James Dixon & Lee Maughan:
Ric Flair vs. The Texas Tornado
JD – World Tour from 1992… Haven’t we done this already? Actually this is a different, US only, release from 1992. Part of the cheaper and shorter collectors series. We are also joined for this tape by Lee Maughan. We start in October 1991, with this match from Barcelona, Spain. These two had a very famous match for the NWA title as well, didn’t they Lee?
LM – They had many! I suppose the two most well known would be the Reunion Arena cage match on Christmas night, 1982, where Terry Gordy slammed the door in Von Erich’s head to cement The Fabulous Freebirds’ heel turn (thus setting up the famous Freebirds-Von Erich’s feud that rocked Texas) and was the first time that finish had been seen in wrestling before being completely run into the ground. The other is the title change from the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions at Texas Stadium in 1984, where Kerry won the belt after his brother David had died in Japan not long before. I wonder how many of the fans here in Spain would have been aware of those WCCW matches from the 80s?
JD – I wonder how many people who worked in the WWF office were even aware of them! Flair is in those bloody green tights again. I do not like Ric Flair in green. It really does make a difference, I swear! Tornado is wearing green as well. They should have conferred prior to the bout! “There are one or two people here now who do understand English” says the ever so PC Lord Alfred Hayes. You know Lee, I heard you defended Hayes in one of your pieces! Are you on python powder?
LM – He’s got a charm to him, don’t you think? As bad as he might be at times.
JD – If by charm, you mean the ability to make me wish I was deaf, then yeah he does.
LM – Oh come on, he’s not that bad! He’s certainly more likeable than Michael Cole, and a ton better than Mike Adamle ever was, or any of those interchangeable Superstars announcers; Scott Stanford, Jack Korpella and whoever.
JD – He is better than Michael Cole, sure, but then, so is AIDS.
LM – Tornado seems to have his working boots on here which is nice to see. Or should I say, his working head, as he was often out of it on a nasty combination of drugs and depression around this time.
JD – It has certainly been a back-and-forth contest, with both guys looking like they want to put on a show. It is one of the best Tornado performances I have seen from his WWF run, though admittedly that is not saying much. Why do you think he didn’t catch on in the WWF then, Lee? I blame his bland nature and failure to learn any moves other than the Tornado Punch and a clothesline.
LM – His personal issues had already caught up with him before he arrived I think. The death of David, the brain damage his other brother Mike suffered, the motorcycle accident that cost him his foot. He was on some serious painkiller use by the time he signed up with Vince, and was constantly aloof by all accounts. He just seemed to have had his heart ripped out, although he’s showing some serious flashes of his former glories here!
JD – Yeah, he really is, though a lot of that has got to be down to Flair. He had some really great matches in his WWF run, brief as it was. He managed to get a near **** match out of Tito Santana on this same tour, which considering the time frame, is quite a feat. Tito was washed up by late 1991.
LM – I wouldn’t say Tito was washed up, but he was certainly on a serious downswing as far as his value. Although oddly enough, he scored a major win on this very card when he pinned the previously undefeated Undertaker with three piledrivers, in a match that was, rather predictably, never acknowledged outside of Spain.
JD – That’s remarkable. How very strange! These last five minutes have been really hot and the pendulum has swung multiple times. This is something of a forgotten classic!
LM – How about that finish?! Air Flair! Okay, it was into the ring but he landed perfectly on the ropes for leverage, and it was about the closest I think you’ll ever find to seeing Ric Flair launch a suicide dive!
JD – Incredible. That is why Flair was so great, he could beat his opponent in so many different ways. I really enjoyed that, it was probably Kerry Von Erich’s last great match.
LM – I thought that match was terrific, possibly Von Erich’s best since his bloody world title unification match with Jerry Lawler on the combined AWA/WCCW/Memphis SuperClash pay-per-view from December of ’87, and a large, enthusiastic crowd certainly added a big match feel to the proceedings.
