#WF104 – 1992 Battle Of The WWF Superstars
Hulk Hogan & Roddy Piper vs. Ric Flair & Sid Justice
We are in Mobile, Alabama and there is a lot of history attached to this one. All four guys are highly decorated. Flair was the reigning WWF champion and Piper the IC champion, both having won their respective titles at Royal Rumble 1992. This comes from just before WrestleMania, in March of the same year. Piper and Hogan have had a long and storied rivalry, so it will be interesting to see how they work as a team. They have done it before though; they teamed up on an earlier tape in Volume #1 and play off their past dislike for each other. That appears to be behind them here though, because they both come out to Hogan’s music. I don’t like Piper as a pandering babyface, he is much better with an attitude and an edge. This was one of Hogan’s last WWF TV matches for quite a while. He appeared a number of times more when he returned in 1993, but didn’t have another match for the company on TV (PPV not included) until 2002, making this quite significant. I don’t really understand why it goes on the tape first mind, it seems a strange choice when you have all the singles champions and Hogan in there. Flair and Piper start, and Piper responds to a chop with a vicious slap. Flair hits a further few that have more effect, and Piper comes back with a flurry of punches, then a back drop. Hogan gives Flair a shot on the apron, then he walks into Piper’s fingers, eyes-first. That whole sequence was great fun. Piper might have been better as a heel, but he was still great as a face, because he didn’t really change all that much. I still don’t like how he became zany rather than wild as a character, but in the ring he stayed the same. Hogan and Sid are in now, with Sid on top for the most of their exchanges, until Hogan manages to get in a slam after a blind tag to Piper. They exchange holds and Sid does an impressive kip up out of a head scissors and hits a clothesline. Sid comes off the middle with an axe handle, but Piper catches him in the gut. Sid is not phased and tags Flair back in. Sid looked really good there, because he was obviously still motivated at this time, with the possibility of a run on top coming up and a match with Hogan at Mania imminent to boot. That kip up was very cool and impressed me. Hogan on the other hand looks really, really slow today. His general movement has looked very un-Hulk like. I wonder if he was carrying an injury or just didn’t care because he knew he was leaving. His mocking and no-selling of Flair when he tries to give him a flurry of punches is pretty damn amusing, if a little disrespectful. Still, I am enjoying this match a lot. There has been no resting or messing around and the crowd is really into it. Sid and Piper are on the outside and Hogan hits a clothesline on Flair, and that is enough to pin him and win the match. It’s another slow, weak looking move from Hogan. I know most of his stuff looked pretty hokey anyway, but this was far more pronounced than it usually was. Also, the WWF champion jobbed cleanly to a CLOTHESLINE? Deary me. This was a good match though, with a clean finish and constant action throughout. Good start.
Final Rating: ***¼
Are you goddamn kidding me? Some big-assed middle-aged women does some stretching, and then the Bushwhackers turn up to ruin their day. They think “aerobic” means flying planes, then proceed to prance around doing their stupid march, as the ladies completely no-sell them. Determined to thoroughly ruin a promising start to a Coliseum release, they play their music and make the women do the march with them. Why did they insist on putting so many Bushwhackers segments on these tapes? I guess it’s better than seeing them wrestle.
The Beverly Brothers & The Nasty Boys vs. The Bushwhackers, Sgt. Slaughter & Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Oh, I spoke too soon. This is from the same show as the last match with Coliseum typically lazy in their content sourcing as they just pluck a number of matches from the same house show / tour. The Bushwhackers and Duggan in the same match? I am in wrestling hell. The best worker out of eight guys is Slaughter. SLAUGHTER! Hayes is on commentary too! He claims New Zealand is one of the smallest countries in the world. A quick check reveals that it is the 75th smallest, out of nearly 250. That man needs some geography lessons. We start with Knobbs and Butch. Knobbs uses power but eats a boot in the corner, and Butch hits a bulldog and bites his ass, brining Luke in to do the same to Sags. We have a pier-sixer and a four way clothesline clears the heels out, as all of the face team do the “Bushwhacker Bounce”. Kill me now. Slaughter and Duggan work over Sags’ arm, and Luke joins in, but gets caught with a knee in the back from Beau on the apron. Like in every other Beverlys match, Hayes asks which one is which between Beau and Blake. It is ignorant and stupid, even more so because they don’t even look alike. Blake has a ‘stach for starters. It is like asking which is which between Hawk and Animal or Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart! Luke gets a tag after a very short heat and we have another mass brawl, which Danny Davis lets slide. The heels are all whipped into each other in the centre and then piled in the corner where they receive a battering ram. The Bushwhackers whip each of them out individually into a double clothesline from Slaughter and Duggan, but Sags uses the megaphone on Butch, and Knobbs gets the pin. Ok, I will begrudgingly admit it; that was no-where near as bad as I thought it would be. In places it was even actually rather good, and had some nice four way spots. They kept it as comedy more than anything else, and it worked. I can’t believe it, but that was a fun match!
