#WF093 – WrestleFest ’91

James Dixon: This is presented by Macho Man Randy Savage; “man of leisure”. He is suffering from career flashbacks as he sleeps by a pool. Ok. He says hosting WrestleFest ‘91 may be the pinnacle of his career. He has become delusional from too much sun exposure.

 

Earthquake vs. The Ultimate Warrior
This is a fan favourite match, so I am instantly terrified, from February 1991 in Fort Myers, Florida, a month before WrestleMania VII. Warrior had recently dropped the WWF title to Sgt. Slaughter. Quake jumps him before the bell, but Warrior jogs it off. A couple of tackles fail to move Earthquake, but a flying one knocks him down. Warrior gets distracted by Jimmy Hart, giving Earthquake an opening to take charge, and he goes to work on the back. Warrior’s idea of selling is to walk around slowly and nod his head. When Quake locks in a bearhug, Warrior looks like he is trying to swim against a strong current. Quake wears Warrior down with the hold and then drops an elbow drop. He hits the Vertical Splash, but Warrior kicks out! He “Warriors Up” and rocks Quake with big clotheslines. A slam and big splash are enough to win it for him. Blergh.
Final Rating: ¼*

 

The match made Savage thirsty. Strange that, because it made me want to throw up what I have just eaten.

 

The Big Bossman vs. The Mountie
This match is the focus of “manager cam” with Jimmy Hart, which is one of the most ill-advised ideas they have done on these tapes. If it is anything like the others, it just means we will be watching Jimmy Hart for the whole match and not seeing any of the action. Bossman and Mountie were involved in a lengthy feud, what with both guys being law enforcement officers, on different sides of the fence. Bossman dominates, but in truth it is hard to follow because of the manager cam focusing primarily on Hart and not the in-ring action. I mean really, who came up with this shitty idea? It is like watching a match using only your peripheral vision. Bossman is doing something. What? I have no idea. Now Mountie is doing something. What? I have no idea. When they did something similar with Heenan in the Rooster-Santana match where Rooster turned face, they had him miked up, but the focus was still on the in-ring action. That was perfectly fine and also relevant to the story. This is just seven shades of dumb. Big Bossman wins with the Bossman Slam. I think. I do not like the way this tape has started at all!
Final Rating: DUD

 

The Rockers vs. Power & Glory
This comes to you from Omaha, Nebraska in April 1991. P&G had just been squashed by LOD at WrestleMania VII and this has already lasted longer, and they haven’t even locked up yet! Roma starts out with Michaels and they do some chain wrestling. That soon ends when Roma lays into Michaels with a series of hard rights. He gets cocky and it costs him, then Herc runs in and takes a double superkick. Roma gets the same. I am finding it hard to concentrate, because I keep picturing Power & Glory’s homoerotic workout video from one of the other tapes. That shit stays with you. Jannetty comes in with Roma, and Marty is fresher. Roma gets annoyed when Michaels fluffs his hair from the outside, so Roma spits at him, bringing Michaels in the ring and allowing P&G to double team Jannetty and gain the advantage. What a dirty bastard, spitting. Why are there so many Paul Roma matches on these Coliseum tapes!? He is an unbearable, faux-Italian tosser. P&G wear down Jannetty, slowing him significantly. Herc bench presses him into a slam with ease, and Roma turns him inside out with a clothesline. Jannetty takes a slam on the outside, but Herc drags him back in and effortlessly hits a suplex. This heat section has been pretty dull. Jannetty can make the heat great and very entertaining when he can be bothered, but he clearly isn’t in this. He is happy to sit and take it without showing much fire. Michaels on the other hand does show considerable fire when he gets the hot tag, going to town on Roma. Jannetty is back in and the Rockers hit some double team moves on both guys, but Roma makes a right mess of a double hiptoss, to the point that the commentators had to call it a “suplex”. The Rockers are just not “on” today at all. It breaks down to the outside and almost inevitably, the Rockers get counted out. Finishes like that really piss me off. It is not like they were going to do anything with P&G anyway, whereas the Rockers were super-over and probably would have won the tag belts if it wasn’t for the arrival of the LOD. One of the poorer Rockers matches available.
Final Rating: *

 

