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Articles

WWE Network Review: Wrestle War 89

It’s the NWA’s Wrestle War ’89: Music City Showdown! That banjo has spikes on it!

photo 5

Jim Ross and Bob Caudle will be calling the action from Municipal Auditorium in Nashville Tennessee. Attendance is reported to be 5,200 in a 9,000 seat arena. Should be a hot crowd then!

The Oak Ridge Boys sing the national anthem.

  • The Oak Ridge Boys!
    photo 4
  • The Oak Ridge Boys will be back later in the broadcast!

Jim Ross says something about an upcoming hair vs. hair match that is no longer a hair vs. hair match

Doug Gilbert vs. Gary Hart Presents The Great Muta

  • Nick Patrick is your referee. Don’t trust him.
  • Junkyard Dog was supposed to be in this match facing Muta, but isn’t. Doug Gilbert is Eddie Gilbert’s brother, and I suspect he will lose quickly while receiving a blast of mist to the face.
  • Eddie Gilbert comes out to cheer on his brother, but serves no purpose as Muta pins Doug pretty quickly.
  • The mist was only a part of Muta’s pre and post-match stuff, unfortunately.

Lance Russell is backstage with The Nature Boy

  • Wooooooooooooooooooooo!
    photo 3-1
  • Flair says Steamboat is the best wrestler on the face of the Earth, but he’s still going to win. Wooo.

Hacksaw Butch Reed vs. Ranger Ross

  • I have no clue who Ranger Ross is.
  • Wikipedia says he’s an actual Army Ranger. Or was. Worked for NWA/WCW from 89-91.
  • I’m going to start making Friends references if I’m not careful.
  • The One With Ranger Ross.
  • Damn it.
  • Teddy Long appears at ringside with a visitor’s pass, taking notes. Ross says he’s unemployed.
  • Reed wins with a flying shoulder block.

Lance Russell interviews Lex Luger

Capt. Redneck Dick Murdoch (wow, really?) vs. Gary Hart Presents Bob Orton in a bullrope match

  • Murdoch is wearing a WrestleWar t-shirt. You know, to promote the event people are already watching.
  • The two men are tied to each other by a rope around the wrist.
  • Murdoch ties up Orton’s legs and pins him.
  • Hart comes in. Shenanigans. Orton beats the crap out of Murdoch and hangs him.

Lance Russell interviews Michael P.S. Hayes

The Samoan Swat Team (with Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Dynamic Dudes

  • Holy late 80s gimmick.
    photo 2
  • Ross says that there’s alternate commentary on the WCW 1-900 number, but never gives the actual number to call.
  • Oh god, one of the Dynamic Dudes is Shane Douglas. The other is John Laurinaitis (Johnny Ace). Wow.
  • Ross says there’ll be a very special video after this match, followed by an Oak Ridge Boys concert.
  • The camera people have only two crowd priorities, hot ladies or total humanoids.
    photo 1-1
  • Dangerously grabs a mic and yells at Johnny that he is “as worthless as a woman from Nashville Tennessee”.

Lance Russell interviews the three judges for the main event: Lou Thesz, Pat O’Connor and Terry Funk

  • Wait, judges? What?

Michael P.S. Hayes (with Hiro Matsuda) vs. Lex Luger (champ) for the NWA United States Championship

  • Hayes is not wearing his rebel flag robe here, so despite him suddenly being a heel now, I think I can root for him.
  • Hayes comes out to “Badstreet, USA” which is sometimes edited out of these shows.
  • Hey wait, where’s my special video and Oak Ridge Boys concert?
  • Hayes says it’s time to show he can go it alone. So he has a manager. What.
  • Hayes reverses the Torture Rack into a DDT in a sweet move.
  • Ref bump. Shenanigans. Terry Gordy comes out and pushes Hayes onto Luger. New champ.

Lance Russell interviews Sting

  • “Woooooooooo hahahahahahahahaha later!” — Sting

Sting (champ) vs. The Iron Sheik (with Rip Morgan) for the NWA World Television Championship

  • Before Sting makes his way to the ring, a bunch of kids run out from backstage. Sting then comes out and seems a little pissed off, like that wasn’t what they were supposed to do.
  • Teddy Long is at ringside again.
  • Sting wins with the Scorpion Deathlock in about 3 minutes. That was silly.

Lance Russell interviews Ricky Steamboat (without child)

  • Ricky says that Ric Flair is the best wrestler on the face of the Earth, but he’s still going to win.
  • At least he doesn’t have that damn baby with him.

The Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Ricky the Dragon Steamboat (champ) for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship

  • Flair comes to the ring with 40 ladies. Wooooo.
    photo 5-1
  • Wait, why are we doing this match now?
  • Jesus Christ, Steamboat comes out with his kid on a pony. STOP. THIS. SHIT.
    photo 4-1
  • I want Ric Flair to put this baby in a figure four.
  • The judges are there to make a decision if the match is a time limit draw.
  • “They” are saying this is Flair’s last chance to win the title. Okay.
  • Chop. Chop. Chop. Chop. Whip. Chop. Chop. Chop. Armbar.
  • Ross says something about these guys aren’t out here posing or something something rock and roll music.
  • Flair wins the title after beating the crap out of Steamboat’s leg. It buckles, Flair falls on top. New champ.
  • Wooooooooo. 6 time champ.
  • Jim Ross climbs in the ring to interview Flair. Flair gives Steamboat huge props.
  • Terry Funk comes into the ring to congratulate Flair. Then doesn’t leave. Hmm.
  • Funk wants a title shot. Flair says there’s a top ten list of contenders that get a shot first.
  • Funk says he was just kidding, then he MURDERS Ric Flair. Stomps the hell out of him in the crowd, piledrives him on a table, beats him with a chair… all while Ross is going berzerk. Funk attacks Ross, yells at the crowd. This is SO GOOD.
  • “Loooooooooook at himmmmmmmm! Look at that horse toothed, banana nosed jerk!” — Terry Funk

Some guy I don’t know interviews Nikita Koloff

photo 3

Mike Rotunda and Steve Dr. Death Williams (champs, with Kevin Sullivan) vs. The Road Warriors (with Paul Ellering) for the NWA World Tag Team Championship

  • The ring is full of cheerleaders.
    photo 2-1
  • Nikita Koloff is the special in-ring referee, but Nick Patrick also out there at ringside.
  • Koloff sends Sullivan back to the locker room.
  • The Road Warriors hit their finishing move but Sullivan and Dan Spivey show up out of nowhere and pull Koloff out of the ring.
  • Road Warriors win by DQ. Lame.

Rick Steiner and Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert (champs, with Missy Hyatt) vs. Kevin Sullivan and Dan Spivey for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship

  • Weird order for these matches.
  • Nice sign.
    photo 1
  • The faces win pretty quickly, but the point of the match seems to be to destroy Rick Steiner.
  • Sullivan then does his rapey/murdery thing towards Missy Hyatt, but thankfully that ends quickly.
  • After the match, Ross says that Rotunda and Williams have been stripped of the World Tag Team titles for abusing a referee.
  • I think credits are supposed to roll at the end, but they don’t. Lots of production problems towards the end of this show.
Articles

WWE Network Review: Wrestlemania V

Time for the Mega-Powers to EXPLODE! It’s Wrestlemania V, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Just like last year.

Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse The Body Ventura in the booth again. Just like last year.

WWF Women’s Champion Rockin’ Robin sings America the Beautiful.

  • What? Saving a buck this year Vince?
    photo 4-2
  • Jesse says she better keep her day job. She loses that job shortly too.

King Haku (with Bobby Heenan) vs. Hercules

  • Heenan has a mic, and berates the humanoids into bowing to the King of the WWF.
  • Hercules goes after his former manager, which Jesse correctly says is a stupid move.
  • Donald Trump is in the first row again this year. Heenan keeps interacting with him.
  • Hercules wins in a short but sweet match between two guys with similar styles. So, is Hercules the new king? King Hercules?

Mean Gene in the locker room area with Shawn Michaels and the other guy

  • Michaels is almost unrecognizable, both vocally and in appearance

The Rockers vs. The Twin Towers (with Slick)

  • The Twin Towers come out to Jive Soul Bro.
  • Jesse seems a little grumpy tonight.
  • Slick shouts that this match needs a black referee.
  • The Rockers are cheating like mad during this match and Jesse is furious. DAMN RIGHT.
  • The big men triumph in the end, because of course they do.

Tony Schiavone is in the locker room area with Ted Dibiase and Virgil

  • Whoa wait, Tony Schiavone?! SUCK IT SEAN MOONEY AND CRAIG DEGEORGE! TONY IS HERE NOW BITCHES!
    photo 3-2
  • Oh, Dibiase has his Million Dollar Belt now.

