James Dixon: Since Coliseum Home Video first started releasing WWF tapes in 1985, the staple of their catalogue had been the “Best of the WWF” series, The 90-minute tapes generally covered matches from around the time of their release, as well as a few classic bouts from the archives to introduce newer fans to the company’s history. The format worked well at first, and the series produced some sparkling tapes, but as time went on the concept grew tired and Coliseum ruined the integrity of the “brand” with its lazy match choices. By Volume #20, the series was a dead horse, with the geniuses in Video Control seemingly throwing darts at a board to determine what made the cut. By 1990, Coliseum made the decision to stop the series and start releasing their compilation tapes under different titles. Not a great deal had changed though, the match choices remained entirely random and the action often less than stellar. The Supertape series was seemingly intended to replace the Best of the WWF, and Supertape became another concept tape collection, but lasted no-where near as long. In truth, there was not a great deal of difference between the Supertapes and the plethora of other compilation releases. It was a fresh starting point for Coliseum though, and allowed them to break into the UK and European market with a new series rather than midway through a different one. Supertape would be the first of the regular series Coliseum compilation videos released under the Silver Vision banner in the United Kingdom, and all subsequent “WF” series released in the US were given UK releases as well.
Mr. Perfect vs. Ronnie Garvin
We are in Nashville, Tennessee and it is December 1989. Of all the ways to start, it is with the curse of a “fan favourites” match. Cagey start here, until Garvin unloads at speed, sending Perfect out of the ring. Back inside and we have a slugfest in the corner, which Garvin wins as he sends Perfect outside again, this time with a big uppercut. The name Ronnie Garvin usually provokes yawning from me, but this has been a decent start and Garvin has looked ok. He wasn’t a bad wrestler by any means, he was just far more suited for WCW/NWA that he was the over-the-top World Wrestling Federation. Perfect manages to get a foothold in the bout with a sleeper and a side headlock, before hitting some vicious chops and raking the eyes. Garvin retaliates in kind with chops and rakes of his own. Perfect tries to counter a back body drop with a sunset flip, but Garvin punches him and hits a splash for a two count. Garvin Stomp follows, but Perfect escapes the reverse figure four leglock by going to the eyes. The curse may be broken here, because this has been pretty exciting. Perfect’s hair has become wild, it is all fluffy like a baby! Rolling neck snap from Perfect, but Garvin gets back to his feet and they exchanges blows, before Garvin locks in a sleeper. Perfect gets his foot on the ropes at the subsequent pin attempt. Garvin continues to control the match, as he has done for the most part, hitting a back body drop. I am actually surprised at just how much of the bout Garvin has had. They have completely ignored formula and just had a contest, though it has favoured Garvin. Both men collide with shoulder blocks but Garvin recovers first with a roll up, only for Perfect to switch it into his own and catch the win. A surprisingly good match compared to what I was expecting, though not as wild as some of Perfect’s best.
Final Rating: **½
Oh for Christ sake, a profile on the Bushwhackers! I mean, WHY!? All of these superstar profiles always focus on someone completely shit. The Bushwhackers are wrestling cancer. The whole segment is also featured on the Funniest Moments tape. The gist is: the Bushwhackers throw Gene Okerland a BBQ and talk utter nonsense, then Gene turns into a Bushwhacker. They should have shot him on the spot.
The Bushwhackers vs. The Bolsheviks
This is the Bushwhackers’ WWF debut from December 1988 in MSG, which was a black day for the WWF, and indeed wrestling in general. You would be hard pressed to find two worse teams. The Bushwhackers start quickly, with their unique style amusing the commentary team. They dominate the… Oh, you know what? Screw this. I am sure none of you reading this give a damn what the Bushwhackers did in this shambles of a match. I am probably going to have to sit through three of their repetitive, wrestling-free, suspension of disbelief shattering matches. Generic “comedy” shine, tedious slow heat, blah, blah, blah. There is no need to review ANY Bushwhackers match, because they are all the same. Fast forward them, all of them. They have never had a match above bad, never mind one that is good. The Bolsheviks always lose against anyone above jobber status and they lose here. Next.
