January 2, 2010
The Best of the WWF Volume 7
The next entry in this series looks good on paper as we get the continuation of the Hogan/Savage feud that was started on the previous tape, the Ken Patera/Tony Atlas match from Shea Stadium that I remember really liking, and a combination that rarely fails to light the world on fire in Hart Foundation/British Bulldogs. If all that delivers like I expect it to, and the rest of the tape is at least reasonably decent, it should be a good one.
Terry Funk (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Pedro Morales (January 11, 1986, Boston Garden, Boston, MA)
They lockup and Funk slaps him on the break before backing off. So the next lockup sees Morales smack him several times which sends Funk into his goofy overselling mode right off the bat. He gets back in the ring and immediately tosses Morales out onto the floor. He then kills time by challenging fans in the crowd and having Jimmy Hart hold him back. They both get back in the ring, and now Funk goes to work with punches. Lots of them. He finally knocks Morales onto the announce table and even takes a shot at Gorilla Monsoon. Monsoon promises a receipt if Funk gets close enough, but nothing ends up coming of it. Funk sends Morales to the post and then stomps him from the apron. He then rakes Moralesí eyes with a foreign object, which he throws at Monsoon, who kind of ruins the effect by pointing out that itís just a balled up piece of paper that someone in the crowd threw in. He then unwraps his wrist tape and starts choking Morales with it while the ref is distracted by Hart. Morales then manages to get the tape away for some choking of his own, while Hart now canít get the ref to turn around. To the floor now, where Funk knocks the steps over. Morales rams him to them and then Funk crawls inside them in an attempt to hide. Morales is having none of that though and he drags Funk out so he can ram him again. He then gets back in the ring and teases something big by climbing to the top rope while Funk remains on the floor, but ends up doing nothing. He does get Funk on the apron and rams him to the buckle which leads to Funk doing a faceplant on the floor. Back in, Morales works him over for a bit and then stops to chase Jimmy Hart around for a while. Funk uses that time to grab a chair, but the ref gets it out of the ring before anything happens with it. Morales retains control and pounds him down against the ropes. The ref gets him pulled back while Hart hands Funk the megaphone and when Morales shoves the ref out of the way and goes back to him, he gets nailed. Funk covers and gets the 3 count at 10:28. The finish was actually screwed up a bit as the ref turned around too early and clearly was looking right at the megaphone shot. Oh well. Funk had pretty much descended into the silliness that defined the later part of his career by this point and this was full of it from start to finish. Morales was pretty much done for here and really brought nothing to the table anymore so the result is somewhat entertaining thanks to Funk, but nothing Iíd like to see too much more of. Ĺ*
WWF Championship Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) (January 27, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Nice! On Volume 6, I commented on how the Hogan/Savage match there made me want to see the rematch, and so Iím excited to see that here we have that rematch. Savage jumps Hogan as soon as he enters the ring, even while heís still got the robe and sunglasses on. He goes up and drops a double ax, and then chokes away on Hogan with his own shirt. Savage then grabs the belt and starts beating Hogan with that as well. He nails Hogan with it off the top, and then once more for good measure. Liz gets on the apron for some reason and Savage orders her down, but this gives Hogan the chance to recover. He knocks Savage down, then puts Savageís shades on and mocks his mannerisms. Choking with the bandana follows and then an atomic drop. He tosses Savage to the floor and runs him to the post, busting him open in the process. Savage is tossed in and Hogan goes to work on the cut as the crowd is going nuts at this point. After a throat toss, Liz gets on the apron again, seemingly begging for mercy, but Hogan blows her a kiss. So the lust was in his eyes even as early as 86. Savage takes advantage of the distraction to toss Hogan to the floor. Now itís Hoganís turn to eat the post, and then Savage follows with the double ax off the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Savage hits another double ax and elbows Hogan down. He goes up and drops the Reviving Elbow, which cues the Hulk Up, although Hogan was gracious enough to at least give him a 2 count first. He no sells a few shots, then connects with a corner clothesline, and an Axe Bomber. Savage keeps trying to bail, but Hogan hangs on and wonít let him. He hits the big boot, and then decides that if Savage wants to be on the floor so bad, heíll put him there himself. Hogan follows and goes to send him to the post, but Liz blocks the way. Hogan turns and goes for the other post, but Liz quickly gets there and blocks him again. Savage then slips behind Hogan and sends him to the post with Liz just getting out of the way in time. Savage gets in the ring, but for the second straight month, Hogan fails to beat the count and Savage gets another win over the champ at 8:35. They would settle things the next month in a Lumberjack Match, but sadly a quick check reveals thatís not on Volume 8. Much like the previous match, Savage moved a million miles an hour and kept it exciting at all times, and Hogan certainly brought his working boots too as by no means was it all thanks to Savage. I didnít like it quite as much as the last one, but still pretty good. **3/4
