Title: WWF Greatest Hits
Company: Coliseum Video (distributed in Canada by Quality Video)
Ever walk by a used-video store and think to yourself, “hmm. Maybe they have some WWF stuff in here.” Well, if you look hard enough, you have a pretty good shot at picking up a gem, like I did this summer.
Just before I left Winnipeg, I hit a couple video stores searching for some old-fashioned wrestling tapes. Sure enough, I was able to pluck this beauty from a pawn shop of all places, for five bucks. I got home, set the way-back machine for the early 1990s, and readied myself for what was to be some interesting wrestling action.
We start off this tape with some narration by Sean Mooney. Mooney, for those who will remember back to the days of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, was the guy who did the house show rundowns. Kinda like Mark Lloyd today, but a hell of a lot better.
Mooney’s over-hyping of this tape is good, as he does not go overly wacky with it (see Pettingill, Todd for reference). I always thought that he was one of the most under-rated announcers in wrestling.
Match #1 – “Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich vs. Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Title – from WWF Superstars of Wrestling
Sadly, both superstars have passed away. We are under way as Perfect controls in the corner, until Von Erich whips him and hits a Tornado punch to the gut. Von Erich continues the punchy offence, with Perfect getting a few shots in. It’s around this point that we see Ted Dibiase sitting at ringside, which makes me remember that this was shortly after the Rhodes’s had left the WWF, and Dibiase was transitioning to a feud with the Tornado, an angle that began on the Brother Love show. Dibiase, in an unseen part of the match, bought his way to being the guest ring announcer.
Back to the action, and Perfect ducks a blind charge as Von Erich hits the ring post. Perfect then distracts the ref as Dibiase gets a cheap-shot in. Good building so far. At one point, Perfect hits his standing dropkick (one of the best in the biz), sending Tornado outside. At this point, Heenan gets up on the apron (with the towel), and Dibiase continues to abuse Von Erich. Man it’s funny hearing Roddy Piper refer to Heenan as “Boobs”. Perfect continues to control, until Von Erich reverses an Irish Whip, leading to a ref bump. Von Erich hits the Tornado punch and covers but the ref is still out. Dibiase comes in, nails Von Erich with the IC belt and helps Perfect out. Brain helps revive the ref as Perfect hits the Perfect Plex for the three-count and the title win.
Winner and new champion: Mr. Perfect
Rating 4 out of 10 – This is how you build up a feud properly. Dibiase continually interfering is awesome, as is his post-match taunting, and well establishes his disdain for Von Erich.
Unfortunately, the Dibiase/Von Erich feud was cut short, as it was soon after this match that Von Erich passed away. I believe, in fact, that this was Kerry’s last TV match.
Next up, we get a video montage entitled “Grand Slams”, featuring the Hart Foundation, Paul Roma, Shawn Michaels, Pat Tanaka, the Warlord (dear God does he look like Stone Cold), Jimmy Snuka, Davey Boy Smith, the Big Bossman, The Barbarian, the Rockers (using the Rocket Launcher in a rare scene) and Mr. Perfect. You know, I don’t think ANYONE at that time would have guessed that of the line-up above, only Michaels would still be wrestling in the WWF 12 years later.
Match 2> Marty Janetty vs. Rick “The Model” Martel – Colesium Video exclusive match
This match was a dark match leading into Survivor Series 1990, and was during a test stint where the Rockers wrestled several singles bouts.
We’re joined in progress, again, as Janetty works a standing leg-twist on Martel. Martel reaches the ropes, but Janetty pulls him away, and sets to a kneeling leg-twist. Martel launches Marty into the ropes, but he cartwheels away from a Monkey Flip. Janetty then goes back to the leg with a series of submissions, showing a lot of groundwork I’m not used to seeing from the Rocker. In a classic face moment, one that isn’t done enough today, Marty looks to the crowd for approval before hitting a double knee-strike to Martel’s thigh. Eventually Martel makes it to his feet, but Janetty controls with a single-leg spinebuster. Cool move there!
Janetty continues a variety of leg submission moves, until Martel is able to grab a choke. Martel then controls until Janetty gets a lifting knee smash to get back to work on the leg. Great psychology here, and no, I’m not kidding; this is the kind of stuff that would go over very well on Smackdown today.
Marty continues to work the leg, getting a spinning-toe hold, until Rick kicks him out of the ring with his good leg. Janetty has a pretty good bump outside. Martel takes time to rest, then gets control with a series of slams and strikes. Martel hits a low punch, then goes up to the second rope for a double axe-handle, but getsa nailed by Janetty on the way down. Janetty then controls (doesn’t go back to the leg though), including his back-flying elbow and knee lift. Martel, however, whips Janetty into the turnbuckle, which Marty counters with a foot to the face. Janetty then goes up to the second rope and hits a SWEET second rope faceplant, but only gets two off it. This is why the Rockers kicked ass – they did the kind of moves no one else thought to do in the WWF at that time.
Martel, in frustration whips Janetty out of the ring, and takes time to recover. Janetty makes it back in, but Martel ducks a sunset flip attempt, and gets his own three-count.
