#WF146 – Paul Bearer’s Hits From The Crypt

James Dixon: Presented, surprisingly enough, by Paul Bearer. Isn’t this a strange choice for a tape title and concept though? What was wrong with good old “Supertape”? This could have been Supertape 94 featuring “Call of the Action” with Stan Lane. He would have called everything wrong, but it would have made some sense conceptually. I was actually expecting an Undertaker tape when I first saw the title. I wonder why they never did a tape like this for anyone else, especially considering how random a choice Bearer is anyway. What, no Gorilla Monsoon’s Jungle Hijinks or The Big Bossman’s Slams From The Slammer? A missed set of opportunities indeed.

 

Jeff Jarrett vs. Lex Luger
The last thing you want to see at the start of a comp tape from 1994 is a Lex Luger match. This is slightly interesting in the sense that both were members of the illustrious Four Horsemen in WCW, Luger prior to his WWF run and Jarrett after his. Both have held the WCW championship on a number of occasions, though again Jarrett’s successes came after this stint. Luger has such a dislikeable smarmy face that I don’t understand why they didn’t turn him back heel again after his push as a main event babyface stalled, crashed and then burned. Surely he would have been a better choice to win King of the Ring in 1995 than Mabel was? Christ, what am I saying? Jarrett continues to be the most ostentatiously dressed wrestler in the company, today sporting bright yellow with pink and black tassels. As I have said elsewhere, it is a very midcard look. It was still preferable to his “NWA” bodysuit attire in 1998 though. That was horrid. Luger works a headlock and a tackle, then they stall for a while. With Luger having established himself as the power guy in the match (obviously), Jarrett shows his scientific abilities by working the arm. Ok, match story set, let’s see if they continue down this road. Just as I say that, Luger uses an effortless gorilla press, completely shrugging off Jarrett’s last minute of offense. Unfortunately we then go to Jarrett’s heat, which means Luger has to sell. Luger is not good at selling. Gorilla even says “he doesn’t have any fire” and he is spot on. I always found Jarrett pretty boring too, so I am not particularly enjoying this. Some guys could make the heat interesting and fun to watch, the best examples probably being the Brainbusters, but a lot of guys just did generic stuff and rest holds. Jarrett is actually somewhere in the middle, hitting a few axe handles, suplexes and the odd hold, such as a piggyback sleeper. Against Bret Hart or babyface Shawn Michaels, this would have been really good. But he isn’t against those guys, he is against “lifeless Lex”. Actually, Jarrett did do a match with Michaels at an In Your House event, and it was superb, pushing 5*. Stan Lane chimes in about Luger’s lack of offense as well. He doesn’t even really have any hope spots. Terrible, terrible babyface. Again, he should have been heel. The crowd remains entirely “glued” as Luger mounts his comeback, and the canned heat only serves to embarrass, as you can see the majority of fans sat on their hands. Luger wins with the rack, to a chorus of near silence. Jarrett actually tried to get something out of Lex here, but gave up halfway through and just went to a sleeper. It is hard to blame him too much, because Lex was giving nothing back.
Final Rating: **

