Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Host: Sean Mooney
Commentators: Sean Mooney, Lord Alfred Hayes, Gorilla Monsoon, Hillbilly Jim, Tony Schiavone
This is the kind of thing that I love to watch: a compilation video featuring a bunch of stuff from television tapings which is cobbled together with almost nothing in the way of a theme. There might be a wrestler getting a few matches in a row, but this is kind of a sampler platter of the company at this point in time. Let’s get to it.
Sean Mooney welcomes us to the show and runs down the lineup, including a profile of the Hart Foundation. Mooney promising that the Harts will “calmly” discuss their recent matches and then seeing a clip of Jim Neidhart talking a mile a minute was funny.
From Miami on January 22, 1990.
Randy Savage vs. Roddy Piper
Yeah this should work. Savage yells a lot to start while Piper stands in the middle of the ring. Sherri offers a distraction and tries to look up Piper’s kilt, earning herself a spank. An attempted kick to Piper sees her leg swatted away, sending both her and her shoes flying. That’s finally enough to get Savage to come off the top with an ax handle to get things going but Piper clotheslines him right back down.
A sunset flip gives Piper two and a not great looking small package is good for the same. Savage tries to bail but gets pulled back inside, only to have a Sherri distraction let him jump Piper from behind. Now the top rope ax handle works far better and a second one connects on the floor to put Piper down again. Sherri even gets in a high kick to the back of Piper’s head (impressive when she’s in a dress and high heels) so Savage can choke away back inside.
Piper catches him on top though and gets Savage in the yet to be named Tree of Woe for some….well something involving Savage’s face. We go old school with an airplane spin to drop Savage for two, who is right back with an airplane spin of his own (and even faster, because Savage is very competitive). Savage is so dizzy that he falls out of the ring, with Piper following him out and hammering away even more. Sherri tries the save and it’s a double countout at 9:29.
Rating: C. The match wasn’t great but the people involved alone was more than enough to make this work. What really stood out though was Savage turning an airplane spin into a contest, which is so totally appropriate for him. It wasn’t a classic or anything, but this is a pairing between two all time masters and that’s worth seeing.
Post match Piper grabs the sleeper on Savage and then another on Sherri. That’s broken up (with the camera getting a rather long/gratuitous shot of Sherri’s dress coming up, which is rather risque in 1990) and Piper grabs a belt to clean house.
We have a fan requested match, with Dino Bravo and Ultimate Warrior both promising to win.
From Tuscon, Arizona (that’s what Mooney says, though everything else I see says Phoenix) on February 13.
Intercontinental Title: Dino Bravo vs. Ultimate Warrior
Bravo is challenging and has Jimmy Hart and Earthquake (in that hideous brown gear) with him. They start fast with Warrior snapping off a powerslam and adds a top rope ax handle to make it worse. Back up and Bravo can’t get anywhere off a shoulder block so Warrior sends him into the corner again. Earthquake offers a distraction though and Bravo clotheslines Warrior out to the floor. That’s fine with Warrior, who chases Hart underneath the ring and….yeah Hart comes out missing his pants.
Back in and Warrior hits a suplex but the Warrior Splash hits knees. The test of strength puts Warrior down and a bearhug makes it even worse. Warrior reverses into one of his own but gets broken up in a hurry. Bravo misses an elbow so Warrior hits a slam, only to come up holding his back. Mooney isn’t sure what’s wrong, apparently forgetting the last three minutes. Some ax handles to the back trigger the Warrior Up and there is the clothesline comeback. The Warrior Splash connects and draws in Earthquake for the DQ at 8:12.
Rating: D. You mean to tell me that DINO BRAVO can’t take a pin from the Intercontinental Champion and the guy who would be WWF Champion in less than two months? In something you don’t get to say very often, Warrior deserves better than that, as it’s not like Bravo has ever meant anything, whether he is in or outside of Canada.
Post match the beatdown is on until Earthquake loads up the middle rope Earthquake, drawing out Hulk Hogan for the save. This was shown during the hype video at Wrestlemania.
It’s time for the Manager’s Profile, this time on Mr. Fuji, who likes his wrestlers to hurt people. We see some clips of Fuji N Pals beating up wrestlers, plus Fuji himself cheating to run a 5K race over Wrestlemania V weekend. This seems to be it, as there isn’t much to say about Fuji most of the time.
Brutus Beefcake is ready for Rick Martel, who won’t leave as pretty as he came in.
Rick Martel knows he is better looking than Brutus Beefcake and has what it takes to back it up.
From New York City on December 28, 1989.
Brutus Beefcake vs. Rick Martel
Martel hits the stall button to start, allowing Beefcake to take his gear off. We get into a mini pose off with Martel not being happy that the fans aren’t impressed with his (better) physique. Beefcake slowly strips his shirt off and Martel finally charges, right into a hiptoss for the first contact about two and a half minutes in. The threat of a right hand sends Martel bailing to the floor though and it’s time for more stalling.
