#WW1902 – Wrestling Grudge Matches
James Dixon: We start off on the wrong foot, with Lord Alfred Hayes chastising Sean Mooney for dressing like a slob and potentially embarrassing him in front of his hoity-toity friends. He really has his knickers in a twist about it. As usual, this is not funny or needed on a wrestling tape. I assume we can still say “wrestling”, you can never be too careful these days.
Papa Shango vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
This is from September 1992 in Brandon, Manitoba, just three weeks after Savage lost the WWF title to Ric Flair. Savage is just not the same guy by this time, his fire and passion are gone. His garish ring gear breaks the TV and distracts from the match, and actually makes him appear smaller than he was. The whole WWF at this point “feels” (and is) smaller as well, so in a way I suppose it’s fitting. Too many gimmicks, not enough wrestlers. I would mention the match but nothing is happening. Does Shango know any moves other than stomps? The crowd just do not care, because this is from one of those monster tapings that went on for hours; they are burnt out. Savage wins with the top rope elbow, and what a dog that was.
Final Rating: ¼*
Terry Taylor vs. Tito Santana
We go to October, this time in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. A lot of matches on other tapes have been cultivated from this taping too. It was also notable because it featured Bret Hart winning the WWF title from Ric Flair, as well as the debuts of Doink the Clown and Damien Demento, the return of Marty Jannetty, as well as the last WWF match from Davey Boy Smith for two years. These two guys have a history as well, as this was the match that occurred when Taylor, as the Red Rooster, turned babyface on manager Bobby Heenan in the 80s. That one was pretty good, but Santana has the same issues as Savage, and is unmotivated and saddled with ring gear that detracts from his work as a performer. Some people think this stuff doesn’t matter, but it does, because it is all about perception. It’s ironic that Taylor was allowed to be a straight-up wrestler in the WWF’s most circus-like era, having been given a naff gimmick years prior when “generic wrestler” was a bit more common. The usual back-and-forth to start, with Tito eventually taking over with his staple early match move; the armbar. They work some spots out of the hold, including a lighting quick crossbody from Tito after Taylor chased him at pace across the ring. Santana misses in the corner, and Taylor puts the pressure on with knees to the face and a jawbreaker, and the crowd cheers for him! You know why they are cheering him? Because he is a wrestler and he is wrestling. Vince has never known what his audience wants, or if he does, he is far too arrogant to give it to them, because he thinks he knows better and that he is right, regardless of public opinion. This crowd is cheering the heel, Terry Taylor, because he is just a dude in trunks and boots being an extension of himself, rather than a plumber, a bin man or a f*ck*ng bull fighter. Taylor slows things down here with a chinlock but Santana fights out and hits a tackle, but misses another one when Taylor sidesteps and sends him to the floor. Santana back in with a sunset flip, but Taylor wipes him out with a clothesline. Swinging neckbreaker from Taylor, but a Vader Bomb hits knees and Tito fires back with punches and a back drop. He hits the flying forearm, but instead of going for the cover, he hits an atomic drop. Tito hits it again, and the bell rings signaling a time limit draw. Ten minutes is a pretty short time limit. I actually think they made a mess of that and the bell was supposed to go after the first forearm, but they covered it well because they are talented pros. Decent match, though nothing special, but this is far and away as good as Wrestling Grudge Matches gets. Seriously.
Final Rating: **¼
The Beverly Brothers vs. The Big Bossman & Virgil
We are in West Palm Beach, Florida, from February 1992 and Coliseum are starting to pushing it as far as the “concept” of the tape goes, because this is far from a grudge match. Bossman and Virgil are not even a regular team and I would be surprised if this match had even happened before. Alfred Hayes brings the “comedy” by referring to the Beverlys as “Blow” and “Bake”. He should do stand-up show. It’s not that bad a match, but like all Beverly Brothers matches, there is not much to it, other than Beau smashing Virgil with a clothesline, which I enjoy. There is nothing to say about the match, it’s just a standard formula tag with a non-finish, with Bossman and Virgil winning on a DQ.
