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Grudges gripes and grunts

Presented by a typically over-caffeinated Randy Savage. He can’t hold a train of thought for more than 5 seconds before spiralling off into a tirade or berating the Coliseum Video Control guys. He can barely remember the matches on the tape, but he does call Bret Hart his “space cowboy friend”. I swear, business in coffee shops all over Florida must have been hit hard the day Savage passed away.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Oh goodie, Duggan! This is singlet-era Duggan, long after he stopped being relevant or taken seriously. What did Michaels do to deserve this? This was the true litmus test for HBK; seeing if he could get a decent match out of Duggan. It doesn’t look promising at first, because Duggan just stalls for an age, running through his usual tired routine. Eventually they lock up and Duggan bumps Michaels a few times, sending him out of the ring. Michaels was often better on the defensive, and he bumps all over for Hacksaw before trying to leave, but Duggan prevents it. Duggan’s selling is not exactly on the same level as his opponent’s. Michaels makes Duggan’s sloppy offence look semi-decent, conversely Duggan makes Michaels’ look weak. Michaels gives up and goes to a chinlock. I don’t blame him. Right on cue, Duggan does another supremely awful sell job, as a drop toehold bizarrely sends him to the outside. Michaels is content to take the count out win, but Duggan is buoyed by the crowd’s support and beats the count. Vince on commentary asks how to keep Duggan down, and Heenan responds: “stun gun”. As in the weapon, not the wrestling move. Vince, brilliantly, says “maybe”. Oh, if only… Duggan makes a comeback and hits his Three Point Stance, but it knocks Michaels to the outside. He tries to leave but Duggan stops him and clotheslines him over the barrier and into the crowd. This being a Coliseum tape, this of course ends on a double count out. Duggan, like a petulant child, stages a sit-down protest at the result. Michaels did a good job there, because that was actually pretty watchable. He had to resort to chinlocks now and again, but hey, it was Duggan!
Final Rating: **

Savage tells us that the non-finish leads to a lumberjack match later on in the tape, yet on the UK release I am reviewing, it is no-where to be found! I can only assume it was cut because of the “excessive violence” like in other releases, but that seems a little farfetched considering the participants. The match is about the same level as the one above, so UK viewers are not missing out on much. The lack of quality control from CHV and their general laziness is a real shambles.

Ric Flair vs. Tatanka
So, the proverbial broomstick match for Ric Flair. Tatanka wasn’t completely terrible as a babyface, and he did possess a decent fire and played his character well and with as much realism as possible, but he was held back by the gimmick. Still, both of these guys have cracking chops on them, so I am hoping for some violence here. Jim Ross takes a moment to obsess over Flair’s violet trunks. Bobby Heenan is hilarious on commentary, just ripping the piss out of Jim Ross for going on and on about geographical nuances and State facts. I think JR is great, but sometimes he is a boring bloke and this level of belittling is acceptable. It is when Vince McMahon flat out abuses him to satisfy his own crazy hatred of the South that I think they go too far. Tatanka and Flair have a tidy start to this match, with some nice mat work combined with the anticipated chops. The crowd is absolutely dead though, and quite small. The WWF was really on its ass in late 1992, which is when this match comes from. The piped in crowd heat is shameful, because you can see the crowd sat there, bored to tears. I assume it is due to this being from a monster taping rather than due to this bout, which has been more than watchable. It is pretty much the Flair match you would expect from this era. He had a set routine and he stuck to it, but it worked well due to its simplicity, because it meant he could carry lesser talents to exciting contests. Flair was top dollar in the WWF. I once even saw him carry Jim Powers to a good match in a squash on TV while he was WWF champion. He got the people believing that Powers could win the title, which is an astonishing feat when you consider what a total jobber he was by then. As things progress this becomes a real back-and-forth contest. Tatanka’s undefeated streak looks to be in peril when Flair locks on the figure four, but he manages to escape. Tatanka counters Flair’s usual misguided attempt at a top rope assault and breaks out the big hitting offence. He has a dance around but gets caught with a punch to the gut, and both tumble to the outside off a Flair crossbody. I don’t need to tell you the finish. Mr. Perfect, fresh off his babyface turn, breaks up Flair’s post match figure four assault on Tatanka. This was a really fun little match, probably better than expected, though as stated, the usual Flair match and carry job. Tatanka lived up to his end of the bargain and brought something to the bout as well, and the result was a very watchable encounter. Shame about the crowd though, it was so dead it actually ruined the match a little, and probably lost it quarter of a snowflake.
Final Rating: **¾

