Arnold Furious: So, three Kamala matches on this one! Whoop. Craig DeGeorge and Luscious Johnny V host. Johnny has that same insane Nic Cage look from Deadfall. My guess is this was taped the same day as the Jake Roberts tape. Whatever drugs he was on then, he’s on now too. Craig introduces us to the concept of THE DARK MATCH. I.E. matches that were too bad to appear on TV. But thanks to Coliseum Video we can see them now! Kinda makes them less “dark”.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Kamala
The most stunning thing about Kamala is the sheer talent the WWF was not only willing to feed to him but also JOB to him. Kamala has a shockingly good win/loss record against some of the best wrestlers in the business. This is from the Spectrum in June 1987 and Steamboat had pissed off Vince McMahon by asking for time off to spend with his family. Vince doesn’t care for that because he takes his family everywhere he goes, or he just forgets they exist. Leave the family at home, you stay here, we’ll go bowling. Plus Vince is a pathological workaholic. So Steamboat got the shitty end of the 1987 booking stick. Which meant… jobbing to Kamala. Just because Kamala’s tall and does handsprings in Japan does not excuse his FATBOY status, nor does it make it acceptable for him to beat Ricky Steamboat. Had Vince been less vindictive they could have gotten Steamboat’s best two years in the business out of him. Instead he was a gift to the NWA, and tore up the entire wrestling world with the Flair series. At least they do a numbers job on Steamboat here with Fuji and Kim Chee interfering before Kamala slams Ricky off the top and splashes him for the win. Good lord. The WWF has made some ‘interesting’ booking decisions over the years but this one was almost a crime.
Final Rating: *
Tito Santana vs. Kamala
Oh, not Tito too! This was about 6 months earlier and another incredibly talented former Intercontinental champion is being fed to Kamala. Tito was in between his IC title feud with Randy Savage and the formation of Strike Force, so the WWF put him on JTTS status. It’s the old “creative has nothing for you” problem. Craig DeGeorge and Johnny V provide commentary as this is a fabled DARK MATCH. And rightfully so. No-one wants to see this. Kamala runs the test of strength spot for so long that there’s a clip in it. Tito does more dodging and countering than Steamboat, but less damage. Wizard trips Santana and Kamala splashes him for the pin. Another saddening job match where one of Vince’s handpicked fat boys goes over a talented worker.
Final Rating: *
Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy & Bobby Heenan vs. The Machines
The Machines are Big, Super and Piper Machine, the latter one being Roddy in a mask. He even flashes his face to the crowd, the commentators and Bobby Heenan just we know who he is. I’m not sure what the point of him being masked is. The Machines was one of those rare booking snafus in a year full of good decisions. Basically if the angle involved Bundy, it sucked. Piper injects some much needed energy into proceedings by charging in there and attacking everybody. He goes from a sunset flip on Studd to choking Bundy out with the tag rope to dancing around in the ring. All of this taking place in about 20 seconds. Piper does make one crucial mistake; having revealed his identity it gives the heels an opening, as they know Roddy Piper has a bad leg. Bundy and Piper make a horrible mess of a missed clothesline, with Bundy clearly going too high to connect and Piper selling it on some bizarre delay. Piper gets sick of the mask after tripping over the ropes and throws it at Studd. PIPER SLAMS STUDD! Bundy runs in to elbow drop him but misses, hits Studd and Piper scores the pin. All Piper. The match was pretty bad when he wasn’t involved and even when he was there were miscues and screw ups.
Final Rating: *¼
Luscious Johnny V vs. Brutus Beefcake
Beefcake turned face at WrestleMania III so Johnny V decided to teach the Barber a lesson himself. Brutus found his niche as a face and it makes you wonder why they let him be heel for as long as they did. Traditionally heels control the pace of the match and do all the hard work. Beefcake didn’t really know what he was doing. The mat looks filthy here as Hogan bled all over it two matches beforehand. It must have been an absolute gusher. This match is a non-event. Beefcake punches V around the ring for a while and beats him with a sleeper. Brutus gives him a trim. The match served its purpose but makes no sense. Beefcake risks a reverse decision if he doesn’t wake Johnny V up. What the hell rule is that?
