James Dixon: The first ever WWF VHS releases was Wrestling’s Bloopers, Bleeps & Bodyslams, and this is its follow up, in name at least. Although I notice they have dropped the “wrestling” from the title. I guess “Sports Entertainment’s Bloopers, Bleeps & Bodyslams” was too long for the cover. My feeling of nausea comes right away, as Hillbilly Jim presents the tape. What was he even doing in the WWF by 1994? The original Bloopers tape featured a grand total of zero full matches, but this one is thankfully full of them.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Razor Ramon (c) vs. Crush
This comes from December 1993, early into Crush’s Japanese phase, which was just ridiculous. My favourite era crush is without question the fluorescent-orange-wearing Kona Crush, this version is lame. Luckily the brilliant Johnny Polo is on commentary alongside Gorilla Monsoon, and the two make a fantastic pair. Polo is genuinely funny and knowledgeable to boot. He has the gift that all commentators aspire to, in that he makes boring wrestlers more interesting and bad matches more entertaining. If I am being polite, I would describe the pacing of this as “gentle”. Crush lumbers about dominating the majority of the match, with an arsenal of varied and unique moves. Oh no wait, it’s a body scissors. Crush does try to expand his repertoire by taking things to the outside, but he gets lost in his new surroundings and quickly brings Razor back in without actually doing anything. Polo calls a backbreaker “a staple of the Crush repertoire” I would argue that the move IS his repertoire. Crush, like a moron, thinks he has the match won after a top rope fist drop, but Razor had his feet on the ropes. The champ takes advantage of Crush being gormless and rolls him up for the win. Painfully slow and dull.
Final Rating: ½*
Gorilla Monsoon calls SummerSlam “SlummerSlam” and then fumbles a few other lines.
WWF Tag Team Championship
The Steiner Brothers (c) vs. The Headshrinkers
These two teams sure could go when motivated, and they were excellent opponents for each other because the ‘Shrinkers were happy to take the crazy shit that the Steiners did. Sadly, Polo is replaced behind the announce desk with Stan Lane. He was a great tag wrestler himself, but he is a boring commentator. Jesus the Steiners are over, but then again, they are on home turf as this match took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Scott lets Samu chop and rake him for a bit before getting bored and busting out the modified double underhook powerbomb early. Rick lets Fatu do the same before hitting a nice powerslam and Steinerline. The opening exchanges have been energetic and fun. After a slugfest, Fatu nails Rick with his beautiful savat kick, and we look set to go into the heat, but Rick has other ideas and instead hits a belly-to-belly suplex off the top. As you do! See what I mean about the Steiners doing crazy shit? The heat eventually comes on Scott, and it is relatively generic but with character based twists. Nothing wrong with it, it just hardly breaks the mould. An impressive overhead belly-to-belly from Scott eventually leads to the hot tag sequence and Rick cleans house. Then, like a fool, he tries to give the Samoans a double noggin knocker. Has he never seen Samoans wrestle before? It backfires briefly, but he recovers enough to catch a roll-up and win the match. Hey, two clean finishes in a row! This started off fairly well but became paint-by-numbers once the Headshrinkers took over. Never boring though, just nothing special.
Final Rating: **
Owen Hart vs. Rick Martel
This is before Owen’s heel turn, so he was still just high flying jobber “The Rocket”. This being September 1993, Martel has long since outstayed his welcome. Both are wearing rather fetching shades of baby blue, with Owen having abandoned the High Energy parachute pants, and reverted back to something seemingly from his Blue Blazer days. In fact it is entirely like his Blazer costume. Knowing stories of Owen’s humour, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was wearing the gear as a rib. Even though he was boring by this stage of his career, Martel was at least generous in the ring, giving his opponent a lot of offence. This match is no different, and he lets Owen have a decent shine before going to his chinlock heavy heat. Owen rallies with some fast high flying moves, but gets shit-canned to the outside, where he is attacked by Jerry Lawler for the first Coliseum finish of the tape, this being a count out. With plenty going on for the most part, a few rest holds from Martel aside, this was enjoyable enough without ever kicking on into the next gear.
Final Rating: **¼
Vince McMahon fluffs his lines and trips over a step, before Todd Pettengill falls over in the most fake looking shit seen on a WWF tape since the last time they showed a Typhoon match. The imbecile destroys a tape deck, ruining the reel inside it. So THAT is what happened to the Tito Santana IC title win footage! Here’s an idea jackass; how about you don’t deliberately yank it from the wall! We love Todd Pettengill in this office, just fucking love him.
