James Dixon: Simply know as Greatest Steel Cage Matches on the UK release, all of the matches on the tape take place, unsurprisingly, inside of a steel cage.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Paul Orndorff
This match is rather famous, and appears on a few different tapes featured in this book. This comes to us from Hartford, Connecticut in December 1986. Orndorff was a great talent. It is a shame he was only around for the early years of the cartoon era, because he could have had a helluva run once he turned babyface (again), opposite the likes of Savage, Santana, DiBiase, Perfect and later on Flair. He goes for the door early on as he gives Hogan a kicking, but Hogan prevents him by grabbing the ankles. A clothesline to a seated Hogan takes him down, and Orndorff this time tries to climb out. He gets most of the way down, but Hogan grabs him by the hair to deny him escape again, as Ventura quips: “Hogan would not be the champion if Orndorff was bald”. Brilliant. I love Jesse’s dry wit. Hogan takes over by choking Orndorff with his headband, but Orndorff stops him climbing out and the tide shifts again back in favour of ‘Mr. Wonderful’. They go back-and-forth, and then do the spot where both guys ram each other into the cage simultaneously. Orndorff and Hogan both climb out of opposite sides, unaware of the other scaling the cage too and hit the floor at the same time, resulting in mass confusion over who the winner is. It is a good spot, and executed with perfect timing here. The announcement comes that the match is a tie, and thus has to continue. They brawl on the outside before re-entering the cage, and Orndorff is the aggressor once again. Hogan eventually Hulks Up and fires back with big chops, then throws Orndorff into the cage three times, busting him open. Hogan hits the legdrop, but Heenan comes into the cage and holds onto Hogan’s ankles as he tries to leave. They just love booking, don’t they! All manner of things have gone on here! Next, Hogan fights off Heenan and climbs over the cage as Orndorff tries to leave through the door, but he is too late and Hogan’s feet reach the floor first. I enjoy how much Ventura hates Hogan: “What an all-American” he sneers, as Hogan takes a shot at Heenan post match. The slowed down footage shown afterwards clearly proves that Orndorff’s feet hit the floor first during the earlier spot, by about a millisecond. I would count it, Orndorff should be champion. He would have been a great one too, though it would have rather screwed the main event for WrestleMania III.
Final Rating: ***¼
Macho Man Randy Savage & Strike Force vs. The Honky Tonk Man & The Hart Foundation
This took place at the Boston Garden in March 1988, just before WrestleMania IV and it should be interesting! I have not seen a six-man tag cage match before. There are some cracking workers in there. It is a shame they are using the mesh cage rather than the blue bars though. I wonder why they did that? The rules are that all three members of the same team have to escape to win. This starts quickly with everyone going at it as they pair off. Honky tries to leave early, but Tito and Savage stop him. Here is my problem with tag team cage matches: why would you stop him? Let him leave and you have a numbers advantage, making it easier for all of your team to leave. It is a frequent psychology problem in these matches. Neidhart tries to leave, but Santana stops him and escapes through the door himself. This leaves Savage and Martel 2-on-3 and they take a beating. Anvil escapes because he is unopposed, as the others have paired off. It’s a silly move from Anvil, he should have waited around for longer so his partners could escape. Martel ends up leaving as well, leaving Savage 3-on-1! Dumb. This has been good fun and frantic, but the logic flaws really bug me. Honky is smart and realises the issues with Bret leaving, and tells him not to so they can continue to double team Savage. Hart leaves through the gate, expecting Honky to follow him, but he chooses to stay and drop an elbow on Savage instead, before strolling to the door. Inevitably it backfires and Savage recovers to throw Honky into the cage. Honky runs to leave but Savage catches him by the hair and brings him back in, and Honky ends up taking a nasty crotching on the ropes. Savage climbs over and escapes to victory. That was a stupid move by Honky to come back in. He deserved to lose for being so a dumb. Fun match, but the aforementioned problems hampered my enjoyment.