Final Rating: ****
The Mountie & The Nasty Boys vs. The British Bulldog & The Legion of Doom
JD – We go to Germany next, and this is from April 1992. This is also featured on the German exclusive VHS release Super Video: WWE Deutschland Tour ’92.
LM – I believe this is the first taping the WWF ever held in Germany, although the first WWF show in the country was a couple of days earlier. Given how strong a market Germany is for the WWF, it’s quite surprising they didn’t get there sooner, given the promotion was coming to Europe as early as 1987.
JD – It is almost surprising that they didn’t have anyone doing a German gimmick.
LM – Kerry Von Erich was the legitimate son of a fake German… And there was always Brakkus on the horizon! Actually, a legitimate German wrestler did get a few WWF tryouts around this time; Ulf Herman who worked dark matches as Herman the German.
JD – Victor Krueger is another one, he actually had a brief run in WCW, challenging Hulk Hogan of all people to a title match! I think the WWF, being as racially insensitive as it was, probably would have got into a lot of hot water with a German gimmick. I can just see it now, as Sgt. Slaughter teams up with Corporal Kirschner, returning to play a pro-Nazi general.
LM – I think even Vince would have realised what poor taste that would have been. It’s more likely any German character would have been a lederhosen-clad, Bavarian sausage-stuffer.
JD – The tag partner of Spanish stereotype El Matador! If only Dino Bravo hadn’t retired, he could have converted to a beret wearing, garlic eating, art loving French stereotype.
LM – It might have been an improvement on his Canadian strong man gimmick, especially if he went around philosophising like the ghost of Sartre.
JD – Meanwhile, some wrestling is occurring… Hawk manages to kick out of a megaphone shot, which was something of a rarity back in 1992. Usually the megaphone meant the end. Davey Boy is very over here. It surprises me actually, that he was as popular elsewhere in Europe as he was in the UK. It is Bulldog who gets the win for his team, hitting the running powerslam on Knobbs for the pinfall, making it two matches with finishes in a row!
LM – Explain something to me though. How is it that on Wrestling’s Hottest Matches, we see this same trio of the Mountie and the Nasty Boys going up against three guys not as good as their opponents here, and yet that match was better? Davey Boy was certainly better in-ring than Roddy Piper, even if Piper was a bigger star, and Legion of Doom were undoubtedly preferable to the Bushwhackers, and yet I enjoyed that match more than this one.
JD – As much as it sickens me to say it, I agree with you. With gimmicky guys like Mountie and the Nasty Boys, you need light relief opponents, not muscle heads. The heels obviously have to control the match at some point, and against guys twice their size, it has to be slow and methodical, which it was.
Final Rating: *¼
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Bret Hart vs. Rick Martel
JD – This comes from UK Rampage 92 and also features on World Tour 1992, where I have covered the match already. It’s absurd! They release two world tour tapes in the same year, and use the same bloody match on it twice, having already used it on a different tape, from THE SAME YEAR. Get your shit together Coliseum! These are two great workers, and we covered a really fun match these had at MSG a few years prior, so hopefully this will be of the same standard. As stated before; Martel did have a tendency to become lazy once he started wearing pink and being an over-the-top character though. Almost like there is a pattern there or something, huh? They do a smooth start here as you might expect, with Hart getting the better of things in the early going, before Martel slows it down. They go back-and-forth, with neither guy able to get a clear advantage. Bret targets the leg, looking to weaken Martel for the Sharpshooter, and controls the Model with a grapevine. The wrestling can’t be faltered, but the Arena’s decision to sell air horns certainly can. They are SO annoying, especially when they are met with a chorus of adolescent voices screaming after each one. It’s like World Cup 2010! Anyway, Bret tries to wrap Martel’s leg around the post, but he escapes and rams Bret back-first into it instead. Martel takes over now, sending Hart hard into the buckles and dropping a number of elbows to the back. Some nice psychology here, with Bret targeting the leg and Martel the back. Martel appears to have forgotten about selling his injury though. Bret comes back with the five moves, and the middle rope elbow gets two. Martel fights back as Bret complains to the referee, and he sends the Hitman to the outside. Bret slips over a suplex attempt, but Martel holds the ropes on a O’Conner roll. Martel brags about it, and Hart catches him with an inside cradle to win the match and retain the title. Another clean finish. Every match has had a pinfall! Colour me stunned! There was some nice stuff going on there, but they needed another ten minutes to tell the story that they set up in the early going. Thus, instead we got the abridged version and Bret caught a lucky win. As usual with matches between these two, it was good, looked like it could potentially be great, but didn’t come close to reaching the next level.
