BEST OF THE WWF VOL. 11
- Hey everyone, MillenniumMan taking a break from the school/work killer combo to present a review of the 11th edition of The Best of the WWF Series. This video was released just after WrestleMania III in 1987 and was the 38th release by the good folks at Coliseum. Ironically, I just received this tape a couple of months ago from eBay. Alright, enough of the yadda yadda, let’s hit it! (Tried that line last night and got slapped for it, ah well)
- We start off with our gracious host Mene Gene Okerlund. He’s in front of the same background as the CV version of WrestleMania 2, by the by. He casually runs down some of the lineup we are about to see.
- Can-Am Connection vs. Dream Team w/ Luscious Johnny Valiant --- Every match/segment from this video comes from good ol’ Madison Square Garden from New York City. We’re in January of 1987 with Gorilla Monsoon and Okerlund with the play-by-play. The Can Ams were supposed to be the next big face tag team until Tom Zenk left the WWF in the Summer of ’87. The story can branch off from there depending on who you ask, so I’ll just start recapping the match. Martel and Valentine start. Martel works off the dreaded armbar for a while before he tags Zenk in. To tell the truth, from the wide-angle lens Zenk and Martel a lot alike, more similar than Demolition at least. Zenk works the arm some more. Monsoon predicts that The Cam-Ammers will be tag champs some day. Huh, not even in Legends of Wrestling II they won’t. Valentine fights off Zenk and tags Beefcake. Valiant takes a commentary microphone and wonders what nationality Zenk comes from. I’ll guess Dutch. Z-Man with an atomic drop, but Beefcake does no comic selling of it. He just fell down and begged off, Boooooo!!! Valentine tags and he gets atomic dropped into Martel who punches him allowing The Hammer to do his Timmmberrr drop. Not bad, but we’ve seen better. Martel in, and he punishes the arm until Valentine drapes him across the top rope and tags in The Beefer. He tags in Valentine and they hit an awkward-looking double team move where Brutus kind of has Martel up for a press slam and Valentine sort of jumps off the top, nails Rick’s back, and Brut-eye, in a way, follows it up with a backbreaker. Zenk with a save on a 2-count. Beefcake in, and guess what he does. Ding ding ding, a chinlock! Get me a cookie for winning. I kid cause I care. Crowd is definitely behind Martel, I must admit. Eventually, Martel fights out and gets backslide for 2. Valentine back in and the two gladiators trade blows as Rick Martel PM (Pre-Model) needs to tag. Valentine hits a vertical suplex for 2. Beefcake tags back in, applies a bearhug, and the crowd literally groans. LOL! Valentine tags back in and gets rolled up, while attempting a figure-4, for 2. Greg beats down Martel in the corner. Beefcake back in. I noticed the camera shots they’re using are mostly from the ground for some reason. OH WAIT . . . Martel slips through the legs of Brutus and makes the Damn Tag! Zenk in and it’s dropkicks for everyone. Double noggin knocker connects as well. Brutus Beefcake PB (Pre-Barber) stops the momentum with a clothesline and now Zenk’s in peril. Valentine tags back in. ¾ nelson by Greg Valentine PICR (Post Intercontinental Championship Reign). Valentine changes to an abdominal stretch. Valentine and Tom Zenk PIRD (Pre-Internet Rambling Dufus) clothesline each other. This match is surprisingly boring, truth be told. We get the false tag gag. Ultimately, it leads to a figure-4 on Zenk. However, as the ref puts out Beefcake, Martel launches himself onto Valentine and the ref counts 1-2-3. MSG certainly approved that outcome, but GEEZ 18 minutes?!? It was technically alright and everything, but had it of been chopped to 10 minutes, I’d have liked it. It wasn’t bad or comedic, just boring. I feel like I’ve reviewed a 3MW match. Eh, it’s all good and everything, but uhhh . . . NEXT!
- George “The Animal” Steele vs. Kamala w/ Kim Chee and The Wizard in The Jungle Fight --- Now, this is what the 80s were all about! Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes on commentary. They stare each other down to start and they both look confused, Steele and Kamala not Monsoon and Hayes, come on now! Steele yells at Kamala and The Ugandan craps himself. After a distraction by Kim Chee, Kamala attacks and sends Georgie-boy to the outside. Kamala has that dumb grin on his face. Steele’s response: Step on Kamala’s toes. Steele starts biting Kamala and puts the whompin on Kim Chee as well. The Wizard jumps on the opposite apron and slips a horn into the ring which Kamala grabs and nails Steele with. One chop later, and I witness a first . . . GEORGE STEELE TAKES A BUMP!!! WOW! Talk about putting over a fellow stud. Kamala hits a big splash and then follows that up with a top-rope splash which ends the match. Kamala hits a post-match splash to drive the point home. For 1987, that was quite the finish. But for those that wonder how Steele remained an active wrestler for about 30 years, watch his matches. The ring is a no-bump zone when The Animal is in town. But hey, I love the big oaf, and they kept it short. Couldn’t ask for much more out of this match when you see it on paper. Anywhoo, we’ve lived it, now it’s time to move on.