Yokozuna (c) vs. Tatanka
Hillbilly claims this is a Coliseum exclusive, and I am too apathetic to see if he is lying. Either way, I don’t think anyone watching bought the tape just because this match is on it. Just imagine if Tatanka had won this match, we could have had yet another Luger-Tatanka epic, this time at WrestleMania. Tatanka’s dazed selling is hilarious. He looks like he is getting pleasured by a “nice girl”. They do a Lynn-Van Dam inspiring series of missed moves, and actually cut quite a brisk pace for a fat tub of lard and a charisma black hole. Ah, then the nerve hold ruins everything. Yokozuna was probably the most boring WWF champion in history. Gorilla tries to explain the mechanics behind the nerve hold and what it is supposed to achieve, and while I appreciate the effort, that doesn’t fly with me. He is gently holding his neck so he can have a standing snooze, I knew that when I was ten years old watching him. The crowd entertains itself by singing tribal war dance songs, in an effort to inspire Tatanka, presumably. More likely they just want this five minute nerve hold to end. I mean, wrestling is supposed to be entertainment, and thus should be entertaining. What is fun to watch about a fat out of breath guy sitting down and holding the neck of another guy? Nothing, that’s what. Tatanka’s comeback is fiery, and he wins a bonus point for a stinging chop, but he gets thwarted by a Yokozuna salt bucket to the head. We are 2-2 on the finishes now, with the Coliseum specials making a comeback. I’m sure they will win out in the end. Yoko attacks Tatanka after the match and Randy Savage makes the save. Obviously. That was good when Tatanka was on the offensive, but Yoko killed it with the nerve hold.
Final Rating: *½
Razor Ramon & Marty Jannetty vs. Diesel & IRS
This is nearly an excellent looking match, but here is IRS to instead ensure complete boredom. Hey, the guy HAS to be on every WWF VHS release, it’s like an unwritten law or something. The arena here in Burlington, Virginia looks like an ECW building. Gorilla claims the “R” in IRS stands for “Repossess” and Polo mocks him for it, saying no-one would name a child that. If we go by that rationale then the majority of the roster’s names can be questioned! Gorilla has stumbled on a new nickname for Ramon, referring to him as the “Razor man” on a number of occasions. What’s wrong with the old classics like ‘the bad guy’? Diesel takes a bump! Ok it was for his buddy, but still, banner day! The heat is on Jannetty, obviously. In comes IRS, and regular readers or anyone who has been paying attention knows what that means: rest holds. Lots of riveting rest holds. Gorilla drops into robo-cliche mode, and busts out his staples (monotone: “that will give you a negative attitude”). Another poor finish in this, with IRS getting his team disqualified when he uses his briefcase as a weapon. IRS should have been nothing more than a JTTS at this point, I don’t know why they couldn’t have just had Razor pin him. They all just went through the motions here, and like the last match, it was killed by rest holds. Razor has been in the two worst matches of the tape so far.
Final Rating: *
Ah here is Lord Alfred Hayes to make a mess of a couple of lines. They could have shown highlights of anything Hayes was involved in and it would be considered a blooper. Gorilla and Polo share some laughs in the studio, which is actually amusing in a sweet kind of way. Man, the WWE should rehire Scott Levy to reprise the Polo character and replace the dire commentary team they have on Raw.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Doink The Clown
This is crappy babyface Doink, with his little midget mini-me Dink. Once Matt Borne was fired and the character turned from a frightening heel into a happy-go-lucky face, the gimmick was dead. This is from the same show as Razor-Crush earlier on the tape. Wow, that crowd was treated to some belters, huh? Dink pops the crowd by laying down and kicking his little legs. Man, midgets are FUNNY! This is the WWF at its freak show nadir, what with Luca Vachon completing the scene at ringside. The action is played for laughs, with Bigelow complaining about a hair pull. He has no hair! Guffaw! Bam Bam deserved better than this program, and seeing him sell being kicked up the arse is depressing. If the WWF ever did holiday camp shows, this is the kind of match you would expect to see. How can a company go from Savage-Steamboat to this in the space of six years? Dink gets in the ring and is cornered by Bigelow and Luna, and Gorilla says “this could be a travesty here”. What match are you watching pal? It has been a travesty since the opening bell. My interest perks up when Doink hits a stunner, but my suspension of disbelief is shattered when he can’t take Bigelow down with a couple of flying clotheslines. My issue is that Doink has already bumped Bigelow a bunch of times in this match, even flipping him on an arm wringer. Consistency is key! Dink headbutts Bam Bam in the bollocks, sending him out of the ring and knocking himself out in the process. Bigelow is counted out for yet another cheap finish. Sadly, Doink saves his midget BFF from being pancaked, thus depriving me of a modicum of entertainment. In truth it wasn’t all bad from a technical standpoint, but it sure was silly.