Final Rating: *½
Hayes wets himself because Mooney’s wife has his credit card and is going to use it in expensive stores. Swell. We cut to footage of Mooney’s honeymoon, and his hotel bed has WWF sheets. How cute. His wife doesn’t want to nail him and claims she has a headache. Who can blame her? Mooney loses it when he notices the hidden cameras (though, no explanation is given as to why they are even there. I guess it was GTV or something…), and Hayes thinks the whole thing is bloody marvelous. Voyeuristic bastard.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Bob Backlund
Shawn Michaels is in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas here, and we go forward nearly a year to early January 1993. Bob Backlund in 1993 as a babyface was perhaps the most bland wrestler ever. It was so strange that he came back around this time, because he was just a generic wrestler, much like Taylor, in a company full of larger than life gimmicks. Sure he was a former WWF champion, but that was a decade prior, and the kids watching weren’t even born at the time. His awkward ring style prevented him getting over, as did his moronic walk and absurdly bad haircut. Well, they prevented him for getting over with me at the very least. He looks like a pissed off store clerk who has decided to take matters into his own hands, like Michael Douglas in Falling Down. He is one of the least imposing and threatening wrestlers you are likely to see, though he looks like a different guy when he has a crew cut. They run the Tennessee spot where the heel hits three moves and then the face follows up by doing them in succession, ending with a slam which Michaels bails from, before exchanging full nelsons and counters into the hold, but Michaels eventually escapes and takes over. I wish to insert the addendum that Backlund also looks like a stereotype drunkard when he sells. He sits there with his eyes half open, swaying around and looking all the world like he just had twenty pints and can’t tolerate it. This has been an awful clash of styles, and they have kept it ultra simple. Lots of rest holds and stalling, despite Michaels’ efforts to bump all over. Backlund can’t even do a neckbreaker properly, but Michaels covers it with his bumping and selling. I don’t blame Michaels for walking off (and getting counted out), he is probably disgusted with how crappy Backlund is, and can’t be bothered dragging his sorry ass to a match.
Final Rating: *¼
Repo Man vs. Bret Hart
Back to September 1992 from Landover, Maryland for this. These two have had many contests when they were in the tag division, with Repo Man of course being the former Demolition Smash. Bret was in a brief limbo between dropping the IC title to the British Bulldog at SummerSlam ‘92 and winning the WWF title the next month from Ric Flair. Hayes thinks losing the IC title could make Bret a free spirit, unburdened with the responsibility of being champion. He thinks Repo Man is a riot as well, just loves the gimmick. That’s because he is a moron. Bret schools Repo for a while and the difference in class is strikingly apparent. You can tell this is not a vintage Bret performance though, because Gorilla and Hayes just spend the entire time putting over the SummerSlam match. Gorilla busts out the anatomy knowledge, as Repo delivers an apathy inducing heat. You see that there is a Repo Man match on a tape, and you know it is fast forward material. He is in there with the very best in the company, if not the whole world at this point, yet it is still boring. Bret, thankfully, goes over with a small package. Only any good when Bret was on the offensive.
Final Rating: *¾
High Energy & The Natural Disasters vs. Money Inc. & The Beverly Brothers
A “fan favourite” match! This tape just gets better and better! Not only that but it features no less than four mid-level slugs and then goddamn Typhoon! If they keep this as all Owen and DiBiase, we might be alright. When Earthquake is one of the three most entertaining workers out of eight, you know you are in trouble. Oh and there it is! There is Typhoon’s “fly on my face” sell, FROM HIS OWN MOVE. Hayes doesn’t know who Frankie the parrot is, even though Koko has had him for years. Shows how much attention he pays, doesn’t it? He accuses Koko of animal cruelty by saying Frankie is skinny and then claims Typhoon is “a pretty speedy fellow”. Maybe the two of them should speed off the side of a cliff together somewhere so neither of them can ruin any more of these tapes. IRS goes to his staple of boredom: the abdominal stretch. Eight guys, plenty of time to rest on the apron, so IRS does a rest hold. The Beverlys are absolutely giddy at the prospect of doing nothing and passing the allotted time, and join in the abdominal fun. They are working this like a straight tag, and doing a long heat on Koko, which is incredibly frustrating. Eight man tags can be a lot of fun with the right guys involved, but obviously the right guys are NOT involved in this at all. The hot tag is to Typhoon. TYPHOON! Imagine the Queen waving, and people running into her arm very gently then bumping. That, is a Typhoon clothesline. He nearly has a fit of orgasmic joy because he didn’t fall down doing any moves. One of The Beverly Brothers gets squashed by Quake at the end and pinned by Koko. I can’t even remember which one it was, because I was trying not to look too closely in case I caught a bad case of “being shit” from staring at Typhoon for too long. Oh wow, now the rotund man is dancing. DANCING! This goes into the negatives for that.
