team bail, before we go to one-on-one with Davey Boy and Volkoff. Interesting aside: the ring is covered in garbage, it is like the nWo have been out there! Sheik and Volkoff dominate Davey Boy early on, picking him apart with double team moves. He finally mounts a comeback and brings in Dynamite, who goes to work on Volkoff’s arm. Sheik gets in and hits a gutwrench suplex, but gets a normal one reversed, then the heels come back and control Dynamite. Sheik and Volkoff have had more of this than I thought they would; they have pretty much dominated. I don’t buy all of this “strongest guy in wrestling” shit they claim about Volkoff though. Piledriver from Volkoff, but Sheik accidentally hits him, and Dynamite makes the tag to Smith. Powerslam gets two, but he puts his head down for a back body drop and gets caught. Back suplex from Sheik, and he locks on the Camel Clutch. Dynamite makes the save and it breaks down with all four guys in. Double slam from Volkoff and Sheik on Smith, but as Volkoff goes for another slam on his own, Dynamite dropkicks his partner in the back so he lands on top of Volkoff for the win. Decent start, though it would have been better for a Sheik/Volkoff best of tape, because it was all them. Not the Bulldogs best by any stretch, but ok.
Final Rating: **
Dynamite Kid vs. Bret Hart
Hello! If this is half as good as some of their Stampede matches, then we could be in for a real treat. This encounter comes from September 1985 in Landover, Maryland. Hart is wearing his less familiar blue and black and is the heel. They do a supercharged start, with Dynamite the aggressor and thoroughly bossing the start of the bout. The opening exchanges are really excellent, and Dynamite was truly stunning, but Bret could keep up with him, even in 1985. Bret finally gets some offence in, and slams Dynamite by picking him up from a seated position by the hair. Hart slows things down and then throws Dynamite outside and slams him on the concrete floor. No protective mats here; perhaps Bill Watts had just ran the venue… Hart gets a two count from a backbreaker, and it occurs to me that I have never ever seen him get a pin from that, yet he always goes for the cover. It might help if he hooked the leg on it. Dynamite returns the favour with a lighting quick sunset flip for a two count of his own, but Bret is soon back on top and levels him with a European uppercut. A third is blocked into a backslide, and Dynamite reverses a backbreaker into one of his own. With Dynamite tied up, Bret misses a crazy bump into the ropes, absolutely smacking into them, and Dynamite proceeds to destroy him with a vicious clothesline. Flying headbutt from Dynamite, and then he gets revenge for earlier, slamming Bret by the hair. Hart takes a hard posting and a knee drop gets another close fall. A vicious back suplex only gets two, as does a huge flying knee drop from the top, which for the record, looked brutal. Something unique of note; Dynamite actually tripped over when Bret did a dropdown, which you NEVER see. Bret sends Dynamite out of the ring in the same manner that happened to him earlier, and I love how they are aping each other’s offence and moves. Oh hang on, all of a sudden it’s over! Dynamite rolled Bret up for the win! The production team made a right hash of that, we missed the finish! Still, that was really good and was building nicely, but what a shame the finish just sort of happened all of a sudden. Bret was still raw, but Chris Benoit, sorry, the Dynamite Kid, was incredible. Good match though, worth seeing! After the match, Neidhart and then Smith get involved and they have a brawl, which leads right into the next match between those two.
Final Rating: ****
Davey Boy Smith vs. Jim Neidhart
This is the same show as the match that we just saw, and having seen the workrate guys of the teams, we go to the power guys! Still, Davey was a great worker and Neidhart could go too back then, so I expect this to be fairly good. Both are evenly matched in power, but Davey gets the better of Neidhart with speed and technical wrestling. A test of strength is won by Neidhart, but Davey slips out of a slam and hits a dropkick. Davey Boy is a far superior technician and has a definite speed advantage, and he uses that to good effect here. This has been nice and solid so far. Neidhart takes over and then rams Davey into the steel railing outside, knocking it over. He clubs away with forearms to the back, but Smith switches a whip and hits a big clothesline, followed by a back elbow. Snapmare from Smith, and he tries a chinlock, but Neidhart is too strong and powers out. A whip from Neidhart is reversed, but Smith gets caught and dropped headfirst into the top buckle, and Neidhart puts his feet on the ropes to get the win. Strange finish and fairly short, but an energetic match. I didn’t expect Neidhart to go over Davey Boy! I guess they didn’t want both of the Hart Foundation to lose on the same card.