Winner: Rick “The Model” Martel
Rating – 6 out of 10 – I wish I’d seen the entire match, because what I saw was hot with some great psychology.
Match 3> Hulk Hogan/Tugboat vs. Rhythm and Blues from Saturday Night’s Main Event
Once again we’re joined in progress as Hogan works over Valentine. He then tags in Tugboat, who continues working over Valentine’s left arm. Valentine works in the standard elbow, and tags in Honky, who gets caught in a bear hug. I’ll note this now – I was watching FCW on ESPNC a while ago, and saw Tugboat (Fred Ottman) and other future WWF’ers such as Steve Keirn on the show.
Valentine comes in to save Honky from submitting, and the two work Tugboat over very well. Valentine hits a swinging elbow and other moves before tagging in Honky. Hogan breaks up a two-count after a falling double axe-handle by Honky. Valentine then takes over, and gets a one-count after some strikes. The heels do a great job of keeping Tugboat grounded here, as psychology abounds.
Honky is tagged in, and more punching and strikes, including some knees to the back. Honky works in a face rake and tags in Valentine. They attempt a double elbow-drop, which misses. Tugboat then makes the hot tag to Hogan, and Hulk-a-Mania runs wild brother! Hogan nails Jimmy Hart when he gets up on the apron, who soon is scurrying to the back. Hogan gets a double noggin-knocker, then an Axe-Bomber on Valentine. Hogan takes over on Greg with punches and elbows. Hogan then hits the big boot and prepares for the leg drop, until Tugboat grabs him to warn him about Earthquake and Dino Bravo coming down to ring side.
We return to action (from what was a commercial break), and Hogan/Tugboat are in control. Tugboat uses the standard big-man moves on Valentine, until Hart distracts, allowing Honky to get his guitar (not the cheap-o Jeff Jarrett kind either) and nail Tugboat with it, sending him out. This, of course, brings Hogan in, who cleans house as the bell rings.
Winners: Hogan and Tugboat (by dq)
Rating: 2 out of 10 – Not much to speak of, but a pretty standard SNME match.
Post match, Hart and Bravo come in, leading to another big attack by Earthquake. ‘Quake does his standard stuff, and hits a splash on Hogan. He then sets up for the Earthquake Splash, but Tugboat nails him with the guitar.
Next up, another video package, this one entitled “Outrageous Hits”. This pack includes scenes with The Rockers, The Undertaker, Kerry Von Erich, LOD, Tanaka, Barbarian, Tito Santana, The Bushwhackers, Shane Douglas (from his little-known early WWF stint), Kato, The Ultimate Warrior, Hogan, Smith, Jake Roberts, Neidhart, Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, Dibiase (clotheslining Michaels!), Valentine, Warlord, Savage, Cruch, Roma, Tugboat (hitting a second-rope splash on a Conquistador), Demoliton, Hercules, Bravo, Bossman, Snuka, Nikolai Volkoff and Earthquake (with the famous splashes on Hogan during the Brother Love show).
As quick and cheesy as this package was, it gives a good look at what the WWF roster looked like at the time. Once again, I’ll note that Michaels is the ONLY ONE LEFT on the current WWE roster.
Match 4> Ted Dibiase vs. Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Title from Saturday Night’s Main Event
Again, joined in progress, and Dibiase is in control as the Warrior “hulks up”, reversing a suplex. The two then slug it out and lead to a double-KO spot. Dibiase heads up for the second-rope double axe-handle, but Warrior punches him on the way down. Dibiase does the 270 flip just for kicks.
Warrior starts to crawl to the ropes, Hulks up, does his war-dance, no-sells, nails Dibiase several times with clotheslines and the flying tackle for two until Virgil interferes to get the bell going.
Winner and still champion: Ultimate Warrior (by dq)
Rating: .5 out of 10 – I was a fan of the Warrior back then, but this clip gives absolutely nothing. Why they didn’t extend the tape by five minutes to give us the whole match I don’t know.
Post-match, Warrior gains control on Virgil and prepares for the Gorilla Press until Savage runs in and hits him with the sceptre. Savage then goes up top and hits Warrior across the throat with the sceptre in what looks like a vicious shot. Savage goes nuts (surprise, surprise) cleaning house on the refs. Eventually, the WWF suits come in (including Rene Goulet and a very young-by-comparison-to-today-looking Pat Patterson. They hold off savage for a bit, but he (and Sherri) continue a pretty good attack, including Savage hitting a flying double axe-handle OVER the refs an suits onto the Warrior. Eventually the ring clears, and after a couple failed attempts, the Warrior finally stands, holding the belt high. This, of course, would eventually lead to the Savage/Warrior retirement match. This was a hot segment back then, and still looks hot today.
The tape then ends with some closing remarks by Sean Mooney.
Overall, I was very surprised by this tape. It’s only a half-hour, but it felt a lot longer, in a good way. This is a cool tape if you can find it, as would be any of the other Coliseum videos.