Final Rating: ¼*
WWWF International Tag Team Championship
The Fabulous Mongols (c) vs. Gorilla Monsoon & Pedro Morales
This is from way back in 1970 and I don’t think I’ve ever seen another bout for these particular belts, as they became inactive in 1971. Gorilla could take a decent bump for a big bloke. Gito keeps stomping Monsoon off the top and that’s fall one. All title matches were 2/3 falls this long ago. The Mongols double team their way into a DQ. Morales takes it right to the champs as the third fall starts and he beats the crap out of Gito until the Mongol lies down for the fall. A pair of dropkicks is enough for the duke. Interesting trip down memory lane, with Monsoon showcasing a few of his skills.
Final Rating: *½
George Steele vs. Paul Orndorff
This is early ’87 with Steele continuing his feud with Savage/obsession with Elizabeth, so Heenan rips up a poster of Liz to set off the simpleton. I feel bad for Orndorff having to make a storyline of this. Steele seems more interested in going after the turnbuckle. Orndorff ends up taking a header into the exposed buckle, which is surely a DQ. Steele, mentally hindered, tries to put the poster back together. Orndorff chokes Steele out with a camera cable and that’s SURELY a DQ. The second blatant infringement of the match. Orndorff injures himself on that exposed buckle again. Steele bails for a chair and the ref finally calls that a DQ. I feel bad for Orndorff trying to make some sense of out of this. I’m a believer in keeping your freak show side attractions apart from your big stars. Mixing them up here benefitted nobody.
Final Rating: ¼*
WWF Women’s Championship
The Fabulous Moolah (c) vs. Leilani Kai
This is late 1986. Moolah used to corner Kai during her title feud with Wendi Richter. The New Yorkers still haven’t taken to Moolah. One of the ringside fans shouts “you ain’t shit, Moolah, you ain’t shit” when she gets close. Moolah takes all the shortcuts, grabbing the hair, nose, eyes and at one point she kicks Kai in the tit. Moolah gets into a shoving match with the ref only she’s shoving him with her tits. He gets into another shoving match with Kai, showing how heel everyone is (including the ref) and Moolah wins with a roll-up. A ghastly experience for all concerned.
Final Rating: ½*
Familiar Faces in Unfamiliar Roles
This is a bizarre little segment where they play Fink’s announcements backwards and claim it’s a foreign language. That segues into Hogan training Gene Okerlund for their match. I have a perverse love of this segment. “EYE OF THE HULKSTER, BROTHER”.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Kamala
At least this is a pay-off for sitting through the two earlier Kamala matches. Kamala was pushed so hard he ended up in there with Hogan. Although, the Steamboat match was AFTER this. This is at the end of ’86 when Hogan was in the process of crushing every monster there was to set up the ultimate of monster battles with Andre. Kamala gets the horn, fnarr, fnarr, and jabs Hogan in the head with it. The weight of numbers always helps Kamala, because he’d have distraction AND interference at the same time. I’ll give it to Kamala, he doesn’t seem phased by working Hogan and just treats it as another day at the office. The downside to that being another mediocre Kamala match. Hogan recognises Kamala’s best spots too and crawls away from Kamala’s top rope splash. Kamala opts for a regular splash, which Hogan kicks out of. After that its academic. Body slam, legdrop and another monster is conquered. The sheer volume of Kamala on this tape is starting to grind me down. Thankfully, that’s your lot.
Final Rating: ¾*
Summary: Jesus Christ, it looks like they forgot to include the standard bookend matches to make some of the tape bearable. There’s very, very little to see here. Piper under a hood, a bit of Gorilla Monsoon and loads of Kamala. I’m not saying this tape has no redeeming features but if I lost it somewhere, it wouldn’t bother me.