- Live Piper’s Pit w/ Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan --- We’re still in MSG. Piper begins by proclaiming “The Boss is back!” to a HUGE pop! He also says he’s still a no good son of a bitch despite the cheering. CLIP to Orndorff and Heenan into the ring. Piper challenges Orndorff to a tag team match. Heenan works in his “I don’t need you to make a fool out of me” line early on. Heenan states that Orndorff will team with King Harley Race. This is like watching a RAW opening segment from 1998-2000. CLIP to Piper needing a tag partner himself. Everyone is screaming HULK! Piper needs some time with his manager, so he starts taking to the turnbuckle. Funny stuff. Heenan gets pissed. Piper summons in Vladimir, who’s wearing a Hot Rod shirt and is sporting a mustache. Piper grabs the mic and lets Vladimir decide his tag partner. “HULK HOGAN” suggests the excited fan. Good enough for Piper as he leaves the ring without saying a word. Meanwhile, Orndorff and Heenan throw a tizzy fit inside the ring.
- Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff and King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan --- As you could imagine, this would be the previous MSG show’s blowoff. This would have been the main event of WrestleMania if the heels traded Piper for Mr. T and then replaced T for Race. Just a little something to discuss at the water cooler. The faces clean house to start before staring each other down. Hogan and Piper rip up their respective shirts and throw them at each other. The faces beat on the heels some more before things calm down and Piper armbars Race. Monsoon and Hayes at the controls again. Crowd is JAKKED! Semi-reluctant tag to Hogan as he ax-handles Race’s arm from the 2nd rope. Several tags are made between Hogan/Piper with all the offense focusing on The King’s arm. The crowd is completely eating this up with a knife and fork. Race headbutts his way out but gets suckered back into another armlock. More tags are made and the strategy is consistent. Race is selling pretty well. Piper in with an armbar but Handsome Harley counters with a belly-to-belly suplex. Tag to Orndorff who hits a top rope forearm drop. Piper rolls out of the ring where Race is waiting for him and knocks him back down. Back in, The King tags in and drops an elbow on a prone Piper. Race follows up with a clothesline and a quasi-powerslam. Orndorff returns and slaps a chinlock to The Rowdy Scot. Piper battles out but the heels keep the advantage and no tag is made. Race drops a knee and tags Mr. 1nderful back in. Double team on Piper brings the champion in, but that old referee at all the MSG shows ushers him out. Piper makes a desperate lunge and tags Hogan! Hulk assaults both heels with a double noggin-knocker. Harley gets atomic dropped and clotheslined. Big leg looks to finish it but Orndorff saves at a 2-count. Pier-6 brawl evolves and Heenan gets knocked off the apron by Hogan. This allows Race/Orndorff to double-team Piper. Orndorff hits the ropes and inadvertently clotheslines Race. Piper covers and gets the 3-count. Piper gives Hogan the “Stick it” gesture for leaving him all by himself at the end of the match and takes a hike. This leaves Hogan to be victimized by those dastardly bad guys. Hogan, virtuous as he is, fights off Race, Orndorff, and The Brain. Heenan ends up eating some ring post before the festivities are over. Now, this was very similar to the first match, but this one only lasted approximately eight minutes instead of eighteen so I found it to be much more enjoyable.
- Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, and Junk Yard Dog vs. Adorable Adrian Adonis, Macho Man Randy Savage, and King Harley Race in a Six-Man Tag Team Elimination Match --- Several points to make before the match. The date is January 26th, 1987. We are two months before WrestleMania III where these six guys would meet in individual matches and all have heat with each other. This was scheduled to be Roddy Piper’s last appearance at Madison Square Garden, but as you probably know, it really wasn’t. Fourth, this was a precursor to The Survivor Series format to be held 10 months later. Sorry, no elimination chamber here. However, I’m sure none of you are too broken hearted about that. Plus, no managers were allowed at ringside. Lastly, your commentators are Gorilla Monsoon and Slick. Oh yeah! Let’s get to the match. Some energetic stalling to start as none of the heels wants to get in there with their WrestleMania opponents. And no, energetic stalling is not an oxymoron. Steamboat and Savage start. Quick action to start as The Dragon hits a deep armdrag on Savage who tags Race who gets chopped by Steamboat who tags JYD who gives Race those rolling headbutts who bails out. Whew, gotta take a breath. Race back in and things slow down a bit. “JYD” chant erupts! Race takes an over-the-top rope bump. However, Harley regroups and hits a belly-to-belly suplex on JYD. Slick claims The Dog can’t read or write. Tag to Savage who’s all over JYD. Savage goes for the flying elbow but gets distracted by The Dragon. JYD tags in Ricky. Steamboat gets kicked going for a back body drop, giving Savage a chance to tag The Adorable One. Adonis hits a crisp back suplex on Ricky. However, it was all for naught as Steamboat rolled into a tag to The Hot Rod. Adonis casually goes to the apron and now all 6 guys are clubberin’! Steamboat gets chucked out of the ring by Savage and JYD gets ushered out by the ref leaving Piper to fall prey to a double vertical suplex by Adonis/Race. Adonis and Piper exchange sleepers which gets neither man anywhere. Things settle down again with Adonis and JYD as the legal guys. Adonis attacks The Dog’s skull. Big mistake AAA! The Dog no sells but gets suckered out of the ring by Adrian. All 6 guys are fighting out of the ring. Piper nails Adonis with a chair. Chaos is everywhere! I love it! The bell rings. The Fink comes in and states that the legal men in the ring, JYD and Adrian Adonis have been counted out. Fair enough. This leaves Steamboat / Piper vs. Savage / Race. The King clotheslines Piper. Piper is in peril and the format of the match has become more traditional. A double team on Piper results. Piper ends up countering a suplex on Race and tagging The Dragon. Ricky takes Race to school. Piper illegally comes in and he and Steamboat nail The King with a double clothesline for 2. A top rope cross body block by Ricky gets 2 on Harley after Savage saves. Small package executed, but Savage comes in and turns the hold around giving Race a mucho cheap 1-2-3 fall onto Steamboat. Steamboat high fives Piper since it has come down to Piper vs. Savage / Race. Piper attacks Race with a fistdrop and a classic eye gouge. Piper sends The King out on a 360 degree trip to the concrete floor. Savage somehow becomes the legal man without tagging. After some choking by the I-C champ, Savage hits a top rope ax-handle for 2. Off the subject for a bit, Monsoon and Slick make a pretty darn good commentating team with their playful bickering. I’ll give it a .7 Monsoon / Heenan. Race tags in, and it’s yet another double team on Piper. Monsoon states, “Double team effort once again.” Slick replies, “Double team?” “Well what do call that?!?” wonders Monsoon. “The King is just standing there, he ain’t botherin’ anybody.” answers Slick. Conversations to this effect took place the entire match. Piper fights both guys off but falls prey to a Race powerslam for 2. Savage, the illegal man, goes up top, but accidentally whacks The King with a double ax-handle. Piper rolls on top of Race and gets the duke ala the previous match. Now, it’s Piper vs. Savage! Two of my favorite wrestlers/personalities of the 1980s are about ready to collide! Piper starts with a bulldog and Savage begs off. Savage wants a handshake so Piper bites his hand. Classic! Savage spits at Piper! Now, it’s ON! Well, Savage leaves and Piper is after him but Macho Man catches Roddy coming back in. Savage with a clothesline for 2. Macho follows up with an elbow to the throat for another 2. Savage starts choking Piper in desperation. However, The Rowdy Scot reverses with a neck hang and starts unloading on the champ. Double shoulderblock and both guys are down and Savage is onto the arena floor. Piper starts playing possum. Savage has no clue! He goes up to the top rope but MISSES the flying elbow! Piper rolls up Savage for the decisive 1-2-3!!!!! Sole Survivor: ROWDY RODDY PIPER! Well, after that emotional roller coaster for the crowd at MSG, it’s no wonder Vince went along with The Survivor Series as an annual event! Roddy Piper wouldn’t return to MSG for over two years.
- Interview w/ Rowdy Roddy Piper from Saturday Night’s Main Event --- Mene Gene Okerlund lets us know that by the time the next SNME airs, Rowdy Roddy Piper will no longer be with the WWF and will retire at the peak of his career. Piper comes in and cuts a fairly emotional promo. He says he’s not pushing up daisies yet. He goes on to say that he’s proud of the sport and that he always gave 110% in the ring and will give 110% in Hollywood as well. Okerlund says that everyone’s proud of him. Well, at least Piper had the decency to retire and say he’s going to Hollywood, whereas The Rock kept jerking the fans over by leaving for 8 months and coming back for two and so on and so forth. It’s better for someone to come out of “retirement” than to say WWE will always be #1 in your heart only to run off to play 2nd banana to Stiffler. Just my two cents.
