James Dixon: We start off in a curious manner, as a dude called Kevin hits on Sean Mooney: “You did a great job on Supertape III babe…” After that, we get a few back-to-back commercials for WWF action figures presented by Roddy Piper, who appears to have drank all of the coffee in Titan Towers. And the world. They advertise an Ultimate Warrior talking figure… That’s going to mess with some kid’s head isn’t it! Just imagine the influence it could have: “Mother, why can you not communicate with me, Mother? Talk to me, Mother, as if you are talking to the GOD YOU SPEAK OF, Mother! Mother (snorts), I am the representation of all you fear.” Crikey. We continue the tape with Lord Alfred Hayes giving Mooney a bollocking for trying to get into his car with food and drink. Mooney ignores him and does it anyway and shuts the door. Hayes obviously slaps his disobedient face, because seconds later Mooney sheepishly puts his picnic cooler back outside. So, wrestling?
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Mr. Perfect (c) vs. The Texas Tornado
So another match in the series these two had over the IC title, with this taking place in December 1990 from West Palm Beach, Florida. Right away Perfect brings the awesome, spinning 360 to sell a punch, but still recovers before Tornado has finished taking off his jacket, and clotheslines him out of the ring. Tornado takes over outside and hits the Tornado Punch, then hits another one to the stomach back inside. Way to kill your finish. That is twice he has done it already and yet he has only used it as a transition at most. Boston crab from Tornado, but Perfect makes the ropes. It is now complete dominance from the challenger, and Perfect takes a flip out of the corner after a hard whip. Tornado goes for the clawhold, but Perfect escapes and locks on a sleeper to slow the pace. Tornado fights out, but Perfect blocks the Tornado Punch and hits a big right of his own. He has used it so many times that Perfect has him scouted. He does it again in the corner to send Perfect outside, then AGAIN on the outside, but misses and hits the post. That pal, is your own fault! Learn a new move! Zach Gowen did more than just punch, so you have no excuse! Back inside and Perfect throws Tornado into the top of the post, which Hayes calls an “iron steel” post and then he says Tornado hit it with his wrist. Obviously he was just working and protecting himself, so Hayes has basically killed the spot. I suppose he thinks every chair shot is to the wrist as well does he? Next, Perfect has a go at killing HIS finisher, letting Tornado kick out of the Perfectplex, and then we get the Tornado Punch again in response. Jesus. Do they think this is WrestleMania or something? Perfect kicks out of the Tornado Punch, but the ref calls for the bell and it’s a DQ win for Tornado. Perfect had pushed the ref while in the clawhold, but the ref still counted after that before making the decision. It’s a dumbass finish and I actually think the ref botched when he counted the near fall. Exciting back-and-forth match with plenty going on, but the sheer number of Tornado Punches was bloody excessive and definitely overkill.
Final Rating: **¾
Tito Santana vs. Koko B. Ware
What a strange match this is! Two career babyfaces working each other at MSG in the cartoon era. It is fascinating that they did this. I wonder if there was a heel turn in the offing for Koko, because he had been around for a while and was very stale by this point. Bobby Heenan joins Sean Mooney on commentary. Things start off respectful and cagey, with both guys doing a move or taking a hold, but then letting the recipient get up, and at one point shaking hands. I usually think Koko is a small pile of balls, but the first couple of minutes here have been really excellent and smooth, though mostly led by Tito. There is a communications breakdown and respect falls by the wayside, as they argue over some alleged hair pulling, and Koko nails Santana with a cheap shot, becoming the aggressor and the heel in the match. He rams Tito into the post, but back inside Tito mounts a comeback with some hard shots. A monkey flip attempt from Tito is blocked by a Koko reverse atomic drop, and the Birdman puts on a nerve hold. The pace prior to that has been quick and exciting, so I can accept a rest hold here. Koko has played the aggressor well, though his diminutive size means he would never have been a credible heel in the land of the giants. Koko slaps and punches Tito a few times, knocking him down, and then it turns into an out-and-out slugfest, until Koko ends it with a slam. A flying fist drop from the top misses, and Santana is able to mount a comeback, hitting a few slams of his own. They do a few exchanges and trades, before Tito hits the flying forearm to pick up the win. They should have experimented with face-face matches more if this is anything to go by. One of the better matches from Koko I have seen, and once again Santana showed why he was one of the company’s superior workers. Well worth seeing for the novelty value alone, but the match is good too.
