James Dixon: In the UK this tape was released as World Tour 89/90 and features a rather imposing picture of the Ultimate Warrior gurning on the cover.
Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Boris Zhukov
Superfly Jimmy Snuka is the subject of this tape’s “superstar profile”, and the “WWF World Tour” starts in… New York. What a horrible looking bout to begin with, I mean, talk about a thrown together match-up. Zhukov is nothing but a glorified jobber. It is stunning how much he moves and looks like Hornswoggle. His offence is appalling too, it is so very slow and weak. Like, kayfabe killingly weak. Even Alfred Hayes on commentary mocks Zhukov’s piss-weak offence, saying how he barely connects with a boot attempt. Outside of the fake looking moves, this match is just one long interminable chinlock. Even the commentators are bored and just focus on Jimmy Hart’s colourful shoes. Why is Zhukov sweating so much? All he has done is a chinlock. And good lord, that constant hissing noise he makes before and during every move, is just unbearable. Get this rubbish off the screen. Snuka mounts a comeback and hits the Superfly Splash for the win. Finally! Who booked this shit? What was the purpose of this match? Tedious.
Final Rating: DUD
Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. The Honky Tonk Man
We are in New York again, this time at Madison Square Garden in September 1989. It is quite the tour of the world this! I can’t take another Snuka match. He might have been over in the early 80s but he was the shits by the end of the decade. Honky is hardly a great worker either. Still, it can’t be worse than the last match. Snuka has a lot of history in this arena and thus is very popular with the MSG crowd. I am trying to remember what the last great or even good Snuka match that I watched was. I am drawing a blank. Even his bigger matches were spectacle over action really. Ok, so this is boring too. It’s a slow heat section again, and the crowd is practically silent, they don’t want to see this anymore either. There are some people who say that if Hogan had not been given the mega-push, then Vince would have gone with Snuka and it would have worked the same. Not a chance. While Hogan was repetitive in the ring, at least he was never boring. Snuka is just dull, though his opponents haven’t helped. Snuka puts me out of my misery with a headbutt from the top. It looked like he was going for the Superfly Splash, but he went up the wrong buckle and had to do the headbutt instead because the positioning was all wrong. How is that even possible? He only does it every single match! Slow and boring again; this is a dreadful tape so far.
Final Rating: ¼*
Bret Hart vs. Dino Bravo
This is from London, England at the London Arena in October 1989 and is billed as a “fan favourites” match. It was broadcast on Sky One in the UK at the time. Dino Bravo has got to be one of the worst possible opponents you could match Hart with in order to get the best out of him. The big lummox nearly has an embolism in his pre-match promo. The crowd is huge and insanely hot for Bret though. They react to every move he does like they are at a soccer match; they are rabid. I have just noticed that this is three matches in a row that we have had to suffer Jimmy Hart and his megaphone. Both his charges have lost so far, and hopefully it will be three for three here, but knowing how Vince books, the big guy will go over. Don’t get me wrong, Jimmy was great on his day, but by the late 80s he was outliving his usefulness because he was saddled with every useless lunk on the roster. It dragged him down. Bret gets a lot of the match until the inevitable methodical clubbing Bravo heat. We then get the usual Bret-Bravo spot, as Bravo charges him from the apron into the guardrail. That same spot broke his sternum in a different match between the two, as he discussed in Wrestling With Shadows. Bravo goes to rest holds because that is all he had. This tape could be renamed “Restock Tour 89/90”. After a Bret comeback, Bravo switches on the O’Connor roll to score the entirely predictable pin. What a surprise, huh? At over fifteen minutes, that went on far too long, and the pace was generally slow when Bravo was in control, which was much of the match. One of the poorer Bret Hart matches you will see.
Final Rating: *
There is a feature on various landmarks from across Europe, presented by Lord Alfred Hayes. I appreciate it’s supposed to be a tour and all, but is there a point to this? Of course there isn’t, it is just an excuse for Hayes to waffle on about nothing. Oh look, there is La Louvre. Great! In London, Hayes talks about how “the Union Jack, the flag of England” is flying high. He should be ashamed.
