WS913(UK) – Davey Boy Smith – The British Bulldog
The British Bulldog vs. Rick Martel
This match was also released as part of the WrestleFest ’92 tape, and it basically features two guys at a point in their respective careers where they were both seemingly content (or simply limited enough) to only work up to the level of their opponent. Both had been a part of some superb matches either side of this period, but during the 1991-92 years, their best matches were clearly coming against more motivated workers like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Davey of course was carrying far too much muscle mass for a frame his size and years of performing a hard bumping style in Japan had finally caught up with him. Martel, having invested in the real estate business, just seemed largely uninterested and not as enthusiastic as he had been throughout the 80s. And when you put two perfectly fine, solid wrestlers together, you get a perfectly fine, solid wrestling match, albeit one with very little to really get excited about. The match is only about 6-minutes in length too, and with both guys going through the motions, Davey catches Martel with a sunset flip, and that’s enough for the pin. Overall, a rather disappointingly average match.
Final Rating: **
The British Bulldog vs. Shawn Michaels
This is also available on the 1992 Battle of the WWF Superstars tape, and this would be one of the earliest Bulldog-Michaels matches. As you probably know, the pair went on to have a string of famous matches together, Michaels winning his first Intercontinental title from Smith on Saturday Night’s Main Event in October, 1992 before a pair of WWF title matches that headlined two pay-per-view events in 1996, and concluding with Shawn’s controversial European title win at One Night Only in September, 1997. The two had great chemistry together, and you can see that in this match, as embryonic as it may at times feel, and you can really see a few key differences between the Martel match and this one, despite it not being appreciably all that different. The fact it’s about twice as long really helps the pacing of it, and you have a younger, hungrier, more motivated guy in Michaels taking those exaggerated big bumps of his. His enthusiasm for the performance, coupled with that youthful exuberance about where his career was headed really shine through, whereas you could tell Martel was a guy on the descent of his career. With that being said, Shawn was still very much trying to figure out all the kinks in his new heel act here, so there’s a fair bit of chinlocking going on, which drags the overall match quality down a notch, and then ‘Sensational’ Sherri jumps on the apron and starts choking out Davey Boy for the DQ. I know neither guy was really in a position to be doing any jobs for one another at this point, but that’s such a lame finish for the work they put in. Why even bother booking the match if you can’t provide a finish and it’s not leading to anything else? They could quite easily have shuffled around some other matches from that taping and put Davey Boy over Hercules and Shawn over Owen Hart, but whatever.
Final Rating: **¾
The British Bulldog vs. The Warlord
This was nearing the end of a rather fascinating pay-per-view streak these two had going on in 1991, as they were both part of the Royal Rumble match, squared off in singles action at WrestleMania VII, were on opposite sides of a six-man tag at SummerSlam, found themselves on opposite sides of an eight-man elimination match at the Survivor Series, and met once more in a singles outing here. In fact, if you really want to stretch things further, they were team-mates at the 1988 Survivor Series, the last pay-per-view Davey Boy wrestled on before The British Bulldogs left the WWF until his return in time for the ’91 Rumble. They were also two of the thirty participants in the 1992 Royal Rumble match, though Davey Boy was eliminated long before The Warlord made his entrance. For those not keeping score, that gives them a run of SEVEN consecutive pay-per-view matches in which they both featured together, five of which featured physical contact with one another, bookended by bouts in which they both featured but had no contact. That’s an incredible figure, one which I don’t believe even the likes of repeat match king John Cena could manage in his never-ending battles with Edge, Randy Orton and CM Punk, yet Davey Boy and The Warlord did it in an era of just four/five pay-per-view’s per year, not twelve to fifteen like Cena and company. Anyway, this wasn’t such a bad power vs. power match at all, as you’d probably expect with the amount these two were working together, although one really long full nelson did kill the momentum at one point. If they’d jettisoned that and sliced a couple of minutes out of it, this would have had a shot at being the best thing on a tape that already had a Shawn Michaels match on it, believe it or not. As it was, it was just a reasonable
