This is MillenniumMan’s third video rant and it takes a look at the managers of the WWF in 1985. I am unsure of the catalog number because I bought this tape over 10 years ago at a place called Mom’s Video. I threw away the clamshell case because it was “big and ugly”. DOH!
- We start things off with our host Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. He takes this time to put over the role of managers in professional wrestling. While listing the managers featured on the tape, Heenan provides me with yet another laugh when he goes from one end of the spectrum to the other and back again; “The big slob Captain Louis Albano . . . rubber bands in his face, Classy Freddie Blassie good friend of mine, from Kentucky the big hick from Mudlick Hillbilly Jim.” Also on this tape will be Luscious Johnny Valiant, Jimmy Hart, Grand Wizard, Mr. Fuji Vice, Fabulous Moolah, Cyndi Lauper, Elizabeth, and HIMSELF! Heenan attributes much of his success to being an OPTOMIST!
- We go to the beach to visit Don Muraco, Mr. Fuji, and some bikini-clad ladies. The girls are oiling up Muraco as he bathes in the Hawaii sun. Muraco and Fuji cut a pretty generic promo on how Muraco will end Hulk Hogan’s title reign. In the immortal words of Gorilla Monsoon, “Highly unlikely.”
- Don “The Magnificent” Muraco and Mr. Fuji vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Junk Yard Dog from The Capital Center --- This is shortly after Muraco and Fuji hung Steamboat on a television taping. NOW, the revenge is here! A pier-six to start. Muraco and Fuji collide to start. This crowd is AMPED! Seriously, my ears are hurting from the shrieking of the fans. There’s no doubt the WWF had something with this feud. The classic duo of Monsoon and Ventura are on commentary. Steamboat is choking Fuji with his karate belt while JYD gives “The Rock” those rolling headbutts. Classic. Steamboat saves some of the choking action for Muraco. Man, normally choking someone would be considered a lazy resthold, but definitely not here. Steamboat and Muraco spill out of the ring where the beating continues. They go over the barricade where Ricky wallops Muraco with a chair. Steamboat then heads across the ring to put the hurtin on Fuj’ the stooge (credit: Demolition Ax). Finally, this match turns into a tag team format w/ Ricky nailing Muraco with a top-rope chop. We CLIP to Muraco tagging Fuji as he attacks a prone Dragon. Fuji hits his patented Kamikaze Drop. I think Ricky is in peril here. JYD is a sweaty mess. From WHAT?!? Muraco and Fuji exchange tags a couple of times. Fuji in and applies a nerve hold. CLIP to Steamboat making the tag to JYD. The crowd is NUTSO again! Typical 1-on-2 assault ensues. A kick to the back of the head by Fuji stops his momentum though. JYD impresses all with his face first tree falling TIMBERRRRRR drop. JYD makes a quick tag however and Ricky is back in and it’s choppetty-chops for Muraco. Fuji sneaks in, but his salt flies up in the air and Ricky instinctively sunset flips him for the 1-2-3. However, JYD gets caught in the ropes and the heels attempt to bust up Ricky. JYD breaks it up eventually with his chain. HOT HOT HOT action in this one! No kidding.
- Brutus Beefcake and “Luscious” Johnny Valiant on TNT --- Valiant does all the talking here. Hard to believe Beefcake was once young. Valiant makes it clear that he doesn’t care about much as long as Beefcake gets the win in his matches and vows that no one will give him a bum steer.
- “Luscious” Johnny Valiant vs. Steve Lombardi from The Capital Center --- Back in Landover, MD for this one. Monsoon and Ventura take the commentary duties once again. Valiant takes advantage early and uses the cable cord to choke out The Brawler. Valiant then chucks Stevie to the floor. Lombardi goes head first into the commentary table and the barricade courtesy of Valiant. JV then takes SL to the aisleway and slams him. However, the old man would get a taste of his own medicine when Lombardi recovers and slams him in the aisleway. Back in the ring, Valiant catches Lombardi with a quick clothesline and a basic elbow drop and gets the victory. Just like that. Well, it was short and if it happened today, people would be bitchin’ and moanin’ that Lombardi would have to job to this old fart. To Valiant’s credit or discredit, he kinda moves around like a rooster when he wrestles. No wonder Beefcake would always spray his head red in 1987.