Final Rating: ***¼
A segment called ‘From The Mat To The Mike’ first focuses on Gorilla Monsoon. We get a few clips of his wrestling days and then Gorilla talking about making the transition from wrestler to announcer, and how he likes to give an insight into how the wrestlers are thinking. Next we focus on Roddy Piper, who was doing a lot of announcing at this point. He says he is far from washed up, that he enjoys pissing off Vince McMahon and that Macho Man should get a colonic. Erm, ok! Mene Gene next, and they are taking the piss a bit now, showing highlights of his (then) only ever appearance as a wrestler. Claiming he went from “the mat to the mike” is a bit of a stretch. Savage next and he says he remembers being in the ring. Well shit, he had only been retired for less than two months when this tape was released, so I should think he bloody well does! This was a fun segment actually, completely harmless and far better than the usual Bushwhackers crap you got on these things.
Tugboat vs. The Undertaker
This is a “fan favourite” match… If I could, I would just turn it off right now. The fact that it features pre-96 Taker and the tub of toss that is Tugboat means that this will be abysmal anyway, without the curse of the fan favourites tag. A guy in the crowd is practically catatonic with fear at the prospect of this. Just to clear things up for these guys; standing still is NOT an acceptable spot in a wrestling match. They botch a leapfrog and it becomes a jumping COCK TO THE FACE attack. Hayes calling it a “unique move” cracks me up. Taker didn’t quite have his act down to a tee yet without Paul Bearer, and he doesn’t do the dead eyes and slow ass deliberate movements either. He is still working out the kinks and it makes this even less interesting to watch, as it is just two big guys being shit. Tugboat is so weak, he actually FALLS BACKWARDS trying to slam Taker. Wow, way to plan a spot to make yourself look like a pussy. Taker gets thrown from the top while going for the ropewalk and Tugboat catches a powerslam afterwards, hurting himself in the process and taking most of the damage. Another spot that makes him look like a bumbling oaf. Taker connects with a heart punch to the chest from the top rope, and then wins it clean. Mooney shreds his credibility by calling this a great match. No, it is a staggeringly bad match that no-one should ever watch. The curse of fan favourites strikes again. Woeful stuff.
Final Rating: -*
Shawn Michaels vs. Crush
So this is from Savannah, Georgia in January 1991, just over a week after the Royal Rumble. Crush was part of Demolition at the time and still more a tag wrestler in the WWF. Well, so was Michaels. These two had a match on PPV a couple of years later with the roles reversed, when Michaels defended his IC title against Crush at King of the Ring ‘93. That match was pretty poor, so I expect this to be much the same. Clubbing start from Crush, who has a considerable size advantage. Michaels’ quickness is countered with power, and a superkick doesn’t take Crush off his feet. A flying tackle does the job, but Crush kicks out of the pin attempt and throws Michaels out of the ring. He gorilla presses Michaels with ease, but the future Heartbreak Kid counters. Hayes calls it “beautiful wrestling by Jannetty“. Right, so what match are you watching? You doddery moronic bastard. Crush in full control with a backbreaker and then a bearhug. Michaels bites his way out, but Crush sends him hard into the buckles to resume control, putting on a body scissors to keep the pace slow. Now Hayes thinks this is a wrestling clinic that should be studied by everyone. What the hell is wrong with this guy? Seriously, how did he retain a job for so many years? Michaels escapes and bites again, but Crush gives him back the same. Another backbreaker from the big man, but he misses a knee drop from the top. Michaels targets the leg instantly, and takes Crush down with a chop block. With the referee distracted by Fuji, Jannetty climbs the ropes while Crush has Michaels up for a slam, and dives onto them, pushing Michaels on top for the win. Jannetty rather ruined it by getting into position for the pre-planned spot far too soon, making it obvious what was going to happen. Despite what Hayes says, the match was NOT a wrestling clinic or a classic, it was just an average match.