The Million Dollar Man (with Virgil) vs. Brutus the Barber Beefcake

  • Non-title match, of course.
  • Dibiase and Virgil shake hands with Trump at ringside.
    photo 2-2
  • I don’t like how far down the ladder Dibiase has already fallen in just a year.
  • Gorilla likes to call Beefcake “Beefer”, which sounds goofy.
  • Double count out. Garbage.

Lord Alfred Hayes hosts the Wrestlemania Brunch

  • Lord Alfred! Hooray!
  • He interviews The Bushwhackers, who are eating. A lot.
    photo 1-2

The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (with Jimmy Hart) vs. The Bushwhackers

  • I love that the Rougeaus keep ramping up their love for the USA and each time they do the crowd hates them even more. Which makes sense ’cause we hate dem foreigners. Grrr, love it or leave it, etc. But…
  • The Bushwhackers, from New Zealand, making no attempt to love the US… hooray! Whatever.
  • Jesse sticks up for immigrants and Gorilla takes him to task. Jesse suggests tearing down the Statue of Liberty then, and Gorilla starts to say something like “We’ve already got enough tired and poor…” but then the wrestling interrupts his xenophobic rhetoric.
  • The Bushwhackers won while I was typing out all that.

Sean Mooney gets licked by The Bushwhackers

  • Schiavone would not get that kind of treatment, Mooney.
    photo 5-1

Mr. Perfect vs. The Blue Blazer

  • Mr. Perfect is the first wrestler on the card to come to the ring with no music.
  • Man, both these guys are no longer with us. :(
  • Jesse says hello to his family back in Minnesota without saying they’re his family.
  • Hennig wins with the Perfectplex.

Howard Finkel introduces Jesse the Body Ventura. Again.

  • Jesse poses. Again.
    photo 4-1

Lord Alfred Hayes hosts the Wrestlemania 5K

  • Mr. Fuji shows up. Runs the race. Kind of.
    photo 3-1

Run DMC performs the Wrestlemania Rap.

  • Holy shit, what is happening?
  • I don’t remember this at all. My mind is being blown.
    photo 2-1
  • The Jersey shore crowd is so confused.
  • Hootie hoo?

Highlights of Mr. Fuji’s nonsensical betrayal of Demolition at Survivor Series

Mean Gene interviews Demolition

  • They’re going to knock Foog the Stooge’s stinkin’ teeth in.

Demolition (champs) vs. The Powers of Pain and Mr. Fuji for the WWF World Tag Team Championship

  • This is a 3 vs. 2 handicap match.
  • No entrance for The Powers of Pain and Fuji.
  • Demolition pins Fuji after an accidental salt powder in the eyes incident.

Tony Schiavone attempts to interview Randy Savage, but Savage will murder anyone who comes near him

photo 1-1 photo 5

Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) vs. Rugged Ronnie Garvin (with towel)

  • After announcing the participants, Howard Finkel introduces Jimmy Superfly Snuka for some reason.
  • Snuka leaves and the match starts. What the hell was that?
  • Garvin throws his precious towel to the crowd, and Bravo takes advantage by sneaking up from behind.
  • This crowd does not care. Gorilla says the crowd is in “awe”.
  • Bravo wins while I was looking at Tumblr or something. Garvin attacks Bravo and Martin after the match. Lame.

The Brain Busters (with Bobby Heenan) vs. Strike Force

  • This is the end of Strike Force. Santana hits Martel inadvertently, he bails, turns heel.
  • Brain Busters win, because 2 against 1.

Mean Gene yells at Rick Martel backstage

Piper’s Pit with the returning Rowdy Roddy Piper

  • Brother Love comes out dressed as Piper. HELL YES BROTHER LOVE.
  • He LOOOOOOOOOOVVVVEEEEEESSSSSSSSS YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!
  • Brother Love interviews himself as Piper, which is pretty damn good.
  • Morton Downey Jr. comes out. You see kids, he once had a putrid talk show for a hot minute.
  • Downey is the face between the two for some reason.
  • Finally Piper comes out. While he harasses Brother Love, Downey throws his socks into the crowd.
  • Downey then starts throwing cigarettes at people and seemingly tries to hijack the segment.
  • God, this is painful.
  • Pretty sure someone in the crowd yells “This is stupid!”. You’re right.
  • Piper mercifully ends the segment by blasting Downey in the face with a fire extinguisher.
  • What an insipid waste of time.

Mean Gene has exciting news! Hulk Hogan is going to be in a movie called No Holds Barred! Here’s a preview!

  • Zeuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssss.

Sean Mooney interviews Donald Trump

  • No one gets licked in this segment.

Jesse Ventura is PISSED that Hogan is invading Hollywood and cuts a furious promo

photo 4

Recap of the Mega-Powers meltdown

  • I don’t know where the interview is where Savage goes frame by frame on old footage and loses it when Hogan touches Elizabeth’s ass, but that promo is pure gold. “Ooooo yeah RIGHT THERE!!!”

Mean Gene lets Hogan rant and rave backstage

Jake the Snake Roberts (with snake in a bag) vs. Andre the Giant (with Bobby Heenan)

  • Big John Studd is the special guest referee
  • There’s a turnbuckle pad missing, and Andre uses that to his advantage.
  • Gorilla keeps rooting for Roberts to cheat and get the snake, and Jesse loses his mind at that.
  • Dibiase comes to ringside and steals the snake. Roberts goes after him. Andre attacks the ref.
  • Jake comes back, throws snake in the ring, Andre flees. Roberts wins by DQ.

Sean Mooney is in the cheap seats talking to the humanoids

Tony Schiavone in the locker room area with Sensational Sherri

  • Sherri doesn’t like Rockin’ Robin or Miss Elizabeth.
  • They cut away mid-rant, which seems odd.

Greg Valentine and The Honky Tonk Man (with Jimmy Hart) vs. The Hart Foundation

  • Jesse and Gorilla start talking about Pat Patterson, Jesse calls him a “relic”.
  • HTM hits the Shake Rattle and Roll but instead of going for a pin he tags in Valentine. Mistake.
  • Bret hits HTM with the megaphone and gets the pin. Jesse, as he should, loses his shit.
  • Has every face cheated during this PPV?

Recap of the Super Posedown from the Royal Rumble

Ravishing Rick Rude vs. The Ultimate Warrior (champ) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

  • Heenan holds down Warrior’s legs while Rude makes the pin and becomes the new champ. That’s all I care about. Screw you, Warrior.

Bad News Brown vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

  • Yes! Bad News Brown!
    photo 3
  • No! Hacksaw! Boo.
  • Bad News better not lose to this idiot.
  • Bad News attacks Hacksaw as he tries to get into the ring! Hooray!
  • “Get off my ass!” Hacksaw yells at the referee for the second PPV in a row.
  • Brown gets a chair, Duggan gets his 2×4. They smash each other with them. Double DQ.

Mean Gene interviews The Red Rooster

  • God this is the worst gimmick.

Bobby The Brain Heenan (with The Brooklyn Brawler) vs. The Red Rooster

  • Heenan is still injured from The Ultimate Warrior’s attack moments ago.
  • Rooster wins in about 20 seconds, Brawler comes in and murders him.

Mean Gene interviews poor Miss Elizabeth

photo 2

Tony Schiavone interviews an empty locker room

Sean Mooney is in the crowd asking who will win the main event

Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Macho Man Savage (champ) for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship

  • Savage comes out first. He’s the champ. That’s not right. Jesse correctly points out this injustice.
  • Miss Elizabeth comes out second, to Savage’s music.
  • Savage steals someone’s Hulk foam finger from ringside and throws it away.
  • Hogan chases Savage around ringside and Savage hides behind Miss Elizabeth.
  • Hogan’s cut open.
    photo 1
  • Hogan throws Savage out of the ring, Elizabeth tries to help Savage up, Savage nearly belts her in the face.
  • Hogan goes outside, threatens to throw Savage into the steel post, Elizabeth blocks him.
  • This entire match seems to be centered around abusing women. Eventually the ref banishes Elizabeth to the locker room.
  • This is not much of a match.
  • Hogan no-sells the elbow, hulks up, big boot, leg drop, 1-2-3.
  • Ventura again says he should come out of retirement to put a stop to the Pukester.
Articles

WWE Network Review: NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989

It’s the 1989 Chi-Town Rumble, probably from Chicago? Yep, Chicago!

Jim Ross and Magnum TA are your announcing team. And this place looks empty. Vacant seats everywhere. It says they sold 8000 of 9500 available seats but man, I don’t know about that.

photo 4-1

Video highlights of the wrestlers we’re going to see! Tonight! At Chi-Town Rumble ’89!