[Lee Maughan: No. You can’t give it a really low rating just because you have an irrational vendetta against Typhoon. It was not that bad a match. We are supposed to be objective and rate what we see. You can’t just give every Typhoon match negative stars.]
Fine, split the difference and make it a DUD, but if Typhoon shows up on this tape again, it is starting on negative 5* and will have to work its way up. That is my final offer and compromise.
Final Rating: DUD
Rick Martel vs. Crush
They just keep rolling out the classics here don’t they? We are in Regina, Saskatchewan, the day after the Taylor-Santana match. As is often the case on these tapes, a lot of bouts are taken from a couple of tapings that took place around the same time, and indeed a later match on this tape also comes from this event. Martel is dressed like a yachtsman. I actually approve of him wearing different outfits, because if he is a model then he should be doing some, you know, modeling! Crush had great music and some amazing colourful singlets. It is easy to forget just how big he was, but he towers over Martel here. I actually liked Kona Crush, even though he was awful in the ring, he seemed like he was getting pretty over. The funniest thing about this is Hayes, trying to heel it up, calling Crush “not much of a wrestler” and Sean Mooney ripping into him and basically calling him an asshole for saying it. It is about time someone called him out! Martel can’t catch much in the way of a break due to the sheer size of Crush, so he settles for using cartwheels to counter the big man, which results in him taking a vicious clothesline. Crush goes to the arm, but misses a charge in the corner and Martel capitalises while Crush is off his feet. Martel puts on a chinlock to wear Crush down, but he is inevitably able to power out, and he puts on a bearhug. Martel escapes with the eyes, and clubs away at the back of Crush, but the blows only serve to annoy him. He catches Martel with a big backbreaker, a legdrop and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, then bench presses Martel with ease into a slam. The Model has had enough and walks off, for a Crush count out win. Lame finish, made even worse with Michaels and Backlund having done the same one just a few matches prior. The match was actually better than you might expect, because Martel was a willing bumper for Crush’s fairly impressive power moves. It was not good, but it didn’t make you want to rip out your eyes either, and for that I am thankful.
Final Rating: *¼
Tito Santana vs. The Berzerker
We bounce back to November 1991 in New Haven, Connecticut for this match. Santana has only very recently adopted the El Matador gimmick. I like Tito, but do we really need to see him against the tiresome Berzerker? The timeline for this tape is all over the place. Look, I have talked about a half decent Tito match already, this was worse. It’s a generic lug against worker match, with a lame non-finish. Tito goes over via DQ. Let’s move on with our lives.
Final Rating: *¼
Papa Shango vs. Marty Jannetty
We go forward a year to November 1992 in Dayton, Ohio. Jannetty had only returned to the WWF the previous month. Why do all the decent workers on this tape have to go against the match quality abyss that is Papa Shango? Gorilla doesn’t care about Shango any more than the crowd does, and he ignores commentary to ask Hayes about the Steiners’ arrival in the WWF. Shango dominates this from start to finish, Jannetty gets nothing. As soon as he makes a comeback, Shawn Michaels appears in the aisle. Jannetty manages to clothesline Shango out of the ring, then hits an incredible and very dangerous dropkick from the top to the outside, before going after Michaels and getting counted out. I hope there is a clean finish buried somewhere in this mire of count outs and DQs, because this is getting absurd now. That dropkick was insane by the way, but it didn’t get a mention from the commentators or a reaction from the crowd. Poor Marty. Poor match, also.
Final Rating: ½*
Hayes gets his car towed and we segue into Repo Man at work. How does he find the time to wrestle? He promises some dude he can keep his camera and trailer if he films him for Coliseum Video. Thus, everything is shot on a grainy handheld and gives me a headache. We see Repo stealing a Cadillac and then… Oh God, I don’t even care anymore. How long has this woeful segment and indeed this whole awful tape been going on for? It feels like an eternity.