Final Rating: **½
The British Bulldogs & Captain Lou Albano vs. The Dream Team & Johnny V
We move forward to March 1986 and back at MSG. This took place a few weeks before WrestleMania II, where the two teams collided for the WWF tag titles. Why they have picked a Bulldogs match with Captain Lou Albano wrestling is beyond me. If anything can kill one of their matches, it is him. The Bulldogs dominate Valentine for all of the opening stages of the match, but the Hammer finally catches a breather with a back breaker, and makes a tag straight away to Beefcake. The heel trio works over Smith, and Valentine locks in the chinlock. The structure to this has been fairly strange, with each team just takes turns beating on one member of the other. The action has been fine but it’s lacking in logic. Dynamite and Valentine spend a long time in there together, exchanging powerful forearms. Valentine goes to the backbreaker again and gets Beefcake in, but everything briefly breaks down. The heels regain control of Dynamite, as Brutus hits a neckbreaker and a vertical suplex. Valiant comes in for the first time and he stomps away at Dynamite, taking advantage of his weakened state, and Dynamite is BLEE-din, so Valentine hits him with what appears to be a Pedigree, before locking on the figure four leglock. Albano makes the save and Dynamite makes the tag to Davey, who cleans house, hitting the running powerslam for two. Valentine comes back with a knee to the head, but he can’t hit the suplex, but Davey gets one of his own. This is still structurally all over the place, and there have been about three or four different heat sections. Davey takes charge against Valentine, who has spent the lion’s portion of the match in the ring for his team. Double line from the Bulldogs gets two and a pin from Dynamite’s vicious line is broken up by V. Snap suplex from Dynamite and everyone is in. Beefcake, despite not being the legal man, gets pinned with a roll up. The finish sums up the match really, because as I said, it didn’t really make a lot of sense or follow any structure throughout, so for the illegal man to get pinned makes sense, in a roundabout way. The stuff in the ring was all solid though, despite Albano.
Final Rating: **½
WWF Tag Team Championship
The Dream Team (c) vs. The British Bulldogs
This is from WrestleMania II, and the full analysis of the match can be found in the review of that show, elsewhere in the book. The match is joined in progress on here and is around half as long as the actual match, at most.
The less said about the tedious workout session with the Bulldogs, the better. Vince, no-one except you likes watching bodybuilding. No-one!
…With the possible exception of your son-in-law.
WWF Tag Team Championship
The British Bulldogs (c) vs. The Moondogs
This is from July 1986 at Madison Square Garden. The Moondogs are weird looking folk. Their demeanour and attire wouldn’t look out of place in Raven’s Flock. Dynamite murders Spot with a tackle to begin with and then Davey outwrestles Rex, as the Bulldogs take turns dismantling both with consummate ease. We get clipped to the Moondogs in control of Davey Boy. It is pretty basic, but solid stuff. The Moondogs can both take it and dish it out, even though one looks like a fat redneck and the other like Santa Claus. Captain Lou is at ringside, and he rather has the look of a Moondog himself. A splash from the middle rope by Rex meets knees, but Davey can’t reach the hot tag. It all looks rather hokey though, because Davey was so close to Dynamite that he could have just reached up, but he oversold it to the max stretching for it, shattering suspension of disbelief somewhat. Smith hits a suplex and this time he gets the tag, then Dynamite runs riot as you might expect. The Bulldogs get the win when Dynamite dives over the top of both Davey and Rex, landing on Spot with a crossbody from the top to win it. It’s a fun little match this, and the Moondogs were fairly worthy opponents for the Bulldogs. A sensible addition to the tape, though a shame it was clipped, as the match went around 18-minutes live but was far less than that here.