Final Rating: **
Shawn Michaels vs. The British Bulldog
We go back to February for this match from Tampa, Florida. These two would go onto have a number of important matches. Michaels won his first IC title from Smith in October of this year, and they had a few matches for the WWF title in 1996, and a famous match in England at One Night Only in 1997. They nearly always have good matches, so we could well be on for a third successive good match on a Coliseum tape. They more often than not threw a bone to workrate fans, and presumably this is it for this tape. Michaels and Davey go with power against speed to begin with, and Davey Boy easily gets the better of that particular contest. Bulldog dominates the first few minutes until a momentary distraction from Sherri allows Shawn to cut him off with the superkick. Back drop and a back elbow from Michaels, before he puts on a chinlock. Michaels had only recently turned heel and doesn’t quite have his singles style down yet, and he was far better taking moves than giving them at this stage. Just as I say that he spills Davey to the outside and hits a clothesline off the apron, so he was getting there! The problem he had at first was the size of the roster, as in the physical size, not the depth. He was so used to working a flashy style as a face and obviously couldn’t do that anymore as a heel, but he was so small compared to the rest of the locker room that he had to use a slightly more methodical, wear down approach. Michaels misses an axe handle off the top and Davey capitalises by slamming him into the buckles. Michaels goes to the eyes, but Davey whips him into the corner and boots him out of the ring, where he rams him into the barrier. Gorilla press from Davey, and he drops Michaels crotch first over the ropes and hits a big clothesline. Sensing the danger, Sherri gets involved and chokes out the Bulldog for the DQ. Davey goes to hit the running powerslam on Sherri, but Michaels saves her at the last minute. A little underwhelming and short, and the finish was a letdown as well, but it was still very watchable. They certainly have far better matches in the future though.
Final Rating: **¾
Tailor Of The Wrestlers
Some little pissy Jewish guy is tasked with measuring a bunch of the wrestlers for their attire. He tries to convince the Undertaker that red or blue to replace the black would look good, and he is met with a hand around the throat and the menacing delivery of the word “black”. Man, I am picturing Taker circa 1992 in all red, and it would look awesome. They should do that, maybe have a brother or something that wears red… Oh… Martel is next, and he has a rip in his jacket. The tailor tries to fix it with pins but stabs him. Martel is less than amused, so the tailor has the cheek to snap at him for being arrogant. Here’s a tip if you don’t want to be shouted at: DON’T STAB YOUR CUSTOMERS. The Mountie says “I’m the Mountie!” and gets met with the response “Yeah, well? I’m the tailor!”. Amusing. The tailor is useless, and screws up Mountie’s suit, because he is incompetent. Fun segment actually, though I don’t know what it was supposed to achieve.
The Mountie & The Nasty Boys vs. Bret Hart & The Natural Disasters
Two Nasty Boy’s matches on one tape is too much. Wow, Bret has his work cut out here! For the second time on this release, Hayes goes off on a tirade about how he has every Coliseum tape and never misses one. Doesn’t he get them for free, what with doing commentary and all? If he pays for them, he is a mug really isn’t he? Lots of stalling at first before the Disasters brawl with the Nasties outside the ring. More stalling and then Mountie and Bret start things off in the ring. Bret outmanoeuvres him and ends with an elbow drop, so Mountie tags out. Earthquake comes in and squashes the Nasties and the Mountie in the corner, then whip them into Bret’s boot on the opposite side. Once again, Coliseum incompetence takes over. They usually put two matches with the exact same finish on these things, or the same bout over and over, but here instead they have gone with two matches that have identical spots. That was the same spot as in the eight-man, only less impressive because there were less guys. Typhoon slows down Sags once we pair off again, and then Bret comes in and goes for the arm. Sags cuts him off by going to the eyes and then throws him out of the ring, where Mountie cracks him in the stomach with a chair. Hayes thinks that if the Nasties and Mountie win, it will be one of the biggest upsets of all time. You would think that considering Hayes was as old as time itself, he might have a better grasp on things like that. Bret makes the hot tag to Typhoon, who chokes the Mountie and then sits out on a sunset flip attempt, crushing his chest. He hits the fat man splash and brings in Quake, who goes for the Vertical Splash, but it all breaks down into a brawl. The Nasties and the Mountie leave, and this is a count out win for the Disasters and Hart. This would have been ok if I hadn’t just seen all of the spots in the last but one bout. But it wasn’t and I had, so we could have lived without this.
Final Rating: ¾*
Repo Man vs. Virgil
This is from October 1992 from Biloxi, Missouri and Virgil is sporting his protective face mask, which he was wearing after Sid Justice broke his nose. Nothing to see here at all, this is the very definition of a filler match. The thing is; this is not PPV, so why did they feel the need to put a “downer” on anyway? If they killed off matches like this, we could instead have had some longer bouts between the more talented workers. Like every Repo Man match, not much happens and you find yourself longing for the return of Demolition and the Smash character. Repo wins with his feet on the rope, so I guess the one positive is that it at least had a finish.