Kamala vs. Typhoon
Well this just takes the biscuit, doesn’t it!? Ladies and gentlemen, you may be about to witness your first -5* match! Kamala is probably the worst possible opponent for getting anything out of Typhoon. We begin with some shitty tackles and then Typhoon botches A LOCK UP, with Kamala going in for the slam instead. Typhoon just stands there and doesn’t even slightly sell it, then hits his Queen clothesline, but can’t slam him. Typhoon actually gets a star back, because he hits a rather good British dropkick! Maybe the first time ever that I have been impressed with anything he has done. Kamala is chopping him in the belly. Well, it is Typhoon’s most protruding body part I guess. Kamala gets another point back, for doing what can only be described as taking a dump on Typhoon’s face in the corner. Seriously, I have no idea what he was going for, but the very thought of that tickled me. Typhoon hits another piss-weak clothesline and then rolls Kamala up for the win. Hey, a clean finish! Let’s take another ½* off for that and the same again for it being so short. I think I have been rather generous here! Kamala turns face after the match, because after just a couple of months back in the WWF, he was already finished as a heel.
Final Rating: -**
IRS vs. Virgil
Oh God, does it ever end? More IRS now! Why couldn’t we have had two matches from Savage, Bret or Michaels? Why IRS, Shango and Typhoon!? Hayes offers the wisdom that IRS doesn’t like the name “Irwin” and that is why he calls himself “IR”. That is not a typo. This is so boring that Mooney and Hayes stop commentating completely for about a minute, before discussing the rest of the card. They talk about Jake Roberts vs. Randy Savage and a tag match involving Sid and Hogan. Both of those sound fun. Far better than anything we have seen on this bottomless pit of a tape. If you have seen one IRS match, you have seen them all. IRS cracks Virgil in the face with his briefcase a few times and gets disqualified, which prompts The Big Bossman to run down and make the save. Another non-finish. I don’t care, I am just glad it is over.
Final Rating: ¼*
Blake Beverly vs. Tatanka
I feel sleepy, I really do. Why is this happening? How is it a grudge match in any way? The only solace is that Gorilla and Heenan are on commentary instead of the unspeakably horrid Hayes and Mooney. I wanted to write about this, but I couldn’t find the energy to. I mean, it’s Tatanka against Blake Beverly. TATANKA AGAINST BLAKE BEVERLY! There is no point to this. Tatanka wins in pretty short order with the End of Trail. It wasn’t even horrid or anything, it was just instantly forgettable. Surely that is it? Oh no, there is one more to go. I should have palmed this off onto Furious.
Final Rating: *¼
Ric Flair vs. The Undertaker
Finally, a match featuring talented guys on both ends! A fairly rare Coliseum Video appearance from Flair here too. This is September 1992 in Landover, Maryland and Flair is in his second and last reign as WWF champion. This is actually from the day after he beat Savage for the belt. This was a WrestleMania match years later of course. Why couldn’t there have been two or three Flair matches instead of the tripe we have been served? Unless this is a classic, this tape is in dire trouble rating wise. Flair is wearing a rather unusual purple today, which I havent seen him don too often. Flair tries a few tackles, but bounces off Taker, so he regroups and changes tactics. Flair blatantly goes to the eyes and tries chops, forearms and punches, but it just annoys Taker, who stalks him out of the corner. Flair gets sent upside down into the buckle, but back inside, he misses a flying clothesline and gets nailed by Mr. Perfect on the outside. Flair with a low blow and a side suplex, but Taker sits right up. Taker was not exactly a world class worker in 1992, but this has been fun. A complete carry job from Flair though, he has dictated the pace and his class really shines through even brighter when surrounded by the dross elsewhere on this tape. Flair uses a foreign object and puts on the figure four, but Taker escapes and hits a chokeslam. Mr. Perfect saves the title so Taker stalks him, but gets cut off again. Flair chops Taker again, but he ignores it and hits a flying clothesline. Perfect comes in and nails Taker with a chair for the DQ, but Taker just brushes it off. Taker hits the revenge Tombstone on Flair after the match to keep the crowd happy. Good work from Flair, and Taker was able to hang with him and let him lead them into a half decent match. Another awful non-finish though.
Final Rating: *¾
Summary: I must have killed someone in a previous life and this tape was my punishment for it. It is two and a half hours of mind-numbingly dull wrestling playing out in front of largely bored crowds. A strong contender for one of the worst Coliseum releases ever. I strong recommend burning this tape rather than watching it. If anyone who has seen it tells you to watch it, they are not your friend, they are your enemy. A definite avoid.