Bam Bam Bigelow vs. The Undertaker
We start in March 1993, from Fayetteville, North Carolina. It’s two of the all time great big men in history here, though Taker didn’t come good until his series with Mankind in 1996. Though, he does do a drop toehold! A wrestling move! It doesn’t have much effect on Bigelow, who comes back with his trademark headbutts, before getting caught with a DDT. Taker chokes Bam Bam out and connects with the rope walk, but misses a flying clothesline and falls all the way to the outside, where Bigelow slams him. This is a staple of Taker matches from around this era, and the heat on him usually started on the outside of the ring. Bigelow is giving him a bit of a beating here. This would have been a far better feud for Taker than the disgraceful affair he was involved in at the time opposite Giant Gonzalez. Bigelow with a back suplex, but Taker sits up. A slam sees the same results. Bam Bam clubs away, and this time follows a slam with a falling headbutt, but Taker sits up again. More strikes and headbutts can’t keep the dead man down either. Taker from this era often gets criticised for no-selling, but I actually think he was a great seller. He might not sell the effects of the moves long-term, but he does sell in keeping with his gimmick, and always looks like he has had the shit kicked out of him, even if it ends up having no effect. I know it seems almost oxymoronic, but I think there is an art to what he did that has never been matched. Taker hits a chokeslam and Bigelow decides he has had enough, and walks out, giving Taker a win via count out. After the decision, Giant Gonzalez turns up in the aisle for a stare down. Gonzalez was awful, but there is no denying that he was an incredibly intimidating figure due to his sheer size. It is just a shame it all went to hell as soon as he stepped in the ring. That was actually not bad for a Taker match, it was all impact moves with no resting at all, which is about the best you can hope for. Shame they did the finish they always do in Taker matches, when they don’t want the heel to lose. I would wager that Taker was involved in more non finishes than anyone in the early 90s.
Final Rating: **
IRS vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Oh no, this is going to be appalling. We go back almost two years to July 1991, for this match from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This match appears on WrestleFest ‘93 as well. I guess this is “America vs. Taxes”. A meaningful political statement from the WWF? Or is Duggan just opposed to IRS because he doesn’t pay his own taxes? There are so many things wrong with the gimmick. I don’t mean to keep flogging this particular dead horse, but I simply must comment on Lord Alfred Hayes… He just talked about Duggan’s famous “Yoooo” shout. That is not a mistake, he genuinely said “YO”. That is an embarrassing mistake, and I cannot fathom how he could not know that Duggan says “Hoooo” and also, how he managed to retain a job for so long. If I was describing Hayes in his “own” language, I would say he was a “buffoon”, a “nincompoop” or a “bloody great imbecile”. Or, an inept wanker, if you prefer. I have barely looked up to watch any of this, because every time I do, IRS is doing a rest hold. For a change. They do a lame double count out finish, because God forbid anyone ever scores a win, and we are 0-2 for finishes on this tape so far. Columbia are no better than Coliseum. Pointless match, completely useless.
Final Rating: ¼*
Papa Shango vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
This is the third time that this dreadful match has turned up. It was even on a Columbia House tape just a few releases before this one, turning up on Best of the WWF World Tour and also the Coliseum release Wrestling Grudge Matches. This is from September 1992 in Brandon, Manitoba, just three weeks after Savage lost the WWF title to Ric Flair. Savage is just not the same guy by this time, his fire and passion are gone. His garish ring gear breaks the TV and distracts from the match, and actually makes him appear smaller than he was. The whole WWF at this point “feels” (and is) smaller as well, so in a way I suppose it’s fitting. Too many gimmicks, not enough wrestlers. I would mention the match but nothing is happening. Does Shango know any moves other than stomps? The crowd just do not care, because this is from one of those monster tapings that went on for hours; they are burnt out. Savage wins with the top rope elbow, and what a dog that was.
Final Rating: ¼*
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Virgil
Another match I have covered before, this from Bashed In The USA. This comes from Louisville, Kentucky in October 1992. I have seen some half decent matches between Virgil and Michaels, so hopefully this one will be ok. Christ, it needs to be, this tape has been woeful so far. The first few minutes are fast and furious, with Virgil impressing and the crowd getting right behind him. Virgil has the best of the match until Michaels cuts him off with a superkick. This is the problem with putting the matches out of sequence, because that move defeated Skinner as Michaels had just started using it as his finish, but here it is just used to cut Virgil off. Still, the pace has been very good, and the exchanges smooth and exciting. You probably couldn’t pick three more random opponents for Michaels, but he has made all of the matches passable and in this case, actually pretty good. Virgil comes back with a boot in the corner and a burning clothesline, before unleashing a number of well placed punches for a two count. A flying clothesline from the middle rope gets another near fall, but Virgil misses a charge and Michaels hits the teardrop suplex to win it. Another short one at around 7-minutes, but it was great fun! Virgil probably could have been more than the career rib that he was, because he could go. Sure, he was in there with Michaels, but Virgil more than kept up with him. Impressive stuff and finally a good match!
Final Rating: ***
WWF Tag Team Championship
Money Inc. (c) vs. The Steiner Brothers
The final match from the tape comes from Barcelona in April 1993. It is a different match, yet almost identical to the one covered by Arnold Furious on German Fan Favorites, which is a vastly superior tape to this one, let me tell you! This is actually the first Steiners match I have reviewed in these books and it genuinely is a pleasure to be covering them, though it is a shame about their opponents, who don’t compliment their heavy hitting style at all. The Steiner Brothers are one of the finest teams in wrestling history. They had great matches everywhere they went, most notably in WCW, but also in Japan. Their WWF run was a short one, and they were pretty much done with the company after just over a year, which was a massive shame. They were in the WWF at the wrong time. Just imagine the classics they could have had with the likes of the Brain Busters, the Rockers, Demolition and the Hart Foundation. Actually, they did have a match against Bret Hart and Owen Hart in early 1994, which was an absolute belter, a genuine 5* classic. It is covered in Volume #3 on WrestleFest ‘94 for anyone who wants to read about it. I would be remiss not to mention the incredibly bad cameraman in this match, who spends a genuine minute filming the crowd. It is so bad, that even Heenan and Savage on commentary criticise him, saying he is the worst cameraman in the world. They are not wrong. As stated, the match is largely the same, almost move-for-move, as the one on German Fan Favorites, though this time the DQ finish comes when IRS saves DiBiase with a belt shot, rather than the other way around. It was a lame-ass belt shot as well, so weak. I am actually surprised Scott Steiner sold it, because IRS gently stroked him with it at best. There is nothing wrong with this match, considering IRS was in it. Once again, we have a release with two IRS matches on though. What was with the love that video control at both Coliseum and Columbia showed for this guy? Maybe they were so dumb (and there is certainly enough evidence to suggest that this is the case) that they thought IRS’ gimmick was real, and they were worried they would land in hot water for tax evasion. It’s as good an explanation as any.
Final Rating: **
Summary: Two barrel-scrapers dragged this down, but the rest was watchable. It’s nothing to get excited about from Columbia, just a bunch on randomly selected matches shoehorned onto a tape, and released into the wild like a little plastic cash cow. You’d be crazy to go out of your way to get hold of this, but if you already own it, then give it a very quick watch before recycling it and using it as a large coaster, or a painful projectile. Avoid.