Bob Caudle is backstage with Michael P.S. Hayes

  • Hayes’ job here, despite being a participant tonight, seems to be to hype up the rest of the card.

Michael P.S. Hayes vs. Russian Assassin #1 (with Paul Jones)

  • Cameraman finds an attractive lady in the crowd.
    photo 3-3
  • I like Michael Hayes on WWE’s Legends of Wrestling stuff, but I’ve never seen him wrestle. Kinda hard to get behind a guy whose robe is a rebel flag.
  • Dean Malenko must have studied this match because it’s 90% armbar.
  • Jim Ross is trying so hard to sell this as America vs. Russia but I just don’t care.
  • Hayes wins with a DDT out of nowhere.

Bob Caudle interviews Ricky The Dragon Steamboat and family

  • Steamboat is here already huh? And christ he’s got that damn infant with him. PUT THAT KID TO BED RICKY.
  • The kid keeps trying to eat the microphone as Steamboat tries to talk tough about his upcoming match.
    photo 2-4
  • Steamboat says he’s going to win because of prayers and family and for all the people out there working 8-5. Not exactly pumping me up here Ricky.

Sting vs. Hacksaw Butch Reed

  • The participants are already in the ring as we come back from that riveting interview.
  • I miss The Natural Butch Reed
  • “This is the NWA. We WRESTLE here.” — Jim Ross
  • Here’s a shot of our excited crowd of Hulk Hogan fans.
    photo 1-4
  • Sting wins after some rope shenanigans with referee Teddy Long.

Bob Caudle interviews Paul E. Dangerously and some version of The Midnight Express

  • This version is now Jack Victory and Randy Rose. Whatever.
    photo 5

Bob Caudle interviews Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express

The Midnight Express and Paul E. Dangerously vs. The Midnight Express and Jim Cornette in a Loser Leaves NWA match

  • Chicago ladies in the house.
    photo 4
  • Eventually, Cornette and Dangerously are in the ring together, one on one. That goes about as well as you’d expect.
  • Randy Rose gets pinned. You will never, ever see Randy Rose in the NWA again. Ever. Until mid-89 when he returns to the NWA.

Bob Caudle is backstage with Ric Flair (in a tie) and Hiro Matsuda

  • Apparently JJ Dillon left the NWA shortly before this event, and became a front office exec in the WWF until 1997.
  • Wooooooooooooooooooooo.
    photo 3

Rick Steiner vs. Mike Rotunda for the NWA World Television Championship

  • The participants are already in the ring as we come back from that much better interview.
  • Hey, there’s Scott Steiner, back when he resembled a human being.
  • Hot Chicago ladies!
    photo 2-3
  • Steiner does a dumb bit where he has Rotunda pinned then stops to bark instead.
  • Kevin Sullivan comes out and tells Steiner that his dog backstage is looking kinda cute. Then he laughs.
  • Rick wants to go check on his dog, but Scott is trying to convince him to get back into the ring. Of course Scott could go check…
  • God, Steiner is an idiot. He gets Rotunda in a sleeper hold on the mat, and as Rotunda passes out on top of him, the ref counts to 3 because Steiner’s shoulders are flat on the mat. New champ. Sullivan and Steve Williams come in to gloat.
  • What was the point of Sullivan coming out to threaten Steiner’s dog? They used three different pieces of business in this match when it only needed one. Spread out Steiner’s idiocy over several matches or something.

Bob Caudle interviews The Road Warriors with Paul Ellering

Barry Windham (champ, with Hiro Matsuda) vs. Lex Luger for the NWA United States Championship

  • Again, no entrances. The participants are in the ring when the interview ends.
  • Windham punches a ring post and cuts his hand open. His claw hand. So no long drawn out boring as shit claw to forehead maneuver.
  • Another goofy pinning sequence ends with Luger winning even though Windham thinks he won. New champ.
  • Windham attacks Luger with the belt after the match.

Bob Caudle interviews Mike Rotunda

The Road Warriors (with Paul Ellering) vs. Kevin Sullivan and Steve Williams for the NWA World Tag Team Championship

  • So The Road Warriors are faces again? This is like post-2000 WCW.
  • No entrances.
  • Yet another weird ending where each team had a member pinned. Varsity Club thinks they won. Nope.

Bob Caudle interviews Lex Luger

  • Sad Lex Luger is sad.
    photo 1-3

Video highlights explaining the Flair/Steamboat match

  • Wow, backstory!

The Nature Boy Ric Flair (champ, with Hiro Matsuda) vs. Ricky The Dragon Steamboat for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship

  • Only Flair gets an entrance. Suck on that, baby Dragon.
  • Wooooooooooooooooooo!
  • While there’s a lot going on in this match, it’s mostly chops, and painful looking ones at that.
  • Flair flip in the corner! And it almost works!
  • Figure four by Flair. Ref makes him break it after catching him using the ropes for leverage.
  • Jim Ross is hitting the “We wrestle here!” thing hard tonight.
  • Ref bump. Steamboat has the win here but there’s no ref. Flair then reverses it and also gets the win, but again, no ref.
  • Teddy Long runs in as Steamboat gets Flair in a small package and counts 1-2-3. New champ.

Bob Caudle interviews the new champ in the locker room area

  • The faces spray him with champagne.

WE’RE OUT OF TIME! GOOD NIGHT EVERYONE!!!

 

Articles

WWE Network Review: Royal Rumble 1989

It’s the second annual Royal Rumble from The Summit in Houston, Texas.

Your commentary team is Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura, who is wearing a shirt with a shark on it.

photo 3-2

Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (with Jimmy Hart) vs. The Hart Foundation and Hacksaw Jim Duggan

  • The Rougeaus are now from Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Crowd’s all USA! USA! but, you know, Bret Hart…
  • Jesse says the heels have an advantage because they all speak French and the faces do not. But, uh…
  • The announcers again argue about Dino Bravo’s weightlifting record. AS THEY SHOULD.
  • Duggan is so over with the crowd at this point, which is just sad in retrospect.
  • This is a 2 out of 3 falls match, and the Rougeaus get the first pinfall on Bret Hart.
  • Jesse calls out the crowd for chanting USA! for Bret Hart’s team. Nice work Jesse.
  • Duggan scores the second fall on a Rougeau.
  • “GET OFF MY ASS!” Duggan screams at the ref. Nice.
  • The faces cheat with the 2×4 and win the match. Monsoon calls it ingenuity. Boo.

Backstage, wrestlers pick their entry numbers for the Royal Rumble

Rockin’ Robin (champ) vs. Judy Martin for the WWF Women’s Championship

  • Sensational Sherri has a mic! She challenges the winner to a match! Says she’s more woman than both of them put together! Ooo!
  • Rockin’ Robin is Sam Houston’s sister (she uses his entrance music) and is Jake Roberts’ half-sister.
  • Sherri joins the broadcast booth! Yes!
  • Okay, Sherri’s talking skills aren’t the best here. But she’s hot.
  • This commentary is super awkward.
  • Robin wins.

Sean Mooney interviews The Twin Towers with Slick

  • I don’t know what weird thing Akeem is doing during this interview but he does it the entire time.

Mean Gene is in the ring for the Super Posedown!

  • Wait, the what?
  • Oh this timewaster thing between Rick Rude and The Ultimate Warrior.
  • Rude comes out with Bobby Heenan, calls Okerlund “little man” and “divot head”.
  • Warrior hits the ring, is out of breath.
  • Crowd cheers Warrior, proving their idiocy. Heenan pleads his case that they should vote for the best body, despite who they like personally or not.
  • Towards the end, Rude’s all “screw this!” and just attacks Warrior. Because the stupid crowd is biased.
  • Security comes in to help the Warrior, and so Warrior murders them all.

Interviews with Mr. Fuji, Miss Elizabeth and Jimmy Hart

Jesse Ventura is sitting in the King of the Ring throne to introduce the next match

photo 2-3

King Haku vs. Harley Race

  • Two Bobby Heenan heels fighting each other. Riveting.
  • The crowd is dead.
  • Haku retains the crown. That was pointless.

