#WF099 – Supertape 92

James Dixon & Arnold Furious:

 

The Big Bossman, Jim Neidhart & The Legion of Doom vs. Earthquake, The Mountie & The Nasty Boys
Eight-man tag team action to start, this from July 1991 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Jim Neidhart seems a rather random inclusion. He was treading water at this point, with Bret Hart having gone into singles competition. Bossman wants Mountie, as these two have been feuding extensively. Bossman catches a leapfrog and turns it into a spinebuster, and instantly it all breaks down. We restore order, and Bossman runs roughshod over Jerry Sags. Animal comes in and gets the better of Brian Knobbs, with a powerbomb getting a two count after Mountie makes the save. Neidhart has similar success against Knobbs, until Earthquake clocks him in the back of the head on the outside. Quake comes in, and manhandles Neidhart. A missed elbow causes him to tag out to Sags, and Neidhart takes him down with an armdrag and brings in Hawk. It has been all action so far, as an eight-man should be, with plenty of tags and fresh confrontations. So far it has never been boring and against the odds, I am enjoying it! Hawk in with Mountie now, and he gorilla presses him with ease. Bossman back in and he rams Mountie’s head into the turnbuckle about twenty times. It breaks down again, but the ref is able to restore some order fairly sharply. Bossman ends up losing the advantage, and Earthquake gives him a beating. The heels cut the ring off, working a heat on Bossman. Sags gives him a chair shot across the back on the outside and Mountie throws him into the steel steps. I really am surprised by how energetic this is. None of the wrestlers in the match are really what you would consider “workrate guys”, but because of the sheer number of them, they can come in and do things at a fast pace, then tag out. Bossman is a good choice to take the heat, because he is probably the best guy in there. He finally makes the tag to Hawk, and he gives everyone a beating. We break down for the third time, leaving just Animal and Knobbs in the ring. Hawk surprises him with a flying clothesline from the top, and that is enough for the win. A well-worked eight-man tag team match that everyone played to their strengths, with the pace at a high level throughout. A surprisingly good match; a lot of fun!
Final Rating: **¾

 

Now a segment with IRS, who gives us tax tips. An unsuspecting young man asks for a tax break because his wife is in the hospital, but IRS gives breaks to no-one. He says Coliseum Video fans are some of the biggest tax cheats in the world. Of course most fans watching this at the time would have been under eleven. That was the problem with IRS; most of the WWF’s fans were kids, who didn’t have a clue or care about taxes and how they work. Also, his gimmick only really worked in the US, because the tax system is much different over there than in the rest of the world. Of course, everyone had to have a job and no-one likes the tax man. It certainly could have been worse for him (ask TL Hopper or Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese). An absolutely pointless segment though.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Bret Hart (c) vs. Irwin R. Schyster
This is from Cornwall, Ontario in September 1991. Bret had just beaten Mr. Perfect to win the Intercontinental championship the month prior. I bet it must have been very uncomfortable for IRS working in that shirt, trousers, braces and tie. That attire has to rank right up there alongside the Conquistadors’ gold lycra bodysuits in the contest of worst gear to wrestle in. Bret has the better of the early exchanges, but gets caught with a backbreaker and a couple of elbow drops. IRS goes to the abdominal stretch, using the ropes to gain a leverage advantage behind the referee’s back. He lets Bret out of the hold, getting caught with a few pin attempts, before regaining control. IRS in the ring was as boring as his gimmick. He was technically sound and could bump and deliver ok, but his matches are always really tough to sit through. Just too many rest holds. He demonstrates exactly what I mean by putting on a time and interest sapping chinlock. The crowd is absolutely silent here, only reacting to the occasional move. It is one of the most tepid reactions I have ever heard for Bret, especially in Canada. Elbow from the middle rope and ten punches in the corner from Bret, who then locks in the Sharpshooter. He is too close to the ropes, and IRS reaches them before he submits. He finds himself right next to his briefcase, and he nails Bret with it, getting disqualified. Sometimes Bret would wrestle matches where he clearly couldn’t be bothered and he phoned it in. This was one of those matches. A very average outing, made worse by a terrible, uninterested crowd.
Final Rating:

 

