James Dixon: This is a collection of matches from what the WWF claims are its high flyers. Mean Gene tells us to buckle our seatbelts, and talks about some of the guys on the tape. The Rockers, Savage, Koko, etc. This has potential.
Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Virgil
Oh, Virgil is on first. Talk about a kick in the nuts to start. But hey, if anyone can have a great match with a stick then it is Savage. Actually I kid, Virgil was pretty decent with the right opponent, he just has that unshakeable stigma of being a lifelong jobber to the stars. This match also appears on the Macho Madness tape and is from May 1988. Virgil takes control straight away and takes over on the champion. Savage gets nothing at all in the early going, because he would sell for anyone and make them look good, even Virgil! DiBiase gets some cheap shots in while the ref is distracted and Virgil hits a delayed scoop slam. He goes up high and misses a big splash, which he got some great distance on. Savage goes into his usual routine now and hits the knee to the back, except, it was more like a knee up the arsehole. It was pretty low. DiBiase blocks the flying elbow, timed perfectly and logically behind the referee’s back. Savage chases him but DiBiase pulls Elizabeth in the way. Come on, just hit him anyway! The old Savage would have! The distraction causes Savage to lose focus and Virgil jumps him from behind. He has looked pretty impressive here. His fundamentals were very solid and sound even at this stage in ’88, they probably could have utilised him even more than they did as a wrestler. Virgil is still dominating and looking like a real contender here, so much credit to Savage. Virgil throws him over the top and Elizabeth goes to check on him. For some reason DiBiase is distracting the ref, but to what end? Virgil is doing nothing to take advantage of it, it is just allowing Savage to recover. That was odd and pointless, and wasted a bit of time. DiBiase then tries to buy off Elizabeth… Take it! Of course, years later in WCW she did turn on Savage to join the Four Horsemen, so she has it in her. Savage recovers and fights back and the flying elbow gets the win. That was a good example of how you can make someone look good by beating them.
Final Rating: **
The Rockers vs. Los Conquistadors
Good choice here, as back in the 80s, NOBODY got higher than the Rockers. They are presumably high here, judging by those zebra striped tank tops they are wearing. The Conquistadors look like giant Sin Cara t-shirts. Fast start from the Rockers, and Mooney says it’s hard to keep up with them because they deliver so many moves so quickly. Presumably, his head would explode if he saw Dragon Gate. The Conquistadors are much bulkier than I remember, I always thought they were pretty slim. They are camp too! The Rockers are in complete control, working the arm with the standard babyface double team stuff that they really popularised, though often they would work the arm over and over at the start, yet the heels would inevitably forget about it later on. Jannetty makes a right hash of cutting off the ring and the Conquistadors make a tag, but the ref doesn’t allow it because it wasn’t planned. He then takes an age setting up a very convoluted double-team spot. Los Conquistadors take over and Jannetty takes a lovely bump out of the corner. The heat on Jannetty is very basic, but the Conquistadors certainly play the generic heel role well enough. Those suits must have been warm as hell to wrestle in though. They are literally covered from head to toe. Jannetty keeps fighting back, showing the crowd that he has something left in him yet. To me, that is always the mark of a good babyface, someone who is always showing they are alive, rather than dead selling everything. Yeah, I’m looking at you, John Cena. Los Conquistadors pull “twin magic”, so they keep the advantage and carry on working Jannetty’s back. He eventually rallies for a big hot tag to Shawn, and the crowd explodes. He is the proverbial house of fire here, and he hits a big slam, backbody drop and a couple of great dropkicks. One was almost a dropsault. It breaks down and Michaels comes off the top with a high crossbody for the win. Two for two for the babyfaces then. That was a very basic match.
Final Score: *½
WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Jumping Bomb Angels (c) vs. The Glamour Girls
The Angels won the belts from the Girls at Royal Rumble 88. This is from March of the same year. Sean Mooney asks how you tell the JBA apart. What a racist moron! And what is with the ring-bell? It sounds like someone hitting the post with a lump of wood. I guess buying a new ring-bell wasn’t a factor in Vince’s global domination plan at the time. So these two teams are very much wrestlers, rather than valets working or the Divas that dominated WWE programming years later. Fast start here, and Tateno escapes an early pinfall attempt with a beautiful bridge out onto her feet, before hitting a few dropkicks. The more I see them, the more I think the JBA might be the most underrated wrestlers in WWF history. They were always consistently good. Yamazaki hits a lucha armdrag, having started out on the top rope, and Kai screams in terror on the outside because it was so impressive. JBA with stereo octopus stretches, and that really pops the crowd. Very smooth technique, and the JBA are just awesome. Kai is too hefty to take a double underhook powerbomb. Hayes says as much by calling the GG’s “heavy, heavy girls”. The Glams take over after a double leg scissors from Kai, but Tateno is too quick for Judy Martin and makes the tag. Yamazaki gets caught with the frying pan after she gets her boot up in the corner, but she fights back in the opposite corner with some nice kicks, which are returned in kind. The pace remains excellent here. Yamazaki catches Kai up top and throws her Ric Flair style, but she doesn’t get the three because the ref is distracted by Martin. I am impressed, the wrestling is really sound. I like the fact that they just going out there and working, rather than doing a bad impression of wrestling like the girls, especially the Divas, did in later years. A double British dropkick from Yamazaki is enough for her to make the hot tag, and Tateno goes to town on the GG as the crowd goes crazy. Great fire here from the Angels again. A perfectly executed butterfly suplex and a flying clothesline both get two counts, because Kai makes the save. Yamazaki comes off the top with a high crossbody, but Martin moves and she hits Tateno. Yamazaki instantly sells it by holding Tateno’s head in her arms to both comfort her and sell the regret and remorse of the mistake she just made. That is absolutely fantastic stuff. Sean Mooney ruins it though by saying that “she hit her own man”. He is both racist and misogynistic. Despite the mistake, which usually meant game over in this era, Tateno rallies and catches a wheelbarrow cradle to get the three count and retain the titles. That was really good. This match will help change your perception of WWF women’s wrestling for the better. Don’t watch the Diva’s and think “it was ok for a women’s match” because you will be doing an incredible disservice to the quality of bouts like this and talents like the JBA. Even the most competent WWF/E Divas over the years have not been a patch on the Angels. Unparalleled and unmatched by anyone since, they are the best regular WWF female wrestlers of all time.