Interviews with Brutus Beefcake, Greg Valentine, The Powers of Pain, Big John Studd, Mr. Perfect, Macho Man Randy Savage, Ted Dibiase and Virgil, The Heenan Family and Hulk Hogan

The 1989 Royal Rumble

  • That was it for the undercard, eh?
  • Ax from Demolition is the first participant.
  • Smash turns out to be the second. So awesome, this little piece of business. As a kid I thought this was genius. I was right.
  • The tag team champs pound each other until Andre the Giant comes out as the third participant, then they focus on him.
    photo 1-3
  • Here’s the results, per Wikipedia, since I’m not recapping all this.
    rr1
    rr2
  • About five minutes after being eliminated, Jake Roberts comes back into the ring with the snake and chases Andre the Giant out. Andre’s elimination stands. Dumb.
  • Savage hits the ring and goes straight for Bad News Brown with furious anger. I guess Bad News got his title shot since Survivor Series?
  • Hogan goes on an elimination spree, at the end of which he tosses Bad News Brown and Savage at the same time. Savage comes back into the ring with murder in his heart. Elizabeth comes out to calm them down, but Savage wants blood. Eventually Savage offers up his hand, but it’s just a regular handshake, no Mega-Powers handshake. Boo.
  • The Twin Towers eliminate Hogan, so poor sport that Hogan is, he cheats and eliminates Big Boss Man. Gorilla defends Hogan. Jesse correctly calls him out on his double standard.
  • Hogan’s elimination kills the crowd, who pretty much tune out for the rest of the Rumble.
  • As do I. Big John Studd wins. Yawn.

A two-minute still frame montage closes out the show.

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WWE Network Review: Starrcade 1988

Starrcade 1988 – True Gritt! Whatever gritt is. Starrcade is the NWA equivalent of Wrestlemania. Live from The Scope in Norfolk, Virginia.

First person we see is a lady. Hello lady.

photo 1-1

LOL fucked up your sign, did you? So close.

photo 2-1

Tony Schiavone is your host. Hi Tony! Magnum TA is your special guest host.

photo 3-1

Jim Ross and Bob Caudle are your announcers.

photo 4-1

The Fantastics (champs) vs. Kevin Sullivan and Steve Williams for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship

  • The Fantastics are looking even more Chippendales-y since we last saw them at The Great American Bash
  • They’re hugging women at ringside. Eww.
  • Time limit draw perhaps?
  • Kevin Sullivan is billed as being from Singapore? How does that fit the Varsity Club theme?
  • Teddy Long is your referee, by the way.
  • Oh look, celebrities! It’s… Jason Hervey.
    photo 5
  • This is kind of a crummy match.
  • Steve Williams makes the pin. I wasn’t really paying attention to the how or why. New champs.

Tony Schiavone and Magnum TA make predictions for the rest of the card

The Midnight Express vs. The Midnight Express

  • Um, what?
  • The first Midnight Express out is Randy Rose and Dennis Condrey, managed by Paul E. Dangerously. Stan Lane and Bobby Eaton are the other Midnight Express, managed by Jim Cornette. I had to look this up because there was no introduction to the match. Both teams hit the ring and immediately starting attacking each other.
  • So Cornette and his team are faces now? Weird.
  • “There’s the Bob Newhart of wrestling photographers, Bill Apter.” — Jim Ross
  • The antics of the two managers is the only interesting thing here.
  • Okay, Teddy Long is the best referee ever. Paul E. comes in and smacks someone with his monster cell phone. Long starts to count, hits 2, then sees the phone and stops. Asks the crowd if it was used illegally.
  • The other Midnight Express people take advantage and pin the Midnight Express people.
  • The Midnight Express and Paul E. then beat up Cornette and The Midnight Express.

Magnum TA interviews Kevin Sullivan, Steve Williams and Mike Rotunda in the locker room area

Junkyard Dog and Ivan Koloff vs. The Russian Assassins (with Paul Jones)

  • So Ivan Koloff is a face now too. Huh.
  • Junkyard Dog is here already? I thought he stayed in the WWF longer.
  • He comes out to some overdubbed theme music… why didn’t they just dub in Grab Them Cakes?
  • If The Assassins lose they have to unmask and Paul Jones has to retire.
  • This is Teddy Long’s third straight match as ref.
  • Assassins win thanks to foreign object shenanigans. Long tries to sort it out but the Assassins hit warp speed and head to the locker room.

Rick Steiner vs. Mike Rotunda for the NWA World Television Championship

  • Kevin Sullivan is locked inside a cage for this match. Varsity Club infighting or some shit. Interesting visual, but who cares.
    photo 2-2
  • Rick Steiner bites Rotunda on the ass several times. Rick Steiner, good guy.
  • Teddy Long is still out there.
  • You know, these NWA PPVs do not do a good job getting you up to speed on what the beef is between the two factions in a match.
  • Shenanigans! Steve Williams comes out and rings the bell as Steiner had Rotunda down for a two count. Teddy Long says “Well, that’s the time limit I guess” and awards the match to Rotunda. Sullivan is released from the cage. Senior official Tommy Young comes out and says “No sir! No!” and as shenanigans are attempted in the background, Steiner gains the upper hand, pins Rotunda and both refs count 3. New champ.

Bam Bam Bigelow (with Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. Barry Windham (with JJ Dillon) for the NWA United States Championship

  • Well, Bam Bam and Humperdink weren’t in the WWF long.
  • Kind of a clunker of a match. Windham wins via count out.

Magnum TA interviews Rick Steiner in the locker room with a non-working mic

  • Mentally impared Rick Steiner is the best Steiner

Dusty Rhodes and Sting  vs. The Road Warriors (with Precious Paul Ellering) for the NWA World Tag Team Championship

  • The faces attack immediately.
  • Everyone loves The Stinger.
  • Dusty looks better here than he did at The Great American Bash.
  • Crowd loves The Road Warriors too. This is weird. Why are they bad guys?
  • Shenanigans! Ellering stops Sting from pinning Animal, so Sting and Dusty win by DQ.

Ric Flair (with JJ Dillon) vs. Lex Luger for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship

  • If Flair is disqualified, he loses the title.
  • Luger comes out to different dubbed music this time, not his modern WCW music either.
  • Wooooooooooo! Flair time! Mr. Starrcade!
    photo 1-2
  • Jim Ross says Lou Thesz is in attendance tonight.
  • Flair woooooooo!s right in Luger’s face, to start.
  • Luger clotheslines Flair over the top rope. These NWA shows always mention the over the top rope DQ rule, but it’s never enforced.
  • We see a shot of Thesz in the crowd. He looks happy!
  • Luger puts a figure four on Flair. That’s disrespectful.
  • Ref bump. For no reason.
  • Dillon distracts the ref and Flair smashes Luger’s knee with a chair.
  • Luger audibly shouts “SHIT!” which is bleeped.
  • Ref gets in Flair’s face, Flair WOOOOOOOO!s at him. Ref stifles a laugh.
  • Flair demolishes Luger’s knee, slaps on the figure four. Luger hulks up and reverses it.
  • Flair goes to the top rope. That. Never. Works.
  • Luger gets Flair in the torture rack but his knee buckles. Flair lands on top of him and uses the ropes for leverage. 1-2-3.
  • There’s still 12 minutes left in this show.

Magnum TA interviews Ric Flair and JJ Dillon

  • Flair hypes the NWA. Big time.
  • Ring announcer keeps mentioning a Bunkhouse Stampede Battle Royal coming up. We’re not going to get to see that.
  • Flair says Luger will never get another shot. Then goes nuts. WOOOOOO HAHAHAHA WOOOOOOOOO!

Tony Schiavone hypes Mr. Starrcade Flair and the NWA, then chats with Jim Ross and Bob Caudle as the show concludes with a hastily assembled montage of the night’s events.

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WWE Network Review: Survivor Series 1988

We’re at the Richfield Coliseum (where?) in Richfield, Ohio (oh!) for the second annual WWF Survivor Series!

Our commentary team is Gorilla Monsoon and (thank Christ) Jesse Ventura, who is dressed as a pilgrim.

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Brutus the Barber Beefcake, The Blue Blazer (aww), Sam Houston, Jumping Jim Brunzell, and Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior vs. The Honky Tonk Man, Dangerous Danny Davis, Greg The Hammer Valentine, Outlaw Ron Bass and Bad News Brown (with Jimmy Hart)

  • Bad News Brown? He’s not going to tolerate this team nonsense.
  • Heh, that’s the first thing Jesse says about Bad News.
  • Valentine now has his Shin Guard Figure Four enhancer.
  • Beefcake gets Davis in a sleeper and he’s eliminated in the first minute.
  • The Blue Blazer comes in, and even Jesse likes the guy.
  • Brown eliminates Brunzell.
  • Valentine comes in and accidentally clobbers Bad News Brown. Brown is all “Screw this!” and bails on the match. HELL YES. BAD NEWS BROWN RULES.
  • Bass pins Sam Houston, who is Jake the Snake Roberts’ half-brother. #TheMoreYouKnow
  • Valentine eliminates Blue Blazer with his cheating leg lock.
  • Beefcake and HTM get a double count out. Lame.
  • Warrior does his thing and eliminates Bass and Valentine.

