February 15, 2010
The Best of the WWF Volume 8
The series continues now with Volume 8 released in 1986. Looking over the lineup, I’m a little worried about this one because I see a lot of matches here, which with only 90 minutes to fill means we may be in for a lot of clipping, and for the most part the matchups don’t look that good. There are two obvious exceptions to that, which would be the opener and the closer, but I get the feeling it’s gonna feel like a long ride in between them.
The Hart Foundation (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Killer Bees (February 17, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Anvil and Brunzell start off with Anvil establishing the power advantage. Brunzell gets nowhere with a shoulderblock, but gets Anvil coming off with a drop toehold. Tag to Blair as the Bees go to work on the leg of Anvil. They successfully keep Anvil isolated while making a few tags back and forth until Blair hooks a figure four and Bret runs in to make the save. This allows a tag to Bret and now the Harts have Blair in their corner. They work him over and it’s not particularly exciting at this point. Bret hits a backbreaker, but misses a 2nd rope elbow which allows the tag to Brunzell. Brunzell runs wild for a bit, whipping the Harts into each other and beating them down with ease. It finally gets back to one on one, but ironically enough that’s bad news for Brunzell as Bret knees him from the apron at the first opportunity to kick off the heat segment. Anvil covers for 2 off of that. So now it starts to get good as the Harts use all the heel tag team tricks to tease the possibility of a tag, only to deny it in the end. Anvil tosses Brunzell to the floor where Bret slams him on the concrete. Blair goes over to brawl with Bret, but that just allows Anvil to administer more of a beating to Brunzell. Tag to Bret, who gets surprised with a sunset flip for 2, but stomps Brunzell right back down. Tag Anvil who goes to a front facelock. Brunzell fights to his corner, and just when it looks like he’s gonna make it, Bret charges over and knocks Blair off the apron. Bret gets the tag and nails a dropkick for 2. Brunzell then musters all his strength and nails Bret with his own dropkick. Both guys are down, so Anvil draws Blair into the ring. As the ref is putting Blair out, Anvil puts Bret on top, and Brunzell has taken such a beating that the crowd buys this as a nearfall even though Brunzell hit the most recent offensive move. So Bret retains control, and again they do the spot where Bret has a front facelock on and Brunzell is slowly inching his was to the corner. So he goes and goes and goes, and finally he gets there and makes the tag! But of course Anvil had come in the ring and distracted the ref, so Blair has to be put back out. Blair protests this, which allows a double team, but it backfires and Brunzell maneuvers his way to the corner and makes the real hot tag to Blair. Blair beats on both guys from pillar to post. He gets a small package on Anvil for 2, then powerslams both guys and sends Bret into Anvil with an atomic drop. He covers Bret, and then moves when Anvil tries to break it so Bret gets hit. Now Blair covers and gets 2. He then hooks an abdominal stretch and when Anvil tries to break that up, Brunzell comes back and takes him out. The Bees whip the Harts into each other and Blair covers Bret for 2. He then gets a rollup for 2 and tags Brunzell. He whips Bret into Brunzell’s dropkick and Brunzell covers, but the bell rings at 2. Sadly for the Bees the 20:00 time limit expired at 18:50, so the timekeeper proved once again that he’s the most corrupt man in all of wrestling. Well, at least they didn’t clip this one. It started kind of slow, but once they got to the heat segment with Brunzell it became a great little tag team match. Too bad we didn’t get a decisive ending though. ***1/2
Danny Spivey vs. Terry Gibbs November 25, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
This is the first match in a series on this tape that is meant to highlight some newcomers to the WWF. In this case we have Golden Boy Danny Spivey, who they basically figured would replace the recently departed Barry Windham. He certainly looked similar. JIP with Spivey whipping Gibbs to the corner, but missing a charge. Gibbs gets a backbreaker for 2 and then tosses Spivey to the floor. Spivey is wearing a pair of furry boots here. Anyone know the story behind that? So Gibbs keeps working Spivey over here. He blocks a sunset flip and drops an elbow for 2. Gibbs then hooks a bearhug. Spivey’s arm drops twice and he starts a comeback, but he puts his head down on a whip and gets kicked for 2. Neckbreaker gets 2 for Gibbs and then he’s right back to the bearhug. Spivey finally powers out, but misses an elbow and Gibbs covers for 2. Backdrop gets another 2 for Gibbs. I should point out that it’s supposedly Spivey that they’re showcasing here, but he’s getting his ass kicked by a TV jobber. Gibbs’ whip is reversed and now Spivey hooks a bearhug, but Gibbs goes to the eyes to break. He tries to ram Spivey to the buckle, which is blocked and now Spivey finally gets some sustained offence. He uses a hiptoss, then slams him and drops an elbow for 2. Legdrop gets another 2, and then the bulldog gets the 3 count at 6:19 (shown). This wasn’t exactly a highlight of Dan Spivey’s career, that’s for sure. ½*
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Moondog Rex (June 27, 1986, Boston Garden, Boston, MA)
In the pre match voiceover, Gene Okerlund acknowledges that Haynes had a cup of coffee in the WWF in 1984, but then decided that he wasn’t ready and went back to Oregon for more training. Now he’s back and this is a match from early in his run. JIP with Haynes holding a side headlock. Rex suplexes out and hits a clothesline. He then follows with a backbreaker for 2 and starts working Haynes over. Kneedrop gets 2 and he goes to a rear chinlock which draws a “boring” chant. Haynes escapes and takes a hiptoss, but avoids an elbow and then rams Rex to the buckle. Dropkick misses, but Rex’s whip is then reversed and Haynes nails him with a clothesline. He then puts on the full nelson and that gets the submission at 4:00 (shown). A least Haynes got to show some offence in his spotlight match. DUD