Final Rating: **
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. The Big Bossman
This also features on More Saturday Night’s Main Event. Hogan is WWF Champion as this is from April ‘89 in Des Moines, Iowa, just after WrestleMania V. Bossman and Slick do a promo backstage with Ventura, and Slick promises a big surprise. And here he is: Zeus! Hogan’s nemesis in the film No Holds Barred, and his next big feud. Zeus blocks Hogan’s path to the ring and he hammers away on him, leaving him for dead. Well, all he actually did was a few clobbering shots to the back, but Hogan sells it like death! The crowd are pissed off about it and just boo continuously. It is quite the atmosphere. Bossman brings the danger, by booting the cage door open and nearly decapitating the referee! Jesus. Bossman has a big advantage here with Hogan weakened, and it shows in the early going, until Hogan rallies with a clothesline, and then he rakes the eyes, because he is a terrible babyface. Hogan looks to escape, but Bossman is far too fresh. You could usually tell when Bossman had been in a gruelling match, based on how many buttons his shirt had lost. He is already exposing full belly here! Maybe he was forced to rip them all off in order to sell enough for Hogan’s satisfaction. Ventura makes a good point; why would Bossman try and climb out over the cage rather than use the door? It makes no sense. He does get pretty far though, until Hogan grabs him by the throat through the bars. Superplex off the top of the cage! Wow. Ok, that was impressive, especially for two guys that size. Kudos indeed! Both guys are out cold. The ref comes in and raises their arms to see if they are fully out, and starts the ten count. I wonder if a cage match has ever ended in a double knockout like that? It would be shite booking if there has I guess. Though, a Luger-Flair cage match in WCW ended in a DQ! Anyway, Hogan crawls for the door… Like a coward… But Bossman holds onto his ankles. This match has only been going a few minutes, but they are moving, selling and doing spots like they are twenty minutes in. Slick throws in a chain, which Bossman chokes Hogan with. Hey it’s fair, there are no rules in a cage. Both are out again after they simultaneously ram each others’ heads into the cage, but they are up much quicker this time. Now Hogan has the chain, and he wraps it around his first and knocks Bossman out. He is busted open, and Hogan throws him back and forth into the cage. Hogan goes to climb up the cage, but Slick attacks the ref and goes through the door to stop Hogan. Hogan kicks him off, and stops Bossman trying to escape, crotching him on the ropes. He takes the handcuffs out of Slick’s pocket and cuffs Bossman to the ropes. Bossman tries to get out of the door anyway, but he can’t quite reach. Slick tries desperately to unlock the cuffs before Hogan reaches the floor, but Hogan gets out just in time. That was a good, hot finish. But see, why is he attacking Bossman after the match and throwing Slick into the cage? He has already won. There is no need for that. Anyway there was an awful lot of effort there and a very strong story. A good, memorable blue bar cage match for the era. I enjoyed it.
Final Rating: ***½
Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
This match turns up on a couple of other tapes. It is a rematch from the WWF title tournament final at WrestleMania IV, and a match they had in the same venue the previous month, from June 1988 at MSG. Savage was still hugely motivated here because he had the title, so we might be in for a treat. DiBiase starts quickly on Savage and tries to escape, but Savage pulls him back in and rams his head into the buckles before dropping a knee. He goes for a back body drop, but DiBiase nails him with a punch to the throat, and then takes control again with a slam and a fist drop. An attempt to leave is blocked when Savage pulls him back in by the tights and hair, but DiBiase remains the aggressor. Another DiBiase escape is blocked, and Savage ties him up in a tree of woe in the cage, but Virgil interferes to stop Savage getting out. Savage throws DiBiase into the cage and both men are down. Once again, Virgil stops Savage getting out. You know how many times Elizabeth has stopped DiBiase leaving or has in fact done anything other than just look worried? None. I recall her being worthwhile in one major match ever, and that was when she got her arse out at SummerSlam ‘88. A double clothesline in the centre of the ring keeps both guys down, but Savage manages to crawl for the door. DiBiase gets there just in time and carries on pounding away at Savage. Randy has took a real kicking here, he always used to really sell for his opponents, sometimes maybe even to the detriment of his own character. Savage always seemed beatable, which was good while he was a babyface champion in matches like this, but harmed him as a heel. A double clothesline takes both down again, and then Savage blocks a DiBiase suplex into one of his own. An atomic drop from Savage sends DiBiase head first into the cage. Savage goes to escape via the door, but Virgil slams the door on his head to prevent it. DiBiase crawls over him and heads for the door, but Savage desperately holds onto his tights to stop it. What is it with cage matches and wrestlers getting their asses out? I thought it was just Rick Rude who liked to expose himself, but now DiBiase is getting in on the act. Is it an unwritten rule of cage matches to moon the crowd for as much of it as possible? Savage goes to escape but Virgil gets involved again. A tussle ensues on the top of the cage between Virgil, DiBiase and Savage, which ends when Savage rams them headfirst into each other, and climbs over to win the match. I have missed out the best part! A dumbass little mark kid climbed up the cage as they were jockeying for position up top, and desperately tried to pull Virgil off, having seen enough of his interference. Poor little blighter, it’s still real to him dammit!
Final Rating: ***¼
Summary: An excellent tape by Coliseum standards. It was short, but that is fine because of the nature of the tape. Too many cage matches in a row would have been too much. They got the number just right and the selection is good because they are all varied and from different time periods. If you like cage matches and want to see three pretty good ones and one half decent one, then get this. Strongly recommended for a comp tape.