Demolition (with Mr. Fuji), The Bolsheviks, The Brain Busters (with Bobby Heenan), The Fabulous Rougeaus (with Jimmy Hart) and The Conquistadors vs. The Powers of Pain, The Young Stallions, The Rockers, The Hart Foundation and The British Bulldogs

  • That’s a lot of dudes. Only one of them still wrestles sometimes.
  • When a team member goes, the whole tag team is eliminated.
  • The Dynamite Kid has a sweet ‘stache going on.
  • Man, Arn and Tully were just in the NWA not long ago.
  • Jesse can’t tell the Rougeaus apart.
  • And they’re the first team gone as Bret Hart pins Raymond.
  • Arn hits a beautiful spinebuster on Shawn Michaels. Everything Arn does looks like it would hurt, and hurt bad. He’s always so crisp and quick.
  • Boris Zukoff eliminates The Young Stallions.
  • Blanchard gets tagged while one of the Powers of Pain is in the ring, and immediately tags out to Volkoff. The crowd HATES him for that. Booooooooooooo.
  • The Rockers eliminate The Bolsheviks.
  • I know there’s a lot of people out there, but this match is entirely too long.
  • The Brain Busters eliminate The Hart Foundation in a cool spot.
  • The Brain Busters and The Rockers both get disqualified because suddenly they hate each other and can’t stop fighting.
  • How the shit are The Conquistadors still out there?
  • I know Jesse is a “heel” announcer and all, but he will give proper credit to the faces when they do something amazing, and that’s what makes him one of the best.
  • Demolition eliminates The British Bulldogs.
  • Mr. Fuji keeps jumping up on the ring apron, waving his cane at the ring. Odd.
  • Then he pulls the ropes down, leading to Demolition getting counted out. Hmm.
  • Fuji attacks the champs, Demolition beats up Fuji. When you fire your manager, you become faces.
  • The Powers of Pain leave the ring and are all “Hey look, a manager”. Heel turn. Bizarre.
  • As this is happening, The Conquistadors are going nuts in the ring as the referee counts, hoping they win by count-out.
  • Fuji trips up a Conquistador, Powers of Pain win and celebrate with their new manager. Crowd is confused.
  • Demolition comes back out. Slobberknocker. Play Demolition’s music. Crowd is super-confused.
  • I think half the crowd thinks that Fuji became a good guy from all this.
  • Official time: 42:05. Long match, confusing ending.

Sean Mooney interviews Bad News Brown

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  • “Let me tell you beer-belly sharecroppers one thing…” — Bad News Brown
  • Brown says there was a conspiracy against him.
  • He wants a title shot. He deserves one.
  • Brown fumbles some of his lines, but recovers each time like a champ, usually by making a face.
  • This interview rules.

Mean Gene interviews The Powers of Pain and Mr. Fuji

  • Okerlund is irate and disgusted at the shocking turn of events.
  • Fuji says that Demolition got the swell heads and the big britches.
  • Gene tries to get a comment from one of the Powers, but that doesn’t work out so well.
  • This heel/face turn with these teams could have been handled so much better.

Mean Gene attempts to interview the heels of the next match, including Bobby Heenan and Frenchy Martin

  • Mr. Perfect and Harley Race have matching Survivor Series t-shirts.

Sean Mooney interviews the Mega-Powers team

  • This is a long intermission.
  • No Mega-Powers handshake. Boo.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Jake the Snake Roberts, Scott Casey (who?), Ken Patera (ugh) and Tito Santana vs. Andre the Giant, Dino Bravo, Mr. Perfect, Harley Race and Ravishing Rick Rude

  • Scott Casey was a glorified jobber. How is he on this card? How did The Conquistadors last until the finals in the previous match? What the heck Vince? Surely you had more talent than this back then.
  • I guess Andre’s run as top heel is over.
  • Jesse reminds us that Rude is the first winner of the Jesse The Body Award.
  • The announcers get into an argument about Dino Bravo’s weightlifting record again.
  • One of the best things about the Gorilla/Jesse team is that Jesse will ask Gorilla about things “from his day” during lulls in the action. Those interactions are always the best.
  • Rude Awakening on Patera. See ya.
  • Bravo eliminates Scott Casey.
  • Santana eliminates Harley Race, then gets murdered by Andre.
  • Gorilla is always super critical of his son when he’s the referee of a match, not acknowledging that they’re related of course.
  • Duggan grabs his 2×4 and clobbers Dino Bravo. DQ. Nice job, idiot.
  • Duggan says “BULLSHIT!” so loud that he has to be bleeped. You’re an idiot, Duggan. Go away.
  • So it’s now 4 on 1. For a long time.
  • Jake pulls down Rude’s tights, exposing Rude’s unblurred ass. Then DDT. 1-2-3.
  • Andre comes in to murder Roberts, including biting Jake’s neck. Andre gets DQed for not not-murdering Roberts.
  • Mr. Perfect comes in and immediately pins Roberts. That was a weird way to end things.

Mean Gene interviews the enemies of the Mega-Powers

  • I don’t remember the Red Rooster’s heel turn.
  • Oh, he started out as a heel. Good lord, why? It’s a terrible gimmick for a face, but as a heel?

Ted DiBiase, The Red Rooster, The Big Boss Man, Akeem and King Haku vs. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Koko B. Ware, Hercules and Hillbilly Jim

  • Hogan gets his own, separate entrance. Jerk.
  • Savage is wearing his Mega-Powers tights, Hogan is not. Jerk.
  • This must be an old file because Koko B Ware has “W W F” on his tights, which was perfectly visible at Wrestlemania 4, but is blurred out here.
  • Savage drops the elbow on the Rooster. See ya.
  • I like how, to sell the gimmick of Akeem The African Dream, he has a map of Africa on his tights. Genius.
  • Speaking of Akeem, he eliminates Hillbilly Jim.
  • Big Boss Man eliminates Koko.
  • Hulkster in peril for a while, then hulks up, brother, and tags Hercules. Virgil distracts him and DiBiase pins Herc.
  • Savage sneaks in and pins DiBiase. DiBiase’s ass was also exposed, like Rude’s earlier, but is blurred out. Maybe he had “W W F” tattooed on it?
  • Big Boss Man is counted out, because he handcuffs Hogan to the ring and starts beating him with a nightstick.
  • Bossman gives no fucks about this, comes in the ring and starts clobbering Savage too. Akeem shoves the ref out of the way and gets DQed. It’s down to Savage and King Haku.
  • Savage looking for Hogan. No Hogan. It begins…
  • Elizabeth frees Hogan. Hogan tagged. Big boot. Leg drop. 1-2-3.
  • Hogan hugs Elizabeth and BOOM, Savage gets that murderous look in his eyes.
    photo7
  • He continues to look at Hogan with furious anger as the show fades to black.
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WWE Network Review: The Great American Bash 1988

It’s the NWA Great American Bash from 1988, The Price For Freedom! Live from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, MD on July 10th, 1988.

Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are your commentary team.

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Sting and Nikita Koloff vs. Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard (champs, with JJ Dillon) for the NWA World Tag Team Championship

  • Sting is WAY over with this crowd.
  • The crowd is DEAFENING by the way. There’s actually some staff member there trying to get them to quiet down.
  • Koloff has gained a full head of hair and seems to have lost some weight since Bunkhouse Stampede.
  • Just a hunch… this ends in a time limit draw.
  • A few blown spots in this match but man, they all cover them like champs.
  • Arn Anderson hits a DDT on Koloff that’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. I mean, I audibly gasped when he hit it. Even the crowd was like “Goddamn, that was sweet!”
  • Hey, guess what? Time limit draw. Great match though.

The Midnight Express (with Jim Cornette) vs. The Fantastics (champs) for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship

  • Another tag match? Another championship tag match? Spread these things out, man.
  • Jim Cornette will be strapped into a straight jacket and locked inside a steel cage OVER THE RING for the duration of this match.
  • I have no idea who The Fantastics are. None.
  • Cornette is going insane about being locked up. The man is awesome.
    photo 3
  • The match is what it is. Neither of these teams really does it for me, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do.
  • But if you really like the abdominal stretch, this match is for you.
  • Ref bump. Foreign object. Punch. Midnight Express wins. New champs.
  • Cornette is released, and The Fantastics attack him, even though he had nothing to do with this.

A cage is being constructed around the ring.