Ted DiBiase vs. The Texas Tornado
This takes place in Orlando, Florida, in February 1991. DiBiase was the Million Dollar champion at the time. Tornado gets on the mic to invite Virgil to ringside, a few weeks after he broke free of DiBiase’s shackles at the Royal Rumble. Hayes asks if Virgil has a managers license, and Mooney says “I didn’t know you had to have a license to manage!”. Hey, if Gorilla Monsoon hears you, he will throttle you! He was always very upset when non-managers were at ringside because of their lack of license. Tornado jumps DiBiase and throws him into the ring steps, then counters DiBiase’s chops back in the ring by whacking his head off the buckles ten times. DiBiase bails but Virgil throws him back inside. They are soon back outside again, and Tornado gives DiBiase the Tornado Punch. He tries it again but hits the ring post, and DiBiase targets the hand, slamming it into the stairs. They were outside the ring for AGES there. At least ten times longer than the Rockers were in the last match, yet they got counted out. I do not care for inconsistent refereeing! DiBiase sends Tornado outside, but spends far too long taunting Virgil. When he eventually tries to slam him back in, Virgil pulls his leg and holds on, and Tornado wins it. Curious finish and the two-on-one odds were a little strange, what with being weighted against the heel. Not much to that match at all. This is been a dreadful tape up to now.
Final Rating: ¾*

 

Haku vs. British Bulldog
These two had a decent match at MSG on the interminable Mega Matches tape, so this could finally send us in the right direction and start turning things around. Athletic start from Bulldog, who counters Haku and then sends him outside with an impressive dropkick. Bulldog sure could move for a guy of his size, but he remained very strong. He was the complete package really. Haku tries to mount some offence, but Bulldog catches him in a sleeper and then an armbar. The pace has been brisk. A monkey flip attempt is blocked into an atomic drop, and then Haku hits a beautiful piledriver, executed perfectly. Haku jumped with it, and Davey just folded. Top marks for that; it looked great. Haku puts on a sleeper of his own, but Bulldog is too powerful and is able to fight out. He hits a crossbody block for two, but Haku fires straight back with karate chops to the throat, and now the chinlock is his wear down hold of choice. They go all All-Japan with a headbutt trade, before Bulldog tries to mount another comeback, but is halted by a kick to the nose. He catches a crucifix, and that is enough to hold Haku for the three. Well, that just ended out of nowhere. It was actually a pretty good match; those guys worked together well.
Final Rating: **

 

Brutus Beefcake’s Grooming Tips
Oh no. We are on the set of ‘The Barber Shop’, with Brutus Beefcake and a concerned looking man called Bob. Though, wouldn’t you be concerned if Beefcake was dicking around with oversized scissors next to your face? Also, what is with those tights!? Beefcake always wore pretty eccentric and camp attire, but this is just full on bondage. He is wearing pink tights with massive holes cut in the side, exposing a lot of leg. He covers poor Bob with mud from the Dead Sea, giving him a straw so he can breathe. Bruti is against the commercialisation of the hair product business, so he cracks an egg on Bob’s head and rubs it into his hair. Clearly, that was the right thing to do. He blow dries his (not wet) hair with a leaf blower to finish the segment. That was like a hazing.

 

Rick Martel vs. Greg Valentine
Valentine just does not work as a babyface, especially in the WWF. His lack of an over-the-top gimmick combined with his plodding wrestling style is not in keeping with the rest of the roster at all. In fact, the only difference between Valentine’s heel and face personas, is that he raises his arm on his way to the ring as a face. This comes from Biloxi, Missouri in March 1991, two weeks before WrestleMania VII. Valentine’s power gives him an advantage in the opening exchanges. He targets the legs, looking to soften Martel early for the figure four. He tries to put it on, but Martel kicks him off, though Valentine stays in control. Martel has had practically nothing. Valentine is solid in the ring for sure, but his offense it just unexciting. Martel finally gets a foothold and drops a few elbows, then hits a double axe handle from the second rope. Abdominal stretch is applied, though Valentine’s legs are too big to get it on properly. Valentine hip tosses out of it, and then catches Martel in the gut as he comes off the top rope. Big shots from Valentine are followed by an atomic drop and a clothesline to the outside, Valentine follows him and they have a chop contest, but are unable to beat the referee’s count and both get counted out. Lame non-finish as usual. A lot of Valentine there, but Martel made his stuff look good. An alright match but hardly a classic, or even anything beyond average.
Final Rating: **

 

The Warlord vs. Koko B. Ware
Oh, come on now! They lock-up to begin, and Warlord easily overpowers Koko. The Birdman responds by ducking and diving, connecting with a few punches, before taking solace on the outside. Koko struggles to get anything in, as Warlord methodically dismantles him. A sunset flip attempt is blocked with a punch to the face. Koko has not hit a move other than a few punches. He is getting really jobbed out here. I am not complaining though, I think he is terrible. Elevated bearhug from Warlord, who releases it himself and gives a slam, but misses an elbow drop. Koko tries to fire back with more punches and a cheeky roll up gets two. Koko uses speed to outsmart Warlord and hits a missile dropkick for two, but then misses a charge. Warlord capitalises and hits a running powerslam for the win. Slow, boring and lacking in anything resembling wresting. Koko’s offence was 99% punches. Terrible match.
Final Rating: DUD