The Undertaker vs. Greg Valentine
This is the first of three Undertaker matches on this tape, as he gets the Coliseum Video profile treatment. This match comes from October 1991 in Huntington, West Virginia. A month later, Taker would win the WWF championship from Hulk Hogan, completing a remarkable rookie year in the WWF. The problem is that he was atrocious in the ring at the time, and pretty much up until he worked his series with Mankind in 1996. Valentine, I will reiterate, just does not work as a babyface singles guy in the cartoon era WWF. Taker goes on the offensive straight away, but gets caught with a boot in the corner. Valentine lays into him with big chops and a few elbows to the head, but he puts his head down and gets caught with a shot to the throat. Taker assumes control by choking Valentine out in the corner, and the referee is too intimidated to stop him. Taker is certainly menacing and plays the role to an absolute tee, but his offence is so slow. I get it, I understand why, but it made his matches abysmal. Valentine fires back again, but gets felled like a tree from a big boot. Flying clothesline from Taker, but he misses a big elbow. Valentine connects with one of his own, and takes advantage of Taker being on the mat for the first time by putting on the figure four. Bearer distracts him and Taker sits up, nailing Valentine from behind before the Tombstone finishes things cleanly in the middle of the ring. Near enough nothing happened for that entire match. It is nice to see a clean finish for a change, but the wrestling was very poor.
Final Rating: ¼*

 

The Undertaker vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka
This match is from WrestleMania VII, and has been covered already by Arnold Furious. We have nothing much to add, so here is the review in full: Taker’s WrestleMania debut. Who knew this was the first of many on a remarkable unbeaten streak? Snuka had been a JTTS since coming back and even though he’s a heel the crowd tend to side with Taker a bit. This is the real Undertaker as they’ve switched out Brother Love as manager and replaced him with Paul Bearer. Things like the jumping clothesline get a big pop. As a character he’s gotten over already. I’m surprised they kept him heel as long as they did. Taker pretty much no sells everything in an extended squash, with Snuka taking a few sizeable bumps to get the match over. They work a nice springboard spot in where Taker catches him and I’m sure it was supposed to go right into the Tombstone, but Taker can’t do it. They opt to abandon it and just have Taker scoop Snuka up instead. Taker goes 1-0. Snuka headed off into the Indies and worked for ECW in its early days. This three year run contained no major victories and a lot of light counting. Had they nailed the finish it would have been worth another snowflake.
Final Rating: *

 

The remainder of the matches from this tape took place at the one off pay-per-view This Tuesday in Texas. We hand things over fully to Arnold Furious, who has covered the event.

 

– – –

 

This was an attempt to trial Tuesday as another night for potentially airing a PPV. Unfortunately the WWF made the decision to air it six days after their annual Survivor Series event. Many people simply couldn’t afford both and opted out on the newer concept. It probably didn’t help those considering purchasing both that Survivor Series ’91 was routinely horrible with bad finishes. Although, you could argue that the huge amount of shilling for this event at Survivor Series, may have added a few extra buys. Not many though, as the buyrate ended up disappointing and the WWF ditched the idea of running a secondary mid-week PPV. At least until Taboo Tuesday rolled round. We’re in San Antonio, Texas and it’s December 3rd, 1991. Hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan. Odds on someone mentioning the Alamo? Evens.

 

Tangent: some of the dark matches on this show are so weird I almost wish they’d been included. The Harris Brothers had a tryout match some four years before the WWF actually signed them. There was also a Sir Charles match. Charles Wright was repackaged under the significantly more racist Papa Shango gimmick the following month. Elsewhere Tatanka worked under his real name and Ric Flair pinned Roddy Piper, which is one of Piper’s rare, rare WWF jobs. He claims only one, to Bret Hart at WrestleMania VIII, but others do exist.

 

Tangent #2: the card for this show is piss poor. Only two marquee matches with Jake-Savage and Hogan-Taker. Everything else is a waste of time. Why is Skinner in an IC title match? Why does Warlord get 12-minutes? Repo Man!? Come on!

