#WF044 – Best Of The WWF Volume #13

Arnold Furious: Host for this one is Craig DeGeorge. He’s joined by Johnny V, who is sporting a pink doo-rag, and Bobby Heenan, who looks horrified to be here. They run down the contents of the video and Johnny V looks higher than hell. His eyes are covered by sunglasses to prevent us from seeing the madness written on his soul.

 

Hulk Hogan & Koko B. Ware vs. Kamala & The Honky Tonk Man
This is one of Coliseum’s famous dark matches. Heenan starts into Koko by claiming his bird is a pigeon and his mom was called Tuppa. Sadly he doesn’t get to commentate throughout. It’s a match of two halves. When Kamala is in there it’s awful, when HTM is in there it’s good, mainly because Kamala insists on employing the same style of selling that Honky does. That’s really not his game. Jake Roberts strolls down with Damien to freak out Kamala some more. Surely he’s used to snakes, what with him being a Ugandan savage. Koko eats the heat, as you’d expect, and it’s a thoroughly dull but over section of the match. Kamala does an amazing big boot though. He just straight boots Koko in the face. It’s beautiful. Eat it, Urkel! Hot tag to Hogan and he legdrops Kamala shortly afterwards for the win. The heat was painfully long for what was a foregone conclusion.
Final Rating:

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Ricky Steamboat (c) vs. The Honky Tonk Man
This is a result no one saw coming. Steamboat had taken the title off Randy Savage at WrestleMania and many people were expecting a long reign. Comparatively Honky was a bit of a joke but he had scored a big win over Jake Roberts at WrestleMania III. Most people looked at this as a cakewalk. Steamboat is on fire to start with and makes short work of Jimmy Hart when he tries to interfere too. He seems to have everything in hand. Steamboat evades the Shake, Rattle & Roll before the heels collide. It looks over, but Honky scores a pin using the ropes out of nowhere, for the win and the belt. Extremely energetic little title match. If only Steamboat had been able to carry on as IC champion. He could have had mini-classics with every heel on the roster.
Final Rating: **½

 

WWF Women’s Championship
The Fabulous Moolah (c) vs. Debbie Combs
This also features on the Women Of The WWF tape which is covered by James Dixon elsewhere in this book. Moolah has to explain the rules to the ref because she wrote them back in odd five. Combs is half Moolah’s age. If you’ve seen one Moolah title defence from the late 80s, before jobbing to Sherri, you’ve seen them all. People forget that even after the Richter screwjob, Moolah had another two year title run. Moolah basically mangles Combs at a slow pace. Combs doesn’t have anything interesting to come back with, and sits in a body scissors instead. Moolah runs the hidden object shtick, which is starting to pop up multiple times on these tape releases. Lord Alfred calls Moolah “middle-aged”. How old does he expect her to live? 126? It’s a sad indictment of women’s wrestling in the 80s that no one could unseat Moolah as the top women’s star for the majority of the decade, despite her almost being of pensionable age. They end up fighting on the floor and Moolah gets counted out. Moolah’s matches in the ’85-’87 phase were so similar that they didn’t need to put so many of them on tape releases. Debbie Combs, like an idiot, celebrates with the belt she hasn’t won.
Final Rating: ½*

 

WWF Women’s Championship
The Fabulous Moolah (c) vs. Joyce Grable
This is from way back in 1975 and Moolah STILL looks ancient. Coliseum would have presented a match from when Moolah actually looked young, but that was before video was invented. Moolah is more vibrant in the 70s, hitting harder chops, managing slingshots and more energetic bumps. Putting a Grable match on here kinda ties together with the era, as Grable trained and partnered Wendi Richter, who was Moolah’s big adversary during Rock N’ Wrestling. They have a terrific finish where Grable goes for a slam and Moolah counters it into an inside cradle for the pin. It was better than it sounded.
Final Rating:

 

Halloween Treats
Roddy Piper prepares for Halloween and the vicious assaults he has planned for the local children (bowling balls, bricks wrapped in tin foil). Piper comes off as a psychopath during the segment, at one point throwing a modified spear at a “giraffe” he sees off camera. Trick or treaters come calling and Piper steals all their stuff. Turns out the kids burned him with chocolate covered peppers. Vince McMahon suitably ruins the gag by laughing at it like it’s the funniest thing he’s ever seen.