- Interview w/ Grand Wizard and Don Muraco from WWF TV --- The honorable Vince McMahon is conducting this. This appears to be from 1981 to 1982ish. Man, The Wizard just seems so cool here. He puts over a calm Muraco as a great surfer but also a great wrestler sorta playing to the fact that Muraco MAY enjoy surfing more than wrestling. Muraco then screams out that he has put aside all his concerns for the sun, beach, ocean, ect while The Wizard just stands there nodding with a huge shady grin on his face. Wizard states, “It’s hard to be as great as The Magnificent Muraco and still remain as humble and as modest as The Magnificent One is.” Interesting stuff for old school fans.
- WWF Tag Team Championship: Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo w/ Capt. Lou Albano vs. Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Sheik w/ Classy Freddie Blassie from WrestleMania --- We’re JIP at Rotundo being the face-in-peril. Volkoff hits a knee and a stomp. Sheik tags in and applies an abdominal stretch. Rotundo escapes and makes the tag to Windham. Windham goes nuts on Volkoff. Bulldog gets two after a save by Sheik. Rotundo enters as well but the ref puts him out. This opening gives Sheik the chance to break Blassie’s cane over Windham’s back and shoulder. That’s enough for a three count and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions – Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik. During the postmatch interview, Blassie denies even having a cane with him. LOL! If you’re reading this review, chances are you’ve already seen WrestleMania anyways.
- George “The Animal” Steele w/ Capt. Lou Albano vs. Nikolai Volkoff w/ Classy Freddie Blassie from MSG --- This is a ******** classic if I ever saw one. The prematch Russian National Anthem draws enough popcorn, cups, and grub to feed The Aid Africa campaign according to Lord Alfred Hayes. Monsoon adds that the best way to end world hunger is to get Volkoff to sing in a starving country. Not a bad idea, why doesn’t he start at home? Bah da dum! Steele apparently has had enough of the Unamerican Idol tryout. Volkoff takes a hike on a few occasions due to the antics and style of The Animal. “YOU” screams Steele. Blassie pounds his cane over the apron which somehow distracts Steele. Volkoff attacks with some TVO (Typical Volkoff Offense) punches, elbows, stomps, ect. Steele responds with, “Your offense is offensive,” (credit: Peyton Manning, sorta) with a kick to the ballolas! Steele then bites Volkoff, but Blassie’s cane distracts George again and some more TVO results. Steele resorts to another low blow to turn the tide. The Animal then goes for the turnbuckle and bites it apart. The stuffing ends up all in Volkoff’s grill. Blassie’s cane distracts George a THIRD time and this time Albano jumps up on the apron, whick allows Blassie to jab Steele with the cane several times. Albano comes around the corner to confront Blassie whose right hand is making the sign of the cross in denial of his involvement in the match. Funny visual. Albano turns around and gets whacked with the cane for his malicious claims. Steele exits the ring to check on Lou and he gets nailed as well. Steele’s PISSED and Blassie repeats the sign of the cross. Bwaha! Volkoff attacks, Albano recovers, and everyone is counted out. Again, taken for what it’s worth, it’s another fun segment in a series of them on this tape.
- Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Jimmy Hart on TNT --- Valentine claims Hart knows more about rock ’n’ roll than Cyndi “Laupler”. Actually, that’s probably true. They then segue into WrestleMania hype since Valentine has an Intercontinental Title defense against The Junk Yard Dog. Valentine claims that he’ll walk out of WrestleMania the I-C Champion. He’s right again. He also implores the viewer to remember Hart and Valentine because they’ll be around for a long, long time. Three in a row for The Hammer! Mediocre segment to introduce Jimmy Hart.