Final Rating: ****
The Shadows vs. The Young Stallions
So, to another famous venue here, as we are at the Spectrum in Philly, back in September 1987. One of the Shadows is Randy Colley, who was very briefly the first Demolition Smash, as well as more notably Moondog Rex. The other is Jose Luis Rivera, who makes his second appearance on this tape, as he was also one of the Conquistadors! Mooney calls the Stallions a devastating tag team and Hayes says they are the most logical team to compete next for the tag titles. Are these guys on crack, or what? They then talk about how Roma is “ripped to shreds”, and Hayes says it’s a by-product of being in the gym and training hard, and it has made his physique really hard also. “It happens to some wrestlers, but I am afraid it doesn’t to others”. What garbled toss. Roma is cut though, must be Python Powder. He certainly looks much bigger than he did in Power & Glory a few years later. Shadow #1 (Colley) can’t bump an armdrag at all, so #2 comes in seemingly just to show him how it’s done. The Stallions are dominating the early going, and after an armdrag, the Shadow claims mask pulling tomfoolery occurred, the filthy, lying heel! You know, I don’t like the name Young Stallions, it has arrogant connotations. They are the exact type of babyface team that the Attitude era would have ripped apart as well. Although, they are working like heels here, and they are doing a massive long heat from an armbar. This is either going 30-minutes or they don’t know how to work formula. I just don’t see how they are babyfaces. They have long hair and impressive physiques, but that isn’t enough of course, because Rick Rude had that and he was most definitely a heel. There are actually a few quiet but audible boos for them. Roma is trying to take one of the Shadows masks off now! What an absolute dickhead. The Stallions are the worst babyfaces ever. I mean, what did the Shadow ever do wrong to Roma. He would be shot in Mexico for that. Hayes points out that removing the mask wouldn’t result in a victory. Geez! Thanks for that! Roma’s preoccupation with the mask distracts him and the Shadows work a heat, choking Roma with the tag rope. The hot tag follows and Shadow #2 dances like a cartoon character. Very good and funny selling, he looked like Kenneth Williams dancing on hot coals. Powers hits a well executed back body drop and dropkick, but this breaks down just like the Rockers match did. Roma lands an impressive sunset flip from the top rope, and they get the win. That makes this the forth match in a row that the babyfaces have gone over clean from the top rope! On a Coliseum tape too! This has to be some sort of record. That match was let down by Roma being such a prick and Fat Shadow (#1) being so cumbersome. The structure was all over the place as well.
Final Rating: *¼
The Blue Blazer & Koko B. Ware vs. Danny Davis & Jose Estrada
This was originally shown on Prime Time and it is from January 1989. Hayes says this will be disjointed because the guys in it don’t usually team up. He has a point, but of course this is High Energy, four years early! Those guys had parachute pants that would have made Vanilla Ice cringe. The faces do a really nice double leapfrog into an awesome and inventive hiptoss/backbody drop combo, which looked great. You know, there have been an awful lot of masked wrestlers on this tape. And jobbers. Funnily enough, this is actually the second time we have seen Jose Estrada on this tape. He was the OTHER Conquistador! He is also the father of Jose Estrada Jr. who was in Los Boricuas. He looks like a white Bad News Brown. Davis and Estrada control Blazer with some basic heel offence, before Owen makes the hot tag to Koko. He cleans house and then a double noggin knocker from the face team connects. I do have to question why has Koko just randomly put on a side-headlock in the centre of the ring? Didn’t we just have the hot tag? I guess they are doing a double heat. Must have been a slow week on Prime Time for them to get this much time! Heat segment on Koko, which ends in a crossbody and a tag to Blazer. He runs in but Davis bails, not wanting any part of him, which just kills all the heat of the tag. Now Owen is methodically working over Bad News White. This match is all over the goddamn place as well. I am pleased that White just clocked Koko for his insolence because he danced in front of him. This is the third heat segment of the match now, and a blind tag to Blazer results in a splash off the top onto Estrada for the win. What a weak finish. That match should have ended at the first hot tag. It was ok, but significantly lacked in flow or logic. Alfred Hayes was spot on! Also, Davis blows big time.
Final Rating: *
Summary: Every match ended the same way, with the babyfaces winning from a top rope move, so the tape certainly lived up to its title. It could easily have been called “…And Now For The Jobbers”. It wasn’t a bad tape at all really. The poor stuff wasn’t too awful, as it was too short to be offensive. The effort was there and it was pretty entertaining throughout, with the matches flying by. The JBA-GG match is a forgotten classic and perhaps the greatest women’s match the WWF have ever done. A solid example of a decent WWF tape. Recommended.