Final Rating: ¼*
Skinner vs. Tito Santana
Back to November 1991 now from Utica, New York. Santana was just a few weeks into the El Matador gimmick at this point, a gimmick that hampered him and effectively ended his WWF career as far as being a worthwhile asset to the company. Santana was “Mr. Reliable” in the 80s and one of the most consistent performers on the roster, but by 1991 he was irrelevant. Skinner mirrors that, only his past success came outside of the WWF and thus didn’t exist in the “universe”. Skinner decides the smart thing to do prior to the match is to pick a fight with the one guy in the crowd who looks like he could take him, calling him a “fat geek” and effectively calling him out. They do some wrestling, which bores Mooney and Hayes, who instead talk about “celebrity referee” Earl Hebner, and then throw some inside jokes about a Coliseum cameraman, who it seems had a penchant for Sherri’s tits. I do recall a few rather gratuitous shots of her amble waps mind. For once I don’t blame them for ignoring the match, because even though I do rather like both guys (but hate their gimmicks) the action has been unfortunately dull. I was harbouring hopes that this would be the tape’s dark horse, but it’s not looking that way. Instead, they have followed formula to a tee, with Tito outwrestling Skinner for the first few minutes, and Skinner cheating to get the better of Santana as things progress. Next we get a two minute lecture from Sean Mooney about not copying the WWF at home, as Skinner continues to exchange barbs with the Hell’s Angel in the crowd. I don’t know if this was a long taping, a poor draw or people used this as a piss-break match, but there are a lot of empty seats in the crowd. You would have had time for a large dump during this though, it has gone on for ages and it is slow. I tell you what as well; if Hayes says “shellacking” again on this tape, I am leaving. He is really starting to piss me off. Actually, he has done well to make it this far without doing so, because usually I am ready to set myself on fire by now. Oh, Tito has won with the flying forearm. I missed the comeback because Hayes wound me up. Meh, there was nothing to it anyway.
Final Rating: *
The Berzerker vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
We go back to the West Palm Beach show for the second time, and the third in total that it appears on this tape. As reluctant as I am to say it, this is a “fan favourite” match and as usual it is one of the least appealing match-ups possible. Fuji gets involved right away and trips Savage with the cane, before Berzerker throws him to the outside and pounds away. Back in and Berzerker does the same thing again on the opposite side, before dropping a few forearms to the chest and then landing a piledriver. They have completely bypassed the shine, which suggests to me a short match. This has actually been quite energetic and all-action. Berzerker lifts up the protective blue mats and slams Savage on the exposed floor, but Savage beats the count back in and moves out of the way of a knee drop attempt. Savage hits a knee to the back, but runs into a boot in the corner and gets stopped dead in his tracks. Berzerker picks Macho up for a slam, but accidentally knocks down the ref before hitting it. Fuji tries to throw salt in Savage’s eyes, but he ducks and Berzerker takes the brunt. Savage comes off the top with the cane to the head and then the top rope elbow finishes things a shade over four minutes in. Wow, no time for breath in that one. The perfect length match for the Berzerker, and the fact it was short didn’t expose his shortcomings. That was actually pretty good for what it was, despite being a fan favourites match.
Final Rating: **
The Warlord vs. Tatanka
We stay in the same venue and the same show for the third successive match, and that makes it four matches from two Florida shows, which is half of the tape. The Warlord was gone from the WWF pretty soon after this and never returned. When the steroid fallout started kicking in, Warlord was a prime candidate to be let go, because, well, look at him! Incredible physical specimen, but he always struggled to channel that and use it in his character; he was the most wooden wrestler there ever was. It sometimes seemed like his knee and elbow joints didn’t work properly. In fact I would wager that his Hasbro action figure had more mobility. Mooney and Hayes are bored again, saying how Gorilla Monsoon could kick the asses of both of the guys in the ring. Erm, ok then. The crowd gets bored of the Warlord’s dull offense and starts singing Native American war dance songs. Yes, SINGING. The match has basically been a chinlock. Tatanka reverses a slam into a cradle and wins. Hey, at least it was another clean win, but that was the ONLY positive.
Final Rating: ¼*
Summary: Standard fare for the era, though probably on the slightly higher end of the scale as far as the tapes they put out in 1992. It started well, with a good all-star tag match, but fell apart somewhat in places after that. If the running order was turned upside-down, I would have enjoyed this slightly more, because it did feel like watching in reverse. If you watch this and go further than Bulldog-Michaels, be warned, you may experience Warlord and Repo Man induced narcolepsy. The first half of this is mildly recommended, avoid the rest.