Arnold Furious: 2/3rds of random stuff with 1/3rd Roddy Piper being straight up awesome. It must be Best of the WWF Vol. 10! Unfortunately the random matches feature two for Jimmy Jack Funk and a brace for Brutus Beefcake. Host is Gene Okerlund in Video Control.
Jimmy Jack Funk, Hoss Funk & Jimmy Hart vs. Ricky Steamboat, Junkyard Dog & Haiti Kid
Dory Funk must be thrilled to be tagging up with his manager and the Lone Ranger. No wonder he left the WWF. The whole Funk team without Terry Funk was no kind of team. On the other side workhorse Ricky Steamboat finds himself paired up with slug JYD and a midget. This whole setup screams Sportz Entertainment. This being 1986 even the goofiest tag setup gets over. Especially with JYD using Haiti Kid as a weapon and throwing him at Jimmy Jack Funk for an improbable two count. Dory goes through the motions with the body language of a man who wants to quit but can remain professional regardless of how ridiculous his predicament is. He bumps when he’s supposed to and sells whatever he needs to but his heart’s not in it. So the potential match saving segments with Dory and Steamboat are nothing of the sort. At least Jimmy Jack puts the effort in but that’s largely because it’s a huge break for him and he wants to make the most of it… but he doesn’t know how. He’s game for running into JYD’s stuff for example and he takes a superb bump off a clothesline. It’s a pity JYD is so lazy he hardly even steps into it, he just stands there with his arm extended. JYD’s laziness stands out even more when he’s wrestling someone who cares. JYD takes the megaphone to the head and Dory, finally having fun, slams Haiti Kid and Jimmy Hart scores the pin. Most of the match is atrocious but the finish was entertaining. Shame Gorilla Monsoon felt the need to telegraph it by reminding everyone who was legal at the end.
Final Rating: *½
Cowboy Bob Orton vs. Tito Santana
This is after Orton had switched allegiances. He’s now Adrian Adonis’ bodyguard. This is from August 1986 and, like the previous match, from Boston Garden. It’s a 30 minute draw so Coliseum makes a few selective edits. There’s no way they’d give one match an entire third of a tape release. I honestly feel that Bob Orton was one of the most underutilised WWF talents from the Rock N’ Wrestling era as he was always second fiddle to guys like Piper and Adonis. He had skill and, with a little more personality, could have gotten a major push. He shows it whenever he’s in the ring with a class opponent. His selling for Hogan was always great but here, against Tito, he gets to showcase his offence too. Orton takes a fantastic bump through the crappy Boston Garden guardrail. It was an L shaped black barricade that fell over if you touched it. Luckily for the wrestlers this match isn’t quite inciting the audience into a riot. I miss the days when police were present at wrestling events, it really legitimised wrestling. Two things rather spoil the match and they both point towards a time limit draw. 1. frequent rest holds and 2. extensive clipping. Tito is just coming off the Savage feud, which Savage had won courtesy of retaining the IC title, so he’s in great shape. Both guys start pouring sweat after a couple of clips and they sit in a chinlock for a while. See, that would be where a clip should be. Tito works the knee like a motherfucker and hooks the figure four. Orton gets the ropes and Santana just hooks a random leglock to eat up more time. So much so there’s a clip in the hold. They pop up and start beating the crap out of each other but the time limit expires in the midst of a Pier Six brawl. The rest holds hurt it and they’d have been better off running a match without them, making it half the length and having the same finish on the floor as DCOR. But yeah, both these guys were fun to watch in the mid 80s and only one of them really gets his dues when discussing the era’s best competitors.
Final Rating: ***
King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd vs. The Machines
The whole point of the Machines angle was that Andre was suspended and couldn’t wrestle unless disguised (as if you can disguise him). He’s not here, so there’s almost no point having the match. We’re in Boston Garden again and its September 1986. The Boston crowd is in an uncouth mood, as they hurl screwed up pieces of paper at the ring all match. Studd gets himself slammed again, this time by Blackjack Mulligan. He doesn’t seem too bothered about it. The whole slam angle was played out by this point. Studd looks a bit indolent compared to usual. Maybe he’d eaten something that disagreed with him or drank a few too many bourbons the night before. He did retire a few months later so it might just be wear and tear catching up on him. Credit to Studd, he left wrestling when he felt he could no longer compete at an acceptable level. There are more than a few wrestlers who could learn from that. I’m amazed the WWF never broke up Studd & Bundy and feuded them. It seemed like a no-brainer for Vince. He loved big men and he had two guys with every chance of getting a feud over based on their team. This ends with Bobby Heenan jumping in to break a pin. He doesn’t actually get there in time because he trips over the rope, which is a suitably comical conclusion to a poor match.