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Razor Ramon (c) vs. Shawn Michaels
This is from February 1994, a few weeks away from WrestleMania X. As anyone reading this should already know, these two met at that show in one of the most famous matches in history. They had a ladder that day, but here it is just a straight up singles bout, and a Coliseum exclusive no less. Shawn and Razor actually didn’t have a great deal of straight up singles matches, certainly not high profile ones anyway, so this should be interesting. Obviously they are good friends and both in the Kliq, so they generally work extra hard for each other. The start of the match certainly lives up to the billing, and they cut a furious pace and throw in a load of near falls to boot. They end up outside and Razor goes for a Razor’s Edge on the concrete! You sick puppy, you! Shawn manages to sneak out of the back and send Razor into the post, and then slams him on the concrete for his insolence. “You can bet Razor will be calling his chiropractor tomorrow” says Stan Lane. Oh, do shut up you waffling goon. Michaels by now was far more comfortable in his heel skin compared to when he first turned two years prior, and everything he does is with confidence. Shawn slows things with a sleeper, which lasts a little longer than you would hope considering the guys involved, but somehow he doesn’t kill the crowd. Razor’s escape from the sleeper signals the start of his comeback, but he gets derailed with a Diesel trip on the outside. Shawn and Razor go toe-to-toe at ringside and the bell rings for a double count out. Well, that was just getting going nicely again, so that is a shame. Razor challenges Michaels to get back in and see who the real champion is, and the match restarts! What a pleasant surprise! Stan Lane is simply gushing over Razor, saying what a “man’s man” he is. Razor outsmarts Shawn and Diesel (because he is a face, and that is what SHOULD happen. Take note, WWE) and catches a few nearfalls before being stopped dead in his tracks with the superkick. They run a spot where both guys AND THE REFEREE clash heads, and it is done perfectly. A spot like that has the potential to be a real mess, but this was believable and beautifully timed from all three. I do wonder why Diesel just stands at ringside instead of laying some cheap shots in at Razor, but maybe he too is so impressed with the triple down spot that he is too busy admiring it. Razor hits the Razor’s Edge, and NOW Diesel jumps in, dropping a title belt assisted elbow on the back of Razor’s head. After a loooong delay, Michaels covers, but Marty Jannetty comes out and pushes him off. Somehow that is not a DQ, and after Diesel accidentally clocks Michaels with a big right, Razor rolls him up for a clean win. Yeah, Shawn laid down for someone! His friend, but still! This has a really great start and a strong last few minutes, and plenty going on, sleeper aside, to keep it entertaining. A fun contest, and this is the only place to see it.
Final Rating: ***½

 

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Mabel
The Coliseum quality control takes another journey down the crapper as Stan Lane welcomes us to Coliseum Video and says this is an exclusive. After some research it turns out that this doesn’t turn up anywhere else, so I guess this was originally going on first but they shifted the order. I can see why, because it’s a daunting prospect. Both are super heavyweights of course, but what a massive contrast in ability and style. Bam Bam bumped around like a cruiserweight and sometimes appeared to be inflated with helium, so light was he on his feet. Mabel on the other hand bumped around like a fucking hippo and looked like he had been filled with concrete. Mabel is so lazy, that he spends the first few minutes wrestling in his entrance jacket, which is seriously distracting. Whether it is more distracting than Gorilla singing “Oh yeah-eh” along with Oscar during Mabel’s entrance, I am not sure. There is something perversely entertaining about watching two guys of this size go at it, almost in the same way that midget matches used to draw massive reactions from cackling old ladies in the 60s and 70s (and our own Arnold Furious). This is the polar opposite, but the same still rings true. I would take this over an IRS match any day. Then my enjoyment dips a little as Stan Lane starts breaking out the racism: “You know, you got to be bad living in the ghetto, and Mabel does, with a haircut like that! You know that’s got to make the brothers angry when they see that white Mohawk”. Oh, Stan Lane, you are so utterly useless behind the announce desk. And a bit of a bigot too. Gorilla asks his standard Bigelow/tattoo question as Bam Bam puts on an arm bar. Wow, a trifecta of enjoyment-ruining things in one fell swoop. Mabel’s comeback mainly involves him standing there while Bigelow runs at him and bumps, then he tries to be a high flyer and busts out a dropkick and the worst Koppou kick attempt you are likely to see. It got Bam Bam squarely in the plums. An incredibly wild and dangerous clothesline from Mabel sends both careening over the top, and the many times deceased Tim White counts both out. I don’t mind that finish here actually, because with the way they did it, at least it was logical that they were counted out. Far better than it had any right to be.
Final Rating: **

 