  • This is a triple cage setup, much like the one that came about in Ready To Rumble and then was used at Slamboree 2000.
    photo 2
  • Event staff is running around like crazy.
  • Now would be the time to maybe to a backstage interview, or run some video packages. But nope, let’s watch this cage get built.
  • Someone named Precious is approaching the ring.
    photo 1
  • I have a hunch that Kevin Sullivan is somehow involved in this…

The Tower Of Doom: The Road Warriors, Steve Williams, Jimmy Garvin and Ron Garvin vs. Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda, Al Perez, The Russian Assassin and Ivan Koloff

  • I’m just going to let Wikipedia explain the rules of this thing: Two wrestlers started the match out on top of the cage for a two minute period. After that period, a trap door in both the top-tier cages opened for fifteen seconds which allowed a locked wrestler to get down into the cage below with all the other wrestlers. The object of the match was to unlock the door and escape out to the floor. Jimmy Garvin’s valet Precious held the key to the door.
  • So yeah.
  • I think I see head of security Doug Dillinger escorting the faces out to the ring.
  • The show has screeched to a halt with all this preparation.
  • Dr. Death Steve Williams has a sweet, bushy ponytail.
  • Jim Ross is losing his mind with excitement, but I still have no clue what’s happening here.
  • So Garvin’s team wins, but then Sullivan locks the cage with himself and Precious inside and he, um… attempts to… get her. And then attempts to murder her via strangulation. The faces manage to get in and rescue her, but that was really uncomfortable. Sullivan is not arrested for some reason, even though a worldwide PPV audience just saw him attempt to rape and murder her.
  • Let’s please forget this ever happened.

Barry Windham (champ, with JJ Dillon) vs. The American Dream Dusty Rhodes for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship

  • Dusty looks terrible. Not that he’s ever looked great, but I’m a little concerned for his health here.
  • The Tower of Doom match sucked the life out of this crowd.
  • Most of this match is Windham holding his hand on Dusty’s forehead. #theclaw
  • Ref bump.
  • Dusty hits his elbow, covers, no ref to make the count. Ronnie Garvin hits the ring for some reason, turns heel by punching Dusty. Windham covers, 1-2-3.
  • Steve Williams hits the ring to check on the “unconscious” Dusty.
  • Bob Caudle is in the locker room with Ronnie Garvin, who is showering himself with a briefcase full of money given to him by JJ Dillon and Gary Hart.

The Total Package Lex Luger vs. The Nature Boy Ric Flair (champ, with JJ Dillon) for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship

  • Lex Luger’s intro music is the same as he would use in the Nitro era. WWE Network must have dubbed that in, yes? There’s no way he used the same music for 15 years.
  • Wooooooooooooooooooooo! The five time heavyweight champion is here!
  • Flair is wearing white trunks with yellow kneepads. Luger is wearing yellow trunks with white kneepads.
  • Luger powers out of a move then flexes and yells at Ric, who looks terrified. They would repeat this bit 100 times over the next 15 years.
  • “You got a problem, fat boy?” Flair asks a fat boy in the crowd.
  • Flair goes up to the top rope. That never works, ‘naitch.
  • Flair flop!
  • Flair goes for the figure four. Luger reverses it.
  • Flair goes up to the top rope again. Dammit Nature Boy, do you ever watch your own matches?
  • Luger’s entire offense consists of a punch, a clothesline and a gorilla press slam.
  • Flair gets whipped into the corner. Flair flip!
  • Outside the ring. Shenanigans. JJ gets involved and busts Luger’s head open.
  • Oh man, so… all night they’ve been showing these ancient dudes sitting at ringside, saying they’re the Maryland State Athletic Commissioners and how it’s so great how they manage all the boxing and wrestling in the state. One of them gets the ref’s attention as Luger has Flair in the torture rack and the bell sounds. Crowd thinks Luger wins. Luger thinks Luger wins. Sting and Nikita Koloff come out to celebrate with Luger. Flair is announced as the winner, due to the “severe lacerations” on Luger’s forehead. Crowd goes nuts and starts chanting “Bullshit!”
  • Next PPV: Lex Luger vs. Maryland

Such a hot crowd at the start of this PPV, but that Tower of Doom match crushed it, almost irreparably. And talk about shenanigans at the end there, wow, that took some balls. Still, some solid matches on this card. An enjoyable show.

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WWE Network Review: Summerslam 1988

SummerSlam ’88. The first in the series. From Madison Square Garden in New York. Gorilla Monsoon and Superstar Billy Graham are your commentary team, as Jesse Ventura has duties elsewhere in this show.

The very first shot is of the Twin Towers. Bummer. :(

The Fabulous Rougeaus Brothers vs The British Bulldogs (with Matilda)

  • The Rougeaus are waving American flags and are announced to soon be relocating to the United States. Boooo, says the New York crowd. boo.
  • Funny how the Brits are the faces and the Canadians are the heels. We never fought a war against Canada.
  • The Rougeaus hug. New Yorkers hate hugs. Boooooooo.
  • Two face commentators isn’t working for me.
  • Matilda is seated at ringside, giving no fucks.
    photo 5-2
  • Rougeous try a USA! USA! Chant. “Booooooo!” says New York.
  • If you’re drinking every time Superstar says “No question about it” you are completely drunk at this point.
  • Time limit draw. Lame.

Footage of Brutus Beefcake getting murdered by Outlaw Ron Bass

Bad News Brown vs. Ken Patera

  • Bad News Brown wins clean with the Ghetto Blaster. He’s awesome. The match is not.

There’s a commercial for a Sugar Ray Leonard boxing match at Caesars Palace coming up in November 1988.

  • The hell? This is some bizarre cross promotion.

Mean Gene interviews The Mega Powers

  • They tell everyone that Elizabeth is their secret weapon. Not exactly a secret anymore, is it?
  • The Mega Powers handshake is the greatest thing in wrestling from this era.

Ravishing Rick Rude (with Bobby Heenan) vs. Junkyard Dog

  • Nice Kodak, ma’am.
    photo 4-2
  • Rude has JYD airbrushed on his tights. I can’t tell how that’s supposed to be insulting…
  • JYD comes out to Grab Them Cakes. Fuck yes.
  • Rude pulls down his tights to reveal more tights, this one with Jake Roberts’ wife on them. Instantly, Jake hits the ring to annihilate Rude. Rude wins by DQ.
  • That’s unfair to use JYD just to further an angle. The man deserved better.

Mean Gene interviews The Honky Tonk Man with Jimmy Hart

  • HTM asks for any opponent, since Beefcake can’t go.
  • Ugh, I remember where this is going now.

The Bolsheviks (with Slick) vs. The Powers of Pain (with The Baron)

  • Nikolai sings the national anthem, yessssss.
  • Wait, the Baron? Who the hell is The Baron?
  • Oh , it’s Baron von Raschke. Geez, he was in the WWF for all of 12 seconds.
  • Everything out of Superstar Billy Graham’s mouth at this point is “Cliche cliche cliche, Gorilla, cliche cliche brother!”
  • Powers of Pain win via pinfall, but I don’t think the legal man was in the ring.

Brother Love! Hell yes!!

  • He looooooooves youuuuuuuu!
    photo 3-2
  • I want a Brother Love DVD. I eat this stuff up. So good.
  • His guest is Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Duggan is going to ruin this.
  • “Rafthur blruff yooooooooooooo noodle grahhhhh.” — Hacksaw Jim Duggan
  • Brother Love says Hacksaw has no love. Hacksaw says something and makes yoooooooo noises.
  • That was pointless. Entertaining, but pointless.

The Honky Tonk Man (with Jimmy Hart) vs Mystery Opponent for the Intercontinental Championship

  • HTM has been champ for two years.
  • But crap, here comes The Ultimate Warrior.
  • He wins the belt in about 30 seconds. Boo.

Heenan crashes the broadcast booth with an update on what the Mega Powers and the Mega Bucks are up to.

The Rock Don Muraco (without Superstar or proper entrance theme) vs. Dino Bravo (with Frenchy)

  • Heenan is still in the booth, giving Superstar hell about everything. Yes.
  • Sloppy match that the announcers barely talked about because they were all arguing.

Sean Mooney interviews Jesse the Body Ventura

  • Sean Mooney!  Hey, where’s Craig DeGeorge?

The Hart Foundation vs. Demolition (with Jimmy Hart and Mr. Fuji) for the World Tag Team Championship

  • So the Hart Foundation are faces now? Huh.
  • Oh right, you become good guys when you fire your manager.
  • Textbook tag team wrestling match.
  • Megaphone hits Bret Hart, Demolition pins and retains.

Mean Gene with The Honky Tonk Man, who’s super pissed and wants to be left alone

The Big Boss Man (with Slick) vs Koko B Ware (with Frankie and Piledriver entrance theme)

  • Big Boss Man wrestles with keys and handcuffs on his belt, and a badge on his shirt. That’s not legal.
  • Superstar calls Koko B Ware “Little Koko Man”
  • Big Boss Man attempts a high risk maneuver. Nope.
  • Little Kokoman hits a top rope drop kick, but BBM kicks out, no sweat.
  • Actually there’s a lot of sweat.
  • BBM wins after his sidewalk slam, or whatever the hell that finishing move is.