Final Rating: ¾*
WWF Tag Team Championship
The Dream Team (c) vs. The US Express
This is from late ’85. The US Express were re-hashed after Barry Windham quit, and he is replaced here with Danny Spivey. Basically so casual fans who sat really far away from the ring, or merely glanced at the TV from time to time, couldn’t tell the difference. Of course Spivey, at the time, was nowhere near the worker than Windham was but his hair looked the same from 50 feet away. His furry boots are a weird addition though. Is he supposed to be a Viking? Rotundo whiffs on a dropkick and Hammer still falls to the floor off it. Man, I hate it when wrestlers sell stuff where there’s literally no contact. The only other sport you see that in is football. But while you can gain free kicks in football, in wrestling there’s no benefit to making your opponent think he’s hit you when he hasn’t. And Valentine is the talented one on his team! This really isn’t one of his better nights in wrestling. Rotundo is on form, because someone NEEDS to be, and he does a great escape from Beefcake’s sleeper where he falls face first into the corner and brains Brutus on the buckles. Getting something entertaining out of Brutus is the hard part and after that he gets into a fight with Hammer. Spivey doesn’t seem to realise his size and keeps trying to do lucha and cruiserweight spots. You’re 6 feet 7 inches tall, mate. Act like it. It would be ok if his cruiser spots land, but they don’t. He just doesn’t have the right moveset and his kick-outs don’t have much authority. He comes off as weak and if there’s one thing fans won’t tolerate from babyfaces, it’s weakness. Spivey is easily duped and pinned by Dream Team at the finish. The last couple of minutes were quite decent, but you can see exactly why Spivey couldn’t get over in the WWF; he was full of quit.
Final Rating: *¼
Brutus Beefcake vs. Billy Jack Haynes
Oh, why, Video Control, why? Both guys suck. It’s from July 1986 when they could have picked almost any match from any card and picked a better match than this. Beefcake didn’t get good until a few years later, and Haynes never did. It’s one of those matches where you sit there staring at the screen hoping for a miracle, while regretting that you ever sat down to review this tape. Then regretting deciding to review *everything* from this era of the WWF. Then eventually regretting being a wrestling fan in the first place. All the while, the sands of time keep falling through the hourglass. This is your life and it’s ending one Brutus Beefcake match at a time. I will give them points for effort, because they try really, really hard to have a good match, but can’t. Johnny V trips Haynes up for the DQ. It could have been worse; you might have been forced to watch this because you were reviewing it for a book too. Always look on the bright side…
Final Rating: ¼*
Jimmy Jack Funk & Mr. X vs. The Islanders
Mr. X is Danny Davis, heel official extraordinaire. Jimmy Jack has been demoted to ‘jobber’ after Dory left the WWF. The Islanders are a real team and a real decent team, but 1986 saw a load of tag teams come through the company. The Islanders were clear favourites in this match and the only exciting, or different, thing about the match (bar Davis) is the referee; Rita Marie (Chatterton). She was the WWF’s first female official and one of the reasons there have been so few is that she alleges Vince McMahon sexually assaulted her. Another sign that Vince felt he was bulletproof until the government came after him. The match is ripe for clipping, but for some insane reason escapes any editorial control and just sits here, in history, being long and boring. Tama and Funk have a few counters lined up. Rita misses a hot tag and Haku nearly belts her. A zebra is a zebra to a lion. Haku’s comeback is railroaded by Davis bumping his shots before they land. Or sandbagging suplexes. Tama finishes with a Superfly Splash. It was dull but not offensively so. Put it down to formula for both the failure and success of this as a contest.
Final Rating: **
Roddy Piper vs. AJ Petrucci
This was the return of Piper after a hiatus following his Mr. T feud. He still has all his heel mannerisms, but the crowd pop the hell out of him. AJ slaps him, which Piper ignores. He proceeds to wrestle him with one hand behind his back and kicks the shit out of the jobber. Either that or he’s warming up for the biggest Stinkpalm of all time. MMA knees from Piper are followed by the Snot Rocket. Poor AJ Petrucci. Piper hits what looks like the Polish Hammer to the face, and pins with one foot.
Final Rating: SQUASH (Not rated)
Piper’s Pit vs. The Flower Shop
Piper’s return was followed by the return of Piper’s Pit. However, Adrian Adonis had set up his own chat show called the Flower Shop, which caused friction between the two. Piper won out by utterly destroying the Flower Shop set with a baseball bat. Adonis tries to get a receipt with a crutch and puts Piper out with the sleeper. We clip ahead to December with Piper attacking Adonis during a match.
Roddy Piper vs. Don Muraco
Piper is firing on all cylinders and tries to punch the beard off Muraco. This is before the previous clip, from November ’86 in Boston Garden. Muraco was involved in an assault on Piper after Roddy called him “fat” on Piper’s Pit. This is an ideal use of both guys because Piper is hugely entertaining when he’s beating the crap out of someone, and Muraco can take a beating like a champ. Piper used so few wrestling moves that when he actually did use one, the crowd popped huge, like they do for a bulldog here. Mr. Fuji bashes Piper with his cane before Muraco runs Piper into the post. You can see Piper holding his blade in between the two spots. It’s even more obvious when they replay the post spot. As soon as Piper sees his own blood he jumps back in the ring and whales on Muraco some more. This allows Muraco to blade in the ring. Both guys are bleeding all over the place now and Piper eventually gets the roll up win. Great colour on this from both guys and a sensational scrap. Piper was on FIRE and if he’d not had a reoccurrence of his injuries (and/or film career) he could have played a major part in 1987 instead of bowing out following the Adonis feud blow-off at WrestleMania III. Although that was certainly Piper’s choice, not the WWF’s.
Final Rating: **¾
Summary: As per usual it’s a mixed bag from the Coliseum guys. The tape really drags in the middle. Santana-Orton is good and Piper’s stuff at the end is great, but there’s no stand-out match like Steamboat-Savage on Vol. 9. However if you’re a big Jimmy Jack Funk fan, this is the tape for you. The opening match is one of Jimmy Jack’s best performances in a WWF ring. Later, he makes an incredibly competent jobber. Poor old Jimmy gets the shitty end of the wrestling stick sometimes from historians, but he wasn’t all bad. I just wish he didn’t dress up like the Hamburglar.