#WF054 – The Women Of The WWF

James Dixon: So, this tape covers exclusively the rarely seen women of the WWF, who were more prominent in the 80s than they were in the early 90s, when women’s wrestling in the company fell off the map completely. While far from a golden era for female performers, they were at least given the chance to go out and work, rather than being reduced to jerk off material for horny teen fans. At times this resulted in some incredibly rewarding matches, especially when the ahead of their time Jumping Bomb Angels were competing. Let’s see if this tape shows the women in a positive light, or if it is simply nostalgia that makes the division seem better than it was.

 

WWF Women’s Championship
Wendi Richter (c) vs. Spider Lady
This is a very famous match, but it has already been covered by Arnold Furious in the Best of the WWF Volume #5 tape. Here is the review: Spider Lady is Moolah in a hood but Wendi doesn’t know that. Before the match Vince McMahon stuck a contract in front of Wendi and told her to sign it. She refused, because she hadn’t read it, and promised to look it over when the match was finished. Famous last words. Moolah goes out of her way to make Wendi’s moves look like shit, and frequently goes for pins where it looks like she’s holding Wendi down. The final one, where Wendi kicks out way before 3, the ref counts anyway. They called this the “Original Screwjob” on account of Vince doing almost exactly the same thing to Bret Hart, over a decade later. Wendi tries to carry on and tears off Moolah’s mask. Moolah doesn’t have the common sense to leave after screwing Wendi, so gets TATTOOED with the belt for her troubles. Which is why Shawn Michaels did a runner in 1997. You have to feel bad for Wendi, Vince McMahon made an example of her. She was so distraught she walked out of the building and practically out of wrestling. She worked the territories for a while and popped up in the AWA. Eventually she and the WWF ironed out their grievances and she went into the WWF Hall of Fame in 2010.
Final Rating: *

 

WWF Women’s Championship
The Fabulous Moolah (c) vs. Debbie Combs
This is from May 1987 at MSG. Combs looks like a dumb blonde, but she is far from a joke Barbie-doll non-worker like Kelly Kelly. She doesn’t look like she is “playing” wrestling, she looks like she is competing, which can be said for the majority of the women on this tape I would say. Combs gets a lot of the match, throwing Moolah around with a series of slingshots, leading Moolah to bail to the outside. Moolah comes back with a shoulder to the gut and she stomps and kicks away at Combs. Watching Moolah from this era is like watching an angry granny who has just lost at bingo, taking it out on the first attractive blond she bumps into outside the local takeaway.  Combs comes back with a monkey flip, but Moolah just punches away to come back. She gets a foreign object from her tights, but hides it in her mouth when the ref comes to check her. She uses it twice on Combs, before throwing her hard outside the ring. That was a nasty bump, she smashed the apron when she fell out. Combs takes a beating on the outside, but back inside she manages a pair of monkey flips, only to get stopped with a forearm to the chest. Moolah clubs away again and stomps Combs’ knees into the mat. Moolah locks on the Boston Crab, but Combs powers her off and out of the ring, then slams her on the concrete and atomic drops her into the ring post. Combs makes it back to the ring before Moolah, and wins the match via count out. At the time, that would be considered a huge upset, even though it was just a count out win. Combs was pretty decent, they probably should have put the belt on her. She ended up bouncing around the NWA and AWA, before returning to the WWF in 1994 and working then WWF Women’s champion Alundra Blayze. She was actually supposed to work Blayze at WrestleMania X, but it got changed to Leilani Kai. After a brief appearance in WCW, circa 1997, she faded away from the business. This was perfectly acceptable wrestling, and I won’t use the derogatory term “for a women’s match”, because that is unfair.
Final Rating:

 

WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Glamour Girls (c) vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels
We stay in MSG, though we move forward to November 1987. These two teams had a long feud after this, working each other in some very well received matches up and down the country. They were well-received for a reason, they were usually superb. They have a belter on the High Flyers tape and a really good bout at Royal Rumble 88 as well. Frying pan to start from Kai, but Yamazaki explodes into action in response with dropkicks, monkey flips and armdrags. Tateno tags in and does much the same, they are genuinely too fast to keep up with. The two are both pocked dynamite and the pace of this has been incredible. The MSG crowd is well into it. Judy Martin comes in and fares a little better, hitting a big slam on Yamazaki. They run a quick, smooth sequence which ends in a monkey flip getting switched into a sunset flip, and Martin bails to the outside. The JBA have been completely in control because the Glamour Girls can’t do a move on them; they have counters for everything. Martin and Kai don’t get enough credit for these matches actually, because they bump around all over the place for the JBA, and they have to do it at a rip-roaring pace as well, so their conditioning deserves some plaudits too. This has not disappointed so far at all, it has been blistering. Yamazaki misses a senton, and a hair toss halfway across the ring is followed by kicks and chokes and then double teaming from the Glams. We get a visual win for the Angels from a sunset flip, but the referee was distracted by Martin. Yamazaki gets slowed again, as the Glamour Girls cut the ring in half, slowing things right down with chinlocks. Yamazaki fires back with a high cross body, but Martin stays on top and they GG keep the quick tags coming. For all the pace has slowed, they are still doing plenty to keep things interesting, cheating behind the referees back and throwing in numerous hope and false spots, which all serve to elevate the enjoyment. Yamazaki makes a hot tag, but the ref is distracted, and the MSG crowd are pissed. When you can get New York into your matches when they barely really know who you are, you are good. Martin puts on a Sharpshooter (!) but Tateno breaks it up. Yamazaki manages to hit a sunset flip, but is prevented from making the tag by a kick to the face. She bridges impressively out of a few pin attempts, and a GG double team goes wrong, allowing the hot tag to Tateno. She hits a crossbody on both and then fires up on the GG with dropkicks and flying clotheslines. Tateno goes to the middle and hits a flying clothesline for two, and everything breaks down. Dozy doe from the JBA after a whip but they miss a double dropkick, only to recover and fire the GG into each other. JBA hit an incredible, flawlessly executed double dropkick from the top, but the referee is distracted and we get another visual win. With the ref again tied up, Martin hits a powerbomb on Tateno, and Kai covers her to win the match. The JBA, unhappy with the miscarriage of justice, attack the Girls after the match and then beat up Jimmy Hart as well. A hot crowd, a clean finish and some superb fast-paced wrestling, which made sense and told a story from the get go. What more can you ask for? Better than the majority of male matches you will see in this or any other era of the WWF. Superb.
Final Rating: ****¼

 

2 out of 3 Falls
WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Glamour Girls (c) vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels
We hand over to Arnold Furious, who has covered this match as part of the Royal Rumble ‘88 show: JBA got themselves over at Survivor Series. The belts are largely meaningless. The Glamour Girls are wrestling’s past going up against its future, in the form of the JBA. Glamour Girls are smart enough to know all they need to do is back bump everything that comes at them. Seeing as no one else, bar Sherri, seemed to know how to work with them, they figure they’ll get repeat matches. The weird thing is that Vince McMahon went for the JBA back in 1987 when he showed little interest in the Japanese men’s scene or lucha libre for that matter, and didn’t for years to come. He tended to stick more to the North American style and mostly the kicking and punching version of that. So it’s weird they even tried this. Glamour Girls take the first fall to stack the odds a bit and make the outcome less predictable. It has to be worth noting that Vince McMahon couldn’t tell the difference between the “pink” and “red” Angel, but after an ad break, he’s got the names. Embarrassed on live TV? JBA level it up when Tateno counters the release powerbomb that won fall one, which I love because it shows she learned from taking it the first time. Shame they make a bit of a mess of it. Tateno busts out an Enzuigiri. Vince has actually switched names on the girls since the second fall. Nice to see the Glamour Girls learned from Survivor Series as they now use the butterfly suplex, as if the JBA’s arrival had opened their eyes to a bigger world of moves available to the ladies. JBA were doing things they hadn’t thought of. The bridging moves were a trademark, but the flying was different too. Sure, they had Velvet McIntyre but Velvet just didn’t have the same standard of execution. JBA finish with stereo missile dropkicks for the titles. This was important for two reasons. 1. Vince didn’t have to know you in order for you to get over. 2. If women could get over by just wrestling and doing spots, then so could men. The sad thing is that despite being taught so much by their very presence, Vince didn’t have much interest in pushing the JBA long term. They made it through to the summer before jobbing the meaningless belts back to the Glamour Girls and returning to Japan.
Final Rating: ***½

 

