March 5, 2011
The Best of the WWF Volume 19
Released in 1989, we have here the penultimate entry in the series, and it actually looks pretty decent on paper. I’m especially looking forward to Bret/Dibiase, which was featured on Bret’s DVD release, and this Street Fight with Randy Savage and Bad News Brown should be interesting as well. Our theme for the tape is Sean Mooney taking us on a tour of Titan Towers, but finding out along the way that nobody there likes him. The first bit sees him have trouble getting in the building because the security guard has no idea who he is, so he throws to the opening match while it gets sorted out.
Mr. Perfect vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
We’re at Madison Square Garden for this one, which starts out with Beefcake showing a power advantage and out wrestling Perfect. Perfect gains control with a knee during a test if strength and works him over for a bit. Beefacke then makes the big comeback with an atomic drop, backdrop, and high knee, but Outlaw Ron Bass, fresh off his haircut on SNME, comes out and they brawl at ringside until Beefacke is counted out at 8:38. A lame finish to a match that had very little going for it to begin with. ½*
Mooney visits the tape library next where he looks for help in finding a match he wants included on the show here, but the guy just sandwiches him between the racks of tapes instead before throwing to the match himself.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match: Demolition vs. The Powers of Pain (w/Mr. Fuji)
This one is a dark match from The Main Event II taping, and starts out with a brief four way brawl before settling down with Warlord and Smash in. Demolition takes it to them until Ax takes a shot with the cane for the heat. The POP get in some of the classic tag heat spots like the manager interference and the illegal switch, but then out of nowhere, Ax just drops a forearm on Warlord and casually makes the tag to Smash. Smash beats up both POP, catching Warlord with a stungun for 2. It breaks down into a four way with Ax getting the cane and beating up both guys with it while the ref does his best to try and find a reason to have his back turned the whole time. He clearly fails at that at least a couple of times, but does nothing until Fuji comes in and throws the salt and now Demolition wins by DQ at 8:18. What a cluster that ending was. The match itself wasn’t much of anything either, so with a deduction for the finish, it’ll be a DUD.
Mooney then pays a visit to Jesse Ventura’s office for a scheduled interview, but Jesse blows him off via his assistant. That does lead us to our next match, however.
Jesse “The Body” Ventura vs. Tony Garea
We’re back again to Madison Square Garden, but this is from 1985. Most of Jesse’s stall session is clipped out, but we do get an extended bit of arguing over the legality of the closed fist punches to the kidneys that he’s using to set up the ironic twist of Garea using one and Jesse changing his tune on the subject. It finally settles into a match with Garea working the arm, but missing a charge and getting hung up in the ropes. Jesse beats him down for a bit with Garea then coming back and getting a few nearfalls, but Jesse then runs him to the buckle and drops an elbow for the 3 count at 10:35 (shown). And that was a pretty long 10:35, even with the stalling cut out, although Garea showed some good fire when he was on offence. ½*
The next stop for Mooney is the editing room where Kevin Dunn, who by the way is still in charge of production for WWE to this day, gives him hell for interrupting them and screwing with the equipment.
WWF Championship, Harlem Street Fight Match: Macho Man Randy Savage (w/Miss Elizabeth) vs. Bad News Brown
It’s on to the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton for a hardcore match in an period where that sort of thing was not very common. Bad News beats him up on the floor to start and works him over with a chair, with Savage then coming back and whipping him with his workout belt. They go to the floor again where Bad News tosses him over the barrier. He then drags the timekeepers table into the ring and sets it up in the corner, which would have been something new in 1989. He tries whipping Savage into it, but Savage reverses and a collision with the referee put both he and News into the table, breaking it in possibly the first spot of that king in the WWF, or at least the first caught on video. The ref is down, so when News hits the Ghettoblaster and covers, there’s no count. He drags the ref up and covers again, but the ref still isn’t fully there. He tries a third time, but now Savage gets him with a backslide just as a new ref runs in and he counts 3 at 6:48. The brawl continues afterwards with News killing both referees as well until finally a slew of wrestlers come out and break it up. Like I said, this was definitely something different for the time period, and while ten years later it wouldn’t stand out at all, at this time it was pretty cool. *1/2
Back to Mooney in the control room as he’s made to look like a fool again. The skits have run their course by this point.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts & Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Andre The Giant & Ravishing Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan)
Here we have a dark match from a Challenge taping. The faces control at first with one interesting bit being Andre getting tied in the ropes and they then run Rude into him like a battering ram a couple of times. Duggan ends up caught in the corner and beaten down, but following a collision with Rude he dives and makes the tag to Jake, who’s in with the short clothesline, but Andre breaks up the DDT. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening as the ref puts Andre out, but Duggan then comes in with the 2X4 and nails him. Jake covers and that gets the 3 count at 9:55. This was actually a pretty fun little match as things are picking up a bit here in the second half of the tape. *3/4
Mooney pays a visit to the audio guy, but sure enough runs afoul of him as well.
Then we get to the greatness: The Million Dollar Belt vignettes. Week one has Ted Dibiase hit the mean street of Greenwich, CT and pay a visit to Betteridge Jewelers whom he commissions to make him a custom championship belt regardless of the cost. By the way, a quick search shows that this place is still in business, still run by the same guy we met here, and was recently in the news for having been robbed by masked men wielding sledge hammers. I wonder if HHH has an alibi for that day? Anyway, in week two, Dibiase returns for a progress report only to find that the work so far is not up to his expectations and he demands that they do better. The third week sees him wearing a cape, which he spreads open while exclaiming “I’m Here!” as he walks through the door. He then laughs maniacally in approval as they show him the finished product. Following that we get The Brother Love Show where he reveals the belt to the world and crowns himself The Million Dollar Champion. I can’t even put in to words how great Dibiase’s performance was in these skits. You must see this for yourself if you haven’t before.
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Ted Dibiase (w/Virgil)
And we follow up with a match featuring Dibiase, and a really good one at that. Bret goes right at him with a Russian legsweep for 2, an atomic drop and a crossbody for another 2 causing Dibiase to bail. They go again, and Bret still maintains the advantage until missing a lunge at him in the ropes and tumbling to the floor. Now Dibiase works him over, getting a few 2 counts of his own with a back suplex and a backbreaker. Bret gets a quick small package, but Dibiase tosses him to regain control and slow it down again. They hit each other with a double clothesline, with Dibiase recovering first and going up top, but Bret was playing possum and he slams Dibiase off. Dibiase begs off, but Bret stays on him until missing a charge to the corner and hitting his knee, which Dibiase then goes to work on. Bret kicks off a spinning toe hold and sends Dibiase to the floor, then follows up with a pescado and unfortunately they brawl to a double countout at 16:01. Weak ending aside, this was great, and probably one of the top matches in the entire series. ***1/2
One last visit with Mooney has the guy in charge lock him in a closet so they can get back to work uninterrupted.
Overall Thoughts: Well, it didn’t really start out all that great, but in the second half it took off, highlighted by the Million Dollar Belt bits and the following match. That stuff is good enough in my opinion to cancel out a mediocre first half and make it a good Thumbs Up for Bets of the WWF Volume 19.