October 23, 2009
The Best of the WWF Volume 5
I believe weíre into early 1986 now as far as a release date goes since most of our matches here are from the latter part of 1985. So what do we have to look forward to? Well, thereís a lot of tag matches, four of them to be exact, with Hart Foundation/Killer Bees and British Bulldogs/Dream Team leading the way in potential, although they are both TV matches so Iím a little wary. Also I see a burial piece featuring two high profile losses of someone who had been one of the companyís biggest stars over the last year and a half or so, as well as a rare post 84 in ring appearance for Jesse Ventura as he challenges Chico Santana for the Intercontinental Title. So letís see what this tape produces.
Magnificent Muraco (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Ricky ďThe DragonĒ Steamboat (November 25, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
This is stemming from the hanging angle that took place on Championship Wrestling as Steamboat was hung over the ropes with the belt from his own gi, and is therefore out for revenge. Muraco backs off at the beginning while Steamboat is anxious to get a piece f him. He sends Muraco off and hits him with an ensiguiri to send him to the floor. Steamboat quickly follows, but Muraco runs away some more. They lockup again and Muraco catches him with a cheapshot and drops a knee. Steamboat fires back and gets a snapmare followed by a jumping necksnap leading to Muraco bailing for more stalling. Back in, Steamboat maintains control, knocking Muraco outside again. This match is dragging badly so far as this is all the action at like the 8:00 mark. Back in, Muracoís corner whip is reversed and Steamboat hits a backdrop followed by three armdrags. He goes to a front facelock and then they clip ahead to Muraco using an atomic drop to escape. He flows with two clotheslines and then does a version of Snake Eyes where he drops Steamboat on the post instead of the buckle. This busts Steamboat open, so Muraco goes to work on the cut and tosses him outside. Muraco follows and sends Steamboat to the post multiple times. Muraco works him over some more in the ring, and then tosses him again. Fuji tries to sneak in a cane shot, but Steamboat gets it away and gets in the ring with it. He and Muraco fight over it and the ref gets bumped in the process. Muraco misses a few shots with it, and then Steamboat hits an ensiguiri and gets it away. He nails Muraco with it, but by now the ref has recovered and disqualifies Steamboat as a result at 15:25 (shown). Of course now Steamboat is pissed off even more, so he breaks the cane over Muracoís head and then jabs him with the broken pieces until heís bleeding as well. The brawl continues for a while with Steamboat dominating until Muraco has finally had enough and leaves. The match started pretty slowly with all the stalling tactics, but once they got going it was pretty good and it had a good hot ending that left you wanting more. Thumbs Up.
The Hart Foundation (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Killer Bees (September 10, 1985, Brantford Civic Centre, Brantford, ON)
These two teams would go on to wrestle each other many times over the next two to three years with generally good results, but this is a TV match from Maple Leaf Wrestling and itís not likely theyíll get much time to show what they can do. Blair and Bret start off. Bret gets him with a knee, but his whip is reversed and Blair hits a powerslam. This draws Neidhart in and he takes a slam, followed by Blair atomic dropping Bret into Neidhart. Tag to Brunzell, who gets a sunset flip on Bret for 2. Bret gets sent off the ropes, but nails an elbow and makes the tag. Neidhart gets Brunzell in a bearhug, which is soon broken and the tag is made to Blair. Blairís whip is reversed and Bret knees him from the apron as he hits the ropes. Tag to Bret, who works Blair over with a backbreaker and legdrop. He then ties Blair in the ropes, but Blair gets free in time to avoid the charge. Tag to Brunzell, who takes out both Harts and covers Bret for 2. He then gets Bret with the dropkick, but Neidhart makes the save at 2. All four guys end up in now and that leads to the ref calling for the weak double disqualification at 4:32. The brawl continues after the match with the Bees eventually clearing the Harts out of the ring. It was fine while it lasted, which obviously wasnít long, but these teams must have had dozens of better matches. Thumbs in the middle.
The Hart Foundation & Barry O (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Killer Bees & Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff (October 1, 1985, Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY)
And so a month later on Championship Wrestling, they have a rematch, albeit with each side adding a partner to make it a six man. Give the edge in the recruiting department to the Bees here if nothing else. Weíre joined in progress with Jim Brunzell caught in the heel corner and taking a backbreaker from Bret. He tags Barry O, but Brunzell quickly escapes from him and makes the tag to Orndorff. Orndorff beats on O for a bit, makes the tag back to Brunzell, hoists O up for the dropkick, which hits, and Brunzell covers for the 3 count at 1:34 (shown). What was the point of including this? Thumbs Down.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The Dream Team (w/Johnny Valiant) vs. The British Bulldogs (September 9, 1985, Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY)
This is very early in the feud that would eventually culminate in the Bulldogs winning the Titles at Wrestlemania 2, and in fact this may be where it all began. Dynamite and Valentine start with Dynamite hitting a shoulderblock and shoving him into Beefcake. Both teams tag and Davey goes to a wristlock on Beefcake, who tries to slam his way out, but Davey holds on. Tag to Dynamite who drops a double ax off the top on the way in, and then he tags right back out to Davey who also comes in off the top. Beefcake rakes the eyes and sets Davey up for a backdrop, but Davey lands on his feet and nails a dropkick. Valentine takes one too and then Davey slams Beefcake for 2. Beefacke manages a tag and the Dream Team hits a double elbow for 2. Valentine misses dropping an elbow though and the tag is made to Dynamite. He gets the champs with a double noggin knocker and then hits Valentine with a clothesline. Backbreaker for 2 follows and then he drops a headbutt, but Beefcake saves on the cover. Everyone is in now. Kid takes Valentine down and goes up top, but Johnny Valiant hooks the leg and pulls him down to draw the DQ at 4:20. And so the chase begins. Thumbs Up for some good action in a short time span.
Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji appear on TNT for the premiere of Fuji General, one in a series of skits where they were shown to be trying to break into acting. In this case itís a parody of a soap opera, specifically General Hospital where Muraco plays a doctor having an affair with a nurse while Fuji plays the Chief of Staff who fires her upon finding out about it. The gag of course is that they have no acting ability whatsoever (and are oblivious to that fact), but itís done in such an over the top way where clearly no one is taking anything seriously that I canít help but be entertained by it. Thumbs Up.
Womenís Championship Match: Wendi Richter (w/Cyndi Lauper) vs. Leilani Kai (w/Fabulous Moolah) (February 18, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Here on the tape, the match is clipped, but since I covered the full version in my review of The War to Settle the Score, Iíll just cut and paste that one. Itís getting the same score either way.
Richter goes after Moolah to start but gets double teamed by the heels while Lauper is reluctant to get involved physically. Kai chokes her down, and then chokes her with her own coat. Richter fights back with a forearm, but gets kicked and taken down again with a snapmare. Kai with more choking, but Richter is able to come back by sweeping the leg out, then nailing a slam and legdrop for 2. Kai takes over again, hitting a bodyblock off an Irish whip, but Richter no-sells it and takes Kai down, and then hits a splash for 1. Suplex also gets 1, and then Kai is able to get a double leg takedown and roll it over to a Boson crab. Richter powers up and flips to a pinning position for 2, but then Kai rolls through and gets her own 2 count. Into the corner where Richter drives the shoulder in a couple of times, but misses the third try so Kai nails a double underhook suplex for 2. Snapmare, but she misses a legdrop and Richter gets up to nail some kicks, but then Kai comes back with some forearms. Iím starting to get frustrated with this crap. These girls are just out there randomly hitting moves on each other, most of which are performed in pretty sloppy fashion. Thereís no story being told, the action is not flowing well from move to move, as itís just ďIíll hit a move, now itís your turn so you hit oneĒ, and no one is keeping control or doing anything to get the fans invested. Thereís just nothing here to sink my teeth into and itís boring as hell. Moolah must have had no sense of ring psychology whatsoever to pass on to these girls, because this seems to be an issue in just about any match involving her students working together. Anyways, Kai gets sent outside, where Moolah helps her up. She gets suplexed back in by Richter for 2, then faceplanted and hooked into a badly executed surfboard. Gorilla even points out that Richterís shoulders are down the whole time and that the ref should be counting, but he lets it go. Richter eventually lets go of this and moves on to a stepover toe hold, lifting up Kai by the arms and letting her drop several times. Next is an armbar. Remember what I said about lack of psychology? Weíve now seen her do three moves in a row which affect the back, leg, and arm respectively. Pick one and focus damnit, or youíll never see a single star from me. Irish whip, but now she misses a dropkick. Kai stomps her and hooks a front facelock. Richter gets her foot on the ropes, but Moolah knocks it off. Richter gets out and catches a boot from Kai and trips her down for 1. Two kneelifts get a two count as does a bodypress. Big boot is another near fall as Kai just makes the ropes. Slam gets 2, and now Moolah makes her way around and attacks Lauper. Richter comes over to try and help, but gets nailed by Moolah which allows Kai to roll her up for 3 and win the Womenís Title at 11:49. To be fair I do notice a bit of psychology connecting this match to the Wrestlemania rematch. Here, Lauper doesnít get involved, allowing Moolah to do what she needs to do to get her woman the title, and in fact the distraction caused by Lauper getting attacked costs Richter the title. At Mania, Lauper learns from this, takes care of Moolah physically, and thus Richter is able to regain the belt. Thatís more of a booking thing though, so the girls donít get that much credit for it. As far as the match goes, itís not quite as bad as Wrestlemania, which I rated at -*, but I still donít feel that they deserve to get out of the negative ratings. -1/2* Thumbs down.
