#WF082 – Battle Of The WWF Superstars

 

James Dixon:

 

The Bushwhackers vs. Rhythm & Blues
SHOOT ME IN THE HEAD. The Bushwhackers! The match these teams had on the Mega Matches tape was atrocious, I didn’t ever want to sit through another one. This is actually from six months prior to that, coming from MSG in April 1990. Frankly, I wouldn’t give a shit if it had took place on the moon, I still wouldn’t want to see it. The Bushwhackers are the all-time worst thing ever in the WWF, and that includes the Gooker. They can’t work, they can’t sell and they can’t bump. Their go-to move is biting. I’m glad this New York crowd doesn’t give a shit about them. The ’Whackers just stand there gyrating like loons while using their ineffectual and pointless offense to little effect. R&B deserved much better than an extended programme with the Bushwhackers. This is beyond abysmal. Oh look, the little pricks have added a new move to their previously all-biting repertoire: the eye poke. So, explain to me why the ref has allowed that? Explain to me too why Valentine is taking and selling all of their awful moves, and getting nothing in himself. This has been ALL Bushwhackers. I guess it’s because they can’t sell so they just don’t take heat. The commentators are bored, and ignore the match completely, instead talking about how Honky’s claims of being the greatest IC champion pissed off Pat Patterson, Rick Rude and Randy Savage. Then they discuss at length how stupid Greg Valentine is. After it all breaks down, Valentine and Honky are sent into each other and Honky falls out of the ring, so Luke chases him with a chair. So a count out to start, swell. After all of that nonsense, they don’t even do a finish. Far too long and some of the worst in-ring stuff you will see. Just as bad as all the other matches these teams had together.
Match Rating: DUD

 

Lord Alfred Hayes runs us through the brackets for the WWF Intercontinental championship tournament, which took place in 1990 after The Ultimate Warrior won the WWF title and vacated the IC strap…

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Mr. Perfect (c) vs. Tito Santana
…And this is the final of the aforementioned tournament, taking place in April 1990 from Austin, Texas. After that stinker of an opener, let’s hope this lives up to its potential. Vince McMahon says Santana is the odds on favourite, which seems like a strange thing to say given Perfect’s win-loss record. I guess he is a former IC champion. They run a very impressive, fast scientific start, the highlight of which is a hammerlock spot where they reverse each other three or four times each at immense speed. Santana knocks Perfect to the outside, and takes over. Energetic and very fun so far. These guys have good chemistry together and are both superb workers. I know Tito got a big push in the early 80s, but he could still go all the way through to the 90s, they really should have made him more than a glorified JTTS in my opinion. Santana had such a good fire that he could have worked a top-line programme with a heel who could work. Savage for example. Those guys worked together so well, they could have worked on top for the belt. Sorry, tangent. Anyway, Perfect assumes control in this after tripping Tito and sending him reeling to the outside. Things slow down for the first time in the match, as Perfect taunts Tito and then methodically picks him apart. Clothesline from Perfect sends Santana reeling outside, but Tito fights back again. He takes Perfect’s legs away from him and goes for the figure four, but Perfect switches it into a near fall. Santana whales away on Perfect some more, until Bobby Heenan comes to the ring and distracts Tito. He goes for a slam, but Perfect catches him with an inside cradle to get the win and the IC title. I hate it when the face is distracted by the manager and goes for him, especially when they haven’t really done anything to warrant the attack. Typical dumbass babyface decision. Good match, though a bit short. Given even more time to develop, it could have been classic. As it was, it was just pretty good.
Final Rating: ***¼

 

Sean Mooney says we go from “a man who is perfect…” as we begin the terrifying prospect of a superstar profile package on Dusty Rhodes. Come on Mooney, say how you feel! Just for the record, the affable but goofy Mooney is in the studio dressed as if he is going to war, as gunshot and bomb noises go off around him. He always takes the video tape titles so literally, that it becomes comically bad rather than offensively so. Camper than Christmas though for sure.