Final Rating: **½
The Beverly Brothers vs. The Bushwhackers
LM – Do we really have to watch this?
JD – Sorry man, you know the rules. We are back in North America for this one, as we are in Canada. It is August 1992, a few weeks before the historic SummerSlam ‘92 show. The Beverly Brothers actually had a tag title match on that card.
LM – That was all due to politics wasn’t it? I’m certain Hawk’s suspension in February had a knock-on effect because that led to Money Inc. taking the titles before they’d even debuted as a team on television, and resulted in the WWF needing to turn The Natural Disasters babyface to fill in for Hawk & Animal. Then with Money Inc vs. LOD set in stone for SummerSlam, but Hawk leaving the promotion immediately afterwards, the titles were switched to the Disasters, who needed opponents for the Wembley card. I suppose you could argue The Nasty Boys would have been a stronger choice than The Beverly Brothers, given their status as former champions, but I’d wager the match quality would have significantly worsened.
JD – It was hardly a classic anyway.
LM – Indeed. Anyway, I’m sure we’ve all seen the Royal Rumble ’92 match between these two teams. This can’t be any better can it? Hopefully it won’t be any worse at least.
JD – Look at these morons. And The Bushwhackers… Joking aside, I don’t HATE the Beverly Brothers, I just find them a little bit dull. The problem is the teams they are working a lot of the time, because the tag division is suffering in 1992. If they were around in 1987 I think they would be more fondly remembered.
LM – I think the gimmick might have something to do with it too. The WWF was actively courting “sissy” chants with these two, and the effeminate overtones didn’t help. It’s another case I think of the gimmick overshadowing the talent, because they were actually pretty darn good as The Destruction Crew during the dying days of the AWA.
JD – With the talent the WWF had at its disposal in 1992 it could have had a quality roster, if it wasn’t for the shitty gimmicks they saddled everyone with. The likes of Steve Keirn, Matt Borne, Tito and The Destruction Crew were crippled by it.
LM – Well on the one hand, given his longevity with the promotion, it’s hard to argue that Tito didn’t need freshening up, although it’s not like El Matador really did a lot for him. How long did that prolong his WWF run by? Three, maybe four days? As for Matt Borne, hey, it’s tough to argue against the original heel Doink gimmick. It’s just sadly, Doink is remembered for his less-than-amusing babyface run and being the punch line to many a “pro-wrestling is a circus” jokes.
JD – Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Doink gimmick, but it meant Borne playing a character and wrestling as that character would, rather than just wrestling. The finish is this one comes when Blake drops an elbow on Butch after a trip by Beau, who then holds the leg from outside the ring, giving the Beverlys the win. The Bushwhackers are primarily used to eat up spare tape time on these releases. It is their lot in life. That is what they did here. Pointless match.
Final Rating: ¼*
Summary: What is with these quickie, sub 60-minute tapes? A lot of them seem to peter out with a short, crappy match to wind things up. Did they pick some good matches out then have a spare 7-minutes left over they needed to fill, and that was the only thing that fit the running time? It actually started very strongly with the Flair-Von Erich match, was fairly average in the middle, and then completely bottomed out at the end. Still, it’s tough to argue against a **** quality match, and given the rarity of this tape, it’s a true hidden gem for the hardcore collector. Perhaps one day WWE will release a Ric Flair’s Unreleased Collectors Series DVD and include that match, but until then, this is the only place to find it on an official release. Recommended, despite itself.