James Dixon: Not to be confused with the US release of a very similar name. This is UK exclusive and an entirely different tape. Shawn Michaels hosts things himself, naturally.
Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart
This is a Coliseum Video exclusive, and doesn’t show up anywhere else. As far as exclusives go, it is a pretty damn fine match-up! Bret gives his sunglasses to possibly the most annoying fan in the building, and she proceeds to scream with delight, over and over again. Now and again a “dark” match between these two crops up on a Coliseum release, and more often than not it is excellent, as you might expect. Sadly, this rather fails to live up to expectations, with rest holds aplenty being the order of the day. It fails to kick into a higher gear and is just two guys sleepwalking through the motions after a long TV taping. For no discernible reason, the then still babyface Owen Hart runs out and attacks Shawn, causing a DQ. Incredibly underwhelming.
Final Rating: **¼
WWF Tag Team Championship
Diesel & Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid
This is also available as part of the superb Slamfest tape, where I have covered it before. Think these guys politicked for this match? I sure do. With them all being (notoriously) such good buddies, you would expect this to be great. And it is! They start quickly, very quickly in fact, with Razor hitting the Razor’s Edge on Shawn minutes in, only for Diesel to make the save. Kid and Michaels have a super-fast awesome sequence, in which commentator Todd Pettengill (yes, really) calls Kid a “Power Ranger”. Oh shut up, you intolerable prototype Michael Cole windbag. Kid takes some massive bumps for Diesel before getting Razor in, and the two big guys go toe-to-toe. The crowd has been red hot from the start and with good reason. It has been all action. Things slow a little for a heat on Razor, who is surely a strange choice to take the beating when Kid is his partner, but fair enough. Pettengill is so bad, throwing out buzz words and clichés, to the point where you can almost picture Michael Cole at home taking notes. You can tell Nash is in there with his friends, because he leaves his feet numerous times, including hitting an Ultimate Warrior like flying shoulder tackle. We get clipped to the double down, which is a bit annoying because we don’t see how they got there, and Kid gets the hot tag. Only the ref didn’t see it! Michaels goes for the Sweet Chin Music but Razor ducks and he hits Diesel. Kid finally gets the legal tag and unloads on Michaels, who returns the favour from earlier and bumps around like a god for him. This sequence between the two is even quicker than the earlier one. Razor comes back in with the sack of shit on Michaels, and then does it to Kid, throwing him into Shawn. What a unique double team that is! Some more hot near falls on Shawn follow, and the crowd buys every one, but Razor and Kid can’t put him away. Michaels tries a desperation sleeper, which grounds and slows Razor, as they add yet another layer to this superb match. I really thought the finish was imminent after the hot tag. Kid comes in for a second hot tag and hits a top rope legdrop, but that only gets a two, and then he runs into a Diesel big boot and Shawn hooks the leg for the win. How about that for a match!? Goddamn that was some exciting shit right there. If only the Kliq had worked that hard against other guys on the roster, maybe they wouldn’t have been so hated behind the scenes. Still, as a fan it is hard to say anything negative about them during this time, because they were undoubtedly great workers (or in Nash’s case, capable of working to the higher level of someone better than him) and were at the centre of almost everything good that the WWF did not involving Bret Hart. This match is an often forgotten gem, and it is definitely worth checking out. It is easily one of the best WWF tag bouts of the 90s. Just a superb match.
Final Rating: ****¾
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Crush
This is from King Of The Ring ’93 and Shawn calls it “undoubtedly one of my greatest matches”. Has he gone BANANA!? This match is average at best, even if Shawn does try and make it more than that. He decides to make the best out of a bad situation, and takes some silly bumps, almost mockingly. The problem of course, is Crush. He is wooden and monotonous, and more often than not looks like he doesn’t know what he is doing. JR on the other hand, thinks Crush is as quick and agile as Michaels! A credibility shattering claim if ever there was one. Everything in this is somewhat pedestrian, though the match isn’t helped by a dead crowd, burned out from a long tournament and deflated because of Hulk Hogan dropping the title to Yokozuna. Things pick up when Michaels rams the back of Crush’s head into the ring post a number of times, in a rare display of viciousness. Crush finds a way to kick out, so Michaels decides that a front facelock is the answer to keep him down. The finishing sequence is fairly fun, and again Michaels takes a silly bump or two. Doink comes out, in stereo, and the distraction is enough for Crush to get superkicked into the buckles, with Shawn taking the win. One of your greatest matches Shawn? One of Crush’s greatest singles matches probably, but that is the highest of low praise I can offer this.