WWF Tag Team Championship
The Quebecers (c) vs. The Headshrinkers
This one comes from Raw, with Vince and Savage a welcome break from Gorilla and Stan on commentary. The Headshrinkers brought the interminable Captain Lou Albano out of the Titan Towers storage closet, dusted him off and gave him a fresh supply of elastic bands so he would manage them to tag title success. He looks like he has just been exhumed. They also have Afa with them, while The Quebecers only have Johnny Polo. It makes no sense whatsoever to have a babyface team with such odds in their favour, and I can’t think of any other babyface that has needed that, valets aside. There have been other two-man management teams of course, such as Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji or Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik, but they managed heels, which does make sense. The Headshrinkers are certainly popular here, and this whole match has good heat. The Quebecers get overmatched so they decide to leave, as Vince loudly shouts “this is a rip-off!” If you know that, why did you book so many damn non-finishes!? We get the old Money Inc. gimmick as The Quebecers are forced to return or they will lose the belts on a count out. It is a great spot for popping the crowd and creating excitement, but it does strip the champions of their advantage, which seems wrong somehow. The odds keep stacking in favour of The Headshrinkers, and I am almost cheering for The Quebecers because of it! The dumbass crowd chants “USA” because they are IGNORANT IDIOTS. Savage tries to save it by claiming “they are obviously chanting for American Samoa!” which is a very commendable attempt, but no. All these minor niggles aside, this is actually a really good tag title match, and both teams work their asses off to get it over. The Quebecers have some fantastic double team stuff, and Jacques was a million times better in this team than he ever was as The Mountie. He was a tag wrestler at heart, and his best stuff was always with a partner. His stalling walking piledriver is a very cool move. The Quebecers miss their double team finish from the top, but the ref misses the hot tag because he is dealing with a scuffle between Albano and Polo. Fatu eventually gets the tag after Quebecers miscommunication and the top rope splash finishes it, and we have new tag team champions. Tremendously fun match, with both teams working hard and bumping around for each other, and plenty of story and action. A sterling effort.
Final Rating: ***½

 

Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb
Vince stays on commentary, joined by Gorilla Monsoon. That’s an interesting team! This is a rematch from WrestleMania X, where Bomb was squashed. Bomb was a strange case in a lot of ways, because he was everything Vince looks for in a wrestler, and as well as being big he could also move reasonably well. He didn’t really get over, but that was due to a naff gimmick and too many TV jobs. In an era where Vince was starved of his muscle guys due to the steroid trial, Adam Bomb was right there and did nothing. I am not saying he should have been pushed as a top line guy or anything, I am just surprised that he wasn’t. Earthquake was the wrong choice to push ahead of him in 1994 though, and he was gone within a couple of months of this. The match is just an extension of the ‘Mania one, with Quake winning after 4-minutes. Nothing to see here.
Final Rating: *

 

Bret Hart (c) vs. Kwang
Kwang!? Really!? This is the third match running Raw, as the Coliseum exclusives go out of the window. Vince calls the mist that Kwang spits “green slime”, which is just a silly comment. Slime is viscous and sticky, mist disperses into the air. If they were the same thing, then The Ghostbusters wouldn’t have had any problems with Slimer. The crowd are fairly into this, even though Kwang was not considered a realistic threat by anyone. Owen Hart is interviewed via telephone and tries to hype his match with Bret at SummerSlam, only for Vince to rudely shout “ONE, TWO…” over him not once, but twice, as Bret gets near falls. No wonder Owen felt like he was in Bret’s shadow. Anyway, Hart wins with the Sharpshooter in a routine Bret TV match.
Final Rating: **

 

Men On A Mission & Doink the Clown vs. The Quebecers & Jeff Jarrett
What the hell is this!? Why does this exist? I guess Doink and MOM have an affinity after the latter dressed up and worked as “Doink” in an infamous match at Survivor Series ’93. Stan Lane is back on commentary, and within seconds he starts throwing out the “ghetto” talk. I am longing for Gorilla to say “give me a break”, but he doesn’t. More commentary nonsense ensues with Lane talking about Doink’s “fake nose” (he doesn’t have a fake nose) and then asks if all men hug each other in Canada. Gorilla shows his age with his decidedly un-PC views on these matters, but he has past history in that regard, as he always used to trash The Genius for being a bit of a queer. Yesterday in the office, Lee asked me why Mo was ever even hired by the WWF, due to his uniquely awful look of being an egg with limbs. I have no answers for that, other than him looking like a mini Mabel. In fact, you could make the case that Mo is to Mabel what Dink is to Doink. Both were entirely worthless. The majority of the match is Doink taking the heat, which is very lazy formula in a six-man. Mabel doesn’t even get in the ring until the very end of the bout. At one point Mo has a fit when the ref misses a tag, and he looks like an overweight baby having a tantrum. This match is incredibly boring, because it is just a massive heat and nothing more. Mabel gets the hot tag, Jarrett runs away and Mabel uses his fat man splash to pin Jacques. Utterly useless.
Final Rating: ¾*

