WWF Intercontinental Championship
The Ultimate Warrior (c) vs. Andre The Giant
This is from the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, and the date is October 1989. The lighting actually reminds me of Boston Gardens. Maybe everything with garden in the title is forced to look this way as a prerequisite. Warrior gets a great reaction for his entrance, he was incredibly over, but his pink tights are less than flattering. Warrior starts cautiously, hitting the ropes but stopping himself before he gets near Andre. When he finally does take the plunge and go for the clothesline, Andre catches him and traps his arm, before choking him in the corner. I have never seen Warrior sell this much so early, and Alfred Hayes agrees, saying much the same thing. Warrior fights back with clubbing blows, but Andre shrugs them off and goes back to the choke in the corner before paintbrushing him. Warrior turns the tables and fires back with shots of his own, and chokes Andre in the corner. A big clothesline sends Andre reeling into the ropes, but he gets caught with a boot to the face. There is a really funny story about that spot on the Self Destruction Of The Ultimate Warrior DVD, where it’s told that Andre basically stiffed Warrior on that spot for being too reckless. I think the one here was pretty standard though. Andre nearly does the splits as Warrior pulls him over by the leg. He goes for a pin but Andre is too big to keep down. Warrior gets confused and just starts choking Andre. It is a real awkward spot, clearly miscommunication. This has been beyond atrocious so far, as expected. Andre uses the nerve pinch, but wastes time having a brief team talk with Heenan, allowing Warrior to recover. Warrior hits a few shots of his own before effortlessly slamming Andre. That is impressive by Warrior, but Gorilla and Hayes barely sell the magnitude of it at all! It was a better executed slam than Hogan’s at ‘Mania III, that’s for sure. Warrior poses rather than going for the cover, so Andre punches him the face. That doesn’t stop Warrior, who goes for the big splash, but Andre blocks that with a big punch too. It is one of the poorest sequences I have ever seen in a wrestling match. It looked really awful. There is nothing to this match at all. Warrior is just stood still, leaning on a kneeling Andre. Talk about a rest hold! And wow is this lasting a long time! Warrior escapes but Andre ignores his bearhug attempt. A couple of clotheslines from Warrior sends Andre to the outside. The one match you would want to end on a cheap count out is this one, but yet Andre makes it back into the ring! The ref gets bumped and Andre lands some headbutts to the back of the head and then a big elbow. Andre gets the visual win but Danny Davis calls for the bell and this is a DQ win for Warrior. Andre thinks he has won and celebrates with the IC title, which is weird to see. That is one of the worst matches I have ever seen. Like, seriously awful. I have to go into negative stars for that. I would go even lower if not for the impressive visual of the slam.
Final Rating: -*
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Haku
We go back a few months to June ‘89 in Niagara Falls, with Tony Schiavone and Alfred Hayes on commentary. Haku jumps Warrior before the bell, but can’t move him on a tackle. Warrior takes Haku out with a big slam, before they both miss moves, then Warrior clotheslines him to the outside. If this ended now, it would already be a more satisfying encounter than the last match was. Warrior ducks a Haku crossbody and hits a big clothesline, but Haku gets his knees up on the splash attempt. Like against Andre, that move didn’t work. Just as it doesn’t in EVERY match. He should learn from his mistakes! Haku attempts to take over, but Warrior matches him and they go toe-to-toe with chops. The referee is being very tolerant in not counting them both out. They continue to trade outside the ring, but once back inside, Haku takes over with a backbreaker. Warrior just doesn’t want to sell for more than a few seconds, and he shrugs off everything Haku tries. A double nerve pinch finally slows Warrior’s momentum, temporarily at least. This has been fought at a decent pace and it has been very back-and-forth and competitive. The nerve pinch again slows Warrior down. He fights up again, but Haku sends him flying out of the ring over the top rope in a really good bump. Warrior sends Haku into the post, but he recovers before Warrior. His blows no longer have any effect, and Warrior goes into his Hulking Up routine. A flying clothesline gets him the win. Instantly Rick Rude hits the ring and takes him out, hitting a perfectly executed jumping piledriver. Andre comes out to prevent anyone coming to Warrior’s aid, but he doesn’t notice Warrior turning the tables on Rude and he press slams Rude onto Andre. Andre doesn’t even slightly catch him, he just sort of sticks his hand out. I bet Rude wasn’t thrilled about that! The match was pretty good, probably made to seem even better coming after the previous bout. It was the right length and it didn’t slow down until right towards the end. It was fine.