- Music Video Tribute to Rowdy Roddy Piper --- The video is done to the orchestra music played during the closing credits of 1985-1987 Coliseum Videos. All the clips are in slow motion and there are way too many for me to list, but it’s very good. Of course, the pineapple shot is on there. This would be great for a Rowdy Roddy Piper comp tape.
- Karate Kid and Pepe Gomez vs. Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook --- Monsoon and Hayes doing the call for this one. Gomez must be like 50 years old here. I’d swear I saw him on another CV in the “Archives” segment. Maybe he’s from the same gene pool as The Fabulous Moolah. Alright, here’s the deal: I’m into MANY aspects of 1980s wrestling and have yet to outgrow a lot of the elements. However, midget wrestling isn’t one of them. Now, the first couple of midget matches I saw were cool to me, but there are midget matches on almost every Best of WWF video released. Needless to say, I’m sick of them. They’re all the same and I’m sure they’re always neat to see live, but I REALLY don’t want to review this. Plus, the midget moves they do are almost impossible to recap into words. Gil Roman is the referee as he always is during these matches since he’s only approx. 5’4” himself. Finish comes when Gomez escapes a full nelson by Tokyo allowing Littlebrook to accidentally cross body his partner. Gomez and The Karate Kid jump on the pile and the ref counts to 3. If you’ve never seen a midget match before, this would be a good one to check out, but after one or two midget matches, everything becomes clichéd.
- Hillbilly Jim vs. The Magnificent Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji --- Alright all you workrate freaks, STOP reading right now! However, if you’re into the gimmicky antics of the 1980s, grab some popcorn and your reading glasses. Muraco is wearing a kilt to mock Roddy Piper. When his back is turned, Jimbo lifts it up and pinches The Magnificent Ass and then proceeds to prance around the ring a bit. It’s actually a pretty funny visual. Monsoon and Hayes once again yakking it up at the table of words and wisdom. Jimbo goes on to knock Fuji Vice’s hat off his head and send Muraco flying out of the ring. The hillbilly puts the kilt on his head and Muraco is back in. The kilt is gone and everything has settled down. Slam by Jim into an armbar. The announcers sell that Muraco has put more wrestlers in the hospital in 1985 than anyone else. I didn’t know that wrestlers played cameos in Fuji General. Headlock by Jimmy. Headbutt sends Don out once again. Muraco’s back in and takes the advantage with some stomps. The Magnificent One slaps on a nervehold. Jim comes back with a big boot and applies his patented bearhug. Fuji Vice runs in, however, and nails Jim in the back with his cane causing a DQ. Fuji now rips up Jim’s bib overalls. Fuji continues to hit Jim with the cane. Another ref comes in to break it up as Muraco starts bowing to the refs. Hillbilly Jim gets up and grabs the mic. He challenges Fuji to a Tuxedo Match for the next MSG show. This leads to our finale . . .
- Hillbilly Jim vs. Mr. Fuji in The Dreaded Tuxedo Match --- Well, if this isn’t worthy of capping off a “Best of WWF” video, I don’t know what is. I’ll let that be a mental exercise to you all to figure out if I’m being sarcastic or not. Monsoon and Bobby Heenan are on commentary. Fuji is wearing his customary black penguin suit, while Jimbo is wearing a white tuxedo. Classy look I suppose. Jim starts by stomping on Fuji’s hat. They rip each other’s clothes off for a couple minutes until Fuji is stripped down to his heart-shaped boxer shorts. Jim still had his pants on. Yay!
- Closing credits roll and a previews of The Best of the WWF Volume 12, Even More Unusual Matches, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts are shown.
- Final Thoughts --- Some say this may be the best 1980s Coliseum Video. The 6-Man Elimination Match and The Rowdy Roddy Piper retirement coverage can make it an arguable point. The Jungle Fight is also inoffensive for the short amount of time it took. However, the first match was pretty boring, IMHO. Other than that, this was a pretty good video. I can’t argue whether or not this IS the best 1980s Coliseum Video, but my favorite still remains Rowdy Roddy Piper’s Greatest Hits. Still, this video is not bad, and I’d say it’s one of the top 8 videos from “The Best of WWF” series. I also liked 1,3,7,13,15,18, and 19. To each his own.