King Kong Bundy (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Junkyard Dog (June 14, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
They go through a series of lockups and breaks until finally on the fourth one Bundy takes a cheap shot. JYD comes back with a series of headbutts and a corner whip, but Bundy comes out with a clothesline. Fistdrop gets 2 as does a kneedrop. JYD is back again with the headbutts, finally putting Bundy down and covering for 2. Another headbutt misses, so Bundy regains control, but makes the mistake of working over the head, which of course has no effect. Off the ropes they clothesline each other. Bundy drops an elbow for 2 and then puts him in a rear chinlock. JYD’s arm actually drops three times, but the ref covers for him and tries again and this time it stays up. No one even seemed to notice, so whatever. JYD elbows out, but comes off the ropes into an elbow from Bundy. Splash misses and sets up more headbutts from JYD, who then goes off the ropes, but Heenan trips him up. Or so we’re told because the camera completely missed it. Bundy splashes him, but the ref calls for the bell and disqualifies Bundy at 8:46. DUD After the match they try to setup the Avalanche, but JYD makes his own save and clears the ring with the chain.
Jimmy Jack Funk (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Tony Garea (June 14, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Back to the newcomer deal now, as Jimmy Jack was brought in to replace Terry Funk, but was of course completely low rent in comparison. Once Dory bailed as well a couple of months later, Jimmy Jack became nothing more than a prelim guy. JIP here with Funk holding a rear chinlock and using the ropes. Garea elbows out and gets a sunset flip for 2. Funk kicks him and snapmare him over. Clip to Funk holding the rear chinlock again. Garea makes it to his feet, and successfully reverses a suplex. He works Funk over for a bit, including a hiptoss and dropkick that has Funk begging off. Garea’s whip is then reversed and he comes off into a powerslam for 3 at 4:14 (shown).
Handsome Harley Race (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Leaping Lanny Poffo (June 14, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Wow, June 14, 1986 must have been the greatest night in the history of MSG or something for us to now have three matches from that card on the best of tape. And Harley Race is somehow considered a newcomer here. He doesn’t yet have the “King” gimmick, so this would definitely be very soon after he came in. JIP with the action on the floor and Race hitting Poffo with a brainbuster. The announcers speculate that he may be dead from taking that. But Poffo doesn’t really even sell it that seriously. Back in the ring, a belly to belly suplex gets 2. Race then headbutts him down and drops another one from the top rope. He sends Poffo to the floor again and headbutts him again. Clip to Poffo making a comeback, but Race cuts him off with, you guessed it, a headbutt. Corner whip is reversed and Poffo takes over. He dropkicks Race to the apron, and then brings him back in with a headscissors. He tries it again, but this time Race drops him on the ropes and finishes him with the cradle suplex at 4:44 (shown). ½*
Big John Studd (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Jim Powers & Rick Hunter (June 3, 1986, Mid Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY)
Here’s one of those little things that only a details-oriented person such as myself would notice or care about. Fink introduces the jobber team as “Jim Powers” and “Ricky Hunter”, but their on screen graphics read “Jimmy Powers” and “Rick Hunter”. It means absolutely nothing, but for whatever reason I feel the need to point it out. So anyways, this is from Championship Wrestling with Studd reestablishing the $15,000 bodyslam challenge. King Tonga comes out and wants to be the first to try, but Studd claims he can only offer the chance to slam him to two people per night and these two scrubs across the ring are first up. The match pretty much consists of the jobbers trying and failing for the slam with Bruno Sammartino on commentary pointing out how stupid the strategy of trying to slam the fresh man is. Studd finally has enough, tosses Powers, the slams Hunter and covers him for 3 at 2:17. DUD Studd keeps on beating Hunter up, so Tonga runs back in, not only to make the save, but to slam Studd with ease, which gets a huge reaction from the crowd. This leads up into our next match.
Big John Studd (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. King Tonga (June 14, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
They gotta just put this house show out on DVD already. It’ll rake in millions with all these classics on it. The announcers mention that Tonga has not been paid for his slam of Studd on TV, but then again, I don’t think anyone ever actually got paid for it so that’s par for the course. Studd attacks during patdowns and immediately gets a slam. Tonga fights back and rams Studd to the buckle. He tries a slam, but Studd hooks the ropes to block it. A second try leads to the same result. Studd clotheslines him in the corner a couple of times and then hiptosses him for 2. Tonga fires out of a rear chinlock, then nails some kicks and a dropkick. He tries the slam again, but they go tumbling over the top to the floor where the brawl to a double countout at 4:01. DUD They keep going at it after the match, with Tonga challenging Studd to get back in the ring. Studd does, only to be headbutted back out and this time he’s had enough.