The Beverly Brothers vs. The Mega Maniacs
This is one of Hulk Hogan‘s very few 1993 appearances, and I believe his only non-PPV match from his 1993 run that made it onto tape. And boy, doesn’t he look tiny!? He appears to have lost a whole load more hair since we last saw him on Coliseum tapes in early 1992 as well. I would imagine this will be brief and easy for the Maniacs. After all, they did overcome Zeus and Randy Savage, a far more imposing duo! Hogan cheats, as always, using a thumb to the eyes a couple of times. Jim Ross seems almost put out by it. Welcome to the WWF, JR, where the babyfaces are xenophobes and cheats and the heels are plucked from kid’s cartoons. Heenan makes a good point about why he hates Hogan, saying that he can get away with things that he couldn’t while he was managing. He is absolutely right. Hogan uses more thumbs to the eyes and then a back rake, further solidifying Heenan’s point. After Hogan has finished dominating the Beverlys, Beefcake comes in and gets his clock cleaned for a couple of minutes, before making the Hogan glory hot tag. Behind the referee’s back, Hogan waffles Beau Beverly with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone, to win the match. Why does Superman need to use a weapon to beat an elevated jobber team like the Beverlys? What a total joke Hogan could be. I mean, what exactly makes him a babyface, other than the fact that people like him? Heenan is livid and rightly so, his point had just been proven again there. He rails on Beefcake too, for cutting people’s hair while they are unconscious. When you think about it, that does make him a bit of a dick actually. The crowd was bigger here than for the last match but they were equally dead. They politely play along when Hogan poses for an age after the match, but during it they were silent. Seeing Hogan doing his Hulking Up routine in the WWF to no reaction, is a new experience. The match was nothing.
Final Rating: *

Profile on Bam Bam Bigelow, one of the greatest big guy workers of all time, and a solid hand by any standard. Luna Vachon, Bigelow’s main squeeze, cuts a frightening promo, certainly more intimidating than Bam Bam’s softly spoken one that follows, They are both on a boat, channelling the spirit of Craig DeGeorge and Hulk Hogan on Hulkamania 3. Nothing much is said, nothing much happens, and there is no match. Ok, so that was pointless…

Papa Shango vs. Mr. Perfect
This comes from the same taping as the previous match. It is a complete clash of styles and a waste of Perfect. Shango was as one-dimensional and dull as they came. This was right towards the end of his WWF run, coming from March 1993. Perfect has no interest in busting out his big bumps for Shango, and this is a rather muted performance from him. Shango tries to get a bump out of Perfect by sending him into the corner, but the flip sell off of it is half-hearted. Perfect then takes a bump like a tree, falling slowly to the ground. Man, that back injury really ruined him. Either that or he was doing it on purpose. When a match with Perfect taking the heat is boring, you know the other guy sucks. JR and Heenan are as bored as Perfect and the crowd, and start talking about Shango’s fingernails and what tattoos his mom has. Hey, chinlocks will do that. Jerry Sags would be proud of this one from Papa. If you watch this tape, go and get yourself a cuppa when Shango first applies it, because I guarantee you won’t miss anything. Despite his bad back, Perfect manages to fight out of the chinlock. Shango rallies by sending Perfect into the buckles, but Perfect moves out of the way of a splash and hits the Perfectplex to win. Shango continues his streak of jobs on these Coliseum tapes. Not the worst Shango match you will see, by a long way, but one of the least impressive from Perfect. I guess that just shows the chasm in talent between the two.
Final Rating: *

Repo Man vs. The Undertaker
Here comes another guy who always loses on these tapes; Repo Man. Though saying that, Taker is involved in more non-finishes in his matches than anyone else, so this could go either way. Unlike some of these releases which have very little time elapsing between the bouts, this one has a year’s discrepancy, with this coming on the earlier end of the scale from June 1992. I guess they taped it and couldn’t find a use for it at the time, so they have shoehorned into onto this. I could have lived without seeing it. The match is just Repo Man bouncing off Taker, who of course sells nothing, not even Repo clocking him with his metal hook. Repo is thrown to the outside, and seeing as this is Taker in 1992, I assume the tide will change and the stairs will be involved… But I am wrong. Repo clocks Taker with a foreign object, but it has no effect. Taker comes back in and hits the rope walk, and then the Tombstone finishes things. Repo got jobbed out like a bitch. Taker sold literally nothing there, unless you count him rolling his eyes into the back of his head as selling. I don’t. A complete waste of time. They should have left it in the vault to rot.
Final Rating: ¼*

The Beverly Brothers & Little Louie vs. The Bushwhackers & Tiger Jackson
This is from the day before the matches featuring Hogan and Perfect, part of the same big tapings block. Jackson and Louie are midgets, Midgets! Making their inglorious return to a Coliseum video release for the first time since the Best Of tapes in the 80s. A second match for the boring Beverlys, and now The Bushwhackers too! What did we do to deserve this!? Jackson looks like Verne Troyer. Actually, he was in Tekken 3!? Well, his namesake was. The character in the game was a 6’2′ black disco dancer with an afro. The Tiger Jackson in this match is 4’0′ and went onto be Dink the Clown. This match would be far better off if it had the Tekken guy in it. In fact, I suggest putting on Tekken 3 and playing it, in lieu of watching this. Little Louie is the drizzling shits, he can’t sell anything right and Verne Troyer is getting visibly annoyed with him. He is still a far superior worker to either of The Bushwhackers. Heenan makes a comment that this is “like watching wrestling from a nuthouse”. No kidding Bobby, it’s the WWF in 1993, it’s like the freak show circus has come to town in every match. There are giants, voodoo practitioners, bull fighters, zombies and “injuns” bouncing around the ring, to name just a few. 1993 was probably the most horrible year the WWF ever had. 1995 was a worse year for business but probably had stronger matches thanks to the likes of Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and the Clique guys. This match is the epitome of why 1993 was so tough on the eyes. Jackson picks up the win with a crossbody from the top, and the crowd goes MILD. Awful match, as expected.
Final Rating: ¼*