The Rockers vs. The Fabulous Rougeaus
This comes from Paris, France and is from three days after the previous match. It is a Coliseum exclusive. At least we are actually leaving New York now, but Jimmy Hart is here AGAIN. Was he just managing the whole damn roster? He even gets a promo before the match talking about Earthquake. Just go away, Jimmy! Sean Mooney, presenting in the studio, loses this tape some points by saying “these two teams can’t wait to ESCARGOT at it.” Lame, awful. This arena is superb though, as is the pink haired girl who randomly walks in front of the guys coming to the ring with a sign saying their names on it. How incredibly bizarre. As usual in Paris, the camera angles are very odd, with the hard camera behind the post and one right up close in the ring. Gorilla and Hayes get distracted harking back to the good old days when they used to wrestle in Paris, and Gorilla expresses his delight that the promoter of one of the old venues is dead. Well, that’s nice isn’t it!? They are pretty much completely ignoring the match and have been for the duration, which is all Rockers for the first five minutes, and has been contested at a decent pace. Jannetty and Shawn enjoy riling Jacques by making cheeky false tags behind the referees back. They do a cute spot where Jannetty lets Ray get to his corner, but Jacques is way out of position arguing with the ref. He runs back to make the tag, but Jannetty pulls him back away. So, this is a comedy match, wholly dominated by the Rockers. Not what I was expecting at all. The Rougeaus finally catch a break on Michaels, and now they bend and break the rules, doing a few false tags and double teams of their own. We settle into formula, and this has been an international house show match if ever there was one. It always seems to be in Paris, because I saw Hogan and Savage do the exact same thing here; they just phoned it in. This is not bad, but it is far from either team going at full pelt. They have barely done anything in terms of moves. Jannetty gets the hot tag, and he is the proverbial house of fire. Jannetty has the match won with a backslide, but Ray is distracting the referee. Hart trips Jannetty and Jacques hits a piledriver, but the ref is busy admonishing Hart, so Michaels comes in and quickly hits a piledriver of his own on Jacques, rolling Jannetty on top for the win. It’s another long match, that would have been better if it was shorter. I know I usually complain when things only go five minutes, but the last two matches have been long without warranting it. Not a bad match, but not a patch on either team’s best work.
Final Rating: **
The Ultimate Warrior (c) vs. Ted DiBiase
We are in Tokyo, Japan in April 1990, just a few days after Warrior’s title victory over Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI. I am curious to see how the Japanese crowd reacts to Warrior. These two have had pretty good matches in the past, and DiBiase usually carries him pretty well. It is certainly a unique looking show, and it almost feels like an All-Japan event. In a curious side-note, Virgil is not at ringside because of a ruling by the “Tokyo commission”, according to Vince. The crowd actually does pop DiBiase just as much as they do Warrior. I guess they respect his in-ring ability, as they should! They go positively mental when he hits a suplex. How curious. This is fairly good, and ironically would have been better if it was a little longer. For the finish, Warrior gets up from a piledriver Hawk-style and hits a bunch of clotheslines, before the big splash to the back wins it for him. It was a strange one in many ways, with the Warrior not doing his usual comeback and the crowd responding really strangely throughout. Alright, but not much too it, and they have had much better matches.