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Bret Hart (c) vs. Skinner
This is Skinner’s highest profile match although given the awfulness of his gimmick it’s hardly a surprise. Steve Keirn is good enough to work a decent match, but the sheer length of it is needless. Bret should have wiped the floor with Skinner. The crowd may be small in San Antonio but the pops are enormous, which is the benefit of running a major show in a smaller market; excited fans! For THIS match! Keirn isn’t quite the technical marvel that Bret is, but Bret has different levels of match based on his opponent’s strength. This would be one of the middling ones where he does all the difficult stuff and his opponent does very little. A little bit too much stomping and choking from Skinner. You could skip to any part of the match where Skinner is in charge and he’s either stomping or choking. Sometimes choking with his foot following a stomp. He won’t take Bret’s hints about where he wants to take the match either. Bret drops holding his shoulder and Skinner goes after the leg. Oh. Stomping it, as he can’t choke the leg. Inverted DDT, which was his finish called the Gatorbreaker, gets two. Bret, obviously fed up with having to spoon-feed Skinner spots, mounts his comeback immediately afterwards a’la Hulk Hogan. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Bret-a-Mania is runnin’ wild. They do get some nice counters involving roll up’s until Bret throws Skinner off the top and straps on the Sharpshooter. Skinner wasn’t capable of wrestling to Bret’s PPV level, which must have been frustrating for an eager Bret Hart. He must have wanted to steal the show here and couldn’t.
Final Rating: **¼

 

Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts
This is due to Jake’s assault on Savage back at SummerSlam after the wedding. Complete with awesome cobra bite angle in the middle. Both guys are dynamite on promos and strong in the ring. Jake is especially awesome here talking about how turned on he got by Liz’s fear. Jack Tunney has barred reptiles from ringside so Jake has no snake bag. Savage hears Jake’s music from backstage and jumps him before the bell, which shows the intensity. They’re not just going to “wrestle” in this vendetta. Several big matches have suffered from that; going from preaching hatred to a collar and elbow tie up. Savage’s energy is matched by Jake’s despicable approach. He works over the arm that the cobra bit. I’m sad watching the match knowing that Jake has very little WWF time left before departing in early 1992, not granted a writing gig by Vince McMahon, and would head over to WCW for a failed run. I dig some of the psychology in this one. It’s all energy, including Earl Hebner who actually dodges a ref bump by forward rolling out of the way. Savage blocks the DDT leaving Jake sprawled with bad ribs and quickly nails the Flying Elbow for the win. It’s a great match but its only 6-minutes long. It’s better remembered for the post match antics.
Final Rating: ***

 

Post match, Savage goes after the ring bell, harking back to his assault on Ricky Steamboat, only for Jake to DDT him out of nowhere. Just to really stick it to Savage, Jake DDT’s him again. He points out the snake bag was never in his corner… it was under the ring. It’s the cobra bag too. Liz is so freaked out she runs down to dive over Savage’s unconscious body. All while Jake screams “DO YA LOVE HIM? SAY PLEASE!” in her face. Jake, in a display of pure EVIL, then DDT’s Savage right in front of Liz and grabs the snake bag, insinuating he’ll make the snake bite Savage’s neck this time. Jake isn’t satisfied with Liz’s begging and slaps her. Tunney comes out to suspend Jake only for him to reveal the bag was empty the whole time. He was just screwing with them. This was Jake at the peak of his powers. Jake is positively orgasmic while talking about his actions, claiming he felt so good he should have paid for the slap on Liz.

 

The British Bulldog vs. The Warlord
You can tell the WWF isn’t in trouble for steroids yet! Davey is looking extremely muscular and Warlord even more so. There is a negative inference regarding steroids, which works out mathematically as roids = bad matches. This isn’t strictly true, but it is here. At one point Warlord has to hold himself in the ropes for the tied up spot. He does dodge Bulldog’s attack though, so it could have been a ruse. It isn’t. But it could have been. At 12-minutes the runtime is lengthy for the match they’re going to do. Bulldog would have been fine going over in 5-minutes with Warlord getting very little, mainly because Warlord’s offence is horrific. Bulldog has better ideas around Warlord’s bits; like a piledriver being countered into a sunset flip, where Warlord sits down to block into a pin, but Bulldog counters right out into a pin with his legs. But these are just cameo spots and the overall vibe of the match is one of Warlord vs. the audience’s attention span. Even in 1991 the “powering out of the full nelson” spot was dull. It’s clear Davey is the horse to bet on for the WWF in the long term, so he goes over here. Warlord himself disappeared in early ’92, perhaps with the steroid scandal looming. Bulldog takes this with a crucifix after the running powerslam is countered. Some good counters, thanks to them wrestling each other about 200 times in 1991, but huge boring chunks tanked the match.
Final Rating:

 

I normally don’t comment on backstage interviews but Savage’s interview directly into camera at this point in the show is legendary stuff. It reminds me of Benicio del Toro’s mescaline/ether freak-out in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. That’s how completely overboard Savage is. It’s like his usual caffeine enema had a batch of bad acid in it. Look at his eyes; his mechanism’s gone.