Final Rating: DUD
The Bushwhackers vs. Bad News Brown & The Brooklyn Brawler
We are in Duluth, Minnesota and it is May 1989. Brown and Brawler are a rather unusual team. Brown always hated his tag partners and walked out on them. I hope he does the same here, only as soon as the bell rings, so I don’t have to watch this. I love Brown, but Brawler is duller than dull, and obviously, my feelings on the Bushwhackers are pretty clear. I might go and inject myself with bleach, because it would be preferable to watching this. Oh look, ass-biting… I wonder what the good workers used to make of the Bushwhackers. I hope they were hated in the locker-room for being so bad. I heard the Kliq used to rip them to shreds in the 90s. I am not justifying this with play-by-play either, because there is nothing to say. Shit match, Bushwhackers win by pinning Brawler. Let’s get this over with.
Final Rating: DUD
The Bushwhackers vs. The Powers of Pain
Yippee, let’s add The Warlord to the mix to make this as bad as it possibly can be. Talk about a styles clash; these two teams do not match up at all. I mean, obviously no-one matches up with The Bushwhackers, but this just looks ridiculous. If the POP sell a single move for the midgets, I will be appalled. I am hoping Barbarian busts out one of his sick clotheslines or boots in this, to at least make this match worth watching for SOMETHING. The Bushwhackers counter power with comedy, with Butch crouching behind Barbarian as Luke pushes him over. It’s awful. Luke sizes up Warlord, concerned at his size, but he just marches around the ring and goes to the eyes. They are very much playing this for comedy. Bearhug from Warlord, but Luke counters by biting his nose. Oh yes, that age old, tried and tested counter as made popular by Lou Thesz. The Bushwhackers wouldn’t know a wrestling hold if it hit them in their gurning, toothless faces. The POP show way too much ass in this one for a monster heel team. I am amazed they agreed to this. Barbarian rams Butch into the post outside the ring, and Warlord continues the assault inside. Barbarian comes in and hits a big boot to the face, and Luke’s attempts to save his cousin result in double teaming from the POP. Barbarian misses an elbow from the middle rope and Luke gets the hot tag, and uses his “innovative” offense to fire up on the Warlord. The Bushwhackers hit the battering ram on both guys, which causes Mr. Fuji to come in and then attack with his cane. This results in a DQ and a win for the Bushwhackers. Jesus, what was wrong with the WWF? Alfred Hayes is confused about the result, because he is a moron. He could have been a Bushwhacker; he has the intellect for it.
Final Rating: DUD
“Call of the Action” with the Rockers, which is a staple of the Supertape series. For those who have not seen it before, it is Lord Alfred Hayes naming and describing moves, usually wrongly. Until Mike Adamle and then later Michael Cole came along, no-one was as inept as Hayes.