Captain Lou Albano vs. Arnold Skaaland (December 17, 1977, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Here we have a matchup between babyface manager Skaaland and heel manager Albano, which I presume is an offshoot of a feud between guys they were managing at the time. Skaaland nails him during instructions, causing Albano to bail, and even consider going right back to the locker room. The heat for this is pretty crazy. Albano returns with a foreign object from his tights and starts working Skaaland over with that for a bit. He then plays hide the object with the ref, successfully keeping it hidden each time the ref corners him. Finally, Skaaland gets it away and gets in a few shots, busting Albano open. Albano, by the way, may as well have yelled to the crowd ďLook at me, Iím cutting myself open!Ē, as he was just that obvious about it. And then after taking a few more shots, Albano simply runs back to the locker room for the countout at 4:35. -*
WWWF Tag Team Championship Match, 2/3 Falls: Tony Garea & Haystacks Calhoun vs. Professor Toru Tanaka & Mr. Fuji (July 23, 1973, Madison Square Garden, New York, New York)
Garea and Haystacks are defending here against the men they won the belts from about two months earlier, for the first of five runs with the Tag Titles for Garea. Fuji would go on to win them several more times as well with both Tanaka and Mr. Saito. First Fall: Tanaka throws the ceremonial salt in the corner, but an old lady comes up to the ring and brushes it away. He goes to the opposite corner to do it, but again this lady and a friend brush it away, and even make faces at Tanaka. Gorilla Monsoon is doing updated commentary for this match and he refers to Tanaka as ďChopstick CharlieĒ. No such thing as political correctness in those days I guess. We clip ahead to Garea holding Tanaka in a headlock on the mat. Tanaka rolls him up a couple of times, and then counters with a headscissors. Garea escapes and they continue trading holds for a bit. Tanaka takes a shoulderblock, but then gets Garea with a hiptoss. He misses an elbow, and Garea gets an armdrag. Calhoun comes in to congratulate Garea on a job well done I guess, but as the ref puts him out, Fuji comes in and kicks Garea. Dumb move by Calhoun there. Garea gets caught in the corner now and worked over by the heels. Calhoun comes in again, and once more it results in bad times for Garea. Fuji gets him with a backdrop, but then puts his head down on an Irish whip and gets kicked. Fuji gets his bell rung, and then begs off, but Garea stays on him. He gets another backdrop, but Fuji lands in his corner and tags Tanaka. Garea takes care of him for a bit and then finally tags Calhoun in. He basically just holds Tanaka until Fuji comes in, then spins around so Fuji nails his own partner. We then get a cute spot where the heels get stacked up and Calhoun sits on both of them, then Garea climbs and stands on top of the whole pile. They get off and Garea gets the tag in. Tanaka whips him to the buckle, but the whip back is reversed. Garea connects with two shoulderblocks, but then comes off the ropes into a kick and gets pinned for the first fall at 5:56 (shown). Second Fall: Clip ahead to Garea working Tanaka over. Clip again to Fuji having taken Tanakaís place, and also having taken control. Tag to Tanaka, and Garea fires back on him, but that draws Fuji back in. They toss Garea, and in comes Calhoun, but they double team him as well. And for that, Fuji and Tanaka are disqualified at 8:32 (shown), to even this thing up at 1-1. Third Fall: Garea and Tanaka are in with Tanaka wanting a handshake, but then he nails him. He sends Garea off, but Garea ducks and nails him. Tag to Calhoun before Garea hits Tanaka with a backdrop. Calhoun then comes in and hits a big splash for the 3 count to retain at 10:31 (shown). Not a terrible little match at all. Garea obviously carried the figurative bulk of the load for his team while Calhoun carried it literally, and Tanaka and Fuji were very competent heels so everything came together well. *1/2
Intercontinental Championship Match: Ken Patera (w/The Grand Wizard) vs. Tony Atlas (August 9, 1980, Shea Stadium, New York, NY)
I already covered this match when I reviewed the full show, so Iíll just cut and paste. Incidentally, in doing a voiceover to introduce the match, Gene Okerlund claims that there were over 50,000 people in attendance. Right.