Final Rating: **¼
The British Bulldog vs. IRS
This match is also on the World Tour ’92 release, and it essentially follows the same basic structure as all the other bouts on this tape. Generally speaking, I think most fans recognise that the majority of wrestling matches follow the same shine, heat, comeback, finish formula, but it doesn’t usually matter too much because every wrestler has his own distinctive style, his own character and his own set of moves. The problem here though is that Davey Boy’s routine by this point was very limited, so you’re seeing the exact same side-headlock, press slam, over-the-top clothesline stuff in every single match, which becomes really tiresome. I don’t think I ever realised how much he relied on the sunset flip until now, as he’s done it every time out. I’m actually sick of seeing it to be perfectly frank about it. Honestly, while Davey had better periods before and after this one, during it he just wasn’t varied enough in his repertoire to be interesting in back-to-back matches. Quality-wise, the entirety of Davey’s first solo run in the WWF was dictated by how well his opponents carried their end of the bouts, and as far as this tape goes, the only guy to really put any effort in was Michaels. Otherwise, his opponents simply haven’t been interesting (or interested) enough to drag the outings beyond mediocrity. Case in point, IRS, who goes to his usual one-two punch abdominal stretch/chinlock combo in lieu of doing anything exciting, and then Davey Boy wraps things up with the usual. To be fair, this was actually pretty decent by IRS’ own tedious standards, but that is really grading things on a steeply sliding curve, and it would almost certainly have been better if it hadn’t been quite so long. At around 15-minutes, this clocked in as the longest match on the entire tape. An IRS match! Good grief.
Final Rating: **
The British Bulldog vs. Terremoto
Terremoto is of course the Spanish translation for Earthquake. Like the last match, this also comes from World Tour ’92, and in fact, it followed it directly on that tape too. Very lazy editing from Coliseum Video there. This match also aired on Tele5 in Spain, on a show which quite incredibly saw Tito Santana pin a then-undefeated Undertaker with three piledrivers. No such surprises here, as this is entirely predictable standard house show fare, with Davey Boy showcasing his power early, Earthquake taking over then slapping on the old abrazo muy feunte to really bring the tempo down to a crawl. And then because he’s a heel, he can’t resist going after Andre the Giant, who’s in Davey’s corner, which in turn leads to Andre clobbering him with a crutch before Davey rather impressively slams him for the pin. Just in case you were wondering, Andre was there owing to a previous angle in which Jimmy Hart claimed to have signed him to a contract, which Andre denied, so Earthquake broke his leg. Thank goodness The Natural Disasters came along when they did, because I can’t even begin to imagine how rotten an Earthquake-Andre match might have been by late 1991.
Final Rating: *½
And how about this for a curious factoid? Every match on this tape has featured someone who had been, or was at the time in a regular tag team: Davey Boy with the British Bulldogs, Rick Martel with the Can-Am Connection then Strike Force, The Warlord from The Powers of Pain, IRS from the US Express, The Varsity Club and Money, Inc., and Earthquake with The Natural Disasters.
Summary: Another frustrating throwaway tape for the hardcore collector, as every match featured on this cut-price, pocket money tape has already been released on a video from the regular Coliseum series, leaving fans who own those tapes with precisely zero new material. Unless you consider Sean Mooney’s between match links a valuable addition to your collection? Indeed, this tape was released specifically to cash-in on Davey Boy’s enormous popularity heading into SummerSlam ’92, and as such, was only ever released in the UK. That makes it something of a rarity, despite two versions of it having been produced – a regular Coliseum version, and a version handled by Sports Club. Still, despite all the repeats, British Bulldog fans might want to track this one down. Sure it’s not particularly varied, comes from a rather narrow time frame, doesn’t contain any classics and is only about an hour in length, but believe it or not, this is the only tape or DVD release dedicated solely to Davey Boy.