December 5, 2009
The Best of the WWF Volume 6
Getting back now to this series with Volume 6. The scoring system Iíve used is pretty much a failure so with this tape featuring all complete matches except for one; Iíll just go with star ratings for it.
Leaping Lanny Poffo vs. Terry Funk (July 13, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Funk had a memorable debut on TV not long before this where he beat up ring attendant Mel Phillips after Phillips put Funkís hat on because his arms were so full of the rest of the gear. Phillips is also the ring attendant here in the Garden tonight, so they play off that debut by having Funk scare him away rather then let him carry the gear to the back. Poffo is also pretty new to the WWF at this point, brought in mainly as a favour to the guy they really wanted, his brother Randy Savage. They do a couple of clean breaks before Funk cheap shots him on the third try and starts pounding on him. This continues until a corner whip is reversed with Funk hitting and getting all caught up in the ropes. Next we have a test of strength, but Funk just boots him. He goes to a wristlock, but Poffo uses a backflip to escape and counter to an armbar. He may not have gotten a push or anything, but Poffo was really something different during this period as he pulled out flashy gymnastics moves that werenít seen much in the WWF prior to his arrival. Funk ends up pulling him over the top to the floor and stomps him from the apron. Back in, Funk takes an atomic drop and launches into a bout of goofy selling before bailing to the floor. He gets in and they start trading with Funk gaining control. He goes for the spinning toehold, but Poffo kicks him off. More trading, but Funk maintains control. He hits a shoulderblock, but manages to fall to the apron in the process. From there he catches Poffo and suplexes him to the floor, although Poffo manages to take it in a safe way where he lands on his feet. Funk then suplexes him back in for 2, and hits a neckbreaker for another 2. Poffo comes back with a sunset flip for a 2 of his own. He then slams Funk, goes up and nails the moonsault, but Funk kicks out at 2. Funk wins a slugfest, but Poffo comes back with a rana for 2. Funk then sends him off the ropes and hooks a sleeper, and the arm drops three times so Funk wins at 13:05. That ended up pretty good as they got into a good hot groove by the end and the fans were really into it too. Good stuff. **1/2
WWF Championship Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) (December 30, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
This is, of course, from their first feud when Savage was an up and coming heel built up for a program with Hogan, and this is their first meeting in MSG. Savage starts with some posing and then they lockup with Hogan shoving him down and doing some posing of his own. Savage, still a full blown Memphis style heel at this point, bails to regroup. He comes in and takes a shoulderblock, then bails again. Hogan chases this time, but Savage holds Elizabeth in front of him to cut Hogan off in the hopes that he wonít hit a woman. Heís right on this night anyways and takes advantage to stall some more. Back in the ring, Hogan goes to a wristlock which Savage breaks by going to the eyes. He then gets a snapmare and drops a knee, but misses a rope straddle. Hogan whips him to the corner and nails a clothesline, then uses an atomic drop to put Savage on the floor. He holds Elizabeth in front of him again to buy more time. Back in, Savage gets a snapmare and goes up, but gets caught coming down and nails a backbreaker. Savage bails again, and hides behind Elizabeth again as Hogan continues to be unable to come up with tactics to counter that strategy, so why not keep going back to it? Savage jaws with some fans, and now Hogan is able to come from behind and get him in the ring. Savage nails him coming in, then goes up and drops the double ax for 2. He then tosses Hogan and drops another double ax to the floor. He gets Hogan in, works him over a bit more and covers for 2. Hogan starts Hulking Up, nailing a clothesline and a big boot to put Savage on the floor again. Elizabeth pleads for mercy, so Hogan picks her up and places her out of the way. He gets Savage in the ring, but puts his head down on an Irish whip and gets kicked. Savage goes up and drops the elbow, but Hogan kicks out at 2 and starts the big comeback again. The ref ends up getting bumped though which leads to Savage knocking Hogan to the floor. Savage then grabs the belt and drops a shot with it from the top. He gets in the ring and revives the ref, who counts Hogan out at 10:03 to give the win to Savage. Savage gets the belt and again and puts it on, parading around like heís the new champion because wrestlers of course donít know the rules of their own sport. But it lets The Fink get the big pop by announcing that although Savage is the winner, Hogan is still the champion. Savage beats up the ref upon hearing this and proceeds to leave with the belt anyways, but Hogan finally recovers, beats Savage up and reclaims the belt. The match wasnít great, as there was too much stalling by Savage, but the heat was incredible and I want to see the rematch right now so in terms of being a match that ends in a screwjob to build to future matches it succeeds. *** for the whole thing.
Next we get a segment with Jesse Ventura as a guest on TNT. First he gets asked about Corporal Kirchner and just laughs the guy off by saying that he himself was a Navy SEAL and therefore Kirchner is nobody compared to him. Vince then gets some questions from the audience. The first one is about his ďcostumesĒ, but Jesse quickly corrects the guy and says theyíre his clothes and not only that, but one set of his clothes is worth more then the guyís entire wardrobe. The next question is about Elizabeth with Jesse denying that thereís anything going on between them, although he does make sure to note that he goes through a lot of women. Hopefully his wife wasnít watching. The next guy claims to be a big fan of Jesse, and then proceeds to ask a long winded question that no one can figure out what heís actually asking, so Jesse just mocks the guy instead. Good segment as Jesse was a great talker and made the whole thing work.