They lockup with Patera trying a cheapshot, but it gets blocked and Atlas explodes on him with some punches and a dropkick. Patera then tries a boot, but gets caught and thrown around with a press slam. Atlas doesnít follow up though and instead allows Patera time to recover. Patera gets a kneelift when Atlas does move in, then hits a clothesline and drops an elbow for 2. He rams Atlas to the buckle, but that has no effect. He tries some more shots, but Atlas no sells and comes back with some headbutts. He drops an elbow, drops another headbutt and then hits Patera with a splash for 2. More headbutts knock Patera to the apron, but from there Patera grabs him by the head and drops him on the ropes. Patera goes up and comes off with a stomp. He gets his own press slam now and hooks a full nelson, but Atlas makes the ropes. After the break, Patera stomps him and goes to a choke. Atlas comes back with some chops and nails a headbutt off the 2nd rope. Suplex gets 2 so now he goes to a sleeper, but Patera breaks that by running towards the ropes and clotheslining Atlas. Patera gets 2 from that and then sends Atlas off the ropes, but Atlas comes off with a bodypress for 2. Patera then knocks him to the grass and they fight out there for a bit. They make it to the apron where Patera clotheslines Atlas back in, just as the count hits ten. Atlas is declared the winner by countout at 8:14, but Patera holds on to the title. They brawl a bit more afterwards, but Atlas clears him out. Foley echoes my thoughts here calling it a weak ending to a pretty good match. Iíll call it ***, but throw a real finish on there and it could have gone even higher. One thing that really struck me about this match compared to the others was how charismatic these guys were. They were really playing to the crowd, and Atlas was even using what might be called a prototype version of Hulking Up. While most of the matches here were throwbacks to the 70ís WWWF style that was still prevalent at this point, and indeed would be for a few more years, this one was really more of a look forward to the 80ís WWF style that was yet to come, and it was pulled off by two guys who were pretty good in the ring at this point in their careers. Good stuff.
Next up we get a look at the Slammy Awards, which were done to honour the performances on The Wrestling Album. We start with Mean Gene Okerlund combing the streets around the Baltimore Civic Center getting comments from fans. Most of them donít have a clue, but one entertaining guy has a nearly empty bottle of Jim Beam with him (and is acting like it was full not that long ago). Then itís inside to Jesse Ventura who talks to Roddy Piper (whoís in the middle of taking a crap) about his nomination. Roddy sounds like he was hitting a lot more than Jim Beam before this was taped. Then itís on to the awards themselves as Nikolai Volkoff wins for Most Ignominious, which heís excited about until Vince McMahon lets him know what it means, and Roddy Piper gets Best Personality in Land of 1000 Dances. He sounded a bit more coherent here at least. The best part of this was that his trophy appears to have been gimmicked to break easily, but they did too good a job and it simply falls apart in his hands. Piper covers for this by saying that if it hadnít broken on its own, he was going to break it anyways. This whole segment was entertaining in a car crash sort of way.
The British Bulldogs vs. The Hart Foundation (w/Jimmy Hart) (September 23, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
The first of three straight tag matches to close out the tape, and itís certainly hard to go wrong with this matchup. Kid and Bret start with Kid controlling with a side headlock. He gets sent off and hits a shoulderblock, then comes off again into a dropkick attempt by Bret, who gets caught and slung to the buckle. Kid drops a knee and Bret bails. Clip to Kid holding a hammerlock, which Bret reverses, but Kid runs him around the ring and sends him to the floor. The Harts protest, but to no avail. Both sides tag now with Anvil getting a slam. Irish whip sees Davey duck and get a slam of his own. They go to a test of strength, but Anvil quickly breaks that with a kick. Davey nails him with a dropkick though an he bails. Tag to Bret, who starts pounding on Davey, but Davey comes back off a corner whip and gets a victory roll for 2. Bret sends him off the ropes, and nails a knee. He then drops an elbow and a leg before tagging Anvil. Davey takes a beating in the corner from him, and then a dropkick from Bret who gets tagged back in. Tag back to Anvil, who hooks a bearhug, but Davey fights his way out and makes the tag to Kid. Kid runs wild for a bit, but it was just a false hot tag as Bret cuts him off with a knee from the apron to start the real heat segment. Anvil chokes Kid down, and as the ref pulls him away, Bret drops an elbow from the 2nd rope. Anvil then tosses him, which allows Bret the chance to slam him on the floor. Anvil drags Kid in and hooks a rear chinlock, then draws Davey in so he and Bret can switch. Bret does a corner whip and Kid takes a page from Bretís book by hitting it chest first. He then draws Davey in again so he can pick Kid up and drop him by the hair. 2nd rope elbow gets 2, as does a backbreaker. Tag to Anvil, who hooks a front facelock. Kid starts powering his way to the corner, but Bret charges in and knocks Davey off to prevent the tag. Davey chases him around for a bit while Anvil goes back to beating on Kid. Soon enough, Kid is back in that front facelock and again is powering his way to the corner. This time Bret just distracts the ref as Dynamite makes the tag, so he wonít allow it. Of course as the