#WF022 – Villains Of The Squared Circle
Lee Maughan: “Over an hour of non-stop evil”, hosted by Gene Okerlund with analysis from Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy.
Jake Roberts vs. Scotty McGhee
Jake’s second outing at the Garden (his first, against Lanny Poffo, is on the Pick Your Poison DVD from 2005), and it’s just a short, semi-competitive squash (complete with an absolutely KILLER DDT to finish) before Jake drapes his pet python Damien over McGhee’s unconscious body in deeply unsettling fashion, completely freaking out the MSG crowd who begin chanting for Hulk Hogan. It’s too bad that by the time they shot the angle on Jake’s Snake Pit talk-show segment where he dropped Hogan with a DDT, the crowd was already way into him as a babyface, and the feud never took off outside of a handful of house show matches.
Final Rating: ½*
Pat Patterson vs. Tor Kamata
For those wondering who Kamata was, Gorilla Monsoon helpfully introduces him as “The big Jap with the martial arts” in wonderfully politically incorrect fashion. The 80s were something else, man. Not much of a match as Kamata attacks Patterson before the bell so Patterson makes a brawling comeback before Kamata attempts to throw salt in Patterson’s eyes, but Patterson ducks and the referee takes it full in the face. Uncle Gorilla (dubbing on his announcing) absurdly claims Kamata just threw “forty-two pounds of salt” and, hey, if you’re going to make shit up, you might as well go all the way with it. And then more absurdity as the referee calls for the bell after the obvious disqualification… then tries counting a pinfall on Kamata before raising Patterson’s hand anyway.
Final Rating: ¼*
Pedro Morales (c) vs. George ‘The Animal’ Steele
Joined in progress from the days when Steele was a legitimate world title contender, rather than a simpleton cartoon character. In fact, by the time loveable lunk Steele was carrying around his teddy bear “Mine”, Morales had fallen so far down the pecking order, he’d essentially become enhancement talent. This is just a lot of punchy-kicky stuff until Steele gets posted on the ring apron a few times, and if you watch closely enough (and know where to look) you can see Steele blading a couple of times in an attempt to get colour. Which becomes important actually, as the referee stops the match for excessive blood loss, although it’s kinda hard to tell how much Steele is actually bleeding under the early 70’s lighting. From a shot of Steele trying to climb back in at the end, it looks like he might have been screwed even worse than Lex Luger by the Maryland State Athletic Commission at the 1988 Great American Bash.
Final Rating: ¼*
Andre the Giant vs. Ernie Ladd
This was back when Andre was still mobile but he’s up against the legitimately 6’9 inch Ernie Ladd so it’s all punch-punch-punch as Ladd tries to conceal a taped thumb from the referee. Once the pace picks up it’s actually pretty astonishing to see two guys of this size taking high backdrops (Ladd) and going for full-on splashes (Andre) but alas, it’s over as soon as it gets any good, with Ladd bailing for the count-out loss the second he finds himself in trouble.
Final Rating: ¼*
Gorilla Monsoon vs. Lou Albano
From the same card as the earlier Morales-Steele match, and amazingly the crack team at Coliseum Video has managed to pick out a match almost identical to the last one, as Albano goes after Monsoon’s eyes with a taped thumb until Gorilla finally gets his hands on him and Albano bails out in about two minutes, back when a cheap count-out victory got an enormous reaction from the crowd.
Final Rating: ¼*
Andre the Giant & Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Stan Stasiak & Blackjack Lanza
Just a few clips from the match with Strongbow outwrestling Stasiak before Stasiak takes over with punches and back rakes. And that’s it. What an utterly pointless clip.
Don Muraco vs. SD Jones
Standard TV match, Jones gets a nice sunset flip and Muraco misses a Vaderbomb, the rest is all side headlocks until Muraco catches Jones on a crossbody and powerslams him for the pin.
Final Rating: ¼*
Ricky Steamboat vs. Mr. Fuji
This is joined in progress with Steamboat making his big comeback with knife-edge chops and a high crossbody. Fuji gets the knees up on a flying press but Steamboat escapes a backdrop and rolls Fuji up for the pin. Steamboat looked fantastic, as he always did, but the real story is Muraco blindsiding him in the aisle with a wooden chair and leaving him laying.
Wrestling’s Biggest Big Mouth
And now for a collection of Roddy Piper clips, beginning with the famous Piper’s Pit segment in which he smashes a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s head. Onto Tuesday Night Titans, an enraged Piper slaps the taste out of Lord Alfred Hayes’ mouth. I always found Hayes to be a charmingly awful colour commentator, but for anyone who couldn’t stand to listen to the guy, that one was just for you. More Piper’s Pit next, as Piper destroys jobber Frankie Williams before delivering the eternal words – “You see, it’s simple as this. Just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions.” Classic. Back to TNT as Piper cheapshots Lou Albano with a roundhouse right, and then a major angle as ‘Hot Rod’ shows up on the set of The A-Team and gets in Mr. T’s face. And finally, a montage of clips of Piper using foreign objects in his matches, all culled from the quite great Rowdy Roddy Piper’s Greatest Hits tape.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Tito Santana (c) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
This is just the finish, as Savage uses a concealed weapon to jab Santana in the head on a back suplex for the pin, the title, and a major league babyface pop. The full match is on a whole bunch of other Coliseum tapes, as well as the Macho Madness: The Ultimate Randy Savage Collection DVD, and is well worth checking out.