- WWF Women’s Championship: Fabulous Moolah w/ Capt. Lou Albano vs. Wendi Richter w/ Cyndi Lauper and David Wolfe from MSG --- I believe this was “The Brawl to Settle it All” that was aired on MTV. Moolah’s been the champ for 27 years at this point. And you thought HHH was bad! Moolah and Richter divafight for a while as David Wolfe joins Monsson and Gene Okerlund for commentary. This match is very CLIPPY! Moolah snaps Wendi on the top rope and poses. Eat your heart out Big Poppa Pump! We CLIP to AFTER the match and are shown the replay to the ending. Moolah rolls up Richter into a double pin, but Richter got her shoulder up at 2 while Moolah’s shoulder was down. The result is Wendi Richter winning the WWF Women’s Championship. Yech production job by Coliseum.
- WWF Women’s Championship: Leilani Kai w/ Fabulous Moolah vs. Wendi Richter w/ Cyndi Lauper from WrestleMania --- Kai has since defeated Wendi w/ the help of Moolah at The War to Settle the Score (uh, I think). Prematch interviews are included but nothing of note is said. Say what you may, but Richter’s pretty hot! Anyways, we’re JIP once again at Wendi slamming Kai from a fireman’s carry position. She splashes Kai for a 2-count. Kai ends up hitting double knees on Wendi. Backbreaker gets 2. Slam by Kai and she heads to the top rope and leaps for a high crossbody but the momentum takes Richter over and on top of Kai, well that’s what they were going for at least. This is enough for a 3-count and a New WWF Women’s Champion: Wendi Richter. Moolah trips on the 2nd rope and falls flat on her face/chest while trying to get in the ring. That’s a shame!
- We get a quick clip of The $15,000 Bodyslam Match between Andre the Giant and Big John Studd. Andre easily slams Studd and receives his bag full of money. However, as he throws the $5 bills to the MSG audience, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan swipes the bag and heads out.
- Hearts and Flowers w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan on TNT --- Hearts and Flowers was a segment on TNT where Vince McMahon would read letters sent by the “viewers” of TNT regarding the subjects of love and romance. This is the debut of the segment. Many of the other H&F skits can be found on Coliseum Video’s Bloopers, Bleeps, and Bodyslams and the lab rats include Capt. Lou Albano, Classy Freddie Blassie, and Luscious Johnny Valiant. Anyways, Bobby states that he is doing this as a treat for the people. What a guy! Question #1: Do wrestlers really make great lovers? Bobby’s response is that from what he understands, wrestlers are the 2nd best lovers in the world. Whose #1 you ask? Oh come on, guess. GUESS! Bzzzzz . . . out of time; MANAGERS! By the way, the cheesy organ music and tacky ‘romance’ decorations are a nice touch. Question #2: A 69 year old woman doesn’t understand why her husband refuses to sex her up (my words, not Vinnie’s). Bobby suggests to hop out of the rocker, take the bun out of her hair, and put on some nice perfume. Heenan figures that instead of Evening in Paris, she’s wearing Afternoon in the Bronx. Haha! Question #3: A lady writes in stating that her husband has a 6” scar on his face that is a major turn-off for her. For whatever reason, Vince is LOSING IT! He’s almost laughing himself to tears. He finally blurts out, “Do you have any advice to help me with my turn off?” Bobby says she’s lucky the guy has six inches of anything whether it’s on his face, backyard, or garage. Good point. Bobby ultimately suggests to put a paper bag over his head and pretend it’s Vince McMahon. And with that, the inaugural edition of Hearts and Flowers comes to an end. The other H&F segments were actually much funnier, but this is pretty good too.
- Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan from Maple Leaf Gardens --- This is post-WrestleMania. We’re JIP again with Studd applying an armbar on Andre. Monsoon and Ventura join us one more time for commentary. Andre breaks free with some headbutts but BJS kicks The Giant down and drops 2 elbows. Heenan jumps up on the apron with a pair of scissors and has visions of The Haircut Match that led up to WrestleMania in mind. Studd gets the scissors but Andre bites John’s arm which causes the scissors to fall to the canvas. Andre takes control and even kicks Heenan for crawling into the ring. Andre casually slams Studd and takes the scissors from the ref. However, before any real cutting can be done, King Kong Bundy runs in and attacks Andre. Studd takes down Andre and Bundy ends up splashing him four times before the jobbers of 1985 storm and clear the ring out. Andre would take a brief hiatus after this for reasons that I do not know.
- It’s time now for The Bidding War for free agent “Macho Man” Randy Savage from TNT. Vince McMahon is once again moderating this. Basically, the story is that Randy Savage has entered the WWF as a free agent and is in search for a manager to guide him to the WWF Championship. Our candidates today are Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, and Freddie Blassie. They each get a chance to present their respective cases to Savage and he’ll choose his manager at a later date. The running gag is when one manager would try to build his case, the other two would laugh at him and turn on each other at the drop of a hat. That’s The Art of Heeldom! Heenan claims to be able to improve Savage’s whole lifestyle. His closing statement, “Why do you think they call me The Brain?” Savage seems impressed. Savage’s Memphis buddy Jimmy Hart goes next and professes to The Macho Man that he is the premiere discount, cut rate manager. Hart claims his whole outfit cost him $15.95 and was made by a tailor in Memphis. He’ll make Savage money and he’ll be able to save it too. Heenan chimes in, “You want to go shopping in Beverly Hills or do you want to go to K-Mart for The Blue Light Special?” Finally, we have Freddie Blassie. He claims to be the only manager to have a world champion and to be loaded with diamonds. He then breaks a LOAD of “walkin’ around money” for all to see. There must be at least $2,000 in hundred dollar bills there. Blassie goes on to mention that Liberace copied his style. Ahem . . . uhhh you may want to take that one back. Heenan gives Savage a Gold MassterCard. Savage takes off his shirt and lets the managers know they can “up the offer” after they see his physique. He even narrates his own bicep kiss. Classic Stuff. The managers are all drooling after him like he’s the prime time stripper at The Badabing! All the managers start yapping at Savage simultaneously and we cleanly segue into . . .
- “Macho Man” Randy Savage w/ Heenan, Blassie, Hart, Fuji, and Valiant vs. Jim Young from WWF TV --- Savage doesn’t even have any entrance music at this point. He stated that after the match he’d announce his new manager and it wouldn’t be one of the ones listed. Vince McMahon and Old Man Bruno are announcing. Sammartino figures that Savage will still pick one of the regular managers. If this was 2002 WWE Logic, he would. Jim Young is just a resident jobber. Savage with a quick armdrag. Young gets distracted by the 734 managers at ringside and gets hurled out of the ring for his troubles. Savage then drops his top rope axehandle onto Young. Back in, Savage hits a vertical suplex and his flying elbow. The 1-2-3 is academic and this one is put to bed. Savage then invites the managers to the ring and grabs the mic. Savage is appreciative to all the managers for their support and cites one thing from each guy that he’ll always remember. With all the dilly-dallying out of the way, Savage introduces . . . . . . ELIZABETH!!! Vince sounds like he just got through the gates of heaven . . . fat chance. Sammartino thinks she’s a movie star. And with that, a star is born!
- We get a quick clip of an injured Hillbilly Jim escorting Uncle Elmer and Cousin Junior for a match on WWF TV. They square dance. Well, isn’t that nice?
- Classy Freddie Blassie and Jimmy Hart on TNT --- The subject is The Manager of the Year award. McMahon tries to stir the pot between the two but they point the finger of blame at Bobby Heenan since he isn’t there. They then make fun of “Fat Slob Albano.” Blassie puts himself over and Hart emphasizes that he is a cut rate, discount manager. And that’s the name of that tune.
