September 8, 2009
The Best of the WWF Volume 3
Continuing on with the next installment in the Best of the WWF series, Volume 3, released in 1985, will include among other things, a rare pinfall loss for one of the top stars of the period, a look at a hot up and coming tag team, the return to the Madison Square Garden ring of one of the company’s all time biggest legends, and a star studded battle royal.
Fijian Strap Match: Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper (July 20, 1984, Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MO)
This of course stems from the coconut angle on Piper’s Pit, and as a result we have an intently focused Snuka facing a reluctant Piper. Finally Piper puts the strap on and we get underway. Snuka whips him with it right away while Piper misses his shots. Snuka then powers him down and starts choking, but Piper pokes the eyes. Now Piper gets some whips in, but that doesn’t last long before Snuka is back on him again. Piper tries to escape, but Snuka uses the strap to drag him right back in again for more whipping. Second escape attempt leads to more of the same for Piper. At one point Snuka has him choked out with the strap, so he covers, but Piper kicks out at 2. Piper goes to the eyes again, but the makes the mistake of trying a headbutt. Come on Roddy, I thought you were smarter then that. It breaks down to a slugfest which Piper wins after another eyepoke. Keep going with what works I guess. Snuka is so disoriented that he ends up on the floor, and Piper follows, but on the other side of the ringpost which just allows Snuka to pull him straight into it by the strap. Back in the ring, Snuka connects with a couple of headbutts and then goes up from where he connects with a flying bodypress for the 3 count at 6:10. For many years the urban legend was that Piper had never been pinned in the WWF prior to Wrestlemania VIII, but in case there are still any holdouts on that one, there ya go. Piper gets his heat back after the match though with an attack from behind and then by choking Snuka out with the strap. This was a good intense brawl as you’d expect from this feud. Thumbs up.
Cowboy Bob Orton vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (July 20, 1985, (One year to the day after the previous match coincidentally enough) Capital Center, Landover, MD)
They clip us right off the bat to Orton getting sent off the ropes but hitting a shoulderblock. Steamboat comes back with an armdrag and goes to work on the “injured” arm. Clip to Steamboat now holding a hammerlock which Orton briefly escapes before getting armdragged again and put back in a hold. Orton slams out, but Steamboat then gets his own slam and is back to the armbar. Clip to Orton using a headbutt to escape. He then gets a hiptoss and flying headscissors, but misses a charge and goes out to the floor. Orton grabs a drink from someone in the crowd and tosses it in Steamboat’s face, which Steamboat sells huge like he’s been blinded or something. Now Orton is finally able to sustain some offence, working over Steamboat’s neck. He tries a shot with the cast, but Steamboat avoids it. He can’t slam Orton though, so Orton falls on top for 2. Orton sets up a piledriver, but Steamboat backdrops out of it. He goes up, but a flying bodypress only gets 2. Whip and elbow get another 2 and then we clip to Orton tossing Steamboat, but Steamboat skins the cat and dropkicks Orton to the floor. As Orton tries to get in, Steamboat looks to take a shot, but the ref holds him back and that lets Orton take advantage and nail Steamboat. Orton tries a suplex to the floor, but Steamboat reverses and gets him back in. A splash hits the knees though so Orton now adjusts the cast in preparation for using it. He goes up and nails Steamboat with it off the top, but it happens right in front of the ref and so the DQ is called at 11:47 (shown). They have a post match brawl, but Steamboat clears him out of the ring. That was a horribly disappointing finish to what was otherwise a pretty good match. Finish has to knock it down to a thumbs in the middle though.
The British Bulldogs vs. Johnny Rodz & Rene Goulet (April 22, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
This would be the first appearance of the Bulldogs at MSG as a team. Kid and Goulet are in first with Goulet taking a flying headscissors and shoulderblock. Goulet then gets a hiptoss, but Kid holds on and carries Goulet through on it. Tag to Davey who gets a rollup for 2. Rodz makes the save on that and tosses Davey, but Davey comes right back and dropkicks Rodz into Goulet. Rodz gets the tag and catches Davey with a knee. He hits a bodyslam and goes to the 2nd rope, but Davey slams him off. Davey goes up and connects with a top rope dropkick on Rodz, which draws Goulet in, but Kid nails him with a top rope dropkick as well. Kid then gets a snap suplex and gutwrench suplex on Rodz. Clip to Kid holding a reverse chinlock, but Rodz escapes and hits a boot. Tag to Goulet who gets a slam and drops a knee. Tag Rodz who is in with a forearm off the top and then he hits a suplex. Headbutt gets 2, but a second one misses and Kid makes the tag to Davey, who immediately gets nailed and takes over as the face in peril. Gutwrench suplex by Goulet gets 2. They keep working Davey over in the corner until Rodz misses a legdrop and Davey is able to make a comeback. He hits the delayed suplex and covers, but Goulet saves at 1. Tag to Kid who headbutts both opponents but once again ends up caught in the corner. They get a double whip and elbow on Kid for 2. Kid hits a monkey flip to escape this time and makes the tag. Davey hits Goulet with a backdrop for 2, but Goulet then tags Rodz. Davey immediately hits Rodz with the running powerslam which draws Goulet in, but Davey picks him up on his shoulders. Tag to Kid, who climbs on the back of Goulet as he’s on Davey’s shoulders and drops a headbutt on Rodz. That gets the 3 count at 7:23 shown. Good job here and a good introduction to the Bulldogs for the New York crowd. Thumbs Up.