 

Ted DiBiase & Repo Man vs. Virgil & Tito Santana
Did they draw the partners out of a hat for this match? That’s the only way I think Ted DiBiase, the character, would team with Repo. The storyline being that Ted paid Repo to repossess the Million Dollar title. Like the champion has to pay a $40,000 deposit or some shit. What was Virgil going to do if he couldn’t afford it? Put it on layaway? Repo Man was one of those gimmicks where Vince had clearly lost all grip on reality. He was coming up with a series of ridiculous gimmicks and then saddling poor, unfortunate wrestlers with them one after another. Keeping in mind that Santana is now a bullfighter. The reason so many kids come into wrestling nowadays with stupid gimmicks already attached is because they grew up watching this. Keep in mind that the worst wrestler in this match is Virgil and he’s also the most over and least gimmicky. Although I doubt the fans would love Virgil if they didn’t hate Ted DiBiase as much. Ted bumps like a maniac for Virgil. Every bump is superbly OTT. It almost compensates for Repo Man. Why does he keep sneaking around? Why does he wear a Lone Ranger mask? And what is he in the process of repossessing? Our time? Regardless of how sloppy Virgil and Repo are, the match is hot despite its failings. They have a great finish too, with Sherri accidentally nailing DiBiase with her shoe only for Virgil to get obsessed with stopping her interference. That earns him a high knee in the back and he’s pinned for the loss. Fairly energetic. surprisingly so. DiBiase and Virgil’s feud was still hot and Santana played Ricky Morton to a tee.
Final Rating: **

 

WWF Championship
The Undertaker (c) vs. Hulk Hogan
Jack Tunney takes an official ringside seat to ensure no screwy finishes take place, which is stupid. It implies the WWF don’t have monitors backstage or that officials don’t watch the TV show. The match plods along at a similar pace to Survivor Series. While Taker has a decent handle on his character, he doesn’t have a moveset yet, just choking and stalking. He does do the rope walk, which would eventually be called “Old School”. That’s awe inspiring for 1991 where most big men didn’t leave their feet let alone walk the ropes. The rest of the match has more choking than Skinner can wave a stick at, and he kills gators. During this era the WWF’s ropes were way too loose. Akeem fell through them at one point and Taker almost does the same here. The WWF ruins the sense of awe with poor production value. Hogan sees the rope walk coming the second time and, in a nice bit of recognition psychology, throws Taker off the top. That’s Ric Flair’s cue to turn up and spectate. Once again Hogan jumps Flair from behind, this time with a chair. Win if you can, lose if you must but always, always cheat. Hogan then steals the urn off Paul Bearer and throws ashes into Taker’s face before rolling him up. Luckily for the WWF, Flair had stood Tunney up on the apron so he could see the cheating. The result was the vacating of the belt and a new champion being crowned in the Rumble match. Better than the shitty title change match at Survivor Series, but that didn’t take much doing. Most of the entertainment came in the booking. I hated Hogan winning the title back at the time, but thankfully it would be a short lived fourth reign.
Final Rating: *

 

After the matches, we go to a segment with Lord Alfred Hayes known as Call of the Action, a staple of the Supertape series. He runs us through submission finishers the Sharpshooter and the sleeper hold. We then see British Bulldog doing an impressive stalling suplex on the Warlord and the Rockers hitting a double clothesline. I hate the segment, it is just a complete waste of time. What a truly bizarre way to end the tape as well. This would have been better suited before the This Tuesday In Texas matches.

 

Summary: There’s nothing horrendous on This Tuesday in Texas. It’s certainly a better show than Survivor Series for consistency. The Savage-Roberts angle is one of the best that Vince’s WWF had done. You have to think back to Jake’s motivation for the whole thing: he attacked Savage, a retired wrestler at the time, just to see what would happen. He saw two happy people and wanted to destroy them. For six months Jake Roberts was the greatest heel in wrestling history. The rest of the tape is hit and miss. The Undertaker matches are hard to watch. With three matches in total, none of them above *, he drags the quality of this down significantly. The Jake-Savage angle is must-see, but the rest is very middling indeed. A minor recommendation at best.
Tape Score: 41

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