WWF Women’s Championship
The Fabulous Moolah (c) vs. Sherri Martel
This match is also on the Best of the WWF Volume #15 tape, which was just two releases ago. Why put it on again? It’s a horrible match. Yes, it is an historic title change, but still. Coliseum didn’t give a damn about the collectors at all, they just recycled any old match over and over again. Moolah was in her seventh reign as WWF Women’s champion, and this reign had lasted just over a year when this match took place. She holds the record title reign, almost certain never to be broken, of ten years with the belt back in the 50s. Cumulatively she has held the title for an incredible 28 years. No doubt was a legendary women’s champion, but by this stage she was long past her best in the ring and was in her 60s here. The action is very different from anything you would see from the WWE Divas, they just wrestle and working holds. Moolah completely dominates, with her experience and strength advantage giving her a definite edge. Sherri finally gets some offence by bringing Moolah into the ring the hard way, and gives her two slingshots to the mat. It’s a shitty looking move. This match has hardly set the world on fire. Some of Sherri’s movement, coordination and timing has been very poor. She actually looks older here than she did five years later too. Sherri slams Moolah on the concrete floor outside the ring, but Moolah pops up and instantly returns the favour. That was right out of the Hulk Hogan book of selling! She literally got straight back up and acted like it didn’t happen. This has been very boring and lacking in any sort of structure, but thankfully it is almost over. Moolah goes to slam Sherri back in the ring, but she rolls through into a pin and gets the win and the title, thus ending Moolah’s reign. It wouldn’t be her last though, as she would go onto win the strap for an eighth and final time at No Mercy in 1999, twelve years later and at the age of 76. For all the outcome of this match is popular with the crowd, the action was still the pits. A really dreadful match.
Final Rating: DUD

 

WWF Women’s Championship
Sherri Martel (c) vs. The Fabulous Moolah
This is a rematch from a month later, in the same city. Bruce Prichard, Pete friggin’ Doherty and Mike McGuirk are the commentators. Sherri is wearing a weird outfit, which appears to be a thong over the top of her trousers. By the way, this could be a 5* match and it would still be ruined, because Doherty is UNBEARABLE. If you have never heard him commentate, you are lucky. It is so bad it is genuinely cringe-worthy. He sounds like an utter cunt. A gravel voiced, half-retarded hybrid of the Captain from the Simpsons, a pirate and a cement mixer. Sherri and Moolah are both pretty much heels here now for some reason, so the crowd doesn’t care about this one bit. You could hear a cricket taking a shit. The fact that it is boring doesn’t help, though it is better than the last match. The finish is dire, it is the old “prod” from the Worms games. Sherri shoves Moolah down from in the corner, and covers her for the win. Jesus. Prichard calls it a forearm, but then, Prichard is an idiot.
Final Rating: ¼*

 

WWF Women’s Championship
Sensational Sherri (c) vs. Desiree Petersen
We fast forward a year to April 1988, and Sherri is now “Sensational”. We are back at the Garden for this last match of the tape. We have really gone downhill from the Angels-Glamour matches. Sherri was a superb manager, but a pretty shoddy wrestler. For those unaware of who Petersen is: she was a Danish wrestler trained by the Fabulous Moolah, and she actually had a fairly noteworthy career in the WWF in the mid-80s. She co-held the Women’s tag titles with Velvet McIntyre, and worked all the top names at the time. She featured on the TNT show and even did an interview with Vince McMahon, which focused on her major feud with Judy Martin. She left the WWF in 1985 but returned in 1988 for this run with Sherri. Desiree with a crossbody to start and she goes to the arm, only for Sherri to escape when she gets a handful of hair. Back body drop and a slam only gets a one count for Desiree, so she goes back to the arm this time with a wristlock, and they are doing some nice wrestling here. The thing is, the men were sometimes scared of working holds and exchanging solid technical wrestling for fear of crowd silence, but the women perhaps expected that anyway, so just worked. Sherri is figuratively showing a lot of ass considering she is the champion. She has took a bit of a pasting here. Sherri looks to mount some offense, but Peterson catches a monkey flip and slams Sherri, who gets her foot on the ropes to escape the pinfall. Sherri catches Desiree with a tackle and rams her head into the buckles, and slingshots her with the ropes. Sherri throws Petersen hard to the outside, but once back in, Petersen takes over again and splashes Sherri in the corner. A hair assisted face plant from Sherri out of nowhere is enough for the pin and she retains her title. Disjointed structurally, but the execution of everything was pretty good. Once again, perfectly acceptable wrestling.
Final Rating:

 

Summary: The Jumping Bomb Angels and the Glamour Girls were undoubtedly the stars of the women’s division, and indeed they are the stars of this tape too. Both of their matches are long forgotten in the annals of time, but they are classics in their own right, and among the very best women’s matches that the WWF has ever put on. The rest of the tape is inoffensive and at times quite fun, making it better overall than a lot of what the WWF released around the same time. Worth seeing for the two tag matches, and for that it comes recommended.
Verdict: 51

One thought on “#WF054 – The Women Of The WWF

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s