Final Rating: **
The Brother Love Show
Oh for Pete’s sake! Brother Love’s excruciatingly nasal and slow delivery combined with Warrior’s nonsensical promos could make this an absolute disaster. Warrior is WWF Champion at this point, and he comes to the set with a blue title belt on, and he is hardly wearing any face paint, just a tiny little Warrior symbol on one cheek. I can’t even describe what he is talking about, all I got was “poison”, “scar tissue” and “mud”. He appears to be talking about Rick Rude in an attempt to build their match at SummerSlam 90. Brother Love says Rude will win the WWF title and be a “champion of love”, and Warrior asks Brother Love what he knows about love… My brain is close to frying here. Warrior says he can hardly breathe because of the love his “warriors” (fans) have for him. I just assumed it was because he was blown up from the gas. Then they bring out the most obvious plant EVER. It is as such, because the girl’s face paint is IDENTICAL to what Warrior is sporting, and given that his paint tonight is so unusual, it’s a dead giveaway. The plant claims her name is “Amanda Ultimate Warrior”. Mental little kid! This is bordering on disturbing. Warrior then instructs her to perform like a seal, as she does cartwheels and handstands. He then professes his love for the child and says it is ultimate love. Jim’ll fix it for you! I never, ever want to see that again. That was even worse than the Andre match!
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Bob Emery
For anyone wondering who the hell Bob Emery is, he was an enhancement guy who worked about a dozen matches in 1988 for the WWF. What the hell he is doing on Warrior’s “best of” tape I can’t answer. When you have to resort to squash matches for a profile comp video, then you are profiling the wrong guy! Inevitably this lasts seconds. What a waste of time, I don’t get why it was even on here
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Bobby Heenan
This is from WrestleFest 88 in Milwaukee. It is a pretty famous weasel suit match, more for the angle and Heenan’s superb selling of it, rather than the wrestling they do. Warrior completely dominates as expected, ramming Heenan’s head into the buckles. Heenan uses desperation tactics, jabbing Warrior in the throat with a foreign object a couple of times. He goes to do it again, but The Crusher who was guest ring announcer, takes it out of his boot without him realising, and Warrior beats the hell out of him. Warrior with a sleeper hold, and that is all she wrote. Warrior dances with the weasel suit afterwards, before putting Heenan in it. The post-match shenanigans see Heenan wake up as it slowly dawns on him that he lost the match and is wearing the suit. He sells it like a champ, chasing his tail and falling all over the place. Comedy gold from Heenan and the angle was fun, but the match was obviously nothing.
Final Rating: ¼*
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Rick Rude (c) vs. The Ultimate Warrior
This takes place in May ’89, a few weeks after WrestleMania V where Warrior dropped the IC title to Rude, his only TV defeat at that point. Rude is one of my all-time favourites, and he was one of the few guys who could always make Warrior look great, so there is always potential when these two clash. They start fast with Warrior throwing Rude around, then suplexing him on the outside (!), but the Sean Mooney and Alfred Hayes don’t even mention it. Warrior just dominates the first few minutes with Rude getting nothing at all. He is letting Warrior beat him from pillar to post. Tree of woe from Warrior who lays some boots in, but he misses a splash in the corner and Rude finally gets some offence. Not for long though, as he gets caught with a press slam from the top, but comes back by getting the knees up when Warrior attempts a splash. Seriously, every single time! You don’t notice it when you watch him now and again, but watching a few matches in a row really highlights what a repetitive goon he is. Rude methodically pounds Warrior, and again demonstrates his superior jumping piledriver. A camel clutch follows as humbling occurs. Warrior escapes with a headbutt to the midsection, and Rude does a wonderful sell job on it, before getting launched into the corner over and over again. Warrior gives Rude an atomic drop, which he always sold better than anyone, by bending double and grimacing. Piledriver now from Warrior, but Rude bails and tries to leave. Warrior follows him and beats him up some more, then beats the count to win the match via count out. He hits the gorilla press and big splash after the match is over and celebrates with the IC title belt, then walks off with it. The dumbass.
Final Rating: **
Summary: It was mercifully short at only an hour long, but Warrior is not exactly Mr. Workrate is he? The matches were repetitive, and there was not a great deal to them. The Andre match was just offensively bad, as is the segment with Brother Love. If you love Warrior you will probably enjoy this tape, but if you don’t you will hate it. It is as simple as that really. Personally, I would give this one a miss.