Final Rating: **
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Mr. Perfect
Ladies and gentlemen, hands down the most underwhelming and disappointing WWF match of the 90s, from SummerSlam ’93. This was a workrate fan’s wet dream going in, because both guys move and sell better than pretty much anyone is history. I have seen other matches between these guys on both Coliseum releases and on TV, and they were excellent, but they just don’t click here. The timing is all off and for me, the heel/face alignment is wrong too in order to get the best out of both. Obviously that was unavoidable in this particular match because that is how they had been positioned, but I am merely digressing. The best possible match for them would have been babyface Shawn from either 1996 or towards the end of his career, and Mr. Perfect in 1989/90 as a heel. Both were untouchable in their respective prime eras. I have heard some blame Michaels being angry with Hennig for the communications breakdown in this match, but I am not convinced this was the case and feel it might be one in a long list of “common wrestling fan misconceptions”. According to Kevin Nash, Curt Hennig was considered “a god” by the Kliq guys because he helped break some of them into the business and helped a lot of them along the way, in Shawn’s case back in the AWA and on his route to singles stardom. Thus it is unlikely that Shawn would disrespect Curt or indeed blemish his own burgeoning reputation by purposely derailing the match. Unfortunately, the more likely reason for it falling apart and both guys being somewhat off, is an overindulgence the night prior. That of course, is entirely subject to conjecture. I think I should point out that this is far from bad, and when you try and watch it without the albatross of disappointment hanging around its neck, it becomes slightly more enjoyable. The lame count out finish is a shame, especially in hindsight with Perfect retiring again soon after the bout. They should have just put Michaels over cleanly. Keep your non-finishes to TV and CHV, do a goddamn blowoff on pay-per-view.
Final Rating: **¾
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Bob Backlund
This comes from August 1993. Logically, why would Backlund go after the Intercontinental title when he is a former WWF champion? And a very successful, long-reigning one at that! Speaking of logic, this match took place before the prior match and the commentators hype the hell out of it, which is another CHV decision that just flummoxes me. Surely it makes more sense to show things in order!? This, as readers may have noticed, is an all too common complaint of mine. The problem is that if a UK fan (and remember, this tape was UK exclusive) bought this tape looking to catch up on the exploits of HBK, due to the relative lack of coverage on these shores they might not already know what had happened. But when you put this on after the previous later match, it becomes obvious that Shawn is retaining, because he had the belt at SummerSlam. These two have no chemistry at all, with Backlund’s awkward and uninteresting style entirely wrong for Shawn’s explosive, exciting way of working. Michaels doesn’t hide his feelings on the match, sitting in a front facelock with a look of utter disdain etched across his face. Backlund’s comeback is actually very fun, with Michaels deciding to exert some effort and bump all over the place, making mundane moves like an atomic drop and neckbreaker look fantastic. A strange bout, half boring and half good, but not really long enough to be either.
Final Rating: **¼
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Kamala
Are you serious? Kamala is a worse opponent to showcase Michaels than Backlund! We are officially watching the VHS equivalent of a DeLorean now, as we go further back in time to June 1993. Michaels is as reluctant to lock up with Kamala as I am to watch it, and he tricks the cartoon bear by suckering him into a test of strength and cheap shotting him. Kamala’s Ewok-like mannerisms go beyond the ridiculous, and this is another prime example of why circus sideshow acts should be kept away from the talented guys who sell tickets. Kamala’s offence is barely wrestling, and this is easily the worst thing on the tape so far. Kamala’s selling is akin to sketch show physical comedy, and that is not a compliment. Michaels’ infamous attitude problems rear their ugly head as he spits on Kamala, showing a complete disregard and lack of respect for his peer. Michaels figures the only thing he can do in the match is work a body part and sit in a hold, so he targets the leg for the majority of the match. Kamala’s comeback offers little in the way of excitement, other than the amusing visual of referee Earl Hebner rolling around on his back to show Kamala which way around to go for the pin. Kamala being a child, is easily distracted and Diesel standing on the apron is enough to throw off whatever “game plan” he might have had, and Michaels superkick him in the back of the head to win it. Horrible match.