 

Demolition vs. The Islanders
Haku’s personality has disappeared so we must be into 1987. This is a back and forth contest that the Islanders boss with speed, until Demolition take over with power. The match is so bland that Gorilla and Heenan spend a lot of it talking about Andre’s heel turn. I know it was a big deal at the time, but it’s very rare to see WWF commentators from that era not talking about the match that’s in front of them. Haku almost makes up for his lack of personality by developing a new one; big brother to poor little Tama. So when Demolition inevitably single Tama out for abuse, there’s Haku to try and protect him. It’s a lot like Kobashi’s relationship with Kikuchi. The relationship they have causes the tag to be hot. Based on the actual wrestling it wouldn’t have been. Its cool they could get their “family” closeness over with the crowd so they could sense it. I put family in quote marks because its implied they’re related. Haku is from Tonga but Tama is one of the Samoan family clan and is related to every other Islander in the business. Tama tags back in and gets picked off, as the Demolition Decapitation finishes. It took a while to get the personalities involved over but once they did the match got good.
Final Rating: **

 

The Islanders vs. The Young Stallions
The Islanders have turned heel since the last match, and this is about four months later. Bobby Heenan has taken over their management services. They felt they had to turn Haku heel because he scared kids. I honestly thought his face run was pretty solid in ’86 though. Tama wasn’t really suited to being a heel. After all, his name means “boy”. He was just Haku’s ‘baby bro’. Turning him heel would only work if he was completely obnoxious, like say Owen Hart, but because they’ve retained the Islanders as a team he’s had to switch too. The Stallions were essentially jobbers at the time, having been put together to have a team to lose to established teams. Neither Roma nor Powers had much potential beyond that, although Roma seemed to think otherwise. The Islanders are even less interesting as heels because they no longer have a dynamic and thus come across as generic. Given that Haku was fun against John Studd, you’d think he’d be able to work something decent with the Stallions. He just doesn’t work hard. It’s frustrating. Tama splashes Roma for the win. There was nothing technically wrong with this match, but it sure was boring.
Final Rating:

 

Bret Hart vs. Raymond Rougeau
This is from October 1986 so Ray is the face, which is just completely backwards. It is Bret’s first televised singles main event though, so it’s a landmark match for him and he’s out to prove he belongs. They do some mirror stuff with Ray hitting a monkey flip and then stamping on Bret when he tries the same. Bret hooks a chinlock and the MSG crowd get irritated. Ray doesn’t have much crowd support for a face, which is how the Rougeaus ended up with a more entertaining ‘All American boys’ heel gimmick. Bret takes an exclamation mark bump off a piledriver but that doesn’t get the pin. Ray gets frustrated and pounds away on Bret in the corner, but Bret hooks both legs and gets his feet on the ropes for the pin. With the heel/face alignment reversed, this could have been a good match. A bit short and Bret ate up a little too much time with rest holds for such a brief encounter.
Final Rating: **

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Randy Savage (c) vs. Tito Santana
This comes from the tail end of 1986 and a hot feud that features on other tapes. Savage had stolen the belt off Tito with an illegal foreign object shot. DeGeorge lays claim to this being another dark match exclusive to Coliseum Video. Unfortunately that means DeGeorge has re-recorded commentary BY HIMSELF. It’s pretty bad. He does coin the term “Nacho Man” though. Savage spends ages stalling, even by his standards. When the action gets underway Tito gives Savage an ass-kicking but he’s not ruthless and keeps giving Randy time to recover, which is why he’s not champion anymore. As soon as Savage gets the opening, he nails Tito in the neck three times. That finally gets Tito’s dander up and the match gets more competitive. Savage goes after the neck to block the Figure Four and just generally acts like a dick. Savage uses Liz as a screen, which he’s done to Tito before so he never learns, and hops back into the ring to beat the count. Santana loses. Plenty of effort from both men but the finish was incredibly cheap. Especially as they did the same one before the title switch. The Savage-Santana feud was one of the WWF’s hottest during the 80s and generally Savage produced quality feuds with everyone he ran into.
Final Rating: **½

 

Summary: A fairly tame compilation by ‘Best Of’ standards. It’s lacking the big snowflake heavy match. Steamboat’s title switch is a good match but its really short. Likewise Savage vs. Santana. They’ve had better bouts elsewhere. The rest of the tape drags, with two Moolah matches and later two Islanders matches. There’s just no call for that. I get the feeling they were now churning out the ‘Best Of’ tapes with no real rhyme or reason to them.
Verdict: 38

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