 

Dusty Rhodes vs. Akeem
So, we are back at MSG, this time from February 1990 and this is a prime example of how the WWF used to mess with guy’s gimmicks and careers in this era. Dusty Rhodes, a charismatic main event player in the NWA, and One Man Gang, a UWF heavyweight champion, both reduced to garish costumes and “queer” dancing. If you thought the Sean Mooney segments were camp, they have nothing on the early exchanges here. It is just a lot of elbows and dancing, then punches and dancing, followed with selling BY dancing. Not a lot of wrestling to speak off, though at least it hasn’t been boring due to the over-the-top nature of both. The problem with the MSG matches on these tapes is that they all go a reasonable length of time, because they were so shit scared of the New York crowd turning on things. That is all well and good when you have the superior workers in there, but when it is the more limited guys, the matches become incredibly plodding and tough to watch. Like this one. The finish sees Dusty’s valet Sapphire pulls Akeem’s manager Slick off the apron as Dusty makes a comeback, so Akeem grabs her by the hair. Dusty makes the save and Slick ends up inadvertently hitting his own charge, allowing Dusty to roll back in and pick up the count out win. This is how the match went: campiness, strikes, campiness, rest holds, rest holds, rest holds, rest holds, rest holds, rest hold, rest holds, rest holds, rest holds, shitty non finish. 10-minutes of my life, gone for good.
Final Rating: ¼*

 

Oh wow, we are in a butcher shop with Dusty Rhodes. He is topless other than his apron, and goes on and on about the joys of Americana meat. We get a mini-guide to some of the prime cuts on offer, as Dusty says: “You cannot beat my prices, but you sure can’t beat my meat”. Erm, WHAT!? I had to rewind that and watch it again to make sure I heard it right. It turns out I did. The semi-aroused face that Dusty pulls before delivering his belting double-entendre, makes it all the more disturbing. I mean, in the context of that promo, how does it even make any sense!? All I have taken from that is not to touch Dusty’s cock. Let that be a warning to you all!

 

Dusty Rhodes vs. The Big Bossman
We are in Fresno, California back in August 1989. Dusty was actually the booker who gave Bossman his break, repackaging him from Raymond Traylor to Big Bubba Rodgers, Jim Cornette’s bodyguard, in 1985. I think there was some resentment on Dusty’s part over Bossman then leaving for the WWF once he got over. But hey, Vince was poaching anyone and everyone with potential back then. First move is a forearm to the back from Bossman, which Dusty shrugs off and “sells” by camply dancing to the corner and then presenting like a baboon. Don’t touch his meat though, Bossman! Both exchange strikes before Bossman takes over with a neck vice. Dusty is up pretty rapidly and hits the ten punch in the corner. A running Bionic Elbow and an elbow drop brings in Slick for the DQ, as the non-finishes keep on coming. Another utterly worthless match, that went three minutes with a dissatisfying non-finish.
Final Rating: ¼*

 

Dusty scoops up some horse shit, insightfully sharing his wisdom as he claims “fuel makes the world go around”. We then get another Rhodes closing line classic, as he shares how “doo-doo is good for me, and doo-doo is good for you too”. Yeah, that will teach you for coming up with War Games you fat bastard! Vince was mental.

 

Dusty Rhodes vs. Macho King Randy Savage
So, back to February, 1990 in Phoenix, Arizona. These two had a long-running feud around this time, including a mixed tag match between all four of these a few months later at WrestleMania VI. It was a terrible feud, especially considering the guys involved. If this was Savage in 87-89 and Rhodes from his NWA heyday, it could have been superb. As it is, they were both at career nadirs, phoning in their performances and lacking any motivation. The Rhodes-Savage series was a real yawn-inducing letdown. Rhodes beats Savage from pillar to post in the early going, before throwing him to the outside. He gets distracted by Sherri and Savage desperately shoves him into the post. It’s another example of poor babyface decision making. It was rife in this era, and is demonstrated all over this tape. Savage hits the double axe from the top and he locks in the sleeper. Dusty fires out, but a knee to the gut sends him outside, where Sherri interjects herself. Double axe from the top to the outside, and Savage is in complete control. Dusty turns into Hogan, as Savage’s kicks to the head revive him briefly, but yet his superpower doesn’t stretch to no-selling for women, as Sherri lays him out. Dusty is a misogynist, so of course he attacks Sherri. Savage comes off the top with the ring bell to the back of the head while the ref is distracted, but it doesn’t get the fall. The ref is Danny Davis, so he doesn’t give a shit anyway. Reformed my ass, he lets guys get away with everything. Dusty begins actually Hulking Up this time, until they run head-first into each other and both go down. Sherri tries to throw her loaded purse to Savage, but Sapphire runs in while the ref is dealing with the Queen and gives it to Dusty, who uses it to waffle Savage. He falls out of the ring with the impact and Dusty wins by count out. Wow, another decisive finish! Ridiculous! Dusty continues the woman abuse by calling Sherri “a street walker from the streets” and commenting on her big ass. Pal, take a look at your own valet, take a look in the mirror, then get your eye-sight tested. The match was uninspiring.
Final Rating:

 

We get a brief but fun segment with Lord Alfred Hayes, who introduces a sped-up real time view of how the ring, production and arena is set up for a WWF event. For once, it’s a worthwhile segment involving Hayes. Usually he just talks about the size of the WWF lorries’ wheels as we see footage of those wheels driving along. In this instance we actually see the whole production come together, which is pretty fun to watch. Short but sweet.

 

Jim Neidhart vs. The Genius
This is a “fan favourites” match from January 1990 at Madison Square Garden. I swear, I have had enough. I am not sitting through anymore unbearable made-up, mismatched fan favourites nonsense. Who would EVER want to see this match? If they want to SO badly, then they can watch their mess of a bout from WrestleFest ‘88 instead. As usual in a Genius match, we get some wonderfully behind the times homophobic slurs from Gorilla and Hillbilly on commentary, who say they don’t wanna “go where he is from”, and talk about how sickening he is. Genius gets easily overpowered, but uses his speed to avoid Anvil, resulting in a forearm to the face after a cheeky cartwheel. Hillbilly Jim laughs with delight at the puff-bashing taking place. I am amazed they could get away with some of this stuff. All we need now is for Gorilla to tweet Genius and call him a “faggot”. Jim says Genius is a circus entertainer if he ever saw one. That is actually an inside joke, as Lanny Poffo was notorious with the boys for being a contortionist. Strange family. I don’t know where they got the referee for this match from, but he is a doddering idiot. He is old and slow, and when Genius cheats by going to the eyes to get heat, he just watches him do it and says nothing. Anvil really doesn’t want to sell for Genius here, who for the record, was one of the better workers they had in the era, he was just saddled with a lame gimmick. Anvil hits a crossbody from no-where for a near fall, but Genius regains control. He tries a moonsault from the top, which Anvil blocks with knees, and then he makes a comeback, forearming Genius out of the ring. Neidhart chases him, but Mr. Perfect jumps him and rolls him back inside, allowing The Genius to pick up the win. Wow. Of all the matches and workers on the tape, it is The Genius who picks up a pinfall win. The match was actually alright, because Genius worked really hard to get his gimmick and the story of the match over.
Final Rating:

 