The Hart Foundation (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The British Bulldogs (July 13, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
This would be an early meeting for these teams and the first one in MSG. Sadly we are joined in progress with Kid getting the better of Bret in a sequence of holds. Clip to Davey and Neidhart in with Neidhart winning a test of strength. Davey comes back with a dropkick and Neidhart then tags Bret. Bret gets him with a kneelift, then tags again and the Harts hit a double elbow. Clip to them using a Demolition Decapitation, and then clip again to Bret missing a dropkick and hitting Neidhart instead. Tag to Kid, who whips Bret into Neidhart and then clotheslines Bret. Presumably this was the hot tag after a long heat segment because Kid keeps on dominating them. Bret takes the chest first whip to the buckle for a 2 count. Kid then hits a top rope dropkick and tags out. Davey gets the running powerslam for 2 with Neidhart making the save. Clip to Bret having control over Davey, but Davey coming back with a dropkick. Neidhart prevents the tag though. Bret makes his own tag and Neidhart sends Davey off the ropes, but the bell rings for the curfew draw at 5:19 (shown). The full version of this match is on the Bret Hart DVD. I really should get around to covering that one someday. As for this version, it may only be five minutes, but it’s five minutes of Harts/Bulldogs so Thumbs Up.
And now for a bit of stupidity we pay a visit to Dr. Sigmund Ziff to whom Lou Albano has brought George Steele for some psychotherapy. They seem to make a bit of progress, but then end up moving on to shock therapy and the doctor goes too fan and ends up undoing everything he originally accomplished. Just a dumb segment.
Adrian Adonis, Big John Studd, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan vs. Mike Rotundo, Barry Windham, & George “The Animal” Steele (w/Lou Albano) (June 21, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
This is a cut and paste from my previous review of the 6/21/85 MSG show. Steele has just turned babyface and realigned with Albano, so here he teams with Albano’s other guys against Adonis, Studd, and Heenan. Heenan wants in with Windham for some reason, but the Windham tags Steele who chases Heenan right out. We get going for real with Windham and Adonis and Windham dominates him. Tag to Studd who gains control for his side. Windham fires back, even trying the slam, but can’t get it. He does hit a crossbody for 2, but Studd is right back on him. Tag to Heenan, who gets sent to the corner and flipped over the top to the floor. Steele then chases him and takes out both him and Adonis on the floor. Back in, we get tags to Rotundo and Studd with Rotundo outwrestling him, but making the mistake of getting caught in the corner. Tag to Adonis, who drops Rotundo on the top rope and then nails a DDT. Although that term is not yet known in the WWF, so Gorilla calls it a “reverse under the arm piledriver”. Tag to Heenan again as the heels work Rotundo over in the corner some more. Finally Windham and Steele have had enough and come charging in. It breaks down into a six way brawl. Steele gets sent to the floor, and comes back in with a chair. After chasing the heels out, he hits the referee for no apparent reason, and that draws the disqualification at 10:00. This was pretty decent as most of the guys in the match were good workers and the ones that weren’t had their time in minimized. Thumbs down for the two segments combined.
Next we get a brief look at Bruno Sammartino, starting with clips of a cage match against Ivan Koloff back in the 70’s. We then go back to Wrestlemania where his son David wrestled Brutus Beefcake to a double disqualification after Bruno and Johnny Valiant got involved, and that of course sets up our next match.