Back in and they circle each other some more until Martel offers a handshake. Note that we’ve had a hiptoss and slam in the four minutes of the match so far, which has felt rather fine as they have kept it entertaining. That is such a lost art today and they are making it work well here. They do shake hands but Beefcake kicks him in the ribs and hammers away in the corner as we finally get out of pre-gear.
Martel’s monkey flip attempt is countered with a kick to the face and there’s a head knocker to make it worse. An atomic drop gets Martel out of trouble and Martel slowly starts stomping away. The chinlock goes on as they don’t exactly seem interested in doing much in the way of physicality tonight.
Beefcake fights up and gets two off a small package but Martel hits a backbreaker. For some reason Martel goes up, allowing Beefcake to shake the rope for the (always hilarious from Martel) crotching. The atomic drop does it again but Beefcake is sent to the apron. Beefcake tries a sunset but Martel drops down and grabs the ropes for the cheating pin at 12:38.
Rating: C-. This wasn’t exactly thrilling with neither of them being that interested in trying. You can stall a lot and get a good amount out of very little, but they weren’t exactly doing that here. That being said, this was about as late 80s of a WWF match as you could get, with two guys in great shape not really doing much. I can always go for that, and the match could have been a lot worse.
Post match Beefcake keeps hammering away and grabs the sleeper. The scissors are loaded up but Bobby Heenan runs in to save Martel from a haircut.
Now it’s time for a profile on the Hart Foundation, which should bring things up a bit.
The Hart Foundation isn’t sure if they’re happy with being profiled, as Bret Hart thinks it is cool but Jim Neidhart loses it over the idea of not being Tag Team Titles. To our first match!
From Miami, Florida on January 23.
Hart Foundation vs. Powers of Pain
We pause for Bret to give his sunglasses to an older lady at ringside before Neidhart and Barbarian get things going. They shove each other around until Barbarian kicks him in the ribs. An exchange of shoulders doesn’t go anywhere but Neidhart manages to knock him down to take over. Bret comes in to pick up the pace and it’s quickly back to Neidhart for an armbar. Barbarian knocks him down though and brings in Warlord, who misses an elbow drop.
The Harts take turns on Warlord’s arm but Bret gets pulled into the wrong corner. Warlord hits an elbow to the back, setting up Barbarian’s jumping headbutt to keep Bret in trouble. Some choking on the ropes makes it worse and Barbarian forearms away at the back. Bret gets his feet up in the corner though and the tag brings in Neidhart to clean house. A air of shoulders put Warlord down and Barbarian elbows him by mistake in a save attempt. Everything breaks down with Mr. Fuji hitting Warlord with his cane by mistake, though it’s a countout to give the Harts the win at 10:36 anyway.
Rating: C. It’s a little weird to see a featured team winning via countout but it’s better than a loss. The Powers of Pain weren’t exactly the most versatile team in the world but they were big and strong enough to be rather good villains for something like this. The Harts made this work and Neidhart could match power with the two of them, though it was only going to be so good.
The Harts don’t think much of their next opponents, who are just lacking experience.
From Oakland, California on August 8, 1989.
Hart Foundation vs. Honky Tonk Man/Dino Bravo
Honky Tonk Man and Bravo have Jimmy Hart in their corner. Bret and Bravo start things off with a hard shoulder giving Bravo the good opening. Back up and Bret sends him into the ropes for a clothesline from Neidhart, setting up a crossbody for two. It’s off to Honky Tonk Man so Neidhart comes in for the shoulders to the ribs. We hit the bearhug, which is broken up in a hurry thanks to a rake to the eyes.
Bravo comes back in for an atomic drop and draws Bret (who was looking at the crowd for no apparent reason) so some double teaming can put Neidhart in more trouble. The reverse chinlock doesn’t last long so Honky Tonk Man elbows him down instead. A fist drop misses though for Honky Tonk Man though (I wonder if his cousin could teach him better) and Bret gets the tag to clean house. Bret scores with the middle rope elbow for two and everything breaks down. The megaphone is tossed in and Neidhart steals it to knock out the villains for the DQ at 8:57.
Rating: C-. What is with this selection of matches for the Harts? I know they have had some better stretches but you can’t show them getting a pin over a couple of Jimmy Hart’s guys? Bravo and Honky Tonk Man were about as lame a pair of opponents as you could have found and I didn’t quite buy the idea that they were going to win. Granted the Harts didn’t get pinned, but Bravo can’t take a fall in a tag match?
The Harts aren’t overly impressed by the Rockers.
From Springfield, Massachusetts on August 29, 1989.
Hart Foundation vs. Rockers
Well ok. Bret and Marty (that could have been a heck of a singles match) start things off but don’t make any contact just yet. We get the lockup with Bret driving him into the ropes and of course giving us a clean break. Hayes thinks these guys have watched tapes, probably Coliseum Video tapes of course, to know what to expect, which in this case would be Jannetty hitting a crossbody. Shawn comes in and starts working on Bret’s arm, with the referee asking if Bret wants to submit. Mooney: “That is something I don’t think we will ever see.” Especially against Shawn Michaels.