Final Rating: **
King Duggan vs. The Honky Tonk Man
This is from the same London show as the Bravo-Hart match earlier on in the tape. This show has a bit of a curiosity about it: Savage beat Duggan to win the crown at the Superstars taping on August 30th, but the footage of the ending of the match didn’t air until September 23rd, and Savage was officially crowned in a ceremony on September 30th. What’s interesting about that is the Dockland’s Arena card was held on October 10th, but in the UK, WWF TV at that point was something like six weeks behind the States. Since news didn’t travel so much in the those days, Duggan was still the King on the TV tapings that were airing in the UK, so he worked the European tour using the King gimmick instead of Savage. I am curious about how the crowd will react to him, being that his gimmick is a xenophobic American? Hopefully, with hatred. I mean, why would the thick slobbering goof bring the US flag to ringside when he is in the UK? Oh how dissappointing, they are chanting “USA”! Schiavone thinks that is a great moment in WWF history! Had the whole world gone mad in 1989? I hate Duggan. Most retarded character in the WWF. Ever. The chant is extra stupid because Honky is from the USA as well. Oh look, Sue Pollard and a representative from the Monster Raving Looney Party are in the crowd. Well, that sums it all up really, doesn’t it? Duggan is in charge initially, but Honky comes back with help from Hart. They take turns choking him out over the ropes, before Honky puts on a neck vice. Actually, it is more like a gentle head hold. There is less pressure on it than a John Cena STF. This gets worse and worse, it is a wrestling travesty. Duggan is a lummox and Honky’s offensive moves can be counted on one finger. His dreadful attempted neck vice is a joke. There is no wrestling here to speak of at all. Duggan mounts a comeback with big punches and hits a clothesline, followed by the Three Point Stance for the win. It is a bad clothesline, followed by a running bad clothesline. This was Duggan at his bumbling worst and the match was just an appalling pile of shit. That was way into negative stars; one for the “USA” chant and one for the shitty vice.
Final Rating: -**
Mooney loses this dreadful tape even more points by saying Savage was looking for his “Arc de Triomphe” over Hogan in this next match. He is almost as dumb as Duggan.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
This is also available on the Hulk Hogan’s Greatest Matches tape. This is from Paris, France in October 1989. These two of course had a very famous feud, cumulating in a blow-off match at WrestleMania V six-months prior to this. The strange behind-the-post camera angle and very strange crowd, makes for a unique atmosphere. The crowd are incredibly quiet and almost like a Japanese audience in that they sit and watch things respectfully. Savage cuts a promo on Hogan and says he will dedicate the win to Sherri, the most beautiful woman in the world, but of course, the crowd all speak French and don’t have a clue what he is saying. Savage and Sherri attack Hogan, but he fights them off, then whips Sherri out of the ring onto Savage. It is the usual manager abuse from Hogan. He even resorts to beating up a woman, slamming Sherri’s head into the ring. Even Lord Alfred Hayes says he cannot condone that. Absolutely right. As I have said before, and surely will in this book again: Hogan is a BAD babyface. Hogan controls early on with power, but Sherri gets involved. Hogan mocks her and tells her to kiss his ass, allowing Savage to capitalise. He also reared back to punch her. It is unbelievable what a woman beating scumbag the Hogan character was. This is very much a routine house show match. Maybe they forgot that the cameras were rolling on this, or maybe they just didn’t care, but either way they do next to nothing here. At one point Sherri grabs Hogan’s leg to slow his momentum, so he responds by turning around and grabbing her by the hair. He is an ass. Why did people even cheer him? Savage uses the ropes to clothesline Hogan and hits the double axe handle for a two count. Elizabeth is now suddenly at ringside, cheering on Hogan. It is that time of the match, and Hogan Hulks Up. He hits the big boot, but catches Savage before he bumps it, and tells Elizabeth to slap him. Sherri tries to stop it but Elizabeth kicks her off and slaps Macho Man. Hogan hits the big boot and Legdrop of Doom, getting the inevitable win For good measure, Hogan gives Sherri and Savage the double noggin knocker. Be careful Liz, I wouldn’t get too close to him if I were you! They just went through the motions there.
Final Rating: *
Summary: Completely awful from start to finish. Some of the matches were actually offensively bad. While the matches might be rare, and it is unique to see some of the environments and crowd reactions, that doesn’t make it worth watching. Too much Jimmy Hart, Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Snuka, and the best workers were saddled with shitty matches. Screw this tape. Avoid. Avoid, avoid, avoid!