Final Rating: ½*
Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon
Another chapter in their storied rivalry and another rare non-ladder singles match between the two, with a different, earlier encounter having turned up in this volume on Paul Bearer’s Hits From The Crypt. The start of this is superb, and they run spots at an incredible, breath-taking pace. It is some of the finest work I have seen from the era. Razor beats Michaels all over the ring until Shawn catches a neckbreaker, but his offense doesn’t last long as Razor hits an SOS and finally slows the pace with an armbar. The rest is very brief though, and they go right back into it afterwards. The highlight of the next few minutes is Razor slingshotting Michaels out of the ring onto Diesel, who sells it by almost giving Michaels an O’Connor Roll on his catch of him and subsequent sell. The advert break clipping causes merry hell for Video Control, as they wipe the screen to show a replay of what happened during commercial, meaning we miss what is going on “live”. Are they just going to keep showing replay after replay until it is over so we don’t miss anything? They avoid formula here for the most part, as Razor works Shawn over with a bearhug and almost does a heat on him. Diesel’s interference puts paid to Razor’s control, as he clotheslines him on the outside. There is so much stuff in this, and the pace changes throughout, slowing for them to rest and work holds and then quickening into an exciting sequence. Michaels tries to win it with the Razor’s Edge after the superkick only gets two, but he is too fatigued to lift him and Razor back bodydrops him out of it. Razor goes for it himself, but Diesel gets on the apron for the distraction, so Razor twats him. Michaels takes this as an opportunity to nail Razor with the title, but misses and gets back body dropped at speed, while still holding the belt. Razor ends up running into a Diesel boot and Michaels rolls him up for the win. This was really rather excellent, with the momentum shifting back-and-forth and both guys working hard throughout. There were rest spots, but they went near enough 25-minutes so you can’t really blame them. Pretty damn epic, and one of the best TV matches you are likely to see from the era. Tremendous stuff.
Final Rating: ****
Tatanka, Shawn Michaels & Diesel vs. The Smoking Gunns & Lex Luger
This looks like a terrible way to finish, especially coming off something so good. Luger and Tatanka in the same contest always fills me with dread, so utterly appalling are their matches together. On the other hand, I have seen a really good Luger-Diesel match in this volume, so who knows what will happen. Things quickly break down into a pier six brawl and the Smoking Gunns throw a dreadfully mistimed double dropkick on Diesel. The Gunns were a boring team, and the prospect of them working anybody at all is strangely unappealing. It is weird because they were not bad per se, just the thought of them was and is dull. It only just dawns on me as the Indian beats on the cowboy, what an American themed stereotype this match is. I have nothing to say about this at all; it is just a generic six man tag, with minimal effort and a strict adherence to formula. Michaels gets so bored that he starts jaw-jacking with his opponents while sat with a chinlock on. The one positive I can say about this is Luger barely gets in the ring, and there is almost nothing between him and Tatanka to suffer through. Diesel gets the win for his team after a Jacknife, and this was a baffling choice for inclusion on a Michaels tape, because he did very little and was barely involved in the finish.
Final Rating: ¾*
Summary: It is another excellent Shawn Michaels profile, with some mainly very good match choices, and enough different to keep it interesting, which is hard on a profile tape. The main benefit to this tape is that the matches are culled from various shows, rather than just pay-per-view events. The two best are TV bouts involving the Kliq, and any tape with two 4* plus matches is going to be worth a watch. The Razor match is not available anywhere else on VHS, so that makes this even more must-see for collectors. It is a shame about the Kamala disaster and the six-man, because otherwise the score would have been into the 90s. Strong recommendation for this.