October 4, 2009
The Best of the WWF Volume 4
On now to the next installment in the Best of the WWF series, Volume 4 is set to feature, among other things, a match made by the fallout of the main event at Wrestlemania, an early 80’s battle royal, and a look at one of the biggest stars in the history of wrestling, Andre the Giant.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper (July 13, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Orndorff comes out all fired up, still hot at being ditched by his former running buddy at Wrestlemania. Piper, who nearly matches Orndorff’s intensity, tries to attack, but Orndorff avoids it and knocks him to the floor. He rams Piper to the barrier, then gets him back in and comes down with an elbow from the top. He hen faceplants Piper and hooks a wristlock which Piper can’t even break by running Orndorff to the buckle. Corner whip by Orndorff, but Piper gets the knees up on the charge, then follows with a clothesline and running knee. Off an Irish whip, Orndorff goes behind Piper and gets a backslide for 2, but Piper goes to the eyes to maintain control. Orndorff gets kicked to the floor where Piper also sends him to the post. Back in, Piper hooks a front facelock which the announcers think might be a choke, but if it is they give Piper credit for hiding it well. Orndorff gets out of that and Piper ends up on top so Orndorff does the bridge out of a pin spot (on the third try) and gets another backslide but Piper is right in the ropes. Slugfest breaks out, won by Orndorff and then he gets Piper with a bodypress that puts both guys out on the floor. I called a double count out at this point by they make me wrong when Orndorff gets in and drags Piper back by the hair. He rams Piper’s head to the mat repeatedly and then goes up, but out of nowhere, Bob Orton runs in and shoves him off the top for the DQ at 8:41. The double team beatdown continues after the match with Orndorff taking several cast shots and being busted open before the British Bulldogs make the save. This was a pretty good, intense brawl, and even though the ending sucks, it’s less disappointing when you’re expecting a screwjob. Thumbs up.
Hulk Hogan & Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Magnificent Muraco & Cowboy Bob Orton (w/Mr. Fuji) (May 18, 1985, Boston Garden, New York, NY)
The match starts out with a four way brawl that spills out to the floor. We finally get going for real with Snuka and Orton as Snuka goes to work on the injured arm. Tag to Hogan who comes in with a double ax off the 2nd rope and then rams Orton’s arm to the buckle. Tag back to Snuka who drops a shot off the top on the way in and continues the arm work. Hogan gets another tag and works an armbar, then hits an atomic drop. Orton does manage to get away and tag though. Hogan follows to the corner where he gets trapped by Muraco and worked over. Clip to Orton back in the ring working Hogan over. He gets a delayed suplex for 1 and drops an elbow. Muraco comes in for a double team elbow and drops a leg for 2 as the heels switch off. Corner whip by Muraco is reversed and then Hogan nails a clothesline. He crawls for the corner and makes the tag to Snuka who comes in as the house afire. Double noggin knocker on Orton and Muraco as well as headbutts for both. He goes up and hits a bodypress on Muraco, but while the ref is distracted with Fuji, Orton nails him with the cast. Muraco makes the tag as we see Snuka is busted open form the cast, so Orton nails him with it again while Muraco has circled the ring and attacked Hogan on the floor. Clip to Snuka reversing a corner whip and nailing a chop. He then makes the hot tag to Hogan, who cleans house, but Orton uses the cast again and this time it’s one time too many and he’s disqualified at 9:42 (shown). This was another good little grudge match brawl, which I enjoyed. Thumbs up.
20 Man Battle Royal (June 26, 1982, The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA)
We’re joined in progress, although it appears to have just started anyways. Nothing of not really happens in the match besides the eliminations, many of which aren’t even shown. Jimmy Snuka is first out although we don’t see who gets him. Tony Garea is next, followed by Mr. Saito getting tossed by the Strongbows. More mindless brawling takes place and then we clip ahead. Adrian Adonis does a flip sell off a shot from Pedro Morales. Mr. Fuji and Jay Strongbow go out together. We see Jules Strongbow on the floor as he was already eliminated prior to that. Morales goes out via a triple team from Adonis, Jose Estrada, and Greg Valentine. Vince McMahon is doing commentary and he declares that Laurent Soucie throws punches like a girl, which cracks me up a bit. Adonis backdrops Charlie Fulton out. Valentine has been busted open which I don’t understand why in a battle royal. Next to go are Johnny Rodz, Soucie, Estrada, and Baron Mikel Scicluna leaving us a final four of Adrian Adonis, Greg Valentine, Tony Atlas, and SD Jones. According to the ring results section, the other four guys I didn’t account for because they did nothing of note and their eliminations weren’t shown are Blackjack Mulligan, Steve Travis, Swede Hanson, and Ivan Putski. Jones and Atlas chase the heels around and eventually case them to run into each other. They actually end up going at it for several minutes until Atlas eliminates Adonis. Valentine gives it a go, but the one on two odds are too much and he gets put out by a dropkick from Jones. Atlas and Jones are the last two and they tease going at it, but they’re best buddies so instead they ask to flip a coin to determine the winner. Atlas wins the toss and then Jones allows himself to be symbolically eliminated to officially give Atlas the win at 15:57 (shown). There was some decent action near the end, but overall this was pretty sad and the ending, although different, was still stupid. Thumbs down.
Specialty of the House
This is a segment devoted to quick clips of various wrestlers using their signature moves. Apparently Hogan’s moves are the clothesline and elbow. Stan Hansen’s lariat is included here for some reason even though he would have been winning the AWA World Championship right around the time this video was being released. Bruno Sammartino is said to have “All The Right Moves” as they show clips of him outwrestling Larry Zbyszko in their TV match from 1980 while the rest is the usual guys from this period doing their usual moves. Thumbs in the Middle.
