July 3, 2010
The Best of the WWF Volume 13
It’s back to the Best of the WWF series now with Volume 13. There looks to be some potential here with a Savage/Santana match as well as Bret Hart vs. Ray Rougeau, both of which I would expect to be good. Besides that we’re going to see the transformation of The Islanders from babyfaces to heels, two Fabulous Moolah matches (boo!) and the beginning of the longest IC Title reign ever. So let’s see how lucky Volume 13 is.
Hulk Hogan & Koko B. Ware (w/Jake “The Snake” Roberts) vs. Kamala & The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Mr. Fuji, Kimchee, & Jimmy Hart) (June 2, 1987, Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY)
The Setup: TV taping dark match, possibly made by drawing names from a hat.
The Action: I think I saw more than enough of Kamala on the previous volume, but here he is again. Hogan and Koko clear the ring right off the bat and mostly dominate the match early on. They have Jake Roberts in their corner due to his feuding with the Honky Tonk Man at this point and he uses Damian to intimidate both him and Kamala. It’s not great action, but it’s incredibly heated. Even when the heels take over and trap Koko in the corner you have an extended period where Kamala is doing nothing but laying on him and the fans are still going nuts. Eventually Koko escapes and makes the hot tag to Hogan, who runs wild and beats up both opponents and all the managers by himself. He slams Kamala and then hits the big legdrop for the 3 count at 14:37 (roughly, because I never heard an opening bell).
The Verdict: This was a very fun little put the faces over to send the fans home happy deal. The fact that the fans were really into it helps a lot because as noted it did drag a bit during the heat with Kamala trying to do as little as possible. But besides that, this was some good stuff. **
Intercontinental Championship Match: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. The Honky Tonk Man (w/Jimmy Hart)
The Setup: Honky gets a shot at the Title on Superstars based, according to Jesse Ventura, on his big win over Jake Roberts at Wrestlemania III. Vince questions the legitimacy of that win and claims Honky doesn’t deserve the shot.
The Action: This is a TV match from Superstars so it’s kept short, but the action is always going. Steamboat controls most of it, bumping Honky around to the delight of the crowd. Honky gets a brief period of control where he goes after the throat, but Steamboat then ends up avoiding the Shake Rattle & Roll and hitting a top rope chop. He covers but Jimmy Hart has the ref. Steamboat goes for him and then avoids Honky coming from behind. He goes for a cradle, but Honky holds on to the ropes and falls on top for the 3 count and the IC Title at 3:53.
The Verdict: I’m sure we’ve all heard the story about Steamboat having what would likely have been a much longer run as champ cut short because he had the gall to ask for some time off for the birth of his son. Honky benefits from that by kicking off here what would go on to be the longest IC Title run in the history of the belt. The match, as noted, was short but very energetic, and of course also has the historical value of the Title change. *
Women’s Championship Match: The Fabulous Moolah vs. Debbie Combs (May 18, 1987, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
The Setup: They felt that they needed to feature the champion, so here she is.
The Action: Combs beats on Moolah early on with Moolah bailing a few times. Finally the Champ takes over and it kinda goes downhill from there. There’s a lot of hair pulling and use of a phantom foreign object. Even when she is doing wrestling stuff it doesn’t look that good. They end up brawling to the floor where Combs hits a pathetic looking atomic drop that sends Moolah to the post and then Combs beats the count back in for the cheap win at 8:51.
The Verdict: A pretty weak match here capped off with, appropriately enough, a weak finish. I don’t get the big deal about Moolah. This 28 years or whatever it was as champion crap means nothing to me, I just think she just wasn’t that good, or entertaining, and here’s a fine example to back me up. DUD
Women’s Championship Match: The Fabulous Moolah vs. Joyce Grable(December 16, 1974, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
The Setup: Before my time, so who knows? But maybe Moolah can show me something in her younger days.
The Action: And she didn’t show me anything. Moolah spends most of the match beating on Grable in boring fashion and then gets the pin when she shifts her weight on a slam attempt and falls on top at 4:41.