Ted DiBiase vs. Jake Roberts
It is December 1989 at MSG for another match in the long-running series between these two, but with added stipulations in this that Virgil is not allowed at ringside and there are no count outs or disqualifications, meaning we might actually get consecutive conclusive finishes! They run their usual back-and-forth to start, though at a faster pace than in some matches they have had. Jake goes for the DDT early, but DiBiase has it well scouted and bails. Back inside and Jake remains in control, going to work on DiBiase’s arm. Gorilla randomly talks about how Jake always has time to do community service work in his spare time. I’m not sure smoking crack with disaffected youths quite falls under that category… Sorry, sorry. Sometimes they just come to me. Actually Jake Roberts (as of 2013) is one of the most inspirational stories of the year, having battled his decades old drug and alcohol demons thanks to the saint that is DDP. Long may it continue. Back in 1989 though, Jake was unquestionably a party guy. Hillbilly Jim amuses himself by calling him a “tee-totaller”. That has got to be a deliberate rib right there! Jake controls the arm for an age, and to me this is one of the reasons why Jake was always one step below the real top line of the card. Why, in a blood feud with no DQ, would you decide to do scientific wrestling? Jake invites DiBiase to punch him while he has the wristlock, which he does, so Jake retaliates in kind. A shoulder block takes DiBiase down, but the impact of the move backs him up into the ropes, and he gets tied up a’la Andre the Giant. That was a very good, very smart spot. Unlike when Andre would lumber into it in the fakest looking way, this made sense and you got the fact that he was in control until he made a mistake that he didn’t anticipate. DiBiase goes to work on the injured neck, slowly targeting the area with clubbing blows and neckbreaker, but I become distracted by some strange behaviour from the director. Four or five times now, they have cut to a bizarre shot of the crowd, but it is from IN the crowd and it is a section of the audience where there appears to be empty seats. While those fans probably were there for this, it looks so fake and spliced in that it is comical. It’s like the match happened and was taped in front of no-one, and then in a TV studio they had a planted crowd that reacted as they were told to. Very strange! Back in the match, DiBiase hits the piledriver and then puts on the chinlock, which Jake is able to fight out of, but DiBiase creams him with a clothesline before going back to the chinlock again. Danny Davis shows how useless he is again, counting a near fall while Jake has a shoulder very obviously up. Gorilla lambasts him for it, and rightly so. DiBiase comes off the second rope with a double axe, but Jake moves and rolls outside. DiBiase follows him, but back inside, Jake hits a knee lift. Jake mounts the start of a comeback, but gets cut off once more, this time by a big knee to the jaw. DiBiase locks on the Million Dollar Dream, but Jake reaches the ropes. Davis counts, even though it is no DQ. Jake manages to fire back again with a high knee from the middle, and then the short clothesline. The crowd erupts as he hits the DDT, pinning DiBiase cleanly in the middle of the ring. To celebrate, we cut to the faker than fake crowd shot again. It really has thrown me, I have never seen a crowd shot like that in the WWF before; it is just so strange. I am pleased we had no nonsense here, but that was the usual long MSG match, and very slow in places. Where was the no DQ stuff? Why did they do a technical wrestling clinic? Baffling. Ok match, but often a little boring in places.
Final Rating: **

 

A pointless segment of WWF trivia questions, with such head scratchers as what was the first match at WrestleMania and how much weight did Dino Bravo bench press. This goes on far too long and is a complete waste of time. Mooney questions the trivia questions and says he doesn’t have a clue about the answers. No kidding pal.

 

WWF Championship
The Ultimate Warrior (c) vs. Mr. Perfect
This is a Coliseum Video exclusive, and Mr. Perfect is the new IC champion. We are in Lacrosse, Wisconsin in May 1990. It is a little strange that they would do champion vs. champion match again, so soon after ‘Mania. They used to try and keep these two belts apart in those days. This should be interesting, because if anyone can get a good match out of Warrior, it is Perfect. Perfect flies around as expected for Warrior to start things off, taking big bumps from chops, clotheslines and a flapjack. Well, it was supposed to be a back body drop but they made a right ham sandwich of it, because Perfect was mid bump for his usual flip out and Warrior followed him in when he shouldn’t have. They saved it well though. Warrior misses his splash like he does every match to go into the head, and Perfect can finally mount some offence. He uses the IC belt as a weapon outside of the ring, but back inside Warrior begins his comeback routine, and stops selling Perfect’s moves. This is the longest I have ever seen the heel try and prevent the comeback from Warrior, as Perfect just hits him with move after move while Warrior no-sells him. A dropkick off the top eventually does it, but Warrior kills the subsequent Perfectplex by kicking out. The WWF treated Perfect badly at times, considering he was the best thing they had in the company. After kicking out of the Perfectplex, Warrior hits a few clotheslines, then the usual flying tackle and big splash combo, to win the match. I would be remiss not to point out that Warrior looked like an angry Geisha with the face paint he was sporting in this. That was actually ok for a Warrior match, but it was rather short and had an incredibly brief heat segment.
Final Rating: **¼

 

Summary: What a completely missable tape this is; there is little good on here. Tito-Perfect is decent, if a little short, but that is the only match of any value. The Dusty segments are memorable for all the wrong reasons, and no-one wants to see three of his WWF matches in a row. While nothing offends to Tugboat levels, and thus this isn’t outright bad, it is just not worth watching. Not recommended.
Verdict: 31

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