March 20, 2010
Alexander Settee

The Best of the WWF Volume 9

For this next entry in the series, theyíve done a turnaround from last time by going with fewer, longer matches, and keeping them mostly complete as well. Thereís one match thatís an obvious standout before we start, and thatís the one thatís going to open the tape, so hopefully it wonít be too far downhill from there.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Macho Man Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Ricky ďThe DragonĒ Steamboat (July 26, 1986, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON)
We kick things off here with what looks to be the best match on paper. Although it is before the larynx crushing angle so it may lack the intensity that goes with having a blood feud behind it. They start out trading holds until Savage uses the hair to gain control, but Steamboat quickly takes charge with an armdrag into an armbar. Savage breaks, but ends up getting slammed for 2. Shoulderblock gets another 2 for Steamboat and itís back to the armbar. Savage gets sent to the corner and comes off with a bodypress, but Steamboat rolls through for 2. He then gets another 2 with a victory roll and is again back to the arm. Savage makes the ropes, but for some reason, instead of breaking the hold, the ref kicks Savageís arm away. Then the same thing happens a second time. This draws the ire of Gorilla Monsoon on commentary, and I agree that it is kind of stupid that this guy is reffing even though he doesnít know the rules. So Savage has to escape the hold rather than use the rope break, which he does, and then he rams Steamboat to the buckle. He hits a double ax off the 2nd rope, and hen drops a knee. Clip to Savage coming in from the floor only to get hiptossed and armdragged. Corner whip is reversed though with Steamboat hitting and then Savage dumps him to the floor. He follows with a double ax from the apron and then rams Steamboat to the rail. Back in the ring, he drops another double ax for 2. Steamboat blocks a suplex, but Savage just nails him anyways. He goes up, but Steamboat catches him with a shot coming down. Now he works Savage over. Savage tries bailing, but Steamboat is right there with him, and even throws him over the rail and into the crowd. He gets back in to break the count and then tries to go back out, but now the idiot ref is holding him back. Savage nails him from the floor, but he finally gets away and sends Savage to the post. Savage is busted open pretty good from that. Back in the ring, a top rope chop gets 2 for Steamboat. He then pounds Savage down and gets another 2. Another chop gets another 2 count. Savage then pulls the ref in front of the next shot and everybody goes down. When the recover, Savage suplexes him, and then tries for a slam, but Steamboat small packages him, just like they would do at Wrestlemania III. The ref slowly gets over there and Savage kicks out at a long 2 count. They fight over a backslide, which Steamboat eventually gets for 2. He starts arguing this with the ref which gives Savage the chance to go into his tights for a foreign object. Whatever it is, he rakes Steamboatís eyes with it, blinding him. Steamboat starts swinging wildly while Savage picks his spot, but when he charges, Steamboat backdrops him to the floor. Savage recovers and drags Steamboat out and they brawl. Steamboat gets run to the apron, and then Savage tries a slam, but Steamboat falls on top. Steamboat then recovers and gets back in just in time to beat the count, and is declared the winner at 15:27 (shown). A very good match as I expected, but also as I expected it was lacking something without the intensity that they eventual feud brought to it. Not long ago I reviewed a MLG show from February 1987 where these guys wrestled and that match was better mainly for that reason. ****

Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik (w/Slick) vs. The Hart Foundation (August 9, 1986, Boston Garden, Boston, MA)
Next we have a heel vs. heel tag match, although the Harts are playing the babyfaces, and the crowd has no problems accepting them in that role. They even cement themselves by attacking the evil foreigners during the anthem and clearing the ring. Volkoff and Bret start out with Volkoff nailing a couple of shoulderblocks. Bret comes back with a dropkick and Volkoff tags Sheik. Bret ends up sending him to the floor. Back in, the lockup, with Volkoff grabbing hold of Bret from the apron, but Bret gets away as Sheik charges and Sheik wipes out his own partner. Bret nails a backbreaker, but then both partners get involved and while the ref puts Anvil out, Sheik takes control with a clothesline. Tag to Volkoff, who keeps the beating going. Bret comes off the ropes with a sunset flip, but Sheik distract the ref and by the time he gets there to count, Volkoff kicks out at 1. Tag to Sheik, who hooks an abdominal stretch, and since Monsoon is on commentary we of course have to hear about how itís not locked in properly. Bret hiptosses out, but misses an elbow. Sheik hits a gutwrench suplex and hooks the Camel Clutch, but Anvil makes the save. Bret then blocks a suplex from Sheik and hits one of his own before making the tag to Anvil. Anvil dropkicks Sheik, who makes the tag, but Anvil then gets them both with a double noggin knocker. Dropkick on Volkoff gets 2, as does an elbow off an Irish whip. All four guys end up in the ring briefly with Bret dumping the Sheik. But now as the ref puts Bret out, Anvil gets Volkoff up for a slam and Sheik trips him up from the floor. Volkoff falls on top and gets the 3 count at 7:39. Not a bad match, mainly due to Bret being in for most of it, but the finish was kind of weak. **