Sean Mooney with Ultimate Warrior in the locker room

  • Holy god, he said something about parts unknown, a spaceship, and the little warriors.  And growled a lot. That. Was. Insane.

Hercules (without Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake the Snake Roberts

  • Hey, I bet Rick rude shows up at some point.
  • Did Hercules and Junkyard Dog ever have a battle of the chains?
  • This is the second Jake Roberts match in a row I’ve seen that’s just a 20 minute rear chin lock.
  • Jake hits a DDT out of nowhere and scores the win.
  • No Rude. Huh.

Recap of the events leading to our main event

The Mega Powers (with Elizabeth) vs The Mega Bucks (with Virgil and Bobby Heenan) with special guest referee Jesse the Body Ventura

  • Interesting that there was no interview with the heels on this entire show.
  • Jesse is totally not dressed like a ref. he changes the positions of the tag ropes and gets in the face of Hogan
  • The heels take perfect advantage of Jesse’s over zealousness to enforce the rules.
  • Double clothesline for Hogan and DiBiase. Always a fun spot.
  • Things look dire for the Mega Powers. So Elizabeth takes her skirt off.
    photo 2-2
  • Everyone is stunned.
    photo 1-2
  • This gives the faces time to recover. Savage hits the elbow on DiBiase, Hogan hits the leg drop. 1-2-3.

So, the main event is beyond silly. But that’s the WWF at this point in time. I still find it really bizarre that the main event villains didn’t get one lousy interview during the entire show, but they have that Sugar Ray Leonard PPV commercial FOUR TIMES. Also, Superstar Billy Graham, never again please.

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WWE Network Review: Bunkhouse Stampede 1988

I was a hardcore WWF fan as a kid and as a result I have absolutely no knowledge of NWA/WCW events before the start of WCW Monday Nitro. So, thanks to the WWE Network, let’s see what the heck was going on in Bunkhouse Stampede ’88.

January 24, 1988 from the Nassau Coliseum in New York, it’s the NWA Presents The 3rd Annual Bunkhouse Stampede Finals. Your commentators are Bob Caudle and good ol’ Jim Ross, both in tuxedos.

photo 3-1

Your ring announcer is Tony Schiavone, also in a tux, but with a sweet mullet and ‘stache.

photo 4-1

Beautiful Bobby Eaton (with Jim Cornette) vs. Nikita Koloff (champ) for the NWA World Television Title

  • The Soviet is the face in this match? WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?! UP IS DOWN! BLACK IS WHITE!
  • Sorry. Like I said, I don’t have any knowledge of this era.
  • Eaton and Cornette draw heat from the crowd by hugging before the match. Hugs! Take that, New York!
  • Beautiful Bobby? More like Beautiful Blobby, am I right? Heh, see because, he’s kinda pudgy here…
  • Schiavone announces to the crowd the match’s elapsed time.
  • You can hear Cornette yelling at everyone very clearly throughout the match, which is fun. The crowd eats it up, even starting a “Cornette sucks!” chant on several occasions.
  • Time limit draw, which is a shitty way to end a match, but it was entertaining for an old-school bout. Champ retains the title.
  • Hijinks afterwards as Bobby Eaton and his tag partner Sweet Stan Lane beat down Koloff with Cornette’s fuzzy tennis racket.

The Future Living Legend Larry Zybszko (with Baby Doll) vs. Barry Windham (champ) for the Western States Heritage Championship

  • Territorial titles. Kinda miss that.
  • Man, imagine “stereotypical 1980s New Yorker”. The crowd is all that guy.
    photo 2-1
  • Zybszko is a great whiny heel, and gets pissed off when he gets bested in an exchange of moves. Very entertaining to watch him here.
  • Windham uses the ring post as a weapon against Zybszko’s junk, and people in Michigan sweatshirts in the crowd lose their minds.
    photo 5-1
  • Ref bump, shenanigans, Windham gets hit with Baby Doll’s high heel shoe. Pinfall. New champ.

The video goes wonky and abruptly we cut to Ric Flair vs. Road Warrior Hawk already in progress for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship

  • A WWE Network graphic reads “Presented in the most complete form possible, due to original production technical difficulties.
  • An interesting dilemma. So there’s a problem with the master tape? Could they not find a first generation copy out there somewhere and edit in the missing footage? That would make that disclaimer more relevant. Or does that footage just not exist at all?
  • J.J. Dillon is at ringside.
  • Flair hits a low blow, and JR says “That’s what you call graspin’.” Is Dusty suddenly feeding JR lines?
  • Flair hits another low blow about five minutes later. The N64 wrestling games spoiled me a bit because I always expect to hear a little “ding!” sound when this happens.
  • Flair goes for the figure four way too early in the match. There’s an hour time limit, ‘Naitch. Hawk reverses it.
  • Flair goes up to the top rope and gets caught by Hawk. Jesus, this move didn’t work all the way back in 1988 either? Did he ever hit a move from the top rope successfully?
  • Ref bump. Surprisingly this does not lead to shenanigans as the two just continue to wrestle. Flair is bleeding however.
  • Finally some shenanigans! Hawk hits a superplex and goes for the pin. Dillon comes in and very gently taps Hawk with a padded chair. Hawk goes after Dillon and Flair grabs the chair. Again, a gentle tap of the chair and the ref suddenly crawls in the ring for a two count.
  • Hawk is no-selling everything at this point.
  • Flair goes for a third chair shot, but the ref is right there this time and calls for the bell. Hawk wins by DQ, Flair keeps the belt.

As a cage is constructed around the ring, the credits are rolled. Wanna make sure they get shown, I guess.

The Bunkhouse Stampede

  • To be eliminated you have to be thrown over the top of the cage. Hmm, good luck with that. So a reverse cage match/super battle royal?
  • You can also be eliminated by being thrown through the cage door.
  • The announcers are super confused right now as to what to talk about while the cage is built.
  • The participants are Dusty Rhodes, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Ivan Koloff, The Warlord, Lex Luger, The Barbarian, and Road Warrior Animal
  • The Warlord is wearing a lifeguard t-shirt. Stark contrast to, you know, being some kind of Nordic Warrior.
  • All the guys are wearing some kind of casual clothes actually. Weird.
  • Bell rings and… chaos.
  • Ivan Koloff is busted open.
  • Road Warrior Animal is also bleeding. The Barbarian is sucking the blood out of his forehead. Gross.
  • Dusty gets a belt and starts beating the hell out of everyone. Crowd goes nuts.
  • Pretty sure everyone is bleeding profusely at this point. The Michigan people are now concerned.
    photo 1-1
  • Ivan Koloff is the first to be eliminated, over the top of the cage. Warlord and Animal go next.
  • Barbarian is now sucking blood out of Dusty Rhodes’ arm. The hell is the deal with this guy? Don’t do that.
  • Luger, Anderson and Blanchard all go out together.
  • Hey, one of the Hebners is a referee. What the… (Wikipedia says it’s Earl Hebner).
  • Dusty wins after sending Barbarian over the top of the cage with his super powerful elbow.

I don’t know if this is considered a good show or not, but as my first experience with this era of NWA/WCW it was pretty entertaining.

Articles

WWE Network Review: Wrestlemania IV

Wrestlemania IV from Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey featuring the tournament to crown a new World Heavyweight Champion. As I recall from childhood, this event was so long that it was a two VHS tape release.  Gladys Knight sings America the Beautiful while wearing a jacket with enough ads on it to make a NASCAR jealous. YEAH, AMERICA!

Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura on commentary, Bob Uecker shows up to call the first match with them.

20 Man Battle Royale

  • This is basically everyone on the roster who has nothing else to do at Wrestlemania, and you can tell they really don’t care.
  • George the Animal Steele is a participant but never gets in the ring. He pulls Jim Neidhart out, which counts for some reason.
  • Two heels, Bad News Brown and Bret Hart are the final two participants, which is unique. Bad News Brown is the winner after double-crossing Bret, but Bret comes in and smashes Brown’s trophy. Crowd doesn’t care.
  • Uecker leaves to find Vanna White.

Robin Leach reads a proclamation about the Championship Tournament

  • He ends his nonsense by saying “I’m Robin Leach and I do know why.” which I believe it a shot at Dana Carvey’s Saturday Night Live impression, but he could care less when he says it and no one in the crowd seems to care either, so I’m not going to attempt to research it now.

Championship Tournament Match: Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Ted DiBiase (with Andre the Giant and Virgil)

  • So far no one has come out to any kind of music.
  • DiBiase wins after shenanigans. Duggan never attempted a USA chant, which explains his loss.