The Steiners murderize some jobbers while their awesome entrance theme plays in the background. Works for me! The interview with them that follows, does not. Rick Steiner looks incredibly uncomfortable stood in front of a camera talking about himself and his amateur career, standing with his arms folded while he stumbles over his words. This was not a good segment for them, go back to busting out suplexes. Ah here we go, loads of Frankensteiners. Jesus, watching it over and over really begs the question; how did Scott Steiner not break his neck!? I mean, I know he had a neck like a redwood, but if one useless jobber had mistimed it, he was history. We get Rick Steiner smashing everyone with the belly-to-belly next, which is good fun. Scott Steiner doesn’t know the difference between an arm and a leg and Rick Steiner says the bulldog is a “bad manoeuvre move”. Say no to drugs, kids! The brothers give each other some suplexes on a patch of grass in front of a truck. It’s like steroid fuelled backyard wrestling. What a torrid segment.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Money Inc. (c) vs. The Natural Disasters
Oh, come on, Coliseum! The Bushwhackers followed by Typhoon!? There is an unintentionally funny moment early on, when Earthquake has DiBiase ready in one corner for the spot where the partners get whipped into each other. Quake looks around to see if Typhoon is ready, but he is still happily stinking up the joint with his lame no-impact splashes. Quake hits an elbow to buy some time, and Typhoon turns to look at him to see if he is ready. Quake gives him a look like “I was ready five minutes ago, mofo!”. Not long after that, Quake LAUNCHES himself over the top rope. It was supposed to be a missed splash in the corner that had “so much impact” it sent him over the top, but the timing was so off that it looked like he ran and jumped over there for shits and giggles. Wow, this is bad. JR is getting furious with the referee too. It’s a bit silly really, because this is from 1992, and JR didn’t start until 1993, so he is getting pissy about things that have already happened over a year prior. A massive heat on Earthquake eats up the majority of the match. The finish sees Quake cheat and use IRS’s briefcase, continuing the tape’s tradition of faces using nefarious means to go over. The Disasters win the belts, and somewhere, The Brainbusters are crying. Useless match with an awful, division-ruining result. The absolute nadir of WWF tag wrestling. Well, until The Prime Time Players came along anyway.
Final Rating: ¼*

“All the money in the world can’t change the weather, Money Inc. Stormy weather! An Earthquake and a Typhoon!” – Thank you, Randy Savage.

Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart & Randy Savage
This is something of an all-star match-up! This is the first time it was released in the UK or the US, as previously its only airing was on the German exclusive tape German Fan Favorites, which was covered by Arnold Furious in Volume #2. Jim Ross calls it a “dream tag match” and he is absolutely right. It is four of the greatest workers in the history of the business. It comes from way back in July 1992, and there has been a lot of Flair on this tape, considering he had returned to WCW by the time it came out. Not that I have a problem with that, of course! Jim Ross talks about how Flair was possibly the wrestler of the 80s, and you just know he wants to bust out the NWA references, but is obviously not allowed due to the fact that it doesn’t exist in the WWF’s world. Jim Ross talking about Bret Hart being a former WWF champion is blowing my mind, because he is wearing the IC belt here. The continuity is all over the place. This is a great match of course, but it doesn’t quite kick into the highest gear and deliver the all-time classic you might expect when you see the names involved. I don’t know if it is the low-key setting, the lack of importance (with nothing on the line) or the slightly apathetic crowd, but something doesn’t quite click. Savage and Michaels have surprisingly poor chemistry as it is, and I think I am numb to Flair-Savage at this stage. Don’t get me wrong, this is still great fun to see and a riveting bout, and it far surpasses anything we have seen or the majority of the other matches that the WWF put on around this time. What is most interesting is the dichotomy of the match, with Bret Hart looking like the star in the making that he was, with Flair and Michaels throwing themselves all over the ring for him. Savage rather went through the motions, as he frequently did by this point, and Flair did his usual match. Michaels was full of energy and big bumps, as if he was determined to prove he was in the right spot and deserved to be hanging with those guys. He did of course, and went onto be probably better than all of them.
Final Rating: ***½

A varied experience on a tape that started well, and fell apart somewhat in the middle. Flair and Michaels provided some quality in their singles bouts, as expected, despite their less than world class opposition. Sadly the lumbering slugs really hurt this and turned what was a promising release, into another subpar effort. The tag main event is worth seeing for curiosity, and it is a good match, but not quite worth buying the tape for alone. The mildest of mild recommendations for this, with the US version very slightly the better of the two.

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