Bret gets over to Neidhart, who plants Shawn for a fast two and grabs a chinlock. That’s broken up and Shawn manages to flip away from Bret, who gets slammed down. Neidhart comes back in for a heck of a dropkick and a near fall. Michaels avoids a splash but charges into Bret’s knee in the corner, only to have Bret miss a middle rope elbow. That’s enough for the hot tag to Jannetty and the pace picks up all over again.
Jannetty powerslams Bret for two and the double dropkick gets the same with Neidhart making the save. A clothesline gets Bret out of trouble and it’s back to Neidhart to run Shawn over. In the melee, Bret gets knocked hard into the barricade…and here are the Rougeaus to jump the Rockers for the DQ at 11:17.
Rating: B-. The ending was a little annoying but I get the idea of not wanting either of these two to take a loss. The Rockers were rapidly rising the card and the Harts were almost done with their road to redemption. When in a pinch, have the annoying heels come in to be a nuisance.
Post match the big brawl is on with the Rougeaus being cleared out.
We get a pretty cool look at all of the production trucks that take everything from one arena to another. I remember being fascinated by this when I was a kid.
From New York, New York on January 15, 1990.
WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. Perfect
Perfect, with the Genius, is challenging and we’re in the Garden. Hogan powers him into the corner to start and then slams Perfect down in a hurry. Genius comes in and gets crushed by a flying Perfect, followed by the atomic drop for the rather funny sell. Hogan knocks Perfect into the ropes, with his head getting caught in between. More right hands send Perfect flying outside before Hogan tosses him back inside for the huge bump off the turnbuckle.
Perfect finally gets in a kick to the face for a breather before sending Hogan outside. The threat of a posting takes too long though and Hogan whips him in instead, allowing Perfect to continue his pinball impression. Like any good villain, Perfect goes to the eyes and we hit the sleeper. Perfect lets him go though and heads up for some questionable posing, allowing Hogan to shake the ropes for a crotching. Bouncing ensues to make things work and there’s a kick to the leg to send Perfect flying.
Hogan misses an elbow and gets caught in the PerfectPlex, which means it’s time for the Hulk Up. The big boot sends Perfect outside with Hogan following, where he has to avoid a big chair shot. Perfect gets thrown back in and pulls out a foreign object to knock Hogan off the apron and out cold for….not the countout. Instead, Hogan comes back in and takes the object from Perfect to knock him out. The legdrop connects but the referee DQ’s Hogan at 13:39.
Rating: C+. These two always worked well together, with a lot of that being based on Perfect bouncing around like crazy for Hogan every time. I’m not sure how much of a real threat Perfect was looking back, but he was as good of a challenger as Hogan had at this point. They even left the door open for a rematch here, which I’m sure took up some nice space on the marquee.
Hogan being stunned at the DQ while he still has the object on his fist is as Hogan as it gets. The villains escape the threat of another beating so posing can ensue.
From Sacramento, California on March 6, 1990.
Ultimate Warrior/Jake Roberts vs. Akeem/Ted DiBiase
Now this is the Coliseum Video kind of match I’ve been waiting on. Big Boss Man is guest referee to boost the star power a bit more, with the announcement being treated as a big deal. Mooney points out that Akeem and Boss Man are former partners to keep up the tension. Roberts can’t get far on DiBiase’s arm to start so he goes with punching DiBiase in the face.
The threat of the DDT sends DiBiase bailing out to the floor as we’re already on a breather. Back in and DiBiase gets sent shoulder first into the buckle, meaning that the arm cranking works that much better. Another DDT attempt sends DiBiase outside and now it’s off to Akeem for a change. Some shots to the arm slow Akeem down in a hurry, allowing Warrior to come in for a jumping shoulder.
That’s not enough to set up the DDT though as Akeem backdrops him down. Akeem chokes away in the corner but gets yelled at by Boss Man, meaning DiBiase can come in and stomp away instead. The running crotch attack to the back on the ropes crushes Roberts again but he jawbreakers DiBiase away. The short arm clothesline drops DiBiase and there’s the hot tag to Warrior. House is cleaned and the Warrior Splash finishes DiBiase at 6:47.
Rating: D+. I’m not sure if I can call this disappointing as it’s not like a match like this is going to have very high expectations. It’s a good example of how to send the fans home happy on a video release, especially after the heroes have not had the best time with this one. Warrior barely did anything here, but at least we got the DDT to finish things off.
Post match the brawl is on with Roberts DDTing Virgil and whipping out Damien for a bonus.
Mooney wraps us up.
Overall Rating: C. The wrestling was pretty typical for this era but what matters the most here is the star power. This was a near who’s who of this time for the WWF and I had a good time with the whole thing. I had a good time with it and that’s the idea, as this was the Coliseum Video formula: put out a pretty random collection of wrestling with some star power and watch the money come in every month. Nice enough here, but as was the case most of the time, don’t expect to be blown away.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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