Womenís Championship Match: Wendi Richter vs. The Spider (November 25, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Richter would go on to regain the Title from Kai at Wrestlemania, and all was right with the world. She would defend it for the next eight months before coming here to the Garden tonight and becoming the victim of what became known as ĎThe Original ScrewjobĒ. There seems to be no definitive answer on what motivated this as Iíve heard stories ranging from Richter being given a contract to sign and just wanting to have a lawyer look it over before doing so, all the way to Richer having the stardom go to her head to the point of becoming impossible to work with and demanding the same kind of money Hogan was making. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle as usual, but regardless of what actually happened, on this night Vince showed everyone that he could make them and break them as Richter never again appeared in a WWF ring and was pretty much done as any kind of a star when it was over. On to the match now, which is joined in progress with Richter hitting a dropkick and hiptoss. She botches a flying headscissors, failing to get the elevation necessary to hook it and just falling to the mat. Spider jumps on her and gets a 2 count. She then rams Richter to the buckle and chokes her on the ropes for 1. Richter fires back and hits a clothesline for 2. Spider gets her with a small package, and even though Richter kicks out at 1, the ref counts 3 and itís over at 2:03 (shown). No one seems to have a clue whatís going on at this point, least of all Richter, who grabs Spider and rips the mask off the reveal Fabulous Moolah. She then gets a bodyslam which Moolah was clearly not cooperating with and covers her, but thereís no count because the match is over. She steals the belt back from Moolah and whips her with it until Moolah finally gives up and retreats. The ďactionĒ we saw is certainly worthy of a Thumbs Down, but this is still a good historical curiosity segment.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Tito Santana vs. Jesse ďThe BodyĒ Ventura (September 22, 1985, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON)
And now itís on to Jesse Ventura making one of his few in ring appearances after a blood clot ended his full time career a year earlier. We get the introductions, but then skip past what was no doubt an extended session of stalling by Jesse. They lockup and Tito back him to the corner for the break, but now Jesse goes off on Tito having a fist clenched during the break. They got through a couple more clean breaks without incident. Jesse hooks a wristlock, which Tito reverses, but Jesse makes the ropes. Back to the wristlock, which Tito breaks. Tito gets sent off the ropes, but hits a shoulderblock and clothesline. He hooks a side headlock. (clip) Weíre still in the hold, but soon enough Tito gets sent off and hits another shoulderblock, but coming off again he runs into a knee. Now Jesse finally has control and goes to work. He tosses Tito outside, stomps him from the apron and then rams his back to the apron. In the ring, Tito fires back, but Jesse gets him with a thumb to the eye. Backbreaker gets a 2 count, as does an atomic drop, and then Jesse hooks a bearhug. Titoís arm drops twice, but he fights back and breaks the hold. Jesse begs off, but Titoís having none of that, so he faceplants Jesse and works him over. Figure four is hooked, but Jesse quickly makes the ropes and escapes to the outside. Tito follows and they brawl on the ramp, with Tito even going for the figure four out there. Jesse kicks him off though and he goes flying into the ring just as the bell rings at 9:58 (shown). Iím thinking cheap countout win for Tito, but itís actually a double countout. Jesse comes back in after the match and the brawl continues, but Tito knocks him back and Jesse goes back to the dressing room. This was actually pretty good as presented here so Thumbs Up.
The Wild Samoans & Big John Studd vs. Andre The Giant, Chief Jay Strongbow, Rocky Johnson, & Ivan Putski
And we close the tape off with a big eight man tag which is also three out of five falls if you can believe that. First Fall: Rocky and Samula start things off. Rocky has little trouble taking care of him as he hits a backdrop, dropkick, and armdrag. Tag to Afa, who also gets booted by Rocky. He tags Studd, which makes Andre ask for the tag as well, but Studd immediately tags back out to Sika. Andre gets them with a double noggin knocker then hits a headbutt and chops on Sika. Tag to Strongbow, who hooks a sleeper and that draws everyone into the ring. For this, the ref arbitrarily disqualifies the heel team at 4:22 to put Andreís team up 1-0. Second Fall: Samula beats Strongbow down with Studd adding some choking from the apron. Tag to Sika who headbutts Strongbow down, then drops another one and that gets the 3 count at 6:22 to even the match at 1-1. Third fall: Sika continues beating on Strongbow but gets sent to the ropes where he runs into a boot from Andre on the apron. Strongbow covers and gets 3 at 7:42 to go up 2-1. Fourth fall: Strongbow finally escapes and makes the tag to Putski who comes in and beats up the entire heel team by himself. Sika finally catches him in the corner and tags Afa. They get a double chop and Afa follows with a headbutt. Tag to Samula and they hit a double headbutt, but that knocks Putski back into Andre who takes the tag. Andre beats up all the Samoans until Studd grabs him from behind, but Strongbow quickly breaks that up. Meanwhile, Samula comes off the top at Andre, but Andre gets the boot up to put him down and then drops a sitdown splash for the 3 count to win the match at 11:39. That was pretty rushed and wasnít really any good at all. Thumbs Down.
This was an alright tape overall. Highlights are Bulldogs/Dream Team, Jesse/Tito, and Muraco Steamboat all of which were good even though Bulldogs/Dream Team was short, while Fuji General is a great little segment in a guilty pleasure sort of way. The double dose of Harts/Bees sounds good on paper, but wasnít really worth anything. The Richter stuff drags things down as does the closing eight man, so I think I have to call it another Thumbs in the Middle for Best of the WWF Volume 5.