Ted Arcidi vs. Terry Gibbs (February 17, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
It’s now truly a Best Of tape with our second appearance of Terry Gibbs. And our first appearance of Ted Arcidi for that matter. Gibbs stalls to start, but ends up getting shoved down a couple of times. Gibbs then goes to a front facelock, but Arcidi just casually picks him up and sets him on the top rope. Arcidi is the World’s Strongest Man you see. Arcidi hooks a full nelson and Gibbs climbs the ropes to get the break, so Arcidi just drops him of course. Gibbs briefly gets some offence in off an eyerake, but quickly finds himself caught in the bearhug for the submission at 2:38. DUD
Hercules Hernandez (w/Fred Blassie) vs. Cousin Junior (November 25, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
The never-ending parade of crap continues. JIP with Hercules’ corner whip being reversed, but Herc gets the elbow up on the charge. Junior elbows out of a rear chinlock, but runs into a high knee and Herc then drops an elbow for 2. Junior escapes another rear chinlock, but Herc hooks the overalls to send him to the floor. Herc beats on him there for a bit, then goes to get him back in, but Junior shoulders him and tries a sunset flip. Herc nails to though to stop it and drops a knee for 2. Clip to Junior holding a bearhug. Herc nails him to escape, but puts his head down on a whip and gets kicked. They trade a few shots and then Herc slams him, but misses whatever off the top rope. Junior hits him with a backdrop. Herc comes back and tries a slam, which Junior escapes. Junior goes for a rollup, but Herc rolls through and gets the 3 count at 7:16 (shown). Junior complains about a pull of the overalls, but none was apparent, and even it if was I wouldn’t care to see this thing continue. DUD And by the way I’m probably being generous be not going negative stars on anything yet.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Pedro Morales vs. Adrian Adonis (March 14, 1982, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
JIP with Adonis working Morales over. Morales goes to the eyes and wins a slugfest, knocking Adonis to the floor in the process. He rams Adonis to the apron and to the post a couple of times. Back in, he whips Adonis to the corner, but misses a charge. Adonis gets a German suplex and the ref counts 3 at 2:28 (shown). Adonis thinks he’s won, but Morales in fact got his shoulder up and Adonis ended up pinning himself. Adonis attacks upon hearing this, but Morales fights him off and clears the ring. DUD What did this even need to be included for?
Pat Patterson vs. Captain Lou Albano (March 14, 1982, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Albano is very flabby at this point, and appears to have borrowed tights from either Fuji or Saito. So Patterson attacks and immediately gets Albano’s foreign object away from him and beats him with it. Albano does his patented super-obvious bladejob and goofy over the top selling, then just bails for the count out. They actually cut away before the final bell but what we saw went 1:22. Again, this is the best they have to offer? -**
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (May 19, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Well, I said at the beginning that two matches looked to have potential, and here we finally are with the second one. It’s JIP with Jake working him over to setup the DDT, but Steamboat escapes and hits a belly to belly. Steamboat pounds away, with the ref pulling him off which allows Jake to escape. Jake comes back in, and Steamboat is all over him again. Whip is reversed though and Jake nails him. He gets a clothesline and then the short clothesline before tossing him to the floor. Steamboat tries a sunset flip from the apron, but Jake nails him. Jake follows with an inverted atomic drop and a couple of bodyslams. He goes for the snake, but when he sees Steamboat stirring he goes back to him. Steamboat sweeps the leg and gets him with a couple of swinging neckbreakers. He goes to the 2nd rope, but a splash hits knees and Jake tosses him to the floor. He sets up the DDT out there, but Steamboat runs him to the apron to counter. Back in the ring, Steamboat nails a top rope chop. Jake has been busted open, so Steamboat works that over too. The ref keeps pulling Steamboat off of Jake and the result is that Jake charges out and nails him. Jake sets up the DDT, but Steamboat backdrops out. The ref again keeps getting involved and the result is that he goes down after Steamboat kicks Jake off into him. The idiot ref calls for the bell at 7:25 (shown), apparently disqualifying Steamboat. Steamboat couldn’t care less though and continues beating on Jake until he gets pulled off by a bunch of guys and that’s the end of the tape. **1/2
It looks to me like there was just no effort put in to this tape at all. It’s like they just had to slap something together at the last minute, so you get multiple matches from the same shows (as many as four in one case) and they really didn’t even try to find stuff that was either good or historically significant. Harts/Bees is by far the best thing on the tape and it goes downhill hard and fast from there. Steamboat/Jake is a little disappointing I think in that I was expecting more from them. The rest was a complete waste of time. This was easily the worst tape in the series so far, and deserves nothing more than a big Thumbs Down. If you have the Bret Hart DVD, you have the opening tag match on there so unless you don’t have it there’s no reason whatsoever to recommend this show.