Mongolian Stretcher Match: Andre the Giant vs. Killer Khan (November 14, 1981, The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA)
Now we’re into a series of matches featuring Andre the Giant and we start here with Andre coming for revenge on Killer Khan for a broken ankle he suffered. In reality, Andre broke it getting out of bed, but Khan was given credit for it because he was last guy to wrestle Andre prior to that. Khan tries to run right off the bat, but Andre catches him and goes to work. He hits a big boot and sitdown splash, then calls for the stretcher, but Khan shoves it away. Andre hits a piledriver, but misses a headbutt and that finally lets Khan take over. Khan works the ankle and calls for the stretcher, but Andre is having none of that. By the way, apparently the match will end once one of the wrestlers allows himself to be carried out on a stretcher by the referee and one other guy who’s hanging around ringside. The thing is though that the stretcher looks far too small for Andre to fit on, let alone be carried out on so I think they’re kind giving away the finish right there. Back to the match now, as Andre picks up the stretcher and nails Khan with it. Clip to Andre sitting on him three times but Khan still won’t go on the stretcher. Andre responds by sitting on him some more, but Khan still holds the ropes and refuses to go. So then Andre hits a suplex, then follows with another sitdown splash and a big splash to put Khan out and this time he gets carried out to give Andre the win at 6:49 (shown). This was definitely not a good concept for a match. Thumbs Down.
Steel Cage Match: Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd (September 24, 1983, The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA)
We’re joined in progress here with Studd already busted open and being sent to the cage again and again. Andre then misses a boot and Studd comes back with a clothesline. He pounds Andre down and goes for the door, but Andre stops him. Now Andre goes for it, but Studd stops him this time. Andre then slams him (worth $10,000 at this point according to Monsoon) and goes up top. He connects with a sitdown splash from there and that’s enough for him to be able to walk out for the win at 3:02 (shown). It’s amazing to think that in just a few short years Andre went from being able to leap off the top rope to barely being able to move at all. Not much was shown here, but it merits a Thumbs in the Middle.
Andre the Giant (w/Lou Albano) vs. King Kong Bundy (w/Jimmy Hart) (September 23, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
This match is known as “The Colossal Jostle” as it was between two of the biggest guys in the company at the time. Andre goes right for Bundy and knocks him to the floor. Clip to Andre knocking Bundy to the floor again, this tome with a headbutt. Clip to Bundy pounding Andre down and working over the sternum area which was recently injured. Andre fights back with some shoulders in the corner. His corner whip is reversed but he gets the boot up on Bundy’s charge. Andre hits a sitdown splash, but John Studd runs in for a double team beatdown. Andre is able to get away though and ends up clearing them out with a chair. I believe this kicked off the Studd/Bundy alliance and their tandem feud with Andre that would last for the net year or so. Remember what I said about Andre barely being able to move only a couple of years after the previous match? Well, here ya go. Thumbs down.
Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine vs. Ricky Steamboat & Tito Santana (April 21, 1985, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON)
This looks like it has the potential to end the slide this tape has taken since the first two matches. Steamboat and Beefcake start out with Steamboat controlling with a hiptoss. Valentine comes in and gets one too and then both Dream Team members take some chops. Tag to Tito and the faces hit Beefcake with a double elbow. Beefcake regroups while Santana indicates the he wants Valentine. Beefcake comes back with a slam on Santana and now makes the tag. Valentine misses an elbow though and Santana’s comeback causes him to bail. They trade shots and holds for a bit until Santana tries the figure four, but can’t hook it. Valentine drops a forearm for 2 and then hits a shoulderbreaker. Tag to Beefcake who chokes Santana and then draws Steamboat in to distract the ref so Valentine can get some cheap shots in. Beefcake misses an elbow, but makes the tag and Valentine successfully cuts Tito off. Beefcake then goes after Steamboat on the floor while Valentine controls in the ring. Tag to Beefcake, who tries to cause another distraction, but this time it backfires and Santana makes the tag to Steamboat. Steamboat cleans house, dropping Beefcake with a suplex and hooking a sleeper, but Beefcake escapes and tags Valentine, who retakes control. Gutbuster gets 2 and now Beefcake and Valentine hold Steamboat in the corner and make several quick tags. Valentine gets an inverted atomic drop for 2 and then Beefcake follows with a clothesline for another 2. Valentine sets up his figure four, but Steamboat cradles him for 2. He’s still on the wrong side of the ring, but manages to fight back and get over to make the tag to Santana. Santana is the house afire, getting a double noggin knocker and nailing Valentine with the Flying Jalapeno. Beefcake makes the save and all four guys end up in the ring. Steamboat gets tossed and the double team is on Santana, but Steamboat is soon back to take out Beefcake. Valentine goes for an atomic drop on Santana, who then counters it and hooks the figure four. Valentine submits to end it at 15:33 in your standard babyface contender gets the clean win over the heel champ when the belt is not on the line deal. Well, I expected it to be good, and it was. Thumbs up.
Ok, so we have eight segments, of which three get Thumbs Up, three get Thumbs Down, and two get Thumbs in the Middle, so overall the whole tape gets a Thumbs in the middle. I may have to revise my scoring system since it’s resulted in all four tapes in the series so far being in the middle, but I’ll think about that another time. The three best segments are all good intense grudge matches that are easy to get into and I enjoyed all of them. For me, the Andre segment was what really dragged this one down. Old time fins would probably disagree, but I don’t see anything that special about him. Ok, he was big at a time when it was less common for guys to be of that size, but even watching his old stuff I don’t see him as being particularly charismatic or anything. It’s probably one of those “you had to be there” things I guess. So Thumbs in the Middle for the Best of the WWF Volume 4, and with some good stuff here and nothing really offensive or anything, with the possible exception of that stretcher match, I can recommend it.