James Dixon: Sean Mooney promises the most exciting hour of action in Coliseum Video history. Well pal, the line-up suggests otherwise but we shall see.
WWF Tag Team Championship
Demolition (c) vs. The Powers of Pain & Mr. Fuji
This is from WrestleMania V. It’s 3-on-2 with Fuji on the Powers’ team, which in theory gives them a one man edge, but in actuality gives the Powers a needless weakness to carry. We’re back to the WWF style of kicking and punching. Fuji holds his own during the opening exchanges but that’s largely because of the Powers roughing up Ax first. The wrestling is weak, especially when Warlord is in there. Fuji miscues with the powder and Demolition pick him off with the Demolition Decapitation. Plodding pace compared to the previous match. Fuji looks like a bit of a fool for dumping the tag team champions to join the Powers of Pain, only for the Powers to come up short here. He’d promptly sell their contracts and bring in another team, with even less chance of winning the tag titles, the Orient Express. At least they were good.
Final Rating: ½*
Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Greg Valentine
We are in Worcester, Massachusetts in July 1989. These guys were both much bigger stars in the early 80s. The WWF expansion made a lot of regional stars into international names, but both of these guys went right down the card in the cartoon era. Snuka was just a jobber for a few years and Valentine fell significantly after dropping the IC title. This match between them took place on SNME, and Rugged Ronnie Garvin is the guest referee. He was embroiled in a feud with Valentine at the time. The Hammer jumps Snuka before the bell with his typical heavy blows, and argues with Garvin when he tells him to break a choke. Snuka fires back with big chops and goes for a headbutt off the second rope, but Valentine gets his knees up, and Snuka goes face-first into his shin guard. Garvin and Valentine get into an argument and have a shoving match, which ends with Garvin giving him a big right hand. Snuka catches him with a crossbody from the top and this one is over. Well, that was far shorter that I was expecting it to be. Ventura is absolutely livid with the involvement of Garvin. He really was the master at getting things over from behind the announce desk. The action in the match was perfectly acceptable, but it was very short.
Final Rating: ½*
Steel Cage Match
Roddy Piper vs. Rick Rude
This is also available on Supertape II. Pinfalls count in this as well as the traditional cage escape route of winning. We are in MSG, with this coming from December 1989. It is all Piper early on, and Rude tries to escape the cage out of desperation, to get away from him more than anything. Piper hasn’t taken a move yet so that predictably ends badly for Rude. Piper makes a genuine escape attempt but Rude stops him, crotching him on the ropes. Piper sells the hell out of his sore balls, and Rude is bleeding here already. I guess that must have been from Piper ramming him into the cage. Rude tries to go for the door but Piper keeps hold of his leg. Rude drops a few shots on him and goes for the pin instead but Piper gets out. Piper still hasn’t let go of the leg. Impressive commitment to the spot! He has been holding it for a good two minutes! Piper drags Rude’s tights halfway down his ass, exposing a full moon. Rude always gets his ass out in cage matches, he loves that spot. Naked asses in a cage… it’s like a Rockers party! Sorry, they just keep coming to me. Rude comes back with a Rude Awakening but Piper still manages to stop him escaping. They clash heads, and the ref starts counting to ten, which pisses off Gorilla, who reprimands him for not knowing the rules. He has a point. Piper and Rude both climb out over the top of the cage and hit the floor at the exact same time. The Fink tells us that the match has to continue, a’la Hogan-Orndorff. I should note, that Rude still has his ass out! He has a serious exhibitionist fetish. Rude mounts the cage and instead of climbing out, he hits a huge knee drop from the top of the structure. Ten out of ten for effort, but the execution was a bit off. He looked like he was unsure about doing it. Hey, I don’t blame him. That is quite the distance to jump from with a move like that. Rude hits a piledriver and goes to leave over the top, but Piper shakes the cage and crotches him on the bars. Rude ends up hanging upside down from the top of the cage. It’s another risky but very impressive spot from Rude and a great visual too. Heenan prevents Piper leaving by slamming the door in his face, and a back suplex from Rude keeps both men down. Heenan passes brass knuckles to Rude, but Piper catches him first. He puts the knucks on himself and clocks Rude between the eyes and escapes via the door the win the match. That was a superb effort from both guys, though Rude in particular was excellent and did everything he could to get the match over. That was a pay-per-view calibre match and another excellent outing on this tape. A glorious cage match.
Final Rating: ****¼
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Hercules
This is from way back from November 1986 in LA. There are no entrances, we start in the ring. Hogan’s blue knee pads are an odd choice. Co-ordination man! They start with a test of strength but Hogan soon takes control. Heenan tries to get involved, but Hogan chases him and he takes a crazy vault over the top rope to escape. Hogan then misses an elbow, allowing Herc to take over. A bearhug from Herc slows things down. The camera pans out, and the LA Sports Arena certainly looks impressive. It has very unique bright lighting, it’s very distinctive. You just didn’t get that beyond the Attitude era. Backbreaker from Hercules, and he locks on the torture rack. He thinks he has the match won, but ref Hebner says no. Once again, Ventura is livid. He claims Hogan quit, and is almost blowing a gasket at the perceived injustice. Listen to Ventura and then listen to Michael Cole or Jerry Lawler. Let me know if you spot the difference! Hogan Hulk’s Up and the usual routine means that this one is a done deal. A generic Hogan routine title defence, though the action was solid enough. It didn’t slow down too much and the story made sense.
Final Rating: *
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. Ultimate Warrior (c)
This is from MSG in February 1989 and it’s champion versus champion. They were doing this match around the circuit, and a similar match from a few days prior features on The Ultimate Warrior tape release, covered by Arnold Furious in Volume #1. Savage was heel at this point, having turned on Hulk Hogan, and with WrestleMania V just weeks away. Savage was still great in ’89 so this could be fun. Back-and-forth start, but Savage gets caught with a crossbody and Warrior hangs him in the tree of woe and stomps him down. Savage tries to come back, but Warrior is a step ahead. Eventually Savage ducks a charge, and gives him the trademark knee to the back, sending him to the outside. The New York crowd is red hot for Warrior, they love him! It is strange, because someone with his lack of coordination and general wrestling ability would be ripped to shreds there in the WWE era, wouldn’t they John Cena? Savage slows the pace and controls in a lengthy heat segment. However, a double axe handle only gets a one count, and Warrior comes back with a suplex. Rick Rude shows up at ringside, but Warrior isn’t distracted, hitting an atomic drop. Warrior actually doesn’t pay any attention to Rude at all. It is quite surprising actually, usually he is hot headed about things like that. As has become entirely routine, Warrior gets cut off when Savage gets his knees up on Warrior’s splash attempt. It is literally every single match that Warrior takes heat in that he uses the spot. The momentum shift doesn’t last long, and Warrior comes back and starts shaking the ropes, running through Savage with clotheslines. A running powerslam doesn’t lead to a pin attempt, because he decides to go after Rude instead, and they brawl on the outside. Savage beats the count and wins via count out. Warrior is annoyed but it is his own stupid fault for losing focus and attacking Rude. He cost himself the WWF title, but he has no one to blame but himself. Ok match, but obviously not anywhere near the same league as the all-time classic they had at WrestleMania VII two years later.
Final Rating: *½
Summary: A short tape, around an hour long, with not a great deal of new stuff to get excited about. The only thing worth seeing is Rude-Piper in the cage, and you would be far better off getting the pretty damn good Supertape II to watch that, because there you get three more ***+ matches as well. Nothing on here comes anywhere close to matching that. The pace is quick as the tape goes from match to match without any messing around in between, but for the serious collector, this is not a necessary purchase.