Final Rating: *½
Bret Hart vs. Crush
Another Crush match! What did I do to deserve this? Usually Bret Hart saves these tapes from mediocrity, but he is going to struggle here! The arena is the absolute shits; it looks like a low budget Indy show. After doing a little research, the attendance for this card was only 1600! This match and lot of other bouts on the show were part of the Road To WrestleMania X special. What a strange place to tape it. Having done a little more research, it turns out they actually did an even smaller show the following day in front of just 1300 people. But the main event was a doozy: Bret Hart & 1-2-3 Kid vs. Owen Hart & Shawn Michaels! Wow. Why couldn’t they have put that on here instead? In another interesting fact about this taping; it also featured an appearance from one Bill DeMott, who did the job to John Paul. I have no idea who that is, but I assume it wasn’t The Pope. If you have seen one Bret Hart vs. generic lug match, you have seen them all. Crush tries to channel the spirit of future Goldberg with a filthy savat kick that looked like it knocked Bret silly. Random observation: the ropes are weird here. Three sides are the usual red, white and blue but one side is all white. How inexplicably random. The finish is pretty curious as well, with Bret locking Crush in a small package, and Owen running down and rolling them over so Crush pins Bret. Are we supposed to buy that Bret didn’t realise and thus forgot to kick out? Bret did well to get something so watchable out of the wooden mass that is Crush, but like I said, it was the same as any other Bret match with a big guy.
Final Rating: *¾
Some more bloopers, yadda, yadda. Sick of them yet? I sure am.
Steel Cage Match
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Marty Jannetty
Oh my, where did this come from!? The crowd is far more muted than you might expect, especially given the intense rivalry between these two. You can hear the cage clatter each time they run the ropes, such is the subdued nature of the audience. Referee Bill Alfonso takes it upon himself to change the rules of the match, running in to count a fall when Jannetty goes for the cover. What a retarded piece of business that was. Pinfalls do NOT count in a blue bar cage match. They never have and they never should. Over the years the WWF became increasingly confused as to what the rules actually were, and I think a couple of these cage bouts might have ended up incorporating pinfalls down the line. Gorilla is apoplectic about it here, and shreds Alfonso. He then calls for a wide angle camera shot of Michaels nearly making it out of the cage, and references “Kerwin” (Silfies), telling him to do a better job. Ah, insider jokes. Michaels follows in the tradition of Rick Rude by getting his arse out in a cage match, but he doesn’t fully commit like ‘the ravishing one’, and pulls his tights back up pretty swiftly. Alfonso makes another mess of things, coming in to check Jannetty’s arm while he is in a chinlock. Come on WWF; decide what the rules are. You either win by escaping or you win by pinfall or submission, you can’t have it all ways. The coolest spot of the match is undoubtedly the two slugging it out on top of the cage, much like Pat Patterson and Bob Backlund did in a fairly famous cage match 15 years earlier. The finish sees Jannetty try to escape over the top but get thwarted by Diesel, while Shawn bolts for the door. This was really good actually, and didn’t suffer from a common complaint with cage matches: cage selling. You know the one, where guys act like they are on their last legs after just a few minutes. This was all action, with some nice escape spots and plenty of quality. The dumb ref and quiet crowd stopped it being a classic, but it is a rare match and well worth at least a look.
Final Rating: ***½
Jerry Lawler vs. Randy Savage
In a previous life somewhere (in Memphis) these guys had a heated series, with a couple of cage matches here and there. Both are past their prime at this stage (September 1993) and this bout doesn’t hold much appeal. We get a cameo from one Tony Chimel, who at this stage was in charge of taking the wrestlers’ entrance gear back to the locker room. We don’t even get a shine, suggesting this will be short, with Lawler in control from the off. Savage genuinely doesn’t get a move in for the majority of the bout, and with Lawler’s offence being so deathly dull, this match is incredibly boring. Savage finally does mount a comeback, so Lawler bails before he can hit the big elbow. Bret Hart puts paid to Lawler running away by chasing him back to the ring, and Savage rolls him up for the win. Even at 6-minutes that felt far too long. What a bad match between two genuine wrestling legends.
Final Rating: ¼*
Summary: There is not a lot on here that is worth going out of your way to see. There are a few exclusives, but most of them are pretty worthless. Two Crush matches may well be enough to put anyone off, but if you can stomach that prospect, then there is a shiny trinket of joy in the form of the Rockers cage match. This offering is much better than the original Bloopers tape, but still nothing to get excited about. Don’t avoid it like the plague, but feel free to give it a miss.