The Verdict: If this had gone much longer I may have dozed off. DUD
The in studio hosts for this tape are Craig DeGeorge, Bobby Heenan, and Johnny V, and they mention that this tape is scheduled for release around Halloween 1987. So we go back to Halloween 1985 and Rowdy Roddy Piper’s house as he prepares to deal with the neighborhood kids by wrapping bowling balls as candied apples and bricks as chocolate bars. They show up and he ends up stealing their candy, but they have the last laugh because you see, they knew he would steal it so they put chocolate covered red peppers in their bags. This was a very stupid premise that Piper managed to make entertaining by going as far over the top as you could with it.
Demolition vs. The Islanders (February 23, 1987, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
The Setup: Demolition had recently debuted and get a buildup match against the Islanders, who were still babyfaces at the time.
The Action: They start off with Demolition overpowering the Islanders, who then use speed to gain the advantage. Ax gets worked over for quite a bit, but then ends up catching Tama in the corner and he gets beaten on, including being repeatedly tossed to the floor. This match is from the buildup period to Wrestlemania III, so on commentary there’s a pretty interesting argument between Monsoon and Heenan over whether or not Andre the Giant is still friends with Monsoon. Eventually Haku gets the hot tag and beats on Smash. He connects with the thrust kick, but then tags Tama back in. Tama nails a crossbody off the top which draws Ax in to make the save at 2 and leads to a four way brawl. The ref puts Haku out, and that allows the Demos to hit the Decapitation for the 3 count at 9:14.
The Verdict: This was alright, but nothing special. *1/2
The Islanders (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Young Stallions (June 14, 1987, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
The Setup: To contrast the previous match, we now get post-heel turn Islanders. We know they’re heels now because we cut right into a shot of Tama yelling at the crowd to “shut up”.
The Action: The match itself is JIP with Roma getting beaten down. The Islanders use lots of choking and nerve holds to work him over. Powers gets drawn in several times which leads to cheating such as illegal switches and so on by the Islanders. Roma makes a few comebacks, but keeps getting cut off. Finally he avoids a sommersault splash by Haku and makes the hot tag. Powers is the house afire, mainly hitting dropkicks, but then he sells like his back went out while trying a backdrop on Tama. This leads to a backbreaker/top rope splash by the Islanders and that gets the pin at 9:21 (shown).
The Verdict: I can pretty much say about this one what I said about the last one; alright, but nothing special. *1/2
Bret Hart vs. Raymond Rougeau (October 20, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
The Setup: This entire MSG card featured tag team wrestlers facing each other in singles matches, which then built up to a tag team battle royal main event.
The Action: Rougeau starts off by stealing the shades and stomping them, which has Bret bailing to protest (“Those were Ray-Bans!”). He gets back in and it doesn’t go well for him as he keeps being a step behind and getting beaten to the punch. Finally he hides in the corner and then lures Rougeau in for a shot to take over. Bret beats on him for a bit with Rougeau then coming back and hitting a piledriver for 2. Rougeau tries to follow up, but Bret scoops the legs in the corner and puts his feet on the ropes to get the 3 count at 8:34.
The Verdict: Very disappointing as I was expecting it to be one of the better matches of the tape. Instead we got a lot of Bret stalling and using cheap heel tactics. *
Intercontinental Championship Match: Macho Man Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Tito Santana (December 10, 1986, Community Center, Tucson, AZ)
The Setup: TV taping dark match, ten months following Savage winning the Title from Santana.
The Action: Craig DeGeorge is doing solo commentary for this one and he pretty much sucks at it. Savage does his usual bailing and stalling early on. Tito finally chases and gets some shots in, but then Savage sends him to the turnbuckle to take over. Savage connects with the double ax in the ring for 2, and then hits another one to the floor. Tito comes back and goes for the figure four, but can’t get it. Savage bails again with Tito chasing, but Savage hides behind Elizabeth. He then goes around her, nails Tito, and gets back into beat the count at 7:29.
The Verdict: Well, again this was disappointing as these guys were working like it was time to get the match over with and go home. Kind of sad to see really from a matchup with so much potential. *1/4
Overall Thoughts: Well, at least it was better than the atrocious Volume 12, but this one was still pretty weak. Best match is the opening tag, and then it kind of falls off from there to the point where the end is just sad because there’s stuff that could be good but ends up not being so. Thumbs Down for Best of the WWF Volume 13.