ref puts Davey out, the Harts switch off and the ref doesnít even question whether or not they made a legal tag. Thatís stupid, yet awesome at the same time, as logically it makes no sense, but it helps build the heat even more as the heels get away with their obvious cheating while the faces canít get a break by following the rules. That also plays into the finish later on as weíll see. To make it even better, Bret then just comes in for a double team right in front of the referee, and he does nothing about it. He then goes for what may have been a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but whatever it was supposed to be, it ends up botched. Bret just pounds away instead until Kid gets a backslide out of nowhere for 2. Bret ties him in the ropes and goes to charge, but Kid escapes and Bret gets hung up. Now Kid makes the tag to Davey, whoís the house afire, beating up both Harts with ease. Bret gets sent to the buckle chest first for a 2 count. Press slam gets another 2 count as Anvil has to make the save. Bret gets a backbreaker, and the tags Anvil, who lays in some more shots on Davey. Tag back to Bret and they hit a Hart Attack with Bret coming off the top as opposed to running off the ropes. He covers, but while the ref is getting Anvil out of the ring, Kid comes off the top rope with a headbutt. He rolls Davey out and covers Bret for the 3 count at 15:57 (shown). I love the little ironic twist at the end as after everything thatís gone down, The Harts have it won clean in the middle, but The Bulldogs pull out an illegal tactic to steal it away. Like I said at the start, you can hardly go wrong with this matchup. ***1/2
The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Moondogs (February 28, 1986, Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia)
This is billed as the WWF debut for the Rougeaus, although why they would do that in Australia I have no idea. Rex and Raymond start off by slugging away, and Raymond quickly knocks him out of he ring. Rex gets hooked up coming back in and does the teeter totter spot before ending up hanging upside down by the legs until the ref frees him. Ray then catches an attempted kick and hits an atomic drop for 2. Blind tag to Jacques, who nails a dropkick from behind into a slam by Raymond. Splash by Jacques gets 2 and then Rex gets away and tags Spot. They have an intense staredown that goes until Raymond takes a swipe at Spot, who turns around, but then gets rolled up by Jacques for 2. Spot gets sent off and hits a shoulderblock, then comes off again but gets hiptossed. Drop toehold follows and Jacques tags Raymond. We clip ahead to Spot holding Ray in a bearhug. Ray fires out, but takes an atomic drop. Tag Rex, who runs Ray to the corner, but misses an elbow. Both guys tag with Jacques hitting dropkicks on both Moondogs and a double noggin knocker. He then gets both guys with chops, but Spot nails him from behind. The Dogs send him off the ropes, but he ducks. Raymond trips up spot, and then Jacques comes back off with a bodypress on Rex for 3 at 5:24 (shown). According the results section, the full version is over eighteen minutes, so they cut out quite a bit there. Rating a slightly clipped match is one thing, but I donít think I can rate one that lost nearly three quarters of its content. What was here was fine for what itís worth though.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The Dream Team (w/Johnny Valiant) vs. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/Freddie Blassie) (December 17, 1985, Mid Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY)
We close things out here with an all heel affair here in this TV taping dark match. The Dream Team plays the faces though and the crowd actually has no problems accepting them in that role. Beefcake is far more into playing to the crowd then Valentine is though. Valentine and Sheik start with Valentine getting a hiptoss and slam. Tag to Beefacke, who gets sent off the ropes and kicked. Second try sees Beefcake catch the boot and nails Sheik with an atomic drop. Volkoff gets the tag and they trap Beefcake in the corner for a bit. Finally he gets the boot up on Volkoff on a corner whip and tags Valentine. Valentine drops a shot off the top on Volkoff and goes to work. He puts his head down on an Irish whip and gets kicked though. Tag to Sheik, who nails a shot to the throat for 2. He goes to an abdominal stretch, which Valentine hiptosses out of, but then Valentine misses an elbow. Sheik nails a dropkick, and tags Volkoff. He works Valentine over for a bit before getting nailed and then Beefcake gets the tag. All four briefly end up in the ring, but Valentine quickly sends Sheik back out. Beefcake misses a 2nd rope elbow and gets put in a bearhug. He soon breaks it, but ends up getting rammed to Sheikís boot anyways. Tag to Sheik, who hits a gutwrench suplex and hooks the camel clutch, but Valentine breaks that up. Tag to Valentine, who gets a suplex and looks for the figure four, but Volkoff takes his turn to break that up. All four guys are in again and start brawling, so eventually the ref has enough and calls for the bell, disqualifying both teams at 7:23. Not a very good or exciting match at all. They should have switched this with the Harts/Bulldogs match and ended the tape with that one instead. Or they could have just found a better match too, I suppose. Ĺ*
Well, what I expected to be good was in fact good, and with the exception of the managers match, everything else did alright for itself considering the time period weíre talking about. All things considered, I think this was probably the best entry in the series so far. Thumbs Up for Best of the WWF Volume 7.