The Haiti Kid vs. Butch Cassidy (December 30, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Well, we started out good, but now itís time for the midget match. They start out with Haiti chasing Cassidy around for a bit. Then they trade some holds and basic moves like armdrags and hiptosses. Haiti gets a backdrop, dropkick and rollup for 1. He then stands Cassidy on his head and spins him around like a top for 2. They then go into a comedy spot where Cassidy kicks out by throwing Haiti off and he lands in the arms of referee Gilberto Roman (who by the way is only maybe a couple of inches taller then Butch Cassidy) and Roman then tosses him back on top of Cassidy and he counts again. They repeat that like four times. Cassidy then wins a test of strength, but Haiti counters by stomping on his feet. He then gets a slingshot and drops an elbow for 2. Headbutt gets another 2. Now Cassidy wants to be friends and offers a handshake, but Haiti just bites him. Cassidy rams him to the buckle, but Haiti is black so that has no effect. Dropkick does have an effect however and gets 2. Haiti comes back with a backdrop for 2 and a faceplant for another 2. He hits a swinging neckbreaker, but Cassidy just no sells it, and then nails a dropkick and suplex for 2. Bodyslam gets another 2 and then he hits a shoulderbreaker. They go into a criss cross sequence until Haiti catches him in a airplane spin. He then follows with a shoulderblock and an inside cradle for the 3 count at 10:33. I donít really care for midget matches, but this certainly wasnít horrible or anything. *
Luscious Johnny Valiant (w/Lou Albano) vs. Ivan Putski (June 16, 1975, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
We go deep into the archives for this one. Putski, who looks way different then he did in the 80ís, goes after Albano, but that lets Valiant jump him and Albano escapes to the back. Valiant works him over with punches and stomps for a bit until Putski just starts no selling and explodes on to him. Valiant regroups and tries another attack, but Putski soon takes control. He works over Valiant, who begs off, but Putski shows no mercy. He gets a hiptoss and backdrop, and then nails the Polish Hammer and a vertical splash for the 3 count at 4:32. Not much action, but the crowd was really into Putski. DUD
Then we get another TNT segment, this time Advice to the Lovelorn with Lord Alfred Hayes. He explains the dating process in England to McMahon who gets progressively more annoyed at the lack of any juicy details. When Hayes says that the first kiss would come after five or six months of dating, McMahon just cuts him off and ends it. Unlike the Jesse Ventura segment, this was pretty terrible showing the hit or miss tendency of TNT.
Cowboy Bob Orton vs. Ricky ďThe DragonĒ Steamboat (July 20, 1985, Capital Center, Landover, MD)
So I watched this entire match, took my notes and everything like I did for all the others, but then when the finish came I thought to myself that I swear Iíve done this match before. I couldnít remember where, so I started looking through my past reviews to see if I could find it. It got to the point where all that was left was the previous Best of the WWF entries I covered, so then I wondered if it was possible that it had been on one of those. Sure enough I looked, and there it was. This exact match was previously included on Volume 3. Someone must have been asleep at the switch here for this to slip through because I canít believe that they would intentionally do something like that. Itís pretty mind boggling that with probably hundreds of matches on tape from 1985 that they not only managed to pick one they had already used, but in the entire production process, no one noticed it either. Anyways, hereís a cut and paste of the match from my review of Volume 3 as I believe they even join it in progress at the same point on this tape.
They clip us right off the bat to Orton getting sent off the ropes but hitting a shoulderblock. Steamboat comes back with an armdrag and goes to work on the ďinjuredĒ arm. Clip to Steamboat now holding a hammerlock which Orton briefly escapes before getting armdragged again and put back in a hold. Orton slams out, but Steamboat then gets his own slam and is back to the armbar. Clip to Orton using a headbutt to escape. He then gets a hiptoss and flying headscissors, but misses a charge and goes out to the floor. Orton grabs a drink from someone in the crowd and tosses it in Steamboatís face, which Steamboat sells huge like heís been blinded or something. Now Orton is finally able to sustain some offence, working over Steamboatís neck. He tries a shot with the cast, but Steamboat avoids it. He canít slam Orton though, so Orton falls on top for 2. Orton sets up a piledriver, but Steamboat backdrops out of it. He goes up, but a flying bodypress only gets 2. Whip and elbow get another 2 and then we clip to Orton tossing Steamboat, but Steamboat skins the cat and dropkicks Orton to the floor. As Orton tries to get in, Steamboat looks to take a shot, but the ref holds him back and that lets Orton take advantage and nail Steamboat. Orton tries a suplex to the floor, but Steamboat reverses and gets him back in. A splash hits the knees though so Orton now adjusts the cast in preparation for using it. He goes up and nails Steamboat with it off the top, but it happens right in front of the ref and so the DQ is called at 11:47 (shown). They have a post match brawl, but Steamboat clears him out of the ring. That was a horribly disappointing finish to what was otherwise a pretty good match. **
Ok, so that wasnít a bad little tape. Thereís only five matches, but thatís the trade off you make when you include complete matches as opposed to clips. So you donít really get the variety of stuff seen on previous tapes, but personally Iím alright with that. Of course the inclusion of a match we already saw three volumes ago is inexcusable and even though itís an alright match, I have to hold that against the tape. Hogan vs. Savage is the clear highlight here, and like I said it made me want to find the rematches right away so I think itís worth seeking out, but nothing else here is that worthwhile. Overall, Best of the WWF Volume 6 manages yet another Thumbs in the Middle as thereís just not enough good to go over the top, but not enough bad to drop it down either.