Bootcamp Match: Corporal Kirchner vs. Nikolai Volkoff (July 26, 1986, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON)
As I get now into the middle of this series, one of my main beefs with it is that they seem to be getting lazy in their match selection. Picking multiple matches from the same shows (and this is just the first example on this tape) to me screams that they cared more about slapping something together quickly rather than about putting out the best product they could. I certainly canít argue with including Savage/Steamboat from this show, but does this match really represent ďThe Best of the WWFĒ? Weíll see I guess. Volkoff bails right off the bat, with Kirchner chasing and nailing him. He works Volkoff over for a bit until Volkoff nails a low blow to take over. Charge in the corner misses and Kirchner is back on him, but then he misses whatever off the 2nd rope and Volkoff is able to set him in the tree of woe and stomp him in the nuts. They go out to the ramp where Volkoff slams him a couple of times. In the ring, Volkoff connects with a spin kick and then takes him to the floor again. Kirchner then gets sent to the post, followed by Volkoff nailing him with a chair a couple of times. Kirchner is bleeding at this point. Back in, Volkoff takes off his belt (heís wearing combat fatigues instead of his usual trunks for this match) and whips Kirchner with it. Of course this also results in his pants falling down to the point where when heís done using the belt he has to stop and put it back on. Kirchner comes back with a sunset flip for 2, followed by an atomic drop and a headbutt to the groin. But then he misses a charge to the corner and goes to the floor. Volkoff keeps knocking him off the apron, so Kirchner tries a new approach, removing his boot and nailing Volkoff with it. Thatís good enough for the 3 count at 11:22. Well, it was alright, but probably not the best they had to offer. *

Junkyard Dog, Andre The Giant, & Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Ken Patera, Big John Studd, & Jesse ďThe BodyĒ Ventura (w/Bobby Heenan) (March 17, 1985, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
This is from a seemingly oddly placed MSG show, two weeks before Wrestlemania. The big issue here was the feud between Andre and Studd (and to a lesser extent Patera) as they were preparing for the Bodyslam Match at the big show. Patera and JYD are in first, slugging away with JYD then hitting a backdrop. Tag to Andre who goes to work on the arm. Studd tries attacking, but he and Patera take a double noggin knocker instead. Tag back to JYD, who headbutts Patera who bails. He gets back in, but keeps hiding in the corner. Andre tries getting him out, but he runs away again. Finally Patera maneuvers JYD to the corner where Ventura chokes him with the tag rope. This quickly leads to all six guys getting in the ring briefly and going at it. When the dust settles, JYD and Ventura are in with Ventura working him over. He starts using shots to the head though, which are no sold, and he gets rammed to the buckle. I thought Ventura was smarter then that. Snuka gets the tag now and he works over Ventura for a while before getting his eyes raked. Ventura chokes him on the ropes and then distracts the referee so Patera can do the same from the apron. Tag to Studd, who slams Snuka for 2. He goes to a bearhug, but Andre comes in to break that. Patera then just comes in and takes over for his team, covering for 2. He briefly goes to his own bearhug, which he then uses to run Snuka to the corner. Tag to Ventura, who also hooks a bearhug, but this time JYD is in to break it. Tag to Studd, who pounds Snuka down and then goes to the bearhug yet again. This time Snuka makes his own comeback, ringing Studdís bell to escape and tags Andre. This gets a huge pop as Andre and Studd go at it with Andre beating on him, but Patera saves Studd from being slammed. Tag to Ventura, who take some shots at Andre that have no effect. Andre then tags Snuka, but hits Ventura with a big boot on the way out. Snuka then connects with the Superfly Splash and that gets the 3 count at 10:44 while Andre stands between the cover and the heel corner daring them to come in. Good stuff here in terms of building Wrestlemania and being an entertaining match. **

Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. King Tonga & Sivi Afi (July 12, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
This is a continuation of an issue we saw started on the last tape where Tonga slammed Studd on TV and then they brawled to a double countout at MSG. So the return here sees them get partners for a tag match. Studd and Tonga go right at it, with Tong setting up the slam, but not getting it. Studd blocks a second try and pounds on Tonga, who keeps firing back. They go to the floor where Tonga is sent to the post. Back in, Studd actually climbs to the top and comes off with a forearm. He follows with a hiptoss and slam. Tonga fires back with headbutts and then gets him with a bodyslam for 2. Itís kind of odd that they would just do it as a throwaway thing like that though. He canít get a second slam, so he tags Afi, who also canít slam him. Studd is pissed as he wants Tonga for the slam, but no dice. Afi dropkicks him and he tags Bundy. They double team Afi and then Bundy rams him to the buckle. Corner whip sees Afi come back off with a bodypress for 2. Bundy then slams Afi and drops a knee for 2 with Tonga saving. Tag to Studd who puts Afi down with a shoulderblock and then attacks Tonga. He then gets Afi back in his corner for some double teaming. Tonga tries to save, but the ref puts him out and it just leads to more double teaming. Afi finally slips through the legs and tags Tonga who beats on Studd before he tags out to Bundy. Bundy takes Tonga down with a shoulderblock and drops a knee for what looks like 2, but the ref calls for the bell at 8:33. Everyone is confused, but Bundy and Studd are declared the winners. Maybe the ref was given an audible or something and told to end it ASAP because that as a finish makes zero sense. Why put a screw up like this on a best of tape too? *

Cowboy Lang vs. Lord Littlebrook (June 14, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
They lockup with Littlebrook missing a cheapshot on the break and falling to the apron, then tripping on his way back in. Lang goes to a wristlock, but Littlebrook rakes the eyes to break it. Lang then goes to a full nelson, which Littlebrook easily breaks. Lang gets it again with the same result. Now Littlebrook is getting cocky and insists that Lang put it on again. This time he canít power out of it, but he does walk up the ropes so that when the ref calls for the break he get dropped on the back of his head. Clip to Littlebrook working the arm, but Lang bits him to escape. Lang the bites the referee as well. Littlebrook works him over, but ends up putting his head down on a whip and getting kicked for 2. Lang then backdrops him, rolls him around the ring, and then holds him down for 3 at 6:16 (shown). Littlebrook had a weird sort of charisma about him, but the match wasnít much. Ĺ*

$50,000, 22 Man Battle Royal (July 12, 1986, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
The participants are: Junkyard Dog, Harley Race, Billy Jack Haynes, King Kong Bundy, Sivi Afi, Brutus Beefcake, Bobby Heenan, Pedro Morales, Lanny Poffo, Iron Mike Sharpe, Moondog Spot, Jimmy Hart, King Tonga, Big John Studd, Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith, Greg Valentine, Johnny Valiant, SD Jones, Tony Garea, Moondog Rex, & Tony Atlas. As the bell rings, nearly everyone gangs up on Bundy and Studd to get them out while Heenan is powerless to stop it. They do get them out, and then toss Heenan as well. Heenan stops by the broadcast table to let us know that this just means the Family is so important that everyone knew they had to get them out right away to have a chance. From there itís pretty much just mindless brawling. SD Jones gets backdropped out by Moondog Spot. Iron Mike Sharpe is next followed by Atlas and Johnny V. Valentine tosses Garea and then Tonga eliminates Race. Afi follows them and then the Bulldogs dropkick the Moondogs out. Beefcake gets rid of Dynamite while Valentine tosses Morales. Beefcake then gets eliminated by Poffo. This leaves Greg Valentine alone against five babyfaces, but Valentine proves himself pretty capable by backdropping out Billy Jack Haynes and then throwing King Tonga out. He then gets Davey Boy Smith and Poffo to leave himself with just JYD. They go for a bit until Valentine tosses him through the middle ropes to the floor. While there, JYD drags out the other participant whoís still in this thing, Jimmy Hart, whoís been hiding under the ring the entire time. If youíre actually watching it, itís less of a surprise than I made it out to be because throughout the match they keep cutting to shots of him peeking out from under the ring so itís hammered into your head that heís there. So theyíre all in the ring now with Valentine and Dog going at it while Jimmy stands there. At one point Valentine holds JYD so Jimmy can get a couple of shots in. Finally Valentine goes to put him out, but JYD holds on and they both go to the floor which leaves Jimmy Hart as the winner at 12:59. This actually seems ahead of itís time as itís the kind of thing that would be expected 15 to 20 years later, but for 1986 itís out of place. **

Well, this was actually a pretty decent tape overall. Savage/Steamboat I believe is the best match seen in the entire series so far, but thatís hardly a shock. The rest is reasonably good, with nothing outright sucking, but also not being anything I would need to see again. But I think that based on the strength of the opener, I can call it a Thumbs Up for Best of the WWF Volume 9.

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