 

Yokozuna & Crush vs. Lex Luger & Randy Savage
This is a very rare Randy Savage Coliseum appearance in 1994, with this match coming from the same show as the Michaels-Razor match earlier in the tape. Savage limps to the ring selling an injury from something, though I am unsure exactly what. This is two WrestleMania X matches melded together of course, as Crush took on Savage and Yoko defended the WWF title against Luger. Crush and Yoko are possibly the slowest and most lethargic tag team ever assembled. I just hope to god that Luger isn’t taking the heat, because I don’t know if I can take it. The opening stuff between Luger and Yoko is actually alright, but then Crush comes in and it goes to hell. What was with that strange punch he did from the chest? It looks awful. My fears regarding Luger appear to be unfounded, as Savage takes the heat after shenanigans on the outside involving Mr. Fuji. Unfortunately Crush and Yoko are among the two worst at delivering an entertaining beating, and the pace is pathetically slow. There is no excuse to be this boring when the work is shared between two guys. Stan Lane buries Yoko’s shitty conditioning, and wins some rare brownie points from me. Crush goes up top, but gets cold feet at the prospect of delivering something interesting and instead opts for his slow backbreaker. Good choice, pal. Luger’s eventual hot tag is met with indifference, as the crowd are bored of both the match and Luger in general. Savage puts the match out of its misery by nailing Crush with Yoko’s salt bucket while the ref’s back is turned, and Luger gets the pin for his team. There was more star power in this match than in anything else on the tape, but there was also the minimum effort. A really tiresome offering, as this tape continues its rapid decline.
Final Rating: *

 

The Undertaker vs. Crush
Crush again!? This also appeared a dozen or so tapes earlier on Inside The WWF. There is no excuse for recycling it here. Johnny Polo joins Gorilla Monsoon on commentary. Polo is good, because he has enthusiasm for the product and is clearly a mark at heart. That is probably what held him back in the staunchly po-faced WWF, when the workers did it only for the money, rather than any love of the business. Not all of them of course, but a lot of them. Guys like Kevin Nash and Lex Luger were not wrestling fans, they were guys who found a profession that accepted freaks of nature. Crush being a “Japanese sympathiser” is among the dumbest gimmicks the WWF did. I mean, what is there to be sympathetic about? Their better economy? Superior rate of employment? Lack of gun crimes? Maybe it is because wrestlers from the country who work for the WWF are shoehorned into racist stereotype gimmicks. If so, good on that man for recognising that and taking a stand! The crowd is darkened a lot here, suggesting a lacklustre draw. It certainly sounds like one. The match is pretty poor, by the way. It is just all slow striking and out of context selling. The bright point is Polo, who playfully mocks Gorilla for not really knowing the difference between moves, and pointing out things that fans watching would have been saying. Crush does impress with a gorilla press, doing reps with Taker before press slamming him to the mat. That is some strength right there. Crush goes for a Tombstone, which is among the dumbest things you can try against Taker, and he reverses it into his own for the win. Stupidity from Crush, but I am pleased we get a clean finish. Pleased and shocked, I should say. Match was slow and uninspiring until the very end.
Final Rating: *

 

Summary: A tape of two halves, with the first hour or so chugging along nicely and featuring some really good matches, only for it to go to hell from the Bomb-Quake match, and never recover. The tape exclusive Razor-Shawn match is something of a collectors piece and it is as good as you might hope from a dark match. Elsewhere The Headshrinkers title win is definitely worth a look, and Jarrett and Bigelow’s carry jobs deserve credit too. Other than those four matches, you can pretty much disregard the rest. If anyone DOES buy the tape off the back of this review, then my advice is to stop it halfway thorough and skip the rest. Generally good fun though, and it didn’t feel like two hours, which is always a good thing. The first half comes recommended from me, the whole tape slightly less so.
Verdict: 46

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