- Manager of the Year Award Presentation from WWF TV --- Mene Gene Okerlund is moderating the event. In the ring, we have Hillbilly Jim, Capt. Lou Albano, and Bobby Heenan w/ King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd standing by outside the ring. Heenan claims that Fuji, Hart, Blassie, and Valiant have all granted him their votes. That gives Heenan a grand total of 519,711 votes. Heenan grabs the trophy and figures he won. Hillbilly Jimbo wants to know how many he votes he has. He got 316,428 votes. Captain Lou has 314,166 votes and in a sharp example of irony, Hillbilly Jim gives Albano his votes making Captain Lou Albano Manager of the Year. Well, gee if Albano would give ME his votes, I could have been Manager of the Year. Of course, I was only three years old at the time, but still. Predictably enough, Bundy and Studd attack Jim while Heenan nails Albano with the trophy. Studd takes down Jimbo and Bundy hits only 3 splashes this time before Junior and Elmer make the save. Heenan keeps the name plate that says “Manager of the Year.” I wonder if he still has that.
- Captain Lou Albano on TNT --- This is when Albano was still a heel and The Samoans just lost their third and final Tag Team Championships. Albano seems to be improvising this whole interview as he talks about ‘his’ camera filming all matches in its entirety. A trait Coliseum never quite seemed to try to adopt. He speaks about Cyndi Lauper. He claims to have taken Cyndi from the worst part of Queens and made her into a superstar. More on this story can be found on Coliseum Video’s Life and Times of Captain Louis Albano. Am I a shill machine or what? Albano speaks about tag team wrestling. Like him or not, he does make wrestling sound legit. He says his IQ is 157. Is that high? Apparently so. Albano blabs about nothing of consequence for another minute or so and we go to our finale . . .
- Andre the Giant and Pedro Morales vs. Afa and Capt. Lou Albano from The Spectrum --- This appears to be from the early 1980s. Andre still has the afro in full effect here. Wahoo . . . Dick Graham is announcing with two other guys. Graham is great because he shows what appears to be a real enthusiasm for the product and sounds like he could shill a popsicle stick. The announcers are in awe with Andre the entire match and rightfully so. Andre gives the heels the ‘ol double noggin-knocker and Lou figures Afa oughta start. CLIP to Afa accidentally nailing Lou after Morales moved out of the way. I think we have ourselves a comedy match to send the crowd home with a smile on their face. Nothing wrong with that. CLIP to Albano tagging in while Morales is down. He gets few shots in before Pedro gets one shot back and Lou tags out. Afa with a headbutt and we CLIP to Albano tagging in again. He slams Pedro, however, he slips to the corner and tags Andre and that’s Lou’s cue to head back to the apron. Andre nails Afa with a big boot while there are some really old guys in the front row just loving this. Andre continues the violence (This is 1985, I allow myself to say Violence) by giving him the Butt Bump where Andre flings the guy to the ropes, drops down, and gets up with his ass sticking out and the heel running right into it. He then stands on Afa’s hair and raises his arm so it’s not a pin. Afa catches Andre with a kick that sends the big guy down. The announcers claim that Andre is busted open but I can’t see any blood through the ‘fro. Afa hits a short nerve hold and tags Albano. Ooooo, I wouldn’t do that! Albano carefully comes in and gets his foot stepped on. Doh! Andre with a few headbutts and Louie blades. What a trooper. Morales in and Albano is seizuring in the ring. Lou takes the rest of the night off and heads for the shower. Morales throws Afa into Andre’s boot and the 3-count is academic.
- Closing Credits Roll and Previews for The Best of the WWF Vol. 5, The Life and Times of Captain Louis Albano, and The Tag Team Champions wrap up the video.
- Final Thoughts --- Well, I really enjoyed this tape but maybe it’s because I’ve owned it for over a decade. Seriously, there’s only one match here where workrate was even an issue so if that’s what you were looking for, look elsewhere. However, for another fun and entertaining look at life in the WWF during The Rock ‘N’ Wrestling era, look no further than this video.
- Thanks for reading this review. I appreciate it. ANY constructive feedback good/bad is more than welcome either on the message board or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Too long? Needs better play-by-play? More/less opinions? Whatever, let me know. Thanks again!