Final Rating: **¾
Davey Boy Smith vs. Greg Valentine
We are in MSG for the fourth time on this tape, this from April 1986, a few weeks after WrestleMania II. Both guys are known for a heavy hitting style, so this could be a good match-up. Davey gets the better of the early exchanges, but Valentine returns the favour, unloading with forearms and chops in the corner. Davey gives the same back again, and takes the Hammer out of the ring with a dropkick. As I have said before; I really cannot stand the way Valentine bumps. It just looks so fake and ridiculous, there is no snap to it whatsoever, just a big dumb jump and fall. Poor. Of note is that Davey does the move that would become the Sharpshooter, which Gorilla calls a “grapevine Boston crab”, which I guess it is! Valentine escapes by reaching the ropes, but Davey frying pans him back in. A suplex only gets a two, and Valentine realises he is getting pounded, so he throws a hard right in desperation, to gain a semblance of control. We get clipped, and when we resume, Valentine is in complete control with a knee drop and a chinlock. Davey comes back with a back suplex and hits his future finishing move, the running powerslam, for a two count. Valentine bails and runs away, but he baits Davey into a trap and kicks him in the head when he goes to come back in the ring. He applies the figure four Leglock centre ring, but Davey reaches the ropes. Davey pulls him off when he goes for it a second time, and kicks him off the third.. It’s a great sell job from Davey Boy. Much like the Dynamite-Bret match earlier, all of a sudden this is over, with Valentine winning with a forearm to the back of the head from the middle rope. What a weak move to job to, and it was incredibly out of the blue. I can’t understand the logic behind two clean jobs for Davey appearing on a Bulldogs “best of” tape.
Final Rating: **¾
Dynamite Kid vs. Brutus Beefcake
Talk about a difference in workrate and ability! This is from the same show as the previous match, and is the second time on the tape that the Bulldogs have worked separate singles matches with tag opponents on the same show. I get the feeling that Beefcake is going to struggle to keep up here, even Dynamite will struggle to carry him. We are very clipped from the get go, as we see Dynamite demolish Beefcake, then cut back to Bruti in control of the arm. Not for long though, as Dynamite uses his athletic and scientific wrestling ability to escape and put on an armbar of his own, schooling Beefcake effortlessly. A back suplex from Beefcake escapes a headlock, and then he goes low with a pair of stomps from the middle rope. A nice stalling suplex receives praise from the commentators, but only gets a two. It was indeed nice, but not a patch on Davey’s, who sets the benchmark for stalling suplex quality. Beefcake clubs away with elbows to the head, but all that serves to do is annoy Dynamite, who retaliates in kind and hits a snap suplex and a flying headbutt at speed. A charge misses, and Dynamite hits the floor on the outside of the ring. Beefcake goes to the tights and clobbers Dynamite in the head, but he still breaks the count, because he is made of goddamn steel. I don’t think I have said this yet on this tape or anywhere else in the book, though if I have it bears repeating: Dynamite Kid is one of the top five workers of all time. He has even managed to make Beefcake look good in this. He goes on to score the win with an O’Conner roll out of a suplex, though Beefcake struggles to accept it and beats on him after the match, before Davey runs out to make the save. It is yet another good match on a tape that has been very consistent. Dynamite made Beefcake watchable and entertaining, and it was probably one of the better singles matches the latter had in his career. Though, admittedly, that is not saying much.
Final Rating: **½
The British Bulldogs vs. King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd
We are in Poughkeepsie, New York and it is April 1986 once again. Talk about a contrast in styles here! You couldn’t pick two more lumbering opponents for the Bulldogs. There have been some rather strange choices on this tape, but I put a lot of it down to when it was released. Some of the Bulldogs’ even better matches came in ‘87. I would have loved to have seen a match against the Hart Foundation on this. Speed and technical ability is realistically the Bulldogs’ only hope in this one, and they utilise both of those things against Studd to begin with. Still, you have to question the logic of Davey locking up with him. He might be a powerhouse, but it’s foolish. Bundy drags things down because he is woeful in the ring, and he makes a right asshole of letting Davey bounce off him with a crossbody. It looks sloppy and mistimed, because Bundy’s positioning is all over the place. Studd wipes out Davey with a knee to the head and then Bundy picks him apart slowly. Quick tags from Bundy and Studd isolate Smith in the wrong corner, and they take turns working him over. Eventually Dynamite gets sick and runs in to save his partner, and in the melee Studd pushes over the ref and we have a DQ. Post match, Bundy and Studd argue, and Heenan gets in the middle, livid with them. This was short enough not to be boring, and actually far better than you would expect a match involving Studd and Bundy to be. Both teams played their roles well, and the result was an entertaining five minute match.
Final Rating: **
Summary: That was pretty good. As a compilation tape it worked well because there was nothing even approaching bad on here; everything was either ok or better, which was a rarity for these things, as we have seen. The Bret-Dynamite match is very good and is the reason to own this, but once you do, the rest is worth a watch as well. The Bulldogs make some average workers look good and some good ones look great. The tape is marred slightly by clipping, but it keeps things moving at a brisker pace, so it works.