 

The Legion of Doom vs. The Hart Foundation
This is one of the very rare meetings between these two teams, and certainly the only televised encounter. This took place in early March 1991 in Biloxi, Missouri. The Harts don’t bring the WWF tag team titles to the ring with them, even though they are champions. This was because they were losing the belts in two weeks to the Nasty Boys at WrestleMania. Both sides are babyfaces, something of a rarity for the era. If memory serves, this was a match that everyone wanted to see and was expected to be something of a classic in its own right, but Hawk was wasted and thus it fell short of expectations. We shall see! Animal and Neidhart are in first, and they trade blows without anyone gaining an advantage. Double clothesline early on, and both men are down. Flying tackle from Animal, and Hawk comes in to work Neidhart over, but Anvil makes the tag. Bret had outgrown the tag division so much by this point, that he almost seems uninterested. Of course, within six months he would be IC champion and within eighteen he was WWF champion, so his career trajectory really slingshots not long after this. Neither team has managed to get a clear advantage in the early going, with both sides exchanging periods of control. The Harts work a heat on Hawk, controlling him with quick tags, before Bret locks on the front face lock to keep him down. Hawk powers back and makes the tag, but the ref doesn’t see it. The Hart’s are definitely playing the heel role here, and are slightly more aggressive in both their moves and demeanour. I am surprised, I would have thought with them being the smaller guys, they would be the faces. I guess the LOD were just too over for them to play that role. Anvil controls Hawk with the front face lock, and as he nearly reaches Animal for the tag, Bret comes in to stop it. It is a little strange seeing Bret working like this in 1991. It is actually fairly strange seeing Hawk selling so much as well. The LOD didn’t used to sell for anyone! The Hart Foundation hit their Hart Attack finisher, but Hawk kicks out. Animal finally gets the hot tag in soon after, and he tears into the Foundation. The LOD go for the Doomsday Device on Bret, but Anvil prevents it by pushing Hawk off the rope. Slingshot tackle from the Hart Foundation on Animal nearly gets the win. Hart connects with an assisted crossbody from the top, but Animal turns it into a powerslam and picks up the clean victory. Afterwards, the two teams embrace out of respect for each other. Strange that Bret would take the loss when he was about to be pushed to the moon, but it didn’t matter in the long run. That was actually very entertaining. The formula was solid, with the Harts slotting into the heel roll well, and making LOD look good in the process of selling. Fun to watch, especially if you are a fan of both teams.
Final Rating: ***½

 

Marty Jannetty vs. Pat Tanaka
This comes from MSG in March 1991, a few days prior to WrestleMania VII. Bit of a strange one here; it was rare that you saw these guys in singles action, certainly in 1991 anyway. It’s rather an odd choice for last match of the tape as well. You would have thought the LOD-Harts match would be “main event”. They do a fast start, with Tanaka controlling before Jannetty ups the pace and sends him reeling outside. Back in and Tanaka tries to match Jannetty for speed, but he can’t do it, and Jannetty outsmarts him and sends him out of the ring again. Jannetty hits an impressive slingshot plancha, but gives Tanaka too much time to recover. The action is great when they get going, but they are doing a lot of stalling in between moves. Much of it is because Tanaka spends a good two minutes trying to remove a turnbuckle pad, and Jannetty covers for him by jawing with Fuji. Tanaka slaps Jannetty a few times, but he doesn’t even flinch. He out-manoeuvres Tanaka again with his superior speed. Jannetty’s energy levels have been really high here. He then misses a charge to the corner and ends up going over the ropes and out of the ring. A nice bump there. This is one of those instances where Jannetty “feels it” and wants to get the match over.  Brief heat from Tanaka, but Jannetty comes back with a modified bulldog from the top. Tanaka takes over again, but a tombstone attempt is reversed into a vicious piledriver, and Jannetty gets the win. That piledriver was sick. It was the same sit-out tombstone type move that Owen Hart did to Steve Austin at SummerSlam ‘97, breaking his neck. Sick! The match was good when they were doing stuff, but there was too much stalling in the early going to make it memorable.
Final Rating: **

 

Summary: An awfully slow start, but a fairly decent finish to this tape. The majority of it was really awful, with some incredibly boring crap for the first hour or so. The Harts-LOD match is the only thing worth seeking out in all honesty, and a lot of that is for the novelty of it more than anything else. It’s a good match, but not a great one. Excluding that, the rest of this is a definite miss.
Verdict: 28

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