Rick Rude vs. Tito Santana
We move on with this match from Boston Garden in February 1989, and what a change of pace this should be. Two superb workers, who when motivated were among the best the WWF had. Hopefully they can erase the bad taste the Bushwhackers have left. Test of strength to start, which Rude wins at first, before Tito turns it around and then stamps on his hand. Tito wants to go again and mocks Rude by copying his pose, before kicking him in the gut and putting on a headlock. Santana tries to fight out with a top wristlock, but Rude reapplies the pressure. It is slow early on, suggesting they are going to go a while, but already there has been more wrestling than in any of those Bushwhackers matches. Santana escapes and sends Rude hard into the buckles three times, before putting on a Camel Clutch. Rude gets out by getting his knees up as Santana goes to jump on his back, and then hits a big inverted atomic drop to take control of the bout. Punches keep Santana down, and he goes to a chinlock. This has been mildly dissappointing thus far. Santana has lacked his usual fire and Rude has been quite happy to sit in rest holds. It has been a very deliberate pace, but it could have been far more. Rude comes off the top with an axe handle after a brief Tito fight back, and then slams his head into the buckles, before going to town with forearms to the head. He gets caught going for a backbody drop, as Tito slams his head into the mat, but Rude gets his knees up to prevent a splash and he pays Santana back for earlier by stamping on his hand. Suplex attempt by Rude is blocked and then reversed by Tito, but Rude is up first. He tries a slam, but his back is too weak from the Camel Clutch earlier and the suplex, and he gets caught with an inverted atomic drop. Nice selling and good psychology. The match has been technically sound and a good contest, just too slow. Hopefully it will pick up a bit for the finishing sequence. Santana rings Rude’s bell and puts on a figure four leglock, but Rude quickly reaches the ropes. They have a quick brawl on the outside, then Santana tries to sunset flip back in, only for Rude to drop and hold onto the ropes for the win. That is a shame. They paced themselves to do thirty minutes, but they only actually did fifteen or so. Nice to see a long match with a finish on one of these tapes, just a pity it was a letdown. Again, not terrible or anything, just a little dull because of the pacing.
Final Rating: **
Jake Roberts vs. Ted DiBiase
One of many matches between these two, this from MSG in April 1989. This was a full year before their match at WrestleMania VI. We must have seen at least four or five matches between these two. They vary wildly in quality, depending on the venue and their motivation. With this being at MSG, I expect it will be pretty long but with plenty of effort. Jake gets the better of the early exchanges and backs DiBiase into the corner with a flurry of punches. It is the corner where Damien is, and DiBiase soon jumps out of the ring when he realises. Racist bigot Hayes questions where an Asian photographer at ringside is from, speculating that it could be “Spain” before going onto talk tediously, like a doddery uncle, about all the different photographers at ringside. Yeah, beauty! Shut up Hayes you goon! DiBiase tries frustrating Jake, to counter his dominance of the bout so far, but Jake responds to that with a knee lift, before going for the DDT. DiBiase for the third or fourth time, bails to the outside to regroup. Jake gets sick of this and follows him out, giving DiBiase and Virgil the noggin knocker. Virgil tries to distract Jake but it doesn’t work, as he catches DiBiase coming up behind him. Jake still targets Virgil, and when he rolls inside DiBiase catches him and takes over. Jake has looked good in this. A bad Jake Roberts match is hard to sit through, and it is usually when he couldn’t be bothered, or one can assume was still wasted from the night before. In this he has been aggressive, bumped hard and has shown real intensity, and it has made for a decent match. DiBiase locks on the chinlock, but Jake fights out with an armdrag, only to get caught with a punch in the face. DiBiase goes back to the hold and things have slowed right down now. It is MSG syndrome. The guys were doing long matches so they had to slow them down to pace themselves, it just doesn’t translate well on tape. As we have said before; just because a match is long doesn’t make it better. Million Dollar Dream from DiBiase, but Jake reaches the ropes. DiBiase tries the chinlock again, but Jake has it scouted and hits a jawbreaker to get out. Jake fires back with punches and hits the short arm clothesline to the delight of the crowd, who call for the DDT. Jake goes for it, but DiBiase backs him into the ropes, and Virgil’s distraction again costs Jake, as DiBiase clubs him in the back. DiBiase wastes time showboating, and Jake full moons him and rolls him up to get the win. Another clean win! On the better side of the scale as far as matches between these two, but the long rest hold periods ruined it a little.
Final Rating: **¼
We go to an awful segment, as a bunch of inbred marks ramble on about the WWF and specifically Warrior and Hogan. One kid says that they are both good wrestlers. Little jerk. One cool guy cuts a promo into the camera, and the majority of the rest of the Universe shouts loudly about little of note. Unassuming lot, these wrestling fans.
Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Tugboat Thomas
This was Tugboat’s debut in the WWF, though he soon dropped the “Thomas” from the end of his name. This took place in January 1990, from Birmingham, Alabama. It’s another dark day in the history of the WWF. We have been lucky enough to witness the debuts of two of the worst acts in WWF history on this tape. Nothing is as bad as the Bushwhackers. Except Tugboat. The fat moron looks confused when Sharpe tries to slam him, almost like he has never seen a slam before, and he just thinks Sharpe is trying to caress his cock. He later proves that he has no issues with such things, as made evident by the look of delight he flashes to the crowd before hitting the jumping blowjob headbutt. As has been discussed elsewhere in these books, Sharpe is LOUD in the ring. Comically so. Tugboat wins with a splash. At least it was short.
Final Rating: DUD
Steel Cage Match
Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake vs. Randy Savage & Zeus
Sorry, but no. I have sat through three Bushwhackers matches, the debut of Tugboat and some gash segments. I am not watching a cage match featuring Zeus and Beefcake. Someone else can suffer through this. Here is Furious to take the reins: To differentiate this from SummerSlam, it’s a blue bar steel cage match. You’d think that’d stop Sherri from interfering but she slams the door on Hogan as he’s getting in, allowing the heels to give Beefcake a vicious beat down. She also locks the cage door as an insurance policy so Hogan has to climb in. You know the drill with Zeus by this point, but during this match he actually sells quite a lot, which shows you it’s the end of the road for him. Much like at SummerSlam, Sherri tries to interfere throughout, which leads to decent spots. The blue bar cage did allow a surprising amount of outside interference because of how massive the holes in it were. Savage orchestrates the beating on the faces and a double escape. Sadly, because of the insistence that Zeus sell in this match, the situation leads to a lengthy double down. Well, quadruple down. Sherri slips a chain in and Savage uses it for an epic top of cage axe handle but Beefcake just sidesteps it. Meanwhile Hogan has given up on Zeus getting special treatment. There’s no fear in his eyes and he goes right after Zeus. Beefcake climbs out and drags Savage out to prevent a 2-on-1, thus leaving it as Hogan vs. Zeus for the win. Interesting that Savage bleeds all over the place, mainly because of the lack of attention being paid to it. Like Vince wanted to sweep that bloodshed under the rug. Blade jobs were not allowed at the time but that might be a hardway cut. Though, Savage was pretty pissed off with the WWF at the time so he might have done it on purpose. Either way, the bloodied Savage is no longer an issue in the match so Hogan legdrops Zeus four times for the win. This wasn’t anywhere near as good as SummerSlam. Savage’s motivation levels weren’t the same anymore, while Zeus’ character had been cut off at the knees. Tiny Lister continued his wrestling career by appearing in WCW in the mid-90s, again opposing Hulkamania, this time under the name “Ze-Gangsta”. He never appeared in the WWF again. Tiny’s acting career was more successful with him starring in Friday as neighbourhood bully “Deebo”. A real scene stealing turn. He also appeared as the Galactic President in Luc Besson’s the Fifth Element and got to be in the Dark Knight. So, I guess his acting career trumps Hogan’s in terms of memorable roles. I suppose we can be grateful, looking at the big picture, as if No Holds Barred was a hit we might have gotten Hogan-Zeus as the main event at WrestleMania VI. Although that scenario could have played out an interesting way with Savage going over Hogan between now and ‘Mania and Warrior winning the belt off him instead. Of course No Holds Barred didn’t hold up its end of the bargain and the rest is history.
Final Rating: *
Summary: Well, it is one of the all-time worst WWF tapes available. The best match is only ok, and, the other two watchable ones are overly long for what they offer. The cage match is a letdown, but probably too short to offend. However, there is plenty of objectionable material elsewhere, and the main culprits are of course the Bushwhackers. You would be better using this tape as a doorstop than putting it in your VCR.