Brutus Beefcake & Johnny Valiant vs. Bruno Sammartino & David Sammartino (May 20, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Beefcake and Valiant stall big time before we finally get underway. Bruno and Valiant start out and Bruno controls him with a shoulderblock and some kicks. Armdrag then puts Valiant on the floor. Beefcake comes in, but he gets cleared out as well. Valiant gets back in and once more gets controlled by Bruno. Tag to David who hooks an armbar. He gets sent off the ropes and hit with a shoulderblock. They trade slams and then do another shoulderblock sequence. Valiant gets a hiptoss, but misses an elbow. He tags out to Beefcake while David tags Bruno. Bruno hooks a hammerlock and then tags right back to David, who also goes to the hammerlock. Valiant comes in for a cheap shot and that lets Beefacke take over. David is briefly controlled in the heel corner before he kicks Valiant away and tags Bruno. Bruno takes care of business on Valiant and then tags David again for some double teaming. Valiant regains control however and rams David to the buckle. Beefcake gets a shot in from the floor and then gets the tag. He hits David with a couple of backbreakers and drops a forearm. Tag back to Valiant who whips David to the corner, but misses a charge and gets rolled up for 3 at 9:10. Wasn’t really that good of a match, but the heat for Bruno was off the charts. Thumbs in the middle.
King Kong Bundy and Jimmy Hart appear on the TNT show next. Bundy talks about how difficult it is for a star of his magnitude to go out in public, so he’s considering getting a wig on order to blend in. They happen to have some there for him to try on, which he does. Lord Al Hayes laughs like Michael Cole does during a Hornswoggle/Chavo Guerrero match today and that causes Bundy to storm off the set. But it does lead us into a King Kong Bundy Match.
Tony Garea vs. King Kong Bundy (w/Jimmy Hart) (June 21, 1985, Madison Square Garden (Nearly the entire tape has been from there), New York, NY)
This would be another cut and paste from the same past review. Bundy is still in “Buildup for Hogan” mode here so it should be squash city. Bundy, of course, dominates with power, dropping Garea with an elbow. Elbowsmash misses though and gives Garea the chance to work on the knee. Bundy shakes that off pretty quickly though and gets back to work. Snapmare and elbow get a 2 count. Garea ducks off a whip and hits a dropkick and some more shots, but his corner whip is reversed and he gets hit with the Avalanche. Bundy follows with a splash and that gets 3 (no 5 count is requested) at 6:17. Thumbs Down for the combined TNT segment and match.
18 Man, $30,000 Battle Royal (February 10, 1984, Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MO)
Participants here are: Masked Superstar, Moondog Rex, Samu, Mil Mascaras, Dave Schultz, Bob Boyer (I wonder who no showed), Mr. Fuji, Tiger Chung Lee, Ivan Putski, Big John Studd, Tony Atlas, Paul Orndorff, Rocky Johnson, Adrian Adonis, Jimmy Snuka, Dick Murdoch, Hulk Hogan, and Andre the Giant. They clip ahead to the first elimination which is David Schultz, although we don’t see how he’s eliminated. Moondog Rex is next as Hogan gets rid of him. Everyone’s just brawling and there’s nothing too interesting going on. There’s a big pile on happening and we soon find out that Bob Boyer is the unfortunate one at the bottom. He gets carried out on a stretcher. Four guys team up to try and eliminate Hogan, but no dice. Hogan then knocks Adonis over with a bolo punch, but Adonis hangs on. Superstar gets backdropped out by Atlas. Orndorff is next out with Rocky getting tossed through the ropes soon after. Orndorff send him to the post for the hell of it and busts him open in the process. Back in, Rocky gets double teamed by Adonis and Murdoch but hangs on. He even gets an elimination when Samu charges and he ducks to send him flying. He and Murdoch then put each other out. Mil Mascaras gets tossed to leave our final four as Studd, Putski, Andre, and Hogan. Anyone not mentioned as being eliminated was not shown getting tossed. Andre and Hogan go at it on the ropes in a tease of things to come a few years later, while Studd throws Putski out. Studd then comes from behind and shoves both Andre and Hogan over and out to win it at 8:10 (shown). Hogan, not exactly known for losing battle royals gracefully, tries to orchestrate a post match attack on Studd with Andre’s help, but Studd manages to get away in spite of taking a few shots. That’s just poor sportsmanship as Studd beat them fair and square. Thumbs in the middle.
Ok, adding things up here this show scores three thumbs up, three in the middle and two thumbs down for a total of 9 points out of a possible 16 or 56%. It started out good with the Piper/Snuka feud and the Bulldogs segment, but pretty much fell off from there. Overall it gets a Thumbs in the Middle, but there’s really nothing to recommend here.