Mean Gene interviews Brutus The Barber Beefcake

  • Gene uncomfortably (well for the audience anyway) asks about Beefcake’s package.

Championship Tournament Match: Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) vs. Don The Rock Muraco (with Superstar Billy Graham)

  • The Rock used an instrumental version of “Superstar” by Andrew Lloyd Webber during this era, a great theme for an entrance that of course is edited out of this.
  • The Rock wins via DQ after, well you know, shenanigans.

Bob Uecker interviews The Honky Tonk Man

  • This is taking food out of the mouth of Craig DeGeorge, wherever he might be.

Championship Tournament Match: Greg The Hammer Valentine (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Ricky The Dragon Steamboat (with infant)

  • Steamboat brings his baby to the ring, which… really… is just the dumbest thing. Put that kid to bed.
  • Ventura says that Valentine can’t match Steamboat’s technical skill, so he should just cheat.
  • Ventura name drops Barry Blaustein, who would later direct 1999′s Beyond The Mat.
  • Curious bit where Steamboat rams Valentine’s head into the turnbuckle 11 times, the ref breaks it up, and Steamboat starts manhandling the ref.
  • After about 20 pieces of business where one of the two men crashes to the mat like a giant redwood tree, Valentine wins by pinfall. Not cleanly of course.

Mean Gene interviews The British Bulldogs (with the newly rescued Matilda) along with Koko B. Ware

photo 4

Championship Tournament Match: The Natural Butch Reed (with Slick) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (with Elizabeth)

  • Reed just murders Savage the entire match until he starts gawking at Elizabeth. Savage sneaks up, hits the elbow and wins clean. Crowd pops for his victory which is the first time they’ve made themselves known.

Uecker interviews The Islanders with Bobby the Brain Heenan (finally!).

  • A young Jonathan Coachman looks on somewhere and thinks “I can do that!”

Championship Tournament Match: One Man Gang (with Slick) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (with Oliver Humperdink)

  • This show is really, really long. I’m already kind of sick of it. The dead crowd isn’t helping.
  • One Man Gang wins. Count out. Shenanigans.

Mean Gene interviews the Hulkster.

  • “Thank God Donald Trump is a Hulkamaniac.” — Hulk Hogan
    photo 3

Championship Tournament Match: Ravishing Rick Rude (with Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake The Snake Roberts

  • I have no idea where this falls in the “Rick Rude hits on Jake’s fake wife” storyline.
  • This match is basically a reverse chin-lock for 20 minutes.
  • The ref falls asleep and the match is declared a draw. Neither man advances.

Mean Gene interviews Vanna White and is kinda creepy about it.

Hercules (with Bobby Heenan) vs. The Ultimate Warrior

  • I always thought Hercules was underrated, for a big power guy anyway.
  • Lots of power moves and blown spots.
  • The Ultimate Warrior wins via pinfall, then Hercules chokes out Warrior with his chain.

Recap of Hogan vs. Andre the Giant

Championship Tournament Match: Andre the Giant (with Ted DiBiase and Virgil) vs. Hulk Hogan

  • I’ve been watching this show for at least four days now and I’m only halfway done.
  • Hogan flies into the ring like an idiot and Andre immediately beats the hell out of him.
  • Andre gets tied up in the ropes, and instead of taking advantage, Hogan uses this time to remove his shirt and ask for cheers from the crowd. LIKE AN IDIOT.
  • DiBiase comes in with a chair and nails Hogan. Hogan is all “Nah…” and goes after DiBiase. DiBiase bails, so Hogan attacks Andre with the chair, right in front of the referee. The ref is all “Nah…” and allows the match to continue. Andre gets the chair and brains Hogan with it, again in front of the ref and again the ref allows it.
  • Finally the ref calls for the bell, and so Hogan uses the chair on Andre again.
  • Result is a double disqualification, which is nonsense. Hogan should have been DQed. Even stranger is that it doesn’t sound like it was ever announced to the crowd.

Mean Gene interviews Randy Savage (with Elizabeth)

Championship Tournament Match: Don Muraco (with Superstar Billy Graham) vs. Ted DiBiase

  • DiBiase wins via pinfall in a mostly uneventful (but well worked) match. Sorry, Rock.

Bob Uecker interviews Demolition (with Mr. Fuji)

photo 5

Championship Tournament Match: Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Randy Savage (with Elizabeth)

  • Just noticed that Valentine isn’t wearing his shin guard that he always used to cheat with. That must come about later?
  • This is Savage’s second match of the night where he just gets beat the entire time, only to pop up at the last minute and manage to win. This time he wins via pinfall after a small package.

Mean Gene. Vanna White. More talking about Bob Uecker.

  • Vanna still likes Hulk to win it all, even though he’s been eliminated.

The Honky Tonk Man (champ, with Jimmy Hart and Peggy Sue) vs. Brutus the Barber Beefcake for the Intercontinental Championship

  • Peggy Sue is Sherri Martel. Huh, I didn’t know that. Thanks Wikipedia!
  • Also, she died in 2007. I didn’t know that either. Bummer.
  • Beefcake gets HTM in the sleeper, so Jimmy Hart knocks the referee unconscious.
  • Brutus chases Jimmy Hart under the ring and the two wiggle around for a little bit.
  • They emerge, and Beefcake cuts Hart’s hair. THE ULTIMATE INSULT.
  • Beefcake wins by DQ, obviously.

Bob Uecker interviews Andre the Giant

  • Andre declares he’s still undefeated. Uh, Wrestlemania III?
  • Andre chokes Mr. Baseball. This is the 5 seconds of footage that’s used all the time, in every WWE montage ever.

The Islanders and Bobby the Brain Heenan vs. The British Bulldogs (with Matilda) and Koko B. Ware (with Frankie)

  • Bobby Heenan hasn’t wrestled in years. He’s wearing a protective suit.
  • “Heenan looks like a Chinaman, don’t he?” — Jesse Ventura
  • Heenan actually spends a good amount of the match in the ring.
  • The Islanders throw Heenan down on top of Koko B. Ware, and he scores the pinfall victory.
  • Afterwards they try to get Matilda to chase down Heenan to attack him, but the dog is all “What?” and doesn’t care.

Howard Finkel asks us to look at the Wrestlemania IV banner and then introduces Jesse The Body Ventura.

  • Um, what the hell?
  • Jesse gets up from the broadcast position and poses.
    photo 2
  • Alrighty.

Championship Tournament Match: The One Man Gang (with Slick) vs. Randy Savage (with Elizabeth)

  • Savage tries to slam One Man Gang. Haha, no.
  • Slick goes after Elizabeth with his pimp cane while Savage is recovering from trying to lift 900 pounds.
  • One Man Gang is disqualified after beating Savage with Slick’s cane. That was dumb. You’re a match away from the title, idiot.

Mean White. Vanna Gene. Sexual nintendos. Bob Uecker.

Demolition (with Mr. Fuji) vs. Strike Force (champs) for the World Tag Team Championship

  • HOLY GOD WHY WON’T THIS SHOW END
  • Strike Force has TERRIBLE entrance music. Like bad 80s cop show montage music. Okay no, that would be awesome.
  • As a kid I didn’t care. But now as an adult… I don’t understand Demolition. The S&M outfits, the glam face paint, the body glitter, the redneck threats to kick my stinkin’ teeth in… what the hell is Demolition supposed to be?
  • Demolition cheats and wins the belts. Technically Tito Santana hit the referee so Strike Force should have been DQed to retain the titles.

The Million Dollar Man (with Andre the Giant) vs. Randy Savage (with Elizabeth) for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship

  • Robin Leach brings the title belt to ringside on a red velvet pillow. He takes the title to Donald Trump and lets him touch it.
  • Bob Uecker is introduced as the guest ring announcer. Christ. Donald Trump touches him.
  • Vanna White is introduced as the guest time keeper. Please don’t go over to Donald Trump.
  • Gross, he touched her.
  • Dave Hebner is the referee. That doesn’t seem right.
  • Everyone is now covered in body glitter thanks to the Demolition match.
  • Andre keeps interfering so Savage sends Elizabeth to the locker room. She returns with the Hulkster.
    photo 1
  • DiBiase has Savage in a sleeper hold, Andre interferes, the ref goes to warn him and Hogan comes in the ring with a chair and strikes DiBiase with it.
  • Savage gets up, sees what Hogan did, hits the elbow and pins DiBiase. New champ. Birth of the Mega Powers.
  • Ventura goes nuts about Hogan cheating, and you know what, he’s right.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and slap myself as a kid. He should not have been into Hogan as much as he was. Now when he and Andre were DQed, it added a certain element of surprise to the show. But the lackluster crowd and having 197 matches really took the wind out of the sails.