Final Rating: *½
The Orient Express & Mr. Fuji vs. The Legion of Doom
We go back a few weeks to early January 1991, in Huntsville, Alabama. This is a handicap match, with the Orient’s manager Mr. Fuji donning the tights. The two teams had been doing this match on the house show circuit for a few months. Fuji does the same comedy spot with the salt that he has been doing since the 70s. In fact, we watched him do the same thing in a match with the Wild Samoans on the Best of the WWF Volume #15 tape. Hey, if it ain’t broke. LOD are going to murder the Orients here. Animal doesn’t sell anything for Kato and then Tanaka lands on his FACE from a back body drop, it is absolutely filthy! Hawk comes in with Tanaka, and it is more of the same. He just runs through the Japanese with tackles, and even a double team attempt fails from the Express, with Hawk taking out both guys. Animal proceeds to rip apart Kato on the outside. This has gone exactly as I envisioned. Fuji has not even been in the ring yet, though I don’t blame him. Everything Tanaka tries with Animal fails, and only the salt to the eyes from Fuji gives the Orient Express any offence. The heat lasts about twenty seconds, before Animal powers through with a clothesline and brings in Hawk. He single-handedly takes out all three of the Express team before the Doomsday Device on Kato finishes things. This was nothing more than an extended squash. The LOD utterly dominated. Still, a fun watch, it was never boring.
Final Rating: *½
God help us, because next up, gourmet cooking tips with the Bushwhackers and Mene Gene Okerland. You would think Gene would learn from the BBQ buzzards incident he had with these guys a few years prior. Why is the fat one NOT the one called Butch? I have asked before and I will again. This segment is the worst. It is just the Bushwhackers mixing mashed potatoes and adding “Bushwhacker spices”, which I can only assume is a euphemism for semen. Luke sneezes in the mashed potato then the Bushwhackers take turns shitting themselves after eating broccoli, as Gene desperately tries to escape. Gene foolishly asks what the main course is, and it turns out to be “Bushwhacker buzzard”, and we get the pleasure of clips from that shitfest of a segment. A truly horrific and long skit comes to an end with the ‘Whackers making startling revelations about their penchant for cannibalism, as they say they want to eat Mene Gene. Right, the segments on this tape have been nothing short of mental.
The Big Bossman vs. Earthquake
This is the first of three Bossman bouts, from the Maple Leaf Gardens back in September 1990. Bossman is actually a good choice for a superstar profile, because he is a decent worker and was over as hell for a period. Like I have said before, and will again, he could have been an even bigger star in the era than he was. Certainly, he would have been better staying in the WWF doing this gimmick than the shit he did in WCW. I mean, The Guardian Angel? Fuck me, that was dire! Mooney mocks Quake and says he is “hardly ready for the WBF”. Sean, no-one was ready for the WBF. I wonder if they are they gonna do anything? They have been stalling for five minutes. Big slam from Quake, but he misses an elbow and Bossman gives chase to Jimmy Hart on the outside. The distraction allows Quake to regain control. This has been amoebicaly slow. Nothing has happened and it’s gone on far longer than it should have. The most interesting and indeed curious thing is the sight of two camp sailors, dressed in full YMCA regalia, holding fort in the front row. Bossman struggles to mount a comeback, but eventually does with an enzuigiri. A few clotheslines traps Quake in the ropes, and Bossman hits a crossbody while he is hung up there. Bossman is distracted by Dino Bravo coming to ringside, and Earthquake capitalises with an elbow drop for the win. Post match, the Shockmaster puts the cherry on the parfait of awful, lumbering in to make the save when Earthquake goes for the vertical splash. Boring match, like, really tediously boring, but Bossman’s energetic comeback almost saved it.
Final Rating: ¼*
The Big Bossman vs. Bobby Heenan
This is from November 1990 from Syracuse, New York. They have done this angle and match before, though this is slightly different from the other one features on VHS. While ALMOST identical, here Heenan also offers Bossman a Hulk Hogan cuddly toy to give to his mother, to apologise for the things he said about her. Bossman doesn’t buy it and this lasts 31-seconds, just as their other encounter did. Haku comes out to make the save, but Bossman handcuffs him to Heenan. Mr. Perfect comes out next, but Bossman sends him packing too. The other version of this angle and match drags a bit with the promo, but this one is entertaining enough and they don’t stall for ages first. While it is a squash, the angle takes up time so we have to rate it. Not bad or good really, just kind of there. I didn’t need to see it twice in slightly different guises though, that’s for sure!