Terry Funk vs. Aldo Marino
This is Funk’s WWF debut as ring attendant Mel Phillips puts Funk’s cowboy hat on so an enraged Funk just absolutely destroys him, then finishes Marino with a suplex and a spinning toe hold. And like that, Funk is OVER. Standard squash match but an absolutely terrific way to debut. The match isn’t much but what a GREAT way to get over to a new audience.
Final Rating: SQUASH (Not rated)
Corporal Kirchner vs. The Iron Sheik
Sgt. Slaughter, arguably the number two babyface in the WWF in 1984 (although you can make stronger arguments for Andre the Giant and ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka), had somewhat surprisingly been fired by Vince McMahon that year. On 2006’s McMahon DVD, Slaughter claimed to have been fired for no-showing a card in Toronto as a protest to McMahon’s refusal to give him six weeks paid vacation, although other interviews with the pair brought up the much more significant factor of Slaughter’s licensing deal with Hasbro (allowing Hasbro to include Slaughter action figures in their G.I. Joe toy line) conflicting with McMahon’s new action figure line to be produced by LJN. Slaughter was effectively blackballed by the WWF. Michael Kirchner had previously worked for the WWF as enhancement talent (under the name RT Reynolds) before McMahon discovered he’d served in the 82nd Airborne before becoming a professional wrestler. And with that, Reynolds became Corporal Kirchner, McMahon’s new muscled-up military hero replacement for Slaughter. Unfortunately for Kirchner, Slaughter’s character had been so unique and original, it was tough to accept Kirchner as anything other than a direct Slaughter replacement, and he was unable to carve out his own niche. Not that the WWF did anything to dissuade that perception, programming him against Slaughter’s arch-nemesis The Iron Sheik, and Sheik’s Soviet comrade, Nikolai Volkoff. The result was matches like this one, surrounded by a constant air that refused to dissipate, the feeling that what you were watching was just a second-rate Slaughter tribute act, almost like a character on a TV show being played by another actor after the original left. But it could have been worse. It could have been Sgt. Craig ‘Pitbull’ Pittman. The match itself was perfectly fine, if not particularly interesting, and the finish all but sucked as Volkoff smashed Kirchner with a flagpole on the outside for the count-out, to presumably set up a Volkoff-Kirchner flag match, despite them already having done that match at WrestleMania II a fortnight earlier.
Final Rating: ¾*
Manager of the Year
‘Mean’ Gene presents Bobby Heenan with the Manger of the Year trophy, but Hillbilly Jim interrupts the ceremony to say he hasn’t given his vote yet, which leads to the trophy instead going to Lou Albano so Heenan smashes it to pieces as King Kong Bundy splashes Hillbilly. Uncle Elmer and Cousin Junior come out to save but it’s too little, too late for dear old Hillbilly.
Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd
Perhaps mercifully, this one gets joined in progress (hey, it’s Andre-Studd, it was probably pretty bad) right to an ULTRA-heated post-match angle as Studd brings a giant pair of scissors into the ring so Andre, like something out of a gory, black and white horror film, bites Studd’s arm, causing him to drop the scissors. Andre of course tries to cut Studd’s hair (this is all in retaliation for a famous angle in which Studd and Ken Patera cut Andre’s hair), but here comes King Kong Bundy to flatten Andre from behind. Studd then pins Andre down while Bundy delivers no less than four big splashes before ‘Quickdraw’ Rick McGraw, Cousin Junior and the Killer Bees come out to chase the Heenan Family away. And when a whole swarm of guys have to come out to help ANDRE THE GIANT, you know big time shit’s about to go down. Terrific, terrific angle, and we didn’t even have to sit through the match to boot!
Final Rating: Not rated
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Don Muraco
Again, joined right at the finish as Bundy runs in and, with Muraco holding Hogan in the corner, delivers three monstrous avalanches, and follows that up with a pair of splashes on the prone Hogan before The British Bulldogs arrive to run the heels off. You know, people look back at WrestleMania II now and find it hard to accept Bundy as one half of the main event of that show, putting him in a category alongside legendary names like Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff and Andre the Giant as antagonists for Hogan on the biggest show of the year, but many also tend to forget (or be unaware of) the huge push he got in 1986, just absolutely crippling everyone in his path with those devastating-looking splashes. Then again, this was a pretty standard angle to set things up, and lacked the mainstream spark that Mr. T brought to the main event of WrestleMania I. Or the big-time, marquee feel of Hogan-Andre at WrestleMania III, given Andre’s stature within the business and previous history with Hogan, so perhaps it’s easy to understand why Hogan-Bundy has become something of a footnote when it comes to WrestleMania main events. There’s also the little matter that, no matter how strongly they pushed him, I just don’t think anyone truly believed at that point that he could beat Hogan for the title.
Final Rating: Not rated
Andre the Giant & Special Delivery Jones vs. Ken Patera & Big John Studd
The whole match can be found in the Andre the Giant video release earlier in the book, but on this tape it is joined in progress yet again. This is the angle I was referring to during the earlier Andre-Studd match (which makes me wonder why they didn’t put those angles on here back-to-back in chronological order.) Studd and Patera dump Jones on the outside, then double-team Andre just enough to pin him down and cut his shaggy mop of hair off, as Vince McMahon on commentary melodramatically cries “Andre the Giant has been RAPED… of his dignity.” It’s the pause that makes it creepy as hell. Oh, Vince.
Final Rating: Not rated
Summary: The matches aren’t so great, sure, but at less than an hour and twenty minutes this tape at least breezes by. A lot of the footage does comes in more complete form on other Coliseum releases though, so if you plan on watching the lot, it does have that going against it. Still, a pretty fun look at some of the best heel characters of the day, with some great angles sprinkled in. Mildly recommended.