Final Rating: ¼*
The Big Bossman vs. The Barbarian
This also turns up on Greatest Hits. This is from January 1991, less than a week after the Royal Rumble. This took place in Ontario, Canada. These two met at the Rumble as well, which Bossman won. We join the match in progress, but very early on in the bout. Bossman was getting a push towards the Intercontinental title and battled Mr. Perfect for the belt at WrestleMania VII, though he was unsuccessful. Bobby Heenan is conspicuous by his absence in Barbarian’s corner. While these are both big guys, they were two of the better giants that WWF had in this size-obsessed era. I have seen both have some decent matches over the years, depending on the opponent. Their match at Rumble was actually rather good. The usual formula at the start, with the match slowing down once Barbarian takes control, and he locks on a bearhug. Bossman headbutts to escape, but a big boot wipes him out. Lord Alfred Hayes calls it a “karate blow”, but that’s because he is an utter goon. I have never seen a Hogan-esque big boot used in karate or any martial art. For the record, you can tell this has been going a long time and Bossman has taken a kicking, because his shirt is COMPLETELY unbuttoned. I can only assume if he went into the realms of 20-minute matches, he would probably wind up naked. Harrowing! Barbarian misses an elbow off the second rope and Bossman flurries, felling his opponent with an enzuigiri. A clothesline into the ropes gets a two for Bossman and then he hits a goddamn crossbody off the top! He is working like Marty Jannetty here! He then switches a back body drop attempt into a sunset flip! Bossman could really go; you would never see Tugboat doing any of this! The sunset flip is enough for the win, but he gets jumped by Barbarian and Haku after the contest. They beat down an exhausted Bossman, and Haku floors him with a savat kick. Slow in places, but it was given decent time to tell a story, just like their Rumble match was. Bossman looked good in there, and made the match with his frankly outrageous choice of moves. Enjoyable enough. Still, the profile as a whole was not exactly the most glorious look at Bossman in the WWF. He has had better matches, with far better opponents. Often these superstar profiles fail to deliver, I find.
Final Rating: *¾
The Ultimate Warrior (c) vs. Sgt. Slaughter
This is a week prior to the Royal Rumble, where Slaughter would beat Warrior to win the title. We are in Huntsville again, on the same show as the LOD match earlier in the tape. I saw this at Royal Rumble and it was awful, a travesty to wrestling actually. Slaughter remains to me, the worst champion they have ever had and probably the most ill-conceived. The match itself was poor, and this will be too, because Slaughter cannot bump Warrior’s offence, and Warrior cannot sell. A sign of things to come sees Slaughter get his head trapped under the bottom rope as he gets clotheslined over the top. Back in and Slaughter basically takes his own bumps because he doesn’t trust Warrior, and he is already mid-bump from a hiptoss before Warrior even goes for the move. Warrior dominates and sends Slaughter into the buckles and over the top rope in an impressive bump. Slaughter has had nothing, it has been all Warrior. They try to outdo each other, as Warrior charges the buckles but Slaughter moves, and Warrior takes the same bump Slaughter just did over the buckles. Less graceful and less impressively wild, surprisingly. Slaughter wins that contest. This is just slow, not “methodical” yet Sarge looks blown to shit. Warrior comes back and gets a slingshot, sending Slaughter into the buckles. A double clothesline takes both guys down, but Slaughter is up first. He goes for a slam but his legs give way and he nearly gets himself pinned. That looked ridiculous. Another example of Slaughter wrestling himself there. He went for the slam but took the bump as if Warrior had fought out of it with leverage, but he actually did nothing at all. Slaughter’s movement is very slow, he is sucking wind and his offence is suffering because of it. Camel clutch from Slaughter, but Warrior escapes, and makes his usual comeback. Clotheslines, a flying tackle and the splash win it for the champion. Better than it could have been, but still an uninspired choice of match. Credit to Slaughter though, he worked very hard here in making Warrior look ok, but he did telegraph much of the match. Not as chaotic as the Rumble match, which was saved by overbooked run-ins and shenanigans.
Final Rating: *
Summary: A hot start made this promising, but the Undertaker-Tugboat match dragged it off a cliff, from which it never recovered. Some horrendous stuff in places, with other matches passable at best. The Koko-Tito match was intriguing, but certainly not good enough or noteworthy enough to make this release anything other than a strong recommendation to avoid.